Concert apart

The dictionary defines concert, so the director said Saturday night, as “a musical performance given in public, typically by several performers or of several separate compositions. (2) agreement, accordance, or harmony.” It was an opportunity to enjoy an evening with a thousand fans of symphony music. From the audience standing and singing the Star Spangled Banner to a medley of famous themes like the Sound of Music, the night and the performance were wonderful. And the point in the concert where the conductor asked military veterans to stand and be honored was wonderful.

The night was planned several weeks ago for our friends and us, to have dinner and enjoy the season-opening concert, San Diego Symphony at Bayside – on the waterfront downtown next to the Convention Center. The evening featured famous American composers and included masterful choral singing. Yet the night was unnecessarily in competition with a harbor cruise “party boat” going back and forth in the harbor all evening. While the symphony conductor was the picture of grace and civility, the operator, just offshore of our venue, was deliberately negligent, blaring the distracting beat, “ba-dum, ba-dum, ba-dum” over and over, and over again. The conductor made light of it, and yet many of my fellow veterans in the audience (from 20 to 80 years in age) were visibly ready to form a boarding party.

It was a great metaphor for the “endangered species” of civility – particularly in America in 2018. On the way home by trolley, a young person zigged and zagged to step in front of us “old people” ( I spent 4 seconds before inserting my card in the ticket-dispensing machine) to try to get her trolley ticket first (until I harrumphed and she demurred). On social media, a person makes a comment both insulting the fans and actually containing some painful truth, of a particular topic (politics), and gets his (insert characteristic here) questioned. But the comment was deliberately meant to provoke anger.

frowny_face

I regularly encounter both Prius and BMW drivers who act as though they are the most important dignitaries on the road -tailgating, careening across lanes – to get two car lengths ahead – in rush hour. When I hold a door open as a courtesy for females (as I do for males) even among my workmates, there is a occasionally a woman under thirty who seems irritated that I did so. But age is not a predictor of civility. I see men my age with yard signs or bumper stickers that declare other human beings idiots, criminals or ignorant. It is common now for people to pick “sides”. There is no tolerance for differing opinion. And there is no standard where dialogue has to be reasoned, calm, and well-supported by easily (verified (and unbiased) observers.

How do we revert to civility norms?

I think that this decline in civility has both been inflamed by social media as well as our education system. For fifty years we have groomed people to believe they have the right to say what they want without consequences. A Utopian desire for harmonious acceptance, order, and a pain-free existence for everyone everywhere is not through government control.  Either some are forced (Constitutional guarantees are repressed by power-brokers; disagreement is labelled “hate speech”) or are bribed (“living wage” increases worker support, recipients of “public assistance” are encouraged to remain on the “dole”) to be obedient, and the result is a lack of civility toward those who have different views.

One christian’s viewpoint

Most among the secular world see the faulty application of Christian theology by many as evidence of a faulty theology rather than faulty human beings.  Any government that promotes officially-sanctioned multiple languages, cultural norms, legal precepts, and political ideologies, is not elevating civility among dis-unified people but instead further isolating individuals and groups into opposing factions. History is full of these lessons. “Balkanization” is a term where multiple ethnic, religious, linguistic, and religious fracturing is present. The first World War all the way through the “ethnic cleansing” in the former Yugoslav (Balkan) states in the 1990s were due to this fracturing. Fear and paranoia of people who will not assimilate is thousands of years old.  But governments that accommodate the noisy separatists and neglect the “deplorables”, risk permanent balkanization.  It has been the national identity, as “Americans” regardless of all the other factors, that has maintained unity in the United States since the Nineteenth Century.  The resurgence of socialism in American culture, in the absence of a truly spiritual understanding of brotherhood, respect, looking after the ill and the truly desperate, leading a peaceful existence and having a strong work ethic, is not going to achieve a concert in America or elsewhere.

Secular proposals to restore civility in America

Americans can try to restore a civil culture through man-made effort.   But how do people restore civility?

  1. Restore ONE NATION: Celebrate our diversity in ethnic heritage but unify everyone who comes here – through the established immigration policies – to become AMERICAN. Stop using hyphen american in all our identifiers.
    1. Establish ONE language.  All business, education, judicial dealings, social interaction should be performed in English.  Teach different idioms and language, but everyone who wants to be a resident must read, write and speak English in everyday situations.  Make it mandatory to pass an oral and written exam within 24 months of arrival – with intent to remain – to reside in the United States, and become a citizen.  Make the language a requirement to obtain any public assistance.
    2. Restore the ONE culture. Quit the divisiveness of public – and public-funded institutions promoting ethnic separatism.  Whatever color, race, creed, or political leanings,  celebrate differences in the context of making the “melting pot” better.
    3. Prohibit any public official or lobbying group on behalf of any non-citizens, extra-national allegiances, from campaigning to support non-citizens, foreign governments, or business interests seeking to change immigration policies without a national vote.
  2. Restore GOD and belief in a Creator as acceptable teaching. Permit use of public property for the exercise of religion as with any other use.  Get government out of the Belief business.
    1. Spiritual beliefs that do not contradict the good order an unity of a nation, are not legally barred.
    2. Atheism does not trump the rights of others to practice their spiritual beliefs in private or in public spaces.
    3. Non-government employers and places of employment that express particular religious beliefs cannot be forced through legal redress to change policies (adding “abortion coverage” to a health plan for an employer that publicly “pro-life”).  Employment conditions are still voluntarily accepted by both parties – employer and employee.
    4. Public (government) employees are barred from expressing support for, or opposition to, insulting, belittling, or deriding a particular religious belief.
    5. The judicial branch of government only decides whether an action violates the law, not whether it is moral, ethical, proper, or the “intent” of the law-makers
  3. No elected official can refuse to enact voter-approved legislation that does NOT
    1. cause physical harm to individuals or groups
    2. bar individuals or groups from activities that do not seek to cause harm (violence, rebellion) or deny others their human rights
  4. No institution of government can be used to manipulate public information, sentiment, or coerce support for a particular national political entity in power. This also means no institution of government can be manipulated to deny another political entity the fair and equal opportunity in elections.
  5. No entity or institution serving the national interest – media service, local, state or national educational institution (public or privately-funded) can bar exercise of the Constitutional “freedom of speech”.
    1. Civility is a voluntary ideal but some focused practices could improve civility:
      1. Practice, starting in the home, schools, and social organizations  that disagreement with the policies of a government official does not condone any action, outburst, or display abusing that office.
      2. Accept the outcome of elections.  Bring change through the ballot box.
      3. Public figures or celebrities should not incite street protests and violence against law enforcement and other public safety officers.
      4. Leaders of religious orders should promote peaceful doctrines, respect for authority, and practices among their adherents.
      5. Engaging in personal attacks on or inciting abuse of the family members of a government official should be restrained by peers and not promoted as entertainment by media business, celebrities, and public officials.

 

veterans: a hand UP

Good news!

home loans

The VA has released guidelines for 100 percent financing, up to $35K, for work to rehabilitate- repairs a home including energy-efficiency upgrades.  Work has to be completed within 90 days of start.  Courtesy of the SourceWeekly.

in-home care

The Medical Care Foster Home program.  With all the news about homelessness, Government bureaucratic failures and indigent veterans,  some good news for aging veterans.  But why do you have to DIG to find out about it?  In an Iowa-based online journal, a report that looks at a Maryland veteran’s residence that fosters other veterans.  An alternative to nursing homes and  living on the street  Foster care in a private home.  It’s a $20M annually-funded program that is currently in 42 states and Puerto Rico.   And it has oversight- the licensed caregivers can shelter no more than 3 individuals in a home, and meet strict guidelines, are reviewed, must have various certifications and annual recertification/ training, and each veteran fostered is part of a VA-funded healthcare program, with onsite visits and audits. (Not at all like that story in Southern California years ago where a “caregiver” with a criminal past cheated an older veteran out of his savings – in his own home- until he died from neglect.  She’s serving time in prison.)

quality of life

If you look through Google News for specific topics, one can find good things in all the noise that is generated these days.   And services that individuals and universities -or their employees do to help encourage veterans.   As a thankyou to local veterans,  the Laramie Boomerang  reports that the University of Wyoming in Laramie, is holding a second -annual Vets to Nets clinic on its tennis courts this weekend (June 23 – 24, 2018).

 

tip-top VA nursing care

With all the promised “hope and change” from the last President’s Administration,  care for veterans by the VA was plagued by abyssmal failures across the nation.   In the last two years, there have been some very significant changes, when leadership down throughout a facility are focused on quality care.   One story that highlights superior care and service to veterans is a VA nursing home in Poughkeepsie, New York.

super food

Extreme remedies are very appropriate for extreme diseases. Hippocrates

Today is a second in a series of posts about the health benefits of certain ingredients in natural “superfood” potions and health shakes.  Specialty stores dedicated to various natural remedies and organic meats and produce were around more than  years ago but they have become large concerns in the last fifteen years.

Research

One of the “superfood” products that contain the ingredients reviewed in this series of posts, is a protein powder marketed by BeachBody, the health and fitness business that distributes through independent “coaches” or agents.    Bilberry, Camu-camu, and Goji berry (also known as Lycium) are all ingredients in the Shakeology supplement.  The National Institute of Health (NIH) reports that bilberry, Vaccinium myrtillus‘s,  high antioxidant content helps the liver process fats, lowers inflammation, and has cancer -fighting agents.  In studies, mostly in mammals, they indicate positive cellular results.  This is in addition to the other reported improvement in vision.  Camu-camuMyrciaria dubia, is a well-research anti-oxidant that counters systemic inflammatory diseases – such as Crohn’s disease, microbial infections, collagen-induced arthritis, and the inflammatory  component of Alzheimer’s Disease.   It (inflammation) is a factor in cardiovascular disease that Camu-camu antioxidants can reduce.   Goji or Chinese Wolfberry, has been used in traditional medicines and general consumption documented for more than two thousand years.  This berry has had positive effects on liver and kidney function as well as eye health.  While scientific research is on-going, Chinese authorities have conducted research for decades to augment the ancient studies.

 

What are other reasons “superfood” is the new go-to for health-conscious adults?   Poor diet of most in industrialized nations is one reason. The ingredients – including vegetables, fruits and grains, as well as livestock feed are less nutritious than decades ago.    Our food is less nutritious because soil was depleted of natural minerals and ingredients through more than a century of heavy use. Fertilizers and chemical additives were created to grow faster and increase yields per cultivated acre, but this has not substantially increased the nutrition value.    In an article in Scientific American magazine,  this is substantiated.

Anyone who has eaten a non-hybridized home-grown tomato in recent times can identify it over general retail produce by taste and texture.

Available in protein shakes and other retail products,  “superfood” additives are not well understood by the public.  With the pharmaceutical industry constantly advertising a drug for any particular health condition but with side-effects that often include “death” as one potential outcome, there is public interest in other remedies.  Which conditions  may be controlled by diet, exercise, and some natural remedies?

Case study: Self

After age fifty-five,  I became a regular shopper at a local organic market, first for better quality fruit and vegetables, and later for organic (additive and pesticide-free) produce, fresh fish and chemical -free chicken. Using some herbal ingredients and remedies for Men’s health-related complaints,  I would advocate readers and bloggers do research, as experience has taught me that Big Pharma and the agri-industry does not hold all the answers.   My own research began after suffering years of a periodic allergic reaction that caused angioedema in my intestine and soft tissues.  It frequently required hospitalization.  Yet the triggering cause was not found by medical professionals but was self-diagnosed.

In the year leading up to my diagnosis,  I had taken medication prescribed to mitigate the then-unknown cause by suppressing the inflammatory effects.  Daily use of this medication caused chronic acid reflux that persisted almost a year after ceasing use.    This turned me to studying food and making different choices.

Some pharmaceutical medications are based on ingredients used for very long time by rural populations around the globe.  One such remedy, glucosamine,  was generally known to farming and ranching folk in the 20th Century, to relieve early symptoms of arthritis, yet medical professionals were quick to dismiss it without seeing extensive research.   When glucosamine could be obtained in capsule form for pennies, many did not know about it.  And yet within twenty years it became a wonder ingredient on every over-the-counter  drugstore and grocer’s shelves.  At ten times the original price.

Many of these ingredients in superfood have documented research to show their health benefits.   And with the expense of medical care today, an extract of an herb, root, or berry might be an effective alternative or supplement to a Big Pharma product.

 

 

don’t smoke that mushroom

Eat it.

Compared to the years I served in the United States Navy, robust health and nutrition of sailors in the Nineteenth Century – the “iron men and wooden ships” of lore- was less a factor of the sea air than good fortune.  Logs of ships’ surgeons from that era contain reports of men lost overboard in storms at sea, accidents, cholera, dysentery,  over- consumption of alcohol leading to death, infections, sexually-transmitted diseases, run -ins with native populations )in the then- relatively isolated foreign ports), and poor diet.

In the years just after Desert Storm,  fresh dairy products, fruit, and vegetables became available fairly regularly at sea due to underway replenishment.   Even in the early 1990s,  it was not uncommon to have powdered eggs, and ultra-pasteurized milk ( the sort the US Army Veterinary Service certified as safe for consumption) in place of fresh more than a week out of port.

It leads me to wonder aloud,  whether the new health-consciousness of many activists for varied range-fed beef and compassionately-raised chicken,  organic vegetables and gluten-free choices, have filtered down to our armed forces.

Most of my peers who retired around 2009 -2010, know that the military began a renewed campaign to fight obesity – discharging members who failed to maintain a standard that – even with body-builders  – was difficult to achieve.   But we also know that society has gotten farther and farther away from healthy diets and regular exercise.

But there are choices.   Although,  I do not expect my local Pizza Port to alter the menus just yet.   And with virtually every town having small breweries popping up,  I do not believe “lite” beer is going to be on the minds of the young men and women today.   However, for those fewer of us, where the excesses of youth are around our waistlines, in our zeal to stay off medicines and out of hospitals,  may yet find ways to exercise moderately and eat tasty, and healthy, food.

When I heard about this Portobello mushroom pizza, I was skeptical.  It is remarkably tasty!

But this also has cancer-fighting properties as well as staying off my waistline.   And I surprised my doctor last Wednesday with my complete turnaround in health.   Thirty-five pounds lighter,  blood -chemistry all in the normal range,  and much happier.   He didn’t ask me how,  but when others may,  I’ll tell them, “Pizza, fish, Chinese food, fresh vegetables.  Yogurt.  And more cooking with garlic, turmeric, mushrooms, and herbal ingredients.”

That gives me the ability to enjoy a nice craft beer.   Guilt-free.    I’m still a Sailor, after-all.

Life of impact

We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.  -Winston Churchill

To a member of the military serving in a war zone five, six, or seven days each week, the hardships and the dangers come with the job.   The same can be said for members of law enforcement, or firefighters, or disaster response crews.   Their efforts can often mean preserving themselves or their team and others they are sworn to protect.  But service is not only in times of crisis.  There are professions such as coal miners,  auto mechanics, and shoe sales people who can reliably state they keep industry going, commuters getting to their jobs, and keep people from going shoe-less;  however, these are no less opportunities for personal excellence by helping others achieve their dreams.

Service,  or what Churchill says “making a life by what we give”,  is not exclusive to these times.  Teachers who help struggling students achieve an educational milestone, or a volunteer in a free hospital in an impoverished country aiding someone heal from a disease are other examples.  Others share spiritual understanding and model selflessness by serving others stung by Life’s challenges.   Still others see opportunity in helping our fellow Man to live healthier through education about exercise and proper diet.  Some find opportunity serving others through their talent with investment or protecting and preserving the livelihood of a family through a breadwinner’s recovery from accident or illness.

It is literally true that you can succeed best and quickest by helping others to succeed. – Napoleon Hill

A societal shift in recent years has muddied the understanding of how to raise oneself and those around you through diligent effort.   Many governments in their zeal to protect people from personal weaknesses and to preserve the natural world,  have misunderstood legislatively what it means to achieve those idealistic goals.  They seek to champion the “common Man” yet penalize or stifle individual efforts to find and fill an economic niche.  In order for families to earn a living, someone other than a bureaucracy, through free enterprise,  must create opportunities.

Leadership consists of picking good men and helping them do their best.  – Chester W. Nimitz 

Small businesses make up the majority of the economy of many nations including our own in the United States.  In much of the literature that encourages and teaches entrepreneurs and job seekers to be successful in marketing one’s talents solving others’ problems is key.  To feed a man with free fish for a day is noble.  However, to teach that same Man how to find and catch fish whenever he has need is a much more beneficial solution in the long term.

In the course of history,  many enterprise models have been tried.  Some fail.   Some succeed.  The best of these create a better standard of living for individuals by multiplying their efforts.  No 401k pensioner or mutual fund investor can have the security through only singular investment and a single contributor.  A business owner creates better opportunity for herself  through providing opportunity for others to prosper, and then mentoring those in the team to do the same.    Just like the lessons I learned about servant-leadership as a Chief Petty Officer in the United States Navy.

For more information about the business model I am actively pursuing as a second income stream (domestically and internationally), contact me via email, social media, or this website:

https://mysite.coach.teambeachbody.com/?coachId=1660622&locale=en_US

 

Quotes courtesy of http://www.brainyquote.com