Saturday, December 25, 2010

From the Wisdom of Chief Tecumseh

Give thanks
when you arise in the morning,
give thanks for the morning light.
Give thanks for your life
and your strenth.
Give thanks for your food and give
thanks for the joy of living.
And if you see no reason
for giving thanks,
rest assured that the fault
is in yourself. 

Friday, December 24, 2010

Impaired walking can be a killer

  There were two articles in the LP today that highlight the need to take care of ourselves particularly at this time of year and for some very good reason.  Because this blog o'mine is so wildly popular and widely read and I must be very famous by now I'm sure this will save somebodies life....'tap tap tap'... is this thing working?  Has anyone tried to use the comment box???  Oh and besides it's my 40th blog which deserves a very important topic and one that has actually touched my real non-blogger life.

  Nearly 40% of pedestrians killed on Canadian roads in a recent snapshot year had been drinking, with two-thirds of them have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) more than double the legal driving limit.  Fewer than one in five was at or below drivers' legal content of 0.08 according to the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators.
  New Year's Day is one of the deadliest times of the year for pedestrians and experts say people need to take the dangers of "drinking and walking" seriously due to the fact that they are not dressed properly nor do they pay attention to traffic or other hazards.   
  The stats are strikingly similar in the U.S.A.  Many pedestrians are never tested for impairment and the problem therefore may be underplayed because the stats don't reflect those whose fatal injures occur outside of road settings such falling down stairs, tripping or gun incidents.  A landmark study in Prevention found January 1st has more pedestrian crash deaths, on average, than any other day of the year, with 58% having high BAC's.  Halloween ranks second.
  The holidays themselves are a risk factor for death and thus the soundtrack for many a North American Christmas isn't Bing Crosby but rather the scream of ambulance sirens found a new study report. 
  In a 25 year period between 1979 and 2004, researchers identified an excess of 42,325 natural deaths---that is above and beyond normal winter increases---in the two weeks starting with Christmas.  On Christmas and New Year's Day especially, they report that "mortality from natural causes spikes in dead-on-arrival (DOA) and emergency department (ED) settings with more of these deaths occurring on Dec. 25, Dec. 26 and Jan. 1 than on any other day.  These findings were written in the journal of Social Science & Medicine and professor David Philips, of the University of California at San Diego went on to say that these increases in DOA/ED settings, spanned the top five disease groups: circulatory, neoplasms, respiratory, endocrine/nutritional/metabolic disease and digestive.  The increases are anywhere between 3 and 10% depending on either demographics or the causes of death.  Less clear is the reasons behind this fatal phenomenon. 
  Cancer deaths increase in every medical setting leaving those to ponder what mechanism it is that causes such calendar-specific spikes.  Many plausible lines of reason were discussed in the article but none offered clean evidence of what is driving this trend.  So that is what researchers next step will be.
  "For now", Phillips says, "the message is pay attention to your health, and to your health resources, particularly on these two occasions.

  On January 1, 2009 the father of my children and my good friend, had a massive heart attack and died three days later.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Your Picture of the Day

A couple of years ago I had the pleasure of an invitation to view some flowers a lady had on her patio including this wonderful hibiscus plant.   Her award winning Dahlia is my profile picture here on blogspot.

I also have a picture of a yellow one that I took in Florida in 2005 which I just love.  Unfortunately it's really small and does not do the flower justice but I love the paleness of the yellow and found one online that looks pretty but not as pretty as mine I don't think.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

My Cousins In 1890's Canadian Steamboat History

Two Brydges brothers made a living in the steamboat industry in the Lake of theWoods area in northern Ontario in the late 1890's.  Edward W Brydges and his brother Clarence M Brydges ran a service between Rat Portage (Kenora, Ontario) and Ft Francis.  My father had told my mother that he had a cousin who was a "captain of a steamboat" but my mother was always skeptical about this.  Indeed it was true.  Captain Ed Brydges apparently made such an impression on my dad that he wanted to name me Edward should I have been a boy.  It's funny how little bits of knowledge that I had of my father have finally connected in an unexpected way for me.
In the following article there are different types of boats mentioned that belonged to the brothers.  Edward's boat was a luxury liner in those days called the Edna Brydges named after a daughter.  He also had a ferry named Kinina after his wife.  His brother Clarence piloted the ferry Annie Mac.  The history of what they carried and charged is an interesting bit of history.  I've also found references in the Manitoba Morning Free Press which is cited on their pages in

Some History of Canadian Steamboats in the1890's

WATERFRONT FLOTSAM – Kenora Miner and News – 1905

The Catherine S showed up Monday last at noon time with a three-pocket tow from Dawson Narrows.

Tomorrow at noon, the Keewatin will go on ferry duty while the Argyle with the Brandon takes the conference delegates for a ride on the lake.

The Clipper returned Sunday from her trip to Big Island with oxen for the Indians. On Monday she took some picnic parties out to the Sultana and later on took a fishing outfit down to Quarry Island.A tow of 15,000 logs was taken to the Keewatin tie mill on Wednesday by the Shamrock, brought in from Grassy River.
The Day Star, the Presbyterian mission steamer, is busy these days taking out supplies to the school for the winter. She left Saturday with a big load of flour, syrup, etc.
These were among the busy fleet of steamboats that plied the Lake of the Woods for close to a century. They hauled log booms, hosted dances, took excursions, transported mining supplies, brought settlers along the route to their new homes, and dramatically changed the style of travel on Lake of the Woods.  Previous to their use all lake travel had been done by birch bark canoe, then by York boat. But with the increased traffic on what was then the only practical thoroughfare to the Canadian west, the need for faster and larger vessels was realized.
The first steamboat on the lake was owned and operated by the Canadian government and was put into service in 1872 as a tug to pull York boats through the two sets of rapids on the Rainy River. The nameless steamer was joined a year later by another and then another which was christened Lady of the Lake. These first steamers were engaged in passenger service, conveying settlers from Rainy River to Rat Portage (now Kenora, Ontario), or west via the North West Angle and the Dawson Trail. The Lady of the Lake, at 115 feet in length, was a side-wheeler that ran the route until she was dismantled in 1880. Many of her parts, however, were used in the construction of another steamer, the Lilly McCauley. The Shamrock, Monarch, and Highland Maid all ran the passenger route between Fort Frances and Rat Portage. Their one-way fare was $6.00 for adults (which included meals), $3.00 for children, $5.00/head for cattle and horses, $8.00/ton for household goods, and $10.00/ton for supplies. The round trip could be made in less than 48 hours – each leg of the trip averaging about 21 hours with layovers to pick up and discharge passengers. Because the trip could not be made without refueling, there were wooding stations located along the main steamboat routes where the boats could pull in and stock up on wood.
The passenger boats eventually began to offer leisure tours and in doing so initiated the first attempts to attract tourists to the lake. As the industry of the region expanded beyond the original base of fur trade into commercial fishing, lumbering, gold mining, and tourism, steamboats became an even more common sight on the lake.
While saw mills were becoming established in the communities of Keewatin and Rat Portage, logging camps were being constructed on all parts of the lake. In the journals of John Gardner, one the area’s earliest settlers who worked at various logging camps, the arrival of the steamboats was always recorded with an account of the number of workers brought out, the replenishment of supplies, and the delivery of much-awaited mail. The Jenny Lind, Lotta S and the Clipper were all engaged in freighting men and supplies to the camps. Other steamboats, the Empress, Kingfisher, Algoma, and Mather were used to tow the immense log booms from down the lake to the sawmills in Rat Portage.
The Sultana, Regina, and Mikado steamboats were each part of the operations of successfully run gold mines on Lake of the Woods. Their purpose was multi-fold. They were used to freight supplies, equipment, labourers, and ore. As well, potential investors were escorted out to the mines aboard the company steamers. The Scud and Frank Marshall were often seem loaded to the gills with packed fish boxes en route to Rat Portage where the fish were then shipped to market by rail. During the commercial fishing heyday of the 1890s, four million pounds of fish and a quarter of a million pounds of caviar were shipped annually from the area.
Through the course of 90 years, side-wheelers, stern-wheelers, sturdy tugboats, elegant excursion boats, and accommodating ferries plied the lake. But with the coming of the railway, roadways, and diesel and gasoline engines, one by one the steamboats fell into disuse, bringing an end to this significant era on Lake of the Woods. The steamboats met their ends in various ways. The Couchiching, a steam tug, was built in 1883, abandoned on the sandbar at Bush Island in 1897 and ten years later was dynamited into oblivion. The fish boat Keewatin and the ferry Kennina both burned. The Speedwell was wrecked on a reef. Others simply outlived their usefulness and were dismantled and sunk. The remains of some of those early boats are scattered along the lake bottom off various islands and in numerous bays and provide intriguing exploration for divers. They are, however, protected archaeological sites and cannot be disturbed.
The Annie Mac, a ferry between Rat Portage, Norman, and Keewatin, was jokingly called “Consumption”, because her exhaust “sounded as if it were the last gasp of a diseased lung.”The Clipper was reputedly the fastest boat on the lake, and the first boat on the lake to have electric lights.  The 75-foot Edna Brydges was launched in 1895. She could accommodate 60 passengers in style. White linens, silverware, and caviar were dining room staples.  The Kathleen ran “blueberry excursions” on the Winnipeg River. During these outings lunch could be obtained on board or, for those who brought their own picnic basket, hot water for tea was available.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Take you Favorite Curry Dish with you to the ER???

Neuroprotective Against Stroke And Traumatic Brain Injury Discovered In Compound Derived From Curry Spice

One compound, called CNB-001, which was derived from curcumin, the active ingredient in the spice turmeric, proved highly neuroprotective in all of the assays; it also enhanced memory in normal animals.
TBA is the only approved drug that ameliorates the behavioral and memory changes resulting from stroke but only in 20% of the time.

Although 20% doesn't seem like very much but if it lessens the terrible damage that strokes cause and it's you that's facing paralysis and lifelong disabilities even 20% is more of a chance than you had before before.

Monday, December 20, 2010

How Chromium-6 Gets in Our Water


 Chromium is known as the 'Erin Brockovich' chemical since it's hazards were brought to light in a movie by the same name a few years ago.  In the news today results of chromium testing in a number of cities in the U.S.A was released and are frightening.  The 'winner' is Norman, Oklahoma at a whopping 200% above recommendations.

Most reports about chromium-6 doesn't really say how it gets into the water but this is what I found on's from manufacturing and is in everything we purchase, use and drink. It leaches into the soil from abandoned car plants, tanneries, paint companies and maybe the biggest cuprit of all is from the production of electronics.
One of the most important things I read in the information that I found may be passed over by most as insignificant so I have highlighted it.  This could be a piece of the puzzle in the global obesity epidemic and it's about time scientists started to look at WATER as the vehicle of doom..........that statement may be a bit dramatic I admit but they aren't coming up with any answers.
Despite growing evidence of the dangers of hexavalent chromium in tap water, the EPA has done nothing about legal limit requirements. Water utility companies don't even have to test for levels in their tap water.

The average hexavalent chromium levels in the tested tap water was 0.18 ppb, compared to the recommended 0.06 ppb.

Top five cities tested:
  • Norman, Oklahoma, population - 89,952
    Hexavalent chromium level 12.9 ppb
  • Honolulu, Hawaii: population - 661,004
    Hexavalent chromium level 2.00 ppb
  • Riverside, California, population - 280,832
    Hexavalent chromium level 1.69 ppb
  • Madison, Wisconsin, population - 200,814
    Hexavalent chromium level 1.58 ppb
  • San Jose, California, population - 979,000
    Hexavalent chromium level 1.34 ppb
Glass is colored green by the addition of chromium(III) oxide. This is similar to emerald, which is also colored by chromium. A red color is achieved by doping chromium(III) into the crystals of corundum, which are then called ruby. Therefore, chromium is used in producing synthetic rubies.
The toxicity of chromium(VI) salts is used in the preservation of wood. For example, chromated copper arsenate (CCA) is used in timber treatment to prevent wood from decay fungi, wood attacking insects, including termites, and marine borers.
 Tanning-manufacturing of leather products.
Refractory material
The high heat resistivity and high melting point makes chromite and chromium(III) oxide a material for high temperature refractory applications, like blast furnaces, cement kilns, molds for the firing of bricks and as foundry sands for the casting of metals.                                                      
Several chromium compounds are used as catalysts. For example the Phillips catalysts for the production of polyethylene are mixtures of chromium and silicon dioxide or mixtures of chromium and titanium and aluminium oxide. Chromium(IV) oxide (CrO2) is a magnetic compound. Its ideal shape anisotropy, which imparts high coercivity and remanent magnetization, made it a compound superior to the γ-Fe2O3. Chromium(IV) oxide is used to manufacture magnetic tape used in high-performance audio tape and standard audio cassettes. Chromates can prevent corrosion of steel under wet conditions, and therefore chromates are added to drilling muds. Chromium has been suggested to be connected to sugar metabolism, although no biological role for chromium has ever been demonstrated biochemically. The dietary supplements for chromium include chromium(III) picolinate, chromium(III) polynicotinate, and related materials. The benefit of those supplements is still under investigation and is questioned by some studies.
  • Chromium(III) oxide is a metal polish known as green rouge.
  • Chromic acid is a powerful oxidizing agent and is a useful compound for cleaning laboratory glassware of any trace of organic compounds.


Sunday, December 19, 2010

Cancer Patients Are At An Almost Five-Fold Increased Risk Of Developing Listeria

Absolutely a must read.
We've all heard about Listeria in recent years but do people with blood borne cancers know about this??? I do not think so. As a former medical person and a present day survivor of NHL* I am shocked to discover this information.

*NHL That's not the hockey league that some folks find difficult to survive through.

Cancer Patients Are At An Almost Five-Fold Increased Risk Of Developing Listeria