Part I – Weight Loss Success and Unsuccess Stories

My unsuccess story… 

Is all too familiar. Last June when my son, Zeke, photographed me in a tight Carolina blue t-shirt I’d worn deliberately for the occasion, I just knew that garment would be a lot looser by the end of the year. Bound and determined to make it so, I threw on a pair of barely broken in sneakers. I started lifting 5, 8, and 10-lb dumb bells for my upper body; took to eating a lot of baked fish, skinless chicken, fruits, and veggies. Quit eating the usual white suspects, nearly all desserts, and all sugary beverages.

A year passed. I’m on my second pair of sneakers. Sometime I crave fried chicken like a drug addict looking for that next fix. I’m not even going to lie. I’ve fallen off the wagon a few times with the fried chicken. As for the apple pie and cake, my will remained strong. I suppose not being much of a sweet eater has something to do with it. Salty meat is my Achilles heel but ironically I didn’t do too great on the Atkins Diet. Cooked animal flesh without the salt is like coffee with no sweetener. So is that blue t-shirt hanging off me? Hell no. Matter of fact I’ve gained nearly ten pounds.

I’m sure there are many who share this very familiar and disconcerting story. You did everything right but age, gender, and the very medication meant to keep you from keeling over worked against you. Am I disappointed? Do I want to say screw it? You best believe it. Below is a video Zeke showed me to help me stay the course.

My His-story…

I had ‘em nearly 25 years ago and nearly died in the process. Ironic since he saved my life last June 6. I was in the last throes of a diabetic coma. Poisons from ketones that had spilled into my bloodstream and the abscess on my shoulder blade were killing me. He heard me breathing through my closed bedroom door. After knocking and not getting a reply, he entered to see what was up. He dialed 911 with the quickness for his unresponsive mama.

Several weeks before he’d attempted to get me to walk the straight and narrow. Fixed me a plate piled high with: Romaine, spinach, kale, carrots, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, olives, etc. I thanked him by complaining there was no meat in it. I fumed as he explained a toss salad really could be consumed without meat and crackers. Unbeknownst to me he’d already started on his journey toward a healthier lifestyle. He wanted to bring me along but I didn’t appreciate it at the time.

Nothing like nearly dying and being hospitalized for eleven days to decide one it’s time for a change. Shooting up huge quantities of insulin and popping blood pressure pills wasn’t something I wanted to do the rest of my life. A week out of the joint (hospital) I put ‘Pat and Charlie’ on the pavement and never looked back. A few weeks later I started sculpting my upper body.

Zeke insisted on photographing me. I chose the tight blue t-shirt, envisioning the before and after. We agreed to take another picture in a month. In a month’s time he’d not forgotten. The t-shirt hung in my closet. I removed it from the rack and pulled it over my head. It enclosed my body like sausage casing. Despite all the sweat equity and sacrifice there was no change. Something was sabotaging my body. I re-hung the garment and told Zeke there would be no picture that day. When he asked why I told him the truth. “Look like you lost a little sump’n sump’n,” he said jokingly. “Sometime we see what we wanna see,” I responded and left it at that.

I had counted on having to battle food and exercise. What I hadn’t counted on or factored in was age, gender, insulin for my Type II diabetes and other medication, sabotaging all my hard work.

End Part I

Mass Shootings vs Second Amendment Overhaul

Do we really want to return to this? Or opt for a Second Amendment Overhaul?

HERE WE GO AGAIN!

Different scene, different player, but the carnage and grief left behind are pretty much the same. The recent shooting in Aurora, Colorado, has revived ad nauseam the whole ‘why did he do such a thing’ and trying to figure out the mindset of a mass murderer.  The media is like some blabbermouth talking nonstop about this cold-blooded killer, repeating the same things over and over. If nothing else, past lessons have taught us that the so-called Batman Massacre, starring one James Holmes, will soon have its final curtain call and end up in the trash can of our memory like Columbine, Virginia Tech, and other bygone mass shootings.

In the meantime nothing changes. In fact, a recent article in ‘The Denver Post’ indicated background checks — the first step toward the purchase of a gun in Colorado — jumped 43% in the aftermath of the shooting rampage that killed 12 people in Aurora’s Century 16 theater during the midnight premier of The Dark Knight Rises.

The article mentions the similarity to Arizona following the January 2011 mass shooting in Tucson that left six people dead and 12 injured, including then-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. According to FBI data, handgun sales in Arizona on the Monday after the weekend shooting jumped 60% over the same day the previous year. Nothing changed. There was nothing learned from Virginia Tech, at least nothing to keep folks from dashing out to exercise their second amendment right.

Those who fail to learn from the past, according to an old saying, are doomed to repeat it. This is like talking to the hand for those convinced owning and carrying a firearm will make them safer. Way too many commenters, in spite of all the smoke and chaos, the late hour, the possibility of getting shot or ending up living with accidentally shooting someone, insist if others in the hell hole that was Theater 9 had met deadly force with deadly force, the shooter would have been quickly and efficiently taken out. End of story.

SECOND AMENDMENT OVERHAUL vs O.K. CORRAL STYLE SHOOTOUTS

This brings me to the Second Amendment, ratified over two centuries ago. Back when there were no automatic weapons and loading and unloading a firearm took a minute. Today, as in the case of James Holmes, a single individual can exterminate a room filled with human beings easily as spraying flies. Also as evidenced by firearm deaths in our inner cities, the stuff that don’t get much traction in mainstream media, more guns have not made us any safer. Get real folks. The Second Amendment is due a much needed overhaul.

In the end time wasted asking why killers like James Holmes, Jared Lee Loughner, Seung-Hui Cho, Eric Harris, Dylan Klebold, etc., committed such heinous acts, will be just that. Time wasted. Though it’s highly doubtful any politician of merit is going to commit political suicide taking on the serious business of overhauling the Second Amendment. Besides evildoers intent upon killing on a mass scale will find a way. Hopefully OK Corral style shootouts won’t be our only option.

The very thought of an all out gun battle conjures images of Moses, oops, I mean Charleston Hester uttering, “From my cold, dead hands!” Taking on the powerful National Rifle Association (NRA) and those who view the right to bear arms as an extension of our freedom is just too scary a prospect. So James Holmes, the Batman Massacre or whatever will fade into the night of our consciousness until the curtain rises again along with the same, tired old questions and no real attempt to overhaul our over 200-year-old Second Amendment.

Froie Gras And Souse Meat/Hog Head Cheese Mashup

Souse Meat/Hog Head Cheese

Weekend Mashup – Episode 1

Lately I’ve been reminiscing a lot about the old days. I suppose it has something to do with becoming another year older. The pack of ‘Hog Head Cheese’ or as it’s commonly referred to down South, ‘Souse Meat’ I saw in the grocery store didn’t help matters. It was next to the liver pudding, olive loaf, and various other cold luncheon meats. Cheap cured stuff guaranteed to clog your arteries and send your blood pressure soaring. Something I thought nothing about back in the day.

Years ago a friend from Phillie mentioned ‘Hog Head Cheese’. I thought she was talking about cheese you put on sandwiches. Not. ‘Hog Head Cheese’ like ‘Souse Meat’ is a terrine or meat jelly made with flesh from the head of a pig. The heart, tongue, and sometime the feet may also be used.

Souse Meat/Hog Head Cheese originated in Europe and was considered peasant fare. The Souse Meat Pop(my grandpop) and I ate atop saltines was a vinegary, peppery, allspicey, gristly, meaty gelatin that had been formed into a loaf. An excursion from the ‘Vanilla Wafers’ and cheese but just as tasty especially paired with cold, sugary beverages. Pop was partial to Dr. Pepper but I loved me some ‘Jungle Juice’. Souse Meat or Hog Head’s Cheese it was all good as I soaked up all the tales Pop told me about his life. Now as yet another birthday approaches, memories wring from my head. Souse meat, Pop and me.

I also have memories of the time I worked in the kitchen at the Marriott. There were two restaurants. While they both served regular fare like burgers, chicken fingers, pasta, fish, and steak, the so-called high end one included escargot, oyster on the half shell, and the biggest prime ribs I’ve ever seen. Once for a banquet the chef roasted a whole pig then replaced the ball of aluminum foil in its mouth with a shiny, red apple right before serving.

Thank God I don’t recall them having Foie gras. Perhaps the French delicacy, essentially enlarged duck or goose liver, was a bit too high-brow. Recently banned in California, what I found out about the expensive cuisine conjures up unsavory images. I can’t even make eye contact with the water fowl at the park these days. Imagine a metal tube rammed down your throat and you’re force fed to fatten up your liver for human consumption. The technique is called gavage and it dates as far back as 2500 BC.

Foie_gras

Gavage-based foie gras production is considered so inhumane the sale of foie gras has been banned in several European countries and other jurisdictions. The French, the largest producer and consumer of foie gras, aren’t too pleased with the ban as it’s a high menu item and fetches a pretty penny.

Despite the $1,000 fine, some California chefs have found ways to circumvent the ban. How about a free chunk of buttery French froie gras to go with that outlandishly priced toast? When did we make nice with the French? If memory serve did we not boycott French wine, French (Freedom) Fries and all things French shortly after 911 over a particular war. Now here we are going to great lengths to serve the fattened livers of cruelly force-fed water fowls sold mainly by the French.

Some might argue hogs and other animals slaughtered for human consumption don’t fare much better than the ducks or goose. That may very well be true but eating saltine crackers topped by Souse Meat with Pop serves up rich memories I will always cherish. No doubt many consumers of froie gras have their own memories to look back on. Rich folk fare, poor folk fare, in the end the poor animals are slaughtered for our consumption. The only differences are degree of animal suffering, cost of finished product, and memories of the experience.

Goose being force fed

Pig being abused

Unemployed and Searching For A Job? Good Luck With That

Click on link at the end of this post – good luck

Talk about having the deck stacked against you. While presidential candidate Mitt Romney refuses to show more than two years of back taxes and President Barack Obama deals with a ‘do-nothing’ congress hell-bent upon making him a one-term president, the unemployed are having to jump through virtual hoops attempting to land jobs with impossible requirements. All the while CEOs and those responsible for hiring are kicked back in their ivory towers while computer software programs are the gatekeepers to employment or the lack thereof.

Meanwhile we ordinary folks bicker among ourselves about the high unemployment and whose to blame for millions being out of work and who would be the best man to elect to improve the situation. Some insists that many unemployed, especially the long-term, are basically lazy and just aren’t looking hard enough. Really? Usually the thought of having a roof over one’s head and food in one’s belly is powerful incentive to obtain employment.

Void of critical thinking spewing garbage has become a national past time for many. Besides, in a country so enamored with the rich, calling out greedy CEOs insisting there aren’t enough qualified folks to fill all those vacant positions, just ain’t for the meek. Or reminding them when they claim the uncertain political climate and too many regulations make it hard to do business that little to no oversight got us in this mess in the first place.  Of course the same ones proclaiming the unemployed to be lazy will insist it was all the fault of the greedy liars vying for homes they couldn’t afford in the first place.

It is beyond time rich CEOs and so-called job creators trickle those jobs downto the rest of us. Instead of continual outsourcing, bringing in workers from overseas, and making it next to impossible for the average American to obtain employment.  As though their own greed and indifference isn’t mostly to blame for the sad state of affairs in which we find ourselves, they speak glibly about their overflowing coffers. If only they could have who they wanted in the white house and no accountability while their personal largess balloon beyond all reason, maybe, just maybe they would start hiring and training instead of making people jump through impossible virtual hoops.

So, if you are unemployed and desperately searching for work, good luck with that. Please click on below link to learn why:

http://www.economicpopulist.org/content/automated-job-rejection

BEWARE! SCAMS, SCAMS AND MORE SCAMS

SCAMS, SCAMS AND MORE SCAMS

Blacked out my address. Otherwise this looks really legit.

As of this writing there are so many scams going on I won’t even attempt to put a number on them. Nor will I break out some bulleted list on the latest and greatest scams. Why? Because I wouldn’t want you alerting for a particular scam only to be broadsided by one not noted on my nice, neat little list. I know what I’m talking about. It just happened to me.

Case in point, I kept getting emails from folks on my contact list directing me to someone claiming to be a work-at-home mom. She goes by the name Amy Livingston and supposedly makes thousands a month from home. This aroused my curiosity so I decided to do a bit of snooping. Turns out it was a big ol’ scam. Ticked off because I felt it exploited legitimate mothers working at home I decided to alert others.

I was also scared the hackers or ‘phishers’ had gained access or could gain access to sensitive financial information through our email accounts. Paranoid and feeling authorities wouldn’t be much help, I decided the best way to fight back was to let others know so they could be on guard against this so-called ‘stay-at-home-mom’ scam.

Shortly after putting stay-at-home-mom scam in my rearview mirror I heard about con artists scamming elderly folks out of their hard-earned money, emptying not only their bank accounts but family members’ who had to clean up the mess. Even though it didn’t affect me personally, the thought of mentally and physically ailing older people being preyed upon again made me post an alert. No sooner did I click ‘publish’ a couple of news programs mentioned the ‘grandparents’ and ‘stuck in jail overseas scams. Knowing some of the big news organizations like CBS and ABC also had these scams on their radar gave me a little satisfaction.

Still there’s only so much I or anybody else can do against a multitude of scams. There just isn’t enough time in the day. Like Forrest Gump said, “Sometimes, I guess there just aren’t enough rocks.”  With millions unemployed, underemployed, and just clinging to a thread of hope, scammers are counting on you being gullible. When they make you an offer that seems too good to be true, remember, it usually is.

MONEY RAIN DOWN ON ME! 

Remember everything that glitters isn’t gold

Ironically I found this USPS Priority Mail envelope in my mailbox today. Inside was a postal money order for $975.00 from someone claiming to be Tom A. Lee. Take a long hard look at it. I did. Then I excursioned into cyberspace and sure enough it’s just another scam. It’s called, ‘Money Order’ scam or maybe even ‘Money Order Fraud’.  Really though the name of the scam is not important. I didn’t recognize the name of the sender, nor had I done anything in recent memory to warrant $975.00.  Say it with me. IF SOMETHING SEEMS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE, IT USUALLY IS.

Tomorrow I will return all to the nearest post office. Then I will do whatever else is necessary to get as far away from this scam as possible. Please don’t take the money order to your bank. While it looks legit it is fake as a $2 bill. Not even sure how the scammers make money off this one. If you have been personally impacted by this one, I really would like to know how it works.

Scam Alert! Elderly Scammed Out of Some $2.6 Billion A Year

Scams vs Elderly = BIG BUSINESS 

Apparently scamming elderly folks is big business. So big in fact, according to a Bankrate.com article, many in their golden years are being swindled out of some $2.6 billion per year. With this in mind, adult children should keep as close an eye out on aging parents as possible. Knowing health and mental acuity diminishes with age scammers may have your parents in their sight. It could be just a matter of time before they pounce. When and if they do, it could wreak financial havoc on the entire family.

Scammers and shysters come after the elderly from all directions. Stay alert without appearing to snoop. Keep the line of communication open in hope you will be kept in the loop if something is going on. Remind the elderly person(s) to not believe everything in print or that smooth talker over the phone. If something sounds too good to be true it usually is.

Scams aimed at the elderly abound. Here are just a few noted in the Bankrate.com article: The grandparents scheme, The discount prescription scam, The credit card company fraud call, The ‘Help for Haiti’ hustle, and The fake lottery/sweepstakes scam. Knowledge is power. Please share with the elderly loved one(s) in your life.

An abbreviated cautionary tale of the fake lottery/sweepstakes scam

According to written accounts no one quite knows how the elderly couple landed on the ‘super sucker list’ or how they ended up being ‘reloaded’ again and again. No matter how it started by the time the pair’s children became suspicious their elderly parents were knee-deep in the scam’s quagmire and sinking ever deeper.

His voice could melt butter. A guy Miriam and Charles Parker knew only as Howard. Over the phone he dazzled Miriam with terms such as ‘dear’ and ‘sweetheart’ and promised the couple riches from a sweepstakes they had supposedly won. There were just those pesky taxes that needed to be taken care of. So December 08, 2004, Miriam Parker, an 80-year-old mother and grandmother wired a MoneyGram to Montreal Quebec. By May 2005 the Parkers’ once hefty savings was depleted.

Between ’04 and ‘08 Mrs. Parker was a scammer’s dream. A ‘money mule’ at one point receiving and repackaging $60,000 in cash in just over a week. An unwitting, albeit desperate, participant in the victimization of elderly folks like her as the money flowed straight to the coffer of scammers in Montreal. Apparently Miriam got a commission but never the riches she’d been promised.

On April 2007 in Montreal, ‘Howard Clark’, real name, Clayton Atkinson, scheming of the elderly came to a screeching halt. A federal grand jury in Raleigh, North Carolina, handed up a 35-count indictment against Atkinson and two co-defendants. The three were charged with one count each of conspiracy and interstate transportation of stolen property, seven counts of wire fraud and 26 counts of mail fraud.

Unfortunately, Charles passed away before the trail. The couple wasn’t the only victims. In her victim impact statement, their daughter, Donna Parker, ran down the list: The adult children had to pay off their parents’ credit card debt; cash in insurance policies; liquidate stocks, and even take out a mortgage.

Even worse than the financial loss was taking her parents to court, and the resentment it had caused. “To this day,” she said, still referring to her father in the present tense, “they are convinced that their family deprived them of their right to prizes and lottery winnings.” Additionally, she feared her mother would be victimized again.

“The sad thing is, I know my family is not unique,” she said. “Scammers who prey on the elderly are a blight on society.”

In this dog eat dog world, the elderly are an endangered species. Please do your part to protect them. Pass along this info and any other as gentle reminder to stay ever alert, on guard, against predators out to part them from their hard earned money.

Please Feed the Trolls Part II

I’m a troll and I’m starved for attention. Feed me.

Serena Wins Her Fifth Wimbledon Title

Damn I love trolls! On the Internet reading about Serena Williams’ fantastic win at Wimbledon and watching the match on ABC. All I can say is Serena is definitely our American champion tennis player and we should all be proud. At 30 she’s still got it and not even the trolls can take that away.

Out on Huffington Post a troll called ‘Baldisbeautiful’ obviously has a personal vendetta against Serena. Any article about her and the ugliness crawls out of its hole to spew venomous rhetoric about this undeniably great female tennis player. In response to a comment about Serena’s health, said troll opined, “Boo, hoo! Oh, please, the women has access to the best doctors in the world with all of her money. I barely feel bad for her, or her money hungry family.” The avatar is a picture of a baldheaded dude. This troll seems obsessed with Serena, Venus, perhaps even the entire Williams family. In the meantime Serena is running down balls like someone half her age.

Trolls Just Keep On Trolling 

Elsewhere… Trolls are oh so indignant, raging about Serena being on ‘roids’ and saying how she ‘lookalikeaman’ and all else, attempting to get a rise. My ears are ringing. They are banging the keyboard like clanging pots and drooling all over themselves for attention. But…but…Serena threatened to shove a ball down a judge throat one troll sought to remind. Oh God that was so yesterday. Unless you are a robot who hasn’t shown anger or said something we didn’t mean? New Jersey Governor Christie revered by some for his famous temper just went off on a so-called heckler. Last I checked Serena isn’t a governor or a member of congress.

Just For Kicks Trolls Versus An American Champion

Never mind the trolls. Serena just hit the ground after so fabulously winning the match. She lost the second but came roaring back. Once off the ground she graciously shakes her opponent’s hand. The woman is so excited she’s having a hard time navigating the stands getting to her family. Climbing over a thingy she hugs first her daddy and pretty much everyone within arms-length. Serena, indeed the entire family, is so deliriously happy you would think it was her first win not her fifth Wimbledon title.

The loser, Agnieszka Radwanska, exudes graciousness. Listening to her and now Serena just brings tears to my eyes. No matter where they are from these are women we should all be proud of. The crowd at Wimbledon certainly seems to be embracing Serena to no end. Not that looks matter all that much but Serena looks to be in tip top shape. Now on to doubles, Venus and Serena. What’s next? The Olympics? Basketball’s my game but watching the Williams sisters play tennis is poetry in motion. They aren’t just champions. They are America’s champions.

The trolls of course beg to differ. Let’s hear it for the trolls. You never fail to disappoint with the insults. Your words were read loud and clear. No matter how ridiculous you entertain me. If not I wouldn’t have taken time to write ‘Please Feed the Trolls Part II’. Will there be a ‘Please Feed the Trolls Part III’? All I can say is stay tuned, lol.