Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Winter Of Our Lives

With the falling of the leaves, the masks of green are stripped off the hillsides, revealing the diversity and uniqueness of each ridge and valley, rock and stream, old shed or oil well hitherto unseen. It is in the winter when the hills bare their innermost selves that we get to know them. Then in spring, when the masks return, we look at the hills as old friends few others understand.

So it is with people. Most of the time we wear our masks. But during the difficult times, during the winters of our lives, we shed our facades and reveal all the intricacies of the unique beings we are. It is in these moments that friendships are formed, and we experience one another, as few others ever will.

- Source Unknown

Sunday, 28 March 2010

At The Funeral

An old man had died. A wonderful funeral was in progress and the country preacher talked at length of the good traits of the deceased. The preacher went on about “what an honest man" he was, and “what a loving husband and kind father" he was. 

Finally, the widow leaned over and whispered to one of her children, “Go up there and take a look in the coffin. See if that’s your Dad in there.”

Friday, 26 March 2010

That Cuppa’s Good For You

Coffee has had its good press and its bad. So has tea, though to a lesser degree.

Should you drink it? How much is too much? Does it do you any good other than give you a perk in the morning and a boost as you work? Is it good for your health?

The news keeps changing, but java fans and teal tipplers will be glad to hear this: A new study has shown that consuming coffee and tea - even decaffeinated versions - could help lower the risk of Type 2 diabetes.

The study, which appears in the Archives Of Internal Medicine, is a meta-analysis of 457,922 people in 18 studies published between 1966 and last year that looked at the link between drinking coffee and diabetes risk.

After analysis, the study authors concluded that every extra cup of coffee consumed in one day was correlated with a 7 per cent decrease in the risk of diabetes.

Those who drank three to four cups of coffee or tea a day were associated with a 25 per cent reduced diabetes risk compared to those who drank none to two cups day.

Researchers also saw positive results with decaffeinated coffee and tea. People who drank more than three to four cups of the decaf beverage a day had about a one-third lower risk than those who did not drink any.

Meanwhile, those who drank more than three to four cups of tea a day had about a one-fifth lower diabetes risk than non-drinkers.

As the decreased risk was also seen among those who did not consume caffeine, researchers concluded that caffeine could not be the only key ingredient.

Attention shifted to other chemicals found in the beverages. These included magnesium (shown in studies to reduce diabetes risk), lignans (plant-derived chemical compounds that have antioxidant properties) and chlorogenic acids ( plant-derived antioxidants that slow down glucose release after eating).

Researchers speculated that identifying the components of coffee and tea active in reducing Type 2 diabetes risk could pave the way for new therapies to thereat the disease.

- The New York Times 

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Winning While Dining May Be Good For Health

The Claim: A glass of wine with dinner aids digestion.

The Fact: Scientists are still trying to confirm the claim.

Some have found that alcoholic beverages speed the emptying of food from the stomach and stimulate gastric acid, while others maintain there is little effect.

One study in the journal Gut, may explain the discrepancy: it found an effect form fermented drinks (wine, sherry and beer) but not from drinks that were fermented and distilled, like rum, cognac and whiskey.

The scientists concluded that the constituents that stimulate gastric acid output and release of gastrin (a hormone that stimulates secretion of gastric acid) were most probably produce during the fermentation process and removed during distillation.

Other studies help explain why red wine and red meat pair so well. Protein softens the wine’s tannins and red wine also helps counteract potentially harmful substances - oxidised fats called malonaldehydes - released when meat is digested.

The Bottom Line: In more ways than one, a glass of wine may aid digestion.

- The New York Times 

Sunday, 21 March 2010

A Good Comeback Line

This policeman was being cross-examined by a defence attorney during a felony trial. The lawyer was trying to undermine the police officer's credibility...

Q: Officer, did you see my client fleeing the scene?

A: No sir. But I subsequently observed a person matching the description of the offender, running several blocks away.

Q: Officer -- who provided this description?

A: The officer who responded to the scene.

Q: A fellow officer provided the description of this so-called offender. Do you trust your fellow officers?

A: Yes, sir. With my life.

Q: With your life? Let me ask you this then officer. Do you have a room where you change your clothes in preparation for your daily duties?

A: Yes sir, we do!

Q: And do you have a locker in the room?

A: Yes sir, I do.

Q: And do you have a lock on your locker?

A: Yes sir.

Q: Now why is it, officer, if you trust your fellow officers with your life, you find it necessary to lock your locker in a room you share with these same officers?

A: You see, sir -- we share the building with the court complex, and sometimes lawyers have been known to walk through that room.

The courtroom EXPLODED with laughter, and a prompt recess was called. The officer on the stand has been nominated for this year's 'Best Comeback' line.

Saturday, 20 March 2010

Ever Wonder ....

Why the sun lightens our hair, but darkens our skin?

Why don't you ever see the headline 'Psychic Wins Lottery'?

Why is 'abbreviated' such a long word?

Why is it that doctors call what they do 'practice'? 

Why is lemon juice made with artificial flavour, and dishwashing liquid
made with real lemons?

Why is the man who invests all your money called a broker? 

Why is the time of day with the slowest traffic called rush hour? 

Why isn't there mouse-flavoured cat food? 

Why do they sterilize the needle for lethal injections? 

You know that indestructible black box that is used on planes? Why
don't they make the whole plane out of that stuff?! 

Why are they called apartments when they are all stuck together? 

Friday, 19 March 2010

That Vacation High Does Not Last

I am glad to have read this article. On the occasions when I had the chance to go on vacation, some of them were okay, and some were stressful. For those I found ‘ nice and relaxing’, the ‘nice’ feeling was short-lived. 

This led me to think that there must be something wrong with me, for not knowing how to enjoy a vacation. After reading this article, I know that vacations are ..... overrated? And that there is nothing wrong with me. :-) 

You may feel you are in seventh heaven while lazing on a sunny beach or exploring some quaint faraway little town. But will you be able to take home that feel-good factor? Probably not.

A recent study says that happiness from vacations may be short-lived.

Researchers from the Netherlands set out to measure the effect that vacations have on overall happiness and how long it lasts.

They studied happiness levels among 1,530 Dutch adults, 974 of whom took a vacation during the 32-week study period.

The study, published in the journal Applied Research In Quality Of Life recently, showed that the largest boost in happiness comes from the simple act of planning a vacation. In the study, the effect of vacation anticipation boosted happiness for eight weeks.

After the vacation, happiness quickly dropped back to baseline levels for most people.

How much stress or relaxation a traveller experienced on the trip appeared to influence post-vacation happiness. There was no post-trip happiness benefit for travellers who said the vacation was ‘neutral’ or ‘stressful’.

Surprisingly, even travellers who described the trip as ‘relaxing’ showed no additional jump in happiness after the trip. “They were no happier than people who had not been on a holiday,” said lead author Jeroen Nawijn, a tourism research lecturer at Breda University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands.

The only vacationers who experienced an increase in happiness after the trip were those who reported feeling “very relaxed” on their vacation. However, even among those people, the vacation happiness effected lasted for just two weeks after the trip before returning to baseline levels.

Mr Nawijn said: “Vacations do make people happy, but we found people who are anticipating holiday trips show signs of increased happiness. Afterwards, there is hardly an effect.”

One reason vacations do not boost happiness after their trip may have to do with the stress of returning to work. Also, for some travelers, the holiday itself was stressful. 

The study did not find any relationship between the length of a vacation
and overall happiness.

Since most of the happiness boost comes from planning and anticipating a vacation, the study suggested that people may get more out of several small trips a year than form one big vacation.

- The New York Times 

Sunday, 14 March 2010

The Inheritance

Due to inherit a fortune when his sickly, widower father died, Robert decided he needed a woman to enjoy it with. So he went to a singles bar and he searched until he spotted a woman whose beauty took his breath away.

“Right now, I’m just an ordinary man," he said, walking up to her, “but within a month or two, my father will pass and I’ll inherit over twenty million dollars."

The woman went home with Robert, and four days later she became his stepmother.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Did they really say this?

They say children say the damnest things. Well, Some adults do too.

Ever in a moment of thoughtlessness said something you wish you hadn’t? A word once uttered is beyond recall. How true!

Sometimes, we speak without thinking. Sometimes, due to the multiple meanings of words, the meaning of what we want to convey came out all wrong. 

This is a collection of what some people said. Real people, and famous people too! Otherwise I am quite sure these would not made it to print. 

Some are slip of the tongue, some are tongue firmly in cheek, some are instances of speaking without thinking, and some are occasions of foot in mouth syndrome. 

I have left out the names in these quotes because I don’t want to embarrass the people who said them - again.

Here’s the first instalment. Enjoy! - 

Your food stamps will be stopped effective March 1992 because we received notice that you passed away. May God bless you. You may reapply if there is a change in your circumstances. 

Money doesn't make you happy. I now have $50 million but I was just as happy when I had $48 million. 

That low-down scoundrel deserves to be kicked to death by a jackass, and I’m just the one to do it. 

It’s no exaggeration to say that the undecided could go one way or the other. 

It isn’t pollution that’s harming the environment. It’s the impurities in our air and water that are doing it. 

If we don’t succeed, we run the risk of failure. 

If somebody has a bad hart, they can plug this jack in at night as they go to bed and it will monitor their heart throughout the night and the next morning, when they wake up dead, there’ll be a record. 

I don’t feel we did wrong in taking this great country away from them. There were great numbers of people who needed land, and the Indian were selfishly trying to keep it for themselves. 

Half this game is ninety percent mental. 

I’ve never had a major knee surgery on any other part of my body. 

Outside of the killings, Washington has one of the lowest crime rates in the country. 

When I watch TV and see those poor starving kids all over the world, I can’t help but cry. I mean I’d love to be skinny like that but not with all those files and death and stuff. 

Smoking kills. If you’re killed, you’ve lost a very important part of your life… 

We are ready for an unforeseen event that may or may not occur. 

The future will be better tomorrow. 

If we don't succeed, we run the risk of failure. 

A low voter turnout is an indication of fewer people going to the polls. 

I believe we are on an irreversible trend toward more freedom and democracy - but that could change. 

I couldn't help but be impressed by the magnitude of the earthquake. 

I deserve respect for the things I did not do. 

I have made good judgements in the Past. I have made good judgements in the Future.

I understand the importance of bondage between parent and child. 

If you give a person a fish, they'll fish for a day. But if you train a person to fish, they'll fish for a lifetime. 

It shows `us vs. them,' and I'm on the `us' side. 

It's a question of whether we're going to go forward into the future, or past to the back.

It's a very good historical book about history.

One word sums up probably the responsibility of any vice president, and that one word is 'to be prepared'.

Quite frankly, teachers are the only profession that teach our children. 

Sometimes cameras and television are good to people and sometimes they aren't. I don't know if its the way you say it, or how you look. 

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

When Is The Best Time To Eat Fruit?

Now this is interesting. So, who is right? 

These days there are more and more conflicting reports - be it on and about food or science. It has become difficult to tell who is right and what is true. As if live is not complicated enough. 

Should you avoid eating at certain times of the day? You may have asked yourself this question after reading articles exhorting you to eat fruit only on an empty stomach.

The reason given? If you eat fruit on an empty stomach, it will not mix with other foods and cause fermentation and rot.

According to Dr Mark Pochapin, the director of the Monahan Centre for Gastrointestinal Health at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Centre, that is utter rot.

Fruit can be eaten at any time, he said in a question and answer column in The New York Times.

Nothing can rot in the stomach, he said. Rotting, or fermentation means bacterial action on food resulting in its decomposition. Due to the presence of hydrochloric acid, the stomach has very few bacteria. “One of the main purposes of the stomach is to sterilise food by mixing and churning it,” he said.

Before the age of refrigeration and supermarkets, food spoiled easily and stomach acid helped protect the body from food poisoning, he said.

“The place where fruit produces gas is in the colon, not the stomach,” Dr Pochapin said. The colon is loaded with bacteria and acts as the body’s sewage system.

Food takes 6 to 10 hours to reach the colon, which explains why it does not really matter when you eat the fruit, he said.

Fruit contains sugar and vitamins, which are absorbed in the small intestine, and complex fibres, which pass through the gastrointestinal tract without much digestion. When the fibre reaches the colon, the colonic bacteria feed on the fibre and produce gas as a by-product, regardless of when and with what the fibre was digested.

- The New York Times 

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Mental Sums

A guy walks past a mental hospital and hears a voice groaning, “Thirteen, thirteen, thirteen, thirteen…..”

He looks over to the hospital and sees a hole in the wall. So he walks over to the hole and he looks through it, and then he gets poked in the eye!

Now the voice started groaning, “Fourteen, fourteen, fourteen, fourteen……”

Thursday, 4 March 2010

3-D Movies Can Induce Headaches And Sickness

The claim: The epic science-fiction film Avatar has had some unwanted side effects.

Many viewers have complained that Avatar and other 3-D films give them headaches, nausea, blurred vision and other symptoms of visually induced motion sickness.

The problem, studies indicate, is that the films often cause unnatural eye movements.

Normally, when an object approaches a person, the eyes respond in two ways,. They converge, or rotate inward to follow it.

At the same time, as the object approaches, the eyes focus and maintain a clear image of it by changing the shape of the lens, a process called visual accommodation.

However, a 3-D object flying off the screen causes sensory conflict. The eyes rotate inward to follow it, but they must also maintain a fixed focus on the display surface. So they converge without accommodating, an uncoupling of two natural processes that - over the course of a long movie - can be stressful.

Film buffs who have sat through multiple screenings of Avatar say one trick is to avoid looking at unfocused parts of the scenes, which sounds a lot easier than it is.

The bottom line: 3-D movies can cause unnatural eye movements that induce strain and sickness.

- The New York Times