Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Kids Tell Their Dads What They Really Think About Them And It's Magical

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Good News - The Huffington Post

Kids Tell Their Dads What They Really Think About Them And It's Magical

Dads often gush about their kids, but those kids probably aren't bragging about pops on the playground.



To show fathers just how loved they are, Shutterfly's greeting card creator, Treat, asked kids what makes their dads special and compiled their responses in the video shown above. "When I get stuck on my homework he helps me," one kid said.



"He gives me a lot of kisses and huggies," another answered. Yup, that's what dads are for!


This Is The Correct Way To Check In With Your Sheep Bro (VINE)

Remember the good old days when you could just shout from your window to friends playing outside?



Shaun Murphy remembers. He submitted a Vine to remind us all that personal connections outside of texting still exist between friends, even when that friend is a sheep.



Murphy, who told Reddit he was at his home in Ireland, shared his brief catch up.







"Baaaa" Murphy says in the Vine.



"Baaaaaa" the sheep replies.



Our analysis of the baas has revealed that Murphy was asking the sheep about the weather today.



"Meh, it's ok," we're pretty sure the sheep replied. "A bit cloudy, a bit drizzly, but I got plenty of grass to eat and my best friend -- that's you, Shaun -- to keep me company."



Friendship is so beautiful, you guys.



CORRECTION: A previous version of this story suggested the sheep was a goat. This was wrong. It's not our fault, ok? All we ever do is cover goats. This is literally the first cool sheep we've ever seen. Please forgive us.



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How to Outsmart Your Genes and Live a Better Life

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Health News Headlines - Yahoo News

How to Outsmart Your Genes and Live a Better Life

How to Outsmart Your Genes and Live a Better LifeContrary to popular belief, our DNA is not our destiny, in fact, 80 percent of how we age is determined by how we behave. We do not inherit bad genes or bad luck, just bad habits! Should I eat those chips or should I reach for a nutrient dense apple? We all know that choices matter, but how much... really?





Health & Science: Science News, Health News, Scientific Developments, Healthcare & Nutrition - The Washington Post

Petco to stop selling dog and cat treats made in China

Petco said Tuesday that it will stop selling dog and cat treats made in China by the end of this year because of fears that the imported treats are making pets sick. The pet food retailer said shoppers have asked it to stop selling treats from China, and it will switch to items made in the United States, New Zealand, Australia and South America, according to the Associated Press.

Read full article >>










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Criminal charges filed in food safety case against Iowa egg farm

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Health News Headlines - Yahoo News

Criminal charges filed in food safety case against Iowa egg farm

An Iowa-based egg producer and two of its executives are facing federal criminal charges in connection with a 2010 salmonella outbreak that led to the recall of more than a half-billion eggs in the United States, according to federal court documents filed Wednesday. Austin "Jack" DeCoster - once one of the nation's largest producers of shelled chicken eggs - and his son Peter DeCoster were accused of introducing adulterated food into interstate commerce, according to the court documents. The men, along with their company, Quality Egg LLC, allegedly sold eggs contaminated with the strain of Salmonella Enteriditis that sickened hundreds of people in the United States. Quality Egg also was charged with at least twice paying bribes to a U.S. Department of Agriculture inspector at its egg plant to get the inspector to allow loads of eggs that failed to meet federal standards to be shipped out for sale, according to the document filed in the federal court in the Northern District of Iowa.



Weird News - The Huffington Post

This Is The Correct Way To Check In With Your Sheep Bro (VINE)

Remember the good old days when you could just shout from your window to friends playing outside?



Shaun Murphy remembers. He submitted a Vine to remind us all that personal connections outside of texting still exist between friends, even when that friend is a sheep.



Murphy, who told Reddit he was at his home in Ireland, shared his brief catch up.







"Baaaa" Murphy says in the Vine.



"Baaaaaa" the sheep replies.



Our analysis of the baas has revealed that Murphy was asking the sheep about the weather today.



"Meh, it's ok," we're pretty sure the sheep replied. "A bit cloudy, a bit drizzly, but I got plenty of grass to eat and my best friend -- that's you, Shaun -- to keep me company."



Friendship is so beautiful, you guys.



CORRECTION: A previous version of this story suggested the sheep was a goat. This was wrong. It's not our fault, ok? All we ever do is cover goats. This is literally the first cool sheep we've ever seen. Please forgive us.



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GPS for the Soul - The Huffington Post

Your Life After Loss Is Nobody's Business But Yours

2014-05-20-BreathingSpace.jpg



Scrutiny is not something we expect after loss.



All of a sudden people think they have a say about the way you should live your life.



They have some kind of ownership.



And if you are not careful, all of a sudden your life becomes theirs.



You feel like you have to ask for permission every time you go out on a date.



You regress to the teenage years, when your parents had to tell you what time you have to be home.



You don't only have to deal with your own fears and guilt but with your family's needs about the direction your life should take.



When should you date again?



Are you selling your house?



How should you dress now?



Go on vacation?



Change jobs?



And the list goes on.



What is going on here?



Did grief take our independence away?



I have received so many emails from people who tell me that their kids do not approve of the new partner in their life.



And that they feel betrayed in some way that they might be getting married again.



The one thing that has startled me the most is that I see fear in those emails.



Trembling and paralyzing fear.



Fear of disappointing everyone.



And in the end, it is their life they don't get to live because of that fear.



So we lock the doors to anyone new.



We lock our hearts so our kids don't get mad at us.



And when we dare to do what our heart tells us to do, we get punished with the silent treatment, with disapproving looks. With anger.



Your heart is confused since love is showing up in such a negative way.



The people who love you are now hurting you.



Why is loss so very complicated?



This article is going to raise your bar of life after loss and help you remove the guilt of living fully again.



Here it goes:



1. If someone makes you laugh. You spend time with them.



2. If someone makes your heart beat a little faster, you let them.



3. If you want to sell your house because it is really hard to live there, then you sell it.



4. If you want to go on vacation and spoil yourself, do that.



5. If you want to change careers because you are no longer that person, change your career.



6. You do what makes you happy every time. Haven't you been punished enough? Why punish yourself more?



7. Your life after loss is nobody else's business.



8. When you have a second chance in life you grab it and run with it.



9. Grief does not have a real timeline.



10. When people tell you to wait for the right time to date. Don't listen.



Grief is an inhuman experience taking place in a human body, it lives outside of time and space. It does not have a clock. And there will never be a wrong time for life to come back.

It is always the right time.





And for those who have kids with opinions about you dating again.



Your kids absolutely have no say in who you kiss, who you sleep with and who you talk to. I understand this is harsh.



I get it.



But they could never possibly walk in your shoes.



Don't let them borrow them.



Your shoes do not fit them and they cannot walk on them.



Sit them down and tell that you will always love them, but this part of your life is for you to take care of. It is truly none of their business.



Don't over discuss this.



Hold them. Love them. But don't ask their permission to love again.



One day, when they get to be your age and have the same shoes you have on, they will get you. And more than that respect your courage.



Now go and do what makes you happy.



Remember... the time is always right for life to come in.



And anyone who is trying to stop your life coming back should not be in it.




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Every Cell In Your Body Is Infused With The Collapse Of A Star (VIDEO)

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GPS for the Soul - The Huffington Post

Every Cell In Your Body Is Infused With The Collapse Of A Star (VIDEO)

Living shoulder-to-shoulder on a small blue planet zooming through an ever-expanding universe, it's easy to feel very, very small. But what we are is actually pretty incredible.



"We are dead stars looking back up at the sky," Dr. Michelle Thaller, astronomer and science communicator at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, says in a recent video (above) posted by The Atlantic.



Every single cell in our bodies contains elements created in the burning center of a collapsing star -- from the iron in our blood to every bit of calcium in our bones and keratin in our hair. That's because in the very early days of the universe that followed the Big Bang, only the simplest elements existed, like hydrogen.



"The only thing in the universe that can make a bigger atom is a star," Thaller says. "The entire periodic table, every element you've ever heard of, was processed inside the body of a star. And that star then unraveled or exploded, and here we are." Watch the video above to learn more.



It's like what celebrated astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson has said, echoing Carl Sagan: if you feel insignificant given the immensity of the cosmos, you're not looking at it in the right way. "We are not just figuratively but literally made of stardust."



And that is no small thing.


Turning 40: A Mindful Shift in Perspective

There is a point in some women's lives when the mentality changes from wishing we were older, to chasing the fountain of youth. Then a "milestone birthday" like turning 40 arrives and creates an emotional roller coaster. I am sure I am not alone in admitting that I spent more time than necessary in a state of fear, remorse and wondering about which anti-aging beauty products really work.



I am also acutely aware that these feelings were "off message" for a physician and speaker who promotes mindful living. I was having a less-than-mindful moment by allowing my thoughts to be stuck in the past.



Age is a state of mind. If we are always chasing youth, we are stuck in the past. Being stuck in the past only fuels the negative thought patterns that can lead to feelings of hopelessness grief or depression. To be mindful is to be fully in the present moment without attachment.



How can those of us feeling angst about aging shift our perspectives? After self-reflection and extra time on the yoga mat, I realized the way off the roller coaster was not going to be found by hoping for external circumstances to change. The answer was in grounding myself in gratitude. By being present in the current moment, it is easier to be grateful for the blessings that surround us.



Gratitude enhances experience in the present moment in two ways: by increasing the frequency of pleasant experiences and by enhancing the enjoyment of life's positive events. Gratitude increases positive moods because grateful people are more likely to have an appreciation of simple pleasures. Gratitude will also focus one on the benefits they possess and away from the goods or experiences they lack.



I understand now that leading a mindful life isn't about anti-aging measures. I shifted to a healthier state of mind and now give gratitude for knowing how to age well. What is aging well? It is not hiding the wrinkles on our face or in our lives, but rather, it is by focusing on aging with health, vitality and grace.



In the 40 days leading up to my 40th birthday, my gratitude practice helped me to reflect on the mindful living lessons I have learned. I will share the 40 mindful moments that shifted me to back to joy and gratitude for being able to live my life's mission.







Romila "Dr. Romie" Mushtaq, MD is a traditionally trained neurologist with expertise in the field of mind-body medicine -- a branch of medicine that promotes the science behind mindfulness based techniques. Dr. Romie helps clients connect to inner peace despite life's external chaos as a physician, professional speaker and certified life coach with her Mindful Living Program.



Dr. Romie writes at www.brainbodybeauty.com, where you can sign up to join her mindful living community and learn how to conquer stress and boost brainpower. You can follow Dr. Romie on Twitter, Facebook and connect with her on LinkedIn. Her guided meditation CD, "Connect To Joy: Guided Meditation to Quiet the Mind" is now available on iTunes.



Health News Headlines - Yahoo News

California approves expansion of toxic waste site

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — Residents of a small California farming community who have worried for years about the health effects of a hazardous waste landfill learned Wednesday that the state has cleared the way for it to expand.




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You Can Chew It. You Can Swallow It. But Is It Food?

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Health and Fitness - The Huffington Post

You Can Chew It. You Can Swallow It. But Is It Food?

There is, of course, stuff we can chew and swallow that isn't food. Playdough comes to mind. As does Silly Putty.

My thoughts turned to those substances, among others, when my friends at Time magazine asked me earlier today to opine on the suggestion that "junk" foods should carry warning labels. My first inclination was: No, that's too much. But then it dawned on me: Is anything that is a legitimate candidate for a warning label a "food" in the first place?





I looked up the definition of food, and the first one I found was: "any nutritious substance that people or animals eat or drink, or that plants absorb, in order to maintain life and growth." That in turn implies that non-nutritious substances that, say, gum up our coronary arteries, pad our adipocytes, or rot our teeth might not qualify.





So, in some ways, a warning label on a food would be like a warning label on a computer that says: "Not To Be Used For Computing." So how can it be a computer? Or a label on a car indicating it is "Not Suitable For Transportation." Well, then -- is it a car? You see where I'm going.





The suggestion about warning labels came at the World Health Organization's 67 World Health Assembly, now ongoing in Geneva. The case was made that junk food is even more damaging to public health today than tobacco, and that warning labels should be posted accordingly on the implicated foods.





The argument that junk food (whatever, exactly, that is) does more damage globally than tobacco is far more defensible than it may at first seem. As far back as 1993, we knew that the combination of eating badly and lack of physical activity was just behind tobacco on the list of leading causes of premature death (and chronic disease) in the United States. When the analysis that produced that original list was repeated a decade later, that gap had narrowed -- due both to less smoking, and ongoing neglect of both feet and forks, with worsening epidemics of obesity and diabetes to show for it.





Related studies have been published with regularity ever since, showing again and again and again, in populations around the globe -- that eating badly and inactivity are exacting an enormous toll. Both have now been implicated among the leading causes of premature death and chronic disease worldwide. So that case can be closed.





What, then, of warning labels?





Well, the libertarians among us, and that portion of libertarian in all of us, are likely inclined to balk. In fact, the balking began before ever the talking on the subject had concluded. The basic gist here is: don't tell me what to eat! And, of course, resistance to intrusions by Big Brother inevitably invite slippery-slope paranoia: If the government can tell me what food I shouldn't really eat, what's to stop them from telling me what food I must eat? The next thing you know, breakfast is prescribed by the Feds and administered by military police.





I understand the objections. But I don't think they hold up. And in fact, I want to make the case that a skull and crossbones on a package of "toaster pastries" or multicolored marshmallows masquerading as part of a complete breakfast (what part, I've always wondered?); or a day's supply of sugar dissolved in caramel-colored liquid; or something that once resembled animal flesh that has now been processed into a concoction of meat, sugar, salt and carcinogens -- does not go nearly far enough.





After all, we are talking about food. And food should be... well, food.





Tobacco is tobacco -- there is no way around that. None of us has to smoke, and those of us who do are exposed to the intrinsic harms of tobacco. We deserve to know what those are, and how significant. This is really no different than providing just such information about pharmaceuticals. I doubt even the libertarians object to disclosures about the potential side effects of Big Pharma's offerings. In fact, I suspect the libertarians may feel particularly entitled to just such information.





Tobacco and alcohol are the same. They are drugs, albeit drugs used recreationally. They come with intrinsic dangers, and the consumer has a right to know about them.





One might argue to extend just such thinking to "junk" food, and thus counter the libertarian argument. Indeed, I think that could be done: being told what's what is not being told what do to! We can be told what is in our food without being told what food to put in our mouths.





But as noted, I don't think the "unless you want to die slowly and painfully, don't eat this food!" label goes far enough. Because unlike tobacco or alcohol, or drugs used to treat disease -- food is supposed to be good for us, not bad. It is supposed to be sustenance, not sabotage.





We are, truly, what we eat -- using the nutrient components of food to reconstruct ourselves from our molecules on up every day. Consider, in particular, that food is the one, only, literal construction material for the growing body of a child you love. How we ever got the notion that "junk" food - out of which we are growing our children -- was cute, or innocent, I have no idea.





You can't smoke tobacco and avoid tobacco. You can't drink alcohol and avoid alcohol. But you can eat food and avoid junk. There is, in fact, an impressive range of overall nutritional quality in almost every food category -- so we could abandon junk food altogether, and quickly learn not to miss it.





In my opinion, that's what we should do. Despite thinking at first that warning labels might go too far, I wound up realizing they wouldn't go nearly far enough. Junk should never have been glorified as a food group in the first place. So sure, let's apply some objective method to determine what foods warrant a scarlet "J," but then, let's eradicate them -- because they aren't food. We can sell them for something else -- like spackling, for instance. But food ought to be food, not junk. It's silly to have "don't buy this food" labels on food we keep selling as... food. If it warrants the warning, it really doesn't qualify. There are alternative products that do in every case.





Which might, I suppose, put me at odds with the libertarians. What else is new.





But frankly, even they should object to the false advertising involved in marketing junk as food. Besides, they can still smoke and drink.





A version of this blog first appeared on Time.com.



-fin





Dr. David L. Katz has authored three editions of a nutrition textbook for health care professionals. He is editor-in-chief of the peer-reviewed journal, Childhood Obesity, and President of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine. He was commissioned by Annual Review in Public Health to write the review article, Can We Say What Diet is Best for Health? He is the author of Disease Proof, and most recently, of the epic novel, reVision.





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Working Out Post-Baby, From Jenna Wolfe (VIDEO)

After recently giving birth to a healthy baby girl, Weekend Today Show News Anchor and Personal Trainer Jenna Wolfe had some valuable first-hand wisdom to share with us about getting back in shape after childbirth.



When it comes to how long a woman should wait to work out after giving birth, Jenna feels very strongly that the answer is entirely unique to each woman based on how she feels post-pregnancy.



“What you don’t want to do is go too far too fast,” she warned, adding, “you should 100% get the green light from your doctor before you start working out again.”



Jenna, who started working out three weeks post-delivery, said she waited until her body told her it was okay to push herself again. She started very slowly, walking on the treadmill using light water bottles as weights and eventually moving back into more physical workouts involving squatting and jumping.



Some doctors might advise women to wait at least six weeks before working out post-childbirth, especially if there was a C-section.



“Your body has muscle memory, so once your body is ready to bounce back, you have to slowly re-teach the muscles how to work,” she explained.



In Jenna’s pregnancy, she gained 27 pounds total over the course of nine months, and it took her a little over a month to lose that excess weight. She’s still working on her own personal goals of tightening her stomach again, as well as rebuilding her endurance.



Jenna’s closing advice for new mothers who want to get back in shape: “It took nine months to get your belly that big,” she laughed, “so give yourself at least nine more months to get back in shape. Give your body a break!”



For more of Jenna's exercise tips, view the slideshow below:





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Health News Headlines - Yahoo News

Obama vows fix to veterans' health care troubles

President Barack Obama speaks to reporters in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, May 21, 2014, after he met with Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki and Deputy Chief of Staff Rob Nabors. The president said Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki has put his "heart and soul" into caring for America's veterans. But at the same time, Obama says there will be accountability for any problems. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)WASHINGTON (AP) — With outrage mounting over veterans' health care, President Barack Obama declared Wednesday that allegations of misconduct at VA hospitals will not be tolerated, and he left open the possibility that Secretary Eric Shinseki, a disabled war veteran, could be held to account.




Supreme Court stays Missouri death row inmate's execution

Death row inmate Russell Bucklew is shown in Missouri Department of Corrections photoBy Lawrence Hurley and Brendan O'Brien (Reuters) - The Supreme Court issued a new stay on Wednesday to halt the execution of a Missouri death row inmate because his lawyers say he suffers from a rare health condition that could lead to undue suffering from a lethal injection. Convicted rapist and murderer Russell Bucklew had been scheduled to be put to death early on Wednesday before a series of court decisions delayed the execution. Although the high court on Wednesday lifted an earlier stay that Justice Samuel Alito had granted on Tuesday night, it issued a new one that will remain in effect until Bucklew's new appeal is heard by the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The legal issue at hand is whether lethal injection would constitute cruel and unusual punishment under the 8th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution because of Bucklew's health condition, called cavernous hemangioma Bucklew's lawyers say that malformed blood vessels in his head and neck could rupture under stress, causing the drugs administered during execution to circulate improperly and cause undue suffering.




Burwell gets committee approval for health post

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate Finance Committee voted overwhelmingly Wednesday to approve Sylvia Mathews Burwell's nomination to become the nation's next health secretary and oversee implementation of the new health law.


How to Outsmart Your Genes and Live a Better Life

How to Outsmart Your Genes and Live a Better LifeContrary to popular belief, our DNA is not our destiny, in fact, 80 percent of how we age is determined by how we behave. We do not inherit bad genes or bad luck, just bad habits! Should I eat those chips or should I reach for a nutrient dense apple? We all know that choices matter, but how much... really?





Good News - The Huffington Post

7 Awesome Life Lessons My Son With Down Syndrome Taught Me

Amy and I had three biological sons when we adopted a 1-month-old little boy with Down syndrome and started taking lessons from him. Jack was fragile. He would require open heart surgery by the time he was 6-months-old.



Jack contracted postoperative pneumonia and it was looking like he might become a part of the 15 percent of children at that time, who didn't make it home after surgeries like his. I still remember his older brothers, aged 6 to 2, standing around that enormous hospital bed looking longingly at a tiny sibling with more wires and tubes than they could count going from his body to the intimidating flashing, beeping and humming medical equipment. Any of us would have done anything to make him well, but there was nothing we could do. As I recalled our five months together, I realized that there were no regrets. That was the first lesson Jack taught me. When death causes a separation between me and anyone I love, I want to have that same feeling. I want to have nothing amiss. If anything has been out of order, I want to have repaired it to the best of my ability.



The next time my son took me to school, he wasn't even in school, yet. Jack didn't walk until he was 3. He potty trained when he was 4. My son didn't progress quickly, but he did progress. If I tried to measure him against his siblings and the rate that they learned, there could only be disappointment. But when we celebrated Jack's accomplishments for what they were to him, and measured them against his own challenges, advancement for him was at least as impressive as it was for any of our other children. I had no idea how important this lesson was until we adopted several more children and eventually learned that some of them suffered from attachment disorders. Jack 101 taught me to allow my children with attachment difficulties the time that they needed to progress. That course also gave me the understanding, that for these children, accomplishments which might have seemed slight to others, could be celebrated by my family as the monuments they truly were.



People like Jack add a happiness and spirit to groups that is every bit as important as physical or intellectual superiority.



The third lesson I learned from Jack happened over time. I guess it was apparent early on, but the more time I spent with him, the more I came to understand how little intellectual prowess means when it comes to how much someone can add to a family, or for that matter, to any other group of people. Jack was often among first players picked for teams, and many times, the opposition would counter by choosing someone with similar challenges. There is no doubt that such actions were acts of friendship and compassion, but there is more to it than that. People like Jack add a happiness and spirit to groups that is every bit as important as physical or intellectual superiority.



It's counter intuitive to believe that words like "favorite" and "best" can be used for a plethora of similar things. That's the fourth life lesson Jack taught me, though. About half of the meals my wife fixes are Jack's favorite, as are dozens and dozens of songs. He has many "favorite" football teams and "favorite" movies. In the beginning, I thought Jack's over-use of words like best and favorite were just a lack of language understanding. It turns out it is I who have a comprehension deficit. Jack is simply saying that these things bring him a maximum amount of happiness and joy. Life would be better for all of us if we could find so much fulfilment and satisfaction from so many competing people and things.



Jack has never noticed skin color, clothing condition, cleanliness and hygiene, or physical/mental handicaps as identifiers.



Jack is happy with Jack. Sometimes he gets discouraged about not being able to have a driver's license, or when a sweet girl, an awesome friend, chooses someone else for a boyfriend. But Jack takes it in stride. The fifth life lesson I learned from him was acceptance. One day, when he seemed particularly clear of thought, he asked his mother what was wrong with him. Her explanation of his condition and clarification that nothing was "wrong" was brilliant. Jack's acceptance of a condition he wasn't pleased with, but couldn't change, was life-changing for me. And to watch him move forward, unhindered, to be the best he could be at what he was best at doing, would be an inspiration to anyone.



The sixth life lesson Jack taught me was about unconditional love. My son is quick to forgive. Even the meanest of taunts or bully behavior are forgotten with a simple apology. Such an offender is immediately re-classified as one of his "best" friends. Jack would give you the shirt off his back, or someone else's back, for that matter. (Hey, if you need it, you need it.) Jack has never noticed skin color, clothing condition, cleanliness and hygiene, or physical/mental handicaps as identifiers. He loves people as much as he can love them no matter what they can or can't do for him and no matter what they look like. I have learned by watching Jack that when you love people unconditionally, they love you back.



Recently, I walked into the house and Jack asked me how my day was. When I responded that it was horrible, my son simply shrugged and said: "Oh well. Try again tomorrow, huh, Dad?" That number seven is my favorite life lesson I learned from that son. No matter how bad my day is, I can always try again tomorrow.



Follow John M Simmons on his blog.



Weird News - The Huffington Post

Teacher Says 'Higher Power' Told Him To Attack Kid On Skateboard

An elementary school teacher in Rancho Santa Margarita, California, who was caught on tape attacking skateboarders last June, says his bizarre actions were guided by a higher power.



Last June, Thomas Hammer, 58, was filmed in San Clemente allegedly pushing a skateboarder and dashing off with the boy’s board.



A YouTube video of the incident appears to shows the boy screaming obscenities while Hammer swings the skateboard and tries to throw it over a hedge.



Hammer said the video snippet doesn't tell the whole story, and that he was trying to prevent the boys from what he considered to be serious danger.



“When I stepped in, I felt compelled by a higher power,” Hammer told the Orange County Register. “Honestly, have you ever been grabbed by the Lord in a way you never thought you would or you could? That’s exactly what I’m testifying to, and I’m not speaking in hyperbole. I’m speaking right from the heart.”







Hammer was arrested and charged with felony grand theft and felony assault.



He was also placed on leave from Cielo Vista Elementary, where he taught second grade, until his legal situation was resolved.



Records show he has been employed by the Saddleback Unified School District since 1998.



School principal Beth Ewing told KTLA that school district staff found the video "disturbing." However, when the felony counts were reduced to misdemeanors, Ewing was reinstated to a support role away from interaction with children.



Hammer was back at work on Monday after serving a two-month suspension, but was suspended a second time after parents like Karly Foster complained.



"It's shameful and unacceptable that the district has even gotten to this point, and that he's on our campus in the first place," Foster, a vice president of the school PTA, told KABC-TV. "As parents, we should feel comfortable to send our students to a safe environment."



To protest Hammer's return, 20-25 students didn't come to school on Tuesday. Their parents said they feared he has anger management issue that haven't been addressed.



One parent did suggest giving Hammer a second chance, but the district chose to place him on administrative leave again. Officials weren't specific about the length of the suspension or whether he would be paid, OCWeekly.com reports.



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Sexual Health News Headlines - Yahoo! News

Uganda police detain U.S.-funded health project staffer over gay law

By Elias Biryabarema KAMPALA (Reuters) - A U.S.-funded health project in Uganda has suspended operations after police arrested a staff member on suspicion of promoting homosexuality, highlighting the mounting legal risks confronting the gay community in the east African state. Uganda enacted legislation in February that strengthened punishments for anyone caught having gay sex, imposing jail terms of up to life for "aggravated homosexuality" - including sex with a minor or while HIV-positive. The United States, one of Uganda's major bilateral sources of aid, and other Western donors have halted or re-directed some $118 million in aid since President Yoweri Museveni signed the law, which also criminalised lesbianism for the first time. In a notice on its website on Friday, Makerere University's Walter Reed Project, a collaboration between Uganda's biggest public institute of higher learning and the U.S. Military HIV Research Program, said it would temporarily halt its work until it established the legal basis for the arrest.



GPS for the Soul - The Huffington Post

The Magic of Relationships

2014-05-20-ChagallimageviaWikiPaintings.jpg



Here's what I learned in school: Work hard. Try your best. You'll succeed.



But that equation left out something really important.



Other people.



The simple fact is we need each other to succeed or at least succeed in an easier way -- whether that's taking a geometry class, creating a business or raising a child.



No Need to Sing



I don't mean this in a schmaltzy High School Musical "We're All in This Together," sort of way. I mean, in a real way.



No matter how charismatic Oprah is, she wouldn't be Oprah without a community to inspire. No matter how brilliant Steve Jobs was, he needed a great team to create Apple. And no matter how powerful you are, it's likely that at some point, you'll need an exercise buddy, a reliable babysitter or a good haircutter.



This Isn't Just Common Sense



It's written into your DNA. It's not just your psyche that feels better in relationships, so does your body. That's why, when you share your feelings with a friend, your immune system gets stronger. And it turns out, you don't even need to know the person you're talking with to reap the benefits.



One man said he combats his speaker's nerves by imagining everyone in the audience loves him. Even though he knows it isn't true, he feels it in his heart, and that's enough to give him the confidence he needs. And science confirms he's right. If you nervously step up to the podium to give a speech, and there's one stranger in the audience smiling at you, your blood pressure immediately drops.



Chagall and Me



I think it's even possible to harness the power of relationships when you're all alone. I've felt it myself while doing something super-solo: browsing through an art museum.



I used to think that looking at paintings was a solitary-thing, but I've realized that it's not. The truth is, when I look at a painting, I'm meeting an artist who's showing me his ideas. And because of him, I'm inspired to see the world in a new way.



Your Brain Says Hello



For your survival, your brain is wired to connect: with the people you know, a stranger who smiles at you from the audience or someone who speaks to you through a painting.



As you plan your dreams, whether it's to get healthy, write a book, or chart a new course in your life, ask yourself this question: "How can I include other people -- those I know and those I only know from afar?"



Three Ways to Tap Into the Magic of Relationships



1. Get a book. Read biographies of people you admire and let their stories guide and inspire you.



2. Find your people. Connect with people who want what you want -- happy kids, a new business or fitness -- and support each other.



3. Seek role models. Whether it's someone at the office or a character in a movie, look for people who are doing or being what you want and learn from them how to move forward.



How do you bring the magic of relationships into your life? I'd love to know.



Chagall image via WikiPaintings




#mentalhealth #bipolardisorder #bipolar
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The Guy at the Bar

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Good News - The Huffington Post

The Guy at the Bar

He's sitting there, drinking his beer, passing the time. He isn't really talking to anyone. Mostly just letting his eyes drift from the televisions to the patrons to the bartenders and finally back to his beer. Walk into any bar in the world and you will see this guy. He is no one special. He is simply The Guy At the Bar.



I've been The Guy At the Bar 100s of times in my life before, and I've never thought anything of it. But that all changed about a month ago. My handful of minutes spent waiting for my to-go pizza order forever changed how I will look at The Guy At the Bar. I was sitting there passing the time, letting my eyes drift from the televisions to the patrons to the bartenders, and thinking...



"Not a single one of these people knows that I have to go back to the hospital after this and say goodbye to my first-born son."



It was not a Woe Is Me moment. It was Woe Is We moment. How many times had I been sitting at the bar not realizing the guy next to me was fighting his own battle? Or how about across the bar? Or the bartender? Or the guy making my pizza? It was in that moment that I realized a happy place does not always equate to happy people within it. It's easy to look around at everyone having a great time and think how there isn't a care in the world. But the reality is this. There is always A Guy At the Bar. In nearly every situation in our life, there is A Guy At the Bar.



The Guy that cut you off on the highway after work. He's exhausted from spending the past week sleeping next to wife's hospital bed as she fights her own battle with cancer.



The Guy that just brought you a cheeseburger, when you explicitly said no cheese. He's $100,000 in debt from college, and can't find another job as the bills and stress pile.



The Guy that's giving you phone support for your overcharged cable bill. His wife just left him for someone else, and took their 2 kids with her.



The Guy at the airline counter who just told you they oversold the flight and you don't have a seat. He was just diagnosed with ALS, and is planning how to break the news to his family.



The Guy in the express checkout line who clearly has more than 10 items. He is 30 days sober wondering when his next relapse is going to be, and if it will be the final one.



Every single day of our life is just a collection of moments. Moments where we get to choose the person we're going to be. I can flip the guy on the highway off. I can leave the waiter no tip. I can cuss out the cable rep. I can threaten to get the airline attendant fired. I can roll my eyes at the guy in the front of me in the checkout line.



Or I can realize that I don't know their story. I can realize that I don't know what fight they're fighting. I can realize I haven't walked in their shoes. I can realize that at this very moment in time, there's a chance that they're The Guy At the Bar.


21 Innovative Ways To Open A Beer Bottle That Dosen't Involve A Bottle Opener (VIDEO)

You just bought a choice bottle of beer, but forgot your bottle opener. Do you:



A. Go home and cry a lil' bit, while your favorite unopened beer rests quietly on the pillow beside you?

B. Walk the streets desperately looking for a person with a bottle opener?

C. Suck it up and just buy an opener?

D. Open the sucker with a nice pair of heels, a dollar bill or a laptop like it's no big deal?



If you watched the video above, which shows 21 ingenious ways to pop a top without an opener, then you probably chose D.



Thanks to this video, you will never have to cry over an unopened bottle of beer again. You're welcome.





Weird News - The Huffington Post

North Korea's Biggest City Looks Like A Ghost Town (VIDEO)

To the outside world, glimpses of daily life in North Korea are few and far between.



A Singaporean photographer, however, recently created a video tour of the country's capital. With permission from North Korea’s notoriously secretive government, Aram Pan was allowed to mount a GoPro Hero 3 camera onto a car and roam the city of Pyongyang, filming the sights and sounds.



But he was never allowed to go anywhere by himself.



Pan was assigned a driver, a translator, a government official and a photographer -- all to keep watch over him as he documented his trip. The photographer, he told The Huffington Post, was enlisted to make sure “all representations of their leaders are photographed in full without cropping and in proper focus.”



Pan told HuffPost the clandestine nature of the country drew him to document its urban culture.



“North Korea has always intrigued me,” he said. “We know so little about what’s on the ground and all the images coming out from the state seem to show little of life inside. I wanted to find out for myself and share what I see while I’m there.”



The 22-minute video, released May 19, reveals wide and well-maintained roads that are largely empty of people and cars. As Pan drives along the desolate streets, his camera captures views of the simple, symmetrical buildings we will never see the inside of, bringing a touch of loneliness and isolation to the video tour.



However, Pan noted that based on what he was allowed to see, he was surprised by some aspects of life in the city.



“I wouldn’t say that anything I saw shocked me, but I did find it surprising that the city looks much more normal than I expected," he told HuffPost. "The common folk are also exceedingly friendlier than I imagined.”



Pan also caught a rare look at a bustling Pyongyang marketplace, though it's not shown in his film.



“While I was there, I asked to see shops in the hope of understanding what the North Korean concept of shopping was,” he said. “At first I was only shown a few small shops selling a mix of random goods with no customers. Then I told them I really want to see North Koreans actually shopping and just not shops. What came after that blew me away. We went to some trade fair and the place was flooded with North Koreans from every walk of life. Everything was up for sale: computers, fashion, home appliances, food, beauty products and even automobiles. I would see locals just buy a washing machine and carry it off just like that. All the goods were coming in from China and sales were brisk.”



Pan isn’t the first outsider to document North Korea's capital city. In 2008, VICE produced a documentary called "The VICE Guide to North Korea," shedding light on Pyongyang's cultural customs, landmarks and the extremes it goes to to keep up appearances. In 2009, National Geographic correspondent Lisa Ling journeyed to the country and captured a shocking portrait of the physical and emotional tolls the country's rigid, militaristic government has taken on its people.



Pan plans to document more of North Korea in the fall of 2014, as part of his DPRK 360 project. Visit his website (here) to see more of the videos, photos and interactive panorama displays he's already compiled from his time inside the Hermit Kingdom.



Health News Headlines - Yahoo News

Elderly may have trouble accessing online health records

By Andrew M. Seaman NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Electronic medical records will let patients access their health information over the Internet, but a new study suggests some of the most vulnerable older Americans may be left behind. Functional impairments, including physical disabilities such as the loss of a sense or the ability to walk, make it difficult for people to live in their community, take care of personal finances and coordinate transportation. “If you look at the subgroup of people functionally impaired, there was also a doubling (of Internet use) there but it was still remarkably low,” said the study's lead author, Dr. S. Ryan Greysen, from the University of California, San Francisco. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), which oversees those two U.S. government-run health insurance programs, wants doctors to go digital.



Health and Fitness - The Huffington Post

Will Trade Data for Food

Milton Friedman, the famed University of Chicago economist, wrote, "There is no such thing as a free lunch." But in a Weight Watchers cafe in London, England, diners are promised "free" meals in exchange for their posting about the experience in social media.



So is Friedman turning in his grave? Not necessarily.



The meal isn't free as people are exercising free will in trading off their personal information for the food. Those diners who participate in this exchange are bartering, openly, their personal data for something they value -- in this case, food. So Friedman, market-based economist, might really like this concept.



Would that similar use of peoples' data shared online be given the same transparent, value-exchange treatment.



As we self-track with digital health devices, check in via FourSquare in the bar where we're meeting up with friends, enjoy benefits from retailers' loyalty cards, and fill prescriptions at the pharmacy, our individual "small data" are getting mashed up with others' daily data exhaust in a world of Big Data.



We might be very happy to trade data for food in a transparent market where we give something and get something back that we want. But in the more opaque Big Data world, trading data for something of value isn't very clear, and more often than not, we're not offered anything in exchange for an asset people don't yet fully recognize as a personal asset: Our data that we create every day if we use a credit card, an online social network, or a digital device with an app.



Most people in the U.S. are familiar with the FICO Score: When we apply for a home mortgage or for a car loan, the FICO score is what the lender uses to assess our credit-worthiness. That score is an index made up of many of our personal numbers, such as the number of credit cards we hold in our name, the amount and frequency of credit card transactions, our timeliness in paying bills, and outstanding loans, among other personal financial characteristics.



Increasingly, those numbers are being mashed up with newer kinds of data: social network information that we leave on Facebook, the 140 characters we type into Twitter, and retail purchase data that third party data brokers collect on us in loyalty programs at grocers and department stores (think: Target). Our phones' geo-location trackers follow us around, 24x7, and know more about whether we're depressed and anti-social (when the phone is home with us for days in a row) than our doctors or family might realize.



Trading data for food is a fair deal for people making a conscious decision to write about Weight Watchers' pop-up store experience -- the cuisine, the camaraderie, the social support for choosing healthy food, the great service. Trading data in the dark for third parties' profit -- without cutting us into the value created in the Big Data mash-up. That's a very expensive lunch indeed.


Exercises For Toning Upper Arm Flab, From Jenna Wolfe (VIDEO)

For so many women who struggle with upper arm fat, finding the right equipment at the gym to target that area can be a daunting task. Thankfully, Weekend Today Show News Anchor and Personal Trainer Jenna Wolfe gave us a few easy, simple tricks to working on that stubborn upper arm flab – no gym equipment needed!



Jenna suggests you hold two small water bottles, one in each hand, and extend your arms out wide. Rotate your arms in small circles, 50 forwards then 50 backwards, keeping your arms straight. After the circles, bring your arms into a “V” shape in front of your body and do 50 more repetitions with the water bottles in each hand, lifting your arms just slightly upwards.



“There’s really no need for heavy weights,” Jenna said. “Work through these exercises, and you’ll start to feel a difference in your arms.”



For more of Jenna's exercise tips, view the slideshow below:





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GPS for the Soul - The Huffington Post

For a Friend Who, Like Me, Has Thought About Suicide

I think about suicide a lot. If you do too, I want to run an idea by you. See what you think.



I don't have to tell you that a lot has been written and said about suicide. A search for "suicide" on Google Scholar yields 1.7 million hits. The It Gets Better Project has become a worldwide phenomenon in just three years. People are trying to understand and encourage us.



Of course, you've heard the other messages too. Some of them are downright dangerous. Even well-meaning people with good hearts repeat them sometimes:



"Suicide is the unforgivable sin."



"Suicide is the most selfish thing you can do."



"Think of the people you'll hurt."



As if we don't hurt enough.



So let me start with a story. Years ago, a loved one suddenly fell prey to a life-threatening illness. I was primarily responsible for her care: treating her with kid gloves, running her to the ER, finding some fresh new twist in her condition that made the floor drop out from under me again. I spent my days numb, robotic, barely able to finish the smallest tasks. I didn't think of suicide then; I didn't have the energy.



A few months into this mess her doctor, during one of our frequent phone calls to discuss what she could about the case, asked how I was doing, and I told her.



"Listen," she said, "I want you to get some help. I want you to take care of yourself. She needs you right now."



She needs you right now. Yes, it sounds a little like "Think of the people you'll hurt," or even like that dubious encouragement to "stay busy and get your mind off yourself." But for some reason it didn't hit me that way. Suddenly I had a task. A charge. I had to keep myself alive so I could help keep her alive.



So I got some help (the traditional kinds). I found an emotional floor. Eventually she pulled through the crisis. But those five words from her doctor struck a chord.



I think it's a chord for all of us. They need you right now.



I made this connection in my head while writing my book, and it's so simple it almost sounds stupid. Each of us is one person among billions. Each of us has one person's unique gifts, abilities, limitations, brokenness. Each of us has a contribution we can make -- to the planet, for the good of humanity, for God, whatever. Sometimes that contribution even comes out of the brokenness: My hypersensitivity makes me both anxious and empathic. Because I am unique, so is my contribution. No one else can make it.



So I have to make it. As outlandish as it sounds, the world needs me right now.



More to the point, it needs you.



This, for me, has served as a powerful check against ending my own life. Maybe it'll work for you too.



Oh, and that contribution doesn't have to be world-changing. It probably won't be. (Remember that each of us is one person among billions.) But if you can think of a friend you've made laugh, a generous thing you've done, a piece of litter you've picked up, there you go.



Sometimes you don't even know what you contribute, like the total stranger in our local pet store. My daughter and I went there to buy a cat. She had already chosen one on a previous trip to the store, but this was my first visit, and I became drawn to another. That's when this stranger walked up and, without another word, said, "Get 'em both." So we did. If he hadn't been there, we would have missed out on the love those cats have brought us, each in its own way, for 14 years. A small thing? Sure. But a big ripple effect.



We all make those ripples.



So that's a start. Keep thinking about this, and you can (maybe with help) discover the gifts you have to make the contribution only you can make. You might even come to cherish those gifts. It's hard to destroy something you cherish.



Eventually you might join your one person's contribution to those of others. The difference you can make starts to grow. Granted, if you're like me, dealing with others is the last thing you want to do. But maybe it might happen someday.



Is this foolproof? Of course not -- no more than SSRIs or talk therapy or ECT or meditation or anything else. As I often say about mental illness, some days you win, and some days it wins. If it wins on a particularly dark day, you're still in trouble.



But maybe keep this in your back pocket. We need you. And if you can make this idea better, please, leave a comment below. That's another contribution you can make.



Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.


18 Things You Miss By Constantly Staring At Your Smartphone

If any doubt remains in your mind that we are, in fact, a society addicted our smartphones, stop what you’re doing and simply take a look around. There's a pretty good chance that the majority of the people around you staring down at their palms, scrolling Twitter feeds or engrossed in texting conversations -- headphones optional. And when you think of the last time you were in the same position, it may be just a few seconds ago.



From strolling down city streets to catching up with friends over the dinner table, we miss out on some of life’s simple joys when our gaze (and our attention) is perpetually turned south to the glowing screen in our hands. We pretend to be still paying attention, still engaging in the conversation, still staying in touch with our surroundings -- but the truth is we don’t multitask the way we think we do. Rather, we just switch our attention from one thing to another very quickly. This constant starting and stopping can actually decrease our productivity by up to 40 percent and increase our stress levels.



What would happen if one day, instead of succumbing to this sensory overload by default, we chose to unplug for several brief moments during the day? If we cut the cord tethering our hands to our smartphones and looked up, what would we see?



Here are 18 things you miss by constantly starting down at your smartphone.



What silence sounds like.



peace and quiet



Relish in the lack of notifications at your fingertips by stopping and listening to the sounds of your natural environment. The only chirping and buzzing you'll hear will come from the birds, the bees and the sounds of the city -- and it could be pretty blissful.



Just how good that morning coffee really tastes.



best coffee



You might be surprised how much more your taste buds react to that first sip of Joe as you head off to the office when you're fully focused on the taste rather than checking your emails simultaneously. A deep inhale of the aroma alone could be enough to help you really wake up and smell the coffee.



The smile of the happiest dog out for a walk.







Who would want to miss a face like that?



Your own thoughts, right now, in the present moment.



woman success



When you stop answering emails, texting your best friend and seeing how many likes your latest status received on Facebook, you'll find yourself alone with your own thoughts. Take this time to let your thoughts wander and pay attention to the activity of your own mind, without judging or controlling. Practicing a little mindfulness (phone-free!) each day can help keep you calm, centered and connected to yourself and others.



The “don’t walk” pedestrian sign.



walking and texting



Walking while texting could have consequences far more severe than tripping on the sidewalk. A recent Ohio State University study revealed that pedestrian cell phone-related injuries have more than doubled since 2005. And it comes as no surprise that adults under 30 are at the highest risk of walking into traffic due to the ever-present distraction. Accidents caused by texting and walking now outnumber those from texting and driving.



A glance and smile from a cute stranger.







From the supermarket produce aisle to the line at the café, there are countless opportunities to meet new people -- but we have to be looking up in order to notice and take advantage of them.



The joy of a nice meal.



fancy restaurant



Instead of consuming your food through an Instagram filter, keep your smartphone away from the table. Without that distraction, you'll be able to appreciate the venue's aesthetic, your meal's mouthwatering aroma, and how your food actually tastes. Savoring the moment will likely prove a whole lot more satisfying than reliving the experience through social media.



The hopelessly-in-love couple in the park.



love in park



Whether you find it adorable or mildly nauseating, people-watching is far more entertaining than staring at your news feed before new updates roll in. Spend your lunch break sitting on a park bench, and observe life unfolding in real time.



The punch line of a hilarious joke.







It's never as funny the second time around, and no one wants to repeat it for you.



The ever-changing beauty of the seasons.



springtime



If there was ever a time to appreciate Mother Nature, it's when the chill of Winter is fading into the beautiful blooms and glowing greenery of Spring. Stop and smell the roses.



The company of loved ones.



happy family



Whether you're on vacation, spending a sunny Saturday afternoon outside or simply watching television at home together, leave your phone out of the mix. Even if you're not engaged in a deep conversation, signaling that you're available and approachable is likely to inspire more memorable moments than when you're zoning out with a game of Candy Crush.



An unexpectedly talented street performer.







The next time you hear music blasting in the train terminal, on the beach boardwalk or beneath the park bridge, look to see where it’s coming from and enjoy the spontaneity of the show -- and maybe even have a good laugh!



The pure joy of small children.



childcare



Take a pause to watch children playing, listen to their laughter and appreciate how their creative, uninhibited minds work. Who knows, maybe you'll be tempted to make time for a little more play in your own life.



The latest installation of graffiti art on your block.



graffiti



Street art can be a rich source of everyday inspiration, so make sure you take the time to stop and appreciate it. It could inspire a creative idea, spark an emotional reaction or simply make your walk that much more interesting. Plus, the daily transformations will never cease to amaze you.



The closed door in front of you.







Enough said.



Someone telling you that they care.



distracted lovers



It's likely that you've been caught staring at your phone while someone is speaking to you at some point or another. Guilty as charged. But next time, consider the importance of what they might be telling you, how much you actually want to hear it, and how badly they want to be heard. That unread text message can wait.



The story your child has been dying to share with you all day long.



on phone ignoring child



Be just as diligent about scheduling in downtime as you are with prioritizing work time. It may be challenging to unplug, even if just for a few hours at the end of the day, but your loved ones (especially your kids) will appreciate your undivided attention when they're telling you about their day.



The beauty of natural light -- not what’s emitted from your smartphone.







A whole new world exists beyond that little screen. It's about time you look up and experience all that it has to offer.




#mentalhealth #bipolardisorder #bipolar
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