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Are Your Ears Ringing?

December 2, 2017

Years before they reach retirement age, senior citizens often begin thinking about the “golden years.” And, while they ponder heart disease, hypertension, arthritis and problems with their eyes, one particular disease often escapes their attention: tinnitus.

Tinnitus comes from the Latin word meaning “to ring or tinkle.” It’s a collection of symptoms of the inner ear, that’s often referred to as “ringing in the ears.” While ringing is the most frequently described sound, it can also appear in the form of swooshing, clicking, buzzing or hissing. Some people refer to the sound as music.

According to the Center for Disease Control, tinnitus affects more than 50 million people a year. For most, it’s usually an inconvenient, benign problem. But the physical impact of the disease can cost sufferers more than $30,000 a year in lost wages and health expenses. It costs American society more than $26 billion, annually. According to studies conducted by the United States Veterans Administration, over 970,000 veterans (one of the highest risk groups for contracting tinnitus) received treatment during 2012, at a cost of more than $1.5 billion. read more

All Entries Family Health Home Life Humor Life and Death Medicine

Watching Grandma Circle the Drain

July 26, 2017

There’s only so many ways you can get rid of a dead body. Regardless of how it got that way – stabbed, shot, bludgeoned, run over by a truck, pummeled, poisoned, choked, tossed off a building or just withered from old age – its final demise has to be handled with care.

Up until recently, you only had two choices. You could bury Grandma in a casket or cremate her. Both cost a lot of money and take weeks of planning. Or, if money’s tight, you could always drive into the middle of the desert in the dead of night, dig a hole by the glow of your car’s headlights and toss Grammy in – sort of the Home Depot approach to traditional funeral services. It’s done all the time – at least in gangster movies.

According to the National Funeral Directors Association, funerals can cost between $6,500 and $10,000. Cremations can be significantly cheaper, at $800. But then, there’s that nagging question of what to do with those messy ashes. Do I keep them in an urn on top of the mantel or do I put them in a box out in the shed? And, who gets to keep them? What if I lose them? read more

All Entries Family Home Life Humor

Five Minutes from Lorraine

July 7, 2017

During the period affectionately known as the Baby Boom, routine amniocentesis and maternal sonograms were still years away. And while the 50s and 60s can claim fame to some of the best music in the history of the universe, its struggling medical practices offered no help to new parents trying to choose a name for their children. That being the case, one would think the prudent thing to do would be to spread your bets equally across two columns of names: one for boys and one for girls. But my parents were so convinced that I was going to be a girl, they put everything on pink and let it ride. When I finally did appear, I was a surprise to everyone—even me. I wasn’t a girl.

Nowadays, new parents can avoid some of the stress of choosing a name by asking for the sex of their new baby weeks or months ahead of his or her arrival. While it does narrow down the naming choices by 50%, it still doesn’t make the task any easier. In Germany, new parents get help from the government by requiring strict conventions that insure that a child’s name is consistent with the baby’s gender. The name can’t be interpreted as being offensive or ridiculous (a practice the United States has yet to embrace) and its spelling must be conventional, probably to avoid any little Adolfs running around Marienplatz in dresses. read more

All Entries Home Life Humor Romance

Expelled from Match.com!

June 16, 2017

I haven’t been on a date in years. And, for good reason. By the time I endure the excruciation of the hunt, anticipation of the first date, the cost of dry cleaning my best leisure suit and trying to figure out what base I’m on, it’s just not worth it. It’s much easier just to stay at home and pretend I’m having a good time by trolling the online dating scene and taking care of myself.

Last year I enrolled at Match.com using the pen name of “MrMarvelous” just to see if there was anyone out there as desperate as I was to meet their perfect mate. After blowing off an entire day’s work perusing the women within 100 miles of my zip code, seven major metropolises and all of the neighborhoods I’ve ever lived, it became readily apparent that of the 40 million single men and women who subscribe to on-line dating services, most are looking for the same thing – and their profiles reflect it. So, to leverage myself against my male competitors and attract more than my fair share of the lovelier sex, I decided to create the following original member profile to flaunt my rapier wit. After all, isn’t that what women want: a man with a sense of humor? read more

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The Adrian X-ray Shoe Fitting Machine

April 20, 2017

During the 1940s, people were concerned about their feet. Mothers, fathers – even the U.S. Army. As a result, the guardian of modern foot care was born – the “Adrian X-ray Shoe Fitting Machine.”

A Star is Born

Although there are a number of conflicting stories about its origin, the first x-ray shoe fitting machine has generally been attributed to Dr. Jacob Lowe, a Boston physician who was looking for a fast and efficient way to analyze soldiers’ feet during World War I. Dr. Lowe was concerned with the number of poorly fitting boots worn by military recruits and was interested in a way to cut down on their foot-related injuries.  In addition to providing the good doctor with a superior view of the foot, the x-ray shoe fitting machine allowed Dr. Lowe to speed up production by not requiring soldiers to remove their boots.

The x-ray shoe fitting machine was a simple design. A fluoroscope was mounted on the base of a wooden platform and sent x-rays upward toward a florescent screen. The client would place their foot between the two and the image would be directed up to a reflector, where three viewing scopes displayed the foot’s image to the customer. The entire area was sealed within a lead-shielded area for protection of the client. Unlike x-rays that are captured on film, the machine displayed a real time image of the client’s foot – shoes and all. read more

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