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Monkey in a Pink Canoe

November 11, 2017

“Where did I come from?” asked Shadrach as we pulled up to his football game at Fleigenbaum Field. Having never been married, I thought I’d be exempt from ever having this discussion with a 6-year-old quarterback, so I never put much thought into what I’d say if asked. Looks like I was going to have to punt.

“Well, Shadrach, each month, in one of your mommy’s two ovaries, a few immature eggs develop into follicles. The mature follicle releases an egg during ovulation, which turns into the corpus luteum. Progesterone prepares the endometrium in anticipation of the embryo. Then, your daddy’s sperm travels up the fallopian tube where it fertilizes your mommy’s egg, mixing her X chromosomes with his Y chromosomes to create a zygote and blastocyst. Thanks to Human Chorionic Gonadotrophin, nine months later you were born!”

“I just meant what town was I born in?” said Shadrach. “Meshach said it was Toledo, but Abednego thinks it was Cleveland.”

Since I’d already opened the door to the wonders of human reproduction, Shadrach had me cornered for “the discussion.” Evidently, neither of his parents wanted to get involved. I don’t blame them. My father never sat me down, either. Instead, he just sent me into my bedroom with a stack of National Geographics and told me to figure it out myself. I learned the rest from Tommy Flugelman while walking to school. read more

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The Golden Era of Cigarette Ads

October 22, 2017

When Sir Walter Raleigh helped to popularize tobacco during the 16th century, he probably had no idea that he would be responsible for one of the largest and most profitable advertising campaigns in the history of Madison Avenue. Campaigns that would see a single product go from lifestyle enhancement to a pariah of the medical community within a matter of years.

Give Me Your Young at Heart

Before their negative association with health, cigarettes were marketed to successful young men and women as a way to relax and get more out of life.  Advertisements were filled with virile, athletic men and women prancing around tennis courts in snow-white shorts exclaiming,

“WHAT A DAY… what a game… what a cigarette! Why is Lucky so much a part of moments like this?”

Like any other product that clamored for the consumer’s attention, the multi-million dollar tobacco industry embarked on a constantly evolving campaign to come up with original reasons why smokers should buy their brand of cigarettes over the others: 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 Health Humor Medicine

She Can’t Forget You – or Anything Else

April 20, 2017

At one time or another, most have us have forgotten where we left our car keys or paused in the middle of a sentence because we lost our train of thought. Call them lapses in memory or “senior moments.” But, wouldn’t it be nice if you could remember everything you wanted, going back your entire life? Well, for one California woman that capability is both a gift and a curse.

Life on Automatic Rewind

Jill Price can remember every detail of her life from the time that she was 14 years old to the present. Not just familiar memories but every minutia from the date, time and day of the week that Elvis died to when Mount St. Helens erupted or the time of day when the Rodney King beating took place. “My life is like a split-screen,” says Price. “Though I’ll be living in the present, a dozen times or more a day I’ll be pulled back into reliving specific memories of the past.” All it takes is seeing something on TV, a song or a familiar smell to send Price back decades in time. She can tell you what she was doing, what her friends said and even what her mother ordered for lunch at a restaurant. read more

All Entries Health Humor Life and Death Medicine

Toad-ally High

April 20, 2017

If you think you’ve already tried all of the traditional ways of getting high such as alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, ecstasy and are looking for a new disgusting, unhygienic way to leave the planet earth for a while, then look no further than the banks of the Colorado River.

Hopping along the river’s shores in southern Arizona, California and northern New Mexico, the “Bufo Alvarius Toad” (also called the “Cane Toad” or “Colorado River Toad”) would otherwise be in danger of being a wolf’s or Gila Monster’s main course if it weren’t for a highly toxic venom it produces whenever it gets agitated – the same venom that can get you high as a kite if properly ingested.

The venom produced by the Bufo Alvarius Toad is a concentrated chemical called “bufotenine” that also happens to contain the hallucinogen, “5-MeO-DMT.” Ingested directly from the toad’s skin in toxic doses, bufotenine is powerful enough to kill dogs and other small animals. However, when ingested in other ways – such as smoking – the toxic bufotenine  burns off leaving only 5-MeO-DMT that can produce an intense, albeit, short-lived rush that has been described as “100 times more powerful than LSD or magic mushrooms,” even if it takes a lot more work to get it. read more

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