Monday, November 24, 2014

Beatles cross-national music ready for a 'Happy Christmas' on Fandalism

Richard Trudeau, one of the major producers of upcoming 'Happy Christmas'
Carol Forsloff---Fandalism is a place where music that can make a difference, as the "Beatles"remains a major interest of many, with fans and music who have grown up with it now older and refined musically by their years of practice.  Like the Beatles group musicians admire, those on Fandalism have the originality, creativity and talent that brings the world music that lasts and that music is made contemporary with an extravaganza soon to be released in anticipation of Christmas

Some months ago three musicians from Fandalism, Remco, Yvalain and Glenn,  were able to fuse their talents in such a way that it brought out the abilities of each one of them. Their album, like that of the Beatles, has diversity of theme, beat, and messages, the kind of music that crosses over to a wide audience because of that. The music is reminiscent of some of the more famous groups, like the Beatles, the Everly Brothers and others throughout music history. That's because there is an accent on originality that makes the difference between a group that will be listened to for decades vs one that is forgotten.  The Beatles, however, remains a particularly favorite group because they represent the decades of music.

But the value of the Internet, and the enduring power of the music of the Beatles, combined with many talents is bringing an even greater mix of music in the coming days with an arrangement inspired by Mark Taylor of the United States and Richard Trudeau of Canada respectively.

The value of the Internet can be witnessed in seeing and hearing people from diverse backgrounds working together as some of the best groups have throughout history.  But those groups we have enjoyed over the years, like the Temptations, the Beatles, the Beachboys, the Everly Brothers and many others were able to meet personally and practice.  With the advent of the digital era, however, people from across the world can join talents and create something wonderful in combination with one another.  

That's the case with the musicians on Fandalism.  Many of the performers have formed collaborations, as Remco, Yvalain and Glenn did some months ago with their music, representing as they did the Netherlands, the United States and France.  Now with the broader range of talent present for the Christmas project, the Beatles music for Christmas is likely to be an exciting event. That type of collaboration of skill and quality of music is enjoyed by a wide audience, with collaboration the key to the success of the site.

The greatest collaboration Fandalism has had will be its Christmas special, now just days away.  For fans of the site, and fans of individual musicians, it is important keep abreast of the activities to come, for a "Happy Christmas" will be soon.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Diabetes in dogs is epidemic

Border collie
As diabetes has become epidemic in people no one talks about what happens with pets. As Fido leans over the full bowl of food, much of which is fatty, and then gets to lick a little ice cream here and there, one day the poor dog ends up with bad health that leads to premature death.  What are the signs of diabetes in dogs and what should you do to help prevent it?

Fido can't tell you that he or she has a headache or is feeling lethargic because the sugar is too high or too low. Instead the poor animal goes about licking the hand that feeds it and feeds it often many of the wrong things and too much of them besides.

A look at ingredients in dog food and some reflection on how often and how much a dog is fed can lead the owner to a change for the pet's diet that can make a difference between good or bad health. Just as we look at diet balance, exercise and good attention for people, we forget that pets need the same things for the same reasons. Indulging the wants beyond certain limits will injure
the pet's physical health just as its masters. Pets need exercise, balanced diet, lean foods, limitations on fats and sugars and the type of lifestyle that inhibit the development of diabetes.

Diabetes has no cure, but there are ways to get it checked out early so that proper intervention can take place. You will find the same kind of signs for humans also are exhibited in animals. It begins with weight and obesity. If the dog's ribs can't be easily felt, the animal may be too heavy. Check with a veterinarian about proper weight for a pooch of a certain size. Increased thirst is a sign of trouble as is over eating, weight loss and frequent urination.

Fido may have more accidents then usual so needs to be checked by the doctor for a proper diagnosis and to avoid complications and additional health problems. Blood tests, just as given for humans, are conducted to check sugar levels.

Age has something to do with diabetes in animals, again as in people. One finds that Type II diabetes occurs more frequently in late mid life and early old age (45 to 65 for people) and age 5 - 7 in dogs. Dogs may also develop early diabetes or a juvenile-type, again the way that humans do. Diabetes occurs when the body does not manufacture insulin or not enough insulin for the body. Animals have the same issues when it comes to insulin requirements.

Prevention is important, but if the dog has diabetes it can still live a good life with proper care. Make sure that Fido gets regular checkups, follow the veterinarian's prescribed diet for the pet, and make sure that the dog gets walked and exercised often. Provide the fluids the pet requires because dehydration may occur. Diabetes is a difficult disease to treat in animals because they can't complain like people do so vigilance is important. Animals care for people with unconditional love, so in return deserve quality care. Prevention and care for diabetes is part of that.

Friday, November 21, 2014

'Love it or leave it' is a smokescreen that limits the American Dream

Thomas Paine, early American colonialist and author of Common Sense
Immigration has become one of the major areas of disagreement among the various factions involved in debating what to do about undocumented workers or those who have entered the United States illegally.  When folks criticize the government's action, or inaction, often the phrase, "love it or leave it" is used to challenge one's opponent, but is it effective in consolidating one's argument?

"If you don't like it, why don't you just leave,"is what some folks say to cement an argument about a political position.  It does, however, counter the American framework of the country as well as scientific principles, because it is in finding our mistakes, we learn and grow the most.
 That was the message of those who founded the United States, the arguments presented by Thomas Paine, who argued with authority. 

His arguments, his references to his disappointments and disagreements with how England ruled its colonies, and what should be American rights, became the beacon of the best of political argument in US history.  "Love it or leave it" counters Paine'sCommon Sense presentations and the fabric of debate.

This "love it or leave it" , coined originally by the famous media pundit Walter Winchell, is often used by the conservative right when losing an argument or when there is nothing to say.  This occurred during debates over the war in Vietnam, civil rights, Obama's election and the recent election as well.  It provides a smokescreen the person uses to shut off the opposition as an outsider unworthy to even be allowed to stay in the country.

Indeed "just move if you don't like it" is a paraphrase, and a way of removing opposition, when one is uncomfortable and worries he or she might have to face the facts of being wrong or even being right but still not knowing the arguments to defend them properly.  When it becomes its most insidious, however, is when it is used for scapegoating and victimization, part of the process of debate that is used by the "love it or leave it" folks.

But the statement's worst damage comes from the underlying threat that says, "You leave or we'll remove you" that often follows next, either by physical or social isolation.  What is lost, however, is the progress that can be made from looking at those criticisms and learning what needs to be done to improve an idea or place and thereby limits the very nature of the American dream, which is to grow better every day.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Journalist offered $2.5 million prize in the manner often used with seniors

Scam victim
This journalist just won $2.5 million, at least that's the news I got after answering the telephone today.  Perhaps you too have received a similar call, one that initially makes you very happy, that is until you learn the facts from the manner often used with seniors and military people.

"John Harper," who announced his status as representative of the Publishers Clearinghouse, called to inform me of my winnings.  He also gave me the number of the package I would be receiving and the representative at the Bank of America who would be verifying the winnings and making sure the money is transferred to a bank account.  I was only to obtain two IRS merchant banker stamps made out to an individual named Robert Marsh in New Florence, Pennsylvania in the amount of $360 that would verify the amount and to notify the IRS of the winnings in advance of tax payments.

But John Harper, according to the American Association of Retired Persons, is not a representative of the Publishers Clearinghouse.  The famous sweepstakes giant does not offer mailings or prizes until February.  Furthermore, Publishers Clearinghouse, and other legitimate sweepstakes offerings, do not ask the winner to pay any amount of money in order to receive a prize.

It is a familiar type of scam, but those playing the game of chance are taking less of a chance themselves with phone calls that on the surface appear to be legitimate.  The soft-spoken, courteous voice without accent, clear and kindly, makes the pitch.  Then there are the details that at the outset make the call sound like the prize and the winnings are real.  But there are hidden clues at the outset that offer a hint of the scam information that comes after the introductory remarks.

One of those clues is the salutation itself.  The caller referred to me as "Madam" at the outset and throughout the call.  I was not "Carol" nor Mrs. Forsloff."  And the caller, in referring to the delivery from the Bank of America, was unaware of the banking industry in Hawaii, where the banks are local and mainland banks have only small offices as opposed to large banks in the islands.  When I was told about the "stamps" needed for the Internal Revenue Service to be sent to a particular person, it became even more clear the call was a scam.  Add to that, the caller offered me the phone number I should call to speak with someone at the IRS.

The caller in my case, the "John Harper" who sounded pleasant and able to converse clearly and with detail, was very persuasive, congratulating me on being a skeptic while assuring me he is an honest person.  The FBI tells us those in the business of scamming seniors, and others, can be very bright and able to sound legitimate.  describing them as able to "make themselves extremely believable over the phone.  For people on the other end of the line who were even a little bit gullible or desperate for money, the deception could be too much to resist."

I resisted well enough so the caller gave up and moved on, but not until I had finished taking notes to write this article. I was wary enough to avoid being duped.  On the other hand the scammers are adept enough to catch some of the most astute, so it pays to remember that when someone asks for money to be sent in order to get money in return as a prize, it's time to hang up the phone and put your number on the "do not call registry," making it more difficult for those who want to scam to find you among the willing and the gullible.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

On learning your grandchild is autistic

Ribbon symbol of autism spectrum disorder
It was a stunning phone call. Our twin toddler grandsons were diagnosed autistic. Our son told us in a tone that spoke of grief and confusion. What we learned about ourselves and the disability strengthened our family and gave us lessons we would like to share.

"Are you sure about it?" we asked. That question, innocent enough, was inappropriate given the fact our son had told us several times the children had been taken to doctors specializing in assessing children with special needs. Experts say that families should reinforce the parent's coping abilities, not minimize their resources or their capabilities in the face of learning a child has a serious disability.
We should have simply asked, "What did the doctor say?" The flow of details could spark the right discussion about the specifics about our grandchildren so we could offer information or comfort necessary in this instance.

We learned the twins are different in the details of autism. Over time we found, both by observation and by asking questions, that autism, according to reports, runs in families and not everyone exhibits the same behaviors. Our grandchildren are fraternal twins with different body types, and along with that they exhibit unique behaviors. This is a common aspect of this disorder in that patterns of a child's interaction may be as different as they would be in separate families.

In the case of autism spectrum disorder, family members often have to adjust just like parents to a different way of relating and to different benchmarks for watching children develop. Experts say there is a range of differences in autism spectrum disorder as there are in any other conditions, but the usual diagnostic criteria that defines it makes the child stand out as unique from others of similar age. The language delays, the problem with social interaction, and what is usually defined as inappropriate behavior, like throwing temper tantrums publicly or fondling the genitalia, is often clearly seen.
Adolescence is a difficult time, but for adolescents with autism spectrum disorder it can be especially that. How adults accept and manage behaviors can make a difference in how they learn to adjust as adults, medical experts tell us.

One grandson over the years is interactive, speaks to us and gets involved in play. As a 15-year-old he is beginning to explore the world in many ways, that would be seen as socially inappropriate outside his social sphere. Two years ago we noticed he touched his genitals frequently while engaged in simple interaction, that might simply be showing us a picture or bringing us a bit of food from the kitchen, which he enjoys doing. We have learned to ignore much of that socially inappropriate behavior and focus on what he does that involves some new accomplishment, like a drawing or a piece of writing he likes to share with us.

Our other grandson seldom ventures outside his room, except to meet his physical needs. He relates with both his parents, but without eye contact and with few readily understandable words and gestures. Their parents, our children, understand, however, and say they have enough time and experience with both children to know what they want and need. They can interpret gestures and words that we cannot.

What we have learned in a decade of being grandparents of autistic children is to relate with them is little different than how we relate with our other grandchildren who have no disabilities. We support our children and reinforce their parenting skills, give suggestions only when asked and accept and give affection during visits. We've gone past that initial heartbreak to knowing what our grandsons can and cannot do and just accepting them as children with the curiosities and dynamics that are unique to them.

What we have learned, beyond all else, is that our grandchildren need love and acceptance like all other children do. As grandparents giving that is our special role and what we intend to do, happily and proudly for the rest of our lives.