Sunday, June 25, 2017

Vespers: Polyelaion Liturgical Hymn

Lighting of the lamps.
This is the "Polyelaion Liturgical Hymn" of the Byzantic Orthodox Church.

The Polyeleos is a hymn of praise to God consisting of verses from Psalms 134 and 135, with added refrains. The refrain after each verse of Psalm 134 is "Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!"; the refrain after each verse of Psalm 135 is "Alleluia! For his love (or: mercy) endures forever. Alleluia! Alleluia!"

The name Polyeleos comes from the Greek words for "much mercy", from the repeated mention of mercy in the second refrain. (In some churches, the lamps are lit around this point in Matins, which may have influenced the name of the hymn: in Greek, Polyeleos also means "much oil.") In Slavonic, the hymn is called Polijelej.

Praise the name of the Lord. Alleluia!
Praise him, servants of the Lord.
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! 

Who stand in the house of the Lord,
in the courts of the house of our God.
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! 

Lord, your name stands forever,
unforgotten from age to age.
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! 

From Zion may the Lord be blessed,
he who dwells in Jerusalem.
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! 

O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
Alleluia! For his love endures forever. Alleluia! Alleluia!

Who fixed the earth firmly on the seas.
Alleluia! For his love endures forever. Alleluia! Alleluia! 

And he snatched us away from our foes.
Alleluia! For his love endures forever. Alleluia! Alleluia! 

To the God of heaven, give thanks.
Alleluia! For his love endures forever. Alleluia! Alleluia!

Why Islam and Christianity are different

Dr. Michael Brown, a prolific author, holds a PhD in Near Eastern Languages and Literatures from New York University. He has been a visiting or adjunct professor at numerous theology schools around the world. He became a Christian in 1971 when he was a sixteen year-old, heroin-shooting, LSD-using Jewish rock drummer.

He writes:
The key difference between Christianity and Islam is the difference between Jesus and Muhammad. Jesus was a spiritual leader who laid down His life to save the world. Muhammad was a spiritual leader, who became a political leader, then a violent military leader. Jesus accomplished His mission by dying on the cross. Muhammad accomplished his mission (at least largely) by ruling by the sword. 
One faith follows the example of a crucified and risen Savior. The other follows the example of a prophet and military leader.
The biblical verses of violence (as in “Kill the Canaanites”) were limited to a specific place and time. No such commands are found on Jesus’ lips. The Quranic verses of violence (as in “Kill the unbelievers wherever you find them”) do not have such obvious limitations. Many Quranic interpreters and Islamic jurists claim that those verses cannot be applied indiscriminately today. But others differ. And they proudly cite them in their jihadi manuals. 
Again, the difference is that of the cross versus the sword. That’s why Jesus and His followers never established the death penalty for leaving the faith. Muhammad established it once he assumed military dominance. And the death penalty for apostasy from Islam remains in force in a number of Islamic countries today.
I encourage you to read the whole thing.

Take up the cross and follow me

From The Lectionary:

Matthew 10:24-39

10:24 "A disciple is not above the teacher, nor a slave above the master;

10:25 it is enough for the disciple to be like the teacher, and the slave like the master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household!

10:26 "So have no fear of them; for nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered, and nothing secret that will not become known.

10:27 What I say to you in the dark, tell in the light; and what you hear whispered, proclaim from the housetops.

10:28 Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

10:29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father.

10:30 And even the hairs of your head are all counted.

10:31 So do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows.

10:32 "Everyone therefore who acknowledges me before others, I also will acknowledge before my Father in heaven;

10:33 but whoever denies me before others, I also will deny before my Father in heaven.

10:34 "Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.

10:35 For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law;

10:36 and one's foes will be members of one's own household.

10:37 Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me;

10:38 and whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me.

10:39 Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.

Image: Mosaic of Simon of Cyrene carrying the Cross of Christ is in Aberdeen's Catholic Cathedral. It is by Gabriel Loire of Chartres.

Katharine Graham: fun

"To love what you do and feel that it matters - how could anything be more fun?"

Saturday, June 24, 2017

This just in ...

‘Church Foyer Coffee’ Keurig K-Cup 
Flavor Now Available

WATERBURY, VT—The Keurig Green Mountain company announced Friday the release of an official new coffee-pod flavor targeted at churchgoers: the premium “Church Foyer Coffee” blend.

The blend is designed to simulate the one-of-a-kind taste of stale, burned, watered-down coffee served in a church foyer or fellowship hall.

“This new product is perfect for when you’re craving the distinct taste of watered-down coffee that has been sitting in a giant aluminum urn for four hours,” a Keurig spokesperson said. “Now you can have the taste of real Christian fellowship—and really bad coffee—in the comfort of your own home.”

Keurig coffee experts tested hundreds of different church foyer coffee blends in order to create an authentic-tasting formula.

“It really tastes like the old lady on the welcome team carefully measured out two scoops of coffee for every 30 cups of water, just like real church coffee,” the spokesperson added.

The new K-cups are available now, anywhere Keurig coffee products are sold.

Gluten free cream at 11.

Friday, June 23, 2017

This just in ...

Girlfriends announce plan to have some of your fries

I'll just have one.
THE nation’s girlfriends have announced that they do not want any chips, but they will have some of yours.

Partners responded that it was fine to have some chips and that they had no objection to buying the chips, but they ‘wanted some of their bloody chips for themselves for a change’.

Women retorted that they ‘might have expected’ this level of selfishness and swore to have ‘only a tiny few’ because as stated earlier, they should not be having any chips really.

The offer to ‘just get two lots’ was reiterated and emphatically rebuffed, and boyfriends were informed ‘to stop being so greedy’ and get one portion, without curry sauce.

Steve Malley of Oxford said: “Half of them she’s had. And four onion rings.”

Ketchup at 11.

Casual Friday: Black Magic Woman

Just two working days til Monday!

"Boy, those French: They have a different word for everything!" ~ Steve Martin

Update on the coup attempt against President Trump

You get 'em, big boy.
The coup attempt against President Trump has picked up speed with continuing abuses of the FBI, the courts, high-powered rifles, and the constitution.

Today, the FBI.

Say what? The FBI gave an utterly bizarre update on its investigation into an attempt to assassinate Republican members of Congress. the takeaway of the briefing was characterized well by the Associated Press headline: “FBI: Gunman who shot congressman had no target in mind.” The Associated Press reported the FBI:
  • believes the gunman “had no concrete plan to inflict violence” against Republicans,
  • “had not yet clarified who, if anyone, he planned to target, or why,”
  • believes he may have just “happened upon” the baseball game the morning of June 14, and that the attack appeared “spontaneous,”
  • are unclear on the “context” of Hodgkinson’s note with six names of members of Congress,
  • does not believe that photographs of the baseball field or other sites “represented surveillance of intended targets,” and
  • “painted a picture of a down-on-his-luck man with few future prospects.”
In fact, USA Today went with “FBI offers portrait of troubled Alexandria shooter with ‘anger management problem’” for their headline, since that’s what the FBI emphasized in the briefing.

The Donald needs to get his own FBI director.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Skirmishes in the war on cancer

Are we still calling it a war? Whatever, we're winning some battles.

Stop the spread. Researchers have discovered the biochemical mechanism that tells cancer cells to break off from the primary tumor and spread throughout the body, a process called metastasis. Some 90 percent of cancer deaths are caused when cancer metastasizes. The team also found that two existing, FDA-approved drugs can slow metastasis significantly.

Finding it earlier. A blood test that not only detects cancer but identifies where it is in the body has been developed by scientists. The breakthrough could allow doctors to diagnose specific cancers much earlier, even before signs such as a lump, begin to show. It is simple enough to be included in routine annual health checks alongside other tests such as for high blood pressure or cholesterol.

Will this drug work? Scientists have pinpointed a particular type of immune system cell that could predict more precisely if cancer patients are likely to respond to modern immunotherapy medicines. The discovery suggests doctors and drug developers will need to get smarter in zeroing in on those people who stand to benefit from the expensive new drugs, which are revolutionizing cancer care. Some drugs can boost the immune system's ability to fight tumors, but they only work for some patients.

Good news for men. Combining two existing prostate cancer therapies could extend the life of men with advanced, high-risk prostate cancer by 37%. The new findings could change how doctors first approach treatment of prostate cancer. “These are the most powerful results I’ve seen from a prostate cancer trial,” said Nicholas James, the lead author of the abstract presented as the American Society of Clinical Oncology. “It’s a once in a career feeling. This is one of the biggest reductions in death I’ve seen in any clinical trial for adult cancers.”

First do no harm. A new study reveals how three natural proteins can be modified to kill cancer cells while they are quickly dividing, all while leaving healthy cells alone. The mechanism involves three proteins that can be specifically modified so that they completely destroy cancer cells, causing them to self-destruct as they are dividing. What’s more, these proteins leave healthy cells alone during this process. Scientists tested the proteins on a number of incurable mice and human cancer types in cell cultures, and each time they succeeded in eradicating cancer cells while leaving healthy cells alone.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Notes & Comment: Stranded by global warming

Caught in ice due to global warming.
From all over:

I blame the Paris Accord. The University of Manitoba has canceled its 2017 Arctic climate change study expedition because there is too much ice to execute the mission safely. The U of M headlines: “Large Canadian Arctic climate change study cancelled due to climate change.”

It's among their core competencies. Presidential historian and author Doug Wead says the Deep State is attempting a coup d’état of President Trump. "We have very skilled, talented professionals. They’ve overthrown governments in Vietnam and the Philippines, in Iraq and Iran, in Egypt, in the Ukraine. Duly elected democratic governments. They created what they called 'popular uprisings.' What did we expect? That’s their skill set. These people who work some of them in the State Department, some of them in intelligence, some of them in the media. They’ve worked together to overthrow other governments. So it was inevitable they would use the gun on ourselves. It looks Like a coup d’état. I don’t know how else you would explain it."

Don't go there. You gasp with each new report on Uber’s toxicity -- a parade of escalating scandals that seem more fitting at a company run by Tony Soprano than by nerds in San Francisco. Yet if you’re like many people, in a day or two you’ll shrug, pull out your phone and call up an Uber anyway. Don’t do it — at least not without considering the full weight of your decision, and the many alternatives you might turn to instead. Try Lyft. Use a taxi, a bus or a train. Heck, hire a limo and a chauffeur with a golden top hat. To encourage a better Uber, it’s time to play the only card you’ve got: If it backslides or otherwise fails to live up to the promises it’s making now, stop using Uber.

He's too tall to be a girl. James Comey is Petula Clark singing “Feelings.” In his Senate testimony he described how his duties caused him “a whole lot of personal pain.” He was often “confused and concerned” about things, sometimes even “honestly concerned." More than the facts, he spoke of his “impression,” “reading,” and “sense” of the facts. Something Loretta Lynch asked him to do “gave [him] a queasy feeling.” That’s not how Joe Friday talked on “Dragnet.” Or Clint Eastwood. When Clint shot a bad guy, all he felt was a slight pressure on his trigger finger. Comey talks the way girls talk.

Fine, I prefer LL Bean anyway. Many conservatives will be dropping one of their favorite outdoor clothing lines after Patagonia announced they will help lead the resistance against President Trump. Note to business owners: Conservatives control the purse strings in America, purchasing 60 percent of all products and services.

Answers to questions nobody is asking

Can't complain.
Why is your car thermometer so bad at telling the temperature?

The real reason is its placement. Most are at the front of the car behind the car’s grille (which is normally between the two headlights). This makes the reading a lot less accurate, especially on hot, sunny days because it also picks up on the heat radiated from the road. Measurements are most accurate when you’re traveling at quick speeds and at times when the sun isn’t hitting the road, like at night and during cloudy weather. It can still be helpful in measuring below-freezing or freezing temperatures during cold weather, but it’s important to note that it isn’t that precise.

By the early 20th century, what happened in hospitals was increasingly about medical procedures and efficient workflow, not the ostensible healthiness of the environment in itself. These changes made the limitations of the earlier “therapeutic” hospital designs glaringly apparent. In order to provide a window in every room, buildings could not be wider than two rooms deep; this inevitably required multiple long narrow wings. Such rambling structures were expensive to build, prohibitively expensive to heat, light, and supply with water, and inefficient and labor-intensive to operate. Food reached the patients cold after being trucked from a distant central kitchen; patients requiring operations were wheeled through numerous buildings to the surgical suite. Hospital designers thus began to arrange practitioners, spaces, and equipment into a more effective layout. Catchwords changed from “light” and “air” to “efficiency” and “flexibility.”

Why Are so Many Babies Born around 8:00 A.M.?

In the U.S., 32 percent of births are C-section surgeries, another 18 percent are the result of induced labors and 50 percent are “natural” (vaginal deliveries without induction). If we break down the data by the method of delivery, we see a distinct rhythm for each type of delivery method. Together, these three intersecting patterns create the overall minute-per-day pattern we see: fewer births at night, a huge spike in the morning and a broader afternoon bump. The C-section pattern looks entirely different. There is a huge spike first thing in the morning, another bump just before noon and a plateau in the early evening before the drop at night. There are very few C-section births at night. Roughly 10 times as many babies are born per minute during the early morning peak than the middle of the night.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Update on the coup attempt against the President

“If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun.” ~ Barack Hussein Obama
The coup proceeds apace on three fronts: abuse of the FBI, abuse of the courts, abuse of high-power rifles, and abuse of the first amendment.

Today, abuse of the first amendment and high-powered rifles.
  • Thursday evening, CBS's Scott Pelley, who officially ended his tenure as the network's Evening News anchor the following evening, told viewers that "It's time to ask whether the attack on the United States Congress Wednesday was foreseeable, predictable and, to some degree, self-inflicted."
  • MSNBC host Joy Ann Reid had the gall to blame Republicans for divisive rhetoric just a day after she took cheap shots at shooting victim Rep. Steve Scalise. On her show Saturday, Reid alleged that Scalise, who has undergone multiple surgeries after being shot at the GOP baseball practice, may be a racist and a homophobe.
  • Manny Schewitz, a co-founder of Modern Liberals: I have no sympathy for Steve Scalise. This is a man who voted against healthcare funding for 9/11 first responders, takes donations from the NRA, and is part of the GOP plan to gut Obamacare. The man who shot him had no business owning a gun of any kind, much less the assault rifle he was armed with that day. Yet Scalise has opposed any sort of gun regulations, because he cares more about the wishes of the NRA and the fanatics he represents, instead of the thousands of Americans who are killed every year by gun violence.
If you don't like someone's political views, they're saying, it's okay to shoot them with an SKS, a Soviet semi-automatic carbine chambered for the 7.62×39mm round, as a Bernie Sanders supported did on the baseball field. This is the same rifle used to kill five policemen in Dallas, so it must be okay. Is it also okay, as these people are dong, to shout "Fire!" in a crowded theater?

“The truth is that the only rational choice we have, the only real response we can make, is to stand up and fight back." ~ Bernie Sanders

We exist for other people

"How strange is the lot of us mortals! Each of us is here for a brief sojourn; for what purpose he knows not, though he sometimes thinks he senses it. But without deeper reflection one knows from daily life that one exists for other people — first of all for those upon whose smiles and well-being our own happiness is wholly dependent, and then for the many, unknown to us, to whose destinies we are bound by the ties of sympathy."

Men can't have it all, either

Let him learn it from You Tube.
We know how hard it is to be a woman, because we've been told every, oh, 40 seconds or so. Guess what. It ain't easy being a man.
Emily Bobrow reports that between 1977 and 2008, “the percentage of American fathers in dual-earner couples who suffered from work-family conflicts jumped from 35% to 60%.” During the same period, the percentage of similarly afflicted mothers “grew only slightly, from 41% to 47%.” The result: “Young men who get stuck supporting a family often report high levels of stress and sadness that they aren’t spending more time with their kids.”
Some problems men face that are left unmentioned in the article.
One is the unquestioned assumption that children in the modern era need constant attention. Kids and teenagers were once expected to entertain themselves for large parts of the day, whether it was riding bikes, reading, cooking their own meals, or playing board games. Now, with extracurricular activities that require organization, drop-offs and pick-ups, mom and dad can no longer rest and recuperate on evenings and weekends. Furthermore, in the digital age, parents’ work often follows them home, further eroding private time.
This leaves no room for adult fun.
I'm gonna go out on a limb here and declare that we need more adult fun.


Monday, June 19, 2017

An update on the coup attempt against the president

You got played, old boy.
The coup proceeds apace on three fronts: abuse of the FBI, abuse of the courts, and abuse of high-power rifles.

Today, abuse of the FBI.

We have learned that Justice Department lawyers tricked Attorney General Jeff Sessions into recusing himself, which set up the chain of events leading to the coup spearhead special counsel. Andrew C. McCarthy III, a former assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, who led the 1995 terrorism prosecution against Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman and eleven others, writes:
I have argued that Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s recusal from the so-called Russia investigation was a mistake. The attorney general’s testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday afternoon bolstered this conclusion.

Sessions says that he recused himself, on the advice of career ethics experts at the Justice Department, because he thought this was required by the federal regulation controlling “Disqualification arising from personal or political relationship” (28 CFR Sec. 45.2). But judging from the public testimony that former FBI director James Comey has given about the investigation into Russia’s election-meddling, the regulation did not mandate recusal. 
Section 45.2 states that an official is disqualified from “a criminal investigation or prosecution” if he has a personal or political relationship with a “subject of the investigation or prosecution,” or with a person or organization whose interests would be affected by the outcome “of the investigation or prosecution.” (Emphasis added.) 
The probe of Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential campaign is not a criminal investigation or prosecution. Moreover, when the reg speaks of the “subject of the investigation or prosecution,” it is using “subject” as a criminal-law term of art. A “subject” is a person or entity whose actions are being examined by a grand jury with an eye toward a possible indictment. There are no “subjects” in that sense in a counterintelligence investigation because the objective is not to build a criminal case and there is no grand jury.
Read the rest of his article. The whole thing is a scam perpetrated by the Ruling Class.

If you want fries with that, get 'em

Science journalist Sara Chodosh is giving you permission.
There are plenty of reasons not to eat potatoes, and only one reason to eat them: they’re freaking delicious. That’s the only reason you need. No one is eating fries because they think they’re healthy. But the next time you eat some delicious, oil-crisped taters and someone blurts out “hey, you know fries double your risk of mortality, right?” because they read a clicky headline, you can rest easy knowing that they are wrong. And superiority is the ultimate reward, right?
Here's the issue, and this applies to many "scientific: studies.
You could pretty much sum up the whole problem with the recent study on taters in one sentence: correlation doesn’t imply causation. Let’s all say it together. Correlation doesn’t imply causation. Now try to remember that next time you read literally any nutrition story. Just because a group of people who eats fried potatoes more than three times a week has a higher mortality rate than a group of people who hardly ever eat them doesn’t mean that potatoes are the source of those deaths. You can control all you want for age and socioeconomic status and every other obvious confounding factor. At the end of the day, people who eat fries three-plus times a week are almost certainly going to have other habits that make them more likely to die.
For starters, it's likely that people who choose to eat that many taters are exercising less than the people who care enough about healthy dining to avoid that starchy temptation. And they probably consume more sugar generally as well. Or maybe they take in less fiber. You can’t eliminate the confounding effect of these other habits—that’s the real problem with nutritional studies like this. It appeared in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition recently and it's showing up all over the web. Nearly every article based on the study claims that fries doubled the mortality risk of the subjects, and media outlets aren't technically wrong about the results.
Supersize it.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

This just in ...

Trump Signs Executive Order 
Banning Church Greeting Times

WASHINGTON, D.C.—A new mandate banning churches from implementing incredibly awkward times of forced meeting and greeting is the latest executive order to be signed by President Trump, sources at the White House reported Friday.
The order instructs churches to allow fellowship to occur “naturally and organically,” rather than asking church members to turn to one another and say some pithy phrase during the worship set. It also instructs law enforcement officers to intervene to prevent any forced time of shaking hands, saying a silly phrase, or greeting those sitting in pews near a victim, according to sources.

Unlike some of President Trump’s more controversial executive actions, the order was reportedly met with near-universal praise from the nation’s churchgoing community.

“Now this is what I call making America great again,” a church member who describes herself as “introverted” said in response to the executive order. “I can finally just attend church without worrying about being put on the spot with a time of compulsory fellowship.”

Can I get an Amen at 11.

Vespers: O Sacred Head Now Wounded

This hymn is based on a long medieval Latin poem, Salve mundi salutare, with stanzas addressing the various parts of Christ's body hanging on the Cross. The last part of the poem, from which the hymn is taken, is addressed to Christ's head, and begins "Salve caput cruentatum." The poem is often attributed to Bernard of Clairvaux (1091-1153), but is now attributed to the Medieval poet Arnulf of Louvain (died 1250). It was used for the text of Dieterich Buxtehude's Membra Jesu Nostri.

The poem was translated into German by the prolific Lutheran hymnist Paul Gerhardt (1607-1676). Although Gerhardt translated the whole poem, it is the closing section which has become best known, and is often sung as a hymn in its own right. The German hymn begins, "O Haupt voll Blut und Wunden". The closing section has also been translated into English, by several writers, but is best known as "O Sacred head, sore wounded".
Paul Gerhardt

The hymn was first translated into English in 1752 by John Gambold (1711-1771), an Anglican vicar in Oxfordshire. His translation begins, "O Head so full of bruises." In 1830 a new translation of the hymn was made by an American Presbyterian minister, James Waddel Alexander (1804-1859). Alexander's translation, beginning "O sacred head, now wounded," became one of the most widely used in 19th and 20th century hymnals.

Another English translation, based on the German, was made in 1861 by Sir Henry Baker. Published in Hymns Ancient and Modern, it begins, "O sacred head surrounded by crown of piercing thorn."

In 1899 the English poet Robert Bridges (1844-1930) made a fresh translation from the original Latin, beginning "O sacred Head, sore wounded, defiled and put to scorn." This is the version used in the 1940 Hymnal (Episcopal), the 1982 Hymnal (Episcopal; stanzas 1-3 and 5), and the Church of England's New English Hymnal (1986) and several other late 20th-century hymn books.

The English Hymnal, 1906 has a translation atrributed to "Y.H.", referring to Bridges' translations for the Yattendon Hymnal, of which he was the editor.

The music for the German and English versions of the hymn is by Hans Leo Hassler, written around 1600 for a secular love song, "Mein G'müt ist mir verwirret", which first appeared in print in 1601. The tune was appropriated and rhythmically simplified for Gerhardt's German hymn in 1656 by Johann Crüger.

Johann Sebastian Bach arranged the melody and used five stanzas of the hymn in his St Matthew Passion, stanza 6 also in his cantata Sehet, wir gehn hinauf gen Jerusalem, BWV 159. Bach used the melody on different words in his Christmas Oratorio, both in the first choral (#5) and the triumphant final chorus. Franz Liszt included an arrangement of this hymn in the sixth station, Saint Veronica, of his Via Crucis (the Way of the Cross), S.504a. The Danish composer Rued Langgaard composed a set of variations for string quartet on this tune.

What just one exercise session will do for you

Just finished his one hour.
A new study investigates the effect of acute exercise -- defined as a single, one-hour session of physical activity -- on human mood and cognition.
Acute exercise consistently resulted in three main effects: better executive function (the mental processes that help us to plan, focus, and multitask); better mood; and lower stress levels. 
Additionally, the studies revealed that acute exercise activates several extended brain areas. "One of the most dramatic effects," the authors write, "is the change in neurochemical levels." 
This includes neurotransmitters; exercise was shown to increase levels of dopamine, epinephrine, norepinephrine, and serotonin. Dopamine helps the brain to learn and is involved in the rewarding circuits. 
A certain level of physical activity seems to be able to increase serotonin, which relieves anxiety and depression, in both humans and rodents. 
Furthermore, a single exercise session seemed to increase levels of so-called neuromodulators. These include endogenous opioids and endocannabinoids - that is, "feel good" chemical substances that are naturally produced by the brain when we exercise. These account for the runner's high effect and exercise-induced states of euphoria. 
Endogenous opioids are involved in the brain's response to pain and stress, as well as in self-control and reward.
So get out there, put in your our, come back and flop on the couch, and you'll live forever.

Then Jesus summoned his twelve disciples

From The Lectionary:

Matthew 9:35-10:8, (9-23)

9:35 Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and curing every disease and every sickness.

9:36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.

9:37 Then he said to his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few;

9:38 therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest."

10:1 Then Jesus summoned his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to cure every disease and every sickness.

10:2 These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon, also known as Peter, and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John;

10:3 Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus;

10:4 Simon the Cananaean, and Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed him.

10:5 These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: "Go nowhere among the Gentiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans,

10:6 but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

10:7 As you go, proclaim the good news, 'The kingdom of heaven has come near.'

10:8 Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. You received without payment; give without payment.

10:9 Take no gold, or silver, or copper in your belts,

10:10 no bag for your journey, or two tunics, or sandals, or a staff; for laborers deserve their food.

10:11 Whatever town or village you enter, find out who in it is worthy, and stay there until you leave.

10:12 As you enter the house, greet it.

10:13 If the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it; but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you.

10:14 If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet as you leave that house or town.

10:15 Truly I tell you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.

10:16 "See, I am sending you out like sheep into the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.

10:17 Beware of them, for they will hand you over to councils and flog you in their synagogues;

10:18 and you will be dragged before governors and kings because of me, as a testimony to them and the Gentiles.

10:19 When they hand you over, do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say; for what you are to say will be given to you at that time;

10:20 for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.

10:21 Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death;

10:22 and you will be hated by all because of my name. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.

10:23 When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next; for truly I tell you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes."

Image: The Synaxis of the Twelve Apostles. Russian, 14th century, Moscow Museum.

Woodrow Wilson: individualism

"The man who is swimming against the stream knows the strength of it."

Friday, June 16, 2017

Casual Friday: Life in Wartime

Just two working days til Monday!

"I was trying to daydream, but my mind kept wandering." ~ Steven Wright

Eat your broccoli, boys and girls

Why not?
We're experiencing an epidemic of diabetes, and any little thing can help. One thing is broccoli.
A chemical called sulforaphane could be a new option for people with Type 2 diabetes who need help managing their blood sugar.

Researchers randomized 97 people diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes to take a concentrated broccoli sprout extract containing sulforaphane once a day for 12 weeks or a placebo with the same regimen.  
Glucose production was reduced among patients taking the ultraconcentrated sulforaphane. The compound improved fasting glucose and glycated hemoglobin, or HbA1c, an indicator of blood sugar levels in obese patients with dysregulated Type 2 diabetes. And sulforaphane also showed a protective effect against some complications linked to diabetes, such as neuropathy and kidney failure.
We already knew that if you eat broccoli you will live forever.
This verdant vegetable is a powerhouse of nutrients. It's reputed to benefit digestion, the cardiovascular system and the immune system, and to have anti-inflammatory and even cancer-preventing properties. 
Broccoli is also packed with phytochemicals and antioxidants. Phytochemicals are chemicals in plants that are responsible for color, smell and flavor. Research shows that they have numerous healthful benefits, according to the American Institute for Cancer Research. Phytochemicals in broccoli are good for the immune system. They include glucobrassicin; carotenoids, such as zeaxanthin and beta-carotene; and kaempferol, a flavonoid.
I like my kaempferol dipped in chocolate.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

This just in ...

Comey Urologist Confirms: He is a leaker

"May I be excused for a minute?"
Washington D.C. – Last week former FBI direct James Comey made a startling disclosure: he had given parts of a private memo to a friend with the hopes he would leak it to the press.  President Trump was swift to rebut, “He’s a leaker.”

This news came as a surprise to almost everyone, except Comey’s urologist, Dr.
Ian P. Cockburn. “He has been leaking for some time. I just didn’t know he had confided in
President Trump about such a personal matter.”

Cockburn added that he felt it was poor taste for Trump to disclose such a personal matter to the American people. “He really should have kept that to himself. Most people don’t care that when Jim has the urge to urinate he has little time to waste.” 

When the Gomerblog team reached out to Sean Spincer during the daily White House Press briefing, hoping for some clarification, Spincer deflected any sort of explanation. “What the President is trying to do is bring broader awareness about the challenges people face with Overactive Bladder. I don’t know if he intended to share Comey’s personal health information.”

Film at 11.

Miracles & Wonders: Helping the blind to "see"

A blind person walks into a crowded room and has a dilemma: He needs to find an empty chair to sit in, but doesn’t want to go around bopping ankles with his cane as he tests all the occupied chairs first. 

Here's the solution:
Researchers at MIT’s computer science and artificial intelligence laboratory came up with a guiding system based on vibration feedback. The system includes a depth camera, an embedded computer, a vibration belt, and a brail system. The user wears the camera and computer around his neck and the vibration belt around his torso. Based on the vibration feedback, he can discern the location of obstacles in the area before testing them out with his cane. It can even tell him which chair is empty. To test the system, the engineers sent blind volunteers wandering through the halls of their buildings and into mock-up spaces. The volunteers were more hesitant and walked more slowly when they wore the feedback system, but they were able to navigate without using their canes.
Watch this video:

Why squirrels live forever

Will live forever.
An observational study of 826 patients with stage III colon cancer showed that those who consumed two ounces or more of nuts per week had a 42% lower chance of cancer recurrence and 57% lower chance of death than those who did not eat nuts.

A secondary analysis revealed the benefit of nut consumption was limited to tree nuts. Tree nuts include almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, cashews, and pecans, among others.

We've long known that nuts are healthy.
A series of large studies, including the Nurses’ Health Study of 76,464 women and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study of 42,498 men, found that the more nuts people consumed, the less likely they were to die at any given age, especially of cancer or heart disease. And a clinical trial conducted in Spain showed that death rates were lower among those consuming a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra nuts.
And this whole peanut allergy fad can be dealt with. So make like a squirrel!

Ethel Barrett: self regard

"We would worry less about what others think of us if we realized how seldom they do."

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Don't handle anything breakable while you read this

See your hand there? What's it doing?
Right now, while you are reading these typewritten words, your hand muscles are moving imperceptibly, but measurably. These movements would be even greater if the words were handwritten.

That's because your motor system strongly contributes to your perception of language, in part by trying to simulate the movements that were necessary to craft the words you read on a page or screen.
This is because the corticospinal (motor) system develops first in humans, and other functions develop on top of its foundation.

Let me stop right here. Did you know you have a corticospinal system? Well, that's a new one on me!
The researchers excited test subjects' left primary motor cortices with transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) equipment, while showing each subject videos of typed and handwritten words and clusters of letters. The TMS-induced activity in the hand muscles allowed them to measure the motor system's level of excitement for each different video.
I may have some of that equipment down in the basement. Not sure.
Gordon said the results were somewhat surprising.
I should say so. I suspect most readers of this blog are more likely to move their lips while reading it.

The coup attempt against The Donald

Who's the tallest?
A friend in Washington tells me that's what's going on, and it's hard to not think so.

James Comey, contrary to law and probity, leaked official documents with the aim of getting a special prosecutor appointed to investigated The Donald. We know that because he said so.

A guy named Rod Rosenstein, who found himself in the deputy attorney general's chair, took it upon himself to appoint former FBI Director Robert Mueller as the special prosector. Comey and Mueller are longtime friends.

Byron York:
Should a prosecutor pursue a case in which the star witness is a close friend? And when the friend is not only a witness but also arguably a victim — of firing — by the target of the investigation? And when the prosecutor might also be called on to investigate some of his friend's actions? The case would be difficult enough even without the complicating friendship.
York queried five experienced lawyers in Washington. One, on the Hill, said:
It's somewhat ironic, no? I mean, the whole purpose of the special counsel is to have a prosecutor from outside the government and outside of the normal chain of command because inherent conflicts render the Justice Department incapable of handling it. So, now the special counsel is a close friend (mentor/mentee relationship) with the star witness, who by his own admission leaked the memos at least in part to engineer the appointment of a special counsel. Only in Washington. You can't make this stuff up.
Look at the people Mueller is hiring.
Four top lawyers hired by Mueller have contributed tens of thousands of dollars over the years to the Democratic Party and Democratic candidates, including former President Barack Obama and President Donald Trump's 2016 opponent, Hillary Clinton. 
One of the hires, Jeannie Rhee, also worked as a lawyer for the Clinton Foundation and helped persuade a federal judge to block a conservative activist's attempts to force Bill and Hillary Clinton to answer questions under oath about operations of the family-run charity.
What does this look like to you?

Monday, June 12, 2017

Everybody is spying on you

Don't look now but you're being watched.

Your Samsung phone is a Peeping Tom. Samsung phones use technology which can spy on what you’re reading and watching online – and monitor emails in your inbox. The phones switch onto spy mode after they are alerted by a “beacon” often embedded in web pages or signals hidden in online adverts.

Look for the yellow dots.
Be careful what you print. On 3 June, FBI agents arrived at the house of government contractor Reality Winner. They had spent two days investigating a top secret document allegedly leaked to the press. To track down Winner, agents studied copies of the document provided by an online news site. They discovered  yellow dots in a roughly rectangular pattern repeated throughout the page. They seemed to reveal the exact date and time that the pages  were printed: 06:20 on 9 May, 2017. The dots also encode a serial number for the printer.

Can your refrigerator keep a secret? Your front door, television and child’s doll could all be spying on you. The internet of things, everyday objects connected to the web, can send and receive data and appliances have the power to gain control and track your behaviour and movements. At least 40 per cent of Australian homes now have at least one internet of things device and they are disguised as normal appliances. They can be fridges, kettles or even window blinds.

Just smile all the time. Facebook wants to spy on people through their smartphone camera and analyse the emotions on their face. It has patented technology that monitors users' reactions to the posts, messages and adverts they see on its app. Patent documents contain illustrations showing a person holding a smartphone with a camera taking a picture from which “emotion characteristics” like smiling or frowning are detected. If the person appears to like what they’re seeing, Facebook could place more of the same type of content in front of them.

You can't hide in the closet. Scientists have found a way to photograph people in 3D through walls using Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi can pass through walls. German scientists have found a way to exploit this property to take holograms, or 3D photographs, of objects inside a room — from outside it.

The strange case of Little Jimmy Comey

So proud of their man.
Well, everyone on The Left was waiting. Breaths were bated. They gathered in bars to watch the Fall of Trump. Then James "Little Jimmy" Comey started talking.

Being a Doofus, Little Jimmy blew it.

The first thing we now know is this:
Comey is part of the Never Trump, Deep State resistance. By his actions, Comey reveals himself to be a fellow traveler with Never Trumpers. His firing brought him out of the shadows and into the open “resistance” to the president. Comey is now a driving force in the scheme to overturn the 2016 election. Curiously for a man who claims to be nonpartisan, Comey wasn’t bothered nearly as much when a Democratic attorney general tried to meddle in the election by smothering his investigation of Hillary Clinton’s e-mails. Or when the IRS went after conservatives.
The second thing:

His job in the Resistance was to help establish a special prosecutor, a position filled by his long-time friend. Comey testified Thursday that he orchestrated the leak of accounts of conversations with President Donald Trump because he thought it might lead to the appointment of a special prosecutor to lead the Russia investigation. "My judgment was that I needed to get that out into the public square," he said. He added he took the step "because I thought that might prompt the appointment of a special counsel."
Newt Gingrich comments: Look at what Comey said. Comey said, I deliberately leaked, through an intermediary, to create this counsel, who happens to be one of his closest friends. Then look at who Mueller's starting to hire. I mean these are people that, frankly, look - look to me like they're - they're setting up to go after Trump. They've - including people, by the way, who have been reprimanded for hiding from the defense information into major cases. I think this - this is going to be a witch hunt. I think that Comey himself, by his own testimony, tainted this particular process. You have a director of the FBI deliberately leaking in order to create a special counsel, who we're now supposed to believe is going to be this neutral figure. I think that's just nonsense....
I hope Robert "Friend of Little Jimmy" Mueller realizes that The Left and the Deep State Resistance has moved on from Russian "collusion," since there wasn't any, to obstruction of justice.

To change your life, get a habit

Warren Buffett reads all day to build the knowledge necessary for his investments. Stephen King writes 1000 words a day, 365 days a year (a habit he describes as “a sort of creative sleep.”) Athlete Eliud Kipchoge makes notes after each training session to establish areas which can be improved.

And me? I floss.

  • We want to learn a new language. We could decide we want to be fluent in 6 months (goal), or we could commit to 30-minutes of practice each day (habit.)
  • We want to read more books. We could set the goal to read 50 books by the end of the year, or we could decide to always carry one (habit.)
  • We want to spend more time with family. We could plan to spend 7 hours a week with family (goal), or we could choose to eat dinner with them each night (habit.)
We already operate through habit. Someone has estimated that habits make up 40 percent of our waking hours. I know that's how much time I devote to flossing. William James, who dedicated his life to thinking up clever quotes we could borrow long after he was dead, said: "All our life, so far as it has definite form, is but a mass of habits – practical, emotional, and intellectual – systematically organized for our weal or woe, and bearing us irresistibly toward our destiny, whatever the latter may be."

Perhaps the best way to think about habits was expressed by Ghandi: "Sow a thought, reap an action; sow an action, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny."

Or clean teeth.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

This just in ...

Joel Osteen Dives Off Stage 

To Prevent Man From Opening His Bible

HOUSTON, TX—While preaching a sermon entitled “Claiming Your Comfort Zone,” Pastor Joel Osteen made a diving save from Lakewood Church’s stage Sunday to prevent a man in the front row from opening his Bible and checking the validity of the popular pastor’s words, sources confirmed.

The incident reportedly occurred after Osteen made a claim from the pulpit that the power to speak prosperity into existence is “inside each one of us,” causing a visitor in the front row to furrow his brow and begin leafing through his Bible to find any kind of proof for Osteen’s claims.

The televangelist’s ears perked up at the unfamiliar sound, and he sprang into action, shouting “NOOOOOOOOO!” and making an amazing twenty-foot-long dive into the crowd before snatching the Bible out of the man’s hands at the last possible moment, according to witnesses.

The crowd immediately broke out into applause at the amazing feat, but Osteen merely smiled and pointed upward, giving glory to God for the breathtaking play.

“Prosperity gospel preachers practice this kind of stuff over and over again in seminary, but being able to keep your head on your shoulders in a live sermon situation is something different entirely,” one commentator said. “Osteen’s a pro.”

Film at 11.

Vespers: Stabat Mater

Ars Nova Copenhagen performs Giovanni Palestrina's "Stabat Mater."

Ars Nova Copenhagen, founded in 1979, specializes in the interpretation of the polyphonic choral music of the renaissance and new vocal music. Ars Nova is also building collaborations with creative artists in different fields such as drama, film, and ballet, as well as cultivating new modes of concert performance and innovative repertoire.

Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (c. 1525 – 1594) was an Italian Renaissance composer of sacred music and the best-known 16th-century representative of the Roman School of musical composition. He had a lasting influence on the development of church music, and his work has often been seen as the culmination of Renaissance polyphony.

The Stabat Mater is a 13th-century Catholic hymn to Mary, which portrays her suffering as Jesus Christ's mother during his crucifixion. Its author may be either the Franciscan friar Jacopone da Todi or Pope Innocent III. The title comes from its first line, Stabat Mater dolorosa, which means "the sorrowful mother was standing." The hymn is sung at the liturgy on the memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows.

Remembering things using places

When I was applying for some insurance policy, I had to take a test to check my mind. Part of it was remembering 10 things. I did it successfully by placing each thing in a room in my house.

This technique is called "Method of Loci." This is sometimes called a "Mind Palace." Can you remember that? I may come in handy. Here's how it works.
Let's use a shopping list as an example. Instead of focusing on the word ‘rice,’ this technique works by focusing on the image of rice thrown on the ground in a yard. For eggs, picture a hen pecking at the rice, followed by a nearby tree of apple blossoms, the petals falling around the hen, falling on a sleeping dog. Once the interconnected scene is created it’s a simple visual to ease your way around the halls of the grocery store with no list needed.
As you're wandering the store pretending to be in your house interesting things can happen.
This technique is more formally called 'method of loci', and is believed to have been invented by the Greek poet Simonides of Ceos, who developed his muscular memory about 2,500 years ago, in really unfortunate circumstances. The roof of a banquet hall, full of people, collapsed and crushed many of them beyond recognition. Simonides had to recall where people had been sitting along the tables to confirm their deaths — hence, method of location.
That's just sad. This is interesting:
Training in method of loci can physically change the way a person remembers. The method connects brain regions, and according to lead author Martin Dresler, this includes “regions critical for visuospatial memory and navigation, such as retrosplenial and hippocampal areas.” By training in this way, the brain can shape new pathways of recall, so that the act of remembering has multiple, speedy avenues on which to travel. 
When I start using my retrosplenial I get a headache.

Glory above the heavens

From The Lectionary:

Psalm 8

8:1 O LORD, our Sovereign, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens.

8:2 Out of the mouths of babes and infants you have founded a bulwark because of your foes, to silence the enemy and the avenger.

8:3 When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars that you have established;

8:4 what are human beings that you are mindful of them, mortals that you care for them?

8:5 Yet you have made them a little lower than God, and crowned them with glory and honor.

8:6 You have given them dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under their feet,

8:7 all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field,

8:8 the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the seas.

8:9 O LORD, our Sovereign, how majestic is your name in all the earth!

John Milton: self-control

"He who reigns within himself and rules his passions, desires, and fears is more than a king."

Friday, June 09, 2017

Casual Friday: Momma Told Me Not to Come

Just two working days til Monday!

"If God is watching us, the least we can do is be entertaining." ~ anon

How much alcohol is too much?

Don't mean to spoil your weekend, but you're probably drinking too much.
Nearly 14 million adults, or every one in 13 adults, abuse alcohol or have an alcoholism problem. In addition, several million more partake in risky alcohol consumption that could potentially lead to abuse, and over three million American teenagers aged 14 to 17 have an alcohol problem.
More numbers:
In 2015, 26.9 percent of people ages 18 or older reported that they engaged in binge drinking in the past month; 7.0 percent reported that they engaged in heavy alcohol use in the past month.
You probably console yourself that you're doing it for your heart. There is some limited evidence that might be true. Then again:
Moderate drinking -- no more than 1 drink a day for women and 2 for men -- appears to protect some people against some heart diseases. Before you break out that cocktail shaker, know this: Some doctors aren’t sure if those healthy effects come from the alcohol or from other good lifestyle choices that light drinkers make. So if you don’t drink already, don’t start. Diet and exercise also provide many of the benefits listed above.
Now we're learning that even moderate drinking changes your brain.
Drinking even moderate amounts of alcohol can damage the brain and impair cognitive function over time, researchers have claimed. 
While heavy drinking has previously been linked to memory problems and dementia, previous studies have suggested low levels of drinking could help protect the brain. But the new study pushes back against the notion of such benefits. 
“We knew that drinking heavily for long periods of time was bad for brain health, but we didn’t know at these levels,” said Anya Topiwala, a clinical lecturer in old age psychiatry at the University of Oxford and co-author of the research.
Well, you drink to affect your brain. Why would you suppose that effect just stops when you want it to?