Low T Red Wine

Cabernet Sauvignon grape cluster, shown by DNA...

Do you suffer from low T? Too stubborn or embarrassed to go to the doctor to ask for that testosterone deodorant, Axiron?  Are you drowning your sorrows in Kentucky bourbon or cheap American beer? Well, you may be closer to a full restoration of your manhood than you think.  A recent UK study indicates that red wine contains some sort of miracle compound that keeps the body from eliminating the T hormone so easily.  A couple of glasses of red a night should do the trick, but no chugging straight from the bottle or drinking in excess – two glasses, not two bottles. But what kind of red grape? The study didn’t go there but I will.

So, what is the manly grape? It’s probably not Merlot, or pink Zinfandel. Pinot Noir is just too delicate and light to do the trick and a good one probably costs more than hormone injections. On the other end of the spectrum are the full-bodied Italian reds – Barbaresco and Barolo.  But like the Pinot Noir a decent Barolo costs a fortune. I would recommend a heavy Cabernet Sauvignon, a spicy Shiraz or Bordeaux or Bordeaux blend. Maybe go for a Malbec. I once played the word Malbec in Scrabble, but I was challenged and it was disallowed because the grape wasn’t in the American dictionary!

Now don’t rush out to the wine store and like a brute ask which wine has the most testosterone.  Be discreet.  Choose the wine like you know what you’re doing.  If anyone asks if you need help, don’t tell them you think you might have low T, just say you’re looking for a full-bodied red in whatever price range you can afford. If you don’t know how to open a wine bottle with a cork, ask for a twist off cap, not a box wine.  You can probably find a decent Syrah with a screw cap, but steer clear of Boone’s Farm and Riunite Lambrusco.  Trust me.

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Better Days Ahead

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What should President Obama’s second term priorities be?  There are lots of issues to tackle:  the “vaulted” debt ceiling, climate change, energy policy, gun control, mental health, but what first?  I can see gun control being up there especially as a response to the 7 mass murders committed in 2012 ending in the Newtown, CT tragedy.  The president issued a series of executive orders to address the issue, including mechanisms for improving the system of background checks; gun safety education; establishing a national dialogue on mental health issues; nominating an ATF Director (what, there isn’t one?) and authorizing the CDC to research the causes of gun violence, which the NRA had successfully prevented it from doing in the past.  Now it’s up to Congress to take substantive action, which the House appears unlikely to do, despite wide spread public support for a ban on assault weapons and high capacity magazine clips.

Given the staggering numbers of Republicans in Congress who serve to protect the NRA, there isn’t much hope for significant legislation to curtail gun violence and prevent mass murders, so what would they support?  They can’t continue to be simply the party of NO, standing only for rejecting any proposal supported by the President.  If the GOP continues to stonewall, filibuster and obstruct for the next 4 years, they will forever be known as the party of no support from the people they desperately need to attract – women, Blacks, Hispanics, and moderates.

But Congress, with its pitiful 18% approval rating, has to do something to restore the confidence of the American public.  What can it do?  For starters, Congress can vote to raise the debt ceiling so as not to risk downgrading the nation’s credit rating. This alone won’t be enough to win the hearts of Americans.  No, they have to go bigger, and why not go big with immigration reform?  This could be a win win for all. But when I say big, I mean big, real big.  First, employ the unemployed to tear down the fence along the US southern border.  Don’t bother with the Northern border – first, to my knowledge, there is no fence there and second, the only Canadians who have any interest in living in the states are rockers and comedians.  With all that concrete along the Southern border, we could build  hundreds of new schools, employ tens of thousands of teachers and construction workers for all the new schools needed after opening up the border.  Yes, I mean it.  Open the borders to any and all law abiding citizens of the world provided they can work, have no criminal background and can show some means of support or sponsorship, (unless they have refugee status). For those upstanding citizens of the world without employable skills, adult education programs would be funded to teach English literacy and general vocational skills to serve local sectors of the U.S. with the greatest demand for workers.  All new entrants and the previously undocumented living in this country would be issued a Social Security number.  Consider this:  the best way to ensure the solvency of social security is to have more people paying in, not simply to raise the retirement age to 96.

Republicans should champion these ideas as a means of competing for the loyalties of a changing USA demographic that will soon be a non-white majority.  But the thing is, they won’t because the radical fringe that seems to be calling the shots would rather secede from the Union than come to grips with a loss of power in a democratic process that they despise and have tried desperately to rig in their favor through gerrymandering, and voter suppression tactics.

Let’s get it done – gun control, immigration reform and the greening of the planet in the next two years.  And let’s not let the GOP say “frack that”.

Smoking Fraud

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I know many smokers who quit cold turkey.  Just like that.  And not for themselves, but for a concerned friend or loved one or the birth of a child.  No one that I know misses those cancer sticks one bit.  And even though some had been smoking for years prior to quitting, they had no withdrawal symptoms.  They didn’t need to chew on straws, or Nicorette gum, had no weight gain or anxiety attacks.  They just quit and never looked back.

And looking back, I don’t know how I survived the smoking era.  I can remember going to concerts and being consumed by walls of smoke illuminated by the stage lights and the occasional flick of a bic or Zippo.  Folks smoked at the movies, in offices, on airliners and even inside hospitals.  Can you imagine this today?  We’ve come a long way.

Here’s the thing and the reason I’m writing this post – the British Journal of Psychiatry came out with a study that said that smokers have reduced anxiety when they quit, not more, which is often the reason people say they can’t quit.  Anxious smokers.  Smokers worried that quitting will make them anxious or more anxious or who smoke to cope with anxiety are no doubt already anxious – they’d be worried and nervous with or without smokes.  But consider this, are all smokers who use the anxiety excuse to continue smoking really anxious or are they instead pleasure seekers and extreme narcissists?  If these class of smokers quit, they’d use the anxiety excuse to eat unhealthily – burgs, dogs, “freedom” fries, Hostess Cupcakes, Pringles, and Cheez Doodles.  They would then blame the weight gain on the fact that they quit smoking, begin to feel guilty and go back to smoking, exchanging one pleasure for another.  It’s the oldest psychological fraud in the book.

I’m not opposed to people smoking, but “I mind very much if you smoke” around me.

Boeing Nightmare

English: Artist impression of Boeing 787-9 Dre...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Boeing Dreamliner, more like the Boeing Nightmare.  What a disaster.  Smoking batteries, leaking fuel, cracked cockpits windows, at least the emergency slides work.  Two major Japanese airlines grounded their fleet of Dreamliners and the FAA has grounded all 787’s in service in the U.S. However, despite the mishaps and concerns, there appears to be widespread international support for the 787 among carriers who fly them and have some on order.  A spokesman for Ethiopian Airlines argued that the planes are safe and that it is natural for new products to have some “bugs”.  Other carriers that have placed orders for the Dreamliner say they aren’t worried because they expect the mechanical issues to be worked out prior to delivery.

I like flying, always have and would love to fly on one of these, but not before they solve the battery issue.  Come on, what’s going on here? Lithium batteries – what are they powering these things on laptop batteries or using those discarded Chevy Volt batteries that caught fire on the test track?  Actually, the batteries are manufactured by a Japanese company, as are many of the parts on the bird.  Not that this means Boeing is off the hook, but it does raise questions about their contracting practices.  It’s like Boeing saying, batteries not included.  Maybe Boeing should have looked to Duracell (the copper top) for battery support.  Now the cracked cockpit window, that’s pretty serious.  I don’t want the captain flying in a depressurized cabin with a mask breathing supplemental oxygen.  And if the cockpit window can crack, so too can the passenger windows.  I always liked the window seat, but I can do without supplemental fresh air.

At least the wings haven’t fallen off.  And that’s good news for the Dreamliner.

Vaccination Vacation

Français : Vaccination contre la grippe A (H1N...

Français : Vaccination contre la grippe A (H1N1) de 2009 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Model of Influenza Virus from U.S. National In...

I had never realized until just now that vaccination looks so much like the word  vacation.  And there is a probable link, for if you go without a vaccination, you just might get a vacation from work.  In the Boston area, there is a flu epidemic.  Folks are falling ill at an alarming pace, surpassing last year’s outbreak by a factor of 10.  But here’s the thing, Bostonians aren’t taking the threat seriously because so many have stubbornly refused to get inoculated with the flu vaccine.  I suppose they want the vacation from work.  And here’s the other thing, according to an article in the Boston Globe, folks aren’t getting the flu shot for some surprising reasons among them, people just don’t have time, which I believe is code for “can’t be bothered”.  One resident interviewed argued that as long as everyone else gets the shot, he’d be fine.  Another said that she doesn’t like shots.  These are all dangerously selfish responses, and are  examples of the me first attitude that seems to be prevailing these days in the good ole US of A.  There seems to be a general lack of commitment to the common good, and too much commitment to ridiculous causes like taking back the 2nd amendment which to my knowledge has never been taken away.  Is arming to the teeth the best way to build community?  Actually, I think groups like the NRA don’t give a crap about community and associate the word with communism – “them dang commies want to take my guns away”.  Those who stubbornly resist the flu shot are essentially arming themselves with a contagious and to some, deadly virus.  And you know something, that’s just wrong.

Happy New Year!

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Heavy Equipment Photoshoot, a set on Flickr.

On this cold 1st day of 2013, these wonderful machines assembled for their first and likely only photoshoot of their careers. Cheers from all of us at Ribbie’s Weblog!