Friday, December 12, 2014

Thinking about police in the US

How can you not think about the police in the US right now?  It's all over the big cities and the news.

I keep feeling like people are missing asking the right questions, though.

I would love to see two questions addressed thoroughly:

1.  Why don't people follow police officer's instructions? (I have yet to hear a story that didn't involve someone refusing to follow officers' instructions as the catalyst.) This is not, in my mind, a rhetorical question.  I really want to know--what is going on in people's minds that makes it seem like it is a better idea NOT to obey?


2.  Why are the cops apparently overreacting? (or are they?)

I guess the third question that should be asked is 3. What do we want our society to look like and how do police fit into that?

Of course, each question leads to many, many more...

Like Are the cops scared for their lives all the time? Why?

And  Are people so afraid of what cops will do that they can't fathom obeying them? Why?

And Where is the line between understanding that criminals are human beings (and so treating them with dignity and respect as humans) and letting them get away with crime rather than enforcing the law (which might hurt their feelings or interfere with their activities)?

In the 1980s, people were so horrified at the criminality of big cities that they insisted that the police fix it. And they did--by working hard to enforce the "little laws" (ie not urinating in public, no graffiti, not selling unpackaged cigarettes), which cut down on breaking of the "big laws" (ie murder, rape, carjackings).  But lately it seems like people are coming down on the side of allowing people to break the "little laws" rather than....hurting their feelings?....without any sense that any amount of lawlessness leads to massive amounts of lawlessness really, really fast.   While there are many cases of the police using force where someone actually didn't break any laws (except for not obeying instructions from a police officer), there are many more cases where the person involved was breaking a "little law" and then resisted the police officers. And ended up dead. And yes, that does seem excessive, to end up dead for some misdemeanor offense, but does that mean we don't allow officers to enforce the "little laws" for fear they will do something wrong themselves?

I end up with lots of other questions that aren't be addressed, like is the militarization of police a cause or an effect?  If we disarm the cops but don't disarm the robbers (because really, how do you disarm the robbers? They are functioning outside the law as it is, so more laws won't help.), where does that leave the average citizen?

Also, I keep finding myself asking, "If you, as a member of a group (religious, cultural, racial, whatever) see members of your group doing heinous things (jihad, being thugs, running drugs), and you DON'T come out publicly to condemn that, how can you insist that you don't own part of the reputation the group gets from the idiots and criminals?" Reputations are rarely created whole-cloth and imposed on people. They are usually earned by someone (and then sometimes unfairly applied to others).   But if the Muslims don't want to carry the reputation as terrorists, and the inner-city minorities as criminals, and the hispanics as drug cartel members, shouldn't they be actively fighting those "members of their group" (even just those perceived as members of their groups)--or at least speaking out against them?

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Did I just read that?

"Crash tests with human dummies have confirmed the material efficiently absorbs energy and protects passengers from “secondary impacts”—i.e., slamming into the wall or a seat back when the train lurches unexpectedly. "

I guess you'd have to be a dummy to volunteer for crash tests.   Human dummies abound. Some animals are dummies, too.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Did I just read that?

From the 3rd paragraph of the article, the mixed metaphor of the week:

"Whether it's a few leaky apples or the sign of a larger morale problem is unclear. "

What is a leaky apple?

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Did I just read that?

"Polygamist women in ninja costumes attacked two adults in West Jordan, police say"

Hahahaha! This is completely grammatically correct. And so very, very amusing.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Did I just read that?

Google news summary of an article from the NY Daily News: "Manhattanite Kira Kazantsev is only 23-years-old but the blond bombshell is a scholar who speaks fluent Russian, advocates for domestic violence, plans on attending law school and can sing a mean cover of Pharrell Williams' “Happy." (It's the same in the actual article, here:

Maybe if she goes to law school she'll learn that domestic violence is something we are against, not for.

Later, the article makes it clear she advocates for VICTIMS of domestic violence (big BIG difference there).  But then it goes on to say, "To combat her fight against domestic violence, Kazantsev volunteers with Safe Horizon, a group that provides shelter for abused women. "

So her work is useless--she's fighting against herself.

Friday, August 08, 2014

Side effect of gay marriage being so visible

One social side effect that NOBODY is talking about in relation to the gay marriage debates is this: by making gay marriage just another option, we open the door to children to the idea that all relationships are potentially sexual relationships. It completely redefines friendship and relationships as we understand them.

Take this quote I lifted off a comment stream on FB (posting it anonymously as I had no way to get permission from the author, who is not on my friend list): "My daughter, at 7, thinks she's a lesbian. I've asked her to wait until puberty to decide. Also mentioned that bisexual is another option, which made her eyes gleam. She loves her best friend to bits, I've told her that sexual orientation is based more on romantic love and it's hard to say what is or isn't romantic love before puberty. "

A 7 year old thinks she is a lesbian because she loves her best friend.

That's so sad.

Is it no longer possible for girls to have a BFF without thinking the relationship has to be sexual?

Also, in context of this, nobody is talking about the fact that there is no research on whether children's sexual identity is fluid during puberty. The majority of women do have a fluid sexual identity, according to research. What about junior high kids? Does opening the door to the idea that they have to discover their sexual identity mean that there will be more bisexual and homosexual lifestyles going on, when they would have been heterosexual before? Does it make teens spend way too much time focusing on their sexual urges instead of focusing on developing skills and talents?

It's all murky, but not a great thing to experiment with.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Did I just read that?

From today: "Nighttime 'bio-blitz' nets hundreds of environmentally challenged toads"
Now what on earth is an "environmentally challenged toad"?  They live outside all environments and can't quite fit? They lack personal environment?


Sunday, June 01, 2014


You may have seen #YesAllWomen, a movement on social media that encourages women to tell their stories of being sexually harassed or physically threatened by men. It's supposed to be a bonding thing that lets women know that they aren't alone--other women have suffered through these kinds of things, too. And I can see value in that. Truly, I can.

But every time I see it pop up, I just groan.

First of all, it's not ALL women. I can't remember a time I was sexually harassed or physically threatened in the way these women are describing. And it bothers me when they say, openly, "You know you've experienced this, too."  Um...nope. Not ALL women, apparently.

Secondly, their unstated message is that not only have all women suffered, but all men are in line (or at least sympathetic) with these perverted men who do these things. Even if you never acted on it, the women seem to be saying, you know you think about it.  I just don't believe that. I do believe there are horrid men in the world. But not ALL men.

And finally, every single time I see another story pop up, I think how completely inappropriate it would be for men to start a movement talking about all the horrid, mean things women have done to them. Especially if it implied that all men were mistreated by all women all the time.

I find it completely baffling that these same feminist women who are publishing these stories refuse to acknowledge that women can be, and are, jerks too. And that jerkiness is not a function of being a certain gender any more than sexiness is. Some people are jerks. Some aren't. We don't need to expand that to say all women are controlling or all men are lecherous simply because some are. And it doesn't further any conversations about real problems that really exist when we demonize and entire gender because...well ...because we have fallen in line with other people who do that? I find it even more offensive when in one post online women bemoan the objectification of women, and in the next they talk about how "hot" some male movie star is.

I guess what I'm getting at is you can't have it both ways. Either everyone gets to objectify, or nobody does. Either everyone gets to point out things the other gender does that are unacceptable (because, ladies, we do things that are unacceptable, too!), or nobody does. You don't get to make men the bad guys and then expect our culture to somehow magically improve.

Mostly, I'm starting to block people who advocate feminism online. They might find it pitiful, and I find it ironic, but the more they talk about their agenda, the less I feel like they are actually in touch with the experiences of average women, and the less I feel like they can actually help any women anywhere (especially the ones--males and female-- who seem compelled to defend womenkind against most of us women out there, without realizing they are trying to force us all to conform to an arbitrary standard upheld and created by an elite group, which is the very thing they are supposedly fighting against). Which is probably fine. They seem to relish talking to each other more than solving problems or engaging in real discussion anyway.  You know, like the traditional stereotypical gossipy exclusive nagging women's club. Only minus the aprons and hats.


Sunday, May 11, 2014

Happy Mother's Day!

People always confuse the satellite duties of motherhood with motherhood. You know--you've heard the talks. "My mom always came to my baseball games" or "my mom made the best cookies" or articles saying a mother's work is worth $119,000 a year (and defining a mother's work as chef, chauffeur, teacher, laundress, etc.

It's true mothers do massive amounts of work for free. And they do show up and cook and do all those satellite things. They're all closely attached to the job.

But imagine if those things went away. Suppose a mother was in a car accident and suddenly paralyzed from the chin down. For a long time, and maybe forever, many of those satellite things would disappear. No picking up the floor. No cooking. No attending baseball games. No driving or laundering.

And you know what? She would still be mother.

Motherhood is not defined nor created by the work a parent does.

A mother without all of those extra things would still be a mother. She would still be invaluable and one of the strongest influences in a child's life. Her voice would still calm a child in distress-even when the child was an adult. (Did you know there are scientific studies proving that just the sound of a mother's voice--even over the phone--can relieve stress more effectively and more quickly than anything else?). Just simply the way she lived and viewed life and interacted with the people around her would define so much of her children's futures.

Motherhood is not the work we attribute to it. It's not the dishes or the laundry or even the tending to people when they are sick. Even wicked, abusive women do those things, but they aren't really mothers. Motherhood is this other, nearly indefinable thing that is not so much a thing we do as it is a thing we are. Many women become that when they have their first baby, but all women can become mothers. And many women who have children never do.

I can no more define motherhood for you than anyone else, but mothers are an amazing influence for good, for strength, for the future.

So Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers out there. And thank you.

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Did I just read that?

"Head of sunken ferry's owner in S. Korea detained"

They let the rest of him go, though.

D-ribose in pregnancy

I've been studying the effects of d-ribose on pregnancy this week, curious if it's safe to take d-ribose when you're pregnant.

So far, the usual forums, doctor-moderated boards, and public health sites have been of zero help. So I turned to Google Scholar.

What I learned, from reading scientific papers, is that, at least in mice, high doses (like 158 grams a day for a human; the usual therapeutic dose for a human is 15 grams a day) of ribose delivered intravenously causes dementia and is highly toxic to cells. (The regular human therapeutic dose was studied, too, and had no ill effects). So don't overdose. (

But I also learned that, at least in rats, dietary ribose supplementation, even in extremely high doses (up to 789 grams per day for a human) has absolutely zero affect on pregnancy or babies. The babies, placentas, etc, were physically indistinguishable from the control group.  (

That would indicate that ribose is safe for pregnancy, at least for rats.

It does cross the blood-brain barrier, and enters cells through diffusion, so there is a good chance that it would cross the placental barrier as well, though.  And, since ribose is unsafe for diabetics, I imagine it would be unsafe for those with gestational diabetes as well.  Also, there was no research regarding the mental development of the rats.

Someone has also submitted a patent to use ribose to treat newborn stroke.  This doesn't prove it's safe of course (lots of wacky patents are submitted), but at least one scientist thinks it is.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

More thoughts on modesty

There seems to be an ongoing discussion among some of my friends about what modesty means and how it should be taught. Many of my friends say that teaching modesty (or "the way it is taught") is wrong, and their reasons are very persuasive but feel very wrong.

I realized today that Anda is going to be taught about modesty by someone other than me in the next few years as she joins Young Womens. And I realized that I'd rather her be taught the traditional way, not the "new-and-improved" way some of my friends are proposing.


The new way doesn't appropriately or accurately deal with the true, biological nature of men. It, in essence, says  that men should be women and see the world the way women do. This is neither fair nor realistic. While I agree that boys should be taught that they are responsible for their own actions and for learning to see women as people, not just bodies, it is important for women to understand that men notice bodies, too, even on women they like as people.

The other thing I want Anda to understand is that her clothes choices are her chance to inform every person she meets how she wants to be treated. While it's a lovely idea that we should be able to dress however we like, our clothes are really a text that informs people how we wish to be perceived. If we treat ourselves as bodies only, people will treat us as bodies only. If we treat ourselves as people, we will be treated as people. And how do we inform others of how we wish to be treated? By what we wear. And all the theories and lovely ideas about how stupid that is are totally disconnected from reality, no matter how appealing they are.

If we want to be treated with respect and dignity, we have to dress with respect and dignity. Period.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

I'm Okay with Elder Oaks' Talk.

I have a lot of friends who are having emotional/spiritual crises of varying intensities because of Elder Oaks' talk about the Priesthood in Conference. I think it's because he said that the Lord said the Priesthood is only for men, and it won't help to petition the brethren because they don't even possess the keys to change that, no matter how much you beg.

The problem many of my friends are having stems from the fact that they decided they were right and essentially gave the church an ultimatum. Giving women the Priesthood--now--was non-negotiable because it makes a lot of sense to them.

I feel sad for my friends. They're all suffering right now, trying to reconcile their personal beliefs that conflict--because as of Saturday night, they no longer had the freedom to say, "Apostles speak for Jesus Christ and direct the Church according to His commands" and "God wants women to have the Priesthood." (And my friends were, surprisingly, uninclined to question the second statement. Instead, they were all struggling with how to reconcile the first to the second). Why? Because they've all thought through it thoroughly and truly believe that their understanding of both women and the priesthood leave no space for women not to have the priesthood. They've really considered this deeply, and it makes no sense to them to do it any other way. It's just not fair.

So why did Elder Oaks' talk give me not one whit of distress?  Because I believe that women should not have the priesthood.

And I can tell you nearly a dozen reasons I think that's a good idea.

The thought process that led to those nearly a dozen reasons was like this (in a series of questions that I prayed about--over many years):
1. Is God real? Yes.
2. Does he care about  me? More than I do.
3. If God is real and wants us to know about him, would He have more than one right church out there, all teaching different things? No.
4. So if there is one right church, someone must be in charge or there is chaos with all people believing what they will. So who is in charge? A prophet.
5. If it is truly God's church (and Jesus is in charge of it), would He leave the prophet to figure things out himself? No. That would be silly.
6. So is it reasonable to accept that God created the structure of His church to be led by a prophet and apostles, and that they are in active contact with Jesus to direct the Church according to His will? Yes.
7. Are people, including prophets and apostles, fallible? Yes. But would God ever allow them to lead the entire church astray on important matters (like who holds the Priesthood of God)?  No. So we can assume that if a matter is important, God and His prophets have conversed about it.
8. Is it possible for me to comprehend or see all that God can comprehend or see? No.
9. So if God and I are at odds on some point of doctrine or practice, who is most likely to have made the mistake? ME. He can see and know more than I possibly can, and he care more for me and the people I love than I possibly can even comprehend. So I should probably trust Him, and if I don't understand, try to see it from His perspective (as impossible as that task actually is) instead of insisting He see it from mine (because He already does, thank you, and that doesn't mean He's going to do it my way).
10. Who do I have stewardship over (and therefore the right to receive revelation for)? Well, not the prophet or apostles, that's for sure. But they do have stewardship over me. And I do over me, too, and also over my children while they are young. Probably not anyone else. Maybe my spouse. Maybe. Not assuredly, though. So therefore the right questions to ask God would mostly likely be about me--my beliefs, my behaviors, my attitudes--and not about what the whole Church should be doing, or even what God should be doing.

So, once I had answered those questions (which didn't happen in one night--it was a journey), I was fairly confident that if the prophet or apostles gave us direction, it would be wiser for me to pray for understanding--of the instructions, of the doctrines, and of what I should do--than to sit around asking the Lord to change his mind.

In other words, I asked, "So you don't think women should have the priesthood. I can accept that. Can you help me understand why?" instead of "Please give me the priesthood--I think I can serve best that way." (That's a silly statement anyway--we can all serve to our capacity without the Priesthood. Nobody is required to have keys and ordinations to see suffering around us and try to ease it).

Anyway, I now have lots of reasons not to need the priesthood, and some new insights into the fact that we've devalued women's assignments but that doesn't mean the Lord has.

I do not believe women need or should have the priesthood. Maybe some time I'll write down why.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Did I just read that?

From "The cases were consolidated and argued Tuesday morning by Solicitor General Don Verrilli and Paul Clement, who argued the ACA cases before the court almost two years ago, on a spring day in 2012, when it was not—as it was Tuesday—snowing."

Because snow has so much to do with contraception, government mandates, and legal cases....

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Did I just read that?

"You can only enter from outside."

Yes, because if you are inside and going through the door, we call that exiting.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

How to Embed a Google+ Pages Photo Album into a Google Sites Website

Just spent 2 hours trying to figure this out, so I'm going to write down what worked to hopefully spare any of you the frustration I just went through.

What I wanted to do: Put up a photo album in Tim's Google+ Mister Tim page and then embed the album on his website. Seems simple enough. I'm even using all Google tools, so it should be possible, right? Google SHOULD give you a link or a snippet of code in Google + like they do in Picasa, right?

Not so much. It is possible, but it requires a very convoluted workaround, especially since I was trying to use a Google+ Page instead of a straightforward Google+ account.

Here's what worked:

1. First, log in to Google+ and use the left dropdown navigation bar to go to your Pages. In our case, I logged in to Tim's Timothy Jones Google+ account and then navigated to his pages screen, which has three options on it. I chose "Manage this Page" under "Mister Tim".

2. Use the left dropdown navigation to choose "Photos". Now click on "More" in the top navigation bar and select "Albums", or upload photos and create a new album. Either way, once the album is created, go to the albums page again (Photos>More>Albums) and choose the album you want to embed. Click on the dropdown arrow (white button) on the far right of the screen, and choose "Sharing Options" and make sure that the option under "Visible to" is "Public". Click "Save".

3. Now, on the left dropdown navigation menu, choose Settings.

4. Scroll down to Third Party Tools. Copy your page's username and set up a password for it.

5. Now go to this site:

6. Log in using your Google+ Page username that you just copied and the password you just created.

7.  If you aren't on the "Home" tab, click there. If your album shows up under "Recent Albums", choose it. If not, click on "View All" next to Recent Albums and select your album there.

8. In the right sidebar, double check that your album is set to "public on the web". If it isn't, choose edit. If it is, then click on "Link to this Album," also in the right sidebar.

9. Select "Embed Slideshow". A popup box will appear. Select the options you want and then copy the html code from the box. (You can select "Embed album" but you get fewer formatting options.)

10. Log in to your website and use the tools there to insert the html code into the right page. Save the page, and the slideshow should be fully functional. Here is our result:

Sunday, March 16, 2014

On putting your house in order

A year ago I complained--rather heavily--about the misinterpretation of the scripture that says to put your house in order.

Today was Ward Conference again, and the bishop asked us to think back on the year and how we put our houses in order. He asked if we had more gospel-centered artwork around our houses now.

I consciously turned my brain to what he was actually asking (not about art, but about if we pondered the scripture he felt inspired to make our ward theme, and what we did about it).  

I was quite relieved to discover that, after pondering the verse quite a lot last spring, I did work throughout the year to put our house in order.

And you know what? I have never, in my life, had a messier house.

How is that, you wonder, when I worked to put it in order?  Well, each day, each  minute, I tried very hard to choose the most important things to do, and do those first. I tried to focus on what the Spirit was telling me to do, what my children and husband needed, what the people around me needed, on using and developing my talents and helping my children do the same, on helping people to find light and joy in the lives they are in, whether chosen or not.  Of course, I wasn't perfect at choosing. But it seemed to me that the right order in life is to put God's work first, and focus on doing what He would do at any particular moment.

And that left me far, far too busy to clean the floors. Most days. Some days there was time left for that. Some days there was both time and energy for that. Sometimes even the best possible choice was to work on the house, and I got some important things done in that area. But I have fibro, and my energy is very limited, and, in making the best possible choices I could, the floor suffered more often than not.

I find that kind of ironic, that we were told to put our houses in order, told to ponder the scripture, and then everyone somehow expected the measure of success in that to be the emptiness of the floor and if you cluttered your walls with more pictures of Jesus or the temple. By that measure, I failed. Big time. Although my walls did get cluttered with more art--even some of it pictures of Jesus, but most of it drawn by my children (sometimes right on the wall). But I feel like I succeeded at putting my house in order and surviving what was arguably one of the hardest years of my life.

Makes me really, really glad that the Lord doesn't judge by the living room floor or the state of the kids' bathroom toilet, but that "the Lord looketh on the heart."

Did I just read that?

From an article on "Walter died of congestive heart familiar while on vacation with his wife of 57 years."


Naturally, the first thing that comes to mind is that a witch's animal partner is called a familiar. So witches got him?

Sunday, February 23, 2014

"The Funky Introvert" is done and here

Tim's CD is done. We have physical copies here, at the house, ready to listen to. Thank you everyone who adopted tracks (your copies are coming to you soon as I can get them there).

Thank you everyone who has listened.

And thank you SO SO much to everyone who has shared the news and encouraged their friends to listen.

Please do listen. You can listen on Spotify (, although those are the singles versions. The album was designed to be listened to as a whole, in order, and if you get a physical copy (or a digital download of the "album version"), the best experience is there as some of the easter eggs in the album blend one song into another, and the tracks ebb and flow nicely as a whole. One of the most significant parts of the whole album is the easter egg verse in "Monument" (it's not hard to find, but it takes a little technological know-how to decode it).

You can find the whole version on iTunes or cheaper on Amazon It's also on Tim's store, although the whole-album download as the "album version" is still coming.  Scroll down to get a physical CD copy.

I know this is not the kind of music you hear every day. But it's cool. It tackles some challenging topics, and is musically challenging in some ways (all vocal, some vocal-but-instrumental stuff going on--including a whole song, looping, art music, variety of styles, some of it poetry set to music with all the challenge that poetry brings along with all the challenge that music brings.). It's really good music, though, even if you need a copy of the lyrics in hand in order to really get the full impact of it (you can get a low-res copy of the lyrics book here:; I can send you a link to the high-res copy if you want it, but it's a hefty download, or else a whole lot of one-page-at-a-time downloading, but it's super pretty. Tim did a great job on the design).

This is NOT moosebutter. If you are expecting moosebutter, you will not get this. If you love moosebutter and want more, you probably won't even like this. It is NOT moosebutter. The Funky Introvert is not funny. It's not silly. It's not comedy--not even a little.

The Funky Introvert is 21st century art songs. Like good art, the songs have broad and deep meanings, which can be completely personal--there is no one right way to hear these songs. For example, the song "Tango" is about addiction, or living with the fallout of having been abused as a child, or about bad habits, or about mental illness, or about unrepented sins, or about nightmares or anxieties that won't leave you alone, or about the "muse" that won't leave artists alone and compels them to work or about any number of other demons that interfere with our lives.  "The Fire that Consumes Your Eyes" is about depression, or about being afraid to fall in love, or about mental illness and clinging to those we care about who are suffering, or about the creative process, or about being in love.  So many things you can hear. So many things Tim was saying. So many things you can learn or ponder or see. Even the songs that tell a story do it the way poetry does--so that each person hears a different story. When the kids and I first heard "A Question, A Tiger," one of us thought it was the story of thieves, one of lovers, one of spies. "Outdated" was, at different times, the story of war, and a commentary and warning about the reality of being famous, and the story of Icarus.  "Stick Around" was an invitation to stay and hear something awesome in the music and ponder it, but it was also Las Vegas speaking to us, trying to entice people to come and stay.

Tim is awesomely okay with people "owning" these songs and hearing from them what they need to hear. He had specific ideas of what he was talking about when he wrote the songs, but he recognizes the nature of art. If the whole album is Daedalus talking to Icarus, or an exploration of Altars and what is stopping us from making this world into heaven, or the story of one man's journey through life (as more than one person has commented), or an unfinished tale, or a collection of loosely related (or unrelated) songs, or some kind of biography--it's all up to you. What you hear is. It's all in there, layer upon layer like a poppy that is just starting to unfurl its petals.

But no, the songs are not nonsense, although Tim has been accused of pulling words out of a hat and stringing them together however they appeared. The songs are jam-packed with meaning.

Even so, I'm still not sure what a "ballerina shotgun" is, or why we should "trust in the dude, we conclude he has got one." And, while it's super fun to say, "whining, whinnying, guppying, minnowing," I have no idea what that actually means. And that's part of the fun of it. Sometimes the words are, it seems, acting as sounds that make music together instead of as words that make meaning together. But sometimes I think something is aurally pleasing only, and then suddenly it snaps into place and I understand what Tim was saying. But he won't tell you how to listen. It's for you.

19 tracks. Two are different songs over the same background music, which is neat to hear. One is purely "instrumental." Two ("Heartbreaks" and "I Have Become") are the ones produced in Vegas thanks to the kickstarter a couple of years ago.  Several are older and have been performed many times. Several are new, written in the studio during the recording process. Lots of super cool easter eggs (for example, there is a snippet of an unreleased verse to the first song, "Beatnik," hidden in another song in the background parts; also that significant verse of "Monument" I mentioned that's easy to find but harder to hear). Well worth listening on a good sound system, and again with a computer than can help you decode them.

I like to listen to this album loud. It sounds good loud. It sounds good soft, too, but it feels good loud.

Let me know if you want a copy, and I can arrange that. I'm really thrilled with how this project came out, and now I want other people to hear it. Even if I have to give it away free. The music is good, it has merit, and I think you're gonna like it. Have a listen?

Monday, February 17, 2014

Tim's album is now available

You can find it on Spotify,, iTunes...

Go have a listen. Review or rate it if you can. (or both!)

I so much love this music and am very excited to share it.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

How to Fix Stuff

People have started asking me to help fix their things, too. (LOTS of people). I keep insisting I don't know how to fix things, but they beg to differ. Often. So here are my secrets (and then you can fix your own things!):

1. Have no other options (ie no budget for another washer and dryer) so either it's you or nothing. Start searching craiglist's free board for a free one that works, just in case it comes up (because then you don't have to fix it).
2. Figure it's already broken so you can't make it worse.
3. Google it. If you have the problem, someone else did, too, and someone who knows more than you told someone else how to fix it.
4. YouTube search it. Usually the make and model of whatever's broken and the words "how to" (and more terms if you've discovered them in your Google search). Watch people fix it.
5. Try to fix it. Fail. Repeat six or eight times, making sure you get hurt on the fifth or seventh time (usually). Pray for help after the third and eighth times. Or more often.
6. Take a break and repeat steps 3 and 4. Several times if necessary with whatever new words or ideas you've learned.
7. Call someone you know who knows more than you and see if they have any ideas.
8. Repeat steps 3 and 4 again. Several times if necessary.
9. Pray about it.
10. Try again and get the darn thing fixed. Or else throw it away and pray for a new one (you've been watching Craigslist just in case, right?). Or, if necessary, get someone else to help. (See if you can trade favors somehow because, you know, you're doing this because you didn't have the budget to get help in the first place).

Honestly, the secret is pray--google--try, over and over until you figure it out or you know you can't fix it.

The other secret is call your Dad and get his help. Dads can fix anything.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Did I just read that?

From facebook:

Ehem.  Bocelli is blind. So it obviously cannot be an argument that all people should see. Maybe that all people should not abort, but not one that all people should see. Or hear. Or...whatever.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Fibro theories--some more

I've been reading a book about Zombies . The end of chapter one tells about an experiment someone did on mice. When mice are lacking food, they go into a state of slowed-down animation (not fully suspended animation, but definitely a metabolically slower state) called torpor. Scientists discovered that the starving, torpor-induced mice were overloaded with 5' AMP (adenosine monophosphate). So, being scientists, they injected the 5' AMP into normal, healthy, food-secure mice and, lo and behold, the mice had an overreaction to the AMP and instantly dropped into a severe torpor.

So, reading about that and how AMP messes with thermoregulation, and I remembered reading about AMP before.

AMP is what happens when a molecule of ATP (adenosine triphosphate--the cell's energy molecule) uses up two of the phosphates in a sort of double-energy reaction. In normal cellular energy use and production, ATP and ADP cycle to each other, back and forth, rarely needing to use two phosphates and turn into AMP. When ATP does get turned into AMP instead of ADP, there is an enzyme called adenylate kinase that takes an ATP and an AMP and combines them to form two ADP molecules, which are then easily used to form two ATP molecules. There is not direct way to recycle AMP into ATP, though, and the body usually considers an excess of AMP a waste product.

Apparently it is well-documented scientifically that the energy production systems, on a cellular level, are broken in people with fibro. And they're broken in a way that leads to an excess of AMP (you see where I'm going, right?).

Current theory (of the vein that pushes the idea that ribose is good for fibro--like here says that the AMP is considered a waste product and broken down and thrown away by the cell, leaving the cell with no building blocks to make more ADP and therefore more ATP, and that is why people with fibro lack energy.

But I have a different idea, based on the mouse studies. I have no idea what the difference between AMP and 5'AMP is.  It's really hard to look up online (oddly--most everything else is easy to find online). As far as I can tell, they are the same.

So what if the excess AMP is not actually being broken down in people with fibro, but is instead inducing a state of torpor? Torpor includes a reluctance to move, a lower metabolism, and a lower body temperature, all of which are hallmarks of fibro. What if the enzymes that usually "babysit" the ATP cycle are broken, so they don't regulate the ratio of AMP:ATP like they're supposed to. That would mess up (if my research is right and I understood the chemistry right) all kinds of metabolic processes, including the insulin and lipid production/ break down processes (which are also known to be broken in people with fibro).

Because an excess of AMP in the muscles usually happens in time of stress or in times of heavy exercise, the body of someone with fibro would constantly be giving itself messages to rest and recover, and to stop muscle movement (like holding the arms out) way way way before it would be normal because the muscles would be getting the message that they were tired and hurting from too much exercise right off the bat. That would explain why Tim's muscles and mine feel the same when we hold our arms outstretched too long, but too long for him is several minutes, where too long for me is several seconds.

The ration of AMP:ATP also is related to what runners call the anaerobic threshold--the line where your body stops using energy effectively and your blood and muscles get bogged down with lactate, causing a lactate lethargy--that heavy feeling that you can't move your legs, and achy muscles. Science has apparently also proven that people with fibro reach the anaerobic threshold much faster than average healthy people do--like in response to regular life movement rather than exercise (which may be why so many of us have 2 "good hours" in the morning where we can get stuff done, and then we just feel like we don't want to move anymore...just like an athlete that hit that threshold).

Interestingly, the diabetes drug metformin can actually treat this AMP imbalance if it's caused by a breakdown of the enzyme 5' AMP-activated protein kinase (or AMPK), but there is some question if doing so can cause Alzheimers because having too much AMPK is connected with the development of Alzheimer's.  This might simply be a case of correlation and not causation. (People with Alzheimers have too much AMPK, but maybe that's because of the Alzheimer's and not the other way around).  I'm curious if anyone has tried to use metformin for Fibro?

There are other enzymes that could be the broken ones, of course, like adenylate kinase.

I am really curious if there is a messenger or regulatory enzyme that could be attached to many (most? all?) of the systems that are broken in fibro. Of if it could be something else? (For example, low ATP levels in cells make cell membranes unstable--could fibro patients be shedding cells at an abnormal rate? Fragile on a cellular level? Is the ATP issue causing the body to suck up phosphorus from the blood, which causes some of the symptoms of fibro and is scientifically correlated with chronic fatigue?).

Interestingly, the mouse study with AMP indicated that AMP is a key component of thermoregulation (namely, it can disable thermoregulation in mice). The link between thermoregulation breakdown and fibro is well established, but the cause has remained unclear ( theorized it had to do with brown fat, for example, and a recent study found a connection between nerves, blood vessels, and thermoregulation in fibro

So why does ribose help? Taking ribose increases the body's supply of adenosine, which allows it to make more ATP than it otherwise would. This increase in ATP once again balances the ratio of AMP:ATP. Apparently having this ratio right (not just having enough ATP) is the key to cells functioning properly and taking them out of the anaerobic threshold (allowing the body to process the lactic acid normally, removing the lactate lethargy) and also informing the cells that the muscles are no longer in a post-exercise recovery state all the time. It would also cancel the torpor and the metabolic issues associated with it, since they are regulated by an overabundance of AMP.   As one set of doctors suggested, it "reduces the metabolic strain" on the muscles.

Hmmm. All that from reading a book on Zombies.

I need to take some biochem classes so I can dig deeper.

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Food allergies

For a year or so now I've wondered about the whole "Modern Life causes food allergies" claim that is being tossed around. I've heard it's because we eat too much processed food, because we don't play in the mud enough, because we go to doctors for all our problems so our immune systems are too weak. While the proponents of these ideas make strong arguments sometimes, the arguments don't seem to answer all the questions or clarify all the data exactly right.

Today it dawned on me:

Our grandparents didn't know anyone with food allergies because those people died the first time they had a bad reaction to food, which is usually in childhood. Modern medicine allows us to save the life of people with food allergies, so you meet them now. And they live to bear children, which would allow them to produce more people who potentially have food allergies.

People also didn't go to the doctor as often back then, for sure. And they died of that, too.

If you eliminate all the people with food allergies from the population by killing them off (or allowing them to die naturally, from their allergies), then of course you had fewer food allergies showing up in the population.

Also, people's diets were far more restricted--there was less choice by far. That means people were statistically less likely to be exposed to all the food allergens, giving them less chance to discover they had a food allergy.

So you either died from the food allergy right away or never found out you had one. There may have been just as many food allergy families back then--they just didn't know it or didn't survive to have children with more food allergies.