Eat, Drink, and Be Merry, Sucker

A friend of mine once told me about her brother’s family. He was married and had two pre-teen boys. Neither parent was consistently employed. They lived for a while in a house they purchased before the bank foreclosed on them – after they stopped paying their mortgage.

It appears the couple had other priorities. Apparently, they spent so much money on illegal drugs and alcohol, they could not afford their mortgage payments.

What to do? Well, my friend’s father stepped in and offered to buy them a place to stay. I am not certain if there were any preconditions to this arrangement, but I would bet that drug and alcohol counseling was included in the deal. And, it worked for a while.

Until the couple again grew deep in debt – from their purchase of more drugs and alcohol. Seeing that they had no other source of money to pay off their debts, they sold the house the father had bought for them (apparently, gratitude and responsibility are not among their vices). This left them with some money, but no place to stay, again.

So, the father stepped in, again. This time he bought a house under his name and allowed them to live there. Since he legally owned the home, they could not sell it.

Because of his generosity, some might consider the father to be a hero in this story. Although he was upper middle class, another mortgage hurt him financially. Still, it was preferable than seeing his son’s family breakup, and his son and daughter-in-law serve jail time. Others might consider the father to be a sucker and an enabler.

Now if I were to tell this story to some local official or politician, they would provide a standard reply. Let’s use government programs to get this couple off drugs, off alcohol, and assist them with government training to make them more marketable for acquiring better employment. Our society accepts that strategy as a realistic solution to the problem.

Until you understand the couple involved. They did not want to give up drugs or alcohol. They saw nothing wrong with being drunk and stoned all day. Nor did they care what it meant to their children. Fortunately, the kids were not starving, and they always found a place to stay. In addition, the couple did not want to work. They wanted to party. They even saw their unsteady employment only as a means to purchase more drugs and alcohol.

What should be done in this situation? Arrest the parents? Force them into addiction counseling? Put the children in foster homes?

The last I heard both parents remained unemployed. They now receive disability payments – I presume for their drug and alcohol addictions. Although the wife is obese, neither of them would be considered disabled by anyone who knew them. Luckily, for their sake, the government doesn’t know them.

However, I guess there is a happy ending to this story. The couple has a house to reside in with their children, they avoided jail, can continue to purchase illegal drugs, and get drunk and high for as long as they want. Instead of being a financial burden to the father, they are now living off the state. Consequently, they continue to eat, drink, and be merry on the backs of the taxpayers.

Some might say that we are all heroes for supporting this couple. But, I believe that most would consider us to be suckers and enablers.

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I invite you to visit my website, The Soup of Life. Each week, I add another column where I give my thoughts on culture, politics, religion, health, science, and life.

Pondering the questions and possibilities of life continues to be my lifelong passion. And, I am never done learning. I am looking forward to your thoughts and comments.

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Some Helpful Dental Care Tips

Dental care involves taking proper care of your teeth, gums as well as related structures of your mouth. It encompasses preventing and treating diseases of the teeth and gum and replacing or repairing defective teeth. In most cases, people suffer from dental diseases due to poor brushing, unbalanced diet, and negligence to dental care. This leads to numerous dental problems, which can be expensive, painful, complex, and time consuming. Most of the dental diseases can be prevented by paying much attention to the daily dental care. Proper dental hygiene is not only crucial to our physical appearance, but also essential to the wellbeing of our body. Below are several dental care tips that will help improve your health and look.

Brush your teeth after each meal

The ideal dental care involves brushing your teeth after each meal. Use soft bristle toothbrush and fluoride and carefully brush along all the surfaces of the teeth in a back and forth motion. It is important to avoid brushing your teeth too vigorously as this can wear down teeth structures. To thoroughly clean each tooth, change the position of your brush after few strokes.

Take your time when you brush

Most people brush for as little as twenty seconds, which is not long enough to get rid of most of the plagues. You should brush for at least two minutes every time you brush your teeth. While you have to brush after every meal, it is before bedtime and after bedtime that is the most crucial.

Flossing techniques

For proper dental care, proper flossing technique must be used. Use about 18 inches floss and wrap both ends against each of your middle fingers. Firmly hold the floss between your thumb and forefinger on each hand. Pool the floss between each other gently, rubbing against the sides of your teeth.

Regular dental checkup

It is essential to visit the dentist at least once every three to four months. Getting your teeth checked by a dentist will help detect any oral problem early. There are no dental signs associated with many oral health problems until the condition has developed to the advanced stage. You should not hesitate to visit the dentist if you have a tooth ache.

Use mouthwash twice a day

For proper dental care, mouthwashes are imperative as they will keep your breath fresh and your mouth feeling clean. They contain effective antiseptic properties that slay the bacterial plaque. It is also vital to maintain a good balanced diet, and reduce the consumption of starchy and sugary foods that are known to trigger tooth decay. To maintain good dental care, avoid consuming between meal because it will make your teeth prone to decay.

Avoid smoking

For a good dental care, smoking should be avoided as it can cause tooth decay, bad breath, tooth discoloration, and gum disease. Some of the other bad effects of smoking are hairy tongue, mouth bores, delaying wound healing, shifting teeth, jaw bone loss among others.

Dental care in an important part of general health

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Ted’s Music

To burn always with this hard, gem-like flame,

to maintain this ecstasy, is success in life.

~Walter Pater~

I recently learned of the death of my friend, Ted Ashizawa. I had known him for many years since moving to Batavia in 1974. I got to know Ted through the Genesee Chorale which he founded as well as conducted for many years. I also played with him in the Batavia Recorder Society which met monthly. We played ancient and Renaissance music for recorder and other instruments such as the rackett, shaum, crumhorn and drums.

Music had always held a special place in my mind and emotions. My grandmother was a traveling piano teacher in Attica NY and played for our family when I was quite young. One of the high points of my teen years was seeing The Sound of Music on stage during my first visit to New York. Later I had the privilege of singing in a choir for Pope Paul VI’s Mass in Yankee stadium.

When I learned about the Genesee Chorale I immediately signed up. Unfortunately I became quite busy with my career and family obligations and only sang with the Choral for one season. That year we sang the complex Brahms’ Requiem and Faure’s much simpler but still elegant Requiem.

Ted eventually retired from conducting the Chorale but did return for one anniversary season to conduct Mozart’s Requiem and the Ave Verum. Before the concert, Ted told us that if we moved one person with our music, the concert would be a success. I was moved and know of many others who were moved as well.

As it happened, the Chorale had a concert scheduled the day I attended a memorial gathering in Ted’s honor. Before the concert, a slide show was presented showing the highlights of Ted’s life. During the slide show, there played a recording of the Chorale’s performance of the Ave Verum which I had the privilege to sing with the Chorale under Ted’s direction. The Ave Verum, a beautiful, serene motet by Mozart has become one of my favorite musical memories.

What I most remember about Ted was the ecstasy evident on his face when he conducted the beautiful music he somehow drew from our voices. Ted had this same expression when he listened to music, sang, played the recorder or conducted the Chorale. He had a strong interest in many aspects of life and always made a lively contribution to any discussion.

I am proud to say I knew him as a friend and will always cherish the interactions I had with him on many levels. He will always be in my heart where my musical memories reside. He touched my life in many ways and I will be forever grateful for this.

Life Lab Lessons

What music has stayed with you for many years?
What does it mean to you?
Savor its peace, joy and comfort.
Cherish the music which has brought you to appreciate life.
Cherish the friendships which music made fonder.

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Popular Hotspots for Dental Care and Implants

If you or someone you know is missing one or more teeth or suffering from severe tooth decay then dental implants may be an excellent solution. All those people who are unhappy with the appearance of their teeth can bring back their teeth in tip-top shape through implant dentistry.

Yet, the major drawback of considering cosmetic dental care and surgery for most people from the US, the UK and Australia is their cost. The dental treatment cost in the First World countries can be extremely daunting for many patients in need of it.

Luckily, one can find very affordable dental care somewhere else in the world. People who are completely ready to undertake the dental implant procedure can save up to 80% on their treatment simply by opting to receive implants in any dental tourism destination.

Some popular countries for overseas dental implants include Poland, Hungary, Italy, Mexico, Costa Rica, India, Thailand to name a few.


Poland, one of the most advanced countries in Europe, is now one of the most preferred destinations for affordable dental care. The ultra modern private Polish hospitals and clinics equipped with state of the art technology and infrastructure play an important role in Polish dental tourism boom, by attracting thousands of dental tourists, mainly from the UK, every year.

Cosmetic dental procedures including implants are quite cheaper in this central European country, saving UK patients at least 81% on the cost of their treatment.


Seeking dental implants or other dental services in Hungary is a good alternative for people living in countries where dental treatments do not come cheap. Situated in the centre of Eastern Europe, the country takes pride in having the advanced private hospitals with modern x-ray machines, lasers, video cameras, dental tools and surgical techniques. These medical facilities offer competent dental services at reasonable prices to their local and foreign clients. By having the dental abnormalities fixed in Hungary, a patient can expect to at least 50% on the procedure even after including all other expenses.


Travelling to Italy for dental care may seem like a far out option for American and many Asian denizens but with the significant savings they make on the cost of their dental treatments overseas patients feel completely satisfied. Dental care cost in Italy can be as low as 70% of private dental prices in the US. Given the affordability of the dental procedures, standard of infrastructure and the skills of the surgeons in Italy it’s not a surprise that different patients from different countries are increasingly flocking to this country with their dental and other healthcare needs.


India is the destination of choice for anyone seeking first world quality treatment at third world prices. If you require expensive dental work such as bridges, crowns, implants or an orthodontic procedure, you can make considerable savings by going abroad to India. Medical tourists from all across the world, prompted by sky-scraping dentistry costs and dwindling insurance benefits at their native countries, make a beeline in this Southeast Asian country for various dental procedures. Top notch private dental clinic in India use latest generation techniques to perform oral surgery.


This country shares its borders with the United States so it is the perfect option for those from the US. Opting for dental implants in Mexico can save American patients up to 66%. Not only US citizens even patients from far away countries can expect huge savings on their dental treatment. Private Mexican clinics are staffed with qualified and skilled general dentist, periodontists and oral surgeons with advanced training in implant surgery. Not only the dentistry is affordable, the quality of dental care in Mexico is also superior, a major factor that attracts many overseas patients.

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The Media: Does The Media Realise That Most People Don’t Think For Themselves?

When it comes to the mainstream media, there are a lot of people who believe that its sole purpose is to inform people about what is taking place in the world. Through having this outlook, one will be only too happy to accept just about everything they hear.

Now, if the media did exist to inform people, it wouldn’t matter if one put their critical faculties too one side. But as this is something that is not this black and white, it is going to be important for them to have their guard up, so to speak.


In order to do this, one will need to use more energy, and this is because they will have to think about what they hear. Instead of going along with something, it will be necessary for them to take a step back and to hold the information in their mind.

When this happens, one is not swallowing it whole and neither are they rejecting it; they are taking the time to look into what into it. Still, there might be no reason for one to think about something.


What this partly comes down to is that the media rarely talks about the same thing once, and so there will be moments when they can dismiss what they hear about. The energy that they save through doing this can be used to question other things.

And while taking this approach is going to mean that one will use more effort than if they believed everything they heard, it will make their life easier in the long run. For one thing, they will be protecting their own mind.


Through defining what they let in, it will give them the chance to have a better understanding of what is actually taking place in the world. Now, this is not to say that they will know everything or that they will always come to the right conclusion.

What it means is that they will have developed their own views, and that they are not willing to allow other people to control their view of reality. This can then make it easier for them to make better decisions in life.

Another Source

As a result of this, they are not going to view the mainstream media in the same way that most people do. In their eyes, it will be seen as just another source of information as opposed to the only source that matters.

In fact, they could see it as a source of disinformation, and the ‘alternative’ media could be seen as being more reliable. Even so, this doesn’t mean that they will accept everything this source comes out with.


Based on past experiences, they will realise that the mainstream media can’t be trusted, but even though this is the case, it will be something that they have come to accept. Nevertheless, as they have this outlook, it will stop them from expecting things that can’t be delivered.

Thus, if they were to believe something that the media presented and this caused them to be deceived, there will be no reason for them to feel as though they have been taken advantage of. Ultimately, they will know how corrupt the media is and this will generally stop them from being caught up by it.

The Other Side

However, although there are people who have this approach, there are plenty of other people that don’t. If they want to be informed about the world, there will only be one place to go.

This is not to say that they will go along with everything they hear, but they won’t change their behaviour either. It is then going to be similar to someone who stays in a relationship with someone who abuses them.


An even though one could believe that there are times when they are being deceived; this is likely to be an understatement. Another way of looking at it would be to say that they are pretty much always being deceived in one way or another.

The only difference is that there are times when they can recognise this and times when they can’t. So, if one was to take a step back and to take a closer look into what they are exposed to, they might soon see that they are being taken advantage of on a daily basis.


Still, as this is something that will require more energy that they normally use, it is unlikely to occur. Instead, one is likely to carry on down the same path, and it will be business as usual for the mainstream media.

This then sets them up to be the perfect consumers as far as the media is concerned, and this is because they don’t question anything. This then allows them to carry on with what they are doing and to fulfil their agenda.


It won’t matter if what they are staying doesn’t sound very accurate or falls short when it comes to the facts, for instance, and this will make it a lot easier for them. If, on the other hand, more people questioned what they heard or read about, their job would be a lot harder.

It could be said that the reason why the mainstream media has so much influence is because people generally don’t think for themselves. At times, it will be enough for them use information to puts people into a state of fear, and after this has taken place, it won’t matter what they come out with.


As there are so many ways to be informed about the world, there is no reason why one should blindly follow the mainstream media. It has been sad that a lot of news publishers are losing money, and one way they have tried to counter this is to try and drew people in online through using content that is sensationalistic and/or provocative.

As a result of this, a lot of their attention is being given to things that don’t add real value to people’s lives. This kind of content is often described as ‘clickbait’, and it relates to things such as: funny videos and celebrity gossip.

The primary reason for this is that these publishers generally make money through adverts, and the more views they get, the more money they will make. It is then clear to see why they are more concerned with gaining people’s attention than they are with informing them about the world they live in.

Prolific writer, author, and coach, Oliver JR Cooper, hails from England. His insightful commentary and analysis covers all aspects of human transformation, including love, partnership, self-love, and inner awareness. With over one thousand in-depth articles highlighting human psychology and behaviour, Oliver offers hope along with his sound advice. His current projects include ‘A Dialogue With The Heart’ and ‘Communication Made Easy’.

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The Cultural Transgression of Living in the Past

Officially, South Africa’s apartheid regime ended in the 90’s, but, the majority of the population will not put it to rest and move on. They refer to it constantly even though there is much muttering of “going forward”. Unfortunately, when the ANC came into power, they made so many promises that were completely unrealistic and unsustainable. Among them were free housing, jobs in managerial positions, and everything of the best that so many of the people had been deprived of for so long.

What was never expressed was that nothing comes as a freebie; it has to be earned with education, time, and experience. Building for the future was not the traditional way that things were done. If you planted a crop, when it was ready to harvest, there was food to eat, the attitude was why to bother to plant seeds for the following year, you had enough to eat for now and that was all that mattered. Next year was in the future, it would look after itself!

When next year arrived and there was a food shortage, surely the government would provide?

Slowly, South Africa began to transgress. There was little or no maintenance for electricity, the pipelines, or the roads in most provinces. The rest of Africa was starting to see the light and progressing while South Africa only stagnated.

Corruption became the norm, you gathered as much for yourself as you could in any way possible, and you certainly didn’t worry about your fellow man. Commerce slowed and unemployment rose with today the ratio for unemployed people officially quoted as being over thirty per cent. School leavers and university graduates are battling to find jobs. The country needs more artisans but with trade schools closed several years ago, electricians, plumbers etc have to rely on what their employers – those that can find employment – can teach them. Many of the experienced European employees in state enterprises were offered retrenchment packages so that the up till now underprivileged people could take over their jobs, whether trained for the particular positions or not. This, unfortunately, did not help the South African economy which started to slide on a downward trend.

The bright people, keen on bettering themselves and their lifestyle, worked their way up the ladder and achieved. Many of the others were prepared to be content and see what could be given to them instead of making an effort at entrepreneurship. Constantly, Apartheid is blamed for their present lifestyle and lack of success.

South Africans, must rise out of the past, change their passive attitude and make the endeavour to progress and succeed in the modern world.

My name is Gloria Herman and I find that writing about the happenings around us is very inspirational and a tonic for the soul. Life is so interesting and I find that I can can never gain enough knowledge.

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Does The Brexit Vote Send A Message To Large Bureaucratic Socialist Style Government Power?

When the British voted to leave the European Union it shouldn’t have surprised anyone, but it surely did. The media pundits were shocked, the international community was shocked, our Obama Administration was shocked, everyone was blown away – still, I ask why? Obviously, there is incredible discontent amongst EU members. And the Eurozone is in big trouble with the PIIGS – Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain in financial and economic turmoil and Germany a little miffed at trying to keep the whole thing going while socialist government live high on the hog. Many have previously stated that the EU is a slow motion train wreck, it was doomed from the beginning, or it cannot survive without more power at the ECB.

Britain doesn’t need the EU, the European Union needs them, however if the EU is going to collapse in the near future 5-10 years why bother remaining and taking the economic hit later? True power does not come from bureaucracy, nor a king, nor a dictator. Erecting beautiful buildings, throwing outlandish parties, or declaring accolades to one’s own organization does nothing more than create a false illusion of power – and that power gets worse when those in a leadership capacity begin to believe their own BS. Britain saw through that bull crap and didn’t want any more of it, no more promises. There is no accountability in the European Union – yet, it portends to have unlimited and absolute power – we can see once again it’s lead to corruption, no surprise should be glimmered from that, it was and is as always 100% predictable.

The Brexit Vote should be a shot heard round-the-world to all those powers that be who think they should run the affairs of globe. All these giant NGOs, and all their subsequent bureaucracies should take notice. The Climate Change IPCC, The UN, IMF, WHO, WTO, etc. etc. should all readjust their dictatorial ways, find accountability, and come off their pedestals. Even here in the US, our Federal Government should see what’s happening and realize that our union is becoming weaker, not stronger, with each new layer of rules, laws, regulations, and agency after agency, continually grown the blob of bureaucracy to the point of absurdity, perhaps the most inefficient organization ever created in the history of mankind. Why would anyone want to live under such an unaccountable false authority.

It’s time for a reality check – the EU just had one – but they are not the only ones that need to learn the lesson. Who is next? More to follow in mankind’s bureaucratic saga – I choose not to live in the Borg, how about you?

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Satisfying Dental Care Needs in Raleigh

If you are relocating to Raleigh, North Carolina or the Research Triangle Park area, this information may help you find the best dentist to provide the level of care most appropriate for you and your family.

How Accessible Are Dentists in Raleigh?

In Raleigh, dental care is much more accessible than it is in many other parts of North Carolina. Raleigh is located in Wake County, which is one of eight North Carolina counties with dentist-to-patient ratios that exceed the national average. Sadly, the state of North Carolina ranks 47th in the nation in terms of dentist-to-patient ratios. While the state ranks low for dental care availability, Raleigh residents have great access compared to the rest of the United States. By combining June 2009 figures from the North Carolina Dental Board with 2008 census figures for Raleigh, one can extrapolate that there is a ratio of about one dentist per 1,350 residents.

What Kind of Quality Can I Expect?

The quality of care (as well as the number of dental providers) in Raleigh is influenced by the nearby University of North Carolina School of Dentistry in Chapel Hill, NC. Raleigh, the Research Triangle Park area, and neighboring cities and counties have exceptional access to dental care, thanks in large part to the presence of graduates of this school.

Founded in 1954, the UNC School of Dentistry has a national reputation for both research and education. Each year, the school admits about 80 students to its DDS (doctorate of Dental Surgery) program, with about 80% of those being in-state admissions. In the United States, schools of dentistry – unlike medical and law schools – have no official rankings. However, UNC is typically a top contender on unofficial lists. The nationwide respect for the UNC School of Dentistry program helps to validate the quality of dental services being provided in Raleigh by graduates of that school.

The North Carolina Dental Board is the regulating body for providers of dental services in North Carolina. Its mission is to ensure that the dental profession merit and receive the confidence of the public and that only qualified persons be permitted to practice dentistry and dental hygiene in the state of North Carolina.
What Types of Dental Providers Exist?

While the North Carolina Dental Board is the regulatory body, the North Carolina Dental Society is a professional organization that promotes the improvement of the public’s oral health and the art and science of dentistry. It encourages the maintenance of high standards of practice and competency, and represents the interests of members of the dental profession and the public that it serves. While membership in the professional organization is not mandatory, the North Carolina Dental Society provides figures that give some insight into the distribution of different types of providers of dental care in Raleigh. Raleigh members include dental providers in these commonly used categories: General Practice (142), Orthodontists (17), Oral/Maxillofacial Surgery (11), Endodontists (9), Pediatrics (8), Periodontists (7). June 2009 figures from the North Carolina Dental Board indicated that 264 dentists in Raleigh were licensed to practice General Dentistry. The combination of these two sets of numbers should provide for rough extrapolation on the number of specialized providers.

What Are the Emerging Trends in Dental Care?

In Raleigh, the provision of dental services is beginning to change, thanks to the progressive thinking of some dentists. This change involves making a broader range of dental care services available under a single roof. General dentists willing to invest in appropriate training can offer a broader range of dental care services, a concept sometimes referred to as Comprehensive Dentistry. Some also include Cosmetic Dentistry services. Having services provided under a single roof also eliminates the need to obtain consents and transfer dental records from one practice to another.

This emerging model for dental care in Raleigh has distinct advantages – one being that the dentist most familiar with the patient’s dental care and preferences can provide most, if not all, of the needed services in a familiar environment. A familiar environment can help to reduce the anxiety that some patients experience when they have to go to a (new) specialist to receive needed services. (Be assured that general dentists who provide a broader range of dental services do refer very complex cases to appropriate dental care specialists who focus on only one very specific dental care issue, and whose skills may be needed in those particular situations.)

Since specialists in Raleigh are not nearly as accessible as general dentists (see figures above), general dentists who offer a broader range of services can help provide more timely treatment for many “non-routine” dental needs (e.g., wisdom tooth extraction, periodontal treatments, orthodontics). Ask any prospective provider of dental care in Raleigh to explain the range of services the practice is making available to you, as well as the specific credentials of the dentist(s). You may also want to ask whether the practice is accredited by the state of North Carolina to perform sedation dentistry, because the state recently enacted guidelines and an accreditation process to ensure public safety in the administration of sedation in dental practices.

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