solitude / dementia

Individuals were followed for up to 12 years. Those with busy social lives were half as likely to develop dementia, compared with those with minimal social activities. [link]

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Theme song from M*A*S*H

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The spring surge in suicides is actually the largest of a few oscillations throughout the year. After dropping to an annual low in February (October in the southern hemisphere), rates climb sharply through spring; fall slowly in summer; show a slight rise, according to some studies, in fall; and then begin a steep winter drop. The spring peak generally runs 10 to 25 percent above the yearly average and 20 to 50 percent above the February low. [link]

Recently more human beings have been dying by suicide annually than by murder and warfare combined…Worldwide, roughly one million people kill themselves every year. Last year, more active-duty U.S. soldiers killed themselves than died in combat; their suicide rate has been rising since 2004. Last month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that the suicide rate among middle-aged Americans has climbed nearly 30 percent since 1999. [link]

Buddhist Barbie

 

by Denise Duhamel

In the 5th century B.C.
an Indian philosopher
Gautama teaches "All is emptiness" 
and "There is no self." 
In the 20th century A.D.
Barbie agrees, but wonders how a man 
with such a belly could pose, 
smiling, and without a shirt. [link]

Cast the first stone

Have you ever thrown out some junk mail that came to your house but was addressed to someone else? That’s a violation of federal law punishable by up to 5 years in prison. Harvey Silverglate argues that a typical American commits three felonies a day. I think that number is too high but it is easy to violate the law without intent or knowledge… If someone tracked you for a year are you confident that they would find no evidence of a crime? Remember, under the common law, mens rea, criminal intent, was a standard requirement for criminal prosecution but today that is typically no longer the case especially under federal criminal law. [link]

The secret to eternal life!

for every hour of exercise you do, you extend your lifespan somewhere between 3 and 9 hours. The years you do live will not only be greater in number. They’ll be healthier ones. How would you like to be packed with energy every day, rarely get sick, and be able to climb mountains and lift heavy things without fear of injury? What about being more attractive to the opposite sex, more desirable to employers, having a clearer mind, and the ability to work harder? All of these are gifts that the bicycle giveth, even as the car taketh away.[link]

Permanence

by Denise Duhamel

The barista at the coffee shop is covered in tattoos. She says there are only two ways they hold her back. 1. She can’t work at Starbucks. 2. She can’t wear a corsage, since she’d just be way too busy, and this makes me laugh. She says no to gifts from prom dates—the wrist corsage, the pinned corsage; no to bridal bouquets, the get-well-soon carnations. One day soon her mother will insist on sympathy wreaths around her coffin, which is closed, lest she be confused with the flowers. [link]

Aside

“Grace strikes us when we are in great pain and restlessness. It strikes us when we walk through the dark valley of a meaningless empty life. It strikes us when we feel that our separation is deeper than usual because we have violated another life, a life that we loved, or from which were estranged. It strikes us when our disgust for our own being, our indifference, our weakness, our hostility and our lack of direction and composure has become intolerable to us. It strikes when, year after year, the longed for perfection of life does not appear, when the old compulsions reign within us as they have for decades, when despair destroys all joy and courage. Sometimes at that moment a wave of light breaks into our darkness, and it is though a voice were saying, ‘You are accepted’. After such an experience we may not be better than before and we may not believe more than before. But everything is transformed. In that moment grace conquers sin, and reconciliation bridges the gulf of estrangement. And nothing is demanded of this experience, no religious or moral or intellectual supposition, nothing but acceptance. In the light of this grace we perceive the power of grace in our relation to others and to ourselves. We experience the grace of being able to look frankly into the eyes of another, the miraculous grace of reunion of life with life; we experience the grace of understanding each others words.” (Paul Tillich, The shaking of the Foundations, p.163)

Aside

One night when Emily was tucking him into bed, he said, “I hate this face. Can you find a store where we can get me a new face, a normal face?” Another night he said, “I’m so sick and tired of this Down syndrome business. When is it going to go away?” [link ]