“It’s hard to fathom the level of grubby exploitation you’ve reduced yourself to, to turn a buck off of people who are watching their loved ones die in slow-motion” ~ Daryl Khan, whose father hoped food-grade hydrogen peroxide would cure his wife Susan’s cancer
Thursday evening, cloudy again, 48 degrees.
Abraham Lincoln’s opinions on the internet notwithstanding, a little something different for today . . .
So you wouldn’t believe the number of websites, books, videos, and pamphlets that I found from supposed health gurus, truth tellers, and conspiracy theorists who want you to introduce food-grade hydrogen peroxide into your life, you know, for all of the health benefits, because it can cure gingivitis and cancer, simultaneously, and, well, just because.
PLEASE, PLEASE DON’T FALL FOR THIS! IT’S A BUNCH OF HOOEY THAT CAN DAMAGE YOUR INTERNAL ORGANS AND POSSIBLY KILL YOU!
According to a 2017 article in The Washington Post, “Hundreds of people have become severely ill and at least five have died after consuming high-concentration hydrogen peroxide that some people take as an additive to their diets, according to a new study.”
A ten-year study by the U.S. National Poison Data System and the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) was published in Annals of Emergency Medicine; the study encompassed the years 2001-2011. During that time, “nearly 300 cases of high-concentration peroxide poisoning were identified.”
The poisoning resulted in significant physical injuries, ranging from respiratory distress to seizures, strokes and heart attacks. About 14 percent of the patients experienced heart embolisms, while 7 percent died or had long-term disability after drinking hydrogen peroxide.
Hydrogen peroxide is relatively unstable and will rapidly decompose, through an exothermic reaction, into water and oxygen in the presence of alkali, metals and the enzyme catalase, which is found in mucous membranes, liver, kidney, red blood cells and bone marrow (1). There are three main mechanisms of toxicity from hydrogen peroxide: caustic injury, oxygen gas formation and lipid peroxidation (1).
The brown bottles of hydrogen peroxide that most of us have in our homes are 3 percent solutions. That’s a big difference from food-grade, which is usually a 35 percent solution, and often these food-grade jugs are clear or milky, resembling bottled water or milk products, and that’s a big problem if you have kids in your home, especially if they cannot read. The average amount of hydrogen peroxide in things like toothpaste and mouthwash is .1 percent. For more related facts, go here.
Go here for a good article explaining why food-grade hydrogen peroxide is not good for your health.
I know that it might seem odd coming from me that I’m so adamantly against ingesting so-called food-grade hydrogen peroxide, but the supposed health benefits of using this dangerous 35 percent concentration, even diluted have never been studied by any reputable lab.
Look, in recent years I’ve been trying to find natural and/or homeopathic and/or cruelty-free products in all areas of my life, but, and this is a BIG but, I research every supplement and/or vitamin that I add to my regimen; I monitor side effects and any possible benefits before deciding whether to continue or discontinue. And I in no way claim to be an authority on any of this.
I can tell you that Manuka honey has natural antibacterial properties that can do wonderful things for minor skin wounds. And rosehip oil is a wonderful moisturizer for your face. And snail slime, yep, even that, has beneficial properties. But a solution of diluted 35 percent hydrogen peroxide will not cure cancer, nor will it help with diabetes, nor will it help to oxygenate your cells.
I wrote this post because I had been sucked in by an article on the whole food-grade benefits about a month or two ago (who remembers time, so ephemeral…), so much so that I even priced a bottle on Amazon at that time (which has supposedly since banned 35 percent solutions, but a few can still be found). But then I began to dig deeper, and I realized that what was being touted was snake oil—pure and simple. And that’s the case with many, many supplements, health rinses and tonics (like turpentine), etcetera that are on the market today.
All that I am saying is please, please do your due diligence. Be an informed consumer, not a ill-informed victim.
“With looks that lose themselves in cherished looks; The hour of steaming tea and banished books; The sweetness of the evening at an end . . .” ~ Paul Verlaine, from “The Rosy Hearth”
Saturday, late afternoon. Sunny and mild, 76° F.
Well . . where to begin?
Corey got under way yesterday afternoon (I remember my AP Style Manual was very specific that under way is two words when referring to nautical movement). I drove him to the ship at 3:30 in the morning, and that was that. They took the ship out to test the radar, made a few tweaks, and left for Antigua. That’s right, Antigua. Did you know that there are 365 beaches on Antigua? I didn’t. He has tried to take the sting out of that by assuring me that they won’t spend any time in port, to which I reminded him that at least he’ll see the incredible blue waters, the azure blue, the Caribbean blue.
And then there was that mention of the Virgin Islands . . .
They should have good weather going down, which is good, as he had terrible weather off Dover, which is not surprising. He was actually seasick, something that is not par for him.
Anyway, I came home from leaving him at the ship, crawled back into bed, and awoke around 9 a.m. with a killer migraine. To say that I was not surprised is an understatement. However, I was surprised by the duration—all day. As a result, I did nothing all day, but I was able to read last night. I conquered about 400 pages of the third book in the Game of Thrones series, read until I was exhausted, and then prayed for sleep.
When it came, it brought nightmares that had me screaming in my sleep again. I remember Jews being marched off to ovens next to a garden party, but there was more, so much more, including my father taking a shower and telling me good night, and my mother tearing apart her kitchen. Then I was at a corporate Christmas party with the builders I used to know, and there was a wedding, and I wanted good bourbon, but the bar only had cheap stuff, and then I was teaching again . . . too much, too much . . .
“I do not know myself sometimes, or how to measure and name and count out the grains that make me what I am.” ~ Virginia Woolf, from The Waves
So today I awoke with . . . wait for it . . . another migraine. I’ve been stuffing my meds in all day, and I decided that nothing was going to get better (as regards my back), so I went ahead and bathed the dogs. They really needed their flea medicine, and I always like to give them a bath beforehand. The dog baths led to scrubbing the bathroom, which led to cleaning the bathroom floor, which led to cleaning the hardwood floors, which led to stripping the beds, and in between, starting laundry. My hands smell of bleach and aloe, and are tight and achy.
I’m sitting here in a daze. My back is on fire, right below my neck, between my shoulder blades. I’m writing blind again, with my eyes squinting against the sun coming through Eamonn’s window, and yes, I’m back on this POS computer. The squinting is definitely not forestalling the headache that is seeping back in at the left corner of my forehead.
Of the three dogs, Shakes was actually the best this time, and Tillie was the worst. She does not like baths, but she loves the pool, such a silly dog. Alfie tried to bite me when I tried to clean out his ongoing wound below his right eye, but I fought and won. He has this, for lack of a better word, hole directly below his eye where he had a cyst. We cannot get it to heal because he always ends up scratching it. I cannot put a cone on him because, well, he’s a wee bit insane, and a cone would drive him over the edge, so we clean it and medicate it, and he walks around with a hole in his face the size of a very small pea.
Don’t judge. Our dogs are spoiled and healthy, and now they smell clean, my back be damned.
(Informational aside: While the Wal Mart flea medicine claims to be as good as Frontline, I have found that it just doesn’t seem to last as long, so I went back to Frontline.)
“There is almost nothing that does not signal loneliness, then loveliness, then something connecting all we will become.” ~ Stanley Plumley, from “In Passing”
Corey will be crossing the equator this trip, something he’s never done before. That’s a milestone for a seaman, and he’s supposed to get a turtle tattoo, according to traditional lore. His Atlantic crossing means that he can wear an anchor tattoo, which is something that he’s been wanting for several years, and if he crosses the International Date Line, he can get a dragon.
I don’t think the International Date Line will be happening anytime soon, especially since the company has sold their Pacific ship. But at least he’s going to be able to finish this hitch, which is going to earn him more deap-sea time, and just a few days ago, we weren’t even certain about that. After that, who knows?
I miss him already, miss sleeping next to him, miss reaching out in the middle of the night to touch his arm. Even though he was working most of the time that he was in port, it was simply reassuring to know that he was just a few miles from home. I’m trying not to think too much about the upcoming weeks. At least with Brett starting summer school on Monday, I’ll have some distractions.
“What we seek, at the deepest level, is inwardly to resemble, rather than physically to possess, the objects and places that touch us through their beauty.” ~ Alain de Botton, The Architecture of Happiness
So this weekend I need to print and mail the shower invitations. However, there’s just one problem: The ink cartridges that I ordered, which were supposed to arrive yesterday, have not yet appeared. I really did not want to pay full price for ink cartridges; they’re just too blasted expensive in a store, but I also need to get these invitations in the mail.
I also have Corey’s Mom’s Mother’s Day card and present to mail. Have I done that yet? Nope. Sorry. I just realized that it’s Saturday and that the post office closed about five hours ago. I’m hopeless. But my dogs are clean . . .
Time out to make sun-dried tomato wraps for Brett and myself: Honey-baked turkey, guacamole (for me), Muenster (again, for me), tomato slices, sea salt, lettuce, and Vidalia onion dressing. Quite yummy, actually. Speaking of fresh, I wonder if we’ll get a garden in this year. Because of the climate around here, we can still put things in the ground in July and harvest in September, one of the better aspects of living where we live.
I would love some fresh garden tomatoes as store-bought ones have no flavor, that is unless I splurge and buy the vine-ripened ones. And nothing beats fresh cucumbers.
“There is a time for the evening under starlight, A time for the evening under lamplight (The evening with the photograph album). Love is most nearly itself When here and now cease to matter.” ~ T.S. Eliot, from “East Coker” from Four Quartets
Well, as to Mother’s Day tomorrow, I hope that all of you out there in the ether have a lovely day. I plan to do a whole lot of nothing. Preferably, reading for hours and hours.
Tomorrow is also our wedding anniversary: Eleven years ago tomorrow, Corey and I married on a lovely Sunday afternoon in an old house in Ghent, surrounded by family and friends. The night before was pure hell as we were having everyone over for dinner. I was making table arrangements and the bridesmaids’ bouquets, and that overall sense of panic was consuming me.
But Sunday? That was good, in spite of the table arrangements tipping over in the car, trying to decorate the house hours before the wedding, having to clean up afterwards, not having all of the food that we had ordered (yes, I noticed), being surprised by the condition of the rental chairs, having my hair ruined by my mother’s friend, taking my hair down and completely redoing it one hour before the wedding, having the groomsmen refuse to wear the ties for the tuxedo European style, and just a few other things. In spite of all of that, it was one of the best days of my life, certainly one of the happiest.
The years since have been filled with highs and lows, but through it all I have never regretted marrying a much younger man who has come to be my best friend and true companion, a man who knows me far better than I know myself sometimes.
Years are meaningless to the heart.
Joyeux anniversaire, mon amour, où que vous soyez . . .
More later. Peace.
Music by Lonestar, “I’m Already There”
More than air
More than water
More than lips
Blue Tide of Dinoflagellates in Southern Australia by Phil Hart
“Dogs are our link to paradise. They don’t know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring–it was peace.” ~ Milan Kundera
I’ve just spent the last fifteen minutes staring at this blank page while cuddling with the smallest pup, Alfie. Inevitably, when I sit down at my desk, Alfie tries to get in my lap. I usually accommodate him for a few minutes of tummy rubbing and then put him down, but today he was especially cuddly, and my mind sort of drifted off as he lay in my arms and my songs played in the background.
Nana Mouskouri, Great Lake Swimmers, Jon McLaughlin—all made for a pretty mellow backdrop. The only reason I finally stopped my Alfie time was that my left hand went to sleep. Obvious sign that it’s time to move along.
Last night I had one of those convoluted dreams that involved my mother, driving, parking garages, and New York City. There was also an appearance from my friend Allen, my best friend from eighth grade, and boots. I was exhausted after that one. The good part was that I actually slept last night, pretty soundly. I really needed it. I needed rest, and my body needed time to regroup. All day yesterday my joints were aching, and by late last night, my knee joint and leg muscles hurt so much that I felt like whimpering.
Unfortunately, I need a new heating pad. This last one didn’t last six months. But heat would have really helped my legs. Heat and some Blue Emu cream, which I am also in desperate need of replenishing. If you’ve never tried it Blue Emu is this wonderful cream for achiness, and it really works without making you smell like a grandmother with rheumatism. Of course something this wonderful does not come cheaply, so I have been waiting to buy more.
“The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser men so full of doubts.” ~ Bertrand Russell
This Thursday night is Brett’s IB ceremony at school for graduating seniors enrolled in the IB program at Granby High School. Currently, the IB (international baccalaureate) works with 2,946 schools in 139 countries to offer an academically-rigorous curriculum that stresses global understanding, cultural awareness, critical thinking, and community service. Of course, the program is not without its detractors: In 2008, Senator Margaret Dayton objected to the program, stating, “I don’t want to create ‘world citizens’ nearly as much as I want to help cultivate American citizens who function well in the world.”
I understand Dayton’s stance, but I truly believe that students who are taught to think beyond their communities, beyond their borders become better citizens because they have a more diverse information base from which to draw. A 2006 article in Time magazine described the IB Diploma Programme (IBDP) as “a rigorous, off-the-shelf curriculum recognized by universities around the world.” That we have an IB school here in Norfolk is wonderful, and I am so glad that Brett was able to participate in this program because I know that he would have been bored to tears in regular curriculum.
Anyway, I’ll have to find something in my closet that won’t make me look like a sausage so that I can go out in public for this ceremony.
“No intelligent idea can gain general acceptance unless some stupidity is mixed in with it” ~ Fernando Pessoa
Let’s see, in the world of make believe and beyond,
Lindsay Lohan has to wear an alcohol bracelet, or something along those lines. I wonder if the device senses cocaine?
Kelly Bensimon claims that she didn’t have a breakdown but rather a “breakthrough.” Whatever . . .
A man involved in a home invasion in Colorado was nabbed by police because of his lip tattoo, “East Side.” Note to self: wear funny fake mustache to hide obvious tat when next committing crime .
In Reno, Nevada, chicken costumes will be banned at polling places. I’m not making this up. Apparently, Democrats have taken to showing up in chicken costumes at events held by Republican senate candidate Sue Lowden, who suggested that people barter with doctors for medical care, like when “our grandparents would bring a chicken to the doctor.” I wonder if Sponge Bob costumes are okay?
A new African-American Barbie in the Barbie Basic collection is dressed like a hoochie mama (plunging neckline) and has major boobie action. Are we at all surprised by this? I think that it’s just a natural progression in a long line of dolls that have never had realistic proportions.
In South Carolina, don’t get in the way of speeding grandmas having bad hair days. Apparently, one 72-year-old woman was clocked doing 102 mph. She was late for her hair appointment. Grandma claims that her doctor said that she has a kidney infection which may have caused her to act in an “abnormal manner.” Right . . .
And finally, the most recent images of the Gulf oil spill show the latest progress into the loop current. So depressing. I decided that in contrast to the awful pictures of the spill I would highlight some pictures of bioluminescence in the sea (such as plankton that glow when agitated) , which is visually awesome.
“Each time a person stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others they send forth a ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples built a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.” ~ Robert Kennedy
The Tank Man of Tiananmen Square
“Be isolated, be ignored, be attacked, be in doubt, be frightened, but do not be silenced.” ~ Bertrand Russell
Today, June 4, 2009, marks the 20th anniversary of the student uprising in Tiananmen Square in China. Students from various universities led a series of mass demonstrations in Beijing, calling for greater freedoms and economic reforms that challenged the supremacy of the Chinese Communist Party. The key event that sparked the protest was the death of former Secretary General Hu Yaobang, a well-liked figure who was forced to resign because he supported economic and political reform.
On April 17, small groups of people gathered at the Great Hall of the People, part of Tiananmen Square, to mourn Hu Yaobang. By midnight, the group had grown to include students from Peking and Tsinghua Universities. The initial reason for the gathering changed as students began drafting a list of pleas and suggestions (list of seven demands) that they wanted the government to listen to and carry through. The night before Hu’s funeral, April 21, 100,000 students gathered in Tiananmen Square. The students called for a strike on the universities.
The demonstrations began in earnest on April 27, 1989 when students from Peking University, People’s University, Tsinghua University, University of Political Science and Law, and Beijing Normal University met up in a march through the city towards Tiananmen Square. As the students walked, more and more came out and joined in the march. Even some non-students participated in the march. As described in an excerpt from Eddie Cheng’s book, Standoff at Tiananmen Square:
There were also occasional non-students in the march. At the front of the TsinghuaUniversity block, several old professors marched witha particular display of dignity. Their silver hair danced in the sunshine as they proudly held up a sign: “[We have been] kneeling for too long, [now we] stand up and walk a little.” The sign was referring both to the students’ kneeling petition and the sufferings these professors had endured under the decades of communist rule.
By the time the student procession reached Tiananmen Square, it was estimated that over 200,000 people had marched, with over one million citizens cheering them on along the route.
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” ~ Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
On May 4, approximately 100,000 students and workers marched in Beijing to make demands for free media and to call for a formal dialogue between the authorities and student-elected representatives. A declaration demanded the government to accelerate political reform. The government refused the proposed dialogue, but agreed to speak with selected student organization representatives.
The students held repeated meetings on what their next actions should be. The idea of a hunger strike was brought to the table as a possible means of forcing the government to hold talks with the student representatives. In China, the government, by law, must intervene in a hunger strike after 72 hours, so the students who were considering the strike never really thought that such a strike would go on for very long. It was decided that the hunger strike would begin on May 14, while the Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev was visiting China.
One of the protestors, Chai Ling, announced her intentions to strike and made a very moving speech to the crowd:
Why should we go on a hunger strike? Because we want to use this method, the only freedom we have left, to see the true face of our country and the true face of our people. I want to see if this country is worth our sacrifice and contribution . . . The government has time and again lied to us, ignored us. We only want the government to talk with us and to say that we are not traitors. We, the children, are ready to die. We, the children, are ready to use our lives to pursue the truth. We, the children, are ready to sacrifice ourselves.
We want to fight to live. We want to fight to live withthe resolve of death.
Chai Ling’s heartfelt speech moved many in the crowd to tears, and her extemporaneous speech was shaped into a Hunger Strike manifesto. In the beginning, over 100 students participated in the strike. By May 17, day 5 of the hunger strike, a reportedly two to three thousand people were participating in the strike. On May 19, the students called off the strike and turned their protest into a sit-in at Tiananmen Square. They had been informed that the government was going to impose martial law on May 20.
“If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet deprecate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did, and it never will.” ~ Frederick Douglass
On May 20, troops approached the site of the protest, but thousands of regular citizens barred their way. May 24 marked the 5th day of martial law. Sunday, May 28, was designated as a day for global demonstration for democracy in China. All over the world people of Chinese heritage and descendancy, as well as those sympathetic to the protestors’ cause showed their solidarity with the protesters in Tiananmen Square.
May 30, the students were supposed to end their protest and leave the square to return to their universities and their studies. Funds were running low, and many of the participants were losing hope of obtaining any lasting changes. However, a decision was made to stay in the square for three more weeks.
On the night of May 30, students erected their Goddess of Democracy and Freedom. Constructed of foam and papier mache, the statue stood at about 33 feet tall. The students who built the statue transported it to Tiananmen Square on four carts, and used two other carts to carry the tools necessary to assemble it. Ironically, the statue faced the huge portrait of Chairman Mao.
However, by June 2, it was becoming clear to the protesters and the rest of the world that the government was sending in more troops to encircle Tiananmen Square. Tensions were running high. The student protesters were tired; many were dispirited, and some wanted to end the protest. On the morning of June 3, protesters awoke to find military troops wearing white shirts and army pants surrounding Tiananmen Square. That night, the shooting began.
The assault began when APC’s (Armored Personnel Carriers) and troops with bayonets descended on the crowd. The government had also sent infantry troops bearing assault rifles to the site to deal with the protesters once and for all. Tents that had been erected during the time of the protest were crushed indiscriminately, whether or not individuals were inside. A tent gives little protection against an oncoming tank.
At first many in the crowd believed the soldiers to be firing rubber bullets and were not afraid, but as soon as the blood began to appear on shirts and skin, the horror of what was really happening became real. Students were shouting, “Why are you killing us?”
Reporter Charlie Cole was on scene and reported that at about 4 or 5 in the morning of June 4, tanks began smashing into the square, crushing vehicles and people. By 5:40 a.m. June 4, the Square had been cleared.
In all, the movement lasted seven weeks. Accounts of the number of people killed vary considerably. China reported that only 241 people died. The media said it was as many as 800, but Amnesty International estimated that 1,000 people were killed in the Tiananmen Square massacre, including people who were just onlookers. Reactions from around the world were predominantly negative. British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher expressed “utter revulsion and outrage,” and was “appalled by the indiscriminate shooting of unarmed people.”
“It is in the inherent nature of human beings to yearn for freedom, equality and dignity. Brute force, no matter how strongly applied, can never subdue the basic desire for freedom and dignity. ~ The Dalai Lama
In China, the massacre is known as the June 4th incident—such an innocuous name for a barbaric act. Chinese censors have managed to erase all mention of that tragedy from the country’s textbooks and state-run media. Chinese youth born after the event are never taught anything about what happened during those seven weeks. If they know anything about the Tiananmen Square massacre, it is because they have learned about it from family members. The tradition of oral history ensures that June 4, 1989 is never forgotten.
If you are too young to remember the detailed events of what happened in the People’s Republic of China during those seven weeks, I hope that you will take a chance to learn more. So much can be gained in examining these events. For one thing, students and others from all over joined in this protest because they believed that it was time for a change in the Chinese government. The protesters viewed themselves as Chinese patriots, carrying on the May 4th Movement for “science and democracy” in 1919.
The students’ activity gradually developed from protests against corruption into demands for freedom of the press and an end to, or the reform of, the rule of the PRC by the Communist Party of China and leader Deng Xiaoping. Some bore signs and carried banners that read, “Give me liberty or give me death.”
Granted, the protest suffered from a lack of unified leadership, with different people making decisions for all involved at different times. There was infighting, as is usually the case in a massive protest. Most of the students were privileged and looking for more freedom in the media and in speech; while the workers who supported the protest were alarmed by the government’s new economic reforms, growing inflation, and government corruption.
The protesters themselves urged people not involved in the protest not to harm the soldiers, not to throw bottle rockets. In spite of this, those involved in the protest never dreamed that it would all come to such a violent, bloody end.
A few other points:
The world once again stood by and watched as an atrocity unfolded before their eyes.
A tyrannical government under military rule chose to use force even though many of those in power preferred to keep things peaceful.
The PRC leaders who were in favor of a soft approach to the demonstrations, including General Secretary Zhao Ziyang, were overruled.
Because journalists from the West had been invited to cover the Gorbachev visit, many were on-hand to document what happened on June 3rd and 4th in Tiananmen Square.
If we are to believe the PRC, none of the above ever happened.
I will never forget for as long as I have memory, the image of that single man who had the courage to face down a column of tanks. He had no weapons, only grocery bags. He was no one famous. In fact, he has never been named. His act was completely spontaneous, but that act reflects exactly the difference that one individual can make in the history of the world. Show anyone who is old enough to remember that picture, and I can almost guarantee you that they will pause for a moment in what they are doing because that image is seared into our collective conscious.
The PRC would not have us remember this anniversary. They have wished it all away. But it is our job, as everyday people, to remember history-changing events like Tiananmen Square—if for no other reason than to be able to recount what happened orally, that we pass down this knowledge to those who come after us, that we make sure that however many people who died during those hours, that they did not die in vain.
I have always been a big Abraham Lincoln fan, ever since I had to memorize The Gettysburg Address in fourth grade. But Lincoln was wrong: The world did note, and everyone remembered Gettysburg. I find it wholly applicable that these same words be used to describe those students who sought in 1989 what we too often shamelessly take for granted:
The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain.
I leave you with these indelible images. Peace be with you.