She’s A Stupid Old Fart

She’s A Stupid Old Fart

She’s an annoying old thing. She sleeps much of the day, but when she is awake she can’t be satisfied.

She seems to want only the basics of life that please her, satisfying both ends of her digestive system, getting constant attention while she’s awake, being left undisturbed when she is asleep. And treats, she loves her treats.

She has some problems with bowel movements, but she is somehow aware enough to eagerly take her laxative each day. Some part of her natural brain endowment is still working.

Sometimes she acts stunned, frozen in place in the middle of a room as if she can’t remember what she was doing or why or where she wants to go. Give her some food and she may begin to eat, turn away, then ask for more food without even looking at her plate to see that she hasn’t finished what she had just been given.

I get frustrated. I don’t know what to do to please her. I have a better understanding of elder abuse now that I have an elder with dementia to look after. It’s easy to let your emotions and thoughts go wild when you don’t know what is happening in the brain of another. I don’t strike out. I don’t shout, though I grumble my frustration sometimes. She doesn’t seem to care.

Her name is Lucy. Who names anyone Lucy? Well, in this case, my long deceased mother-in-law, but that’s another story.

At least I don’t have to physically feed Lucy. She feeds herself. Cats don’t use forks and spoons. Yes, Lucy is a senior feline with dementia. (A UK survey found that one in ten cats develops dementia as it gets well into its teen years.)

Though the lifespan of cats is normally much shorter than that of humans, their behaviour during their lives often matches that of humans to a shocking extent. Cats and humans do not speak the same verbal language, though both have had thousands of years to learn from the other.

Having studied cats intensively for the past two decades (my background is in sociology and education), I have observed only one marked difference between the behaviour of cats and people: when a kitten or cat wants something, it does everything within its power to get it. Human children, sadly, do not, so often miss out on much of the adult attention they desperately want.

OK, if you want to get technical, people don’t clean their behinds by licking, as cats do. But cats have almost germ-free mouths, while people can have billions of bacteria and viruses in theirs. There’s a lesson there, but I’m not sure what it is.

Every cat has a certain level of “talkativeness” some are always quiet and purring, some meow about everything. The change seen with senior dementia is one of increased or excessive vocalizations, and not just a simple meow. They may appear confused and not totally sure of their surroundings while vocalizing, and this behavior is more common at night, often waking up the household. – Janet Tobiassen Crosby , DVM, veterinarian and author of materials about small animals

As in humans, dementia leaves [cats] confused and distressed…Researchers from the University of Edinburgh now believe half of all cats over the age of 15 and a quarter aged 11 to 14, are suffering from “geriatric onset behavioural problems”. –Laura Donnelly, Health Correspondent, The Telegraph

Feline dementia is very similar to dementia in humans. Here’s the killer: dementia is the most avoidable disease known in either species. Yes, dementia is avoidable, if those in charge of a cat or a child begin early enough.

Cats in the wild live about ten years. Indoor cats often live twice that long. The older they get, the more likely they are to get a disease of old age.

The difference between a cat or a person who will eventually get dementia and one who will not is curiosity or creativity in childhood. Both, in the early years of life, require lots of attention and opportunities to explore, to learn, to satisfy their natural curiosity.

Curiosity, so the old saw goes, killed the cat. But cats have nine lives, so another goes, so they have resources people don’t. When a cat lacks stimulation and inspiration for enough years, it becomes dull. When a child is denied sufficient stimulation and inspiration for its first few years, then again in the primary grades of school, it will stop being curious. As an adult, that child will join the legions of stupid people you see around you, almost everywhere you go.

Have you walked down the hallway of a nursing home that caters to the frail elderly? They sit outside their bedroom doors, staring blankly, hoping for something or someone to pass by to relieve the monotony. Dementia is the last stage of what began as a bored child, then developed into a stupid adult.

If dementia is avoidable, what can we do to help ourselves and others to avoid it? To begin with, you will not likely develop dementia because you were curious enough to read this article. Curiosity is the key. Curiosity doesn’t come out the end of a hypodermic needle or in table form.

Curiosity is, in effect, a desire to learn. A constant desire to learn. It doesn’t seem to matter what a child or even a middle aged adult wants to learn or to explore, so long as it’s new and requires learning. Try something new. Embrace change. Get used to something different. Explore, even if it’s only at your local library. You will never see a demented adult in a library.

Now you know something that could change lives. You, being curious yourself, will not likely suffer from dementia in your later years. But what you know now could prevent someone else from suffering that fate. You could change the life or your grandchild, or your child.

You could change the life of a complete stranger, if you care enough. Consider this: how might the life of a homeless person change if they had a drive to learn, to improve themselves, to change for the better? You might not be able to help that way directly, but you could join an organization with that as its primary objective.

Bill Allin in the author of Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today’s Epidemic Social Problems, a guidebook for teachers and parents who want to ensure the kids they know continue to exercise their curiosity throughout their lives. Learn more at


Monogamy May Contribute to the Extinction of Humanity

Monogamy May Contribute to the Extinction of Humanity

“I’ve calculated that if we keep fixing the problem, in 10,000 years no men will be producing sperm.”
Sherman Silber , urological surgeon, researcher who heads the Infertility Center of St. Louis, at St. Luke’s Hospital

It’s not as if the (distinctly male) Y chromosome is under attack by monogamous men. The claim is that due to monogamy, more correctly one man, one woman, no cheating, may be causing the sperm of some men to get lazy. It’s “use it or lose it,” make it work or it will suffer from atrophy.

Isn’t sperm a natural component of maleness, something that gets passed down from generation to generation like a treasured gold pocket watch? Not quite. Like anything related to DNA, deficient sperm, if allowed to procreate through a non-natural process such as in vitro fertilization, will pass from father to son to grandson, and so on. Once the genes responsible for producing sperm become deficient, their progeny (if any) will also be deficient for every succeeding generation.

A strictly monogamous relationship, especially if overwork, lack of sufficient sleep, fatigue from childcare, prescriptive drugs or many other causes come into the picture, results on long periods of sex drought. In effect, what happens with newly made sperm is similar to what happens to muscles that are not used for long periods of time. They don’t work so well. While atrophied muscle can be revived, defective sperm producers remain defective until death.

When it comes to sperm, working well is critically important. The World Health Organization (WHO, an agency of the United Nations) says that fewer than 15 million sperm per milliliter of semen will likely result in a healthy egg that will not be fertilized after coitus. Out of that number, only one (in most cases) will ever be successful. If the sperm don’t fight hard, if they have developed with a funny shape or if they swim poorly, they will die alone, along with the egg.

The original purpose of monogamy was to ensure that a baby grew with both a mother and a father–the old concept of “a family.” Monogamy originally meant devotion of one man to one woman for the purpose of raising a child. Religions, given legal charge of marrying men and women, dictated the “no cheating” rule. Even the term for “cheating” in a marriage is “unfaithful,” a word commonly associated with religion.

Today we have astronomical rates of divorce, often because the man has been “unfaithful” to the marriage vow. A shocking majority of single mothers live on social assistance (welfare), barely able to fulfill their role model as mother let alone act as a father as well.

One large study a couple of years ago, in the USA, found that 85 percent of husbands admitted (confidential survey) to being unfaithful to their wives (sex with at least one other partner). However, another study found that 65 percent of wives were unfaithful to their marriage vows as well. Both of these were “at least once.” That’s a clear majority on both sides.

Our insistence on sexual monogamy in marriage (or equivalent) is, therefore, in conflict with the realities. In other words, the partner who gets caught is the guilty one.

But who suffers from breakups resulting from sexual wandering of one or more spouses? More than anyone else, the children. We say that “Kids can adapt easily to changes in family makeup.” That kind of thinking may be seen in people who know nothing about children. They suffer, in ways that parents seldom understand, often for the rest of their lives.

“Bad food, bad genes and monogamy are sucking the life our of human sperm,” according to David H. Freedman, freelance journalist and author, in a column about the degradation of human sperm, in Discover, November 2011.

Several studies have confirmed that the viability of male sperm has slid downhill over the past century, going by standards of the World Health Organization. “We’re producing pretty poor sperm compared with those of [other] primates and other animals,” claims Gary Cherr, reproductive toxicologist at University of California, Davis. “Even in the most fertile men, there are quality issues.”

The facts stated above may seem to confuse the issue of the future of humanity. But they don’t really. Over time, Darwin’s concept of natural selection will prevail.

The total population of humans on our planet may decrease in the meantime. Who would dispute the value of that?

This article is not intended to support the concept of sex with partners outside of marriage. That part is up to you. What we need to keep in mind is the best interests of children, who are inevitably harmed by the breakup of their parents. Inevitably, in their minds, if not visibly by their behaviour at the time.

Let’s remember that the primary purpose of the marriage bond is to ensure a child has caring parents to raise him or her. Sexual monogamy of both parents, or lack thereof, matters little to a child.

Bill Allin is the author of Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today’s Epidemic Social Problems, a guidebook for parents and teachers who want to raise kids with a comfortable balance of skills and knowledge as adults.
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So You Think You Know Christianity (and Islam before the Prophet)

So You Think You Know Christianity (and Islam before the Prophet)

We casually refer to those who attend worship at a place called a “church” Christians, and their religion as Christianity. Not much to argue about there.

What about the origins of Christianity, recorded to some extent in the Bible, and followed to some extent by Muslims (for whom the Bible was the word of God before the writing of the Qur’an)? It only makes sense that those who lived closest to the lifetime of Jesus of Nazareth, especially those who were contemporaries, such as the Apostles, would know the most about the origins of Christianity.

What we know today as Christianity and its Bible are more accurately a product of the Church of Rome, written or revised in the Fourth Century CE, not long before Roman emperor Constantine adopted Christianity as the official religion of Rome (aka the Eastern Roman Empire, or the Byzantine empire). The Apostles and St. Paul played significant parts in what became known as the Bible, but only so far as what they wrote conformed to what the church wanted the world to know.

Even the Bible books by the Apostles were written between 90 and 110 years (some say even more) after the death of Jesus on the cross. Think about your experience with elderly people, especially about how accurate their memories are. You probably don’t know people who have written anything at that age, let alone books that are followed to the letter by followers who believe they are transcribed words from God.

Religious books produced at the time of Jesus or shortly after his death (not necessarily on a cross, it turns out) differ markedly from the story passed along to us from the hallowed halls of head offices of Christian churches. In fact, the cross was not adopted as a Christian symbol for more than two centuries after Jesus. Before the change the accepted symbol was a fish, though some evidence exists that the cross (similar to the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet–thau, made in the shape of a cross–note the significance of that as “this is a far as you need to go, the Cross) was used by Christians who were persecuted by the Romans as a way to identify themselves to each other.

Religious books that were written shortly after the life of Jesus were widely read and believed by Followers of Jesus in the Holy Land. The fact that the Church of Rome (based in Greece and Rome) conducted what amounts to a genocide against the Followers of Jesus in the Holy Land after 150 CE is immaterial to this story. Except to note that followers of Jesus in the Holy Land did not have the same “history” of their religion as the Church of Rome, and they paid for that with their lives in most cases. They were exterminated by Rome, their greatest competitor.

Their holy books were, for the most part, not components of the Bible of today, as compiled by the church in the Fourth Century. They were too varied and heretical.

For example, Followers of Jesus–those who lived in the land that Jesus called home–believed there were two, 12, even as many as 30 gods, as recorded in their holy books. They did not believe in one God, all-knowing, all-seeing, all-powerful. They did not necessarily even believe that one God created the world and everything else they knew. (Beyond the creation story in Genesis, Judaism dwells very little on beginnings as well.)

The death of Christ had nothing to do with salvation. The concept that “He died for your sins” never appears in those early books. Indeed, some believed that Jesus didn’t die on a cross at all. History records that Mary of Magdala lived in France for a while. Some even say she had children there, with Jesus as the father. Enough evidence exists in France today to support at least the Mary part of that claim. She may have fled to France to escape the Roman church, who wanted her dead as she was one of the leaders of the Followers of Jesus and women leading religious groups was forbidden by male-dominated Rome.

Some Christians adhere to the Bible as the only book worth reading and believing, just as Muslims believe that of their holiest book, the Qur’an. Is the Bible really no more accurate as a source for Christian doctrine than our daily newspapers today? That is, was the Bible edited and rewritten to say what its publisher wanted people to read and believe?

History records that some religious books were rewritten by Christian scholars at the time the Bible was first assembled, in the Fourth Century. The original books were destroyed. In fact, history records that the Church of Rome scoured the empire searching for the original versions of the books it adapted and rewrote, as well as books that did not conform to their new Bible, to have them destroyed. Some believe that the burning of the library at Alexandria–the greatest library of the ancient world–was set by Roman Christians because it held too many books written by the Followers of Jesus.

The ancient scrolls known as the Nag Hammadi, the name of the Egyptian city where the scrolls were discovered in 1945, bear witness to the deceptions carried out by the Church of Rome in order to formulate and consolidate its religion in the Fourth Century.

German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche famously declared “God is dead” in several of his books. He didn’t mean that a real God had died. He meant that the fictitious God perpetrated by religions had been revealed as unreal. In other words, the more educated people become, the more they realize the fiction of religion, and the more they will search for a true religion.

While untold numbers of people argue over whether God must exist because they have faith he does, or maybe not, almost no one pays attention to what a real God must be like, in accordance with science that even the most atheistic scientists can’t debate.

Most of those who have experienced God are quiet about it. They know it may not be good for their health to make declarations that go against the teachings of a great religion.

Bill Allin is the author of Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today’s Epidemic Social Problems, a guidebook for parents who want to know when to teach their children the truth about life, instead of leaving much of the life education of their children to street chatter.
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When You Hurt From A Loss

When You Hurt From A Loss

Forgetting you is not that hard to do I’ve done it a thousand times a day
– lyric from “
A Thousand Times A Day“, by Patty Loveless

Almost everyone has gone through the pain of loss of a loved one, be it through death, divorce or the other just wanting to be out of the relationship. We all need to learn lessons from our experiences.

First of all, it’s important to realize that the hurt is our own. We impose it on ourselves. We don’t hurt for the other person, whether that person is still alive or not, we hurt for ourselves. It’s a form of self pity. The hurt is real, but no one else imposes it on us.

What if the one we love takes off and leaves us, doesn’t that mean the other person hurts us? No, it means we hurt ourselves because we regret our loss.

The love was unrequited, one-sided, at least at the point the one left the other. While we wanted the relationship to continue, the other person knew it wouldn’t work. We should ask ourselves, those of us in this situation, why we would want to continue to live with someone who knew the relationship was wrong, that it just plain wouldn’t work.

Often we feel, perhaps without admitting it to ourselves, that the loss was our own fault. We acted ourselves and it wasn’t good enough. “If only I had done things differently.”

No, acting yourself is the only way you can depend on being comfortable in your own skin. The other person just didn’t want that. It’s much the same as your clearly preferring one car while disliking another. The reason doesn’t have to make sense, it just is.

How sensible is it to want someone who doesn’t want you? Isn’t that just beating yourself up?

The situation may be worse with divorce. As common as divorce is these days, it isn’t just a loss. Divorce is a signal to the world of failure. Or so many perceive it.

It may be a costly failure. That kind of mistake doesn’t come cheap in some cases. Courts and lawyers don’t help. They like records, especially when they stand to gain from record settlements.

In virtually every case of divorce, it was a bad match to start with. Something was wrong and at least one of the couple refused to admit it. “Love will conquer all” works in songs and poetry, but living it through makes for slogging that most people don’t care to endure.

Despite the fact that people living today will live almost twice as long as their recent ancestors, on average, we seem to live by the adage that “Life is short, eat the dessert first.” Trouble is, many of us lose our appetite for the main course once dessert is over.

Albert Einstein said that insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. (That idea was around for centuries before Einstein.) Is that not what a couple on their way to eventual divorce do?

Unfortunately, when it comes to primary relationships such as marriage or common law, do-overs seldom work. The success rate for second and third tries is perishingly low. Trying again usually just postpones the inevitable.

As with any major life loss or tragedy, the solution to a broken relationship is usually to find another one that will work better. There is no perfect mate or soul mate for most of us. We need to find someone who is prepared to tolerate us while we accept their faults, follies and failures. Love comes much easier when you can overlook those things in your significant other.

Getting past the death of a loved one, especially an unexpected death, can play hard on some people for many years. What causes the hurt? It’s our loss, not the end of life of a loved one. It’s like stabbing yourself hard.

Why does it hurt so much? Most of us are not emotionally or psychologically prepared for a sudden loss. It’s a personal loss we had no control over. Nothing we could have done might have prevented the death, in most cases. It’s life playing its worst on our heart.

Is there a way to lessen the pain? We can be better prepared. We can understand that we could get a phone call any day to say that anyone in our life has died unexpectedly. We can formulate a plan of what we would do if that happened. We can figure out exactly what procedures we would go through if something tragic happened to someone we love.

Will that lessen the loss? No. But it will make the hurt less severe, maybe having it impact our life for a shorter period of time. That’s the best we can do. Hurt is survivable for most of us. Science has proven that it is possible to die of a “broken heart” but few of us actually do.

We can also remember that our loved one might get a similar phone call to say that we have died suddenly. We can prepare plans for that too.

Death and loss of relationships are part of life. It’s worth remembering that emotions work like a pendulum: the farther they swing one way, the farther they are able to swing the other way. Those who suffer little from downswings in life lack the ability to have great joy when life is at its best for them.

The positive side of tragedy is that life always turns around. Maybe not fast enough to suit us most of the time, but that’s life.

Bill Allin is the author of Turning it Around: Causes and Cures for Today’s Epidemic Social Problems, a guidebook for people who want to learn how to cope with life before they need those coping skills. It’s about learning life lessons before they are needed.
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