While I don’t recall the year of this episode, I can state most definitely that it took place in the month of April, since many years later I learned that traditionally the full moon of April is called the “pink moon,” a reference made to the grass pink or wild ground phlox which is one of the earliest widespread flowers of the spring season.
So on Thursday night, when you look skyward at this year’s version of the “pink” April full moon, remember not to take the term literally!
A Bit of an Eclipse
While this month’s full moon may not look pink, if you live in Europe, Africa or much of Asia, you will notice something a bit different about it, because it will take place on the night of a lunar eclipse.
Unfortunately, in North America, none of this eclipse will be visible, since the actual instant of full moon occurs on Thursday afternoon (April 25), when the moon is below the horizon.
Beginning at 2:04 p.m. EDT, the moon begins to meet the Earth’s shadow; a little over two hours later it arrives under the middle of that shadow. By then the moon will have just risen and will be visible low to the east-southeast horizon as seen from Ireland, and will be setting over south-central Japan in the morning hours of Friday, April 26.
Feeble at Best
If we were to rank a total eclipse of the moon as a first-rate event, then what is scheduled to be seen on Thursday for those living in the Eastern Hemisphere would almost certainly fall into the third- or even fourth-rate category; in fact it might add new meaning to the term “underwhelming.”
During the first 110-minutes of the eclipse, the moon’s northern hemisphere pushes ever-so-gradually into the Earth’s partial shadow, called the penumbra. The outer two-thirds of this are too subtle to detect; but then perhaps by 3:30 p.m. you may realize you are beginning to detect the ever-so-slight gradient of a soft grey darkening around the top of the moon.
At 3:54 p.m., the moon’s northern limb finally makes contact with a much more abrupt shadow, the blackish-brown umbra. This chord of shadow on the moon grows and retreats over a span of less than half an hour; yet at its deepest at 4:07 p.m. EDT, the partial eclipse will reach its peak at a puny 1.48 percent as the moon’s northern (upper) limb literally grazes the umbral shadow and remains in contact with it until 4:21 p.m.
This dark shadow’s coverage can be described as feeble at best. To the unaided eye, even to those with acute visual skills, it will hardly cause a perceptible dent on the lunar disk. However, anyone who glances up at the moon around that time will likely notice that the uppermost part of the disk of the moon will appear smudged or tarnished. This effect will probably fade away by around 5 p.m., with the moon appearing as its normal self. Officially, though, the moon will not completely free itself from the outer penumbral shadow until 6:11 p.m.
Fascinating new study shows energy drinks containing carnitine can be as lethal as eating marbled red meat. While everyone has been blaming red meat marbling (read FAT) and cholesterol, it seems there is also something in red meat called carnitine that metabolizes into bad stuff when it hits your stomach. You can also watch a video on AOL EveryDay Health HERE.
By Amir Khan, Everyday Health Staff Writer
MONDAY, April 8, 2013 — Red meat is known to increase your risk for heart disease, but according to a new study, it’s not just the fat and cholesterol that’s the problem. Researchers found that a compound in red meat that’s also a common supplement in energy drinks may raise your risk for atherosclerosis — the hardening and clogging of the arteries, according to the study, and gut bacteria may be to blame.
Researchers from the Cleveland Clinic found that when gut bacteria metabolize the compound carnitine, they turn into trimethylamine-N-oxide (TMAO), which has been linked to atherosclerosis and heart disease. In addition, a diet high in carnitine stimulates the growth of more of that type of gut bacteria, creating a loop that can severely raise your risk, researchers said.
“The bacteria living in our digestive tracts are dictated by our long-term dietary patterns,” Stanley Hazen, M.D., Ph.D., study author and section head of preventive cardiology and rehabilitation in the Miller Family Heart and Vascular Institute at the Cleveland Clinic, said in a statement. “A diet high in carnitine actually shifts our gut microbe composition to those like carnitine, making meat eaters even more susceptible to forming TMAO and its artery-clogging effects.”
This process may explain why a vegetarian diet seems to have heart-health benefits, he added.
“Vegans and vegetarians have a significantly reduced capacity to synthesize TMAO from carnitine, which may explain the cardiovascular health benefits of these diets,” he said.
The researchers looked at the levels of carnitine and TMAO in 2,595 patients who were omnivores, vegans and vegetarians, and found that high levels of both carnitine and TMAO were predictors of heart disease and stroke. However, having high levels of only carnitine was not a predictor, indicating that the gut bacteria that metabolize the compound and turn it into TMAO may be to blame.
“This process is different in everyone, depending on the gut microbe metabolism of the individual,” Hazen said in a statement. “Carnitine metabolism suggests a new way to help explain why a diet rich in red meat promotes atherosclerosis.”
TMAO acts as an irritant, said Steven Zodkoy, DC, a nutrition specialist with the American Clinical Board of Nutritionist, which causes blood vessels to become inflamed and can lead to heart disease.
“If the blood vessels swell because of an irritiant, such as TMAO, and you combine that with high cholesterol, that’s where the heart disease is coming in,” he said.
In order to test how gut bacteria influenced heart disease risk, researchers fed carnitine to mice, and found that it doubled their risk of developing atherosclerosis. However, after the mice were given antibiotics designed to clear out their gut bacteria, a diet high in carnitine did not increase their risk.
Ultimately, researchers said the findings make it clear that red meat consumption should be limited, and that people taking carnitine supplements for a boost or drinking energy drinks containing it should stop.
“Carnitine is not an essential nutrient; our body naturally produces all we need,” Hazen said in the statement. “We need to examine the safety of chronically consuming carnitine supplements as we’ve shown that, under some conditions, it can foster the growth of bacteria that produce TMAO and potentially clog arteries.”
Zodkoy said it’s important for people to reduce their consumption of red meat in order to ward off heart disease.
“I’m a big fan of reducing red meat,” he said. “The proper portion is 4 ounces, but most people when they go out are getting a large 16-ounce steak. Red meat is an important part of the diet, but we overdo it.”
Last Updated: 04/08/2013 |
I’m booking a flight, looking over all the details, checking it twice . . . with all the flights we’ve taken, we’ve learned, sometimes painfully (think tearing to the airport on D-Ring in Qatar at prime driving time, around 7 pm, when cars are bumper to bumper all the way to Airport Road, and we mis-read our flight time by two critical hours, ooh la la!) to check, and double check, and to write it down.
Because I’ve been a loyal frequent flyer, I normally don’t even bother looking at baggage costs, mine are always free.
Oops. Not so fast. Looks like something may have changed. I’m still an elite, but I guess not so special any more. And what is this? A baggage embargo? What the funk?
Actually, I tend to travel light, but I click on the hypertext and read the following, which I thought might be of interest to my friends in the Middle East, for whom ten bags is small potatoes . . .
WHEN TRAVELING LIGHT ISN’T AN OPTION
Traveling light is always ideal, but it’s not always realistic. The best advice we can give as far as minimizing fees is to pack as efficiently as possible and learn where it will cost you. Here is everything you need to know about quantities, extra fees and restrictions.
Before we get to all the nitty-gritties, please note the following general guidelines:
Up to 10 bags may be checked per passenger on flights operated by Delta and up to four total checked bags on Delta Connection® carrier flights.
We may limit the amount of excess baggage when such excess prevents us from transporting up to two bags per passenger.
Delta Connection carriers accept excess baggage on a space-available basis. If the baggage cannot be carried on the same flight with you, it will be transported on the next available flight.
Camera, film, videotape, lighting, and sound equipment will be accepted when tendered by representatives of network or local television broadcasting companies or commercial filmmaking companies. See Media Bags for complete details.
Additional, overweight and oversized baggage is accepted on a standby basis.
Bags that do not meet our size and weight restrictions will require special handling and additional fees.
It’s important to know that there separate fees for each limitation you exceed: size, weight and quantity. For example, if an extra piece of baggage exceeds the weight and size limits, it will be subject to three fees: one for the extra bag, one for exceeding the weight limit and one for going over the size restriction. Fees are charged for each additional bag, each way.
Some destinations may have additional restrictions as well. Please review the breakdown below.
Did you read that last paragraph? A bag which exceeds the limits can be fined THREE times???
AdventureMan said yesterday that if he never had to fly again (he does) he would be happy. It’s no longer an adventure, and it is no longer a pleasure. At the very worst, I used to be able to get a lot of books read, just snuggled in and minded my own business, but there is so much rage, so much scrabbling for those extra inches on the armrests, even for the sweet fresh air, that it has become like a university final, jumping all those hurdles to achieve your degree. Now that we all compete for overhead space (I’ve always love checking my bags and just having a purse with my iPad, traveling really, really light) because of these creeping and creepy baggage fees, the alienation just grows.
I fly with an airline which has one of the WORST reputations for their air loyalty program in the United States.
AdventureMan and I worked hard today, getting ready for our next set of house guests, so when he suggested the Seafood Platter Deli, oh Yes! Yes! It is one of my favorite places.
It’s the food. It’s the service. It’s special. They are ALWAYS so friendly, so attentive. They greet you like they are really glad you came in, and they take good care of you. Today, when the waiter brought AdventureMan’s scallops, he thought there weren’t enough (the waiter, not AdventureMan) and he brought us a couple bowls of their fabulous gumbo to make it up to us.
(Make it up to us?? Our meals were already fantastic! We brought half of the meals home to enjoy later!)
But today, we got there just in time. The restaurant was filling up fast, and behind us was a group of motorcyclists, all in their black leathers. Most of them looked about our age, maybe a little older, a little rough, a little used up – sort of like us. But motorcyclists. Shiver!
Oh. Wait. What is that it says on their jackets? Christs Decendents? And they are so quiet, so modest in their behavior, so well spoken, so kind to one another . . .
I was so intrigued I had to Google them when I got home, and discovered they are a Christian group of motorcyclists – it looks like they are allied to several local churches and have chapters other places, too. I never woulda thunk it, and I’ve seen it with my own eyes. I love it that I can still be surprised.
In what has been described as a ‘rape epidemic,’ a report reveals the number of rapes per year in South Africa, is now double that of India, despite the country and population being only a fraction of the size.
What is more startling however, is the reaction to such a statistic. While shocking rape stories have received mass media coverage in India, and sparked fierce protest throughout the country; the population of South Africa seems little surprised, and very little concerned by their own news.
Time for a visit to Mom, get her out doing a little Christmas shopping, even in the rain. Seattle is in that time of the year when the day goes from black to dark grey to a little lighter grey and then by 3:30 in the afternoon, the sun starts going down and you have that grey that fades to black.
Getting here is just getting through it. It’s not so bad as the grueling trip out of Qatar or Kuwait, or even out of Germany. It’s a mere 5-ish hours of plane ride, but airplane travel has become such drudgery these days. I always used to chose the window seat, but on a long flight I get antsy and like to get up and stretch, so I would have to disturb two other people, so this time I chose the aisle. As it turns out, I hate the aisle, I hate people walking up and down and bumping me (and I am not hanging out in the aisle; they are intruding on my space!) and then I have to get up when they get antsy. I hate the non-meal thing, so that even if you bring food, you feel bad about eating if no one else is eating, and I hate the crowdedness and people lining up to use the lavatories. Flying used to be more fun.
Getting into Seattle is fun. They’ve streamlined getting baggage – although with the new baggage charges, I notice there is a lot more competition for overhead space, because people don’t want to pay to have a bag. I’m still lucky enough to have my bags go free and I don’t like trundling big things on board and having to heave them into the overhead bins while other people are trying to get by.
Picking up the bag as easy, but the car rental kiosks have disappeared. I was just here in May; when did all the rental cars go somewhere else? Now, as it turns out, you have to go catch a bus and it takes you to a central car rental place off the airport. It’s big and spacious and impersonal and soulless. They didn’t have the car I had selected and wanted me to take a Jeep Cherokee. I even got in it, but my feet barely reached the pedals and it didn’t feel like a car I wanted to drive so I persisted pleasantly until they gave me a car that felt right – a Camry. They also told me that Seattle drivers are terrible (not true; this is one of the most polite places in the world; people STOP for the YELLOW light) and that I really really needed a lot of extra insurances. I held my ground, but as I exited out into a dreary rainstorm, I prayed for protection to get me through Seattle safely. I guess they got to me after all, even though I know Seattle is one of the safer places to drive.
Today was one of the busier days, running errands, getting things done, I don’t much like shopping, but for some reason shopping in Seattle is easy. Then tonight was pure pleasure – meeting up with old and seriously good friends at for some seriously good seafood. The place is called T & T’s Seafood, or sometimes T & T’s Chinese Seafood, and you wouldn’t be impressed if you saw it from the outside, but it is one of those places that fools you. It is full of people who like real Chinese food, not what can pass for Chinese food in those little restaurants that dumb it down for local trade. More than half of the customers are Chinese; most of the huge bags of food going out to people picking up are going to Chinese. That’s a good sign.
When we sit, we are handed menus. which we don’t open because we know what we like. The owner comes up and chats with my Chinese friend and walks away with the menus. I asked what we are having and she said “I don’t know, he said he knows what we want, he remembers us from last time” (six months ago). When the food starts arriving, it is all so good . . . crispy cooked green beans, so good, crispy fried tofu with garlic and green onions, and a seafood dish loaded with fresh scallops and fish and shrimp – pure Pacific Northwest Chinese, the best! Good friends, great conversations and a plan for when we will meet up again – a great evening.
Tomorrow the clan will gather, everyone in Seattle around one table, and family will catch up. We have a new baby due any minute; my youngest sister is about to become a grandmama for the second time.
It is supposed to rain the entire time I will be here. No wonder Seattle drinks so much coffee!
Today I had a long list of things to do to start getting ready for our first house-guest of the season. God is good – the day dawned relatively cool, and the humidity is low. I could open the windows and let the cool breezes clean out the stale air-conditioned air we’ve been living with.
We had lunch at Taco Rock, an honest little Mexican food place we love, we are working our way through their menu. Today AdventureMan had tamales, which he said were really good, and I had the Pollo (chicken) plate. Delicious. We sat outside.
We sat outside. . . what amazing words. There are times when the heat in Pensacola is like the heat in Kuwait or Doha; it is so hot and so humid that it is like being slapped in the face. Today . . . we sat outside. It was wonderful.
Things really get cranking in Pensacola in October. The Ballet starts. The Symphony starts. The Opera starts. Every Saturday, there is at least one charity run/walk raising money. Last weekend was the Truck-Pull to benefit Ronald McDonald House (I think I remember that correctly) and the Greek Fest, and the Master Gardener’s Fun Fair, and the Butterfly House Celebration, and the Glass Pumpkin Patch frenzy, and the corn mazes are opening and an Impact 100 event – it is the season. Once the temperatures are regularly below 90°F every day, people start feeling human again and start doing things.
The Pensacola Christmas Parade is December 8th. We’ve taken the Happy Baby, The Happy Toddler, and I can hardly wait to take the Happy Little Boy. He will LOVE the noise of the police and fire engine sirens, he will love the lights and the beads and this year, he can scramble for beads with the other little children. Well, yes, you are right, as much as I enjoy how he loves it, actually, I love it and he is my good excuse to go.
I plan to enjoy these next few months cooler months as much as I can while they are here
You’ll see them leaning into the gale, wind whipping their hair, their rubberized hoodie, the reporters on CNN and The Weather Channel who make waiting for a hurricane seem like exciting stuff.
“Here it comes!” they will shout, as a super tall surge-enlarged wave crashes over the highway, and they can barely keep on their feet.
They always seem to be on Dauphin Island.
Dauphin Island seems to have a bull’s eye on it. It is the target of many of the hurricanes that roar into the Gulf of Mexico, and it took a beating in the 2010 British Petroleum oil spill, effects of which are still resonating throughout the Gulf. (of Mexico)
The weather is cooling. It doesn’t seem like much, temperatures in the high 80′s or even hitting 90°F, but low humidity and lower night temperatures make it seem bearable, even delightful. Friday night, AdventureMan suggested we take a short road trip, get up early and get to Dauphin Island while we could still get the morning light.
We actually didn’t hit the road until 0800, but hey, it’s Saturday. Traffic on I-10 is light, and we breeze through Mobile and exit to the Dauphin Island parkway.
Once you get on the parkway, it is a beautiful drive. I could hear the beat and echos of the True Blood theme song, you pass lowlands, and wrecked houses, almost every car on the road is a pick-up truck and you feel like you have drifted a hundred years or so into the past. You take several bridges, one over the Fowl River, before you get to the big huge long bridge that connects the mainland with Dauphin Island.
(Foul River from Wikipedia:
Fowl River is a 14.4-mile-long (23.2 km) brackish river in Mobile County, Alabama. It originates near the Mobile suburb of Theodore and then splits into the East Fowl River and the West Fowl River. The East Fowl River discharges into Mobile Bay south of Belle Fontaine. The West Fowl River discharges into the Mississippi Sound east of Coden. It was named by the original French colonists as the Riviere aux Poules, which can be translated into English as Fowl River.)
(I just had to put that in because I needed to know where the name Fowl River came from, as opposed to say Foul River. I always thought Poules were female chickens, but Chicken River doesn’t sound very fearsome, and after all, a chicken is a fowl.)
When we got to the big long bridge going from mainland Alabama to Dauphin Island, AdventureMan said “Now there is a bridge your Mother would love.” He is right. My Mom loved the bridges in Pensacola, and she would really love this bridge:
As you get close to Dauphin Island, there is a beautiful estuary area, with wading birds of all kinds, herons half-hidden by tall grasses; it is a lush paradise.
We zipped out to the vacation rental areas to see . . . well, you know, what we could see. I hate to think of myself as a Lookie Lou, but I wanted to see what the island looked like. It looks a lot like Santa Rosa Island, where Pensacola Beach is, except less developed, and cozier. Almost every house on the west end of the island is on stilts, so the water surges can just wash right under them and cause less damage. Some of these houses are family houses. We saw a lot of houses on Dauphin Island where it looks like people live year round, and many more where it looks like the whole family comes out for weekends.
I saw one house I loved, a huge house, actually maybe two or three houses, with a huge screened in sleeping porch in the center. I could imagine all the families gathering and all the cousins getting to sleep on bunks on the sleeping porch, telling each other ghost stories and then hearing sounds as their excitement kept them from going to sleep. Finally, lulled by the sounds of their parents conversations and laughter, they drift off . . . .
The roads were barely cleared, tons and tons of sand heaped along the sides where it has been scraped to make the roads minimally passable. It’s only been a couple weeks. Other than the heaped sand, we didn’t see any major damage from Isaac.
The only downside . . . and it is a major downside in my mind . . . is the constant blot on the horizon of the offshore drilling rigs.
Let’s see, you have this beautiful paradise-like island, full of bird life and wild life and undersea life, and you line the shallow nearby waters with drilling rigs? Rigs for which the safety standards are not enforced? Dauphin Island was hit hard by the BP Oil Spill, and stands frail and vulnerable against repeated attacks by nature and by man-made catastrophes.
The greeting ritual among Americans must be one of those things that emerged from so many different cultures that any common sense is completely lost. This ritual consists of two parts: there’s a high pitch in which participants declare each other’s name, while slowly commencing the second step of the ritual: a hug. Also known as the best disguised way of suffocating someone in an aroma of a day-old, sweaty shirt.
Can you imagine a daytime temperature of 120°F? Can you imagine fasting, not eating – or drinking – in that kind of heat?
Daggero asked for clouds. It’s the least I could do. We may have a big cloudburst coming tonight, but I chased it today and it only sprinkled: