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Freezing? For Real?

A friend invited a new guy to Easter brunch. He’s an American doctor, who focuses on research, in particular on cryopreservation, i.e. getting frozen at the moment of death so that if medical science figures out the cure for the disease that killed you, they can bring you back.

I thought this was the stuff of sci-fi, but no, it’s being done now in the U.S. and in other countries like China. Check this BBC story out if you doubt me.

It’s not as expensive as I’d imagined — $200,000 in the US and $400,000 in China because the companies here figure the rich would pay that. To get just your brain frozen, it’s  $80,000. You can get tissue or animals frozen too.

While they haven’t yet developed the technology to thaw someone out, they have succeeded in unfreezing frogs and other simple animals.

There are already a few hundred people who’ve been frozen including these folks.  One company that does this, Alcor has over 1200 people signed up for future freezing. You can put cryopreservation into your insurance policy.

I just can’t get over this. I wouldn’t want to be frozen, though as a child watching sci-fi shows I thought it would be cool (no pun intended). But now . . . no thanks.

Who knows what sort of world you’d wake up in? Even if you could convince a good number of family and friends to sign up, there’s no guarantee you’d all wake up at the same time and even if you did, you could find yourself in a very odd or hostile world. Also, before they freeze you, you must be declared legally dead. How is someone declared legally undead?

Yet some people are signing up. Would you?

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Ask and It Shall Be Given

A few weeks back when we studied advertising in English 3, I showed my students ads by the Chinese office of DDB. I used to work for DDB and have an affinity for them.

I then contacted the name on the press release about this campaign. A couple weeks and a few emails later, I’m delighted to say Volkswagen is giving us 6-10 units!

The air has been cleaner this spring, and it’s about to get even more so on campus.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Monochromatic

138 Spring 2013 028

DSC_0518

Chicago's Wrigley Building

Chicago’s Wrigley Building

1. Each week, we’ll provide a theme for creative inspiration. You take photographs based on your interpretation of the theme, and post them on your blog (a new post!) anytime before the following Friday when the next photo theme will be announced.

2. To make it easy for others to check out your photos, title your blog post “Weekly Photo Challenge: (theme of the week)” and be sure to use the “postaday″ tag.

3. Follow The Daily Post so that you don’t miss out on weekly challenge announcements, and subscribe to our newsletter – we’ll highlight great posts.

Other great photos:

Mr Selfridge: On Shell Shock

henri

As poor Henri LeClair battles against shell shock, here’s a BBC radio program, The Essay that focuses on this problem. Evidently, officer’s dealing with mental effects of the war were diagnosed with shell shock while privates were thought to be nuts or just malingering.

The Essay is a radio program featuring essays by writers on a myriad of topics, i.e. whatever tickles their fancy. I think I’ve discovered a little mine full of radio gems.

Healthcare’s the Wrong Word

Last week we found my aunt had fallen and was lying on the floor for at least one day. (She’s a bit cagey about the details.) She went to Lutheran General in Park Ridge and got good care. I was impressed with the nurse’s professionalism there. They always introduced themselves, explained what they had to do and respectfully and carefully answered questions. You could tell they aspired to excellence.

On Saturday she was moved to a nearby rehabilitation center. What a downward slide! I’m just livid about this move and we don’t know who recommended this place. The nurses just don’t seem to care. They’re slow to respond and just seem out of it, like they aren’t listening when spoken to. At different times my aunt and her roommate have asked for assistance to go to the bathroom and it takes the nurses so long to respond that they’ve had accidents. Another time my aunt pressed the bell for a nurse and she took 20 minutes to arrive.

Since the food is not tasty and my aunt needs to eat to gain strength so she can go home, I said I’d bring dinner tonight and then we’d watch Downton Abbey. I got to the center at 6:45 and discovered the chicken place forgot to give us plastic utensils. I asked a nursing assistant for silverware and he said he wasn’t sure he could get any. What?

When I asked how we were supposed to eat, he agreed to try to get silverware and sauntered off. Ten minutes later he returns with one set of utensils. I told him I needed to eat too and he looked very put out, like a put upon teenager. (This man’s 40 if he’s a day). He slowly left to possibly get me silverware.

I’ve checked out their website and couldn’t believe that the images contained are all stock photos that do not resemble the center. I will say the center’s lobby is nicely appointed, but the rest is very drab and basic. On one page it describes the rooms and “suites” (bigger rooms) and mentions it’s like a hotel. They left out that it’s like a one star hotel. Also the picture on this page isn’t of the rooms. It’s a copy of a drawing in one of the corridors! How dodgy!

I know my aunt could get better care in Thailand or South Korea. What does that say about the US?

I pray we can get my aunt out of this place and into somewhere with more caring professionals.

New Year’s Resolutions

Last year I resolved to watch one old movie a week and I defined “old” as made before 1960. I had no idea how many great films I would discover through this resolution. I discovered lots of great movies from America, Japan, England, Italy and France. I saw great films I knew I should see, but never made time for. I did allow myself 4 weeks “off” but I think I saw at least 49 old films. Chaplin, Lloyd, Sacha Guitry, Mizuguchi, were just some of the directors whose work I saw for the first time.

So I’m going to continue this resolution with a couple tweaks. There were plenty of good films in the 60s and 70s so in 2015, I will watch movies made prior to 1980 and I’ll watch at least 2 a month.

Part of the reason for the decrease is that I plan to return to watching Lynda.com videos to upgrade my photography, software and other professional skills. I think I can manage watching three short videos a week for that goal.

I made my movie resolution because my Act One friend, Janet doesn’t believe in health related resolutions because you should eat well and exercise anyway and the January resolutions tend not to work so at some point you just postpone action till the next year. (Janet resolves to make time for lunch with a friend once a week so she doesn’t lose touch with people. I do believe fun, but easily postponed resolutions actually work.) In spite of Janet’s wise belief, I hope to regularly lift weights to tone my arms. So I’ll do that a minimum of three times a week.

I might start a Facebook page for anyone interested in the “Old Movie” Challenge.

What do you plan to change for 2015?

What’s the Consensus?

It’s odd being off in China when all this news about Bill Cosby has broken. My friends and I don’t know what to think. What’s true? What isn’t? It’s a he said, she, she and she said situation.

The internet can offer so much information, but is it good? Is it reliable?

What made this come out now?

I welcome civilized comments.

Constitution of Užupis

A friend is traveling through Lithuania and found the Republic of Užupis, a district in Lithuania that considers itself independent (in a tongue in cheek way).

Here’s their constitution:

  1. Everyone has the right to live by the River Vilnelė, and the River Vilnelė has the right to flow by everyone.
  2. Everyone has the right to hot water, heating in winter and a tiled roof.
  3. Everyone has the right to die, but this is not an obligation.
  4. Everyone has the right to make mistakes.
  5. Everyone has the right to be unique.
  6. Everyone has the right to love.
  7. Everyone has the right not to be loved, but not necessarily.
  8. Everyone has the right to be undistinguished and unknown.
  9. Everyone has the right to idle.
  10. Everyone has the right to love and take care of the cat.
  11. Everyone has the right to look after the dog until one of them dies.
  12. A dog has the right to be a dog.
  13. A cat is not obliged to love its owner, but must help in time of nee[d].
  14. Sometimes everyone has the right to be unaware of their duties.
  15. Everyone has the right to be in doubt, but this is not an obligation.
  16. Everyone has the right to be happy.
  17. Everyone has the right to be unhappy.
  18. Everyone has the right to be silent.
  19. Everyone has the right to have faith.
  20. No one has the right to violence.
  21. Everyone has the right to appreciate their unimportance. [In Lithuanian this reads Everyone has the right to realize his negligibility and magnificence.]
  22. No one has the right to have a design on eternity.
  23. Everyone has the right to understand.
  24. Everyone has the right to understand nothing.
  25. Everyone has the right to be of any nationality.
  26. Everyone has the right to celebrate or not celebrate their birthday.
  27. Everyone shall remember their name.
  28. Everyone may share what they possess.
  29. No one can share what they do not possess.
  30. Everyone has the right to have brothers, sisters and parents.
  31. Everyone may be independent.
  32. Everyone is responsible for their freedom.
  33. Everyone has the right to cry.
  34. Everyone has the right to be misunderstood.
  35. No one has the right to make another person guilty.
  36. Everyone has the right to be individual.
  37. Everyone has the right to have no rights.
  38. Everyone has the right to not to be afraid.
  39. Do not defeat.
  40. Do not fight back.
  41. Do not surrender.

Lately

Lately I can only access my blog or social media from early morning, i.e. 5 am, till I teach at 8. What’s more those are the only hours I can get into my official work email account. I’ve got lots I want to blog but have to squeeze it in in the morning in addition to getting dressed, having breakfast.

I’ve been waiting to find out how many hours I’ll have in the fall. One scenario would mean either 20 or 14, a slight decrease from my current 16. Another would be 6 hours. A big drop! Sixty three percent less. Gulp.

Then there’s always a possibility that I wouldn’t be asked back.

Each morning I go to my work email account waiting to hear. It’s been a couple weeks since I found out a big decrease was possible.

The Good Thing about the “Polar Vortex”

I hate cold weather, though I will brave it when I have to. The best thing about it is that it forces me to write. Disinclined to go out and about I procrastinate less and have been able to work on a novel at least 5 days a week.

The work is going slowly, but it’s going and while my characters don’t always behave, I am meeting my writing goals every day in the last two weeks. I’ve got another month till I return to China so I hope the cold stays.

Wow.

I can’t believe I said that.

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