I Before E, except after C….What a Weirdly Weighted Waste!

We all know this example is crazy since there are almost as many words spelled with the e first. Can you list them? I’ve provided 2 in the title.

Have fun!

Are there any other crazy slogans or inaccurate ‘rules’ you were taught in school that turned out to be completely bogus? Share them here!

Hmmm, What’s the Right Way to Use That Apostrophe?

There are numerous examples to this, but the ‘Jesus’ example always works well…

Question: What would be the proper way to say.. “It would be different if their were multiple Jesus’es.”

‘es? ‘s? s’? no apostrophe at all?

Provide your best examples of this in the comments too. While we’re at it, let’s have a little more fun… What are some of the craziest words to pluralize? and what’s the proper answer?

Plural of Moose? Yep, it’s Moose

Got Plurals?

TEASER – Internal Conflict, The Prologue

“Internal Conflict”

a novel by Dorian Lassiter


July 6, 2009

It was all about the ice — or, better stated: the lack thereof. Ever since it’s birth in 1962, the Achilles heel of cryonics, and most significant medical advancements using it’s technologies, had been the perfection of the elusive, miracle anti-freeze.

In the past month, it had become the norm for MJ and Joey to work late. They were so close to finally solving it, neither of them could bear to leave the lab for extended periods of time. Dr.’s Mary Jean Dalton and Joseph Dwyer met as biology grad students at Columbia University, in 1995. Neither of them were sure how, or exactly when, but somewhere between completing their theses and usurping every obtainable morsel on the subject of cryonics, they managed to fall in love. Dazzled by her flowing ginger tresses and hypnotic aquamarine eyes, Joey had always thought MJ was the most intoxicating woman he had ever seen. In stark contrast, Joey’s lanky, six foot-two frame and squarely featured, pale face could easily serve as a public service announcement to hit the gym and get more sun. his nondescript gray eyes and thick brow made him neither attractive, nor ugly — Joey simply was … well — Joey.

Now, fourteen years later, they had solved the seemingly unsolvable problem. Lazarus 19, running through his glass maze, was the living, thriving proof. Rodent testing began once MJ and Joey were certain they had established the proper ingredients for the cryopreservant cocktail. Unfortunately, it took MJ eighteen tries to get the proportions of the anti-freeze formula exactly right and, as a sad result, none of Lazarus’ predecessors had managed to fare as well as he, or their biblical namesake. This sad fact was probably the reason everyone had silently agreed to drop the numeric moniker and simply call him — Lazarus.

But there he was, in all his living, glory! Certain to become more famous than Jerry, Mighty, Minnie or Mickey. Lazarus, and the technology behind him, would someday save or extend more human lives than every Marvel or DC comic hero combined. This was science, not science fiction — it was real.

Motioning to the overhead microphone which recorded even the faintest of sounds within the air-tight lab, Joey gestured to Mary Jean that the symbolic initial proclamation should be hers. After a brief, congratulatory hug and kiss, MJ stood as erect as her five foot, two-inch frame would allow, and projected in her best disk jockey voice:

This is Dr. Mary Jean Dalton, Chief Cryonic Research Professor at

Cryodine Industries, Research Parkway, Meriden, Connecticut…

Joey fought to control the well of love and pride that flooded him like an emotional damn breaking. Overcome by the brightness of his wife’s life-light and how it illuminated his world each and every day, all Joey could manage to think about, even on the precipice of scientific history, was how amazing that life-light would enhance and illuminate the lives of their children — someday.

MJ continued:

At precisely 10:24PM, on this, the 6th day of July, in the year Two

Thousand and Nine, it gives me tremendous yet

humble pleasure to announce that “Lazarus 19”, a six ounce, white

quadrupedal research mammal, has officially become the world’s

first successful whole-body mammalian cryostasis patient to

be successfully re-animated. The male subject continues to function

without any ascertainable detrimental effect. Continued progress
and ability to thrive will be monitored and updated continuously until

such time as can be reasonably determined that the subject

exhibits no appreciable or sustainable neurologic or physical damage.

Once MJ finished, she embraced Joey again; but this time they held it. She looked into his eyes and saw the love in them. She never understood Joey’s lack of self confidence or his insecurities. While Brad probably wouldn’t be too concerned about leaving Angelina in a room alone with Joey, MJ was sure if Angie ever got to know Joey, Brad would be in trouble; after all, Angelina had married Billie Bob first, and Joey definitely wins that beauty pageant.

At only thirty three, they had just made what would probably be considered the greatest scientific breakthrough in modern history — together. They were a team. In everything and in all things, and Mary Jean wouldn’t have had it any other way. She knew how much Joey had dreamed of having a family of his own, and now that they had accomplished what they had set out to do since college, MJ had every intention of giving Joey the family he wanted — the family they both wanted.

MJ and Joey were so completely engrossed in that warm, self actualizing moment, neither of them noticed when the bio-hazard seals on the lab’s only door compressed, forming an air-tight vapor lock.

Their noses detected the gas only an instant before their eyes and ears did, but the split-second, paralyzed hesitation of wondering who had activated the security system or why, did nothing to further imperil their situation. Even if given an hour before losing consciousness, they wouldn’t have been able to overcome the lab’s fail-safe security features or escape. They were trapped.

The blackness engulfed them quickly after Joey pulled MJ close, for what would be the last time.

Understanding Cryonics – Part 1 – Real Science? Or Science Fiction?

Article first published as Understanding Cryonics – Part 1 – Real Science? Or Science Fiction? on Technorati.

In this, the first in a series of feature articles I will be publishing on the topic of cryonics, we will look at the very basics of the technology and dispel many of the common myths regarding the ‘fantasy’ of cryonic suspension and re-animation.

First, to get rid of the most commonly perceived myth, no, Walt Disney was NOT cryonically suspended.  In fact, his body (including his head – more on the significance of this later) was cremated and his ashes set to rest at the now infamous Forrest Lawn Cemetery in rural Los Angeles; very close to the final resting place of pop icon Michael Jackson.
The most notable person who was cryonically preserved is former baseball legend, Ted Williams. After his death in 2002, his head was surgically removed and preserved using one of the fascinating cryotechnologies called neurosuspension, which we will begin to explore now.

There are two basic types of cryonic suspension: full-body suspension, and suspension of only a subject’s head, commonly referred to as neurosuspension.

The goal of Full-body suspension is typically to revive the subject at a future time, when the affliction which set about their cardiac arrest is cured and it is reasonably deduced that they could regain a seemingly normal life.

The goal of neurosuspension is to preserve only the brain with the hope that once human cloning technology is perfected and commonplace in our society, the subject’s DNA can be used to clone a new body and that the memories, emotions, and personality of the suspended brain can be placed into the healthy clone.

Sound far fetched? Maybe. But, before we jump to conclusions, we should at least take a much closer look at the science and technology behind cryonics so that we can make an informed and educated opinion on the subject, right? After all, the science is very real and the technology to suspend people does exist and is, in fact, in practice all over the world. Are those people signing up to be frozen (or worse, decapitated then frozen)all crazy? Are the doctors and scientists that spend and dedicate their lives to this science nuts too?

In order to properly examine the reality of cryonics and all of the elements that go into a successful suspension, we have to understand the legality of the field and the science that drives it.  Foremost in this discussion, we must understand that it is against the law to cryonically suspend any human before they are legally dead – and yes, there are (at least from strict legal and medical viewpoints) several different types of death. Legal death occurs anytime the heart stops.  This is an important  distinction because there are thousands of people who legally die and are brought back by medical science everyday through the use of defibrillators, bypass machines, pacemakers, and even good old fashioned CPR.
Clinical death, or total death, as it is sometimes referred to, does not occur until all brain function stops. This is the point where most medical professionals agree any attempt at resuscitation is futile since irreparable brain damage is likely to have occurred due to a prolonged lack of oxygen and/or blood circulation. These definitions lay the platform that allows hope for the science of cryonics. The science thrives because it is believed that by properly preserving a human body at or just after the time of legal death, successful reanimation can be achieved, provided no irreversible damage is done to the cells, organs, brain, or nervous system of the subject during suspension.  The preservation process, called vitrification within the industry, is the key to having any hope of successful resuscitation.

Because it is so crucial that no physical damage be done to the subject body during vitrification, the subject is not simply dipped into a vat of liquid hydrogen at the time of death. While this would immediately cease all cellular degeneration and preserve the body without further decay, it would not prevent the water content in the body from forming ice crystals which could expand causing catastrophic and irreparable damage to veins, cells, and organs. Therefore, as part of the vitrification process, shortly after a declaration of legal death, doctors immediately begin removing the water from the subject body and replacing it with a glycerol-based chemical, called a cryoprotectant.  This ‘human anti-freeze’, has proven far more efficient at preserving the intricacies of the human body during suspension then did the earliest methods used.  It is also sadly the reason why the people suspended earliest in the science’s history, are far less likely to ever be successfully revived, and why most scientists and cryobiologists believe any attempts at future revivals will be done on a last in, first out basis; not because a longer period of suspension would be any more detrimental to the revival efforts, but because earlier subjects were not preserved using the methods now known to prevent crystallization during suspension and therefore have much less chance of being revived without fatally catastrophic physical damage being done to the body.

Now that we know what cryonics is, what it hopes to accomplish, and how a subject is prepared, my next article will focus on the process of vitrification and the storage of the subjects. The third article in this series will detail the storage facilities themselves, as well as the future of nanotechnology and how it is expected to revolutionize the prospect of revivals.  The forth and possibly final article in this series, will recap what we know, highlight any other potential future breakthroughs in the science or the technology that drives it, and divulge when the first human revivals might be realistically expected.  I hope you’ll join me for each of them as we explore this fascinating science and what miraculous possibilities successful cryonics could unleash for mankind.

Inadiquacies in the Home Health Aide System … Help Does Exist!

Home health agencies enlist the service of aides to spend several hours a day in the homes of the frail elderly handling many of these types of tasks, thus allowing the patient to remain living at home and to retain a certain level of the freedom and independence they have valued their entire lives.

The problem with this type of care is fundamental, not systemic. These agencies, as well as the various legislators that govern and fund their function, are simply too ignorant of the true needs of the people they care for and are sworn to protect.

Agencies are always understaffed, and because aides are not required to obtain more than the simplest of training, the agencies do not pay enough to attract the services of professional health care workers. Instead, many are staffed by uneducated housewives looking to make a few extra bucks, not career minded professionals looking to help people truly in need. And when I say a few extra bucks, I really mean a few – typical pay scale for a home health aide is between $8.00 and $12.00 per hour. The variance between the top and bottom of this pay scale depends on the level of certification the aide achieves on his/her own AND (believe it or not) the brand of insurance coverage carried by the patient. Different insurance companies allow these agencies to bill them at different rates for the same services, thereby paying the attending aides different rates per job assignment; a pay scale determined solely upon the brand name of the insurance company each patient carries.

Typically, aides are provided for patients anywhere from 3 to 12 hours per day depending on the needs of the patient as they are assessed by actual medical professionals and social workers.

In and of itself, this sounds like a good program that just needs a little tweaking, But when you live in the day to day grind with a frail family member as I have, and functioned as their primary caregiver, the not so blatant flaws become abundantly clear and quickly!

First, I have nothing against the people of the home health care agencies or their staffs of aides. the majority of the hard working people who travel to these patients’ homes, change diapers, bathe, cook and clean for them, do it all for a beggars pittance and are truly an asset to their profession, and should never be disparaged for their efforts. Most perform virtually life saving tasks and establish very close, personal mutual bonds with the people they care for. My only point with them is that they simply lack the training in proper care to provide a high enough level of attention during those infrequent times of higher distress that, while extreme to the patient, don’t necessitate a call to 911, (which is pretty much all they are trained for and allowed to do by law). That being said, there are a minority of aides out there that truly have no business caring for any human (or even a cat, for that matter). Fortunately those are in the minority, however, I mention it here only to express the need for greater diligence in the home health agency hiring/screening process for new applicants.

The biggest and most common issue faced in the home health care arena though is probably the most fundamental and timeless of all issues: when people are making at or close to minimum wage, they have a tendency to put life’s daily obstacles ahead of their jobs. If they decide they don’t want to go to work today, many just don’t. They have little fear of losing their jobs when, let’s face it, they could get another job at McDonald’s making at least as much and not having to change diapers. Once they make the choice to take a day off, the few that bother to call, never do so early enough for an agency to find a replacement aide; and of course, that’s even if they bother to call at all. This happens MUCH more frequently then you could ever imagine and when it does, it can place the lives of the neglected patients in imminent danger. If there is no local family support system, these people are left to fend for themselves when many can’t even stand up on their own, let alone cook, bath or make it to the toilet. Consequently, (and this is not some crazy one in a million scenario – it happens EVERYDAY somewhere in America), the patient is left to stew in their own fluids, starve, and sit totally helpless, in most cases while being as fully alert and aware as they were when they were in their youth. This, in my opinion, is the greatest tragedy that faces the home health industry today. The physical consequences, stress and turmoil suffered by the often helpless patients is so severe that it should seriously be considered as a criminal act. In reality, however, this happens every single day and usually needs to be done three times by an aide before her job is even in serious jeopardy. That, is a travesty in the most extreme sense of the word.

Before you say, “oh, it must have just been a bad agency or isolated incident,” guess again. In the 12 years my mother received home health care, she was serviced by a total of 8 different agencies, located in 3 different geographical areas, and it happened numerous times with each, precipitating me to relocate 1,400 miles across the country to care for her so she wouldn’t be faced with the only other alternative — a nursing home.

So what is the alternative? It’s great to point out deficiencies in policies and agencies that exist in all manner of life, but what can we do to effect change?

While I don’t for a minute pretend to have all the answers, I do know a few ways you can protect yourself or your senior family members and minimize the risk you and your family face from bureaucracy and unscrupulous home health care workers. The answer to the biggest parts of the home health care dilemma is: to register with a local adult day care facility!

If you’ve never heard of adult day care, I’m not surprised. Neither had I until I began my frantic search for relief from a seemingly merciless home health care system, but I detail everything you need to know about adult day care in my article: “What is Adult Day Care and is it Right for Us?”

Adult Day Care adds a vital extra level to the stages of progression between being a fully independent citizen and needing the services of a residential nursing home or intermediate care facility.

The question of when the transition to a residential facility is in the best interest of a senior or disabled adult is often the topic of highly contested debate. In recent years, it has almost become a trend to deposit “grandma” into a residential facility when she loses the ability to fully provide for her own needs; typically when chores such as toileting, bathing, cooking and cleaning become too physically daunting to be handled independently.

The most important thing you need to know now is: You are NOT alone in your quest for better and more reliable senior care! There are many people, like myself, who have endured it, learned our lessons the hard way, and are now more than willing to share what we’ve learned with you. Nobody should have to endure the futility and hardship of being alone or seeing someone they love being neglected either directly or indirectly. And whether the intent to neglect is there or not, is merely an academic argument as far as I am concerned.

Rather than looking to point fingers, call names, or sling mud (as frustrated and eager to do so as we might be) it’s most important to remain focused on the ultimate prize: getting better care for ourselves or our seniors before it’s too late and they are forced to suffer any (or any more) of the indecencies mentioned earlier in this article.

For more information, please read: “What is Adult Day Care and is it Right For Us?” as I spell out where to look; what to do; who to contact; and how to contact them to get you on the road to less stressful care. There is no quick fix to home health care woes, but there are things you can do to get you and your family on the path to easier times. I will endeavor to highlight many of them for you in each successive article on this and related topics.

Feel free to contact the author by commenting directly to this article or:

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Dorian Lassiter is 39 years old and is the author of many comprehensive and informative articles, short stories and novels. As an only child, he functioned as primary caregiver to his single mother during the last dozen years of her life. That life ended sadly on October 17, 2010, at the age of 64, when she finally succumbed to emphysema and COPD after a valiant 12 year battle.