This book was both enlightening and, in many ways, sad. The author looks at five prominent American authors, all with immense talent, and explores how alcoholism impacted their writing and their ability to write. Continue reading
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The author of this book is an doctor who is practiced for years as a PCP and now teaches at Dartmouth. One of his areas of expertise is what the data (and these are extensive research studies) about the results of medical screening show and how the screening causes more harm than good. Continue reading
It’s hard to believe, Mama, that it’s been six years since your last birthday in this life. I can’t begin to express how much I miss you, but I’m glad you’re not suffering anymore and you await that resurrection to incorruption in every way. I’m also glad you’ve been spared the trouble, which would have disappointed and dismayed you, of the last six years on every side. That is perhaps the greatest blessing of your death, at least in my mind. Continue reading
The Good Care Group is based in the UK, but these guidelines are useful for all of us, regardless of what country we live in, who may be seeking live-in caregivers for our loved ones with dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease.
Three Useful Tips to Finding The Right Live-in Carer
When considering live-in care, one of the many questions you are likely to ask yourself is “what steps should I take in order to choose a carer who is right for me?”
I’m glad you’re not suffering anymore. That’s what matters most and what I appreciate most about losing you in this life.
Although there were very precious moments we shared in your last few years, I know the toll of dementias and cardiac problems made those years very hard for you, and I’m glad that’s over for you.
But I miss you, Mama. Continue reading
Daddy and Mama were married at Unaka Baptist Church in Johnson City, TN on June 9, 1956 by Howard T. Rich. It was a small wedding, with close family and like-family attending.
Harry Aiken, my mama’s cousin closest to her in age, gave her away in marriage to my daddy. Lois Aiken, Harry’s wife, made the wedding cake.
Jennings Berry, my daddy’s lifetime best friend, served as Daddy’s best man.
Aunt Velva, who wrote the wedding invitation, was my Mama’s mother’s sister. Continue reading
As time passes between my parents’ deaths, I find more and more Daddy and Mama are together, the two of them and sometimes with my sisters and and sometimes just with me, but we all seem to be younger, when our lives were more together than they are now and we shared the little things that glued us together.
The results of a recent research project at the University of Louisville showed that a simple visual test could be an early predictor of later dementia risk in people with the genes associated with inherited predisposition to developing dementia. Continue reading
As with The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains, Nicholas Carr has brought the role of technology in our lives into focus with another aspect that I doubt many of us really understand in its pervasiveness in our everyday lives and what it is costing us, not just in obvious ways, but in ways that are fundamental to being human and be uniquely skilled to productively and expertly interact in and with the world of opportunity and possibilities we’ve been given.
The subtitle of this book is “Automation and Us,” and how automation has infiltrated every aspect of our lives and what we’re losing in the process is Carr’s subject in this book.
Automation, of and by itself, is not bad. It is the things we’ve automated and our relationship to automation (serving it instead of letting it serve us) that turns what could be a good thing into something that is destined to destroy us – our unique human abilities, skills, and talents – unless we take control and do something different.
One of the points that Carr makes in this book is that we have offloaded critical thinking skills, technical acumen, analysis, and creativity to technology. By doing this, we gradually lose the ability to operate successfully manually (without the technology) and use judgement, intuition, experience, and knowledge to navigate our lives and our professions.
Carr looks at the impact of automatic in the airline industry (specifically looking at how autopilot has degraded the skills of pilots to successfully deal with emergencies and crises when flying), in business (stock market, accounting, business decisions, human resources, hiring, etc., which have all been relegated to software to handle, with no human factors involved, resulting in the global financials messes we now deal with and with a loss of talent because there’s no human contact or intervention to recognize the talent), in medicine (with the advent of electronic medical records in most medical facilities, software is now making the decisions that doctors used to make and because the software adds procedures and tests, the costs, which were supposed to go lower, have actually increased exponentially) and in manufacturing.
He also looks at us and how we’ve turned over our brains to automation. We depend on social media to decide who and what we like (or don’t) and who we’re friends with (and who we’re not – anyone who chooses to limit this exposure disappears and becomes invisible because they simply don’t exist outside the virtual world) and we have chosen willing to live in this virtual world more than we actually interact with the real word.
We’ve given control of our lives to our electronic devices: to do lists, calendars, phone numbers, etc. We let our software do things we should be doing ourselves: spell-checking, grammar-checking, basic math functions, etc. We have fallen for the myth that automation gives us more power, when instead it erodes our power and our humanness.
As we don’t use our brains, we lose our brains, leading to the brain itself atrophying and dying. This sadly, is a lifestyle factor that will lead to dementia, unless we make the choice to stop it and reverse it. We already are more impacted than we realize.
But it is not too late for us to put our lives and our brains back on manual and let automation serve us in ways that don’t jeopardize the health of this wonderful brain we’ve been blessed with.
People are much more extreme in their polarization of love and hate (nothing in between) in an automated world. It often seems that empathy, compassion, care, concern and love – all unique human abilities – is absent in the presence of a world that is automated. We lose our ability to relate to each other in any kind of real way and, as a result, we lose our humanness, and we become programmed to polarized points of view that we simply pick up and accept by what and who we choose to listen to, follow, and expouse in the landscape of technology (cable, streaming, internet, etc.).
We are losing our life blood – our hearts, our souls, and our minds, because we serve the god of automation that lacks emotional richness, deep understanding, and caring concern. I hope we reverse this trend, but I also am realistic enough to realize that we probably won’t and it will probably get much worse before it gets better.
Grief is complex and complicated and no two people grieve the same way.
However, the more we’ve become connected in a 24/7 way through technology, the more we’ve become a shiny-happy-people (I am a huge R.E.M. fan, but this song annoyed me beyond words the first time I heard it and continues to do so now) society that focuses on the inane, on fluff, and on the ridiculous and real, palpable, tangible grief rains on that parade of lollipops, unicorns and butterflies.
As a result, it (and the grievers) are prime targets for some of the most judgmental, critical, harsh, and mean things that people can say and do to other people.