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Category Archives: History

A Tribute to Grampa Rasmussen, Determination, and Survival

DELIKATESSE FOR LUTEFISKELSKERELutefisk History:

Lutefisk (pronounced LEWD-uh-fisk) is dried cod that has been soaked in a lye solution for several days to rehydrate it. It is rinsed with cold water to remove the lye, then boiled or baked, and then served with butter, salt, and pepper.

The finished lutefisk usually is the consistency of Jello. It is also called lyefish, and in the United States, Norwegian-Americans traditionally serve it for Thanksgiving and Christmas. In many Norwegian homes, lutefisk takes the place of the Christmas turkey. In Minnesota and Wisconsin, you can find lutefisk in local food stores and even at some restaurants. It is a food that you either love or hate, and, as some people say, “Once a year is probably enough!”

During the fall in Wisconsin, people watch their local newspapers for announcements of lutefisk suppers, which are usually held in Norwegian churches. Usually every Norwegian church will host at least one lutefisk supper between October and the end of the year. The dinners have become so popular that lovers of this special cod dish drive great distances, and these are not just people of Scandinavian descent.

The history of lutefisk dates back to the Vikings. On one occasion, according to one legend, plundering Vikings burned down a fishing village, including the wooden racks with drying cod. the returning villagers poured water on the racks to put out the fire. Ashes covered the dried fish, and then it rained. the fish buried in the ashes in the ashes thus became soaked in a lye slush. Later the villagers were surprised to see that the dried fish had changed to what looked like fresh fish. They rinsed the fish in water to remove the lye and make it edible, and then boiled it. The story is that one particularly brave villager tasted the fish and declared it “not bad.”

Norwegian-Americans believe that lutefisk was brought by their ancestors on the ships when they came to America, and that it was all they had to eat. Today the fish is celebrated in ethnic and religious celebrations and is linked with hardship and courage.

 

 

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‘Gravity’ and the Long-Term Care Crisis


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By: Chris Orestis

I recently went to see the movieGravity” starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney.  It is a fast-paced, exciting thrill-ride from start to finish. After we left the movie, and I replayed the life-threatening events for the actors that unfolded on the screen, I could not help but begin drawing comparisons to the long-term care funding crisis currently unfolding in America today.

Start with the stars of the movie: Sandra Bullock and George Clooney are both baby boomers and they find themselves unprepared to deal with a sudden crisis that puts them in immediate jeopardy. Most seniors and baby boomers are also unprepared for what is too often a sudden health crisis through which they must safely navigate. In space, an unexpected collision with a satellite or other object is disastrous. For a family, an unexpected fall or rapid decline in health can also be disastrous. The astronauts in “Gravity” had to contend with limited oxygen and how they could conserve this precious resource long enough to find sanctuary. For families confronting the costs of long term care, money is like oxygen. It is a precious resource in limited supply that must be conserved. The biggest fear of the young is not living long enough, and the biggest fear of people in long-term care is living too long and outliving their “oxygen” supply.

Once disaster strikes in the movie, Sandra Bullock and George Clooney are literally tethered together and entirely dependent on each other for survival. Spouses and their family also experience a similar “tethering” effect where they become very reliant on one another to make it through a long-term care crisis. The feeling of being overwhelmed can be helped by sharing the burden, and focusing on the ultimate goal of making sure a loved one will be able to receive the best possible care.

In the movie, the astronauts are prepared for every contingency and have dedicated support systems in place to get them through each phase of their mission. Nonetheless, when disaster strikes things quickly spin out of control. In life, too few people have made plans for how to handle long-term care. A future long-term care patient may have close loved ones, but those family and friends may not be able to drop everything in devotion to a patient’s care. Families should put in time now to discuss the wishes of loved ones when it comes to long-term care, and understand the financial situation and available resources.  Are there savings and investments that can be accessed; is there a long-term care and/or life-insurance policy in place that can be converted to pay for care– and where is it; is there a final will or living will, and should a power-of-attorney document be in place?

In the movies, our heroes often work their way through challenges with a combination of luck and skill (and, of course, some movie magic) to find their way to a happy ending.

For families confronting the hard decisions and costs surrounding long-term care, however, they will not be able to count on a hero swinging in at the last minute to rescue them. But, a happy ending is possible for families that take the time now to prepare, seek out information and know how to work together to make sure their loved one will be able to achieve a safe landing.

About Chris Orestis: Chris Orestis, nationally known senior health-care advocate and expert is CEO of Life Care Funding (www.lifecarefunding.com), which created the model for converting life insurance policies into protected Long-Term Care Benefit funds. His company has been providing care benefits to policy holders since 2007. A former life insurance industry lobbyist with a background in long-term care issues, he created the model to provide an option for middle-class people who are not wealthy enough to pay for long-term care, and not poor enough to qualify for Medicaid.

 

 

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How much blood is there on your ring finger?

Blood Diamond Infographic
Reasons to Care Where Your Diamond Comes From provided by Brilliant Earth.

 

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Growing old gracefully and western civilization, or, do you have parents?

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Both my parents were dead by the time I was 29 years old.  My father had Alzheimer’s, and by the time I graduated from college to come out and help my mother take care of him, it was essentially to put him in a rest home.  He died there one week later.
My mother, due to the stress of taking care of him, contracted lymphoma and died four years later.  Her sister was in a rest home with MS, and we had been visiting her there for years.  With my parents gone it was left up to me.  She had a daughter who lived back east, but she had stopped visiting 5 years earlier.  It was just too painful.  I must admit that the visits came to be less and less frequent.  She was in a new full blown rest home, and she was actually one of the lucky ones.  The place reeked of urine and feces, people were literally moaning and screaming and wandering the halls, mostly in their wheelchairs.  It was a difficult place to visit, and I used to have a few pops before I went up every time.  I think when she passed it had been nine months since I had seen her the last time.
This is how we take care of our old and disabled.
My grandfather was in the VA, and when grandma was alive we visited him almost every afternoon.  We did see hundreds of people in the halls, but most never had any visitors.  We use to walk around award from bed to bed and make sure everybody in there had a little bit of attention and some human contact.  I think I was six years old then, and I still remember how bad it was.
This was all over 30 years ago.  I can’t imagine what it is going to be like when we baby boomers all start dropping like flies.  The lucky ones of us will just die, the unlucky ones will have to live through it.
We go our entire lives assuming that we deserved Health Care, and then somehow it will be provided for us.  Regardless of Obama Care and all of the best intentions, without a major revolution there simply is not going to be any way to pay for our Health Care.
It will literally take a village.  Without it we will be lucky to be given enough morphine to ease the pain as we are left in a corner in her wheelchair to quietly wait for death.
Aside from local governments, I have only encountered one group that is trying to do something about it:  The National Compassion Holiday Petition group http://nationalcompassionholiday.com/ led by Michael  Villalpando is that group.
If you have parents, know of anyone disabled, or plan to ever come incapacitated yourself, you might want to pay it forward and at least sign this guy’s petition. It’s free,  unless you feel called to contribute, and only takes a second.  Your old age Karma might just depend on it.
 

 

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Boston Marathon bombing suspect arrested

A street is closed near the scene of twin bombings at the Boston Marathon on April 17, 2013 in Boston.(AFP Photo / Spencer Platt)

A street is closed near the scene of twin bombings at the Boston Marathon on April 17, 2013 in Boston.(AFP Photo / Spencer Platt)

Law enforcement officials in Boston tell reporters that they have arrested a suspect thought responsible for Monday’s deadly bombing.

CNN confirmed the news at 1:45 p.m. local time when journalist John King said both a federal source and a Boston law enforcement source confirmed the news. Reporter Fran Townsend then added over the phone that “there is an arrest that has been made in the Boston bombing case based off of two independent videos.”

The suspect is now expected to arrive at a federal courthouse in Boston.

Earlier in the day, CNN reported shortly after 1 p.m. that a suspect has apparently been identified. The suspect’s name has not been made public as of this time, but he is reportedly a dark-skinned male, according to police.

According to CNN’s sources, surveillance video from a Lord and Taylor department store and a local television station are believed to have helped authorities identify the person sought responsible for Monday’s incident, which US President Barack Obama said on Tuesday is being investigated as an act of terror.

 

New Lord and Tayloк shop in Boston.(Image from Google.com)

New Lord and Tayloк shop in Boston.(Image from Google.com)

 

CNN’s King reports from Boston that the video footage helped police narrow in on a person being considered a suspect in the attack “to such detail, I’m told, that they believe they have a clear identification, including a facial image of a suspect.”

The footage, sources say, show the suspect carrying and perhaps placing down a black bag that is thought to have contained a bomb that was detonated at the second of two crime scenes near the finish line of the annual Boston Marathon just before 3 p.m. on Monday.

The mayor of Boston, Massachusetts has confirmed that a suspect was ID’d, and officials are expected to speak to the press at 5 p.m. Wednesday afternoon. According to sources speaking to the Boston Globe, authorities may publicize their findings at that briefing.

 

 

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“Rights”Rights” a short rant for my friend Barry Monahan.

Plaatje-Christopher-Human-RightsYeah, talk to me about rights. What rights do we really have?
You have the right to remain silent, unless doing so pisses me off and I slap you upside of the head with my pistol.
You have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? I’ll go with the last one, but as far as the first two I think that is kind of up to God.
Did the victims of baby Doc, or Hitler have the same rights? I’m not necessarily saying it’s not correct for protecting our own shores, but what rights do they have at Gitmo?
You have the right to work your ass off, be the best you can be, and hope to heck somebody doesn’t shoot you in the face. That is all.
Rights are like entitlements. They do not exist in the real world.
Have we gotten so fat and freeking Arrogant that we think the world owes us a living, and somehow is obligated to take care of us?
Let’s face it, baby boomers. We have no right to anything but to work our asses off.
There are so many of us, there is nobody left to bail us out. The days of peace love and dope in the Haight-Ashbury are over.
Face it, you are not going to be guaranteed healthcare, a sweet old peoples home with chirping birds and basket weavers, or a nurse name Consuela to come and wipe your ass when you poop your pants. Some of us are going to starve, some of us are going to croak on the streets from heart attacks, and some of us are going to stroke out.
What you have the right to do, is your best. Work your freaking ass off as hard as you can for as long as you can, treat the people you love with love, and be thankful for every breath you have the “right” to take.
And you do have the right to thank your God, however you envision that, for every good minute you’ve had.

 

The Finishing Touch

After working for so long, I had finally taken the next step; I had moved my small company into our very own offices.  My wife was sick of our home being used as our base of operations, couldn’t blame her really, I had originally forecast the use of the room would be for no more than a year, but it had actually taken closer to three. The day of the move had been awful. Even though the offices were fully set up, the actual transfer of the information vital to us had been a nightmare. We had been forced to stop operations for two full days, as the software engineer we had employed had been unable to transfer our data in one single move. On the third day we had been able to open our doors, in our newly acquired offices and face the world.

The Public

When I had made the decision to move into premises, it had been made with the knowledge that the company was bringing in enough money to pay for it. The work coming in via the telephones had been steadily increasing, but the members of the public seemed to be somewhat hesitant. They would come in, have a look around but then leave without using our services. If anything the income generated from the public had actually dropped.

Aesthetics

The offices were already painted, prior to our acquisition by our landlord, and the beige carpet wasn’t that old, but one of our customers had explained how the waiting room felt dull and flat. I needed inspiration.  Many companies had made our town their home, some hugely successful, others more modest and I needed to discover their secrets. I visited several of these and the difference in aesthetics and therefore atmosphere was obvious. The companies who had an interesting first point of contact had appeared to be more successful. The public access area also had to be engaging. You really could feel the difference between dull earth colours and a bright vibrant theme. If you are forced to make customers wait, then at least occupy them. I had seen enough, I knew what I needed to do.

Solution

My company is primarily focused on days out. We would arrange for large numbers of people to visit castles, the seaside or safari parks. Our offices now though were generating almost 20% of our business. The dull brown carpet had gone; a new bright blue one now covered our public area floor. The usual green leafy plant had been replaced with a large circular fish tank, although a little expensive to have maintained it did keep those kiddies happy. A smart and articulate older lady had been position in the area itself, our fourth employee, as first point of contact. The secret weapon though still draws the attention of our patrons. Everywhere we travel to, we take photos. Images of the mountain peaks, castle walls and cheeky monkeys now hang in our public area. More than photos, being just flat images behind glass frames, our displays actually engage our viewers. They are mounted on canvas. It brings the image itself to life, gives it something more than just a photo, and they are priced reasonably enough to replace with new images regularly.

Take advantage of my own experience. If you have customers and need to liven up their waiting area, why not consider having your own photos on canvas, it made all of the difference for us.

 

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