Search This Blog

Loading...

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Miami Zombie-Cannibal Attack Feared Related to Bath Salts



This article I wrote was first published on Technorati. It has been lengthened and editorialized here.

UPDATE:

There was a Youtube video accompanying this post about Bath Salts and the incident which was taken down by Google because of a report by someone. Since it was offered as an embed on Youtube and referenced from a news station which was listed and many other people are sharing the videos (some to the extent of millions and my use was one more) I can only think that the targeting/punishment is for the content and editorialization here.

BATH SALTS AND THEIR TOXIC, DANGEROUS INGREDIENTS should be BANNED. Lobbyists who are insisting it shouldn't and who might be indirectly supporting the campaigns of politicians or influencing agencies to look the other way about the ingredients of this drug should be held accountable. It is obvious that money is God to them and their excuse is, "Well, I have to pay the mortgage." It's a shame, but selling or marketing harmful, toxic chemicals is terrible. Yes, we all know who does it with impunity; my father was slowly poisoned to death by MEDS that are legal. It is a long and sad story. And so it goes with chemical producers....death and harm along with palliation.

Finally, I was offered payment to sport a link of this article. I thought about it, then visited here and found that the video had been "removed." The link related to a de-toxic clinic. Well, I don't need to receive payment to encourage folks to de-tox. I will pray for them for free, and I do pray for anyone who needs who is reading this post to receive any help they can so they can become free. May they be well and heal. Finally, this post has received many page views. I can only think that its morbidity is the reason why. Nevertheless, I do hope some of those who viewed the page read part of it.


 Bath salts. I use them every other day when I want to soak in a hot tub after tennis. Benign, right? Well, the words "bath salts," have become a powder keg in the past year for adults in Poison Control Centers around the nation and on Saturday for the Miami police who attribute a bizarre attack on a homeless man to be caused by the designer drug.  If you scrutinize certain stores in malls, for example tobacco shops or paraphernalia shops, you'll see kids walking out with packets or jars of "bath salts" with fanciful names like Vanilla Sky, Ivory Wave, White China, Dynamite, Cloud 9. Most likely it was a similar packet with chemicals purportedly delivering a new LSD blow-out that made 31-year old Rudy Eugene go after the 61 year-old man.

"Bath salts' is the teenspeak code name for these white granules which are never added to bath water but like methamphetamine and cocaine are inhaled, snorted, taken orally, smoked, or liquified and injected into veins. Unlike meth and coke, they are a new chemical lab creation: methylenedioxypyrovalerone. and because some of the chemicals are still legal, the concoction is more surreptiously deadly. Leave it to drug makers to come up with something to float your boat right into the grave. They've got all populations covered:  the young with drug concoctions that can be formed into "bath salts," MDPV or other derivatives that illegal street chemists can use to make "designer drugs." And then they have drugs for the rest of us, hundreds of prescription medications, many with serious side effects and others that many suspect may be the panacea for newly made up diseases (restless leg syndrome) which exist only to satisfy the pharmaceutical manufacturers' profits.

Bath salts are an attractive nuisance for adolescents who operate on a different frequency and at a certain age, flirt with destroying themselves.  The white poison is labeled "Not fit for human consumption," a disclaimer, like "use at your own risk." Why? The chemical manufacturers are following the FDA guidelines to maintain legality, but the effect is disastrous. It is reverse psychology marketing to the young. "Not fit for human consumption? Cool, I'll try it," the teen thinks. The specific names like Dynamite, White China, Cloud 9 further market the designer drug as THE TREND to get "wasted, blitzkrieged, smithereened." How do you sell product to that age group? You attract and allure with promised deadliness which appeals to their machismo.
The problem is that once the teens and adults are intrigued and hooked, they may also be dead.  The ill effects of this white tripe that creates havoc with any brain and for the adolescent's still forming brain are hallucinations, agitation, hypo-mania, extreme psychotic behavior and self-harm. Additionally, there are chest pains, heart attack symptoms, overall feelings of unwellness and a rapidly beating pulse. Though individuals may only inhale the toxins once or twice, the horror is that the substance induces recurrent episodes. Officials have said, "The substance creates a ticking time bomb." The time bomb is the person.
 How are "bath salts" which have been banned by the DEA still sold in many states? The issue is complicated because manufacturers have found loopholes to get around the specific ban on certain chemicals. There is a lack of uniformity until the Federal Government permanently bans it nationwide.

The urgency for this permanent ban has been growing. There were thousands of calls to poison control centers in 2011. Numbers of teenagers in extreme states of hypo-mania threatened violence. The drug doesn't show up on any tests, nevertheless, as drug effects reoccur in spontaneous hallucinations and paranoia attacks, kids have committed suicide. Most likely the chemical never really leaves users' bodies or their brains. It is that lethal. And since it is based on an individual's response, who knows what others will succumb to suicide or homicide in the near future? Recurrences can be triggered at any time. The next event may be that one sending the user to his death or the attack that sends a homeless man to an intensive care unit which is what happened in Miami on Saturday.

ABC NEWS REPORT ON YOUTUBE  over 3 million views.




A passerby who noted the incident called the police and when they came police were appalled by what they saw. One naked man was leaning over another naked man lying on the Mac Arthur Causeway. He was cannibalizing him. As Rudy Eugene tore off pieces of flesh from the victim's face, police ordered him to stop. Police reported that Eugene, was growling like an animal as he swallowed pieces of the 61-year old homeless victim's flesh. He refused and did not back off, but looked at them with bloodied face and mouth, then resumed tearing off and chomping the man's ears, nose and cheeks until police shot him six times. The initial rounds that hit Eugene had little effect as he ate and even tried to gouge out the man's eyeballs. The victim, who is clinging to life in intensive care, is barely recognizable as human, according to reports.

The trade lobbyists who advocate the sale of these chemicals are  reprehensible. They justify their "legal" use with arguments that remind me of like a magician's sleight of hand. The rationale the lobbyists cling to? "Who is the government to stand in the way of someone's having a euphoric experience?"  In other words, they advocate against governmental intrusion. Evoking the Declaration of Independence in a twisted blind, they rationalize that individuals have a right to pursue happiness... a self-evident truth, an inalienable right.



The fact that the chemical turns a euphoric state into a HELL SO HORRIBLE that the only way to end the tormenting duress is suicide belies this inalienable right, does it not? The fact that high on "bath salts," someone like Rudy Eugene could end up shot to death because the insanity the drug creates  turned him into a zombie-cannibal IS NOT a pursuit of happiness.  That one short high can become a lifetime of insanity, a victim of a face eating attack, or an eternity in the afterlife isn't a civil right, it's a civil catastrophe. The drug manufacturer should be sued for product liability and the user who perpetrates the violence should be behind bars.

Another lobbyist argument has even included the comparison of a peanut allergy which can be deadly to a bad "bath salts" reaction. The argument is not only stupid, it's really stupid. And knowing what is now known about how it can create monstrous, delusional and cannibalistic behavior in  individuals, tantamount to a civil menace, the lobbyists' stupidity is galactic.

Advocates of bath salts, the drug makers, use the FDA label, ("Not fit for human consumption.) to absolve themselves of guilt and their company of liability. Too bad no one as of yet has brought a drug maker or a store that sells the chemicals to court. The FDA's label provides an aura of legality and shifts the blame onto the teens who are "dumb or wild" to ignore it. The reality is that the government label doesn't serve as a warning, it serves as an advertisement: 1) for teens who strain against parental strictures because adolescence is the time to prove to their peers they have their own autonomy; 2) for adults seeking the greatest thrill to be had in human experience. The warning is a macho's dream dare, like playing Russian Roulette or playing chicken. But the danger is paramount; from the Eugene incident and reports form poison control centers and emergency rooms indicate that users are slaves to the drug's power over their mind. When the chemical/toxin takes over, all hell breaks loose, not only for the demented crazed violent, self-harming user, but also for individuals caring for the beszerker.

Until the Rudy Eugene incident, the extent to which bath salts could make the user insane and wasted appeared to be its thrill, as users knowingly flirted death. The label demonstrates a brilliant, cost effective marketing technique, unwittingly instituted by the FDA to promote bath salts' wackedness.  The warning label marketing has been working. Kids have been entranced by the warnings and have purchased the drug. After 15 minutes it takes to get dynamited on bath salts, they upload these videos of themselves on Youtube. Unlike prescription medication advertisements, that list deadly side effects, with "bath salts," the kids only show themselves experiencing euphoria. They never discuss or record the uncool side effects: pansy hypo-mania, paranoia, agitation and old person's chest pains.

Rudy Eugene in a police mug shot of a prior arrest.
The blessing is that there haven't been more suicides or violent attacks like the one in Miami. However, tragedy may be forthcoming during this next year when the government determines whether the DEA's ban should be made permanent. Meanwhile, the chemists making this toxin ignore their accountability in peddling death, harm and mental derangement. Likewise, the Feds hesitancy to outright ban the substances used to make up "bath salts," to my mind shows egregious negligence. It's one thing if it is designated illegal and individuals, especially kids use it, quite another if it is not banned and homicides, violent attacks and suicides occur. If one child took his life because of this stuff and poison control centers and the DEA know it, it is unconscionable that the stuff is not deemed illegal and confiscated from every store where it is sold. There have been many and now, a zombie cannibalistic attack of a homeless 61-year old trying to make it to the next day? Please!!!

According to Zane Horowitz, MD, an emergency room physician and medical director of the Oregon Poison Center, "Drug makers will keep creating new combinations" of designer drugs "at home and in illicit labs. "It’s almost impossible to keep up. And the motivation for buying them is always the same: drugs like these are new and below the radar, unlike named illegal drugs."

If "bath salts" are permanently banned, other drugs will be created to create a loophole to slip through the ban, but that is no reason not to ban these chemicals now or put them on a licensed sign up watch list. Their horrific effects are known; why wait?The time will be redeemed as chemists scratch their heads to innovate new death thrill designer chemicals. The ban will create some lag time to detonate the profits of the drug makers, and stave off the creation of ticking time bomb users like Rudy Eugene and teen suicides. The sooner the better.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Genetic Engineering of Foods: A Disaster You Can't Afford to Ignore


Genetic modification has been going on in laboratories for many years. The blind understanding for consumers, scientists and business was that through it, the food supply would be enhanced, the people would be eating quality items and the farmers and agra business would be making their production more efficient and effective increasing profits. Happily like little beavers running to build a dam to shore up a home for themselves, agra business scientists modified and engineered animals, wheat, corn, everything ranging from farmed fish to insects. The result?  Efficiency and effectiveness in yielding disease resistant crops and producing more efficient larger animal and fish yields.. Their goals were realized and they were encouraged to continue as profits were raked in. But irrationally and unwittingly, they were on a one way course to hell, because there was another result they were not considering. The hidden, dire impact of their "enhanced" produce, animals, fish and insects. This impact is now being felt and will continue to be felt in the future. Only until the last 10 years have alarms been sounded with great frequency about the increased toxicity of our foods, the unhealthiness of our bodies and the pollution and poisoning of our air, water and soil.



Along with the enslaved animals, the enslaved consumer is the guinea pig, the lab rat, the chimp to be experimented upon. The foods created with genetically modified or engineered items create an impact all their own that is incalculable because all of agriculture for mankind that existed for thousands of years has undergone a paradigm shift in the last 50 years. The effect is exponential. After GM/GE plants are turned wild onto the environment, as they "mate" with other plant species, the former species grows extinct. Often with hybrids, they do not produce offspring. Mules, the result of mating a male horse and female donkey do not sire. So often hybrid plants cannot generate seeds.



Is this a good thing? Do we know? The result of having just hybrid seeds could be disastrous for those who would like to avoid agra business and its pernicious effects which helped to create the industrialized pink slime and Frankensteer (mad cow disease, antibiotic filled animals, salmonella, E-coli meat, fatty feed lot-fat animals that are not healthy for human consumption) and drought resistant, convenient to grow dwarf wheat (may be responsible for gluten and wheat allergies and dangerous wheat belly) How would individuals be able to go into farming for themselves if all the seeds are hybridized and will not produce offspring? This is leading to a world wide monopoly of seeds production. Is Monsanto intending to be "Earth Mother?" And there are reports of this monopolization being planned to hold countries at ransom to obtain seeds that are not hybrids. Apparently, Monsanto has ancient seeds in a storage facility. If this is not true, it certainly should write up press releases that counter such speculative reports that fuel the fires against the corporation. But we have yet to see any such press releases negating these claims. Considering that world food production to some extent is already being held at ransom and some continents are suffering starvation (Africa) because of diminished food supply, the scenario could be dire if one or two entities hold most of the ungenetically modified seeds and only dole out hybridized seeds.

The interesting point is that Monsanto is leading the charge on two fronts. One, is to eradicate seeds that are generational and have existed since the dawn of time by attempting to get farmers to use only THEIR seeds. (Lobbyists are working tirelessly, their noses up the rear ends of politicians, their debit cards at the ready to give whatever amount the politicos want to be reelected.) The second charge by Monsanto appears to be to make sure no one in this country knows what it is doing, least of all how it creates its seeds, how it alters them, how it modifies them and what food modifications go into what modified food products. In other words, where Monsanto is concerned, there is no Sunshine Law.  It controls the light to grow understanding. Remember what Rockefellar said (Unseen Hand, by Ralph Epperson, p. 75). Competition is a sin. Well, Monsanto appears to want to make sure she alone is Mother Earth and the hell with us understanding how our food ingredients have been enhanced, tweaked, irradiated, genetically recreated, DNA modified, etc.



How is Monsanto hell bent on keeping us in the dark? There is no GM, GE (genetically engineered) labeling. Do you remember the last time you identified that the bread you were eating was made with GM/GE wheat?  You can't because there is no label stating it. And of course, you think I'm one of those "conspiracy theorists." Well, I wish I could say it were that easy. Until I read William Davis, MD, Wheat Belly, I did not understand, truly about the wheat. I was fat my entire life with a few exceptions you can read about in prior posts on this blog. It was mainly due to all of the flour and wheat products I consumed. For my body, they are anathema. Death! When I curtailed then stopped eating any flour or wheat products, I became healthier, lost a tremendous amount of weight and have no necessity for Advil when I play tennis. My aches have stopped. I know first hand what processed, GM/GE wheat can do to me. Maybe I'm the Maverick and wacked out exception? I can't speak for you, only for me.

But the obesity that has burgeoned since the 1980s when the processing and agra business grew into monopolies with a vengeance has an interesting confluence, does it not?  The trigger has been pulled and events are unraveling so quickly that scientists are hard pressed to understand or even fathom the results of food processing, GM/GE and obesity rates, including childhood obesity.. Blnded by money, agra business, politicians, scientists did not count the long term effects upon consumers, the environment and their very own survival in an infantile, basely ignorant "live for today" approach toward food producing and processing.

But all is not doomsday scenario. There are things you can do. First, become educated.
http://wideeyecinema.com/?p=12109

http://wideeyecinema.com/?p=1007

http://wideeyecinema.com/?p=2594

Second, get involved:  http://www.change.org/petitions/walmart-say-no-to-monsantos-genetically-engineered-sweet-corn

http://www.change.org/petitions/heartfelt-letter-to-the-farmers-seed-growers-and-farm-groups-whose-court-battle-was-dismissed-against-monsanto

http://www.change.org/petitions/tell-sainsburys-and-waitrose-no-monsanto-products-in-uk-supermarkets

http://www.change.org/petitions/millions-against-monsanto-3

Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Food Revolution Begins Now

Jamie Oliver on his Food Revolution Day site
In cities and towns across the globe this past weekend, there were many events to highlight food education. (Jamie Oliver's global Food Revolution Day). Their themes related to what our industrialized food supply system produces from seed to table creating the foods we eat. In some instances the events showed that there are fewer whole ingredients coming from natural food sources. Often chemicalized, processed ingredients used to "create" a food..are .ingredients that have never been outside of a lab; indeed the food CREATED has been primarily sourced not from the soil but from a lab. Are we being gradually poisoned by the industrial food complex to serve the medical industrial complex? Not that there is a grand design, but it would seem that would be one of the unfortunate Change outcomes of the monopolistic business models used by corporations and lobbyists in their frantic search for profits at the expense of people. As agra business monopolies have burgeoned buying up smaller farms, there has been a waning of the free market competition which is so vital to creating choice for consumers. Corporations have grown mammoth; their power has gown exponentially; they dictate what the consumer must eat. Change is needed. Food education is the beginning.


The food education emphasized this weekend is continually being promoted by groups that support the return of the American food supply to farming collaboratives and collectives, local farmers, organic non profits like Stone Barnes Center for food and agricultur, whole foods producers and suppliers, local sourcing, food greening movements (less long distance transport from areas like Mexico which reduces reliance on oil and reduces cost). The ultimate aim is to make food producers, suppliers and agra business more responsive to consumers' health needs. And if they persist in ignoring consumers' demands toward health, greening, labeling of irradiated foods and genetically modified foods, there is a growing movement to boycott foods, franchises and food store chains which stock products that manifest extreme processing and chemicalizing. As more consumers support green and whole food PACs and businesses which ARE responsive, the hope is that large food chains and their suppliers will take note and correct. Some may even reverse the current trends of agra business and its inherent horrors which have produced E-coli outbreaks, mad cow disease, weird food toxins, antibiotics in our water supply, Salmonella outbreaks and unhealthy food products thought to exacerbate chronic conditions  like heart disease and diabetes (Studies relate these to chemicalized/processed foods high in salt, sugar and hydrogenated fats). 

Chef and food icon Jamie Oliver who has "been on top of these issues" for a number of years is to be credited for his exploits in attempting to get Americans to eat more healthily. His Food Revolution TV show was canceled in 2011 for lack of commercial support but he took the fight  to the streets and internet and created a foundation.

You remember Oliver!  On one of his first shows in 2010, he went to the fattest state in the nation, West Virginia, the fattest town, Huntington and he attempted to inspire the residents there to change their eating habits. He despaired, because when he went to the school and led the cafeteria staff in selecting and preparing other food items for the children (delicious gourmet veggie/pasta preparations; eggs for breakfast instead of pizza)  there was resistance from the staff and a revolt by the students who wanted their pizza, pink slime hamburgers (That's what they were eating though it was not known at the time as it now is,) fries and processed foods.

Though his show faltered (Gee, I wonder why there were few corporations who wanted to jump on board with advertising.), Oliver's mission blossomed. He brought attention to the problems with America's food supply: highlighting the lobbying efforts of its industrial farms and food producers whose practices with genetically modified produce and unsanitary conditions often fly under the radar. Calling attention to inhumane animal practices of industrialized farms which often produce contaminated product, films like Fast Food Nation, Oliver and others have garnered support of local growers, farmers that treat their animals humanely and food sourcing. Most importantly, he and others continue to educate how the unhealthiness of the food industry's chemically processed and preserved foods foster disease and exacerbate obesity.

Oliver also alerted us to Pink Slime. To think that the company, Beef Products, Inc. allowed him to go into one of its facilities, not understanding how he would be using the video shot there, is amazing. (It has laid off another round of employees since the campaign against pink slime began.) Pink slime went viral with a petition by Bettina Siegel and the supporters piled on eventually prompting congressional action for schools to opt out of purchasing and using pink slime for their hamburgers. Jamie Oliver's website continues to fight against pink slime and remove it from the nation's schools, and perhaps the food supply completely (many fast food restaurants have claimed to stop using the product).
Oliver's website for Food Revolution Day
Oliver's and his food teams' campaign promoting global Food Revolution Day inspired the global community to join in the celebration of healthy eating.  Food Revolution Day also reinforced the ongoing fight to stand against the egregious industrialization, processing, genetic modification and irradiation of the global food supply. There were over 750 events scheduled in over 490 cities across 44 countries, and the events varied from dinner parties, cooking classes, farmer's market tours, community potlucks, and street fairs. Events took place in major cities like New York City and smaller municipalities like Patchogue, New York out on Long Island. They even encompassed smaller neighborhoods or block parties centered around educating children about healthy eating and nutritious food choices.

Many of these events were spearheaded by members or supporters of the organic and vegan food movements, the whole foods movement, the animal rights movement which endorses the humane treatment of animals on industrial farms and in the killing field of slaughterhouses, the movement to support local farm sourcing and small local farms, the movement to label and/or eliminate GM foods (genetically modified) or products that contain GM ingredients, and the movement to ban irradiated foods, to name a few. Tor them the Food Revolution encompasses not only one day, it is a movement that spans the rest of their lives.

Oliver's website encourages the involvement of young people. For Food Revolution Day the food team stated that "celebration events give youth the opportunity to join forces with their local communities and other young people across the globe, to stand up and demand better food education." Oliver and the team want the youth to get on the health train. After all, it is their generation that will inherit all of what their parents and the culture have left, with  a global epidemic of diet related diseases, which, according to Oliver has already led to "43 million children under the age of 5 being overweight and which kills an estimated 2.8 million people a year."

Sounds like a great idea? It is. We are what we eat and over the years the nation has learned that it is not necessarily what we don't put in our mouths that will harm us, (i.e. not eating a lot) it is what we do put in our mouths that will kill us and/or make us sick. Coupled with the ongoing anti-obesity campaign, The Weight of the Nation, the main thrust is on healthy eating which promotes a healthy life. However, Oliver's Food Revolution attacks the problem where it should be attacked, the American food supply system. And since our supply is being exported to other nations, this has become a global fight or revolution because the corporations are global; they are promulgating their processes and product with ferocity. Capture a country's appetite, you capture their citizens' wallets.

Oliver and other food movements are aptly encouraging us to raise our voices and fight back against the lobbyists who have enthralled our congressmen and leaders. He and others are motivating us to sign petitions to curtail industrial farms' egregious practices He and others are encouraging the labeling of GM products and irradiated foods, and stopping the inhumane animal treatment on farms and in the killing fields. In addition he and others continue to motivate us to avoid toxic, chemically processed food products.

From Jamie Oliver's webiste against pink slime.
Will such campaigns work? As more people become educated and informed, the global food revolution will bend the corporations' profits; global consumer efforts impact global corporations.  Corporations are in business to supply the consumers, but if the consumers' needs are not being supplied, corporate profits will decrease. Corporations will have to get on the health train with R and D, innovation, and creative business models that encourage perhaps a short term cut in profits, but a long term investment in healthy foods and  products which will pay off huge in the long run.

It is possible. Other global corporations have done it. Starbucks is a sterling example. It is ultra responsive to consumers. And they still offer health plans to part time workers. But such corporate effort takes leadership, brilliance, and compromise. The industrial food complex needs NEW BLOOD, YOUNG BLOOD. It needs an infusion of creativity and THINKING OUTSIDE THE BOX.

But for now, as such education is promoted with global Food Revolution Day and awareness grows. corporations have to bend. The alternative food movement and its tributaries now have the capability to reach billions in the twinkling of an eye. Oliver knows this; it is the trend.  And he is taking advantage of social media making sure he will  be like a spreading virus: on Youtube, on his blog and website, on Facebook and Twitter and other places where this information will be legion. If old media jettisoned his show, new media is embracing him with an even greater ferocity.

Welcome Jamie Oliver to the new American food supply system. I for one am so happy you have arrived! And enjoy Food Revolution Day every day.

Raise your voice.

If you are interested in adding your voice to the fight, congress is working on a farm bill. Right now the House Agricultural Committee is accepting public comments on this critical piece of legislation. Congress is considering cutting funding to vital programs such as nutrition, conservation and support for organic and sustainable agriculture. To speak out against such cuts (which in effect would throw support to industrialized farms) and to call for a better Farm Bill, click the following link and read more and act.


A SIMILAR ARTICLE APPEARED ON TECHNORATI  CLICK HERE FOR LINK.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day From Hugh Jackman

I saw beloved Hugh Jackman on Broadway. My seats were from hunger, in the balcony. People were paying over $350.00 for the back of the orchestra section and premium seats went for higher. Shark frenzy. And he knew it and if he could have changed the situation, he would have but he couldn't, so he gave the show his absolute all. Hugh Jackman, as my Aussie cousins from Melbourne, Australia will tell you IS THE REAL DEAL. He is so loved there and so generous, down to earth and giving. He has a foundation for the aboriginals and artistic friends connected with the foundation joined him on stage for an absolutely elevating and spiritually moving song and instrumental. So from Hugh to you, wishing all a Happy Mother's Day from the set of Les Mes.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Commemorating Mom: Mother's Day Giveaway!



Normally, I don't get involved with giveaways. But this is the 40th anniversary since my mother's death. She died on April 28th, 1972 in a fatal car accident. She and my aunt were killed instantly, we were told.

They were in the back seat of a volkswagon van, you know, the cool kind that hippies painted up with all sorts of neat day-glow graffiti and wacky designs. Only this was no day-glow volkswagon van. It was a death-trap for my mom and aunt. And years later, after it was discontinued because others lost their lives, we found out why. Those vans had a high center of gravity. They tipped over and rolled easily.

That is what happened when my uncle, who was driving, had to break because someone cut him off (two-lane highway and the guy was passing the van). Well, when my uncle breaked, the van swerved and tipped and rolled, throwing my mom and aunt out of the van. Those were the days before mandatory seat-belts.

Years later looking back, I miss and love her and my aunt. But if any good can come out of a tragedy, and I believe it can, my brother married my best friend who was at the funeral. He didn't even look at her before. And the product of their marriage is the blessing of my two nephews who are now grown men and my grandniece who is eleven, going on sixteen, very brilliant and absolutely beautiful. But then, I'm a proud aunt and grandaunt.

Tragedy birthed blessings. But I must tell you that I have tremendous faith and belief in God, as did my mom and my aunt who were solid Christians. It was my faith that sustained me through the period of her loss. When my mom's teaching career ended with her death, mine began. I taught HS English, mentored college student teachers, went on to get my Master's Degree and my Ph.D. and discovered my writing talents during the dissertation process.

Through loss comes rebirth, reinvention and reconciliation. I didn't mention that my Dad and I didn't really get along: old world Italian gentleman, new world American daughter with radical views. All that changed when my mom died; we became very close. God will take a curse and make it into a blessing if you watch and pray. I pray he does that for you if you are reading this and have suffered loss that was not understandable at the time. That is my special prayer and Giveaway for you every day including Mother's Day. ;-)  And of course, there is a REAL GIVEAWAY HERE!!!  Enjoy and good luck!