A Mother’s (True) Story

First a warning … This TED presentation may NOT be happy one to watch; you may want to end it after a minute or two of viewing.

I am sharing this because I believe, from personal experience, that the material presented here is valuable for every parent, not just mothers. This mother’s message is worth remembering. My sincere is hope that none of you will have to utilize her advice.

Miracles due to Technology

Yes, my choice of title [subject line] for this post will likely raise some eyebrows. I believe the material presented in this TED talk describes a miracle, and more to come, that has already started to broaden the reach of “good” healthcare for all.

Listen and watch a surgeon describe the use of currently available technologies and provide skilled surgical care to patients without easy access to such care.  I find this a development that all of us can feel good about.

Use the link below to access this TED video.



Understanding the “Present Moment”

This article titled, “At the Tip of Time’s Arrow”, presents an interesting way to understand the concepts of “Being” and “Awareness” discussed in the Vedic, and other religious literature. The presentation is simple and easy to understand. It helps one focus on the value of our lives at present, recognize our responsibilities, and develop spiritually.

(From “DailyGood” email)

At the Tip of Time’s Arrow
by Nicos Hadjicostis
Everybody alive today exists at the tip of Time’s arrow, at the pinnacle of Being, the highest summit of evolution.
This Present, in which we exist at each and every moment of our lives, happens to be the most advanced point of the most advanced age in humanity’s existence. Actually, this
Present in which everything happens is always and permanently situated at this most
advanced point. As one moment gives way to the next, it is replaced in turn with an infinite number of such endless present moments, all of which permanently reside at this forever recurring pinnacle of existence. Therefore, an equally amazing fact is that each and every human who has ever lived on this planet could also have thought of themselves as living at the pinnacle of evolution! Subsequently, every human who will exist in the future will again exist at their own present moment, which will also exist at the tip of Time’s arrow. The only constant substratum of everything in the universe is this Present at which everything is and is becoming. Generations upon generations of humans will come and go, but this Present will remain permanently immobile, “untouched by morning and untouched by noon.’ Since each moment that passes by has no effect on this Present, it might be conceived as being eternal. Everything I write now, everything you read at this moment, is always being written and read in an Eternal Present. Our lives and existence in general may seem to reside and move in Time, but this Time is nowhere to be found. What can be found is the Present, but this Present, being immobile, permanent, and therefore eternal, cannot be conceived or understood by our finite intellect — although it may occasionally be experienced by another faculty of our being. And though it contains everything that was, is, or will be, it cannot itself
be contained in Time nor located in Space. Still, one of its main “qualities,’ if we may be
pardoned for using such a word to describe the indescribable, is that it is always “situated’ (again an imperfect word) at the pinnacle of Being.
When one truly meditates on this idea, one realizes that even though each and every human ever to have lived on this planet existed at the most advanced age of humanity up to that moment, still, every subsequent generation was more advanced, for it could “see’ more of a past than each previous generation saw. Each generation rightly considers its Present as being the “most inclusive’ of all pasts, even though this could have been claimed, rightly again, by each and every one of the past (and future) generations. The point at which we meet with Being is always the most advanced expression of Being. Nobody ever existed in a “primitive past.’ Nobody ever knew themselves to exist in the Stone Age, the Bronze Age, or the Middle Ages. Each and every human to have ever lived on this earth considered themselves to be part of the most developed culture that existed up to that moment. It is only later generations that place the past in historical boxes with titles.
How does the realization of living at the tip of Time’s arrow change the way we live?
  First, we immediately become overwhelmed with a feeling of immense responsibility.
Responsibility towards everything else that is now alive, everything that has made us who we are (the past), and everything that will follow us. By being at the intersection of past and future, our responsibility extends in both directions: We need to be worthy of our ancestors and to create descendants who will in turn be worthy of us.
Second, we become conscious of the unique power deriving from the privilege of our
present status. We know everything that our ancestors knew, plus much more. Despite his polymathy and great intellect, Aristotle knew less about our world and reality than does today’s average high school student. Meditating on this truism causes a major shift in our perspective. All the great discoveries of our ancestors are now part of our shared wealth. What was miraculous upon its invention, be it the steamboat, electricity, or the airplane, is now part of everyday commonality. There has never been an age so advanced — with
computers, spaceships, medical technology, the internet, and artificial intelligence. There
was never a time in history when every question humans posed could be instantly answered by accessing huge data banks and digital libraries. The average lifespan has never been so long. Mobility and travel have never been so easy. The acknowledgement of these facts is accompanied by the realization of an immense power never before held; a power that ought to be used prudently. We, the imagined demigods of our ancestors, can, with this unique power, create new forms of society, new wondrous objects, expand our field of understanding, mold an even more advanced mental and spiritual being.
Third, we become grateful for being now alive at this pinnacle of evolution. Everything we are, everything we have and enjoy, everything we know and understand, is the most
advanced, the most developed, the most expansive there ever was. There has not been a
more extraordinary world than ours. Let’s rejoice every morning when we wake up, and let us begin our day with these words: “It is 2017. This advanced age has never before existed. And I am here, now, alive, in this incredible world that was created for me to enjoy and care for.’
These three — responsibility, power, and gratefulness — must work in tandem and
harmoniously complement one another.
These three — responsibility, power, and gratefulness — must work in tandem and
harmoniously complement one another. Let everything we do be permeated by the
realization of our default and extraordinary position at the tip of Time’s arrow, at the summit of evolution. And let everything we do be the result of power exercised responsibly and with gratitude for the opportunity we have to form an even better future than our privileged present.


Life that is Healthier for More Years

I know many among you may not care to watch a 19 minute TED video.

If you are still with me about this talk. The speaker is a Nobel Prize co- winner for this work. She is taking about her research and, more importantly, how to live a life that is  healthy for a longer period. Note, I did not say, ‘longer life’, but that may happen as a result.
Now the best part, the solution is within out INDIVIDUAL control. NO drugs needed!😊😊
Good luck. I hope you find the talk worth your precious 20 minutes. Precious ONLY if you choose to “listen” and “follow” her “advice”.😉
Use the link below to watch this TED presentation.

A Life Lesson

Here is a touching story about the author’s mother. The attitude displayed by her mother is one described in Gita regarding an enlightened person. There is a lesson in this story one can strive to emulate in life.

Use the link below to read the story.



Will You Have a Job Tomorrow?

Yes, the title for this blog is provocative. A TED presentation I watched today makes a strong case that most of us, with or without the “technological” skills, will not have a job tomorrow. At least not one that pays well and is “enjoyable”.  A workable solution, in my opinion, is proposed but that will require our commitment and dedication.

For those in the “retired” category it is not an issue but the younger ones should take time to watch this presentation and think about it. Use the link below to access the presentation.



Do You Have an Address?

In many places around the world, a person (I am not talking about a “homeless” one)may not be able to give you a good enough answer to locate that place! Here is a TED presentation by its creator,of a technology that gives a unique address to every place on earth. The address is composed of three simple words and the combination, address, is not duplicated. This address system has been adopted now by some countries and agencies, and the potential benefits are amazing.

Use the link below to access the presentation.


One Man’s Solution for River Erosion

Here is an impressive story about how a man single handed succeeded in fighting river erosion of an island. He started this work in 1970’s and managed to grow a forest that effectively ‘fights’ river erosion. It is still work in progress since he is still continuing his effort!

Use the link below to read about his approach and the almost unbelievable results. A short video telling his story is included.


Airline Travel – Safe Meals

Do read before your next flight. I have no easy way to verify these claims but I am packing ALL the necessary “meals” from now on for my airline travels.


Steve Derebey, Captain, Major Airline. Boeing 777 International Operations.
We have “special” meals. Our crew meals are, by contract, allegedly the same as a first class meal, but in reality, they are nowhere close. After 35 years, and at least 6 cases of food poisoning, other than in extreme and controlled circumstances, I won’t consume a “crew meal.” I have no doubt that the kitchens are safe, but, once the meal leaves the kitchen, all bets are off.
The “chillers” on our airplanes rarely chill to a “safe” temperature of 41 degrees F. More often, they range from 50F to 70F. I know, because I’ve taken a restaurant-grade thermometer, and measured, myself. When I have written them up, maintenance just “defers” them.
International meals are somewhat better, but still sorely lacking in quality. Before each flight, I make sure that I am properly nourished, and have with me enough “back up” food so that, if the crew meal is spoiled or inedible, I can survive until I get to the destination. You would think that this would be a high priority, as blood sugar and proper nutrition are such a huge part of pilots’ lives.
The safety of the flight is at stake but, after all, it does cost money to feed people properly.
Janice Bridger
A few years ago, the major carrier for whom I work decided that they could save a lot of money by catering two, three and sometimes four legs at once.  If, for example, an aircraft was going from San Francisco to Chicago and on to Newark, they could cater meals for both legs in San Francisco, thereby eliminating the need for catering (as well as the catering jobs) in Chicago.  It was much cheaper.

Sounds good, (except for the part about eliminating jobs).  But the problem is that the food is prepared in the kitchen hours before the plane leaves San Francisco.  It sits on a catering truck that is loaded with meals for several different aircraft.  That truck has to drive from the offsite kitchens to the airport, clear inspection before being admitted onto the tarmac, and then cater several flights.  By the time the food gets put on the airplane, often up to an hour or more before takeoff, it has already been sitting in the truck, in the hot sun, on the highway or on the tarmac, for several hours.  Now, imagine how long it sits before it gets heated on the plane and served, particularly after the 4½ hour flight to Chicago, the hour or two that it takes to unload the plane, clean it, do a security sweep, board the passengers for Newark, close up, push back and take off.

Chillers are cooling units on the aircraft designed to blow cold air through small air vents into a cart full of food.  Ideally, the cold air should be at 40°F (5°C) or below.  But often the chillers aren’t working properly, and blow warm air… sometimes as warm as 60°F (16°C).  Or, the cart is so overstuffed with food (remember we’re catering multiple legs here) that the cold air can’t circulate properly.  Frequently, the chillers aren’t even working at all.  Instead of taking the aircraft out of service to get them repaired, the problem is simply deferred until regular scheduled maintenance… often months in the future. 

(You see, an aircraft that is on the ground isn’t making money.  It’s more profitable to keep the aircraft flying, and if someone gets sick, well… they can’t really prove that it was airline food that made them sick, can they?)

Remember that space in an airplane galley is extremely limited.  So in order to cater two, three or four legs at once, everything has to be consolidated.  Often, serving a meal requires “unpacking” a cart that may have thirty or more or meals stacked into a space meant for ten meals.  The food must be separated and redistributed among the trays so it can be served.  With such limited space, there’s no counter space to unpack.  So we use the tops of carts (unwashed and unsanitary), oven shelves, jump-seats, and even the floor to stack trays, dishes and wrapped food; there simply is no other option.  I used to use linens as a “buffer” between the dirty cart tops and the food, but in the interest of saving money on laundering, linens are no longer boarded on the planes.

As a Flight Attendant, I always warn pilots if the chillers aren’t working properly, or if their food has already traveled on two or three legs before they get it.  Indeed, most crew that I know don’t often eat the airline food.  (Years ago, it was a different story; the food was much better quality, fresh.  But now, kitchens give us the “throw away” food, the cheapest stuff they can get away with.  Often the containers of hummus, sauces, dips, salad dressing, fruit, etc. are past the expiration date!)

My suggestion, even for First Class passengers:  Eat before you board.  If you think you’re going to need food, bring some with you.  I am always happy to heat up your sandwich, pizza or even a full meal that you bring with you.

After all, it’s an airplane, not the Ritz Carlton.  You’re not missing anything by bringing your own.  Lower your expectations and play it safe!

That’s my input.  If you’re interested in reading more, the following is an anecdote that deals with this whole food issue.  

I’m sorry if I sound cynical or even bitter.  The safety of the food issue (or lack thereof) has been a particularly sore point for me… one that I and many other Flight Attendants have complained long and hard about, ranted about to management and tried to get resolved.  We’ve gotten nowhere.  In fact, I’ve been admonished for my efforts, and told that my job is to simply serve the food.  Believe me, there isn’t a restaurant in the country that would be allowed to do what airlines regularly get away with and still remain open.

I remember a 4-leg trip a few years ago from Denver to Seattle and on to Anchorage, where it “turned” and flew back to Denver, also through Seattle.  The aircraft was catered in Denver for all four legs.  When I boarded the aircraft in Anchorage, the inbound crew advised me that the chillers were inoperative, they had been deferred the week before.  The meal was a “midnight snack” of cold prawns, deli slices of cheese and meat, hummus and pickled vegetables.  When I opened the warm carts, the food had obviously ‘turned’.  It smelled sour and ‘off’, particularly the prawns.  So I decided not to risk the health of the First Class passengers, and I explained to them why I wasn’t serving it.  Some wrote complaints to management, not about me but about the broken chillers.  One passenger was pretty clear in how she felt about an airline that would so readily endanger the health of their passengers to save a couple of bucks.  As a result, I was severely reprimanded.  I was told that I’m not a food expert, and have no business determining what food is fit or not fit to eat.  I was advised to keep my “opinions” to myself and do my job… that is, just serve the meal and let the company deal with any backlash or fallout.