When will it make a difference?


I have refrained from talking about Newtown, CT because the world wide coverage has been nonending and overwhelming. I didn’t think my little blog would make a difference.

I guess it’s because I’ve lived through so many assassinations, attempted assassinations, and massacres since my senior year in high school that I really am ashamed to admit that I don’t react as emotionally as I once did. I guess you could call me jaded at this point. I shed a few tears when I first saw the pictures of the children. It’s hard to stay totally emotional when one reads about their young lives.

I used to be quite an advocate of gun control. When I first heard of the shootings this time, I was wondering how long it would take for those in favor of control to  start shouting about tighter control. I knew we would see all the statistics about the US being number one in homicides with guns. We’d see we are number one in gun ownership. We’d see all the facts and it would not begin to phase those who are against any kind of control.

I soon heard the worn out comments about taking guns away from law abiding citizens. Control will make it that much easier for criminals to commit crimes. Every US citizen has a right to own as many and as powerful a gun or a multitude of guns because it says so in the Constitution. Background gun checks are a joke. Gun shows are rampant.

Actually I never understood the thinking of US citizens. As much as I hate to see it, I know that people still like to hunt but I’ve never understood the assault weapons. Hunt with one of those and the meat won’t be fit to eat.

James Madison proposed the Second Amendment. He never said anybody at any time could own any type of gun. This is the Second Amendment:

A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” A militia is regulated by officers. Citizens are called upon in times of emergencies. My solution for the gun crisis in America is to completely get rid of assault rifles. They serve absolutely no purpose other than mass killings.  The second step would require any person who desires to own a gun shall be required to attend militia training. There would be no firing of weapons without consent of the officers. They would be willing to serve every time it is necessary for armed defense. If they no longer desire to serve in a militia, they would no longer own a gun. There is one problem with this concept. There are already militia formed in every state and many of them have been formed under less than altruistic motives. Kind of paramilitary force…not exactly good.

The Constitution was written in the 1700s when the types of guns were limited to flintlock muskets and single shot pistols. The writers could not have envisioned the weapons of mass destruction that are available now. It is time to stop these days of destruction. Namaste  Atticannie



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When Pranks End Badly

I tried to post a picture but my computer won’t let me.

It was just a harmless prank in the minds of the two Australian radio personalities. They probably thought that the Countess was just being pampered because of a little “morning sickness”.

Everyone who heard them would know that she couldn’t possibly be the Queen with the horrible accent, right? The hospital staff would hang up on them anyway. So they call the hospital where the wife of the second in line to the British throne is recuperating from “morning sickness” and pretend to be the Queen. Instead, for some unknown reason the call is put through and they actually talk to the nurse personally in charge of the patient.

The nurse gives out medically private information although nothing that seems too personal (to me). The patient is resting and is being rehydrated. The DJs learn the situation is more serious than the condition millions of women around the world suffer during their pregnancy, as if making fun of any woman with morning sickness is ever funny.

The call ends and the two DJs congratulate each other on the success of their phone call. It was a  harmless prank after all.

Why do people feel it funny to prank?  It is often that they get their thrills out of the public embarrassment or humiliation caused to the victim. They are happy seeing their victims turn red or hearing others around laughing. The problem is the laughter is directed AT the victim and not WITH him. Who was the intended victim of this prank? Was it the hospital, the Countess, or the culpable nurses?

People will not stop playing pranks on others, but they do so with the possibilities of consequences. As was the case with the hospital calls.

The DJs could not have known that the nurse who put the call through to the floor was originally from India. They could not have known that saving the family from disgrace is extremely important. Family honor is first in the lives of thousands of Indian women. She could not forgive herself for her role in this situation. Do I know that for certain? Of course not, although she left suicide notes and I am guessing at the content.

All she did was answer the phone and put the call through. She was not even the one who gave out the information. But that was enough for her. Sadly, she saw no way out of the humiliation, so she hanged herself. The caring and concern of the Prince and Countess was not enough to swage the guilt she felt at her culpability.

The family was deprived of a wife and mother. Knowing this woman died because of a “joke” will haunt them the rest of their lives.

The DJs lost their jobs and probably their entire careers in the radio business. The hospital most likely will review their policies about phone calls making it even harder for caring loved ones to find out about any of the patients, even if it IS the Queen who is doing the calling.

Will pranksters continue to take advantage of others? Probably not. After all, we even have a  day devoted to pranks and practical jokes. April Fool’s Day is the international day celebrated to flush out the April Fools. It’s been around since the 1500s and is not going away any time soon. However, on that day, people at least have a fighting chance of knowing they are being pranked and they live in countries where generally honor is not so deadly serious.

Hopefully, those who prank will think twice about what they do to others in order to get a laugh. Hopefully, the world will learn a lesson, especially if the prank is on a complete stranger. Why “hopefully”? Because you never know the repercussions until it is too late.

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Gluten Free Wish List

gluten free symbol

Yesterday I started talking about being gluten-free. I have a myriad of food allergies so finding out about one more just kind of rolled off my back. I’ve been taking allergy shots for over two years for a variety of foods, pollens, molds, and other irritants like dust and cat fur. However, with gluten, I have had to adjust my diet.

I posted that a chart I found said “small amounts may be tolerable”. I have often found that I am tempted by loopholes. No one has ever quantified “small”. For most the time I am good to myself. I have cut out breads almost entirely. I very seldom eat sweets like cakes, pies, or other baked goods. Those cuts have been extremely hard to accept but I’m getting better at it. Occasionally I will buy a loaf of gluten-free bread but the cost is so much higher that it is only an every-so-often purchase. I just don’t make sandwiches any more.

I have found rice pasta (spaghetti and penne) and Asian rice noodles but the thought of being able to dive into a plate of restaurant spaghetti and bread sticks really tempts me. I have also found individual size rice crust pizza. The last time I was in my local grocery store I discovered that they had discontinued carrying their Amy’s rice crust spinach and feta cheese pizza in favor of the organic wheat spinach pizza instead. I was really upset because that dish is scrumptious. I guess it is the changing neighborhood that is causing changes in what they carry.

The neighborhood surrounding the grocery store has been changing ethnically for some time now. The store’s supply of gluten free products is very limited and seems to be dwindling in response to the buying habits. The same chain has a store about seven miles from my house that carries more gluten free items but I prefer the convenience of shopping closer to home. I guess the clientele at my neighborhood store does not request gluten free items for several reasons. The other store is in a more health conscious and higher income area. 1) Many are probably not aware of sensitivity and celiac disease. It is estimated that 97% of celiac disease sufferers are undiagnosed. 2) Their ethnic diets are tied to other food products. 3) The cost of gluten free foods is higher than they can afford. Many of them have to buy what is cheapest rather than what is the healthiest for their families just to feed them.

People have started becoming more aware of the problems with gluten. Elizabeth Hasselbeck from The View is one of the more prominent celebrities who is speaking out about the problems associated with gluten after finally discovering what was causing her health concerns. She has authored the G-free Diet. 

Parents have stated that their child’s autism is improved when eating a gluten free diet. Jenny McCarthy, an advocate for her autistic child, is a spokesperson for connecting autism and gluten. So far, the medical studies that have been done have not found the connection even though parents can see the improvement.

“Like many other treatments, the autism diet isn’t scientifically proven to improve symptoms or help children recover from autism. So far, there’s only anecdotal evidence from parents of autistic children, which isn’t enough to establish whether the diet really works. The diet usually requires excluding gluten (a protein found in wheat) or casein (a protein found in milk)”. 

I have a dream list. I would love to see a petition with thousands of signatures requesting that the FDA would no longer consider gluten as generally regarded as safe. Although I am trying to cut down on pizzas, I’d like to see the major chains offer a gluten free crust. It would be great if the major bakeries offered at least one gluten free bread for sale thus lowering the cost. The same goes for restaurants that serve pasta. Just making one of their menu items gluten free to start would make it much simpler to choose when friends dine out together. I’d like to see Subway bring back its gluten free bread. I was so happy my son would be able to go to Subway when he visited home. By the time I was diagnosed, Subway had discontinued the bread. I’d appreciate other sandwich shoppes offering the same choice as well.

As more people become aware of gluten free diets, the greater the demand will be. It may be slow for businesses in the beginning but I have a feeling the popularity of gluten free products would grow if they advertised their desire to see a healthier clientele.

Namaste. Attic Annie

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Continuing My Family’s Gluten Story

loaves of bread

Three years ago I wrote about my son and his battle with products that contain gluten. He has celiac disease as does his paternal aunt.   It is known that celiac disease clusters in families but not much more is known yet about the genetic inheritance.

Two years ago, my son moved to China and found a  young Chinese woman who became his bride. She is totally amazing when it comes to his diet. She reads every label before she buys anything for him. At home she cooks vegetable laden meals. She has found a non-wheat flour so its not like he’s being deprived of an occasional pizza. As a result, he is getting much healthier and is down to his high school trim weight. He has lost the puffiness from water retention as well as several pounds.

It is amazing how many products contain gluten from soy sauce (can we say living in China?) to vitamins. It is a very pervasive product. He has problems buying products in China, but people with sensitivity or the disease have as many problems in the United States. Our “health conscious” national government allows manufacturers to hide the fact that their products contain gluten.

“Gluten-Free” Labeling  


“Surprise, surprise! The FDA allows companies to lie about gluten labeling…nothing new there, they haven’t exactly endorsed honesty with anything else, right? Gluten is on the FDA’s list of “Generally Recognized As Safe” ingredients, meaning food manufacturers aren’t required to list gluten as an ingredient”.

This makes avoiding gluten even more difficult, obviously. One thing you should know is that foods labeled as “gluten-free” are not 100% without gluten. The reason for this is simple: it just isn’t possible to remove all of the proteins from wheat and the other grain sources of gluten.

 Due to my son being diagnosed with celiac disease, I asked my allergist to test me also. The tests came back that I am gluten sensitive. What does that mean? It means that when I eat gluten, it sets off an immune response. Symptoms  can be very vague and since I have had a myriad of other problems, it was not quick to be diagnosed since symptoms often overlap. Not everyone has the same symptoms. The response to those with celiac disease is much more evident.

There is a long and growing list of foods that contain gluten. It’s everywhere and like the above quote says, its impossible to eliminate 100% of the gluten.

We are not unique with our gluten problems. It is estimated that 1/133 people in America or 1% have been diagnosed with celiac disease. It is also estimated that 1/18- 1/20 Americans are now gluten sensitive.

I found a chart that explains the difference between gluten sensitivity, wheat allergy, and celiac disease.


It’s that “occasional use” under the gluten sensitive that is my Achille’s heel. I’ll continue this topic tomorrow. Namaste Attic Annie

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Is There No Respite? Not in Politics!


The battle between the candidates just ended. Thanks to donors with unendingly deep pockets, there were, it seemed, hundreds of ads on TV every day. Every show seemed to have something to say. There were heated discussions on talk and news shows. Social media was completely sated with “Friends” expressing their own viewpoints. It was grueling and unending. It even made a little girl, who reached her limit of tolerance of Romney and  Bronco Bamma, cry.  Truth be told, I was ready to cry with her.

The President hasn’t even taken office for the second time. He doesn’t renew his oath at the inauguration until January 21, 2013. The world may end a month before then anyway.

So, are we taking a break from politics to allow us to get over our PTSD? I’m not belittling those who are suffering from PTSD. I’m just adding the American public to the list of those who have been traumatized the past couple of years by the constant bombardment of politics.

Heaven forbid that politics be allowed to slip out of our consciousness for even a little while during this festive time of year.

I often fall asleep with the TV on. What do I hear the first thing when I wake up this morning? MSNBC has a panel that is discussing Hillary Clinton and her run for President in 2016. It was not the first news show that has begun covering that issue. They were also throwing around the names of Joe Biden, Jeb Bush, and several other possible candidates but the primary topic was Hillary.

Can’t we give it a rest? There are three years and eleven months before the next election. I have nothing against Hillary. I have been impressed with her intelligence and leadership abilities for as long as she has been on the political scene. I even forgave her the tacky (newscaster’s adjective, not mine) comment about baking cookies and holding teas. But, GOD, are we going to have to listen about her constantly until the next Democratic Convention? As far as I have been able to google, The Dems haven’t even decided where to hold the convention yet. That doesn’t stop us from talking forever about who is going to be the front runner.

The only reason I can see for politics to be constantly thrust at us is to keep the American public stirred up. If we start arguing candidates now, our attention won’t be as focused on everything else that is happening around us.

This season calls for Peace on Earth. Can’t we have just a little time to settle down before we prepare to do battle again? Can’t we just “live in the now” a little while before we become so engrossed with the future? It certainly would be nice to listen to the news and actually hear the news that is happening, not opinions about future political events. Come on news media. At least think about giving the public a little break. OK?

peace on earth

Namaste. Attic Annie

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Are We All FRACKED Up?

Fracking Farmland 615pxWhat the FRACK are we allowing to happen?

This graph is in an article about fracking and our food supply. It tells the story of Jacki Shilke and her cattle on a ranch in North Dakota. Two years ago gas companies started massive drilling operations surrounding her ranch. Soon afterwards her cattle became seriously ill and many died.

This event is not an isolated case, unfortunately. It is happening all over the United States as water continues to become contaminated. The citizens of the United States are allowing gas and oil companies to continue to pollute our land and water. It is either because of lack of knowledge of what is really happening or lack of caring as we continue to believe the propaganda spilling from the companies that tell how safe everything is.

There is a commercial running currently on television from one of the major natural gas companies in North Texas. The voice of the father explains his role in keeping water safe for his children. The children are seen swimming in the crystal clear water of a swimming pool. You see the blue water, the blue sky, the happy children. You hear the proud voice of the father explaining his role in protecting his children and protecting the water which sustains their lives.

Not surprisingly, this commercial is in complete opposition of what is actually happening to our water supply not only here in North Texas but also everywhere throughout this country.  When they can get away with it, they are even taking our treated drinking water out of the hydrants. When that water is used, it is permanently contaminated.

The oil and gas companies have such a stranglehold on our Congress that it is impossible for environmentalists to even get heard. From a 2010 article from CBS, “… environmentalists are naive to think that the current crop of milquetoasts on Capitol Hill will engage in anything more than distracting (and useless) policy debates. It’s going to take more than an earthquake to alter Chesapeake Energy’s beguiling “clean and green” gas drilling activities.” It is referring to the earthquakes measured at the airport in addition to the pollution.

The article on the ranch states that the carcasses of the cows are being sold to middlemen who sell them to makers of animal foods including chickens. That means there is a direct connection between the ranches and our own dinner tables or the food of our beloved pets.

Personally, I think the United States, if not already, will soon be permanently FRACKED UP! In our pursuit of cheap energy we allow the lobbyists to dissuade the best Congress money can buy to keep safe, clean alternative sources of energy from being produced. The industry keeps reminding us of the jobs it creates and how vital the producers are to our nation. Don’t other sources of energy need workers as well? I truly believe this is a specious argument. Who will be around to hold down the jobs if those in the US continue to be poisoned or die of thirst due to water that can no longer be drunk?

Once again, I feel it comes down to a matter of greed. How all the decision makers who sanctify the ruining of our earth think they and their families can forever escape from the effects of what they are doing is beyond me. They too have to eat and drink in order to live. I don’t care what anyone says, even they can’t eat money. Namaste. Attic Annie


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It Should Pain ALL of Us



Hillary Clinton says “It pains me.”

She was talking about her feelings concerning the “plight of women in male-dominated societies.”  The little Syrian girl in the picture above is expressing a viewpoint about desiring freedom and peace in her country. It would be very common to assume that she could also be demonstrating a feeling about being a girl if she is old enough to know what it means to be a second class citizen.

If one takes time to view the status of women in the world, it is easy to find examples of what it really means to be born female. Female babies in China are found abandoned or thrown out with the trash reported as recently as July, 2012.  In an effort to stem population growth, China instituted a one child policy in 1978. Although in cities females are more likely to be abandoned, in the rural countryside they are often just killed. If the couple is allowed only one child, they prefer that child to be a boy. The girls who are allowed to grow up are often called worthless and are frequently treated as servants to the parents.

It is dangerous for girls to speak out in these countries. Just think of the Pakistani girl, Malala Yousufzai, who was shot by the Taliban just for expressing her desire for an education.

On February 14, One Billion Rising is sponsoring a protest against rape and violence against women around the world. Knowing that to protest is to invite beatings, jail, or even death, women are still willing to rise against inequality and violence. A UN report stated that 250,000 women in sixty-five countries reported rape. That is LESS than 1/3 of all countries in the world and less than half to one fourth of all rapes that occur. Even if the case is reported, more than 97% of the men who rape never spend time in jail. One Billion Rising protests these dismal statistics.

Women in the US can not even today say that they live in equality with men. Discrimination and exploitation are still rampant. Things are improving, albeit extremely slowly. Just one example is how long it took for American women to achieve the right to vote and the treatment of those who spoke up for that right.  These were the stories that were never taught in history classes.

This is still a country where women can parade in ads on TV wearing the skimpiest Victoria Secret lingerie and well covered women breast feeding their babies are kicked out of establishments.

Yes, Hillary Clinton is pained. We should ALL be pained for all women all over the world. The sad part is for every ten men who openly abuse, limit rights, and feel superior to women there are probably at least five women who condone their behavior and accept it as part of life. Many of those who “stand by their man” are in comfortable positions with their husbands and are afraid to rock the boat.  They prefer inequality for others over freedom and personal responsibility for themselves. Just look at the number of women who opposed the Equal Rights Amendment in the ’70s.

I often wonder why men have to feel superior to women. Is it something genetic? It certainly is something culturally engrained around the world. Women are slowly rising in status. Perhaps there is hope in the world that by doing so, the world may come to be a safer more peaceful place. It will not happen in my life, and probably not in my granddaughter’s life, but hopefully seven generations from now we may see progress. Namaste Attic Annie

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