Friday, February 29, 2008


So there's a lot of hype about the benefits of alcohol consumption in moderation of late. However, it is important to remember that alcohol is a toxin (poison) and as such is harmful to your body.

"What does alcohol do?

Alcohol is the most widely used mind-altering drug in New Zealand. It is legal, it is readily available and it is generally socially acceptable.
Alcohol has stimulating, depressing and mood-altering functions that leave practically no circuit or system of the brain untouched. This range of effects is what sets alcohol apart from many other drugs.
It acts as a stimulant when it directly stimulates those brain cells, which lead to feelings of pleasure and euphoria. It is a depressant when it slows the brain down and reduces tensions and worries. It can affect our judgement and make us do things we would not usually do when sober. Alcohol acts as an anaesthetic when it slows down our reflexes and our coordination. It can put us to sleep, it can induce a coma and it can kill.
Alcohol's effects are dose related - the more alcohol you drink, the greater the effects that may occur. The effect alcohol has on you can also be related to your mood and your expectations. If we get the dose of alcohol right, it can be a pleasant and sometimes useful drug. If the dose is wrong, then alcohol can cause a wide range of harmful effects. Some of these are discussed below.

Defining alcohol problems

A number of different terms are used to describe alcohol problems. Sometimes the terms can be confusing.
  • Hazardous drinking means drinking at levels or in situations that are likely to cause harmful consequences.
  • Alcohol abuse refers to the idea that alcohol causes harmful consequences for a person, and the person continues to drink alcohol despite these consequences.
  • Alcohol dependence is a more technical term indicating that either the body or the mind has become hooked or addicted to alcohol.
  • Psychological dependence occurs when the mind seems to take over the control of a person's drinking. The person feels they have to drink to feel good or normal. Psychologically dependent people start to act in ways to ensure their addiction is satisfied - they think a lot about alcohol, they always ensure they have enough alcohol to drink and they plan their activities around alcohol.
  • Physical dependence occurs when the body adapts to the high use of alcohol and requires this level of use to feel right or maintain its balance. There are two main signs of physical dependence.
    - Tolerance, which means a person has to progressively drink more alcohol to achieve the same effect that was previously achieved with smaller amounts.
    - Withdrawal, which is a state people can experience if they go without alcohol. Here the body reacts against the absence of alcohol by going through a period of shaking and sweating. If this progresses to a more severe stage, delirium tremens (DTs) may occur, with people becoming confused and experiencing hallucinations (seeing things or hearing things when there is nothing to be seen or heard).
Alcoholism or alcoholic are descriptions that mean different things to different people. Usually alcoholism relates to a state of alcohol dependence, but many people can have severe alcohol-related problems without having signs and symptoms of dependence.
Alcohol use is very common. Estimates are that over 90 per cent of New Zealanders drink alcohol. Studies suggest over 20 per cent of the population drinks excessively and that, at any one time, seven to 10 per cent of us have a problem with dependence on alcohol.
It is further estimated that about 30 per cent of people who are admitted to a general medical hospital have an alcohol-related health problem. Around 40 per cent of people in contact with the mental health services drink in a hazardous way.
...People who continually drink heavily can expect to have a disruptive life with more social problems than moderate and non-drinkers. They can expect more (em) health problems and they can expect to die earlier."
"There's a lot going on whenever alcohol's going through the body, so we'll limit ourselves here to main systems only:
  • Liver. Since alcohol is so toxic, clearing it out of the system is a priority. And when the liver gets busy getting rid of alcohol, it gets behind in other functions, like maintaining stable blood-glucose levels to the brain. It takes a pounding in the process, too. Cirrhosis is a common result of long-term drinking, and one of the main killers of older drinkers.
  • Stomach. Alcohol irritates the stomach lining, and vomiting is a particularly visible result. Heavy drinking can lead to stomach problems and ulcers.
  • Central Nervous System. Alcohol depresses almost every brain function, from balance to breathing. And even though effects lessen as booze leaves the body, regular drinking raises tolerance, so that heavier drinkers can drink more without getting drunk. They do, that is, until liver damage reverses the process, which speeds up damage to the brain and the rest of the body."

So I know that some of you, my readers, probably drink, and while I do not think it wise of you to do so I'm just asking for you to look at the effects of alcohol on your body (and on others around you!) and ask yourself: is it really worth it? I don't want you to be ignorant of what you are doing to yourself and others. There may be some health benefits, but I think the negative side effects outweigh the plus' by far.

To end, a funny song by Tim Hawkins...

original image source

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Jane Eyre

Unlike Wuthering Heights, I greatly enjoyed this novel by a Bronte sister. I almost let my disgust of the previous novel stop me from reading Jane Eyre. I am so glad I listened to some friends and did not let that happen. It is a very different story and oddly captivating as a result. I heartily recommend the book to all young adults (being teenagers) and older. Now, of course I would not recommend and do not agree with everything that happens in the book, but when does that ever happen, no?

The A&E movie based off of this book is good, but entirely too rushed. It would have been a very good idea, in my opinion, it have at least put captions letting you know how many years passed between particular scenes. With it not being this way you miss much of the power of her story. However, no screen adaption is ever perfect, and given that decades of Jane's life are covered in an hour and a half (thus the benefit of captions) the movie adaption is about as faithful as you can do. I do recommend this movie as well. I have not seen any other screen adaption, so cannot speak on the quality of those.

2 out 5 stars.

As always, please feel free to express your opinion on these matters below.

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Saturday, February 9, 2008

45 Million+, Dead

Another new year is upon us, and, here again, we find ourselves celebrating the sanctity of human life while mourning the anniversary of the fateful Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton decisions, which legalized abortion across the United States. These rulings are now 35 years old, and in their wake are the lives of more than 45 million innocent babies, with another 2,740 being killed every day. Clearly, this is a time for somber reflection on our “culture of death,” as well as for earnest prayer that the scourge of abortion will soon be relegated to the sad annals of history.

As we look forward to the day when abortion-on-demand is no longer tolerated by our society, it is beneficial to consider how we got here in the first place. How much do you really know about the original Roe v. Wade decision as it was handed down in 1973, or about the closely related Doe v. Bolton ruling? I doubt whether most Americans realize just how sweeping and ominous those decisions were in terms of dismantling our nation’s embrace of the sanctity of human life, or the effect that legalized abortion has had on other life issues such as euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research and even violent crime.

Our staff recently joined with our great friends at the Alliance Defense Fund and Concerned Women for America to create a unique survey called the “Roe IQ Test,” which gauges each respondent’s knowledge and attitudes concerning these infamous 1973 Supreme Court decisions. It includes 12 questions, and I assure you that the answers to several of the questions are surprising. To be honest, when I first saw the test I wasn’t sure I would be able to answer each question correctly myself. I have included the full survey below, and I encourage you to take a few minutes to look it over and consider the questions. I’m convinced that if Americans could answer each of these questions accurately, support for legalized abortion would erode even faster than it already has.

The answers to the following questions are included in a separate key at the end of this letter. Please don’t look ahead — see how many of these questions you are able to answer off the top of your head, without doing any outside research.

Now, to the test:
Note: The U.S. Supreme Court’s control over abortion laws is significantly influenced by two 1973 decisions: Roe v. Wade (Roe) and Doe v. Bolton (Doe). To keep things simple, this I.Q test considers both rulings but refers to the better known of the two cases, Roe. So, Roe represents both Roe and Doe in the questions.

1) Which most accurately describes when a woman may have an abortion under Roe?
A. Anytime during the first three months (first trimester) of her pregnancy
B. Anytime during the first six months (second trimester) of her pregnancy
C. Anytime during her entire pregnancy
D. Anytime during the first three months, but can have an abortion later if the pregnancy resulted from rape or incest

2) Which best describes the limitations Roe places on why a woman may have an abortion?
A. No limitations
B. Only in case of rape, incest, or when the woman’s life is in danger
C. No limitations during the first three months of pregnancy, but only medically necessary abortions after that

3) True or False. Roe allowed late-term abortions.
A. True
B. False

4) True or False. If Roe were overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court, abortion would immediately become illegal in the United States.
A. True
B. False

5) According to the Centers for Disease Control, about how many abortions have been performed in the United States since the Roe decision in 1973?
A. Less than 10 million
B. 10-19 million
C. 20-29 million
D. 30-39 million
E. 40-49 million
F. 50-59 million
G. More than 60 million

6) At what age does Roe require minor girls to have parental notification before an abortion?
A. Parental notification is not required
B. Girls 18 and younger
C. Girls 16 and younger
D. Girls 13 and younger

7) True or False. Roe allowed sex-selection abortions — abortions performed because of the sex of the baby (For example: parents wanting a boy instead of a girl — and vice-versa).
A. True
B. False

8) What percentage of abortions are performed because of rape or incest?
A. More than 16 percent
B. 11-15 percent
C. 6-10 percent
D. 2-5 percent
E. Fewer than 1 percent

9) Which of our nation’s founding documents contains the phrase “right to an abortion”?
A. Declaration of Independence
B. U.S. Constitution
C. Bill of Rights
D. None of the Above
E. All of the Above

10) Which Supreme Court Justice said the following about Roe: “Roe v. Wade . . . ventured too far in the change it ordered and presented an inadequate justification for its action.”
A. Justice Samuel Alito
B. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
C. Justice Sandra Day O’Connor
D. Justice Antonin Scalia
E. Justice Clarence Thomas

11) Which country’s laws make it easiest to have an abortion?
A. Finland
B. Great Britain
C. Ireland
D. United States
E. Mexico

12) Under Roe, which of these are allowed to perform abortions?
A. Licensed physician
B. Nurse practitioner
C. Resident assistant
D. Registered nurse
E. All of the above

Are you confident in your answers to the preceding questions? Now take a look at the key included with this letter to find out how you scored. I missed one question when I first took the survey, giving me a score of 92 percent. Which answer did I get wrong? Question #10 tripped me up, as I did not even consider the possibility that an ultra-liberal justice, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, could have said anything negative about the Roe decision. But there you have it.

If your schedule permits, we would appreciate you logging onto our online version of the exam and transferring your original answers for official tabulation. This can be found at Please note that the online survey includes an additional eight questions that don’t involve “right” or “wrong” answers, but are rather designed to identify certain demographical characteristics of each respondent. By answering Questions 13-20 on our Internet survey, you will help our research staff gain a clearer picture of the beliefs and backgrounds of the survey respondents. Rest assured that you will remain completely anonymous.

You don’t have to be a constitutional scholar to know that reading a so-called “right to abortion” into any of our nation’s founding documents is a gross deviation from the intent of our Founding Fathers. An honest and accurate reading of our Constitution simply does not allow for it. Yet pro-abortion forces, from 1973 straight through to today, have always argued that legalized abortion somehow results in better lives for women. But the facts tell a very different story. What many have touted as the ultimate expression of “women’s rights” has actually victimized women to an unprecedented degree.

The American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists (AAPLOG) conducted an in-depth study in July 2007 titled “Long-Term Complications Associated with Induced Abortion.” It contains a wealth of extensive research demonstrating the devastating physical and emotional effects of abortion on women. Although there is solid research to verify their conclusions, not surprisingly, these findings have been almost completely ignored by the mainstream media and by left-leaning elements of the medical profession. In fact, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has stated: “Long term risks sometimes attributed to surgical abortion include potential effects on reproductive function, cancer incidence, and psychological sequelae. However, the medical literature, when carefully evaluated, clearly indicates no significant negative impact on any of these factors with surgical abortion.”

AAPLOG’s research demonstrates how faulty this conclusion is. Their study opens with this telling statement: “We are aware of no studies that demonstrate a better mental or physical health outcome for aborted women, compared to those who choose to deliver. On the contrary, there is ample evidence that induced abortion in many cases is associated with significant degradation of emotional health, physical health and reproductive health.”

Specifically, AAPLOG’s study cites links between abortion and depression, substance abuse, suicide, placenta previa (a dangerous medical condition), breast cancer, premature birth, and low birth weight among post-abortion women.

Consider these examples from the report:

• A study in New Zealand found that at age 25, 42 percent of women in the study group who had had an abortion also experienced major depression at some stage during the past four years. This was nearly double the rate of those who had never been pregnant and 35 percent higher than those who had chosen to continue a pregnancy.
• Data from California shows that compared with women who had previously given birth, women who aborted were 929 percent more likely to use marijuana, 460 percent more likely to use other illicit drugs, and 122 percent more likely to use alcohol during their next pregnancy.
• A University of Minnesota study on teen suicide found that the rate of attempted suicide in the six months prior to the study increased tenfold for teens who had aborted during those previous six months.
• Researchers at South Glomorgan Health Authority in Great Britain found that after abortions, there were 8.9 suicide attempts per 1,000, compared with 1.9 suicide attempts per 1,000 among those who gave birth.
• Studies also show a link between abortion and placentia previa (a condition in which the placenta is implanted abnormally low in the uterine cavity) during subsequent pregnancies.
• Although controversial, research continues to suggest a link between abortion and the subsequent risk of developing breast cancer. More than 41 studies worldwide (including 16 conducted in America) have reported data on the risk of breast cancer among women with a history of induced abortion. A full 29 (70 percent) of these studies reported an increased risk, with 13 (or 81 percent) of the American studies reporting an increased risk.
• More than 50 studies have demonstrated a statistically significant increase in premature birth or low birth weight risk in women with prior induced abortions. Consider, for example, that in Ireland, where induced abortion is illegal, the prematurity rate in 2003 was 5.48 percent, less than half the U.S. rate of 12.3 percent.

These bullet points do not even begin to scratch the surface of the wide body of research demonstrating the links between abortion and physical and emotional difficulties for post-abortion women. Again, this information is widely ignored or discounted by liberal politicians, activists, and medical organizations. You would think that shocking statistics of this nature would make the front page of The New York Times and that groups such as the National Organization for Women (NOW) would be screaming in protest about the indignities and abuses that have been heaped upon women at the hands of the abortion industry. Instead, the facts are buried or ignored and we are told that the right to an abortion is the hallmark of female empowerment.

For the past 35 years the pro-life community has been emphasizing the fact that every abortion leaves “one dead and one wounded.” At the same time, pro-abortion forces have been proclaiming that “everybody wins” in the era of legalized abortion. Nothing could be further from the truth.

But, as I mentioned at the beginning of this letter, we have many reasons for hope as we observe this tragic anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Public opinion polls continue to show that the American people are increasingly embracing a pro-life perspective. The use of ultrasound technology in medical Pregnancy Resource Centers nationwide has led to a dramatic increase in the number of women who choose to deliver their babies (once you’ve seen a live image of your living, moving baby inside the womb, the lie that it’s “just a blob of tissue” goes out the window). That’s what Focus on the Family’s Option Ultrasound initiative is all about. Meanwhile, numerous pieces of legislation have been enacted at the state and national levels to help curb the number of overall abortions and to reign in, slowly but surely, some of the most troubling aspects of the original Roe v. Wade decision.

Please join me in praying that the abortion-on-demand era will soon come to an end. Legally, the power to bring this shameful period in American history to its conclusion lies with the same body that gave us legalized abortion in the first place: the United States Supreme Court. This is one reason why the upcoming presidential election is so important to those of us who believe in the sanctity of all human life. I’m thankful that President Bush nominated two excellent, conservative, “strict-constructionist” judges to the Court in Samuel Alito and John Roberts. Nevertheless, five liberal justices remain on the Court, and it is almost certain that one or perhaps all five of them will retire during the next two presidential terms. The judges nominated to the Supreme Court by our next leader could set the direction of the court for the next 30 years. We must be praying now about the upcoming election and its impact on the powerful judiciary.

Many thanks to those of you who, through your prayers and finances, continue to support Focus on the Family in our efforts to defend the sanctity of human life. And thanks to those of you who, through your churches, local Pregnancy Resource Centers, and personal relationships, are working to proclaim the value of life to those around you and, ultimately, point them toward the Giver of life. Keep fighting the good fight!
James C. Dobson, Ph.D.
Founder and Chairman

P.S. To illustrate the relevance of the upcoming presidential election to the makeup of the Supreme Court, consider the current ages of liberal members now serving:
Justice David SouterAge 69
Justice Stephen BreyerAge 70
Justice Anthony KennedyAge 71
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg Age 74
Justice John Paul StevensAge 87

The next president could have the opportunity to nominate successors to all five! I urge you to be prayer, be informed, and be prepared to vote in both your state’s primary and in the general election!
ANSWERS: 1 [C] 2 [A] 3 [A] 4 [B] 5 [E] 6 [A] 7 [A] 8 [E] 9 [D] 10 [B] 11 [D] 12 [E]

Friday, February 8, 2008

Thr3e {A Book Review}

Thr3E. I cannot say much about this book. It is too good to say much about for fear of saying something that might give part of the story away. So this I do say: It absolutely has got to be one of the best books I have read. I really enjoyed it. I would think that anyone 10 yrs or older, if they are mature, could read and enjoy it. Please go do so. It's a page turner to the extent that you do not want to put the book down until you know what the ending is. Dekker did an amazing job. BUT once you know the story, it won't hold the same appeal for a re-read. Basically, it's good for one really good read...unless you know the story already. Then it's like reading The Picture of Dorian Gray. Unimpressive.

(I haven't seen the movie, many have enjoyed it. Dekker did work on it which makes me feel better about it than I do most film renditions of books, but I cannot recommend or not recommend the movie yet.)

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Saturday, February 2, 2008

Oscar Wilde

Wilde writes amazing plays that I love reading. The only one I have also seen is The Importance of Being Earnest I would not mind seeing his other plays as well. The aforesaid play, Lady Windmere's Fan, A Woman of No Importance, and An Ideal Husband are all delightful to read, though hardly moral stories about a moral society. They aren't entirely trash or done to promote trashiness, or I wouldn't be recommending you read these. Wilde wrote classics, and the plays are good plays (in that they entertain well, and the satire and puns and whatnot are ingenious) and I encourage young adults and adults to read them. Salome is largely disturbing, in that it is an odd version (er, non-existent love story) of John the Baptist getting his head chopped off. I did not enjoy this play.

I know the story of The Picture of Dorian Gray and am looking forward to reading it sometime.

I will leave you with some quote that caught my fancy from the plays I enjoy.

"I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train." - Gwendolen Fairfax

"They [gold-tipped cigars] are awfully expensive. I can only afford them when I'm in debt. (said after offing these cigars to someone)" - Lord Alfred

"One can survive everything nowadays, except death." - Lord Illingworth

"Science can never grapple with the irrational. That is why it has no future before it, in this world." - Mrs. Cheveley

"Questions are never indiscreet. Answers sometimes are." - Mrs. Cheveley

"I love talking about nothing, father. It is the only thing I know anything about." - Lord Goring

"Wonderful woman ... isn't she? Talks more and says less than anyone I ever met." - Mrs. Cheveley

This post does contain affiliate links. This means that, at no additional cost to you, I may receive commission for referring business. Thank you for your support!