The Modus Operandi of A Child Abuser

I am not really sure what triggered it – living with it all the years that I have… I had mostly tucked it away in a dark corner of my mind. But it came out.. in some dark moments, and I told my friends on Facebook how I had been sexually abused by a man when I was a child.

Even though people say “you do not need to feel shame,” there is. And you tuck that feeling of shame away… as much as you can. There is a shame in that maybe you even enjoyed what happened.. but it is not what you wanted to happen, nor is it something you wish was in your life history. There is a shame knowing you probably could have stopped it… but stopping it would mean questions… and at the time, a sense of ideas of others wondering why you did not say anything sooner.

So you let it happen.

The child abuser likely knows this psychology. That’s what they work off of.

They work off the fact that most of us are kind… as children… and they use that. They might take years to “conquer” and will act in a way such that their actions are seen as “kind acts” while attempting to go to the edge as far as they can.

They will also be a “family friend” – which makes it even harder and difficult for the intended victim to communicate or share concerns. How does a 14 year old.. or even an 18 year old, communicate concerns when the rest of the family likes the person so much? The person has been so “kind” to them all.

In my case, it was many years of grooming by the abuser. When I was in the hospital, he would come and visit me… and then later, he would give me gifts… and work on my interests. He came across as being very kind and caring. I actually have some great memories of doing things that were payed for by Bud Brown.

He took me up in a Cessna airplane…. and I got to hold the controls of the plane. It was pretty amazing. And who on earth would actually suspect a man paying to take a kid up for an airplane ride was an abuser? I cannot blame my parents for not knowing what was going on; any parent would be so very happy that someone was helping their child experience wonderful things!

To this day, I am still thankful for being able to go up in a Cessna and fly it, with the pilot. But that is part of the shame. There were so many activities that were awesome…. and I’m thankful for.

Bud took me to see theater… some Gilbert and Sullivan. Pirates of Penzance. And he laughed with me when I laughed. And put his arm around me. I was not comfortable with the arm, but I was comfortable with the laughs. So I gave in to the arm.

I don’t really want to talk and share details of when exactly…. and what exactly happened.. but it was after many years of this “grooming” by him. The grooming made me feel … as if I owed him something. Even if I did not want it to happen, but he had been so kind to me. He even told me that he was going to leave all his cameras and photographic equipment to me in his Will.

But I was not the only boy Bud was working on. There were others. Some were younger than me, some were older. I did not know the extent of it until I was an older teenager, and my young 20’s, but Bud was arrested. He asked me to help him out… and although I did not want to, I also felt a kindness to him for things he had done in the past.. the airplane rides, the theatre, the visits when I was in hospital.. etc. And combined with that was the shame.. that if I refused to help him, would others suspect that I too, was a “victim” of Bud Brown?

I don’t remember exactly how it happened, but I had a key to his apartment on Weston Road. He was in jail and asked me to remove stuff from his apartment, mostly books, and dispose of them. I agreed to do it… and nearly vomited when going through all his books, there were so many about “men loving boys.”

I don’t remember all the details… but Bud tried to stay in touch with me… and we had this “secret,” you know? I would often put on “airs” of things being okay…

Then, my eldest son was born… and Bud wanted to come and visit. He wanted to come and take photos of Alex with his mom and me.

That is when I ended all contact with Bud Brown. There was absolutely no way… no way in hell… was I going to let this man have anything to do with my son. I think my wife at the time suspected something.. but we never talked about it.

But there was just no way… none at all as far as I was concerned, that Bud Brown would ever meet or know or have any relationship with my child.

I kept the entire thing to myself… for ages. Some years ago, I was dating a lady who loved Dr. Oz and Dr. Phil. One day, there was a television with Dr Phil.. and he had men on the show that had been victimized by other men when they were boys. And I remember thinking, “Okay.. this is perhaps a good time to share my ‘secret’ about what happened to me…. ”

Bad idea. I was looked at as if I were lying. Admitting what happened to me with this person that I thought loved me made it even worse… I wasn’t on the Dr Phil show…. my experience wasn’t … “a good enough story,” I guess.

it’s only good enough if you are famous, or on Dr. Phil.

And the fact of the matter is.. I’ve done okay. My life has experienced so many things… you just keep moving on… and you share what you can… and you learn to not share. You learn to let others share.. and you have empathy for others.

And when you have children… you fight hard… sometimes with a fight that you can not admit to what is motivating it… and you don’t even want your children to know… why.

And you fight to be “normal.”

But you know that are not. And you fight your demons, daily… and you also wonder… “How many other people out there, are fighting demons, and you don’t know the fight they have had?”

Protect your children. And know that not everyone who is kind, is suspect…. But..

We need to communicate more… and without judgment.

I know I am not alone.. I have heard many life stories of others…. that are even worse than mine. But I have never told my story before.

Protect your children.

I Do Not “Support The Police”

It never fails. Some incident with the police – whether it’s a police shooting or the police shooting someone, the memes on social media go crazy on both sides – with many claiming that they “support the police.”

This is a stupid emotional attitude – on both sides.

I do not support the police. I support justice and the rule of law. I support inherent rights, and I support the original ideas of Sir Robert Peel, when he “invented” modern policing.

Policing is actually, contrary to what you might believe, a pretty easy job most of the time. Oh yes, it does and can have its moments and its dangers, but statistically, there are far more jobs that carry more risk of danger than policing. I am saddened every time a police officer is shot and killed (or injured), but there is a sense of sadness that goes beyond reality. According to a recent Time Magazine article, policing doesn’t even make the “top ten” of riskiest occupations. Logging is #1.

When was the last time you mourned the death of a logger who was working hard to bring you paper products, wood for your new deck, or lumber for the new housing development you plan on living in?

When was the last time you saw huge headlines in the newspaper, “Farmer Killed While Producing Your Food?” Yes .. even farm worker death rates far outnumber police killings in the USA. When was the last time you attended a candle light vigil for a dead farm worker?

I’ve actually worked on farms – and had a job in the field of “law enforcement.” For full disclosure, I was not actually a “cop,” but the job I had was described as “social policing.” We pretty much did whatever the local constabulary did: We responded to domestic conflicts, investigated criminal activity, arrested criminals, acted in a way to prevent criminal activity, and got into some pretty tense situations. I have been shot at, have had to fend for my life with combatants wielding knives, and have to deal with couples involved in physical altercations with each other. I’ve experienced arresting a husband or boyfriend for assault, and then having the spouse turn on me.

I know the fear that can go through a person when faced with death. I’ve actually known it many times throughout my life – as a child, I was diagnosed with several diseases for which, at the time, there was a chance I might not live. As a teenager, I faced fear in some situations I worked in – a hay wagon incorrectly parked and rolling toward me fully loaded and stopping only inches away – if it had continued, it would have crushed me between the wagon and the tractor wheel. That is when I actually understood and experienced the sensation of “having your life pass before your eyes.”

In that moment… I experienced and saw my entire life go zipping through my mind while I was certain I was about to be crushed. I think it was my brain’s response to the situation, and perhaps my sub-conscious mind was exploring every past experience to try to figure out how to escape the danger. As the wagon loaded with hay came to a stop due to a rut that the wheels got stuck in, my heart was beating like crazy as I was trying to prepare myself to either jump out of the way if I could, or experience what I thought was going to be my body crushed.

I understand fear and I understand danger and risk. I will never forget the day, a day just days before I was to have my last day working after I put in my resignation notice, of nearly having my head blown off at Lawrence Heights in Toronto. It was at the rear of 11 Flemingdon Park – a routine call about “disorderlies.” I had responded to such calls hundreds of times before, and had usually been able to build up some rapport with at least some of those involved and find a resolution. But that one night.. about two or three nights before I was to leave that job – instead of being able to build rapport, a shot rang out and the sound of a bullet hitting the overhang of the entrance I was standing under.

I was so shocked by it, I did not even report it as an attempted shooting. So many thoughts and emotions were going through me at the time. I did not want the group of disorderlies to detect any fear in me. I was also so looking forward to my last “day on the job,” and the idea of having some ongoing investigation that I would need to be involved in after that day was not something I wanted. So, I reported the incident as an unknown “projectile” in my direction instead of what I knew it to be – an attempt on my life.

Fear – that is the worse thing that you can project to those you are trying to negotiate or deal with. You have it, but you have to show strength. You only have a moment – less than a second – to process what just happened. And how to respond, along with a brief.. very very brief… millisecond to realize and be thankful you’re still alive.

I write this because I want it known that I do understand the experience of fear, of risk, of situations where one might experience the idea that death might be imminent. Some might call it “courage,” but it’s not really courage. In fact, most of the time, I’m so cowardly that I’d put myself in a situation where I felt I could protect myself and still see a positive resolution to a circumstance. Anyone who goes running headlong into a situation without thinking ahead of time is an idiot. They are not heroes.

I’ve seen a lot of idiots. And I’ve seen a lot of egotistical personality disordered people in the field of “law enforcement” that ought not to be working in that field. I’ve seen them exaggerate circumstances in order to justify their own far over-reaching responses to situations. I’ve seen police officers who make themselves appear “tough” because they knew their opponent was weaker than them, but when it came to a stronger opponent, act entirely differently. I’ve seen police officers and others in law enforcement roles act on “gut feelings” instead of evidence, and ruining other peoples’ lives.

Just because they can, and there will be zero repercussions for doing so. A police officer can falsely arrest a person, come up with some “justification” for it, forcing the other person to defend themselves in court, at great expense to themselves or the public, and found “not guilty,” and the police officer has to face zero consequences. It’s just another stat, and there is no personal responsibility.

While many police forces deny the idea of “quotas,” I can tell you from experience that instead of “quotas,” another term is used: Benchmarks. Police officers and others in law enforcement roles are often assessed on how close or not they come to “benchmarks.” If you are interested in prevention, it is truly a wretched idea to assign “benchmarks.”

If the philosophy is “prevention,” then, having benchmarks for tickets, summonses and arrests is a negative and indicative of failure of the philosophy. If it is my job to prevent criminal or other legal activity, then ever stat I have ought to be seen as a failure. If I have been assigned a “benchmark” of handing out 30 parking tickets a month, but I instead choose to advise people when I can that they need to park somewhere else, and they comply with my requests, so I have no need to issue a parking ticket, isn’t that a better outcome?

At one point in my career, I had a very inexperienced supervisor – who was promoted based on the fact he/she was of a minority group – and not on any idea of merit or experience – tell me that I “failed to use legislated authority.” In other words, I did not charge, arrest or issue enough “POT’s.”

I am not bitter about the fact this person was promoted above me; I never applied for promotion. But I point it out that there is so much insanity and poor thought and training that even goes into supervision of others in this field. When I was evaluated, I invited the supervisor to go out on a patrol with me and see if there were actually issues during my shift, and whether my philosophy of prevention and rapport building provided superior results and outcomes than the “benchmarks.” The supervisor declined my invitation.

I do not support this type of policing.

I realize that there are some pretty decent police officers out there. I realize that they sometimes face dangerous times. I realize that there are some police officers and law enforcement workers who are indeed courageous…. and who think rationally, and not just out of fear. I would like to support them, and will support them, when they also remove themselves from “The Blue Wall” idea. They need to take their fellow officers to task for the idiotic things some of them do, behind that “Blue Wall” and lack of accountability.

Just a few years ago, I had a most disturbing interaction with two members of the Orangeville Police Services, here in my small town. The incident left me fearful as well as quite anxious about any future involvement with them that might occur. It left me anxious for what might happen with my own sons, and other people who do not have the legal knowledge I have. I knew that the two officers involved were really looking for an excuse for a fight; they were not really looking for the idea of prevention and protection. Their actions were horrible.

I will tell you their names: Sergeant James and Constable Mulligan. I was accosted by them while walking home along a sidewalk. The experience was frightful to me, and when they finally released me to continue my walk home, the things that were yelled at me as I walked away made me fearful about any future contact with them. They also made me fearful during the episode of their “No, you are not under arrest but you are being detained” – the seriously were looking for a fight.

I put in a complaint. I requested a mediation meeting with the officers involved – but during that meeting, the officers lied through their teeth about what happened. It was obvious to me that the “internal investigation” into their conduct that night was a farce.

In my own experience, walking streets, patrolling areas, and sometimes needing backup – I can tell you there were times I nearly arrested my backup (who I did not have a choice about) for actually making situations worse. One incident in particular comes to mind – I was myself, backing up an officer at Moss Park on a domestic conflict and after some time, realized we had to make an arrest. It was one of those “last resort” situations. A struggle ensued, and we needed more back up. Oh yes.. it arrived alright… but instead of assisting with restraining the suspect, the “back up” decided it was appropriate to kick the suspect in the head, face, and groin area. It was the most disgusting and unnecessary thing.

At shift change time, “Buddy” was bragging to the others how he had “kicked the shit” out of someone that he was “helping” me with.

To this day, I regret that I did not press charges against my so called “back up.” Perhaps I was part of the problem.

Fear. I’ve feared for my life, but also experience the fear of being looked at in a “bad way” if I reported my peers for illegal and terrible activity. I don’t have an answer for that kind of fear, but I can say that I will be supportive of others involved in law enforcement for having the courage to stand up to the bullies they work with.

I do not “support” the police, but I support lumber jacks. Lumber jacks who have the most riskiest and dangerous job in North America.

My Experience With Tinnitus

For anyone who suffers from tinnitus, they know how annoying – and in some cases – downright frustrating it can be. I’ve been suffering with this condition for over three years, although I’ve had it for more than three. Up until three years ago, it was more of a minor distraction most of the time.

What is Tinnitus?

For those who don’t know, tinnitus is a condition of the ears where a person “hears” noise in one or both ears, sometimes constantly, but not always. According to my doctor, there are many causes but what has occurred is that the tiny sensory hairs inside the ear have become damaged. This causes “noise” that can be detected by the person with the condition and has been often described as a “ringing,” “chirping,” or “buzzing” sound.

It apparently can be caused by many things including ear damage from loud noise, blood circulation issues in the ear area, and even aspirin intake can cause it. That was interesting to me – when I was a child suffering with arthritis and other things, there was a long period of time when I was prescribed 36 5grain aspirin tablets per day. Could that be what has caused my tinnitus? Or.. all the loud music I’ve listened to over the years? A combination of things? Who knows.

It can be mild, or in some cases, extremely frustrating as the “volume” can grow. This is what has occurred to me over the past three years, but today, for the very first time, I seem to be free of tinnitus since I woke up this morning, about 6 hours ago. I’m actually astounded by how quickly it has gone away – and I keep checking to see if I can “hear” that dreadful noise. I can’t. And everything else around me sounds normal.

I hope that this is not temporary – but even if it is, I am so happy to have some relief from it! I’ll tell you what I’ve been doing the past few days and that I believe has lead to this cessation of chirping and buzzing noises but first, I’ll write about my own experience with tinnitus.

Tinnitus Wasn’t Always Bad – Hearing Crickets In The Distance

I’m not really sure when I first began to experience tinnitus. I suspect I had it long before I really noticed it. I can recall a night about 8 years ago, sitting on the balcony of a hotel in Jasper, Alberta with my then girlfriend, enjoying a pleasant evening. The reason I remember it is because it later became a joke between us. I could hear crickets in the distance, but she could not. I thought it was odd that she could not hear the crickets as well as felt sorry for her as I rather enjoy the sound of crickets at night time. I really couldn’t understand why she could not hear them; her hearing was as good as mine I had thought.

In retrospect, I now believe that was my tinnitus condition – I wasn’t really hearing crickets in the distance, but was hearing “things,” as some might put it. Not that I was “hearing things” in my head, but in a way I was.

Some time later (perhaps a couple of years), during a winter night while laying in my bed, I was thinking about my day and had been reading about the idea of “listening to the sounds of silence.” And it was then that I realized as I focused on hearing “silence,” that I was actually hearing some kind of chirping in my left ear. It didn’t bother me much other than I thought people are going to think I’m nuts if I tell them I can hear what sound like crickets in the middle of winter with my windows closed.

I began to pay a little more attention though, and indeed I realized there was always some kind of noise in my left ear. But it never really bothered me much so I didn’t bother to look into it.

Hearing Music When None Is Playing

Time went on – and one night in the middle of winter, I realized I could hear what sounded like music coming from the distance. It seemed very odd to me that anyone would be playing loud music in the winter time – loud enough that it be audible in my office in my house with all the windows closed. I couldn’t make out the music as it sounded like it was coming from far away, but I could definitely hear some kind of rock music playing. Then, as I turned my head to the left – it was strange – the style of music seemed to change although I could still not make out what it was that was being played.

I got up from my chair to investigate where on earth the music was coming from, and as I did, it stopped. And then I began to wonder, not even thinking about the slight buzzing I had been hearing in my ears, if indeed, I “really was hearing things.”

This went on for several days – and I finally noticed a pattern: When the central heating came on, along with the central heater fan, that is when I could hear this “music” which seemed to come from my left side. At that time, it really didn’t bother me and in fact it amused me, but I still figured if I told anyone, they would think I was nuts.

It wasn’t until some time later when the buzzing and chirping in my left ear became a little louder and more noticeable did I start to think about what was really happening.

Tinnitus In Both Ears

Up until just over three years ago, I only experienced this in one ear, and it was not uncomfortable. I actually got used to the “ghost” orchestras and bands that play music for me when the furnace fan came on. I intuitively knew that it was not “in my head” (even though no one else could hear it), but that it must have some rational and physical reason to do with whatever this noise was in my ear and noise vibrations from the furnace fan. I couldn’t identify the music when I heard it, but it wasn’t totally unfamiliar to me either, and always sounded like it was being played in the distance.

However, in the spring of 2013, I came down with a severe flu-like infection that really knocked me out. I ended up with an ear infection in my right ear that was severe enough to perforate my right ear drum and bled. That’s when I decided to see the doctor a few days later. He confirmed I had an infection and that the ear drum was perforated. By the time I was able to get into see the doctor, I was recovering and feeling better. The doctor assured me that my ear drum would heal and I’d be fine in a short time.

Except – that is when things with the tinnitus got really bad. Now, not only did I have it in my left ear, I had it in my right ear, and it was no longer something that was simply a distraction at times. It was constant and it was very loud in both ears. Over the past three years, I’ve usually hated talking on the telephone as often I cannot hear what the other person is saying, I’ve had to live with this constant noise that is sometimes hard to explain – sometimes it’s like crickets, sometimes it’s a “buzz,” and the most annoying of all is that both ears have had different pitches.

Living with tinnitus can be very difficult at times. It can cause sleep problems, it can cause issues with trying to focus on work, it can interfere with conversations, and sometimes you just can’t hear normal things. Sometimes, you might hear things, and wonder if it’s the tinnitus, or something “real.”

After it became really hard to live with, I went back to my doctor who diagnosed the tinnitus. He explained that he knew of no cure and that I’d have to learn to live with it and suggested that I try using fans, or some other recordings of noise to mask the sounds in my ear. I was also sent to an audiologist where my hearing was found to be excellent at most frequencies, but some where it was not so good.

But I was told there was nothing that could really be done except to try to learn to live with it. And so I have. But over the past few weeks, it has gotten progressively worse. There have been evenings sitting on the sofa with my son watching some old TV series, and I’d have to ask my son to turn the volume up; I simply could not hear or make out what people were saying. The noise in my ears at times has been unbearable.

My Tinnitus Free Morning

After so many years of having this utterly frustrating and annoying condition, I seem to have at least, temporarily found total relief from it. I started to do some research last week and to be honest, I wasn’t too optimistic after reading so many other peoples’ experiences and frustrations. But I did read some science papers as well as some doctors notes and decided to give something a try:

  • Ginkgo Biloba
  • Niacin
  • Sublingual Vitamin B12

While I did find a recent paper that reported that there is NO evidence that Ginkgo can help tinnitus, I came on some other references that it is actually an approved treatment for the condition in Germany. I did some more research and found some papers that indicated that after 6 to 12 weeks, 120 mg 2 X a day did seem to have benefit from some tinnitus sufferers. So I got myself some high quality Ginkgo (it should be standardized). And I prepared to try this over the next couple of months.

I also read of some doctors finding niacin to be helpful for some tinnitus sufferers. What is niacin? It’s one of the B Complex vitamins – also known as Vitamin B3. I am familiar with Niacin – it can have a weird effect when taking it in a large single dose. Again, when I was younger, I had a condition known as “Rayneaud’s Disease,” which is when you lose blood circulation to your extremities including hands, feet and in my case, also my tongue. This would occur with me, when I would feel chilled. At the time, medical opinion was that there was no cure or treatment for Rayneaud’s other than to try to warm up the areas affected until blood flow returned.

However, when I was about 14 years old, a medical doctor in Ontario (considered a “quack” at the time), recommended I try niacin. Sure enough, it seemed to help my Rayneaud’s. Whether that’s what it was that helped… I don’t know for sure. I realize correlation is not causation.

Vitamin B12 is a vitamin that is found mostly in organ meats, fish and eggs. You can’t get it from vegetable sources of food, but we need it, and according to some of my research, it can be difficult to utilize as you get older. A couple of the doctor’s notes on tinnitus recommended sublingual vitamin B12 along with the niacin.

Several days ago, I decided I was going to give this a try. So for the past three days, I’ve been taking:

  • 500 mg Niacin 2X A Day (morning and before sleeping)
  • 5,000 mcg Sublingual B12
  • 120 mg Ginkgo 2X A Day. (morning and before sleeping)

I didn’t notice much effect over the past three days since starting this regimen. Last night, the tinnitus was bothering me. After reading everything that I had read, I wasn’t expecting to see any results anyhow, for some weeks.

After I woke up this morning, I realized…. all the noise was gone! As I’ve been writing this for the past couple of hours, I keep worrying that maybe it will come back.. but there is nothing. It really is a mini-miracle. Personally, I think it has more to do with the niacin than anything else – but I am going to continue this and see what happens. I’m hoping that this may actually help others as well – although like anything, I’d probably be irresponsible to not suggest you talk to your doctor – although I never talked to mine about trying this regimen.

At this point, I can’t even say for sure that the tinnitus is permanently gone. All I do know is that for the first time in years, I am not being annoyed, frustrated, by chirps, buzzing, sounds of crickets… or the sound of music in the distance. Perhaps I’ll miss that last one 🙂 But I have plenty of CD’s here.

If you suffer from tinnitus… perhaps it is something to try. It might not help everyone, but it would be great if it helped some. I really don’t know if it’s the combination of the niacin, Ginkgo and B12, or just one of them (although I’m sure it’s not B12 alone) – but I’m going to stick with this. If there any changes, I’ll update this post.

My Favourite Gadgets

an old gadget I’m not really much of a gadget person – I used to work with someone that seemed to have a new gadget every week. I think a lot of people get fooled into thinking that a gadget might help them with productivity – but in the end, productivity is really dependent on your work ethic and how badly you want to get something done.

There are all sorts of things sold today that promise to enrich our lives, increase productivity, and give us more fun – but I’ve found that most gadgets really don’t do much of anything except offer a bit of fun or interest for a few hours or a few days, and then get relegated to some drawer. So I don’t own too many of them.

I recall when Palm Pilots became all the rage. Up to that point, I had been using a Franklin Day Planner for planning my days, weeks, months and year… and thought that maybe a Palm Pilot would make things more efficient. I could write out a to-do list, and only write it once! With a Franklin Day Planner, I was writing out my to-do list on a daily basis – often many to-do items aren’t completed but are still priorities and would become an item the next day.

So it seemed that not having to write out a “Daily Task List,” as Franklin terms it, every single day, might be much more efficient. But in the end, I did not find that. There is something about actually physically writing things out that seems to have an impression on the brain that is more effective than glancing at or reading over a To-Do list that might have been created days previously.

I ended up going back to my paper based Franklin Day planner – and still use it to this day, in 2016. But there are some gadgets I love:

My Mobile Phone

I have a Samsung Galaxy S5. And it’s loaded with apps. Apps like:

  • Snapchat
  • FB Messenger
  • Personal Banking Apps
  • Yahoo Messenger
  • Skype
  • A multitude of web browsers
  • May My Ride cycling app
  • Flipboard
  • Evernote
  • SHealth

And so many more!

But you know what? I hardly ever use any of them. When I’m away from my office, I will use a browser from time to time to find some vital information I might need. Sometimes, I’ll use FB Messenger but it’s rare; when I am away from the office I don’t really want to be on Facebook or responding to FB messages. I’m usually busy with other things. SHealth looks interesting, but I don’t need an app to tell me I need to walk more.

Basically, I use my phone to make calls and send and receive the odd text message. I don’t even text that much. I really find texting annoying for the most part, and good communications cannot be carried out via texts. I also don’t like the keyboard emulation of any small device.

But I’m never without my cell phone; being able to be in touch with my kids or clients while away from my office land line is very important to me – but I still prefer to talk on a “real phone” though.

But it is a gadget that is important to me.

Lightning Detector

“A lightning detector??” you ask. I know, eh? Who would think about a lightning detector as a favourite gadget? Well, I love to do a lot of fly fishing and spend a great deal of time outdoors, and often this time is spent during hot and humid weather here in my part of the world, when thunderstorms can sometimes blow in pretty quickly. And believe me – waving a graphite fishing rod around during times of electrical atmospheric activity is probably not the safest thing to do.

But not even fly fishing, but even out hiking on nearby trails, it’s good to know when thunderstorms might be close by. Obviously, the weather reports will often provide a forecast that includes “risk of a thunderstorm,” but that may or may not occur. A simple risk of one is not always good enough to keep me from going outdoors – but if that risk becomes high when I’m out there, I want to know. So… a personal lightning detector is something that gives me some comfort. I love to watch lightning, but I don’t want to be watching it from the bank of the lake or the river! I’d prefer to watch it from a place that is safe and that I can take cover in.

My Canon Camera

I’ve always had a fascination with photography ever since I was a kid. Do you remember the old Pentax Spotmatics? I had one! I loved it! I used it.. a LOT. When I started high school, I was so happy there was a “camera club” and the school had a dark room, where I learned to develop 35 mm film and then print to photo paper. Eventually, I sold the Pentax and moved on to a Yashica, which I also liked – and still have rolls of undeveloped 35 mm film around that I wonder what is on them. I’m not even sure it would be worthwhile these days to try to find a developer of the old films I have.

In about 1999, my business had need for a digital camera and I picked up a Nikon Cool Pix – one of the best available at the time. Indeed, I still think of how awesome that camera was and the fact that it had a tilt mechanism built into it. That was actually a pretty cool feature, and my business partner and I at the time, used that camera for some product photography and put together a large print brochure for a client. And since about 1999, I’ve not ever used my Yashica, although I still have it along with a bag of lenses, filters, and other things I used to use.

Today, I have a Canon that is not the best in the world, but it’s better than the the camera in my Galaxy phone. At least I think so.. the Galaxy thinks my eyes are brown, whereas the Canon knows they are blue.

It’s not the best camera in the world, and maybe one of these days I’ll upgrade, but for my purposes, it does just fine.

And you know what? That is about all the gadgets I own. I do have a remote for my TV, and my Android box.. but I hardly ever use them. So they’re not really worth much of a mention.

What about you? What are your must have gadgets and what gadgets could you do without?

The Rot Isn’t In The McDonald’s…It’s In The Education

mcdonaldsYesterday, I noticed that many of my friends and associates on Facebook where sharing some post by the owner of a Chiropractic clinic in Alaska, a Jennifer Lovdahl. Ms Jennifer Lovdahl is listed as a doctor on their chiropractic clinic website – and apparently graduated from the Palmer College of Chiropractic in Iowa.

The post by Dr. Lovdahl that so many of my Facebook associates were sharing contained a photo of a meal apparently purchased six years ago from McDonald’s, containing Chicken McNuggets and french fries. Dr. Lovdahl wrote in her post:

“It’s been 6 years since I bought this “Happy Meal” at McDonald’s. It’s been sitting at our office this whole time and has not rotted, molded, or decomposed at all!!! It smells only of cardboard. We did this experiment to show our patients how unhealthy this “food” is. Especially for our growing children!! There are so many chemicals in this food! Choose real food! Apples, bananas, carrots, celery….those are real fast food.”
~ Source

I am astonished that a so-called “doctor” would publish such tripe. You would think that anyone today that is a graduate of a college that bestows the degree of Doctor, and that college is involved in human sciences, would have at least taught their students some basic chemistry as well as The Scientific Method.

Or perhaps Dr. Lovdahl is aware of The Scientific Method and some basic chemistry, but chooses to promote her own biases using the respect that most people would give a person with the degree of Doctor bestowed upon them. Whatever the case may be, this is where the rot is, and I can tell you why Dr. Lovdahl observed no rot in the McDonald’s food.

Let’s look at Dr. Lovdahl’s original post: “We did this experiment to show our patients how unhealthy this “food” is.”

How does this experiment show any such thing? It doesn’t show that it is “unhealthy” nor does it show, as Dr. Lovdahl claims that “there are so many chemicals in this food.” There likely ARE many chemicals in the food; but not in the way Dr. Lovdahl is trying to suggest. Everything that exists has a chemical makeup. Even apples. There is nothing sinister going on here whatsoever.

Now, if Dr. Lovdahl truly respected science (and apparently, the college she graduated from claims to hold integrity and science as high values), she would have conducted her experiment using multiple meals, as well as control subjects. For example, she might have made up some french fried potatoes at home, reduced their moisture level through freezing or refrigeration, (using only organic potatoes, of course!), deep fried them without the addition of any other chemicals but for a sprinkling of salt, put it in a bag and stuck in a dry cupboard for six years along with her McDonald’s purchased meal.

Now there’s an experiment that’s closer to reality.

Or, if she wants to compare apples, bananas, and carrots, she could have also dehydrated those, deep fried them, stuck them in a cupboard for six years, and checked to see if she found rot.

I suggest you try it at home before you go believing Dr. Lovdahl. Here’s some facts for you:

Food preservation can be done by reducing moisture and adding salt. Anything deep fried would have a lot of water moisture driven out of it, and replaced by oil. Now, the oil could go rancid if left for six years, open to the air, but you would not see this. But you would probably have food that appeared to have withstood the element of time, and showed little or no rot.

This experiment does not prove that this is not “healthy food,” nor does it prove that lots of chemicals were added to the food by McDonald’s. It is shameful that a person with the title “Doctor” would try to persuade you that her experiment was somehow a valid experiment. It’s not. It’s actually.. anti-science.

Food rot depends on a number of different things, including levels of moisture. Foods that have low to no water moisture and that are kept in a dry place, will not rot at the same rate as high moisture foods and in fact, can withstand against rot for a very long time depending on the conditions they are kept in. Does a doctor involved in human health not know this very basic fact?? It does not require the addition of any sinister chemicals to keep food from rotting.

Dr. Lovdahl owes her fans an apology for attempting to show something in a non-scientific manner, but present it to novices in such a way that it may be a valid experiment.

Or perhaps Dr. Lovdahl was never taught the scientific method. In that case, any person who has graduated from the Palmer College of Chiropractic is suspect, and I would not want to be treated by any graduate of theirs.

I have some challenges for Dr. Lovdahl:

Challenge 1:

Purchase the finest organic potatoes you can find. Cut them into “chip” (as called in the UK) or “french fry” shapes. Freeze them.

Heat up the finest healthiest oil in a deep fryer. Take frozen raw french fries and deep fry them until they are cooked. Remove french fries, allow oil to drain, sprinkle with salt, place in a paper bag, put in a cupboard in a dry place.

Come back and tell us what you see.

Challenge 2:

Dr. Lovdahl compares the McDonald’s meal to “real food” such as “apples, bananas and carrots.”

Okay, apples have a higher level of moisture than potatoes; if left out of some preserving condition, they will rot in a short amount of time, definitely less than six years. But here’s what I want you to do: Dehydrate the apples to the same moisture level as potatoes after cutting them into chip shapes. Freeze them. Then take them out of the freezer and deep fry them. Remove from the deep fryer, sprinkle some salt, put in a bag, and leave in a dry place for six years. Tell me what you see. Tell me if you will conclude the apples must have had chemicals added to them.

I doubt Dr. Lovdahl will take up the challenge. But if the good doctor wants to have some semblance of scientific credibility, the good doctor ought to take up the challenge, along with having some control subjects, as a proper scientific experiment would have.

I am sure Dr. Lovdahl means well, but pushing pseudo-science onto people, and pushing it in such a way that it apparently proves or shows something, is utterly irresponsible. I would hope that any regulatory agency or the good doctor’s school that apparently values integrity will have a little chat with the doctor about scientific integrity, and making false claims while using the title of Doctor, as apparently happened at the Chiropractic clinic.

The rot is not in the McDonald’s food; the rot is in the critical thinking skills that seem to be no longer taught these days.

I actually do quite of food preservation with my son – including dehydrating, fermentation, and canning – perhaps Dr. Lovdahl might be interested in learning more, and about food chemistry.