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Be Thin, Cut Cancer Risk

Be thin to cut cancer, study says

This is from today’s BBC Health News

Even those who are not overweight should slim down if they want to cut their risk of cancer, a major international study has claimed.

The World Cancer Research Fund carried out the largest ever inquiry into lifestyle and cancer, and issued several stark recommendations.

They include not gaining weight as an adult, avoiding sugary drinks and alcohol, and not eating bacon or ham.

Everyone must also aim to be as thin as possible without becoming underweight.

People with a Body Mass Index (BMI), a calculation which takes into account height and weight, of between 18.5 and 25, are deemed to be within a “healthy” weight range.

But the study says their risk increases as they head towards the 25 mark, and that everyone should try to be as close to the lower end as possible.

Recommendations include:

Limit red meat
Limit alcohol
Avoid bacon, ham, and other processed meats
No sugary drinks
No weight gain after 21
Exercise every day
Breastfeed children
Do not take dietary supplements to cut cancer

Comment: This is not a new study, but a compilation based on the committee looking at hundreds of studies done on correlations of weight, diet and cancer risk. The troublesome issue to me is that these are things we have been told, things that we KNOW, and things we aren’t doing anything about.

Hey! The weather is great! Let’s go for a walk!

(You can read the rest of the BBC article here.

October 31, 2007 Posted by | Cooking, Diet / Weight Loss, Education, Health Issues, Living Conditions, News, Social Issues | 9 Comments

Boston Pumpkin Carving Contest

Unbelievable. Thousands – thousands of pumpkins.

October 31, 2007 Posted by | Arts & Handicrafts, Cultural, Halloween | , , | 7 Comments

Happy Halloween, Bloggers


October 31, 2007 Posted by | Halloween, Humor, Joke | 8 Comments

All Hallow’s Eve

In Kuwait, as in the USA and many other countries, there are mixed feelings about Hallowe’en. As a kid, we all dress up and go from house to house saying “Trick or Treat” and people give us candy. There isn’t anything scary – or spiritual – about it. It’s just a goofy day, not even a day off from school.


When we lived in Germany, All Saints Day (November 1st) gave a whole new, more spiritual meaning to the holiday, which has overlayed an ancient pagan New Year celebration. On All Hallow’s Eve, entire families go to the cemetaries carrying red-glass enclosed candles. The candles are placed on the graves of those who have died and are still remembered. German graveyards are beautiful, with lovely monuments, and flowers on the graves in summer, pine boughs in winter.

BBC religions gives us the modern meaning of Halloween:

With their pumpkin-lanterns and witch costumes there’s many a child who’ll have great fun this evening celebrating Hallowe’en. It was derived originally from an ancient Pagan festival, it has become part of our culture and generally it’s an innocent excuse for people to have a good time.

Literally, of course, it is the eve of All Hallows – a preparation for the observance tomorrow of the Feast of All Hallows or All Saints. That feast gives the assurance that there is a state of being that stretches beyond our life here on this earth – an affirmation of the essential spiritual nature of human life. People are made for more than can be experienced over our lifetime spent in this world.

The Apostle Paul underscores that when he writes to the Ephesians, that the highest role reserved for human beings is, as he puts it, “to rule with Christ in the heavenly world. And God has done this to demonstrate for all time the extraordinary greatness of his grace in the love he showed us in Christ Jesus”.

So this Christian season brings us a comforting reminder that there is a destiny designed for us humans that assures us of a continuing existence, and it’s a promise endorsed by Jesus when he spoke of the many mansions that he has prepared for us. [Hallowe’en assures] us that God’s love stretches far beyond death.

Rev George Loane, former Methodist superintendent on Prayer for the Day, 31 October 2006

More information on Halloween from

Jack-o’-lantern. Originally a turnip, this carved vegetable with a candle inside was used by a poor Irish soul named Jack to light his way as he wandered for eternity, denied entrance to both Heaven and Hell — Heaven because of his habitual stinginess and Hell because he had, while still alive, forced the devil into a pact that would spare Jack from ever going to Hell. Boy, did he live (or rather die) to regret it! The Irish brought this custom to the US in the 1840s but found it more convenient to use pumpkins than their traditional turnip, rutabaga or gourd.

Bobbing for apples. Bobbing for apples on Halloween (the time of the apple harvest) may have been inspired by the Celtic fables about heroes who journeyed across water seeking the magical apple tree on the mythical isle of Avalon. There is a more accepted theory: that the Celts (taking a leaf from the Romans who worshipped Pomona, the goddess of fruit and abundance) played a parlor game on Samhain in which unmarried people would try to bite into an apple in water or on a string; the first to succeed was thought to be the first to marry.

Trick or treating. This resembles the All Soul’s Day practice called “going a-souling” in which poor people would beg door-to-door. In exchange for a gift of soulcakes, the soulers would promise to say a prayer for the dead. It’s possible, though, that the practice developed independently in the US in the 20th century, especially the part where children threaten a trick if they don’t get a treat. (This may have been around the time manufacturers came up with fun-sized candy bars.)

Costumes. The Celts wore disguises, usually made of animal skins, during their Samhain celebrations, possibly to conceal themselves from the spirits who were afoot at the time. So those Catwoman and Spider-man outfits may be most true to the ancient roots of the practice.

Ghost stories. The Celts believed that during Samhain, the boundaries between this world and the otherworld became blurred and the spirits of those who had departed walked the earth. Those beliefs survive to this day in the form of ghost stories and divinations: asking for helpful hints or guides to the future from those who have second sight.

October 31, 2007 Posted by | Community, Cultural, Halloween | , , , | 6 Comments

Halloween Warning

When you eat too much candy, bad things happen.

This is so gross, and too funny.

Not for people with a weak stomach.


October 30, 2007 Posted by | Arts & Handicrafts, Diet / Weight Loss, Entertainment, Events, Halloween, Health Issues, Holiday, Humor, Joke | 7 Comments

Bad News Fortune Cookies

In our family, Chinese food is often a big family event. At the end of a magnificent meal, we each have to choose a cookie and read it out loud. One time, my son got such a good fortune that he refused to take another fortune cookie for about a year, saying that he wants the fortune he was saving to continue!

From The New York Times

Don’t Open this Cookie!

The messages in fortune cookies are typically vague, banal and optimistic. But some cookies are now serving up some surprisingly downbeat advice.

“Today is a disastrous day. If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em,” reads one fortune showing up around the country.

“It’s over your head now. Time to get some professional help,” advises another.

As the messages, contained in cookies made by Wonton Food in Queens, have spread across the country, some diners have registered their reactions online. As a result, the company has a marketing challenge on its hands.

One blogger, who got the “professional help” fortune, wrote: “I shot the audacious baked item a dirty look and proceeded to eat it. And I hope it hurt.”

You can read the rest of the article at New York Times

October 30, 2007 Posted by | Communication, Cross Cultural, Eating Out, Generational, News | 3 Comments

NY Cover Giggle

I can’t help it, this just gave me such a giggle.

From The New Yorker

The cartoon refers both to an American senator, Larry Craig, caught playing footsie with the cop in the next stall in the Minneapolis airport and Ahmadinajad playing footsie with nuclear power.

YouTubers had a field day with Craig’s guilty plea, and then reversal. Here is one:

October 30, 2007 Posted by | Bureaucracy, Communication, Crime, Family Issues, Iran, Lies, Mating Behavior, News, Political Issues, Social Issues | 3 Comments

Kuwait Protection

Kuwait is the only country I’ve lived in where people caught taking bribes or embezzling public funds get to keep their jobs. I understand in one ministry, a man is still in a job where he was convicted of embezzlement, and no one knows how much he has to pay back because they are still discovering all that he embezzled. He gets to keep his job?

This is from the Arab Times.

KUWAIT CITY: The Kandari tribe elders are planning to meet the Prime Minister to discuss the ‘sacking’ of the director of the Mubarak Al-Kabeer Security Department, reports Al-Watan daily.

The elders considered the ‘discharge from duty’ as exaggerated punishment particularly since the ministry had earlier praised his efforts and promoted him to a higher rank just a few months ago.

Earlier it was reported two directors of security departments in the Mubarak Al-Kabir and Capital governorates were being investigated for their illegal activities. The daily also added some senior police officials, whose identities were not given, were involved in alcohol trafficking and gambling.

The daily went on to say one of the directors from the Mubarak Al-Kabeer governorate was getting commission from an Asian man to run a gambling den and other illegal activities.

Interrogations revealed the director dispatched a police officer to a bank to change quarter dinar banknotes for KD 10 notes and a counter clerk at the bank branch said it was not the first time he had changed the quarter dinar notes for the officer. The quarter dinar notes were reportedly given to the officer as commission by the Asian.

In another incident a policeman was caught selling booze using police vehicle and when the uniformed man was arrested and reported to the director, the director is said to have overlooked the incident and refused to take action.

Moreover, it was also reported pressure had been applied on the arresting officer to withdraw his case.

It was also reported an Asian was caught selling alcohol and during interrogation he admitted to working for the director of the Capital governorate.

The man was reportedly deported from the country immediately which aroused suspicion. Sources say the man was deported because he was a key witness in the case.

Now this one is from The Kuwait Times

KUWAIT: MP Dr Faisal Al-Muslem recently urged the First Deputy Premier, Minister of Defense cum Minister of Interior Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah to order the formation of a special committee to investigate recent press stories concerning a Mangaf house that had been allegedly turned into a ‘night club’ for Americans where they had liquor and various illegal stuff. Informed sources noted that special body guards had been placed in the house’s surroundings to prevent any of the neighbors from approaching it.

This is a social disaster that needs immediate attention,” stressed Al-Muslem noting that such an act was a clear violation of Kuwait’s sovereignty, religious beliefs, and constitutional rights to have a peaceful and secure residence.

In view of the fact that no security forces had been able to interfere and stop such violations, Al-Muslem wondered about the identity of the apparently high-ranking security official who had been protecting the owners of the night club. Al-Muslem also urged the Minister of State for Housing Affairs Abdul Wahed Al-Awadhi to form a specialized team to check on whether the owner of the night club had any right to violate the rules of the Housing Public Authority.

Furthermore, Al-Muslem suggested providing all expatriates (both newcomers and those renewing residency visas) with special brochures clarifying Kuwaiti social and religious concepts and asking them to show full respect and observation to them.

it gave me a smile thinking special brochures are going to change behavior. Somehow, this “nightclub” is getting protection. And people caught delivering alcohol in their cars are receiving protection. As long as these practices, contrary to Kuwaiti social and religious concepts are protected, what is a special brochure going to change? Some of them will drink and (ahem) do other illegal activities because they can! Because someone is providing protection for these activities.

October 29, 2007 Posted by | Bureaucracy, Cold Drinks, Community, Crime, Customer Service, Detective/Mystery, Entertainment, ExPat Life, Financial Issues, Kuwait, Leadership, Living Conditions, Political Issues, Social Issues | 8 Comments

Fighting Men in Dresses

One of those strange items from The Arab Times.

Police have referred seven women who were involved in a fight on Al-Istiqlal Street to a police station, reports Al-Anba daily.

However, when the women were taken to a police station it was discovered four of them were men dressed in women’s clothes.

The daily did not give more details.

“The first rule of the fight club is don’t talk about the fight club.” He he he he he he he.

October 29, 2007 Posted by | Adventure, Community, Crime, Detective/Mystery, ExPat Life, Kuwait, Local Lore, Social Issues | 12 Comments

Breaking 90 in Kuwait

As I stood on my balcony this morning, drinking my coffee and relishing the sweet coolness of the morning, watching the string of fishing boats out on the horizon, I had one of those moments when you are happy and you know it (clap your hands!) (oops, there comes the pre-school teacher back to haunt me! My first job as a married lady.)

Checking WeatherUnderground for Kuwait I could see that it was a bare 64°F / 18°C, and that this coming Friday, the high temperature for the day will NOT be above 90°F/ 32°C.

You who don’t live here can’t imagine the difference it makes. Right now, you can spend evenings walking around, freely, it is like being let out of jail to have the crushing heat gone. And daily, it is getting easier to be outside for longer and longer periods of time. All kinds of migrating birds are coming back, it is a lovely time of the year in Kuwait.

The fishermen are making full use of the sweet weather:


October 29, 2007 Posted by | Community, ExPat Life, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Weather | , , | 6 Comments