Author Archives: Condor

The Maidens by Alex Michaelides

What a disappointment

If there’s one thing I like, it’s browsing a bookshop. Walking along the aisles, picking up books, reading the synopsis. If there’s one thing I hate, it’s browsing books online. If one of my favorite authors has a new book out, it’s easy, I just type in the name and within minutes the audiobook gets downloaded to my reader. If none of my favorite authors has something new out, I’m groping in the dark, and finding something suitable is a nightmare. How will I find something interesting?

Sappy love stories are not for me. It’s always the same. Boy meets girl, some problems arise, the couple’s happiness is in jeopardy, but in the end, they live happily ever after. Such baloney.

Stories set in the olden days are fine, but preferably no further than the 1800s.

The setting of the story is also rather important. Stories set in Turkey, Bangladesh, or Nicaragua also get a miss.

I want a mystery, I want a murder or kidnapping, something that has me on the edge of my seat and keeps me awake at night.

After nearly searching for nearly two hours for my next read I noticed the name Alex Michaelides. Bingo, I’d struck gold. I loved his first book ‘The Silent Patient’ and thought I was in for another great story. I was wrong. I abandoned his second book ‘The Maidens’ after four chapters. Boring, boring, boring.

The story starts off rather promising. Two murders have been committed and the lead character, Mariana, is set on catching the killer.

The story quickly takes a turn for the worse though. Mariana is a wimp. She’s lost her husband and now all she does is either cry, whimper, or whine. While I understand her traumatic loss, does Michaelides have to go on and on about how she mourns the loss of her husband? The man went swimming in a gale storm for heaven’s sake, what did he expect? Every person with half a brain knows that you avoid the water when a storm is raging.

Fine, so now she returns to Cambridge to assist her niece whose roommate has been murdered. Another whimpering female.

If Michaelides writing got on my nerves, the narrator of ‘The Maidens’ drove me up the wall. There are two narrators, Kobna Holdbrook-Smith and Louise Breadley. I was familiar with Louise Breadley’s voice (she also narrated ‘The Silent Patient’), which is why I was so stunned when I heard her in her portrayal of Mariana. The way she talks … OMG, after four chapters I just couldn’t take it anymore.

So I’m afraid I’ll never know the storyline of ‘The Maidens’. It might be a good book, it might not. One thing is for sure, it’s nowhere near as good as ‘The Silent Patient’, which was excellently written and narrated. 

As someone once said, ‘Whether a book character is good or evil, the reader has to care about him or her.’ And that was precisely the problem with ‘The Maidens’, I didn’t care about Mariana and I didn’t care about her niece, Zoe.

Michaelides’ portrayal of campus life also leaves me wondering. The students party day in day out and are either drunk, high, or recovering from a hangover. When do these people actually study? How does any of them ever graduate? Are these the students of today, a bunch of alcoholics and dopeheads?

The critics can as usual not be trusted. They are being paid to give a glowing review. When I noticed the line “Listeners will not be disappointed with this suspenseful and intelligent thriller.” I rolled my eyes … listeners will most certainly be disappointed. I was. More than disappointed actually, Louise Brealey’s voice was the reason I abandoned the book.

So I’m on the prowl again, looking for a good book. Any suggestions?

Depression Due To Cough Drops

An uncommon side effect

I’ve been under the weather for the past ten days or so. Nothing the Covid-19 virus mind you, just a cold. I’m not one for running to the doctor whenever I get the sniffles, so I decided to just take it easy for a couple of days.

First, it was just a runny nose, but before long I started coughing. If the runny nose was annoying, the coughing drove me up the wall. During the day I was more or less quiet, but first thing in the morning and late at night I was plagued with one coughing fit after another.

To combat this cold, I stocked up on Aspirin, vitamin C, and a cough mixture. After a few days, I felt marginally better, but the cough stayed. So, I added cough drops to my cold-fighting arsenal. And they helped, the drops eased my cough within seconds.

After a day or two, I started feeling worse. Physically, I was improving, but mentally I was sinking into a dark pit. I didn’t feel like writing, I didn’t feel like reading, I didn’t care about what was on TV, and my hobbies remained untouched.

Now, this was very unlike me. I’m not the kind who gets depressed. I might have a blue day here and there, but in general, I’m usually in high spirits and if something gets me down, I bounce back in no time. I’m too busy to get depressed. So why was I suddenly feeling so out of sorts? Then it hit me, the cough drops.

Quite a few years ago I was also battling a nasty cough and along with a cough mixture, bought a packet of cough drops. They worked like a charm, but oh dear, after a day or two I was so depressed I didn’t care about anyone or anything anymore. In fact, when I went to work and my boss bothered me for the umpteenth time, I gladly would have told him where to go and where to stick his latest assignment. It would have gotten me fired, but I just didn’t care. Fortunately, it didn’t get that far. He could see that I wasn’t well and send me home.

The experience with the cough drops stayed with me though and when it happened again a year later, I knew to steer clear of those particular drops. When I researched the side effects of the cough drops, none were listed, but I know for a fact that my sudden depression was due to those drops.

Now the experience was repeated. Even though it used a different brand of cough drops, I once again felt like nothing interested me anymore. What’s more, I lost my appetite and my blood pressure dropped. This too I researched online and found that menthol, the most common ingredient in cough drops can reduce blood pressure and appetite. Well, that took care of that, I wasn’t taking those cough drops anymore. In less than twenty-four hours I felt marginally better. I’m still taking the cough mixture, but the cough drops were tossed in the bin.

Not everyone experiences the side effects of these cough drops, but it would seem that I am one of the few who does.

Born to Decoupage

The ideal hobby for creative minds

It is generally accepted and even encouraged for people to have a hobby. Whether it’s reading, woodworking, or 3D printing, not only is a hobby relaxing, for many people, it’s a way to unleash their creative side and even earn a little on the side.

I’ve been an avid reader for as long as I can remember, but other than books I’m always looking for other ways to keep my hands busy.

A few years ago, I got involved with adult coloring. I bought a couple of books and pencils and set them to work. I was enjoying myself until I joined an adult coloring group and saw the kind of work others produced. I was not nearly as good as they were, and my flame of enthusiasm was snuffed out.

Never mind though, I soon found something else to do. I discovered diamond painting. If you’re not familiar with diamond painting, this hobby involves placing hundreds or even thousands of tiny drills onto a sticky canvas to create a sparkling tableau. I started with something small but soon expanded to larger and even enormous projects.

Image courtesy of Jessie Hamilton

When I bit off a bit more than I could chew and the project dragged on for months, I lost my zest for diamond painting and went looking for something else. Quite by accident, I stumbled onto decoupage. Hello, now here was something my creative mind could sink its teeth into. I watched a couple of videos and then headed straight over to Amazon to buy the necessary supplies: chalk paint, acrylic paint, varnish, glue, brushes, and of course napkins.

If you’re not too sure about what decoupage is, this is just one of many videos.

My newfound hobby quickly got out of hand. Whenever I was in the Dollarstore, I stocked up on bowls, jars, plates, and other supplies. My collection of napkins grew too, especially once I found Snow’s Boutique. Oh my goodness, their collection was enormous and one napkin even more beautiful than the next. Flowers, birds, a spring collection, a Christmas collection … oh so much to choose from. What’s more, whenever I was looking for something specific and couldn’t find it, all I had to do was contact the store and I was sent several suggestions.

It got to the point that I didn’t dare to visit the website of Snow’s Boutique anymore, because whenever I was there I bought several designs. With each order, Snow’s Boutique included a free gift, which was much appreciated.

Unfortunately, not every project was a success, I ended up with quite a few ‘lemons’ which were only good for one thing … to throw in the bin. And right about that time, I noticed what others could do. Oh my goodness, the talent of some people.

Feeling thoroughly discouraged, I posted a message in my favorite decoupage group on Facebook asking if others occasionally produced a ‘lemon’ too. More people than I thought possible responded, saying that they too sometimes ended up with something less than satisfactory. Overall the messages were clear … don’t give up, keep on practicing, watch videos, you’ll get better as you go along.

Okay then, rather than bowls, jars, and coasters, I was going to try bottles.

The problem was that I don’t drink and if my son drinks three or four bottles of wine a year it’s a lot. So how was I going to get my hands on some bottles? Inspiration struck … I would post a request for empty bottles on the notice board of the condo building where I live. 50 cents each.

Good heavens, within no time I had bottles coming out of my ears. Wine bottles, champagne bottles, whiskey, and gin bottles … I had to rush to take the request down because suddenly there were bottles everywhere, in the kitchen, in the dining room, in my walk-in closet. If anyone had visited me, they would have thought my son and I had a serious drinking problem.

The bottles I produced weren’t half bad. I was not nearly as good as Katerina, but my first bottles were definitely not ‘lemons’.

Of course, with decoupage one doesn’t have to limit oneself to bowls, jars, or bottles, anything and everything goes. While some people buy their intended projects in a store, others transform old items into little works of art. An old rusty kettle, an empty tin of soup, a cutting board, wooden spoons, candles, even soaps are used to create artwork.

Just take a look at what other members of the decoupage group came up with. Images used with permission of Gabriela Dascalu, Susan White, Denise Towler, Wendy P Jacobs, Joy Beard, Karen Roberts, Sandra Lee, Senka Rengel, Madilyn Greiner, Lora Schwartz, Dee Dee Sellers DuPre, Kellie L. Davila-Martinez, Kathy Chestnutt Mercer, Anastasia Birba, Sally Ames Marshall, Neolien Vorster, Vlasta Hladnik (coaster video), Katerina (glasses video), RockinArt58 By Sandra (three jars video)

Is it Facebook, Scambook, or Sexbook

Scamming people is okay, pointing out the scams is not

When I joined Facebook some ten or eleven years ago, it was a place to stay in touch with friends, make new friends, post pictures and experiences, and generally have a good relaxing time.

Over the years, Facebook has changed. Ever so gradually various members started advertising their services. Writers offering other writers with their craft; editors wanting to help those with poor grammar and spelling; marketers who promised better sales with their help.

Personally, I never took any of them up on their offer of help. We all know that the self-publish industry has exploded over the last few years and it has brought about a number of scammers.

Over the last few weeks, the scams have reached an all-time high. Whenever I open Facebook I have to scroll past several dubious posts.

Amazon needs packers. $30 an hour. Contact me at …
(At least fifty in one hour)

Urgently looking for a part-time office assistant, this is a daily job that will only take a few hours of your time, 3 to 4 hours daily job and the Duties would include sending and receiving of email, scheduling, going to store once in a while to make findings, etc very low-stress job with no prior experience needed. Experience in Personal assistant and simple accounting is a plus but not required, as this is a home-based office work only available for people currently in Canada. Compensation:: $600weekly

(Up to 100 posts a day)

My friend, Jeanine, replied to an ad that promised her $100 a day to do data entry and surveys. She was informed by Em M. that to get started she would have to complete six tasks. She agreed. He sent her task 1 which was to register with a survey company and take two surveys. Upon completion, he sent her tasks 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6, which were also to register with a survey company and complete two surveys. Three hours later Jeanine was finished and Em M. said she would find $100 in her PayPal account. When three hours had passed, Jeanine wanted to contact Em M. but not only could she no longer reach him via Facebook’s messager, he had deleted his profile.

Scammers such as Em M. go by different names. They create a Facebook page, post two or three pictures, and construct carefully worded messages promising money. They know that plenty of people are unemployed or don’t make enough money in their jobs, so they don’t promise them a fortune but enough to relieve their financial burden. Then they sit back and wait for the unsuspecting to fall for their scam.

Then there are those who offer duct cleaning services. Not one or two offers, but according to my last count, 27 of them in one day. None of them are actual duct cleaning companies, they are people fishing for information. As a trusting customer, you provide these people with your name and address and this leads to identity theft. If you need cleaning services, ducts, gutters, carpets, or anything else, contact a reputable company, not someone who advertises on Facebook.

Next up, individuals who claim to be social media managers. Their scam is primarily aimed at self-published writers and graphical artists looking to broader their horizons. After all, who wouldn’t want more exposure on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, etc. without putting in the effort? Let someone else do the legwork. The individuals claim to work for large organizations and guarantee client satisfaction. This of course is another scam. After you paid the so-called media manager their fee, you never hear from them again. When seeing such an ad, pay close attention to spelling and grammar. More often than not, there will be mistakes. True media managers don’t make spelling and grammar mistakes. They proofread their work because they know that even one mistake in their presentation can ruin their reputation.

Once you start paying attention, you’ll start to recognize scams quite easily. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is. If money is promised with little or no effort, rest assured it’s a scam. If someone claims to be a millionaire and promises you financial independence, run a mile. True millionaires won’t contact you via Facebook or any other social media site. Keep in mind that where it comes to money there are only four legitimate ways of getting it: you can earn it, find it, win it, or inherit it. Quick rich schemes are just that, schemes and sooner or later you will kick yourself for believing in them.

Other than scams, Facebook recently became the go-to place for sex ads. The most popular one shows a woman on a date, discreetly taking her pink lace panties off while sitting opposite a man at a table. The caption merely states ‘PM me’. By sheer coincidence, I met a guy who took her up on her offer. He stated that after one or two innocent messages, the woman asked for a picture of his unclad lower region. Proud of his ‘equipment’ the man complied. Within minutes she replied to send her $300 dollars via Western Union or she would splash his sexy picture all over Facebook. Gentlemen, you’ve been warned.

A rather overweight young woman, with a Dolly Parton bust and the legs of a bodybuilder, runs the same scam. She offers her ‘services’ to one and all. First, she wants to see a picture though, a special picture if you know what I mean. No sooner does she have this picture than she wants money or she threatens to expose the man to his Facebook friends.

Seeing these ads once is bad enough, but seeing them over and over and over again is downright annoying. When these ads started pulling on my last nerve, I started commenting, calling them scams. Within 24 hours I received a warning from Facebook that my hate speech could land me in Facebook jail for three days, ten days, or have me banned from Facebook permanently.

This begs the question, where are the admins and the moderators of these Facebook groups? Why is it okay to post deceiving ads and sex ads, but not okay to warn others that these are scams?

Instagram isn’t much better. Everyday videos are posted with advice on one thing or another. A 16-year-old kid gives advice on hair care, a 14-year-old kid shows an extremely dangerous technique on how to get fuller lips, women barely dressed entice men to contact them … it’s all allowed. But let nobody point out the dangers of what these kids are doing because their account gets removed.

Then there’s Tik Tok, literally crawling with sex ads. I had to delete my Tik Tok account because I couldn’t deal with the number of sex ads of young girls. They film themselves in their living room, bedroom, or bathroom, barely dressed, ‘dancing’ to entice whoever is watching. I put dancing between apostrophes because what these girls are doing, one cannot really call dancing. They’re standing there wiggling like silly worms, tossing their hair, pressing their boobs together, twisting their butts.

I feel sorry for the parents of these girls. They are little tarts who sooner or later will end up in trouble. Perhaps you should check out Tik Tok, see if your daughter is there.

Jeff Bezos Waste of $5.5 Billion

It’s safe to say that the world is in a financial crisis. Due to the pandemic and the subsequent lockdown, businesses are closing, people are losing their jobs and with it their homes, their savings, their possessions. And what does Jeff Bezos do … in this time of extreme financial distress he goes and blows $5,5 BILLION to spend FOUR MINUTES in space.

What you should know about Jeff Bezos’ Tuesday space launchBezos is set to be the second billionaire space jockey, after Richard Branson rode a Virgin Galactic spacecraft on July…

I can’t even begin to express how I feel about such extravagance. Disgusted, outraged, flabbergasted. If I could get my hands on this silly man I would slap him and shake him until his teeth rattled.

Now he should be forced to donate $5,5 billion to those in need. I’m not referring to charities, and I’m certainly not referring to African nations, I mean people in need right here at home.

Not the ones who are on welfare, but to people who have a job, even two jobs, and still have to deny themselves the minimum of luxuries. People who can’t afford medical care for themselves, their family, or their pets. People who would love to send their children to summer camp or have them partake in a sport, but just cannot afford it. In other words, those who do their very best but still struggle to make ends meet.

Take for instance the building that recently collapsed in Florida. Those people lost their home, their furniture, and all their possessions. Where will they go? Will they get a new home? New furniture? Will they have sufficient funds to bury their loved ones and their pets?

If it were up to me, I would hold all those silly millionaires accountable. From what I understand there are already thousands who put themselves on the waiting list to take a trip on Jeff Bezos’ spaceship. Price of a ticket, $2.8 million.

The price tag to go to space with Amazon’s Jeff Bezos is now at $2.8 millionGoing to space like Amazon founder Jeff Bezos comes with a hefty price tag. Bezos – the richest person in the world …

Wouldn’t it be lovely, wouldn’t it be absolutely delightful if those millionaires were forced to share their wealth? If they can waste their money on a four-minute trip into space, they can certainly afford to help their fellow countrymen and women.

A Facebook friend pointed out that Bezos created jobs for a number of people. I can only laugh at this. Sure Bezos provided work for maybe a few hundred people, meanwhile millions suffer. Not to mention that his Amazon staff is overworked and underpaid.

The Facebook friend calls this ‘The beginning steps into a huge industry of the future’. This time no laughter but a sad headshake on my part. Why not fix Earth, which we thoroughly destroyed, before reaching to the sky?

The world has gone nuts. Absolutely crazy. I’ve known it for some time and now it’s confirmed.

I Nearly Peed in My Pants

People often wonder if it’s possible that one gets such a fright that the shock brings on a heart attack. After what I experienced yesterday, I would say yes.

What I faced gave me such a shock my heart jumped into my throat, my heart rate jumped from 75 beats a minute to … I don’t know, 125 beats a minute, give or take a beat, I broke out in a sweat, and trembled all over. If I had been the fainting kind I would have been flat on the floor.

It all happened so innocently. My son was browsing the Net and came across a metal structure in Ottawa of a big black spider. A man was posing underneath the structure to show the huge height and width of the spider, which I estimate at about 10 meters high and wide (32 feet).

I remembered seeing a similar spider in Sydney, Australia. That is to say, I didn’t actually see it, I looked it up online.

I was reading ‘Origin’ by Dan Brown at the time and whenever the author made reference to a specific place or item, I went online and Googled it.

At the time I typed in the search bar ‘Metal structure of spider in Sydney’ and within seconds I was presented with images of said spider so I knew exactly what Dan Brown was referring to.

To show my son a comparison of the Sydney spider to the Ottawa spider, I once again went online, typed in Google’s search bar ‘Structure of spider in Sydney’, and hit enter.

OMG, what a mistake that was. Instead of the metal spider structure in Sydney, my screen was filled with huge spiders. And I do mean HUGE ones. These were no ordinary spiders that one could kill with a shoe, these things one would have to shoot (with a bazooka or something).

People who like spiders or who are not afraid of them might think me cruel, but I hate the bloody things. More so, I am a first-rate sufferer of arachnophobia.

As such, when I saw my screen filled with the eight-legged monsters, I screamed and my computer went flying. As mentioned earlier my heart was in my throat, my heart raced, and it felt like my blood was boiling.

My son came to the rescue. He doesn’t like spiders either, but he’s not as horrified of them as I am.

It took minutes for my heart rate to return to normal and once it was, I wondered what was wrong with Google. I hadn’t asked to see live spiders; I had clearly specified the ‘structure ‘of spiders in Sydney’. The word ‘structure’ clearly indicates that I’m looking for something man-made.

Who creates these beasts anyway? I can understand that artists create a statue of a horse, a bull, a lion, or even a dolphin, but a spider!?

Most people are afraid of spiders, so why place one in the middle of a town square or sidewalk? Does the creator want to give us a heart attack?

Two things are for very sure.
One … Google can’t be trusted. From now on, I’ll be very careful what I research online.

Two … From what I read online, Australia is home to over 10,000 species of spiders. Safe to say, I am NEVER going there. You couldn’t pay me to go to Australia.

The Adoption of Jasper

Adopt and save a life

Exactly one week ago we adopted a kitten from the Toronto Cat Rescue. I had seen the kitten online and although he wasn’t quite what I was looking for I agreed to a meet and greet.

In a way, I was afraid of meeting the kitten because I knew that once I met the little thing, I wouldn’t be able to walk away.

The kitten had been raised by a foster mother but was now housed in a Pet Value store. Upon entering the store I was directed to the adoption center and there he was … Jasper, a three-month-old ginger tabby. I knew right there and then that with me he would get his forever home.

It took some time to complete the paperwork and then we were on our way.

Once home I knew that the best way to introduce a new kitten to Holly, Halley, and Greyson, the resident cats, was to keep the newbie in a separate room and to gradually introduce the kitten to the adult cats.

But, Jasper had other ideas. Alone in my bedroom, he started a meowing concert Pavarotti would have been jealous of. To hear him cry was heartbreaking so I threw caution to the wind and let the little thing out.

When he noticed the three resident cats he promptly put his back up and fluffed out his tail. The reaction of the resident cats varied.

Holly sniffed Jasper and decided he wasn’t worth bothering with.

Halley smacked him on his head.

Greyson looked at him wild-eyed and made a hasty retreat.

So much for a warm welcome.

Today, a week later, things have changed.

Holly still doesn’t bother with Jasper. She a bit of a hoity-toity madam. She’s neither friendly nor unfriendly with the kitten, she merely tolerates him.

Halley can’t make up her mind whether she likes the kitten or not. One moment she plays with him, the next she chases him around the house. When she’s had enough, she retreats to her basket and surveys the goings-on from a safe distance.

Greyson is being chased by Jasper. The poor thing can’t sit or lie down anywhere without the little one nipping at his paws, playing with his tail, jumping on his back, or grabbing him in a headlock.

If nobody wants to play with the kitten, the kitten amuses himself. He has an array of toys and if he has a toy in his mouth he growls like a fierce lion. Other than that he jumps on the wall unit, digs around in a silk flower arrangement, swings around in the curtains, or just sits and enjoys the fresh air.

As for Jasper’s name … I knew that had to be changed. I knew a guy once called Jasper and he was a complete jerk. No way did I want a daily reminder about him. The kitten needed a new name.

I posted a message in a cat group on Facebook asked for name suggestions. The members were not short of inspiration and came up with several nice names, but none of them seem to fit. Out of all the suggestions I like Willian the best.

“How would you like to be called William?” I asked the kitten, and not a word of a lie, the little one shook his head. A coincidence I’m sure, but I decided not to go with William. And then I saw a picture of Nicolas Cage. Nicolas … Nic … yeah, that might work.

“Do you like the name Nic?” I asked the kitten. And you’re not going to believe this, but the kitten turned around and let out a loud meow. I took it that he was in agreement. Nic, it was.

No sooner was Jasper renamed Nic than he took a celebratory drink. That is to say, he tried to take a drink. He put one of his front paws on the bowl and managed to tip the whole bowl over. Water all over the floor. Nic, not liking his wet paws got the fright of his young life and fled to my bedroom. The result, wet paws that ran from the kitchen all the way to my room.

If Nic is a messy drinker, he’s also a messy eater. Rather than dipping his head into the dry nibbles bowl, he sticks his front paws into the bowl and scratches half the content of the bowl onto the floor. Then he proceeds to eat the nibbles off the floor.

Watching Nic and his antics, I wonder what lies in store in the months and years to come. Shall I keep you posted?

To Vaccinate or Not to Vaccinate

Leave us our freedom to decide for ourselves

Earlier today I posted the following message on a popular social media site:

I’m getting so sick and tired of people bragging ‘I got vaccinated’. Well good for you, what do you want, a medal? I DID NOT get vaccinated because I don’t play Russian roulette with my health. I’ve been fine and safe for 1,5 years and I’ll continue to be fine. And if I get infected, so what, I have every chance of recovery.

An online friend, let’s call him Max, responded with:

So you’re good with the 4 million dead folks? 

Of course, I’m not good with four million people dying, but let’s look at this realistically.

1.35 million people die every year of car accidents. Yet we all get in our cars every day that take us from point A to point B. While some people drive carefully, others throw caution to the wind. They drive drunk, they drive under the influence of drugs, they exceed the speed limit, or drive with an unsafe vehicle.

Add to that the death toll of people who die on motorcycles, bicycles, and skateboards. Come to think of it, even pedestrians aren’t safe. They can fall, hit their head, and die. They can cross a street and be mowed down by a car. They can even be hit on sidewalks.

Road Traffic Injuries and Deaths-A Global Problem
Road traffic crashes are a leading cause of death in the United States for people aged 1-54,1 and they are the leading…

2.3 million people die of work-related accidents and diseases. Yet every day people go to work. People working in an office are fairly safe, but what about those in high-risk jobs? Construction workers, window washers, roofers, fishermen, police officers, firemen, etc. What if these people suddenly decided that their job was too dangerous and decided to pack it in.

These were the deadliest jobs in the US last year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics
There were over 5,300 work-related deaths in 2019. Drivers accounted for 1,480 of them —
around one in five workers…

World Statistic
The ILO estimates that some 2.3 million women and men around the world succumb to work-related accidents or diseases…

17.9 million people die of heart disease each year. Yet the majority of people happily drink alcohol, knowing full well that alcohol leads to high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, not to mention liver cancer. They gobble up hamburgers, hot dogs, pizza, and other junk food. Do they think of their cholesterol? Does it even cross their mind that they could keel over at any time from a heart attack?

And what about stress? While the majority of people stick to 9–5 jobs, quite a number of them are overachievers, working 50, 60, or even more hours a week. They want to meet deadlines, they want to please their boss, they want that promotion, they are in competition with others, they want to earn more money. Do they ever consider that this insane work schedule takes its toll on their health?

Cardiovascular diseases (heart attack, stroke)
Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are the number 1 cause of death globally, taking an estimated 17.9 million lives each…

So don’t tell me that I don’t care about the four million people who died of the Covid-19 virus. I do care, but I care about my health too.

I read about people developing blood clots, I read about people developing heart disease, I read about people developing cerebral palsy.

True, those are isolated cases. Millions of people received the vaccine and are fine, but some of them are not. Can you guarantee me that I will be fine? Or will I be one of the few who will die of the side effects of the vaccine?

I don’t know. You don’t know. Nobody knows because the vaccine hasn’t been around long enough. It’s not even FDA-approved.

And what about the long-term side effects. True, those vaccinated might be safe (for a while) from the Covid-19 virus, but what about later in life? What will this vaccine do to them in the long run? Will they be more susceptible to certain diseases? Will they still be able to have children? Will those children be born normally? Again, nobody knows because the vaccine hasn’t been around long enough.

People have strong opinions about the vaccine. Those who are vaccinated will defend their point of view and shun those who are not vaccinated. Those who are against the vaccine will defend their point of view, pointing out the high risk.

Why can’t we leave each other alone and respect each others’ decisions? If someone wants the vaccine, fine. If someone doesn’t, that should be fine too. Leave us our freedom to decide. Why go around bragging with stickers, buttons, and other nonsense. 

In fact, leave us our freedom to speak and to publish. Any messages speaking against the vaccine are deleted from social media sites. Mine was deleted and those of my friends were too.

In a way, the government is to blame for the lack of trust. We have been lied to for so long, about so many things, that we can no longer trust them. Do they have our best interest at heart or do they have a stake in the pharmaceutical companies?

Pfizer made a whopping 15 billion dollars with their vaccine. Safe to say, Moderna and Astra are laughing all the way to the bank too.

Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine is set to be one of the most lucrative drugs in the world
Pfizer expects to sell $15 billion worth of Covid-19 vaccines in 2021. That would make it the second-highest…

The fact is, nobody is safe and everybody should still be cautious. Wear a mask, practice social distancing and wash hands. It’s not because you are partially or fully vaccinated that you can’t get the Covid-19 virus anymore or that you can’t transmit it to others. 

The Ultimate Guide to Meditation

In meditation it is often advised to clear your mind. If you ever tried that you will know that thinking of nothing is impossible. Thoughts constantly flash through your mind or your mind wanders.

Rather than pulling your mind back to the here and now, let it wander. In fact, take your mind for a stroll with this exercise and find true serenity.

Imagine yourself in a cottage. See a cheerful fire in the fireplace, a rustic dining table with six chairs, a lounge with overstuffed chair, a chandelier casting a golden glow over the room. On the kitchen table there’s a large bowl of salad, while a delicious aroma is coming from the oven.

You decide to go mushroom picking. You open the door of your cottage, close it behind you and pick up a basket that’s left on the porch. You make your way through the front garden, enjoying the sight and scent of wildflowers. You open the gate and close it behind you.

You walk along a meadow, where thousands of yellow buttercups and bluebells bob their little heads in a gentle breeze. You feel the warmth of the sun on your face and the softness of the grass under your feet.

From the meadow you enter a forest. You’re surrounded by tall trees, the sun filtering through the foliage. You hear birds singing and squirrels playing. Butterflies are resting on the undergrowth.

As you walk along, you see a variety of mushrooms. They stand together like miniature umbrellas. Some are brown, some red with white speckles, some an unusual shade of blue. You know exactly which ones to take and which ones to avoid. You carefully place them in your basket.

At the edge of the forest you come across a rock formation. You enter through a narrow opening and find yourself in a cave. An old man is sitting on a bench by a fire. He has long white hair, a white beard and is dressed in brown linen robe. He looks at you and beckons to join him.

You sit next to him. There is no need to talk. When his watery blue eyes meet yours, he can read what’s on your mind. When his wrinkled hand with paper thin skin and gnarled fingers takes yours, he eases your burden.

You get up, leave the cave, cross the forest and the meadow. Back at your cottage you open the gate to the front yard and close it behind you. You open the front door and close it. You’re home. You place the basket of mushrooms in on the kitchen counter and move to the lounge.

You kick off your shoes and lie down on the couch. You’re tired from your walk, tired but happy. You fall asleep with a contented smile on your face.

Three Hair Remedies Guaranteed to Work

Whether through age, an illness, or a medical treatment, losing hair can be a devastating experience. Fortunately, there is hope. Forget hormones (they have been linked to cancer), forget vitamin supplements, and give those products that promise a lot but deliver little a miss. I’ll tell you about three hair remedies that are guaranteed to work. I know they work because I tried them myself.

The magic trio

In a glass or ceramic bowl, mix two tablespoons of castor oil, one tablespoon of aloe Vera, and one vitamin E capsule. Castor oil is rich in Ricinoleic acids, which not only feeds the hair and scalp but prevents premature greying. Aloe Vera will repair your damaged hair cells due to its proteolytic enzymes. These enzymes give hair a boost for faster growth. Vitamin E contains natural antioxidants which will encourage hair to grow while reducing stress on the hair follicles.

Apply the mixture of these three ingredients directly onto your scalp and the length of your hair. Do not brush or comb your hair as the aloe vera gel will make it sticky. Leave the mixture in for at least an hour and then shampoo and condition as usual.

For optimal results, place the mixture in a bowl of hot water. If the mixture is warm your scalp with absorb the oils easier. However, DO NOT MICROWAVE.
Mustard seed oil

An equally effective, but cheaper hair growth remedy is mustard seed oil. The omega 3 fatty acids, anti-fungal and antibacterial properties in the mustard seed oil are what hair needs to grow and stay healthy. If you want to try this remedy, apply a generous amount of the oil all over your scalp and comb the oil through your hair with a large-toothed comb. For medium or long hair it is recommended to pull your hair in a knot or ponytail to prevent stains on your clothes. For maximum effect, the mustard seed oil should stay in your hair for at least six hours. If so preferred you can leave the oil overnight. To prevent stains on your pillow, cover the pillow with a towel. Wash and condition your hair as usual.

Onion juice
For people with a really tight budget, there is onion juice. Onion juice is known to stimulate blood circulation due to its high keratin content, thus promoting hair growth. Simply place two or three large onions in a juicer and apply the juice to your scalp. Leave the juice in place for one or two hours and then shampoo and condition as usual. The only down point with this remedy is that onion has a rather potent smell.

It is recommended that you use your favorite method twice a week for the first three months. Then once a week to keep your hair in tip-top shape.

To further, promote hair growth and limit damage, do not perm or color your hair. Both treatments contain chemicals that will harm your hair. You might also want to avoid blow drying, brushes, and tight-toothed combs. Far better to air dry your hair and use the widest toothed comb that you can find. When you comb, do it gently. Start a the bottom of the hair shaft and gradually work your way up.

if you find it difficult to comb through your hair, apply a tiny amount of Argan oil. This oil is non-greasy and can be applied on wet or dry hair.

Keep in mind that with neither of these remedies you will experience a difference overnight. You need to be patient, but after two or three months you will definitely see and feel a difference.