Category Archives: History

Total Eclipse, Wyoming, August 21st 2017

At totality there was a strange twilight
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There was not the spirituality and feeling of other-worldliness I had expected and hoped for.  But, if you look closely, you can see sunspots.

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

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Barcelona

The haunting of history is ever present in Barcelona.

Despite just having returned from a four-week vacation in the USA, I’ve now booked flights to Barcelona, to see a very close friend.  I fly out there On September 26th, and come back to England on September 29th

The journey from Newcastle upon Tyne, to Amsterdam, to Barcelona, is about 11 hours each way, and the flights are costing me about $400.  Add in hotels, taxis, meals, and the like, and this will easily be an $800 / $1,000 short break.

Barcelona is a fabulous city, which I’m only visiting for two days on this trip. I ‘m going a long way for only 2 days, but what price on friendship?

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jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

Jet-lag

With air travel there is no distance, there is only time.

Air travel, especially long haul flights, can be very exhausting.  Getting to the airport 3 hours before the flight, endless queuing, cramped seating back in coach / economy, noise, dry air, and airports are just horrible places to spend much time…  But it’s only recently that I’ve become prey to terrible jet-lag, which mostly affects me when I’m flying from west to east

There are some things that will reduce the effects of jet-lag, paying for a better seat, not drinking on the aircraft, and sleeping as much as possible on the journey.  Melatonin helps too.

However, following my last trip to the USA, I have been wrecked for a week with jet-lag.  But it’s all worth it when one has a great time on vacation.  (And, I don’t do business travel any more.)

The best thing of all is seeing wonderful sights and creating great memories.

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jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

Life Is No Fairy Tale

The true beauty of a Princess is measured by her purity.

Snow White isn’t supposed to die in the opening scene.

The Handsome Prince is meant to be one of the good guys ~ he isn’t supposed to have an unseen silver dagger underneath his cloak.

Nowhere in the fairy tale does it say that the prince plunges the silver dagger into Snow White’s alabaster breast so that her crimson blood stains the purity of her dress and drips onto the green, green grass of the seven dwarfs’ garden.

The fairy tale does say that Snow White and the Handsome Prince will be linked together forever in broken dreams.  There is no way the Prince will ever be able to forget that he murdered the Fairy Princess he was supposed to love.

He did love her.

He will spend the rest of his life trying to forget her.

He will die trying.

At least the Wicked Witch Bitch will live happily ever after.

There never was a poisoned apple, that was just a story put about by the Seven Dwarfs.

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jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

get your own silver dagger here

Scenes on Sunday ~ Durham, England

Durham; half church of God, half castle against the Scot.

The City of Durham was founded in 995 AD, although I guess there were people living there for centuries before the monks arrived to ‘officially’ found Durham City.  Building work on the spectacularly imposing Norman cathedral was begun in 1093 AD, but there was an earlier Anglo-Saxon cathedral on the site for about 100 years before that.

History is always written by the winners.

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jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

get a book about Durham

 

 

 

The first picture of the cathedral is a stock photo, the tower was covered in scaffold when I was there.

In medieval times touching the door knocker gave criminals sanctuary.

I used to drink in that pub when I was a younger man. 

A Mediterranean Diet is Good for You

Is there anything a Mediterranean Diet can’t cure?

Specifically, I wonder if a Mediterranean diet can help to cure this terrible head-cold I’ve suddenly contracted?  Or more likely stop me from catching a cold in the first place? Well yes it could ~ but only if I really upped the amount of raw garlic I eat.

A diet rich in oily fish, fresh vegetables, olive oil, garlic, and nuts protects our bodies and our brains, especially as we get older.  However, to get the most benefit from a Mediterranean diet we also need to cut down on alcohol ~ one drink a day for women, (try not to spill it, and drink red wine, not white), and one or two drinks a day for men.  Lucky for me I don’t drink at all these days.  But, a glass of red wine every day is actually very good for you.

It isn’t only the Mediterranean peoples who ate that type of diet, the Vikings did too, and nobody ever accused a viking of being a sickly wuss.

Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food.  ~  Hippocrates

People from the Mediterranean region have longer life expectancies and are generally healthier than people from Northern Europe and the United States of America.  The United Kingdom ranks 19th and the USA 31st in terms of average life expectancy, (out of 183 counties listed).

People from around the sunny Mediterranean have lower risks of suffering; Alzheimer’s disease,  type 2 diabetes, cancers, colitis, depression, heart diseases, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, pancreatitis, and strokes.  Trust me, you do not want to get type 2 diabetes, and you really, really, don’t want to have a stroke.

A proper Mediterranean diet isn’t all baguettes, pizza, pasta, and roasted lamb with lots of herbs.  A healthy Mediterranean diet consists of the region’s fruits, vegetables, (especially leafy greens like spinach), seafood, olive oil, cheese, and a couple of glasses of a robust red wine.  These are all anti-inflammatory foods.

But you also need to add a lot of fresh air, sunshine, and lots of physical activity to the mixture to obtain the most benefits.  If you are not already doing so, then you should walk 10,000 steps a day, both to improve your health and help prevent an early death.

Modern scientific evidence suggests that many, (some), of the health benefits of a Mediterranean diet accrue directly from all the good olive oil included in just about every recipe, dish, meal eaten around the Mare Nostrum.

Olive oil is full of monounsaturated fatty acids, (MUFAs), which are supposed to be good for you ~ at least the Mayo Clinic says that MUFAs are good for you.  In fact the well-respected Mayo Clinic says that olive oil is good for you ~ in moderation.

So; your Mediterranean diet should include;

  • The very best extra virgin olive oil you can get.  Extra virgin olive oil is the healthiest fat on Earth.  Only ever buy extra virgin olive oil.
  • Fresh fish.  The oily fish such as salmon, trout, mackerel, pilchards, and sardines are full of vitamins D, B, omega 3 fatty acids, and selenium.  Eating oily fish a couple of times a week is said to help prevent; arthritis, cardiovascular diseases, dementia, prostate cancer, schizophrenia, and blindness / impaired vision.
  • Green fruits and vegetables.  It seems that eating green plant stuff can reduce the risk of cancer, helps maintain strong bones and good teeth, and promotes the health of your eyesight in your senior years.  Popeye was right all along, spinach is good for you ~ and so are kale and dandelion leaves.
  • Garlic.  Everyone knows that Mediterranean people eat a lot of garlic.  The Ancient Egyptians used garlic as a medicine.  Hippocrates, the father of medicine, prescribed a hell of a lot of garlic.  The health benefits of garlic include; fighting off allergies, keeping bacterial and viral infections at bay, improving your skin, prevents colds and sore throats, reduces the risk of thrombosis, lowers blood pressure, reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases, helps prevent type 2 diabetes, reduces cancer risks, helps beat anaemia, and improves your sex life, (if she can stand the smell).  If you can manage it, eat raw garlic, especially if you have dental problems.
  • Nuts and seeds.  Walnuts, almonds and other nuts are good for your heart.  It seems nuts and seeds contain lots of unsaturated fats, omega-3 fatty acids, plant sterols, fibre, vitamin E, and something called L-arginine.  Allegedly L-arginine does wonders for your sex life.
  • A glass of a robust red wine, (when I was drinking I would always choose an Italian red).  The health benefits of red wine were known as far back as the ancient Egyptians.  It seems a regular glass of red wine boosts heart health, lowers bad cholesterol, reduces the risk of degenerative diseases, helps reduce he risks of type 2 diabetes, stops you being so obese, and may prevent Alzheimer’s

However, some things about the Mediterranean lifestyle are very, very bad for you. Men from the Mediterranean coasts of; Spain, France, Corsica, Italy, Greece, (and less desirable places like Slovenia, Bosnia, Croatia and Albania), smoke far too much, drive like maniacs in unroadworthy heaps, drive when they’re drunk, and sleep in the afternoons when they’re drunk.  In medieval Hell-Holes like Turkey, Syria, Morocco, Algeria, Libya, and Egypt you will just get ripped off and / or assaulted / shot / blown up.

And yet, parts of the Mediterranean are among the most beautiful, most magical, most spiritual places on this Mother Earth.  Guys, take your girl there, soon and often.

I’m glad I am a woman who once danced naked in the Mediterranean Sea at Midnight.  ~  Mercedes McCambridge

A Mediterranean Diet is not only good for you, it has some utterly fabulous, great tasting recipes.  Mix Mediterranean with Paleo and you may well have the perfect diet for your health, fitness, well-being, and gustatory satisfaction.

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jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

get robust red wine delivered

Scenes on Sunday ~ the Getty Villa

Overlooking the Pacific, north of Sunset, on the PCH…

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jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

 

 

get the book at Amazon

Old Wives’ Tales are True ~ Mostly

Folklore connects us with the wisdom of centuries past.

Modern science has ‘proved’ that old-fashioned weather lore is pretty accurate ~ for England anyhow, and what Gentleman really cares about any place but England?  We shouldn’t call them old wives’ tales because much true ancient lore comes from sailors, soldiers, and farmers.  Weather lore is often very accurate.  And while older people often give good advice, the wisdom of ages past, seniors don’t much like taking advice from the young.

Advice in old age is foolish; for what can be more absurd than to increase our provisions for the road the nearer we approach to our journey’s end.  ~  Marcus Tullius Cicero.

Going back beyond Roman Times, our oral history is full of rhymes, anecdotes, adages, warnings, and axioms.  They wouldn’t have lasted this long if there wasn’t a lot of truth in them.

  • Red sky at night, sailors delight.  This appears in the Bible, where it relates to shepherds.  It means that if the sky is red at sunset, then tomorrow will be a fine day ~ and this is mostly accurate.  In fact this saying is utterly reliable when the weather comes in mostly from the west, as happens in Great Britain.
  • Mackerel sky and mares tails make tall ships carry low sails.  If there are high clouds that look like the scales of a fish, (altocumulus), and / or streaky clouds like a horse’s tail, (cirrus), then we are due for a storm with high winds within the day ~ allegedly.  As it goes, this is always true.  A prudent skipper will be ready to shorten sail if he sees a mackerel sky.
  • St. Swithun’s Day.  If it rains on St. Swithun’s day then it will rain for the next 40 days and nights.  This lore, and the poem that goes with it can be traced back to the 14th Century, but probably goes as far back as the 9th Century in Southern England.  It’s mostly not true ~ we never get 40 days and nights of consistent weather in England.  However, St Swithun’s Day, (or St. Swithin’s Day), is on July 15th, and you can guarantee that if it does rain on that day England will have a wash-out of a summer.  As a matter of fact, it rained all day here on St. Swithun’s day this year, and the weather has been very wet ever since then.
  • It’s too cold for snow.  In England this saying is true.  It can be too cold for it to snow.  Actually the whole saying is a misconception, it should really be ‘it’s too dry to snow’.  Very cold air is always dry air, because only warmer air will carry water vapour, and you need water vapour in the air to have snow.  It almost never snows in bitterly cold Antarctica.
  • A ring around the moon means rain or snow is coming soon.  This is very true, and also applies to predicting the arrival of a hurricane.  The ring around the moon, (less frequently a ring around the sun), is due to ice crystals forming in cirrus clouds in the high atmosphere.  If you remember cirrus clouds are also the mare’s tails that predict storms.
  • A stitch in time saves nine.  This saying goes at least as far back as the 18th century in England, and it’s completely true, relevant today, and utterly applicable to our lives.  What is means is that if you sort out a small problem now, it will save you from it growing into a much bigger problem in the future.  It is exactly analogous to that other saying One year’s seeds is seven years weeds, which appears in Shakespeare’s Richard II.  Ignore a small problem and it will soon grow into a great big problem.  Ignore acorns and before you know where you are you will be up to your armpits in oak trees.
  • There will be the devil to pay.  Meaning that if we do something very bad there will be terrible consequences later.  This is always true.  This saying has nothing whatsoever to do with Satan ~ like many English epigrams it has maritime origins.  ‘The Devil’ was the longest seam on a planked wooden ship, and ‘Paying’ means caulking.  If you’ve ever done it you’ll know that caulking a seam on a boat is a heartless task, involving thick string-like stuff, tar, a special caulking chisel, a hammer, and a lot of time.

A hell of a lot of English folklore goes back at least as far as the Roman occupation of Britain; for example ‘If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need’.  This saying is supposedly from Marcus Tullius Cicero, who died in 43 BC.

The snag with using folklore for your weather forecasts is that you don’t get to see the cute weather girls on TV.  Seems a guy can’t have everything.

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jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

 

 

check out this book

Air Pollution and Insomnia

The health effects of air pollution imperil human lives.

So, you have trouble sleeping?  Air pollution in your bedroom could be the reason you suffer from insomnia.  If the air in your bedroom isn’t as sparkling clean and clear as the freshest mountain breeze, it’s quite likely that you will suffer from insomnia.

The clever people in white coats tell us that people living in areas with raised nitrogen dioxide levels, (for example if you live near a busy road), were up to 60% more likely to suffer from sleep deprivation than were people living in places that had clean air.

These new findings indicate the possibility that commonly experienced levels of air pollution not only affect heart and lung disease, but also sleep quality.  ~  Dr. Martha E. Billings

Air pollution increases the risk of you having breathing problems during sleep ~ which will naturally wake you up, or at least give you poor quality sleep.  Breathing problems during sleep have also been linked to night terrors and nightmares.

So what can you do to improve the quality of the air you breathe in your home, and especially in your bedroom at night?

  • Use non toxic paints when you decorate.
  • Sanitize your telephone frequently, and never use the phone late at night, or when you’ve been drinking.  And, never, ever smoke in your bedroom.
  • Choose hard floors over carpets ~ carpets are just a jungle of muck, dirt, pet dander and dust.  If you can’t easily change your flooring vacuum at least twice a week.
  • Choose solid wood furniture over composites which will give off formaldehyde over time.
  • Turn your mattress frequently, use a washable mattress topper and wash it weekly
  • Use allergen proof pillows, and change your pillowcases every couple of days.  Change all your bed linen weekly.
  • Don’t put clothes you have worn outside on the bed.
  • Open the windows on breezy days to air your home.
  • Buy an air purifier for the bedroom.  The EPA has a guide to air cleaners in the home.
  • Have air filtering plants in your home, especially in your bedroom.  Choose low-maintenance varieties such as; Mother-in-Law’s Tongue / Snake Plant, Spider Plant, Garden Mum, (the garden mum removes formaldehyde, benzine, and trichloroethylene from the air), Boston Fern, and the Peace Lily.  Think about a nice, green, air filtering plant on your desk at work.

Our homes are not the safe haven we think they are.  Most people are adversely affecting their health just by breathing the air in their homes and offices.  You too can be affected in lots of ways when you are continually exposed to the polluted air in your own bedroom, and particularly around your own bed.  You may suffer problems such as; skin complaints, breathing difficulties, and insomnia.

Sleep disturbance is especially common in women, starting at their midlife.  As good sleep is essential for good health, it’s important that we do something to improve the quality of our rest at night.  And it behoves us to improve the quality of our sleep, starting right now.

O sleep, O gentle sleep.  Nature’s soft nurse, how I have frightened thee.  That though no more will weigh my eyelids down, And steep my senses in forgetfulness.  ~  Shakespeare, Henry IV, Part 2

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jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

Your dirty phone may be affecting your health.

Air Purifier at Amazon

light of selene

There are nights when the wolves are silent and only the moon howls.

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goddess of the moonlight

shine your love down on me

make it kind, strong, and bright

be with me in wanderings by the sea

never leave me alone again in the night

do you feel my heart beating, am I dreaming?

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jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

these days I always use a Lumix

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