An episode of Autopsy had much to do with the liver

This one made me think—about my coffee intake. Although the program was about alcoholism, the common link for the rest of us is what we do to our liver.

If one can relate, Autopsy is an appropriate title to make one think twice about taking care of one’s self. It made me think twice about my coffee intake.

It is a television series from Britain’s ITV studios that analyses the life and last days of famous people. Dr. Jason Payne-James looks at the cause of death that is on the celebrity’s death certificate but looking closely at the evidence he concurs with the certificate or comes to another conclusion.

The subjects of the series are people well-known in film, music, and sports. For example, the days leading up to the untimely deaths of actors Robin Williams and Heath Ledger are analysed. In the episode I watched, the life and death of Irish-born Manchester United footballer George Best are scrutinized.

It wasn’t easy for Best. The reason for Best’s drinking habit is given at the start. He was a shy young man and became a social drinker. This led him to going to the bottle when challenges in life came his way.

One such challenge was the death of his mother. She couldn’t take the public criticism of his son when he gave up football and she took to the bottle and eventually died of alcoholism. He suffered in that process, too.

The tricky winger is regarded as the one of the greatest UK footballers [soccer] if not the best ever. But his downfall was that he had a disease—he was an alcoholic. Death by alcoholism is not mentioned on the death certificate, but Dr Payne-James postulates that Best may have died from alcohol withdrawal syndrome. Payne-James investigates. This is where this program gets scary, if one cares about the liver.

Best’s alcoholism, which was a progressive disease over thirty years, certainly had an impact on Best’s liver. Doesn’t heavy coffee drinking over time have some impact on the liver, as well?

A lesson of this episode is to look after yourself whatever’s happened to you. Keep off self-destructive tendencies no matter what it takes. Do something about it. This program can scare one into submission to doing the good thing.


Warmth in the writing is magnetic

It occurred to me, as I was plowing through the old Film Review annuals and comparing its reviews to reviews in another film annual of the time, that one had warm delivery and the other didn’t.

One annual won out because warmth in the writing is magnetic, more so that edgy or cutting edge criticism.

It seemed to me that why one film annual survived for longer than the other one is that one was readable and sounded warm in the delivery and the other sounded eloquently critical and unreadable to the average ear.

Undervalued perhaps, is warm delivery, but where one sees it, it draws one in.


Exploring a new writing genre: an overview

While on the road of writing, if it’s full-time, part-time, casual, or as one can write in-between the necessities of life, sometimes there’s the urge to reach beyond the boundaries of one’s normal genres of writing. I’ve desired it and tried it, but tended to fall back on the predictable or the road well-travelled.

I call this writing experimentation “writing exercises”, like we did at school. A writing exercise has a time-frame to complete, a certain amount of words to finish, and is a certain genre. At the end one discovers if one is going to realistically be a writer in that genre. I’m not quite there yet at discovering it. It takes time.

One try at writing in a new genre may not be enough unless you’re a natural and can get published with a lot of luck or predestination. Keep on doing writing exercises until your are reasonably sure that it may work or that it does not look like working. Get a neutral person to read it and get feedback, someone who can be objective.

Of course, one may do writing exercises after a certain setback in the genre of writing you’re exploring. A piece was rejected, say, and one mustn’t be rejected again, so has got to get it right. Or one is ambitious and uncertain how a piece will be received.

As long as one does the best one can do at the new genre, if one has the time and commitment to do so. At some stage one will see where one’s writing in a new genre will lead.

Maybe the difference in getting published or not in a new genre is not the quality of work itself, but the gaining of an opportunity or not. So, know yourself if a piece of writing in a new genre you’re exploring is good or not.

You can only know you did your upmost best, published or unpublished.

As the photo in this post explains in pictures: writing can be pain whichever stage you are at, be that practising writing or getting rejected. But with a long awaited opportunity comes joy. Without an opportunity is pain, but although it’s easy for me to say, one must bear it and come to terms with it. There is another plan or road to travel.


Practical reasons for behavior makes better sense than ‘faith in self’

“Faith in yourself” is believed to help someone move from one state in life to another. It’s believed to help someone make progress.

Yet one is already moving along in life. One doesn’t need to have faith in self. One just goes and does.

What about in other circumstances? It’s the same. If someone is searching for something in life, that search already has inner momentum. One is already impelled because one is needy and dry.

But in everyday terms, life just keeps on going.

If someone is severely limited or debilitated it may take extra effort, however. Does believing in yourself work then? I think if someone needs to, they will move out of their predicament. It’s more inspiration and the need to rather than empowerment to. The need will drive one out.

What if someone is getting on with their life but there are obstacles or road blocks in one’s way? Wouldn’t faith in self empower over and above the obstacles?

One just doesn’t know how much they are already moving along. Obstacles just become part of the everyday hazards that have to be dealt with. Faith in self has nothing to do with it.

What about moving into a career or new vocation? Wouldn’t one need faith then, to believe one can achieve it, to get through the hard yards of achieving it?

Again, one will fight for what they want, but quite a few of the things we do have practical origins and faith in self does not figure consciously.

Saying to have faith in self is so overused.


That sweet day of chocolate renaissance

Not that I’m always intent on what I should eat, as if food is something not to be enjoyed, but my obsession with reducing sugar begun with thinking about my diet. I have less processed sugar because I believe less of it is good for me.

I believe the experts when they say that processed sugar should be eliminated from our diet, but of course I’m not perfect as I nick off with a chocolate, more motivated by a sweet friendly environment than biology.

My obsession with sugar has produced unforeseen consequences: empathy with food documentaries such as That Sugar Film and finding wise articles about the make-up of our food such as Just a Matter of Taste in the TV Guide. One could say I’m hooked—on taking less sugar as much as possible that is.

That Sugar Film is a 2014 Australian documentary that positions itself on the side of the debate that says added sugar in food is not good for you. I agree. In fact, I’m adamant, because I’ve been off juice drinks for over a year now, with a couple of relapses here and there, and I think I’m better for it. I don’t miss these drinks by and large. The taste for them has basically gone.

In the documentary one interviewee said that “addiction to sugar” has caused materialism, in that people will buy sugary products that satisfy their cravings for more sugar. Sugar can be addictive so there’s a need for more.

Perhaps there is a better way of having what we like and not getting fat. TV Guide article—Just a Matter of Taste—raises an interesting point about having sweet food with less sugar in an interview with Michael Mosley, the presenter of the documentary The Secrets of Your Food that screens tonight in some parts of the world.

Mosley says in the article that the aroma molecules of sweet tasting fruit, such as strawberries, trick the brain into thinking there’s more sugar in it than there actually is.

If scientists can learn how fruits, which contain less sugar, but give off that sweet taste, it may help in reducing sugar content in foods (and still taste sweet). [TV Guide, February 10-16, Just a Matter of Taste, by James Rampton].

There are those of us who hold out hope for the day when we can eat chocolate that tastes salubriously sweet, just like a strawberry, and the amount of sugar is reduced very significantly.

Underneath, we all get that sneaking feeling–is that chocolate doing me any good? In the health conscious West, we all could do we a little light relief on those days when one has an appetite for a chocolate and one knows eating one is better than the bad old days.


That special one

I’ve been musing on what Star Wars film I like best, while reading the original trilogy based on the films. This is not a review of any particular film or book in the Star Wars lexicon. I still rate them the same. But I wondered, on reading Return of the Jedi, which was better? The Empire Strikes Back was a better story. But there’s something special about the original, A New Hope. It seemed everything else in Star Wars was supplementary and not even necessary compared to the first one. For years I thought The Empire Strikes Back was the best one. But although it’s very good, it has that supplementary or add-on feel to the original. Star Wars A New Hope is, for me, that special film and story, the one that no one needed to add to.


Film appreciation, then what?

Is film appreciation the end of the road when it comes to wining and dining film?

Check out the first year of a newbie, who becomes a neophyte to film. Say with a year of the likes of The Killing Fields, Amadeus, and A Passage to India, wouldn’t the rest pale in compassion–forever?

Yet one explores the rest, still. Once one has it, appreciation may never die, even when one’s view of films takes a new turn or turns over a new leaf. Appreciation is still present, somehow.


Counting the cost

That Sugar Film (2014) is an Australian documentary that positions itself on the side of the debate that says added sugar in food is not good for you. I agree. In fact, I’m adamant.

I’ve been off juice drinks for almost a year now and don’t miss them. The taste for them has gone. This documentary has motivated me to do more.

There’s a theological rationale for it, too. God the Creator wouldn’t make our bodies react in adverse ways to food that isn’t good for us or isn’t supposed to be there.

One interviewee said that “addiction to sugar” has caused materialism, in that people will buy things that satisfy their cravings for more sugar. Materialism is an artificial way to live as it can leave one feeling empty. But empty for what? More things?


The final judge?

There are different levels of engaging media and art, but the top level perhaps, is when a work or piece of art speaks to the heart. Then one has engaged with the “eyes” of the heart, which is a genuine response. One can begin to see everything in “level one”, the level of seeing what speaks to the heart, and this may be a genuine response. Would seeing with the “eyes of the heart” be the final judge?