I’m at the Home Depot today, in the hardware aisle. A grizzled, gray-haired workman, 60’s, is rummaging thru the nuts and bolts…and he grumbles, “I shouldn’t have to do this shit!”

I realized he wasn’t speaking to me. He’d realized a truth so fundamental to him it demanded utterance. But I heard him…and laughed out loud.

None of us should have to do this shit!” I said. And then we both laughed out loud. That was a genuine, human exchange between two strangers…not all that common these days…at least in my reality.

By “this shit”, we meant our mutual home repairs…but also (and I think we both came from this wider perspective) our daily lives. Lives becoming increasingly problematic; demanding more effort, more time, more attention, more compromise…more acceptance.

I do hope all this will change for the better, in time to come. Yet I respect the possibility that it may not…that life may continue to challenge us…may even raise the stakes.

Soooo…our quality of life may soon be determined by our ability to cope…and endure…and improvise…and forgive…and learn…


25 June 2009


(I’m re-posting this from January 11th because of an ABC report that aired nationally this evening. Recent medical trials have verified the efficacy of red yeast rice in reducing cholesterol. Its been around for about a thousand years in Asia. If you’re on statins and struggle with their side effects,you might want to look into this alternative treatment. I love seeing ancient treatments gaining the scientific validation that their effectiveness deserves;) 15 June ’09

The Road to Wellness…it’s paved with red meat;)

I am upon the cusp of a milestone (and major league golfing discounts;) as my 65th birthday approaches next month. I appear to be fit and in reasonably good health but looks can be deceiving. I have my share of bad habits including (but hardly limited to) 49 years of smoking Pall Malls, drinking rum, beer and single-malt scotches daily, as well as a fondness for bacon, BBQ ribs, rib-eye steaks and popcorn. It’s hardly a regimen I’d recommend to most but it seems to work for me, at least I’ve survived it thus far and I do enjoy my life.

While much of my wellbeing is genetic or in spite of my bad habits, I do have a familial history of heart attack, as well as my own past brushes with mortality in Vietnam, which included extensive vascular surgery. In recent years I’ve dealt with rising cholesterol levels, having reached levels in excess of 240. Since I’m not gonna give up smoking or drinking or steaks and knowing my past surgeries and diet make me vulnerable to strokes, I resolved to deal with this issue.

I am resistant to taking medication. Any meds put into my body invariably lead to side effects, some worse than the condition they’re intended to remedy. So in 2003, I began a regiment fostered by Res-Q 1250, something I’d heard about on a radio commercial. It involved Omega-3 marine oils and a few other supplements. I gave up butter and whole milk and really committed to olive oil, salmon, Cherrios and soy milk.

I have a physical exam in early January annually, thanks to my Screen Actors Guild health coverage, so I have the data from the past 12 years on file. In a year, I went from 238 to 190. In 2005, I was down to 109! Yep. I figured that reading must be a mistake but no, it was so. My doctor was pleased and I went on my merry carnivorous way. The next year, it’d climbed to 160 or so, but I felt, “No worries.” By 2007, it was back above 200, by 2008 it was 234. OK, time to worry.

Admittedly, I really do love steaks and popcorn and hamburgers. Yeah, I like salmon but I’d been feeling bullet-proof and eating anything my heart desired (Oh my, that may be a Freudian slip). I know myself and I am not gonna stop drinking. I’m not gonna stop smoking. I’m not gonna live on salmon and I’m damn sure gonna enjoy popcorn with my movies! So, is it time to bite the bullet and accept the side effects of the statin team? (It’s hardly a money issue, BTW, the Res-Q and accompanying stuff costs maybe $400 annually, probably less than a Lipitor prescription with co-pays.)

This past summer I told my doctor I intended to try to turn this all around and began to research. Something had changed. This regimen had stopped working for me, but why? I thought back to the beginning. My Res-Q 1250 had originally come in capsules but I hated having to swallow five of those large suckers a day, so I’d switched to their liquid formula. And over the years, their supplementary choices had changed to stuff with Niacin and ‘cell restoration’, blah, blah, blah. I called the company and asked what my original regimen had been.

It turns out my initial success involved accompanying dosages of Red Yeast Rice. For whatever reason, they’d discontinued that product , no longer even offered them…and I’d never noticed, just kept ordering what Res-Q advertised. I found a company that did sell them (Far East Secrets) and in June, 2008 went back on a daily regimen of four omega capsules and four Red Yeast Rice capsules. Verrrry long story short, between June of 2008 and January of 2009, my cholesterol has dropped from 235+ to 167! Yep.

Everyone knows the benefit of Omega fish oils. I’m telling you that at least in my case, the Red Yeast Rice makes a big difference in the effectiveness of this combined regimen.

I won’t reinvent the wheel. I’m just gonna stay on this formulation for 2009…and you should check back with me in 2010 (assuming we’re all still here;) to see if I can break below 100!

(BTW, I discovered that COSTCO carries Red Yeas Rice capsules! And I did buy a bevy of PRIME rib-eyes today, August 10th, ’09. Oh, Happy Day;)


If you live in a mobile home and you have advance warning about an impending fire, earthquake, hurricane, mudslide, tornado or other Act of God and you do not move that sucker out of harms way…then you need to rethink the concept. Your home don’t sound all that mobile to me.