Smorgasbord Blog Magazine Weekly Round Up – January 19th – 25th 2020 – Music, Food, Guests and Humour – Enjoy the Party.


Welcome to the round up of posts that you might have missed in the last week here on Smorgasbord.

I hope that everyone is doing well, the week has flown by as usual and suddenly, or so it seems to me, we are at the end of January. The good news is that spring is around the corner.

A couple of reminders.

If you have a new book release coming out in February please let me know. If you are already an author in the Cafe and Bookstore I just need the date.

If you are new to the Cafe.. then details are in this post. It is FREE: Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore

The Cafe and Bookstore is in the process of a makeover with new links being added and shortcuts to buy links and blogs. Sorry for the mixed look at the moment but working through it over the next few weeks.

My thanks as always to my contributors and guests who bring such great content to the blog each week, and of course to you for dropping and supporting, by liking, commenting and sharing…

William Price King with Charles Mingus – 1922- 1979

Two more stories from the collection.

Grace – The Gift

Hannah – Finding a Way to Move Forward

This week in Colleen’s Tuesday Poetry Challenge 161 we are treated to a photo prompt selected by Willow Willers which is stunning.

Mirror Cinquain Ritual of Mehndi by Sally Cronin

My review for A Sweet Smell of Strawberries by Mary Crowley

D.Wallace Peach treats us to a therapeutic shampoo with special powers…

Image Pixabay combo

Short Story Clarifying Shampoo by D.Wallace Peach

Jacqui Murray shares some strategies to survive the work in  progress.

12 Survival Tips for Writers by Jacqui Murray

Richard Dee does not just create other worlds in his scifi books, but also does some nifty creating in the kitchen… peanut cookies..

Author Richard Dee showcases his skill in the kitchen.

Short Story Ghosts in the attic by Darlene Foster

Is the editor you hired actually doing the editing by D.G. Kaye

Memoir – Into Africa with 3 kids, 13 crates and a husband by Ann Patras

Non-Fiction – Speak Flapper: Slang of the 1920s by Teagan Geneviene

Mystery – The Charli McClung Mysteries book 6 – How Deep in the Darkness

Short Story The Shirt by Richard Dee

Flash Sarah Brentyn, Family Claire Fullerton, 1920s Elizabeth Gauffreau

WritingProse Harmony Kent, Fantasy Jack Eason,Thriller Allan Hudson

Recycling Carol Taylor, Alien Beetley Pete, Q&A D.G. Kaye with Jane Sturgeon

Blog award Karen Ingalls, Bletchley Park Mike Biles, Author Spotlight James J. Cudney with Zach Abrams

Interviews Kellie Butler with Judith Barrow, Jo Lambert with Jane Risdon, Dogs by Debbie the Dog Lady

Interview Book Club Mom with Ritu Bhathal, Mae Clair with Victoria Zigler, Afghanistan with Mary Smith

Books for Life Patricia Furstenberg, Fantasy Free Aurora Jean Alexander, What does your ring finger length mean by Jim Borden

Research is indicating that as well as possible liver damage resulting from taking too many paracetamol, it might also be impacting the way we relate to others.

Concerns are raised regarding Paracetamol and mental wellbeing

This week’s shopping list by nutrient is part three with the minerals Calcium to Manganese

Grocery Shopping by Nutrient Part Three Calcium to Manganese

More funnies from Debby and new jokes from Sally

Debby Gies with more funnies and guest poet Ann Patras

Thank you very much for dropping in today and I hope you will join me again next week.. thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Health Column – Health in the News- #Empathy #liver damage and pain killers by Sally Cronin


There are few of us who are not aware of the opioid drug crisis in our countries, but there are also side effects associated with some over the counter medication that nearly all of us will have in our bathroom cabinet. Often taking daily for chronic pain but certainly for several days at a time for acute pain.

How often do we reach for the paracetamol when we have a headache, migraine, aches and pains, influenza, PMS and toothache?

Recent research has highlighted a side effect that I believe is also feeding into the pain medication crisis we are facing. Because of the region of the brain that painkillers target.

I followed up on this recent post to check on the findings and was stunned by what I discovered. Daily Mail – Paracetamol and Empathy

  • The world’s most popular painkiller, taken by millions every day, blunts physical pain by reducing the flow of chemicals that make nerve endings sensitive.
  • But research suggests these chemicals circulate in brain regions that also control empathy and compassion.
  • Dominik Mischkowski, a psychologist at Ohio University, believes paracetamol, or acetaminophen, warp people’s personalities by dulling their emotions.

What interested me was that according to some sites… they don’t actually know definitively how paracetamol (acetaminophen) works. It is thought to suppress the activity of ‘pain messengers’ called prostaglandins in the central nervous system. This is assumed because of the relief that is felt wherever in the body the pain is situated. This implies that the pain messengers, sent to the brain to warn of danger to the body have been blocked.

If you read the insert for the various generic names for acetaminophen such as paracetamol, Panadol, Tylenol and Calpol for children, side effects are listed as rare but do include the following.

  • Rash
  • Reduction in levels of key blood cells including neutrophils that are essential white blood cells in immune system function
  • Also low level of platelets in the blood which are necessary for blood clotting.

However more concerning is the evidence that long term use of acetaminophen pain relieve can lead to toxicity and damage to the liver.

And one of the reasons for this is that the drug has so many uses and is available under various generic names.

So you have a muscle pain, you begin to suffer from a cold and you suffer from insomnia and you take the ‘safe’ dosage of three different medications. However you are now running the risk of toxicity and liver damage.

Addiction.

Whilst acetaminophen has not been associated before with addiction, when it is combined with other medication it produces a high. American Addiction Centres

More potent forms of acetaminophen, however, such as Tylenol 3, can only be obtained through a doctor’s prescription, as it also contains a significant amount of codeine, another painkilling drug. Acetaminophen alone is not particularly habit-forming, but the codeine in Tylenol 3 can lead to dependency.

The codeine in Tylenol 3 can cause feelings of euphoria, which leads some people to misuse the drug. Tylenol 3 has also been shown to enhance the effects of other drugs, such as narcotics, alcohol, general anesthetics, tranquilizers, sedative-hypnotics, and other central nervous system depressants. Combining acetaminophen with any of these drugs increases the risk of experiencing the adverse side effects of each drug.

However, research would indicate that acetaminophen on its own, can impact the same part of the brain that is involved with our social interaction and impacting our ability to feel empathy  National Library of Medicine

Acetaminophen – a potent physical painkiller that also reduces empathy for other people’s suffering – blunts physical and social pain by reducing activation in brain areas (i.e. anterior insula and anterior cingulate) thought to be related to emotional awareness and motivation. Some neuroimaging research on positive empathy (i.e., the perception and sharing of positive affect in other people) suggests that the experience of positive empathy also recruits these paralimbic cortical brain areas.

We thus hypothesized that acetaminophen may also impair affective processes related to the experience of positive empathy. We tested this hypothesis in a double-blind, placebo-controlled experiment. Specifically, we administered 1,000 mg acetaminophen or a placebo and measured effects on different measures of positive empathy while participants read scenarios about the uplifting experiences of other people.

Results showed that acetaminophen reduced personal pleasure and other-directed empathic feelings in response to these scenarios. In contrast, effects on perceived positivity of the described experiences or perceived pleasure in scenario protagonists were not significant. These findings suggest that (1) acetaminophen reduces affective reactivity to other people’s positive experiences and (2) the experience of physical pain and positive empathy may have a more similar neurochemical basis than previously assumed. Because the experience of positive empathy is related to prosocial behavior, our findings also raise questions about the societal impact of excessive acetaminophen consumption.

How many paracetamol painkillers should we be taking?

You should not take more than eight 500gm paracetamol within a 24 hour period.

Check all other medication you are taking to ensure that you are not ingesting acetaminophen they contain as well and overdosing. Long term this can lead to toxicity and liver damage.

Always check with your doctor of chemist before taking paracetamol: NHS Paracetamol

  • have had an allergic reaction to paracetamol or any other medicines in the past
  • have liver or kidney problems
  • regularly drink more than the maximum recommended amount of alcohol (14 units a week)
  • take medicine for epilepsy
  • take medicine for tuberculosis (TB)
  • take the blood-thinner warfarin and you may need to take paracetamol on a regular basis

What are the alternatives?

If the pain is acute (short term) I will take paracetamol, but with more long term issues such as arthritis I prefer to look at alternative therapies.

  •  I take turmeric in capsule form and also in my food, it is an anti-inflammatory that is proving interesting for a number of chronic conditions and also brain health and I wrote and article on it last year. Cancer, Alzheimers, Curcumin, Turmeric
  • I successfully recovered from a knee injury with acupuncture and physiotherapy without taking painkillers.
  • I also use essential oils such as lavender, rosemary and tea tree oil.

If you are suffering from chronic pain then it is important that you consult a doctor diagnosing the cause. Conditions such as arthritis are clearly obvious, but internal pain could be down to a number of health issues that need thorough investigation.

Don’t spend weeks or months on over the counter painkillers that could be masking a serious condition that needs treatment.

Get checked out.

©Sally Cronin Just Food for Health 1998 – 2020

I am a qualified nutritional therapist with twenty- two years experience working with clients in Ireland and the UK as well as being a health consultant on radio in Spain. Although I write a lot of fiction, I actually wrote my first two books on health, the first one, Size Matters, a weight loss programme 20 years ago, based on my own weight loss of 154lbs. My first clinic was in Ireland, the Cronin Diet Advisory Centre and my second book, Just Food for Health was written as my client’s workbook. Since then I have written a men’s health manual, and anti-aging programme, articles for magazines and posts here on Smorgasbord.

If you would like to browse my health books and fiction you can find them here: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/my-books-and-reviews-2019-2020/

Thank you for dropping in today and if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact me here or on sally.cronin@moyhill.com

 

 

 

 

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up- 18th – 24th November – Storms, Malta, Thanksgiving Menu and Tributes, and Christmas Book Fair.


Welcome to the week round up of posts that you might have missed here on Smorgasbord.

For most of us in the Northern Hemisphere it has been a stormy week with flooding, high winds and lashing rain… and political highs and lows too!. I watched as four hardy workmen dug holes in a hail storm for our new fence posts, and had my wish for a swimming pool on the doorstep fulfilled. I even unearthed some of my dog walking gear from the depths of the wardrobe and was thankful that other shoppers in Tesco looked like they were heading out on an Antarctic expedition too.

As an antidote to the continuous downpour, I spent several days researching our destination for our 40th wedding anniversary next year. A month or two earlier than the actual date to ensure good weather, we are heading to Malta. I can recommend Oliver’s Travel who made the process very straightforward and were very responsive at every step.

My father was Commanding Officer of  Royal Naval WT station Rinella in Malta from 1959 to 1961 and whilst I have very happy memories of our time there being age 6 to 8 years old, my two sisters were 16 and 17 years old and remember a great deal more than I do. They will be joining us for a week and hopefully despite the amazing changes to Malta, we can still find some of their old haunts. We have an amazing villa booked, and as the wind and rain lash the windows, we do at least have some sunshine to look forward too. Hopefully after a good summer here to prime the tan.

We went to the movies yesterday, and despite being a wet Saturday afternoon, we and one other couple were the only occupants. The film was in its second week and the weather was atrocious and I suppose people had been out shopping all day. I do wonder how multiplexes will manage as more and more film streaming services come online with annual subscriptions. Even with a senior ticket you are still looking for £20 for two, multiply that by a cinema visit once a month and you would be able to stream a great many movies for a great deal less per year.

Anyway.. being into action films, we enjoyed 21 Bridges – a police drama set in Manhattan – great action, script, acting and production. If you are into that kind of film we can highly recommend.

Here is the official trailer for the movie..courtesy of Movieclips Trailers

It is Thanksgiving for many of you this week and in the spirit of being grateful, I have a few posts this week paying tribute to four of the contributors during the year who continue to create new content to entertain, inform and inspire you…

In this post today I am featuring my friend D.G. Kaye, Debby Gies who has been a supportive influence since I began the blog and who writes the Travel Column and co-presents the Laughter Lines and Afternoon Video.

A time to be thankful for friends and collatorators – D.G. Kaye

On Tuesday I am featuring William Price King in concert, celebrating over five years of the Music Column, on Wednesday a spotlight on Carol Taylor our food columnist but also an advocate for the environment, health and Thailand. And on Thursday the lovely Annette Rochelle Aben who for the last year has been introducing us to our universal energy with her numerology column… A talented poet and broadcaster, Annette is a wonderful talent.

I little bit earlier than last year, but with Thanksgiving not until 28th of November, I thought those of you having Turkey for that celebration might enjoy some of the dishes Carol Taylor created for this menu. Traditional Christmas Menu (and some ideas for Thanksgiving)

Carol Taylor’s Thanksgiving/Christmas Traditional Menu

I have saved up this repeat of Jessica Norrie’s Literary Column  to share as we move into the gift buying season… these books are timeless and the recommendations are never out of date. Picking the right book for the person you are buying for is an art. Jessica shares the books that she has gifted her daughter….

Christmas Book Gifts from Jessica Norrie

This week Mike Biles takes us to Oxford and shares a pint or two with literary greats who have frequented the ancient pubs of the city….How often do you walk into a pub mentally dwelling on things like wizards and talking lions? Be honest now. If you need help with this, try stepping over the threshold of Oxford’s Eagle and Child, because it was a favourite watering-hole of close friends JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis.

Eagle, Child, pub, Oxford, Tolkien, Lewis

Aslan and Gandalf Go for a Pint

Another one of my favourite movies with stunning soundtrack.. Gladiator.

Music from the Movies – Gladiator – Now We Are Free

Pneumonia – Appalling statistics – Six children per hour hospitalised in the UK

I was staggered and shocked when I read this headline . I cannot believe that in this day and age, in a country with access to one of the finest medical systems in the world, that people are so crass as to ignore the dangers to their children by avoiding vaccinations.

Shocking statistics on children with pneumonia in UK

Mirror Cinquain – Westward by Sally Cronin in response to Colleen’s Tuesday Poetry Challenge 154

We wait
within the cave;
looking towards the east.
The sun rises to guide the way
westward.
We leave,
driven to pass on precious genes,
of strength and stamina,
humans will need
to thrive.

Colleen’s Tuesday Poetry Challenge 154 – Mirror Cinquain – Westward

This week’s prompt for the Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge by Charli Mills  is Romance... in all its glory… It is the glue that keeps a relationship strong along with other elements such as laughter and respect. And your heart can flutter at any age when you receive a romantic gesture, grand or as brief as a touch of a hand on your cheek.

Flash Fiction – Romantic Gestures

My review for Vikings – Taken (The Great Heathen Army Book 1)

In the first part of the Sewing Circle, a group of elderly women are faced with a violent and devastating event.

Flights of Fancy – The Sewing Circle Part One.

Justice is on the agenda for the Sewing Circle and with a little outside help, they are determined to achieve it.

Flights of Fancy – The Sewing Circle – Part Two

Delighted to welcome author and book reviewer Kevin Cooper as a guest to talk about book reviews and I am sure you will find it very helpful as I did.

Kevin Cooper on Book Reviews

New book on the shelves

Doggerel – Life with a Small Dog by Sue Vincent

Examining Kitchen Cupboards by Stevie Turner

The Secret Life of Humans by Jo Robinson

Oh Baubles Romance Novella by Harmony Kent

Author updates and reviews

Anita Dawes, Chuck Jackson, Sharon Marchisello and Olga Nunez Miret

Denise O’Hagan, Christa Polkinhorn, Miriam Hurdle, Iain Kelly, Harmony Kent

Vashti Quiroz Vega, Mary Smith, Teri Polen, Karen Ingalls, Patty Fletcher

Jan Sikes, Janice Spina, D.Wallace Peach, Terri Webster Schrandt

Laura M. Baird, Lizzie Chantree, Colleen M. Chesebro, S.A. Harris

Mary Smith Afghan Adventure, WIP Jacqui Murray, Marketing Nicholas Rossis

25 books Patricia Furstenberg, 99p/99c Bette A. Stevens, Funnies Story Reading Ape

Christmas Carol Taylor, Dogsitting Debbie ‘The Dog Lady’, Blueberry Pie Dolly Aizenman

Crystals M.J. Mallon, Indies showcase Richard Dee, Blog comments Hugh W. Roberts

Free books James J. Cudney, Spotlight Valentina Cirasola with Robbie Cheadle, Hanging Curtains Beetley Pete

More fun and laughter from Debby and Sally

Even more fun from Debby and Sally

 

Thank you very much for dropping in during the week and today, and I hope you will join me again next week.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Health Column – Health in the News – Prostate Cancer, Measles


There have been some interesting breakthroughs in a number of health areas recently and it is important to keep up to date on common conditions particularly, as it enables you to interact with your doctor in a positive way when discussing treatment.

How prostate cancer could be cured in just FIVE DAYS: Radiotherapy breakthrough as doctors trial high doses that clear tumours much quicker

  • Researchers gave five stronger blasts of radiation to patients over two weeks
  • Found it caused no more side effects than current eight-week standard therapy
  • It could save patients months of gruelling treatments by condensing care

Prostate cancer patients are set to benefit from a radical new approach to radiotherapy which cuts the length of treatment from eight weeks to five days. Traditionally, radiotherapy is given over 39 days – requiring men to go to hospital every weekday for nearly two months. But doctors have conducted a trial that delivers far more powerful beams of precisely targeted radiation in only five sessions.

Read the rest of the article Daily Mail

Measles outbreaks are causing great concern in countries that previously had a high percentage of vaccination cover providing herd immunity..Here is an extract from a report from the World Health Organisation in April which shows the current trends. Also some of the headlines from around the world with regard to current outbreaks. WHO – Measles 2019

Measles cases have continued to climb into 2019. Preliminary global data shows that reported cases rose by 300 percent in the first three months of 2019, compared to the same period in 2018. This follows consecutive increases over the past two years.

While this data is provisional and not yet complete, it indicates a clear trend. Many countries are in the midst of sizeable measles outbreaks, with all regions of the world experiencing sustained rises in cases. Current outbreaks include the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Madagascar, Myanmar, Philippines, Sudan, Thailand and Ukraine, causing many deaths – mostly among young children.

Over recent months, spikes in case numbers have also occurred in countries with high overall vaccination coverage, including the United States of America as well as Israel, Thailand, and Tunisia, as the disease has spread fast among clusters of unvaccinated people.

Measles is one of the world’s most contagious diseases, with the potential to be extremely severe. In 2017, the most recent year for which estimates are available, it caused close to 110 000 deaths. Even in high-income countries, complications result in hospitalization in up to a quarter of cases, and can lead to lifelong disability, from brain damage and blindness to hearing loss.

In the USA – CDC update on Measles Outbreaks 2019.CDC Measles

In Australia – Measles rate rises amid global outbreak but Australia’s immunity remains high –  2019 on track to have 300 infections, the second-highest year for reports since 1997.

This article highlights the dangers of air travel when those who are as yet not symptomatic fly in from countries that are undergoing a measles outbreak.

On Tuesday Victorian health authorities issued a warning after a person with measles flew from Melbourne to Christchurch on 19 March. This was after an earlier incident when a woman attended the Moto GP while infectious. There have also been measles outbreaks in New Zealand, Japan and the US in recent months, and more than 200 people have died in the Philippines this year.

Number of children unvaccinated in UKMeasles: Half a million UK children unvaccinated amid fears of ‘public health timebomb’

More than half a million British children are unvaccinated against measles, new figures show, as the head of NHS England challenged social media giants to block “grossly irresponsible” anti-vax propaganda.

The hike is thought to be a direct result of the drop in vaccinations that followed the publication of fraudulent research linking the Measles Mumps and Rubella (MMR) jab to autism by the disgraced British doctor Andrew Wakefield in 1998.

Health chiefs warn children will die if measles isn’t stopped as they reveal four European countries including the UK have been stripped of their measles-free status in the last year

  • There have been more measles cases this year than in the whole of 2018
  • The UK, Albania, Czech Republic and Greece have lost their measles-free status
  • Experts in Britain said it was ‘disheartening’ to see countries go backwards
  • Europe is slipping away from eradicating measles as four countries have lost their measles-free status, the World Health Organization has warned.

The UK lost its elimination status just 10 days ago and Albania, Greece and Czechia have all also lapsed in the last year. And 89,994 cases of the killer infection were diagnosed in the region in the first six months of this year – more than in the entire of 2018. The WHO warned children will die if it’s not brought under control, adding that every region in the world – except the Americas – is experiencing a rise in cases.

You can read the rest of the article here: Loss of Measles Free Status

©sallycronin Just Food for Health 1998 – 2019

A little bit about me nutritionally.

I am a qualified nutritional therapist with twenty years experience working with clients in Ireland and the UK as well as being a health consultant on radio in Spain. Although I write a lot of fiction, I actually wrote my first two books on health, the first one, Size Matters, a weight loss programme 20 years ago, based on my own weight loss of 154lbs. My first clinic was in Ireland, the Cronin Diet Advisory Centre and my second book, Just Food for Health was written as my client’s workbook. Since then I have written a men’s health manual, and anti-aging programme, articles for magazines and posts here on Smorgasbord.

If you would like to browse by health books and fiction you can find them here: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/my-books-and-reviews-2019/

As always delighted to get your feedback and questions. This is not intended to take the place of your doctor’s presence in your life. But, certainly in the UK, where you are allocated ten minutes for a consultation and time is of the essence; going in with some understanding of how your body works and is currently functioning can assist in making a correct diagnosis.

Some doctors believe that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. However, I believe that understanding our bodies, how it works, how we can help prevent health problems and knowing the language that doctors speak, makes a difference.  Taking responsibility for our bodies health is the first step to staying well.

Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you have found the news useful.. thanks Sally.