Monday, October 25, 2010

Anthony Ziadie's Rainfall Stats for St Andrew, Jamaica

Weather watcher Anthony Ziadie has been diligently measuring rainfall since 2001 in St Andrew. “At my location …The total rainfall for the year stands at 71.86 inches. This is some 29.46 inches more than 2009. It has rained for 17 of the 20 days in October thus far, and was 10 consecutive days from October 1 to 10.”

Anthony prepared the chart above that shows a marked increase in rainfall in the past five years. We need to change our bad habits before they change our landscape.

Message from Anthony Ziadie - Oct 9 2010

For those of you weather hobbyists, rainfall figures for 2010 &
comparison to 2009 are:

As of Friday October 8th we have had in the Norbrook/Constant Spring
areas, 67.43 inches of rain this year. Compare that to the 42.2 inches
that fell for the entire 2009.

Of this 67.43 inches, 25.87" or 38% fell in September. This is mostly
due to Tropical Storms Matthew & Nicole which contributed 17.85
On Wednesday September 29th, a whopping 11.10 inches of rain fell in a
24-hour period. This is the largest single-day total since I began
keeping records in late 2000.

For the past nine years 2001-2009 we average 61.95 inches per year in
my location. From a low of 42.2" (2009) to a high of 81.72" in 2007.

So far in October we have had 5.83" on rain, more than half of last
October's total which was 9.75". Based on the rainfall so far &
historical numbers for October, November, & December, I am predicting
that the previous high of 81.72" in 2007 will be broken by 5 inches or
so, making this the most rainy year in past decade.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Beware of hackers on Facebook!

Beware of hackers on Facebook.

Below is the warning copied from Joan Andrea Hutchinson's page:

Joan Andrea Hutchinson: The hackers from texas are targeting Jamaican FB accounts big time. I've been hacked, Basil Dawkin's been hacked, Charles lannaman's been hacked. Who else? if you get a chat note from one of your FB friends saying "You look so stupid in this video"... DO NOT RESPOND... just delete. Now is a good time to change your password

Kimmy Lou 

I got that from you yesterday but didn't respond. Think I should still change pswd?

Joan Andrea Hutchinson 

Well yuh know say mi would not be so rude, so a mus di hackers dem. I woudl say change it, for since dem a target wi

Dorothy Cunningham 

We still don't find a cure for cancer or the common cold and dem people have time fi hackin?! a plague on all their houses!!

Dorrett Campbell 

I have been hacked twice

Sent from my BlackBerry® device from Digicel

Sunday, October 17, 2010

View from my table at Lingah Negril

A beautiful morning at the Lingah by the Sea restaurant at Mariners Negril Beach. All the freshest food for a great Jamaican breakfast.

Sent from my BlackBerry® device from Digicel

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Coconut Oil & Alzheimer's
Coconut Oil and Alzheimer's Disease
October 5, 2010
How worried should drug companies be about supplements eating into their monopoly profits? A lot—as this story will show.
Please share it with anyone you know who is suffering from Alzheimer's or is worried about it. Of course, just about everyone worries about Alzheimer's. It currently afflicts 5.2 million people in the US and is the seventh leading cause of death. The cost of treating it is estimated at $148 billion.
Mary Newport, MD, has been medical director of the neonatal intensive care unit at Spring Hill Regional Hospital in Florida since it opened in 2003. About the same time the unit opened, her husband Steve, then 53, began showing signs of progressive dementia, later diagnosed as Alzheimer's Disease. "Many days, often for several days in a row, he was in a fog; couldn't find a spoon or remember how to get water out of the refrigerator," she said.
They started him on Alzheimer's drugs—Aricept, Namenda, Exelon—but his disease worsened steadily. (It should be noted that the latest research shows that the various Alzheimer's drugs, like Aricept, have proven disappointing, with little real benefit and often distressing side effects.) When Dr. Newport couldn't get her husband into a drug trial for a new Alzheimer's medication, she started researching the mechanism behind Alzheimer's.
She discovered that with Alzheimer's disease, certain brain cells may have difficulty utilizing glucose (made from the carbohydrates we eat), the brain's principal source of energy. Without fuel, these precious neurons may begin to die. There is an alternative energy source for brain cells—fats known as ketones. If deprived of carbohydrates, the body produces ketones naturally.
But this is the hard way to do it—who wants to cut carbohydrates out of the diet completely? Another way to produce ketones is by consuming oils that have medium-chain triglycerides. When MCT oil is digested, the liver converts it into ketones. In the first few weeks of life, ketones provide about 25 percent of the energy newborn babies need to survive.
Dr. Newport learned that the ingredient in the drug trial which was showing so much promise was simply MCT oil derived from coconut oil or palm kernel oil, and that a dose of 20 grams (about 20 ml or 4 teaspoons) was used to produce these results. When MCT oil is metabolized, the ketones which the body creates may, according to the latest research, not only protect against the incidence of Alzheimer's, but may actually reverse it. Moreover, this is also a potential treatment for Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease, multiple sclerosis and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease), drug-resistant epilepsy, brittle type I diabetes, and type II (insulin-resistant) diabetes.
So Mr. Newport, not being able to get into the drug trial, started taking the coconut oil twice a day. At this point, he could barely remember how to draw a clock. Two weeks after adding coconut oil to his diet, his drawing improved. After 37 days, Steve's drawing gained even more clarity. The oil seemed to "lift the fog," and in the first sixty days, Dr. Newport saw remarkable changes in him: every morning he was alert and happy, talkative, making jokes. His gait was "still a little weird," but his tremor was no longer very noticeable. He was able to concentrate on things that he wanted to do around the house and in the yard and stay on task, whereas before coconut oil he was easily distractible and rarely accomplished anything unless he was directly supervised.
Over the next year, the dementia continued to reverse itself: he is able to run again, his reading comprehension has improved dramatically, and his short-term memory is improving—he often brings up events that happened days to weeks earlier and relays telephone conversations with accurate detail. A recent MRI shows that the brain atrophy has been completely halted.
Let's take a moment to consider what actually happened here. Synthetic (patentable) Alzheimer's drugs have failed. A drug company reluctantly decides to put a non-patentable natural substance (medium-chain triglycerides derived from coconut or palm) through an FDA trial. It works. But, darn it, a smart doctor figures out that a natural food can be substituted for the super-expensive drug. Not only that, the ketones from natural coconut oil last in the body longer than the drug version—eight hours instead of three hours. This is enough to make a drug company start worrying about its future. What if this natural health idea really catches on? Goodbye to monopoly profits!
Coconut oil can be found in many health food stores and even some grocery stores. One large chain sells a non-hydrogenated (no trans-fat) brand of coconut oil in a one-liter size (nearly 32 ounces) for about $7. It can be purchased in quantities as small as a pint and up to five gallons online. It is important to use coconut oil that is non-hydrogenated and contains no trans-fat. We would also strongly encourage the use of virgin oil (chemicals used to extract non-virgin oil are potentially dangerous, and better still, virgin organic, still quite reasonably priced.)
For more information, see Dr. Newport's website. Sadly, you will not find any information on ketones, or the use of coconut oil or MCT oil, on the Alzheimer's Association website.
Coconut oil is not the only natural product that has the potential to turn Alzheimer's around. We will cover some other ones, and drug industry efforts to steal some of them, in a future issue.
Sent from my BlackBerry® device from Digicel

Monday, October 11, 2010

Who will unite us?

Jamaica Observer | by Jean Lowrie-Chin

THESE folks in the governing Jamaica Labour Party need a reality check. The contretemps over the general secretary position is sibling rivalry to the extreme, bickering while Mama Jamaica is lying there, broken and traumatised. Who will tell these headlinegrabbers that Jamaica needs their undivided attention? A house divided cannot unite a nation, one that needs an authoritative, compassionate hand after our devastating rains.

People are slipping and sliding on gully banks, wondering when the next part of their house will follow the parts already washed away. In Lacovia, a resident sits in her house surrounded by water, unable to travel to work in Kingston, fearing for her family's safety in the rising waters. The road near Sheffield in Westmoreland is inundated with little drainage. That parish boasts some of the island's biggest mosquitoes (the bane of my childhood), and they now have acres of breeding space.

Did you see that lady from the Salvation Army speaking on the news about the folks near Treasure Beach? She was beside herself with worry over the danger of disease outbreak, remarking on the stagnant waters. The elderly are being ferried in makeshift boats cobbled from old refrigerators and plastic drums.

So you would think someone would be able to quell the conflict between the warring siblings, so that ODPEM and the NGOs giving aid could benefit from a government fully focused on … governing. At the rate we are going, whoever wins this “gensec” race may have a pyrrhic victory.

Writing from Atlanta, Jamaican engineer Garrick Augustus is so passionate about fixing his country's infrastructure, that he has launched a Facebook page, Jamaica Renaissance to raise US$3 billion for the cause. He plans to return to Jamaica and has sent a letter to Road and Works Minister Mike Henry offering to be a part of his road repair team.

Let me not be cynical (my friend Ronnie Thwaites wondered why I was not my usual optimistic self last week), but Garrick should know that a willingness to help and a passion for country (over party) may actually disqualify him in some quarters. It is happening all over Jamaica. Mediocre and dishonest people shun excellence and good character. They do not want anyone to mash up their “dolly house” of double dealing. This is why we notice that the layers of asphalt over some of our eroded roads look like they were applied with a paintbrush! The middlemen have to collect so much, that the roads have been shortchanged.

This is why, much as we may not agree with everything they say, we have to respect the monitors of law and order in our society – the political ombudsman, public defender, electoral commissioners, contractor general, commissioner of customs, rights and environmental groups. They probably seem harsh because we have been bending the rules so drastically, that now they no bear no resemblance to their original form. What a job they have!

Shakespeare wrote in Julius Caesar, that “men have fled to brutish beasts”. Decade after decade, generation after generation, we have watched our innocent, beautiful boy babies transformed into hardened criminals. Those who preside over this transformation are the biggest brutes of them all. Where does a gang leader get the power that makes him feel so unassailable? We have so brutalised our young men that they cannot see beyond the muzzles of their guns – they have not been given the tools to build a life, just the weapons to end it.

To our leaders both in the JLP and the PNP we say, whatever mistakes you may have made in the past, whatever sins you may have committed – today is the day you can resolve to put your suffering people first. Today is the day you will not rest until you have delivered relief and compassion to our suffering thousands. Today is the day that you can call your opposite number in your division or constituency and say, “Come! Our Jamaican people who entrusted us with their wellbeing need to see us working together to ensure that they get relief.”

Call me if you make that move today and I will give you all the PR your hearts desire. I will alert the media, beg for photo and TV coverage. I will storm the social media with the good news – that finally we have leaders who care more about their people than their own selfish ends. This column will be yours next week – and I will beg my colleague columnists to shout out your good works. Is that my phone ringing …?


Nejeeper KNG
I believe that us uniting as a people will not come from any individual it will most likely come from a sign or miracle. It has taken years of misrepresentation and lack of vision to get us where we are today so the change that we truly need will not happen overnight. The mentality of the people is a big factor; and even though politics have contributed greatly to our decline as a society, as individuals we have to accept responsibility. Great countries are built by the people not politicians.
Peter Lawrence
Actually I think that the Gen. Sec. challenge in the JLP is one of the few signs of transparency and vibrant renewal to come from that orgn recently. We don't need what seems to be paternalistic milk-and-water "unity" across the political spectrum in general. We do need mutual agreement on recognising overarching problems...crime , jobs, housing, roads, energy, tourism etc and VIGOROUS debate on the best policies to confront these. One side can't be just waiting for the othe to drop.BOTH DO IT
Stanley Palmer
Wharf Dawg, you are not the only one who takes note of this. The political elites and their friends seek to distract us with the process rather than the product. And why should they care when their bread is buttered on both sides? "Whited sepulchres" is the epithet that aptly describes the majority of those so-called 'leaders' who seem only able to lead us closer to the brink of total chaos.
Joycelin Clarke
The attitude of those who lead is disgusting; it is all about me, myself and I. With this kind of attitude how do they expect to lead 'Vision 2030'? Jamaica and Jamaicans need better than we are getting from our political leaders if we are to proceed to developed world status. However, their way of leading the vision maybe through bickering for power. Let me hope that those fighting for power and prominence will come to their senses soon.
Ray Stennett
The truth about politicians in Jamaica is, they are self-centered and egotistic. There are so many people calling for a united front to tackle the problems we are facing. Still, it seems that the politicians only aim is to sit on top of the rubble our beloved country has become. Why is it so hard for them to understand the longing many Jamaicans have to see Jamaica's full potential being realized. No party should think that they alone have the answer to our problems. Working together is unity.
Chuck Emanuel
What we need is Accountability and the taking of personal responsibility to achieve something meaningful . We cannot have "unity" when we have Leaders who are hell bent on aiding and abetting criminality and corruption, refuse to speak the truth, lacks integrity, credibility and is not trustworthy.
That type of "unity" is a threat to freedom !.
jody hyde
Who will unit Jamaicans? it start with you. Until you guys stop the bickering, they will not be any united. Simple things turn you guys against each other, and that's a damn shame.
Wharf Dawg
George Watson you are spot on with your first observation this morning.
This paper on one is preaching unity yet it takes great pleasure in using its editorial cartoon to be at as divisive as possible.

george watson
I know of at least one case where a company (experts at road building) offered to repair a road and the Parish Council refused. The money should be given to them instead and they would do the work themselves.
The writer, brilliant PR practitioner as she is, should know that if tomorrow morning the PNP and the JLP should decide to unite for the benefit of JA this would be unacceptable to the media. The media thrives on controversy and as a result are the biggest dividers in this country.
She should also know that this aside, it is not in everybody’s interest to have a peaceful, thriving progressive Jamaica, even though they may proclaim it from the rooftops.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Wisdom for Leaders

By Paul Banta


I know personally that I was real hard on my players from the sideline in many games.  Encouraging as well, but demanding.  I sent mixed signals.  I wish I had not coached that way.  It confused my players too much.  They saw me loving them with the passion of the game and not liking them because I was too strict.  I believe we could have won more games had I not sent mixed signals.  I think I know the answer before I get to give my account to the Lord.  I hope He takes it easy on me.  I'll just have to be prepared. 

I'm trusting God to be more loving to me than I was to my players.  It's Satan's job to try to cause you to be a complaining and critical coach.  Don't be into helping Satan do his job.  Satan is the enemy, not your players.  You need to fight him, not join him.  Imagine the amount of time you've spent in the past in criticizing your team.  That energy, used positively, could have been developed in unifying them.  You would have won more games.  I've been there and done that. 

When you make critical judgments about your players, six things immediately happen to you based on biblical principles:

1. You temporarily lose your fellowship with God.
2. You show your pride against God.
3. You show that you are insecure and not trusting God to help you get your job done through love.
4. You're held accountable and judged by God.
5. You harm the bonding of you to your players and team. 
6 .You're breaking God's heart.
Refuse to listen to information that is full of gossip and slander. Gossip is information passed on that will potentially destroy team unity. 

In Proverbs 26:20 it says,
"Without wood a fire goes out; without gossip a quarrel dies down." 
Gossipers have one thing in mind; destruction of unity. Gossip kills like a pesticide does to erratic unwanted roaches.  A gossiper plans out carefully how to hurt others and if not stopped right in their tracks, their words can kill the innermost parts of the emotions of a team or individual players.  You need to squash these threatening messages and you certainly are never to be part of them and encourage hurting words.  Your role is to listen to your players and team, and give words of encouragement and hope.  Gossipers can't be trusted and they need to be strongly counseled and may have to be removed.  They'll even gossip about you. 
In Proverbs 26:24 it says,

"A malicious person disguises himself with his lips, because in his heart he harbours deceit."  Verse 28 says, "A lying tongue hates those it hurts." 


Support the leadership on your team and mentor them to lead.  Be that model they will choose to follow.  Although all your players have a responsibility to get their job done and lead their part of the team, you have carefully chosen several key players on your side to help you lead and take responsibility to unify the team.  Meet with them frequently to achieve and support their helping you and their teammates. 


In Matthew chapter 18 we see that it's your responsibility to work out the faults of your players with them and come to an agreement.  You may even want to bring others into the picture to assist you.  Often small group meetings or entire team meetings can be used to work out individual or group problems.  Sometimes its better when others point out a conflict that maybe happening with the team, rather than you have to do it.  You'll be surprised how the person causing conflict will see a different picture about himself when the rest of team says, straighten up, mister.  Verse 19 of this chapter says, "If two people come together and ask for an agreement, it will be done for you both by my Father in heaven.  For several come together in my name, there I [God] will be doing it for them."  Sometimes coaches go to a third party first, rather than directly to the player who needs to be spoken to.  You're not very courageous or smart using this method.  It only makes matters worse.  You need to speak directly to the player you're upset with.  This should be done as soon as possible.


Please God and put a solid effort into this part of your coaching duties. Early effort will keep your team on target and keep them unified.  The truth is that your players are looking for love and a place to belong to express themselves to you and their teammates through the game.  Each player wants you to care for him and he needs you. Really, they are no different than family members in your household.  Players commit to you not so much because they love the game, but because they want to play for you.  What a great opportunity you have as a coach to nourish each player on your team, to bring about the unifying of each person you're coaching toward a common goal.  Even greater is the opportunity when Christ is emphasized and players come to know Him personally and grow like the Man [Jesus] they want to play for.  Your job is to image God through His Son to your players.  The road isn't an easy one but with His help and your passion for the game, you can do it. Serving the Master through sound Biblical methods to bring your players into oneness is what God has for your purpose.  Once you start to move to a more solid commitment level to serve God you'll see impacting taking place in your program.  You will have success beyond your imagination.  It's here where you'll start to realize that your impacting others comes directly from the Lord.  What is going to happen next is that Christ will turn your personal successes into significantly impacting the lives of those in your sphere. We'll be sharing that in our next two series. 
God bless and stay in the game,
Proverbs 3:5-6
Paul Banta - President/Founder of GSM International 843.235.3762 USA Office

Sent from my BlackBerry® device from Digicel

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Not so Perfect after all ...

How are the mighty fallen! All the things I lecture my team about - diary - check and recheck - came back to haunt me today. I mixed up the date of a workshop I proposed with representatives of a top client!
So I am retracing my steps to see how Wed became Thur in my BB and then it dawned on me - when you scroll to down to 'pm', if you go too fast you end up in the next day.
Then because I am so 'perfect', I tossed my BB to my assistant and ask her to transfer all appts I had made the day before into my desk diary. So there it was, Thursday at 4.30 - beautifully highlighted.
I spend the 3 days before the workshop on 'What Editors Want' interviewing folks, editing my Powerpoint, marking pages in my Strunk and White.
Wednesday at 5.15pm I get a call - WHERE are you?
I am getting ready to emcee Dr Henry Lowe's book launch, I say.
We are here at the Terra Nova waiting for you says my valued client.
Profuse apologies given, emailed, BB-ed, voicemailed - I will probably have nightmares tonight.
Right now, it is very very easy to be humble. :-(
Sent from my BlackBerry® device from Digicel

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Mother Nature laughed till she cried

People use a rope as a guide across the dry river in Harbour View, St Andrew, Thursday prior to the restoration of the high ford that was damaged during this week’s heavy rains. (Photo: Llewellyn Wynter)

JEAN LOWRIE-CHIN | Jamaica Observer | Monday, October 04, 2010

When she heard the argument between our political leaders over who had 'the power', Mother Nature laughed so hard that she cried. As her tears swelled our rivers and tore through our gully banks, politicians of both stripes were once again reminded of their powerlessness. But they refuse to learn -- some even act as if they are gracing the Lord with their presence when they attend church services.

Speaking of church, who told that poor police officer to annoy Local Government Minister 'Bobby' Montague? As the goodly minister spoke at the thanksgiving service for Constable Sheldon 'Sylvan' Williams, he grew increasingly emotional in his call for the officer's killers to be brought to justice.

The congregation responded in like manner, and a concerned officer tugged at the minister's jacket, signalling that time was going. To put it lightly, the minister was not amused and told him in no uncertain terms: "Don't pull mi jacket!" -- Great prime time footage!

But seriously, last week's heavy rains once again focused our news cameras on the terrible conditions under which our fellow Jamaicans live and made us wonder why we were paying so many elected officials to do such a bad job. There are 60 MPs, various mayors and councillors, all of whom are paid from the public purse. Their expressed role is service to the members of their respective parishes and constituencies and yet they cannot among themselves find solutions to prevent the tragedies that unfolded.

If we measure the column inches generated by their politicking, they dwarf the number that comes from producing genuine improvement in the lives of Jamaicans. No wonder Carlos King, founder of Jamaica EVA (Empowered Voters Association), sent information of his plan to encourage Jamaicans not to vote for a political party, but choose the best person for the job.

We have to agree with attorney-at-law Shirley Eaton that our leaders have a responsibility to ensure that those they choose as candidates are qualified under our Constitution. What kind of signal are we sending to the world when we sanction law breakers to become our law makers? May Jamaica EVA unmask the pretenders and help us to weed them out.

Jamaican people, let us to resolve to do the following:

* Choose politicians that have given us proven results in their constituencies.

* Encourage our family members and colleagues to shed political baggage and support decent politicians, regardless of party affiliation.

* Have absolutely nothing to do with a politician who consorts with criminals (we have a good idea who they are -- and they are on both sides).

I recently listened to two hard-working Jamaicans relate how they were barefacedly cheated of contracts they had bid for. One gentleman replied to a tender request and was advised that his was the lowest bid, and he was being awarded the contract. After sending abroad to buy expensive equipment for the job, he received a message that there was some problem with the tender process and the contract was being given to another company. "I subsequently saw the job done by my competitor," he said. "It was a disgrace. In fact, it is putting people's lives in danger."

It is better to appeal to our fellow electors to avoid being duped, than to hope for conscionable behaviour from our politicians. Let us examine their work to improve educational facilities in their constituencies and communities, their interest in healthcare, their support of the security forces. Watch them, Facebook and Tweet what you know for sure. This country has been kept barefoot and ignorant for too long. To paraphrase Bob Marley, let's "chase those crazy talking-heads out of town".

See Yourself As Beautiful: Replace Magic Potions With Cognitive Solutions

by Vivian Diller, Ph.D.

Psychologist, former professional dancer and model
Posted: October 5, 2010 08:00 AM

Face it: there are no magical solutions to feeling and looking attractive. You may be tempted by the promises made by the latest over-the-counter beauty potion. The current array of cosmetic procedures might appeal to your desire to fix what you've been told needs fixing. Why not try a little of this or a little of that, right? Well, instead, you might consider using these seven psychological tips that actually change the way you see yourself. I am not promising you a quick fix or miraculous cure. No nicks and tucks here, except to our attitudes. What I do guarantee is that these cognitive tips won't hurt your pocket or your body. They work from the inside out and they just may last a lifetime.

1) Beauty is not just a physical experience, but a psychological one as well. We tend to think of beauty as a skin-deep issue -- all about how we physically appear. But research tells us that what we deem attractive or unattractive is much more complicated: part objectivity, part subjectivity. Understanding beauty this way helps explain why a Michelle Pfeiffer or Uma Thurman have been known to draw more attention to their flaws than their assets. It helps make sense of beautiful women who say they never felt pretty. Similarly, there are women who may not be considered classic beauties yet exude confidence about their looks. Serena Williams, for example, doesn't cover up her unconventionally muscular physique and, in fact, by flaunting it comes across as more appealing. What makes women feel attractive is much more than meets the eye and being cognizant of that point of view might be more helpful than the latest potion!

2) Some aspects of beauty are universally attainable. We tend to enjoy how we look when we take time to care for ourselves -- exercise, eat right and sleep well. Simple, sound advice you have heard many times before. But this is how it really works. By taking care of ourselves, we tend to feel stronger, stand taller and smile more. We engage in more positive interactions with others. It takes effort to stick to healthy regimens, like working out regularly, caring daily for our skin, eating healthier foods and limiting our alcohol consumption. But research tells us that the results are experienced both internally and externally. Try walking into a room with proud strong steps, a smile on your face and eyes that communicate confidence. You would be surprised how far these universally attainable assets go toward enhancing your appeal to others. Remember, every one at any age has the capacity to smile and engage with others.

3) Self image is fluid and timeless. Self image is not an actual still-life picture of oneself, but rather an internal, ongoing, fluid experience. It is defined by how we see ourselves from within, throughout our lives. It is flexible and malleable. And if we understand that self image evolves over time, then we can take measures to continually enhance it internally. Fixing ourselves externally is a battle bound for failure. Success comes when we understand that boosting our self image results not only from caring for ourselves, but from making changes in the way we think about beauty.

4) Beauty is in the "I" of the beholder. Mirrors reflect an image that tells us superficially what we look like. Gaze at yourself and go beyond, past your reflection, and perceive who you are as a person. What you see is only the image of yourself that informs the world of your physical self. Who you are is more than what they see. Become your own internal "eye." You have the ability to change the internal lens through which you perceive not only yourself, but others as well. The result? Women will be less self critical and less critical of each other.

5) Chronological age does not have to define you. A particular number has little to do with how old you feel and look. You can define what it means to be attractive at 40, 50 and onward. Find real women in your life that you see as attractive and let them serve as your role models in place of the airbrushed and photoshopped women you see in magazines. Remember, some women in their twenties with smooth skin and shapely bodies say they feel ugly, while women at midlife and beyond tell us they feel beautiful. You can define beauty at any age.

6) Put your beauty in your identity, not your identity in your beauty. Your identity is made up of many aspects of yourself. Your appearance is just one. A self-definition supported by a broader base than just good looks leads to less reactivity when they change. Bad hair days, a few pimples or new wrinkles are less likely to get you down. No doubt our appearance matters. But it's a good idea to keep beauty in balance with your work, your creativity, your accomplishments, your relationships and more. Cybill Shepard and Linda Evans -- two beauty icons now in midlife -- recently told Oprah that they only began to feel truly attractive as their identities shifted away from their appearance. If you let beauty define you, you leave out so many other ways to feel good about yourself.

7) Rob beauty of its power over you. Take back the power you may have handed to others to define what it means to be beautiful. Our culture conveys who and what is beautiful through the media. Magazines, television and Internet ads persuade us to believe that beauty is equated with youth and perfection. Surely, youth is beautiful. Don't we all see babies as perfect? But to many of us, our grandmothers can be perfectly beautiful too. And we all know that some of the loveliest women in the world are not flawless. It is their confidence and ability to enjoy life that makes us see the beauty they feel. When the power of beauty returns to your own hands, you will become more attractive to yourself and others.

Bottom line: Looking and feeling great is a psychological process as well as a physical one. Master the first and the second will come with much more joy. When it comes to your face and your body, be smart, be thoughtful and you'll be more beautiful. Let me know what you think.

© 2010 Vivian Diller Ph.D., author of "Face It: What Women Really Feel as Their Looks Change."

Vivian Diller, Ph.D., is a psychologist in private practice in New York City. Dr. Diller was a professional dancer before she became a professional model, represented by Wilhelmina, appearing in Glamour, Seventeen, national print ads, and TV commercials. After completing her Ph.D. in clinical psychology, she went on to do postdoctoral training in psychoanalysis at NYU.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

'A noble act'

PJ Stewart (centre), fellow volunteer Neil Hendrickson and brothers from Missionaries of the Poor at the end of last Saturday's busy sale. (Photos: Donna-Hussey Whyte)

Monthly thrift shop donates proceeds to Missionaries of the Poor

BY KIMONE THOMPSON Features Editor — Sunday

Sunday, October 03, 2010

AS girlfriends often do, Lorna and her best friend Denise spent Saturday afternoon shopping. They bought a little black dress, two pairs of walking shorts and a handbag. But instead of thousands of dollars, they spent less than $1,000.

"I got a nice little black dress. I'm so pleased with it," Denise gushed. "I also got a handbag for my daughter to go to church."

"And I got two shorts," Lorna added.

The two were customers at Back on the Rack, a recently opened thrift shop on Collins Green Avenue in St Andrew where second-hand men's, ladies' and children's clothes go for as little as $50.

The venture, which was started by PJ Stewart and a small group of friends about six years ago as an annual sale on the basis that their closets were overflowing, is in support of the Father HoLung-headed charity organisation Missionaries of the Poor and is now done monthly.

"We basically wanted a win-win situation. We wanted people to get clothes that they could not otherwise afford, and at the same time, we wanted to make some money for Missionaries of the Poor," Stewart told the Sunday Observer.

"So we decided that we would have a monthly sale, an ongoing sale, so we could move the stuff fast, instead of (an annual sale). We decided to go with two prices: everything had to be either $300 or $100," she said.

There is also a boutique section where prices are either $500 or $1,000, and the "bend down" section carries $50 merchandise.

All proceeds go towards providing food for the sick and indigent in the six homes the Catholic brothers operate here. In addition, items that are unsellable, based on their condition, are turned over to the homes.

"It's a noble act," Father Charles Sushai said of the initiative.

"It's an act of great generosity. This is not just charity (for) it would be easier to write up a cheque. These are business people who didn't have to be here. They could be spending their Saturday with their family or be having a party, but they are here basically being higglers," he said of Stewart and her friends who dedicate the last Saturday of each month to the thrift store.

"It helps the people who are buying stuff, and the money that the Missionaries get benefits the children and it's all because of a group of people who have decided they don't want any profit from the initiative.

"It just shows that in these modern times there is something at the heart of every man and woman that compels them to give and when you give something without gaining anything for yourself, it makes you happy," said Father Sushai, who was among a small group of brothers assisting customers on September 25.

Stewart said she was fearful the idea of thrift shopping would not catch on in Jamaica, but given that the crowd, which she described as having come from "uptown, midtown and downtown", was "twice as much as last month" (August), she is pleasantly surprised.

She said she was doubtful that it would work here "because Jamaicans are very 'stoosh' and the idea of wearing somebody else's clothes is (taboo), so we decided that if we were going to do it, it would have to be very good quality clothes -- no stains, no tears, whatever".

But it takes a lot of elbow grease before the clothes go back on the rack.

"Each month we have benefactors. The people who contribute are our friends and people we know. We do mailings and we do e-mails and try to get people to donate. My home is a drop-off point and my dining room is the sorting table," Stewart said, laughing.

Once sorted, the donated items are laundered and ironed.

"What we think we can get some money for, we sell, because what we do with the money is we basically provide food for the centres. I don't know how many people he feeds per day, but to feed the centres the brothers have to beg, so we have committed to giving a sum each month," said Stewart.

"We're all here for the same reason: to support the work, in a constructive way, that the Missionaries of the Poor are doing."

Back on the Rack operates from a renovated cottage owned by the Sandals/ATL group -- of which the Observer is a member — and opens its doors the last Saturday of every month between 9:00 am and 4:00 pm.

Root out 'bad-minded' politics

by Jean Lowrie-Chin | Observer column | 27 September 2010

It was good to see that the PNP pulled off a well-attended, well-organised annual conference. Jamaica continues to enjoy a strong two-party system, in addition to the few brave souls like Michael Williams of the NDM and Betty-Ann Blaine of the NNC, who dare to challenge the status quo.

As much as the "Big Two" fight and quarrel, they close ranks when an intruder comes near their revolving door. Never mind. Williams and Blaine have brought a refreshing frankness to the political arena, and even if they never win an election, they will certainly keep the big guys on their toes with some memorable observations.

Williams: "There are two major 'gangs' in Jamaica: the PNP and the JLP."

Blaine: "You guys want to give Jamaicans chicken-back government. You don't care for the poor."

We hope though, that in the interest of this democratic system that we say we love so well, the Opposition party will show respect for the will of the people who voted for the JLP to form the current government in 2007. Not long from now, in 2012, the PNP will have their turn to woo us in our next general election.

Trying to be "the worst nightmare" of the ruling JLP can spill over into international disgrace if we are not careful. Will motorists and pedestrians have to wear green before entering any of the roads and bridges that are to be built in the China-backed Jamaica Development Infrastructure Programme? The media will surely be open to any complaints about the selection of the 6,700 Jamaicans to be employed in the project. As far as I am concerned, we just need to start fixing our roads - they are in a terrible state.

In the same breath, we remember the "boos" the PNP government got from the Opposition JLP over the excellent Highway 2000. We have to give them kudos also for spearheading the transformation of the Norman Manley International Airport into one of which we are mightily proud. See? Both parties have their showpieces and should be allowed to get on with the country's business, instead of being harangued every step of the way.

Professor Freddie Hickling commented on this deeply rooted "bad-minded" attitude in Jamaicans when he spoke at a forum to mark World Alzheimer's Day last Tuesday, saying that it is causing stress and anxiety in our society. He believes seniors may be mentally "checking out" when faced with the ridiculous recriminations of our politics. "When one is in power, the other has to fight it down," he observed. "We have to demand that we will not live that way."

Head of the local Alzheimer's support group, Dr Albert Chen, stunned us with the statistic that 30,000 Jamaicans now suffer from dementia. He was passionate in his appeal for the authorities to make dementia a health priority and to develop national plans to deal with the disorder. Now, how can we be expending so much energy on political one-upmanship when elders are suffering such neglect?

I remember two prominent politicians of blessed memory - one PNP and one JLP - who suffered from Alzheimer's in their final years. When will we ever learn? Leaders must lead from the front, and quit the back-stabbing.