American Pie

March 16, 2014

American Pie

Yummy Pudding and Pie Filling

American Pie

March 16, 2014

American Pie

Yummy Pudding and Pie Filling

Family Negotiation

February 23, 2007

Negotiation isn’t just for business. Families need to do it too if they hope to remain strong and united. Unfortunatey the only time anyone negotiates in the family unit is during the divorce settlement!

Everybody negotiates at some point in their lives. The simplest negotiation happens early with newborns. While no words are ever spoken or need to be, the terms are there, nevertheless. “Change my diaper and I’ll stop crying.” What parent can argue with such terms?

The family unit is all about negotiation. Husband and wife do it regularly, the wife usually has the upper hand, she can always go to her mother’s. The same happens when Sweet Sixteen brings home a boyfriend that looks like Rasputin. You have to be diplomatic at such times. Neither a hot bath or a haircut is of much use unless the parents are the only ones to take one.

Obviously, the idea of negotiation is simple (as believed by the majority): Get something for nothing. While no one has as yet succeeded in our perfect world, there are some who keep trying. Case in point: Kim Jong Ill whose country obviously has nothing might want to negotiate nuclear weapons for food.

Negotiation usually occurs between two people at a certain place, though this is not always the case when you factor in lawyers and the United Nations. Due to limited finances most families can’t afford lawyers. Here I’ll focus on a few rules for negotiation in the family environment.

Contrary to public opinion, for negotiations to succeed, there must be a middle ground on which to start and end on a 50-50 compromise that benefits both parties. There simply isn’t much room if one party threatens to nuke the other. If he has a bomb and you don’t there won’t be a 50-50 compromise.

So let’s get down to the hard rules:

Rule #1: Find a neutral ground in which to negotiate. So you might not be able to use the U.N. facilities, but your home isn’t the best place for a negotiation due to distractions such as children, telephone and when the milkman calls on your wife. Home leads to too much emotional involvement. If she doesn’t like what you’re saying, it’s damn hard to discuss terms with her locked behind the bathroom door.

The local pub doesn’t do either, for several reasons. The local patrons might be too eager to get involved and offer solutions from the bottom of their beer tankards. That kind of advice is not likely to help your unique situation. And if you happen to have a few too many yourself, chances are you won’t remember what the negotiation session was all about. Raising your voice over taxes or other unrelated subjects might get you thrown out by the pub’s bouncer. And he’s not likely to negotiate terms.

Dinner at a fine restaurant is the next best thing. You have to keep your voice down to a bare whisper so the other patrons don’t have to pity your conditions. You just might find something else beside the current subject to discuss, such as the restaurant food, in which case you can negotiate terms with the chef and get your meal “on the house”. Or get thrown out by the owner for suggesting it.

Rule #2: Keep the subject focused. There isn’t any use to start arguing about the sorry state of family finances and the fact that hubby has been seeing too much of his office secretary when the central subject is who should put the toilet seat down and keep it taped there. Flying in all directions is bad, especially when you don’t know where your partner is going to hit you next.

Rule #3: Never work under a deadline. If hubby needs to go to work in ten minutes and the wife has her bags packed for a visit to her mother, there isn’t much room for negotiation beyond who gets to pick up the tab. Hasty conversations never get anywhere beyond indigestion and acid reflux.

Rule #4: Common ground. While there may seem nothing to agree upon, your first job should be to find it. After all you agreed to get married based on some great need for companionship, sex or tax relief. Children are often a good place to start since you both have some involvement in their birth and in raising them. Of course I’m not talking about who gets custody unless that IS the subject of the negotiation.

Rule #5: Keep the emotions out of it. They cloud your reasoning. Conflicts always arise because some need is not met by one or both parties. The point is to listen to your partner with an open mind. So stifle that yawn if you think you’ve heard it before. Try to understand things from the opposite point of view. That might be difficult if you’re both gay.

Rule #6: Build trust. That’s what you tried to do before you married him/her. And unless he/she is a confirmed psychopath, there shouldn’t be any reason to renew friendly relations, which is good if kids are involved. They like happy homes. That makes it easy for them as they don’t have to take sides based on incomplete facts and helps to avoid conflict between brother and sister unless, of course, you want to educate them this way.

Rule #7: Go for the throat. Sorry, that should be the last resort. I mean work your way toward finding a Win-Win compromise. That should be your central goal and nothing should stand in the way not even your office secretary or Henry Kissinger for that matter. You obviously have to find a compromise that works for both parties. You should know by now that nobody wins in war. That might be difficult if you or her is a confirmed Communist where negotiation is only meant for them winning at all costs. In that case a divorce might be in order, a win-win situation for both of you and you both can agree on. That only leaves the custody battles. We all know who pays alimony so that subject need not be discussed.

There you have it. Seven rules to a happy marriage, family life and between nations. Avoid nuclear catastrophe at home and just maybe that will happen around the world.



Hats off to a Doctor that makes Sense!

November 9, 2006

In 2004, Dr. David Graham, associate science director of the FDA’s Office of Drug Safety testified before a Senate committee named 5 popular drugs that he believes should be avoided because of safety concerns. Dr. Graham has been a critic of the Vioxx fiasco.

If this was just an isolated incident you might be tempted to think that the FDA is doing its job. But you would be mistaken. Seems that the good doctor isn’t alone on his outspoken criticism on the way the FDA operates.

Some 180 FDA scientists have replied that they have been asked to provide incomplete and misleading information on FDA scientific documents to the public, the media and government officials! Only half agreed that the FDA provides complete and accurate information to the public.

So what does all this mean? It’s quite clear that the FDA is not living up to its mandate of protecting the public. Rather it has become the spokesman for Big Pharma and what it does is approve questionable drug use that cause suffering for the millions of people who use such “approved” drugs.

Still, the public is unaware of these facts and put their full faith in their doctors without the knowledge that the drugs they are prescribed are as dangerous as their diseases! The FDA and Big Pharma are more concerned about profits rather than seeing you get health. The whole medical profession has made an about face.

At one point in time doctors were more concerned about seeing their patients become free of illness. The public learned to trust them. Today is far different. Whether or not your doctor wants to see you maintain your health or not, he has Big Pharma riding his back telling him what and what not to say to his patients.

It’s a fact that few doctors ever tell their patients of the side effects of Lipidor, one of the best selling drugs on the market, nor do they urge their patients to take CoQ10 as a supplement as statin drugs rob the heart of this important enzyme. Your heart cannot operate without it. After years of statin drug use many people die from heart attacks which, supposedly, is what statins are supposed to do!

The fact is that statin drugs do little good as people with normal cholesterol levels still die from heart attacks every year. What needs to be checked are things such as homocystein levels. That likely won’t happen until a drug is produced to treat it.  If money can’t be made from it, it might as well not exist!

So hats off to Doctor Graham and those doctors and scientists who have pointed out the serious problem within the top ranks of the FDA. Something needs to be don about it and get the FDA to live according to its mandate in protecting the public rather than approve Big Pharma’s drugs while accepting money for the approval process!