Donald Trump is a Real Threat to the Survival of the Human Species

Alan Singer at the Huffington Post writes about the Trump Team Revives McCarthyism in War on the Environment.  Singer writes, “Climate change deniers argue that the Earth’s climate sensitivity is so low that humans can use the atmosphere as a garbage dump pumping out carbon dioxide without worrying about global warming. Donald Trump has called climate change a ‘hoax’ and tweeted that ‘global warming’ is a plot by the Chinese ‘to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.’”

Here’s what I have a problem with. I can’t understand why almost everyone from both sides of the climate change issue only focuses on climate change and/or global warming, and ignores all of the other damage caused by the products of the fossil fuel industry: coal, oil, gasoline, diesel, etc.

Let’s take a break from flogging the ignorant, deplorable climate change deniers like Donald Trump, and his deplorable supporters and focus on the other dangers caused by the fossil fuel industry that can’t be denied.

Carbon emissions are also toxic to human health and lifespans.  Without efforts to clean the air, this threat to our health will only increase.

A study from Stanford linked carbon dioxide emissions to increased deaths.

Acid rain, caused by fossil fuel emissions, kills life in lakes, rivers, the oceans, damages top soil, and cuts crop yields, etc.

The Policy Almanac reports, “Acid rain causes acidification of lakes and streams and contributes to damage of trees at high elevations (for example, red spruce trees above 2,000 feet) and many sensitive forest soils. In addition, acid rain accelerates the decay of building materials and paints, including irreplaceable buildings, statues, and sculptures that are part of our nation’s cultural heritage. Prior to falling to the earth, SO2 and NOx gases and their particulate matter derivatives, sulfates and nitrates, contribute to visibility degradation and harm public health.”

Then there is Carbon Monoxide poising. If you are the fossil fuel industry, Kremlin candidate like Donald Trump is, and you deny this danger, then I want you to sleep in your car with the engine running in a closed garage. Plan your funeral before you try that out.


The gains we learn about from this video is in danger from Donald Trump, and his deplorable followers

The CDC teaches us all about the symptoms of CO poisoning.

The most common symptoms of CO poisoning are headache, dizziness, weakness, upset stomach, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion. CO symptoms are often described as “flu-like.” If you breathe in a lot of CO it can make you pass out or kill you. People who are sleeping or drunk can die from CO poisoning before they have symptoms.

Who is at risk from CO poisoning?

Everyone is at risk for CO poisoning. Infants, the elderly, people with chronic heart disease, anemia, or breathing problems are more likely to get sick from CO. Each year, more than 400 Americans die from unintentional CO poisoning not linked to fires, more than 20,000 visit the emergency room, and more than 4,000 are hospitalized.

Then there is acidification of Earth’s oceans that are crucial to our health and survival as a species.

National Geographic teaches us that “For tens of millions of years, Earth’s oceans have maintained a relatively stable acidity level. It’s within this steady environment that the rich and varied web of life in today’s seas has arisen and flourished. But research shows that this ancient balance is being undone by a recent and rapid drop in surface pH that could have devastating global consequences.”

There is also another balancing act taking place inside of our bodies that’s even more sensitive and explains why the average lifespan in the United States has reversed.

Humans also have a pH balance just like the environment, and if the pH balances of the environment we live in changes, the pH balance inside our body is at risk. The results are rampant disease and significantly reduced lifespan.

If you don’t believe that our pH balance is important, explain why Living Near Freeways Hurts Kids’ lungs.

The Washington Post reports, “Children growing up alongside freeways risk having their lung development impaired, which can increase the likelihood of serious respiratory diseases later in life, researchers report.”

“Exposure from tailpipe emissions from motor vehicles potentially carries chronic health risks to children’s lung development,” said lead researcher W. James Gauderman, an assistant professor in the Department of Preventive Medicine at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles. “We found that kids who live closer to freeways had significantly less lung capacity, compared with kids who lived further from freeways.”

And Donald Trump’s administration wants to get rid of the Environmental Protection Agency that protects all of us, not just the balance of the Earth’s environment that we all need to survive. Climate change/global warming is one thing but what about the survival of the human species and life as we know it that’s being ignored?  I have no doubts that if only the earth was warming up, some humans would survive somewhere on the planet but no humans will survive if the delicate balance that supports our existence is destroyed.

I don’t think most if any rich people live near freeways and since so many of the wealthy are narcissists and psychopaths, they have no empathy for the suffering of children and families that live near freeways.

Why did the fossil fuel industry focus only on climate change and ignore all the other dangers that their products pose to life on Earth?

The evidence is overwhelming that climate change denial was a tactic to get our minds off of all the other dangers the fossil fuel industry’s products cause to our health, the quality of life, and our very existence.

U.S. life expectancy declines for the first time since 1993.

Who stops Donald Trump will go down in the history books as a global hero or heroes?

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran, with a BA in journalism and an MFA in writing, who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

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Lofthouse’s first novel was the award winning historical fiction My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. His second novel was the award winning thriller Running with the Enemy followed by his award winning memoir Crazy is Normal.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”

It’s that time of year when the United States celebrates, and contributes to disease

Would you buy your child a costume so they could snort cocaine or worse?

While I enjoy seeing kids and adults in cute Halloween costumes, I abhor the TREAT factor of Halloween. As an ignorant child and teen, I went trick or treating, wore costumes, and went to Halloween parties.

And as a teacher in the early 1970s, I dressed in a dark suit, and wore a Richard Nixon mask to school.  All day I flashed the two-finger victory salute with my hands and said, “I’m not a crook.”  My students loved it.

Then in the early 1980s I changed my lifestyle drastically and became health conscious. That was the last time I gave out unhealthy sweet treats. First, I gave out small boxes of organic raisins until a child’s mouthy mother accused me of being cheap, because I didn’t hand out treats loaded with processed sugar: those bulky bags full of miniature Snickers, Twix, M&M’s, Juicy Fruits, Tootsie Rolls, Oh Henry!, Butterfinger, Starbursts, Hershey’s, Reese’s, Skittles, Kit Kat, Milky Way, etc.

Thirty years of teaching kids that consumed too much sugar is another reason why I stopped handing out sugar drenched treats on Halloween, because I witnessed what too much sugar did to my students: too much hyper energy; then lethargy leading to inattention and mood swings. It’s a real challenge to teach a student who drank a sixty-ounce Pepsi for lunch and comes to class with eyes glazed over and no energy.

In fact, many children and teens of today even hate drinking water because it isn’t sweet, and that is because they are addicted to the sugar. Forbes.com reported, “Research supports the theory that high-fat/high-sugar foods stimulate the brain in the same way that drugs do,” (Neuroscientist Joseph) Schroeder said. “It may explain why some people can’t resist these foods despite the fact that they know they are bad for them.”

Most people think that heroin and methamphetamine are the most addictive illegal drugs, followed by cocaine, pentobarbital, nicotine, alcohol and caffeine, and they don’t know that sugar should be on that list too.

Sugar is addictive and destructive. When the researchers “used immunohistochemistry to measure the expression of a protein called c-Fos in the brain’s ‘pleasure center,’” they found that “the Oreos activated significantly more neurons than cocaine or morphine.”

In addition to being more addictive than cocaine or morphine, sugar is a killer?

According to a report from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), kids are getting way too much added sugar in their diets and that could raise their risk for obesity and chronic diseases. “Consuming added sugars has been tied to an increased risk for heart disease among adolescents and cholesterol problems.”

Researchers from the Stanford University School of Medicine, the University of California-Berkeley, and the University of California-San Francisco said, “After accounting for obesity and a large array of other factors, the researchers found that increased sugar in a population’s food supply was linked to higher diabetes rates, independent of obesity rates.”

Diabetes affects all parts of the body, particularly adult onset diabetes. If left uncontrolled, it becomes a killer, which destroys every organ in the body including the heart and brain.

According to the American Diabetes Association, “Diabetes is a disease that affects the whole family, especially when a child is diagnosed.”

Diabetes is a lifestyle disease, and eating too much sugar through soda and candy is a lifestyle choice.

Don’t expect the sugar industry to stop advertising and selling sugar products. The leading companies that produce and sell candy and soda employ more than 47,000 workers and have annual revenues of $49 billion. This industry spends millions of dollars on lobbying in Washington DC to stop any proposed consumer protection regulations. Source: IBIS World.com and Sunlight Foundation.com

It’s obvious that what’s called Confectionary Wholesaling, the sugar industry, doesn’t want anyone to know how dangerous their products are.

Maybe it’s time to take the sugar out of Halloween and just keep the costumes and healthy activities. Until parents wake up and fight back, my house will stay dark with locked doors that don’t open to anyone on Halloween, because I don’t want to contribute to someone else’s poor lifestyle choices.

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran, with a BA in journalism and an MFA in writing, who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

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Is the Internet, high-tech World all that Great, and Learning to hate Toyota

Remember as you read this post that most of communication is nonverbal. Livestrong.com  explains why nonverbal communication is important. Briefly, “If you rely solely on spoken words (or texting and/or e-mails) to unearth the intent and meaning of communication with your significant other, you are likely to come up short nearly every time.”

In addition, Good Therapy.org reported on a study conducted at UCLA.  “Nonverbal communication plays a significant role in our lives, as it can improve a person’s ability to relate, engage, and establish meaningful interactions in everyday life.”

That brings me to someone I met recently who I talked to for less than 2 hours. Over the next week that talk triggered fond memories long lost in the archival memory of my mind.

I remembered that as a child I played a lot of Scrabble, Monopoly, card games and other board games with real-live humans. We sat around kitchen tables, on living room floors, and even on the green grass in the front yard.

When I reached high school, I graduated to board games that focused on war, and I spent hours with my friends playing Avalon Hill games reenacting D-Day, the American Civil War, Gettysburg, and Midway.

Right out of high school, I joined the Marines, fought in Vietnam, got married, went to college, and ended up working 60-to-100 hour weeks for decades. That didn’t leave time for the games of my youth until the early 21st century when my stepdaughter was in grade school. I taught her how to play a few card games, Monopoly, chess and Scrabble, but that only lasted a few years for only a few games. There just wasn’t enough time, because the internet and high tech had arrived.

I remembered one Monopoly game with my stepdaughter where I went to jail seven times in a row. Every time I got out of jail, I landed on that square that sent me right back to jail. While I was in Monopoly jail, she bought up almost all the property and after I finally got out of jail I paid her a lot of rent before I went bankrupt and lost the game. There was a lot of groaning and laughter during that game.

Then stepdaughter reached middle school, discovered boys, and lost interested in the board/card games. In high school she added scholastic clubs and sports, and was often gone from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday. When home, she was in her room most of the time doing school work. When she went to Stanford that was the end of any chance of playing board/card games with anyone. Now she’s married and working her own 60+ hours a week more than 75 miles from where I live, and her lifestyle doesn’t include board games. She calls maybe twice a month for a few minutes each time. She texts. I don’t. I even got rid of my so-called smart phone and took a step back to an old dumb flip phone.

After I left teaching after 30 years, I attempted to play video games and internet chess but that didn’t stick. It wasn’t the same. Something was missing. Even if there was another person playing on the other end of the cable or satellite connection somewhere in the world, I was still alone staring at a computer monitor.  It wasn’t the same as sitting on the floor or around a table playing with real people where we talked and laughed and had a good time.

Back in the early 1980s, I picked up a great habit. I started listening to audio books while I was driving. That started with tape cassettes I checked out of the library and played on the long drive to work and back home.  The cassette player was eventually replaced with a CD player that was a step up, because cassette tapes sometimes jammed and/or unspooled.

This year, I turned in a car I’d owned for almost a decade and leased a 2016 Toyota RAV4 with no CD player. I was told that CD players were old technology, and I could convert my CD’s and load them on a USB thumb drive and play my audio books while I drove.  That turned out to be a dangerous distraction that didn’t always work well. I spent weeks and hundreds of dollars trying different tech options from a portable battery powered CD player, a Sony Walkman, and a wireless tablet computer. They all turned out to be more complicated than the simple CD player in a car’s dash in addition to being a dangerous distraction when I had to take my eyes off the road to use the fancy touch screen to keep the audio book playing. To avoid an accident, that meant I had to drive for miles with no story or pull over to the side of the road or into a lot where I parked to safely navigate that cursed high-tech screen to get the audio book playing again.

Eventually I just gave up and stopped listening to anything. I refuse to pay XM satellite radio for programs I’m not interested in. I want my audio books back and CD players were easier to use than all the other high tech crap replacing that old tech. And forget old fashioned radio. I’m spoiled. Audio books don’t come with static, advertisements, listening to NPR begging for donations, or far-right, conservative hate-radio talk shows spewing racism and lies.

Before the Internet and all this so-called wonderful high tech came along, I always found time to read a book during the day because there weren’t so many time sucking distractions. I even found time to play a card or board game.  When I was still teaching, I hosted a chess club at lunch in my classroom, and it was amazing how the room filled up with children who wanted to sit across a board from another real, live human being who came with non-verbal communication.

What are we giving up for this high tech, internet, virtual world where too many people often find themselves sitting alone in a room interacting with a computer screen and/or someone we probably will never meet? In fact, many of the alleged people we meet on-line often use fake and/or anonymous names and hide who they really are, and without nonverbal language we’ve lost more than half of what it means to communicate with each other face to face.

I will admit that using a word processor to write is a lot easier than using a typewriter or pen or pencil. And during this journey into the world of new tech replacing old, I learned to hate Toyota.

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran, with a BA in journalism and an MFA in writing, who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

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Lofthouse’s first novel was the award winning historical fiction My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. His second novel was the award winning thriller Running with the Enemy followed by his award winning memoir Crazy is Normal.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”

 

The Dangers of Halloween Addiction – Who Does This to Children?

While I enjoy seeing kids and adults in cute Halloween costumes, I abhor the TREAT factor of Halloween. As an ignorant child and teen, I went trick or treating, wore costumes and went to Halloween parties. And as a teacher, I dressed in a suit and wore a Richard Nixon mask more than once on Halloween.

However, in the early 1980s I changed my lifestyle drastically and became health conscious and that was the last time I gave out sugar-laced treats. Gasp, I even stopped drinking Coke, Pepsi, 7-Up, and even Dr. Pepper, my childhood favorite.

Instead of that free candy, I gave out small boxes of organic raisins at Halloween until a neighbor accused me of being cheap because I didn’t hand out treats drenched with processed sugar. I’m talking about those bulky bags full of miniature Snickers, Twix, M&M’s, Juicy Fruits, Tootsie Rolls, Oh Henry!, Butterfinger, Starbursts, Hershey’s, Reese’s, Skittles, Kit Kat, Milky Way, etc.

Thirty years of teaching kids that consumed too much sugar is another reason why I stopped handing out popular treats on Halloween, because I witnessed what too much sugar did to my students—too much hyper energy, then lethargy leading to inattention and mood swings. It’s a real challenge to teach a child or teen who drank a sixty-ounce Pepsi for lunch and comes to class with glazed eyes, and in today’s Bill Gates supported high stakes test world of Common Core education that ranks and punishes teachers and closes public schools, sugar should be enemy number two behind Bill Gates and his evil cronies.

In fact, many children and teens of today even hate drinking water because it isn’t sweet, and that is because they are addicted to the sugar. Forbes.com reported, “Research supports the theory that high-fat/high-sugar foods stimulate the brain in the same way that drugs do,” [neuroscientist Joseph] Schroeder said. “It may explain why some people can’t resist these foods despite the fact that they know they are bad for them.”

Most if not all of us know that heroin and methamphetamine are the most addictive illegal drugs, followed by cocaine, pentobarbital, nicotine, alcohol and caffeine, but most do not know that sugar should be on that list too. It’s addictive and destructive. When the researchers “used immunohistochemistry to measure the expression of a protein called c-Fos, a marker of neuronal activation, in the nucleus accumbens, or the brain’s ‘pleasure center,’” they found that “the Oreos activated significantly more neurons than cocaine or morphine.”

In addition to being more addictive than cocaine or morphine, how destructive is sugar?

“The Pompeiians have healthy teeth, only in the rarest cases marred by decay: this is thanks to a mainly vegetarian diet and to an almost total lack of sugar in the diet, explained dental surgeon Elisa Vanacore.”

According to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control, kids are getting way too much added sugar in their diets and that could raise their risk for obesity and chronic diseases. “Consuming added sugars has been tied to an increased risk for heart disease among adolescents and cholesterol problems,” according to the CDC.

“A large epidemiological study suggest sugar may also have a direct, independent link to diabetes. Researchers from the Stanford University School of Medicine, the University of California-Berkeley and the University of California-San Francisco examined data on sugar availability and diabetes rates from 175 countries over the past decade. After accounting for obesity and a large array of other factors, the researchers found that increased sugar in a population’s food supply was linked to higher diabetes rates, independent of obesity rates.” – Stanford.edu

If you still doubt, to discover how horrible processed sugar is, I suggest reading this piece on Healthline.com where you will learn how dangerous diabetes can be.

Diabetes affects all parts of the body, particularly adult onset diabetes. If left uncontrolled, it becomes a killer, which destroyed every organ in the body—including the heart and brain. According to the American Diabetes Association, 25.8 million adults and children in the United States have diabetes and another 79 million are pre diabetic.

And did you know that the leading five companies that make and sell candy and soda employ more than 40,000 workers and have annual revenues of $40 billion. This industry spends millions of dollars on lobbying in Washington DC to stop any proposed consumer protection regulations. Source: IBIS World.com and Sunlight Foundation.com

Now you know why I stopped celebrating trick or treat, because all of those free treats are not really free—they comes with a horrible price. Maybe it is time to take the sugar out of Halloween and just keep the costumes.

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran,
who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

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Lofthouse’s first novel was the award winning historical fiction My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. His second novel was the award winning thriller Running with the Enemy followed by his award winning memoir Crazy is Normal.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”

Two former Marines take a hike on Old Baldy that was almost as Lethal as Leukemia

We were about to discover that you don’t have to climb Mount Everest to face danger in the mountains.

Near the end of the 20th century, two former U.S. Marines, Lloyd (me) and Marshall, decided to climb a mountain they’d conquered many times, but this climb was different, because they had no idea when they started up Mount San Antonio in Los Angeles County’s San Gabriel Mountains that they’d almost freeze, and the harsh wind would work hard to rip them from the mountainside, and Marshal would lose his footing on black ice and slide down a steep slope toward a two-thousand foot vertical drop and almost certain death.

Our goal that Saturday had been to climb to the top of the highest mountain in the San Gabriel Mountains that soared above Los Angeles to a dizzy height of 10,069’. As we climbed, the sky above the mountain was capped with dark gray clouds, and we were bundled in cold weather gear, but the wind cut through our clothing with icy razors.  The trail we were on climbed past the Sierra Club’s ski hut, and the higher we climbed the more snow was stuck to the ground, until, above the ski hut and beyond a field of giant boulders, the thick white crusty powder obscured the trail that led to the top.

From where we had parked the car in Baldy Village, the elevation gain to the top was almost 6,000 feet covering a distance of 4.5 miles to the summit. The return trip was just as daunting.

There are three trails that I know of to the top of that peak, and I’ve used two of them several times. The other one I’ve climbed covers an 11.3 mile loop and crosses the Devil’s Backbone—a narrow ridge with sheer drops on both sides that fall several thousand feet. I’ve been told that on days like this one when the wind blows brutal, hikers have been known to crawl on all fours to cross that stretch.

On an average Saturday when there wasn’t a storm threatening, hundreds of hikers using all three trails would have been climbing to the top of Baldy, Mount San Antonio’s alias, but today, we saw no one.


Mount San Antonio – Skiing the North Face

To understand how treacherous and dangerous this mountain could be, I’m going to take you back to 1967 when I was still in the Marines and stationed at Camp Pendleton. Several Marines in my unit were from New York State, and they often criticized California for being too flat, hot and snowless. “You have no idea what the four seasons are like,” one of them kept telling me. “You live in a desert.”

Tired of their ribbing, I challenged the three New Yorkers with:  “You want mountains and snow, pack up your gear and come home with me one weekend this winter and I’ll drop you off on a mountain where you’ll find plenty of both.” It’s worth mentioning that in New York State the highest summit is Mount Marcy at 5,343 feet, and the winters New York State experiences almost everywhere, California gets in its higher elevations.

I dropped the winter hardened New Yorkers off at Mount Baldy Village (elevation 4,193 feet) late Friday evening. Sunday morning at 3:00 AM, the phone in my parent’s house rang.  It turned out that my fellow Marines had climbed halfway up the mountain beyond the village and pitched their shelters among the old growth trees and crawled inside their sleeping bags. Saturday morning they opened their eyes to a white out and a blizzard. To survive the freezing temperatures, they started a fire and sparks set their shelters on fire burning up their sleeping bags and backpacks with all their military issued gear. With no visibility because of the blizzard, they stumbled down the mountain bouncing off trees and tripping on boulders and were fortunate to reach the Mount Baldy Lodge without suffering any serious injuries or frostbite. After that weekend, they never complained to me about California again.

More than twenty years later, Marshall and I were climbing the same snow covered mountain with a threatening storm closing in, and the trail, a series of switchbacks that climbed the mountain through the old growth trees clinging to its steep slopes, was buried under thick, crusty, hard snow.  “If we go this way,” I said, “we might get lost,” and thought that we could also end up on black ice and that could be the end of us. As steep as the slopes were on much of Baldy face, a fall might be lethal.

Marshall pointed up the steepest slope that we would have never considered climbing during the summer when there was no snow. “What about following whoever made that stairway in the snow to the top?” he asked.

He was right. Someone wearing ski boots had trekked straight up the steepest side of the mountain, where there were no trees—probably due to the annual avalanches—and had used their boots to stamp foot sized steps in the deep, crusty snow.  Following those footsteps, we went straight up. Halfway to the top and hopefully the trail, if we could find it, I stopped and looked back.  It was a dizzying drop to the bottom where the house sized boulders at the base now looked like peas. After that glance, I leaned a bit more into the mountain and carefully placed my booted feet in each imprint the skiers had left behind.

Skiers often climbed this mountain with their skis strapped to their backs and then ski that wide bowl shaped side of the mountain down to the Sierra Ski hut. If they started early, they might get in several runs before dark. There was no ski lift. To ski this mountain, you had to carry all your gear on foot to the top each time.

At the top of that slope, the wind was brutal and we still had about a half mile to go to reach the peak. The wind was so harsh that even the snow didn’t stick, and that allowed us to find the well-traveled trail that would take us to our destination—a barren wasteland that could be so brutal in harsh weather at almost two miles above sea level that over the decades hikers had scraped out what looked like foxholes and surrounded the shallow pits with walls of granite rock where it was possible to hunker down out of the wind and rest before the trek back. Even in the summer when the temperature in the valleys was blistering hot, the cold wind at this elevation could numb exposed skin.

On this day, the wind was swirling the gray clouds over our heads, and it was like looking up into a blender spinning at high speed. I worried that maybe a twister was going to touch down and expected a funnel to appear that might suck us up into that vortex. But if we looked out over the mountains toward the San Gabriel Valley and Los Angeles, we saw blue skies, and we knew that it was easily forty degrees warmer down there.

“We have to get out of this cold,” Marshal said, “and take a break where we can eat.”

I agreed. My gloves were lined with Thinsulate, but that high-tech insulation wasn’t helping. I’d lost all sensation in my hands and feet and my nose was numb.

Marshall pointed out some granite boulders beside the trail that were the size of two story buildings and we found shelter there from the frigid cutting wind, and ate the food we had carried in our backpacks.


Hiking Mount San Antonio without snow on the ground

Determined to reach the summit, we were back on the trail a half hour later. About a hundred yards from the top with visibility dropping drastically as the swirling clouds and brutal wind battered our bodies, we ran into a lone woman scurrying back from the peak.

“Don’t go up there,” she said. “The wind picked me up and threw me about a hundred feet before I landed. It tore off my cap and gloves too. I lost them. To escape, I had to crawl on all fours off the summit.”

Heeding her warning, we turned back but the stairway made in the snow by those skiers down the steepest part of the slope had vanished. Snow was falling and had filled in the footprints.  The only way back was the traditional route even if we couldn’t see the trail. By then it was about three pm and we should’ve still had several hours of daylight left, but the storm was closing in on the mountain’s top and visibility was shrinking fast.

Away from the summit, the clouds were breaking up and some filtered sun light was reaching the snow sticking to the slope we were descending. “I think we should stay in the sun where the snow isn’t as crusty,” I said. “In the shade, we could run into black ice.”

“But it will take us longer to get off this mountain and back to the Sierra ski hut,” Marshall replied.

I glanced behind us. The top of the mountain was obscured by the swirling clouds and howling wind. Up here near the top the trees had been bent, twisted and sculpted by harsh weather. Marshall decided to take the shortest route down the slope that led mostly through shadows cast by the old growth trees, but I didn’t follow him. Instead, I took off at an angle and stayed in what sunlight there was and took care to make sure I had solid footing before taking each step and that meant slamming the heels of my boots into the snow to break the crusty surface and carve out a place to stand before taking the next step. It was slow going, and I started to lose sight of Marshall.

Every few steps, I’d stop, stabilize both feet in the snow and turn to search for him. The last time I spotted him, he was several hundred yards further down the slope from me moving at a fast clip in a straight line in heavily shaded terrain, and I saw when he fell on his back and become a toboggan headed for a cliff with a vertical drop of at least 2,000 feet to a field of granite boulders that littered the base.

My first thought was what I was going to tell his wife and two teenage children. My second thought was how I would reach his broken body at the base of that cliff. There was no trail to that area and the Sierra Ski hut was a long way from that location with some pretty rugged terrain in between.

“Use your hiking stick like a rudder.” I cupped my mouth with both hands and hollered as loud as I could. “Try to steer toward that brush to your left. Maybe it will stop you.” I don’t know if he heard me from that distance with that howling wind, but I saw him use his hiking stick to change course into that brush, and it saved his life.

The first thing he said when we met up at the Sierra Ski Hut was to never tell his wife and children what happened, because they would never let him hike in the local mountains again. Marshall died in 2007 from complications caused by the medication he was taking to combat leukemia, and that hike was not the toughest one we made together in those mountains, but that climb was probably the one that offered the most danger.

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran,
who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

His fourth book is The Redemption of Don Juan Casanova, and Don wants to discover what it’s like to be loved by only one woman. His problem is that he was raised by his grandparents to become a Lothario, who loves and then leaves women for the next conquest, and as he approaches 40, he is facing a crisis.

His grandfather and then younger brother have been viciously murdered, and Don is the prime suspect. As he struggles to stay out of jail and end his life of serial seductions and find one woman to love, he’s discovering it isn’t easy to kick an old habit, and his mother isn’t helping by quoting scripture every chance she gets in an attempt to change her son’s lifestyle of sin for one of piety.

Complete Kindle e-book Cover on February 18 Flattened

Lloyd Lofthouse also worked as a maître d’ in a nightclub called the Red Onion for a few years. A romantic at heart, in his award winning novels, he tests true love in difficult situations and the challenges of keeping that love alive. My Splendid Concubine, his first novel, is an epic love story that teaches acceptance and respect for other people and their cultures. Running with the Enemy, his second novel is a love story that will either cost the characters their lives or will complete each other’s hearts. Lloyd Lofthouse lives with his family in California’s San Francisco Bay area.

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My Vegan Journey and why I never had a chance to say, “Let lips do what hands do.” (Viewed as Single Page)

For the last thirty-two years, I have belonged to one of the smallest minorities in America. I am a vegan 99.9% of the time and even when I’m not a vegan during that 0.1%, I don’t eat red meat, dairy products, chicken or turkey.

Colorado State University reports, “Today, in the United States, there are an estimated 4.9 million people who identify themselves as a vegetarian. … About 1.4% of the US adult population is vegan.”

That means, I am one of about 4.3 million Americans with a vegan lifestyle, which is about equal to the gay population in the US. By contrast, there are 47 million Hispanic/Latinos, more than 37 million Black Americans, and 13.4 million Asian Americans.

There is only one minority smaller than vegans and gays, and that is Native Americans numbering 2.4 million.

Then recently, I left a comment on Glenn Pendlay’s Blog and someone identified as Sarah Balfour called me a fool in a comment, because I am a–rare–vegan.

Sarah’s exact words were, “Lloyd Lofthouse: – you are a fool. A Deluded gullible FOOL! Being vegan – or fruitarian – is one of the unhealthiest lifestyle choices ANYONE can make!”

Is this an example of discrimination of a minority?

There was more to Balfour’s emotional, opinionated rant. If you want to read the comment, click on  the link.

However, I wasn’t always an alien vegan.  Up to about age 36, I ate the average American diet and was just like every other tubby bear of a fat guy.

I loved HUGE barbequed steaks, giant VW van-sized baked potatoes filled with sour cream, melted cheese with chives, pizza and beer, hamburgers and French fries, washed down with beer, Pepsi or Dr. Pepper (by the liter—the hell with water) followed with cakes, pies, candy, etc.

I was a true, dedicated cheese-head for sure.

Oh, and I loved throwing a big drunk: beer, wine, vodka, gin, whisky, scotch (a mixed drink with Coke or straight with no ice).  A week didn’t go by that I wasn’t a dirty skunk of a drunk. The heavy drinking started in 1966 after my combat tour in Vietnam and continued until 1981 when I was forced to confront my inner demons and dominate them or die a painful, early meat eater’s death.

It’s amazing that I never added cigarettes, cigars, and pipe tobacco to my average American lifestyle and why not, even today, it is estimated that more than 43 million American adults smoke including President Barack Obama.

However, my life changed in 1981 when I met a cute vegan—a married, cute vegan with the creamiest, clearest skin I’ve ever wanted to caress and an incredibly pleasant voice—she was always in a good mood and never sick. It was disgusting (not the vegan part or the fact that she never caught a common cold).  The disgusting part was that she was married and off limits.

All I wanted to say to her was what Romeo said to Juliet, “Let lips do what hands do.” I never had a chance.

In 1981, before I became a vegan, I stood six-foot-four and weighed 215 pounds and I did not follow an exercise routine. Due to daily headaches, joint pain, shooting pains throughout my body and indigestion after almost every meal, I carried painkillers and anti acids on me at all times.

If I wasn’t drunk, I was in pain.

I was killing myself with my lifestyle choices and I was so ignorant that I didn’t even know I was responsible. To me, since almost everyone I knew lived the same lifestyle, my life was normal.

Prior to converting to veganism, I came down with annual common colds and flu. Then in 1981 when I was working two jobs, teaching English days in a public middle school and working weeknights and weekends at a nightclub-restaurant combination called the Red Onion in West Covina, I worked with an alien vegan.

In my thirties and single, I was a player and a party animal. In fact, among the Red Onion employees, I was known as Disco Lloyd. Alas, those frantic, dirty dancing days are behind me now.

The cute young vegan I worked with never preached about her lifestyle. In fact, I had no idea she was a vegan until the day almost every employee in the restaurant was sick with the same common cold: the cooks, the hosts, the managers, the maître d (me), the bartenders, waitresses… we were all sick except her—an injustice for sure.

I’m sure many meat eaters will crow “fowl”—that isn’t fair.

Late one night, I asked why she with the “perfect skin” was the only employee that didn’t catch “that” common cold we were sharing with all the customers, and she told me it was because she was vegan. At first I thought she was claiming to have come from Venus, but she explained and cleared up my confusion.

Next, she introduced me to her husband, who was raised as a child to be vegan by his parents. Too bad he was such a nice, likable guy. In addition, he had a fourth degree (or higher) black belt in Kung Fu—move over Jackie Chan.

It was Perfect Skin’s husband that taught me what a healthy vegan diet was and guided me through the year-long conversion.  During that year, my weight plummeted to 160 pounds and then slowly returned to 180 where it stuck—give or take a pound or two—for the next twenty-three years.

During the conversion, my skin even turned a bit green and then orange—because I was drinking lots of organic carrot juice.

Yes, vegetarian/vegan diets may be unhealthy if an individual does not discover what it means to eat a whole-food vegetarian/vegan diet. Iceberg lettuce salads, carrots, lima beans, ice cream, milk, cake, pie and eggs does not do it.

Colorado State University offers a fact sheet of healthy Vegetarian Diets.  If you are interested in converting, I recommend starting there to educate yourself.

That day more than thirty years ago when I decided to give the vegan lifestyle a six-month trial run, I said to my lifestyle conversion coach, “If it doesn’t work, I’m  going back to my cheese pizza and beer, hamburger, French fry, Pepsi, Dr. Pepper diet.”

At the time, I believed the vegan lifestyle wouldn’t work and my lifestyle had nothing to do with my pain and health problems, but I thought, what the heck. Give it a try. It can’t hurt.

And, it was only for six months.

Needless to say, converting to veganism worked and I never looked back. The headaches went away. The indigestion vanished. The shooting pains in my body and joints left and have not returned. My energy became more constant without the ups and down that come with a high-sugar, animal-protein diet.

In fact, I haven’t had a common cold or the flu since 1982 although I understand that vegans do get colds and the flu. I did have a number of sinus infections over the vegan years but those infections were linked to a severe exposure to formaldehyde, one of the top ten carcinogens, in the early 80s that led to sinus surgery—I almost died on the operating table as the doctors carved and scraped inside my head for about three hours.

“After years of delay due to intense pressure from the chemical industry, the government finally added formaldehyde and styrene, two of the world’s most widely used chemicals, to its list of known and probable carcinogens. Formaldehyde is widely used in plywood, particle board, mortuaries and hair salons….” Source: Natural News.com

In addition, have you ever heard of Oprah’s Mad Cowboy, a fourth generation Cattle Rancher that, to save his life, became a vegetarian and gave up—GASP!—meat. If you haven’t, let me introduce you to Howard Lyman. (If you are still a meat eater, you DON’T want to click on this link and “meat” Howard Lyman—You also do not want to watch the following “Mad Cowboy Documentary”.)


WARNING! If you take time to watch this video, the odds say that the way you think of “meat” and “dairy products” will change for the worst.

Regardless of what you might hear from the Sarah Balfours of the world, more than one reputable study proves that vegetarians live longer, healthier lives.

The Huffington Post reported, “The most impressive data arises from a study of 1,904 vegetarians over 21 years by the German Cancer Research Center (Deutsche Krebsforschungszentrum). The study’s shocking results: vegetarian men reduced their risk of early death by 50%! Women vegetarians benefit from a 30% reduction in mortality.”

More recently, medical research has found that a properly balanced vegetarian diet may, in fact, be the healthiest diet. This was demonstrated by the over 11,000 volunteers who participated in the Oxford Vegetarian Study. For a period of 15 years, researchers analyzed the effects a vegetarian diet had on longevity, heart disease, cancer and various other diseases.

The results of the study stunned the vegetarian community as much as it did the meat-producing industry: “Meat eaters are twice as likely to die from heart disease, have a 60 percent greater risk of dying from cancer and a 30 percent higher risk of death from other causes.”

In addition, the incidence of obesity, which is a major risk factor for many diseases, including gallbladder disease, hypertension and adult onset diabetes, is much lower in those following a vegetarian diet. According to a Johns Hopkins University research report on 20 different published studies and national surveys about weight and eating behavior, Americans across all age groups, genders and races are getting fatter. If the trend continues, 75 percent of U.S. adults will be overweight by the year 2015.

The American National Institute of Health, in a study of 50,000 vegetarians, found that vegetarians live longer and also have an impressively lower incidence of heart disease and a significantly lower rate of cancer than meat-eating Americans.

In fact, even back in 1961, the Journal of the American Medical Association reported that a vegetarian diet could prevent 90-97% of heart diseases.

I wonder how many former U.S. Marines, who are Vietnam combat veterans, follow a vegan lifestyle?

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran,
who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

His third book is Crazy is Normal, a classroom exposé, a memoir. “Lofthouse presents us with grungy classrooms, kids who don’t want to be in school, and the consequences of growing up in a hardscrabble world. While some parents support his efforts, many sabotage them—and isolated administrators make the work of Lofthouse and his peers even more difficult.” – Bruce Reeves

Crazy is Normal promotional image with blurbs

Where to Buy

His first novel was the award winning historical fiction My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. His second novel was the award winning thriller Running with the Enemy. His short story A Night at the “Well of Purity” was named a finalist of the 2007 Chicago Literary Awards. His former wife if 15 years is Anchee Min, the international, best-selling, award winning author of Red Azalea, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year (1992).

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”

Meltdown

I do not know when it started,
The religious meltdown
Where I lost my faith
And my family blew away with the wind.

Maybe it started after the death of our family gatherings.
Where grandfathers, grandmothers, fathers, mothers, uncles, aunts, sisters, brothers and cousins
Drove hundreds of miles to sit around the sagging
Table with turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy
Along with pies:
Pecan, pumpkin, apple, mincemeat
And my dad’s favorite, a moist lemon cake
With snowy powdered sugar dusting the top.

On Thanksgiving, my dad and brother-in-law
Competed to see who could eat the most
As football games on TV filled my sister’s house with screaming fans.

It could have been after we stopped celebrating Christmas.
When I was ten and Mike was five,
We huddled behind the closed hallway door along with his younger sisters
Waiting for Santa to leave so we could rush the tree and rip into packages
Squealing with delight at what was discovered.

Then again, maybe it was when Easter expired
And that chocolate bunny
Stopped laying those eggs we once hunted in the grass.

Those fun family moments started to fade
At the same time Disneyland arrived,
Television became king,
Fast food replaced home cooking
And Ringo beat his drums on the Ed Sullivan Show
Introducing an epidemic of obesity along with video games and YouTube.

The free love movement and the pill did not help.
Everyone off doing their thing smoking dope, dropping acid,
Becoming an individual,
Listening to harsh music,
Protesting Vietnam,
Spitting on uniforms
Before going off to occupy a therapist’s couch
Looking for someone else to blame for their mistakes
While buying shrink-wrapped fun
And quivering in fear of HIV/AIDS
Soon followed by the next popular media-induced paranoia.

It seems as if my country, the land I was born in and fought for,
Is driving down a one-way street shouting drive-by hate,
Narcissistic me, me, me
While real families grow weeds.

For decades, I have been hunting for what was lost
Traveling the world looking for that ghost family
That may only exist in my imagination
When the laughter did not come from foul-mouthed comedians
And shock jocks.

Sometimes, in the early mornings, after I exercise,
Surrounded by the humming silence
While everyone else is sleeping
I open my mind to God
Asking if He were created to forgive man’s sins.
He answers.

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran,
who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

His third book is Crazy is Normal, a classroom exposé, a memoir. “Lofthouse presents us with grungy classrooms, kids who don’t want to be in school, and the consequences of growing up in a hardscrabble world. While some parents support his efforts, many sabotage them—and isolated administrators make the work of Lofthouse and his peers even more difficult.” – Bruce Reeves

Crazy-is-Normal-a-classroom-expose-200x300

Lofthouse’s first novel was the award winning historical fiction My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. His second novel was the award winning thriller Running with the Enemy. His short story A Night at the “Well of Purity” was named a finalist of the 2007 Chicago Literary Awards. His wife is Anchee Min, the international, best-selling, award winning author of Red Azalea, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year (1992).

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”