Royal Danish Consulate Jon Rosenthall, Valerie Austin and Mayor John Naugle
A little champagne in the afternoon at my friend Louise's apartment.
By the pool at Hard Rock Casino where Nicole Smith died and the shape of some of the men today. I bet he doesn't eat organic
Valerie Austin with my new friend John Contini's lovely daughter
The Diplomats' Ball
I was fortunate to be seated at Mayor Jim Naugle and chairwoman Nuccia McCormick's table at this event where a hundred VIP guests and diplomats gathered together to promote goodwill and a better understanding amongst nations. The table included the Danish and Maltese diplomats and their wives, my close friend (another Valerie), and others I wasn't able to talk to due to the size of the table.
These elegant balls are great places to meet interesting people. I made two very good contacts that I believe will become lasting friends. One was a fascinating fellow, author and attorney John Contini, who wrote the book 'Danger Road' - a true crime story of murder and redemption. The book is an incredible tale of three drug dealers who were brutally murdered and a man once named as 'Miami's Meanest Cop'. It is also he story of the ensuing trial with a unique insider perspective into the mindsets of a defense attorney and the defendant who became a completely different person by the time of his trial. It may well be worth a read so check out his website at http://www.dangerroadthebook.com. The book also demonstrates how the media can influence a trial.
Talking about the media influencing our thinking, I must mention the front page headline in 'Time' magazine heralding 'Forget Organic, Eat Local'.
The writer says that the long term risks of exposure to low level pesticides are still undetermined. I suggest he should visit Georgina Down's website http://www.pesticidescampaign.co.uk where she says, "People move to the countryside thinking it will be a healthy environment to bring up their children and do not know about the dangers and risks inherent in the spraying of poisonous chemicals on surrounding fields, until they themselves suffer adverse effects on their health." Georgina herself is the proof. When she went for tests after feeling unwell it was discovered that parts of her body contained a lethal cocktail of pesticides. (She remembers the local farm spraying lettuces.) She is currently taking legal action against the Government over pesticides - but their reaction is very much like the food producers saying there is no proof that chemically adjusted food is making us fat when the evidence is all around us. However, he (the writer) did quote Joseph Mendelson III, legal director of the Center for Food Safety, as saying, "I don't know what local means. Do they use local pesticides? Does that mean the food is better because they produce local cancers?"
Supermarkets specialise in shelf life and, just as pesticides are put on the foods in the fields, preservatives are not only included in the ingredients of food packaging but even 'fresh' food is sprayed and coated with them (e.g. apples and oranges are waxed and treated.)
A more intimate way to get to know people?
"Human Genes in Your Food" was front page news at the beginning of March. A Californian company has been given preliminary approval to grow GM foods in 3,000 acres in Kansas and these rice crops are to be genetically modified with human DNA.
It will be the first time GM food containing human genes has been accepted for commercial production. The rice will contain human proteins found in breast milk and saliva. Vetria Bloscceince, the company concerned, is planning to use it in drinks, desserts, yoghurts and muesli bars. UGH! The news brought various reactions, from ones of horror to "very disturbing" by farm researcher Becky Price who warned, "there are huge, huge health risks and people should rightly be concerned about this." Clair Oxborrow from Friends of the Earth said, "using food crops and fields as glorified drug factories is a very worrying development. If these pharmaceutical crops end up on consumers' plates, the consequences for our health could be devastating. Since the biotech industry hasn't prevented their experiments with rice getting into our food chains, it's quite likely that we'll all be eating our neighbours soon." It reminds me of a film about something similar called 'Soylent Green' (1973) staring Charlton Heston. Here is one of the lines from it:
"It's people. Soylent Green is made out of people. They're making our food out of (dead) people. Next thing they'll be breeding us like cattle for food. You've gotta tell them. You've gotta tell them!"
From Sewer To Tap
So what's going on in Florida in the next few months that may be followed globally?Fort Lauderdale (where I live) is on the East coast between Miami and Palm Beach. It is a delightful spot with lots of river inlets with multi-million dollar homes everywhere, similar to those you probably remember from "Miami Vice'. F.L. is filled with the wealthy as they don't have to pay tax here and so they cannot lose their homes if they are sued. The F.L. home is called a 'homestead'. The population is increasing greatly because of the fantastic weather, so they are going to bring in some very unorthodox ways of creating drinking water here. Within months our area will be testing a new system that makes waste into water. Can I afford another UGH?! If this works, the next step is to make waste which is pure sewage, into drinking water. On one of the systems being looked at, raw waste is filtered through sand and then tested through a disinfecting tank. UGH!
TOXIC Light bulbs?
The world seems to have a sickness called 'Global Warming'. Regardless of whoever is to blame or if it is simply a climate change, it seems to be costing us 'silly' money. As Littlejohn stated in his column (Daily Mail), "the fact is that in a couple of years China, which is opening five new coal fired power stations a week, will be generating as much greenhouse gas as there has ever been in the whole world".
To be greener the EU plans to ban the sale of our traditional light bulbs within two years. The proposed new energy saving light bulbs have some serious problems, as the German Chancellor Angela Merkel explained. It seems that they can take a bit of time to warm up, they must be left on much longer for efficiency and the energy saved has reportedly been, dare I say, 'sexed up'.The disadvantages of the new bulbs are depressing and sound quite serious. For starters they are larger and uglier and give a harsher light. You cannot use dimmers and they don't fit about 50% of the conventional light fixtures. They are up to 20 times more expensive and take ten times more energy to produce. It is suggested that they should be left on continually for efficiency or they will have a short life span. Because they flicker 50 times a second, people have experienced 'eye swimming' after reading for a while. It has also been reported that the bulbs can make fast-moving machine parts look stationary, thus causing a safety problem. If that's not enough, unlike standard light bulbs, they use toxic materials including mercury vapour, making them difficult and costly to recycle. What happens if you break one?
This strange new proposed law reminds me of the bird flu fear when millions of pounds' worth of vaccines were bought in by the government, or when the small Pacific island of Tonga, population 114,689, bought enough soap in one go to outlast most of the inhabitants!
I said in my last column that I had a pesticide pouch from not being able to eat organic food for a few weeks and that it would take a month to get rid of. I was wrong - it has taken six weeks. When I returned from Australia I was able to eat nearly all organic food but after nearly a month I found that I had only lost 2 pounds of the 7 that I had gained. Then I realised that I was eating normally; to lose weight you have to eat 'less', which is common sense really. It then took another ten days to lose all but the last 2 pounds.
Interesting website on plastic ploblems: http://www.rozsavage.com/environment/marine_plastics.php
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