Does Tequila Qualify As A Hobby?

giphy-149

There is no doubt that people continue to make choice, there really are no boundaries or limitations, because tequila will NEVER let you down. Y’all don’t have to take my word for it, y’all don’t have to let the fact that tequila is my favorite alcohol, nor do y’all need to let my 20 plus years of bartending make a difference, but one can NEVER go wrong drinking tequila. As an insulin dependent type 2 diabetic, I wonder if it was coincidence that my diagnosis only happened within a few months of me quitting drinking. Things that you’ll read might get you to wondering the same damn things I’m wondering.

As the Pringles campaign so eloquently put it, “Once you pop, the fun don’t stop.”

You know that group of friends who can never decide what type of round to buy at the bar? These people spend their time arguing between Jameson, vodka and Fireball. But do you know the one suggestion that will shut them the F up? That’s right — tequila. I mean, people went as far as creating deep-Fried tequila that will actually get you drunk. Do you see people doing that with vodka? I think not. So get ready to open your eyes to the benefits of tequila, some of which you never even thought could be possible.

_20150511_202934

1. It helps lower blood sugar. How exactly is this possible? Well agavina, which is a sugar that comes from the agave plant used to produce tequila, triggers insulin production and therefore lowers blood sugar. We can thank our friends at the American Chemical Society for this one.

*** Exhibit A ***: A sweetener created from the plant used to make tequila could lower blood glucose levels for the 26 million Americans and others worldwide who have type 2 diabetes and help them and the obese lose weight, researchers said here today.

The main reason it could be valuable, they explained, is that agavins, a natural form of sugar found in the agave plant, are non-digestible and can act as a dietary fiber, so they would not raise blood glucose. Their report was part of the 247th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS).

The meeting, attended by thousands of scientists, features more than 10,000 reports on new advances in science and other topics. Being held at the Dallas Convention Center and area hotels.

“We have found that since agavins reduce glucose levelsand increase GLP-1, they also increase the amount of insulin,” said Mercedes G. López, Ph.D. GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide-1) is a hormone that slows the stomach from emptying, thereby stimulating production of insulin. She added, “Agavins are not expensive and they have no known side effects, except for those few people who cannot tolerate them.” In addition, agavins, like other fructans, which are made of the sugar fructose, are the best sugars to help support growth of healthful microbes in the mouth and intestines, she said.

Agavins can help people feel fuller, which could help them eat less. Agavins contain fructoses, which begs the question: Are agavins like high-fructose corn syrup, a processed sweetener that has gotten a lot of bad press recently? López pointed out that, indeed, high-fructose corn syrup is loaded with fructose sugars and, therefore, can raise blood sugar levels. But agavins are fructans, which are fructoses linked together in long, branched chains. The human body can’t use them in that configuration, so they don’t affect blood sugar, she explained. Agavins also sometimes get confused with agave nectar or agave syrup, which appears on many health-food store shelves. These products contain fructans that have been broken down into individual fructoses, so they are much more similar to high-fructose corn syrup.

Also, she and her team said agavins are better than artificial sweeteners, which are absorbed by the body and can cause side effects, like headaches. “One slight downside, however, is that agavins are not quite as sweet as their artificial counterparts,” she said.

Of course, the agave’s claim to fame is as the plant from which tequila is made. López explained that agavins are the only carbohydrates used to produce the drink. All ethanol in tequila comes from the fermentation of glucose and fructose generated after agave pines are cooked. But because the agavins are converted to ethanol, agavins are not found in the finished product.

López said that in the study, her team fed a group of mice a standard diet and added agavins to their daily water. They weighed the mice daily and checked their glucose blood levels weekly. Most mice that drank agavins ate less, lost weight and their blood glucose levels decreased when compared to other sweeteners such glucose, fructose, sucrose, agave syrup and aspartame.

“This study represents the first attempt to evaluate agavins as sweeteners in spite of their lower sweetness compared to sugar,'” she said. **” End Exhibit A **”

2. It aids in weight loss. Yes, you heard me correctly; there are certain components in tequila that can help you lose weight. In further tests done by the ACS, tequila helped overweight mice lose a significant amount of pounds.

3. You don’t get hungover. You may quickly disagree, but we’re not talking about that shitty watered-down tequila most people are accustomed to. Rather, we are discussing real 100 percent pure agave tequila. Try drinking this instead and see if that headache becomes a memory of the past.

_20150511_204515

4. You can drink it straight without wanting to throw up afterward. Have you ever tried throwing back straight shots of vodka? Chances are they’re coming right back up. When it comes to tequila, you can rest assured that it will sail smoothly down your throat.

5. It helps fight cholesterol. OK, let’s get scientific for a moment. Increasing fiber in your diet helps in the reduction of cholesterol levels. Like fiber, agavins lower triglycerides in the blood and levels of cholesterol as determined by researchers in Plant Foods For Human Nutrition.

6. Tequila may be used to help treat colds. Back in the 1930s, doctors were known to promote this tequila concoction to fight off the common cold: .5 ounce of tequila blanco; .5 ounce of agave nectar; .5 ounce of fresh lime juice.

7. It helps you numb the pain. Tequila has been proven to dilate the blood vessels, which results in better blood flow, minimizing pain levels. When it comes to emotional pain, you can bet tequila is the remedy for that too.

8. It can serve as a “drug delivery system”. WTF does that even mean? OK, so basically when drugs are taken, the acid in your stomach typically breaks them down before they can even hit your intestines. Why is this a problem? Because it decreases the drug’s effectiveness. Tequila serves as a protective barrier of these drugs as they work their way into your system.

9. Diabetics can indulge too. The high amount of sugar that is present in alcohol is what poses an issue for diabetics. The thing with tequila, however, is that it has significantly less sugar; therefore, it will have much less of an impact on blood sugar.

_20150511_204449

10. You look like a damn badass on a first date. How many times do females worry about what to order on the first date? I only know this because I’ve had countless conversations with friends on whether or not it’s appropriate to order anything but wine. The answer? Order tequila and stand out from the crowd. Make a long-lasting impression because you can be certain he will always remember you as the girl who ordered tequila on the rocks on your first date.

11.  It won’t make you feel as fat as vodka and beer. Raise your shot glass and cheers to this because tequila helps to regulate the absorption of fat in your intestines! And when it comes to alcohol, everyone knows how much drinkers detest bloating.

12. You don’t have to waste your calories on a chaser. One of the best parts about ripping shots of tequila is that you don’t need soda to chase them with. Honestly, you don’t really even need a chaser because the taste of tequila is that good, but if you can’t really stomach it, there are always limes!

13. Everyone respects a person who rolls up with a bottle of tequila to a pregame. There are always those people who insist on bringing a bottle of Fireball to every pregame they go to and the word we use to describe these people is: basic. A unique individual busts out the tequila and really gets the party started.

14. It cleans your colon in a different way than you may think. Touching upon the points found in eight,Researchers at Mexico’s University of Guadalajara claim that blue agave found in tequila helps deliver drugs to the colon, which helps to treat illnesses such as Crohn’s disease, colitis, IBS and even cancer.

15. It chills you out and helps you sleep. Everyone knows tequila and relaxation go hand in hand. You don’t need to drink an excessive amounts one or two shots will do. Next time you can’t fall asleep, try sipping on some Don Julio.

Below are some recommended warning statements tequila producers should add for friendly public service announcements.

_20150511_204335

WARNING: The consumption of tequila may leave you wondering what in the unnatural fuck happened to your bra and panties because tequila does make your clothes fall off ladies.

WARNING: The consumption of tequila may make you think you are whispering when you are really not.

WARNING: The consumption of tequila may cause you to tell your friends over and over again that you love them.

WARNING: The consumption of tequila may cause you to think you can sing.

WARNING: The consumption of tequila may lead you to believe that ex-lovers are really dying for you to text them at four in the morning.

WARNING: The consumption of tequila may make you think you can logically converse with members of the opposite sex without spitting or drooling on them.

_20150511_204422

WARNING: The consumption of tequila may often lead to attempting and successfully repeating the revered tequila body shot. Will you give or receive?

_20150511_204406

WARNING: The consumption of tequila may cause you to roll over in the morning and see something really scary (whose species and/or name you can’t recall).

WARNING: The consumption of tequila is the leading cause of inexplicable rug burns on your forehead.

WARNING: The consumption of tequila may create the illusion that you are tougher, smarter, faster and better looking than some really, really big redneck who proceeds to kick your ass.

WARNING: The consumption of tequila may lead you to believe you are invisible, resulting in you attempting to grope members of the opposite sex. Sometimes this works out, other times not so much, what the hell, roll the dice.

WARNING: The consumption of tequila may lead you to think people are laughing along WITH you.

WARNING: The consumption of tequila may cause a disturbance in the space-time continuum, wherein gaps in consciousness appear, and eventually disappear forever.

WARNING: The consumption of tequila has been known to inexplicably cause pregnancy.

WARNING: The consumption of tequila is a major factor in dancing like a talentless teenage boy.

WARNING: The consumption of tequila may cause you to tell the same boring story over and over again until your friends or perfect strangers feel inclined to SMASH YOUR HEAD IN or at least entertain the idea.

WARNING: The consumption of tequila may cause you to say things that you think make you sound clever to people you are trying to communicate with, this is your brain lying to you but the tequila takes over and speaks for you.

_20150511_204434

The Sting Of The Scorpion Blog disclaimer. Never have I claimed to be a medical care giver nor do I have any formal or informal education and/or training which would quality me to give medical advice. The preceding post was for informational and entertainment only. You go read and find your own conclusion. However, I am a formally trained bartender with over 20 years of professional experience, since retired, so I do feel I know something about tequila, which so happened to be my specialty and my personal preference in alcohol, so call me a little biased. If the preceding made you think, entertained you, filled you heads with useless information, left you wondering, and left you thirsty for my friend tequila, my job is done here.

13 Rules Of Engagement

_20150506_183051

This is a pretty complete list of 13 things that a veteran must do or more importantly, not do, while you attempt to win your compensation benefits. These aren’t in any particular order, each is as important as the next. I know these are all very important. I know the results of not catching mistakes and of making simple errors.

Following these simple rules won’t win your claim for you but it will help ensure you don’t lose it.

(1) Don’t call the toll free number. Don’t email the VA Regional Office. Don’t use the electronic system to file your claim. Do not ever, under any circumstances communicate with the VARO except by certified mail, return receipt requested. If you break this rule, you are sure to get the wrong information. When you call or email you aren’t contacting your VA Regional Office, you’re in touch with a call center. The call center has access to a computer system that is rumored to be powered by kerosene and data is stored on IBM punch cards. The employees are under orders that you are allowed 3 minutes and not any more. They will tell you anything you want to hear to get you off that telephone. If you insist, try calling 3 days in a row. Ask the same question each time. It’s likely you’ll hear 3 completely different answers, all the wrong answers.

(2) Know who is representing you. You hand over the future of one of the most important legal moves you’ll ever make where the stakes are counted in the hundreds of thousands of dollars and you aren’t sure who the person works for? On the other hand, you’ll walk into any office that looks official, sign over a power of attorney, complete financial paperwork that exposes your weaknesses to the world and walk away not knowing what to expect or when to expect it. Spend much time thinking about your claim and who that representative works for, you’ll be a lot happier down the road.

(3) Be patient. Take 2 hours of quiet time early in the process and read from all the stuff that is available all over the internet. The VA site itself is a wealth of information and will answer a lot of your questions completely. Your application for benefits will follow a process. If you’ve done your part that paper you submitted is going to slowly wind its way to the first step in the process, then the second step in the process, then the third step and so on right through over 100 steps that must be accomplished before it is adjudicated. Whether you think all that is necessary or not doesn’t matter. It’s the process that counts and you need to accept that very early in the game. Once you’ve submitted your paperwork and you’re confident that you have given VA all the evidence that there is, you’re done. There is nothing else to do but wait. Calling the VA (see #1) to ask where your folder is truly a waste of your time. Don’t write any more letters to the VA. Don’t call your VSO to ask if she has heard anything about your claim. She hasn’t.
Do anything at all but think about your claim. Your claim will be adjudicated when it gets adjudicated and not a minute before. Live with that.

(4) Don’t ever display any anger to a VA employee. Yeah, OK…we’re all pissed off. Every last veteran I know can feel their blood boiling at the mention of how the VA treats those it’s supposed to serve. We were trained to be angry. Extreme pain was a sign that weakness was leaving my body. My most basic and most important job was to kill people and destroy their stuff. We were not emissaries of peace, we were warriors. That was then and this is now. If you show your angry side to a VA employee by yelling, expressing your displeasure at waiting, slamming your fist down on a desk, cursing, storming out of a room and slamming the door or making a direct or veiled threat…you have created trouble for yourself and all those who have to follow in your footsteps. Most, not all, but most VA employees at the clinics, hospitals and regional offices want to help you. They’re usually every bit as frustrated as you are at the bureaucracy they work for. They have the same problems of paying bills, raising teenagers, flat tires and headaches that you have. Many of them are veterans. Many others weren’t born yet when you were injured. The bureaucracy wasn’t intentionally made tougher for you by that 23 year old student intern sitting across from you. A lot of these people are afraid of you. I was born with a scowl. At my happiest, my brow is furrowed and my eyes narrow down to slits and I sigh a lot. I’ve been told often that I intimidate people so I work hard to overcome that. Before you interact with a VA employee in person, on the phone or by letter, take a deep breath and let that anger go. The amount of courtesy, respect and smiles you give is directly correlated to what you’ll receive. Otherwise, you may find that your record is flagged to warn others about your erratic, threatening behavior and if you think you have problems with getting things done now, you haven’t seen nothing yet. Worst case scenario, the VA police are serious. Most VA police officers are real cops, not ‘security guards’. The handcuffs they use are pretty much guaranteed to show you what they think of your attitude. Think before you open your mouth. You’ll be glad you did. The rest of us will appreciate it too.

(5) A well written letter is your best friend. When you moved and changed your mailing address, it appears you told everyone but the VA Regional Office that handles your folder. Neither the toll free number nor the IRIS email system is at your regional office. Your VSO can’t be relied on to run errands for you. If you had written a letter, mailed it to the correct address and used certified mail with return receipt requested and kept the receipt along with your copy of that letter, it is very likely the address change would have happened just as it should have. If it didn’t, you have good evidence that you did your part correctly and timely. Without that little green postcard, you got nothing. This action applies to every action you take with the VA. Any time you want VA to accomplish anything for you, you must put it in writing and you must be precise in telling them exactly what it is you want. When you put your request in writing, you’ve just created a piece of evidence that can be held in the hands and reviewed by another person months or years down the road. It’s real, it’s solid and if it disappears from your folder, you have a back-up copy and that little green post card to prove it was delivered. A telephone call is a faint memory the moment the connection is broken. An email may roll up and off the screen, out of sight and out of mind. Emails are often purged whether by accident or intent. Your letter and your copy of that letter are the most powerful tool you have. A single letter that is brief and tells the reader just exactly what you want is more potent than a hundred phone calls. There is just no reason for you to communicate with VA by any other method than a letter.

(6) Don’t call your Congressperson or a Senator. Your elected representatives in Washington makes laws, they don’t enforce them. Each of them maintains a number of very busy offices staffed by a dozen or more people. In that mix are “Military & Veterans Liaisons” or an individual with a similar title and responsibility. When you write or call to complain about the VA and your claim, your call is routed to that person. He or she will ask you to complete documents that allow them to view your folder, privacy issues must be addressed as you have medical records in there. Then they send a “Congressional Inquiry” to your VARO. The VARO maintains a team of people to respond to such inquiries within 45 days. Your folder is located, pulled out of line and examined for any particular glitches or errors. Then it may be sent to the Representative’s liaison for a review. If the folder and your application are merely going through the usual routine of numbingly slow progress, that’s what you’ll hear. If there is missing evidence and VA can’t find records or something is lost, they’ll assure the Representative that they’re doing all they can and that message will be passed on to you. Your Congressperson or Senator won’t be aware that you’ve done any of this with their office. They each have hundreds of these requests every year. Often enough, the impatience is rooted in ignorance. The vet doesn’t understand the process and nobody told him that his claim may take as long as 18 months. Some requests and complaints are filed with these offices because the veteran is in dire financial straits and is depending on a compensation benefit to save the day. The wolves are at the door, the car is being repossessed, the credit cards are maxed out and the vet needs the money right now. This is probably the worst reason to call as an inquiry may cause even more delays. Your folder could have been next in line to be distributed to the desk of a Ratings Veterans Service Representative (RSVR) and you caused it to be pulled out of its place in the line.

(7) Don’t ask advice from everyone you meet. Once you begin the journey to that compensation benefits award, you should soon develop a plan and stick to it. An integral part of the plan is where you’ll get guidance from. Have you decided to use a Veterans Service Officer who you trust?  Are you going to DIY? Are you in an appeal and you’ve signed some agreements with a lawyer? Whatever path you choose, stick to it. There is no one perfect answer to any of the thousands of questions that may come up during the course of your claim. Different people will have different experiences and those experiences will shape the way they will advise you to handle your claim. This happens in appeals too. The veteran speaks with a lawyer who agrees to take him as a client. Papers are signed and the lawyer begins the process by notifying VA of the new POA and requesting a copy of the folder. Six months pass and the veteran hasn’t heard anything so he calls the lawyer to discover the VARO only delivered the copied folder 2 weeks ago. The veteran once again starts looking for advice elsewhere and the result is always the same, the vet is lost, confused and unsure of what to do next. Changing representation in the middle of the process may be one of the worst actions a veteran can take unless there is a very good cause. That the claim is taking too long or the lawyer isn’t calling you every week to tell you nothing has happened isn’t good cause. You should only change your POA in a circumstance where you’ve discovered and can prove incompetence, your representative is on an extended leave or the representative dies. Even then, you will want to give a lot of thought to upsetting the flow of progress, as slow as it may be. It’s perfectly reasonable to believe that it’s better to allow the claim to proceed to a denial than to try to make a course correction during the process. When you make the decision to file a claim, give a lot of thought to how you’re going to proceed and choose your representative carefully. If you’ve done your homework up front, when you hit those bumps and delays that come with working with VA, you’ll remain confident that it’s just the routine and you’ll be happier for it.

(8) Prepare for the worst. Approach your claim as if it is already determined that you’ll lose and have a lengthy appeal. There are no reliable, precise statistics that allow us to predict which claims will be approved or the ones that are doomed to failure. We know that even when you submit a perfect claim with perfect evidence there’s a good chance that you will be tied up for a year or more and then receive a denial letter. When you get that denial, you’ll be stunned as you read along. In the required explanation from VA you’ll see that it’s almost as if not one single person actually read your evidence and/or they just ignored it all. The language they use might make you think that they’re speaking of someone else’s claim, not yours. You may read incomplete sentences, pages that don’t seem to connect from one to the next or the date on your letter may be days, weeks and even months previous to the day you get the documents. The truth is that it’s entirely possible that your complete folder was never examined for all the evidence. It’s possible that evidence you delivered wasn’t ever matched to your file. It’s not rare for papers from one file to be accidently included in another file and your denial may be based on a single page of a report from another veteran’s medical record. If you are already in need of the financial help that you deserve when you take that first step towards compensation, you must begin to develop your budget as if you aren’t ever going to see any help from the VA. I have met many vets who are suddenly unemployed or underemployed due to their service connected disability when they decide to file for a benefit. They hear from friends of the retroactive pay and that monthly deposit and the free medical care and they file and sit back and wait for it. It’s very unlikely that you’re going to find any sympathy for the knee injuries that you’ve asked for and been denied 3 years earlier. Even if your claim is valid and you’re unable to find work, unless you have a situation that is life threatening, you probably won’t see any help at all from VA. No matter what your situation, after you’ve completed your filing of the paperwork for your claim, you must then address your long term finances. You should involve your family in the discussion so that everyone understands that you’re facing a long road ahead. If you start the process knowing how you’ll pay bills each month until the point that you are awarded your deserved compensation, the time you wait will be less of a stress on you as well as your family.

(9) Read the fine print. Each time the VA writes to you you’ll find a page that applies to your claim and a number of pages of boilerplate instructions regarding your rights to appeal and other matters. Too many of us get to the part that reads, “We propose to reduce your benefits…”, or “Your claim for compensation is denied…”, or any one of a number of messages that we didn’t want to receive and we never read past that. The blood boils up in the brain, eyes cloud over and we get tunnel vision and we never see the instructions that can save us time and trouble. The fine print included with a VA letter is as good as it gets. Often enough it will detail why a particular action is taking place and once you understand that, you can correct the problem in short order. In a denial letter you may see that they didn’t consider an important piece of evidence that would have supported your claim and you have an instant reason to appeal. The most important detail you’ll find is that of timing. Your VA is obsessed with timing, yours, not their own. That fine print will tell you that if you wish to halt the apportionment of the money your ex is trying to withhold from your compensation, you must take certain actions within 30 days or 60 days. If you ‘timely’ reply you can request a personal hearing that can halt proceedings for months while VA makes room in the schedule for you. This can give you valuable time to gather evidence or get advice on how to fight a proposed negative action by VA. Reading those pages of legalese will provide the veteran with almost never-ending routes of appeals, hearings and opportunities to prevent decisions from going against us or to reverse decisions that aren’t favorable. Using the law to enforce your rights is smart. Getting smart beats getting angry every time.

(10) Get involved. You served your country. You wore the uniform, took the oath and you agreed that if ordered to do so, you would lay your life on the line for the principles we believe in. That isn’t enough. You aren’t done yet. When you were active duty, you could vote and that was about it. Now you’re a veteran and you have the knowledge and experience required to understand how our military forces need the support of the civilian leadership that control them. If you haven’t ever written to your elected representatives before, don’t embarrass yourself by thinking that they should jump up to help you when you have an issue with the VA. You Congressional representatives want to hear from you on an ongoing basis. Your Senators each have an easy, simple section on their web site for you to write them a note to let them know how you feel. Once each month, it may take all of 5 minutes of your busy schedule to write to say that you support some piece of legislation for veterans. If you do that on a regular basis, if you aren’t a ranter, and if you are contributing your thoughts to them even when you don’t need their help, they’ll pay more attention when veteran’s issues come before them. Today, the younger veterans need your wisdom, your guidance and the benefit of your experience. When you returned to the world in 1969, there were few people who were willing to offer you a hand up. If you haven’t lifted a finger to help our newest veterans but you have time to bitch and whine and cry about your own benefits, you need to reassess the situation you’re in. Giving your time to assisting these warriors will give you something to do while VA muddles around with your claim. You won’t get the sort of reward from the VA that you’ll discover helping a young veteran rebuild a life.

(11) Learn how to use your computer.  If you’re reading this, the odds are you’re reading it on a computer. It’s often said that filing an application for disability compensation isn’t a spectator sport. It’s time for you to get in the game. How can a person who manages to log on and use email not know about that phenomenon known as the Google search engine? The Internet is as amazing an invention as the wheel or sliced bread. To have Internet access is something most of us couldn’t have imagined in our wildest dreams as we entered our military service. Today’s soldier can’t recall a world without the Internet. If we take it in it’s simplest terms, the Internet is nothing more than a library that houses information. We all access the same Internet. It doesn’t matter if your portal is AOL or Bellsouth or Comcast, those are just doors that open to allow you access. Once you step through the door your Internet Service Provider (ISP) has for you, you are surfing along the same “Information Superhighway” as everyone else. Once you’ve arrived on the Internet, the “library” is full of billions and billions of pages of information. That information is piped up into the Internet from other computers, called servers, from colleges and governments and private citizens and even businesses that want to sell things to you. If you want to see what they have to offer, you have to be able to arrive at their Internet address and then view the information they provide. To get to a specific place or find specific information on the Internet requires that you know the exact address of the place you’re looking for. If you don’t know where you’re going, how on earth can you find your way among those billions of addresses? Thankfully, that was made easier for you years ago by the development of the “Search Engine”. The first Internet search engine came about 1993 and has quickly evolved into today’s Google. While there are plenty of competitors around, many consider that the Google engine is the best available. How do you use it? Simple. If the Google search bar isn’t already a fixture on the landscape of the web page you’re looking at, go to the address bar of your browser and type in http://www.google.com and you’re ready to search. Bingo, you’re on a page that shows you the results of the search by the engine. It may tell you that it found hundreds of thousands of “hits” of pages that are relevant to your query. The engine, being as smart as it is, has listed them in the order it thinks you’ll want to see them. You’ll see the main page of the DVA site (http://www.va.gov) and also the main page of the VBA site (http://www.vba.va.gov) Congratulations! You’ve just learned how to use a search engine. You entered a “search term” and then directed the engine to find a likely page of information for you. Once at the DVA web site you’ll see links to almost everything the DVA has available. A “link” is a word, phrase or symbol that you may click on that will take you to another place on the Internet or within the pages of the site you’re on. To find the facts about dependents benefits is easy once you’re on the VA site. Look around, you’ll see links to benefits, from there links to dependent’s benefits and so on. I recommend the DVA web site as a first stop for almost everything you need to know about the VA. The site is massive and it can be complex but with a little time, you’ll soon discover all you ever wanted to know about VA.

(12) Retrieve and then organize your own documents and evidence. The VA has a duty to assist you. The obligation to help you includes a reasonable effort to track down records and to notify you of your rights. The word you want to pay attention to is “reasonable”. If 10 years have passed since you were treated at the infamous Our Lady of Pain and Suffering Medical Center, located in beautiful Dog’s Breath, Georgia and you want those records, you better work on getting them yourself. That VSR may fire off a letter in the direction of that hospital and include a copy of your release but there is never any guarantee they’re going to respond. He may even try again. After that, it’s your problem, not his. Many hospitals today have medical records outsourced to a vendor in another city and state. If the VA writes to the hospital asking for your records they may get a message to contact the vendor. In turn, that vendor may require a stiff fee to research and copy records, and yes, they can do that. The vendor may require a photocopy of your driver’s license or other identification for security. Their rules may require all of that and then they must send the records back to the hospital where the hospital releases them to you or the VA. Upon encountering those kinds of barriers, the VSR at your VARO will note his attempts and move on, only without your important records. If you were treated by a handful of different physicians over the years, practices may have changed hands, doctors may have moved on. If you were treated by Dr. Quackenstein 12 years ago and his notes will prove your disability, you’ve got problems if he gave up medicine and is now a back-up singer in an unheard of band. Your file may be in storage, it could be that the entire practice moved to another building or that the practice, including your chart, was sold to another group of doctors. The VSR may send a letter and might even make a phone call on your behalf. If that isn’t productive, he’ll move on. In the circumstances above, had you taken the initiative yourself, you may have been able to track down your record. Yes, it may have taken you 30 phone calls and days of frustration but if you are persistent and you find the right person, the one with the keys to the storage facility, you may get that single piece of paper that wins your case.

(13) You’re not in the military anymore.You no longer have to accept answers you get as if it was handed down from authority and, or through the chain of command. Question everything. If the answer or decision is not favorable to you, disagree with it. Our government’s agencies do not always get things right, do not have your best interests in mind, and will not always tell you everything you need to know. If you think your claim has merit, and your belief is based on facts, law, and evidence directly on point to your claim, then appeal and persevere. Do not shrug your shoulders, give up, and think the VA must know better and, or must be right. They make wrong/bad decisions all the time; hence, the incredible backlog that exists in the VBA claims process today.

Read this disclaimer: The above information is provided to you to describe general processes and procedures that occur during the application for disability compensation and pension and other benefits within the Department of Veterans Affairs System. You are not being provided with any legal advice. Any information provided here is not intended as and should not be construed as legal advice. The DVA laws and regulations are subject to change. I cannot guarantee the accuracy or completeness of any of the information provided, or any results or outcome as a result of the use of this information.

Uphill Battles & Gaining The High Ground

_20150506_093819

Many of you have been around here long enough to know I’m a disabled United States Air Force (AF) veteran who has been in an uphill battle with the Veterans Administration (VA) since the day I got out of the AF. I’ve asked why it must be a battle to receive veterans disability benefits, I’ve asked why there must be so much red tape, and repeatedly I find myself with the same damn answer, because this is the way it is, just accept it. Well, I’ve called bullshit, and that answer is not only un-acceptable to me and shouldn’t be acceptable to any living breathing veteran on the face of the planet. The word needs to get out, we need to share what we know with everyone, the more information we are armed with can mean the difference of one’s success or failure with the VA. So, here’s my personal challenge to all of you, veteran or not, disabled veteran or not, family members, friends, and co-workers, share this post on your web page, your blog, Facebook, Google+, and so forth. This following information will help you whether you want to file a claim or you wish to re-open an existing claim. But this information needs to get out there, the word must be spread. I won’t mention her name here, she knows who she is, who she is to me, but she knows first hand the battle veterans fight in the VA system, whether it be on the medical side or the claim side of the VA. We have spoke extensively and I want to be the one that gives something back to my fellow veterans. She has been an inspiration to me to keep my head held high and keep fighting. I owe her a debt of gratitude for lending me an ear and being a dear friend. So, again, the more this information is shared with everyone the better.

There is information within the walls of the VA which is very important to each and every veteran. I’ve spent many years just taking the VA’s word for it about my personal disability claim, but I’m done with that nonsense, real done with it, everyone who is a veteran needs to come to the very moment I did, and just flat say that enough is enough, its time to get to higher ground, its time to win my battle and claim the high ground. I didn’t do this alone, I’ve had help along the way, I’d love to mention each person out but I would rather thank all of them in mass for they each helped me in their own particular way or supported me when I thought it wasn’t worth fighting for any more. But why do we need to fight? Why can’t the process be easier? I’ll tell you why, it has the appearance that the VA makes the process of filing a claim overly complex and hard simply to discourage veterans from filing a claim. When, in reality, it should be just the opposite, our Veterans Administration should be helping us, not fighting us at every turn, they should want to be there for us as we have been there for them. But, we all know it to be very different, a scenario that resembles a battle plan with contingencies to set in play for the setbacks. Again, we must be prepared, we must be three steps ahead, we must have a hand in the grand scheme, and the only way to win any battle is to be well informed.

I have read many blogs, web sites, forums, reviews, papers, and government documents than one single man should ever have to endure. I’m no lawyer, not by any means, and this post will only point out your legal rights as a veteran, but in no way constitute any form of legal council. And, for the purpose of the contents of this post I offer you my disclaimer. The information you obtain on this blog or this post specifically is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney or advocate for advice regarding your individual veterans claim situation. This blog post is intended for informational purposes only. Got it? Great, lets move on then, there is much to cover. The following information has been researched by me personally, shared with me personally, all for the purpose of being better prepared to do battle with the VA. With that being said, I’ve collected quite a stack of useful information. Today we will talk mostly about a veterans “C” file or claims file, it’s contents, and why the information might be the single most important resource a veteran can have.

What is in a C-file? When I casually say everything about you, I truly mean it. For simplicity purposes, let’s separate the contents of a C-file into 11 different categories so each one of them can be examined. Your claims file is being reviewed by the VA to evaluate your case, it is your legal right to have a copy so each party has the same information. See what is missing, see what is being overlooked, and provide yourself with ammunition to fight back, you need a page by page copy of your entire claims file, without it you have already lost your battle.

Miscellaneous: Basic information can be found here like birth certificates, employment information, and more.

Military Administration: This area pertains to everything from your discharge to your awards and personal records.

Compensation and Pension Exams: Any records pertaining to your C&P Exams.

VA Medical Records: Record for any occasion in which you have sought treatment at any VA facility.

Private Medical Records: Any medical records from non-VA facilities, or from your active duty period.

Military Medical Records: Any medical records from your time in service.

Entrance and Separation exams: These exams are performed when an individual enters and when they exit the military.

Ratings Decisions and Statements of the Case: This section is rather large and will contain your application for benefits, appeals, decisions, statements of the case, and so much more.

Statements in Support of Claim: Any statements or questionnaires that you may fill out will be located here.

Transcripts:  This simply pertains to transcripts from hearings.

Transcripts: Any applications, decisions, and records pertaining to Social Security.

The claims file is kind of like the lifeblood of your case. A C-file is something that every Veteran has once a claim is filed with the VA. Some C-files are small, and others contain more 7000 pages, but no two files are the same. Unfortunately claims files are not currently electronic, and they arrive from the VA unsorted. One of the first things to do when your claims file arrives is sort it into the eleven categories above. Those eleven categories contain all of the essential information about your case. So, how does one obtain a C-file? That part, unlike the review, is simple. All you really have to do is ask for it from the VA. Remember, the word simple with the VA is a relative term. As I mentioned earlier, the files are not electronic. They are paper.  As they are paper, they are stored in filing cabinets. Further, depending upon when you served, where your case is in the process, and which Regional Office is handling your claim, the file may be in multiple locations. Because of this, it takes time to get your file together.  Also, it is important to note that only one copy of your file is free. If you request additional copies you will be charged. I recommend, if you have the technology, scan it all, scan everything, make that digital copy for your records, store it on a thumb-drive and/or burn it onto a DVD or CD. Saying that your claims file is important to your VA Disability claim is an understatement. Honestly, the records found within the claims file really determine your eligibility.

I mentioned above that a veteran just needs to ask for his/her claims file, below is an example of what I used.

———————————–

(Date)

Privacy Act Department

Department of Veterans Affairs Regional Office

6900 Almeda Road

Houston, TX 77030

Re: (Veterans Name) Claims Folder FOIA Request

(Social Security Number or Claim Number or Case Number)

Dear Staff:

I hereby request a copy of all documents contained in (Veterans Name) claims folder, including, but not limited to, all documents in the right flap, left flap, and center flap, and the reverse side of any documents with writing on both sides.

Please note that this request for documents is being made pursuant to the Privacy Act, 5 U.S.C. § 552, and the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. § 552a, as well as 38 C.F.R.§1.550 and 38 C.F.R.  § 1.577.  Your agency has a duty to respond to this request within TWENTY (20) DAYS of the date of this request pursuant to 5 U.S.C. § 552 (a)(6)(A)(2)(i).

Additionally, although an extension of time to respond may be requested, it may only be granted for “unusual circumstances.” “Predictable agency workload” is not typically considered an unusual circumstance as stated in 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(6)(C)(ii).   Moreover, even to the extent that unusual circumstances could be demonstrated in this instance, the time limit for the extension is limited to “10 working days” pursuant to 38 C.F.R.§ 1.553(d).

Please also be aware that your agency’s failure to respond to this request within twenty (20) days may result in the filing of an administrative appeal with the office of the Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs pursuant to 38 C.F.R.§ 1.557 and 5 U.S.C. §552(a)(6)(A)(2)(ii), and potentially, the filing of a federal lawsuit to compel the production of the information.

This may subject your agency to contempt of court and a fine, including attorney fees and litigation expenses in compelling the production of this information pursuant to 38 U.S.C. § 552a(g)(l) of the Privacy Act, and 38 U.S.C. § 552(a)(4)(B) of FOIA. Thank you.

(Veterans Name)

(Veterans Signature)

(Veterans Contact Info)

———————————-

Hand write the request, type it out, print it, be sure to sign it, put it into an envelope and send it. But, wait, be sure to send it certified mail requiring a signature. Why? You will be notified of the date, time, and person signing for the letter. Why is this important? Their time to reply starts on the date signed. Remember its business days, excluding weekends and federal holidays. Once you get a copy of your claims file, categorize it, read it, get to know it frontwards and backwards, then use the information to better prepare your initial claim or to help you re-open your claim. Personally, I’m in the information collection phase of my battle, soon I will soon be finished preparing my package to be submitted to the VA. I will continue to update this blog with my progress and/or road blocks. Remember, the more this information is shared with fellow veterans, family members of veterans, co-workers of veterans, and so forth, the better we, as veterans, can better prepare. If the playing field is level then the veteran once again has a fighting chance. The resources are out there, the information is out there, and the almighty answers are all out there, find it all and live a better life.

Why Do Doctors Have Differing Opinions

_20150224_140438

After a grueling fucking twenty minute conversation with my VA healthcare professional, a person whom I can barely understand much less say her name or even try to spell it, I made the choice to speak with her civilian counterpart in the sector of private medicine. I was solely looking for confirmation of the information I was given in regards to my diabetes and how the peripheral neuropathy in my feet is getting worse over time instead of better. I currently take Pregabalin (which is used to relieve neuropathic pain from damaged nerves that can occur in your arms, hands, fingers, legs, feet, or toes if you have diabetes. Pregabalin is in a class of medications called anticonvulsants. It works by decreasing the number of pain signals that are sent out by damaged nerves in the body.) after being prescribed two others which made me sick to my stomach and didn’t work for me personally. As of lately, the Pregabalin seems to have just stopped working with a considerable increase in the pain in my feet. I called for consultation to see if I had other options. But, as she read straight out of the “VA doctor to patient book of protocol bullshit”, she explained that this treatment prescribed by her IS working for me and any idea it isn’t working is just my imagination.

She don’t even know about my imagination first of all and I have spent less than fifteen minutes total in the three times I have been in her presence so how in the hell can she claim such bullshit. Yes, I understand they are busy doctoring and shit but the dirt under my fingernails has more bedside manner than she could ever hope to have. So, I phoned my civilian doctor, who tells me that no treatment is 100% foolproof and our bodies get nonreactive to most medication we take on a regular basis. No shit! How do I fix it? I hate the awkward silence that happens after an unexpected question or answer because I wonder if I crossed that all to visible line we’re never supposed to cross. Anyway. What my point? The conversation that I had with each doctor got me thinking about the below article I read not to long ago and I just wanted to explain WHY I was sharing it out of the blue like I am. It also made me think of the above sketch, because I do see doctors as “angels” and the serpents they battle within when confronted with doing the right thing or doing only how they are taught. No, I don’t think all doctors are quacks selling snake-oil remedies, but many get tied up in being a doctor before being a human being. I would love to hear your opinions if y’all don’t mind taking a minute.

Why Health Professionals Become Quacks

William T. Jarvis, Ph.D.

It is especially disappointing when an individual trained in the health sciences turns to promoting quackery. Friends and colleagues often wonder how this can happen. Some reasons appear to be:

Boredom

Daily practice can become humdrum. Pseudoscientific ideas can be exciting. The late Carl Sagan believed that the qualities that make pseudoscience appealing are the same that make scientific enterprises so fascinating. He said, “I make a distinction between those who perpetuate and promote borderline belief systems and those who accept them. The latter are often taken by the novelty of the systems, and the feeling of insight and grandeur they provide” [1] Sagan lamented the fact that so many are willing to settle for pseudoscience when true science offers so much to those willing to work at it.

Low professional esteem

Nonphysicians who don’t believe their professions is sufficiently appreciated sometimes compensate by making extravagant claims. Dental renegades have said “All diseases can be seen in a patient’s mouth.” Fringe podiatrists may claim to be able to judge health entirely by examining the feet. Iridologists point to the eye, chiropractors the spine, auriculotherapists the ear, Registered Nurses an alleged “human energy field,” and so on. Even physicians are not immune from raising their personal status by pretension. By claiming to cure cancer or to reverse heart disease without bypass surgery, general physicians can elevate themselves above the highly trained specialists in oncology or cardiology. By claiming to heal diseases that doctors cannot, faith healers advance above physicians on the social status chart (physicians are normally at the top of the chart while preachers have been slipping in modern times). Psychologists, physicians, actors, or others who become health gurus often become darlings of the popular press.

Paranormal tendencies

Many health systems are actually hygienic religions with deeply-held, emotionally significant beliefs about the nature of reality, salvation, and proper lifestyles. Vegetarianism, chiropractic, naturopathy, homeopathy, energy medicine, therapeutic touch, crystal healing, and many more are rooted in vitalism, which has been defined as “a doctrine that the functions of a living organism are due to a vital principle [“life force”] distinct from physicochemical forces” and “the theory that biological activities are directed by a supernatural force.” [2,3] Vitalists are not just nonscientific, they are antiscientific because they abhor the reductionism, materialism, and mechanistic causal processes of science. They prefer subjective experience to objective testing, and place intuitiveness above reason and logic. Vitalism is linked to the concept of an immortal human soul, which also links it to religious ideologies [4].

Paranoid mental state

Some people are prone to seeing conspiracies everywhere. Such people may readily believe that fluoridation is a conspiracy to poison America, that AIDS was invented and spread to destroy Africans or homosexuals, and that organized medicine is withholding the cure for cancer. Whereas individuals who complain about conspiracies directed toward themselves are likely to be regarded as mentally ill, those who perceive them as directed against a nation, culture, or way of life may seem more rational. Perceiving their political passions are unselfish and patriotic intensifies their feelings of righteousness and moral indignation [5]. Many such people belong to the world of American fascism, Holocaust deniers, tax rebels, the radical militia movement, and other anti-government extremists who would eliminate the FDA and other regulatory agencies that help protect consumers from health fraud. Liberty Lobby’s newspaper The Spotlight champions such causes and also promotes quack cancer cures and attacks fluoridation.

Reality shock

Everyone is vulnerable to death anxiety. Health personnel who regularly deal with terminally ill patients must make psychological adjustments. Some are simply not up to it. Investigation of quack cancer clinics have found physicians, nurses, and others who became disillusioned with standard care because of the harsh realities of the side effects or acknowledged limitations of proven therapies.

Beliefs encroachment

Science is limited to dealing with observable, measurable, and repeatable phenomena. Beliefs that transcend science fall into the realms of philosophy and religion. Some people allow such beliefs to encroach upon their practices. While one may exercise religious or philosophical values of compassion, generosity, mercy and integrity (which is the foundation of the scientific method’s search for objective truth), it is not appropriate for a health professional to permit metaphysical (supernatural) notions to displace or distort scientific diagnostic, prescriptive or therapeutic procedures. Individuals who wish to work in the area of religious belief should pursue a different career.

The profit motive

Quackery can be extremely lucrative. Claiming to have a “better mousetrap” can cause the world to beat a path to one’s door. Greed can motivate entrepreneurial practitioners to set ethical principles aside.

The prophet motive

Just as Old Testament prophets called for conversion and repentance, doctors have to “convert” patients away from smoking, obesity, stress, alcohol and other indulgences [6]. As prognosticators, doctors foretell what is going to happen if patients don’t change their way of life. The prophet role provides power over people. Some doctors consciously avoid it. They encourage patients to be self-reliant rather than dependent, but in doing so they may fail to meet important emotional needs. Quacks, on the other hand, revel in, encourage, and exploit this power. Egomania is commonly found among quacks. They enjoy the adulation and discipleship their pretense of superiority evokes.

Psychopathic tendencies

Studies of the psychopathic personality provide insight into the psychodynamics of quackery. Dr. Robert Hare who investigated for more than twenty years, states, “You find psychopaths in all professions. . . the shyster lawyer, the physician always on the verge of losing his license, the businessman with a string of deals where his partners always lost out.” [7] Hare describes psychopaths as lacking a capacity to feel compassion or pangs of conscience, and as exhibiting glibness, superficial charm, grandiosity, pathological lying, conning/manipulative behavior, lack of guilt, proneness to boredom, lack of empathy, and other traits often seen in quacks. According to Hare, such people suffer from a cognitive defect that prevents them from experiencing sympathy or remorse.

The conversion phenomenon

The “brainwashing” that North Koreans used on American prisoners of war involved stress to the point that it produced protective inhibition and dysfunction. In some cases, positive conditioning causes the victim to love what he had previously hated, and vice-versa; and in other cases, the brain stops computing critically the impressions received. Many individuals who become quacks undergo a midlife crisis, painful divorce, life-threatening disease, or another severely stressful experience. The conversion theory is supported by a study of why physicians had taken up “holistic” practices. By far the greatest reason given (51.7%) was “spiritual or religious experiences.” [8]

Many people ”including far too many health professionals, law enforcement officials, and judges’ exhibit a cavalier attitude toward quackery. Although most reject the idea that quackery is “worth a try” for a sick person [9], it is important to reinforce and mobilize those who understand quackery’s harmful potential.

References

Reid WH and others. Unmasking the Psychopath. New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 1986.Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary.Dorland’s Illustrated Medical Dictionary, 25th Edition. Philadelphia: WB Saunders Co. 1974.Sarton G. A History of Science, Volume I. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1952, p.497.Hofstadter R. The Paranoid Style in American Politics and Other Essays. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1966.Dominian J. Doctor as prophet. British Medical Journal 287:1925-1927, 1983.Goleman D. Brain defect tied to utter amorality of the psychopath. The New York Times, July 7, 1987.Goldstein MS, Jaffe DT, Sutherland C. Physicians at a holistic medical conference: Who and why?” Health Values 10:3-13, Sept/Oct 1986.Morris LA, Gregory J D, Klimberg R. Focusing an advertising campaign to combat medical quackery. Journal of Pharmaceutical Marketing and Management 2:(1):83-96, 1987.

About the Author

William Jarvis, Ph.D, is a retired professor of public health and preventive medicine at the Loma Linda University School of Medicine. Jarvis is founder and president of the National Council Against Health Care Fraud and is co-author of a textbook, Consumer Health: A Guide to Intelligent Decisions, 7th Edition.

Posted From Scorpion Sting’s Motorola Droid Maxx!

Thanks Stackz, This Is Interesting

This article was passed on to me by Stackz @ The Bearded Backyarder via Facebook this morning. Thanks my friend, you know I appreciate it and your efforts. My curiosity now is what other people may be thinking. Some questions raised for me are, is it possible?, is it legitimate?, is a pandemic scare in the United States going to be used politically, socially, or financially?, and when the dust settles will anyone be held responsible or will there just be the typical finger pointing?

_20141017_082448

Find this article @ Political Ears

****** Article Begins ******

By Nana Kwome (Ghana Nurse)

People in the Western World need to know what’s happening here in West Africa. THEY ARE LYING!!! “Ebola” as a virus does NOT Exist and is NOT “Spread”. The Red Cross has brought a disease to 4 specific countries for 4 specific reasons and it is only contracted by those who receive treatments and injections from the Red Cross. That is why Liberians and Nigerians have begun kicking the Red Cross out of their countries and reporting in the news the truth. Now bear with me:

REASONS:

Most people jump to “depopulation” which is no doubt always on the mind of the West when it comes to Africa. But I assure you Africa can NEVER be depopulated by killing 160 people a day when thousands are born per day. So the real reasons are much more tangible.

Reason 1: This vaccine implemented sickness being “called” Ebola was introduced into West Africa for the end goal of getting troops on the ground in Nigeria, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. If you remember America was just trying to get into Nigeria for “Boko Haram” #BULLSHIT but that fell apart when Nigerians started telling the truth. There ARE NO GIRLS MISSING. Global support fell through the floor, and a new reason was needed to get troops into Nigeria and steal the new oil reserves they have discovered.

Reason 2: Sierra Leone is the World’s Largest Supplier of Diamonds. For the past 4 months they have been on strike, refusing to provide diamonds due to horrible working conditions and slave pay. The West will not pay a fair wage for the resources because the idea is to keep these people surviving on rice bags and foreign aid so that they remain a source of cheap slave labor forever. A reason was also needed to get troops on the ground in Sierra Leone to force an end to the diamond miners strikes. This is not the first time this has been done. When miners refuse to work troops are sent in and even if they have to kill and replace them all, the only desire is to get diamonds back flowing out of the country.

Of course to launch multiple campaigns to invade these countries separately would be way too fishy. But something like “Ebola” allows access to an entire area simultaneously…

Reason 3: In addition to stealing Nigerian oil, and forcing Sierra Leone back to mining, troops have also been sent in to FORCE vaccinations (Deadly “Ebola” Poison) onto those Africans who are not foolish enough to take them willingly.

3000 troops are being sent in to make sure that this “poison” continues to spread, because again it is only spread through vaccination. As more and more news articles are released as they have been in Liberia, informing the populous of the US lies and manipulation, more and more Africans are refusing to visit the Red Cross. Troops will force these vaccinations upon the people to ensure the visible appearance of an Ebola pandemic. In addition to this they will protect the Red Cross from the Liberians and Nigerians who have been rightfully ejecting them from their countries.

Reason 4: Last but not least, the APPEARANCE of this Ebola “pandemic” (should Americans not catch on) will be used to scare the countless millions into taking an “Ebola vaccine” which in reality is the pandemic. Already they have started with stories of how it has been brought to the U.S. and has appeared in Dallas, how white doctors were c ured but black infected are not being allowed to be treated, etc.

ALL that will do is make blacks STRIVE to get the vaccine, because it appears that the “cure” is being held back from blacks. They will run out in droves to get it and then there will be serious problems. With all we have seen revealed about vaccines this year you would think we learned our lesson. All I can do is hope so, Because they rely on our ignorance to complete their agendas.

Ask yourself: If Ebola really was spread from person to person, instead of controlled spread through vaccination – then WHY would the CDC and the US Government continue to allow flights in and out of these countries with absolutely no regulation, Or At All? We have got to start thinking and sharing information globally because they do not give the true perspective of the people who live here in West Africa. They are lying for their own benefit and there aren’t enough voices out there with a platform to help share our reality. Hundreds of thousands have been killed, paralyzed and disabled by these and other “new” vaccines all over the world and we are finally becoming aware of it. Now what will we do with all this information?

****** End Of Article ******

Now that y’all have had a chance to read through the article what are your personal thoughts? How do y’all interpret the message and information? Do it open your mind to other explanations? Do you care? Are you prepared? Feel free to leave your responses below, I look forward to reading them.

The History Of El Alacrán (Scorpion)

_20140722_181707

The history of the deadly El Alacrán (scorpion) throughout time. Why do a history lesson on the scorpion? Well, other than obvious reasons (just look around here), I was asked to do it. However, I cannot comply with the exact request because, if my translation is correct, she would like it to be in Spanish, something I cannot do on my own. But, if any of my bilingual friends would like to help I will be sure to add it to this post, in fact, I think that would be a cool addition to the post. Anyway, this information is from a school report I did in the 80’s (yes I still have it), back when information was collected from books, not Google. So, here’s the story behind one of the most feared creatures on the planet. Do y’all think they truly deserve their awful reputation? Be sure y’all check out my personal, final thoughts on all of this at the end of the post.

Scorpions are among the most visually abhorred creatures that roam the planet, and most people will run a mile to avoid any possible contact. You have to feel sorry that the press scorpions have received over the centuries has been so bad, but when something looks like this creature does, and has since the dawn of time, it is not that hard to see why. Scorpions kill over a thousand people a year in Mexico alone. Perhaps you would be grateful not to live there, but scorpions are not always that easy to avoid. They are venomous arachnids and are considered relatives of spiders. Between 1,300 and 2,000 species varieties are thought to exist, each recognised primarily by the curved tail tipped with a stinger.

Scorpions occur in many places people might not expect them to, from grasslands through forests of all kinds, and caves, and they can even be found over 12,000 feet high in the Andes Mountains and the Himalayas. Thankfully, despite their fearsome appearance, only 25 varieties can kill people, though many have stings similar to that of a bee. Scorpions also glow brightly under ultraviolet light, which makes them easy to find for scientists on field expeditions. The glowing is due to some ultraviolet sensitivity mechanism, perhaps allowing the creatures to avoid damaging light levels. The colour of scorpions under UV light can be quite eerie, from green to bright blue. Preservative alcohol in which scorpions have been submerged may also glow.

Scorpions are fascinating animals, though most people see them as potentially deadly killers, a wildly inaccurate assessment to say the very least. However, it is true that after man himself, followed by snakes and the bees, scorpions cause more human deaths than any other no-parasitic animal. Mexico is one hotspot to watch out for scorpions, as are India, North Africa parts of South America and the USA. The incredibly small percentage of dangerous species cause death via complex neurotoxins, bringing both local and systemic paralysis, severe convulsions and cardiac arrest, which can all occur within a few hours of being stung. Fortunately, good anti-venoms are widely available and death can be avoided with proper medication. In fact, the neurotoxins employed by Death Stalker scorpions are being studied by scientists researching a treatment for some diseases, including some forms of brain cancer and diabetes.

Although only medium-sized, the Death Stalker is one of the deadliest. The extremely potent venom causes extreme pain, fever, convulsions, paralysis, and often coma or death for people stung. The Death Stalker Scorpion is found in North Africa and the Middle East. It prefers a dry climate, and makes its home in natural burrows or under stones. Scorpions can truly be seen as living fossils because they have changed very little in 400 million years of evolution. These amazing creatures have some of the lowest metabolic rates ever recorded in any animal. Most species stay within 1 meter of their burrows and some may spend as much as 97% of their lives inside their burrows. Some species can go a full year without food, and some live without water at all, taking what they need from prey creatures.

Scorpions are often well suited to surviving where food comes by only once in a while. Scorpions also tend to be long-lived for their size, and the females put a lot of effort into raising the young. Another amazing fact about scorpions is that they have the same basic body plan now as they did when they first appeared over 400 million years ago. The first scorpions were most probably marine animals, existing until about 250 to 300 million years ago. The first earth-bound varieties appeared around 340 million years ago, and early versions produced some very large species, with the biggest fossils found so far being about 1 meter or 3 feet in length.

There have always been myths associated with them. The Babylonians dreamed up the 12 constellations of the zodiac, and of course one of these was Scorpio, an indication of how potent a force the scorpion was to people 4,000 years ago. Warrior-god Sadrafa has as associates the scorpion and the snake. He was a forerunner of the god Mithras who, in an old Persian legend, sacrificed the sacred bull in order that his blood might fertilize the universe, thus creating life. The evil Ahriman, however, sent a scorpion to sting the bull on the testicals, poisoning its seed.

Scorpions are frequently found etched on Egyptian tombs and monuments. A part of the ‘Ebers papyrus’ covers “How to Rid the House of Scorpions”. They are mentioned in the ‘Book of the Dead’ as well as in the Talmud and the Bible Old Testament. Hebrew history relates how the scorpion was the emblem of the Dan tribe. ‘Scorpion Man’ is also the guardian of Mount Mashu in the Gilgamesh epic of Indian folklore. The Egyptians also had a scorpion-goddess called Selkit or Serqet who was ‘friend of the dead’. Egyptians really believed until recent times that scorpions originated from the bodies of dead crocodiles. Greek mythology has it that Orion the Hunter, son of Zeus, was also killed by a scorpion sting, and scorpions feature on 14 pages of the great Chinese Encyclopaedia.

No matter how much science tells us that scorpion, snake or spider venom can be used for good as well as bad, we will always hearken to that primal instinct that brings a scream to our throats and adrenalin to our leg muscles whenever we see one because scorpions have no desire to play with us.

Its not until religion, Christianity, and the Bible are explored that we see that the scorpion should be viewed and hated as something which is beyond evil. Below are common findings in a variety of religions known worldwide. The scorpion, one of the largest and most malignant of the in sect tribe. It lives upon other insects, but kills and devours its own species also. It frequents dry and hot places, and lies under stones and in the crevices of old ruins. The Jews encountered it in the Wilderness. (Dent. viii. 15.) The bite of the scorpion is generally fatal, but not always so. The poison is injected by means of a sharp, curved sting at the end of the six-jointed tail. It occasions great pain, in­flammation, and hardness, with alternate chills and burning. (Rev. ix. 3-10.) – Animals, Birds, Insects, And Reptiles Of The Bible

Scorpion in Easton’s Bible Dictionary mentioned along with serpents (Deut. 8:15). Used also figuratively to denote wicked persons (Ezek. 2:6; Luke 10:19); also a particular kind of scourge or whip (1 Kings 12:11). Scorpions were a species of spider. They abounded in the Jordan valley.

Scorpion in Fausset’s Bible Dictionary ‘akrab. Of the class Arachnida and order Pulmonaria. Common in the Sinai wilderness, typifying Satan and his malicious agents against the Lord’s people (Deuteronomy 8:15; Ezekiel 2:6; Luke 10:19). Rolling itself together it might be mistaken for an egg (Luke 11:12). Found in dry dark places amidst ruins, in hot climates. Carnivorous, breathing like spiders by lung- sacs, moving with uplifted tail. The sting at the tail’s end has at its base a gland which discharges poison into the wound from two openings. In Revelation 9:3; Revelation 9:10, “the scorpions of the earth” stand in Contrast to the “locusts” from hell, not earth. The “five months” are thought to refer to the 150 prophetical days, i.e. years, from A.D. 612, when Mahomet opened his mission, to 762, when the caliphate was moved to Bagdad. In 1 Kings 12:11 scorpions mean “scourges armed with iron points”. The sting of the common scorpion is not very severe, except that of Buthus occitanus.

Scorpion in Naves Topical Bible -A venomous insect common in the wilderness through which the people of Israel journeyed De 8:15 -Power over, given to the seventy disciples (the best mss. have “seventy-two”) Lu 10:19 -Unfit for food Lu 11:12 -Sting of, located in the tail Re 9:10 -FIGURATIVE Of enemies Eze 2:6 Of cruelty 1Ki 12:11,14 -SYMBOLICAL Re 9:3,5,10

Scorpion in Smiths Bible Dictionary (Heb. ‘akrab), a well known venomous insect of hot climates, shaped much like a lobster. It is usually not more than two or three inches long, but in tropical climates is sometimes six inches in length. The wilderness of Sinai is especially alluded to as being inhabited by scorpions at the time of the exodus, and to this day these animals are common in the same district, as well as in some parts of Israel. Scorpions are generally found in dry and in dark places, under stones and in ruins. They are carnivorous in the habits, and move along in a threatening attitude, with the tail elevated. The sting, which is situated at the end of the tail, has at its base a gland that secretes a poisonous fluid, which is discharged into the wound by two minute orifices at its extremity. In hot climates the sting often occasions much suffering, and sometimes alarming symptoms. The people have clearly no allusion whatever to the animal, but to some instrument of scourging –unless indeed the expression is a mere figure of evil.

Scorpion in the Bible Encyclopedia – ISBE skor’-pi-un (aqrabh; compare Arabic aqrab, “scorpion”; ma`aleh `aqrabbim, “the ascent of Akrabbim”; skorpios. Note that the Greek and Hebrew may be akin; compare, omitting the vowels, `krb and skrp): In Dt 8:15, we have, “who led thee through the great and terrible wilderness, wherein were fiery serpents (nachash saraph) and scorpions (`aqrabh).” Rehoboam (1 Ki 12:11,14; 2 Ch 10:11,14) says, “My father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions.” Ezekiel is told to prophesy to the children of Israel (2:6), and “Be not afraid of them, neither be afraid of their words, though briers and thorns are with thee, and thou dost dwell among scorpions.” “The ascent of Akrabbim,” the north end of Wadi- ul-`Arabah, South of the Dead Sea, is mentioned as a boundary 3 times (Nu 34:4; Josh 15:3; Jdg 1:36). Jesus says to the Seventy (Lk 10:19), “Behold, I have given you authority to tread upon serpents and scorpions,” and again in Lk 11:12 He says, “Or if he shall ask an egg, will he give him a scorpion?”

Scorpion Scripture – Luke 11:12 Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion?

Scorpion Scripture – Revelation 9:5 And to them it was given that they should not kill them, but that they should be tormented five months: and their torment [was] as the torment of a scorpion, when he striketh a man.

I have been asked, many times in fact, why I personally have such a fascination with the scorpion. As interesting as the question might be, I simply don’t have an actual answer. But, I will tell y’all this much, it has a great deal to do with the mythology behind the scorpion as well as the real life fascination with such a deadly creature. Part of the reason I named this blog The Sting Of The Scorpion was because I was a bit pissed with Google for killing off my accounts (almost a year ago now), which erased almost 6 years of work and dedication. I almost quit blogging because I was frustrated, but then I decided to sting back, and here we are today. Normally, in today’s times, I don’t refer to religious documents for my information, but, since they continue to prove the point of history, in their own unique way, I thought it to be applicable in this case to leave them in as an original part of the writing.

Well, I hope we enjoyed this look at El Alacrán, written as a research paper so many years ago, (30 to be exact), and I’m sure y’all wonder what my grade was, sadly, I received a failing grade because I didn’t exactly follow the guidance of the assignment which was to “write an essay involving a significant or prominent person or place which has been revered as globally terrifying”. Seems, even back then, I liked to ride the razors edge a bit. Oh, if there are any of y’all wishing to do a free translation to Spanish (or any language really) just leave a comment below and I will contact you back. Do y’all know why The Sting Of The Scorpion will always pack a powerful punch? Simple…… because everything else just bites!

Neither A Fan Or Foe Of Cannabis

Marijuana_USA_Icon_MGN.1372022180

To tell y’all the truth I don’t care either way. Cannabis (marijuana) just doesn’t happen to be in or around my life personally. As a personal note, just because I don’t agree with social drug use doesn’t mean I am an advocate against it. But, the business of drugs in the United States is huge and there is no shortage of people ready to part with their money. OK, where am I going with all of this? I’m looking for opinions, not anger, not justifications, nor the legalities, just opinions from everyday people. If your life involves the recreational use of drugs so be it, if your life doesn’t involve the use of drugs so be it, I personally don’t care, it doesn’t change my opinion of anyone. Are we clear?

Now we, in the United States, are at the dawn of something new, the age where states are legalizing the recreational use of marijuana. Many feel this is a great triumph and many see it as the further downwards spiral of the USA. Either way, its here today, it is happening today, and we are seeing a shift in the politics of pot. Its just where we are as s country. As a parent, I have my own concerns. Living in Texas, however, if you want to buy weed you must do it the old fashioned way, illegally. I was reading some news late last night about a company who is or has unveiled a vending machine to dispense marijuana in states where it has been legalized but so far has been restricted to the dispensing of medical marijuana. The printed facts out on the internet rage in every direction possible so it is hard to say what is what while being fair to everyone.

_20140628_102826

Would a vending machine for weed be a welcome site in your neighborhood if it was legal to place it there? What concerns, if any, would you have about a vending machine to dispense weed in public places alongside soft drink machines, candy machines, and so forth? Do you think the weed dispensing vending machine will start out as s fad, a novelty, and then fade away? Not that my personal opinions matter, but I see it as a new tool for the criminal element to use. Wait, y’all thought just because weed is being legalized in a fee states that this was going to eliminate any and all criminal elements from the equation? It would be nice but I think we would be wrong in that assumption because drugs (legal and illegal) are big business and I don’t see anyone making money willing to back down and forego their profits for the collective ides of progress.

As more states have legalized medical marijuana and the first inroads are made into full weed legalization in the United States, a new crop of businessmen have positioned themselves to surf the rising market tide for marijuana and marijuana-related products, an economy that could grow to be as large as that of tobacco or alcohol. Is this going to be the next big American industry? I remind everyone, since 1970, marijuana has been classified as a Schedule 1 controlled substance by the federal government’s Drug Enforcement Administration. This lumps cannabis in with LSD, heroin, and MDMA as a drug that has a high potential for abuse in the United States.

marijuana2_infographic_USA

Nationwide, the classification is widely viewed as unreasonable and outdated. Medical marijuana is now legal in 18 states (as well as the District of Columbia), a growing minority that, along with the passage of the recreational weed laws in Colorado and Washington, could signal the coming end of marijuana prohibition in the United States. The day may soon arrive when any citizen in any state, as long as they’re over 21, can purchase weed from an accredited place and smoke til their hearts content.

Overall, in my little opinion on this matter, I don’t care for the idea of the vending machine. I have my reasons, some are even listed here. I just wanted to share this with y’all to see what y’all might be thinking. I do not wish to debate it as a right or wrong type discussion, I was just looking for the different opinions and why we have them.

pot-flag