Tag Archives: water

“We fear something is wrong in the state of Europe”

While the EU is burning, its lawmakers have found time to make it illegal to claim that water can prevent dehydration. I would claim to be left speechless about this, but of course, dear readers, you all know that would be a lie!

However, I let the stupidity speak for itself, lest I not do it justice by giving it a rant!  I found that in order to categorize this post I needed to create a new category for it.  So I created two.  This is the official first post categorized under “Lou Rants” and also “headdesk”.

EU bans claim that water can prevent dehydration

Brussels bureaucrats were ridiculed yesterday after banning drink manufacturers from claiming that water can prevent dehydration.

NHS health guidelines state clearly that drinking water helps avoid dehydration, and that Britons should drink at least 1.2 litres per day.

By Victoria Ward and Nick Collins

6:20AM GMT 18 Nov 2011

EU officials concluded that, following a three-year investigation, there was no evidence to prove the previously undisputed fact.

Producers of bottled water are now forbidden by law from making the claim and will face a two-year jail sentence if they defy the edict, which comes into force in the UK next month.

Last night, critics claimed the EU was at odds with both science and common sense. Conservative MEP Roger Helmer said: “This is stupidity writ large.

“The euro is burning, the EU is falling apart and yet here they are: highly-paid, highly-pensioned officials worrying about the obvious qualities of water and trying to deny us the right to say what is patently true.

“If ever there were an episode which demonstrates the folly of the great European project then this is it.”

NHS health guidelines state clearly that drinking water helps avoid dehydration, and that Britons should drink at least 1.2 litres per day.

The Department for Health disputed the wisdom of the new law. A spokesman said: “Of course water hydrates. While we support the EU in preventing false claims about products, we need to exercise common sense as far as possible.”

German professors Dr Andreas Hahn and Dr Moritz Hagenmeyer, who advise food manufacturers on how to advertise their products, asked the European Commission if the claim could be made on labels.

They compiled what they assumed was an uncontroversial statement in order to test new laws which allow products to claim they can reduce the risk of disease, subject to EU approval.

They applied for the right to state that “regular consumption of significant amounts of water can reduce the risk of development of dehydration” as well as preventing a decrease in performance.

However, last February, the European Food Standards Authority (EFSA) refused to approve the statement.

A meeting of 21 scientists in Parma, Italy, concluded that reduced water content in the body was a symptom of dehydration and not something that drinking water could subsequently control.

Now the EFSA verdict has been turned into an EU directive which was issued on Wednesday.

Ukip MEP Paul Nuttall said the ruling made the “bendy banana law” look “positively sane”.

He said: “I had to read this four or five times before I believed it. It is a perfect example of what Brussels does best. Spend three years, with 20 separate pieces of correspondence before summoning 21 professors to Parma where they decide with great solemnity that drinking water cannot be sold as a way to combat dehydration.

“Then they make this judgment law and make it clear that if anybody dares sell water claiming that it is effective against dehydration they could get into serious legal bother.

EU regulations, which aim to uphold food standards across member states, are frequently criticised.

Rules banning bent bananas and curved cucumbers were scrapped in 2008 after causing international ridicule.

Prof Hahn, from the Institute for Food Science and Human Nutrition at Hanover Leibniz University, said the European Commission had made another mistake with its latest ruling.

“What is our reaction to the outcome? Let us put it this way: We are neither surprised nor delighted.

“The European Commission is wrong; it should have authorised the claim. That should be more than clear to anyone who has consumed water in the past, and who has not? We fear there is something wrong in the state of Europe.”

Prof Brian Ratcliffe, spokesman for the Nutrition Society, said dehydration was usually caused by a clinical condition and that one could remain adequately hydrated without drinking water.

He said: “The EU is saying that this does not reduce the risk of dehydration and that is correct.

“This claim is trying to imply that there is something special about bottled water which is not a reasonable claim.”

Link to original article HERE.


Dying To Get A Visa

Days 5 & 6, Bamako, Mali

Figuring out which countries you will need a visa for and how is the best way, or only way, to get them, is one of the challenges of international travel.  Abner figured it all out for us for our trip.  Ghana, the last country we’d be visiting, was going to be the trickiest visa.  Ghana requires that visitors obtain their visa in their country of residence.  So we’d need to get in the States before leaving for our trip.  The embassy is in Washington, D.C.  So, we mail off our passports and all the requested information and the application in duplicate along with passport photos and pray for the best.  Which normally wouldn’t be cause for much concern…however I needed my passport for my trip to Haiti, and would have to send it in when I got back…which would give me less than two weeks for the turnaround.  Abner did most of the legwork, including coming to my office to pick up my paperwork and taking it to the Fed-Ex office and doing the calling to check on the status.  I got my passport back with my faboo Ghana visa in it just a few days before leaving for West Africa.  What a relief it was to have that in hand.  Only two more visas would be needed for our travels.

Senegal did not require a visa for Americans.  We’d obtain our Malian visa in Senegal.  We’d obtain our Burkina Faso visa in Mali.

Hyperbole aside, I nearly died getting our Burkina visa in Mali.  I was as close to being in a medical emergency as I’d ever been.  It was well over a hundred degrees in Bamako.  That was just the air temperature.  There was scorching heat coming up from the ground beneath us.  The air was toxic.  People riding motorcycles often wore medical masks to help filter the pollution from it.  On our first day in Bamako we left our hostel, La Mission Catholique, in the late morning to head to the Burkina Faso embassy.  Lonely Planet did not provide an exact address, but gave seemingly good directions on how to get to the location.  It was just a few miles from our hostel.

We’d arrived that morning after a 36 hour bus trip (that story is another post!) and we were tired.  The cabbie we’d hired to bring us to our hostel didn’t know quite know where the hostel was, and didn’t know any of the street names provided on the map we had.  He got us to the general neighborhood and then after asking around, finally pulled up to our location.  We thought his not knowing his way around well was a fluke…wrongo.

We flagged down a taxi to take us to the embassy because it was already oppressively hot and we didn’t feel like walking even a mile in the heat.  This taxi driver had literally no idea where the embassy was.  We had a map, but he did not read and could not understand maps.  We found this over and over again with the subsequent cabbies we’d hailed.  We finally decided we’d just walk there…seemed easy enough…well, easier than trying find a cab was turning out to be.


Getting our bearings wasn’t too difficult.  We each had a Nalgene bottle of water with us.  We figured we’d find the embassy before our water ran out.


Man, it was hot.  I live at altitude, and so I am naturally blood doped.  Despite that, I needed to stop frequently to drink water and try to stand in whatever shade I could find to try to cool down.  It didn’t take us too long to get to where we knew the embassy had to be close…only we couldn’t find it.  We asked and asked, but no one knew where it was.  Down one street that seemed to be the one the embassy was right off of, we saw a guy in a uniform.  Turns out he was a private security guard for some nice secured housing.  He knew where it was and sent us off in the right direction…”down the road, cross the big street, and then go down the street on the right”.  He said it in French though.  It wasn’t far.

Sooo,  off we went.  My water was gone, but we’d come back to the little store we passed along the way once we’d dropped off our passports.  Only that’s not quite how it went.  We went down the road, and we crossed the big street, and we found a road on the right, and we walked down that road, only there was no embassy.  We walked around a bit seeing what we could see, only we couldn’t see anything ebassyish looking.  We found an official looking building with official looking uniformed men and so I asked them, in rather clear and concise French thank you very much, if they knew where the BF embassy was.  By the way they looked at me, you would have thought I was speaking Bikya.  I asked and reasked, slowwwwwly and clearly…nope, nada, or should I say, rien!  But then a groundskeeper who overheard my attempted conversation approached us and said he knew where it was and that he would take us there, and that it was close.  HE understood my French.  I understood HIS French.  What was with those military guys anyway????  He took us back down the road we’d abandoned, then turned down another dusty little road, and there, just a few hundred meters down THAT road was the embassy!  Woo Hoo!!!  We’d found it!!!  Thanks groundskeeper guy!  Here’s a nice tip for you for your help!

By now I’m hot.  And beet red.  Abner is sharing his precious water supply with me, and soon, his is gone too.  We approach the guardhouse and make our request.  We are told to return in about two hours, that this is when the passport office is open again.  We head off in search of fluids.

IT IS REALLY HOT.  We realize that there is a bit of a short cut if we take a different route, so we head back to the little store we passed on the way to the embassy.  My heart is pounding and pounding fast.  I’m getting redder, and hotter, and drier by the minute.  My pulse is 140.  My usual resting heart rate is half that.  I’m feeling woozy.  It’s at this time that I tell Abner that I’m not feeling well at all and that we need to get to some liquids pronto.  The shortcut takes us past rotting chicken remains alongside the road.  The smell of death makes me even sicker.

I’m about a minute away from delirium and heat stroke when we make it to the store.  A couple of men outside the store take one look at me, and they give up their lawn chairs for us.  A few liters of fluid and soda and an hour later, my heart rate is down to a hundred, I’m sweating again, and my color and skin temperature has returned to normal.  Crisis averted.  And lesson learned.  No matter how tired I am and now matter how heavy it is, both Nalgene bottles need to go with me all the time.

We trudge back down the road, across the big street, through the shortcut, past the rotting flesh piles, and back to the embassy we go.  A short wait and we are allowed access to the embassy’s passport office…

Where we learn that passports are picked UP in the afternoon, but they are dropped OFF in the morning.  We’d have to come back tomorrow.

TIA, my friends…This Is Africa.

Since we are pretty certain that no cab driver will know how to get us back to our hostel, we decide to walk back.  I was feeling fine to make the walk.  Only our walk back didn’t quite go as planned either.  At first it was all good.  We walked with confidence!  We found our way back to the neighborhood we were staying in.

And then we were lost.  We got disoriented and turned around.  Nothing looked familiar and everything looked familiar.  We knew we were close, but we couldn’t find where we were supposed to be.  We asked a dozen people for help.  No one knew street names.  No one knew where the mission was.  Abner was getting frustrated.  I was starting to panic.  I was overheating again.  And as all the life-saving water I had imbibed earlier had worked its way through my system, I was now nearly in a bathroom state of emergency.  I’d been praying often on this trip already…but now I’m praying out loud.  “Please, Jesus, send us someone who knows where we are and how to get us to where we want to be”.  I was begging.

Then, like a beautiful black angel, a young man,  working a jigsaw puzzle of all things, motions us over to him.  Without even asking him for help, he tells us that the place we are looking for is down this street, turn left at the corner, and then left at the next corner, and it will be on the right.

And it was.  And we were safely back to where there was water and a bathroom.

The next day we returned to the embassy early in the morning and dropped off our passports.  And we made it back in the afternoon to pick them up.  And we stopped for shawarmas on the way “home” where we took victory photos of us and our freshly minted Burkina visas.

It was looking like we’d both be filling all the pages of our passports on this trip!  I’ve never filled up a passport before!!  At the shawarma restaurant:  my Ghana visa on the right, our hard won Burkina Faso visas on our lefts!

None the worse for wear in the end, but getting this visa was a bit scary there for a minute.  This was a good place to learn the water lesson.  Further down the road, having plenty of water was going to be even more important as finding it would be more difficult.

After shawarmas, and without making a single wrong turn, we made it “home” once again.  Feeling a little contented, and a lot jubilant.

Another Dripping ‘Cicle

Dripping ‘Cicle

Trail Canyon Trail

A redunant name for a beautiful hiking trail in the foothills of Los Angeles.  “A place so beautiful, they named it twice”.  I went back “home” to the L.A. area for the Easter weekend.  Phil and the kids and I headed out on Monday morning to find the trailhead.  The trail we were seeking leads to a waterfall, as all of the hikes I go on with them do.  This waterfall was along the Gold Creek.

The book we were using as our guide was published in the 80’s, so sometimes the directions are hit or miss.  This one was a HIT!  The only “glitch” was that the sign we were looking for which would lead to the trailhead was missing on the way.  When we turned around to look from the other direction, there it was, and once we found it the directions were spot on.

We hiked in about 2 1/2 miles up (and 2 1/2 miles back, which is good, it’s always good to hike out as far as you’ve hiked in!) on a well maintained trail which completely lacked any evidence of human presence…no trash, no graffiti, no dog poop….barely even shoeprints in the softer areas.

We forded the stream a number of the times on the way there, but didn’t even get our feet wet.  I was a bit worried to be hiking since I jacked my right knee up back in December, but it held up nicely.  I was very careful about foot placement and avoiding any pivoting on it.  I tell you this just to show that the hike, though not totally easy, was doable even for the gimp in the group.  (So you could do it, too!)  The hike took us through lush green woods along paths liberally decorated with itty bitty wildflowers.  This purple beauty measured less than an inch across.  Didn’t even see the teensy weensy red bugs crawling around until I uploaded my pictures!

Purple Flower, Red Bugs by you.

And it took us through more poison oak than any of us had ever seen in our lives!  Phil and at least a couple of his kids are really prone to getting horrific rashes from it and warnings rang out frequently about avoiding touching it!  (And upon arriving home, all clothes were stripped and washed, and showers were taken, it was that bad!)  I haven’t heard if any of them broke out or not, but Richard was already sporting some nasty rashes from his LAST excursion into the wilderness.

Back to the hike.  We came around one bend and found ourselves in a manzanita forest.  Manzanita is a bush that is found in the chaparrel biome.  Manzanita is spanish for “little apple”, I guess because the seeds look alot like little apples.  The trunk and branches are a deep rosey red, and they are smooooooooth and satiny.  Any way, these were huge TREES!  Never seen anything like it.  Phil shows how tall the bushes usually are.  The trunks were so thick you couldn’t get your arms around them.

Phil and the Manzanitas by you.

The trail led us to something I can only describe as a CLIFF.  Rocks jutting out high over a small canyon.  Richard loves to rock climb.  I am afraid of heights.  He decided to pick his way down to the canyon.  I wanted to take a picture of him doing it, but couldn’t get close enough to the edge to do that, so I took a picture of him disappearing through a crack in the CLIFF.  Bye Richard.  I hope I see you again!

Richard Gives Me the Heebies By Rock Climbing... by you.

He took the short way down, we took the long way down, and we met back up at the bottom.

The last bit of the hike was a little steep and the dirt a bit loose, but when when we rounded the last corner before the waterfall, we entered a little bitty paradise!  The cataract measured about 50 feet tall and tumbled into a small, clear pool.

The Gold Creek Falls (Real name?  Dunno!) by you.

There was a large sycamore tree at the edge of the pool which had a high green and lacy canopy.  The canopy provided shade and showed off a brilliant blue sky above it.  Off came shoes and socks!  The bottom of the pool was firm and sandy/pebbly.  But boy oh, the water was cold!  Of course I orchestrated one of my famous foot pictures, but I couldn’t stand being in the water for more than a minute or so.

Foot Picture in the Basin Pool by you.

My feet are wimpy because they have spent all winter in shoes (and I just got a pedicure further removing any protective toughened skin!).  But Jonathan’s feet suffered no such wimpiness.  This kid was swimming in that cold water!

Jonathan Braves the Cold Water and Gets Soaked Through! by you.

Head to toe wet.  Brrrrr.

Alaska and Avie Get Cold by you.

We played and laughed for a time and decided this would be a great place for a picnic.  Plenty of large flat rocks to serve as a picnic table. I don’t know if we got lucky that day having the place to ourselves, or if it is a little visited place.  I wonder if we went back in the summer for that picnic if there would be a horde of people vying for the best seats on the rocks!

Time to put our shoes back on and go.

Playing in the Basin by you.

A hidden place which seemed to have been created, at least for that day, just for us!

For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land—a land with streams and pools of water, with springs flowing in the valleys and hills…Deuteronomy 8:7 (NIV)

Some of the best times of my life are spent exploring God’s creation with my big brother and his kids.


I took this picture last year when we went on a bird watching trip during Boot Camp.  It’s some sort of Heron.  I love this picture.  I’ll go on the bird watching tour again this summer, if they do it.  We saw evidence of eagles out in the preserve, but didn’t actually see any of the raptors.  I would like a second shot at that, and maybe I could capture on on film.  That’d be cool…

Happy ACTUAL 70th birthday, mom.  I’ll be thinking of you especially today…

(Posted in absentia)

Myth Busted? Bullet Proof Water

Ever watched the show “Mythbusters“?  I catch it every once in awhile.  The mythbusters explore, and try to prove or debunk (bust, if you will) “myths”.  Some they prove, others they debunk.  I’ve always wanted them to take a look into a particular thing you see on TV and in movies.  That is how people who are being shot at and take refuge in water don’t get fatally wounded.

There was a part of me that thinks “hogwash”.  How can water be that bullet proof?  But then there was a part of me that thinks, “or CAN it?”.  I caught a recent episode of “Mythbusters” where they put this bullet proof water stunt to the test.

I was more than shocked at the results!

What did I learn?  If I’m ever being shot at, I’m looking for the nearest body of water!

Shooting into water at an angle of 23 degrees you need to only be two feet under and three feet away to survive being shot at, even by something as big as a .50 caliber weapon!  Most of the bullets would disintegrate into a handful of shrapnel on water impact and fall harmlessly to the bottom.  Have you ever SEEN a 50 caliber weapon?  Here’s one for your perusal!

Click HERE to see one of these impressive weapons!

As impressive as the gun is, take a gander at the ammunition!!!

Click HERE to see the size of these monster bullets!  The .50 caliber is on the left.

(FYI, the other bullets shown in this picture were also used in the experiment in their respective guns, and failed just like the .50 caliber).

The weapon that did the best, was the 9mm handgun.  Who knows why.  But even so, that bullet barely penetrated the ballistic gel and would not have caused much damage to the swimming fleeing individual who was the intended target.

Pretty amazing, really.  I wonder if it’s because of the surface tension of the water, or what!  Anyone out there know????

%d bloggers like this: