Sunday, December 5, 2010

I Am Not A Morning Person!!!

What time we do we all have free to work on this project, asked one of my group partners. “We can work on the project at seven tomorrow morning”, was my answer. Suddenly the expression on their faces changed. My answer was not what my course mates wanted to hear. We hadn’t worked enough on an important homework that could terribly affect our grades; however, no one was willing to sacrifice some sleep to make up for it. I ask why no one wanted to do work early in the morning. “We can’t think in the morning; we are not a morning people,” seemed to be their main reply. This was my freshman year and I didn’t know the meaning of this saying, morning person. Later I ask my girlfriend what it was, and she told me that in America people could sleep until 11:00 am with no problem at all.
I was SHOCK. 
In my country it’s almost a sin to sleep past nine. Only if one was drunk the night before parents would accept teens to sleep until late. And yes, teens drink before eighteen which is the legal age for drinking in my country. Even after spending the night parting you are still expected to get up and work. So when I heard that people could not function in the morning I was curious to know why. This is what I have gathered in my years of living in America.
There are two main types of people the morning person and the night person. For those who don’t know the difference, a night person is one that can stay up until late hour in the night with no problem at all. They can think clearly after midnight and they can write five page papers between 1:00 am and 4:00 am with no problem. (They are a kind of a type human-vampire if that makes any sense.) However, the next morning they cannot wake up. Only by the power of almighty coffee they are able to stay awake. The morning person, on the other hand, cannot stay up till very late. After certain hour in the night they have to go to bed. However, they can be up and working as soon as possible in the morning with no need from coffee or any other kind of legal drug.
In my concept, the morning person phenomenon is a choice or a bad custom. No one in other countries suffer with this type of problem because we have to get up every day between 5:00 am and 6:00 am to be at school at 7:00 am. Classes start at 7:15 so you better be up and ready to learn math, science or physics.
One thing that plays a huge role in helping people out of their bed is called morning shower. Get under the shower. Do not turn up the water to scalding temperatures; let the cold water hit you for some 30 seconds. This works just like Colombian coffee and I guarantee it with the Juan Valdez seal.
I want the walking zombies to chew on this and tell me what you think if they are awake.  

Friday, December 3, 2010

Got Silver?

I wanted to start off this blog with a proverb or famous quote about old age; however, I will just say this, “The older I become the more I realiz, how foolish it was not to listen to the wisdom of those who walked this road before me.”

When one is young they say one has no experience, but if one is old they say you have too much experience. Those are the words you are most likely to hear when you are looking for a job back home. It’s hard for a young person to get a job in Colombia but it’s much harder for an elderly to get the same job. That is why when I saw an elder guarding the gates at the international airport in Atlanta I was surprised. Later I understood that old people in America are not discriminated because of their age. I will not lie, it’s still weird when I go to work and I see people in their sixties doing hard work.

I have mixed feeling about this one. I am glad that they don’t discriminate the elderly, but at the same time it is hard for me to see an elderly being forced to work in order to feel valued by society or even their families.  It is very sad to see a person over 62 years of age struggle to find a job (in Colombia); nevertheless it’s rare to find older people who are not been taken care of by a  member of their family.  I have to specify that in Latin America, 'family' includes parents, brothers and sisters, uncles and aunts, nieces and nephews, and everybody who is related by blood and/or descended from that elderly person somehow). On the other hand I see many elderly people getting dropped off at a nursing home here in America. Seems likes no one wants to take care of the one who gave them life, much less listen to the wisdom that comes from their experience (old stories). It often looks like if it is a burden for families to take care of their elderly relatives.
Is life too busy to care for others?
Chew on this and tell me what you think, but don't forget your dentures,

I don’t have time for You

I was walking out of the building and a friend was heading inside the building. He said “hello how are you Mr. Dean”, and he smiled. I smiled too, however I was having a terrible day. I was about to tell him what I was going through but he kept on walking.
Has it ever happened to you, that someone that you know asks, “How are you?” but you didn't get the chance to answer how you really are? Maybe they dont really want to know or they are too busy to even listen.  Maybe this is just a polite thing to do when you see someone.  Maybe you dont have any time to open your heart and spill the beans. Maybe that is just the way it is and I need to deal with it. Nevertheless, this is shocking to me. 
According to Douglas A. McIntyre from 24/7, America is the third most productive country in the world. He came to this conclusion by using the GDP as the tool of measurement. However, sometimes it seems like America is the busiest country in the world, even to the point where we are so consumed in our own business that we leave out the most important things. Things like friends, family, love, or God are exchanged for my dreams, my plans, my homework, my money, I, me, my, etc. What would you do if you were late to class or to work, and a friend told you he is having a terrible day? Would you say “sorry about that” and slowly try to get back to your daily life? Would you try to give him a hand shake or a half hug and ask him to tell you about it later? Would you look very interested but then walk away and forget about him in the next ten minutes? The question is not what would Jesus do but what would you do? What good is it to have everything but no one to share it with? Or as the Bible put it, “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” However, we seldom sit down and chew on these things. I believe we must evaluate the way we do things.
Why are we so busy?  Why do we choose to ignore some of the most important things in life? How can I break away from the status quo?
 I hope that at the end of our years we dont discover that the time we were given was used selfishly and that we invested time in things that are meaningless. I hope we have told all our loved ones that they are our loved ones. I hope we give God the place he merits in our hearts. I hope we love our neighbors.
In memory of one of my first friends at COFO
Trevor Waugh
Live In Peace

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Drink or Drug?

According to CBS News, after oil, coffee is the second most valuable commodity in the world. More than 50 percent of Americans drink coffee everyday — three to four cups each, more than 330 million cups a day and counting.
Among its many actions, (caffeine) operates using the same mechanisms that amphetamines, cocaine, and heroin use to stimulate the brain. Relatively speaking, caffeine's effects are milder than amphetamines, cocaine and heroin, but it is manipulating the same channels in the brain, and that is one of the things that give caffeine its addictive qualities. (Discovery health)

According to CBS News, Caffeine is the fastest acting drug known unto man.
Its surprising the amount of coffee the American people drink. The average adult drinks three to four cups per day. Some claim they can’t function without it. Others can’t stay awake without their morning coffee buzz. A friend of mine said that she would get a headache if she didn’t drink her coffee in the morning.
Fifth culture shock, 
coffee consumption.

One of the worst smells is the coffee breath. Imagine speaking with your boss and his overbearing coffee breath is all in your nostrils.  You might want to say something but you fear he might take offense. So you just let his coffee breath continue to contaminate the atmosphere around you. This situation happened to me when I just got to America. Then I started to notice the vast amount of people who drank coffee around me. It was shocking because I come from Colombia. Some of the best coffee in the world comes from Colombia. And no, we do not fertilize our coffee with cocaine. However the coffee in my country is still very strong, nevertheless the people do not drink as much coffee as they do here.
Young people say, “I am not a morning person so coffee helps me get up to speed” or “I need to cram tonight, do you have any coffee”. You can see them walking around campuses with their coffee mugs, fraternizing at Starbucks, or destroying the two thirty feeling at work with a cup of black coffee. Adults need it to go to work; elders need it so they can remember where they left their keys. A mechanic even told me he could fix any engine with a cup of coffee and a good cigarette.  I believe coffee is the new cocaine. It’s guaranteed to get your client hooked and it’s legal.

These are some of the benefits of coffee drinking:
·         Regular coffee drinkers are 80 percent less likely to develop Parkinson's disease.
·         Two cups a day gives you 20 percent less risk of colon cancer.
·         Two cups a day causes an 80 percent drop in cirrhosis.

·         Two cups a day prevents gallstone development by 50 percent.
·         It has also shown to be beneficial in asthma, stopping headaches, boosting mood and even preventing cavities.
These are some of the secondary effects of your morning high:
1.     It raises your blood pressure enough to increase the risk of heart attack or stroke 20 to 30 percent. (Wow!)
2.     After adrenaline hype is lost, fatigue and depression kicks in.
3.     Affects the adenosine reception in your body which contributes to your deep sleep.
4.     Bad breath.
5.     High coffee consumption (more than three cups per day for years) increases loss of bone mineral density.
6.     Caffeine mixed with acetaminophen (Paracetamol), one of the most common painkillers used in the US and Europe could harm your liver.
I say two highs per day and nothing else.
Chew on this and tell me what you think.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Screaming Kid

Have you ever been in Wal-Mart or some random store shopping when suddenly a kid starts screaming?

          That might be pretty normal for some, but for me it was a shock the first time I saw it. Even more shocking was when I saw the same kid striking his mother several times. “This scene would end really bad for that kid if it would take place in my country,” I thought.
Another day, I am at my workplace and another kid just started screaming and throwing a tantrum. The parents looked really uncomfortable but they didn’t say anything to the kid. I walked over to them and I looked the kid straight to the eye. With a straight face, I asked the kid "what’s going on?" The kid stopped misbehaving instantly and sits up still. The mother goes on to say, “this man does not like your attitude, so you better stop.”
Culture shock number four, kids wear the pants in some American houses.
One of the most surprising things for me is how some kids bully their parents here in America. They scream, roll on the ground or brake things if they don’t get their way. They strike their parents or insult them, and parents do nothing. Some parents are so tired of their kid’s attitude that they just give in and give them anything they ask for or get them high on Ritalin.
It is not hard to notice which kid gets disciplined at home and which one doesn’t. Even after they grow up you can tell if they were disciplined or not. They are defiant and disrespectful to authority, elders or just to another person. These are signs of zero or not enough discipline when growing up.
America, discipline your kids! I am not saying to abuse them. However, if physical punishment is required, do it in moderation, but get the job done. Somebody needs to be the parent and teach the child how to act. Teenagers are different than children because they can reason for themselves. Children needs correction and guidance while growing, sometimes talking works, but if it doesn't, then is when spanking is necessary. Use it correctly and you will not regret it.

 Many parents have raised their kids the way science had directed them to do and they have succeeded in raising disrespectful citizens. Some of the most disrespectful kids and teens I know are those who has never gotten a spanking. They are always defiant and pushing their limits. I can picture them rolling their eyes and pouting.
Some parents fail to discipline their kids because they themselves were abused when they were supposed to be disciplined. Because of this, many vow to not do the same thing that was done to them.  With this they go to the other extreme and eliminate discipline from the picture of raising their children. Some of those kids turn out to be spoiled brats.
Here is an example of that. This kid is wise enough to know that his mom was not going to return him the favor, and worse on national TV.
Other parents are so young they themselves need to be disciplined. Kids having kids is a reality today.
Others abused their kids by using physical punishment as the only resource. I believe everyone who believes in God should ask Him to guide them and He will show them the path. They are Christian books out there that can help in this area. One of them is 'Raising Godly tomatoes', a close Christian friend of mine used this book as a  tool to help raising his children and he recommended it to me.

           Denying parents the freedom to discipline their children is not the answer to stop child abuse. 
Chew on this and tell me what you come up with.

Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder Nation

This is one Topic I have been chewing on for a while... it is called ADD and ADHD. For those who don’t know what I am talking about, Attention Deficit Disorder and Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder in simple words, "misbehaving kids". Another word that fit would be a "fidgety child". This is a “disorder” that was first mentioned in 1902 by Sir George Still (it is so funny to think that this guys last name was "Still", "be Still boy!"). Psychiatrists calls it a mental disorder. Honestly, I don’t know what to call it. We deal with it and get good results.

This is a little of what I found on the history of ADD and ADHD.
These are quotes from: and
        Before 1900. Symptoms of ADHD are considered a moral problem of children or their parents and discipline or punishment is seen as the best treatment.
        1902. Sir George Still describes ADHD as a behavioral disorder that may be inherited.
o    They don’t mentioned this but In World War I and in the early years of World War II, many soldiers were found to have developed serious learning, behavioral and attention disorders, following their sustainment of serious head injuries-brain damage.
·       1919. After some survivors of the influenza pandemic develop encephalitis and show symptoms of ADHD, the condition is blamed on brain damage. ·
·       1937. Scientists first report that stimulants can control ADHD symptoms.
     Drugs helped Bob Marley and the beetles write songs also. Even famous baseball players play better with the help of steroids.
       1940. Symptoms of ADHD continue to be blamed on “minimal brain damage.” ·
·      1955. Ritalin (methylphenidate), a stimulant, is approved by the FDA. ·
   o    If the FDA approves it then it must be good.  Right?
      In the 1960's, scientists introduced the term "minimal brain dysfunction"or "MBD" and characterized the syndrome with the most commonly recognized symptoms at that time, including hyperactivity, wide moods swings, inattention and distractibility, impulsivity, and memory and learning disorders. 
      1968.  A disorder to ADHD called "hyperkinetic reaction of childhood"appears in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders for the first time.  (They used hyperkinetic reaction of childhood to describe the symptoms of until then mental brain damage).   
      I wonder what other crazy things were going on in the sixties.
       1973. Public Law 94-142 was passed and guaranteed a free and appropriate education for handicapped children equal to the quality of education provided to other children.
·         1979. An article in the influential journal science refers to "the hyperactive child syndrome."
·         1980. The third edition of the manual uses the name "attention deficit disorder" (ADD).
·         1994. The manual's fourth edition recognizes the disorder as "attention deficit hyperactivity disorder," with three subgroups. ·
·         1996. The second drug to treat ADHD symptoms, Adderall (dextroamphetamine and amphetamine) is approved by the FDA. (Many other drugs soon to come to the market.)
o    Legalize it.
·         2003. FDA approves Strattera, the first non-stimulant drug for ADHD, and the first to be approved for use in adults.
·         2003. The CDC reports that approximately 4.4 million children – about 8 percent of all U.S. children aged 4 to 17 -- have been diagnosed with ADHD, and 2.5 million of them are taking medication for the disorder.
What I find very interesting is what they are saying now
Many children with ADHD can be mainstreamed as most have normal or above-normal intelligence.
There is no lab test or brain scan that can show whether you or your child has ADHD. Medical professionals use a list of criteria to help them determine whether a person has ADHD. You can use checklists to see what symptoms professionals look for, such as the inability to sit still or pay attention, being fidgety, being disorganized, and forgetfulness.
I believe that if a parent goes in and tell the doctor my kid have ADHD the doctor will believe it.
Why would a parent do that?
This is America, people have three and four jobs, they don’t have time to spend with kids who has ADHD.
Some adults believe kids should act like an adult, if they don’t, then something is wrong with them.
 Parents cannot say anything to their kids in some parts of America. Kids rule over some parents.
Now adults also have ADHD.
These questions will help you determine if you as an adult have ADHD
How often do you have problems finishing up the final details of a project, once the challenging parts have been done?
How often do you have problems getting things in order when you have to do a task that requires organization?
How often do you have problems remembering appointments or obligations?
When you have a task that requires a lot of thought, how often do you delay or avoid getting started?
How often do you fidget or squirm with your hands or feet when you have to sit down for a long time?
How often do you feel overly active and compelled to do things, like you were driven by a motor?

University students used the following drugs to help them study, but that is not bad right?
Ritalin, weed, coffee, cigarettes, steroids, cocaine, 5 hour energy or red bull, whatever helps us to get R done.
What about side effects?
Band aid solution?
 Chew on this and tell me What You Think.

Monday, November 22, 2010


One of my first cultural shocks experience happened before I even set feet on American soil. My then girlfriend, now wife, called me and told me I needed to bring the “bling bling” with me from my country (since it is cheaper). I was amazed, confused, but deeply in love, so I bought the diamond ring and flew thousands of miles to be with my beloved.
One custom that developed countries has that sets it apart from developing ones is that of the diamond engagement ring. For those who don’t know what it is, (although it might sound ridiculous that someone does not know what an engagement ring is) is a ring given to a woman whenever a man asks her to marry him.
The ring does not have to be a diamond one.
However, only if and when the woman specifies that she doesn’t want it to be a diamond, can the man give her something else. The majority of girls in developed countries expect that they will own a diamond ring the day a man ask her to marry him. Some even require a certain size "carat", cut and type of gold. Some say that the cost of the ring has to be equivalent of one, two or three months of wages depending on the country.
After this diamond ring is given then she is no longer his girlfriend, now she becomes his fiancĂ©e, and he becomes her fiancĂ© (Make sure you call her that because she will get offended if you don’t, the guy on the other hand is more lenient about it).
The history of the engagement ring is not clear, having roots in Egypt, and The Roman Empire. However, the “vena amoris”, vein of love, was a Greek idea. Supposedly was a vein that had a direct connection to the heart. This vein was located in the fourth finger on the left hand, now called the ring ringer.

Pope Nicholas I, support the idea of engagement rings by making a gold ring a betrothal requirement so the groom could demonstrate his financial capability of taking care of the future wife. (Canon 1062 of the new Code states) (1). In 1215, Pope Innocent III made a similar declaration though the rings could consist of different metals, including silver and iron, and the rings were meant to be worn during a longer engagement period.
Gems were added to the rings to give a measure of distinction and beauty. Birth stones were use to exemplify couples parents or themselves. The first recorded diamond engagement ring was given to Mary of Burgundy by her betrothed, Archduke Maximillian of Austria, in 1477.
Up till 1940’s diamonds rings were only for the bourgeois. Nevertheless, the  DeBeer’s “A Diamond Is Forever” campaign took diamonds to a different level.
But DeBeers (and their ad agency N.W. Ayer & Son) pounded it into the head of every American that: a) When getting engaged, the woman should receive a diamond engagement ring, and b) when purchasing a ring, it should be worth at least two months’ salary for the man.
Today, most women in America expect to get a diamond ring when they get engaged, and most men know that they cannot get engaged unless they fulfill that expectation. DeBeers created the expectation out of thin air, and in the process created a huge market for its diamonds (Marshal Brain) (2)

What is more amazing to me is that the guy gives the woman a huge rock but he gets nothing in return.  He doesn’t get a diamond ring, or a cool car, or a __________. You can fill in the blank, but you are still not going to get your item you just filled in the blank. And if some girl out there is thinking, “yes but he will get to, as the bible say, know me.” I will say then it’s no longer love but prostitution. Now, let's turn this around and make it fair. Let the women give the man a gift in exchange for his love for her. This gift must be equivalent to two months of her salary. Ladies think for a second if this was guy’s requirements, how would that make you feel? It would be better if you invest that money in something that will generate more money for you; and hopefully it is invested in things that do not compromise the life or welfare of others.

Diamonds are trouble. Just so you know, some of the diamonds that ladies flash around are stained with African blood. Many of you readers have seen the movie “Blood Diamond” and know what I am talking about. If you have not seen the movie, I recommend you watch it. It will make you think twice before being so selfish and heartless desiring a diamond. However, I have some videos of the real blood diamond. If you are interested the links are below. 
Please leave your comments
First video

Second Vid
Third Vid