Watering Hole: Tuesday January 28, 2014 Open Thread – Longevity and the influences of culture, social networks and reclaiming personal fulfillment.

In my last job I was tasked with developing a wellness culture at a continuing care retirement community. The impetus actually came from my interview when I blindly asked if the organization was familiar with the work of Dan Buettner who orchestrated a vitality project in Albert Lea, Minnesota based up his work interpreting the longevity studies of the National Geographic Society. Geographers dubbed identified five longevity pockets around the world as ‘Blue Zones’, where places had centenarians at rates ten to thirty times the average US city. Interestingly, with the exception of one, these places had average monthly incomes of $500 to $800 USD. That lone exception was Loma Linda California. The other places identified were: Ikaria, Greece; Nicoya, Costa Rica ; Okinawa, Japan ; and  Sardinia, Italy . These five distinct cultures had commonalities that could be applied to longevity throughout the world. The top four are: Eat Wisely, Move (exert) Naturally (daily), Possess a daily Sense of Purpose, and Connect with your Community. Buettner eventually published a book, Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer from the People Who’ve Lived the Longest. You can even guestimate your own longevity from his Vitality Compass on the Bluezones web site. And believe it or not, he is one of the few wellness gurus who is not trying to sell you something.

All of these were tied to culture in some way. The foods available to these folks were primarily beans, fresh vegetables, and fresh fruits. Meat was a rarity in most of these societies often used as a condiment as opposed to a primary protein source. Loma Linda made the list because of the predominance of Seventh Day Adventists (most of whom are exclusively vegetarian). Natural movement involves primarily employment, where folks in Sardinia were often shepherds, walking five or more miles a day to tend the flock. All the societies engaged in gardening or small plot farming. Dancing, swimming, and other physical rituals accounted for the ‘move naturally daily’ regimen. Outside of Loma Linda, there was no word for ‘retirement’ in these cultures. That meant occupation was a life-long experience, and hence a purpose on hand regardless of age. Connecting with community involved friend networks, checking up on others, and participating in religious or community activities.

Applying these concepts to our own lives here in the US has interesting complications. We are a society inundated with food choices (mostly bad), occupation is often viewed a necessary and not a choice of fulfillment or purpose, are overworked at desk jobs with little time or inclination for exercise, and live in a sprawling set of suburbs outside of large cities where neighbors hardly speak to each other. You actually have to make very conscious decisions to apply these longevity principals to your own life. Most people scantly give any of this any thought, hence the famous quote about most people living lives of quiet desperation.

Open Thread

81 thoughts on “Watering Hole: Tuesday January 28, 2014 Open Thread – Longevity and the influences of culture, social networks and reclaiming personal fulfillment.

  1. The top four [cultural commonalities] are: Eat Wisely, Move (exert) Naturally (daily), Possess a daily Sense of Purpose, and Connect with your Community.

    I’m doin’ OK based on the first three. It’s hard here, though — in rural Pickuppistan — to do much community connecting . . . rednecks don’t offer anything worth connecting to. Still,we have met and become friends with four or five folks of like mind in five years, so not all is lost.

    Oh, and I was born in Albert Lea MN — sounds like that could prove to be a definite benefit!

    On the dark side of the equation, however, is the fact that every day as I watch this country and its culture sink ever-deeper into the muck and mire implicit when sole motivations are love of money and lust for power, where motivation is mainly driven by deeply embedded hatreds and irrational fears, I’m not sure longevity is all that useful anymore.

    • All I can say about that is the Batshit is LUCKY the exchange didn’t take place in a Florida movie theater with an armed ex-cop! Bernie was cool by comparison, but hey, what better situation to bring in ‘stand your ground’?

      Good grief, what an illiterate bitch she is — sole response: “Ann wants a job . . .”

      I couldn’t make it to the end without barfing all over my keyboard.

  2. ‘Angry Birds’ Are Helping the NSA Spy on You

    The National Security Agency and its UK counterpart GCHQ have been developing capabilities to take advantage of “leaky” smartphone apps, such as the wildly popular Angry Birds game, that transmit users’ private information across the internet, according to top secret documents.

    I don’t do apps. Don’t have a smart phone either. If I did I wouldn’t let the Angry Birds poop on it! Aren’t little children mainly the demographic that Angry Birds was meant to appeal to?

  3. Boxer Floyd Mayweather has placed a $10.4 million bet on the Denver Broncos to beat the Seattle Seahawks by more than two points in the upcoming Super Bowl. Dewd, too many head shots.

    • yeah…for employees under New Federal contracts.

      i suppose if you furnish enough of those $200 ball peen hammers to the Navy, you can afford a little bump in hourly wage.

      • Too bad his only option is for Federal workers. If the Founders had only had a hair on their collective ass, they’d have allowed ‘Executive Privilege’ to be the voice that demanded “ALL PEOPLE] ARE CREATED EQUAL” . . .but they didn’t. Thus, this day, when Congress is ‘peopled’ by a majority of assholes, the options are automatically and substantially reduced to the basement (read: FASCIST) level. Ergo: an exec. order can raise the min. wage ONLY for a small and defined handful. Maybe. All the rest can eat . . . umm . . . (being polite here) cake.

        As a bonafide SOCIALIST!! I call the the ‘Any port in a storm’ option to be both useful as well as indicative that there may still be at least one true ‘soul’ operative — one who really gives a shit about we the people — out there in America’s political desolation.

        I doff my hat in the general direction of Barack Obama as I write this. He may not be perfect, but he’s a long way from from those piles of putridity — those piles of so-far-unflushable-shit — that forever stand lurking on the other side of the room.

  4. List of SOTU responders:

    2007: Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA) – OUT OF POLITICS

    2008: Gov. Kathleen Sebelius (D-KS) – BOTCHED OBAMACARE ROLLOUT

    2009: Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-LA) – NO LONGER CONSIDERED RISING STAR

    2010: Gov. Bob McDonnell (R-VA) – INDICTED

    2011: Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) – LOSING VP CANDIDATE IN 2012

    2012: Gov. Mitch Daniels (R-IN) – OUT OF POLITICS


    2014: Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WASH):

    • I will not be paying attention to it – total waste of time and besides I don’t have enough alcohol in the house at the moment.

      Obama got 2 out of 41 requests last year and one of those was an increase in the debt ceiling (for 3 months). This country is ungovernable and the SOTU simply puts a spotlight on that fact.

      I will be helping planning a dinner for 200 people and trying to stop my friend in Kiev from blaming me for the flawed media coverage of the events in Ukraine.

    • (early) Spring sprang a few weeks ago – insects came out and the Phoebes are having a feast.
      Ornamental cherry trees, ornamental pear, apple trees are in bloom earlier than usual.
      The fruit trees are starting to bud a/o blossom, etc. If significant rain shows up, as we keep hoping, then that would, also, be disastrous for the edible crops…
      we need the rain. (double edged sword)

      • Failed to mention, that, despite low-flow toilets, low-flow shower heads and low-flow faucets we still are judicious in dispensing water.
        Really have to think about and plan before turning on a spigot or flushing…
        if it’s yellow, let it mellow…(you know the rest)

  5. “May 23, 1921. Washington, D.C. “Professor Charles Louis Seeger and family.” Charles Seeger, wife Constance de Clyver Edson and their 2-year-old son Pete, of future folkie fame.”

  6. via The Mudflats:

    So the war on women is nothing more than a left wing media creation, but the war on Christmas is totally real. Got it.

  7. Letters to the editor:

    A simple solution to the same-sex marriage issue

    When the issue of marriage equality comes up, some people get all fidgety and distraught and feel offended or just plain outraged because the visions dancing in their heads, which are normally of sugar plums, must give way to images of naked freaks and cavorting demons shamelessly punctuating their capers with pirouettes, lascivious grunts and misplaced genitals.

    These visually oriented folks associate marriage first with sex, then with love.

    Not being naive types, they see past all the hype and realize people get married, not because they love each other, but because they want a license to get nasty.

    When they attend an opposite-sex wedding, for example, and see figures of the bride and groom atop the wedding cake, they envision the newlyweds assuming this, that or the other position and going at it on their wedding night in the bridal suite (for them, a “room with a view”).

    In the back of their minds, however, they are acutely aware that, in time, such carnal linkages will occur with decreasing frequency and intensity.

    So, to ease the minds of these perennial “seers” I have a suggestion: Applying this same principle of “diminishing returns,” if we wish to reduce the incidence of sexual activity among same-sex couples (and thereby the irrepressible compulsion to visualize it), simply allow them to marry.

    Richard Ford, West Side


  8. GOP: Remember, government should be small, but have complete control of your actions in all matters related to religion and procreation.

    • Someone should turn than suggestion around and insist on rounding up all low income white families on welfare and forcibly locate them to Detroit, after setting up trailer trash communities with all the left over formaldehyde stinking trailers left over from Katrina.
      Let’s see how’d that go over.

  9. Damned “librul media”!!!

    So, the AP has boldly asserted that 2013 was President Obama’s “worst year”. Really? Do they have something, anything, to back that up? There are things I would have liked to see happen, that didn’t, but where are the big crises that make a year “the worst”?The economy is growing, unemployment is shrinking, the ACA is in effect despite the web site glitches, casualties are down in Afghanistan, and everything that the GOoPers have not managed to obstruct is rolling along. Just exactly how was 2013 the President’s “worst” year in office?


    • Judge Magistrate Michael Hegarty said he would not sentence the Jensens to prison so that they could continue working to support their families and pay restitution.

      The Jensens already filed for bankruptcy, US media report.

  10. Correction of the Day:

    “Due to an editing error, a gastroenterologist’s name was misspelled as LaPoo. It is LaPook. We regret the error,” – the Daily Beast.

  11. NRA News Honors “Armed Citizen” Who Is Facing Charges For Allegedly Raping A Juvenile

    A man who is facing charges he raped a minor was recently honored during a daily NRA News feature that highlights instances of self-defense with a gun. The segments promote the false claim that guns are more likely to be used in self-defense than to commit a crime.

    The January 17 edition of NRA News show Cam & Company on The Sportsman Channel celebrated the actions of Marlo Ellis during “The Armed Citizen Files,” a daily segment sponsored by firearms retailer CheaperThanDirt.com. Ellis broke up the armed robbery of an Orrville, Alabama Dollar General by fatally shooting the alleged robber with his concealed handgun.

    During the segment Cam Edwards described Ellis’ actions in detail and asked, “I wonder how many other media outlets will be reporting on this story?” Curiously Edwards never said Ellis’ name, although he mentioned the name of the alleged robber and several witnesses. A web search for Ellis’ name reveals he was arrested in 2013 for allegedly raping a victim “between the age of 12 and 16.” Dallas County’s district attorney reportedly confirmed that Ellis is facing charges related to the 2013 investigation. A local news outlet covering the Dollar General shooting updated its account to include this fact, which was also appeared in an account on Guns.com.


  12. I ahve a proposal for the SOTU – make it a Tweet – yes, that’s right….. just the one 140 Characs or less.

    Or we can have this:

    “The annual State of the Union pageant is a hideous, dispiriting, ugly, monotonous, un-American, un-republican, anti-democratic, dreary, backward, monarchical, retch-inducing, depressing, shameful, crypto-imperial display of official self-aggrandizement and piteous toadying, a black Mass during which every unholy order of teacup totalitarian and cringing courtier gathers under the towering dome of a faux-Roman temple to listen to a speech with no content given by a man with no content, to rise and to be seated as is called for by the order of worship — it is a wonder they have not started genuflecting — with one wretched representative of their number squirreled away in some well-upholstered Washington hidey-hole in order to preserve the illusion that those gathered constitute a special class of humanity without whom we could not live.”

    – Kevin Williamson, National Review.

  13. I don’t have a new cat but I have a name. I realized that the only appropriate name for my first new cat in 18 years is “New Kitty”. So? He, she, or it will be named “Nuke”.

  14. I just received an email from my step-brother’s wife (step-sister-in-law?) inviting me to my step-mother’s 95th birthday. I suppose it’s a great milestone but, having hated the lady in question for about 50 years and not having to keep up appearances for Dad’s sake, I will not be attending. Still, it reminded me of something.

    My step brother’s wife, Gertrude, was raised in a wealthy German family in Venezuela way back before Chavez transformed it from a right-wing mess into a socialist mess. Her family lived behind electric fences and a moat and had to travel cross country in armed convoys on the rare occasions they went out to (visit their Swiss bankers) mingle with the common folk. I once asked her if it would not have been easier and cheaper to pay taxes for roads and police and she didn’t even understand the question. Rightwhiners, regardless of era or nationality, actually aspire to a feudal way of life; with them living in the most secure bits of the castle.

    • Yep, feudal. The classic politic designed to allow the little guy to appear important by his enabling of a rich schmuck. AKA, in the more modern sense, Fascism; aka, in today’s Amurkkka, the Tea Party, the GOP, and all embraced by alladem.

  15. Jeff Shesol, a former speechwriter, wishes for a modernized SOTU:

    “What compels this speech to drag as it does? The answer has to be inertia, an unwillingness to challenge convention—because no principle of aesthetics, no provision of the Constitution, requires the State of the Union to take this shape. The Constitution states only that the President “shall from time to time give to the Congress information of the state of the union, and recommend to their consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.” I’m no constitutional scholar, but I see nothing in there about shout-outs to the Interstate Highway System. When George Washington delivered America’s first annual message, in 1790, he limited himself to a thousand words. If you had suggested to him that he increase its length by six thousand words and pack it with legislative proposals that stood no chance of passing, he would have given you that look. (It was not a nice look.)

    It’s time, then, to save this speech—this gas-guzzling boat of a speech—from itself.”

    That look: http://www.biography.com/imported/images/Biography/Images/Profiles/W/George-Washington-9524786-1-402.jpg

  16. I didn’t see a QOTD so I’ll provide one of my own.

    If the, hereditary, rich and famous were judged by the same standards as the, hereditary, anonymous and poor? They would be neither rich nor famous.

  17. QOSOTU so far:

    “The debate is settled. Climate change is a fact. And when our children’s children look us in the eye and ask if we did all we could to leave them a safer, more stable world, with new sources of energy, I want us to be able to say yes, we did.”

  18. So did he mention anything about the protests in Ukraine? I promised I would listen for anything….. but I though I would go to the pub and ask you lot instead. Barman saw me walk in yelled “London Porter or Fullers ESB?!” beer was on table before I got there almost. FTW!

      • The porter was so good I had a second and a plate of stilton, crackers and grapes and then I watched some hockey players skate about between fighting

    • Puke on Rove – he’s a nasty piece of work (as are all the other Repugnant making snide remarks.

      Oh and eff that tweet about snow in Georgia proving there is no ‘global warming’.
      She just needs to visit California to see what the drought is doing to ‘the salad bowl of the world’. They have an aversion to using the correct phrase Climate Change.

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