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Monday, June 27, 2016


  • The stock market fall today continued because of Brexit (scroll down to view my two postings on this subject on Wednesday and Friday--or go to the right column and find those articles near the bottom in BLOG ARCHIVES), but the drop was less than half of what happened on Friday, with Japan and China showing positive movement.  The U.S. Dow could well decline a total of 1000 (-5.5%) points during this Friday-Monday two-day period, but most European stocks sunk at least 10%.  Generally (maybe two-thirds of the time) recession follows six months or so after a 10%-15% decline of the market.  So let's see what this coming Friday brings, and some recovery from today can be anticipated.  However, the Brexit affect on the world economy awaits where things will be around the time of U.S. Presidential Elections this Fall.
  • At a cost of $5.4 billion, the Panama Canal Extension opened to commercial traffic yesterday with a Chinese container ship, the Cosco Shipping's Andronikos, re-named Panama.  The first position was earned from a lottery of the largest shipping companies.
Now, about your personal health, something extraordinary seems to be shaping up that will have monumental consequences to our lifestyle.  For some time now a variety of studies has shown curious evidence that slightly overweight people actually seemed to live the longest.  Initially, it was felt that just the extra body fat for those who became ill was surmised to be the reason.  However, something more than that appears now to be at work that is, indeed, surprising.

Four decades ago, the world had twice the number of underweight people than those obese.  Today, there are more obese individuals that those underweight.  However, while this trend towards fatter people continues upwards, women in Singapore, Japan, Czech Republic, Belgium, France and Switzerland have maintained about the same Body Mass Index (BMI) during these past 40 years.  Funny, though, that as we get more overweight, global life expectancies have also continued to increase.  While the above sentences seem confusing, it is important to understand that overweight has long been considered to be unacceptable,  but now, as you shall see, could well be desired, but obesity should still be avoided.

No doubt Americans are probably way too fat:  35% of men and 40% of women were obese in 2014.  The 38% obesity average is an increase of 34% since 2006.  Here is where we were in 2012:

Oh my gosh!!!  (If you can't read the fine print, click on it to view how much more obese Americans are than most of the world.)  One indicator of how obesity (note, again, this is fatter than overweight) is that the USA has a lower life expectancy than most developed countries:

Countries previously deprived but now more developed, such as Kuwait and Egypt, also have abnormally high obesity, even more so than that of the U.S.  Same especially applies to islanders

According to long established tradition, you want a Body-Mass Index (BMI) between 19 and 25.  Polynesian and Micronesia women have an average BMI of 34.8.  More than 38% of men and more than 50% of women are obese.  When you board Polynesian Airlines, a stewardess is there to pass out seat belt extensions.  People on islands, said to be genetically hard-wired to store fat for survival, combined with certain cultural proclivities, such as a larger physique being a mark of higher status, are at play here.  I noticed watching TV one day that the softball (female) players from Nanakuli and Waianae, with high Polynesia enrollments, were mostly obese, so, even in Hawaii, we are faced with this situation.

  • Hypertension or high blood pressure
  • Dyslipidemia -– An abnormal concentration of fat in the bloodstream. 
  • Type 2 diabetes – Insulin resistant diabetes
  • Coronary heart disease – The buildup of plaques in the main arteries of the heart.
  • Stroke – The blockage of blood flow to the brain
  • Gallbladder Disease – Can cause nausea and fever, caused by gallstones.
  • Sleep Apnea – Problems breathing during sleep.
  • Respiratory Problems
Add to the above, low self-esteem, shorter life expectancy (yes, this source said this, but in reference to the morbidly obese) and a crummier social life.

Ah, but what about those comprehensive studies saying overweight people live longer than normal ones?  Apparently, the ideal BMI for Italian women is 33, which is obese.  This same article also indicated that the accepted medical advice that 3 drinks per day or more was bad for your health was, really, plucked out of the air.  There is NO EVIDENCE proving this admonition.  In any case, the latest body of medical data shows that normal people don't live as long as those overweight.  Let me repeat this:  overweight people have a higher life expectancy than those who are normal!!!  One example:

But, again, this table just reinforces the survival advantage of being overweight.  Is it only the chronically ill that benefits from poundage?  How, then, to gain weight and simultaneously reducing all that "badness" about obesity because being overweight also means you should begin to suffer the symptoms of obesity?  Frankly, I'm still confused, but willing enjoy the consequences.

One point to underscore is that as the world has gotten fatter, the life expectancy has actually continued to increase.  Is it more because people out of poverty, such as in Africa, now live longer?  Or, do overweight people actually live longer?

 From as far back as 2009, this report showed that in comparison to normal:

  • Those classified as underweight were 73% more likely to die.
  • Those extremely obese with BMI of 35 or greater were 36% more likely to die.
  • Those classified as obese with BMI 30-34.9 had about the same risk of death.
  • Those classified as overweight with BMI 25-29.9 were 17% less likely to die.
My reading of the above is that normal people have the same life expectancy as those obese, and the overweight with  a BMI between 25-29.9 live the longest.  Why wasn't all this publicized seven years ago?
The media picked this up but the medical profession just could not quite embrace something so counterintuitive.  Then just last month:  people who have a BMI of 27 now have the lowest risk of dying in the United Kingdom.  (I show these two flags just to link Captain Cook to Hawaii, our flag above, whereas to the right is that of the United Kingdom.)

My BMI is around 23.5, about the lowest I've been in two or three decades.  I need to gain 10 pounds just to get to a BMI of 25.  Most of my adult life I wanted to lose 10 pounds.   Now, I like it, but feel uncomfortable about trying to gain weight.  To reach BMI 27, I must add 25 pounds. That's insane.  I'll certainly need to ask my neighbor, who is a medical doctor, what he thinks, and also, my personal physician.  In the meantime, because of this almost overwhelming reversal of medical sense, I find myself enjoying more snacks and generally eating what I want.  I'm curious at how medical science will respond this time.  I'm awaiting a reasoned backlash.


Sunday, June 26, 2016


Honolulu Magazine's Hale 'Aina Awards 2016 selected Sorabol as the best Korean restaurant in Hawaii, as has been the case for several years in a row now.  They first opened around 30 years ago and today, they never close.  Sure, there are some fast food establishments that are 24/7, but Sorabol is a higher class sit-down eatery.

How do you eat Korean?  Honolulu Magazine early this year provided a guide.  The food is healthy with a lot of vegetables.  I would offer, though, that sodium might be an issue.  First, they say, skip the meat jun, order something like, left to right, eundaegu chim (black cod with vegetables), yookhae (raw ground beef with egg) or al chi-ke (fish-egg stew):

If looking to cure a hangover or cold, have the Yukgaejang (spicy beef and vegetable soup).

Second, enjoy the banchan, those complimentary small dishes that keep coming.  If you really want something specific along these lines and it is not served, just ask for it, and it almost always will be provided.  Variations of kimchi (kimchee, gimchi) will be included.  These are all free.  Probably, you will share these tidbits, but mostly you will need to ignore those germ warfare hints.

Third, seek the server's recommendation by asking mueoseulgwonhasigetseumnikka? But don't order too much, for there is that gratis banchan, plus Korean dishes tend to be rather voluminous, although lunch portions are more sensible and cheaper.  Thank you is pronounced gomapseunmida.  I took a summer of Korean when I served in the Army Reserve.

You are supposed to refill the empty tea and soju (shochu in Japan, a clear alcoholic beverage of varying ethanol content) of others, starting with the oldest person.  For 15 Craigside, it almost doesn't matter, for everyone is old.  Hold your cup in both hands.

If using a grill, BBQ the non-marinated meats first, then go on to the kalbi.  Eat your rice last, something I can't.  While various sauces are provided, it's best not to use any of them, for Korean food is already quite spicy.  

Generally, there is no dessert, except that your meal should be finished with shik hae, which is a sweet cup of cold, cinnamon-tasting rice soup to aid your digestion and cleanse the palate.  Like all those vegetable dishes, this conclusive finish will just show up at no additional cost to you.  Best to bring some breath mints.

So off yesterday for lunch went 15 Craigside to Sorabol:

Here is one table:

I ordered a Combination #1, which included kalbi and BBQ chicken, with a cup of shoju.  Never was able to figure out what the drink cost.

While the food was good, the service was spotty and the place noisy.  A favorable sign is that a lot of Koreans come here, bringing with them a heightened atmosphere of goodwill.  It sure felt like I was in an active Seoul restaurant, so the ambience was most experienceful.

Friday night I had an enjoyable reunion with the remarkable Gould family at House Without a Key of the Halekulani Hotel (note that my photo at the top of this blog was taken here):

Five of them shown in these photos are Stanford graduates, and the four young ones (yes, they're all drinking those expensive tropical drinks, sans alcohol) show high promise for admission.  Bob, former Northwest/Delta 747 pilot, and I were in El Capitan, a campus eating club.  The members still hold an annual dinner during reunion week.

If I heard correctly, beginning with his grandfather, 19 from his family of relatives went to Stanford.  What is the big deal about being from Stanford University?  Well, did you read my posting of 15 June 2016?  While I have determined that I will not be able to save Planet Earth and Humanity, I'm beginning to more strongly feel that Stanford will.  Okay, even Stanford is not perfect, for our mascot is a zany tree, or two or more.

A close neighbor of the Goulds is Kanoe Miller, Miss Hawaii 1973, who has been the primary hula attraction at House Without a Key now for almost 40 years.  That kiawe tree in the background, also known as algaroba and mesquite, is a hundred years old, although, frankly, from my point of view, it poses a sharp danger, for the thorns must have bedeviled scores of unsuspecting barefoot people over the years.  I've stepped on a few of these small spikes numerous times on golf courses and hikes.  Good thing I wear shoes on those outings.    But, so what, this was Pearl's favorite spot to begin a Waikiki outing, and so too of the Gould family.


Saturday, June 25, 2016

TO YOUR HEALTH: Some Surprising Bits of New Medical Information

Why do plaques pockmark the brain of Alzheimer's patients?  When a virus, fungus or bacterium invades your brain--and the older you are these microbes can more easily sneak through the protective membrane--our defense mechanism is to stop the invader with a sticky cage of proteins, which does the job, but what is left behind is plaque, which inflames the brain.  This innate immune system has been confirmed for yeasts, roundworms, fruit flies and mice.  With age, the leakiest  part of the membrane tries to protect the hippocampus, the site of learning and memory.  Perhaps someday a way will be found to keep your brain membrane functional for longer periods.

Sixteen years ago the Journal of the American Medical Association reported that there have been 850 different studies, all indicating that the mental health of people improved with religion.  An additional 350 studies found that religious people are physically healthier.  Who funds these studies, anyway?  That's more than a thousand projects looking into this field, and that was before the year 2000.

Recently a Harvard study on the health and lifestyles of 75,534 middle-age female nurses over 16 years through 2012 showed that church attendance:
  • more than once/week provided a 33% lower risk of death,
  • once a week gave a 26% lower risk and
  • less than once/week improves your longevity by 13%.
The above comparison was made to those  female nurses who did not go to church.  These were mostly Protestant and Catholic in the U.S.  The sense was that men, too, would benefit.  It was stated that doctors should not necessarily urge their patients to attend church to live longer.  But heck, why not?  Click on this for an article on bioethics and the medical profession.

The person who wrote that first article above on plaques, Gina Kolata of The New York Times, also penned this third bit of medical news, on a cosmetic discovery--siloxane gel followed by a platinum catalyst--which appears to be safe, and could well provide a second skin for people, especially the aged. One application would be to reduce eyebags:

The left bag (as you are looking at the above photo) uses this biotech product.  The skin on my outer arms are prone to abrasions.  Soon, Olivo Laboratories' cross linked polymer layer (XPL) should be able to minimize this condition.

Tomorrow my blog will focus on dining out:  15 Craigside will go to Sorabol, plus, my night out with a remarkable family (left).  There will be a Part 2 about latest medical developments, for on Monday (or Tuesday) the title will be:  SHOULD WE BE CONCERNED ABOUT OBESITY?  The answer is not what you'd expect, and while obesity is not particularly fabulous, the latest medical evidence, and overwhelmingly so, is that those overweight  apparently have a higher life expectancy than normal beings.


Friday, June 24, 2016


Well, as posted earlier this week, the Great Brexit has roiled the world stock markets.  At one time the British Empire was, indeed, great, for in 1922:
  • commanded 458 million people, 20% of the world (China today is not quite that)
  • covering 13 million square miles, 25% of Earth's land area
  • and the Sun never set on its holdings.

Today, the United Kingdom represents less than 1% of the world population, and the sun just set over its future economy.

So what has happened?
  • The London FTSE 250 index closed 7.2% lower.
  • The pound dropped to its lowest level in more than three decades.
  • Lloyd's Bank crashed by 21%.
  • The German DAX fell by nearly 7%.
  • The French CAC plunged by 8%, as did in Ireland.
  • Japan NIKKEI lost 8%.
  • At this writing, the U.S. Dow Jones is only down by 3%, but an 8% drop would be equivalent to minus 1400.
  • The VIX (stability of market) jumped by 36%.
  • Oil prices fell by 4% anticipating lower future demands.
  • Gold bullion surged 8% as a haven for money.
Donald Trump is hoping he, too, can shatter political convention:

Come November, the American people will have the chance to re-declare their independence. Americans will have a chance to vote for trade, immigration and foreign policies that put our citizens first," he said. "They will have the chance to reject today's rule by the global elite, and to embrace real change that delivers a government of, by and for the people.

The disarming presence of Trump in Scotland to celebrate the upgrade of his golf course in Turnberry, hailed the fall of the British pound by saying, good, more people will come here to golf.  At a press conference here he kind of embarrassed himself by saying independence was great, not probably realizing that almost two-thirds of Scotland voted AGAINST Brexit.  The national vote was 52% - 48% FOR Brexit. Worse, the leader of Brexit, Boris Johnson, former Mayor of London, looks a bit too much like the Donald.  Incredibly enough, he is the current favorite to replace David Cameron as Prime Minister.  Finally, another coincidence, for the President of the European Council spells his name, Donald Tusk, too closely similar to the presumptive Republican candidate.

Hillary Clinton calmly responded by not saying all that much.  If California secedes from the Union, the population loss would be around 12.5%, just about the same as the UK leaving the EU.   Trump refers to CNN as the Clinton News Network, more so after his ex-campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski joined CNN.

My blog on Brexit had a sub-title:  The End of the European Union?  So, next?
  • Sweden hates their immigration load and already does not use the Euro.
  • Denmark actually had a referendum as recently as this past December, deciding against handing more powers to the EU.  The migration issue is grating.  Next?
  • Greece might be kicked out, for the debt crisis is still there and festering.
  • The Netherlands' potential next leader, Geert Wilders, has hinted that the country cannot stop immigration while remaining in the EU.
  • Hungary could have a popular vote soon to diminish EU cohesion.
  • In France, 62% of the population is skeptical of the EU.
Ironically, Scotland might secede from the UK, but could well choose to join the EU.  It's too early to tell what will really happen, but watch the world stock markets on Monday.