Monday, June 30, 2008

NaBloPoMo for July: The theme is FOOD

I'm going to try posting every day in July. November didn't work so well for me (holidays etc.), and now they have NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) EVERY month. Each month has a theme. For June the theme was Home. For July it's Food. I don't know how I'm going to relate each post to food; maybe just a picture of something good to eat.

Like this lovely edible flower salad. Would someone make me one, please?

Friday, June 27, 2008

Delving once again into the arenas of politics and war

The politics part is my funny for the day:

I, Lieutenant Worf, Endorse Barack Obama For President in Your Year 2008

Be sure to read the comments. Hilarious and sometimes true.

The war part is not so funny. Once again, this subject relates to the topic of this blog because war causes stress for those of us at home, too, and it's especially stressful for those of us with already compromised immune systems and conditions that are aggravated by stress.

That said, I've been reading the Military Religious Freedom Foundation website and newsletter for a couple of months now. There seems to be some crossover between church and state going on in our military. Which is against the law, but hey, that hasn't stopped this administration on several other fronts so nobody seems to expect this to matter to them now.

The image on the right kind of summarizes the whole issue for me. I call it "Rifles and Bibles".

I thought it was those nut job Taliban guys that did stuff like this -

A Hamas suicide bomber posing with a rifle and a copy of the Koran.

not our guys and gals.

From Saturday, May 26, 2007

I don’t feel exactly comfortable with the idea that megaton loaded nuclear bombers are flying around with crews who believe the Book of Revelation is going become reality anytime.

“The Christian Taliban is running the Department of Defense, It inundates everything. Can you imagine a contingent of religious zealots, with their contempt for secular values (and such manifestations of secular order as the U.S. Constitution) — and with their zest for holy war — in control of the most potent fighting force and weaponry in human history? Is this possible? Well, said Weinstein, consider the 523rd Fighter Squadron, based at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M., which calls itself The Crusaders, and whose emblem consists of a sword, four crosses and a medieval knight’s helmet. They fly F-16s with payloads consisting of “a wide variety of conventional, precision guided and nuclear weapons.” And listen once again to Commander-in-Chief Bush, speaking in 2003 to Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas, according to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz: “God told me to strike at al-Qaida and I struck them, and then he instructed me to strike at Saddam, which I did, and now I am determined to solve the problem in the Middle East. If this is a religious war — a “clash of civilizations,” waged by competing agents of God’s will — victory may be indistinguishable from Armageddon. God help the human race.”

Yay! I've been chosen to receive the 2008 Leaders’ Scholarship to NFA’s 4th Annual International Leaders Against Pain Media and Advocacy Training

Here are the important parts of the notification email I received:

June 25, 2008

Dear “International Leaders Against Pain” Applicant,

Congratulations! You have been chosen to receive the NFA 2008 Leaders’ Scholarship to attend NFA’s 4th Annual International Leaders Against Pain Media and Advocacy Training Seminar at the Airlie Conference Center in Warrenton Virginia Sunday, August 10 to Thursday, August 14, 2008.

The National Fibromyalgia Association is pleased to invite you to spend 5 days and 4 nights with support group leaders and patient advocates from around the world to learn how to promote and create awareness on behalf of those living with fibromyalgia and other chronic illnesses.

Your NFA 2008 National LAP Scholarship includes:

  • 4 Nights accommodations Sunday, August 10 through Wednesday August 13, 2008 at Airlie Center
  • Dinner on Sunday, August 10, 2008
  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner Monday, August 11 through Wednesday, August 13, 2008
  • Breakfast Thursday, August 14
  • Registration fees and materials for ILAP

We look forward to you joining us for this important and empowering seminar.

Again, congratulations!


Lynne Matallana,

NFA President

And check out the conference digs: The Airlie Foundation and Conference Center- "An Island of Thought." Ahhhhh.

Their mission:
"To study, promote, encourage and foster knowledge, understanding and appreciation of the interrelationships which exist in the physical and social sciences..."

Their history:

"As one of the original centers of its kind in the country, Airlie was considered a model of innovation when it hosted its first group in 1960. Dr. Head converted old farm buildings into useful conference facilities to create a relaxed but up-to-date atmosphere for would-be guests. Airlie's inimitable character hasn't changed since the early sixties when Martin Luther King Jr. came to stay and plan his March on Washington. The campus remains a secluded retreat set amid 2500 rural acres. The facilities have been updated to provide guests with access to the latest conference support technology, but the atmosphere is the same: a natural place to meet."

And it's environmentally sustainable:


The Local Food Project at Airlie was established in 1998 by the Airlie Foundation in association with the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). An organic culinary garden was created on campus to supply fresh, sustainable herbs, vegetables and flowers to Airlie Center's kitchen. Airlie Foundation and HSUS use the Local Food Project as a way to demonstrate the benefits of sustainable agriculture and local food systems.

The Local Food Project at Airlie sponsors seminars, tours and conferences to promote sustainable food production using natural methods designed to protect air and water quality while improving soil fertility with organic compost, mulching and green cover crops. Educational materials and sessions are offered to conferees and the general public to promote the advantages of local food systems for the well-being of communities.

Local food systems keep money spent on food closer to home to support local farmers. When consumers know where their food comes from, they can choose products that meet their expectations for health, quality, taste, environmental sensitivity and the treatment of farm animals. The Local Food Project at Airlie serves as a demonstration and an educational opportunity for the many guests that come to the Airlie Center.

Earth Day started at Airlie in 1969.

And the accommodations!

"Airlie Center's sleeping accommodations comprise 150 tastefully appointed rooms with eight private, en suite cottage rooms available. Each of the rooms is equipped with private bath, high-speed internet access, cable television, radio-alarm clock, in-room coffee service, iron & ironing board, hair dryer, magnetic lock.

All accommodations are located in close proximity to Airlie House, the Center's hub. Guests can easily walk from any of the seven lodging buildings to anywhere on campus. For a fleeter alternative, borrow one of the "loaner bicycles" during your stay."

I don't even think I have to share a room with anyone!!!

There's a butterfly garden, too.

I am SOOOO psyched. Can you tell?

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Cry Me A River - or more accurately, I Cry A River

So, I'm trying to get more personal in my writing. I like how my friend Aviva on SickMomma keeps an updated record on her doctor's appointments, etc. on her blog. But this post is even more personal; it's about a crying meltdown I had recently.

From Fibro Viv, on Being Credible:

If my own family does not support me, what am I to do?

During my recent vacation, I was reminded of the lack of support for my current plight (cannot work, waiting for SS disability hearing) I get from some of my family members. I've accepted my father's view that I should just keep on keepin' on. I/we don't discuss the subject of my health at all, except in the most cursory of terms. But when I learned of another family member's (by marriage) feeling that it's not right for me (or anyone else, apparently) to be receiving assistance (which I do, from whoever will give it to me), or applying for public housing (which I'm currently in the process of - I've been living off the generosity of my mother for the last seven years, basically, and that seems long enough). I'm pretty sure that if my disabilities were visible I wouldn't be getting any grief from these people.

So anyway, the vacation was going wonderfully when on my last night there I learned about this other family member's negative attitude toward receiving assistance. I guess it just hit me with the force of all the negative attitudes I and everyone else with CI that I've come to know or learn about, are facing. There was a deluge of tears that went on for literally hours and even continued some in the next days. Along with the tears there was some talk, which is good. And I have to point out that I do also live with depression; dysthymia is my exact diagnosis, but more on that in a future post.

When you're through crying, it's good to laugh about it. Or even while you're crying, it's good to laugh!

Here's Dane Cook on crying. Very funny!

Sunday, June 22, 2008


Vacations are nice, even working ones. I've been on a working vacation but I'm back now and will be posting again soon.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Happy Father's Day

My father and the dad-next-door once dressed up like Zombies and followed us on our trick or treating route on Halloween. When we were as far away from home as we could get, they made their presence known. AAAGGGHHH!!!

I just sent this card to my Dad:

Don't send a lame Father's Day eCard.
Try JibJab Sendables!

I like JibJab. So appropriate for my family's warped sense of humor.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Star Signs - The Good and Bad about Managing Illness

Did you know that Medical Astrology was used by physicians hundreds of years ago? Me neither, until I found this site about the star signs and managing illness. I think sometimes I might be better off with an astrologist treating me than some of the well meaning medical professionals on my treatment team...

This is me being sick, according to Kingsley:


If there was ever a Star sign-social worker Aquarians fits that job description perfectly. Aquarians have unique but traditional approaches to managing symptoms. Their reformist approach may include herbal or alternative healing modalities. Aquarians are social and intellectual creatures with dependable (stoic) temperaments resistant to change. They are indeed rebellious of authority and most doctors. Denial of their illness is no excuse to keep drinking heavily though. Managing illness will present challenges for Aquarians who tend to burn out when stressed. Aquarians detach from their painful symptoms by reading, partying or engaging in mildly perverse behaviors. If that fails they will worry a lot. They need space and freedom to process the effects that illness has on their sense of identity. Aquarians entertain the idea that they are crazy. Whilst enduring longer term treatment strategies for illness they will rent a house with other friends receiving treatment and all go mad. They make friends at hospitals, doctor’s surgeries and chemists. They do not suffer fools gladly however sometimes the truth about illness is hurtful. They are prone to emotional rages and antisocial behaviors.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

And they say Fibromyalgia isn't fatal: The Lisa Varillas Story

Click here for a printed copy of the story.

To ask Oprah to have Tom on her show, send her his name and address:

Tom Varillas
1015 Dover Ct
Oldsmar, FL 34677-2528

Email about Whitcomb, and The Truth about Dr. Barrett

Picture courtesy of the Oxford Illustrated Science Encyclopedia

As specified in my
About The ICIE page, in the
Email republication policy section, the policy across The ICI Experience sites and blog is to reproduce any critical emails sent to any email address associated with me or this site, and also to reproduce any critical discussion of me or my activities which I see or become aware of on any outlets in any form of media.

The following email doesn't come across directly as all that critical of me, but it does insinuate that I have not bothered to research Dr. Barrett's reputation before throwing my lot in with him. And it quite blatantly suggests that Dr. Barrett is himself a quack.

The following is a copy of the email, and my answer.

On Mon, Jun 2, 2008 at 10:38 PM, Janis & Fred <janis_at cox dot net> wrote:

Hello Sherrill,

I was reading your blog. I wanted to know where the chiropractor Whitcomb is located as his name rings a bell from my support group and I know nothing about him. One thing I did recently learn though about Quack Watch and Stephen Barrett is that it seems he may be the quack. Have you ever done a Google search on Stephen Barrett? Apparaently he never practiced medicine and is an old bitter man involved in many shanghais. He could not pass the certification exam and has lots of bad press himself so makes him much less credible. He also attacks all forms of alternative medicine and treatments.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Thanks. Janis

Hi Janis,

Whitcomb is located in South Lake Tahoe, CA, but he travels all over the country gathering "marks" with FM to come to his center for weeks at a time for excessive (6 to 8 times) daily chiropractic treatments. All you have to do is a Google search on him to see all of his good press and his website address... ? I wonder why you haven't done that. I don't include a link on my blog to Whitcomb's site or to his book because I don't want to take the chance of anyone skimming my blog and clicking to Whitcomb's holdings, thinking that I support them in any way.

RE: Dr. Barrett, I answered concerns rather eerily similar to yours on my blog post Blogging Humor (I can't for the life of me figure out why this person had to
put this comment (with the totally unsubstantiated "public record" quotes) on my funny t-shirt picture???). Here is a copy of that comment and my reply:

Fibromyalgia Advocate said...

Out of curiosity I'd like to ask what are Dr. Barrett's credentials? As an advocate for Fibromyalgia and other illnesses, I like to research in order to help the millions who suffer. I've googled him and was wondering if you have researched his background too? Apparently he's been in several court cases and the judge did not show him in favor for each case. Try looking him up by googling: Dr. Barrett, Court Case - and you'll see what I mean. There are quite a few links that are disturbing. If you are looking to him to help you, then maybe you better think again. Just from what I've read, he will not benefit you in the long run because of his prior court cases as well as his credibility. As we all know time is a valuable commodity and once it's spent , our time cannot be reversed. Just something to think about as you pursue this.
Here is something that I found on public record by googling:
At trial, under a heated cross-examination by Negrete, Barrett conceded that he was not a Medical Board Certified psychiatrist because he had failed the certification exam.

This was a major revelation since Barrett had provided supposed expert testimony as a psychiatrist and had testified in numerous court cases. Barrett also had said that he was a legal expert even though he had no formal legal training.

The most damning testimony before the jury, under the intense cross-examination by Negrete, was that Barrett had filed similar defamation lawsuits against almost 40 people across the country within the past few years and had not won one single one at trial.
It looks as if there are a lot of people in the United States who already know him by first hand experience. I thought this would be of great interest to you since you are dedicating your time and effort.

May 22, 2008 10:56 AM

Sherril said...

FM Advocate: When I google Barrett and look at the big picture I see that quite a few of those he has quack-busted have filed law suits against him in retaliation, trying to discredit him, but none of them have succeeded. On first glance, the main objective site (not produced by one side or the other) I see about Barrett is on Wikipedia. I'll go with what they say until I find a better source, or a source that adds something credible to the discussion.

Wikipedia's official policies and guidelines can be summarized as five pillars that define the character of the project:

The first pillar:

Wikipedia is an encyclopedia incorporating elements of general encyclopedias, specialized encyclopedias, and almanacs. All articles must follow our no original research policy, and strive for verifiable accuracy: unreferenced material may be removed, so please provide references. Wikipedia is not the place to insert personal opinions, experiences, or arguments. Wikipedia is not an indiscriminate collection of information. Wikipedia is not a soapbox, an advertising platform, a vanity press, an experiment in anarchy or democracy, or a web directory. It is not a newspaper or a collection of source documents; these kinds of content should be contributed to the Wikimedia sister projects.

You get the idea. Verifiable; accurate; references.

One last point, FM Advocate - why are you writing anonymously? The only thing I can tell about you is that you joined Blogger in May of 2008. If you are so into "researching to help the millions" then where's your stuff? Or did you just join and leave this comment in order to try to confuse the issues about Whitcomb? And to suggest to me that I am wasting my time with Dr. Barrett? Please. Do you work for Whitcomb? That wouldn't surprise me at all. I've only been receiving anonymous comments since I started writing about Whitcomb. And I've also received some general name calling on the Amazon site for discussion of Whitcomb's book, and my first hate mail suggesting (twice) that I walk into oncoming traffic. Way to reasonably argue the point. That was the very first comment I ever rejected.

I am rather undecided about what to do about anonymous commenters. One of my other Skepticism heroes, Peter Bowditch of The Millennium Project, http://www.ratbags.com/rsoles/files/about.htm, has these things to say about anonymous comments and/or complaints:

"Anonymous complaints are ridiculed, laughed at, mocked and ignored. Complaints from real people are read, filed, published on this site and ignored unless evidence is offered of inaccuracy in something appearing on the site.

"…The only people who would be expected to complain about the contents of this site are those whose beliefs or practices are criticised or exposed by the information here.

"… whatever they have to say is worthless, because they do not even believe in it enough themselves to put their names to it. … because it is impossible to reply to the messages, they show that they are frightened of engaging in debate. Because of this, I will periodically declare a moratorium on receiving anonymous mail. Messages coming from email addresses which do not allow a reply or which do not originate at a traceable IP address may be deleted unread. This doesn't mean that people cannot write from Hotmail, for example, but only applies to anomymiser services. I get sick of wasting my time on lying cowards who are ashamed of what they have to say. When the filter is on, they can talk to someone else, because I'm not listening."

FM Advocate, I think that If you were really interested in helping people with Fibromyalgia, you would work to keep wolves like Whitcomb from preying upon them.

May 23, 2008 2:27 AM

Anyway Janis, that was probably way more information than you asked for - I am passionate about helping to put the "other side" of the Whitcomb story out there and once I get started I tend to go on until I am quite finished. I am a proponent of evidence based practice
. I want to see the proof. In traditional medicine as well as in alternative medicine.

RE: Dr. Barrett's credibility: He and his website, Quackwatch, are quite highly regarded in every reputable source I have come across.

Thank you for writing.


German Philosopher Schopenhaur once said,"All Truth goes through three stages: First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is vehemently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident."

In relentless pursuit of The Truth.

Here is another reputable link that I've found on Dr. Barrett, from Time magazine: "The Man Who Loves to Bust Quacks".

I would also like to add that anyone who has the audacity to say anything about Dr. Barrett like "Apparaently he never practiced medicine and is an old bitter man involved in many shanghais" should first disprove each of these items listed on his curriculum vitae first:

Professional Experience

  • Chief, Psychiatric Service, Scott Air Force Base Hospital, Illinois, 8/61-7/63
  • Psychiatrist, San Francisco Juvenile Court, 7/63-8/67
  • Psychiatrist, San Francisco Child Psychiatry Clinic, 7/63-1/66
  • Private practice of psychiatry, 8/63-12/93
  • Consultant, San Francisco Department of Welfare, 8/64-7/65
  • Consultant, school nurses, San Francisco Public Health Department, 8/65-12/65
  • Consultant, Parks Job Corps Camp, 12/65-1/66
  • Psychiatrist, Center For Special Problems, 2/66-8/67
  • Consultant, San Francisco Adult Probation Department, 8/66-8/67
  • Staff Psychiatrist, Allentown State Hospital, 9/67-7/77
  • Consultant, Pa. Board of Probation and Parole (research project), 11/67-2/69
  • Consultant, Lehigh Valley Mental Health Association, 12/67-2/69
  • Consultant, Lutheran Children's Home, 2/68-6/72
  • Psychiatrist, Allentown Hospital Psychiatric Clinic, 4/68-6/90
  • Consultant, Pastoral Institute of the Lehigh Valley, 11/68-1/71
  • Consultant, Allentown Counseling Center for Alcoholism, 6/69-6/72
  • Consultant, Lehigh University Centennial School, 1/70-3/77
  • Psychiatrist, Muhlenberg Medical Center Psychiatric Clinic, 6/71-6/86
  • Medical Director, Haven House (partial hospitalization program), 8/76-6/87
  • Consultant, Allentown Police Department (evaluation of police candidates), 8/80-3/85
  • Medical Director, NewVitae Partial Hospitalization Program, 8/90-3/91

Dr. Stephen Barrett

Note: Since I wrote the answering comment to FM Advocate above, I have decided on an Anonymous Comment Policy. It is now posted on my About The ICIE page, and this is what it says:

Anonymous Comments

Although I am frequently annoyed by complaints that are posted anonymously, I respect the
right to anonymous speech presumptively protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution . (See “Is anonymous speech a right?” at The Chilling Effects Clearinghouse.) Therefore I allow anonymous comments as long as they have, in my opinion, some intrinsic value.
Although I should really be the one posting anonymously, since I am the one in the "whistle blower" position here!


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