Vol. V No. 27 - Saturday July 1, - July 7, 2006
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Columns
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

The Doctor's Consultation

Agony Column

Camera Class by Snapshot

Money Matters

Life in the Laugh Lane

The Doctor's Consultation: Eating for the Elderly

by Dr. Iain Corness

We are all getting older. The average age of westerners is increasing. The more developed countries in Asia are also showing the same trends. Grey power is becoming an important factor, with the marketing of goods and services designed for this increasing niche market. We (me included) are becoming important people.
That’s the up side. Unfortunately, there is a down side (there always is, isn’t there?) and that is just simply that the longer you live, the more parts of you that end up wearing out. And if you didn’t look after yourself some years ago, your past indiscretions can surely come round to bite you now!
And talking about ‘biting’, one of the organs that can show the ravages of time, is your digestive organ, the gut. As the body ages, the gastrointestinal tract changes and people tend to develop more problems with constipation. The pundits will tell you a high-fiber diet can prevent that, but many elderly people, especially those with dentures, do not want to eat the seed-filled or crunchy food that is typically high in fiber. They go for soft food that is easily chewed, but is often high in fat.
So where can we get some fiber? Try some cooked or baked vegetables, fresh fruit and high-fiber breakfast cereals as these are some denture-friendly ways to get fiber in the diet. Beans and black-eyed peas are also nutritious and inexpensive.
Another problem, especially in hot climates such as in Thailand, is insufficient intake of water. The elderly have a decreased thirst and often do not get enough fluids in their diet. Getting plenty of fluids helps prevent constipation, because the bowel is a water absorber. The constipation decreases when fluids are taken generously. Milk, tea, coffee, soda, ice cream and soup all count as fluids.
Exercise plays a part here too. Get more physical, not less. The amount of exercise needed depends on the person, but in general, people need to step up their activity as they get older. Elderly people often do the opposite, because of bad knees or arthritis. Instead of becoming a couch potato, they need to walk, bicycle, swim, garden and find other ways to stay on the move.
As we age, our calorie needs decrease due to a drop in muscle strength from taking less physical activity (see above). However, vitamin and mineral needs may stay the same or even increase if the body absorbs them less efficiently. The daily calorific requirement varies from person to person, but as a very rough guide, males need to drop their calorie intake by around 20 percent after the age of retirement (2,500 cals down to 2,100 cals) and women form 2,000 down to 1,800 cals.
There are many foods and ingredients needed to retain optimum health, including those high in Vitamin C, such as blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackcurrants, citrus fruit, kiwi fruit, peaches, mango, cantaloupe melon, and apples.
Vegetables high in Vitamin A (beta-carotene) and Vitamin C including carrots, squash, sweet potato, tomatoes, spinach, kale, collard greens, broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, onions, leeks and avocado.
Fish should also be included as many are rich in Omega-3 essential fatty acids and high in Vitamin E, like salmon, mackerel, sardines, herring, tuna and trout. It is also a good idea to substitute white fish in place of red meat.
Some nuts and seeds are also rich in Omega-3 essential fatty acids and high in Vitamin E, including unsalted nuts, walnuts, cashews, brazil nuts and almonds, and seeds such as poppy seeds, sunflower, flax seeds and pumpkin seeds.
Proteins are also important in the diet for Seniors and should include eggs, white fish, milk, cheese, yogurt, lean meat, chicken, beans and lentils.
Fiber can come from lentils, chick peas (garbanzo beans), brown rice, whole wheat bread, wheatgerm, whole wheat cereals and whole wheat crackers.
A good spread of items, different dishes every day, plenty of water and moderation in all things seems to be the answer. A glass of red wine gets my nod of approval too.


Agony Column

Dear Hillary,
In the latest edition I read again from poor foreigners complaining about Thai ladies. What do they expect? Do you really think that a sexy young beautiful lady wants an old ugly foreigner with beer belly? Let us be honest, all they want is their money and who are we to blame them if some foreigners behave so stupid. I am 49 and have a lovely friend 45 years young. She still has great looks, and more importantly we can talk on the same level. I don’t have anything to tell to a 25 years old as that is a completely other generation. There are enough great ladies in Chiang Mai, or other places, in their forties who still look great and with good brains, also important if you want to live with someone I think. The 60 plus section who come to look for “Fresh young girls” should think of the fact that most of that young ladies also want a fresh young man. Have you ever thought about that? Ladies who want to escape from their poor life, just do that for the money and the promises some foreigners make them, but once in Europe they face other problems and get disappointed very quick as they found out that in Europe or elsewhere it is the same struggle for life. Many poor ladies get misled because they think that for example 75,000 baht a month is a lot of money, and it is...in Chiang Mai, but not in Belgium or Germany where it is only an average income. My friend is well educated and knows the differences between the West and the East. To put it simply, stop fooling yourselves and others and try to find or get a realistic relationship, you won’t regret it, I am sure.
Willy

Dear Willy,
I am so pleased to see you are thinking with your head and not with the (eponymous) organ, my Petal. There is so much more to any relationship than 20 minutes of sweaty rumpy-pumpy (and 20 minutes is probably an exaggeration for most of the over-60’s viagorous exercises). The ability to communicate on a similar level is even more important when you are contemplating mixed races. If all you want is the nocturnal nookie, then buy it and don’t waste your time and money on 24/7 relationships which will always be unsatisfactory in the end, and leave you writing to Ms. Hillary saying your wallets had a spring clean and vacuum. Thank you for a clear and lucid letter, Willy. Your lady (and you) are lucky people.
Dear Hillary,
Every week I see all these old men tourists with young girls. Bold as brass, down the street they come, arm in arm or holding hands with girls one quarter of their age. From the leers on their faces you know what they are thinking. Surely they must know they are a joke? These girls are after one thing only and these old codgers are too stupid to see it. They certainly don’t have any sex appeal left. Why don’t you tell the old duffers to stop making fools of themselves?
Ginger

Dear Ginger,
You are all spiced up, aren’t you, Petal. The problem here is just who is “making fools of themselves”? The old dodderers I see on the streets seem to be enjoying themselves no end. Is there a law against enjoyment? What these old codgers have found is someone who is prepared to look after them on their holiday, don’t complain and make no judgments of their behavior. So what if the girls are “after one thing only” – if the visiting tourist is happy to look after his side of the bargain and the locals are happy to supply what the visitor wants, then why are we (sorry, you) pointing the finger of scorn? Lighten up, Ginger.
Dear Hillary,
Every week in your newspaper there is an article about local people in the news, and most of them I have never heard of. Everyone round here has heard of Hillary though. When are they going to do an article on you, “Petal”? You are so wise that you must have been around for a while, but don’t let the odd wrinkle or two stop you posing for the camera. As your loyal fans and readers we would like to know more about you. How about it?
Ryan

Dear Ryan,
You are a lovely young fellow, aren’t you, Petal. How do I know your age? Anyone with a name like Ryan has to be young! And as for your “How about it?” How about what? Things seem to have changed a bit since Hillary was young, footloose and fancy free. “How about it?” had a very sexy meaning way back then, but, heaven forbid, I am sure you were not propositioning Hillary through the column. But then, at my age I am allowed to dream. No, sorry Ryan, Hillary is far too shy and retiring a person to allow an article to be written about her. I am happy just helping those people with problems, and putting people like you back on the straight and narrow. Growing up is a long and painful process. You have my sympathies.


Camera Class:  Holiday photography

by Harry Flashman

The best way to relive all holidays is through the photographs you bring back, however, like the fish, just how many ‘got away’? And since they were taken while you were on holidays, it will mean that you might just have to wait till next year.
Many years ago, I used to carry a Polaroid back for my camera, so that I could take the shot and review the result in 60 seconds, just to make sure I’d got it. Now you can see if you’ve got it in one second. Digitally!
As much as I love film (and continue to use it up to the negative stage), digital photography makes much more sense, in many ways. The first of these ways is that ability to see instant results. If you haven’t got the shot you wanted, you are still there and can take it again. For that reason alone, you should take a digital camera with you on holidays.
However, there are many other good reasons, including the fact that the memory chip is not affected by the airport security scanners. You can take two or three memory cards with you without using up space in handbags. And photoshops can read the cards very easily and burn you a CD instantly.
However, to come back with some cracker holiday shots is not all that difficult, it just needs some thought and time. Not taking the correct amount of time in shooting is probably the number one reason for getting disappointing results. The corollary is that by taking time, you will get good results!
Take a look at the shot of the Cambodian girl on the bicycle. This was taken by keen amateur Ernie Kuehnelt and took one hour. No, he did not get the girl to cycle back and forth for 60 minutes, but he stayed in position (in the shade) close to a bridge in Siem Reap for one hour. During that time he snapped interesting looking subjects and this shot was one of the best. It is a wonderfully evocative shot that shows the life of a Cambodian peasant girl. By the way, the shot was taken on an AF Nikon using the follow focus facility, and it certainly worked well.
What is worth noting from Ernie Kuehnelt’s photograph is that he came back with images of Cambodia, not photographs of “me beside a temple” or “me taken with our guide”. Your camera should be used to record the place you visited, not just you on your holidays. The former kinds of photographs are interesting. The latter are not!
Other local interest items to look for include parades. Every city, town or village anywhere has its parades, but have you ever tried to record a parade? It is actually very difficult. The eye sees a long procession of musicians, marchers, flag wavers and the like as they pass by, but the camera sees only one thin slice of the action about 1/60th of a second long!
There is only one way to get parades, and that’s get up high and use a long lens. By shooting down the oncoming procession you will get several squads of musicians, marchers etc all on the one frame. By using the telephoto lens you ‘compress’ the action and get even more in.
All tourist towns have their nightlife. Lots of lights, neon signs and flood-lit fountains are the norm for this type of photograph. The secret here is a wide angle lens with an aperture down around f 1.8 and not to use your flash. Let the attractions provide the illumination, rather than blitzing it with flash bursts. If you try and take neon light using flash you will totally wash out the neon and again get very disappointing results.
Finally, think about how you are going to present the results. It is always a huge temptation to bring out folders of photos as soon as you get back. Wait! Sort them, keep the good ones, throw away the bad. Put your best shots on CD and think about an on-line site that will host your shots for the world to access. Your shots could make you famous!


Money Matters:  Commodity investing - As good as it gets? – Part 2

Alan Hall
MBMG International Ltd.

Over the last few months, growth investing appears to be back in vogue and investors are starting to ask for higher earnings streams. This has led to increasing M&A activity in the commodity space, as the big majors realise that it is cheaper and a less risky strategy to buy a smaller start up company, than go into these projects themselves. CSFB are predicting that 2006 will be one of the most active M&A years for corporations in the past two decades, as the big miners start to appreciate that there is still significant value that exists in a target’s share price, provided they eventually come round to adopting higher long-term assumptions.
This in itself will underpin the mining sector this year. However, there is not an infinite supply of smaller companies out there and it will only be a matter of time before companies are forced to spend on exploration once again. But the fact remains that the longer they hold out, the longer the commodity cycle will be sustained for.
The recent price rises in many commodities is still daunting however, but when one looks at them in inflation adjusted terms, the moves do not appear so big. In reality, base metals have been one of the worst performing assets since 1973. Over that time period they have significantly underperformed real estate, equities and bonds. In real terms commodities are not expensive.
Positive supply and demand fundamentals, coupled with attractive “real” valuations have not gone unnoticed, with UBS and Macquarie estimating that around $80 billion has been invested in commodity index funds for 2005, up from $55 billion in 2004 and less than $30 billion in 2003. Based on UBS calculations, they estimate that the equivalent of around 3-4% of total annual production has been ‘bought’ via these indices.
But there appears to be more liquidity to come, with Bloomsbury Minerals Economics predicting that investment in commodity index products could rise from around $80 billion currently to $105-$115 billion by the end of 2006 and $140-$150 billion by the end of 2007.
If these predictions are correct that the impact on base metals could be significant. UBS estimates that new funds flow into these indices during 2006 could increase the fund position by another 50%. In each case investment could be sufficient to either intensify a market deficit, or in some cases turn what could have been a surplus into a deficit.
Also, index funds are currently playing a big part in the commodity market. In reality investment flows are playing an even bigger part, as the funds reflected are only index tracking and do not include over the counter trades, which could be substantial.
GRAPH 1
In conclusion we do not believe that this is as good as it gets and in fact we believe that the best is yet to come. However, this recommendation needs to come with a health warning, especially if the US consumer does precipitously slowdown in the second half of 2006, leading to an inevitable slowdown in China.
Commodity investments will be impacted by this, which we think will present a great buying opportunity to buy these assets at cheaper prices, for the growth in China is not a one year story, but one that we are going to see played out for the next 10 years.
According to research from Macquirie Bank that even if China were to slow down from current growth rates, China is still likely to account for 30%+ of world demand by 2010.
Finally as David Fuller of Fullermoney fame so eloquently said, “With approximately one billion people in the developed world and another five billion in developing countries, the largest of which are scrambling to increase GDP and the standard of living for their burgeoning populations, it is not difficult to envisage a steepening demand curve for all resources, many of which are finite.”

The above data and research was compiled from sources believed to be reliable. However, neither MBMG International Ltd nor its officers can accept any liability for any errors or omissions in the above article nor bear any responsibility for any losses achieved as a result of any actions taken or not taken as a consequence of reading the above article. For more information please contact Alan Hall on [email protected]


Life in the Laugh Lane: The Klutz Klub, Part 4

by Scott Jones

Okay, the final chapter of The Klutz Klub: back to my first meeting and inaugural dinner with Shannon. She is nervous and determined to make a wonderful first impression on me, her boyfriend’s best friend. She makes an admirable souffle้, sets it in the middle of the table, and passes me another dish or plate or whatever. Little does she know, she’s attempting to pass something to a bodily function-challenged, lifetime member of the Klutz Klub. The heavy, bulky something in our hands drops during the exchange, lands on the large serving spoon in the souffle้, and catapults a glob of it into the air and onto my head. Soft cheesy eggs drip from my hair and shards of broccoli hang from my glasses. She’s mortified. I’m intrigued. Could we possibly have a new member here?
I don’t remember when she was formally accepted, but I’m sure she became president the day she joined. Michael and Shannon marry and buy a house. He teaches school. She’s a nurse. One icy winter day, Shannon comes home at noon for a quick errand. She pulls up the driveway, gets out of the car and starts toward the house. Like my dear old Dad on the golf course and me routinely in life, she senses movement and turns to see the car continuing up the driveway toward the garage door. Once again like Klutz Klub President Dad, she believes she has the super powers of Adrenaline Wonder Woman and grabs the door handle of the car, dreaming she can stop it with feet firmly placed on slick ice. She and the car ram the garage door with enough force to knock it off its hinges and onto the hood, which holds the car tight in spite of her spinning the wheels at the speed of light in a valiant effort to melt the ice with her tires. The car remains captive of the garage door while Shannon slinks back to nurse her patients and her ego while the rest of the neighborhood gossips about what must have happened at the Tangen’s.
Eventually they move to Bemidji into a new house. They put the garden hose into the water bed to fill it. They visit the new neighbors next door. Later they come home to find water running out of the water bed, down the hall, through the living room, over the rug and out the front door of their new home. I’m unclear as to who actually set the hose, but if it was Michael, it was only because of the potent influence of the Force of Klutz possessing Shannon. If she wasn’t president again before that moment, she was after.
The Tangen family owns a cabin on a lake near Bemidji where they spend three or four days a year, if summer lasts that long. A charming log structure, it sits in the midst of a national forest filled with chipmunks, deer, woodpeckers, sixteen million wood ticks that can suck blood out of a toe-nail, swarms of sucking leeches in the lake that remove the blood from your legs, arms and back, and an infinite number times a million, famished mosquitoes with the temperament of crazed heroin addicts with needles instead of noses during their last stage of withdrawal that suck up your remaining blood and vital juices. The mosquito is officially the state bird in Minnesota.
Michael spends hours and days gently coaxing the cute little chipmunks out of their wood pile havens to warily eat from his hand. He finally wins their trust and Bambi’s buddies come to nibble their daily bread from the friendly palm of St. Michael as cheerful songs of chickadees accompanied by sweet orchestral melodies fill the air. Shannon is inside packing to go back to town. Oblivious of her giant feet and Michael’s tiny forest pets, she strides outside carrying big bags of groceries. Chippy sits up on his hind legs to accept this splendid feast. No feast, only feet. Shannon steps on poor little Chippy. Michael has to put Chippy to sleep in the woods. Although she had no prior knowledge, did not authorize or desire such an action, this assassination secured her presidency for the next decade.
I’m sure Shannon still feels terrible about this incident. And I’m sure Michael feels lucky to still be alive after all these years. I can’t imagine what stories she hasn’t dared tell me. There’s one about a pumpkin pie in a glass dish exploding in the kitchen and covering the ceiling and entire room with pumpkin mush and broken glass, then a follow-up involving Shannon inspecting the ceiling from the attic but slipping and putting her foot through the floor right into the kitchen and being trapped there until… I don’t know. She needs to write a book, though to preserve her acceptance in society and to avoid the investigation of the Bemidji police force, it should be published posthumously.
There are still an infinite number of things in the world waiting to be bent, folded, spindled and mutilated, so we’re always looking for a few qualified new members. If you’re interested, send a description of your best efforts, incriminating photos and testimonials from victims. Some advice on getting our attention? Don’t wipe the blood off the envelope after you’ve cut yourself while licking the flap.



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