Sunday, March 24, 2013

Goji Berry and Human Longevity

Li Ching-Yuen was born in China in 1677 and died in 1930. His life is the most thoroughly documented case of extreme longevity, spanning 252 years.

Imperial Chinese government records from 1827 report that Li Ching-Yuen was congratulated on his 150th birthday and documents from 1877 report that he was congratulated on his 200th birthday. According to local folklore, he produced some 180 descendents, comprising 11 generations, and survived 14 wives.

"Beautiful is old age -- beautiful as the slow-dropping mellow autumn of a rich glorious summer. In the old man, Nature has fulfilled her work; she loads him with blessings; she fills him with the fruits of a well-spent life; and, surrounded by his children and his children's children, she rocks him softly away to a grave, to which he is followed with blessings. God forbid we should not call it beautiful." J.A. Froude

Li Ching Yuen was a herbalist, gathering and selling wild ginseng, lingzhi, goitu kola and Goji berry. He maintained a diet of herbs and rice wine.

During his early years, Li Ching-Yuen learned methods of longevity and gathered herbs from mountain ranges. At age 71, he joined the Chinese Army as a martial arts instructor.

Goji berries, also called wolfberries, are possibly the most nutritional fruit on Earth.

They contain 18 amino acids, including all 8 essential amino acids, and more than 20 trace minerals (such as zinc, calcium, selenium, germanium, iron, phosphorus and many others). By weight, they have 500 times the amount of vitamin C as oranges and also contain vitamins B1, B2, B6 and vitamin E.

Of all known plants on Earth, Goji berries are the richest source of carotenoids (including beta-carotene). They also contain polysaccharides, which stimulates secretion of human growth hormones by the pituitary gland and fortify the immune system.

Inside every old person is a young person wondering what happened -- as you get older, work is a lot less fun and fun is a lot more work -- the best course of life is to die young as late as possible.

We are what we eat.

Quote for the Day -- "Be content with what you have. Rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you." Lau Tzu

Bret Burquest is the author of 9 books. He lives in the Ozark Mountains with a dog named Buddy Lee and where growing old ain't for sissies.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Forbidden Newspaper Column

In 2001, I began writing a column for a weekly newspaper in Fulton County, Arkansas. When I first started, I tried to do mostly humor items and won several awards for humor columns by the Arkansas Press Association.

But after about two dozen columns, the editor refused to publish the following column submission, which she deemed to be offensive to the citizens of Fulton County. I replaced it with another piece and life went on, never missing a weekly column until I walked away from doing them in the fall of 2007.

Since I am no longer employed by the newspaper, I present the forbidden item here. I seriously doubt if many will be offended by it -- if so, I suggest switching to decaf or perhaps some psychological therapy.


Arkansas has many towns with descriptive names such as Little Rock, Pine Bluff, Hot Springs, Eureka Springs, Mountain View, Mountain Home, Lake Village, Lake City, Pleasant Plains, Walnut Ridge, Black Rock and so on. The names are indicative of a prominent feature of the surrounding area.

Sharp County has its share of such places.

1) Ash Flat – A flat area containing lots of ashes
2) Cave City – A cave within an area populated by cave people
3) Evening Shade – A town with lots of shade trees blocking the late afternoon sun
4) Hidden Valley – A community in a hard-to-find valley
5) Cherokee Village – A village established along the Cherokee Nation Trail of Tears with simple street names like Tonganoxie, Pottawattamie, Monongahela and Choctawhatchee
6) Ozark Acres – Acreage in the Ozark Mountains, or close to the Ozark Mountains, depending on whether you’re a seller or a buyer

Izard County also has many towns with descriptive names.

1) Violet Hill – A hill with violets
2) Calico Rock – An area of rock formations that are calico in appearance, predominantly white with dark patches
3) Horseshoe Bend – A community along a river that makes a curve in the shape of a horseshoe where lots of retired horseshoe players reside
4) Mt Pleasant – A high knob giving off pleasant vibes
5) Pleasant Valley – A hole in the ground giving off pleasant vibes
6) Lone Star – A spot reserved for Arkansas’ lone movie star, Billy Bob Thornton, when he gets expelled from show business

With the exception of Mammoth Spring, Fulton County has no such descriptive names. Mammoth Spring is a community built alongside a large spring of water oozing out of the ground. At first, they were going to call it Big Ooze, but that was soon scrapped because the high school didn’t want their sport’s teams to be known as the Big Oozers and the Lady Big Oozers. Apparently, it had something to do with teen-age angst. After a few more suggestions, like Large Leak, Wondrous Waterspout, Giant Gusher, and Stupendous Seepage, they settled on Mammoth Spring.

Legend has it that Fulton County wanted to be descriptive with their other township names too, but didn’t want to spend much money on paint for their town signs. The citizens of Fulton County are very practical and frugal, otherwise known as cheap. So they held a secret meeting and potluck dinner on the banks of the South Fork River, where they decided to give each town an acronym that would best describe it -- short, yet descriptive, names.

An acronym is a word formed from the initial letter of each part of the compound term.

For example, USA in an acronym for the United States of America, FBI is an acronym for the Federal Bureau of Investigation and SOS is an acronym for Something On a Shingle.

Some of the Fulton County acronyms are:

SALEM – Site All Law Enforcers Meet
VIOLA – Very Interesting Odd Little Area
AGNOS – Another Good Neighborhood Outside of Salem
GEPP – Gently Elevated Peculiar Place
CAMP – Concentrated Area of Municipal Parking
MOKO – Mostly Old Knobby Oaks
HEART – Hilly Earth Area of Removed Trees
UNION – Unobstructed Neighbors Inhabit Outhouses Nightly
BYRON – Back Yonder Right Over Nearby

I live in Fulton County in the township of Fairview. It seems like the perfect place for someone like me.

FAIRVIEW – For Annoying Individuals Requiring Very Intense Evaluation Weekly

In fact, I’m so annoying I may actually be mayor by default.

Quote for the Day -- "Cities force growth, and make men talkative and entertaining, but they make them artificial." Ralph Waldo Emerson

Bret Burquest is the author of 9 books. He lives in the Ozark Mountains with a dog named Buddy Lee and where political correctness is in the eye of the beholder.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

March 3rd Moments

The number 3 represents the trinity of life -- body, mind, soul.

March third is the 3rd day of the 3rd month -- 3/3. The following events occurred in March 3 in the following years.

1805 -- The Louisiana-Missouri Territory was formed.

1820 -- Congress passed the Missouri Compromise which allowed Missouri to enter the Union as a slave state and Maine to enter as a free state.

1843 -- Congress authorized funds to test the practicality of an electro-magnetic telegraph system.

1845 -- Congress passed legislation by overriding the president's veto, for the first time.

1845 -- Florida became the 27th state.

1847 -- The U.S. Post Office was authorized to issue postage stamps.

1853 -- Congress authorized a survey for a transcontinental railroad.

1857-- Britain and France declared war on China.

1863 -- President Abraham Lincoln signed the Conscription Act compelling citizens to report for Civil War duty or pay $300 to be exempt from service, causing draft riots in New York.

1871 -- Congress passes the Indian Appropriation Act making Native Americans wards of the U.S. Government.

1871 -- Congress established the Civil Service system.

1875 -- The first hockey game took place, in Montreal.

1905 -- Under President Theodore Roosevelt, the U.S. Forest Service was formed.

1915 -- The film "Birth of a Nation" debuted in New York City.

1919 -- The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that falsely shouting "Fire" in a crowded theater was not protected as free speech in the 1st amendment in the Constitution.

1931 -- President Herbert Hoover signed a bill making "The Star-Spangled Banner" the national anthem of the USA.

1933 -- Mount Rushmore was dedicated.

1934 -- Criminal John Dillinger escaped from jail in Indiana.

1943 -- The USA defeated Japan in the Battle of Bismarck Sea.

1945 -- The U.S. 7th Army occupied the last part of Germany.

1959 -- The first U.S. probe, Pioneer 4, to enter solar orbit was launched.

1965 -- The USA performed a nuclear test in Nevada -- the USSR performed a nuclear test in Eastern Kazakhstan.

1968 -- The Tet Offensive in Hue, South Vietnam ended.

1969 -- Sirhan Sirhan testified in court that he had killed Robert Kennedy.

1978 -- The remains of comedian Charlie Chaplin were stolen from his grave in Switzerland.

1991 -- Los Angeles police brutally arrested Rodney King after an 8-mile chase, sparking violent riots in Los Angeles.

1992 -- President George H. W. Bush apologized for raising taxes after pledging not to -- "read my lips, no new taxes."

1999 -- Monica Lewinsky was interview by Barbara Walters concerning her relationship with President Clinton.

2003 -- President George W. Bush offered a plan for adding drug benefits to Medicare.

2008 -- The U.N. Security Council imposed another round of sanctions against Iran for refusing to suspend the enrichment of uranium.

2011 -- President Barack Obama and Mexican President Felipe Calderon met to discuss a drug war alliance.

2013 -- On March 3, 2013, my brother Dr. James W. Burquest was married for the 3rd time. He was born on March 3, many moons ago. Ironically, his new wife was also born on March 3. A wedding anniversary and 2 birthdays all on the same day -- an efficient gambit to eliminate extra shopping days -- well done.

There are 3 kinds of people -- those who can count and those who can't.

Beware the Ides of March.

Quote for the Day -- "I have just 3 things to teach -- simplicity, patience, compassion." Lao Tzu

Bret Burquest is the author of 9 books. He lives in the Ozark Mountains with a dog named Buddy Lee and where three is a crowd.