Sometimes stormy skies did not deter fans of all things Celtic on Saturday, August 8 , in downtown Rockford. Organizer Chris Murphy said she was nervous at first because of the stormy weather, but Celtic fans must be true die-hards. “By afternoon it was packed and shoulder-to-shoulder,” she said. “Both stages were busy the whole day. We believe the turnout was as good as it was last year.” Last year 5,000 to 10,000 people visited. Photos by Tom Scott
August 13 2009
Some sunny perspective Dear Editor, It is time to sit back and fully evaluate over-the-top reports in the news this week incredibly suggesting that getting a suntan is now in the same risk category as cigarettes, arsenic and even plutonium. That’s ridiculous. Cigarettes, arsenic and plutonium all undermine the body’s natural functions. But getting a suntan is different—it is a part of our body’s natural design. Humans, like the rest of the planet, need sun exposure to survive and thrive. Ignored in much of that reporting were the very important nuances that define humanity’s very important relationship with UV light and sunshine. Specifically: • Not one single study exists anywhere in the world implicating tanning in a non-burning fashion as a significant risk factor for permanent skin damage. Indeed, no study has ever been designed with protocol to ask this question. • Melanoma is more common in people who work indoors than in those who work outdoors. Because this is true, the relationship between melanoma and sunlight cannot possibly be clear-cut. If it were a clear-cut relationship, outside workers would have higher incidence than inside workers. • Melanoma most commonly appears on parts of the body that do not receive regular exposure to sunlight. Again, because this is true, the relationship between melanoma and sunlight cannot be clear-cut. If it were, melanomas would appear most often on parts of the body that receive the most sunlight. • The sum of data do not substantively link indoor tanning equipment with an increased risk of melanoma. Indeed, 18 of 22 epidemiological studies ever conducted on this topic show information was conspicuously absent in what was spoon-fed to the media. Finally, consider this hypocrisy: The dermatology community still continues to use indoor tanning equipment in dermatology offices to treat psoriasis and other purely cosmetic disorders—a treatment called “phototherapy.” If what was widely reported last week were actually true, then the dermatology profession would be guilty of that which they accuse indoor tanning facilities: of increasing women’s risk melanoma in exchange for treating a non-lethal disease, which would violate the “never do harm” provision of a physician’s Hippocratic Oath. Saying that UV exposure is harmful and should be avoided is as wrong as saying that water causes drowning, and […]
Dog Days This poem comes from seventh-grader Lauren Pratt in Rockford. “The dog days of summer” seem like the right time for it. Jagger We got him in a little town called Bath. He would walk down a little path. I taught him how to shake. We made him birthday cakes. If he could talk then he’d bug us, Till we took him for a walk. I know I’m being a bragger, But he’s just a tail wagger. I love my dog Jagger. According to The Book of Common Prayer (1552), the dog days are from July 6 to August 17. They’re named after the Dog Star, Sirius, which used to rise at sunrise. The story was that these days were evil and caused the seas to boil. That’s hot, alright. Another dog “I pulled into the crowded parking lot at the shopping center and rolled down the car window to make sure my Labrador retriever pup had fresh air. “She was stretched full-out on the back seat and I wanted to impress on her that she must remain there. “I walked to the curb backwards, pointing my finger at the car and saying emphatically, ‘Now you stay. Do you hear me? Stay! Stay!’ The driver of a nearby car gave me a strange look and said, ‘Why don’t you just put it in Park?’” (Thanks to Carol Dionne.) Why women prefer dogs 1. Dogs go to the beach to swim, not for the chance to ogle girls in bikinis. 2. A dog is a pack animal. A man is a six-pack animal. 3. You can train a dog in obedience. 4. A man will roll over and play dead only if you ask him to get up and make coffee. Last dog Who’s your best friend? Put your dog and your wife in the trunk of the car for an hour. When you open the trunk, see which one is really happy to see you. Late Bullet-in A recent news story reported on a church pastor who was urging the congregation to bring guns to church. If you’re in that church and the pastor says, “Let us pray,” you better start! In Colorado, a legislator was promoting a law making it legal to […]
Health care reform The subject of health care reform is the topic of choice for most everyone today. It looks like health care reform is going to happen. Read what Senator Max Baucus, chairman of the powerful Senate Finance Committee, recently had to say in response to a question of about the odds of a health care reform bill passing this year: “100 percent. Given. Inevitable. The country wants it. The president wants it.” Given the fact Senator Baucus speaks for enough senators to pass a bill no matter what we may or may not think, I believe he is right in his calculations. We are most likely going to have health care reform. There are two big questions that come to mind in this debate on health care reform. First, will our government be able to efficiently run its part of the reform package? Second, what exactly will that reform look like? Efficiency and the federal government are not words that are discussed in the same sentence very often. The federal government has a history of being good at dealing with concrete issues, such as building the interstate highway system that links the north with the south and the east coast with the west coast. In the previous century, they built the railroad system. In the 1960s, they put a man on the moon. Granted private industry did much of the work, but the federal government was the grand designer and they were good at making that happen. Solid projects with a black-and-white goal in sight: Connect the railroad system from coast to coast. Build a highway system to move products and people easily anywhere in the country. Beat the Russians to having an American walk on the moon. What is their history, though, when it comes to the managing of life’s softer issues? For example, President Johnson’s Great Society was going to eradicate poverty and eliminate discrimination, among other admirable goals. It hasn’t happened yet, but billions of dollars were spent in the pursuit of those goals. There really wasn’t a black-and-white goal, so there really was no project completion. Another example that hits home a little closer would be the State of Massachusetts and their mandatory health insurance program. Currently, 97% […]
Southern Pacific 4449 is the only surviving example of Southern Pacific Railroad’s (SP) GS-4 class of steam locomotives. The GS-4 is a streamlined 4-8-4 (Northern) type steam locomotive. The locomotive was built by Lima Locomotive Works in Lima, Ohio, for SP in May 1941. It received the red-and-orange “Daylight” paint scheme for the passenger trains of the same name which it hauled for most of its service career. The 4449 was retired from revenue service in 1957 and put on static display in Oaks Park, Portland, Oregon, the following year, where it remained until 1974. It was restored to operation for use in the second American Freedom Train, which toured the 48 contiguous United States for the American Bicentennial celebrations. The 4449 has traveled over 2,250 miles across country for the Trainfest event in Owasso, Mich. For more photos of the SP 4449 please visit Kersting’s website at www.TracksideAcrossAmerica.com.