April 2003 Vol. 3 Issue 5

An Internet Newsletter publication for all CIM Alumni and friends.

    Clem S. Estrera, Jr., M.D.

    Ma. Belen Rosales, M.D.
        Associate Editor

     Ray Castillejo, M.D.
    Binisaya Section Editor

Contributors in this Issue:

Clem S. Estrera, Jr.
    Class 1972

Ma. Belen F. Rosales
     Class 1970

Hector Vamenta, M.D.
    Class 1972

Happy Easter!

Editor's Column

    "God to me is that creative Force, behind and in the universe, who manifests Himself as energy, as life, as order, as beauty, as thought, as conscience, as love." ---Henry Sloane Coffin

Praise and Compliments (Part 1)

by: Clem S. Estrera, Jr. CIM Class 1972

"Flatter me, and I may not believe you. Criticize me, and I may not like you. Ignore me, and I may not forgive you. Encourage me, and I will not forget you." --William Arthur Ward

Praising God
     Humans are admonished "to praise God from whom all blessings flow." Have you ever wondered that in this situation, we, humans, are like an ant praising an elephant? Do you seriously think that God's head is easily turned, or our standing with Him would improve by our feeble attempts at praise? I'm just asking, just being curious. I don't know about you, but I sometimes wonder whether God really wants or needs our praise. Why would He? But then, I also wonder why would God care about people who chronically behave so ugly? Why would He keep sending help to rescue those from the holes they keep digging themselves? Why would He keep forgiving those that keep on sinning just so that they can keep on going to the confession booth? Does it make any sense to you? It doesn't to me. Perhaps it is for us humans not to understand, but to be grateful.

     But you know what? I personally believe that the important thing about praising God is not the effect our praise has on God, but the effect it has on us! We cannot praise God or anyone for that matter, without becoming better persons. True praise involves a sense of recognition, of discovery and of genuine gratefulness.

    If we could only stop, think and look around, we would readily notice that there are lots of things around us to appreciate and be grateful for. Life itself is a precious and sacred thing that one should be grateful for. Yet many people throw their life away to be a slave of something else. They don't value their life until something bad happens to it, let alone value their freedom until it's taken away. So many things in their life are not appreciated, not even noticed, until these things are gone. For value and love are often equated with "how much," "how often," and "how expensive."

     Sad to say that grudges, not gratefulness; bitterness, not love; dominate the hearts of many that their major effect on life is to make everyone as miserable as they are. Somehow they often forget that love is the ultimate expression of God's healing power as well as the ultimate source of one's happiness. Love gives us a sense of well-being and of gratitude. That's why God has provided each of us with an endless source of people to love. For love always makes us feel good. Grudges and bitterness make us feel bad. And to me, the most meaningful way to express our gratitude to God is to share what little we can by reaching out in friendship, by being available when needed especially to friends and family, by offering experience, empathy and encouragement to anyone who may need them. Jean Baptiste Massieu said: "Gratitude is the memory of the heart."

Personal Thoughts
     Now let's come to think of it. If we praise everyone who deserves it, it would improve everyone's morale and so would ours. It would also bind us to them, and deepen a friendly or family relationship. Don't you think so? We cannot praise someone or other people consistently without it having a lasting effect on our personality - any more than we can harbor bitterness in our heart and not have it show. But for it to be called praise, it must be sincere. Praise is like the green buck we use to pay our debt to those who earned it. Such debt cannot be paid with bogus money. Nevertheless if we haven't been used to praising others who deserve, our initial attempts to do so would be awkward and may not sound sincere. But as long as we feel like it and we really believe that the person deserves it, we should not worry about how we sound. The important thing is that we are sincere.

     So to me, the best way to praise God is to seek opportunities to praise His creations - the people around us like our family, friends, colleagues, co-workers, etc., and be grateful for them. I personally believe that this is God's intention so that people can live along well with each other and not hesitate to help each other. Just imagine how boring life would be or would have been without friends, families, or creative people like those that invented the Internet? How tough life would be without the help of others like co-workers we work with together making our job a lot easier, farmers supplying us with food, companies giving people jobs, etc.? How precarious life would be without the military soldiers and personnel fighting and dying to protect and preserve our peace and freedom or at least remove its threats? Finally, think how many people would be left alone on their own with broken hearts isolating themselves if we are too suspicious and critical of each other?

     But many people focus so much on praising and pleasing God that they often lose sight on being kind, helpful, pleasant and courteous to one another. Yet are we not all God's creations? Humans need to support each other emotionally and spiritually to do well in life. Without such support, many people would not have been able to overcome their adversities, let alone live a normal or happy life. God doesn't need that support, does He? These are just my personal thoughts.

A rare opportunity and experience
    I once worked with a very nice white South African nurse who was in her early 60s and who treated me like her own son probably because she had a son my age who died in a car accident. That was about 20 years ago when I was still young and impulsive, ready to curse and cross anyone who messed with me, only to hurt others and consequently made me ashamed of myself. Somehow this nurse' pleasant, emphatic and optimistic attitude made me more aware of the negative power of certain emotions, its potential for destructive impact on my body, mind, and spirit. When I allow frustration and anger to take over as it frequently happened during that time, I lose my perspective. The adrenaline rush that is associated with such emotions made me restless and I could feel my carotids working fast and furious only to give me bad headaches afterward. My rationality suffers, and I see everything in extremes. I would then act impulsively, saying and sometimes doing things that would only cause greater harm and shame. I become self-centered, and whatever humility I've gained is gone in ten seconds. I readily forget that no one has the ability to change other people's behavior or the course of events.

    Anyway, she was the first to advise and convince me that respect must be earned, not expected or demanded, and the best way to earn it is for me to always think of something nice to say to everyone, and to be honest and fair. If I could not think of anything nice to say, then I should take the golden opportunity to keep my mouth shut. She had the most constructive way of criticizing if she had to. But she would rather not to. She would confront the meanest and the whiniest staff in our hospital and still come up with a nice thing to say. It is as if it would take something precious out of her to criticize someone whose good intention may have been misunderstood.

     This nurse had the kind of personality that attracts respect; her enthusiasm was magnetic; she never got upset; and she seemed to have always a way with everyone, patient, patient's family or staff. Every time we had a confrontational meeting with the nursing staff who, at the time had a director who was so punitive and seemed to always blame the physicians if orders were not clear or not signed on time, she would look at me with a peculiar smile that would readily calm me down. Somehow her smile would make me think of something better to say and I would often humor my way into it. Afterwards she would then come up to me and say something like she really meant it: "I don't know how you did it. But my boss is definitely hard to deal with. Your boss was seething, ready to explode. Everyone was tense, but you came up with your humor that provided a relaxed atmosphere. I'm very proud of you." I became a good son to her because she was a good mother. I worked closely with her for only less than three years because she retired with her husband and went back to Africa. But those few years had melted, softened and restructured my whole personality and changed my attitude forever.

Looking Back
     If we just look back into our life every now and then, we can readily think of at least a couple of individuals that have made a difference in our life, either through negative or positive motivation. These individuals made us open our eyes to what we would rather be as a person. But negative or positive, they provided us a life's lesson that made us grow. Even if we hate them because of what they did to us, at least we were able to learn how not to become like them. We may have reached an emotional bottom, but we were able to keep our sanity. We have become what we are now because we did not just sit back and passively watch our world deteriorate. That's more than enough to be grateful for.

     I grew up in a family that criticizes almost everything I did and everything I was. Criticisms were more than three meals a day with snacks. They were definitely more than the meals I ate, a lot more because I often missed one or two meals in some days. I woke up, ate, snacked and slept with criticisms. I guessed it's because I was way below everyone's' expectations particularly those of my parents. I was not very good at very much. My grades were poor and somehow troubles seemed to always find me too easily. I talked back and argued with anyone on anything. I did not just obey because I seemed to always want to do things my way.

     Almost at every blush of dawn as it gave way to a morning when I was vacationing in Camotes after school, my father would wake me up to give me his usual sermon convincing me to become a school teacher like him as if he was convinced that my brain was not good enough for anything else. And when morning came in a short while, a humming bird (tamsi) would start singing, enjoying the nectar from the flowers in our garden window as if it's telling me that a better future is waiting for me, better than what my father is navigating me into. At least the bird would signal the end of my father's sermon.

    In our small town, nobody thought I could become a doctor. People believed so much in superstitions. Of the four boys in our family, two of us did not do well in school and people swore that it's because our names were not taken from the Bible. Our eldest brother's name is Oscar and since teenager, he was drunk all the time that his eyes were always red like a vampire looking for another victim. But instead of humans for victims, he was killing my mother's precious plants by pissing and vomiting on them. I really did admire his toughness because on the following morning, he was as good as new except for his red eyes. Yet our dog he often slept with for being late and locked out in the night, would not even move, let alone wiggle his tail. Poor dog did not live long. The smell of my brother he had to put up with was more than enough to poison his liver. While my brother's contemporaries were already graduating college, my brother was still struggling in high school. He finally graduated high school barely and joined the military - the Philippine Air Force. At least it was comforting for my parents to think that he would be killing enemies, not harmless plants and animals.

    My other older brothers are Aaron and Israel, both with biblical names and both were behaving well and doing well in school. In fact, they were doing great and they cruised without booze, topped through school without the taste of alcohol. So my name, not being biblical, was bad luck, and thus the object of ridicule. Particularly when I started drinking with friends, people thought that I would be following our eldest brother's footsteps all the way to the military, booze and all. I could sometimes sense my father's discomfort and regret for naming me after him. Thus even when I was already in the medical school, some of the people in our town particularly my elementary school teachers, were still betting that I would not make it through without a hitch. They just could not believe that a bad small town boy like me has gone good.

     I believed that it's because of the abundance of criticisms, the overwhelming odds against me, and the family's lack of confidence in my ability that I became more determined to prove my mettle and more so to prove that everyone was wrong about me. Every time I look back at my life, I feel good about myself. I feel grateful with those criticisms and ridicule because they served as a challenge that made me develop a vision of myself as someone having only a microscopic might to start with, but would later on end up with a mighty roar. Indeed there are few individuals who strive and even flourish with destructive criticisms or negative motivation. But no, it's not a good motivation. It's emotionally brutal. It's like living and growing up under spirit-crushing conditions. Many kids would end up to become harsh, hard-hearted and hateful adults because of such motivation or conditions.

     Ironically, I delivered the first baby of the girl in our town who rejected my courtship. Believe me. About 3 or 4 months later, the husband who, was working as a ship radio operator, brought me a gift of a first-class nylon mosquito net. He was so grateful of me. I guess it was because I did a wonderful job on his wife's episiotomy.

Accepting Praise and Compliment
     Praise should not be confused with compliments, pleasant and important as compliments are. Praise is the real thing. It comes from within. Compliments are the shiny small change with which we tip our friends, the social gratuities we hand out to those whom we would please.

     Accepting praise and compliments graciously, however, is as hard as taking criticisms. It makes us feel awkward. We often feel that we lack modesty unless we quickly disclaim the praise and compliment. It takes a great deal of poise and practice. How many times have you found yourself responding to praise or compliment by making disparaging remarks about yourself? But if you give praise or compliment at every opportunity particularly to the ones who deserve it, receiving it yourself makes you feel you deserve it, and your poise and grace would become second nature. At least you'd be comfortable to say "Thank you" with sincerity.( To be Continued )



by: Hector Vamenta, M.D. Class 1972

     Sulod sa katuigan sukad pagmugna sa atong eskwelahan nga atong gitapusan, ang bugtong testigo sa mga gagmay o dagkong mga hitabo ma-o ang dakong kahoy nga sambag. Sayod ang kadaghanan kon asa kini mahiluna. Sayon ka-ayo nga dumdumon ug ma-oy unang makita sa pagkana-ug nato sa jeepney. Dinhi namugna ang daghang mga kalihukan sa mga kanhi estudiante nga sama kanato, sama sa pagplano kon asa ang sunod nga panagkita, abutanan sa kadaghanan sa pag-adto sa picnic, party, night clubbing sa atong kapanahunan , tapokanan sa mga pilyo natong mga ka-uban nga ang opisyo ma-o ang pag aninaw sa mga babaye nga nindot ka-ayo’g biti-is, ug sa mga kauban nato kanhi nga nagwelga batok sa pagsaka sa balayran sa “tuition”. Alang sa uban, ma-o kini ang pahulayanan sa kapoy nga lawas sa estudiante pagka mananambal sa CIM, inubanan sa pagyupyup ug cigarilyo o pag palimpya sa sapatos, samtang nagpa-abot sa sunod nga bagting sa kampana para sa sunod nga saring. Sa atubangan ni-ini gisugdan ni Teddy Remandaban ang iyang pag gukod ni Rene Gayo sa iyang tinguha nga makabalos sa lipot nga pagsuntok kaniya ni-ini, ug sa pagkapukan niadtong Pre-med nga estudiante nga giluthang sa mga ka-anib sa mga Aznar tungod sa nahitabo nga panag-away tali sa duha ka eskwelahan medical kaniadtong pagsaulog sa Medicine Week sa tuig 1971.

    Kon husayon ang kahoy nga sambag nakahatag ug gamayng tampo alang sa mga estudiante, ilabina kon suta-on nga ang maong kahoy nakahatag ug igong landong sa atubangan gayod sa eskwelahan aron masampongan ang bintana sa “lobby” nga gigamit sa mga estudiante sa pagtu-on ug pagbansay, ug sa Amphi 1 aron dili makasulod ang ka- init sa hapunong adlaw. Unsa’y atong nasayran, nga kon kining maong kahoy nakatampo sad sa pagpalambo sa gugma sa ato karong mga kauban nga nagkadayon ug nagkahiusa na isip bana ug asawa?

     Ma-o kini akong panumduman sa kahoy nga sambag. Unsa’y inyo?


"It takes a long time to become young." ---Pablo Picasso

Just a thought
     George Bernard Shaw said: "Youth is being wasted on the young, true innocence is a virtue we have to evolve into." True innocence requires wisdom to achieve, and openness to maintain. But we often confused innocence and gullibility. Gullibility is the one that gets us into trouble. Gullibility makes us hard on ourselves and closed on others because we don't want to become vulnerable. Instead of seeing the real world, observing and listening to others and learning about them, we take others for granted or stay away from them for fear of being deceived once again. Our gullibility is not overcome this way and our vulnerability to it remains the same. We're still vulnerable to deception.

     But once we live long enough to acquire wisdom and openness that come from seeing people and the world as they are, not as we wish them to be, that we can afford the vulnerability of true innocence. For we learn to accept others as they are and let them live their own lives devoid of envy and jealousy -to strive, to rise above, to achieve and to transcend through their own effort - and we rejoice with them. We respect and appreciate such manifestation of human power, ability and intent. Such is the way to openness that provides the atmosphere for learning and thus acquiring wisdom. We value others' lives and give meaning to our own existence. In the darkness that follows or that we'll all descend into, our bones will not merely become meaningless dusts. And does anyone have the right to say that others are destined to clean urinals in hell?

    If our association has any hope or any chance to continue to withstand the test of time, we, the old farts and those of us who are old enough to have witnessed Moses parting the sea, (Okay, maybe they aren't that old, for they can still dance cha-cha and mambo), need to help persuade and encourage the young alumni to join with us and make them involve in our association. That if we value our sense of belonging to an association that we belong to. We need the flow of these youthful energies to ensure our association's future existence so that when we "become young," if we haven't yet, it's still there. We can look forward to it with certainty. We should not allow our sense of pride and belonging to be buried in the avalanche of "who cares." Our association should continue to be a shining light, not a candle in the wind that would only flicker, fizzle and die. Its continued existence is too precious to simply and casually squander on those petty "who cares."

The New Members:

Rennan Quijano, M.D. Class 1982
Hector Paradela, M.D. Class
Jay Buenaflor, M.D. Class 1996
Chi-Chi Cagande-Maestrado, M.D. Class 1996
Grace Paradela-Ford, M.D. Class 1996
Kenneth Pinna, M.D. Class 1996
Lucille Meliton, M.D. Class 1996
Kristeen Ortega, M.D. Class 1996
Alvin Tenchavez, M.D. Class 1996

Andy Binamira, M.D. Class 1992
Eduardo Tautjo, M.D. Class 1992
Primo Maestrado, M.D. Class 1995
Charisma Ong-Pinna, M.D. Class 1995
Angi Meliton, M.D. Class
Iboy Paradela, M.D. Class 1994
Mayang Bullecer-Paradela, M.D. Class 1994

Chingkee Gisella Mirasol, M.D. Class 1999
Sherrylyn Nacario Lee, M.D. Class 1998
David Huang, M.D. Class 2001

Welcome New Members
     Fellow young alumni, welcome to our e-mail community. Our community was built with the main purpose of trying to reach out to every one of the CIM alumni in particular wherever they are in the world. It is our hope that such community would promote a sense of closeness among alumni and thus encourages everyone particularly those in the U.S. and Canada to join with our association ASOCIMAI and participate with its activities. Again, we emphasize hope, not expect, let alone demand your participation. We realize only too well that frustration is often the result of a mismatch between expectation and reality.

    The reality is, we, the leaders, will have to continue struggling to do what we can to make most, if not all of the alumni, become enthusiastic about our association enough to make them participate in our reunion. We don't want to approach you, my dear fellow young alumni, by bragging that our reunion is more than just fun. No, it's not our style. We want you to find that out yourself. But at this stage of your life, you probably have many important priorities and thus if you're hesitating or can't join with us this year or the next a couple of years, we can understand. Just keep in mind that when you're ready to have a close encounter of the very best kind - your own kind - you know where to find us. Believe me. We'll be there to assist every one of you every which way we can to restore your sense of belonging, re-create a sense of closeness and replace your impatient frowns if you have any, with smiles and laughter. We will even try to make it therapeutic, a stress-relieving encounter. But I may have to warn you in advance that after having fun together with us the first time, you are likely to say this to yourself: "I should have done this long time ago." Please don't say that to yourself. It won't do you any good.

     Now would you do us a favor, please? Would you please visit our ASOCIMAI web site and fill up a registration form? We just want to be able to contact you through phone, e-mail and snail mail in case there is something important that we believe you need to know. That's all there is to it. Trust us. Your home address and phone numbers are safe in our hands. We respect everyone's privacy. Our directory is private. We ask your permission if someone wants your phone number or home address. We won't give it unless you want us to, or we have your permission. We don't want any of the alumni to be receiving lots of junks because some business companies got hold of their address, let alone an anthrax letter in their mailbox. God forbid!

A Reunion CME Speaker
     One of the CME speakers for our alumni reunion this year in San Diego is our own kind who will be coming all the way from the Philippines to share with us his profound knowledge in his medical specialty. This fellow alumnus graduated cum laude, CIM class 1977, and had his post graduate studies and training in the Philippine General Hospital. He went on to become a professor until now of the University of the Philippines, College of Medicine. His professional appointments, positions held, honors and awards as well as publications are countless. Just reading his curriculum vitae could make your head spin. He was the Most Outstanding CIM Alumnus in 1993, an Eusebio Garcia Professorial Chair Awardee twice in UP - College of Medicine, a Distinguished Achievement Award of the Philippine Coalition Against Tuberculosis in 1998, an International Publication Presidential Award - UP in 2001, just to mention a few. He has been a CME speaker in many different countries. How we missed having him before beats me.

     While perhaps many doctors satisfy themselves with the sparkle on the surface, this fellow alumnus we are having for a CME speaker, has reached far into the depths of his profession. His dedication to the medical field is extraordinary. He has practically changed the world of pulmonary medicine in the Philippines in ways that such specialty has kept up with that of the U.S.A. In the Philippines where cigarettes are consumed more than sausages, a lifestyle disease of COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) has become as common and even more common than infectious diseases like TB. Our fellow alumnus has done a lot of studies and has a number of publications on COPD and asthma, two chronic diseases that would gradually if not drastically reduce the quality of one's life. It is as if his mission in life is to seek to improve the quality of life for others particularly those afflicted with these maladies. Is he accomplishing this mission? Let's come to our reunion and ask him.

     TB is a menace of society everywhere, and our fellow alumnus has done lots of works on this infectious disease in particular. TB that makes many of us blanch, makes him grin. He fights it with the focus to conquer, capture and control, rather than just to cope with, like he doesn't want these bugs to run and regroup. He studies and researches these bugs, understands its every move and growth the way Sherlock Holmes studies every clue to solve a murder mystery. The only difference between him and Sherlock Holmes is that, he is a great speaker and he is also an orator. Indeed there are speakers that no matter how lousy the subject is, they make it interesting, and they make an interesting subject more exciting. He is one of these speakers. So if you used to drink a cup or more of Starbucks coffee to stay awake every time you attend a CME conference, you won't probably need it this time.

     I know….I know…you want to know his name. But I won't give it to you because I want you to attend our reunion and get to meet him. Just kidding. His name is Dr. Camilo Roa, originally from Baybay, Leyte. Dr. Roa is also an outstanding teacher. He received UPMASA - Greater St. Louis Chapter Award for Outstanding Teacher for the Basic Sciences, UP - College of Medicine in 1993. To become a recipient of this kind of award, you've got to be good in communicating and imparting your knowledge to your students, in making every topic interesting and your class more exciting or more fun that the students would love to come to class and learn. Dr. Roa is a professor of Physiology at UP - College of Medicine. Dr. Roa was not born a teacher. He just teaches like he was and does it with class. And as our good friend Horace Cabasares has indicated - Dr. Roa did not invent oration. He is just making it better, using it as a tool for teaching.


    "Be patient with everyone, but above all with yourself. I mean, do not be disturbed because of your imperfections, and always rise up bravely from a fall. I'm glad that you make daily a new beginning; there is no better means of progress in the spiritual life than to be continually beginning afresh." ---Francis de Sales

    "The man who removed mountains began by carrying away small stones." ---Chinese Proverb

    "Every little yielding to anxiety is a step away from the natural heart of man." ---Japanese Proverb

    "It is estimated that more than thirteen million American adults are chronic worriers. The National Institute of Health says anxiety disorders are America's most commonly reported mental-health problem." ---Amy H. Berger

    "Thoughts are energy. And you can make your world or break your world by thinking." ---Susan Taylor

    "A merry heart doeth good like a medicine; but a broken spirit drieth the bones." ---Proverbs 17:22

    During camouflage training, a private was disguised as a tree. But he made a sudden noise which was spotted by a visiting general.
    The general took him to task, "Don't you know that by yelling and jumping the way you did, you could have endangered the lives of the entire company!"
    "I'm sorry, sir," replied the private. "But I can explain. You see, I stood still when a flock of pigeons used me for target practice. And I didn't move a muscle when a large dog peed on my lower branches. But when two squirrels run up the leg of my pants and I heard the big one say: 'Let's eat one now and save the other till winter'....that did it!"


    Three Vietnam war veterans were out fishing on a lake one day when Jesus walked across the water and joined them in their boat. Not surprisingly, the three men were amazed.
    The first said humbly, "Jesus, I've suffered from back pain ever since I was hit by shrapnel in the Vietnam War. Can you help me?"
    "Of course, my son," said Jesus and when he touched the man's back, the man felt relief for the first time in more than 30 years.
    The second man, who wore thick glasses, said to Jesus, "I've never been able to see properly since a mine blew up in front of me in Vietnam. Is there anything you can do to help?"
    Jesus smiled, removed the man's glasses and lobbed them into the lake. As soon as the glasses hit the water, the man's eyes cleared and he was able to see perfectly for first time in more than 30 years.
    Then Jesus turned to the third man who put up his arms defensively and cried: "Don't touch me - I'm on disability pension!"


     A husband and wife were out shopping. "Darling," said the wife, "it's my mother's birthday tomorrow. What can we buy her? She'd like something electric?"
    "How about a chair?" suggested the husband.


Money and Credit Protection Tip
    This tip is a courtesy of an attorney who sent the following out to the employees in his company:

     The next time you order checks have only your initials (instead of first name) and last name put on them. If someone takes your checkbook they will not know if you sign your checks with just your initials or your first name but your bank will know how you sign your checks.

     When you are writing checks to pay on your credit card accounts, DO NOT put the complete account number on the "For" line. Instead, just put the last four numbers. The credit-card company knows the rest of the number and anyone who might be handling your check as it passes through all the check processing channels won't have access to it. Put your work phone # on your checks instead of your home phone. If you have a P.O. Box, use that instead of your home address. If you do not have a P.O. Box, use your work address. Never have your SS# printed on your checks (DUH!) -- you can add it if it is necessary. But if you have it printed, anyone can get it.

    Place the contents of your wallet on a photocopy machine, do both sides of each license, credit card, etc. You will know what you had in your wallet and all of the account numbers and phone numbers to call and cancel. Keep the photocopy in a safe place. I also carry a photocopy of my passport when I travel either here or abroad.

     We've all heard horror stories about fraud that's committed on us in stealing a name, address, Social Security number, credit cards, etc. Unfortunately I, an attorney, have firsthand knowledge because my wallet was stolen last month. Within a week, the thieve(s) ordered an expensive monthly cell phone package, applied for a VISA credit card, had a credit line approved to buy a Gateway computer, received a PIN number from DMV to change my driving record information online, and more.

    But here's some critical information to limit the damage in case this happens to you or someone you know:
    We have been told we should cancel our credit cards immediately. But the key is having the toll free numbers and your card numbers handy so you know whom to call. Keep those where you can find them easily.
    File a police report immediately in the jurisdiction where it was stolen, this proves to credit providers you were diligent, and is a first step toward an investigation (if there ever is one).

    But here's what is perhaps most important: (I never even thought to do this).
    Call the three national credit reporting organizations immediately to place a fraud alert on your name and Social Security number. I had never heard of doing that until advised by a bank that called to tell me an application for credit was made over the Internet in my name. The alert means any company that checks your credit knows your information was stolen and they have to contact you by phone to authorize new credit. By the time I was advised to do this, almost two weeks after the theft, all the damage had been done.

    There are records of all the credit checks initiated by the thieves' purchases, none of which I knew about before placing the alert. Since then, no additional damage has been done, and the thieves threw my wallet away this weekend (someone turned it in). It seems to have stopped them in their tracks.
     The numbers are: Equifax: 1-800-525-6285 Experian (formerly TRW): 1-888-397-3742 Trans Union: 1-800-680-7289
    Social Security Administration (fraud line): 1-800-269-0271

Human Behavior Tips
     This first behavior tip is about control of our perfectionist tendencies, courtesy of Kevin Leman, PhD, psychologist, Tucson, Arizona, and author of The New Birth Order Book. "Realize that you always will have critics and everyone fails at times. Start every morning by giving yourself permission to be imperfect. Go easy on criticizing yourself and others. Occasionally admit out loud that you were wrong. Don't take on too much at once. Set realistic goals. Try to develop optimism - instead of thinking about what went wrong during the day, think of things that went right. Don't carry grudges."

    The second behavior tip is about anger, courtesy of Redford Williams, M.D. director, Behavioral Medicine, Research Center, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, and co-author of the book Anger Kills.
    "Before acting on your anger, ask yourself - Will the situation matter tomorrow? Is my anger appropriate? Can I do something about the situation? Is the risk of displaying my anger worth it? Express anger only if you answer "yes" to all four questions. Even then, cool off, so you speak in a non-accusatory way about what upset you - and offer solutions."

The Origin of Bikini
    Source: Really Useful, the origins of everyday things - by Joel Levy

     Bikini-like outfits have existed in ancient times, when they were worn by female athletes and dancers as practical garments that facilitated free movements during sports activities. Swimwear was first used in the West in the 18th century when bathing became fashionable. Victorian bathing suits for women were hardly skimpier than normal clothes, but as time went on they got smaller and lighter. By 1870 the all-in-one suit had appeared, and by the 1930s backless versions with narrow shoulder straps gave way to two-piece suits.

     The bikini itself was created by a Paris couturier in July 1946, and was named after the Bikini Atoll in the Pacific - where the United States had just tested the atomic bomb amidst a flurry of worldwide media attention - on the basis that it would create as much of a stir. The details of its creation, however, are in dispute. According to some sources it was the brainchild of designer Jacques Heim, but according to others it's the designer Louis Reard. One story is that Heim created a daringly skimpy swimsuit and named it the Atome, and that Reid created an even skimpier version and called it the Bikini. When Micheline Bernardi modeled the new suit on a Paris catwalk on July 5, 1946, just four days after the atomic test, it duly created a worldwide sensation.




marie belen c. flores-rosales md mphcim’70

    Some time ago, Kim, my daughter, told me “ You write about a lot of things, but you don’t really write about anything”.These comments coming from a daughter, lawyer-like though not quite yet, who almost always brings the house down with her critiques, caught me dumbfounded. Then, she rephrased – and said – “What I mean is, you write about ordinary things, everyday things that mean differently to different people on any given time, subject to different interpretations, different from the message you want to convey".

    What she said made a lot of sense… but, not really. Because… a writer writes to express an opinion, what he/she thinks and how he/she feels. A writer who explains what he’s writing about renders his readers subordinate to his own opinion. A writer speaks through his work. A writer writes about his experiences, his philosophy, his beliefs. What a writer writes about, is his own, no one else’s – not yours, not mine.

    A reader is not, by any means, bound to accept what has been written, and has every right to express an opinion different from what has been written. I may or may not agree with what I’ve read and what I’ve heard, as rightfully so, I still am entitled to mine, too. When I offer an opinion counter to what has been written, it does not make me more right in my views, nor render the writer more wrong in his views.

    The freedom of expression is the essence of a democratic society. When two opinions differ, and are expressed without fear of ridicule, recrimination and censorship - that, to me, is democracy in action.

    Of Truth:

    I watched the movie, The Life of David Gale, this past weekend. A very intense movie – which got me to reflecting about the nature of truth. There were three levels of truth in that movie … the truth as perceived by the jury and the justice system, the truth that Bitsey Bloom uncovered, and the truth of David Gale himself. Which one is the “real” truth?

    The nature of truth has been debated by philosophers from the beginning of time. Unfortunately, I think, it is nothing more than a language game, - a morass of technical analysis, and subtle definitions in which competing theories struggle to demonstrate intellectual agility, mental acumen and logical skills.

    An order of truth, meaning and value is real – hence oftentimes I speak of the absolute truth, or the fact-of-the-matter truth, or the right-answer truth. But…I find that all actual systems of truth are relative to time and place. I can never be sure that my assumptions and conclusions capture reality.

    That is why, sometimes, I find no practical value in applying the theory of truth when we go about the routines of our daily existence or in making decisions about matters of morality, religion and the meaning of life. I wonder if the theory of truth is even useful in generating wisdom in the realms of politics, economics, social policy and culture.

    Talking about truth is very philosophical and philosophy is such a wonderful thing. It is not my intention to go deeper into it. Suffice to say that I believe each philosophy is autobiographical, rooted in the personal experiences, and reflecting the life and temperament of the philosopher. However, it does not necessarily undermine the validity of the philosophy because only personal experiences can validate the truths contained in the philosophies.

    Of Freedom:

    Brigham Young once wrote “ True independence and freedom can only exist in doing what is right.” I think this statement says it all.

    Of Religion:

    I believe in the one and only absolute truth – that God is the Supreme Being, and the Bible is His Word. The Bible, written 2,000 years ago, is unchanging and applies across generations – to different people in different situations. When I speak of religion, I speak of my faith. How I practice my religion and how I express my faith is determined by the quality of my personal relationship with my God. To me, religion is personal, faith is personal. My act of faith is based on interior hope and fulfilled in love, which does not aim at human propositions but at a relationship intrinsically and materially different from every other human being.

    In 1996, a certain Ronald Dworkin of New York University wrote:

    “We want to live decent, worthwhile lives, lives we can look back with pride not shame. We want our communities to be fair and good, and our laws to be wise and just. These are enormously difficult goals, in part because the issues at stake are complex and puzzling. When we are told that whatever convictions we do struggle to reach cannot in any case be true or false, or objective, or part of what we know, or they are just steam from the turbines of our emotions, or just experimental projects that we have to try for size, to see how we get on, or just invitations to thoughts that we might find diverting or amusing or less boring, we must reply that these denigrating suggestions are just bad philosophy.”

    At the end of the day, you and I will tell one another… we are all human beings together.


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