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Friday, November 30, 2007

Israeli says elusive biblical wall found
By Regan E. Doherty,
Associated Press Writer 25 minutes ago

This photo made available by the Shalem Center shows pieces of pottery discovered in Jerusalem's City of David. Artifacts including pottery shards and arrowheads found during an excavation to rescue a tower and a wall which were in danger of collapse suggest, according to Israeli archaeologists that the wall is from the 5th century B.C., the time of Nehemiah. (AP Photo/Shalem Center, HO)

JERUSALEM - A wall mentioned in the Bible's Book of Nehemiah and long sought by archaeologists apparently has been found, an Israeli archaeologist says.

A team of archaeologists discovered the wall in Jerusalem's ancient City of David during a rescue attempt on a tower that was in danger of collapse, said Eilat Mazar, head of the Institute of Archaeology at the Shalem Center, a Jerusalem-based research and educational institute, and leader of the dig.

Artifacts including pottery shards and arrowheads found under the tower suggested that both the tower and the nearby wall are from the 5th century B.C., the time of Nehemiah, Mazar said this week. Scholars previously thought the wall dated to the Hasmonean period from about 142 B.C. to 37 B.C.

The findings suggest that the structure was actually part of the same city wall the Bible says Nehemiah rebuilt, Mazar said. The Book of Nehemiah gives a detailed description of construction of the walls, destroyed earlier by the Babylonians.

"We were amazed," she said, noting that the discovery was made at a time when many scholars argued that the wall did not exist.

"This was a great surprise. It was something we didn't plan," Mazar said.

The first phase of the dig, completed in 2005, uncovered what Mazar believes to be the remains of King David's palace, built by King Hiram of Tyre, and also mentioned in the Bible.

Ephraim Stern, professor emeritus of archaeology at Hebrew University and chairman of the state of Israel archaeological council, offered support for Mazar's claim.

"The material she showed me is from the Persian period," the period of Nehemiah, he said. "I can sign on the date of the material she found."

However, another scholar disputed the significance of the discovery.

Israel Finkelstein, professor of archaeology at Tel Aviv University, called the discovery "an interesting find," but said the pottery and other artifacts do not indicate that the wall was built in the time of Nehemiah. Because the debris was not connected to a floor or other structural part of the wall, the wall could have been built later, Finkelstein said.

"The wall could have been built, theoretically, in the Ottoman period," he said. "It's not later than the pottery — that's all we know."

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Guys: Give thanks for women!
By Nina Malkin

Sure, we can be a pain in the butt sometimes. Sure, there’s the nagging, the nosiness, the PMS mood swings and those easily injured feelings. But guys, think for a moment about all the wonderful things we ladies do. From the pains we take to be aesthetically pleasing to how we kiss it and make it all better, we women do rock. Let us count the ways!

1. Like it or not, we groom you for a real relationship
Whether it’s the mom who taught you to respect us, the sister who told you our secrets, or even the last girl who dumped you because you weren't ready to settle down, the women in your life help to shape you into the best man you can possibly be. So that when you meet The One, you’ll be ready, willing and able.

2. We’re sympathetic
Before we try to solve the problem (as men tend to do), we acknowledge it. We say things like: “That must have hard for you seeing your friend get the promotion instead of you—how do you feel about it?” It may not seem like much, but a world without women’s compassion and understanding would be a pretty cold place.

3. We’re extraordinary ego-boosters
If it seems as though women are forever fishing for compliments, it’s because they’re nice to hear, especially when they’re sincere. That’s why we dole them out—about how handsome you look in that suit, how awesome you are at air hockey, how mind-blowing you are in bed, et cetera.

4. We’re soft
Soft hair, soft lips, soft skin… and so forth. All in all, it’s a pretty huggable package.

5. We keep your social life hopping
Before there were Palm Pilots, there were women. We organize, we schedule, we remember. Admit it—you get out a whole lot more and have a more interesting life when you’re dating someone who wants to do something besides sit home and watch TV all the time.

6. We listen
The stereotype of woman as chatterbox is unfair. OK, scratch that—we do love to talk. But not in a vacuum. That’s why we’re always urging you to talk; we believe in communication and that means we want to listen, too. Go ahead, open up—tell us what you were like as a little kid and how you plan to save the world.

7. We have a civilizing influence
Yes, you probably could survive in a bachelor pad adorned with nothing but a TV and a six-pack in the fridge. But once a woman enters the picture, prepare to see some improvements even if you’re not living together yet. Due to our nest-feathering instincts, we strategically place pillows, search for thick, absorbent bath towels, and not only use sheets but change them regularly. Ahhhh!

8. We inspire you to shoot for gold
Think it’s an accident the Muses were all women? Somebody’s got to encourage your rock opera, psyche you up before that job interview, and root for your basketball team. We do it because we recognize your potential and know you can achieve your goals. And we want to cheer you on.

9. We make worthy opponents
Yeah, yeah, we’re soft and sweet most of the time. But engage us in battle, and we will tear your #%$^@ing head off. So be thankful — be very, very thankful — that we like you right now.

10. If you want kids someday, we’re usually willing to have them
And the labor pains. And the stretch marks. And in between, the periods. You’re welcome.

Women: Give thanks for men!
By Dan Bova

OK, so we have our faults: Forgetting anniversaries, forgetting to put the seat down, and a whole bunch of other important things I’m forgetting. But before you go wishing for a world devoid of us big dumb apes, take a minute to reflect on all the joy we bring to your world. Like duct tape, dudes have all kinds of helpful uses, like…

1. We do gross things you don’t want to do
Got a bug that needs squishing? A clogged drain that needs snaking? In this day and age of women doing it for themselves, every once in a while, it’s nice to sit back and let a guy feel like a “real man” and do your dirty work for you. Whether we’re sweating our butt off hefting air conditioners into your bedroom window or carrying heavy cases of bottled water from the car to the house, dudes are not above getting grimy for your affection.

2. Our constant desire to have sex with you has got to be good for your ego
Maybe our attempts to have quickies before you run out the door for work aren’t exactly romantic, but what can we say, you drive us wild! What could be a better boost for your self-image than a dude who wants to spend as much time as humanly possible in the presence of your nakedness?

3. We’ll never tell you that you look fat in those jeans
No matter how many times you ask or what size they are, the answer will always be unilaterally, unequivocally NO.

4. We’re easy to please
Fancy dinners? Pricey presents? Save your dough. To bring a big smile to your fella’s face, follow this simple equation: One beer + one couch = happy man.

5. We keep you up to date on all the latest gadgets
You don’t want a TV set bigger than your dining-room table? Fine, but we’ll let you know when your computer is hopelessly outdated and which new cell phone doubles as an MP3, takes pictures, and reminds you to call your mom on her birthday all at the same time. It’s like having your own personal electronics consultant—for free!

6. You can squeeze our arms as hard as you like during the scary parts of movies
And aside from making great stress squeeze balls at the multiplex, we’re also good to call in the middle of the night when you think you hear some gigantic mouse sneaking around downstairs. No man will say no to a late-night trip to your place because (a) We care about you and want to make sure you’re OK and (b) The potential for sex is way too high to pass up.

7. Our old college T-shirts are the most comfortable pajamas in the universe
See? There’s a very good reason that we refuse to throw them out.

8. We make you laugh your butt off
Sometimes, being an overgrown three-year-old has its benefits, like all the weird website links we forward you to break up your boring day at work.

9. Whenever you’re upset about work, our response is always, “Your boss is an f-ing idiot.”
Dudes see things in black and white. We’re not all about understanding the subtleties and layers of an argument. If you’re having problems at your job, we won’t play psychoanalyst and try to get to the root of the problem. We won’t try to figure out if you are doing anything to make the situation worse: If your boss is pissing you off, your boss is obviously a jerk and doesn’t deserve to have you onboard.

10. We nearly always make the first move
Asking someone out, leaning in for that first kiss—all instances that can result in ego-destroying rejection. But even the meekest of men are willing to take the risk when a beauty like you steps into our lives. So sit back and enjoy watching us tremble.

Monday, November 19, 2007

The 5 secrets to living ‘happily ever after’
Dr. Gail Saltz spills the secrets to longevity in your relationship
By Gail Saltz contributor

With a divorce rate in this country approaching 45 percent, many couples are wondering how they can stay married once they get married. Often it seems easier to find love than to maintain it. After the initial high of new love wears off — and it always does — every couple needs tools to keep and nurture their love. Here are five tips to consider when working toward longevity in your relationship.

1. Be flexible — or pick someone similar to you. In terms of maintaining a long-term love, one of the best predictors of longevity is how similar your morals, values, goals and ways of thinking about important issues are. Obviously the farther apart you are, the more likely there will be frequent disagreements, unless you and your partner are particularly flexible people who are good at compromising. Of course there will be still be arguments — that is a part of even the strongest relationships. But if the gap between the two of you is relatively small, your task of compromising will be less onerous.

2. Give 80 percent to your partner. Nothing solidifies love and trust like being thoughtful and giving toward your mate. If both of you are doing this, then each feels pretty satisfied and loved. Of course, there will be and should be times when you need to put yourself first — but these times should be in the minority. If you give to your mate, he or she will really enjoy giving to you. Nothing breeds love like giving love.

3. Love on balance. By this I mean that no one is perfect and you will not love everything about anyone. Unfortunately, many people think they are supposed to love everything about their partner and so when there is something they don’t like, they begin to fixate on this characteristic and even try to change it. When it comes to love, you must take the good with the bad, because in the grand scheme of the relationship, the positive should outweigh the negative.

4. Determine the source of your unhappiness. Marital dissatisfaction often has its roots in personal unhappiness (which can be related to work, level of success, health or weight, etc.). Often these personal shortcomings are blamed on the marriage. In fact, many couples that at one time chose to remain in unhappy marriages end up happy five years later — even though nothing in the marriage itself has changed. So if you feel it’s your relationship that is making you miserable, try to step back and see if it is really you.

5. Treasure your “life history.” When you stay together with someone you love, it inevitably means that you build something together. This “something” is something invaluable and irreplaceable — a life history. No other person will know you as intimately and intensely for these years of your life: Who else will share your happiness and disappointments as fully, love your children the way you do and hold the same memories of your family? These commonalties are often underrated by couples and then sorely missed when they are gone. Value, nurture and hold on to your life history, because it will be a tremendous source of pleasure to you both.

Soldier on leave from war surprises sons at school
Army Lt. Thomas Bourne relives emotional moment recorded by NBC News
By Mike Celizic contributor

The video needed no setup, no explanation. A man in Army fatigues enters an elementary school classroom, and from the corner of the frame comes the blur of a small boy rushing at the soldier accompanied by a shriek of sudden joy: “Daaaad!”

The soldier was U.S. Army Lt. Thomas Bourne. The 8-year-old boy who leaped in his arms and stuck to him like a tree frog was his son, Preston. The setting was Thomas Jefferson Elementary School in Louisa, Va., where Bourne had a similarly emotional reunion with his other son, 5-year-old Walker.

And there to record the surprise homecoming last Monday was an NBC camera crew.
Story continues below ↓advertisement

Bourne’s wife, Amy, told TODAY co-host Matt Lauer on Thursday that she was behind the surprise. She had been planning it for a couple of weeks, ever since he contacted her to say his number had come up a couple of months earlier than expected for a two-week R&R — rest and recuperation.

She could have told the kids, who hadn’t seen their father in the five months since he’d been posted to Iraq, and pumped them up for the visit, but didn’t want to disappoint them if there was a delay.

“I kept it quiet because with R&R, you never know; the dates will change,” she told Lauer. “I didn’t want to let everybody down by giving them one date and then have it change.”

It wasn’t easy keeping that kind of a secret. “It was very hard keeping it quiet, especially from the boys and from his family and mine, as well.”

But the reaction of her boys showed that it was worth it.

Preston wouldn’t climb down from his father’s arms, fighting tears of joy to introduce his dad the soldier to his classmates.

“Everybody, this is my daddy,” he said. “I never thought he would come. I missed him very much. I can’t believe he’s here.”

Bourne greeted Walker in the hallway outside his classroom. As he hugged his dad, he saw his mother dabbing at her eyes as she watched the scene.

“Why’s Mommy crying?” he asked.

“Cuz she’s happy,” Bourne laughed.

Bourne, a teacher for 15 years in the same school system his sons attend, had joined the reserves after the 9/11 terror attacks at the age of 32. This is his first overseas deployment, and when he returns after Thanksgiving, he’ll have seven more months to serve.

In the five months that he’s been away, Walker has learned to read and write and Preston has lost a tooth and gone through a growth spurt.

The family’s story is typical of thousands of others, but most are never brought home to the nation because they never make the evening news. Seeing this one and talking to the family in the TODAY studio had co-host Meredith Vieira dabbing at her eyes, too.

Preston brought a well-hugged stuffed Tigger with him to New York.

“I was very, very shocked,” he told Lauer. “I didn’t know what to do.”

“You’ve got a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving,” Lauer told the family.

“Very much so,” Bourne agreed.

From the end of the couch came Walker’s voice: “What about Christmas?”

Woman keeps hair appointment after car crash
Alaskan loses control of vehicle, crashes into salon’s front window
The Associated Press

Nick Lockeby, left, and Brad Debellis, center, clear debris from the front of Tina's Hair Pros salon in Soldotna, Alaska, Wednesday after Della Miller lost control of her GMC Envoy while parking for a hair appointment. M. Scott Moon / AP

SOLDOTNA, Alaska - A woman on her way to hair appointment crashed her car through the hair salon.

Della Miller, 73, crashed into Tina's Hair Pros' windows Wednesday, knocking one customer six feet across the room, Soldotna police officer Marvin Towle said.

The parking area in front of the salon was snow-covered.

Miranda Nelson, a stylist, said she was in the back room when she heard the crash.

"I thought a bomb had gone off," Nelson said.

Two large plate-glass windows were destroyed, walls were damaged, and the stonework front outside the salon was smashed, police said. Towle estimated damage to the building to be at least $15,000, and the car at $2,500 more.

Miller, who was not injured, was not cited for the crash.

She proceeded with her hair appointment.

Secrets of Great Conversation
By Marcy Barack

Making successful small talk with someone you've just met isn't rocket science, but it does demand more effort than tossing out a tired opening line. The added pressure of a social situation — a date, a party, an encounter at a singles club — may tie your tongue into knots. The best thing is to ignore what's going on around you and concentrate on the person at hand. If you show that you are interested, you'll be surprised how quickly people open up.

To get the ball rolling, here are five practical principles for starting a conversation when you don't know what to say.

1. Flattery will get you everywhere. Make with the compliments to begin on a positive note. People are inclined to think well of you if you indicate you think well of them. The trick is picking out what to compliment without including some kind of sexual connotation.

2. Props. Women work hard choosing their accessories, and anyone who notices wins points. "Those shoes are sensational. Are they comfortable?"

Check out a guy's tie, glasses and watch. Look at his feet. I have a mild-mannered cousin who indulges himself by choosing socks with wild patterns. Always carry a book or newspaper. Then, if your new acquaintance doesn't have anything obvious to remark on, you have, "Have you read this?"

3. Redirection. People love to share their enthusiasm for their hobbies. If you meet someone jogging, see if you can spark some shoptalk. And vice versa. If you're at work, ask them what they like to do to relax. Try to discover what is not obvious—the mind in the sexy blonde, the animal in the geek.

4. Ask more than yes/no questions. A question demands a response, which is the essence of conversational give-and-take. But a yes/no query can bog you down in a monosyllables. Think like a reporter: Ask who, what, when, where and why. Instead of, "Did you see the latest Bruce Willis movie?" try, "What did you think of it?"

5. Listen, really listen, to the other person. Shy people who have trouble making conversation are so anxious about what they are going to say next that they don't listen to what the other person says. Every answer to your intriguing questions opens up new conversational avenues to explore. Follow up on those leads. As an added bonus, the more you concentrate on the other person, the less your palms will sweat, the fewer words for you to stumble over. And your new acquaintance is bound to be charmed by your astute appreciation of his or her own sterling qualities.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

A Lifetime of Distractions
By Harvard Health Publications

ADHD is no longer just a children’s disease. Many adults are being diagnosed and treated for the condition.

Although we usually think of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) as a problem affecting squirmy schoolchildren, it can be a lifelong disorder, an unwelcome and unruly childhood companion that can follow you all the way to old age. Brain imaging studies are finding distinctive patterns of neural activity in ADHD adults that match those in ADHD children. Family studies of parents and close relatives of ADHD children turn up statistically significant numbers of ADHD adults.

Studies of twins (identical and fraternal) reared in the same home environment have shown ADHD to have the highest heritability of any psychiatric disorder. It has nearly twice the heritability of asthma and three times that of breast cancer. Genetic studies of ADHD "carriers" have zeroed in on a number of genes involved in the regulation of dopamine, norepinephrine, serotonin, and other neurotransmitters. No one expects to find a single ADHD gene, but further research into the complex molecular biology that underlies memory, attention, and how we make up our minds could sharpen drug treatments for ADHD — and uncover new ones.
Top 10 symptoms of patient-suspected adult ADHD

• Poor concentration

• General disorganization

• Tendency not to finish projects

• Inattention

• Poor school performance

• Problems with time management

• Difficulty controlling temper

• Impulsive behavior

• Problems with anxiety

• Difficulty functioning at work

Source: Archives of Internal Medicine, June 14, 2004.
In the meantime, studies have shown that the same stimulant drugs used to treat childhood ADHD are safe and effective for adult ADHD. Atomoxetine (Strattera), the first non-stimulant approved by the FDA for treatment of ADHD, is also the first ADHD drug officially approved for use in adults as well as children.

The prevalence of ADHD remains a major controversy. The low-ball estimate is that 1% of adult Americans are ADHD-afflicted, but some experts say it’s as much as 6%, which would work out to about 10 million people. On the other hand, another study came up with a figure of only 0.5% among 40-year-olds. Disputes over these statistics reflect deeper questions. Does untreated ADHD explain unhappy lives filled with crime, drugs, and underachievement? Or is this another case of medicalizing a more diffuse problem?

What does it look like?

Perhaps the clearest picture of adult ADHD comes from studies of people originally diagnosed with ADHD in grade school and followed by researchers through adolescence and young adulthood. These studies vary widely in their estimates of ADHD prevalence, remission rates, and relationship to other psychiatric disorders. But over all, they show a high percentage — 80% in several studies —of ADHD children growing into ADHD adolescents. Such individuals have continual trouble in school, at home, on the job, with the law in general, and with substance abuse in particular. Compared with control groups, ADHD adolescents are more likely to smoke, to drop out of school, to get fired, to have bad driving records, and to have difficulties with sexual relationships.

"There’s a great deal of continuity from the child to the adult form," says Russell Barkley, a researcher at the Medical University of South Carolina. "We’re not seeing anything that suggests a qualitative change in the disorder. What’s changing for adults is the broadening scope of impact. Adults have more things they’ve got to do. We’re especially seeing problems with time, with self-control, and with planning for the future and being able to persist toward goals. In adults, these are major problems."

Poor time management is a particularly treacherous area. As Barkley observes, "With a five-year-old, time management isn’t relevant. With a 30-year-old, it’s highly relevant. You can lose your job over that. You can lose a relationship over it."

Medications for ADHD

• Stimulants. Methylphenidate (pronounced meth-il-FEN-i-date) is the standby drug. It’s better known by one of the brand names it’s sold under, Ritalin, but is also available as a generic. Methylphenidate also comes in formulations that are intermediate-acting (Metadate ER, Methylin ER, Ritalin SR) and long acting (Metadate CD, Concerta, Ritalin LA). Dexmethylphenidate (Focalin) is a formulation of methylphenidate that is theoretically more potent and more readily absorbed than the older versions. A popular alternative to methylphenidate is a mixture of amphetamines sold under the brand name Adderall and, in a longer-acting formulation, Adderall XR. A distant third choice is dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine, DextroStat).

• Tricyclic antidepressants. They’re an option if the stimulants prove ineffective or intolerable. Desipramine (Norpramin), nortriptyline (Aventyl, Pamelor), and imipramine (Tofranil) are the ones most commonly prescribed.

• Atomoxetine (Strattera). This drug is a selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor, not a stimulant. It takes several days to build up to an effective level, but then continues without the hill-and-valley effects of methylphenidate and other stimulants.

In short-term trials, the stimulants seem to help 70%–80% of children, adolescents, and adults. When the drugs work, they increase attention span and suppress impulsiveness and frantic motion. But individual results vary widely. Some patients report a bounceback of symptoms or just plain grouchiness as the medication loses steam. The slower, timed-release formulations may get around that.

Another drawback is that the FDA classifies all stimulants as controlled substances. That means a written prescription is required for each month’s supply, and many doctors require regular return office visits before writing prescriptions. It’s a good practice because of the potential for abuse, but it adds to the cost of treatment. The timed-release versions add to the bill because they’re expensive. Atomoxetine, on the other hand, is not a controlled substance, so prescriptions can include multiple refills.

You need to tell your prescribing physician about any other medicines you’re taking, especially anything for high blood pressure or thyroid problems.

As an ADHD adult, you also need to recognize that ADHD adults are notorious for self-medicating, especially with tobacco, alcohol, and caffeine, but also with other drugs. Once you get some help with your ADHD, you may find that you start to work on a drug or alcohol problem that has gotten out of hand.

On the other hand, researchers have noted differences between the childhood and the adult profiles of ADHD. For example, children diagnosed with ADHD are overwhelmingly boys, but studies of adults have found that the gender difference is less pronounced. Are girls less likely to exhibit the hyperactive-impulsive "boys-will-be-boys" behavior that gets a teacher’s attention? Or do more boys grow out of the condition so that the gender ratio in adults is more even? No one knows for sure.

Childhood ADHD is divided into three categories: primarily inattentive, primarily hyperactive-impulsive, and a combination of the two. What these variants "grow into" in adults is an open question. Most experts agree that pure hyperactive behavior usually diminishes with maturity: Few ADHD adults are completely unable to stay in their seats. Yet many ADHD adults are restless fidgeters and pacers. The picture of adult ADHD is clouded by the question of psychiatric "comorbidities" — other disorders that are distinct from ADHD but can complicate the condition. Young ADHD adults generally have higher rates of antisocial personality, anxiety, depression, and substance abuse.

How is it diagnosed?

After a thorough physical exam to rule out other problems, clinicians question patients using standardized lists of ADHD symptoms to come up with a score on severity and persistence. The results are assessed in the context of a developmental, psychiatric, and family psychiatric history, including the patient’s prenatal, childhood, and school history. Clinicians can also draw on an assessment of the patient’s behavior by family members or on a patient’s reporting of childhood experiences. The reliability of retrospective self-reporting is a point of contention. Some studies suggest that it leads to underdiagnosis; others, to overdiagnosis.

Experts agree that there’s no such thing as adult-onset ADHD. According to the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV), a childhood history of ADHD symptoms, whether they were recognized, treated, or ignored at the time, is essential for a diagnosis of adult ADHD. But establishing a childhood history is easier said than done. If you were born before about 1965, you’re probably too old to have grade-school records that use a label like hyperactive. Over-40 hyperactives belong to the "runs with scissors" generation. Children with attention problems were often just thought of as lazy or daydreamers. A study of about 850 adults with ADHD published in the Archives of Internal Medicine earlier in 2004 found that only a quarter of them had been diagnosed with the condition as children or teenagers.

Psychiatry itself has muddied the waters by switching its labels. ADHD has supplanted attention deficit disorder and another diagnosis called "minimal brain dysfunction." The definition of ADHD has evolved from emphasizing hyperactive behavior to recognizing more complex neurological deficits involving the brain’s executive functions. Under newer definitions, non-hyperactive adults are more likely to pass the diagnostic threshold for ADHD, thus raising the overall prevalence.

Happy endings

Salvatore Mannuzza and Rachel Klein of the New York University Child Study Center, who conducted widely cited research on ADHD children aging into ADHD young adults, point out that statistics don’t tell the full ADHD story. Yes, their studies, like others, show trouble with jobs, education, and self-esteem. But nearly all of their subjects were gainfully employed. Some had achieved higher-level degrees and admission to medical school. Adult ADHD may be a lifelong disorder for some, Mannuzza and Klein conclude, but they can go on to achieve educational and vocational goals just like anyone else. ADHD precludes nothing.

What you should do if you have ADHD

Get evaluated. You need a clinician with experience in diagnosing adult ADHD. Most primary and family care specialists are used to treating or referring children, not adults, for ADHD. You may need to ask for a referral to a mental health clinician who knows adult ADHD. Find out if there’s an ADHD support group or organization active in your area. A good place to start is, a national support and advocacy group for adults and children with ADHD.

Get medication. Medication is usually the treatment of first resort for ADHD (see above). Medications help but don’t cure the condition. For many adults, medication lessens the disorder’s internal noise and outward chaos, helping them to gain some sense of self-control.

Get educated. There is a large, and largely helpful, body of literature on adult ADHD. Edward Hallowell and John Ratey’s Driven To Distraction comes highly recommended. For more titles and additional information, try the National Institute of Mental Health (

Get organized. Get a calendar — a large one. Get a personal organizer, electronic or otherwise. Build schedules and routines. Set up a "launch pad" near the door for keys, wallets, glasses, briefcases, and backpacks. Get a book about getting organized around your ADHD.

Get counseling. Adult ADHD can put tremendous strain on a marriage, a relationship, or an entire family. If your ADHD is driving you crazy, imagine what it’s doing to your spouse or your children. Many adults discover that they have ADHD only after a child is diagnosed with the condition. This is serious. You need to talk about it.

Get moving. Exercise is good for almost everything that ails you. For ADHD adults, it’s a healthy way to burn off excess energy, for example, before sitting down to work. Being an ADHD adult, you can’t just vaguely plan on working out or perhaps going to a dance class. You need to put it down in ink as part of your weekly schedule. Routine and habit are adult ADHD’s best friends.

How Barack Obama Broke the Law
Do you really need to put your hand on your heart during the national anthem?
By Torie Bosch

Illustration by Robert Neubecker.

Some conservative bloggers are furious about a photo showing Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama without his hand on his heart during the playing of "The Star-Spangled Banner." Obama has countered that the photo was taken during the national anthem, not the Pledge of Allegiance—so he didn't have to. Is that true?

No. According to U.S. law, a civilian like Obama is supposed to stand up when the anthem is played, take off his hat, face the flag, and put his right hand over his heart. When in uniform, members of the military can keep their hats on and salute instead of placing their hands on their hearts.*

The rules of conduct regarding the anthem, the pledge, and the American flag weren't always a matter of law. At first, they were just tradition. "The Star-Spangled Banner" lyrics were originally written during the War of 1812. Later in the 19th century, the Army and Navy both began to use it during ceremonies, but it only became the congressionally recognized national anthem in 1931. Meanwhile, the Pledge of Allegiance was first used in public schools in 1892 to celebrate Columbus Day and only made it into the law books in the 1940s.

Specific customs for listening to the anthem or reciting the pledge were also slow to develop. The National Flag Conference, an organization made up of representatives from the armed forces and civilian organizations, created a guide to flag etiquette in 1923. But it wasn't until June of 1942, when America was fighting World War II, that Congress made this "Flag Code" official.

In its original form, the code called for a "Bellamy salute" during the Pledge of Allegiance. The salute was named after Francis Bellamy, who wrote the pledge and published it in Youth's Companion, a family magazine. Bellamy instructed people reciting the pledge to start with their hands on their hearts and then—at the words "to my flag" (later changed to "to the flag of the United States of America")—straighten their arms in a military salute. But in the late 1930s, the salute became controversial as people began to realize that this gesture looked quite similar to the arm movement favored by the Nazis. Schools in New York, New Jersey, and elsewhere began to alter the salute, and in late 1942, it was eliminated from the code in favor of keeping the hand on the heart, as we do today. (Some groups, like the Daughters of the American Revolution, were initially resistant to the change from the Bellamy salute.)

So, does this mean that it's against the law to sit down for "The Star-Spangled Banner" at a baseball game? Technically, but you won't get in trouble. Though the procedure for listening to the national anthem is spelled out in the U.S. Code, you can't be punished for breaking the rules. That would likely be considered a violation of the First Amendment. For instance, the Supreme Court ruled that Jehovah's Witnesses had the right to skip the pledge.

Friday, November 16, 2007

WWII P-38 fighter discovered in Wales
Associated Press Writer

This undated photo provided by the International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery, known as TIGHAR, shows historic aircraft specialists inspecting a World War II fighter plane recently found on the Welsh coast. The American P-38 aircraft had made an emergency landing in 1942 after it ran out of gas, and was buried under water and sand for 65 years until revealed by beach erosion in July. Experts hope to recover the plane for a British military museum. The photo was taken from a kite-suspended camera. (AP Photo/TIGHAR)

NEW YORK - Sixty-five years after an American P-38 fighter plane ran out of gas and crash-landed on a beach in Wales, the long-forgotten World War II relic has emerged from the surf and sand where it lay buried.

Beach strollers, sunbathers and swimmers often frolicked within a few yards of the aircraft, unaware of its existence until last summer, when unusual weather caused the sand to shift and erode.

The revelation of the Lockheed "Lightning" fighter, with its distinctive twin-boom design, has stirred interest in British aviation circles and among officials of the country's aircraft museums, ready to reclaim another artifact from history's greatest armed conflict.

Based on its serial number and other records, "the fighter is arguably the oldest P-38 in existence, and the oldest surviving 8th Air Force combat aircraft of any type," said Ric Gillespie, who heads a U.S.-based nonprofit group dedicated to preserving historic aircraft. "In that respect it's a major find, of exceptional interest to British and American aviation historians."

Gillespie finds romance as well as historic significance in the discovery of the aircraft, long forgotten by the U.S. government.

"It's sort of like `Brigadoon,' the mythical Scottish village that appears and disappears," he said. "Although the Welsh aren't too happy about that analogy — they have some famous legends of their own."

Gillespie's organization, the International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery, learned of the plane's existence in September from a British air history enthusiast and sent a team to survey the site last month. The group plans to collaborate with British museum experts in recovering the fragile but nearly intact aircraft next spring.

The Imperial War Museum Duxford and the Royal Air Force Museum are among the institutions expressing interest.

"The difficult part is to keep such a dramatic discovery secret. Looting of historic wrecks, aircraft or ships, is a major problem, in Britain as it is worldwide," Gillespie said.

British aviation publications have been circumspect about disclosing the exact location, and local Welsh authorities have agreed to keep the plane under surveillance whenever it is exposed by the tides of the Irish Sea, he said. For now, the aircraft is again buried under sand.

Officially, the U.S. Air Force considers any aircraft lost before Nov. 19, 1961 — when a fire destroyed many records — as "formally abandoned," and has an interest in such cases only if human remains are involved.

The twin-engine P-38, a radical design conceived by Lockheed design genius Clarence "Kelly" Johnson in the late 1930s, became one of the war's most successful fighter planes, serving in Europe and the Pacific. About 10,000 of the planes were built, and about 32 complete or partial airframes are believed to still exist, perhaps 10 in flying condition.

Another P-38, part of a "lost squadron" of warplanes marooned by bad weather in Greenland while being flown to Europe in 1942, was recovered and extensively restored with new parts. Dubbed "Glacier Girl," its attempt to complete the flight to Britain earlier this year was thwarted by mechanical problems.

The Wales Lightning, built in 1941, reached Britain in early 1942 and flew combat missions along the Dutch-Belgian coast.

Second Lt. Robert F. "Fred" Elliott, 24, of Rich Square, N.C., was on a gunnery practice mission on Sept. 27, 1942, when a fuel supply error forced him to make an emergency landing on the nearest suitable place — the Welsh beach.

His belly landing in shallow water sheared off a wingtip, but Elliott escaped unhurt. Less than three months later, the veteran of more than 10 combat missions was shot down over Tunisia, in North Africa. His plane and body were never found.

As the disabled P-38 could not be flown off the beach, "American officers had the guns removed, and the records say the aircraft was salvaged, but it wasn't," Gillespie said. "It was gradually covered with sand, and there it sat for 65 years. With censorship in force and British beaches closed to the public during the war, nobody knew it was there."

It was first spotted by a family enjoying a day at the beach on July 31.

The discovery was stunning news for Robert Elliott, 64, of Blountville, Tenn., the pilot's nephew and only surviving relative. He has spent nearly 30 years trying to learn more about his namesake's career and death.

All he knew of the Wales incident was a one-line entry saying Elliott had "ditched a P-38 and was uninjured."

"So this is just a monumental discovery, and a very emotional thing," said Elliott, an engineering consultant. He said he hopes to be present for the recovery.


On the Net:

Tree in Anne Frank diary to be cut down
The Associated Press

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands - The chestnut tree that comforted Anne Frank while she hid from the Nazis during World War II will be cut down Nov. 21 because it is too diseased to be saved, the city said Tuesday.

The 150-year-old chestnut, familiar to the many readers of "The Diary of Anne Frank," suffers from fungus and moths that have caused more than half its trunk to rot.

"The state of this monumental chestnut is a real danger for its surroundings," including the "secret annex" atop the canal-side warehouse where the Frank family hid, the city said. "Its rapid decay makes it necessary to take action now."

The Jewish teenager made several references to the tree in the diary that she kept during the 25 months she remained indoors until the family was arrested by the Nazis in August 1944.

Anne Frank died of typhus in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in March 1945.

"Nearly every morning I go to the attic to blow the stuffy air out of my lungs," she wrote on Feb. 23, 1944. "From my favorite spot on the floor I look up at the blue sky and the bare chestnut tree, on whose branches little raindrops shine, appearing like silver, and at the seagulls and other birds as they glide on the wind.

"As long as this exists, ... and I may live to see it, this sunshine, the cloudless skies — while this lasts I cannot be unhappy."

In March, the city council granted a license to have the tree cut down. That prompted protests by the Netherlands' Tree Institute and others who argued it had such historic value that extraordinary measures should be taken to preserve it.

It was granted a reprieve in October while the Tree Institute investigated ways to support and heal it, but the city of Amsterdam said those ideas were unworkable.

"From the latest assessment, it appears that only 28 percent of the trunk is still healthy," the statement said. "The risk of the trunk breaking — in which case the 27-ton tree will fall over — is now unacceptably high."

"Given these results, which preclude the tree's being cured, preventative cutting of the tree is the only remaining realistic option."

The Anne Frank Museum, where the tiny apartment has been preserved, said grafts have already been taken, and a sapling from the original will eventually replace it.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

10 Biggest Mistakes Wedding Guests Make
By Miles Stiverson

In the course of wedding planning, you'll probably come across a guest or two whose inappropriate actions, odd requests, or rude behavior seems appalling. Don't be shocked -- while you may know the ins and outs of wedding etiquette, some of your friends and family may not be aware of what's acceptable. What can you do? Be proactive. Here's how.

1. Not Sending RSVPs
What they did: Anyone who's ever planned a wedding knows the importance of a punctual RSVP -- from plotting your seating chart to giving the caterer a final headcount, it's hard to proceed without a firm grasp of who's coming. Unfortunately, some of your guests may treat the RSVP as a novelty rather than a necessity.

How to deal: Give it a week. After that, it's time to give them a call. Recruit your maid of honor to help you with phone duties if you're really struggling with missing RSVPs. Or, better yet, send out a group email (use a blind CC) saying that you need to know by [insert deadline] if they're planning on attending. Keep the tone nice, but firm. Then, you only have to call those who don't reply to the email (which really is a double-duty foul).

Stop the cycle: Make the reply-by-date as early as possible, say two weeks from the date you intend to mail the invitations. That way, when your guests see that the deadline is quickly approaching, they'll (hopefully) stick the reply card in the mail right then and there.

2. Sending RSVPs With Extra Guests
What they did: The good news is that the guest has returned the RSVP. The bad news is that she'd love to attend. . .with a person you never invited -- maybe never heard of. Whether she believes every invite bestows the right to bring a date, or a child, adding a name on the RSVP puts everyone in an awkward position.

How to deal: To avoid potential hurt feelings, you need to establish a no-exceptions guest list policy (significant others only if engaged; no children under 18). Then, call the misguided guest to explain the circumstances. Apologize for the misunderstanding, and tell her that unfortunately the limitations (a small reception space or a tight budget) require a strict guest list. The person most likely didn't intend to thwart your list with the addition of another guest, and will gladly come to the wedding solo.

Stop the cycle: Tell your parents, wedding party, and other close relatives and friends, so that they can spread the word when asked. And, of course, address your invitations in a direct manner (don't write "Smith Family" unless they really are all invited). The earlier that a guest knows who's actually invited, the less painful the conversation will be.

3. Bombarding the Bride
What they did: As soon as they received the invite to your wedding, the phone calls began. Guests are treating you like their personal concierge, with questions about transportation, accommodations, and fun things to do while they're in town.

How to deal: Make sure every guest has all the info they need by creating a wedding website. Include a link to the hotel where you've reserved a block of rooms, local museums and restaurants, and driving directions. Put together a welcome basket for out-of-towners with the weekend's itinerary, so that no one feels the need to ask you about the wedding game plan.

Stop the cycle: Some technophobes might still pester you with questions. Go over the guest list with both sets of parents, and decide which key invitees, if any, are not likely to check your website. Print out a copy of the info listed on the site and mail it to them.

4. Buying a Non-registry Gift
What they did: Some guests feel that buying a present from the registry is impersonal. Instead, they go and purchase a gift with a little more -- er, imagination.

How to deal: Shopping off the registry can result in a pleasant surprise, or leave a couple cringing. You cannot, however, be anything but gracious for any gift you're given. While they're typically expected, wedding gifts are technically not required from a guest. If someone has eschewed the registry and bought you a present you know you won't use (or, even worse, they've given you a gift you know you'll have to hide), check whether they sent it with the receipt. If so, they may have realized their gift might not be your style, and it's fine to return the present. Otherwise, write a thank-you note for the thoughtful gesture, and keep the gift for as long as you can stand having it around.

Stop the cycle: Register at an off-the-beaten path store that offers unique gift options like a local museum shop or a boutique home store. That way, the guest can get you something a bit more personal that you actually love.

5. Showing Up Late
What they did: You know how some people show up late to movies because they know there will be 20 minutes of trailers? Some guests may have a similar notion for your ceremony. We know one maid of honor who saw a late guest stroll in directly behind the bride as she walked down the aisle with her father!

How to deal: For those who are really late, ask an usher or your day-of coordinator to hang out near the rear of the ceremony site so they can make sure your processional goes undisturbed, and to have them help any late guest quickly and quietly find a seat.

Stop the cycle: Give yourself a slight buffer for your friends and family who are never quite on time. If your invites say the ceremony begins at 5:30 p.m., plan on walking down the aisle about 15 minutes after that.

6. Bringing a Big, Heavy Gift
What they did: It doesn't sound so bad: Someone brought a huge gift to the wedding. While you really can't complain about receiving presents at your reception -- or, at all for that matter -- it can be a pain to lug them home.

How to deal: Ask one of your attendants to store all the gifts in one place -- preferably a locked, separate room in your reception space -- so that nothing gets left behind. At the end of the evening, that attendant can account for all the gifts and then take them to the most convenient location (probably your home rather than your honeymoon suite).

Stop the cycle: Online registries have made it easier than ever to send gifts wherever you want. Promote this gifting tool by including links to your online registries on your website.

7. Giving Unexpected Toasts
What they did: Weddings can be emotional events, and the toasts are an opportunity for your closest friends and family to share sentiments with the rest of your guests. Those same emotions (and maybe too much alcohol) can do funny things to any otherwise reliable guest, and some may feel compelled to grab the mic when they weren't asked to toast. Embarrassing stories, offensive anecdotes, and rambling rants have all worked their way into wedding toasts.

How to deal: Unfortunately, you need to just grin and bear it. If the toast seems like it will never end, have the best man signal the band or DJ to carefully cut in. The other guests will appreciate the gesture too.

Stop the cycle: Head off unexpected toasts by making sure the emcee of the evening (your DJ or bandleader) has a list of approved toasters. Tell them not to give the mic to anyone who's not scheduled to speak, no matter how persistent their plea for the microphone.

8. Requesting Songs
What they did: You've worked with your band or DJ to put together the perfect soundtrack for your evening. All of a sudden, your ambience is interrupted by the sounds of "Y.M.C.A." and it seems that your Aunt Margie is behind it.

How to deal: Requests from your guests may be inevitable, and if your band or DJ thinks it's appropriate for the atmosphere, they might give requested songs a play. And it might be okay -- you can't control everything about your wedding or reception. But if you're still fuming from the faux pas, talk to the bandleader or DJ immediately afterward and tell them that you would prefer to avoid group dance songs like the "Y.M.C.A.," or any requests for that matter.

Stop the cycle: To avoid any playlist pitfalls, give your band or DJ a list of songs that you absolutely don't want to hear at the reception. If you're worried your strictly-Motown playlist will be disrupted by someone's insistence on hearing his favorite Bon Jovi tune, it's okay to let your band or DJ know that guests' song requests should be politely declined.

9. Drinking Too Much
What they did: A few too many signature cocktails turned one of your guests from the life of the party into a bit of a mess.

How to deal: While it's not your responsibility to babysit your guests, you can't turn a blind eye to someone who's had way too much to drink. If there's any risk that the guest will try to drive, ask your planner, a responsible attendant, friend, or family member to call a cab, and to make sure they take the ride. It's not much fun to send someone home early, but making sure everyone gets home safely is incredibly important.

Stop the cycle: You can't limit the number of drinks each guest consumes, but you can grant the bartender permission to cut off anyone that's has had one too many. Other than that, make sure there's plenty of water on the tables and enough delicious edibles to satiate any guest -- big drinker or not.

10. Crashing Your Wedding
What they did: In the middle of your perfect party, you notice a few unfamiliar faces in the crowd, and wonder, "Who invited them?" Your wedding has been crashed.

How to deal: Don't freak out! With tasty food, fun music, and free drinks, it's no wonder some fun-loving people might want to get in on the action. If you spot a crasher, have the site manager or one of your attendants discreetly escort them out.

Stop the cycle: If you're marrying at a hotel or club that hosts multiple parties in one night, there might be wedding wanderers. Unless you hire a security guard (which is a bit extreme), there's no way to prevent it. If you're really worried, tell the catering manager (and the waitstaff) to keep an eye out for possible crashers.

* YOU TELL US: What are your wedding guest horror stories?