Category Archives: quotes

Legacy: “Are We Being Good Ancestors?” – Jonas Salk

I have been reading the obituaries.  It isn’t a normal past time activity.  I am looking for someone…

My sister, Kelli, had a heart transplant on January 18th, 2013 at Cedars Sinai in California and she just wants to know a little more about her donor. The information you are given regarding organ donors is….well…not a lot:  Male, 25 years old, from Arizona.  We do know that his death would be recorded very close to or on the date of the transplant.  Obituaries for folks around the age of 25 are not very common.  It is a terribly young age to die.  It shouldn’t be that difficult to find the obituary, right?  Wrong!  Which is why I have been reading obituaries.  Lots of them.

Reading the obituaries of others can really make you stop and reflect on your life!  I have read some absolutely beautiful obituaries that describe what an impact the person had on the lives of others.  For example, this one for Joe A. Gallegos.  His story starts off with “Our Hero”.  He was a WWII veteran, a loving husband of 62 years, a father, grandfather, great-grandfather; not only is this a wonderful summary of the man’s life, but the obit continues to be visited and commented on by the people he touched.  Some of the obits have an amusing tone like this one for Dale Jones.  “Dale Jones was born Feb. 8, 1949 and assumed room temperature on Jan. 19, 2013. Hopefully he now resides with the elk, deer, javelina, coyotes and snakes”, it reads.  What is a javelina anyway?  Don’t worry, I googled it for you:  HERE YOU GO.   Some of the listings made me very sad.  Actually quite a few simply stated the name, date of birth and death, and read that there would be no service.

Jonas Salk (1914 – 1995), famous scientist/doctor who developed the first effective polio vaccine, once asked “Are we being good ancestors?”  It is a simple question with a not simple answer.  It is a question you can ask of present humanity and it is also a question you can ask of yourself.  I think we try to be good ancestors.  We want to make the world a better place for future generations, right?  We don’t always agree on how this should be accomplished but our intentions are good.  Well….some of them.

Thinking about that question on a personal level makes me think of that old frozen pizza commercial.  You know the one.  The law man is about to be hanged by the bad guys and he is asked, “What do you want on your tombstone?”  “Hm…pepperoni and sausage.”

Seriously, though.  What do I want on my tombstone?  What do I want my obituary to say?  What will people say about me?  What will be my legacy?  William Shakespeare writes in Julius Caesar , “The evil that men do lives after them;
The good is oft interred with their bones.”  
Will was a rather cynical old chap.  I mean…I suppose when Charles Manson dies, he is not going to remembered for that time he shared part of his chocolate chip cookie with his classmate.  But, for most of us non-evil folks, what is said of us after we pass is completely up to us.  Do good; Love people.

When you do give your last “Hurrah!” and say your final goodbye to the world, consider giving a final gift; the gift of life.  Be an organ donor and save lives.

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“Wherever the art of medicine is loved, there is also a love of humanity.” – Hippocrates

Mindi

This is Mindi.  She is someone’s daughter, someone’s niece, someone’s granddaughter, someone’s wife, someone’s friend, someone’s sister…  She is MY little sister.

There exists a heart disease that has plagued my family for far too long; Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM).  I could give you the long version to describe what HCM is and does, but I won’t go into all of that.  If you fancy learning more about the disease, please click the link above.  Here is a shorter definition of HCM:

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is a primary disease of the myocardium (the muscle of the heart) in which a portion of the myocardium is hypertrophied (thickened) without any obvious cause, creating functional impairment of the cardiac muscle.

It is a very serious disease that has killed many of my family at very young ages. My mother, for example, died at the age of 45.  Her younger sister (my Aunt Janie) died at the age of 30.  Their mother (my grandmother) died in her late 20’s.  My sister had this disease.  “HAD the disease? Did she die as well?”, you are wondering.  Well, no…because on August 12th, 2015, very very early in the morning, my sister was given a new life.  She is the third of my siblings to receive this gift.  She was also the third patient to undergo transplant surgery at the hospital that day!

The first transplant was performed in 1967 by Dr. Christiaan Barnard.  His patient lived 18 days and died of pneumonia.  Modern heart transplantation became available to patients in 1980.  A study by the University of Ottawa Heart Institute tracking the survival rates of 461 transplant patients from 1984 to 2011 shows the survival rate over the period of the study was 86 per cent after one year, 75 per cent at five years, 62 per cent at 10 years, and 36 per cent at 20 years.   The survival rate is much higher for patients who received their transplant in the year 2000 and beyond.  The statistics from this study show survival from 2000 to 2011 is close to 90 per cent; 89.3 per cent to be exact.

Modern medicine is amazing!  I wonder what Hippocrates would think if he were alive today.  Hippocrates (460 – 370 BC), known as the “Father of Western Medicine”, was a Greek physician during the Age of Pericles.  He is known for establishing medicine as a profession.  He believed diseases were caused naturally rather than by superstitions and angry gods.  One of his most famous quotes, “Make a habit of two things: to help; or at least to do no harm” became the basis for the Hippocratic Oath which is a seminal document on the ethics of medical practice.

Probably the most beautiful quote by Hippocrates ties the science of medicine to art, love, and humanity: “Wherever the art of medicine is loved, there is also a love of humanity.”  This, I believe, is why modern medicine is what it is today.  It is much more than research, experimentation, and calculations.  That is the process.  The REASON behind the process is to help humanity… to make the world better.  And it is better, Hippocrates.  Thank you.

To find out how you can become an organ donor, click HERE.  Give the gift that so many are waiting for.

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Tastes Like Chicken and Other Chicken-y Things

bionic chicken

I was reading some Weird News today and found the story of a chicken who was going to be receiving a prosthetic leg made from a 3 D printer.  The operation will cost around $2,500.  That must be a really special chicken.  Possibly it lays golden eggs?  Another story advertised next to the bionic-legged chicken was all about the new Pumpkin-Spiced Peeps that will be coming to a store near you very soon, so you can add fluffy baby marshmallow chicks to your Pumpkin Spiced Everything list.

pumpkin-spice-all-the-things

I started thinking about how lucky the chicken is that, out of all the world’s chickens, it ended up being someone’s beloved pet instead of someone else’s beloved dinner.  I then thought about how delicious those peeps will be and how they will not “taste like chicken”.  And then, as my thoughts tend to do, I began to wonder why so many things taste like chicken.  What does fried alligator taste like?  Tastes like chicken.  What does rattle snake taste like?  Tastes like chicken.  Turkeys are just very large juicy, delicious chickens.  Not really….but…..they taste like chicken.  Here is a very professional graph that shows what all tastes like chicken:

funny-chicken-graphic

So how long have people been using the phrase “Tastes like chicken”?  According to Howie Reith, who is not a historian but likes to answer questions on Quora.com:

“The earliest known documentation of the phrase ‘Tastes like chicken’ is in The Log of Christopher Columbus, describing the first time he and his group tried eating a serpent.
‘The people eat them and the meat is white and tastes like chicken.'”

Since we know that in 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue…. the phrase has been around for a while.

Quora.com looks like a good website for people with questions.  One such question related to chicken-ness asked was, “How close are we to discovering Colonel Sanders 11 secret herbs and spices?”  Well curious person… the answer to that is: “They could tell you, but then they’d have to kill you.”  Some things are better left a secret.

An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure – Benjamin Franklin

benjamin franklin

Sometimes my mouth works faster than my brain.  Ever have that problem?  I’m sure I am not the only one.

This is my third week at Ateb, Inc.  New job, new people.  I’m a fairly outgoing person and enjoy meeting my co-workers.  We are an eclectic bunch. You have sales professionals on one side, IT folks down the center, accounting professionals on another side, engineers and support toward the back.  Drastically different types of people in different roles all working together under one roof.  I am the administrative support for all departments.  It’s quite an undertaking.

Today I met a guy from the back of the office.  He must have checked out my Linkedin profile or something and introduced himself as someone who also worked for Alltel Communications long ago.  As we were talking, I noticed his shirt.  “United Federation of Planets”, I suddenly read out loud.  “Are you a member, because I’d like to join?”  He gave a nervous laugh and headed on back to his department.  Eh.  Maybe it was too soon to throw out a Star Trek joke.  I mean….you should really know someone better before you talk Trekkie.

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Benjamin Franklin, way back in the 1700’s  once wrote, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”  This could have many applications, but in my case, I take it to mean “think before you speak”.  Benjamin Franklin was a pretty smart ol’ chap.  Boy was that an understatement.  Benjamin Franklin was a writer, a scientist, an inventor, a diplomat, and a statesman just to name a few.  Imagine what his Linkedin profile would look like?  Probably something like THIS.

Charles Dickens includes a similar quote in his 1850 novel “David Copperfield”.  Dickens wrote, “Least said, sooner mended.”  Wise men….words to live by.

For more words of wisdom by the wonderful Benjamin Franklin, I recommend reading “Poor Richard’s Almanac” and you can browse more quotes HERE.

YOLO – You Only Live Once

Credit: https://collegecandy.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/yoda-yolo.jpg

YOLO.  You Only Live Once.

Here we have another recently popular saying that has a not so recent history; although the Canadian rap artist, Drake, would like to think he invented this catchy phrase (good luck trying to trademark it).  He is, however, credited with the new popularity of the phrase which can be found on all kinds of merchandise.  For all of you “Walking Dead” fans, try this on for size.

“So, if Drake didn’t come up with these words of wisdom, who did?”  Hey!  I’m so glad you asked!

This phrase can be found in slightly varying forms throughout history.  In an epistolary novel, Clarissa, by Samuel Richardson around 1747 – 1749, Richardson writes, “…we live but once in this world; and when gone, are gone from it for ever.”

In the 1860’s novel ,Crime and Punishment by Dostoyevsky (yay for cliff notes!), Raskolnikov uses the phrase, “I only live once, I too want.”

There was a 1937 movie starring Henry Fonda titled You Only Live Once.

There are many more versions of this popular phrase in history.  Even Schlitz Brewing Co. used the slogan during their “Gusto” campaign in 1966, “You only go around once in life, so grab all the gusto you can!”

If you think about it and will consider all variations, the poet Quintus Horatius Flaccus (65 BC – 8 BC) in his Odes Book I uses the phrase “Carpe Diem” which most of of have learned means “Seize the day”, but is more accurately translated to mean “Pluck the day”.  Carpe diem…. pluck the day….enjoy the now…you only live once.  See?

So, this simple phrase stating a simple truth has gotten a lot of use and I am sure, as we see the popularity of YOLO wane, another version with the same meaning will be ready to take it’s place.

Carpe Diem, y’all!

You’re Only As Old As You Feel – Unknown

Stages

An old saying came to mind the other day: You’re only as old as you feel.  I was picking up a few items at the grocery store when I noticed the man gathering the carts in the parking lot.  He was elderly, slightly bent, slowly shuffling, pushing a row of carts toward the entrance of the store.  My first thought was, “Poor old man having to work like this at his age.”  Then I thought, “Maybe he wants to do this?  Maybe he has chosen this work and enjoys it?”  Sure, from my perspective he looks like he should be enjoying his final years playing checkers and eating pudding with his retirement home buddies.  That might not be how he sees himself.  You’re only as old as you feel.

I have heard this saying hundreds of times growing up.  I wondered where it originated.  Doing some research, I found many variations of this saying throughout the decades (“You’re only as young as the woman you feel.” –Groucho Marx and “Age isn’t how old you are, but how old you feel.” –Gabriel Garcia Marquez); but I could not pinpoint an origination.  What I did find is that people are OBSESSED with aging!  There are so many quotes, conversations, books, and poems about growing old.  Not surprising really.  Everybody ages. However, as one man put it, “Old age isn’t so bad, when you consider the alternative.”

growing old

Some of my favorite quotes about aging include:

“Age is an issue of mind over matter; If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” – Mark Twain

“Aging is not lost youth but a new stage of opportunity and strength.” – Betty Friedan

“You can’t help getting older, but you don’t have to get old.” – George Burns

“I have reached an age when, if someone tells me to wear socks, I don’t have to.” – Albert Einstein

For more great quotes on aging, click here!

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Good Seasons Start with Good Beginnings -Sparky Anderson

Dad

Our everyday language is filled with colorful sayings we grew up hearing, but maybe never stopped to consider the origins.

Recently my father sent a long text to me and my 4 siblings including one of these sayings and the interesting history behind it.  I found it fascinating and tasked him with researching more of these anecdotes for which he has obliged. I decided to start a blog based on the history behind old sayings and famous quotes.  My first quote is in honor of my dad, Bill Barger (pictured above).  The quote is by the author, Sparky Anderson.  Sparky Anderson is a baseball guy…my dad is a baseball guy.  It is fitting.  =)  Also, the quote “Good seasons start with good beginnings” is an excellent quote to begin my new blog! George Lee “Sparky” Anderson was a Hall of Fame, major league baseball player who later managed the Cincinnati Reds and the Detroit Tigers to the Championships in 1975, 1976 (Reds), and 1984 (Tigers).  He also authored the book “Bless You Boys: Diary of the Detroit Tigers’ 1984 Season”.   Coach Anderson is quoted many times through out the internet and his quips are sometimes listed under the category “cynical quotes”.  I don’t know that I would consider them cynical.  Maybe just realistic and down to earth. You can read more quotes by Sparky Anderson here….  and here. Enjoy!