Chuckles of the Day


After dying in a car crash, three friends go to Heaven for orientation. They are all asked the same question: “When you are in your casket, and friends and family are mourning over you, what would you like to hear them say about you?”

The first guy immediately responds, “I would like to hear them say that I was one of the great doctors of my time, and a great family man.”

The second guy says, “I would like to hear that I was a wonderful husband and school teacher who made a huge difference in our children of tomorrow”.

The last guy thinks a minute and replies, “I’d like to hear them say……LOOK, HE’S MOVING!!!!!”

* * * * * * *

My Teeth In A Cup — It’s the Attitude

There’s nothing the matter with me,
I’m just as healthy as can be,
I have arthritis in both knees,
And when I talk, I talk with a wheeze.
My pulse is weak, my blood is thin,
But I’m awfully well for the shape I’m in.

All my teeth have had to come out,
And my diet I hate to think about.
I’m overweight and I can’t get thin,
But I’m awfully well for the shape I’m in.

And arch supports I need for my feet.
Or I wouldn’t be able to go out in the street.
Sleep is denied me night after night,
But every morning I find I’m all right.
My memory’s failing, my head’s in a spin.
But I’m awfully well for the shape I’m in.

Old age is golden I’ve heard it said,
But sometimes I wonder, as I go to bed.
With my ears in a drawer, my teeth in a cup,
And my glasses on a shelf, until I get up.
And when sleep dims my eyes, I say to myself,
Is there anything else I should lay on the shelf?

The reason I know my Youth has been spent,
Is my get-up-and-go has got-up-and-went!
But really I don’t mind, when I think with a grin,
Of all the places my get-up has been.
I get up each morning and dust off my wits,
Pick up the paper and read the obits.
If my name is missing, I’m therefore not dead,
So I eat a good breakfast and jump back into bed.

The moral of this as the tale unfolds,
Is that for you and me, who are growing old.
It is better to say “I’m fine” with a grin,
Than to let people know the shape we are in.

* * * * * * *

While the pope was visiting the USA, he told the driver of his limo that he has the sudden urge to drive. The driver was a good Catholic man, and would not ever dream of questioning the pope’s authority. So the pope sat at the wheel, while his driver got in the back.

They were traveling down the road doing between 70 and 80 mph, when a policeman happened to see them. As he pulled them over, he called in to headquarters reporting a speeding limo, with a VIP inside it.

The chief asked: “Who is in the limo, the mayor?”

The policeman told him: “No, someone more important than the mayor.”

Then the chief asked “Is it the governor?”

The policeman answered: “No, someone more important than the governor.”

The chief finally asked: “Is it the President?”

The policeman answered: “No, someone even more important than the President.”

This made the chief very angry and he bellowed: “Now who is more important than the President?!”

The policeman calmly whispered: “I’ll put it to you this way chief. I don’t know who is this guy, but he has the pope as his chauffeur.”


Keeping the Spark Lit into the Golden Years

Research confirms what a lot of folks have guessed: as we age, motivation wanes and getting off the couch and out the door becomes more challenging.

A new research article looks at the correlation between passion, grit and a positive mindset in people aged 14 to 77. This is the first study that addresses these links across such a broad age group.

The article suggests that passion and grit are strongly correlated early in life, especially in boys. Young people who are passionate about something are willing to go the distance to achieve it.

“Our passion controls the direction of the arrow, what we’re fired up about and want to achieve. Grit drives our strength, how much effort we are willing to put in to achieve something,” says Professor Hermundur Sigmundsson at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology’s (NTNU) Department of Psychology.

This is exactly the correlation that researchers believe is extra important for a person to get really good at something. Truly passionate individuals are willing to work the hardest to become the best. And they persevere. Men, more than women, depend on passion for doing something, but otherwise the links between these qualities are pretty much the same between the sexes.

The connection between passion and a positive mindset enables you to believe that you will indeed get good at what you are passionate about. Encouragement and positive mindset show a similar pattern. Everything is connected to everything – at least while you’re young.

But this correlation fades as we get older.

The survey includes 917 participants who were divided into several age groups.

“The correlations remain pretty similar from age 14 to 53,” says Sigmundsson.

But as soon as you end up in your 50s, a shift happens. The connection between passion and grit becomes almost non-existent. In theory, it takes a lot more for us to actually do something.

So lazier people in their 50s can be full of good intentions and in theory be enthusiastic about doing something. But when it comes right down to it, should this be interpreted to mean that older people rarely stick with things unless they find something they’re really interested in?

Sigmundsson confirms that yes, we could say that.

People 50 years and up can be very passionate, but tend to have less grit. Or vice versa.

“What this means is that it’s more difficult to mobilize our grit and willpower, even if we have the passion. Or we may have the grit and willpower but aren’t quite as fired up about it,” the professor says.

Positive mindset works the same way. Maybe you’re still passionate about something, but you’ve lost faith that you’ll actually be able to achieve your goals. Or you think you can handle the activity, but you just don’t have that fire in the belly for it anymore.

“The correlation between grit and the right mindset diminishes with increasing age. The willpower and belief that we’re getting better aren’t as closely linked anymore,” says Sigmundsson.

So what can we do about this decline in get-up-and-go?

“You have to work to find meaningful activities and interests that you can follow up with grit and willpower. Igniting the spark is important, regardless of age,” says Sigmundsson.

You simply have to actively seek what you are passionate about if you haven’t already done that. There are no shortcuts.

You need to find and develop your interests. In addition, you have to recognize the important connections between passion, grit and a positive mindset. You have to keep at it, train and feel free to ally yourself with others who inspire and help you.

This applies to getting better at an activity but also to maintaining what we have already achieved. And that is true not only for our physical fitness, but also for our mental acuity.

“‘Use it or lose it’ is the mantra, and this aligns with neuropsychology as well,” says Sigmundsson.

“Use it or lose it. This aligns with neuropsychology as well.”

Sigmundsson quotes an 85-year-old world champion for old boys skating: “You can never stop.”

“Keeping at your chosen activity is the key,” says the professor.

Source: EurekAlert!

In Pictures: Halloween Bento

Gut Hormone Blocks Brain Cell Formation and is Linked to Parkinson’s Dementia

A gut hormone, ghrelin, is a key regulator of new nerve cells in the adult brain, a Swansea-led research team has discovered. It could help pave the way for new drugs to treat dementia in patients with Parkinson’s Disease.

Blood-borne factors such as hormones regulate the process of brain cell formation – known as neurogenesis – and cognition in adult mammals.

The research team focused on the gut hormone acyl-ghrelin (AG), which is known to promote brain cell formation. A structure change to the hormone results in two distinct forms: AG and unacylated-ghrelin (UAG).

The team, led by Dr Jeff Davies of Swansea University Medical School, studied both AG and UAG to examine their respective influences over brain cell formation.

This research is relevant to Parkinson’s as a large proportion of those with the disease experience dementia, which is linked to a loss of new nerve cells in the brain. This loss leads to a reduction in nerve cell connectivity, which plays a vital role in regulating memory function.

The team’s key overall findings were:

  • the UAG form of ghrelin reduces nerve cell formation and impairs memory
  • Individuals diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease dementia have a reduced AG:UAG ratio in their blood

Dr Jeff Davies of Swansea University Medical School, lead researcher, said:

“Our work highlights the crucial role of ghrelin as a regulator of new nerve cells in the adult brain, and the damaging effect of the UAG form specifically.

This hormone represents an important target for new drug research, which could lead ultimately to better treatment for people with Parkinson’s.

Our findings show that the AG:UAG ratio could also serve as a biomarker, allowing earlier identification of dementia in people with Parkinson’s disease.”

The team included collaborators from Newcastle University (UK) and Monash University (Australia). They examined the role of AG and UAG in the brain, and also compared blood collected from Parkinson’s disease patients diagnosed with dementia with cognitively intact PD patients and a control group.

They found:

  • Higher levels of UAG, using both pharmacological and genetic methods, reduced hippocampal neurogenesis and brain plasticity.
  • AG helped reverse spatial memory impairments
  • UAG blocks the process of brain cell formation prompted by AG
  • The Parkinson’s patients with dementia were the only one of the three patient groups examined to show a reduced AG:UAG ratio in their blood.

The research was published in Cell Reports Medicine.

Source: Swansea University

Pork and Chorizo Meatballs with Spaghetti


200 g lean ground pork (10% fat)
150 g fresh chorizo sausage, the meat extracted from the skin
1 small onion, finely chopped
a few sprigs of oregano, leaves removed
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
olive oil spray
320 g spelt spaghetti


1 small dried red chilli
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
4 garlic cloves
2 tsp olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
800 g vine-ripened tomatoes, halved
1 tsp red-wine vinegar
a pinch of sugar
a handful of fresh basil leaves


  1. Put the pork, chorizo, onion, oregano, and a pinch of salt and pepper in a bowl and mix the lot together with your hands (the chorizo takes a bit of work as it’s much firmer than the ground pork).
  2. Divide into 12 balls. Pop them on a baking tray, cover with plastic wrap and set aside to chill in the fridge.
  3. Make the sauce. Bash the chilli, fennel and garlic together in a pestle and mortar until they break down.
  4. Heat the oil in a pan, then add the onions and cook slowly for 8-10 minutes, or until the onions have softened and started to go golden.
  5. Add in the crushed garlic, chilli and fennel seeds and fry for 2 minutes.
  6. Tip in the tomatoes, add the vinegar and sugar and simmer very gently, uncovered, for about 20 minutes.
  7. Spritz a non-stick frying pan with a little olive oil, then add the meatballs and fry gently over a low heat for 10 minutes, turning them over once. (You may need to do this in batches if your pan is not very big.)
  8. Drain off any excess fat, pour in the sauce and cook for a further 15 minutes, then stir through the basil.
  9. Bring a big saucepan of salted water to the boil, add the pasta and cook for 7 minutes, or until al dente. Stir the sauce and meatballs through the pasta and divide equally among bowls.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Gizzi Erskine

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