Sunday, February 15, 2015

Better Call Saul... About EMF Sensitivity

Chuck in his "space blanket". Is it Mylar? Silver? Who knows. Courtesy AMC

   Purely by accident, I tuned into the first few episodes of "Better Call Saul" on AMC. One of the characters we are introduced to is Jimmy's brother Chuck. In bits and pieces, we learn (or deduce) that:
  •      Chuck has an unnamed condition which forced him to take a sabbatical from his law firm
  •      Jimmy (and the partners from the law firm) don't seem to think that he will recover
  •      Something about his condition causes Chuck to avoid all forms of electricity/magnetism/radiation
  •      Jimmy (and the partners) seem inclined to think that Chuck may not be entirely competent
     As you may know, I'm interested in science and medicine; I read as many magazines and journals as I can get my hands on, as well as watching documentaries and shows like NOVA. Chuck's decision to live without electricity, and his insistance that visitors secure all electronics (including cell phones) in his mailbox, as well as "grounding" themselves on a pole out front brought to mind a news clip that I saw years ago.  The details were fuzzy, but I remembered that it was about two women living in a cave somewhere, with no electricity, outside of the range of transmission lines and cell towers. The reason?  They are acutely sensitive to EMF. Electromagnetic fields and wireless radiation make them sick.
     From the WHO website:
     "EHS is characterized by a variety of non-specific symptoms, which afflicted individuals attribute to exposure to EMF. The symptoms most commonly experienced include dermatological symptoms (redness, tingling, and burning sensations) as well as neurasthenic and vegetative symptoms (fatigue, tiredness, concentration difficulties, dizziness, nausea, heart palpitation, and digestive disturbances). The collection of symptoms is not part of any recognized syndrome."...
     ...There are also some indications that these symptoms may be due to pre-existing psychiatric conditions as well as stress reactions as a result of worrying about EMF health effects, rather than the EMF exposure itself." 
     I couldn't find the broadcast that I vaguely recalled, but I did run across a short movie by TIME about Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity (EHS).I found it fascinating, so I thought I'd share it.
                                             Search For A Golden Cage
     "Better Call Saul" has just begun, and already there have been many twists and turns.  Does Chuck suffer from EHS? Is he the victim of some nefarious plot to drive him out of the law firm that he built?  We'll have to wait and see.
     Whatever happens, I know I'm already hooked on the show.

Thursday, February 12, 2015


     We are discussing forms of poetry in our classroom this week. Tomorrow we learn about haiku and free verse.  I went looking for some pieces I had published at Black Dahlia, which appears to be defunct.
     So I'm re-posting (and thus archiving) the haiku here. If you are not familiar with the form, haiku (briefly) are short poems that use words to capture a feeling or image of nature, beauty, or a particular sensory moment.. They are usually written as three lines: the first contains 5 syllables, the second line 7 syllables, the third line 5 syllables.

black sky, winter night
the geese with their snowy wings
painting the full moon

empty cave, dry stream
long echoing pointlessly
come inside and weep

Mr. Jones removed
the old oak tree, foreclosing
Mr. Robin's home.

Willow's spring tresses
tangled, supple, alluring
belie wrinkled bark

teasing winds leap out
assaulting my umbrella
and lifting her skirts