Happy vacations

Dear friends:

After several months of non-stop researching, studying and writing to bring the very best possible articles to this page, it is time for our team to pause. We need to rest in order to recharge our batteries and return with stamina. We will resume our writing endeavours in the beginning of September but are planning a few changes to our traditional layout for our comeback.

We always admired the British writers who published their prose in several instalments in magazines during the Victoria era; we imagined the eagerness of those beautiful, well-attired ladies who anxiously checked their mailbox. When we wrote our first article we designed it as the first piece of wood of the needed scaffolding for our second book: “Emotional frustration – the hushed plague.” As we keep ploughing on with the manuscript, that successful series will be progressively phased out until the book’s release sometime in early 2018. As its replacement we’re planning with my son Gian Luca, a promising cinematographer who has celluloid in his veins, an exciting, original video series called “Cibovagabondaggio” where we will visit some fine food and wine establishments to snoop at what they’re up to.

We hope you’ll have a pleasant summer vacation, for all of those who live in the Northern Hemisphere, and a nice winter break for those in the Southern one. The importance of a pause from work, studies and routine is paramount.

Please continue reading our articles when we all come back from vacations.

See you later!

Hasta luego!

A bientôt!

Vi rincrociamo!

Auf wiedersehn!

The red thread of Fate

-“Doctor…We were always meant to be together again—it’s our Fate.”

Sally X. is a retired schoolteacher, widow and grandmother who has married her high school sweetheart after connecting back in a classmates’ reunion. Tom had left his native Miami right after finishing high school and went to work in Houston, Texas. Eventually he married and had two daughters, besides prospering in the oil drilling business. He always remembered Sally.

The “red string of Fate” is a Chinese legend that states that the Gods tie an invisible red piece of thread to the ankles of two people who are eventually meant to be together; it can be elongated to great length and can’t be broken. The goddess Yue Lao, is the lunar deity in charge of fixing marriages.

For the Japanese culture the red string is attached to the pinky fingers of the two persons that are meant to reunite. Unlike other amorous tales, that link is not only for lovers but for the persons we might share a common task with. They claim that there is a direct connection between the heart and the pinky; in other cultures, a promise is sealed by two persons crossing their pinkies.

Three modern films have used this legend as the basis of their scripts:

  1. “Dolls” by Takeshi Kitano
  2. “Sayonara” by Joshua Logan
  3. “El hilo rojo” by Daniela Goggi

There are many Japanese mangas that use this legend to propel their plots.

Sally X., exuberant with her newfound happiness, asked me point blank:

“Don’t you want to reunite with a special woman of your past? Come on.”

For a moment I demurred as I mentally scanned a line up of good memories.

-“ Perhaps…But I’m afraid that we’ve all changed so much over the years.”

What do you want me to say? Even with some kind of common thread, it’s better to let some memories stand as they are, without any scary updates…

What do you think? Please tell me.

Don’t leave me alone?

Global patient safety

Alphonse Chapanis wrote a seminal paper in 1960 where he exposed the unusually high rate of medication-related errors in a 1100-bed hospital. There were seven major causes of errors in the administration of drugs:

  1. Omission of medicine
  2. Administration to the wrong patient
  3. Use of the wrong dosage
  4. Use of an unintended extra dosage
  5. Use by the wrong route
  6. Use at the wrong timing
  7. Administration of the wrong drug

Almost 60 years later, this issue is still critically relevant, even in developed nations, which has prodded policymakers, administrators and physicians to take the necessary corrective steps. Chapanis had identified 4 major areas:

  1. Written communication
  2. Medication procedures
  3. Working environment
  4. Training and education

In 2004 the World Health Organization (WHO) designed two major initiatives to promote clean care and surgery under the umbrella of the “Global Patient safety challenges.” On March 29, 2017, its Director General announced the launching of a third one dubbed as “Medication without Harm” in front of the national health ministers meeting in Bonn, Germany. The goal is to reduce harm related to medications by 50% over 5 years.

Initially countries will be required to target three areas of priority; high risk situations, polypharmacy and transitions of care. Afterwards the national experts will design tailored programmes to make improvements in 4 areas: health care guidelines, administration of medications, patient education and public awareness. Finally the WHO will intervene with its great human and material capacities to implement effective monitoring programs, provide technical assistance, engage with regulatory agencies and pharmaceutical companies to improve the labelling of packages and ultimately to provide the patients themselves with tools to safely manage their own medications.

What do you think? Please tell us.

Don’t leave me alone.





A most republican sale

Dear friends:

A few days ago we designed a special Kindle Countdown sale for our loyal readers in the United Kingdom, which was a resounding success. Thank you very much to all the Brits inside and outside the island that have supported us with their pounds and their eyes.

Unfortunately a few American laggards, who have not taken advantage of that great deal previously, complained that I was favoring “the royals” and sidelining “the republicans”. In  order to placate these freedom loving-spirits I just designed another Kindle Store countdown sale of my novel that will start at just U$ 0.99 on July 3rd (one day before the national celebrations) with a progressively rising price for a whole week until reaching its regular one of U$ 9.99. Don’t procrastinate and take advantage of it!

As a proud American citizen, I am most grateful for all the great gifts this land has given me, foremost of all my two children born right here. Happy Fourth of July to you all!

Trapped by the trappings of Love

“When they finished lunch, Emily and Matilda liked to sit down in the Florida room to watch the blooming garden, sharing a cup of comforting tea. Emily languidly gazed at the inscrutable mist in the garden, her body steeped with a hot infusion and her spirit with a much mellower one: Melancholy.

-“It blows my mind,” Matilda said. “Throwing money away like that instead of choosing something more discreet—that Ruth must be fuming.”

The intended interlocutor had a meandering moss marching across her mind.

-“Emily…Hello! What’s wrong with you?”

-“Nothing… So you want to watch a Mafia movie?”

-“That’s not it… Pay attention for a second…Did you hear that we’ve got the invitation to attend Annie’s wedding in Florida next month, eh?”

-“Really? That’s great—”

-“We can squeeze in your Miami Beach condo, can’t we? You should have listened to her. She gave me gazillion details of… Hello! Anybody home?”

-“I’m listening…Of course we can—what’s that story with Al Capone?”

-“Oh, that….The show-off booked the same Biltmore suite he liked to stay in … They’ll also dress with vintage Roaring Twenties-outfits when they fly to Paris in Air France’s Fist Class to stay in the Georges V hotel—“

-“Sounds so cool,” Emily said with an ersatz emotion. She was not into it.

Filled with nuptial bliss, she feels trapped by the trappings of Love.”

In my novel, Emily was feeling less and less satisfaction from her material possessions, replaced by a widening spiritual void. Hedonic adaptation. The curse of all those ladies that, for various reasons, prioritized the acquisition of material things in their lives and relegated their emotional needs for later.

But somehow it eventually catches to them in a rather painful comeuppance. We have seen it on a recurrent basis over the years; saddled with material wealth they crave for a glimmer of romanticism that would lighten them up. It concerns almost all the age, ethnic, cultural and socio-economic groups. Blissfully, their emotional frustration often converts them into avid readers.

“One routine-tinged afternoon, Georgina was casually listening to a talk show in “Radio Atlántica” that dealt with lame issues. Except that day.

-“We have a literary question,” a female announcer said. “And whoever gets it right will get a brand new washing machine…Are you ready?“

Georgina stopped peeling potatoes to turn the radio’s volume up.

-“What did Gabrielle D’Annunzio—the Italian writer who was an inveterate womanizer—liked to do when he was making love? Call us now.”

Many calls ensued with all sort of wrong answers until a gentleman, who was a retired professor of literature, finally called with the precise one.

-“D’Annunzio became bald while he was still young,” he said. “Therefore he usually carried an elegant partial wig to conceal that fact to his admirers.”

-“Right…And? Go on—”

-“He had a throng of adoring women…He was a big celebrity.”

-“Fine…But what did he do?” The announcer was ready to take another call.

Panting as one of the poet’s bedded lovers, Georgina roots for him.

-“Right before reaching the climax, he lifted his toupée up to show his baldness…She caressed the phallic sign and had a huge orgasm.”

-“Bravo! Bravo! That’s what he liked to do—you won the prize.”

Stuck in a dreadful domestic rut, Georgina’s spirit alights d’emblée.”


What do you think? Please tell us.

Don’t leave me alone.

Cannabis in PTSD – Part II

“In spite of his family’s pampering, Bobby felt strange in civilian life. Preceded by the slap on his face of a freezing wind —stinking of diesel fuel, spent gunpowder and suffocating sand—a recurring image haunted his sleep.

The troubling, taciturn hitchhiker—smelling of mirth and holding a sharp scythe—hops into their patrolling Humvee at the camp’s gate. Clad with a paltry poncho, he silently squats in a corner. Waiting.

-“WATCH OUT FOR IDES,” Bobby yelled. “One hit—you’re toast.”

-“Easy,” William Senior said coming to his bedside. “I’ll bring a snack—“ He came back shortly holding a tray with two glasses of milk and cookies.

-“We booked a predator-hunting trip out West. Want to saddle up, Cochise?”

In my novel, Bobby, the main character’s high school sweetheart, suffers from PTSD after spending several tours of combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. Many active duty American servicemen and veterans have this disease, which has been properly recognized as such and is being studied at present.

The web page of the “Veterans for Medical Cannabis Access” says, “despite the anecdotal evidence to the contrary, most of the experimental studies that have been conducted so far indicate that by and large the administration of exogenous cannabinoids such as vaporizing therapeutic cannabis may not be the most reliable nor effective means of utilizing the eCB system to treat anxiety and aversive memories such as those formed in PTSD.” They advocate the investigation of other mechanisms to limit the eCB breakdown, which coupled with the extinction/habituation therapy might alleviate PTSD.

Considering the humongous amount of human and material resources that the U.S. military has been deploying worldwide, it is certainly not too much asking that they assign a fraction to PTSD’s scientific and clinical research.

One of the most pressing issues for the veterans with grave symptoms of PTSD is the unrelenting persecution of some authorities in a few states when one of them is caught consuming or, worse, planting some marijuana in their backyard for their consumption. In the “First Southeast Cannabis Conference and Expo of South Florida” held at the Fort Lauderdale Convention Center on June 10, 11 2017, Attorney Michael Minardi gave a good presentation about the legal challenges and remedies in these prosecutions. He said that the dismissal of these cases must be based on proving “the medical necessity’ of this act. However he gave several examples of harrowing ordeals veterans had to go through.

The soldiers that carry the defense of the realm deserve an equitable redress.

What do you think? Please tell us.

Don’t leave me alone.


First Southeast Cannabis Conference and Expo

On June 10, 11 2017, we attended the first major gathering of professionals, industry representatives and general public that focused on the multiple uses and presentations of Cannabis and its extracts in South Florida. As we have already discussed in our previous articles on the medical use of Cannabis, the extraction and purification of the CBD component has allowed its certification and commercialization for care issues.

Walking through the exposition hallways we met interesting people of all walks of life. Right upfront there was a station from “Weedmaps”, an information company that has been called “the Amazon of hemp.” According to Carrissa, the lovely lady serving as its hostess, it is a fully integrated site for all the issues related to the use of marijuana.

A few paces away there was a über-multi-coloured and lively presentation of “MagicalButter”, a state-of-the-art botanical extractor to prepare edibles. Dalton, the smiling guy that appears as the image of this article, patiently explained the steps to prepare smoothies, dressings and other delicacies.  A few paces away I found an example of CBD – innovation. Lawrence, a sales manager from “Quantum Group Distribution”, showed me how a small nebulizer delivered its necessary dosage in a fast, clean way.There was also space for entertainment options as Kathy explained the cruise ship schedules offered by “Bhang Travel” in accommodations of “MSC.”

The educational activities were informative; unfortunately we could only attend a few of them but we harvested many pearls from that experience. Attorney Michael Minardi, who represents clients that were prosecuted for consuming and/or planting of marijuana, explained to the defense basis on the grounds of “medical necessity”, The use of Cannabis for healing purposes must be supported by the medical condition of the patient and the unavailability of other treatment options for severe pain and other ailments. He told us that since the times of the British colonies, the American settlers have defended the use of local remedies against abusive authorities. He gave us several examples of cases he had litigated across the nation; it seemed that once the need for Cannabis is established and the possibility of trafficking is ruled out, most prosecutions are gracefully dismissed by the juries for the relief of defendants and their families.

Montel Williams, a former Navy service man and famous entertainer, made us all laugh with his spontaneous account of the many instances when he was detained at the airport security because he was carrying a pipe; his life dramatically changed when he was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.

Dr. Stuart Titus, an entrepreneur from California, explained to us that in the USA there was not an established tradition of Herbal Medicine like in India, China or even Europe and there was a suspicion of medicinal products that could not be thoroughly quantified. He believed that the sustained efforts at scientific research, industry methods and clinical research will eventually overcome that disconnect and facilitate its medical use.

Cheryl Shuman, dubbed as the “Martha Stewart of Marijuana” by the media, narrated how since she was diagnosed with cancer several years ago she has been using marijuana for medical purposes. As she wanted to share her experience with the public she began a high profile campaign in the media. She had to overcome plenty of vitriol from many quarters but she managed to focus the discussion on patients’ right to an alternative Medicine tool. She eventually became a very successful Cannabis business entrepreneur. In her closing argument she became very personal as she shared some privy details about her present medical condition, which was a highly charged emotional moment. We wish her a successful treatment and recovery period as she’s in our prayers.

The unrelenting scientific and clinical evidence that Cannabis, and specifically the CBD component, has multiple uses in chronic diseases will certainly promote many more conferences like this one in the near future in our area and the rest of the nation.

What do you think? Please tell us.

Don’t leave me alone.