World Down Syndrome Day 2015

Every year the World celebrates Down Syndrome, generating awareness for the wonderful group of individuals that we are blessed sharing the World with.

To this day, people with Down Syndrome have special powers – powers to spread love and happiness to everyone who they get in touch with.  They smile, cherish life and adore anybody who wants to be their friend.

Some people still mock them and call them names, but it’s just out of ignorance.

My beautiful wife helps spread awareness about people with special needs, so you should really visit her Facebook page.  It’s also a tribute to my amazing son, Christian, who was born with an extra chromosome.

Yes, I need to say no a few extra times when he’s misbehaving, but so did my dad to me. He has come such a long way in a short time, especially since arriving in the US where he gets an awesome service and support in the school.  His aid (Mr. T) is absolutely amazing with my son, and they have bonded like brothers.  This has resulted in a phenomenal improvement in his abilities to interact and communicate.

What’s even more magical, as a parent to a special needs kid, is that he has friends in school.  Kids walk up to him and give him high five, shout hi when they see him and he has play dates with class mates.  It’s wonderful as a parent to see how well he’s accepted by his peers.  They love him too.

Here’s a set of excellent images my wife created to honour our son :-)

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Summer Time, Farts & Eagles

snowdropSummer time arrived during the early morning 8th of March, year of the lord 2015.

Nothing special really.  It has happened so many times before, but something special does come along with moving clocks forward.

I have to admit it might be a little difficult to accept summer is coming, considering we still have 2 feet (or more) of snow all over.  It’ll take a long time to melt, but let’s stay positive.

Longer days - More sunshine (we hope) -
Heating up - Dusting off garden furniture -
Uncover the trusted BBQ - Sound of motorcycles -
Melting snow - Snowdrop flowers - Cleaning

But for me this day was super special.  I got to spend it with my youngest of the three.  Just her and I hanging out while the rest of the gang got to enjoy ‘Aladdin‘ on Broadway.

You might say “where’s the justice in that!?” as surely the family should all go to Broadway.  We would love to go all of us, but sometimes young kids are not permitted to attend the theater and some times we have to consider ticket prices :-)

Our day started with kicking the gang out of the house, and then the adventures really started.  We had already agreed, her and I, that we would bake cakes (plural) and then fart in all the rooms, including on mum’s pillow.  The plans had been plotted, now it was just a matter of putting them into action.

We baked two massive cakes: chocolate cake and apple cake (mormon’s æblekage).  The little one gets so excited when she gets to mix all the ingredients and use the hand mixer.  I love seeing her smile, laugh and try out her baking skills.  It doesn’t matter that we have flour, eggs, sugar, and used utensils all over the kitchen.  We have fun at that’s what matter, and afterwards she gets to lick the dough off the whisks.

The warm sweet smell filled the rooms and while we were waiting we started to watch “The Hobbit“.  It’s never too early to start seeing these awesome movies.

As soon as the cakes were ready, we started sampling our creations.  First chocolate, then apple cake, closed supported by a nice glass of cold milk.  Excellent choice as lunch time meal.  I’m sure the missus would prefer a more appropriate selection but she’s not here to ‘guide’ us down the correct path.

She was totally absorbed by the movie, loving the battles with goblins, running across Middle Earth landscapes and then screamed when the eagles arrived to rescue the group of dwarves, hobbit and wizard.  She slowly turned to me and said “dad, you are big enough to ride eagles too.  Can I ride with you?”  Then she gave me a big hobbit hug.

Man, I love these moments where you can just relax with your child.  Smile together. Fart together.  Generally do some father-daughter bonding.

Too often we parents are withdrawn in daily routines, discussing stupid work related events, worried about money and devote little time to our kids.  Weekends are created to do just that.

I strongly encourage parents to set aside time with their kids.  It doesn’t have to cost anything and you can spend time together at the house playing games, cooking, baking, watching movies and just fart.

Happy summer time kick off.  Let’s get ready for good times ahead!

summertime

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Traffic is Evil

Road-RageTraffic!  The Devil’s work.  The path to Zen and one of the many Catholic trials.  Once you conquer the road rage you are on the path to eternal glory.  Or at least that what we should believe instead of hammering frantically at the wheel or stupidly honk the horn hoping that the traffic will magically disperse.  Only your horn can provide the guidance the other drivers need to open up and let you pass.  It is the Devil’s work!

Most people get stuck in traffic at various times, and at times when you least need to get delayed.  Traffic is evil!  It screws with your well laid plans, whether these are business plans or romantic dates with your partner.

Funnily enough, people have different interpretations of what traffic actually means.  It all depends where they live and which areas they have visited.

Take my dad (bless his soul).  We are from a tiny spot in the picturesque Danish rural harbor village, where traffic is measured in how many people you can wave to when stuck at the local traffic light.  And, there are not many traffic lights to get stuck at, but you do tend to know all people who drives around.

One time I was visiting my parents, my dad and I had to go grocery shopping.  This is when I lived in Dublin (Ireland), where the M50 is a well-known car park.  Anyway, on our way to the local market, we got caught by the red light, with about 12 cars in front of us.  My dad instantly broke into cursing, blaming the economy for excessive cars on the roads, the European influence on rural Denmark and that my mum would be utterly upset with this delay.  After a pain staking 7 minutes we finally cleared the traffic light and parked at the super market.

I subsequently tried to explain to my dad that this was nothing compared to the M50 / Dublin city traffic.  It would take me an hour to drive 10 miles to work, each way, going about 20mph at top speed.

nyc_trafficWithin a few months my parents visited Dublin, which fueled pure road rage in my dad.  I’ve seen him upset before, but this was Saddam Hussein rage.  He was ready to nuke East coast of Ireland, and would happily live in the nuclear winter that follows just to avoid traffic like this ever again.  Needless to say we had a few pints when we finally made it back to the house and WALKED down to the local pub to watch Chelsea beat Arsenal (Gunners) – what a day!

Today we live close to New York City.  Population = 8.4 million souls … almost double size of Denmark’s entire population.  As a result, traffic is bedlam.  Sorry, let me rephrase that. Traffic is absolutely shite.  Please consider that this is the city that never sleeps, so there’s always traffic.  However, on the few occasions my wife and I went on date night to the city, we’ve got stuck in traffic.

  1. If/Then show on broadway – it took us almost three hours to snail through 6 miles down to Broadway, which resulted in us missing dinner, and had to settle for a lovely drive muffin as the door opened to the show
  2. Black Keys (Barclay Center, Brooklyn) – traffic prevented us from enjoying a romantic dinner, but thanks to “awesome” chicken at Barclay Center
  3. Ed Kowalczyk (City Winery) – we had ‘meet ‘n greet’ tickets, but missed the opportunity to meet the dude himself, but did have lovely Peruvian dinner

My dad is most likely sitting in the sky cursing, much to the amusement of St. Peter, blaming anything from Obamacare to Siberian Northern Lights that the traffic is not flowing well, almost causing his son’s (me) to miss out on romantic times with his beautiful wife.

Take care of each other.  Don’t let traffic bring out your bed side.  Be Zen. Be happy and avoid using the horn … it only brings more anger.  Anger leads to the dark side :-)

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Blowing Snow

Much to the amusement of some NSA snooper, the title of this post has nothing to do with doing a few lines on a mirror in the back room of the Area Nightclub in NYC in the mid 80′s.  I’m obviously way too young for having partied in that nightclub, but I’m certain it was fulfilled nights.

Anyway, back to the actual point of this story, which does not involve massive amounts of coke, while Tony Montana shouts “say ‘hello to my little friend!

snow tunnel

Commuter Tunnel

As a matter of fact, this post involves large quantities of snow that suddenly got dropped on the North East of the US recently, which shouldn’t really surprise many people given we are in the middle of the winter.

I think what shocked people the most was the amount of snow we received during the last 4-6 weeks.  As much as one foot dropped over night one weekend alone.

Imagine how we felt, being half Irish, when the most snow we’ve seen in the past decade (before moving to the US) was about an inch, and then entire country shut down.  At first the snow was wonderful and had a fairy tale feel to it.  Once a thick layer of snow had covered the area, it muffled all sounds.  I felt like running into the snow-covered landscape in my bathing rope, twirling while singing “Let it go!”.  Dropping into the snow making snow angels and build a snow fortress.  All the stuff any grown man was longing to do – right?!

Alarm bells should’ve gone off when we bought the house some months ago, and the owner proudly said he was leaving the industrial sized snowblower with the house.  He was moving to Florida and had absolutely no use for it.  We have an amazing long driveway, just short of 332 feet, times two as we actually have two roads leading to the house.

I was excited about the possibility that I would be operating my very own snow blower and got dressed for battling the snow; the day after we received the foot of snow.  The beast jumped into life and I slowly started the caterpillar tracks and blower.  It was super hungry and spewed snow well into the forest, clearing the driveway.  Let me tell you, it still takes a long time to clear a 320+ feet driveway.  And, despite having a monster snow blower, it is still a lot of hard work.  Sweat was running down my forehead, turning into ice crystals and I had icecaps forming in my beard.  Damn you Queen Elsa!

2 hours later, 4 lbs lighter and sweat soaked, the job was completed.  Like any man and husband, I turned around, placed my hands on my hips and looked proudly down my 320+ feet cleared driveway.  Awesome!  Kudos to me and my machine.  Surely my wife would be equally proud.

…then it started to snow again!

This whole “Frozen‘ obsession has to stop.  Even the weather Gods are joining this strange trend and have covered Boston in a new ice age.  When will this madness end?

frozen-car

No parking!

Hope you are staying warm!

I’m preparing for another snowmaggedon in late February, and early March, as Phil the fecking Groundhog had predicted another six weeks of ‘Day After Tomorrow‘ syndrome.  It still baffles me to think that we rely on a groundhog to predict winter these days, but given the recent Y2K of weather mis-predictions, it’s probably a safer bet.

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Smooth Criminal – Elco style

Being the proud owner of a power beast, Chevy El Camino ’82  is an awesome experience.  You have a true muscle car hidden in the shell of a pick-up truck wannabe chassis.  People who sees you driving this beast might roll their eyes, smirk at the ugliness, and even question its existence.

Little do they know that under the hood, which is spacious enough to hide a full-grown body, sits an awesome V8 5l 305 power engine, generating about 150 horsepower.  Enough to challenge most cars anywhere … except if the roads are a little wet as that causes unnecessary wheel spins :-)  Granted fuel consumption is rather ridiculous, with about 10-12 mpg and a 12 gallon tank.  So, for commuting 20 miles each way it’s not an ideal vehicle, but I love it.

I use this beast to bring the kids to school every morning.  They are a little intimidated by the sound of the engine, perhaps a little embarrassed too, but largely accept their mode of transportation.

If you’ve seen ‘Uncle Buck’ then you would remember his old banger, and the amount of exhaust fumes it generated.  Well most V8 engines does produce larger amount of smoke, so when I pull in at the local elementary school to drop kids off most people cover their noses.  Not cool when the car in front of me is the Tesla car which doesn’t even have an exhaust.

The other morning when driving down the local country road, the local sheriff obviously wanted to check out my wheels.  I had barely passed the spot where he was parked, when he floored his cruiser and came in behind me.  He turned on the Christmas lights and pointed at me to pull over.

It was my first time to get pulled over by the cops, since I was pulled over for suspected car theft 20 years ago.  Just because I had long hair didn’t mean I stole the nice car I was driving!  However, it wasn’t my first encounter with the law – I’m a rebel and you know it!

Having just moved to another state, my license plates were brand new, vehicle registration and inspection stickers temporary and my license was also a print-out.  Something tells me the trooper was not impressed with the pieces of paper I shared with him.  He looked down on the paper pile and then back at me, then at the kids.

“I assume the kids have seat belts on?”

“Of course officer, I’m a responsible parent!  I might drive a shitty old banger, but safety comes first”.

He went back to his cruiser, obviously to triple check my criminal past and to see if my car had been part in a drive by at some point.  Everything came back all clear.  Then he handed me my papers back and told me I was clear to go.

Just because Sheriff Lyle ‘Cottonmouth’ Wallace had pulled me over, on a school run morning, he had now screwed up my tight schedule.  I kicked the V8 engine into drive and left the cop surrounded in a vail of smoke while I jolted down the country road towards the school.

Good thing is, I didn’t get a ticket – just a friendly nod from the local sheriff :-)

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T-Virus Is Real

T-Virus

T-Virus

I have been rather rattled by the recent debates and discussions, and at times accusations, when it comes to giving vaccines to our kids.  Giving them to my kids whom I love and cherish.

Some scientists claim that we need to vaccinate our kids from an early age, and we blindly listen to them without questioning what poison they inject into these fragile bodies.

Political groups accuses parents of putting our existence into question and also claim that none of these multi- vaccines have caused long-term impacts.  Why is there an increase in mental illnesses like autism?

I’m not an advocate for autism, but do question why we’ve seen such an increase in last few years.  And I do not believe it’s to do better screening.  Here’s a little video for the conspiracy theorists :-)

Poison is perhaps the wrong term, but nevertheless, we inject toxics into their bodies hoping they will be protected against common and now more uncommon infections.  It’s the beginning  of World War Z!

I have long proclaimed that vaccinating kids unnecessarily will only cause four things;

  1. Kids get an overload of viruses injected which could have long-term impact on their bodies and mental states.  We do not have the long-term evidence to show that it is not dangerous.
  2. Multi-function vaccines contain chemicals, viruses and liquids is a toxic cocktail.  The combinations have side effects.
  3. Viruses will mutate and grow stronger, leaving humanity with less chance of winning
  4. It’s all just a conspiracy and we are all doomed :-)

It’s important to understand that I fully support getting my kids vaccinated, but I also want to know what’s being injected into my kids, and have the right to object or request single (individual) shots instead of multi-vaccines.

When I grew up I had perhaps a handful of vaccines measles, rubella, mumps, polio and smallpox … and perhaps one or two mode.  But that was it, and I survived my childhood just fine.  And so did all the Western World parents who are giving out about other parents objecting to multi vaccines.

We have to stop, assess our objectives and then determine the best vaccines for our kids.

Look at the impact of the flu vaccine.  The flu virus have gotten much stronger in the past few years, mutating and leaving the vaccine useless.  Perhaps not useless, as some people will benefit from a vaccine if they have a weak immune system.

Let’s take a quick look at some of the vaccines our kids get these days, at a very young age.

  • Cervical Cancer; spread through sexual contact … but their genitals are not even evolved at this stage
  • Hepatitis; share needles, unprotected sex, multiple sex partners, alcoholic, which again is unlikely at this young age
    • of course if you travel to or live in areas with poor sanitation, then yes
  • Pneumococcal; the PPSV vaccine cannot be used for the part of the population that is most vulnerable to the disease, i.e. kids, so they just made another version (or just other name) called PCV
  • Pertussis; aka Whooping Cough – granted, we do not want our kids to get this infection, but perhaps we could give them the cure when/if they do contract Whooping Cough?
  • Flu;  let’s be honest, it’s a pain to get the flu, and if you have a really weak immune system it can be very serious, but there’s no need to force this vaccine upon kids

The rest of the long list of vaccines our kids get are ok I assume, but I do not support the use of multi-vaccines.  We simply do not know the long-term side effects of these.

autismWhy did we “invent” multi-vaccines?  My take on it is that we (people in general) could not be bothered going to the doctor many times throughout the first years of our kids’ life, and demanded shorter visits and fewer shots.  That means we are to blame for the viruses getting stronger, our bodies weaker and new chronic illnesses arises – and not to mention the rapid increase of autism in the past decade.

The conspiracist in me would claim that the medical and pharmaceutical industries control this very closely.  They are on cahoots together.  Insurance companies demand these vaccines and pharmaceuticals provides them at high cost.  Perhaps even making the single shot vaccines so expensive it doesn’t make sense for parents.

We need to go back to basics.  Only inject the critical vaccines into our kids, one-by-one, and then strengthen them as they grow.  This includes more visits to the local doctor as kids get older and perhaps get more active with travelling and (God forbid as a parent) when they get sexual active.

When I read articles the news where people comment or proclaim that parents who ask questions about the vaccines are not idiots, then I get slightly annoyed.  We are asking these questions for the safety of our children.  The concerns raised is not necessarily about the vaccine itself, but the fact that the modern vaccines combines multiple vaccine shots into fewer shots – and several of these vaccines the kids don’t need at such an early stage in their lives.

My comment back to these parents are “do you not care for your kids and do you simply fill their bodies with any kind of junk?  Then you might as well allow them to inject drugs!”

It’s time we stand together and determine what’s best for our kids as parents.  We need to get vaccinated against the common diseases and prevent spread of viruses.  The answer is not multi-vaccines, but single vaccines.

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Throwing Copper

liveEd Kowalczyk has come a long way in the past 20 years.  Almost full circle from an artist’s prospect.  He started out in York, PA, and probably played small venues, but suddenly he was standing in front of sold out stadium tours.  Now he’s back doing what I think he’s awesome at; playing small intimate gigs in front of true fans, celebrating his music and dedication to his fans.  He has even grown a beard :-)

When I bought my favourite album 20 years ago I did not expect to one day sit in the same room as Big Ed, listening to all 14 tracks in acoustic version.

Throwing Copper celebrated 20 years in 2014 and Ed K went on a long tour to promote it, and at the same time bring a generation together who really appreciates his music.

First time I had the privilege of seeing Live was when they performed at the awesome festival in Denmark, Roskilde Festival, in 1995, where they entertained approx. 50,000 people on the main (orange) stage, mostly drunk and drug dazed young people with at times questionable intentions.  I was too in a somewhat haze probably due to lack of sleep, too much music, beer and partying, but it was such a great evening I shared with my friends.  The weather was awesome, or so I believe, and the music was flowing through the hot summer evening … perfect atmosphere.

Fast forward 20 years and my Throwing Copper experience has come full circle too.  I got tickets to see him 13 February in the City Winery, New York, with my wonderful wife on our Valentine’s date.

The audience was all the same age group so I can only assume that many of these people have been following Ed for a few decades.  When 98% of them started to sing along to the songs, my suspicions were confirmed.  It was the acoustic version, as I mentioned further up, and each track was played with such emotions and tenderness that almost made it unreal.  He had synchronised his performance with a guy playing various instruments to the tracks, and was joined by a younger artist playing a selection of guitars, incl. a piece that looked like an electric ukulele.

The tickets I had bought months ago were meet ‘n greet, which too me was the ultimate fan experience although I had no idea what I would do or say when I met him.  Knowing me, I would say something completely weird, giggle awkwardly or just hug him spontaneously.  Unfortunately, or perhaps thankfully for him, we got stuck in traffic going into the City and never made it to the meeting.  Perhaps next time!

I have to admit, I almost lost my cool and was ready to tear up the Shit Towne, as the waitress claimed that my ticket was only for meet ‘n greet.  But, she would happily sell me tickets for the gig to which I shared some of my Irish proverbs and communicated fairly honestly.  I was really selling the drama, but it was defused when the manager came to offer us seats at no extra cost.  Honestly, I had no idea that I would have to buy meet ‘n greet as well as regular tickets.  It just doesn’t seem logical.  Why buy two tickets?

And, if they had checked the guest list for the meet ‘n greet they would’ve noticed we did not show up as we got stuck in famous NYC rush hour traffic!!

Anyway, and the most important thing, I got to listen to Ed Kowalczyk with my beautiful wife, celebrating Valentine’s Day and in the company of beautiful people.

Thanks Ed.  I seriously hope that I will get to meet you one day, shake your hand and share my appreciation for the joys your music has brought to my life.

I love life and everything in it, I just like songs about the end of the World” – Ed Kowalczyk, City Winery February 2015.

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Java Challenge

java runtime environment error mac yosemiteI recently upgraded my Mac to Yosemite, for free of course thanks to Apple, and ever since I get this really annoying browser error “To view this web content yo
u need to install the Java Runtime Environment.”

To make matters worse, after clicking through to Oracle’s Java.com to “Download Java for Mac OS X” and installing it, the error persisted.  I most have tried to install this version a dozen times, but with little or no success.

I even uninstalled/deleted the Java tool from my Mac, rebooted thinking I was working with Windows OS, install it again, only to find that error was not resolved.Next option – Google.  And thanks to other people who have been through the same painful hours, they have developed a simple path to resolving this error.

I cannot claim to have developed the steps, so this is courtesy of another fellow Mac user.

oracle java for os xThe reason the general (normal) approach work by installing the official Java version is because… wait for it… it is the wrong link.

The error is being generated by Oracle, so naturally it directs you to Oracle’s Java download page for OS X.

STOP! STOP!  You need the official Apple version of Java for OS X.

java for os x 2014 apple

Be sure to restart your browser after installing!

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Broken Bones

The day had unfolded like so many school days.  The evening rituals were dictated by the homework, folding clothes and of course the family dinner.  Just a normal midweek evening, in a normal family setting.

Kids were busy arguing about which colour the dog’s collar was, and from what I overheard, they were discussing the shades of pink.  My son was sitting between the girls and as the discussion got more heated he anxiously starred at me as if asking to either step in or help him.  I opted for the latter much to his relief, and I sensed a strange man-hug forming between us – an awkward fast paced wrapping of arms and then a gentle pad on the back.

My lovely wife had recently started to attend a women club at the local church, meeting up with women from our parish, hanging out with Father Ted and chatting with the man upstairs.  All-in-all a very innocent evening with friends.

It had been raining a fair bit and my wife decided to wear her awesome cowgirl boots, while driving her oversized SUV.  The next few paragraphs are hearsay, so would not stand up in court as the actual event, but it’s based on an expert witness testimony (my wife’s).

She had been gone for less then 45 minutes, when she suddenly stumbled in through the front door.  At first I thought she was completely hammered, after dipping too many times into the alter wine, and that she had broken several traffic laws on her way home.  I was certain the house would be surrounded by a SWAT team and media crews pulling into our driveway.

BUT, from the tears that were rolling down her chin I figured it was something else.  I’m rather clever at times!  It’s a 15th sense I have.

With the tears rolling down, she collapsed on the sofa and asked me to remove her awesome cowgirl boot from her left foot.  She had slipped at church and felt her ankle snap.  As soon as the boot was removed her ankle doubled in size.  I know it was a classic schoolboy error to remove the pressure and support provided by the boot, but I could not face that a 22 year old doctor would cut into the goat skin shitkickers.

It was pretty clear that this injury would not be healed with a simple ice pack, so I rushed over to the neighbours, persuaded them to baby sit the kids for a few hours while I headed to ER / A&E … whatever it’s called these days.  Perhaps money milking machine is more appropriate?!

As she was sitting in the wheel chair waiting for the 19 year old nurse, I suddenly realised that she was like Kim Jong-Un – short, black hair and a bad ankle.  No offence to the North Korean leader of course.  And my wife had fantastic sparkling pink nail polish on her toes – looking awesome for any occasion.

We spent the next 2 hours in the local ER, with my wife eating drugs and I taking selfies.  The doctors were somewhat surprised by our reaction, especially when I gave the doctor high-five while proclaiming this was the first broken bone in the family history.  It was a new event on the Facebook timeline and I of course had to check-in as well as post cool selfies on Instagram.

I guess dancing was out of the question for the next weeks.  She had to wear a not-so-sexy supportive boot, and apply little pressure while the ankle was healing.

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Belated Happy New Year

word cloud for year 2015

Godt Nytår til alle i det Danske land og til dem som bor uden for vores smukke land!

It has literally been 3 months since I last posted, and for that I’m truly sorry.  There has just been so many things happening in our lives that left me with no time to dedicate to posting updates.  I’ll obviously attempt to fill you all in, and will start posting from today onwards.

I’m certain you had a wonderful Christmas break and that you entered 2015 full of energy, ready to tackle the challenges ahead of us all.  We have so much to accomplish and so much energy.

It’ll be an amazing year and you are awesome!

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