Blog #730 Tea 101

We are looking at caffeinated drinks – and starting looking at tea
https://www.cupandleaf.com/blog/tea-101

So – time to learn about about tea – with Tea-101!!!

The following are pretty much all from the linked article!!!  (And, I learned a lot from reading this)

There are three main categories of tea: true tea, herbal tea, and flavored tea. 

Many new tea drinkers are surprised to find out that herbal teas and flavored teas aren’t really teas. That’s because these types of tea don’t contain any plant parts of the tea plant known by the scientific name Camellia sinensis. Herbal teas and flavored teas infuse spices, herbs, and flowers in water to make what’s called a tisane. Read on to find out more about these different categories of tea.

There are five true teas: white tea, green tea, oolong tea, black tea, and pu-erh tea. These are the teas most scientists refer to when doing research on the health benefits of tea.

Even though these teas come from the leaves of the same tea plant, they differ wildly in flavor, aroma, and appearance.

White tea is the least processed true tea. It undergoes the simplest production process, which is designed to maintain its natural look and flavor. Tea leaves are plucked by hand and then immediately dried outdoors in natural sunlight. Only the youngest leaves of the tea plant are used to make white tea.

Green tea is made from leaves that are only minimally processed. Green tea leaves are not oxidized, but they do undergo a slightly longer production process than white teas. 

Green tea leaves are hand harvested and immediately transported to an onsite production facility. Here, the tea leaves are spread out on large bamboo or cloth mats where they are withered. This step of the production process helps to reduce moisture content of the tea leaves.

Once the leaves are limp, they are blasted with heat to prevent oxidation. In general, green tea leaves are either pan-fried or steamed during the drying process. As the tea leaves are being dried, tea masters begin to shape the tea leaves.

Oolong tea is a semi-oxidized tea. The tea leaves are allowed to oxidize, but only for a short period of time. The flavor and color of oolong tea are stronger than green tea, but more mellow than black tea.

Oolong tea leaves undergo a moderate production process consisting of: hand harvesting, withering, rolling, short-term oxidation, and drying.

The plucked tea leaves are withered and bruised in bamboo baskets or on bamboo mats. The bruising exposes enzymes in the tea leaves to oxygen. These enzymes begin a controlled fermentation process that alters the flavor and color of the leaves.

Black tea is the most processed of the true tea varieties. It undergoes a process of withering, rolling, oxidation, and drying. The lengthy production process produces a tea that is bold and reminiscent of the flavor of coffee.

Black teas are most commonly produced in China, India, Sri Lanka, and Africa. The largest black tea growing regions are the Assam and Darjeeling areas of India. This is followed by Nilgiri, Sri Lanka—the third largest growing region in the country formerly known as Ceylon.

Black teas like oolong teas, are typically named after the regions in which they are produced. Black teas cultivated in Assam are made using the tea variety called Camellia sinensis var. assamica. These teas are fully oxidized and appear deep black in color.

Herbal teas do not contain any leaves from the tea plant. Instead, these beverages are made by infusing spices, herbs, flowers, and twigs in hot water. There are thousands of flavors when it comes to herbal teas due to the wide variety of plants used to make infusions.

Popular spice teas include turmeric tea, ginger tea, and peppermint tea. There are also hundreds of floral teas such as hibiscus tea, lavender tea, and jasmine tea. 

Flavored teas are made by combining true teas with herbal tisanes. A true tea such as green tea or black tea is used as a base while herbs, spices, and flowers are added to create stunning flavor profiles. 

Some of the most popular flavored teas include Earl Grey and masala chai. Earl Grey is a popular British tea that infuses black tea with bergamot orange. It is a citrusy delight that blends fruity and malty flavors. 

Masala chai is a popular Indian beverage that combines spices and a black tea base. 

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Okay, tea-101 overview is largely done.  (I did skip pu-erh tea!!)

Moving forward we’ll eventually get into caffeinated teas, (and non-caffeinated teas), benefits of teas and more!!!  I’m not sure it will move me off my coffee base, but … who knows!! I might even learn to hold up my pinkie when I sip tea!!

Most of my tea drinking is pure black tea from Sri Lanka that I brew to make iced tea!!  In the summer I probably drink four times as much (or more) unsweet iced tea as I do coffee.  And, of course, it is summer about 9 months of the year in Central Texas. I have three large containers in the refrigerator now!!!

Karen

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Blog #729 Decaf Coffee and Tea

Decaffeinating Coffee and Tea

Mostly from:  https://coffeeconfidential.org/health/decaffeination/

Wow – I’ve really be off on this coffee and tea study.  I’ve taken coffee for granted most of my life – but there are some differences.  I generally think coffee and caffeine are good (in general). I don’t want to overdo it and get jittery – and especially later in the day so I can sleep well.  [I remember years ago where I could drink coffee into the evening and it didn’t bother me – but now, I try to avoid caffeinated beverages later in the day.]

So, how do they decaffeinate coffee (first – then tea later)

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First – coffee comes from coffee beans – and coffee beans naturally have caffeine in them.  And … even when decaffeinating coffee there is still some small amount of caffeine left.

Coffee is always decaffeinated in its green (unroasted) state.

The greatest challenge is to try to separate the caffeine from the coffee beans while leaving the other chemicals at their original concentrations. This is not easy since coffee contains somewhere around 1,000 chemicals that are important to the taste and aroma of this wonderfully complex elixir.

In the indirect-solvent method the coffee beans are soaked in near boiling water for several hours, which extracts the caffeine as well as other flavor elements and oils from the beans.

The water is then separated and transferred to another tank where the beans are washed for about 10 hours with either methylene chloride or ethyl acetate. The molecules of the chemical solvent selectively bond with the molecules of caffeine and the resulting mixture is then heated to evaporate the solvent and caffeine.

Lastly, the beans are reintroduced to the liquid to reabsorb most of the coffee oils and flavor elements.

In this method of decaffeination the beans are steamed for about 30 minutes in order to open their pores. Once the coffee beans are receptive to a solvent, they are repeatedly rinsed with either methylene chloride or ethyl acetate for about 10 hours to remove the caffeine. The caffeine-laden solvent is then drained away and the beans are steamed again to remove any residual solvent.

Most of the time the solvent of choice in this method is ethyl acetate, so you’ll often see it referred to as “The Natural Decaffeination Method” or “The Ethyl Acetate Method.”

(aside – “Short-term exposure to high levels of ethyl acetate results first in irritation of the eyes, nose and throat, followed by headache, nausea, vomiting, sleepiness, and unconsciousness. High concentrations can cause CNS depression and congestion of the liver and kidneys.”) 

First, you will note that a major reason for decaf coffee costing more than regular coffee is the major steps done to the coffee beans – chemicals added, coffee bean mixture is heated for a longer period of time.  So the time, the chemicals and the intricacies of this process can be significant as compared to just regularly roasting and grinding beans.

How about decaffeinating tea?

All teas made from Camellia Sinensis contain natural levels of caffeine. Caffeine is one of many self-defense chemicals that a tea uses to defend itself in this cruel world. Pound for pound there is more caffeine in tea than coffee, but who drinks a pound of tea? So cup for cup, tea is much less. In fact, you have to drink 3 cups of tea to get the same amount of caffeine as a cup of coffee.

Different parts of the tea leaves have different levels of caffeine. The delicious but defenseless tea buds have the most, green teas have slightly less and black teas even less. Of course, you steep black tea longer than green tea, so it is a bit complicated. Still, it is correct to say that there is more caffeine in white tea than black tea. The decaffeination process almost eliminates all of the caffeine.

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And, there are also the truly, fully caffeine free teas – that really aren’t made from tea leaves at all!! 

“A confusing aspect of learning about tea is that many of the beverages which are called “tea” are actually not tea. Herbal teas are usually dried flowers, fruits or herbs steeped in boiling water. An interesting note: in Europe and some other countries, the use of the word “tea” is legally regulated to only apply to Camellia sinensis (that is – ‘real tea leaves’). Not so here in the United States…so don’t feel bad if you’ve been confused!”

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So, decaffeinated coffee still has a little caffeine; much of the decaffeinated tea is not really tea – but a mixture made of dried flowers, fruits or herbs.  

I guess, for me, I’ll stay with regular coffee, with regular tea (especially for iced tea) – but accept herbal “teas” like ‘sleepytime tea’ as a nice beverage without caffeine.  
Yup – an interesting look into two of the most common beverages in our lives.

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Blog #728 Energy Drinks – part II

More on Energy Drinks

https://www.caffeineinformer.com/energy-drink-benefits

So, more information on energy drinks from the caffeine informer – on the benefits of energy drinks,

  1. More Energy: The first benefit, of course, is the painfully obvious one. Energy drinks produce feelings of alertness, wakefulness, and productivity.
  2. Standardized caffeine amount: With coffee and tea, caffeine amounts can vary greatly and the amounts displayed in our database are only averages. With energy drinks, there is a standardized amount of caffeine in each can. For the most part, consumers know exactly how much caffeine they are getting, which is helpful for those trying to safely manage their caffeine habit.
  3. Fast caffeine delivery: Because energy drinks are served cold, they can be consumed much quicker than coffee, which is usually only sipped because of its hot temperature. Quicker consumption leads to caffeine getting into the bloodstream quicker.
  4. A variety of flavors: The flavor of coffee and tea does not appeal to everyone so energy drinks are beneficial for people that want a caffeine boost but do not like coffee or tea. Energy drinks come in a multitude of flavors and options.
  5. Additional supplements: Besides caffeine, energy drinks often contain other energy ingredients like taurine, B vitamins, ginseng, and glucuronolactone. These are believed to enhance their effect. While the jury is still out on whether they actually do, they may offer more of a long-term energy benefit rather than an immediately perceived effect.
  6. Refreshing: Because most energy drinks are served cold and carbonated, they have a refreshing effect on the consumer. For many, this makes them more appealing than other caffeinated beverages that are usually consumed hot and along with a dairy product.
  7. Convenient: Energy drinks don’t have to be brewed or heated, making them a quick RTD caffeine delivery product.
  8. More affordable than Starbucks and other gourmet coffees: With many Starbucks drinks approaching $5, energy drinks are a cheaper alternative. Some brands are only $1 and often convenience stores offer popular brands at 2 for $3 during special promotions.
  9. Faster recovery after exercise: Energy drinks offer a way for athletes to recover faster from exercise because of the caffeine and carbs they contain. Many athletes prefer a cold and light beverage after a workout opposed to a hot or milky one.
  10. Zero calorie options: While black coffee is zero calories, few people actually drink coffee black, but enhance the flavor with sugar, milk, cream, or even butter. There are many zero calorie energy drinks available that deliver the caffeine without the calories and sugar.

Just like with any caffeinated product, moderation is key and energy drinks are no different. Consumers should consume energy drinks in moderation or the benefits they offer quickly are outweighed by the potential harm that they could cause.

Energy drink consumers should be aware of their personal caffeine safe limit and can use our caffeine calculator to find out how many cans of their favorite energy drink can be consumed daily to stay within that safe limit.  

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Comments – I tried the caffeine calculator from CaffeineInformers with these results:

McDonald’s Black Coffee
My ‘maximum daily safe limit’ is 3.8 16 ounce cups and my lethal limit is 94.1 cups!!

Red Bull
My ‘maximum daily safe limit’ is 6.8 cans a day (8.46 fluid ounce cans) with a lethal amount on 170 cans of Red Bull in a day!!!

Bigelow Tea
Maximum safe limit is 12.1 cups per day (8 ounce serving) and lethal limit of 303 cups!!    (As if I could drink 303 cups of tea in a day!!!!)

Mountain Dew soft drink
Safe limit of 10.1 cans a day (12 ounce cans) with lethal limit of 252 cans a day!!

But, if you throw in the sugar amounts (Red Bull and Mountain Dew) – my sugar limit would be reached very quickly!!!  The 12 ounce can of Mountain Dew is 46 grams of sugar – depending on gender and weight, the suggested maximum sugar is about 25 to 35 grams of sugar!!!  So I would max out quickly!!!

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Blog #727 Energy Drinks – 1

Energy Drinks / Caffeine / and more

Taken from: https://www.caffeineinformer.com/the-coffee-and-energy-drink-double-standard

So, what about energy drinks and caffeine?

From the article:

As our caffeine database shows, ounce per ounce coffee has more caffeine. For instance:

  • A fluid ounce of typical  filter coffee has 18mg of caffeine.
  • A fluid ounce of a typical Rockstar or Monster has 10mg of caffeine.
  • Take a look at Starbucks caffeine and you see a fluid ounce of their brew has 22.5mg of caffeine.

So, isn’t quite the caffeine that attracts users to energy drinks

  1. Energy drinks have very little long-term safety research behind them, while coffee has been used for centuries and has been extensively researched over the last 100 years.
  2. Energy drinks are more than just caffeine, but a combination of caffeine, amino acids, vitamins, and often herbs.
  3. Energy drinks are often high in sugar, while even sweetened coffee would contain less. A Monster Energy Drink has 54 grams of sugar, which is equal to 13.5 teaspoons!
  4. Coffee is an all natural beverage, while energy drinks are often laden with artificial preservatives, flavors, and dyes.
  5. Coffee is sipped, while energy drinks tend to be consumed quickly thus delivering their dose of caffeine quicker.
  6. Energy drinks are sweet and often fruit flavored, which appeals more to children and teens than does often bitter tasting coffee.
  7. Energy drinks have generated an ever growing list of overdose cases leading to hospitalization and even some deaths. Coffee, historically, has very few of these occurrences.


Therefore, energy drinks can’t really be viewed with the same lens as we would coffee, since essentially, they are two completely different beverages.

There are actually very few people that have or have had negative health consequences from drinking energy drinks, although, most media outlets would want us to believe it is a common occurrence.

We believe education is key when it comes to energy drink consumption. There is more benefit to teaching consumers how to drink energy drinks responsibly than there is demonizing them.

Often what we adults forbid and protest actually becomes even more appealing to the very ones we are trying to protect.

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So, when we talk about coffee, energy drinks and caffeine we can really be comparing apples to oranges.

I will be honest, I have had only one (tiny) sip of an energy drink.  It was one of those tables in the grocery store sampling different energy drinks.  I had a mango flavored drink which was nice enough.

For me (and just for me), I try to avoid sugar.  I fight my tendency to gain weight by trying to avoid sugar.

And, also just for me, in my retirement, I am trying to be ‘frugal’ and make that IRA (individual retirement account) last longer.  I can make a pot of coffee at home probably cheaper than buying a Red Bull (or other energy drink) which seem to be in the $1.50 and up range.  Or, I can go down the street to McDonalds and get a large coffee for $1 (or a senior coffee for about 50 cents)

And …(the real reason) – I’m probably a coffee (almost) addict!! 

More on energy drinks and caffeine tomorrow.

Now a short story.  My parents drank coffee.  I didn’t particularly like it and didn’t drink it.  So, I’m off to college and after dinner, a group of friends would gather in the cafeteria and talk. At our cafeteria, the coffee urn was on the end of the main island.  Some of my friends were drinking coffee – so I started. (That was about 54 years ago when I was a freshman!!)

Do you drink energy drinks?

Karen

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Blog #726 Strong Coffee

Caffeine and Coffee – two views

https://www.bustle.com/articles/46201-what-kind-of-coffee-has-the-most-caffeine-how-to-get-the-most-buzz-out-of

We had a series on coffee and I wanted to look more at that.

Drip Coffee or Espresso?

“A typical serving of drip coffee contains 95-200 mg of caffeine per eight ounce cup, and a standard serving of espresso contains 47-75 mg of caffeine per one ounce cup.”  So if you break it down to ounces a standard cup of coffee will have about 12 to 25 mg of caffeine. If you want the caffeinated buzz quickly, go for the expresso.

Types of beans

“Different beans have varying levels of caffeine content. For example, Ethiopian coffee is 1.13 percent caffeine, while Tanzanian coffee is 1.42 percent caffeine. The popular Arabica bean only contains 1.5 percent caffeine, while the strongest bean, the robusta bean, is 2.4 percent caffeine. Believe it or not, the color of the bean reveals information about its caffeine content. Darker beans require a longer roasting time, which means that more caffeine will burn off. Therefore if you are looking for a caffeine fix, stick with light beans.”

How are the beans are roasted can make a difference

“For the most caffeine per cup, buy finely ground coffee beans. Finer grinds have greater surface area for caffeine extraction. Additionally, brewing coffee between 195-205 degrees yields the best caffeine extraction. A longer brew time also results in a more caffeinated beverage, so stick with drip coffee instead of a French press.

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An 8-oz, brewed coffee from Starbucks contains 180 mg of caffeine.

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Now – a second viewpoint:

https://www.caffeineinformer.com/strongest-coffee-brands

The 12 strongest coffee brands!!!

-1 Black Label – Devil Mountain Coffee Company – Caffeine: 1555 mg per 12 fluid ounces brewed

-2 Very Strong Coffee – Great British Trading – Caffeine: 1350 mg per 12 fluid ounces (340 ml) brewed

-3 High Voltage Coffee – Caffeine: 1150 mg per 12 fluid ounces brewed

-4 Black Insomnia – Caffeine: 1105 mg per 12 fluid ounces brewed

-5 Maximum Charge- Cannonball Coffee – Caffeine: 1101 mg per 12 fluid ounces brewed

-6 Biohazard – Caffeine: 928 mg per 12 fluid ounces brewed

-7 Death Wish – Caffeine: 728 mg per 12 fluid ounces brewed

My friend Bruce Brown likes Death Wish coffee!!

-8 Sons of Amazon – Caffeine: 660 mg per 12 fluid ounces brewed

-9 Killer Coffee – Caffeine: 645 mg per 12 fluid ounces brewed

-10 Gunpowder Coffee -Caffeine: 644 mg per 12 fluid ounces brewed

-11 Banned Coffee – Caffeine: 474 mg per 12 fluid ounces brewed

-12 Shock Coffee – Caffeine: No specific amount but claims to be 50% stronger than regular brewed coffee.

I have not tried any of these brands of coffee (and I admit that I haven’t even looked for them in the stores).  (Okay, I tend to look for the cheapest and the one on sale).

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Blog #725 Joey Chestnut

Joey Chestnut – Competitor Supreme!!

Largely from:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joey_Chestnut

So, who is Joey Chestnut?  (And why should I care?)

Well, let’s see:

Joey has been the Nathan’s Hot Dog Fourth of July champion 12 times. 

This year (2019) Joey ate 71 hotdogs in 10 minutes. He commented that he wanted to eat 75 and break his own record!!

In 2018 alone he:

-1 ate 257 Hostess Donettes in 6 minutes

-2 ate 74 Hotdogs at Nathan’s Hot Dog eating contest in 10 minutes

-3 ate 25.5 ice cream sandwiches in 6 minutes 

-4 ate 81 mutton sandwiches in 10 minutes

-5 ate 7 lbs of shrimp in 8 minutes

-6 18 lbs, 9.6 oz of shrimp cocktail in 8 minutes 

In 2017 he

-1 ate 55 doughnuts in 8 minutes 

-2 ate 126 tacos in 8 minutes 

-3 ate  52 White Hut Cheeseburgs in 10 minutes

Each contest has its own set of rules and payment.  The payment for the Nathan’s Hot Dog contest is $10,000 for first place.

“The former construction manager turned pro eater has made a career out of bulldozing the competition. From hot dogs, to apple pie, to burritos, he holds 40 eating records! The only thing he won’t touch? Kale.”

Chestnut gets his jaw muscles in shape by rapidly chewing a ball, and lifting weights with his teeth. He also has an exercise for gulping down air – which can lead to extreme belching.

Chestnut trains by fasting and by stretching his stomach with milk, water, and protein supplements. Since the start of his competitive eating career, his competition weight has varied from 225–240 pounds. After winning his sixth consecutive hot dog eating contest in 2012 by eating 68 hot dogs, he stated, “I will not stop until I reach 70. This ‘sport’ isn’t about eating. It’s about drive and dedication, and at the end of the day hot dog eating challenges both my body and my mind.”

I was in an eating contest once!!  (And I won against three competitors).  It was a Krispy Kreme glazed doughnut eating contest.  We were not to use our hands. Early on, I discovered it was easier if I used my chin to flatten the doughnut out.  I ate 7 doughnuts in five minutes.

No, I am not in the same league as Joey Chestnut (and for the rest of the day after winning the doughnut eating contest), I felt bloated!!!!

So – are you going to watch the Nathan’s Hot Dog eating contest – 1:00 Central on ESPN2?

Karen

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Blog #724 July 4th!!

The Declaration of Independence – part IV

https://www.nhccs.org/Destiny.html  (National Heritage Center for Constitutional Studies)

From the last paragraph of the Declaration of Independence

“We, therefore, the Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.”

So, let’s look at the phrase “we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”

From various sources:

“When the 56 Signers of The Declaration of Independence attached their signatures to that document, each knew they were committing treason against the British Crown.”

“Five signers were captured by the British and brutally tortured as traitors. Nine fought in the War for Independence and died from wounds or from hardships they suffered. Two lost their sons in the Continental Army. Another two had sons captured. At least a dozen of the fifty-six had their homes pillaged and burned.”


“What kind of men were they? Twenty-five were lawyers or jurists. Eleven were merchants. Nine were farmers or large plantation owners. One was a teacher, one a musician, and one a printer. These were men of means and education, yet they signed the Declaration of Independence, knowing full well that the penalty could be death if they were captured.”

“In the face of the advancing British Army, the Continental Congress fled from Philadelphia to Baltimore on December 12, 1776. It was an especially anxious time for John Hancock, the President, as his wife had just given birth to a baby girl. Due to the complications stemming from the trip to Baltimore, the child lived only a few months.”

WOW – so out of 56 – almost all had troubles.  

** Now, there is one other view (from Scopes – the internet’s definitively fact-checking resource)
“A popular essay outlines the fates of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, but many of its details are inaccurate.”

Not-withstanding-the Scopes comment, while the details might be inaccurate, the big picture is that they did “mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”

There was great pain in the birth of our Country.  Think of childbirth (something that I never fully experienced) – the pain to bring a child into the world.  In a very similar sense the Declaration of Independence does the same. There was pain, bloodletting, and great agony.  For eight years (1775 to 1783) Americans fought for their freedom. There must have been some that early on threw up their hands and said “Hey – it’s not so bad being just colonies”  (After all, Benedict Arnold, a leading America soldier must have thought that at one time).

All for what we might say – so we can have picnics today, so we can have the Nathan’s Hotdog eating contest (tomorrow’s post).  So, members of congress can live lives of American royalty? But, it really was for our “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”

What are you doing today?

Karen

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Blog post #723 Declaration of Independence – part III – July 3rd

Declaration of Independence – part 3 (July 3rd 2019)

The past two days we have looked at the Declaration of Independence.  We continue that today.

Today let’s look at the phrase: “that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”.

Life – we are endowed by our Creator with life!!!  I am alive. I live and breathe. Living is a right.  Ending a life (murder, shootings, even suicide) are taking away my life.  Hopefully for all of us, we can live a long time in good health and with a good mind.

Liberty or freedom – I can (within reason) do pretty much anything.  If I want to take today off (and not write these blogs) I can. Now, liberty is up to us.  If I want to go fishing every day, but I have a job – I am still free to go fishing (but I might lose my job – unless I’m fishing after my job finishes for the day).  

A side note.  Several years ago, my campus hosted a visiting professor from Belarus (actually twice).  We got to be best friends. At one time he showed me his government card. It had a triangle of it.  That triangle indicated he ‘belonged’ to the Gomel district in Belarus. If he went to the clinic, everything was free.  His housing was somewhat provided. He really liked Minsk, the capital city of Belarus – and would have liked to move there and teach in one of the institutions.  But, if he did so, he would not have gotten free health services or subsidized housing. It would have been very expensive to make that move. In other words, he was not quite free.

Can you pick up and move to (say) California?  Sure provided you have the resources to do so!!

The pursuit of Happiness.

The founders (especially Thomas Jefferson who supposedly wrote most of the Declaration of Independence) didn’t guarantee you would be happy.  

Happiness is a state of mind.  Some people with bad health, little money, and other problems can still be very happy.  Likewise, there are people who have been greatly blessed who are not happy.

Some might rationalize happiness like “when I get enough money, I will be happy”; “When I change jobs and get away from my terrible boss, I will be happy”; “When I retired, I will be happy.”

But, happiness is a state of mind.  You can decide whether or not to be happy.  The government can not guarantee happiness. The government might actually challenge your happiness as they demand that you pay taxes.  But … paying taxes is a privilege – that you do have an income. You get to choose happiness – YOU -only YOU can choose it. Yes, your spouse can make you happy – but you have to receive his/her love.  If you hate your spouse then anything nice they can do to and for you may not be received with happiness.

So, today – we are endowed with certain “unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”.  

As we will celebrate America’s birthday, reflect on these things.

Tomorrow – July 4th – another look at the Declaration of Independence!!!

See you then!!

Karen

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Blog post #722 Declaration of Independence – part II

July 4th – Declaration of Independence – part II

Yesterday we looked at the preamble to the Declaration of Independence.  We will continue that today (and for the next couple of days).  

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Let’s look at the phrase “that all men are created equal”.  Now, in our 21st Century eyes- we really mean “ALL PEOPLE”. In 1776, “all men are created equal” basically meant “men” – and not all men (and especially not Blacks or Indians).  But, that phrase was very radical in 1776. All countries were ruled by Kings and other royals. (Or, at least all European countries). So, the common farmer in Lancaster was equal to a King?  In modern America, Warren Buffett and Jane Nobody are equal? That a woman is equal to a man; that an immigrant is equal to a person who can trace her ancestry to the Mayflower.

Maybe we are not ‘equal’ in pay, status, intelligence, skills, and all things – but that may be in the Biblical concept – that all people are created in the image and likeness of God.  Genesis 1:27 says “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them”.

So Warren Buffet, Bill Gates and the least in the world – are created and God’s image – and “all men are created equal”!!!  

[Note to me – since all men are created equal, I can’t look down on anybody – and I don’t want to judge them – the janitor and the CEO of a major company are in effect – equals.  And … guess what … we are all going to die … maybe some way-too-early from malnutrition – and death does not discriminate!!]
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Next phrase

 “And they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights”

So, what are ‘unalienable rights’?
What’s unalienable cannot be taken away or denied.

So my ‘Creator’ has given me rights that can not be taken away or denied.  And those rights have been ‘endowed’ to me. I think of an ‘endowed’ scholarship.  The definition of ‘endowed’ is: provide with a quality, ability, or asset. I have an asset that is MINE – life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

So, I (or everyone) has been provided with an asset (or ability) to have life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  

Tomorrow, we’ll look at life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness!!!

See you then!!!
Karen

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Blog #721 Declaration of Independence – 1

Thinking about the Fourth of July

The preamble to the Declaration of Independence:“When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.”

So, “in the course of human events it becomes necessary …”.  

It can be hard to determine when “it becomes necessary”.  Let’s take a job – when might it be such that you leave the job (‘dissolve the employment bands”).  I know friends who have stayed too long in their faculty positions and now it is very hard to move. “Ageism” – even though a business or college cannot discriminate on age!!!  

How about a marriage with abuse?  After the first time you were hit by your spouse – is it necessary then?  After three years of almost constant abuse? Or … you should have moved before your spouse physically abused you and kicked you down a flight of stairs and took a baseball bat and ‘remade your face’.   Does that justify a divorce? 

In the Declaration of Independence there is a long list of abuses by the English crown – among which are:

– 1 He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

-2 He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures. 

-3 For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent: 

How about the clause: 

“to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them”

Around our world, there are different groups clamoring for independence.  The French-speaking province of Quebec has sought independence for some time; parts of Spain want independence; the former Soviet Union did separate into ‘separate and equal stations’ (that is – states/countries).   

So, timing, reasons for the “dissolving the political bands” – and the desire for separation.  Was the South justified of seeking independence in the Civil War? Was Henry VIII justified in having wives killed to produce an heir?  Was Martin Luther justified in condemning actions in the Catholic Church?  

Where we sometimes say ‘hindsight is 20/20’ – in our modern America, we ‘knew’ it was the time to break off from England; it was time for dissolving the political bands.  I can only imagine the personal angst of the leaders of the American Colonies – how much abuse is enough?  

For couples, how long can fighting occur until it is time for a divorce?

For the next few days, we’ll look at this Declaration of Independence.  See you here soon!!!

Karen 

Posted by Bruce White, 0 comments