The Time of March

Here it comes, folks. None of us can stop it. It is as inevitable as death and taxes. Oh, yes, that’s what it is: taxes. Does the term 1040 strike terror into your hearts? “But,” you say, as though words could hold back the tide, “this is only March.” True, but remember, you only have until March forty-sixth to do the deed. (I prefer not to besmirch gentle April—see next month’s “Alive.”)

Close-up of Benjamin Franklin Portrait on One Hundred Dollar BilWith this most frightening, almost immoral, subject breached and in the open, I must at this point render a confession: “I do not mind paying income tax.” There, I feel better having gotten that off my chest. Wait, I need to amend that slightly: “I do not mind paying MY FAIR SHARE OF income tax.”

In no way whatsoever am I complaining about my personal life style. I have never missed a meal due to lack of money—time, yes, but never due to money. I do not need or want the latest fashions in clothes. I love my three year-old little Honda Fit. Shirley and I live quite nicely in our 3BR, 2BA condo in Rossmoor. But it frosts my buns, now in their ninth decade, when people who make vastly more money and live infinitely more luxurious lives than I pay less in taxes and, indeed, sometimes even pay NO taxes.

Nor am I happy about my tax money purchasing $200 screw drivers, or whatever that nonsense was. I do not appreciate a Congress that bellows platitudes, keeps all their own perks perking, while the bulk of the nation’s government was shut down. I do not want my bucks keeping legislators in office for years while sitting on their hands and not attacking the problems we face as a nation; waiting to retire and become consultants in order to accumulate Jillions of dollars. (My fellow democrats, do not get holier than thou about that last issue. “I ain’t gonna tackle that one ‘cause I might not get re-elected,” crosses party lines.)

Why then do I not mind paying taxes? Simple. That is the necessary cost in order to live in, what in my opinion, is the greatest nation in the world—now or ever! Does “greatest” mean we have no problems? Of course, not. We got ‘em and we got ‘em in spades: race; internal violence; immigration; Social Security; policing the world, especially the 12th Century Middle East; the ugliness of modern politics; trying to force other countries to accept democracy; the list could on and almost everyone reading this could add to the list.

Of course we have problems, but if a person should want to call the sitting President, regardless of party, a dirty, rotten @#%&* or call him/her the greatest person alive, neither has to worry about being carted off in the middle of the night and simply disappearing.

Although I am not an observant or religious person, being Jewish probably makes me a bit more sensitive to this issue. Both my wife and I are first generation Americans, born in California and Pennsylvania, respectively. In order to escape the pogroms, my mother’s family came to this country from what was then Czarist Russia, now Lithuania, in 1905 when Mother was about eight months old. My father was born in England of English and German parents who, seeking a better life, brought him here in 1901 when he was four or five. They were both naturalized citizens, voted and paid taxes. I have voted in every election since I was first eligible in 1952—sometimes voting for someone I truly respected; sometimes just choosing the lesser of the “evils.”

A couple of chaps named Joe and Adolph would have seen to it that I would never see the light of day had those two families not come to the country where the streets were not paved with gold, but opportunity lay waiting for everyone equally. (Well, almost equally; there are still some who have to work a lot harder to achieve the degree of “equality” others enjoy.)

Even in our wonderful country some people still live in “ghettos.” Those ghettos, however, are economically imposed, not instigated by the government with imprisonment or even death being the punishment for violating the ghetto law. In my lifetime and the lifetimes of many of the readers of this treatise, governments of sophisticated, modern countries tried to systematically eliminate people because of their religion, ethnicity, sexual choice, and because they spoke out against the reigning authorities.

Here we may dislike or even despise someone else’s life style, but law and tradition prohibits us from harming them or hindering their opportunities. What percentage of one’s income is that worth? Ten percent? Twenty? Thirty? Although I cannot put a specific number on it, to me it’s a hell of a lot.

This November we who are caring citizens will have the magnificent opportunity to select a President and other high officials to govern us. About a third of us will vote one way; another third the other way; and the final third will decide the elections. How glorious is that! Or would we prefer that the gang with the most fire power and willingness to harm others decide for us all.That too has got to be worth a portion of our income.

The sad part of the process falls to the large numbers who cannot or will not take the time and energy to take advantage of this wonderful gift. I cannot help but wonder how much complaining and hot air those who do not vote generate, despite their complacency.

As a concerned citizen, I recognize many of the problems facing our country, but we are still able to discuss, debate, and, legislators willing, even tackle some of the problems. To solve the problems we will all have to give a little and settle for less than what we each consider ideal.

Guess what! The good ole U. S. of A. will, in William Faulkner’s words from his Nobel Prize speech, “not only survive, we will prevail.”

So if you haven’t already, sometime between March 1 and March 46,  PAY UP OR SHUT UP!
(It is the best investment you will ever make.)

Meet the Danville VIPS

It’s extremely difficult these days to pick up a newspaper, watch a television news broadcast or, for that matter, have a friendly discussion without being exposed to some incident involving the police. The featured stories cover a wide range of police activities. In some articles the officers are portrayed in a favorable light–helping to protect us from crime and violence. In other pieces they’re described in a negative manner–perhaps displaying some insensitivity.

It’s not my intent to either defend or condone these commentaries. I’ll leave that to professional journalists–all of whom are closer to the actual situations than I am. Rather I’d like to tell you about my experiences with the Danville Police Department. I’ll hide behind a mythical character named Darren who pursues an “after retirement investigation” into volunteering as a VIPS (Volunteers in Police Service.) Admittedly most of these stories are mine, but using Darren’s name protects my occasionally faulty memories and forgives any enthusiastic exaggerations.

“Darren”and his family moved to Danville almost five decades ago. They chose Danville because it was a nice, quiet, clean, and comfortable place. The schools were good – in fact they were excellent. The shops and restaurants were numerous. Not a lot of glitz and the thought of crime of any type was far away. Life was good, and they prospered.

The kids grew up, went to school, and moved away. Work slowed a bit, and retirement arrived. Ah, but now a new problem presented itself: How to fill in all those empty hours, and more important, how to repay the community for all that it had given to him and his family?

And then a neighbor introduced an exciting possibility. There was a small group of residents who worked with the Danville Police Department known as VIPS (Volunteers In Police Service.) This group was formed to give a community assist to the department. Here was a way to pay back the town he respected, and it even had a little bit of excitement connected to it. But how did all of this work?Alive Media Magazine Meet the Danville Police Department VIPS Volunteers in Police Service Harry Hubinger man 3

The first thing he discovered was that the Danville Police Department, as well as the Alamo and Blackhawk neighborhoods are actually part of the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office. These local entities contract with the County to furnish police protection to their respective areas. The advantages of these contractual arrangements are numerous. The County is able to furnish well-trained, seasoned officers who rotate through the region. In addition, they provide the backup and support of a larger entity with resources not financially feasible for the locales. These resources include a professional crime lab, SWAT teams, three detention facilities, and a major communication network which covers a wide area. Our small towns have access to a major police department.Alive Media Magazine Meet the Danville Police Department VIPS Volunteers in Police Service Harry Hubinger car track 2

The next thing Darren found was that he needed a lot of education before he could even be considered as a VIPS. Potentially harmful situations might be encountered, or conditions could prove legally detrimental to the Town. This education was to be obtained by attending a series of classes conducted by the Danville Police Department and known as the Danville Police Citizens’ Academy. Darren was up for this and immediately enrolled in the next academy. Thankfully the wait wasn’t long as two such classes were held each year.Alive Media Magazine Meet the Danville Police Department VIPS Volunteers in Police Service Harry Hubinger man 2

The classes weren’t simple. They extended over a multi-week period and were comprised of six three-hour evening sessions and two eight-hour Saturday events, but they were both interesting and proved to be exciting.

The two Saturdays included tours and activities that were a part of the regular officer training program. They visited the Martinez Detention Facility – thankfully as visitors not criminals. The class was allowed to drive regular patrol cars around the county test track – very exciting. Think about getting into a black and white and racing around the course! They toured the shooting range, and the class was permitted to fire weapons similar to those used by the officers. In the training facility in Concord, attendees were presented with potential real-life situations. The students were placed about twelve feet from a very large wall screen upon which potentially- threatening situations were displayed in video form. Class members demonstrated their ability to respond to these circumstances with the best possible snap decision. They learn a lot about themselves when placed in hazardous situations. The county-wide dispatch facility was also on the list. This is where 911 calls are taken and relayed to the officers in the field.Alive Media Magazine Meet the Danville Police Department VIPS Volunteers in Police Service Harry Hubinger car track

The evening classes were equally informative. Deputy District Attorneys from the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office spoke on the need for factual reports being received from the officers. These reports could then be used to win convictions. The time between arrests and trials is often long, and these reports help refresh officers’ memories. Regular beat officers spoke about how DUIs were handled.

Detectives shared investigative information into non-violent crimes which had occurred, such as identity theft. Police sergeants and officers spoke about the procedures that were used in high-speed chases and how the different police jurisdictions cooperated when needed. Actual videos were shown of routine traffic stops and how they could suddenly turn into gravely dangerous conditions for the officers. One develops a great deal of empathy for the officers when one realizes the difficulties that can occur.

Darren was made aware of how carelessly allowing newspapers to accumulate in front of a house can advertise that a family is gone for a week’s vacation, inviting burglary.Alive Media Magazine Meet the Danville Police Department VIPS Volunteers in Police Service Harry Hubinger woman

After completing the Academy he came to the conclusion that police officers are people – no different than our fellow workers or our friends. Oh, granted some are friendly and easy to get along with while others are more aloof, a bit standoffish. But what’s different about that? They have families, spouses, and children. They get tired, they laugh, and sometimes get a bit grouchy like we all do. One of the tasks that differentiates officers from the rest of us is that each day they are forced to make life-changing decisions.

The results of these decisions influence everyone involved. They can be praised for the successful choices and be admonished for any poor ones. Like most situations in life, the poor choices are splashed across the media, while the successful choices are often lost to the public.

Prior to this Academy most people’s only contact with the police was being stopped for some traffic violation or perhaps being questioned about a theft or some other crime they had witnessed. All in all, the academy was an eye opener, and an excited Darren applied for acceptance into the VIPS program. Little did he realize that the simple portion of the program was past, and there was still more complexity to come.Alive Media Magazine Meet the Danville Police Department VIPS Volunteers in Police Service Harry Hubinger man

The time between offering his service and acceptance into the program seemed endless. One interview followed another, and a detailed background check seemed to go nowhere. But like all things in life, there is an end. Darren was given his uniform, a badge, and his smile got bigger and bigger. He was now a novice VIPS.

Part Two Next Month – Darren shares his continuing education and tells about some of his experiences. .


Have you ever found yourself singing in the shower, especially when you think no one is listening? Whether you can carry a tune or not, you’ve probably done it.

Group Of School Children Singing In Choir TogetherSometimes there is a nice echo or reverberation, depending on how your bathroom is constructed. You don’t necessarily have to be musical to express your feelings through song; singing can be one of the most intimate and personal satisfactions in life.

“Singing, a great and most cherished gift and privilege, has magical qualities that transcend all words, lifts the spirit and the soul and frees the singer to hope and dream in ways the human spirit longs for,” said the Founding Director of the Blackhawk Chorus, Diane Gilfether.
It is, no doubt, the most wide-spread kind of music making—being the only one, besides whistling, that does not depend on another instrument, according to the Harvard Dictionary of Music.

Indeed, the voice, as manifested in singing, is truly the first instrument.
The human voice sets us apart from all other creatures on earth. It is certainly one of the defining aspects of being human. The voice’s ability to sing and change pitch, makes it the most highly developed and sophisticated of all musical instruments.

“Being part of something bigger than yourself is not only enjoyable but beautiful and emotionally stirring,” according to William Hartshorn in his article, “The Role of Listening.” In Basic Concepts in Music Education he wrote, “It’s important for a child to listen to his own singing as well as that of others. By listening to themselves they may also find a basis for improving the quality and blend of their own voice.”

Vocal music reached its zenith in terms of development and perfection long before instrumental music. Development of instruments started out very crudely; all hand-made without modern acoustical equipment.

The early Colonists brought to America what they knew and were accustomed to in Europe, and particularly in England.

Singing schools emerged in the early 18th Century to teach and enhance singing, primarily for religious services in the Puritan churches. These schools were well established. They were taught by itinerant singing masters and were paid for by the people attending the schools.

Their purpose was to develop the ability to read music and interpret a wide variety of choral works. The rudiments of music and sight-singing were the basic core subjects. For better than a century, the singing schools were the primary institutions for musical training. They were an integral and omnipresent feature of American life and customs. The schools were in essence the forebears of contemporary public school music. By the close of the 18th Century, singing schools had become widespread. These schools lasted about 150 years.

An interesting sidelight of singing is found in an article in “Making Music,” Singing Helps Parkinson’s Patients to Communicate Better. Professional singer, Linda Ronstadt, stated that because she has Parkinson’s disease she can no longer sing.

This was disputed by Melinda Kurowski, a board certified music therapist. She works with Parkinson patients and says “Yes! They can sing.” It takes more effort to sing than it does to speak. The patients take part in exercises that teaches them what is involved in breath support. This makes the process of singing much more enjoyable even though the effort to sing requires more energy and diligence for them.
Through singing exercises they learn how to project their voices and have better articulation. Kurowski said that she can help over 90 percent of Parkinson’s patients.

Nick Stewart and two students from Oxford Brooks University in the United Kingdom, conducted a study with over 375 people who either sang in choirs, sang alone or were members of a sports team.
Stewart asked them about their experiences in their activities and they said their activities seemed to enhance their sense of well-being. Those who were singers saw their choirs as more “meaningful” than those that did not sing and those involved in team sports.

“Whether a professional or an amateur, a soloist or a chorister, a beginner or a seasoned veteran, the outpouring of emotion from the dedicated singer reaches to the heart of the listener,” said Gilfether. “It creates a communication of boundless pleasure and spirituality in a most unique way.”

Today singing is heard everywhere you go; from the nursery through elementary, high school and college, community groups and at local and national events. The music industry has ballooned exponentially in the past years with technological innovations bringing music and singing to the forefront of daily life.

There are all kinds of singers, from the lowest bass to the highest soprano; from the wildest rocker to the accomplished opera diva. The wonderful human voice is a marvelous machine of tones, melodies, inflections and sounds that no other instrument can duplicate.

So use your voice for your own enjoyment or for others to hear, and gain the satisfaction and fun it gives you—whether you can carry a turn or not. It’s an instrument you’ll always have with you and one you can cherish for a lifetime.

The Danville Community Band presents “Museums Around the World,” its annual concert at the Blackhawk Museum, 3700 Blackhawk Plaza Circle, Danville, CA. Sunday, April 10. 2016 at 2:00 p.m. Concert included with museum entrance fee. (Free to museum members). Please submit your questions and comments to Visit our website at for up-to-date information about the Danville Community Band.

I’m not Old—Just Older

Like the eternally youthful Jon Bon Jovi sings in his song, Just Older,

I like the bed I’m sleeping in, it’s just like me it’s broken in
It’s not old – just older.
Like a favorite pair of torn blue jeans, this skin I’m in it’s alright with me!
It’s not old – just older.

photo caricature of a desperate caucasian man in a polyester suit and retro shirt as he leans over and pointsWhen that song came out, in the year 2000, Jon was roughly 38 years old. That’s not old at all. Today, John and I are roughly the same age, pushing 54 and we’re definitely getting older. However, he’s probably aged a little better thanks to massive collection of 30-year old rock star groupies. My magazine groupies tend to be 65-year old shut-ins with lots of cats.

Rationally, I know that I’m older, but most days I don’t really feel that much older than I did ten to twenty years ago. Sure, some days getting out of bed is a bit more challenging than it used to be, but overall I believe age is more a state of mind. My energy level is still strong, vibrant and viral. I’m up on popular music (FettyWap, Hozier and the Bieb), I like the current cast of SNL (Aidy Bryant, Taran Killam, Leslie Jones, Pete Davidson and Cecily Strong) and I can even name every player on the Golden State Warriors (including James Michael McAdoo, Festus Ezeli and Mo Buckets). Most nights I can stay awake until almost 11:30 PM, (later if I have get a nap during the day or drink an afternoon Red Bull), I still mow my own lawn and I regularly log 10,000 daily steps on my FitBit. It’s probably safe to say that most men in their 40s aspire to be in my type of physical and mental youthful state of mind and body.

In April of 2011, I wrote an article entitled, I Might Be a Dinosaur. Being 49 years old at the time, I was fearful that my friends and I were headed for extinction because we were showing signs of sluggishness, contentment, being slow to adapt and resistant of change. Since that time, I think I’ve stepped up my game. I’ve lost a little weight, updated my wardrobe at Forever 51 and I’ve been watching American Horror Story on the FX network despite the fact that I find it very disturbing. I might never be confused for a “Millennial,” but I wouldn’t necessarily want to be a snobby tech-centric, SOMO living, hoverboard burning, LIFT riding, skinny pants wearing, app loving 30-birdy.

If I were old, which I am not, I would know that I was old if I started to recognize the following signs:

– If you complain of being sore the day after an evening bocce ball match, you might be getting old.

– If you complain that your kid’s music is too loud… when they’re wearing headphones, you might be getting old.

– If you fall asleep at the dinner table during a “late” meal and it’s only 7:30, you might be getting old.

– If your idea of walking the dog is to the front door and back, you might be getting old.

– If your kids regularly ask you if you went to school with Abraham Lincoln, Amelia Earhart, Babe Ruth or Jesus, you might be getting old.

– If you color your hair because the drapes don’t match the carpet anymore, you might be getting old.

– If you avoid activities such as bowling, dancing and yard work because you can’t risk the chance of injury, you might be getting old.

– If your kids believe their parents might have been abducted by aliens and they’re now being raised by their grandparents, you might be getting old.

– If your wife bought you a piece of jewelry for Valentine’s Day with the inscription DNA, you might be getting old.

– If you only shop at stores that have a section of sensible shoes, you might be getting old.

– If your idea of “going commando” includes adult diapers, you might be getting old.

– If you need a nap before you have lunch on the weekend, you might be getting old.

– If you enjoy getting the monthly AARP magazine for the articles and discount coupons, you might be getting old.

– If most of your conversations begin with the term, “Back in my day,” you might be getting old.

– If the last song you downloaded, was buying the cassette version of “I Can’t Fight This Feeling” by REO Speedwagon, you might be getting old.

– If your idea of “going green” means more Kale in your diet, you might be getting old.

– If you can really relate to my monthly humor lifestyle articles in ALIVE, you might be getting old.

When I was in my teens, I thought anyone over 40 was old. When I was in my 30s, anyone in their 50s seemed old. Now that I’m in my 50s, 70 really doesn’t sound so old. I heard somewhere that as we age we begin to lose our hearing, sight and memory. At least I think that’s what someone said, I don’t really remember because I couldn’t hear or see that person very well. I’m not old, just older, just like a few of my childhood idols who still rock with a boat load of swag. Anyone ever heard of Sir Paul McCartney (73), Muhammad Ali (74), Dan Rather (84), Pete Rose (74), Hugh Heffner (89), Mean Joe Greene (69), Al Pacino (74), and Astronaut Buzz Aldrin (85)?

My dog Trudy is old. She’s 12 in people years, which is 84 in dog years. She sleeps a lot and moves slowly. She complains about her aches and pains (with grunts) and is often gassy. She is picky about what she eats and she goes outside about 40 times a day to “do her business.” Up until I wrote the part about going outside, I could have been describing my mother-in-law.

When I am old, I’ll look forward to taking care of my yard, playing golf with my buddies and cheering on our local sports teams. In other words, pretty much doing what I do now on any given weekend. My actual plan includes playing with my future grandchildren, traveling the world and taking advantage of the early bird special at Applebee’s. I don’t fear getting old, I’m just not in any hurry to get there. There’s too much to do leading up to the time when I can’t do it, whatever “it” happens to be. Until then, I’m not old—just getting older, day-by-day.

Hello Spring 2016

Remain Neutral: Walk down any cosmetic counter or browse any beauty boutique and you will see different nude lip colors everywhere, as in flesh toned lipsticks and neutral pastel eye shadow palettes. Sure, there are seemingly endlessly different versions of neutral lip shades, and sometime finding the perfect tone is a real trial. Nailing that “no make-up look,” requires figuring out shades that not only complement your skin tone but also create dimension, without being overly obvious you are wearing all nude tones. You may need a bit of color, like golden pink, while perhaps adding a soft lilac pastel eye color, (which is so uber cool this year, thanks to Adele).

Blend In: Cheek colors are in the new neutral pink mattes this season. To get that “believable flush look,” try a light pink, neutral matte blush, brushed on the apple of the cheeks to play up the pink hints in your skin for the most natural looking glow. Add a neutral mosaic matte bronzer for realness and color if needed.

The Inventor: Ready to go spring? We’re ditching the dark browns and coal eyes that are du’ rigour during the winter season, for the fresh-glow that comes with the perfect spring eye. Spring’s prettiest eyes are all about pastel eye colors. Apply a soft lilac matte eye color on the lid, followed by a matte gray taupe in the crease, then accent with a true matte light gray. Define the eye with a dark green liner on top, then a warm apricot brown under the eye. The look is updated and trendy, while looking confident, fresh and fun.

Minimalists, Be Prepared: One of the prevalent spring 2016 runway lip trends is a collection of colors from the nude family. You don’t have to wear a bare-nude to be in. There are plenty of different variations of nude for everyone, for instance; there are the cool berry nudes, light pink blossoms, along with light peachy baby tones and the bare pink golden nudes. The trick here is to make a statement without being too over-the-top nude. Finding the right nude will make you feel shiny and new just in time for spring.

Spring is a great time for an uplifting change. While the flowers are blossoming and the trees coming back to life, so should your cosmetic wardrobe into something fun, pastel and exciting. The Rouge offers seasonal trend make-up updates, starting February 14 through April 30. They will be offering complimentary make-over’s to get you up-to-date with all the latest beauty fashions and styles, customized and confidently perfect, just for you. Call for your appointment today.

Golfer’s Elbow Got You Feeling Sub-Par?

What is Golfer’s Elbow?
Golfer’s elbow, or medial epicondylitis, is similar to its counterpart, Tennis elbow. The primary differences between these conditions are the location of the pain and the activity that leads to injury. However, both conditions are caused by overuse of the muscles and tendons of the forearm, leading to inflammation and pain around the elbow joint, commonly called tendonitis. Golf is one common cause of tendonitis, but many other sports and work related activities can cause the same problem.

The cause of golfer’s elbow can vary from a single violent action (acute injury) to, more commonly, a repetitive stress injury where an action is performed repeatedly and pain gradually develops. In an acute injury of the elbow inflammation occurs without substantial tissue damage. However in a repetitive stress situation a person may experience damage to the tendon and surrounding soft tissue causing tissue degeneration over time. Inflammation from acute injury often responds quickly to rest and anti-inflammatory treatment. However, if the injury is due to tendon tissue degeneration, treatment will be longer and will be focused on improving the strength of the tendon as well as rebuilding tissues.

Golfer’s Elbow Symptoms
With golfer’s elbow pain is on the inside of the elbow, usually during or after intense use. Typically the pain increases during wrist flexion or pronation and often radiates to the forearm. Because this frequently occurs in golfers, it has become known as “golfer’s elbow”. However, it is also known as “pitcher’s elbow”.

Treatment for Golfer’s Elbow
Golfer’s elbow does not usually cause any long-term disability. However, the condition may become stubborn and proper rehabilitation will help alleviate the symptoms and get you back to life again.
Rest and Reduce Inflammation: The first step a person should take if tendinitis is suspected is to stop the activities that cause the pain and inflammation in this case, rest the arm. Use a topical cream containing Arnica to begin to reduce the inflammatory process quickly.

Laser Therapy to Heal the Damaged Tissue: Ending the pain caused by golfer’s elbow requires healing the damaged tissue. Class IV laser therapy is an excellent method for this, because it is presently the only form of therapy that can both reduce inflammation and heal tissue simultaneously. Laser treatments at Align Healing Center are done with the K-laser CUBE a Class IV Laser. This laser does not cut or burn but is gently absorbed by the tissue. During Laser Therapy the infrared laser light interacts with tissues at the cellular level, increasing metabolic activity and improving the transport of nutrients across the cell membrane. This initiates the production of cellular energy (ATP) that leads to a cascade of beneficial effects, increasing cellular function and health. This creates an optimal healing environment that reduces inflammation, swelling, muscle spasms, stiffness, scar tissue and pain.

Correct the Mechanics of Motion: Assessing the forearm, elbow, shoulder and spine for proper postural feedback is done to diagnose and correct improper alignment. After proper alignment is restored specific muscular taping is applied to improve circulation and insure proper motion on a daily basis. Lastly, specific strengthening and stretching exercises are given. By strengthening the muscles and tendons involved with golfers’ elbow, you can prevent the problem from returning.

At Align Healing Center we are having great success treating golfer’s elbow, tennis elbow, plantar fasciitis, sciatica, shoulder and neck pain, migraines, arthritis, carpal tunnel, post surgical pain, sports injuries and more; even long-term residual pain. Arthritis and degenerative disc disease sufferers can see long term benefits from this treatment without any of the negative side effects experienced with the long term use of medications.

Dr. Niele Maimone, DC is the owner and founder of Align Healing Center in Danville, CA. She has been active in our natural health & wellness community since 1999. For more information or to set up a consult call 925.362.8283 or visit


Proteas Azaleas and Lemons

Q. I would like to germinate the seeds of Protea, Eximia, Cynaroides and Leucospermum, if they’ll grow in this area. Can they be grown in large containers and then transplanted into the ground later if I decide too? In addition, I have a disk of Smoke Primer but I’m not sure if it’s necessary?

Close up of a king proteaA. Native to Australia and South Africa, Proteas can be grown throughout the warmer areas of the Bay Area. They produce some of the most exotic flowers that one can use in arrangements. They’re an excellent landscape or container plant. Of greatest concern in growing them is water, soil pH, nutrients and the winter cold. Proteas love full sun and they’re a water-wise landscape shrub, as long as they’re not over watered. With our clay soil, I’d hand water them instead of using an irrigation system to control the moisture. They like a soil that drains well, so being planted in a container is ideal as the drainage is perfect. Proteas are mostly acid loving plants with a desirable pH around 5.0; however, some varieties prefer an alkaline condition, 8.0. It is variety specific, so you need to know ahead of time what their needs are. Potting soil tends to be around pH neutral, 7.0, so it would be beneficial to purchase a simple pH kit to determine what you have and then adjusted for the specific variety. Soil Sulfur, Magnesium Sulfate will lower the pH while Hydrated Lime increases the pH. You’ll need to follow the directions on the packaging for the amount you’ll need to add to make the necessary change. Proteas require little fertilizer containing NPK, about an eighth to a quarter of the amount given to a typical ornamental plant(s); although, they like higher levels of Magnesium, Iron and Sulfur. Cold weather damage occurs with Proteas when the temperature falls below thirty degrees and few varieties tolerate temperatures below twenty degrees. Thus it’s easier to protect those plants in containers verses the ones planted in the ground. The container size is determined by the ultimate growth habit of the variety; a one gallon to twelve inch pot for the small to medium size varieties and fifteen gallon or twenty-four inch pot for the larger ones. The seedling will need to be transplanted several times until you reach the final size. The Smoke Disk Primer is not only necessary for germination, it’s a requirement. Proteas produce dormant seeds and need very specific conditions for germination. In 1990, researchers realized that the chemicals in smoke from the South African bush wild fires called fynbos, and not just the heat of the fire was responsible for breaking seed dormancy and stimulating germination. The smoke seed primer solution contains a combination of natural substances that overcome dormancy and stimulate seed germination. So, I’d put it to use. Other than the root rot problem from water, Proteas are pretty easy to grow with few if any pests or diseases.

Q. I’d like to know why my Sun Azaleas are so tall and leggy. They flower okay but only at the ends of the long stems. What must I do to make these plants more compact?

A. Sun Azaleas are not a low growing compact plant. They typically reach a height of four to six feet, depending on the variety with the flowers on the end of the branches. Being a leggy grower is a common compliant with Sun Azaleas. You can correct this by pruning the plants after flowering to reduce the height about fifty percent and then feed them with the Azalea, Camellia and Rhododendron Food to encourage the new growth. This doesn’t have to be an annual task. They going look a bit ragged for a while but they do recover. If this is still too tall you may want to replace them with a different plant.

Q. I have a six year old dwarf Meyer lemon tree. It is about six feet tall and has been producing lemons all these years but now I see no new buds. In addition, some of the leaves are falling off. I have been feeding it regularly with Miracle-Gro Shake n Feed but I’ve noticed that the pellets have not dissolved. Someone told me that maybe the pellets are too old. What should I be doing?

A. I wouldn’t be concerned about the lack of flower buds at this time as it’s early. This would be a problem in late April or May but not now. It’s typical for lemon and other citrus to drop their leaves during the winter months. The leaf drop is more than likely due to the warm days and cool nights we had in January and February. Again, nothing to lose any sleep over. The undissolved fertilizer pellets is an issue with the pellet itself. The age the pellet is a non factor. What you’re seeing is the carrier agent as the nutrients are coated on to it during the manufacturing process. It may or may not dissolve immediately. Overall, your plant is fine




Buzz Bertolero is an Advance California Certified Nursery Professional and the Senior Gardening Professional at Sloat Garden Centers. The Dirt Gardener’s website is and questions can be sent by email to or on on Facebook at

Too Bad, You Lose!

In my book, WHY? The Question That Could Save Your Life, there is a lot about the demagoguery existing in both the medical industry and the government regulators. The story of Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski and his battle against the FDA and the Texas Medical Society lasting over 14 years is classic. Dr. Burzynski found a way to cure brain cancer without the need for hospitalization, chemotherapy or radiation, hurting three big medical industries in the only place they have feelings: their pocket books.

The Medical Society now has him, once again, in court. In 1900 Maurice Meaterlinck wrote the following: “Each progressive spirit is opposed by a thousand mediocre minds to guard the past.” It doesn’t look like we have changed at all in the last 116 years. Between pure greed and overblown egos of pseudo scientists, how are we to ever achieve true healthcare.

Early in the 20th century, a neurologist, Albert Abrams, developed a method of diagnosing diseases so incredibly accurate, but so different, that thousands of overblown “scientific” egos labeled him as “the biggest quack of the century.” One hundred years later, we are learning that he was correct. The fact that we label something as scientifically proven, thus “evidence based,” is meaningless. Science tends to change many, if not most, of its laws around every 50 years. Is that because this is how much time it takes for the old egos to pass away and the new egos to replace them?

Another example of greed affecting our healthcare is the story of Dr. Sam Cachoua. He found a cure for cancer and HIV. It was so successful that when the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center tested his methods they were amazed with the results, reporting that it was the best treatment ever tested. When big Pharma found out, all of a sudden, Cedars-Sinai reversed their opinion and disposed of his serums. He won a $10M settlement in court, but his methods are not accepted in the USA.

You may ask why a TMD specialist is concerned with massive abuse in our medical system. My answer: the false premise that “there is a drug for every problem” is the cause of so many issues in my patients.

Many prescriptions often cause other medical problems to occur. One example recently reported that 70% of Parkinson’s patients had been previously treated with antidepressants. There’s food for thought.

As I mentioned in a previous article, a doctor’s ego has no place in healthcare. The old belief that medicine is supposed “First Do No Harm” is almost forgotten. Just listen to all the disclaimers after a TV drug ad and think, who could be following that statement? So many of the symptoms these dangerous drugs are used for can be corrected without drugs. Alternative and holistic methods really do work.

Advanced Oral Diagnosis & Treatment Center in Danville specializes in Oral Appliances for Sleep Apnea and TMD/TMJ therapy.

Lose Weight and Live Healthier for The Rest of Your Life!

Obesity has become an insidious national health concern over the past 20 years for multiple reasons. Fast food restaurants have made it easier and cheaper to eat an unhealthy diet than a healthy one. Our entire culture in fact has gradually moved to “bigger is better” mentality where literally everything can be Supersized. Since the 1970s the average caloric intake has increased by 600 calories per day. Over a week, 500 extra calories per day will cause weight gain of one pound—that’s 52 pounds in a year!

All of us can develop bad eating habits for different reasons. For one reason or another, food can satisfy needs other than hunger and sustenance. Boredom, loneliness, social events and emotional dissatisfaction are a few reasons to eat other than feeling hungry. If done on an inconsistent basis, most people are able to minimize the effect on their baseline weight by exercising and cutting back calories on other days.

However, this type of eating can change into a habit and become the “new normal” if it’s done too frequently. Behavioral research indicates that it takes three weeks of consecutive action to create a new habit. This is also good news because that means it can be as easy to break a bad habit as it is to start one.

I have added LeanMD weight loss program to my medical practice. This program helps people lose weight, but it’s also an educational opportunity to show people why they have gained weight and teach them what, when and how they should be eating. It also teaches how to manage triggers and stressors that add to overeating or preventing long term success in other programs or on your own. When you are trying to lose weight, WHAT you’re eating is just as important as HOW MUCH you’re eating. With LeanMD you will develop healthy eating habits that will change your mentality towards food and eating.

There are three phases to the program:
1. Weight loss phase (up to 5 pounds per week)
2. Transition Phase (increase calories and incorporate your favorite foods)
3. Sustainable Loss Phase (maintain your new weight and habits).

I have been extremely impressed with the philosophy and results of this program. I highly recommend it for anyone who has been struggling not only to lose weight, but also for those who have trouble maintaining their goal weight. LeanMD doesn’t give you food to eat or have you count numbers as with other weight loss programs. It gets you back to the basics of eating fresh, clean, healthy food and making smart choices regarding your diet.

The way you eat should be a healthy habit that you feel comfortable doing for life. It’s much like brushing your teeth twice a day. It would be nice if teeth were “self cleaning” but you feel good doing it and having done it. If you do miss a brushing once in a while, that’s okay because the groundwork for healthy teeth and gums is being done on a regular basis. The groundwork for our general health is done every day in the way we eat.

Carrying extra weight on your body is an enemy that unfortunately becomes more tolerable with time, but your health fails during that time. Chronic pain, osteoarthritis, high blood pressure, heart disease, strokes, diabetes, cataracts, gout, and sleep apnea are just a few of the chronic illnesses that are caused by being overweight, making poor diet choices, and obesity.

Visit my website for more information:

He Said/She Said with Robin and Shawn

Dear SSHS,
I went to a very fancy party at a gorgeous home (castle really) on New Year’s Eve. We were dressed to the nines. I was surprised when our host asked us to remove our shoes to protect the hardwood floors. Just wondering what you thought of that. –-Cold Feet in Alamo

She Said: Was there plastic covering the couches too? I know I’ll get heat from readers who live in lovely expensive homes with flooring from Brazil, but I think it’s bad form to invite people to a fancy party and then ask them to dress down when they get there. Shoes make the outfit in my book and if I’m going to go to that much trouble to gussy up, I like it to be from head to toe. No, I’m going to have to say, if you want to preserve the floors, adopt a no-shoe policy for the everyday traffic, but viva la high heels for high end parties.

He Said: There’s absolutely nothing wrong with a host asking her guests to take off their shoes when entering her house for a party. Yes it’s a little bit tacky, but good floors aren’t cheap to replace or repair. For a one night party, the host doesn’t want to be looking at her scratched up floor for the next few years. However, if guests are asked to remove their shoes, then the host should provide every guest with comfortable (not cheap!) slippers for the evening that they can take home with them as a party favor.

Dear HSSS,
I met a woman online and we really seemed to hit it off. She’s attractive and obviously smart, but our first date was a real disappointment. She was on her phone the whole time, snapping pictures of the meal and posting them, taking selfies of us, etc. When asked, she said she was a social media personality with lots of followers. There won’t be a second date, but is this the new normal?
–Old School in Walnut Creek

He Said: Unfortunately, this is the new normal and both guys and girls think it’s “cool” to be a social media butterfly. It’s actually VERY annoying that some people think their online personas are more important than real life and living in the moment. Most social media personalities don’t make a dime off all the time and energy they put into their efforts anyway. A date is supposed to be fun, spent getting to know the person you’re with. You’re definitely in the right for not giving her a second date.

She Said: If you’ve left the kids with a new babysitter, a friend’s about to go into labor, or an elderly parent may be in need of assistance, then by all means, leave the phone on the table, on vibrate. But outside of emergency situations, phones should not be out of purses or pockets during a meal. It’s common courtesy. Clearly this “smart” girl wasn’t taught that and probably isn’t getting a lot of second dates. Go find yourself a girl with class. There are still plenty of them out there.

Robin Fahr is a communications specialist and co-host with Shawn Shizzo on Conversations and He Said/She Said seen daily on Tri-Valley TV, Channel 30 and online at You can also catch He Said/She Said on The Talk Pod. Send your questions to