Non-Profit Corporation

The Marina Dock Newsletter APRIL 2006

Dear Marina Dock Members and Patrons:

April is just another month in the cosmological scheme of things. As usual in a free market economy some of us are doing better than others. It was a big month for  my space dot com, an ok month for News Corp, the German economy, and Russian gas reserves. Conversely it's been a dismal quarter for polar bears. The former are all experiencing healthy economic growth, whereas the polar bears are literally watching their long held real estate holdings evaporate right from under their feet. Polar bears do however have a long history of durability and consumer confidence; if they can avoid a complete meltdown and ride out this cyclical downturn, without having to resort to protectionist instincts, they should do well in the next quarter…century.  The Marina Dock is somewhere in the middle when it comes to economic survival we are showing strong investor confidence and our economic outlook is bright based primarily on our heavy reliance on tangible dreams, as well as an endless supply of new material to work with. 

Brain Exercises

Recent studies conducted in England appear to bear out the growing belief among scientist that making simple changes to our lifestyle can lead to significant improvements in how well our brains function. The study found that a combination of techniques based on healthy eating, physical activity, sound sleep and stimulating your mind through solving puzzles and remembering lists makes people sharper, more confident and better at making decisions. The study goes on to say that the traditional method of establishing IQ as a fixed measure of intelligence may no longer be applicable. There is an increasing body of scientific evidence that suggests you can take steps in your life to actually improve your brainpower by, for example, enhancing your memory, working on your spatial awareness, doing things differently to normal and eating healthily. Scientists say you will see noticeable improvements within a week. In clinical trials 15 volunteers who each followed a "get smarter " regime for a week, were expected by their researchers to be about 10% cleverer at the end of the study. What they found was that some performed up to 40% better than in the initial assessment. However one guy who decided to go out on the town for a stag party the evening before the second test found his score had dropped by around twenty percent-proving that alcohol damages mental function. Well hello!!!! Tell me something I don't know. The participants spent about a week following as much of the advice in the 50- page get smarter guide as they could manage. Its recommendations included moving around your home blindfolded, using your computer mouse with your "wrong" hand for an hour a day, and playing games such as Scrabble and Charades. Many of the people who followed the guidelines were ecstatic saying that this test had totally transformed their lives, or that they had their first good nights sleep in five years. The study went on to say "A lot of people feel they are under- performing in their life, that they are letting themselves down, in terms of their ability to handle events or thinking that people at work are clever than them. This research shows that everyone can get smarter, and feel better, if they do these things. Here is the "get smarter guide":

Saturday- Brush your teeth with your wrong hand and take a shower with your eyes closed.
Sunday- Do the New York Times crossword puzzle and take a brisk walk.
Monday- Have oily fish for dinner, and either cycle, walk or take the bus to work.
- Select unfamiliar words from the dictionary and work them into conversations.
Wednesday- Go to yoga, Pilates or a meditation class and talk to someone you don't know.
Thursday- Take a different route to work and watch the origin of the species on the history channel.
Friday- Avoid caffeine and sugar and memorize seven different phone numbers.

Alcohol Dementia, Memory, Learning and Other Cognitive Skills

Excessive drinking over a period of years may lead to a condition known as Alcohol Dementia, which can cause problems with memory, learning and other cognitive skills. Alcohol has a direct affect on brain cells, resulting in poor judgment, difficulty making decisions and lack of insight. Nutrition problems which often accompany long time alcohol abuse can be another contributing factor, since parts of the brain may be damaged by vitamin deficiencies. Those suffering from Dementia may have very little ability to learn new things, while many   of their other mental abilities are still highly functioning. Along with the decline in cognitive skills, sometimes-noticeable personality changes take place. Confusion may be the most obvious symptom of dementia, but his confusion is also accompanied by obvious memory problems. Those suffering from dementia may remember in great detail events that happened years ago, but are not able to recall events that took place in the past few minutes. Another symptom is telling the same stories or asking the same questions over and over, with no recollection that the questions have just been asked and answered. In conversation they may repeat the same piece of information 20 times, remaining wholly unaware that they are repeating the same thing in absolutely stereotyped expression. Remarkably, at the same time they can seem to be in complete possession of their faculties -- able to reason well, drawing correct deductions, makes witty remarks, or playing games that require mental skills, such as chess or cards.
Warning Signs
This list of warning signs of possible dementia are published on the Alzheimer's Outreach web site:

Personality changes:

  • Frustration, Anger, and Irritability
  • Emotional Liability, Unstable moods
  • Paranoia, Suspicion, and Jealously
  • Insensitivity to Others
  • Flat Emotional Response


I decided to insert this piece from a website, because I ran into Ray, an old drinking partner of mine, at a meeting I attended recently in Santa Cruz. We used to drink and play the ponies at Golden Gate Fields together. We spent endless summers pouring over "The Racing Form" trying to beat the odds and pull off the big one; we came close a few times. I know he won about forty grand one evening at "The Santa Rosa County Fair" this was around 1982 when forty grand was a chunk of change. Outside after the meeting Ray was talking to another member, when he fixed his gaze in my direction. His face appeared blank and expressionless; his eyes had a sad and jaded look about them. Years of drinking had finally taken its toll. Alcohol the rapacious creditor had collected its final payment, his soul. I could see by his irritability, he was trying to put a place or a name on me. Finally turning back in frustration to the person he was talking to he whispered meekly, almost apologetically, "That guy looks familiar."  Now we know this disease is cunning, baffling and powerful, but why does it have to be so damn patient? " But for the grace of god." I told Ray about the Marina Dock, he seemed interested. "Yea, he said, his eyes brightening, I used to drink in San Francisco with a couple of Irish dudes." You did, I responded keeping up the pretense,  "I think I may know one of them, he holds forth at The Marina Dock, they call him "Irish Tony, he has close to 22 years now." "Yea, yea, that's right, he shouted excitedly "Irish Tony" that's the guy. I heard since, Ray is coming around, who knows, maybe just maybe? "God works in mysterious ways his wonders to perform" I love this job. In closing, just a reminder it's never too late or too early to write that check you have been considering for some time. You are the ones who keep our doors open.


With Gratitude

"Irish Tony"


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