Vitamin D and Health – Part 1

Now a Change of Pace

A Major Oversight

The warnings are everywhere, particularly in the summer. “Do not ever, ever go outside without putting on sunscreen!” (Obviously this warning serves the marketers of sunscreen.) Exposure to the sun puts you in danger of skin cancer and at minimum it may damage your skin, they say. There is some truth to these statements and moderation is indicated.

BUT, there is another side. Before the year 2000 there was little in the way of research concerning the effects of vitamin D deficiency. It is now being done and the story deserves substantial attention.

A Deeply Personal Story

My mother suffered from terrible depressions and great bouts of weeping eczema. My father (who was a surgeon) feared she might suicide. When the first psychotropic medicines came out, he gave his darling wife Milltown to try to help her manage her depression. Much later I learned one of the side effects of that drug was Parkinson’s disease.

In her later years my mother suffered terribly from the effects of Parkinson’s. She would confide in me about her pain and misery—when she knew who I was. She was a very victorian lady who never, ever went in the sun. And that, I was to understand, was her downfall.

As I entered adulthood, increasingly I suffered from devastating winter depressions, also called seasonal affective disorder. By early February I was routinely deeply depressed. I searched for help. I tried medication for depression but there were dreadful side effects and little help. Alternative routine advise was to use broad spectrum light therapy. It did nothing. Also they said to use oral Vitamin D. Even at high doses it did not much of anything. The researchers claimed that tanning booths offered no refuge. They were absolutely wrong.

I Found Nirvana at the Tanning Salon

I recognized that I suffered from the same condition as my mother. Routinely I frequented a tanning booth to very positive effect. I noted another effect. When I failed to go to the tanning booth for a long period even in summer my blood pressure soared.

For a time my wife and I had a business in the Caribbean. It had grown out of the home we had built on St. Lucia. My first act upon arrival was to go lie in the sun. When we closed that business I suddenly had eczema like my mother and returned to the tanning salon. And all around me were warnings about the sun and that I needed to never, ever leave the house without putting on sunscreen.

Stay tuned. In the next post there is more. This is not just a personal story. It has a lot to do with wide-ranging health problems, their origins and treatment.

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power by Roger B. Burt

Roger B. Burt’s Amazon home page

Creating Characters and Plots by Roger B. Burt

Stepfamilies: Professionals and Stepcouples in Partnership

Whatever Happened to Community Mental Health by Roger B. Burt

A Focus on Society And Its Change – Partnership

Imagine What May Be At Our Doorstep

And now we turn to our future and what may be the potential. Women have raised the torch of their empowerment high and it is now for men to respond and join them. Men have their own empowerment at issue. What seems like power can be in many senses a reflection of the fact that too often men have been feeling powerless. That takes some thought. And when we come together in an honest dialogue in the light of this new era we can help men overcome some of their own burdens. This bears repeating because men are burdened as well.

Our Contributions To Society

This is not just about justice for women. We have a chance to enhance our societies. From time to time societies need to do an in depth reevaluation and this is one of those times. We may begin by examining ourselves and then move on to society as well. What opportunity does this bring to us? We must go much farther than simply saying this abuse must stop. It is a time for self examination, examination of the traits of society and a search of what has now come on the horizon. This is not a time to simply say men must stop the harassment and abuse. This is a time to look at what opportunities this presents to us. We have been wasting so much of the potential of our people. And it is not just a matter of opening their potential to full flower. At present what women are presenting to us is foremost and they walk hand in hand with people raising issues of race and ethnicity. These issues are not that far apart.

What is truly disturbing is that we have highlighted the need for a substantial reevaluation of all these issues. Change is needed but there are people who stand in the way “in the schoolhouse door”.

Expanded Horizons

When we expand the horizons of examination there is a multiplying effect as we explore the possibilities. These changes will have broad consequences. And now we can seize the opportunity to shape those consequences. It is not just a matter of cataloguing a list of issues. We need to scan for potential. It is when we go into crisis that there are monumental opportunities.

One Of The Key Issues Is Devotion To Partnership

And now with the opportunities unfolding before us we have one truly precious opportunity.
The very concept of partnership must be studied. With these changes we have the opportunity for substantive change in partnership between men and women but also a new form of partnership between and among men. We have recently opened to view loving partnership in paired men and paired women. We have opened self transformation and recognition as in transgender people. But now we advance a whole new frontier. The front of liberation has expanded and we can only begin to wonder about the benefits for society and the world at large. We have been so restrictive and now we can explore our multitude of partnerships. There truly may be a dynamic future for us as we unburden ourselves from constricting baggage.

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power by Roger B. Burt

Roger B. Burt’s Amazon home page

Creating Characters and Plots by Roger B. Burt

Stepfamilies: Professionals and Stepcouples in Partnership

Whatever Happened to Community Mental Health by Roger B. Burt

Nicolai Redux


Sunset and fellow photographer at the beach

I’ve posted previously about my friend from graduate school, Nicolai Khoklov.

Let me review. One day at Duke University I was introduced to a new graduate student by the name of Nicolai. His heavy Russian accent was intriguing. Later it came out. He had been the head of the KGB for Eastern Europe and finally, after much soul searching, he defected.
The story is dramatic. Our intelligence service was to get his family and take them out of the country when he went on Radio Free Europe to announce his defection. They didn’t do it and he lost them forever. Later, when he was in Germany, Russian intelligence tried to poison him with a radioactive substance. He survived. That’s the drama.

The Truth Is Spoken

Then there is the other part. One evening Nicolai talked at length about his experiences. The key words he uttered in conclusion were – “You think it is like James Bond. It is, in fact, like Get Smart.” (For the younger generation, Get Smart was a television show which satirized intelligence services.)

Nicolai’s words continue to resonate with me. Especially in our current political environment. What we are seeing displayed is incompetence, disregard for country and corruption among many other things. What we are showing the world is embarrassing.

How Are We To Assess This Specter

Nicolai’s story resonates. In this campaign season, we may dismiss the show as a form of comic opera or are we seeing life as it is? Many of us are shocked at what we are seeing, but, is the truth that this was there all along and we have not seen or experienced it this openly?

Get Smart was meant to be funny but what we are seeing now is anything but funny. Or is it that we should be honest with ourselves and that we are seeing fundamental truths about humanity? It is sobering to realize that these kind of beings were there all along and we need to attend to the fact of their existence. Maybe the recognition is uplifting and useful.

Remember, Nicolai’s job was to safeguard the underbelly of the Soviet Union in Europe. He was to gather intelligence, kill people if necessary and build an underlying defense force for his country. In the end he felt it was all a lie and his job violated his sense of humanity. And so he followed the guidance of his conscience. Wouldn’t it be nice if we had more politicians with his integrity.

Another Form of a Reality Show

The lesson for us is that this is not comic opera. It is reality and it is often dysfunctional and displays the faults and frailties of humanity in its worst forms. We may laugh, but often should cry at what is revealed. Will we see ourselves for who we are including our vulnerability and what is lurking under the surface. That, in itself, is valuable.

Get Smart was for fun but as is often the case with comedy, it displays lessons to which we need to attend. Again we come back to our view of reality. We have to decide how we interpret the events of this season and what we do with it is another matter. And to me Nicolai is a role model. Is it up to us collectively to bring this under control?

What have you concluded?

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power by Roger B. Burt

Roger B. Burt’s Amazon home page

Creating Characters and Plots by Roger B. Burt

Stepfamilies: Professionals and Stepcouples in Partnership

Whatever Happened to Community Mental Health by Roger B. Burt

Feelings of Inadequacy and Powerlessness


Personal Management

To fulfill our potential requires not just commitment and dedication for success. It also requires us to deal with our perceptions of ourselves and our belief or understanding of our strengths and weaknesses. Perspective is needed to balance such things as our talents or lack of interest. Our weaknesses need not drive down our self esteem. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. It’s also a matter of orchestrating our motivation with self esteem. And it is often not so easy to understand our strengths and how they may benefit us. The bottom line is that management of the self involves management of an orchestra.

We cannot all be talented in the same way. Where we do not have talent we may have lack of interest or commitment or we may view something as inessential. Men have sports heroes and we are instructed to admire and follow in their footsteps. But some of us are not interested and where formerly this may be seen as an inadequacy or a weakness it can be transformed into a view of lack of interest because there are other talents which offer potential for growth and satisfaction. The confinement may be in what men do to each other. Part of the question relates to recognizing the extent and diversity of effects on each other. All too often there is an
enforced lack of introspection especially if the issue is not to be discussed.

And Then There is the Sexual Arena

Now before us we are seeing considerable evidence of the issue of male sexual abuse. Boys may ask each other, “Did you get any?” This is a depersonalization of women and helps lay groundwork for abusers. This question comes from the outside and, if the young man has values which indicate to him that he wants to not treat women as objects, self esteem may come to be at question.

Establishing a Useful Focus

As the sexual abuse scandals have become highlighted we see a central focus on males exercising power. We need to not overlook the other possibilities and it would need to be central to male group discussions. For many men it is not primarily a matter of power but one of THEIR self esteem. And when women step forward and talk about how they were abused they are too often punished and shouted down which makes matters worse.

We need to recognize that men may push and harass women sexually not because they are exercising power but because they feel powerless and inadequate. In short, it may be compensatory.They hope they may prevail and feel more powerful or worthwhile. Just as when Trump strikes out because his narcissism isn’t being fed. These behaviors can be more indicative of insecurity, fears, powerlessness and personal flaws rather than an exercise of power. They reveal weakness. These men may avoid despair by attempting to reassure themselves and their worth. Otherwise they can collide with a personal negativity.

Self As Trash

If a man believes he is trash then the subjugation of others may enhance, for the moment, their feeling of their own worth. But these kinds of self disregard can be assuaged only temporarily. Self concept and what we believe in ourselves is a virtual statue of self image we carry with us. And if it is dubious or negative then it must be supported and dealt with over and over because there is no event in day to day life which will thoroughly mitigate it unless there is a thoroughgoing search of the meaning and substance of ones self regard and belief. And men, when they are willing to search and admit can help each other with this problem. And so we return again to the meaning and need for men to self examine together. We share these flaws in self and in male culture. One of the leading indicators of this problem being underlying is seen in the man who must always receive praise and adulation. Enjoying recognition and celebration is one thing but the insistence and extent of need indicates a personal flaw.

The Bottom Line

If all the above seems complicated, it is because it is complicated. We need to examine these various themes and lay them out before us. If we focus only on power, we lose track of the variety of things which feed the dysfunction. We have our work cut out for us.

How often have you been able to perceive this process in men?

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power by Roger B. Burt

Roger B. Burt’s Amazon home page

Creating Characters and Plots by Roger B. Burt

Stepfamilies: Professionals and Stepcouples in Partnership

Whatever Happened to Community Mental Health by Roger B. Burt

New Focus on Patriarchy – Pt 8


Exploring Our Future possibilities

It does not appear to be an exaggeration to say that we have reached a turning point in human history and may well be looking at an extraordinary future. We seem to have expanded options.

When we reach periods of crisis and resistance it is not always apparent what the underlying issues are. There are those who claim we know why women have been subjugated. I’m not at all sure. One conclusion is about the knowledge regarding paternity of children. While it can always be at question, it seems doubtful it is anything approaching a significant explanation. And there are no ready answers but opens our eyes to what is possible is important.

The New Woman

Do we have any idea what we are seeing. Is there a new woman at hand or has she been here all along. Our culture is changing.

I remember in the 1960s as women sought new roles some donned suits like men wore and had similar ties. That was abandoned shortly. Now again we are trying new roles and seem to be accepting that women can be both pretty and smart. I’m loving the women showing up on the news shows. They are not just window dressing except on one “news” channel. And they hold their own in all regards. It is both fascinating and delightful. And the fight for their empowerment continues.

Rescuing Our Future

Men have been largely in charge for a very long time and its time for a change. It is assumed that men are naturally competitive and aggressive. Well, if we go back to when we hunted and gathered there may have been a certain utility but it is not necessary anymore. Too often men can be hollow, shallow and lacking in actual power they assumed they had.

It is hardly uplifting or lofty for men to be in control who seem inclined to abuse the poor and take advantage only for their own profit. Sociopathy is not a necessary male attribute and we have seen much too much of it in the political arena recently.

Rulers Through History

In some ways we believe that we have a new kind of ruler in the “modern” world. I’m not convinced. There were men of power in the ancient world who engaged in stunning violations of human rights and dignity. Later royal families took charge but in Europe what it amounted to was closely linked families who warred among themselves and the true suffering were the people of their nations. Wars of conquest continued.

Now we have new ways to build and collect wealth but we still have a hard core of extremely wealthy rulers. The people of the world get meager shares of wealth but a few countries have more wealth to share. Still today we are looking at an effective rule by the few truly wealthy who hold the balance of control. We now refer to the oligarchs.

Struggle and Transformation in Cultural Transformation

There is a suspicion that a significant change in culture is upon us as we enter the information age and if we will employ vision it may be that we may have a new type of mature society. It will take work.

Struggle is always central among the animals of this planet. And that need not mean bloody struggle. Certainly we gain something from struggle and it simply needs to be combined with a vision of a future and possibilities. We have seen transformation in the past and a notable time was the Reformation which thrust us out of the dark ages. Are we near another such change. But It is my suspicion that fundamental to this transformation will be the empowerment of women.

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power by Roger B. Burt

Roger B. Burt’s Amazon home page

Creating Characters and Plots by Roger B. Burt

Stepfamilies: Professionals and Stepcouples in Partnership

Whatever Happened to Community Mental Health by Roger B. Burt

Women In Power


Above is the true inner Luisa

Luisa the Kitten

Luisa Penza is one of the most prominent warrior women in Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power. Of all the women she is closest to Brigid Lynch, their leader.

Of course each of the characters in this series had a role to play and Luisa was on the list of prominent Andromeda women but her character developed considerably as the writing progressed.

Who She Came To Be

Luisa is from a prominent and wealthy Primal family in Italy. She could have simply accepted that position and reveled in the wealth and comfort. At one point she was sent to boarding school in Virginia. It featured a wonderful stable of horses but Luisa found other outlets. By the end of her second year the school considered her too “naughty” and sent her home. But sometimes people just have to be who they are and she wanted challenge. And so she came back to Italy to build a life she chose. In the Andromeda and the company of Brigid she found a true companion. In fact, she kept on surprising Brigid. Initially she was seen as a “sex kitten”. She was darling and irresistibly engaging to men. But, of course, her position demanded much more of her and she fulfilled her missions admirably. Her choice was to use her qualities of being sensitive, lush and smart to serve her people well.

Out of History

At the beginning of the series the Andromeda women took positions so common for such women in history. They became consorts for wealthy and powerful men. In doing so they made themselves vulnerable in a number of ways. Such women are often seen as compromised and despoiled. In history sex outside of marriage caused women to be shamelessly critiqued. Luisa knew better and one of her strengths was that she found ways to enjoy what she was doing, but at a personal price. There was an independence of thought and assessment which told her she was doing what needed to be done.

Sustaining Herself

Luisa’s inner self was powerful and surprising to people who truly got to know her. Yes, she was kitten-like and loved the passion with the men she was engaging and from whom she was extracting intelligence. Her belief in herself always sustained her. And in the end she could be dangerous and strike with brutality if necessary.

Where She Came From

Given the general form of the story, the women of the Andromeda were chosen to ensnare powerful, greedy men. And such men often are fools enough not to know how powerful women can be in their own right. Each of the women had their own characteristics and diversity was chosen. Luisa, as the sensuous gamine, was a logical choice. But after “hiring” her she proved to be surprising and took over her role in ways not designed initially. This was a process that often surprised this author. But I had to own it and develop it. After all I strongly support the empowerment of women and these women were perfect vehicles for demonstrating the independence of women and that they can make their own choices. Society may try to see them as despoiled. But if they choose not to be, then that is how it is whether others like it or not. They confront our errant prejudices and how our future must be to develop the potential of humankind. Diversity, strength and independence of choice must be available pathways for all of us. What I had chosen in these women was part of our essential future.

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power by Roger B. Burt

Roger B. Burt’s Amazon home page

Creating Characters and Plots by Roger B. Burt

Stepfamilies: Professionals and Stepcouples in Partnership

Whatever Happened to Community Mental Health by Roger B. Burt

The Issues For and From Men


Again I come back to asking men to examine themselves and their culture. The change there must be on the horizon is not up to women alone. While there were men who were wise and made crucial contributions in the past, there are also many men in history who had devastating effects.

Exercising Power to Dominate Others

One of the issues most often noted when we discuss abuses by men is the issue of power. We see efforts to dominate and control others. Certainly women see this especially in the way women are subjugated. When men introspect many often see this issue as a force in their own lives. It begins early and may be displayed in peer groups and in the form of “leadership” they exercise in such groups. And later certainly it comes up in business and military settings of all kinds. Bullies portray it and it comes out in sports. Less often it is at issue in school performance which has an objective measure.

Widespread Manifestation

Over a lifetime these themes are manifested in ever so many settings and is something that men suffer as well as women. But women have suffered more and it is still at issue. It may be domination in meetings, harassment by other workers in various forms. Thus, it comes out in competition of all kinds, even in adult life. It is rarely brought up but it is something that we all must contend with. Now is the time when it should begin to be highlighted.

Power as a display of sexual supremacy

But the primary issue placed before us now is the issue of sexual domination and harassment. The matter begins early. “Did you get any?” one boy may ask another. Real men are supposed to be preeminently successful in not just winning favor but in taking it. Certainly when this topic is brought up it is frequently greeted with insistent denial. But, no matter how we try to push it away, there is an implicit theme especially among men at a younger age. Of course, it then carries over to later in life. It may be a matter of competition and personal belief that a man should take sexual domination because power of all kinds is the province of men—supposedly. Too often it is not examined as a principle which is right or a valid pursuit.

Failure to Examine Supports Abuse

Of course, especially to the degree that it is not examined, it may support abuse of all kinds—even molestation and rape. It may feed issues of self esteem and perceptions of strength among male peer groups.

It cannot be overestimated how much there are underlying issues in male culture. Any attempt to raise them usually leads to denial, even anger at its mention. Certainly men don’t want to discuss it with and before women especially as we enter the era of empowering women. But they do not relish opening the issues with each other either. It is a touchy and difficult subject.

It Must Be Dealt With

But again I come back to the necessity for men to air it among themselves at last. Among each other is where it should begin in an honest environment. If there is resistance, then we must ask, in a forthright fashion, why and for what reasons.

These core issues lay the groundwork for our future. The power of men is eroding whether they like it or not and realignment for the future requires the retirement of denial.

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power by Roger B. Burt

Roger B. Burt’s Amazon home page

Creating Characters and Plots by Roger B. Burt

Stepfamilies: Professionals and Stepcouples in Partnership

Whatever Happened to Community Mental Health by Roger B. Burt