K12 Community Views: Music Cruises vs. Music Festivals

In the past, music lovers use to look forward to music festivals in places like New Orleans, the Caribbean, the British Isles, New Port, Rhode Island and Monterey, CA. Today these festivals have solid competition from a new kind of music festival at high seas. One can sail the Caribbean with his/her favorite band and be treated to intimate performances and chances to meet artists face-to-face, while having the vacation of a lifetime. From big band, classic jazz, contemporary jazz, country music, R & B, Blues to reggae – these cruises appeal to a broad range of melodic taste. Guest on these cruises may even be treated to special performances.

If you have had the opportunity to attend both a land-based music festival and a recent music cruise in the in the past 12 months, tell us in 100 words or less – which was your preference and why?
In the future, if you can only attend one music festival in a single year and you are asked to make a choice which would you choose?

Lowering Your Cholesterol Naturally by Melissa Clark, MD

Statin medications that doctors use – Lipitor, Crestor, Zocor, Pravachol, Lescol – all are effective at reducing cholesterol but can have side effects like muscle toxicity and pain. Most people prefer not to take medicines if they don’t have to. Some have turned to one of the more popular “natural” treatments for high cholesterol, red yeast rice, but it has the same potential side effects as statins. So if you have been diagnosed with high cholesterol and prefer to try start off with more natural remedies, talk with your doctor about trying some of these first. You should also let your doctor know of any supplements you want to take to ensure they do not interact negatively with any medications you are already on.
Natural or herbal options you can discuss with your doctor include:

1. Remember – food is medicine! There are great foods you can eat more of that can help lower cholesterol. These include walnuts, almonds and other nuts; foods high in omega 3 fatty acids – these include flaxseed or fatty fish like herring, mackerel, salmon and sardines; and olive oil. These foods along with ones high in soluble fiber (see below) can be substituted for foods high in saturated fats and trans-fats. Foods to eat less of, or to eliminate, include meat, full-fat dairy products like whole milk and cheese, and trans fats found in some margarines and store-bought cookies, crackers and cakes and cake mixes. Make sure to read your labels.
2. Eat more Soluble Fiber. Soluble fiber appears to binds with cholesterol in the intestines so that it is eliminated. It can be found as a dietary supplement, such as psyllium powder, or in foods such as oats, barley, rye; peas and beans; fruits like apples, prunes, and berries; and vegetables such as carrots, brussel sprouts, broccoli, yams. Five to 10 grams a day of soluble fiber has been found to decrease LDL cholesterol by approximately 5%. Soluble fiber products often say on the label that they are “heart-healthy”.
3. Niacin or Vitamin B3 is used to lower cholesterol. Specifically, it appears to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and increase HDL (good) cholesterol. Niacin is available in prescription form and as a dietary supplement. The American Heart Association cautions patients to only use the prescription form of niacin. Because of side effects, niacin should not be used to lower cholesterol unless under the supervision of a qualified health practitioner.
Side effects can include the most common one, skin flushing, as well as increasing the effect of high blood pressure medication, causing nausea, indigestion, gas, diarrhea, gout, worsening peptic ulcers, or triggering gout, liver inflammation, and high blood sugar. Hold on though – better news follows…
4. Studies on Artichoke leaf extract show it may work to lower cholesterol by both decreasing the amount of cholesterol made in the body as well as increasing cholesterol elimination from the body. It has not yet been well studied but preliminary results show minimal side effects and after 1 week of 1800 mg, cholesterol lowering effects lasted up to 6 weeks.

Remember to check back in with your doctor frequently to make sure that the approach you have chosen is helping to get your cholesterol levels where they need to be.

Dr. Clark is author of the new book “Excuse Me Doctor! I’ve Got What? Taking Ownership of Your Health and making Healthcare Reform Work for You” This book was recently selected by Essence Magazine as one of its top picks and is spotlighted as a great read for helping one to keep his/her New Year’s resolution on keeping your body healthy in 2015

Barrington Levy Releases Acoustic Set

Barrington (Double Trouble) Levy has ventured out where not many reggae artists have gone – releasing an all-acoustic album. The 15-cut album entitled AcousticLevy include several of the artist’s mega hits done in acoustic style. Among the tracks are anthems such as Murderer, Under Mi Sensi, Prison Oval, Teach the Youth and Black Roses. The album was released on May 5th – on the Tafari Records label.

Excuse Me Doctor! I've Got What? by Melissa Clarke MD

Excuse me, Doctor…:  uses stories, checklists and tips to make every reader into their own best patient advocate. Written by a Harvard-educated physician with 20 years of caring for and empowering patients, the book makes it easy to understand:

  • Why people get sick
  • How to stay well and managing your own health with the 5 Self-Health Actions
  • How to find and choose the right practitioner for yourself
  • Who the various types of primary doctors, specialists and alternative practitioners are and what they can help you with
  • Complementary and alternative treatments that have been demonstrated by research to help certain conditions
  • Healthcare reform and choosing your own health insurance
  • Paying for health costs, with guidance on everything from benefitting from your health insurance to negotiating doctor and hospital bills
  • How to mentally be prepare to take charge of your own health & healthcare

….and much, much more
This is not a one-time read.  You will continue to reference this book to find answers to your pressing health care issues and will also undoubtedly recommend it to friends and family.

In the News

New Music
Eddie Murphy dropped new reggae single titled “Oh Jah Jah” in January. The track is on VPAL music and is distributed by VP Records. Murphy wrote and co-produced the record with Ralph Hawkins and Trenten Gumbs.
Mystic Revealers are back together after Fifteen year to release their new album titled “Crucial Cuts”. The album is available on VP Records new Dub Rockers label. The album reunites the quartet of Billy “Mystic” Wilmot (vocal, guitar), Leroy “Lion” Edwards (bass), Nicholas “Drummie” Henry (drums) and Steve Davis (guitar and vocalist). Popular artists Sizzla, Anthony B and Chronixx contributed to the album.
Gone Too Soon
T Boots Harris, a friend, journalist and entertainment consultant, music industry insider and radio host died of a heart attack in August 2014 at the young age of 69. Harris was a big part of the Jamaican entertainment industry and “advisor” to many young reggae artists for more that forty years.
Hopeton LewisMontego Bay born reggae star turned Gospel singer left us in September 2014. Lewis became a household name in Jamaican music in 1966 when he joined Trinidadian – Lyn Tait’s band to recorded one of the country’s first reggae hits title “Take It Easy”. He followed up with several huge hits – the biggest – his 1970 festival song titled “Boom Shaka Lacka”. He released his first Gospel album in 2000.
Uziah Thompson – known to most reggae musicians, promoters and media as “Sticky”, one of reggae industry’s most accomplished percussionists died in August 2014. Sticky gave more that 50 of his 78 years to the reggae music industry. The long list of artists, whose music he “decorated” included The Wailers, The Mighty Diamonds, Alton Ellis, Dennis Brown, Jimmy Cliff, Ken Boothe and Gregory Isaacs.
John Holt – a true legend in Jamaican culture died at the age of 67 in October 2014. The former lead singer of the Paragons and later an extended solo career was a key building block of both the Studio One and Trojan labels. John Holt
The singer/song writer was responsible for one of Jamaica’s earliest international hits – The Tide is High – covered by international star Blondie. Throughout his career Holt released 54 albums, including the classic collaboration with the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra in 2001. His body of work earned him the national honor of Order of Distinction (Commander Class) by the Jamaican Government in 2004.