Thursday, April 21, 2011

Product review and giveaway: Pain Relief Cream "Topricin"

Welcome to the first-ever product review/ giveaway on this blog!
The product we're reviewing and giving away (one gift basket only) is Topricin, a homeopathic pain relief cream.

I've been using it myself for the last few days. Conveniently (or not, depending on how you look at it), I've had significant discomfort this week after driving 800 miles in one day (by myself). So I had some legitimate pain to try out this cream on. And I gotta say, it really helped.

One the pain scale of 0-10 (zero being "no pain at all" and 10 being "i'm going to jump off a roof if this pain doesn't stop!"), I'd say for me this cream is completely effective all the way up to an 8-level pain. If something is 9 or 10, I'll try the cream first, then if it doesn't work, resort to taking advil or some other pill out of my cabinet.

Because no pharmaceutical or over-the-counter drugs are without risk (or side effects), I am always in favor of finding a more natural solution to life's little problems (and the big ones, too).

Topricin is all natural. Being homeopathic, it works with your body to heal the source of the pain, rather than only suppressing symptoms. Although it does also relieve symptoms.

The website suggests using it for some very painful conditions, including fibromyalgia, plantar fasciitis, carpal tunnel and neuropathy.

Topricin, from what I can tell, comes in 3 formulas:
1) general pain relief cream
2) "junior" pain relief (for kids)
3) foot pain relief

They are available in tubes, tubs, or "single serving" packets (great for travel/ in your purse or backpack). It's non-greasy and has no smell. I give it 2 thumbs up!

So, I have this big beautiful basket of topricin to give away!

How to enter:
  1. Mandatory:  In order to enter to win, just leave a comment on this post. Don't forget to include your email address (ex: SpiffyStuffBlog at gmail dot com --like this to avoid spamming from bots).  You can't win if I can't contact you.  ;)  This counts as one entry.
  2. Optional:  
    1. visit me on youtube ( ), find a song of mine that made you laugh, and come back here to tell us all about it in a comment. Again, don't forget to include your email address
    2.  Instead of limiting this contest to those who follow my blog, I'm going to make following this blog a separate entry.  Make a separate post saying that you follow this blog.  Again, don't forget to include your email address.  This counts as one entry.
    3. "Like" (hit the "like" button) Carla's music page on facbeook ( ) Please post your Facebook username (probably just your full name) so we can verify this entry.  Again, please include your email address.  This counts as one entry.
    4. Advertise this contest: A Tweet, a Facebook mention, a blog post about this contest on your own blog, anything like this would count as an additional, separate entry.  Be sure to post links or usernames so that your shout-out can be verified.  And finally--don't forget to include your email address.
This contest will close promptly at 10:00 p.m. EDST on Wednesday, May 18, 2011.

Shortly thereafter I will pick a winner based on their post number which will be picked by the free number generator at  I will post the winner here for all the world to see, and notify the winner to see where/how to ship your fabulous gift basket of Topricin.  Once the winner has been confirmed, we'll send the prize your way.   

Meanwhile, you can visit the website of this giveaway's sponsor right here:

Carla Ulbrich, The Singing Patient,
is the author of "How Can You *Not* Laugh at a Time Like This?"
Get Carla's Book at

Monday, April 11, 2011

Therapeutic Humor

I've just returned from the AATH conference. AATH stands for Association for Applied and Therapeutic Humor.

You'll note by the name that, yes, they promote humor, but they also specify that it be therapeutic. Meaning it helps, not harms. Anyone who spent any time on the school playground knows that humor can be harmful and even cruel. But humor can also uplift and even break the spell of sadness and despair.

Humor was a tremendous help to me at the worst points in my illness, and continues to be that spice that makes every day a little better, and every person I meet easier to get to know.

So how do we use humor in a way that is safe and helpful? My thoughts at the moment are these:

- Create distance. Comedy is pain plus distance. The distance can be time or just gaining a new perspective on things; looking at things from a distance, even though they are recent or even ongoing. You may have heard that comedian Gilbert Gottfried was fired from his gig as voice of the AFLAC duck because he made jokes about the Japan Tsunami very shortly after it happened. As they say in the comedy clubs " Too soon!" There wasn't any distance yet. And some things are never funny. Which brings us to:

- Stick to what you know personally. Do not make fun of other people's problems if you have not been there. I don't make jokes about being black (because I'm not), or Jewish (I'm also not), or even any illnesses I haven't been through. it's very important to me that I stick to my own experiences so that the audience knows I am not mocking their pain. I can make fun of my pain, or of situations, or of groups that I belong to (Southerners, insomniacs, women, musicians, people with lupus)- as long as I'm speaking in terms of "we." Look, we've all done enough stupid stuff in our lifetimes to write hours of comedy. We don't need to make things up.

- Use comedy to build up and unite, not to tear down and make one person or group superior to another. Put-down comedy (Don Rickles, Lisa Lampanelli) can be undeniably funny, but it makes me feel icky afterwards. I think some comedy is just kind of neutral, like Seinfeld and Jeff Foxworthy (observational comedy that points out the absurdities in life)- it doesn't harm anyone, but it isn't particularly view-changing. Making people laugh has enough value in itself, especially when you can do so without harming anyone. But then there is humor that is not only funny, but therapeutic. It actually makes you see things differently (Christopher Titus). I hope I can become one of those people. Someone who makes a point with their comedy- educates, enlightens, gives hope.

Who are some comedians who you think are making a positive difference with their humor?

Carla Ulbrich, The Singing Patient,
is the author of "How Can You *Not* Laugh at a Time Like This?"
Get Carla's Book at

Monday, April 4, 2011

Gluten free is Bulls**t!?

Every now and then I'm encouraged by the availability of gluten-free foods out there, both in the frozen foods section and in restaurants. The restaurant we went to yesterday ("Ciao!") had a sticker on the front door for I thought "how cool! we're making progress! Maybe I'll be able to order something other than salad when I go out to eat.

But this article in the Daily Post proves we still have a lo-o-o-o-ng way to go.

"Gluten free is bull----!!" Damian Cordone, of Piscataway, N.J., mouthed off in a March 10 Facebook photo wall post. "Flour and bread have been a staple of life for thousands, THOUSANDS of years. People who claim to be gluten intolerant don't realize that its all in their disturbed little heads."
Cordone added that he lies to diners who make the dietary request.

... And then he proceeds to serve them *high-gluten* pasta.

Who's really got the disturbed little head here?
I don't know where this hostility is coming from, so I'm just going to assume it's ignorance.

Would he take someone allergic to bees and shove them into a beehive?

Probably not, because the other problem with creating understanding for gluten intolerance is that the reaction to gluten is not going to happen right there at the table, like an anaphylactic reaction to peanuts (or bees).

Unfortunately there are some people who are going gluten-free thinking just to lose weight, and that -ahem- tips the scales of opinion against those of us who need to be gluten-free for more serious health problems.

Being gluten-free is not convenient. I do understand it's something of a fad at present, but for many of us, it's not a fad, it's a requirement.

Here is a webpage where you can find gluten-free friendly restaurants.

All the same, I would just avoid ordering pasta when eating out. And I wouldn't eat anything cooked by chef Damian Cordone, because that man has issues. If he's that angry about gluten-free requests, imagine if you sent the food back because it's undercooked. He'd probably throw it on the floor and spike your sauce with Ajax. He needs a) anger management b) a different line of work c) both d) to develop gluten intolerance himself so he can finally "get it."

Carla Ulbrich, The Singing Patient,
is the author of "How Can You *Not* Laugh at a Time Like This?"
Get Carla's Book at