Saturday, December 17, 2011

How to destroy your finances in 5 easy steps

Hello friends!

Are you sick and tired of having a roof over your head?
Are you bored by the humdrum existence of knowing where your next meal will come from?
Are you completely numbed out by the dull, unchallenging routine of making ends meet?

It's time to shake things up! You, too, can experience the roller-coaster thrill ride of financial insecurity- but wait, don't order yet! You can also have unimaginable pain *AND* we'll throw in - for free!!! - the judgment, blame, and ostracizing by your friends, neighbors, fellow church-goers and (former) co-workers. 

Sound too good to be true? Think it's out of your reach? You can have all this and more with this easy 5-step plan. I'm not just the President of The Financial Ruin Academy; I'm an alumnus. I've done it. I know it works. And now I want to share it with you.
How to destroy your finances in 5 easy steps!
  1. Get a college degree
  2. Get a job
  3. Get sick with something serious and/ or chronic
  4. Get fired for being sick (this step is easy- no effort involved! Just drag your tired butt in to work one day and- "hey look, I don't work here anymore!")
  5. Attempt to pay for your medical bills and rack up debt (again, easy, because you won't have income but you will have usual expenses- plus these new exorbitant medical expenses. Don't worry; even if you have insurance you'll still find this step of racking up unbearable debt will take care of itself).
* Please note- this plan to financial ruin may not be as effective in Canada, or any country having universal health care.

Step 5 can be achieved via several methods, and some are more effective than others:

a) credit card debt
b) second mortgage on home
c) pile on student loans
d) personal loans from friends

If you really want to experience the financial ruin thrill-ride, option c is best. Here's why:

Credit card loans. If one day, you need to declare bankruptcy, credit card loans can be forgiven (student loans and mortgages cannot). Credit cards are unsecured debt. They have no recourse, except to ruin your credit score. And, hey, you can get that and more with the options b and c.

Second mortgage on home. These are easy to get, and if you default- boom! no house! Pretty fast road to financial ruin. And good luck finding another house, or even an apartment to rent. Now we're getting somewhere. But wait! I think we can do even better. See, if you get kicked out of your home and it's foreclosed upon, the debt is gone with it.

Student loan. Defaults cost you massive fees, which are then tacked onto the loan. And even if you go bankrupt, these loans are not forgiven. There is no getting out of these loans! So... if you want to have drama and financial ruin in your life for all time, you too can have the security of knowing you'll always have financial insecurity! You'll never be out from under your debt. If you want to stay on this thrilling ride, this is the way to go!

Personal loans can be forgiven (but rarely forgotten) and rarely involve fees or hefty interest.

So let's review: Credit card debt, if you go bankrupt, only costs you your pride. And let's face it, if you're chronically ill, you gave that up long ago. Mortgage defaults cost you your home; personal loans cost you your friends. So really, the coup de grace is to put that medical debt onto come loan you can never get out of- student loans. Now, on top of your debilitating illness, you have a debt load you cannot possibly repay, and which will never be forgiven.

If you've enjoyed this lesson and would like to enroll in our program of Financial Ruin for Life (TM), please send $1 billion to RDR,  PO Box 6284 Somerset NJ 08875. Please feel free to write the check from your student loan account.

*this article as inspired by the unfortunate and true story of Kristin Rawls, a fellow graduate of The Financial Ruin Academy. read her story here (contains profanity):

Carla Ulbrich, The Singing Patient funny medical songs

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Beating back the creeping crud

Well, it's that time of year. The central heat is on, the sinuses are getting dried out and irritated, the cold air is upon us, and the germs are moving in and taking up residence in those poor mucus membranes.

For the first time in years, I have bronchitis. And why do I think I got sick? Well for starters, just last Wednesday I was boasting about how I never even catch a cold anymore- not in several years. Never do that.

Seriously though, what causes people to fall ill with a cold, or bronchitis, or the flu- anything contagious is the combination of these 2 factors:

1) exposure
2) susceptibility

We can only control #1 to some degree. Unlike the Japanese, people in the US don't wear a face mask when they are ill. And we certainly don't stay home. We go to work and "power through," which sadly just makes the illness last longer. And spreads it to everyone around us. And if someone in your house is ill, it's pretty hard to not be exposed to it. And do you ever think about the fact that you've never seen anyone in a train station or an airport clean things like door knobs and chair handles, which are touched by hundreds of people daily? Yeah, we're going to get exposed to germs. And that's all part of keeping the immune system awake and useful.

But susceptibility, there's something we have some power over. Our daily habits make us weaker or stronger. What we eat, how much we sleep, whether we get enough water and fiber and vitamins, how happy we are, whether we get sufficient exercise.

I actually felt the sore throat coming on last week, but I "powered through" because I had things to do, such as rehearsing for several gigs this week. Now, sadly, I'm canceling those gigs because I'm SICK... because I didn't rest when I knew I should, and I went out in the cold, damp weather multiple times with a sore throat. Stupid. But I own up to my part in this- I've been overworking for 2 years now, hardly ever taking a day off, and that, my friends, was dumb. I made myself very susceptible. In fact I'm lucky it took this long for me to end up with bronchitis.

So, I'd like to share with you what I'm doing to kick it.
  1. Ear oil. Make your own ear oil:
  2. Umcka. homeopathic cold cure. i started it last week but forgot to take it Saturday because I was too busy" gigging. This stuff usually works really well for me- if I feel something coming on, I start taking it, and it never becomes a full-blown anything.
  3. echinacea
  4. vitamin C
  5. rest
  6. water
  7. raw garlic
  8. cold-eeze (zinc)

We'll see how fast I can lick this. Meanwhile, the most important lesson I take from this experience is this: If you have to pee, and you also have to blow your nose, pee first. Trust me on that one.

{12/16/11 update: it only took me 3 days to get back on my feet- shortest bout of bronchitis I've ever had! I don't know whether to thank the Umcka or the ear oil, but it's one or both of these, because the other things in my list have always been there before, and those bouts of bronchitis always lasted 10-14 days. I'm back! If I had to get "normal people" sick (as in "just" bronchitis), at least it didn't last- and it didn't make my lungs close up like it did 8 years ago. Onward! We now return you to our regular postings about gum, gluten, and other random topics.}

Carla Ulbrich, The Singing Patient

Friday, December 2, 2011


My gum-chewing days are essentially over. And while that will probably save me from getting TMJ, I do miss having something to chomp on in place of dessert, or while I'm concentrating on writing, literally chewing on an idea. And especially on an airplane, popping my ears.

But I chew gum no more, because I can't find gum that does not contain nutrasweet.

What's wrong with nutrasweet. Let me get the list. Literally.

According to ,
some of the symptoms of aspartame poisoning include:

    Headaches/Migraines, Dizziness, Seizures, Nausea, Numbness, Muscle spasms, Weight gain, Rashes, Depression, Fatigue, Irritability, Tachycardia, Insomnia, Vision Problems, Hearing Loss, Heart palpitations, Breathing difficulties, Anxiety attacks, Slurred Speech, Loss of taste, Tinnitus, Vertigo, Memory loss, Joint Pain. 
     Furthermore, it is implicated in worsening or even triggering these conditions:
    Brain tumors, Arthritis, Multiple sclerosis, Epilepsy, Chronic faigue syndrome, Parkinson's Disease, Alzheimer's Disease, Mental retardation, Lymphoma, Birth defects, Fibromyalgia, Diabetes, Thyroid Disorders.

Every single one of these contains nutrasweet. Well, OK, not the batteries.

Nutrasweet, which I used to parttake of daily (mostly in the form of Diet Coke, but also gum), is an excitotoxin, and anyone with autoimmune issues should avoid all excitotoxins. In fact, everyone should avoid them, but those of us with a diagnosis of something serious will be especially better off if we keep them out of our diet.

On the day we finally see a "wanted" poster in the post office for aspartame, underneath its photo will be these known aliases: Nutrasweet, Amino Sweet, Equal, Spoonful, and Sweet One. Like a wanted murderer, perhaps they are changing the name again to avoid the bad press that nutrasweet is getting. This "food" should never have been allowed into the food supply, but if you've got deep pockets and know the right people, I do believe you can get the FDA to approve cyanide as safe for infant formula.

Don't just take my word for it. Read some of the many articles on about aspartame poisoning:

Or read this webpage:

Or this one:

Don't count on the government to protect you from unsafe foods. Take on that responsibility yourself. And if you're looking for hidden nutrasweet in food, just know this- if the label says "attention phenylketonurics: contains phenylalanine" then it contains nutrasweet. And for me, that means it's not going in my mouth.

Nutrasweet for me means migraines and/ or diarrhea. Yeah, I just typed that publicly. I get diarrhea. TMI! Well, I don't, now. Because I don't poison myself anymore with soda and gum containing nutrasweet. I accidentally ate some nutrasweet recently when I bought some *regular* lifesavers (*not* sugarfree). I ate 3, then- 100-yard dash to the bathroom! WTH? The only unusual thing I had eaten that day was lifesavers. So, I went and read the package, and even though they were *not* sugar-free, they contained nutrasweet.

Why would they do that? Because nutrasweet is 16 times sweeter than sugar, and cheaper to manufacture. So, they can use less sugar and increase their profits.

Apparently, nutrasweet (aspartame) is also an effective preservative, which I assume is why they use it in that stuff they give people before a colonoscopy, and in prescriptions like cellcept. (Which may be why I couldn't tolerate high doses of cellcept. Boy was I mad when I read the pamphlet and saw nutrasweet in the ingredient list- I gave up Diet Coke, my favorite drink, and I also gave up chewing gum, because of the nutrasweet, and now my prescriptions were sneaking it into my system - and I didn't even get the enjoyment of a gut-rotting fizzy treat?).

 So, if you are avoiding nutrasweet, assume nothing and read all labels. Simply look for the warning (always in bold letters) "attention phenylketonurics: contains phenylalanine." If you're looking for a gum without nutrasweet, I'll save you some time: there isn't any. It ALL has nutrasweet in it, unless you go find some natural gum at the health food store (like "Glee" gum).

Looks innocent, right? Big Red! I chewed that as a kid, nothing but sugar and whatever gum is made of (rubber?).

Not health food by any stretch, but also not something that was going to cause migraines and diarrhea. (Oh, that's that word again. How many times can I put that disgusting thought into one article? Hopefully as many as it takes to  make nutrasweet seem like the non-food that it is).
And now, chew on this (actually, don't chew on this):

Always read the label!

Read the labels and if you're having health problems, consider eliminating this "food" from your diet.

Well wishes, my friends.

Carla Ubrich, The Singing Patient and Health Coach - health coaching- visit this site to get a free e book on nutrition! funny medical songs