Dr. Nina’s What You Need to Know About Flu Season

Text by Dr. Nina Radcliff & Feature Photo by K. Cecchini

What exactly is “the flu?” It is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. Similar to the common cold, people with the flu often have a runny nose, cough, and sore throat. Unlike the common cold, the flu also affects the entire body and can manifest as:

• A fever of 100° or higher
• Headaches or body aches
• Chills
• Fatigue
• Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea (more common in children)

Who are at an increased risk for complications from the flu? Children, pregnant women, the elderly (older than 65 years of age), and those with chronic health conditions (heart disease, diabetes, asthma, emphysema. Complications include pneumonia, ear and sinus infections, and dehydration. In addition, those with chronic health conditions can experience worsening of their disease: a patient with a history of heart disease may experience angina (chest pain); a patient with diabetes may develop very high blood sugar levels; a person with asthma may start wheezing; and a patient with emphysema may become short of breath.

What can I do to prevent it? The flu vaccination, commonly referred to as “the flu shot,” is the best method of prevention. Although it is not 100% effective, it protects 60-70% of people who get it. The flu shot is recommended for everyone over 6 months of age and particularly those who are at high risk for complications.

Stay away from people who are coughing and sneezing. The flu virus is most commonly spread via aerosolized droplets that can travel up to 6 feet. The virus can also survive on surfaces or objects and infect a person if they touch their mouth or nose. During the flu season, wash your hands frequently, don’t touch your mouth, nose, or eyes, and wipe down surfaces and objects that may be infected. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.

When should I get the flu shot? Yesterday. If you haven’t already, please get it as soon as possible. Flu season begins in October and it takes up to two weeks after receiving the vaccine for our immune system to develop antibodies. This allows for the antibodies to be ready and loaded to fight off a potential infection before peak season.

What are some myths about the flu shot?
“I can get sick from the vaccine.” This is impossible because the flu shot is formulated from inactivated/dead virus. When this occurs, it is likely because you were exposed to the influenza virus before antibodies were formed. It is important to note that people who get immunized, but still get the flu are less likely to experience pneumonia, time lost from work, hospitalizations, and deaths.
“I didn’t get the flu last year.” This means you were lucky, not a superhero with special powers. Remember, even Superman was vulnerable to kryptonite.
“I don’t have time.” Face it, you don’t have time to get sick for 1-2 weeks, take off from work, be hospitalized, or die. It takes less than 15 seconds to perform.
“It costs too much.” The majority of recipients have no out-of-pocket costs. If you do pay for it, it is typically less than $30 and MUCH cheaper than a doctor’s office or emergency room visit or taking vacation days.

How is the flu treated? Antibiotics, like penicillin, fight bacteria and are not effective against the influenza virus. In some situations, it is possible to have a bacterial infection along with, or caused by, the flu that will require antibiotics. Antivirals, however, can effectively “attack” the flu virus after you are sick and reduce symptoms, the duration of illness, and serious complications of the flu. These medications work best when started early.

Flu symptoms—fever, headaches, body aches, runny nose, congestions, sore throat—may be treated with over-the-counter medications. It is very important to drink plenty of fluids. Dehydration may occur because of fever, lack of appetite, vomiting, or diarrhea. And, of course, stay home, rest, and recover!

How long am I contagious? Experts state that it is possible to infect others one day before symptoms develop (before you even know you’re sick!) and 5-7 days after symptoms appear. Children and those with weakened immune systems may be contagious for longer periods.

When should I seek emergency medical attention? Most healthy people can recover at home without seeing a physician or being hospitalized. However, you should call your doctor or seek immediate medical care if you develop the following symptoms:

• Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath may suggest that your organs are not getting enough oxygen
• Chest pain may be pneumonia, wheezing, or heart disease
• Severe or persistent vomiting can cause dehydration and can lead to symptoms such as dizziness or confusion
• Flu-like symptoms that improve but then return with fever and a more severe cough.
• If you are unsure

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Notice: This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither Dr. Nina Radcliff or Kimberly Cecchini take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.
Before engaging in any complementary medical technique, including the use of natural or herbal remedies, you should be aware that many of these techniques have not been evaluated in scientific studies. Use of these remedies in connection with over the counter or prescription medications can cause severe adverse reactions. Often, only limited information is available about their safety and effectiveness.


Gazelle Twin Provides the Chills with “Unflesh”

Normally I am a fan of dark and bizarre music.  However, Elizabeth Bernholz (AKA, Gazelle Twin) is a British musician who frankly scares me just a wee little bit.

UNFLESH is the sonic equivalent of a violent assault; a soundscape dominated by electronic buzzing and industrial beats, but there’s something more…troubling…lying just underneath the surface.

Opener “Unflesh” sounds just like its title would foreshadow: it offers pounding percussion, shrill-like vocals, thumping bass. It’s a regular cavalcade of gloom (good thing Halloween is right around the corner).  The immediate cadence of this track with the open internal exchange of “It’s gonna get me/Come and get me” on repeat sounds like some sort of twisted invitation that, regardless of our common sense, we will undoubtedly accept.

Restlessness ensues. The rattling and clanging reminds me of the chains around Jacob Marley’s neck and eerily compels me to keep listening. Gazelle Twin lays an unsettling foundation from the get-go and does not give an inch.

“Exorcise”‘s  whirling buzz (not unlike my washer and dryer setup) casts a hypnotic spell. Coupled with looped lyrics like “It’s a kind of pain, nothing brings relief from” and “Its all in my mind”, the track is a horrific funhouse.

Following the established mood, “Belly of the Beast” presents a baseline that drives a stake through your cranium and gives you lyrics that include such wholesome imagery as:

I’ll take it like milk from a baby, suck the teats and the nipples that feed,
I’ll take it like milk from a baby, swallowing it down, tasting that sweet thing. -Gazelle Twin

(Not quite poetic, but fits the tone she sets.)

The majority of this album follows a similar path; the tracks are engulfed with menacing beats and cryptic lyrical poetry (mostly delivered in spoken word form) save for a few gems which offer a glimpse into the psyche of the Gazelle Twin.

Anti Body” has a pulsating, Nine Inch Nails-esque rythym to start, before some hard hitting lyrics help to provide us with some insight into the dark recesses of Ms. Bernholz’s mind. Although said verses are almost completely swallowed by the music, they fortunately make their way to to the forefront:

“When I was fourteen

I hid in his room

Hoping I would sleep

Never be exhumed

History and the past

It was always there

Swallowing the pill

Til I breathed my last”

“Still Life” reintroduces the shrillness and pounding of the opener, thus bringing the entire experience full circle, and allowing me to come out from underneath the bed. UNFLESH is creepily enjoyable (not something I could listen to at the drop of a hat, but very good for when the need to tidy up the kill room strikes).

Senator Booker at Home

Text & Photos by K. Cecchini @tonightatdawn

Senator Cory Booker was at home in New Jersey yesterday to discuss Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s memoir, Off the Sidelines: Raise Your Voice, Change the World, with her at Montclair High School.

(Click here for the extended article.)

After their friendly conversation on stage, they stopped for a few photos and posed with a 9 year-old-girl who submitted the question, “What is it like to be a female senator?”

"What is it like to be a female senator?"
“What is it like to be a female senator?” 9-year-old with Gillibrand & Booker

Within a few minutes, Senator Booker had dismounted the stage to engage with his constituents. He patiently took photos, shook hands and spoke with people who had the foresight to stay after the event had reached its conclusion.

Cory Booker truly seems to wish to listen to folks. He eagerly directed a high school student who invited him to a special club event to speak to a staff member, welcomed a woman to his campaign who wanted to garner the Asian-American vote for him and listened to people’s concerns.

I felt comfortable in approaching Senator Booker; I told him that I have been following him since he was mayor of Newark. As he did with everyone, he showed earnest as I spoke. He thanked me for having written a piece about justice reform and agreed that either him or one of his staffers would interview with me on the issue.

Booker’s staff was also friendly and I am looking forward to the possible opportunity to interview him or his staff about justice reform to add to our series.

Senator Booker Speaking with Constituents
Senator Booker Speaking with Constituents
Senator Booker Speaking with Constituents
Senator Booker Speaking with Constituents

People’s Climate March: Part 4: In Bold Letters


With 400,000 marchers in New York and hundreds of thousands of voices around the world the cry for climate justice is not just an East/West Coast liberal move. I met Kentuckians concerned about mountaintop removal for coal mining and Evangelicals seeking to protect what they see as god’s creation. In addition, I saw and spoke with people displaced by storms, suffering from poor air quality and folks facing the possibility of being environmental refugees. Here is the voice of the people, in bold letters:




























Maybe one hippie…


Read More: Climate Change Part 1 with Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland

People’s Climate March: Part 2: The South Bronx to Bangladesh

People’s Climate March: Part 3-Now what?

Did you know we only have 40 or so years left of topsoil to grow our food? Click here to learn more about the beauty of dirt & mud.IMG_1251-0.JPG

People’s Climate March: Part 3- Now what?


Text & Photos by K. Cecchini @tonightatdawn

Did our global leaders in government and business hear the cry of hundreds of thousands throughout the world on Sunday?

For the opening of the Climate Summit on Tuesday, May Boeve, 350.org executive director, issued the following:

“Sunday’s climate march should be a wake up call to politicians. The march in New York, and marches around the world, were led by people who suffer already the effects of climate change. Their numbers grow daily, and our impatience as well–the time for pointless incremental change is past, and the opportunity for visionary leadership never larger.”

The Secretary General Ban Ki-moon reflected on his participation with the 400,000 marchers on Sunday (increased from the original estimate),

“While marching with the people, I felt that I had become a Secretary-General of the People. I am the Secretary-General of the United Nations; I am now working for the People.”

Early afternoon on the first day, Bill McKibben, the co-founder of 350.org, provided his reaction to President Obama’s address at the Summit,

“President Obama says America has ‘stepped up to the plate’ — and dropped down a bunt single when we’re behind by 10 runs in the 9th inning. If the President really wants collective ambition, he’s got to show a little more can do spirit from the world’s leading economy.”

The Climate Justice Alliance press release’s title a couple of hours later clearly expressed more cynicism at the end of the day,

“World Leaders prefer photo ops with community members rather than real talk.”

On the other hand, Andrew Revkin of the NY Times Dotearth blog, was “heartened” after reading Ban Ki-moon’s summary of governmental and private climate and energy commitments. Although the bar has been lowered from seeking a ‘binding’ agreement to “commitments”, but as a result, their has even more movement that hopefully set a better stage for the Parisian Climate Talks in 2015 than the Copahagen Talks 5 years ago.

Although Revkin believes these are modest moves, here are a couple of the bullet points he highlighted from the Summit:

Paths to cuts in emissions:

– The New York Declaration on Forests, launched and supported by more than 150 partners, including 28 government, 8 subnational governments, 35 companies, 16 indigenous peoples groups, and 45 NGO and civil society groups, aims to halve the loss of natural forests globally by 2030.

– Some of the world’s largest retailers of meat and agricultural products committed to adapt their supply chains to reduce emissions and build resilience to climate change. They will assist 500 million farmers in the process.

Financial moves:

– A coalition of institutional investors, committed to decarbonizing $100 billion by December 2015 and to measure and disclose the carbon footprint of at least $500 billion in investments.

Energy and agriculture:

– Leaders of the oil and gas industry, along with national Governments and civil society organisations, made an historic commitment to identify and reduce methane emissions by 2020.

– Leaders from 19 countries and 32 partners from Government, regional organisations, development institutions and private investors committed to creating an 8,000 kilometre-long African Clean Energy Corridor.

I think this last point is particularly important as it is at least a nod to the numerous people around the world who experience all the negatives of energy use without the benefits of, well, energy. Ba Ki-moon trumps the idea of “sustainable energy for all”. It’s a beautiful idea but seems lofty from the perspective of a divisive world in 2014. In conversation with Brian Lehrer of WNYC, Revkin spoke about this awkward dialogue of developed countries with emerging economies that still have people who live in the dark.

“Sustainable energy for all” -or bust.

Read More: Climate Change Part 1 with Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland

People’s Climate March: Part 2: The South Bronx to Bangladesh

Did you know we only have 40 or so years left of topsoil to grow our food? Click here to learn more about the beauty of dirt & mud.

From Heart to Hand: African-American Quilts at MAM

Text & Photos at MAM by Kimberly Cecchini
Press Images provided by MAM

Montclair Art Museum: 3 S. Mountain Ave., Montclair, NJ.

Exhibition: From Heart to Hand: African-American Quilts from the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts
Dates: September 21, 2014-January 4, 2015

Quilts have been peeled back from the bed and curated into museums as exclusive as the Whitney in NYC since the mid-twentieth century. With the fresher view on quilting, this quaint piece of Americana has been reframed into high art.

As quilting garnered more respect in the art world, Gee’s Bend entered popular lexicon; the now famed rural Alabama town became a source for African-American quilts. Over the past ten years, the state capital’s Montgomery Art Museum has taken note by building its own traveling collection from regional, self-taught quilters.

As part of the Montclair Art Museum’s (MAM) recognition of the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act, it has welcomed the southern exhibition, From Heart to Hand.

This past Saturday, Tonight at Dawn joined MAM’s Chief Curator Gail Stavitsky as she led the preview tour through the Traditonal, the Improvisational and the Unconventional quilts.

From Heart to Hand

Despite their assigned categories in the show, even the most traditional quilts on show imbibe their own character within the design, materials and imperfections.

Alison Gardner of the Garden State Quilters, although excited about the growing respect to her craft and the history woven into each of the quilts, mulled over the rougher quality of some of the stitching. Perhaps, though, imperfections such as these create a bit more interest; John Zeaman of The Record wrote, “Others (scholars) pointed out that the African-American quilters were much more tolerant of ‘mistakes.’ They treated little glitches as personal marks or interesting variations…”

Truly, its From Heart to Hand– and back again.

‘Pig Pens’ & ‘Rail Fences’- Tradition & Improvisation

The more traditional quilt patterns are present in many of the pieces; the patterns are often abstractions of rural architecture with very literal names such as ‘pig pen’ and ‘house top’.

The craft is often passed down within families in more isolated communities, and, according to the perspective written in The Montclair Times, regional evolutions of styles and materials make it difficult to pinpoint particular characteristics in African-American quilting. As a result, the collection is as lively as the diversity of hands that have toiled on them with their curvy borders, scraps of familial clothing and twists on design.

Near the straightforward, but somewhat hypnotic red and white pig pen design from unknown hands, hangs Roberta Jemison’s Tombstone Quilt . Jemison graphically divides the dark blue space with a crossed diagonal in a red that matches the quilt’s trim. Upon closer inspection, you can see varying shades of blue patched in that gives the quilt more depth. Additionally, Plummer T. Pettway broke up her house top pattern as she reached the outer edge of her quilt with shorter blocks of color.

Plummer T Pettway, Housetop/Strip Quilt, ca. 1960-1970
Plummer T. Pettway, Housetop/Strip Quilt, ca. 1960-1970

Lureca Outland’s interpretation of a ‘rail fence’ is made up of men’s dress pants in Roman Stripes Britchy Quilt and the cobbled effect compels the eye to move around the whole composition.

Of course, the ‘lone star’ makes its appearance throughout the show in meticulous patterns (Mary Maxtion, Patriotic Stars) and lovingly offbeat rhythms (Nora Ezell, Star Puzzle).

Nora Ezell, Star Puzzle, 2001
Nora Ezell, Star Puzzle, 2001

Story by Stitch: Unconventional

Unlike many of the other quilters in the show, Yvonne Wells approaches quilting as a self-professed artist.

Although Wells does not integrate the visual details that Faith Ringgold achieves through the marriage of paint and cloth (e.g. Tar Beach), the Tuscaloosa, Alabama native creates intriguing narratives with hand stitching and appliqué.

Wells’ quilts pay homage to subjects from the Civil Rights movement and figures (particularly apropos for the 50th anniversary), Christian themes, pop icons and herself. Despite the sobriety inherent to many of her subjects, Stavitsky spoke about Wells’ natural optimism as evident in her incorporation of the sun. Her play with materials -from sequins to colorful scraps- also seems to be a reflection of a sunny disposition.

One such example of Wells’ ability to wed materials, imagery (and her touch of optimism with a sun) is Yesterday: Civil Rights in the South III. In Yesterday, the viewer reads a somber timeline of slavery to civil rights unified by a red field of bloodshed; from the Mayflower, cotton picking, and lynching to the children who died in the 16th Street Baptist church bombing to George Wallace barring integration and nonviolent civil rights protesters being attacked circling a sun crowned Dr. King.

Yvonne Wells, Yesterday: Civil Rights in the South III, 1989
Yvonne Wells, Yesterday: Civil Rights in the South III, 1989

Wells’ sunny nature shines more in her representation of a peace dove and her lively portraits of Jackie Robinson and Elvis Priestly.

Yvonne Wells, The Great American Pastime: Homage to Jackie Robinson I, 1997
Yvonne Wells, The Great American Pastime: Homage to Jackie Robinson I, 1997

More at MAM

MAM will also celebrate African-American quilting through its special events. You can gain more insight about Yvonne Wells‘ works when MAM hosts her conversation with Dr. Nell Painter of Princeton University on October 9th. In November, Sanford Biggers will speak about his project Codex in which he explores questions of identity by painting on historical quilts.

Gail Stavitsky Discussing Yvonne Wells’ The Higginbothams II

Origami Sun

Text by Joe K.

It’s 7AM on a gray, rainy, morning and I have some serious jet lag. It’s the perfect time to review an album. I’m not talking about just any album, but a completely random one that I found after five minutes of trolling the interwebs. And the winner is…

Origami Sun, and their 2014 release, “More Songs About Insects And Fruits”.

I was drawn to the simplistic pencil drawing on the cover that seemed to compliment the dreariness outside my window.

According to their Bandcamp page, Andhi O’Neill, Mathew Pop, Ryan Loizzo, and April Browne sporadically recorded the majority of the album in Port Chester, NY throughout the winter of 2013-2014. I’ve never been to Port Chester, but if this place is anything like Port Jefferson, NY, then we are in for an old fashioned hoedown (or hootenanny or whatever redneck verbiage you prefer).

“Pineapple” starts things off nicely with a tambourine/banjo/ukulele trifecta and Beatles-esque style harmonies. It lays the foundation for Origami Sun’s slightly off-kilter pop folk experience.

Moving into the album, songs like “Nectarine” and “Mangoes” further exemplify the low-fi, weird folk pop and come complete with seemingly nonsensical lyrics about living within fruit and laundromats on East 53rd St. They especially help their cause on “Mangoes” when they drop an awesome Casio keyboard beat.

Many of the songs paint a wonderful, playful landscape (“Honeymoon Sweet”, “Prettier”) that is quite comforting for a rainy day. Even when the lyrics enter into a darker, more introspective space (“The Anthropologist”, “Not Wake Up”),the feel is still reminiscent of running through a jungle gym back in the day (ah, good times).

Even in my jet lagged state, I recognize that the melodies, coupled with O’Neill and Pop’s harmonizing, are Oragami Sun’s strong suit. They particularly shine on “Hear Me Sleep”, “Pineapple”, “Nectarine”, “Prettier”…I might as well just list the entire album at this point, they pretty much nailed it.

With its very mellow instrumentation, “More Songs About Insects And Fruits” is perfect for that late summer night (preparing for the inevitable hangover) rap session.

Yes, folks, we got ourselves a winner!

“More Songs About Insects And Fruits” is the epitome of do-it-yourself music. I’m almost overwhelmed reading the list of instruments that Origami Sun used on these 13 tracks (who doesn’t love seed rattles!) plus, l I defy anyone to say that they do not enjoy the awesomeness of a kazoo solo!