A Series in Red and Black - Drawing 3

© Lon Bennett 2017 All Rights Reserved. - A Series in Red and Black - Drawing 3

Souq Waqif

Right in the heart of Doha, Qatar, sits a wonderful marketplace that is teeming with activity. At 1600, merchants open their stands after avoiding the day's heat, and sell their wares to locals and tourists alike. You are bound to find anything and everything at a good price if you do not mind haggling, which is customary. Once you have purchased those whatsits and doo-dads you just had to have, you can take a load off at one of the many delectable eating establishments...and do not forget to have the limonana to quench your thirst! After your meal, why not smoke a shisha pipe with a friend to aide digestion? After your meal, walk a couple minutes down to the pearl monument and stop to marvel at the skyline while you hold hands with your special someone, or just take a moment to smile in perfect bliss. This is Souq Waqif.



29. Jul. 2017
By Tom Deans- Bio

Yea, I stick a needle in my arm. So what.

For 70 straight months I have done the same ritual and I am not likely to stop. I didn't want to and it's certainly not like I enjoy the feeling it gives me. I do however enjoy the boost it provides to my depleted finances.

I give blood plasma, or rather I sell blood plasma. It has become the same process twice a week all within a system of a business model that helps save lives and puts a little money towards gas and bills. Wanna know the most important part of this little story? I have made over $30,000 doing it and it’s tax-free.

Oh I don't fashion myself a hero by any means. Plasma does great things (so I'm told). I just know that when I plop down in that chair sitting beside many familiar but nameless faces I will put on my headphones and settle in for an hour of bloodsucking fun. I notice many of those around me watch that needle right into their arm like they are visually guiding it or maybe just intrigued to see the piercing. Not me, I know where that thing is going. I have watched years of slasher movies without fail, but have no desire to see any medical procedure, especially not on me.

A specialist does the work, a phlebotomist. Truth be told some are better at their craft than others. Is it painful? Not really. It will be a pinch-like feeling sometimes but the most skilled "sticks" can go completely unnoticed. If it hurt that bad I would not have done it over 500 times.

Each visit is the same process of setting up "the machine" that will draw your liquid life-force in, spin it at a high speed like a washing machine to separate the red blood cells from the clear plasma, then return those reds to their rightful owner. It is a very safe and sanitary process complete with pre-wrapped one use needles, clear tubes and receptacles. Plasma can be rebuilt within 48 hours in your body and the cause can be helped by eating protein-laden meals before and after your donation. My best advice? Stay hydrated. Water builds blood and it flows faster when you have that hydration. If you are in that chair longer than an hour your poor water consumption is the likely cause. And I don’t mean drink huge gulps at the water fountain as you enter the building. That will just make for an uncomfortable cross-legged time during the donation. This is a must the day before.

Once the needle is inserted, you will go through a series of "cycles" 4-7 minutes of blood drawing will be followed by a ten second pause and then 4-7 minutes of blood return. This will repeat until your 880 ml of plasma is collected. A gauge on the machine is easily viewed to show you a red light for "no flow", yellow for "slow flow" and green for "good flow" during the blood drawing phases and light also alerts you of the return cycle. A steady clinching and releasing of your fist helps circulate the blood during the draw cycles and is highly advisable. Relax your hand during the return phases. I am sure to raise my hand for help if my light indicates no flow because a slight adjustment is needed to either my needle or there is a kink in the line. It's no cause for alarm and is quickly remedied. You'll also be in clear sight of your plastic bottle to watch your collection of your plasma as the time passes.

My plasma is usually a highly watered down caramel-looking color. Sometimes it is tinged with yellow. Apparently both are normal. I've seen dark green in the bottles of others so I questioned the phlebotomist and am told that usually indicates a high fatty diet or medication like birth control pills. Or they had a nice bender the day before.

A busy day may have you waiting with 30 others to get in and then seated with another 40 in the rows of reclining cushioned chair/beds. You'll have to go through the same process of computerized questions that include, "Are you feeling well today?" and “Have you donated blood in the last eight weeks?" After that you'll meet with a screener who will check your pulse, temperature, blood pressure and blood protein. The latter is determined by a finger prick test that fills a toothpick-sized glass vial and then viewed under a microscope. All the tests have an acceptable range that allow you to enter the promised land of donation. Anything out of the range requires you to sit in the lobby for 10-15 minutes and then allows one more shot at passing that required number. Blood pressure reading too high is usually my culprit for my medical "timeout" but a fast pulse got me once as well. I quickly learned that 4 hours of yard work in July heat immediately before plasma was not conducive to an acceptable pulse. A low blood protein score or a second failed pulse or blood pressure reading will garner you a "deferral" which is fancy for "come back tomorrow and try again".

You'll see all sorts of people in there. A very diverse crowd of race, gender, nationality and socioeconomic background. Some are loud and fast-talking while others are reserved and content to quietly watch TV or read a book. Texting on your phone is allowed but talking on it is strictly prohibited. Most, like me, are listening to music on their headphones to pass the time. Though I do tend to skip some songs like The Smithereens' "Blood and Roses".

After the bottle is filled with your plasma, the final return cycle brings your blood back mixed with saline. This will help replenish much like a blood Gatorade. A final beep indicates you are done and you raise your hand for the phlebotomist to remove the needle. A small bandage is placed over the entry point and you are free to go. Don't worry, you will not feel woozy or dizzy. Your money is automatically loaded on a prepaid Visa card and you are able to use the funds minutes after exiting the building. You can only do this twice a week. My location currently pays $25 for the first donation in the week and $50 the second. They back-load it to encourage you give your maximum amount of donations. 8 donations in a month garners a handsome bonus paid on the 6th, 7th and 8th time. That’s how my $30K has really accumulated!

They are always looking for new donors. Currently newcomers are presented an incentive with $50 each for the first 5 visits. I have been going for 70 months and it is part of my weekly routine. It doesn’t interfere with whatever you have going on because they are open from 6 AM to 7 PM daily. So put that “I’m too busy” excuse away!!

Seek out a plasma center in your area. I go to Octapharma Plasma which seems like the primary donation group.

Help others and help yourself. Now go get that blood money!

Tom Deans lives in Poquoson, Virginia. He is a hustler. He can be found driving around, selling books, exposing musical talents and cheering on the Philadelphia Eagles. Sometimes all at once. We cajoled him to write for OgFOMK ArTS because we want to see more of his work. His sense of humor, keen observations and thirst for life are contagious. He’s the type of guy you can discuss inappropriate titles for children’s books. His analysis on bands that are lame but have cool t-shirts is well worth listening to.

Tom Deans
Tom Deans

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A Series in Red and Black - Drawing 2


© Lon Bennett 2017 All Rights Reserved. - A Series in Red and Black - Drawing 2 "Rose"


A Series in Red and Black - Drawing 1

By Lon Bennett - Bio

© Lon Bennett 2017 All Rights Reserved.
A Series in Red and Black - Drawing 1

© Lon Bennett 2017 All Rights Reserved. - A Series in Red and Black - Drawing 1

Lon Bennett: (Lon Bennett) joins us after an absence of 30 years! He was an original contributor to our first publication The Hounds of Bastardville. He is currently working as a tattoo artist. His work is unique, thought provoking and well worth the eye and mind space.

His first collection and series of drawings is called A Series in Red and Black. -- Ed ABN


Role of the Subconscious in Health & Healing

23 July 2017
By Jennifer - Bio

Hello all, my name is Jennifer and I work in integrative medicine. I am a certified practitioner & teacher of multiple modalities within the field. This is the first of several entries that I will be contributing to inform, advocate & facilitate true health & healing.

Today I would like to talk about the subconscious & it's crucial role in health and well being. All programming starts when we are still in the womb. Everything that we have been exposed to (every sound that we have heard, energy that we have felt and things we have seen smelled or tasted) starting as a 4 1/2 month old fetus, has been stored in our subconscious. This is where all programs are stored and therefore it is absolutely crucial to integrate it properly, in order to deprogram and reprogram for optimum health (mental & physical). I highly recommend Hypnotherapy for this purpose.

If you just immediately thought of a movie or TV show where someone was hypnotized and doing things that they weren't aware of (like barking like a dog or clucking like a chicken), that is NOT hypnotherapy. I just want to be very clear about that. There is a huge difference between a hypnotherapist and a hypnotist.

What if I told you that you are in various states of hypnosis every single day? All hypnosis, is simply a state somewhere between the awake and sleep state. By the way, sleeping is a form of hypnosis, so is prayer, meditation, and daydreaming. Have you ever been driving/listening to music/daydreaming and just kind of zoned out? The next thing u know you're almost at your destination, but u don't remember taking turns or exits to get there? That was your subconscious taking over, because the program of that drive/route was/is stored there.

A certified hypnotherapist uses guided imagery and carefully chosen language (NLP) to take you through a process much like guided meditation, to help you achieve the goal of your session. You are fully aware of what is taking place and you are in complete control the entire time. If you start daydreaming or not paying attention, it doesn't matter. If you get so relaxed that you fall asleep during the session, it doesn't matter. If you can't sit still and are unable to relax properly, it still doesn't matter.

Why?...because your subconscious is still hearing everything that is being said by the hypnotherapist. Do you know someone who has battled depression or anxiety (for example) & they have been on medication, undergone traditional psychiatry/therapy… and are still struggling with those very issues? That may be because psychiatry and most therapy focuses on the conscious mind. 

Don't get me wrong, that is very helpful in understanding where certain issues came from & it gives better tools for understanding and dealing with things, as well as being able to prescribe medication for legitimate chemical issues. That being said, integrating the subconscious is also quite crucial for true healing to take place.

What can hypnotherapy help with? 

Here's just some of the things:
  • Addiction 
  • Fears/phobias
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Weight Management
  • Confidence
  • Child Birth
  • Anger 
  • Insomnia/sleep disorders
  • Hypertension
  • Pain management 
  • Disease
  • Fertility
  • PTSD
  • Forgiveness
  • Trauma Repair
  • Auto Immune Disorders
  • Grief/Loss
  • Athletic performance/training
  • Focus
  • Memory/retention
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Headaches
  • Hypochondria 
  • Smoking Cessation 
  • Dreams/Nightmares
  • Bed Wetting
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder 
  • Public Speaking 
  • Dental work/surgery
  • Stress/Relation 
  • Stuttering
 and many others.

There are a couple of hospitals in Arizona (as well as a hospice) that have hypnotherapists regularly come to the hospital, to work with the doctors & assist the patients battling everything from cancer to pain from surgery, and everything in between.

For example: There are several sober/recovering addicts that may be in pain post surgery, but don't want to take medication for fear of falling back into the addiction cycle. Hypnotherapy is very helpful for pain management in those cases (just one of many examples).

As we deepen & expand our knowledge of integrative medicine, we all move towards greater health and happiness as a society. As society becomes more aware of the benefits of integrative medicine, hopefully more hospitals will follow this example.

If you are looking to add hypnotherapy into your health program, please make sure that you seek out a certified hypnotherapist (not hypnotist). Depending on the degree of urgency and severity of your issue, you may also want to look for a Clinical Hypnotherapist. I hope this information has been helpful. Please share with your loved ones & thank you for reading.

Jennifer is an Integrative medicine specialist: Hypnotherapy/Guided Imagery services & Aligned Essence training (energy/Reiki). Her practice has been developed in Arizona.

contact: Jennifer@ogfomk.com

Revision 2 -ABN



Katara -- William Hawkes

A warm afternoon on the Doha waterfront. The sweet, peachy fragrance of frangipani trees leads you to a boardwalk full of art, sights, and sounds. A large Qatari family smiles as you pass along the boardwalk surrounded by architectural masterpieces. You think about the fact that you are so far away from home, yet something just feels right about where you are now. This is Katara Cultural Village.


Stephen Colbert In Russia

Last night Stephen Colbert showed that he could be in Russia as an American and highlight the fact that Russian people are fantastic. No matter what is going on with our governments. Russia and the United States have outstanding people.

I am very proud that Stephen Colbert had the guts and dignity to be himself and also to be open to going to Russia. This whole week is Russian week on the his show.

Here is the professional version with a commercial: