South African ‘world’s oldest man’ wants to stop smoking

Fredie Blom
Image captionFredie Blom says there is no special secret to his longevity

Fredie Blom spent most of his life as a labourer – on a farm and in the construction industry – in apartheid South Africa but he might soon be recognised as the world’s oldest man, as the BBC’s Mohammed Allie reports from Cape Town.

Although he gave up drinking many years ago, Fredie Blom is still a regular smoker.

“Every day I still smoke two to three ‘pills’,” – local slang for tobacco tightly rolled into a cigarette-length piece of newspaper. “I use my own tobacco because I don’t smoke cigarettes.

“The urge to smoke is so strong. Sometimes I tell myself I’m going to stop but it’s just me lying to myself. My chest chases me to have a puff and I’m then forced to make a ‘pill’.

“I blame the devil for that because he’s so strong,” he says with mischievous grin.

Celebrity status

The first thing that strikes one when meeting the centenarian is how remarkably healthy and solid he still looks.

A tall, well-built man, he walks unaided, if understandably slowly, and besides being a touch hard of hearing, he has absolutely no ailments.

The former farm worker, who turned 114 on 8 May, is said to be the oldest person still alive although this is yet to be verified by the Guinness World of Records.

The title was last held by a Jamaican woman, Violet Moss-Brown, until 15 September 2017 when she died at the age of 117.

Guinness World of Records says it is still consulting genealogists to confirm the next holders of the “world’s oldest man and woman” titles.

Fredie Blom
Image captionThere were doubts about his age until he produced his birth certificate

Mr Blom, who sports a slightly unkempt handlebar moustache and grey stubble beard, doesn’t have any special secret for his longevity.

“There’s only one thing – it’s the man above [God]. He’s got all the power. I have nothing. I can drop over any time but He holds me,” is his response when I ask him what keeps him going.

“I feel very healthy, I’m good. My heart is strong but it’s only my legs that are giving in – I can’t walk the way I used to,” he says, speaking in Afrikaans with a loud and clear voice.

He has inevitably acquired a celebrity status that has seen a constant stream of people ranging from locals to provincial government ministers coming to visit him in his modest home in Cape Town.

He said it’s a great feeling to know that people care. For his birthday, a local supermarket and the provincial department of social development presented him with big birthday cakes.

Fredie Blom and his wife
Image captionJanetta says her husband struggles to put on his shoes

Mr Blom is still strong enough to wash and dress himself although, according to his wife, he struggles to put on his shoes.

He also sometimes needs the assistance of his grandson to shave.

For someone who normally started his day at 4.30am in his working years, Mr Blom now rises much later and doesn’t do much around the house.

“I can’t do anything – I can’t even get on a ladder any longer. I just sit around. I don’t have time for the nonsense that’s on TV.”

He would rather sit outside his house and roll up another piece of newspaper and give in, once again, to the devil’s temptation.

BBC

What if the Dinosaurs would have survived?

The giant asteroid impact 66 million years ago in the Yucatan region of Mexico, which led to the extinction of the dinosaurs, could have been very different. The location of the impact area contained major deposits of calcium sulphate.

The calcium sulphate in the crater area had been vaporized into the atmosphere and had become a dense sulphur dioxide veil stopping the sunlight. The explosion from the impact was the equivalent of 10 billion Hiroshima bombs. Worldwide climate disruption from the event was the cause of the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event, a mass extinction in which 75% of plant and animal species on Earth suddenly became extinct, including all non-avian dinosaurs.

dino

Since the earth spins, if the impact would have been mere seconds later the asteroid would have impacted in the ocean. There would have been no sulphur dioxide veil! The dinosaurs would not have went extinct. If the dinosaurs would have survived, and subsequently thrived, would the dominant intelligent life form on the planet today be reptilians?

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Dr. Ho Will Fix You Up Real Good

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Dr. Michael Ho is a caring Doctor of Chiropractic and Acupuncture with special interest in treating patients with painful conditions relating to their muscles, joints, and nerves. He is also an engineer enthusiast who pays close attention to exercise physiology, human body mechanics, and the ill effects that bad ergonomics have on muscle, nerve, and joint-related pain. Based on his education, clinical experiences in treating his patients over the years, and in learning what his patients’ needs are, he has developed a line of self-care products that are effective for relieving pain and in helping to restore one’s health.

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Ten Strange International Hangover Cures

We’ve all been there. You wake up, and it feels like someone has been up all night using your brain as a trampoline. A ray of light shoots into your eyes from a crack in the curtain, slicing straight through to your soul. The headache intensifies, and what feels like the viscous ghost of Jack the Ripper himself rages about inside your stomach. You’re hungover, brutally, and you can’t believe you let it happen again.

You know you’ve got to sleep, but your aching brain won’t let you. So what then? Well – we’ve scoured the murky depths of the internet to find out what people around the world have done in their post-boozy moments of desperation. Here’s our rundown of the 10 weirdest hangover cures from around the world.

Bull Penis Jerky – Italy

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It’s funny – it sounds absolutely revolting, but we all know that moment where you’d try absolutely anything to feel better. If we lived on a farm in Italy and we woke up with a blistering hangover, and all there was left in the fridge was a bit of dry, old bull penis – heck, even we’d give it a try!

Ground Rhino Horn – Vietnam

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So you’ve cruelly poached a rhino, forcibly removed it’s horn, but then discovered that rhino horns aren’t made of ivory. What do you do now with this useless lump of keratin? Peddle it as a miracle hangover cure to desperate sufferers. Obviously, it doesn’t work – so come on guys, please don’t kill any more rhinos for useless horn dust.

Umeboshi (Ultra-pickled Japanese Apricot) – Japan

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This pickled cure from Japan is a ludicrous combination of ultra-salty and ultra-sour, and supposedly it’s been used for years to treat hangovers – we’re guessing that it only works because it instantly makes you throw up, improving your condition slightly.

Bottle Revenge – Haiti

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Ask a Haitian Voodoo Shaman how to cure your soul-sapping hangover, and he’ll tell you to stick pins in the cork of the wine bottle that cursed you. The funny thing is – this probably does make you feel better, in a purely emotional kind of way.

Poutine – Canada

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Rich, meaty gravy and gooey cheese curds poured over skin on fries – now THAT’s a hangover cure we can all get on board with.

Fertilised Duck Embryo – Phillipines

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There seems to be a bit of a theme here – it seems that some countries apply the logic that if you eat something more repulsive than a hangover, the hangover will improve. We’re not convinced.

Pickled Sheep’s Eyeballs in Tomato Juice – Mongolia

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See what we mean? Seriously – whoever was the first guy in Mongolia to suggest this, you should kick him out. He’s not helping anyone.

Irn-Bru Sausage – Scotland

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We all know Red Bull gives you wings, but apparently Irn Bru cures hangovers (only if cooked up with our favourite cylindrical cut of reconstituted meat, of course!).

Buffalo Milk – Namibia

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No – it’s not real buffalo milk (surprisingly, considering the other approaches we’ve seen so far), but it’s the name for a very boozy concoction of rum and double cream which is a Namibian cure for the hangover. Essentially, this is a cream-wrapped hair of the dog then.

Hangover Heaven – USA

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In Las Vegas, there’s a company called Hangover Heaven who will pick you up and drive you around on their bus for an hour whilst you’re cured by an IV drip, which injects a chemical solution continuously that ACTUALLY fixes your hangover. Weird, but unlike most things on this list, effective.

Of course…

… we could tell you that a Double Bourbon Bad Boy burger at Revolution is the only cure you’ll ever need – but that would be a little biased of us, right? Then again –

Bourbon Bad Boy 3

Just look at that bad boy. What more could your body need when it’s feeling rough?

Is it worth taking a chance with this drug considering the possible side effects?

If it works it works. But these side effects are off the charts.

Otezla (apremilast) is a phosphodiesterase 4 (PDE4) inhibitor used to treat adult patients with active psoriatic arthritis. Common side effects of Otezla include:

diarrhea,
headache,
nausea,
upper respiratory tract infection,
vomiting,
runny or stuffy nose,
abdominal pain,
fatigue,
indigestion/heartburn,
decreased appetite,
insomnia,
back pain,
frequent bowel movements,
depression,
bronchitis,
tooth abscess, and
sinus headache.
Other side effects of Otezla include hypersensitivity, weight loss, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), migraine, cough, and rash.

The recommended maintenance dosage is 30 mg twice daily taken orally starting on Day 6, after 5 days of an initial schedule of titration dosing. Otezla may interact with CYP450 inducers (such as rifampin). Tell your doctor all medications and supplements you use. During pregnancy, Otezla should be used only if prescribed. It is unknown if this drug passes into breast milk. Consult your doctor before breastfeeding.