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Take Back Your Health Conference 2015 Los Angeles
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CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE & BUY TICKETS (Save with the early bird discount through March 31, 2015):

Join Hundreds Of Health Enthusiasts in Los Angeles For A Weekend Of…

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Healthy Cooking Demonstrations
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Learn How To:

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CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE & BUY TICKETS (Save with the early bird discount through March 31):

Speakers include:

Bryant McGill of
Dr. Cate Shanahan, author of Deep Nutrition and Nutrition Director for the LA Lakers
Adriene Mishler of Yoga With Adriene
Laura Klein of Organic Authority
Corrina Rachel and Courtney Bell of Psychetruth
Diana Reeves of GMO Free USA
Hilary Boynton, author of The Heal Your Gut Cookbook
David Gumpert, author of The Raw Milk Revolution and The Complete Patient
Paul Greive of Primal Pastures
Taryn Hipwell of Eco Divas
Michael J. Russ, author of Zero Adversity
Cancer survivor/victor, Elaine Gibson
Chef Debbie Lee of Mind Body Fork
Healthy homes expert, Mary Cordaro
Zen Honeycutt, non-GMO activist & founder of Moms Across America
Erin Chase of Dinners
George Lamoreux, Chinese herbs expert and founder of Jing Herbs
Heather Fraser, author of The Peanut Allergy Epidemic
Pamm Larry, non-GMO activist and instigator of Prop 37
Gary Cox, co-founder of the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund
Laurie Cohen Peters, non-GMO activist and founder of Farm Food Freedom Coalition
Chef AJ, author of Unprocessed

Boston and Providence – Bussey Bridge Train Disaster March 14, 1887
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Image by clamshack
Jamaica Plain Historical Society….

March 14, 1887 dawned gray and cold in Dedham, Massachusetts. It was a snappy Monday morning with the temperature at about 34 degrees. Shortly after 6:00 a.m., Boston & Providence Railroad engineer Walter White and his fireman Alfred Billings steamed their engine, the D.B. Torrey, the short distance from the Dedham engine house to the impressive stone edifice that was the Dedham depot of the Providence Railroad.

Engineer White, a 31-year veteran on the Dedham to Boston run, cautiously backed into the train of nine open-platform, red-varnished coaches that made up the 7:00 A.m. train to Boston. The yardman dropped the pin into the coupling and White and the Torrey were tied to the head end. This was the only day in the week when he would trail nine cars, for on Mondays the passenger load required one extra car.

The run was familiar to White. He’d covered the same route for three decades, and today, as usual, he would follow the 6:10 to Boston. His passengers would be businessmen, workingmen, and store girls – about 100 by the time they left Roslindale, the community halfway between Dedham and Boston’s Park Square Depot.

The D.B. Torrey was a trim little 440 American Type locomotive, the mainstay of American railroads of the 1880’s. She was built by the Rhode Island Locomotive Works in 1880 and weighed 35½ tons. She had just been fitted with a new stack, slightly smaller than her original, and this caused her to steam with a little more difficulty than usual. But this was the only thing out of the ordinary that morning, and it meant simply that Billings would labor more with the coal scoop and White wouldn’t have the power normally available.

Promptly at 7:00 a.m., the train of partially-filled wooden coaches chugged out of Dedham Square over the bridge across High Street and into the outskirts of town. It steamed through snow-covered meadows and crossed the iron bridge spanning Mother Brook. Billings watched the boiler pressure gauge needle dance between 90 and 105 pounds, down a bit from the normal pressure that powered the Torrey.

Back in the coaches, Conductor Myron Tilden and his assistants William Alden and Webster Drake busied themselves taking tickets, while brakeman John Tripp, Winfield Smith, and Elisha Annis remained alert for the engine whistle that would send them to the end platforms to wind the brakewheels. Their effort, added to the air brake on the Torrey, would be more than sufficient to stop the train under normal circumstances. The day of the automatic air brake was just dawning, and while mainline trains were equipped with such systems, branch trains had yet to be modernized.

At each of the closely spaced stations – Spring Street, West Roxbury, Highland, and Central – the train picked up more of its human cargo. Five stops after leaving Dedham the train stood in Roslindale station. By then, nearly 200 passengers occupied the eight coaches and one combination baggage and smoking car coupled to the end of the train.

White’s watch showed him seven minutes late. The timetable called for a 15 minute run from Dedham to Forest Hills, about a mile and a half from Roslindale. The extra car, the cool morning which made wheel bearings stiff, and the poor steaming of the Torrey had combined to lose time from White’s schedule. Regardless, he was better than halfway into Boston on a routine Monday morning in March.

Slowly, White notched the Torrey’s throttle out. The engine barked through a shallow earth cut just east of the station and began the slight downgrade toward Forest Hills. Out of the cut and onto a high embankment the train rattled above the frozen ice and snow covered meadows below.

About a quarter mile ahead, the single-track Dedham Branch crossed South Street on a spindly iron truss bridge known as the Bussey Bridge. It took its name from the old Bussey family farm that later was to become a part of the would-famous Arnold Arboretum. In earlier days, as a wooden bridge, it was sheathed in tin to prevent it from catching fire. The iron structure, which replaced it, was still known as the Tin Bridge.

The Bussey Bridge, toward which 200 souls in nine fragile coaches were heading, was by any standards, a peculiar structure. It crossed the street at an incredibly oblique angle, its spindly iron trusswork bridging a gap of some 120 feet between high granite abutments. So sharp was the angle of the span that the floor beam which ran from the center of the truss on one side rested on the end of the truss which supported the other side of the bridge. Its design was such that certain structural members carried a disproportionate share of the load of every locomotive and car passing over the structure. And this was a violation of the laws of physics and mechanics that would not be tolerated forever.

That March morning, Engineer White approached the old Tin Bridge at a cautious speed. It was a habit, arising from restrictions placed on the bridge prior to its rebuilding in 1876.

There was no indication whatever of any danger as the D. B. Torrey and her nine red coaches rolled toward the bridge. To the engine crew the bridge appeared as solid and safe as ever. White could see meadows stretching away on either side of the embankment, their pale, frozen grass surface punctuated occasionally by stands of bare maples and elms.

The familiar rumble White had heard as his engines crossed innumerable bridges during his career filled his ears as he passed over Bussey Bridge that morning. As the Torrey reached the Boston end of the span, however, White felt a sudden jarring of the engine’s front end, and as the drivers reached the far abutment there was a strong shock unlike anything he had ever felt passing over the bridge.

Immediately he looked back and saw the first car off the track, careening drunkenly behind him. His blood ran cold as he watched the second, third, and fourth cars dancing insanely, trailed by an ugly cloud of smoke and dust where five more cars loaded with passengers should be crossing the bridge,

Instinctively he knew that his train, save the first three or four cars, had gone through the bridge. In the seconds it took for the awesome spectacle to unfold, White’s hands pulled the reversing lever – the fastest way to bring the Torrey to a halt. By now the force of the writhing cars and their human cargo had snapped the coupling at the tender and the Torrey was free.

As the engine came to a halt, White’s reflexes told him there was nothing he and his fireman could do. He knew there was a Dedham-bound train with Engineer Tim Prince in the cab waiting for him at Forest Hills. It was loaded with laborers headed for Dedham to work on a bridge project. He knew too, that these husky workers might well mean the difference between life and death to those trapped in the coaches which lay in a heap beneath where the Bussey Bridge once stood.

Before the engine stopped, White threw the reversing lever ahead, yanked the throttle out, and the Torrey lunged forward again. White grabbed the whistle cord, and the polished brass steam whistle atop the Torrey’s dome screamed in anguish as she roared toward Forest Hills.

Woodcutters in the woods beside the tracks and residents along the line were stopped by the piercing wails of the whistle. They watched as the Torrey raced down the track, her engineer and fireman frantically waving and pointing back in the direction she had come from. That some kind of calamity had occurred was obvious.

In what seemed like seconds, the Torrey was at Forest Hills. White and Billings yelled to station agent William Worley that a train had gone through the bridge and to send Jim Prince’s three-car train with its laborers to the scene.

Immediately Prince had his engine barking at full throttle up the branch toward the ill-fated commuter train. White leaped from his cab and ran into the small frame depot where he ordered Worley to telephone for doctors and ambulances.

Five minutes later he was again aboard the Torrey, headed back to the scene to give what help he could to the dead and injured.

What met them when they returned was a ghastly panorama. Three cars teetered on the frozen roadbed, their wheels torn from beneath them, underbodies and platforms smashed to kindling. Behind the third car the roof of the fourth lay on roadbed, torn from the rest of the car body, which was some 50 feet below. The fifth through the ninth cars were either at the bottom of the embankment or in the chasm where the bridge had stood.

The rear car, which had been the smoker, was smashed, turned upside down. The next car was thrown on its side and stove in; the next car dropped square on its wheels and stood upright. The succeeding two cars were telescoped and lapped onto each other and a part of the sixth car was wedged between the telescope and the embankment. All the cars were smashed and broken, twisted and entwined with the iron beams and girders of the bridge. Broken rails, twisted and jagged bars of iron, and splintered wood combined with badly mangled dead and injured in a scene of horror.

Within minutes, spurred on by White’s alarm, help was arriving from everywhere. Residents and shopkeepers, workers and doctors from Roslindale arrived in time to extinguish one small fire and help in removing the injured. Hundreds worked feverishly to remove the wounded. A special train carrying doctors, hastily assembled by railroad officials from the professional buildings around Park Square Depot in Boston, arrived to render medical aid.

When all the passengers had been removed the dead and near-dead numbered 23. Most of the dead had been killed instantly. Some of the injured survived a few hours, one several days. Over 100 were injured, more than half of them seriously.

What caused this terrible disaster? The Boston Globe that evening speculated that a weakened span failed under the weight of the train.

The Massachusetts Board of Railroad Commissioners convened the day after the wreck and sat until April 4, gathering facts upon which to determine the cause. What it heard from survivors, railroad officials, the builder of the Bussey Bridge, and outside engineering experts was a story of an incredible collection of circumstances culminating in the tragic collapse.

The primary cause was determined to be a pair of iron hangers which formed an integral part of the supporting network of iron rods making up one of the two trusses upon which the rails rested. Improperly designed and manufactured, they weakened gradually with the passage of time and failed catastrophically that morning. The weight of the Torrey snapped the hangers, and the bridge immediately began to disintegrate as the train crossed the span.

The parade of witnesses described how the Boston & Providence in 1876 entered into a contract with one Edward Hewins, representing the Metropolitan Bridge Company, to rebuild the bridge. Testimony further revealed that he alone was the Metropolitan Bridge Company. When pressed on this point by the commissioners, Hewins testified it had been his intention to organize a bridge company at the time but never got around to doing it. The two trusses which made up the ill-fated bridge were actually fabricated by two separate iron works. The Commissioners found that the railroad had never investigated the Metropolitan Bridge Company and that no one involved in making the contract really knew enough about iron bridge building to pass intelligently on the structure’s design and specifications. In fact, it was generally admitted during the hearings that the company didn’t even employ an expert to review the design of the bridge once it had been built.

One railroad employee who had inspected the bridge regularly was a machinist who was not trained to look at key structural parts for signs of failure.

Six years earlier the Commission had recommended a series of structural tests for the bridge, which were never conducted. Crossties were spaced too far apart for safety. The bridge was not equipped with guardrails to catch the wheels of a derailed train and guide them safely across. And, tragically, the Westinghouse automatic air brake was not in operation on the train even though it was becoming more common on the nation’s railroads. Had it been in use, it might have prevented the fatal plunge of coaches into the chasm following the separation of the train from the engine.

Fire, the real horror of most train wrecks of the era, didn’t occur because the B & P followed a policy of bolting its coal-burning, car-heating stoves to the floor and bolting the doors shut, thereby, eliminating the possibility of hot coals igniting the wooden wreckage.

The wreck was a calamity for the Boston & Providence, which for almost twenty years previously had not had a train accident resulting in injury or loss of life to a passenger.

Today the Boston & Providence is long gone, along with its Dedham Branch to West Roxbury. Where once stood the Dedham depot, a municipal parking lot serves Dedham shoppers. Trains still cross South Street in Roslindale on the Penn Central’s Needham Branch. But the Bussey Bridge they use is a solid, substantial granite arch, which has safely carried passenger and freight trains since before the turn of the century. It stands as a stone monument to the hapless passengers on the 7:00 A.M. train and the quick-thinking engineer whose fast action that Monday morning in March saved so many lives.

Written by Edward J. Sweeney. Originally published in Yankee Magazine, March 1975. Image courtesy of Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, Digital ID: cph 3g03155

Jogging couple
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Image by Ed Yourdon
Note: this photo was published in a Jun 26, 2009 blog titled "The Art of Unselfconscious Exercise." It was also published in a Jul 15, 2009 blog titled "Behavior Change and Brain Disease: Lessons from History." And it was published in an Aug 4, 2009 blog titled "Sencillos cambios para aplicar cuando corres." It was also published in an Aug 21, 2009 blog titled "Diferentes formas de comprobar los efectos del ejercicio." And it was published in Sep 1, 2009 blog titled " Take a Jog: The Best Kept Running Routes in San Diego." It was also published in a Sep 9, 2009 Spa Magazine blog titled "comotivate to reach personal goals." It was also published in an undated (Dec 2009) Jog4Life blog titled "Beginner Week One Marathon Training."

Moving into 2010, the photo was published in a Jan 7, 2010 blog titled "How to Lose Weight With Aerobic Exercises." And it was published in a Mar 22, 2010 Hurraki blog titled "Bild: jogging," as well as a Mar 22, 2010 blog titled "12 Tips for a Physically and Mentally Balanced Life." It was also published in a Mar 31, 2010 blog titled "EUROBAROMETRAS: SPORTAS PER TV VIS DAR LAIMI PRIEŠ MANKŠTĄ 1." And it was published in Jun 16, 2010 blog titled "La corsa “…for dummies” – 8 – Iniziamo a correre: il terzo mese! " It was also published in a Jul 7, 2010 blog titled " Sport hilft gegen schlechte Stimmung." And it was published in a Sep 13, 2010 blog titled "Krafttraining für Läufer nur zu empfehlen." It was also published in a Sep 23, 2010 blog titled "Are You Exercising At the Right Intensity? Do the Talk Test" And it was published in an Oct 8, 2010 Unpluggd blog titled "4 Wrap Around Headphones For Working Out."

Moving into 2011, the photo was published in an undated (late Jan 2011) blog titled "Ask The Trainer: Losing Weight." It was also published in an Feb 6, 2011 blog titled "An unexpected benefit of doing the Postaday2011 Challenge!" And it was published in a Feb 15, 2011 blog titled "Why Side Aches Are Such a Pain in the Abs." It was also published in an undated (late Feb 2011) "San Ramon Patch" blog titled "10 Questions." And it was published in a Mar 10, 2011 blog titled "Start running the right way," as well as a Mar 11, 2011 blog titled "Sport per bruciare calorie. Il quiz." It was also published in a Mar 30, 2011 blog titled "Report Highlights Georgia Health Divide." And it was published in a May 10, 2011 LifeHacker blog titled "Get Rid of That Stitch in Your Side with This Three Minute Fix." And it was published in a May 24, 2011 Finnish blog titled "Lenkille kirjaston kautta." It was also published in a Jun 23, 2011 blog titled Thousands RSVP for Global Group Run on Meetup," as well as a Jul 12, 2011 blog titled "40歳目前にして初めて10km走れたメタボジョギングの話." And it was published in an Aug 15, 2011 blog titled "休日の過ごし方を提案してみました ." It was also published in an Aug 19, 2011 blog titled "How to Stop Working and Go Home At Night." And it was published in an Aug 20, 2011 Mashable blog titled "3 New Startup Tools For Shopping, Selling and Running," as well as an Aug 25, 2011 blog titled "Ejercicios para adelgazar | correr o bicicleta." It was also published in an undated (early Oct 2011) blog titled "5 questions to ask yourself before you get married." It was also published in an Oct 28, 2011 blog titled "25 Exceptional Photos of Runners, Races & Marathons." And it was published in an Oct 30, 2011 blog titled "iPhone4Sは3GSに比べてGPSの精度が高い ." It was also published in an undated (early Dec 2011) blog titled "Healthy and Fit in Bellingham."

Moving into 2012, the photo was published in a Jan 3,2012 blog titled "More flexibility at work equals better health, new study confirms." It was also published in a Jan 9, 2012 blog titled "Adelgazar después de Navidades." And it was published in a Jan 12,2012 blog titled "Why Your Stress Problem is Everyone’s Problem." It was also published in a Mar 13, 2012 blog titled "Pierda peso y manténgase en forma con estas aplicaciones." and a cropped, horizontally reversed version of the photo was published in a Mar 26, 2012 blog titled "Migrän oct Nyheter." A cropped version of the photo was also published in a Mar 30, 2012 Toronto Life newspaper blog, titled "Dear Urban Diplomat: should I jog with my manager if it helps get me a promotion?" It was also published in an Apr 5, 2012 blog titled "Cómo cuidar la estética del corridor." And it was published in a May 24, 2012 blog titled "The 4 Pillars of Great Bootcamp Planning." It was also published in a Jul 4, 2012 blog titled "5 Ways to Save on a Fitness Trainer (in Singapore)," as well as a Jul 5, 2012 blog titled "Sport: evita i rischi durante l’estate." It was also published in a Jul 9, 2012 blog titled "Study: Gym-Goers and Organic Shoppers Give in to Fast Food Temptations." And it was published in a Jul 18, 2012 blog titled "What Can Ruin Your Health More Than Smoking?" It was also published in a Jul 25, 2012 blog titled "Corsa: allenamento e consigli per principianti," as well as an Aug 30, 2012 blog titled "Para adelgazar: mejor correr 30 minutos dos veces que una hora continua." It was also published in a Sep 3, 2012 blog titled "Ponte en forma después del Verano con estas aplicaciones para tu iPhone." And it was published in an undated (early Oct 2012) blog titled "Five Signs of a Healthy Heart." It was also published in an Oct 18, 2012 blog titled "The Right Type of Exercise Is Critical to get the Full Health Benefit." And it was published in a Nov 16, 2012 blog titled "How Much Exercise Do You Need in A Day?" and a Nov 16, 2012 blog titled "Pledge #10: Sharing Shelter," as well as an undated (mid-Nov 2012) blog titled "Consejos a la hora de empezar a correr."

An oddly-cropped version of the photo (showing just the joggers’ legs, from the knees down) was published in a Nov 19, 2012 blog titled "RUNNERS COMPLETE GOSPORT HALF MARATHON 2012." It was also published in a Dec 2, 2012 blog titled "What Are You Waiting For? When Is Your Next Workout?" It was also published in a Dec 12, 2012 blog titled "Con la tabella del benessere scopri con quanti Km di corsa migliora la salute." And it was published in a Dec 21, 2012 blog titled "Mit weniger Gewicht auf den Hanteln mehr Pfunde abnehmen."

Moving into 2013, the photo was published in a Jan 7, 2013 blog titled "ランニングマシーンで下半身シェイプアップ!" And it was published in a Jan 31, 2013 blog titled "Our Pilgrimage is Not a Race." It was also published in a Feb 2, 2013 blog titled "Why Exercise is Good For Mental Health?" And it was published in a Mar 4, 2013 blog titled "IT Band and Patellofemoral Syndrome: how did your knee pain turn into a ‘syndrome’?" A cropped version of the photo, in which only the woman is visible, was also published in a Mar 25, 2013 blog titled "Why Music Helps You Work Out." It was also published in a Jun 28, 2013 blog titled "Sign Up for the Greater Downtown Council, YMCA Sidewalk Shuffle 5K; Today’s is the Last Day to Register at the Discounted Price."

Moving into 2015, the photo was published in a May 1, 2015 LifeHacker blog titled "lHow to Stop Working and Go Home At Night."


I’ve strolled through Riverside Park on several previous occasions (click here to see a collection of approximately seven other Flickr albums of my Riverside Park photos) — but even though the sign at the 96th Street entrance is always the same, and the pathway is always the same, the people and the individual vignettes are always different.

Sometimes it’s simply a function of the weather: people dress differently, act differently, and are engaged in different activities in early spring than they do in summer or late fall. But much of it simply has to do with the incredible variety of people who take advantage of the opportunity to relax, read a book, jog, or picnic with their families.

So … this just happens to be what it looked like in Riverside Park on the last day of May, in 2009.

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