Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Film Clips...

If you are impatient like me and want to get a bit of a taste for Cormac McCarthy's No Country For Old Men directed by the Coen Bros...go here...

Grasshoppers Eat Corn, Let Them Plant It

1) When I was young and playing if it came time to play Cowboys and Indians, I was always an Indian. It didn't change when I grew up.
2) I was a terrible reader in school. Grade school I had to go to "remedial reading room". Slow. Trouble with comprehension. Dyslexia. Didn't matter, I clutched and carried Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee as long as it took to finish it. This book set me on a quest to understand why we ever started farming in the first place. My boyfriend,Stagg, also was really affected and loved this book in high school.
3) I've always wondered why there wasn't a movie made of this book. Finally HBO, executive produced by Dick Wolf (creator of Law and Order) made a fine version.
4) The book was on Best Seller Lists for over a year and has stayed in print since it's original publishing.
5) I didn't know anything about the author, male female? I had assumed that Dee Brown was a Native American, but no. Brown was an agriculture librarian for the University of Illinois.
6) Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee is considered a revisionist western which sprang up in popular culture in the 1960's: often defined by stronger portrayals of women, sympathetic to Natives and Mexicans, and critical of the government. Since the 1960's we are familiar with the genre through the movie Unforgiven, the novel Blood Merdian, and the tv program Deadwood.

7) The New York Times did not like the movie version Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee, they thought it was too "movie-of-the-week. But I loved it. I found the battle enactments excellent and a great use of CG. The acting was incredible and there is one scene where calvary calls Sitting Bull on the spiritual reputation for peace among Native Americans. Very risky and very powerful.
8) My suspicion of totalitarian agriculture grew out of my passion for the book Bury My Heart At Wound Knee...through it I knew there other ways to make a living. Other ways to get food. The Worst Mistake In The History Of The Human Race.
9) A continuing exploration of the loss we have experienced by trying to kill off pre-agricultural economies like Hunter-Gatherers is found in the stunning The Other Side of Eden: Hunters, Farmers and The Shaping of the World.
10)from the publisher: Hugh Brody first encountered hunting peoples when he lived among the Inuit of the High Arctic, who instructed him not only how to speak but how to do and be Inuk-titut, "in the manner of an Inuk." Since then he has spent nearly three decades studying, learning from, crusading for, and thinking about hunter-gatherers, who survive at the margins of the vast, fertile lands occupied by farming peoples and their descendants, now the great majority of the world's population.

In material terms, the hunters have been all but vanquished, yet in this profound and passionate book, Brody utterly dispels the notion that theirs is a lesser way of life. Drawing on his experiences among indigenous peoples as well as on the work of linguists, historians, and fellow anthropologists, he reveals the systems of thought, belief, and practice that distinguish the hunters from the farmers. Whereas the farmers are doomed to the geographical and spiritual restlessness embodied in the story of Genesis, Brody argues, the hunters' deep attachment to the place and ways of their ancestors stems from an enviable sense, distinctively expressed in thought, language, and behavior, that they are part of a web of relationships in the natural and spiritual worlds. Brody's aim, however, is not to elevate one mode of being over another; rather, it is to suggest that we might move beyond the familiar dichotomies and become more fully human.

11) The extremely HOT Adam Beach in BMHAWK...who starts a starring role in Law and Order: SVU next fall.
12) Sitting Bull. WORD. Although the new government forced Natives to change their names to European/Christian sounds, to stop speaking their own language or change their religion...the most pressing goal for the government was to alter the way Native Americans and Canadians made their living. The major difference between cultures is NOT skin color or is how they make their living, either by farming or hunting. That difference defines all the other actions of our minds and lifestyles. Farming is about controlling. The reason the New Economy"(European farmers) wanted to exterminate the buffalo was because that was the food source for hunters. Getting rid of the buffalo economy made room for the farm economy. There is a scene where a government agent is pressuring and harassing Sitting Bull to plant crops. The government agent wants Sitting Bull to plant corn. Sitting Bull says, "Grasshoppers eat corn, let them plant it."

13) It takes a half gallon of oil to grow a bushel of corn. The petroleum oil is used in manufacturing the chemical fertilizers popular with industrial agriculture. Why not eat something grown organically?
Find out more about Thursday Thirteen:it's a lot of fun, meet cool folks online blogging!

Need Something Something for Listening?

Drunk Punk Radio. You can find all kinds of programs here scroll down if you want some fun playlists. And you can hear the beautiful and charming Four Dinners announcing between tunes.

Music Is Art always has something beautiful and ecclectic.


Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Stagg Land Is Going Public

Stagg is loading a bunch of stuff onto eBay later tonight...including collages, cartoons, sketches. Preview here...

eBay Listing

This is post # 587.

Prince and Michael Jackson perform at a James Brown concert

James Brown vs Michael vs Prince

Gotta Give To Get?

"You gotta see this!" Jorge Moll had written. Moll and Jordan Grafman, neuroscientists at the National Institutes of Health, had been scanning the brains of volunteers as they were asked to think about a scenario involving either donating a sum of money to charity or keeping it for themselves.

As Grafman read the e-mail, Moll came bursting in. The scientists stared at each other. Grafman was thinking, "Whoa -- wait a minute!"

The results were showing that when the volunteers placed the interests of others before their own, the generosity activated a primitive part of the brain that usually lights up in response to food or sex. Altruism, the experiment suggested, was not a superior moral faculty that suppresses basic selfish urges but rather was basic to the brain, hard-wired and pleasurable.

Their 2006 finding that unselfishness can feel good lends scientific support to the admonitions of spiritual leaders such as Saint Francis of Assisi, who said, "For it is in giving that we receive." But it is also a dramatic example of the way neuroscience has begun to elbow its way into discussions about morality and has opened up a new window on what it means to be good.

Grafman and others are using brain imaging and psychological experiments to study whether the brain has a built-in moral compass. The results -- many of them published just in recent months -- are showing, unexpectedly, that many aspects of morality appear to be hard-wired in the brain, most likely the result of evolutionary processes that began in other species.

No one can say whether giraffes and lions experience moral qualms in the same way people do because no one has been inside a giraffe's head, but it is known that animals can sacrifice their own interests: One experiment found that if each time a rat is given food, its neighbor receives an electric shock, the first rat will eventually forgo eating.

What the new research is showing is that morality has biological roots -- such as the reward center in the brain that lit up in Grafman's experiment -- that have been around for a very long time.

The more researchers learn, the more it appears that the foundation of morality is empathy. Being able to recognize -- even experience vicariously -- what another creature is going through was an important leap in the evolution of social behavior. And it is only a short step from this awareness to many human notions of right and wrong, says Jean Decety, a neuroscientist at the University of Chicago.

The research enterprise has been viewed with interest by philosophers and theologians, but already some worry that it raises troubling questions. Reducing morality and immorality to brain chemistry -- rather than free will -- might diminish the importance of personal responsibility. Even more important, some wonder whether the very idea of morality is somehow degraded if it turns out to be just another evolutionary tool that nature uses to help species survive and propagate.From Here.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Endgame Whimper?

We just launched a major refresh to Some of the changes are subtle, some are big, and they all build on a bunch of improvements we've been making to the site since January. We've been spending a lot of time listening to you, and incorporating an enormous amount of feedback into this refresh - dozens of changes to both our look and feel and to our backend systems to make Technorati more useful to you.

As I've blogged about before, the world has changed. Whereas folks using Technorati a couple of years ago were predominantly coming to us to search the blogosphere to surface the conversations that were most interesting to them, today they are increasingly coming to our site to get the 360 degree context of the Live Web - blogs of course, but also user-generated video, photos, podcasts, music, games and more. They want all the good stuff out there, all in real-time, and we're using the power of 80 million bloggers to help organize it and make it fun to browse; using the wisdom of crowds as a mirror on ourselves.
From Dave Sifry creator of Technorati.

I don't really know what this means. This place says..."NO LONGER BLOG-CENTRIC" about Technorati changes. But I checked and it seems there is still a ranking system. Kawasaki's blog has risen to #19. Mine is at #2,481.

I have listed the painting above, titled, Kawasaki Krump, on eBay. Here is the link, click. I have raised my asking price to $300.00, which I believe is an incredibly good price especially considering the year long amount of entertainment and history now associated with this painting. I had a good idea. I went to Dave Sifry's blog, bout Technorati, and told him about my quest to beat Guy Kawasaki to top ten rank at his Technorati...and I also asked him if these changes will affect my challenge to beat my adversary, Guy Kawasaki. I also asked him if he would consider writing about my attempt to beat Kawasaki. I hope he responds. I still plan on giving one half of the profit of Kawasaki Krump to a charity of Guy Kawasaki's choice.

I hope you, kind visitor, will link my blog to yours and go visit my sale of Kawasaki Krump.

A Brief History of My Quest To Beat Kawasaki!
This is my 582nd post.

Pynchon Stuff

I am reading the 1085 page Against The Day by Thomas Pynchon. A rollicking turbulent incredible sense of movement and shifting and raucous adventure this book manifests immediately. An adventure story beginning at the World's Fair in Chicago. It's Pynchon, anything could happen.
"For dynamic is both the miners curse, the outward and audible sign of his enslavement to mineral extraction, and the American working man's equalizer, his agent of deliverance, if he would only dare to use it...Every time a stick goes off in the service of the owners, a blast convertable at the endof soem chain of accountancy to dollar sums no miner ever saw, there will have to be a corresponding entry on the other side of God's ledger, convertible to human freedom no owner is willing to grant." pg 87.

1973, NYT's
Against The Day
Mathematics plays a starring role

Feed Your Head

Techgnosis a website of incredible article after incredible article written by Eric Davis, author of The Visionary State: A Journey Through California's Spiritual Landscape and Techgnosis: Myth, Magic and Mysicism in the Age of Information. Thanks to Martin at Aarvarchaeology for highlighting this website. Techgnosis is really sexy looking. I went for the skin but stayed for the content.

Ultimately, the kind of mindfulness practice that Nisker teaches can lead folks to personally realize one of the core insights of Buddhism: that the self we think we are, the self we coddle and trumpet and worry about, doesn't essentially exist. On this point, the vast majority of neuroscientists would agree, arguing that the solitary "I" is really a society of mind, or an emergent property, or an illusion fostered by some narrator module lodged in the left hemisphere. Nisker even jokingly suggests that neuroscientists set up little brain-imaging booths that would allow people to personally see the pictures of their own noodles at work. "Then we could believe it. There's nobody home."From Davis's "This Is Your Brain On Buddha".

DAVIS: Did you have to flee Chile?

VARELA: I was an active militant socialist. I wasn't a big-time politician so I wasn't on their top list, but I was expelled. I didn't have a job and there were harassments, the police came a few times looking for me. It was bad. I had to leave.

DAVIS: What was it about Trungpa that struck you?

VARELA: Two things. I asked him, "My whole life is in shambles here, what should I do?" And the answer he gave me was such an intelligent answer. "If you don't know what to do, don't. Learn non-doing. Let your ignorance speak to you." Nobody had ever said that to me. And when I asked how do I do that, he said he'd teach me. So he gave me meditation instruction in basic shamatha sitting practice on the spot.

And the second thing one cannot convey except by experience, which is that the man had this enormous presence. He was humorous and alive and tremendously present and stable at the same time. It made me feel inside, I want that. And eventually I asked him that, How do I get to be like that, like an awake mountain? And he said Practice. It's up to you. It's not my particularly gift of genius, it's practice. So do it.

That kind of intelligence, of non-bullshit, of cutting through all of the trappings of cultural stuff and ideology and going to the heart of the experience, was so illuminating. It's still one of the most intelligent things that ever happened in my life.

DAVIS: Reading The Embodied Mind and Gentle Bridges, you discuss a number of analytic ways to approach the dialogue or synthesis between science and Buddhism. But Trungpa was hardly the most systematic or analytic Buddhist teacher.

VARELA: You're absolutely right. I didn't get interested in the philosophical and pragmatic tradition of Buddhism until four or five years later. What I fell in love with was practice, this radical non-doing. Learning how to just be there, and all the enormous complexity of that, and realizing that I'd never really known what it is to inhabit my own body and my own experience. So for many years, it wasn't an intellectual thing. My science was just a way of making a living. I had no interest in making it spiritual. And then of course then you start to see these two sides of your life talk to each other.
From Mind Waves, and interview with Francisco Varela.

Friday, May 25, 2007

LSD, Nutrition and God.

When I was reading The Shangri-La Diet I remembered a health food advocate I had read when I was in high school. Her name was Adele Davis and she was a huge influence on my lifelong interest in the perils of totalitarian agriculture. Today I looked her up on wikipedia and she was quite an interesting person.

Daisie Adelle Davis (1904-1974), popularly known as Adelle Davis, was an American pioneer in the fledgling field of nutrition during the mid-20th century. She was an outspoken advocate of the superior value of whole unprocessed foods, the dangers of food additives, and the dominant role that all nutrients play in maintaining health, preventing disease, and restoring health after the onset of disease:
"Research shows that diseases of almost every variety can be produced by an under-supply of various combinations of nutrients... [and] can be corrected when all nutrients are supplied, provided irreparable damage has not been done; and, still better, that these diseases can be prevented."

Davis is best known as the author of a series of educational books published in the United States between 1947 and 1965. One of her books, Let's Have Healthy Children (Signet 1981, revised edition) states that Davis prepared individual diets for more than 20,000 people who came to her or were referred to her by physicians during her years as a consultant. She was also well known for her scathing criticism of the food industry in the United States. In the early 1970s, she addressed the ninth annual convention of the "International Association of Cancer Victims and Friends" at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. After citing US Department of Agriculture statistics about tens of millions of people in the United States suffering from afflictions such as arthritis, allergies, heart disease, and cancer, she stated, "This is what's happening to us, to America, because there is a $125 billion food industry who cares nothing about health".
Some members of the scientific and medical communities criticized and discredited her published works during her lifetime, but ongoing medical and nutritional research has corroborated much of her nutritional guidelines of yesteryear, and brought her a measure of posthumous acclaim.

I had also heard that Davis had taken LSD, but I didn't know she had written a book about her experiences and it was published under a pen name. I wrote about LSD, mental health and nutrition on this blog before click here so I found the following from Amazon really cool:

It is Dunlap/Davis' opinion that her state of spiritual poverty and lack of meaning in life pervades the condition of people in western culture. The pathos in discovering this fact is that dangerous mind-affecting drugs are resorted to in an effort to fill the spiritual void. She provides a fascinating testimony, vividly describing her personal experience with LSD. Her statement explicitly gives the reason why many Americans have become drug users:

"People naturally want to know why I wished to take LSD. The fact that related substances were used for religions purposes interested me profoundly, and I had heard that LSD experiences were often deeply spiritual. For many years it has seemed to me that, before any of its can have truly fulfilling lives, we must develop intelleettally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Intellectual and physical development are tremendously stressed in our culture, perhaps overstressed. Emotional and spiritual development, I feel, are both neglected and underestimated. Through several years of painful but glorious psychoanalysis and psychotherapy, I have done considerable maturing emotionally arid laid the foundation for further emotional growth, Intellectually I could have done better but also worse . . . When it came to spiritual attainment, my development was so pitifully inadequate that I sometimes felt consumed with an empty yearning. "Although growth means constant change and development, my belief in God and feelings about Him stayed much the same year after year except that I discarded my concepts of heaven and hell. In short, I was in a spiritual rut; furthermore I had no idea how to get out of it. Frankly I feel that I had a great deal of company and that rut was really quite crowded. For these reasons, when filling out a questionnaire which asked, 'Why do you wish to take lysergic acid?' I wrote: 'In hope of overcoming spiritual poverty.' Another time I filled the blank with: 'To get chemical Christianity' " (Dunlap, 1961:12-14).

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Shit Happens

March 2006.
It took me a few minutes. I saw the gothic arch shape. Oh. Those are the spires sawed up.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

It's The End Of The World As We Know It

When a society collapses, it rapidly loses complexity.
Its internal organization and institutions, laws, and
technologies become dramatically simpler, while
its inhabitants’ range of social roles and potential
behaviors is sharply narrowed. Many people suffer,
because without complex institutions, technologies,
and social roles, societies can’t keep large populations
living well. After collapse, people consume far less,
move around far less, communicate far less, and die
far sooner.
Entire article by Thomas Homer-Dixon.

What can we do? In truth, a great deal. First,
though, we need to recognize that episodes of crisis or
breakdown are not always bad things—if they’re not
too severe, and if societies are ready, they can create
both the motivation and opportunity for renewal and
Keeping breakdown from becoming catastrophic
means making our technologies, economies, and
communities more resilient. For instance we
can increase the ability of cities, towns, and even
households to produce essential goods and services,
such as energy and food, instead of depending
completely on distant producers of these things for
our day-to-day survival—as we do now.

Is Feminism Dead? 13 Things From An Online Article.

1) The show spoke to a very realistic paradox: Mary still wanted to get married, even though she was happy being single and she knew marriage was not everything. She commented to Rhoda about the plight of the single woman in American society: “Sometimes I think I could discover the secret of immortality and people would still say, ‘look at that single girl discovering the secret of immortality.'” Though she still aspired to a traditional life, she was smart enough to realize how much she was influenced by society's views about women.

2 )Though the audience met Phyllis and her precocious daughter Bess, it did not get to see her husband Lars. It was clear from the first episode that Phyllis' marriage would serve comedic purposes. Phyllis told Mary: “I want to see you married. Because I'm married.” She literally bit her tongue and took Mary's hands in hers. Her voice almost quivering, she continued,
I know how beautiful it can be if you look at it realistically. Face the fact that it means a certain amount of sacrificing, of unselfishness. Denying your own ego. Sublimating. Accommodating. Surrendering.

3) Despite the incredibly hostile treatment she has gotten in the press – because she's four things TV women are not supposed to be, working-class, loudmouthed, overweight, and a feminist – Roseanne became a success because her mission was simple and welcome: to take the schmaltz and hypocrisy out of media images of motherhood. [She] spoke to
millions of women who love their children more than anything in the world but who also find motherhood wearing, boring, and, at times, infuriating.

4) The real “choice” that Roseanne embraced, the one that made her a feminist, was not to work, but rather, the choice to express herself – to her husband and to her children, to her friends and even to her bosses.

5) Roseanne's feminism was for women who have to work because bills must get paid, who assert their role as head of the house despite the degrading work they often do during the day to pay for their kids' food and clothes. Roseanne's feminism challenged what often becomes the pop-culture shorthand for feminism – that the most empowering decision a woman can make is to work (and have or not have a family). “Roseanne” reminded an expansive audience that working-class women are left out of “feminism” when it is framed this way.

6) Her role as a working woman did not make her a feminist. Her role in the home did, however.

7) While “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and “Roseanne” emerged at points when “feminism” as a highly prevalent issue, “Sexand the City” came at a time when pop culture was less obsessed with this specific term. Rather, the show's
novel portrayals of women seemed to inspire (rather than reflect) a rebirth of discussion about the meanings of feminism, or at least, how the concept had unfolded in modern life. While woman found more equality in the workplace, the questions that remained were the more traditional ones – those for which feminist theory never satisfactorily answered for everyday women – about when and if one should marry, when and if one should have children. In the 80s, the media used the conflict between traditional yearnings and the advances of the women's movement to set the stage for “post-feminism.” In the post- postfeminist 90s, “Sex and the City” (thankfully) did not shock its viewers with its successful, powerful and self-madewomen. What the show did was push the boundaries of propriety.

8) The first season of “Sex and the City” highlighted the newness of the genre – women speaking candidly about sex. While their lunchtime conversations were certainly unheard of for television, the aspirations (conscious and unconscious) of each of the women to marriage were very familiar. The show constructed four female characters, their obvious differences served as tools with which to examine the issues at hand: again, marriage and relationships, sex and career. Miranda was the cynic, Charlotte the romantic, Samantha the sex-aholic and Carrie, the best friend to them all, the likeable woman who encompassed all of her friends traits. They were all educated, well-employed, “single and fabulous.”

9) In the pilot episode, the protagonist (sex-columnist Carrie Bradshaw) pondered a question that she compared to the riddle of the sphinx (for her crowd): “Why are there so many great unmarried women and no great unmarried men?” Carrie described these women: “We all know them, and we all agree they're great. They travel, they pay taxes. They'll pay $400 on a pair of Manolo Blahnik strappy sandals. And they're alone.” Apparently, these are the qualities of a great woman. “Sex and the City” added a new component to feminism – the ability to out-consume men.

10) In another episode, the four women know a couple that announced their engagement a week after meeting. They are all thoroughly disturbed by this happening, aside from Charlotte who finds the news reassuring. Carrie explored the notion of “love at first sight” for her column, and offered man-on-the-street type snippets as part of her research. One man offered a harsh analysis of why women cannot succumb to instantaneous love: “Love at first sight is too flaky for New York . Here women want to see a blood test and an ATM receipt before they'll talk to you.” This feeling described the new “Sex and the City” bred woman, and the audience sympathized with this man's condemnation of superficial women. The women on “Sex and the City” talked about eligible bachelors as being rich and good-looking, bought $400 shoes because they could, and were highly concerned with getting seated at the best restaurants, rather than discussing political or social issues, lusting after men because they were smart and kind, or even sharing with their friends what they did all day at work.

11) It's very tempting and somewhat accurate to call Carrie and her friends “feminists.” They were in control of their own sexual gratification, and they were also successful career women. Samantha owned her own public relations firm; Miranda was a corporate lawyer; Charlotte an art dealer; and Carrie a writer with a column in a New York newspaper. The
audience believed that these women respected themselves. So much so that when Carrie called Samantha “insecure” in a voice-over, it was not only surprising, but it was unsettling. After all, if it were true about this character, the argument of “Sex and the City” would seem to topple. While insecurity in the boldly sexual Samantha seemed misplaced, it advanced the complexity of Carrie as a feminist character. If Mary Richards' choice was to put marriage aside and go out “on her own,” and Roseanne's choice was to speak her mind, it seemed Carrie's choice was, often, uncertainty.

12) In terms of Carrie and “Sex and the City,” Time once again asked the question “Is feminism dead?” in a 1998
cover story that directly implicated the selfishness of the supposed new ideals of feminism. In a satirical play-on-words, the magazine mocked narcissistic feminism with a headline which re-worked the ubiquitous feminist handbook, Our Bodies, Our Selves . It asked: “Want to know what today's chic young feminist thinkers care about? Their bodies! Themselves!” 36 It noted that while: “the feminism of the ‘60s and ‘70s was steeped in research and obsessed with social change, feminism today is wed to the culture of celebrity and self-obsession.” The materialistic portrayals of “Sex in the City” almost manipulate the feminist roots of self-fulfillment. At the same time, however, they represented a group of women who made good money and had every right to spend it as they pleased. They were women who dominated in formerly male-driven professions
(Miranda became a partner in her corporate law firm) and celebrated their success without apologizing for it.
From: Mary, Roseanne, and Carrie: Television and Fictional Feminism

13) On tv a major question for women is either does Paris Hilton have underwear on or how long is going to serve for DUI? Meredith on Grey's Anatomy is almost useless, despite passing her med school exams. I want to shout at the tv, one word Meredith=feminism! And by the way HBO? I watch Deadwood:)

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Bill Maher - Bye Jerry Falwell

For visitors outside of America...who is Falwell?

Jughead - the Hockey Song

The Way of the Warrior

...the first principle of Shambhala vision is not being afraid of who you are. Ultimately, that is the definition of bravery: not being afraid of yourself. Shambhala vision teaches that, in the face of the world's great problems, we can be heroic and kind at the same time. Shambhala vision is the opposite of selfishness. When we are afraid of ourselves and afraid of the seeming threat the world presents, then we become extremely selfish. We want to build our own little nests, our own cocoons, so that we can live by ourselves in a secure way. from Shambhala by Trungna.

Monday, May 21, 2007


Garage sale find. Hockey For Boys, 1962.
From The Rink
To many boys living in Canada, playing hockey is a much a part of life as attending school, because to Canadians hockey is more than just a game-it's an institution.
One of these boys who carried skates as well a schoolbooks was Bill L'Heireux. Raised in Port Arthur, Ontario, Bill learned his early playing skills by participating in pee-wee, bantam, midget, and high school hockey. At the same time, he "hit the books" hard enought o earn a college scholarship at the age of sixteen.
While attending Assumption College at Windsor, Ontario, Bill played Junior "B" and later Senior hockey with the Windsor team in the Michigan-Ontario League. After graduation from college at the age of nineteen, Bill had to decide whether to accept or refuse one of three offers to join a National Hockey League club. After much thought, he refused them all in favor of a teaching career in physical education, for in this feild he could combine his keen interest in sports with his desire to work with boys in athletics.
Bill L'Heureux, Professor of Physical Education at the University of Western Ontario, is a recognized hockey authority.
Bill L'Heureux explains a particular hockey play to one of the players before a practice begins.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Book Store Visit

Can you see our friends Deana and Marc over by the carriages? We went to see Sherman Alexie read. Today we are doing a massive garage sale over at their place.
The Oprah section with McCarthy's The Road.
Sherman had me laughing for over an hour with some very funny stories. We have his new book, Flight but I haven't read it yet.
I hope if any of the folks in these photos come to visit this blog, please let me know?

Thursday, May 17, 2007

There Is No Spoon

The Shangri-La Diet
by Seth Roberts
Published by The Penguin Group

Book cover design has always interested me, and the design by Ben Gibson for The Shangri-La Diet has inspired many associations for me while reading this compelling diet book.

The title of the book first attracted my attention when the authors of Freakonomics wrote a review for The New York Times. It is not unusual for a diet book to be named after an idylic location or concept, The South Beach Diet, The Zone or The Scarsdale Diet. (Scarsdale has an average family income of $200,000+ and 2.3% live below the poverty line, including those who are under 18 or over 65.) So I thought, well, The Shangri-La Diet has high aspirations. The title evoked thoughts of a peaceful feeling, youthful energy, pre-industrial nutrition and a spiritual sense of well-being.

The cover has a sunburst fading into a tranquil pale green and in the center of the sunburst is a spoon. Several metaphors came to mind; we are "spoon-fed" many ideas about proper diet and health including government dietary food guides, we want to believe there is a quick fix diet that we will benefit from, the adage that the difference between heaven or hell comes down to ten foot long spoons that can't reach our mouths, in heaven we feed each other, in hell we don't come up with that solution of co-operation and then I thought of The Matrix movie. In The Shangri-La Diet the basic idea is to include a tablespoon of flavourless oil.

The idea begins with "eat fat to lose fat". I felt as if I had stumbled upon a science fiction novel or a huge satire about dieting. I couldn't believe it, and in fact, I kind of laughed. I laughed partly because immediately this diet sounded like a joke but also because I take flax seed oil everyday and I have found the more fat I eat, with less starches the more slim and balanced my body and mind feels, but this diet pushed even my optimistic attitude. This diet book is utterly counter-intuitive at first glance...but with further reading and practice seems so common sense.

I had the overwhelming sense I was reading a book by one of my peeps!

The movie the Matrix has a scene where the hero meets a small boy who is bending spoons with his mind. The hero wants to learn how to do this as the conflict in the film sets up the premise that there are at least two realities, one is computered generated and one is the real world. The boy tells out hero that to bend the spoon you must realize "there is no spoon".

In many ways, The Shangri-La Diet tells us there is no diet.

My understanding of the diet is that we unconsciously associate certain foods and flavours affecting the way our body processes nutrients and therefore adjusts the way we crave nutrients.

Our body associates flavour with calories. Therefore the more flavour-calorie associations we make (unconsciously) the more we crave food. And the speed with which we digest our food affects the calorie flavour association. In turn this creates a system much like a temperature control system in our houses. If we set the tempurature at 68 degrees, the furnace or air-conditioning unit will always aim for the "set point" of 68 degrees. Our appetite and cravings work very similar according to The Shangri-La Diet. By readjusting our own bodies "set point" we will change the way it craves food.

The Shangri-La Diet helps our bodies to realign a "set point" that may have been put out of whack by a variety of conditions, including flavour, commercially produced foods and lack of variety in many of our diets.

The Shangri-La Diet is the most flexible weight-loss plan yet devised. No forbidden foods, no restricted foods, no calorie counting, no meal plans, and , above all, no deprivation. No subtraction, just addition. Just follow the flexible basic framework and choose among the many possibilities it allows.(pg. 52,The Shangri-La Diet)

The author, Seth Roberts, isn't kidding.

I've been following the four basic rules in his diet's framework for five days. This morning I woke up, followed step one and then went to the hardware store to buy some varathane to seal a bookshelf we had painted. I thought, on the way home I will stop and have a coffee and breakfast at an outdoor cafe near the hardware store. I bought the varathane and stopped at the cafe and ordered a large coffee and a bagel with cream cheese. ( a bagel is an amazing low carb food, it has 11 grams of protein and the cream cheese has aproximatly 2-4 grams of protein.) I sat on ther patio to finish the last few pages of The Shnagri-La Diet in order to come home and write this review. I took several sips of my delicious coffee. I took one bite of my bagel and cream cheese and chewed. I immediately realized I wasn't hungry. I finished this book. I went inside and got my bagel wrapped "to-go". I came home and varathaned the shelves out on the back deck and finished my coffee. I still didn't feel particularily hungry, and no signs of shaking or blood sugar discomfort.
Evidence of my decreased appetite.

In five days, I have lost one inch off my hips.
Evidence of energy level combined with decreased appetite. I varathaned my shelves and was still not hungry!

This book is really fun to read and it is also right up my alley. For visitors who have come here to my blog, you will already know that I write a fair bit of content about food, civilization and nutrition. I've written four posts here about this diet: here are some of those with a reference including a film clip on a news magazine. I've written about depression, mood disorders and nutrition especially Vitamin B and further about pre-agricultural quality of life, nutrition and ethics.. Nutrition and our mental and physical well-being has been a lifelong passion of mine, and a significant theme on this blog.

The Shangri-La Diet has been an inspiration and an exhilarating read for me because I feel it ties right into these potentially life changing attitudes to food and quality of life.
Evidence of my enthusiasm for this book, lots of post-it notes.

I've been taking flax seed oil for about 8 years with my breakfast. I have changed the volume of intake and method of intake according to The Shangri-La Diet and see a rapid positive response. Flax Seed Oil was introduced to me by a friend who manufactures and distributes his oil through his own company. His website is one of the first links I added to this blog, not only because I believe in the benefits of adding flax seed oil to one's diet, but because I have also visited his processing plant and seen how his company turned the former farm property into a wetlands , the high level of quality assurance in the product and a commitment to organic small farm support. Omega-3 has entered the mainstream over the past ten years with packaging on eggs confirming the rich omega-3 properties, with labels on cooking oils and popular news stories highlighting omega-3 in fish. After 3 days altering the method of my consumption of flax seed oil to Robert's diet I woke up with no pain. I had been suffering from sore bones in my neck, feet and lower back. No reccurance since I've been taking the recommended dose in The Shangri-La Diet. Flax seed oil has not only seemed to affect my hunger, my weight, but it's anti-inflamatory benefits seem to have been amped as well.

Omerga-3 also improves brain function, later research has implied. Because our brains are more than half fat, it makes sense that the wrong fats or too little fat may cause mental health problems. One connection is with mood disorders. Countires with low fish consumption, such as Israel, have much higher rates of bipolar disorder than countries with high fish consumption, such as Korea and Iceland. In some experiments in which patients with bipolar disorder or depression were given fish oil, these patients improved compared to patients not given fish oil. A survey of elderly Chicago adults found that those who ate more fish had less cognitive decline over time than those who ate less fish. (pg 60, The Shangri-La Diet)

Whichever oil you choose, it will almost surely have positive side effects, such as better skin and softer hair. It is also likely to produce better sleep: as I mentioned in the Foreward, about three quarters of SLDers report this, Among the many other positive side effects reported are fewer menstrual headaches, reduction of arthritis (which makes sense because Omega-3 is an anti-inflamatory), better balance, and reduction of rosacea (a skin disease.)(pg. 62, The Shangri-La Diet)

Besides adding Flax Seed Oil to one's diet, this book explores the idea of flavour as contributing to the body's "set point". The book suggests several methods to affect the "set point" adjustment of our bodies. For example the book suggests cooking more and experimenting with new flavours, demonstrating that French women eat lots of rich food but remain slim.Perhaps considering the habits of "foodies" may suggest a culture of food connoisseurship may be the main reason that the French are less obese than Americans. (pg 136, The Shangri-La Diet)

The opposite of new food is familiar food, and the foods that can become most familiar are those that taste exactly the same each time-what I call DITTO FOODS. These mass produced foods come mostly from factories and chain restaurants. Because their flavors are so constant, when they are eaten repeatedly they can produce very strong flavor-calorie associations-much stronger than similar foods that vary in flavor, such as your homemade lasagna or meat loaf, which vary a bit each time you make them. (To increase the power of this method, I intentionally vary the flavors of my cooking.)

Ditto foods are the profit centers of the food industry. They include convenience food (such as frozen entrees, breakfast cereals, canned and frozen juices) ready-to-eat food, canned soup, junk food (such as soda, potato chips, and candy), fast food, and chain restaurant food. Almost any food sold in a package or made in a factory qualifies. It isn't just "bad" food; "good" food can be ditto food as well.
(pg 99, The Shangri-La Diet) What follows are examples of how an eating rut can contribute to altering our body's "set point" by becoming too familiar...therefore we become unusually hungry. It seems that on top of the basic rules of this diet...there are reasons why being an adventurous eater can help us lose weight. It is absolutely fascinating to read his ongoing research on food and the brain and body.

You don't need to know about nutrition to follow the four basic rules of this diet. However, there are all kinds of interesting notes about the diet and his theories in this book. Roberts also has had a blog and website associated with this diet book for just over a year and has included quotes from these sources as part of his research, evidence and new ideas. I found it terrific to witness how the internet is contributing to research especially in health and nutrition fields of study.

Roberts continues to explore how flavor affects our bodies "set point" Low carb and good-carb diets work moderately well. I believe this is because they replace carbohydrates that are digested quickly (high glycemic-index foods), such as breads, potatoes, and sweets, with foods that are digested more slowly, such as fats, proteins, and low-glycemic-index carbohydrates such as green vegetables. The slowly digested foods have weaker flavor-calorie associations than the quicker digested foods and thus raise your set point less.

Weak flavors like slowly digested foods, never become strongly associated with calories. This makes foods with weak flavors-I'll call them DELICATELY FLAVORED foods-less fattening than other foods. It isn't easy to eat enough of these foods to lose significant amounts of weight. I tried eating plain white fish-no seasonings at all- and gave up after one meal. Sushi was easie; I lost weight on my sushi diet. But it was hard to eat sushi every day, not to mention expensive and unwise due to mercury in tuna. I believe that many meal-replacement drinks such as Slim-Fast are efffective because they have weak flavors.
(pg 107,The Shangri-La Diet)

Much of the book offers these insights for those people who may have difficulty following the four basic rules of the diet. If you are able to incorporate the four basic rules I don't think you will ever have to worry about the flavor research Seth Roberts is conducting and others in the nutrition/weight professions, although I have found the entire book compelling reading.

I have finished my coffee, and eaten half my bagel and cream cheese. I don't feel hungry or tired and I didn't count calories or worry about anything. In five and a half days of following the four basic rules of this diet I have not worried about how much I eat. I have noticed I have eaten a couple of delicious snacks of blueberries and yogurt, another snack of a bagel with cream cheese and half an avocado and then a substantial meal.

I haven't changed my choice of good nutritious food that I already eat...but I have found that I am not very hungry so my portions have decreased.

I have no pain, (pain associated with moderate exercise, a pulled muscle or something in my neck I had for about three months and slight chronic pain from rheumatoid arthritis since 16 years old) and very little cravings, obsession with food or appetite. I am a little more hungry by 4 p.m. and by then I am ready to do another of the four basic rules and start preparing supper. I may be feeling hungry by supper, but I have been eating a much smaller serving of supper.

The major change I have made is to take more flax seed oil, and to take it without tasting the oil, plugging my nose. I'm not kidding.

The theory behind The Shangri-La Diet is the association of calories to flavor, so by eliminating the flavor of the flax seed oil the process seems to act like an appetite suppressant...but with a much healthier positive result than say the option of dangerous appetite suppressants like "pep pills" or diet pills. Same theory, healthier option?

In the movie The Matrix there is a scene where the characters are eating. The premise of the movie is that the people who are aware of what the matrix is, a computer generated reality denying the real world, must hide within the earths core and attempt to educate people to the nature of reality. During this quest, they have prepared a single cell food source. The characters joke that it is flavorless, "it tastes like chicken". There appears to be other food available but they subsidise their nutrition with this convenient yet flavorless food. The characters are portrayed by very fit, even athletic looking people. The Matrix seems to support The Shangri-La Diet intuitively as Carrie Ann Moss, Keanu Reeves and the entire cast and extras appear unusually slim for a mostly sendentary population. We know their exercise is fake. Their stunts and gravity-defying athleticism is mostly occuring while they fight the machines in the computer generated world of The Matrix.

My favourite section of this diet book is right near the end, again referring to something dear to my heart The Antidote To Civilization. It is a perfectly crafted insight which brilliantly blends Club Med, doughnuts and Jane Jabobs. Seth Roberts is one of my peeps, and his book might just end up on my World Peace Reading List.

If you want to enjoy all the wonderful flavours of life, to feel energetic, have great sleep and find your ideal weight please check out The Shangri-La Diet. You won't be disappointed because it isn't a spood-fed diet doctrine. There is no spoon.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

On The Lot :30 Promo

I am so excited about this new show, it premieres next week!

After receiving a record-setting 12,000 video submissions at from aspiring filmmakers around the globe, 50 semi-finalists have been selected for the new filmmaking competition series ON THE LOT from Mark Burnett, Steven Spielberg and DreamWorks Television. In the two "audition round" episodes airing Tuesday, May 22 9/8c and Thursday, May 24 9:30/8:30c on FOX, these semi-finalists will discover the magic of moviemaking when they are brought to Los Angeles to visit a real-life film set for the first time and must endure a rigorous "Hollywood Boot Camp."

Official website says Carrie Fisher, Brett Ratner, Gary Marshall and jon Avnet will be among the programs judges. Oh my god...this sounds like so much fun!

Thursday Thirteen Week #40.

Summer diversions I am looking forward to this season:

1) On The Lot. Can't wait reality show about film making.
2)Pirate Master also a reality show, also produced by Mark Burnett (Survivor.)
3) Camille Paglia is back at Yippee. she always gets a pulse going whether you agree with her or not.
4) Project Runway. And The Closer
5) Against The Day by Thomas Pynchon, I haven't cracked it 1,085 pgs yet.
6) Wylie has a book she wrote on sale today. I am about to order a copy.
7) The beach.
8) B.b.q.'s.
9) Drinking margeritias on an outdoor patio beside the river.
10) Magazines. I love reading magazines in a shade in a park. With a huge bottle of water and a snack.
11) The lower cost and availability of berries and vegetables. I'm crazy for berries.
12) Walking downtown without winter coat...people watching.
13) My boyfriend's holidays.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Fishing With John - Tom Waits

This one goes out to all the people putting up a fundraising auction over at Vinny's Blog For Dr. Leone's research and I believe Mister Anchovy might enjoy this one as well. My question is, is that John Lurie with him?

Monday, May 14, 2007

More Bad News About Corn

Colony Collapse Disorder is may evident with the recent disappearance of bees. Is their disappearance because of all the genetically modified agricultural products...including corn?

Corn (maize), the major such crop, is not a preferred plant for honey bees, although beekeepers who keep bees near corn fields state that "corn is an excellent source of pollen when in tassel"

Corn, soy, sunflower and safflower oils are high in omega-6. In a study, men in the experiemntal group were given corn oil (high in omega-6). Their rate of cancer doubled over the next eight years, compared to men in the control group, who continued eating an average American diet. Before agriculture, there was much less omega-6 in our diet. (from The Shangri-La Diet)
It takes a half gallon of oil to grow one bushel of corn.

Is the disappearance of bees related to cell phone use?
The alarm was first sounded last autumn, but has now hit half of all American states. The West Coast is thought to have lost 60 per cent of its commercial bee population, with 70 per cent missing on the East Coast.
This reminds me of the theory that whales have been beaching themselves because of sonar in Navy.
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