Saturday, January 31, 2009

Pray the Devil Back to Hell

I really want to see this movie. Bob Herbert writes about it here.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Requested recipes

Melanie asked me for a couple of recipes, so I'll share them here.

Kale and Roasted Vegetable Soup - Really hearty soup. Vegetarian, but the broth acquires the same mouth-feel as gravy.

Vegetarian Mulligatawny (For this recipe, I recommend adding some nutmeg, though I haven't really figured out the amount - I just keep adding a little bit until I'm happy with it.)


Watch CBS Videos Online

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Read this and thank me later

Thanks to an utterly lovely bloke named Daniel, I can share this link with you. Funniest letter of complaint EVER. Now excuse me while I find a tissue with which to wipe away the tears of laughter ...

Monday, January 26, 2009

I have no words for this

Polite words, at any rate ...

Aside from the fact that he thinks it's acceptable that people source their food from Macdonalds due to economic hardship, it DOESN'T MAKE ANY SENSE ECONOMICALLY. How in the world is this the market "righting itself"?

Sunday, January 25, 2009

One last one - I think

I especially like the bit about the message his sister left on his answering machine while he was at college. :)

Even better

"If I controlled the Internet" (a poem)

For Zen :)

Thanks to Gen for bringing this vid to my attention:

Haunting and beautiful

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Carrot time

This vid made me laugh out loud, then feel sorry for those too visually/mentally impaired to LOOK ON THE GROUND!!! LOOK ON THE GROUND!!!

I believe in miracles a bit more tonight

Educating for Human Greatness

Very cool ... and, I think, a very much needed initiative.

Worst. President. Ever.

Barack Obama's inauguration cannot come soon enough!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Weird news, courtesy of Perkin

I'm rooting for the guy who donated his kidney (to be clear, this is not Perkin; Perkin only told me about the story and sent me the article LOL):

A Long Island surgeon embroiled in a four-year divorce proceeding wants his estranged wife to return the kidney he donated to her, although he says he'll settle for $1.5 million in compensation.

Dr. Richard Batista told reporters at his lawyer's Long Island office Wednesday that he decided to go public with his demand for kidney compensation because he has grown frustrated with the negotiations with his estranged wife.

Batista claimed he has been prevented from seeing their children, ages, 8, 11 and 14, for months at a time. "This is my last resort; I did not want to do this publicly."

He said he gave his kidney to Dawnell Batista, now 44, in June 2001. She filed for divorce in July 2005, although he claims she began having an extramarital affair 18 months to two years after the kidney transplant, said his lawyer, Dominick Barbara.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

World's best job up for grabs

Apparently it's for reals.

If I didn't love my program so much, I might actually consider it ... :)

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Pearls before breakfast

My friend Kyla posted an article today on Facebook that brought me to tears. The article is about a little experiment that the Washington Post conducted with the help of world-class violinist Joshua Bell.

Bell, dressed nondescriptly, played for ~45 minutes on his multi-million dollar Stradivarius violin in the concourse of a Washington, D.C. subway station, and hardly anyone took notice. It's a long article, but very well-written and thought-provoking. I'll quote some paragraphs here, emphasis mine:

No one knew it, but the fiddler standing against a bare wall outside the Metro in an indoor arcade at the top of the escalators was one of the finest classical musicians in the world, playing some of the most elegant music ever written on one of the most valuable violins ever made. His performance was arranged by The Washington Post as an experiment in context, perception and priorities -- as well as an unblinking assessment of public taste: In a banal setting at an inconvenient time, would beauty transcend?


He'd clearly meant it when he promised not to cheap out this performance: He played with acrobatic enthusiasm, his body leaning into the music and arching on tiptoes at the high notes. The sound was nearly symphonic, carrying to all parts of the homely arcade as the pedestrian traffic filed past.

Three minutes went by before something happened. Sixty-three people had already passed when, finally, there was a breakthrough of sorts. A middle-age man altered his gait for a split second, turning his head to notice that there seemed to be some guy playing music. Yes, the man kept walking, but it was something.

A half-minute later, Bell got his first donation. A woman threw in a buck and scooted off. It was not until six minutes into the performance that someone actually stood against a wall, and listened.

Things never got much better. In the three-quarters of an hour that Joshua Bell played, seven people stopped what they were doing to hang around and take in the performance, at least for a minute. Twenty-seven gave money, most of them on the run -- for a total of $32 and change. That leaves the 1,070 people who hurried by, oblivious, many only three feet away, few even turning to look.


"People walk up the escalator, they look straight ahead. Mind your own business, eyes forward. Everyone is stressed. Do you know what I mean?"

What is this life if, full of care,

We have no time to stand and stare.

-- from "Leisure," by W.H. Davies


We're busy. Americans have been busy, as a people, since at least 1831, when a young French sociologist named Alexis de Tocqueville visited the States and found himself impressed, bemused and slightly dismayed at the degree to which people were driven, to the exclusion of everything else, by hard work and the accumulation of wealth.

Not much has changed. Pop in a DVD of "Koyaanisqatsi," the wordless, darkly brilliant, avant-garde 1982 film about the frenetic speed of modern life. Backed by the minimalist music of Philip Glass, director Godfrey Reggio takes film clips of Americans going about their daily business, but speeds them up until they resemble assembly-line machines, robots marching lockstep to nowhere. Now look at the video from L'Enfant Plaza, in fast-forward. The Philip Glass soundtrack fits it perfectly.

"Koyaanisqatsi" is a Hopi word. It means "life out of balance."

In his 2003 book, Timeless Beauty: In the Arts and Everyday Life, British author John Lane writes about the loss of the appreciation for beauty in the modern world. The experiment at L'Enfant Plaza may be symptomatic of that, he said -- not because people didn't have the capacity to understand beauty, but because it was irrelevant to them.

"This is about having the wrong priorities," Lane said.

If we can't take the time out of our lives to stay a moment and listen to one of the best musicians on Earth play some of the best music ever written; if the surge of modern life so overpowers us that we are deaf and blind to something like that -- then what else are we missing?

Read the entire article - and watch the videos of what happened - here.

To be clear, one of the reasons I find this article so compelling is that I fear I would have been one of the 1070 who walked right on past a modern-day genius practicing his art.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Please ignore Twitter log in prompts

If, when you navigate to this blog, you find there is a pop-up message saying Twitter wants you to log in, PLEASE IGNORE. It's a problem on Twitter's side, and they're working on it. Just cancel out of the dialog box and continue visiting this site as per usual.

Thanks for visiting!!!


A chuckle

"Everything I know I learned from my cat: When you're hungry, eat. When you're tired, nap in a sunbeam. When you go to the vet's, pee on your owner."

- Gary Smith

Someone to avoid on the subway

Here is an interesting article about how germs can be spread on hospital scrubs and doctors' lab coats, and how this can be avoided.

The next time I see a doctor or nurse on the subway wearing scrubs, I will sit as far away as possible from him/her!

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Totally cringe-worthy

My brother and I were both sensitive kids, and I remember watching TV (e.g., "Little House on the Prairie") and someone would be humiliated as part of the story, and Joe and I would run around the house, laughing and groaning and shuddering, as if we could outrun our empathetic feelings of embarrassment. (Mom's response was always "It's just a show!" ... She probably wondered why the heck she had such crazy kids.)

And now, today, I am circulating one of the most embarrassing and cringe-worthy videos I have EVER seen. And yet it's also a hilarious train wreck:

I couldn't watch it the first time I tried ... LOL

Tragic, but avoidable

Here's a tragic example why regulations - and their enforcement - are vitally - vitally!!! - important:

THIAROYE SUR MER, Senegal - First, it took the animals. Goats fell silent and refused to stand up. Chickens died in handfuls, then en masse. Street dogs disappeared.

Then it took the children. Toddlers stopped talking and their legs gave out. Women birthed stillborns. Infants withered and died. Some said the houses were cursed. Others said the families were cursed.

The mysterious illness killed 18 children in this town on the fringes of Dakar, Senegal's capital, before anyone in the outside world noticed. When they did — when the TV news aired parents' angry pleas for an investigation, when the doctors ordered more tests, when the West sent health experts — they did not find malaria, or polio or AIDS, or any of the diseases that kill the poor of Africa.

They found lead.

The dirt here is laced with lead left over from years of extracting it from old car batteries. So when the price of lead quadrupled over five years, residents started digging up the earth to get at it. The World Health Organization says the area is still severely contaminated, 10 months after a government cleanup ...

In richer countries, recycling of lead batteries is regulated. Most U.S. states require anyone who sells lead-acid batteries to collect spent ones and ship them to recycling plants licensed and regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency. Europe has similar oversight.

"It's when you get to Third World countries where you don't have regulations or attempts to control the movement of this product that you see these kind of tragedies occurring," says Maurice Desmarais, executive director of Battery Council International, a U.S.-based trade group.

Although North America and Europe continue to be the world's biggest buyers of cars, fewer and fewer car batteries are made there. Manufacturing has moved where labor is cheaper and environmental protections regulations are more lenient, or at least more leniently enforced.

"There's not a developing country where this isn't happening," says Perry Gottesfeld, of OK International. [emphasis added]

Thursday, January 01, 2009

2008 in review

1. What did you do in 2008 that you’d never done before?

Lost my job. Received acupuncture treatments. Took courses in Touch for Health. Played Scrabble online. Worked in retail. A couple of other things I’ll keep to myself, thanksverymuch! :)

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I had goals more than resolutions, and I’ve made progress in many of those areas.
My goal is to succeed in my new program and to try to maintain balance in my life as much as possible and to try to burn through as little of my savings as possible.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Yes, my friends Isabelle and Ryan welcomed their second daughter, Noemie.

4. Did anyone close to you die?


5. What countries did you visit?

The U.S. to visit my brother, sister-in-law, and the most beautiful niece and nephew there ever were.

6. What would you like to have in 2009 that you lacked in 2008?

More energy.

7. What dates from 2008 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

November 4th 2008, when Americans elected Barack Obama and hopefully set the world free from the idiocy of the Bush administration.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Finding the courage to pursue a new career.

9. What was your biggest failure?

I don't want to answer this question, frankly (though trust me that I am honest with myself about this subject), so I will substitute another question:

9a. What surprised you about this year?

Having poetry in my life again, especially the writings of Mary Oliver.
Who has actually been there for me, and who has not.
Being passive-aggressively written off by a friend who won't even tell me what I did to offend her. I really thought she was more mature and our friendship stronger than that.
How quickly life can change.
How little some people think ahead or question their own motives.
How deep and introspective some people can be.
Magic in my own life.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?


11. What was the best thing you bought?

Tickets to visit my niece and nephew; books; my biochem course.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

Barack Obama. He raised the bar in campaign behaviour and set an example for us time and time again with his all-around decency.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

Sarah Palin and John McCain. Stephen Harper and Stephane Dion. The latter was especially disappointing in how he absolutely could not rise to the occasion when the country desperately needed him to do so.

14. Where did most of your money go?

Rent, food, books, courses.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

The possibility of helping other people through alternative/integrative medicine. Growing as a person and developing my potential as a human being.

16. What song will always remind you of 2008?

Love You Anyway by Boyzone. Some of those lyrics really tickle me.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

a) happier or sadder? Happier, because I am feeling better physically and emotionally
b) thinner or fatter? Thinner
c) richer or poorer? Well, I’m about to become a full-time student, so …

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Spend time outside.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Faffed around on the computer … like I’m doing now. :)

20. How did you spend Christmas?

I hosted a potluck for thirteen other people. It was great.
My family’s Christmas was on the 21st, and that was truly lovely as well.

21. Did you fall in love in 2008?


22. What was your favorite TV program?

I didn’t watch much TV at all.

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

No. Hate destroys the hater.

24. What was the best book you read?

“The Shock Doctrine” by Naomi Klein.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?

Bodega, Emily Smith, 6 Day Riot. Hmm ... all Celtic music, even though I listen to other genres and each of these are quite different from the other. (Bodega is cool in that they are very young and yet accomplished musicians who have integrated other genres into their traditional music; 6 Day Riot is more alternative than traditional.)

26. What did you want and get?

A new, clear direction for my life.

27. What did you want and not get?

A better ending to my old job. Oh well, in the end it was probably better this way.

28. What was your favorite film of this year?

Quantum of Solace. Though to be fair, I saw very few movies this past year.

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I threw myself a house party and had over thirty people over. I turned 38.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

True love. Well, there's always this year ... ;->

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2008?


32. What kept you sane?

FRIENDS, meditation, Touch for Health, Facebook

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

Daniel Craig. Rrrroooowwwwwwlllllll ….

34. What political issue stirred you the most?

Snatching democracy back from the hands of Republicans in the U.S. They did it!!!

35. Who did you miss?

Lorelai and Reece, Wendy

36. Who was the best new person you met?

Maggie, Vivian, Joyce, Jo, to name a few. I am exceedingly lucky to find kindred spirits in every nook and cranny of my life. It's quite extraordinary. Distance and age are completely, totally irrelevant, and often the connection is immediate.

Welcome re-introductions into my life include Leslie-Ann and Pete - two lovely blasts from the past! :)

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2008.

Trust the Universe. Trust that someone WILL be there to help when you need it, though it may be entirely different from whom you were expecting/hoping it to be.

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

This isn’t a song lyric, but a poem by Mary Oliver:

The Uses of Sorrow

Someone I loved once gave me
a box full of darkness.

It took me years to understand
that this, too, was a gift.

Last night's biggest laughs

... - though not the only laughs! - came from this video: