Monthly Archives: July 2011

The He Shi Bi


The He Shi Bi

The He Shi Bi is a piece of jade that features prominently in Chinese history. According to legend, a man named Bian He found a large stone that he believed contained jade in the hills of Chu. He presented it to the king and later to his successor, but they disbelieved the man’s claims and had his legs cut off as punishment. Finally, he presented it to a third king, who recognized the stone’s potential and had it sculpted into an incomparable disk of jade. What was the disk made into in 221 BCE? More… Discuss

Jade is an ornamental stone. The term jade is applied to two different metamorphic rocks that are made up of different silicate minerals:

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Today’s Birthday: Alexis de Tocqueville (1805): “Democratically Speaking…Greed, Is Undemocratic…”


Alexis de Tocqueville (1805)

Tocqueville was a French political scientist, historian, and politician. Born into an aristocratic family with ties to the king, his future in government was jeopardized by a revolution in 1830. To distance himself from the trying political situation at home, he embarked on a government-sanctioned mission to the US. Out of it came his best-known work, Democracy in America—the first analytical study of the strengths and weaknesses of US society. What conclusions did Tocqueville draw in it? More… Discuss

My take on this issue:
 “Democratically Speaking…Greed, Is Undemocratic…greed is pathological and antisocial…greed is like the pest, that doesn’t survive its last victim!”

Today In History: National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Established (1958)


National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Established (1958)

NASA is an agency of the US government charged with aeronautics research and the nation’s civilian space program. During its history, it has been responsible for manned trips to the Moon, orbiting observatories, and unmanned programs that explored other planets and interplanetary space. Today, its goals include improving human understanding of the universe and establishing a permanent human presence in space. NASA was created by an act of Congress passed largely in response to what 1957 event? More… Discuss

Quotation of the Day: Ambrose Bierce: Backbite – an transitive non-transient verb


Backbite, v.t.: To speak of a man as you find him when he can’t find you. (The Devil’s Dictionary)

Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914) Discuss

Pfizer Suspends Sales of Chicken Drug With Arsenic: via The New York Times.


Pfizer Suspends Sales of Chicken Drug With Arsenic

Pfizer Suspends Sales of Chicken Drug With Arsenic (click to read the article at The New York Times)

Pfizer Suspends Sales of Chicken Drug With Arsenic

By and
Published: June 8, 2011
WASHINGTON — Farmers have for decades fed chickens an arsenic-containing drug that promotes growth, but after a government study found trace amounts of this poisonous carcinogen in chickens, its maker will suspend its sales.

Officials at the Food and Drug Administration said the amounts found were so low that chickens treated with the drug, called 3-Nitro, do not pose a serious health risk and will continue to be sold. Perdue and organic chicken producers do not use the drug.
(Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/09/business/09arsenic.html?_r=2&ref=health)

7 Ways to Increase Metabolism-via Livestrong


7 Ways to Increase Metabolism-via Livestrong

7 Ways to Increase Metabolism-via Livestrong (click to read the article at LiveStrong)

Boston Store employee hits 65 years of employment milestone:


Boston Store employee hits 65 years of employment milestone

Boston Store employee hits 65 years of employment milestone


rotatingwheels

rotatingwheels (Clicking here...Will take you there...)

Yoga Sutras 1.30-1.32

Yoga Sutras 1.30-1.32

Breath is a bridge between body and mind: Abdominal breathing is the most effective bridge


Brief descriptions: Below are brief descriptions of a broad range of breathing practices. These outlines give general descriptions, and are not intended to be complete instructions in doing the practices. To do the practices, it is important to have personal training, not merely relying on written words.

   Basics of breath 

Remember to build the foundation: First, you establish the basics of breathing. If you will quickly scan the topics listed in this section, immediately below, you will see that they are not so much breathing techniques as they are methods of establishing basic breath awareness, and elimination of irregularities. With breath training, one of the biggest mistakes is to skip the foundation, and go directly into the techniques themselves.

The science of breath
begins with awareness, 
and ends with awareness.

It begins and ends with awareness: Breath awareness is so important that, in a sense, you can say that the whole science of breath begins with awareness, and ends with awareness. Everything else, in the middle, is preparation for awareness.

The finest bridge between body and mind: Breath is a bridge between the body and the mind.

(Source: http://www.swamij.com/breath.htm)

Abdominal Breathing (Qigong Breathing)


Abdominal or Diaphragmatic_Breathing

Abdominal or Diaphragmatic_Breathing (click on picture to continue reading)

Abdominal Breathing

Animation of diaphragmatic breathing with the diaphragm shown in green

Qigong breathing in the manner of the water method of Taoist meditation is an exercise in relaxation.  Developing this skill requires patience and it should not be done in a forced manner.  To begin learning this way of breathing you can do it laying down.  When you are laying down, the chest and belly are relaxed.  As you inhale, you allow the diaphragm to move towards your abdomen to cause the belly and the sides of the body to expand.  Because of this movement in the abdominal region, this method is also called abdominal breathing.
Movement of the belly and the sides of the abdomen may be barely noticeable or uneven when you first start.  If, while you are practicing, you need a reminder for maintaining your breathing with your diaphragm, you can place a telephone book or some other large book on your belly and allow it to go up with your in-breath and down as you exhale.  Some find that placing of the hands on the belly works as well. You should work towards having smooth and even exhalations and inhalations, and relaxing into this pattern is the way to work towards that goal. Never exhale to more than 3/4 of your ability.                                   
(Source: http://www.qigonghealingarts.org/qigong-exercises/qigong-breathing)
Related Article:

What is Tai Chi Chuan (Taijiquan): Ultimate martial Art


Taijiquan_Tai chi chuan

Taijiquan_Tai chi Chuan

TAI CHI CHUAN FOR HEALTH, COMBAT AND SPIRITUAL CULTIVATION

What does Tai Chi Chuan mean?

Taijiquan (Tai Chi Chuan) is a wonderful martial art. Besides being very effective for combat it is also excellent for health promotion and spiritual cultivation. Many people, however, are not aware of its combative and spiritual aspects. Even those who practise Tai Chi Chuan solely for health often do not get the best benefits of its health aspect. This article will explain why, and suggest ways you may adopt to get more benefits from your Tai Chi Chuan training.

The term ‘Tai Chi Chuan’ is a short form of ‘Taiji quanfa’. ‘Taiji’ is the Chinese word meaning ‘the grand ultimate’ or the cosmos. And ‘quanfa’ means ‘fist techniques’ or martial art. Tai Chi Chuan, therefore, means ‘Cosmos Kungfu‘. Indeed every movement in Tai Chi Chuan is made according to martial considerations, i.e. a Tai Chi Chuan practitioner moves the way he moves in a Tai Chi Chuan performance because that particular way gives him the best technical advantage in a given combat situation. Hence if you say that you practise Tai Chi Chuan for health and not for fighting, you probably do not realize that Tai Chi Chuan actually means Cosmos martial art, and that virtually all great Tai Chi Chuan masters in the past practised it for fighting.
(R
ead more at: http://www.shaolin-wahnam.org/taichi.html)

How to Do the Simplified Yang 24 Style – With Rie Takahashi, All Japan Tai Chi Champion


How to Do the Simplified Yang 24 Style

How to Do the Simplified Yang 24 Style_Rie Takahashi_All Japan Tai Chi Champion

How to Do the Simplified Yang 24 Style_Rie Takahashi_All Japan Tai Chi Champion (Click the picture to access and view the video at yogagarden Studio "Grow With It")

Tai Chi: The Meaning Behind the Movements

This is Patrick from Yoga Garden. We all know Tai Chi as a series of slow and peaceful movements designed to improve health. Often it’s compared to dancing or moving meditation. However, it’s important to remember that Tai Chi originally developed as a kind of practice on your own Kung Fu and that will made you these beautiful hand motions and execute the softer work. We are actually practicing a martial art.

 

Understanding the martial applications of the Tai Chi movements will bring depth and vigor to your practice and if you are just starting, it’s a great way to remember the forms as well as the names. On the screen here is Kieye Go Hogi, we all call her Kieye (ph).  She heads up the Tai Chi program at Yoga Garden and as for me, I will be playing the part of Mr. Tanaka, drunk and slightly earnest salary man who just can’t get enough of Kieye. We will just add the glasses here and the transformation is complete. We hope you enjoy watching this video as much as we enjoyed making it.

 

Of the 24 forms in the game simplified style, we will just be taking a look at a few that shows some interesting variations on combat techniques starting with Yema Fenzong. This is a classic Tai Chi movement. You can see the curved arms encircling that Chi. All actions linked with bow steps, turning back and forth from the legs.

 

A primary importance in this posture is moving with the center rather than the extremities. You can see how she sweeps her arm forward, her whole body moves giving power to the action. Right hand switch back, as left hand pushes forward, all powered from the hips. In a fighting situation, it’s not going to make some ground for Kieye. She uses that forward powers, knock him off balance, hooks under his armpit and he is down. Then notice guy in the Yang style, he always maintain a 90 degree with her back and employ barbing the head up and down. This provide a lot more stability as you move through the forms.

 

Next is Louxi Aobu. This looks similar to Yema Fenzong but the power is actually quite different. Yema Fenzong used the sweep and as you can see here this is more of the foots. That’s why I start again. A key importance, using the hips, linking the arms and legs, watch how Kieye’s heels and toes have  the same timing as the forward pushing. This allow the natural force to the movements and the form strip down to its essentials, a sweeping blocking arm, a forward push, all powered from the back leg, linked with Dung Chen. This time Tanaka chose to kick Kieye. The Kick is blocked and the push is applied to the Solar Plexus.

 

Next up is Shouhui Pipa. This is one of my favorite forms, it looks so enocuous compared to the others but it’s has dangerous secret. Let’s watch that again. The right hand reaches forward and pulls back in console with the right foot, as together the left leg and left arm come to the front. In this angle, you can see a little better what’s happening. The right hand goes back, the left comes forward and together they both push towards the center, right there, push. You can see the result on Tanaka’s arms. As he goes for a punch, punches traps and the force is applied at the joints. Tai Chi is based upon the ideas of Daoism, one of the most important of which is the interaction between Yin and Yang, yin being passive with drawing energy. Yang being forceful, aggressive energy.

 

Nowhere is this more apparent than in Daojuan Gong, you can see the back hand is soft and withdrawing and suddenly transforms into a strong forward push. Even as the other hand against is melt away. It’s kind of like watching a living, breathing Yin Yang symbol in action. Let’s watch that again in isolation, the arms here are working together, one pushing as the other pulls, all linked with the hips. This movement is called for when someone is coming at you with strong energy, that forward moving energy is welcomed with the back hand, even as the front hand comes on, grabs it through as that’s for us. You can see here Tanaka san  getting up close and personal with Kieye. She uses that forward movement and applies it against him.

 

Of the 24 forms in the Yang simplified style, many practitioners argue that it’s this one, Zuo Lan Quewei, that is the most important. This series of movements has been called it by one master, a kind of entrance exam for Tai Chi because it contains the fundamentals of all of the forms. Zuo Lan Quewei actually consists of four parts, you know it is the first one moving a bent arm forward stiffly, Pong, using Pong energy and moving to U, from U we go right into G. Dispersing the G energy, we bring it back to one final action Aan, which is why there is an isolation, his Pong, again the shoulder is secondary, kind of a delivery system for the power of the hips, waiting until it is knocking his off balance and adding the correct force. Next is U, it’s pretty easy to see martial application of this part. Having trapped, you pull his arm, drawing back until he is off balance enough so that you can follow through, keeping him away from you.

 

Next is G, this is great for close corner situations. And finally pulling everything back. Watch how the hips are working. Arm, this form has the additional benefit of stripping the arms from the neck and shoulders. Tai Chi is always moving slowly, never stopping, you can see it close right here and it’s Dung Chen. One of the most recognizable Tai Chi forms. You can see how the weight is constantly shifting between Kieye, never static, never staying in the middle of the body where there is little power to be found. Timing with the front foot, as usual will get it into down yet, simplified it might look something like this. In a real life situation, to knock his punch, as he captured and the energy is transferred and amplified into a neck chop. That actually really hurts much as acting right there — following a heel kick, to move right into Shuangfeng Guaner.

 

You have watched a few of these now, so maybe you can tell of this would actually be used in a fight. Tanaka san going for Kieye’s neck and she tried to cease the knee to the head in the boxing of the ears or temple. Here at the end of the 24 form, we come to this individual movement, Haidi Zhen.  Haidi Zhen is a great example of balancing, the forces of Yin and Yang one action. You can see the right hand strongly moves forward but at the same time, the hips are dropping back and withdrawing. So their overall balance is maintained, that’s much of a Yin simplified.

 

You might be wondering, what the hell is going, well you will find out right here, a kick is blocked, oh that’s hard to watch, that’s hard to watch. Perhaps nowhere else can you see the Kung Fu history behind Tai Chi even in this action. Zhuanshen Banlanchui, there is that despite this being a very aggressive movement, you never see a straight line. There is always little bit of power with in. As always,  the timing of the legs and hips is key here, much of the back leg and hips go together to deliver maximum power to this punch. You also have the chance to stop on your importance foot here, throw him off balance. Tanaka san leaves himself open and from there on he is putty in Kieye san.

 

Our final movement today would be cross hands, Shizishou. Well, long time I thought this was just a pretty way to end the 24th form allowing you to come down and back to the original starting place. However, in the making of this video, I found out that this too has a martial meaning. Keeping these meanings in mind as you practice your Tai Chi forms will not only make them more interesting, but more powerful and authentic. As for  Tanaka san, this is as close as he ever got to Kieye. Well, a man can dream.
Links:

How to do Zazen (Seated Meditation) In the Yoga Garden


How to do Zazen - Seated Meditation

How to do Zazen - Seated Meditation (Click on th epicture to view the video at Yoga Garden)

How to do Zazen – Seated Meditation
Hi, I am Patrick and today we are talking about Zazen and how to do it. Meditation isn’t just for buddhas or monks; it’s for everybody that can be done at almost any time. So lets get started. When you sit, you are going to want to elevate your pelvis. The most useful thing for this is something like a Zafu, it’s a round Japanese shape. But honestly anything will work, a pillow folded in half, a rolled up blanket is just as good. Don’t let not having a zafu keeping you away from starting your meditation.

As you sit, you want to have a stable base as possible. This cross legged posture for example, might be comfortable at first, but it’s not as stable, and after a few minutes, your legs will fall asleep, and you will become uncomfortable. A much better choice is something like this, Burmese sitting. You can see the base is much wider. This one is accessible for almost all people, and it’s pretty comfortable. Another choice is half-lotus. This is a great posture, just be sure on your both sides you can get a hip balance all the time.

And finally, classic full-lotus posture. Don’t force yourself in any of these poses, they are not crucial to Zazen, you can do Zazen sitting on a chair, standing on the subway. These gestures are some helpful classic styles. As we our base, lets move on to the hands. In classic Japanese style the dominant hand is on bottom. The other hand is on it’s top. The thumbs slightly come together to make kind of an x shape. These thumbs could be a mindfulness indicator, that you are squishing them together strongly, there is too much energy in the meditation, it will fall and open, it’s a little bit lazy and sleepy. Just keep them lightly barely touched.

Most important physical component of meditation is the spine. Often after a few minutes people are starting to look like this, with a curved soft spine. This will make your meditation dull and useless. On the other hand of the spectrum I see a lot of people, especially tough dudes trying to look like this, ramrod straight, this is completely wrong, so wrong muscles. It’s the wrong muscles. If you want to sit straight, you have to use your inner muscles recoil, not the surface muscles of your shoulder and chest. Also you don&’t lean too far forward, or too far back. A tall relaxed spine sitting squarely on the pelvis would give you more mental clarity, if there is any kind of chanting, visual views or that type of thing.

Another thing to look out for is the shoulders. After a few minutes, you might find your shoulders rising up towards the ears, filling with tension. This is natural, you have to say to everybody, if you notice your shoulders are tensed, just exhale and let them follow through, let the chest relax, come back into a stable center line, keeping your focus on the belly or the typical moves. I really enjoy the Soto style, of sitting, facing the wall. In this way your eyes have something to look at without getting distracted. You may feel tempted to close the eyes, but when you close the eyes it’s easy to fall in the dreamland, and usually get distracted.

Zazen can be done from anywhere between 15 minutes to one hour. If you’re just starting, keep the time short, it’s a very deep practice. Don’t go overboard.

The idea of the zazen is to have a clear empty mind without chattering thought. But if you are like most people something like this would happen.

Like a monkey you are constantly climbing from tree to tree, the mind meets some random thoughts or random thought. Through Zazen we can learn to tame this manic, mental chattering. If you are really having trouble quieting your monkey mind, you can try some counting breaths. It’s just a simple game. Breathing in is one, breathing out, two, breathing in, three. The only rule of the game is, if you have the straight thought like I am hungry, you need to go back to zero, and start from the beginning. Lets it try again.

I am only half as serious with these actions and things. You shouldn’t get discourgaed. Failing like this is actually a practice. Most people feel like they are in the driver seat of their mind, directing it where they wanted to go, but just a few minutes of Zazen will show you that your mind does its own thing, it goes all over the place without your control. Mind does good for you, as soon as you say, don&’t think, more thoughts come in. In fact, don’t think is a thought, and you move through everyday, having many dialogs with yourselves over and over again. When we see a homeless person talking to himself on the street, we say he is crazy.

But the only difference between him and us is that we keep our mental chatter locked up inside our skulls, this is the gift of meditation. You learn you are not your thoughts, you can imagine the thoughts are like clouds. You can relate it with nothing, constantly shifting changing shapes. Behind the clouds, always there is the sky, clear, ready, we also a have a deep purity that’s obscured by our everyday thinking about it. At times you will get a glimpse of this purity, you will feel something like this.

But at times you will be so wrapped inside your thoughts, you will feel like this. But it shouldn’t get you wrapped up in these highs and lows. In fact, 90% of the time, the Zazen would be like this.

Yes, Zazen is boring, but it’s also one of the greatest adventures that we are going to experience.

Links:

The Five Elements in Tai Chi Meditation: Concentrating on breathing connects one with one’s true self


The Five Elements in Tai Chi Meditation

The Five Elements in Tai Chi Meditation (click on Picture to view video)

Standing tall, heels in, toes slightly out, relax into the leg base, again, feeling that sense buoyancy. As you breathe in basing on the right leg, exhale forward stepping on to the left foot, fingertips touching fire, the first element. You cannot do that for too long so you shift back, fingertips in water. Second element, wood, the third is at your side, opening up into metal, grandeur and beauty of metal as you step forward, then shifting back, claiming and grounding with earth, the final element.

Let us do that again, slowly organically, easing into the right leg as a base. Stepping forward on to the left, fingertips touching fire, easing back, water, breathing, relaxing, wood is at your side, opening up, feel that beauty as you step forward, metal, shifting back, claiming, and grounding in earth.

Great, let us do the other side, easing now into the left leg as the base. Stepping forward on the right, just easily there, fingertips touch fire, shifting back, water, wood, relax, third element is at your side, opening up, metal, stepping forward, easing back, grounding in earth.

Great, one more time, slowly, just feel the beautiful organic aspect of movement. Noticing the solo nuance is in the body as you touch fire, easing back into water, wood, relax, supportive at your side, opening up, metal, stepping forward, feel that weight shift and easing back grounding into earth.

Excellent, stepping out into a horse stance, grounded to the leg base, spine extended, shoulders relaxed, arms coming up slowly, breathing in, exhaling, commencing form, palms coming down. Good, standing tall, let your arms relax slowly ease, and again, inhaling up, bending to the joints, relaxing shoulders, elbows, wrists, hands and fingers exhaling down. Good, feel that connection between your feet and your hands.

One more time, notice as my arms come up, I am going to ease back to in to my leg base. Inhaling, exhaling down, feeling very grounded in the center, lie your body to move a little bit there. Great, relax out.

Okay, commencing form right here, inhaling, exhaling down. Now, I am going to shift into what is called the right and left centering, easing into the left leg as the base, toes turning out to the right as you shift into the right leg, easing back, great, center.

The more you practice your daily Tai chi, it is a good idea to keep your head at a level, the same level as you move. So notice it was not a lot of rises and falls as I ease over.

Again, inhaling up, exhaling relaxed down, shifting to one side, relax into the body bending through the knees as you shift into the opposite leg. Elbows relaxed, shoulder relaxed, energy flow all the way through. Good, shifting into the right leg, left toes turn, easing into that left leg and shifting back.

Excellent, final, commencing form, energy down.

Congress Websites Down_House_ Senate Sites Not Working_UPDATE_HaffingtonPost


Congress Websites Down_House_ Senate Sites Not Working_UPDATE_HaffingtonPost

Congress Websites Down_House_ Senate Sites Not Working_UPDATE_HaffingtonPost (Click to read the article)

“Living at the Beach”_My digital oil pictures


Living at the Beach_My digital oil pictures

Living at the Beach©_My digital oil pictures

A Chilean Teen Tweets About Earthquakes Better Than His Whole Government: Individuals Count!


A Chilean Teen Tweets About Earthquakes Better Than His Whole Government

A Chilean Teen Tweets About Earthquakes Better Than His Whole Government (click on Picture to access the rest of the story)

Linus Pauling (What would be the world without Vitamin C?)


Linus Pauling _  Vitamin C

Linus Pauling _ Vitamin C (click on picture to read entire article)

(Source: http://www.paulingexhibit.org/)

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linus_Pauling

Linus Carl Pauling (February 28, 1901 – August 19, 1994)[1] was an American chemist, biochemist, peace activist, author and educator. He was one of the most influential chemists in history and ranks among the most important scientists of the 20th century.[2][3] Pauling was among the first scientists to work in the fields of quantum chemistry and molecular biology.

Pauling is one of only four individuals to have won more than one Nobel Prize.[4] He is one of only two people awarded Nobel Prizes in different fields (the Chemistry and Peace prizes), the other being Marie Curie (the Chemistry and Physics prizes), and the only person awarded two unshared prizes…

(Continue reading at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linus_Pauling)

Linus Pauling's book How to Live Longer and Fe...

Image via Wikipedia

“How to live longer and feel better” by Linus Pauling, is a book to lean from, just like al his publications, manuals and abstracts.

 Vitamin C or L-ascorbic acid or L-ascorbate is an essential nutrient for humans and certain other animal species. In living organisms ascorbate acts as an antioxidant by protecting the body against oxidative stress.[1] It is also a cofactor in at least eight enzymatic reactions including several collagen synthesis reactions that cause the most severe symptoms of scurvy when they are dysfunctional.[2] In animals these reactions are especially important in wound-healing and in preventing bleeding from capillaries. (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vitamin_C)

Vitamin C is found in fresh fruits and vegetables.

So: Eat your veggies and  fruits, Daily!

Slideshow _ Anatomy of a Sore Throat_WebMD


Slideshow _ Anatomy of a Sore Throat

Slideshow _ Anatomy of a Sore Throat (Click on picture to access the Slideshow at WebMD)

Today’s Quotation: W. Somerset Maugham – The Unexplanable Infinite


A God that can be understood is no God. Who can explain the Infinite in words?

W. Somerset Maugham (1874-1965) Discuss

Today In History: Svetlana Savitskaya Becomes the First Woman to Perform a Spacewalk (1984)


Svetlana Savitskaya Becomes the First Woman to Perform a Spacewalk (1984)

Savitskaya is a former Soviet female aviator and cosmonaut who flew aboard Soyuz T-7 in 1982, becoming the second woman in space some 19 years after Valentina Tereshkova. She logged nearly 20 days in space during her career, including three and a half hours spent outside the Salyut 7 space station in 1984, when she became the first woman to perform a spacewalk. Before becoming a cosmonaut, she was a test and sport pilot and a parachutist. What world records did she set? More… Discuss

More Men Developing Eating Disorders


More Men Developing Eating Disorders

British National Health Service data show a 66 percent increase in hospital admissions for men with eating disorders over the past decade. The figures challenge the commonly held belief that eating disorders only affect women. It is estimated that up to 20 percent of Britain’s more than one million eating disorder sufferers are male. Unfortunately, many men are still reluctant to seek treatment, and this, coupled with the fact that doctors often do not recognize the signs of eating disorders in men, means that many go untreated. More… Discuss

Vending Machines


Vending Machines

First-century engineer and mathematician Hero of Alexandria is credited with inventing the world’s first vending machine, a coin-operated holy water dispenser. Modern vending machines were introduced in the 18th-century and were restricted chiefly to selling penny gum and candy. In 1926, the invention of a cigarette-vending machine started a trend toward selling higher-priced merchandise, and soft drink and nickel-candy machines soon followed. What unusual vending machines can be found today? More… Discuss

Lucian Freud – British painter of the human form – dies at 88, The Washington Post


Lucian Freud - British painter of the human form - dies at 88
Lucian FreudBritish painter of the human form – dies at 88             (click on picture to read the article at The Washington Post)

 

4 more dead from heat-related causes – Chicago Tribune


4 more dead from heat-related causes - Chicago Tribune

4 more dead from heat-related causes - Chicago Tribune

Tips for Preventing Heat-Related Illness

The best defense is prevention. Here are some prevention tips:

  • Photo of athlete drinking water.Drink more fluids (nonalcoholic), regardless of your activity level. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink. Warning: If your doctor generally limits the amount of fluid you drink or has you on water pills, ask him how much you should drink while the weather is hot.
     
  • Don’t drink liquids that contain alcohol or large amounts of sugar–these actually cause you to lose more body fluid. Also, avoid very cold drinks, because they can cause stomach cramps.
     
  • Stay indoors and, if at all possible, stay in an air-conditioned place. If your home does not have air conditioning, go to the shopping mall or public library–even a few hours spent in air conditioning can help your body stay cooler when you go back into the heat. Call your local health department to see if there are any heat-relief shelters in your area.
     
  • Electric fans may provide comfort, but when the temperature is in the high 90s, fans will not prevent heat-related illness. Taking a cool shower or bath, or moving to an air-conditioned place is a much better way to cool off.
     
  • Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.
     
  • NEVER leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle.
     
  • Although any one at any time can suffer from heat-related illness, some people are at greater risk than others. Check regularly on:
     

    • Infants and young children
    • People aged 65 or older
    • People who have a mental illness
    • Those who are physically ill, especially with heart disease or high blood pressure
       
  • Visit adults at risk at least twice a day and closely watch them for signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Infants and young children, of course, need much more frequent watching.

If you must be out in the heat:

  • Photo of woman relaxing in the shade.Limit your outdoor activity to morning and evening hours.
     
  • Cut down on exercise. If you must exercise, drink two to four glasses of cool, nonalcoholic fluids each hour.  A sports beverage can replace the salt and minerals you lose in sweat. Warning: If you are on a low-salt diet, talk with your doctor before drinking a sports beverage. Remember the warning in the first “tip” (above), too.
     
  • Try to rest often in shady areas.
     
  • Protect yourself from the sun by wearing a wide-brimmed hat (also keeps you cooler) and sunglasses and by putting on sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher (the most effective products say “broad spectrum” or “UVA/UVB protection” on their labels).

This information provided by NCEH’s Health Studies Branch.

(Source: http://www.bt.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/heattips.asp)

Quotation of the Day: Virginia Woolf


The man who is aware of himself is henceforward independent; and he is never bored, and life is only too short, and he is steeped through and through with a profound yet temperate happiness.

Virginia Woolf (1882-1941) Discuss

Gragonfly – My Photos


Dragonfly

Dragonfly© - My Photos

River’s End Cafe – My Oil Pictures


River's End Cafe_My Digital Oil Pictures

River's End Cafe©_My Digital Oil Pictures

Yerba Mate-Rosamonte – My Digital Oil Pictures


Yerba Mate-Rosamonte_My Digital Oil Paintings Series

Yerba Mate-Rosamonte©_My Digital Oil Paintings Series

At the Beach


At The Beach

At The Beach (My Digital Oil Picture)

Maple Leaf Rag: Scott Joplin


Publication of his “Maple Leaf Rag” in 1899 brought him fame and had a profound influence on subsequent writers of ragtime. It also brought the composer a steady income for life with royalties of one cent per sale, equivalent to 26 cents per sale in current value. During his lifetime, Joplin did not reach this level of success again and frequently had financial problems, which contributed to the loss of his first opera, A Guest of Honor. He continued to write ragtime compositions, and moved to New York in 1907. He attempted to go beyond the limitations of the musical form which made him famous, without much monetary success. His second opera, Treemonisha, was not received well at its partially staged performance in 1915. He died from complications of tertiary syphilis in 1917.

Joplin’s music was rediscovered and returned to popularity in the early 1970s with the release of a million-selling album of Joplin’s rags recorded by Joshua Rifkin, followed by the Academy Award–winning movie The Sting which featured several of his compositions, such as “The Entertainer“. The opera Treemonisha was finally produced in full to wide acclaim in 1972. In 1976, Joplin was posthumously awarded a Pulitzer Prize.
(Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scott_Joplin)

The Entertainer: Scott Joplin (Ragtime)


Scott Joplin (c. 1867 – April 1, 1917) was an American composer and pianist. He achieved fame for his unique ragtime compositions, and was dubbed the “King of Ragtime.” During his brief career, Joplin wrote 44 original ragtime pieces, one ragtime ballet, and two operas. One of his first pieces, the “Maple Leaf Rag“, became ragtime’s first and most influential hit, and has been recognized as the archetypal rag.

He was born into a musical African-American family of laborers in eastern Texas, and developed his musical knowledge with the help of local teachers. During the late 1880s he travelled around the American South as an itinerant musician, and went to Chicago for the World’s Fair of 1893 which played a major part in making ragtime a national craze by 1897.
(Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scott_Joplin)

Network: Where do you get your yerba mate?


One of my readers asked where can she reconnect with yerba mate, here in Southern California around the cities of Long Beach and Lakewood. The place I buy mine is:

Luis Meat Market _ Yerba Mate

Luis Meat Market _ Yerba Mate

Luis Meat Market
9071 Imperial Hwy, Downey, CA  90242 (at Rose Street)
Tel: (562) 622-1188
They have a new place:

Luis Meat Market Bellflower
10308 Artesia Blvd., Bellflower CA  90706
Tel: (562) 461-1111

They have large variety of products from Argentina, Paraqguai, Uruguai, and “mucho mas” (much more). My  brands are Tarragui, Cruz de Malta, Rasamonte, but there are at least 5 other brands to choose from: In the end they are all the same plant- Ilex paraguariensis (Synonyms:I. paraguensis, I. mate, I. domestica, I. sorbilis )
I enjoy the natural dried (not smoke dried), and “sin palo” (without twigs), but some are into “con palo” (with twigs) and smoke dried. Most important thing about this tea: Do not boil, do not add to boiling water, but rather let the water cool for a minute (160-180°F is best for preparing.)

Another thing is: You can buy tea bags, or loose (by the kilogram -2.2 lb), or both (that’s what I do, so I can make tea at work. I make a good quantity of tea green tea, and yerba mate tea, in my 12 cup coffeemaker (perfect temperature interval). The truth is: I drink green tea like water, and it helps control my blood sugar, cholesterol, and appetite.

But daily workout is crucial for a healthy life, at any age. In two generations we changed our traditional lifestyle so much, and what we eat, and how. Two generations back sugar was in many households a Sunday treat, while today it is added to every processed food, making it impossible to avoid.  Like many others I believe that food needs to be natural, instead of  processed.

I’ll leave you with a question: Where do you buy your yerba mate? 

Anne-Sophie Mutter / Il trillo del diavolo I -Tartini


Violin Concerto in A minor Opus 53 (III Giocoso Ma Non Troppo) by Antonin Dvorak- David Oistrach


Violin Concerto in A minor, Op. 53 (B.108) is a concerto for violin and orchestra composed by Antonín Dvořák in 1879. The concerto was premiered in 1883 by František Ondříček in Prague. He also gave the premieres in Vienna and London. Today it remains an important work in the violin repertoire.

The concerto’s structure is the classical three movements of fast-slow-fast.

  1. Allegro ma non troppo
  2. Adagio ma non troppo
  3. Finale: Allegro giocoso ma non troppo

Antonín Dvořák was inspired to write his concerto after having met Joseph Joachim in 1878 and composed the work with the intention of dedicating it him. However, when he finished the concerto in 1879, Joachim became skeptical about it. Joachim was a strict classicist and objected to Dvořák’s inter alia, or his abrupt truncation of the first movement’s orchestral tutti. Joachim also didn’t like the fact that the recapitulation was cut short and that it led directly to the slow second movement. It is also assumed that he was upset with the persistent repetition found in the third movement. However, Joachim never said anything outright and instead claimed to be editing the solo part. He never actually performed the piece.

(Sourse: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Violin_Concerto_(Dvo%C5%99%C3%A1k)

Judge Allows Closure of Vermont Yankee Nuclear Plant


Judge Allows Closure of Vermont Yankee Nuclear Plant

Judge Allows Closure of Vermont Yankee Nuclear Plant (when you click...you get more goodies at DemocracyNow)

Judge Allows Closure of Vermont Yankee Nuclear Plant

Earlier this week, a federal judge denied a request for an injunction from owners of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant to keep the facility online past its deadline to close down when its 40-year contract license expires next year.
(Read on at:  http://www.democracynow.org/2011/7/21/headlines#17)

Diabetes on the Rise via The Lancet


Diabetes onthe Rise _ At the Antipode of Starvation
Diabetes on the Rise _ At the Antipode of Starvation

(Click o the picture to read the story at “The Lancet”)

Daily Workout (one hour of brisk walking for example), preferably outdoors, will contribute to your wellness both physical and mental. If you can walk four miles in one hour, you are at a good pace. 

Quotation of the Day: About Human Nature and Personality


Every man is surrounded by a neighborhood of voluntary spies.

Jane Austen (1775-1817) Discuss

The above quote comes from the book entitled; Northanger Abbey–1817. An earlier version entitled Susan was written in 1803 but was not published. Miss Austen revised the work in 1816 and it was published as, Northanger Abbey, in 1817 after her death. The above quote comes from the book entitled; Northanger Abbey–1817. An earlier version entitled Susan was written in 1803 but was not published. Miss Austen revised the work in 1816 and it was published as, Northanger Abbey, in 1817 after her death. (Read the E-Book at http://www.gutenberg.org/files/121/121-h/121-h.htm)

Today’s Birthday: Paul Julius Freiherr von Reuter (1816)


Paul Julius Freiherr von Reuter (1816)

Reuter, founder of the Reuters news agency, was a pioneer of telegraphy and news reporting. In 1849, he started a post service to bridge the gap in a telegraph line between Germany and Belgium. He soon moved to England and opened a telegraph office serving banks, brokerages, and businesses. He steadily extended his commercial news service, acquiring his first subscribing newspaper client in 1858. Undersea cables enabled him to expand the service. What animal was used to deliver messages in 1849? More… Discuss

This Day In History: Neil Armstrong Becomes the First Man to Walk on the Moon (1969)


Neil Armstrong Becomes the First Man to Walk on the Moon (1969)

As commander of Apollo 11, Armstrong was the first person to set foot on the Moon. With hundreds of millions watching a broadcast of his history-making moonwalk, he uttered the now famous line, “That’s one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.” Buzz Aldrin followed, and the two astronauts proceeded to set up scientific equipment, conduct experiments, and collect samples from the lunar surface. What other spacecraft landed on the moon while Apollo 11 was still there? More… Discuss

UN Declares Famine in Somalia


UN Declares Famine in Somalia

Survival Rations for Somalia

Survival Rations for Somalia

The UN has declared a famine in two regions of southern Somalia and warns that the crisis could spread throughout the country over the next two months if international donors do not take immediate action. The area is suffering the worst drought in more than half a century, affecting an estimated 10 million people. Most major aid agencies employ the word famine only when at least 20 percent of the population has access to fewer than 2,100 kilocalories of food a day, more than 30 percent of children are suffering acute malnutrition, and two adults in 10,000 or four children in 10,000 are dying of hunger each day. More… Discuss

“Freedom Is Just Another Word For Nothing Left To loose” (Janis Joplin via Bob McGee)


francisco_de_goya_y_lucientes_-_los_fusilamientos_del_tres_de_mayo_-_1814

francisco_de_goya_y_lucientes_-_los_fusilamientos_del_tres_de_mayo_-_1814

Leonard Cohen – Sound of Silence (tribute to Paul Simon)



Lyrics by Gordon Jenkins/Nat Simon:

Hello darkness, my old friend,
I’ve come to talk with you again,
Because a vision softly creeping,
Left its seeds while I was sleeping,
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Still remains
Within the sound of silence.
In restless dreams I walked alone
Narrow streets of cobblestone,
Neath the halo of a street lamp,
I turned my collar to the cold and damp
When my eyes were stabbed by the flash of a neon light
That split the night
And touched the sound of silence.

And in the naked light I saw
Ten thousand people, maybe more.
People talking without speaking,
People hearing without listening,
People writing songs that voices never share
And no one dare
Disturb the sound of silence.

“Fools” said I, “You do not know
Silence like a cancer grows.
Hear my words that I might teach you,
Take my arms that I might reach to you.”
But my words like silent raindrops fell,
And echoed
In the wells of silence

And the people bowed and prayed
To the neon god they made.
And the sign flashed out its warning,
in the words that it was forming.
And the sign said, “The words of the prophets

are written on the subway walls
And tenement halls.”
And whisper’d in the sounds of silence.

Leonard Cohen – “Recitation (A Thousand Kisses Deep)” live in Philadelphia 5/12/09


The song A Thousand Kisses Deep on
Ten New Songs is based on this poem.

1. You came to me this morning
And you handled me like meat.
You´d have to live alone to know
How good that feels, how sweet.
My mirror twin, my next of kin,
I´d know you in my sleep.
And who but you would take me in
A thousand kisses deep?

2. I loved you when you opened
Like a lily to the heat.
I´m just another snowman
Standing in the rain and sleet,
Who loved you with his frozen love
His second-hand physique –
With all he is, and all he was
A thousand kisses deep.

3. All soaked in sex, and pressed against
The limits of the sea:
I saw there were no oceans left
For scavengers like me.
We made it to the forward deck
I blessed our remnant fleet –
And then consented to be wrecked
A thousand kisses deep.

4. I know you had to lie to me,
I know you had to cheat.
But the Means no longer guarantee
The Virtue in Deceit.
That truth is bent, that beauty spent,
That style is obsolete –
Ever since the Holy Spirit went
A thousand kisses deep.

5. (So what about this Inner Light
That´s boundless and unique?
I´m slouching through another night
A thousand kisses deep.)

6. I´m turning tricks; I´m getting fixed,
I´m back on Boogie Street.
I tried to quit the business –
Hey, I´m lazy and I´m weak.
But sometimes when the night is slow,
The wretched and the meek,
We gather up our hearts and go
A thousand kisses deep.

7. (And fragrant is the thought of you,
The file on you complete –
Except what we forgot to do
A thousand kisses deep.)

8. The ponies run, the girls are young,
The odds are there to beat.
You win a while, and then it´s done –
Your little winning streak.
And summoned now to deal
With your invincible defeat,
You live your life as if it´s real
A thousand kisses deep.

9. (I jammed with Diz and Dante
I did not have their sweep –
But once or twice, they let me play
A thousand kisses deep.)

10. And I´m still working with the wine,
Still dancing cheek to cheek.
The band is playing “Auld Lang Syne” –
The heart will not retreat.
And maybe I had miles to drive,
And promises to keep –
You ditch it all to stay alive
A thousand kisses deep.

11. And now you are the Angel Death
And now the Paraclete;
And now you are the Savior’s Breath
And now the Belsen heap.
No turning from the threat of love,
No transcendental leap –
As witnessed here in time and blood
A thousand kisses deep.
–//–

The song is about accepting things we can’t change, and accepting a path we didn’t exactly envision for ourselves. (same theme as the traitor).

“Can’t return the gifts you were mean’t to keep”
You can’t pick and choose events, and gifts, life has a large element of choice, but accept the things you are meant to have.

“Summoned now to deal… …invincible defeat”
Down on your luck? Its the way it goes, accept it and live through it.

“No oceans left…”
Being a scavenger is like a fantasy, but there are no oceans, that is not who he is. “Consent to be wrecked” Accept your fates you cannot control and move forward from there.

He believes there is a quiet courage in accepting the path that is laid ahead of you, as you gather up your heart and go a thousand kisses deep.

Little Boxes



Voici le générique d’ouverture de l’épisode 4 de la saison 2 de la série américaine Weeds. Ici, la chanson “Little Boxes” est interprétée en français.


Paroles :

Il y a des rouges, des violettes
Et des vertes très coquettes
Elles sont toutes faites en ticky-tacky
Et elles sont toutes toutes pareilles

Et ces gens-là dans leurs boîtes
Vont tous à l’université
On les met tous dans des boîtes
Petites boîtes toutes pareilles

Il y a des médecins, des dentistes
Des hommes d’affaires et des avocats
Ils sont tous tous faits de ticky-tacky
Et ils sont tous tous pareils


Translation from the French lyrics :

There are red ones, purple ones
And green ones very charming
They are all made out of ticky-tacky
And they are all the same

And those people in their boxes
All go to the university
We put them all in boxes
Little boxes all the same

There are doctors, dentists,
Businessmen and lawyers
They are all made out of ticky-tacky
And they are all the same

When The Man Comes Around: Johnny Cash



There’s a man going around taking names

And he decides who to free and who to blame

Everybody won’t be treated all the same

There’ll be a golden ladder reaching down

When the Man comes around

The hairs on your arm will stand up

At the terror in each sip and in each sup

Will you partake of that last offered cup?

Or disappear into the potter’s ground

When the Man comes around

Hear the trumpets, hear the pipers

One hundred million angels singing

Multitudes are marching to the big kettledrum

Voices calling, voices crying

Some are born and some are dying

It’s Alpha and Omega’s kingdom come

And the whirlwind is in the thorn tree

The virgins are all trimming their wicks

The whirlwind is in the thorn tree

It’s hard for thee to kick against the pricks

Till Armageddon no shalam, no shalom

Then the father hen will call his chickens home

The wise man will bow down before the thrown

And at His feet they’ll cast their golden crowns

When the Man comes around

Whoever is unjust let him be unjust still

Whoever is righteous let him be righteous still

Whoever is filthy let him be filthy still

Listen to the words long written down

When the Man comes around

Hear the trumpets, hear the pipers

One hundred million angels singing

Multitudes are marching to the big kettledrum

Voices calling and voices crying

Some are born and some are dying

It’s Alpha and Omega’s kingdom come

And the whirlwind is in the thorn tree

The virgins are all trimming their wicks

The whirlwind is in the thorn tree

It’s hard for thee to kick against the pricks

In measured hundred weight and penny pound

When the Man comes around.

From: http://www.musicbabylon.com

Supper Time: Johnny Cash (Many Years Ago Indays Of Childhood)



When I was just a boy in days of childhood,
I used to

When I was just a boy in days of childhood,
I used to play till evening shadows come.
Then winding down an old familiar pathway,
I heard my mother call at set of sun:

Come home, come home,
It’s supper time,
The shadows lengthen fast.
Come home, come home,
It’s supper time,
We’re going home at last.

One day beside her bedside I was kneeling,
And angel wings were winnowing the air.
She heard the call for supper time in heaven,
And I know she’s waiting for me there.

Come home, come home,
It’s supper time,
The shadows lengthen fast.
Come home, come home,
It’s supper time,
We’re going home at last.

(Spoken)
Some of the fondest memories of my childhood
Were woven around suppertime
When my mother used to call
From the back steps of the old home place
Come on home now son it’s suppertime.
Ahhhh, but I’d loved to hear that once more
But you know for me, time has woven the realization of
The truth that’s even more thrilling,
And that’s when the call comes from the portals of glory
To come home for it’s suppertime.
When all God‘s children shall gather around the table
of the Lord, Himself and the greatest suppertime of them all.

In visions now I see her standing yonder,
And her familiar voice I hear once more.
The banquet table’s ready up in heaven,
It’s supper time upon the golden shore.

Come home, come home,
It’s supper time,
The shadows lengthen fast.
Come home, come home,
It’s supper time,
We’re going home at last.

Lyrics and Music by Ira Stanphill  (c) 1950

Ira Forest Stanphill 1914 - 1993Ira Stanphill was a recognized as a musical prodigy by the age of 10.  By age 17, he was composing music, participating in revivals, crusades, and prayer meetings.  He graduated from junior college in Chillicothe, Missouri.  As a singing evangelist, he preached in over 40 countries.  He was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 1981.  His autobiography, This Side of Heaven was published in 1983.

play till evening shadows come.
Then winding down an old familiar pathway,
I heard my mother call at set of sun:

Come home, come home,
It’s supper time,
The shadows lengthen fast.
Come home, come home,
It’s supper time,
We’re going home at last.

One day beside her bedside I was kneeling,
And angel wings were winnowing the air.
She heard the call for supper time in heaven,
And I know she’s waiting for me there.

Come home, come home,
It’s supper time,
The shadows lengthen fast.
Come home, come home,
It’s supper time,
We’re going home at last.

(Spoken)
Some of the fondest memories of my childhood
Were woven around suppertime
When my mother used to call
From the back steps of the old home place
Come on home now son it’s suppertime.
Ahhhh, but I’d loved to hear that once more
But you know for me, time has woven the realization of
The truth that’s even more thrilling,
And that’s when the call comes from the portals of glory
To come home for it’s suppertime.
When all God’s children shall gather around the table
of the Lord, Himself and the greatest suppertime of them all.

In visions now I see her standing yonder,
And her familiar voice I hear once more.
The banquet table’s ready up in heaven,
It’s supper time upon the golden shore.

Come home, come home,
It’s supper time,
The shadows lengthen fast.
Come home, come home,
It’s supper time,
We’re going home at last.

Lyrics and Music by Ira Stanphill  (c) 1950

Ira Forest Stanphill 1914 - 1993Ira Stanphill was a recognized as a musical prodigy by the age of 10.  By age 17, he was composing music, participating in revivals, crusades, and prayer meetings.  He graduated from junior college in Chillicothe, Missouri.  As a singing evangelist, he preached in over 40 countries.  He was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 1981.  His autobiography, This Side of Heaven was published in 1983.
(Source: http://www.gbgm-umc.org/holcombumc/suppertime.htm)

Little Wing


Quotation of the Day: Oscar Wilde – Existance and Independent Thinking


A man who does not think for himself does not think at all.

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) Discuss

Today’s Birthday: Petrarch (1304)- “The Father of Humanism”


Petrarch (1304)

The “Father of Humanism,” Petrarch was the greatest scholar of his age. He traveled widely, visiting fellow scholars and searching out manuscripts, and wrote numerous lyrics, sonnets, and canzoni. His awareness of the classical past as a source of literary and philosophical meaning for the present left a lasting influence on European literature and paved the way for the Renaissance. Many of Petrarch’s poems are devoted to what woman, who awoke a lasting passion in him on Good Friday in 1327? More… Discuss