Friday, October 26, 2007

New Poem: Prophecy


What message is hidden in the bodies
of birds falling from the skies?

Can the unspeakable ever be voiced
by bodies shivering in cool moonlight?

We are the fallen, the forgotten, the ones
who seek meaning beneath mossy stones.

These are the days foretold, the moments
when choice is made flesh and bone.

My spine is a rosary, fingers playing
the vertebrae in prayer, in futile hope.

I would have chosen a quiet life,
but my heart reaches out to the silent cries.

Winter seeks its servants, those who cower
in dark corners, but who will seek the light?

Gratitude 10/26/07

Today I am grateful that someone is able to explain string theory in two minutes.

Columbia University physicist Brian Greene recently chose the winner of the String Theory in Two Minutes or Less user-generated video contest. Post recommended by Linz via Calvados.


I'm not sure string theory will explain the foundations of the universe, but it's one of the mind-stretching things that I enjoy trying to wrap my brain around.

Speedlinking 10/26/07

Quote of the day:

"When a man is wrapped up in himself, he makes a pretty small package."
~ John Ruskin

Image of the day:

~ The "Best" Exercises Can Revolutionize Your Program -- "One little-appreciated characteristic of a great exercise is it's ability to be continuously modified without changing it's fundamental essence. Using this criterion, "great exercises" are almost always closed-chain, free-weight, multi-articular movements."
~ How to Exercise When You Have a Lower Back Injury -- "Anyone who does strength training gets injured sooner or later. Bad technique, bad posture & ego are common causes of lower back injuries. These can make it hard to exercise. Here’s how to exercise when you have a lower back injury."
~ Exercise Helps Overweight Youngsters Learn (HealthDay) -- "Three months of daily, vigorous exercise can improve overweight kids' thinking, U.S. researchers report."
~ Boiled Nuts Help Protect Against Illness -- "For lovers of boiled peanuts, there's some good news from the health front. A new study by a group of Huntsville researchers found that boiled peanuts bring out up to four times more chemicals that help protect against disease than raw, dry or oil-roasted nuts."
~ With Pomegranates, Health is In Style This Season -- "From the fashion runway to the produce aisle, pomegranates are all the rage. The deep ruby color of pomegranates has been used to describe everything from lipstick shades to fabric colors."
~ Next Generation of Sports Doping -- "New drugs for muscle-wasting diseases could become next big thing for athletes." These drugs are the holy grail for athletes -- increased anabolism without hormone side effects.
~ Therapeutic Gene Expression Can Be Sustainable For 1 Year -- "Researchers at the Board of Governors Gene Therapeutics Research Institute at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center have shown for the first time that it is possible to sustain therapeutic gene expression in the central nervous system for up to a year, even in the presence of an anti-viral immune response mechanism that is normally present in humans."

~ Quantum Consciousness and the Penrose Fallacy [Uncertain Principles] -- "This sort of "quantum physics explains consciousness" stuff has a long history, and most of it is gibberish. In particular, there tends to be a good deal of circularity in most arguments invoking von Neumann. The "testable predictions" line is new, though, so I decided to download the paper and take a look."
~ 10 Tips for a Successful Meeting With The Boss -- "Maybe you work one-on-one with the head honcho every day or perhaps you only get a face-to-face on the very rare occasion. Whenever you get the chance to sit down and have a meeting with the big guns, it's best to make it as productive as possible."
~ Therapy: The Perfect Fit -- "Tips on choosing a therapist."
~ Therapy Watch: Should I See a He or a She? -- "Are you better served by a male or female therapist?"
~ 10 Benefits of Laughter, and How to Use It -- "For hundreds of years, it has been acknowledged that “Laughter is the best Medicine”. Breakthrough scientific research is shedding new light on the physiological beneficial effects of humor on health. Laughter can come in handy, whether it’s for dealing with an illness, the pressures of daily living, stress, coping at work even, laughter can dramatically change the quality and outlook of our lives."
~ Study Of Decision-Making In Psychiatric Patients -- "A researcher at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) School of Medicine suggests that psychiatrists may need to approach the treatment of psychiatric patients from a new direction -- by understanding that such individuals' behavior and decision-making are based on an attempt to reach an inner equilibrium."
~ The Quiet Mind Myth: Control Your Thoughts By Ciar Andyers -- "Suppression of thought will lead to an inner struggle and will surely lead to a frustrating meditation session. Conversely, observing thought is a much gentler practice - it is an allowing rather than a forcing. When you simply observe thought and allow it to pass, there is a natural settling of the mind. This is the key. The mind will settle like a body of water."

~ It Is Written -- "Such is the agenda of A. J. Jacobs' achingly funny memoir The Year of Living Biblically. Jacobs, the author of The Know-It All, begins by describing himself as a secular Jew. ("I'm Jewish in the same way the Olive Garden is an Italian restaurant. Which is to say: Not very.") In spite of his own detachment from religion, he is increasingly curious about the ways it influences 21st-century American life. Rather than standing on the sidelines or casting himself as an aloof pundit, he dives in head first and decides to spend a year living all the commandments of the Bible—that's right, all of them."
~ Why blame me? It was all my brain’s fault -- " The legal profession in America is taking an increasing interest in neuroscience. There is a flourishing academic discipline of “neurolaw” and neurolawyers are penetrating the legal system. Vanderbilt University recently opened a $27 million neuroimaging centre and hopes to enrol students in a programme in the law and neuroscience."
~ Cristina Pippa: Not Taking Girls for Granted -- "Teenage girls can be surprisingly empathetic, compassionate, and idealistic, in spite of the stereotype that they are unappreciative narcissists. Oftentimes, they simply need to be given the chance and the tools to effect positive change in the world around them. Women's foundations and girls' organizations across the country have started "Girls As Grantmakers" programs which provide exactly those opportunities."
~ Deepak Chopra: Science vs. Wisdom -- "For years Watson has been looked upon as a wise elder, and yet wisdom isn't the same as science. Sometimes an individual scientist may be wise, as Einstein was, but the tendency of science is to narrow one's vision. Great technicians pass for great scientists."
~ The Man Behind The Dilbert Desk: Scott Adams Will Now Take Your Questions -- "Although I’ve never been a regular reader of Dilbert — the silly newspapers I read most regularly, the Times and the Wall Street Journal, don’t have the good sense to run comics — I am a huge fan of Dilbert creator Scott Adams, thanks to his extraordinarily good blog."
~ Behind Burma's Discontent -- "Protesters have disappeared from the streets of Rangoon. But the hardship that sparked their demonstrations hasn't gone away."
~ Politics: The Culture War Descends on Columbia -- "David Horowitz's Islamofascism Awareness Week hits the already beleaguered campus."
~ Harry Potter and the Muggle Activists -- "Harry Potter: that best-selling fantasy series that some people assume is just entertaining reading material for kids and childish adults. And while Harry Potter is filled with a childlike magic, that magic plays out in a world whose "dark and difficult times" often mirror those of our society. The heroes that emerge from the struggles of this fantasy world can teach us something."

~ Eight of the World’s Most Unusual Plants -- "Weird is relative. What seems weird to me might not seem weird to you. In the plant kingdom, however, there are definitely some species that most people would acknowledge are highly unusual. In the wack spirit of Halloween, some of my findings follow."
~ 25 Unexpectedly Useful Websites for the Uncommonly Curious -- "This unique list contains links to many entertaining and/or useful websites. The sites are not listed in any particular order of importance, and this list is not intended to be an all-inclusive map of the Internet or a comprehensive source of information."
~ 5 Reasons Green Vehicles Could Take Off -- "Even as they fight tougher mileage requirements, automakers are turning out better cars."
~ Video shows buckyballs form by 'shrink wrapping' -- "The birth secret of buckyballs -- hollow spheres of carbon no wider than a strand of DNA -- has been caught on tape by researchers at Sandia National Laboratory and Rice University. An electron microscope video and computer simulations show that "shrink-wrapping" is the key; buckyballs start life as distorted, unstable sheets of graphite, shedding loosely connected threads and chains until only the perfectly spherical buckyballs remain."
~ Mystery Comet Explodes Into Brightness -- "A once-faint comet has made a sudden leap from obscurity to center stage. Comet 17P Holmes, now visible to northern hemisphere residents, increased its brightness by a factor of one million this week, going from magnitude 17 to 2. This makes it visible to the unaided eye as well as binoculars and telescopes, offering a unique viewing opportunity for sky watchers."
~ Much of U.S. Could See a Water Shortage -- "An epic drought in Georgia threatens the water supply for millions. Florida doesn't have nearly enough water for its expected population boom. The Great Lakes are shrinking. Upstate New York's reservoirs have dropped to record lows. And in the West, the Sierra Nevada snowpack is melting faster each year."
~ World's hottest chile pepper discovered -- "Researchers at New Mexico State University recently discovered the world`s hottest chile pepper." I gotta try this!

~ God is a Christian, and God is not a Christian -- "Unity is a high value for Christians, who are called to sacrifice in order to stand together as one in Christ. However, it is possible to pay too high a price for unity. At whatever cost, the Church cannot afford to lose the sacred space in which it is possible for the higher mind of Christ to take shape."
~ Giving thanks for inspiration: Gary Snyder -- "I came face to face with Gary Snyder, one of my icons, at a poetry reading Wednesday night at Columbia University. The Pulitzer Prize winner spoke about the influence of Japanese poetics on his work and read selections from his early and more recent poetry to illustrate this influence." An Aside: Gary Snyder is one of the nicest human beings I have ever met. I hosted him at a book signing in Seattle one time, and he seriously took an interest in talking to each person he met that night, and he talked with me in between signings about poetry and shamanism. One of the highlights of my life.
~ Village party for god-man: US-Born Cult Leader on Fiji Island Treated Like a God -- An Adi Da update -- "Church minister Reverend Bola Waqalevu, who is based on nearby Vanuabalavu, said he visited the island last weekend but was unable to speak to the cult leader, also referred to as Adi Da." Thanks to Jay for the tip.
~ Discussion of the Anatta Doctrine, the concept of No-Self -- "Here is an article on the topic of Anatta Doctrine, the concept of No-Self, which as many dharma teacher's explain, is often misunderstood by Westerners."
~ Self Liberate Even the Antidote -- "This slogan is the third of the points on the actual practice - the cultivation of Bodhicitta."
~ Biopic on Tibetan Buddhist is confounding, agonizing -- "Suffering is certainly inseparable from the experience of watching "Milarepa," an agonizingly slow, dramatically misconceived biopic on famed 11th-century Tibetan Buddhist figure Jetsun Milarepa." It's worth noting that this reviewer rarely gets it right -- he's a regular here in Tucson.

Daily Dharma: Letting Go of Distraction

Today's Daily Dharma from Tricycle:

Letting Go of Distraction

I always say that there's a kind of implicit mindfulness and wisdom in metta practice. The very process of letting go of a distraction implies in some way seeing its transparency, not freaking out over it, not being angry about it, not getting involved with it, not identifying with it. You may not consciously say to yourself, "Oh, look, this moment is changing," but you can't let go of the distraction unless you are actually seeing that. You would be trying to push it away from anger rather than actually letting go. So to do the metta practice, you actually bring forth that level of wisdom.

~ Sharon Salzberg, in Spirit Rock Meditation Center Newsletter, 1997; from Everyday Mind, edited by Jean Smith, a Tricycle book.

Berg Violin Concerto - Frederieke Saeijs

Some nice music for a Friday, courtesy of Conversational Reading.

Dutch violinist Frederieke Saeijs won 1st prize in the 2005 Long-Thibaud Competition! Here she performs Alban Berg's Violin Concerto at the prize winners gala concert in Paris Théâtre du Châtelet, October 2005, with the Orchestre National de France, conducted by Jonathan Darlington.

Part One:

Part Two:

Part Three:

I really wish these things could be posted as one video, like Google video allows. Having this broken into parts is distracting.

Close Up: A Dream Sequence

This is an interesting montage of images -- crated and elucidated by Jim Emerson.


"Halloween awakening"

Somebody spent a lot of time on this stop-motion video, but it's cool.


Thursday, October 25, 2007

Speedlinking 10/25/07

Quote of the day:

"When we remember we are all mad, the mysteries disappear and life stands explained."
~ Mark Twain

Image of the day:

~ The importance of a spotter -- "When you are in the gym and attempting to lift as heavy as possible, whether going after your one rep max’s or otherwise, it is important to have a spotter with you. A spotter is someone who is going to stand by while you do your lifting in case something happens and you are starting to falter on the lift." If I need a spot, I generally ask the strongest guy around, not necessarily the biggest.
~ The Essential 8 Mobility Drills -- "Finally, a warm-up routine that even people who hate warming up can handle! This short series of drills will not only make you feel better, but the increased mobility you'll gain will help you make unprecedented gains in the gym."
~ How to Lose 20lbs Fat in 30 Days -- "I found this on Timothy Ferris‘ blog: How to Lose 20lbs of Fat in 30 days. I was familiar with this method. I’ve been eating like this for years. However I didn’t know this diet had a name. The Slow Carb Diet." I don't think you'll lose 20 lbs of fat in that short a time, but this is a good fat loss diet -- it's essentially how I eat all the time.
~ Are you an apple or a pear? -- "Find out how to determine your shape and what it has to do with your health."
~ Tips To Get Fit After Forty: You Are Only Over The Hill If You Choose To Be -- "It is our lot in life to get older, and wither away until we hit the old nursing home... Right? WRONG! I will show you how you can maintain a healthy energy with the following tips - Life doesn't end at 40! Learn more."
~ MRSA: Experts Answer Your Questions -- "MRSA, the superbug that is resistant to many antibiotics, has been making headlines recently. This month, a CDC report said there were more deaths from MRSA in 2005 than from AIDS."
~ Healers share their favorite natural cures -- "In search of our era's consummate healers, we've screened the worlds of both natural and conventional medicine. Here, these modern masters share their personal strategies for maintaining good health, high energy, and mental clarity."
~ Not 'Junk DNA' After All: Tiny RNAs Play Big Role Controlling Genes -- "PiRNAs, a recently discovered class of tiny RNAs, play an important role in controlling gene function. Derived mostly from so-called "junk DNA," piRNAs had escaped the attention of generations of geneticists and molecular biologists until last year when Yale scientists discovered them in mammalian reproductive cells, and named them."

~ Brain's 'Reward Chemical' May Help Spur Obesity (HealthDay) -- "A new study provides more evidence that dopamine -- a brain chemical associated with reward, pleasure, movement and motivation -- plays a role in obesity."
~ Drug-craving region of brain identified -- "Chilean scientists have made a discovery in the brains of rats that they say may help treat drug addiction and ease the side effects of some medications."
~ A Third Of Americans Extremely Stressed, New Survey -- "A new national survey by the American Psychological Association (APA) suggests that one third of Americans are living with extreme stress while nearly half believe stress is damaging their health, their relationships, and work productivity, and that it has got worse in the last 5 years."
~ Philosophy and cognitive science archive launches -- "Two important new cognitive science resources have just been launched: Online Papers on Consciousness is a huge database of full-text papers and articles on consciousness and the philosophy of mind, and MindPapers is a much larger index that contains entries for both open and closed access work."
~ 16 Tips to Survive Brutal Criticism (and Ask for More) -- "Everyone encounters criticism, whether it is a boss pointing out falling performance, a bad review for your book, or even self-criticism after an embarrassing slip-up. Your ability to digest that criticism and make use of it says a lot about your character. Even better is to be the kind of person who can take a sharp, verbal critique, stand up and ask for more."
~ The Emotional Power of Smell -- "What sense of smell has to do with emotional disorders."
~ The 7 Habits of Highly Successful Fathers -- "A great father makes all the difference in a kid’s life. He’s a pillar of strength, support and discipline. His work is never-ending and, oftentimes, thankless. But in the end, it shows in the sound, well-grounded children he raises."
~ Wake Up to the Important Things in Life -- "I’m sure you have experienced a wake up call at some point in your life. Events such as a divorce, a new baby, a firing, a terrorist attack, or a near-death experience tend to hit us like a ton of bricks and are not easily forgotten."

~ Books: The Musical Mystique -- "The discourse supporting classical music so reeks of historical blindness and sanctimonious self-regard as to render the object of its ministrations practically indefensible. Belief in its indispensability, or in its cultural superiority, is by now unrecoverable, and those who mount such arguments on its behalf morally indict themselves. Which is not to say that classical music, or any music, is morally reprehensible. Only people, not music, can be that. What is reprehensible is to see its cause as right against some wrong. What is destroying the credibility of classical music is an unacknowledged or misperceived collision of rights. The only defense classical music needs, and the only one that has any hope of succeeding, is the defense of classical music (in the words of T.W. Adorno, a premier offender) against its devotees."
~ Somewhere Deep Down, We Still Care. Don't We? -- "I've been in the news business for a long time. I remember as a young editor being deeply affected by certain stories I'd see, often involving abject human misery and cruelty, only to hear the older guys on the desk cracking tasteless jokes and laughing about those same stories. I put this down to the "cop mentality" that a lot of reporters and editors develop. Constant exposure to the seamy underbelly of human existence, which pervades certain aspects of our business, forces you grow a thick skin. Some of it is bravado, for sure, but not all of it."
~ Boo! One in three people believe in ghosts -- "It was bad enough when the TV and lights inexplicably flicked on at night, Misty Conrad says. When her daughter began talking to an unseen girl named Nicole and neighbors said children had been murdered in the house, it was time to move." No comment.
~ Q&A: John Updike on Reviewing -- "Twenty-four years ago John Updike won the National Book Critics Circle Award for criticism for "Hugging the Shore." This week as "Due Considerations," his sixth volume of assorted criticism, landed in stores, I caught up with him by phone to talk about poetry, learning on the job, his next novel, and his attempts to learn a foreign language."
~ Politics: The Kids Aren't Alright -- "President Bush's neglect of government-sponsored childcare programs has a steep price. Children are paying."
~ Bruce Sprinsteen -The MAGIC is back -- "Springsteen's first album with the E Street Band since 2002 is filled with the epic guitars-and-sax and pounding drums that exemplify their classic style. While Magic doesn't pull any punches, its rage is manifested in half a dozen songs that address obliquely – in metaphors rather than with acid rhetoric – the fallout of George W. Bush's presidency, the occupation of Iraq, the devaluation of heroism and national pride, and a future so bleak it's actually painful to hear."
~ House OKs health bill under veto threat (AP) -- "The House passed a revised children's health proposal Thursday, but not by the two-thirds margin that supporters will need if President Bush vetoes the measure as promised."

~ Gene Alters Sex Orientation in Worms -- "Once the gene switch was made, the female worms were attracted to other females."
~ Deep Inside Planet Earth, Interplay Of Temperature, Pressure, Chemistry -- "Seismologists in recent years have recast their understanding of the inner workings of Earth from a relatively benign homogeneous environment to one that is highly dynamic and chemically diverse. This new view of Earth's inner workings depicts the planet as a living organism where events that happen deep inside can affect what happens at its surface, like the rub and slip of tectonic plates and the rumble of the occasional volcano."
~ Biodiversity Of Southernmost Forests And Tundra Ecosystems -- "Taxonomists, ecologists and philosophers explored the world's southernmost forest and tundra ecosystems to estimate the diversity of the dominant vegetation, namely tiny bryophytes and lichens. Much of today's conservation strategies focus on "charismatic mega fauna" such as pandas, tigers, and whales; or on vascular plants such as giant redwoods and orchids."
~ New Population Of Iberian Lynx Raises Hope For Species' Survival -- "Spanish authorities have announced they have discovered a previously unknown population of Iberian lynx, triggering hope for one of the world's most endangered cat species. At present, the exact numbers and location of the newly discovered population are being kept confidential, but the population is thought to be made up of both adults and cubs."
~ Possible Cosmic Defect, Remnant From Big Bang, Discovered -- "An unusual cold spot in the oldest radiation in the universe, the cosmic microwave background, may be caused by a cosmic defect created just after the Big Bang. If confirmed, this discovery will provide dramatic new insight into how the universe evolved following the Big Bang. The existence of cosmic defects, called textures was proposed over a decade ago."
~ Nokia Launches Free Indie Music Download Site -- "Nokia has just launched the Independent Artists Club (IAC), a Web site ( where anyone can go to listen to and download free songs submitted by independent musicians."
~ Microsoft paying Facebook premium to thwart Google: analysts -- "Microsoft is paying a premium to keep Facebook from the clutches of rival Google in a deal that puts an inflated 15 billion dollar price tag on the red-hot startup, analysts said Thursday."

~ More on God not not-existing -- "Continued from yesterday’s post. So here’s my understanding of how the non dogmatic, philosophical, and reasoned argument for God not not existing works (as presented by Mortimer Adler here). It requires two terms, two concepts, and four propositions. If one understands the terms, understands the concepts, and finds no reason to find error with the four propositions, then one is compelled to acknowledge the God (about which we know next to nothing) cannot not exist. And therefore exists."
~ Necessarily Contigent -- "Adler goes through two classic arguments–one from logic and one from the effects of nature (plus some metaphysics)–attempting to prove the existence of a God. Or rather a Supreme Being."
~ Our Teachers -- "Below, we have included excerpts from some of the responses to the question we posed on these pages last week. Feel free to use this post to add any new responses to the meme."
~ Magical Awareness: Remembering Details Both Big and Little -- "A Pagan teacher of mine once caught us students off guard by asking, “How many stairs did you climb to get to the door of my house?” Of course, no one could give an accurate count. I don’t think that he even knew - he just wanted to make the point that we didn’t!"
~ Open Letter To Rational Pundits -- "Note: Some time ago, I wrote an open letter to Rational Pundits. Admittedly, it was harsh. Inflammatory. I came across a copy of it on the net, and it gave me the willies. I don't stand behind the tone of that previous letter. I wanted to take the opportunity to revisit that letter, and frame it in a tone that is much more in line with my heart, and my wish to participate in a useful way in this discussion. We're all on the same team, after all. So, below is my re-written version of what I wanted to say, and if you do circulate this blog, please reference this version, not the earlier one."
~ Uneasy Days for Monks in Myanmar -- "After scattered demonstrations erupted against sharp increases in fuel prices in August, thousands of monks protested the junta’s economic mismanagement and political repression. The military responded with batons and bullets. The guns have prevailed over mantras, at least for now."
~ Integral Embrace: A Plea for Solidarity -- "In a recent letter to the readers of the Integral World website, author and Now & Zen founder Steve McIntosh sounded the call for solidarity among the diverse community of people interested in the Integral Movement. Steve suggests attempting 'to build cohesion within the integral movement and to exhibit a sense of ownership and commitment to this emerging new worldview.'"

Daily Om: Keeping The Sun Inside

Today's Daily Om isn't an issue here in the desert -- we get year-round sun -- but many of the rest of you probably have to deal with cold, dark winters.

Power, Beauty, And Warmth
Keeping The Sun Inside

Anyone who has endured a long, dark winter can attest to the power the sun has to both invigorate and relax body, mind, and soul. It can be daunting to begin the months of fall and winter, knowing that we may not see as much of the beautiful sun for quite some time. But it is important to remember that even during the darker days of fall and winter, the sun is still there shining, as beautiful as ever. Just because it is hidden behind clouds or setting early in our part of the world, does not mean that we cannot access its power, beauty, and warmth.

One way to do this is to find a warm spot in our house where we can sit or lie down in peace. Closing our eyes, we allow our breath to come and go easily, progressively lengthening each inhale and exhale until we feel very relaxed, peaceful, and warm. We imagine that it is a very warm summer day and that the sun is shining on us, allowing it to warm our body. In particular, we may feel as if a small sun has taken up residence in the area of our solar plexus or our heart. We do not need to think about which one too much and can simply trust our body to let us know where it is. Spend some time just experiencing this sensation, allowing the heat to radiate from inside your body.

If you live in a part of the world that loses a lot of light in the winter, you might want to do this exercise each night before retiring. You could also do it at the beginning of each day, giving yourself a chance to plug into that great source of energy. Keeping the sun inside of you when you are missing it on the outside is a way to say hello to the sun and let it warm your soul.

Cool Ads

Creative Ads, Issue 8 -- From Dark Roasted Blend.

Pure commercialism aside, there are some visual and conceptual masterpieces out there; this next installment in our highly popular series covers print, urban, and viral advertisements, chosen for originality and lasting impression.

I don't know what that last one is selling, but it's a cool picture. You can see many more images at their site.

George Carlin on Countdown with Keith Olbermann

George Carlin on Countdown with Keith Olbermann.

Not Quite Wise Words

From Turtle Zen:
Funny Words of Wisdom
  1. If you're too open minded, your brains will fall out.

  2. Age is a very high price to pay for maturity.

  3. Going to church doesn't make you a Christian any more than going to a garage makes you a mechanic.

  4. Artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity.

  5. If you must choose between two evils, pick the one you've never tried before.

  6. My idea of housework is to sweep the room with a glance.

  7. Not one shred of evidence supports the notion that life is serious.

  8. It is easier to get forgiveness than permission.

  9. For every action, there is an equal and opposite government program.

  10. If you look like your passport picture, you probably need the trip.

  11. Bills travel through the mail at twice the speed of checks.

  12. A conscience is what hurts when all your other parts feel so good.

  13. No husband has ever been shot while doing the dishes.

  14. A balanced diet is a cookie in each hand.

  15. Middle age is when broadness of the mind and narrowness of the waist change places.

  16. Opportunities always look bigger going than coming.

  17. Junk is something you've kept for years and throw away three weeks before you need it.

  18. There is always one more imbecile than you counted on.

  19. Experience is a wonderful thing. It enables you to recognize a mistake when you make it again.

  20. By the time you can make ends meet, they move the ends.

  21. Someone who thinks logically provides a nice contrast to the real world.

  22. Blessed are they who can laugh at themselves for they shall never cease to be amused.

  23. When you eat a candy bar or have a wonderful dessert, have a diet drink. The calories are cancelled out by the diet drink.

  24. I love deadlines...especially the 'whooshing' sound they make as they fly by.

  25. When the only tool you own is a hammer, every problem begins to look like a nail.

  26. What was the greatest thing before sliced bread?

  27. A flashlight is a case for holding dead batteries.

  28. The cost of living hasn't affected its popularity.

  29. How can there be self-help "groups"?

  30. Is there another word for 'synonym'?

  31. The speed of time is one-second per second.

  32. Is it possible to be totally partial?

  33. What is another word for 'thesaurus'?

  34. If swimming is so good for your figure, how do you explain whales?

  35. It's not an optical illusion. It just looks like one.

  36. Is it my imagination, or do buffalo wings taste like chicken?

Humor: Terry Francona Announces Josh Beckett Will Start Games 1, 4, 7, 2, 6, 3, 5

From The Onion Sports:

October 25, 2007

Terry Francona Announces Josh Beckett Will Start Games 1, 4, 7, 2, 6, 3, 5

BOSTON—Boston Red Sox manager Terry Francona announced Tuesday that the Colorado Rockies would receive a healthy dose of pitcher Josh Becket during the 2007 World Series, saying that the ALCS MVP would start games one, four, seven, two, six, three, and five, in that order. "I don't think this should come as a real shock to anyone," Francona told reporters, adding that with this schedule, Beckett should get "more than enough rest" between games one and four, which would allow him to be at maximum strength for games seven, two, and, if necessary, six, three, and the crucial fifth game. "Looking at the pitchers I have at my disposal, this gives us the best chance to win." According to Francona, Beckett should also be ready to pitch in late-inning relief of himself in games four and six, close games seven and three, and pitch on three hours rest if needed.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Gratitude 10/24/07

Today I ma grateful that this silly little personality test confirms what I already know I want to do with my life, although I'm not sure I want to grow up.

You Should Be a Doctor

You are practical, sharp, and very intuitive.
Optimistic and energetic, you are a problem solver who doesn't get discouraged easily.
You are also quite compassionate and caring. You make people feel hopeful.
You're highly adaptable and capable. You do well with almost any curve ball life throws at you.

You do best when you:

- Are always learning new subjects
- Use your knowledge to solve problems

You would also be a good therapist or detective.

I certainly don't want to be a detective, but I have decided that I do want to be a therapist. It's kind of weird that this little test named that option.

What are you grateful for today?

Speedlinking 10/24/07

Quote of the day:

"A university is what a college becomes when the faculty loses interest in students."
~ John Ciardi

Image of the day:

~ 3 Ideas For Tougher Workouts -- "The boneheads in your gym only know one way to make an exercise tougher — add more weight. That's why boneheads never build more muscle, no matter how long they work out. Our resident Scotsman knows some remedies."
~ Restaurant Meals Can Be Healthful -- "Everyone can enjoy an occasional meal in a restaurant without worrying about the consequences. But if you have to eat in restaurants several times a week, you need to devise ways to make healthful choices and avoid the temptation to over-eat. If you are trying to control weight, diabetes, cholesterol or high blood pressure, you must find ways to meet your special requirements."
~ Mate Tea Lowers Cholesterol -- "When a study in her lab showed that mate (mah' ta) tea drinkers had experienced a significant increase in the activity of an enzyme that promotes HDL (good) cholesterol while lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol, University of Illinois scientist Elvira de Mejia headed for Argentina where mate tea has been grown and taken medicinally for centuries."
~ NYC Tries Again for Calories on Menus -- "New York City takes a second stab at getting calorie counts on fast food menus." I wish this were true nation-wide -- knowing what we are eating is more than half the battle for health.
~ Obesity Can Hurt Kids' Hearts (HealthDay) -- "Obese children and those at risk for obesity show early signs of heart disease -- similar to that seen in obese adults, U.S. researchers say."
~ Vibration platform may help tone abs -- "A Maine researcher says standing on a vibrating platform for 15 minutes a day could help people achieve washboard abs." Call me skeptical.
~ Not all fats are created equal -- "Your body needs fat to provide energy and help you absorb fat-soluble vitamins. Certain fats such as omega-3 and omega-6 fats are essential for good nutrition and must be consumed as part of a healthy diet. It is important to choose fats wisely because some fats are healthier for you than others."

~ A 'fit' of panic is good when bad things happen -- "The military has given the English language two words that brilliantly articulate different types of crises: The first is snafu, an acronym for "situation normal, all f***ed up." The second is fubar, which stands for "f***ed up beyond all recognition." As we travel the bumpy road of life, we must prepare to deal with both."
~ Memory Decline Begins Later But Progresses More Quickly In The More Educated -- "A new US study suggests that people with more years of formal education experience the onset of memory decline associated with dementia later, but once it starts it declines more rapidly, compared to people with fewer years of education."
~ The Game of Jerk and Sucker (Freeway Version) -- "Almost no one who is a jerk thinks he's a jerk. So how do you know if you are one? The ordinary devices of introspection won't do the trick. You need to look, without blinkers, at your behavior. To do so, you need a situation where the line between jerk and not-jerk is clear and there are many others in essentially the same situation against whom to compare yourself."
~ The New "Third Base" and We're Not Talking Baseball... -- "As a therapist who has worked with adolescents, parents and families for 17 years, I was especially interested to read Logan Levkoff's new book on teen sexuality, Third Base Ain't What it Used to Be: What Your Kids Are Learning About Sex Today-and How to Teach Them to Become Sexually Healthy Adults. It's been my experience that most parents would rather hear their teen had a psychiatric or substance abuse diagnosis than deal with a sexual issue!"
~ How To Find Harmony In Conflict -- "Jon Symons recently moved into a new condo to find him and his wife living underneath noisy neighbors. Noisy at 1am neighbors. The story he writes is about his realization that this would be a regular conflict between his quiet, sleeping abode and the [relatively] party-centric unit above."
~ Aristotle vs. Aristippus: Were they both right? -- "The definition of happiness and the good life was much debated among early philosophers. Two schools of thought emerged: Aristippus’ solution was hedonism, or the pursuit of sensual pleasure and avoidance of pain. Aristotle, meanwhile, thought the ultimate aim was eudaimonia, or self-actualization."
~ Sustaining Motivation Over the Long Haul -- "If you’re anything like me then you experience motivation in waves. One day you’ll feel unstoppable and eager to work, as if success is a certainty. A few days later your confidence will drop and you’ll start to drag your feet and feel discouraged, hopeless, or worse — indifferent."
~ Brain Waves That Distinguish False Memories From Real Ones Pinpointed -- "For the first time, researchers are able to pinpoint brain waves that distinguish true from false memories, providing a better understanding of how memory works and creating a new strategy to help epilepsy patients retain cognitive function."

~ Complaint puts Texas teacher on leave -- "Kaleb Tierce, 25, is being investigated for allegedly distributing harmful material to a minor after the student selected Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Cormac McCarthy's "Child of God" off the list and read it."
~ MediaCulture: Interfaith Group Blasts Horowitz' Islamophobia Promotion Week -- "The authoritarian mindset promoted by Horowitz and his gang of touring bigots is the real fascistic threat facing America today."
~ General Says Bush Personally Ordered Torture Tactics -- "The U.S. uses tyrannical methods including terrorizing prisoners with dogs, holding them in freezing cold cells and depriving them of human contact for months."
~ How the Colorado Rockies' fielding wizardry will change baseball forever -- "This year's Colorado Rockies are perhaps the greatest defensive team in baseball history. It's even possible that their defensive prowess will change the way the game is played and the way teams are constructed."
~ Judas Wasn't Even a Gnostic Hero -- "Biblical scholar says the translation of the Gospel of Judas was flawed."
~ Damage Control: Gay Minister To Open Obama's Gospel Tour -- "The Obama campaign just told gay activists a gay minister will open each gospel session this weekend. This to defuse brewing uproar among gay supports for having gospel tour with gay basher."
~ No Joke: Colbert '08 Could Be Illegal -- "Doritos sponsors show but cannot support candidate under campaign law."
~ Fox News Speculates: al Qaeda Behind California Fires? -- "Be scared, America! Al Qaeda is everywhere, and they know how to commit arson! They might have—maybe, possibly, this is...."

~ White House Alters CDC Climate Testimony -- "The White House significantly edited testimony prepared for a Senate hearing on the impact of climate change on health, deleting key portions citing diseases that could flourish in a warmer climate, documents obtained by The Associated Press showed Wednesday...."
~ The Future Is Drying Up -- "The West is the fastest-growing part of the country. It’s also the driest. And climate change could be making matters much, much worse."
~ Physicist Create Most Intense Operating Positron Beam Ever -- "There were high-fives all around NC State University's PULSTAR nuclear reactor earlier this month, as students, staff and faculty celebrated a new scientific benchmark -- they had just produced the most intense operating positron (antimatter electron) beam anywhere in the world."
~ Fossil Record Supports Evidence Of Impending Mass Extinction -- "Global temperatures predicted for the coming centuries may trigger a new 'mass extinction event' where over 50 percent of animal and plant species would be wiped out, warn scientists. Scientists have discovered a close association between Earth climate and extinctions in a study that has examined the relationship over the past 520 million years -- almost the entire fossil record available."
~ Dwarf galaxies need dark matter too -- "Stars in dwarf spheroidal galaxies behave in a way that suggests the galaxies are utterly dominated by dark matter, University of Michigan astronomers have found."
~ Study of Lions and Wildebeest Finds Being Social Stabilizes Ecosystems -- "Breaking with 80 years of ecological theory, scientists at the University of Minnesota and the Universities of Guelph and British Columbia have found that the best way to spot a sustainable relationship between social predators and prey is to count not the animals, but the groups they form."
~ Municipal Wi-Fi Spending Estimates Down -- "A leading industry analyst on municipal wireless projects is revising its 2007 spending estimates as cities find their projects costing more and drawing less interest from residential customers than expected."

~ Associated with the Associated Press + Ohio Gig List -- "It's always the same article with different titles, sometimes edited or expanded a bit. It's nice. The quote about "letting your mind shut off" doesn't sound like me to me. But who knows what the heck I say sometimes."
~ To learn and actualize the teachings of just a single Buddha -- "My knowledge, in an academic sense, is still pretty limited if one wants to talk about in depth Buddhist philosophy, history, etc. I suspect the same is true for most Western-born "convert" Buddhists, even though what they have studied and learned can seem quite impressive. This is not necessarily a problem, however, as the central premise of Buddhism is repeated in different ways over and over in the various sutras, discourses on sutras, vows, etc, so that any serious inquiry into the teachings of the historical Buddha will have likely yielded more than enough information for someone to begin practicing the Dharma in the tradition that is bested suited to their path."
~ J.K. Rowling’s pathetic and disingenuous attempt to retroactively introduce a gay character in Harry Potter -- "I can’t believe I’m blogging about this now-lingering Harry Potter story, but I suppose anything is possible in an infinite Universe. I’m motivated to write about this because I’m pissed off at what J.K. Rowling has done and how the news of a gay character has been received in some quarters."
~ Many Monks -- "Turned out the monks had just been evacuated from the Metta Forest Monastery in Valley Center, just north of San Diego, and were all headed to Laguna Beach in search of shelter from the firestorm. Our cottage, of course, stands empty until Friday, when we plan to return to the beach for the weekend, so we offered it in case of need."
~ Humor is the new sincerity (my new pet theory about the future) -- "This is something that I started thinking about a few years ago when The Daily Show was making waves because some poll found that The Daily Show was the source from which a significant number of people got their news. My theory for why people choose to get their news from a comedy show instead of a “serious” news show is that today’s news is so utterly devastating, depressing, and defeating that it’s painful to watch, unless it is presented in a lighthearted and humorous fashion."
~ Responses to my essay -- "I've been getting very positive feedback in response to my essay. I've also been interested in criticism (which I always value highly), and Joe Perez has written a passionate rebuttal, to which I wrote a counter-reply. It's all on Frank Visser's Integral World site now for anyone who wants to follow the whole thing."