Saturday, January 29, 2011

The discrete charms of icicles....

After a few days' reprieve with temperature highs in the springlike twenties (Farenheit, natch), the thermometer is diving back to teens and single digits for the next few days. And it snows nearly every day. My clunky Bean boots do not make for good striding walks, so I'm deprived of aerobic exercise and, as a result, am deathly pale. I certainly can't complain about the view, (like they say in Joisy, "If that's watcha like..") but have decided that cold, raw, grey winters, not unlike the ones I used to experience in Jersey, are for mooses. Let's face it, the snow is only white and fluffy til the plows arrive, then the slush, brown mess everywhere, can't see out the car windows. Depressing.

I mean, you can't just sit around watching Eddie Murphy movies on the comedy Channel to keep your spirits up! One simply longs for a broad splash of vibrant color, magenta walls! some genuine body warmth (I spent an hour planted before a sunny window yesterday, the first sun in days), and a bit of Latin chacha in the air. Something to make you wanna get up and dance! Verdad?

In the meantime, there are things of which I have taken note. (At the moment I'm willfully ignoring the news after last week's nonsense – unless that wall-eyed Michele Bachman decides it's been too long since she last made a fool of herself, that's just too good – in the interest of getting ready to write again.)

Life tends to carry on whether I'm paying attention or not. To wit:

Cuba is going through huge changes . What might Che say about them? And hey! When will our own government allow us to go there? Personal bankrupties hit a five year high in the US last year. Pourquoi? Anything to do with healthcare costs? We spend more than is admitted on defense and war (despite Secretary Gates' noble efforts to cut back on nonsense materiel); and there's what John le Carre sez is his last TV interview. He wrote his first novel in six weeks. I wanted to hang it up after hearing that. He used to be MI-6. Who knew?

So you ever wonder what it takes to have a successful marriage/relationship ? Well, apparently the key is "sustainability". Just like with global survival of the species. Beyond that, within such unions, what might render the two 'parties' involved not only more empathetic toward each other, but toward the human race in general? Why, that's easy! Meditation, of course! And why might that be? Well, this will tell you what happens to brains when they meditate regularly. The news is so marvelous that I plan on starting right away. If you do the same, we're all likely to get along better.

If you can manage to make time for daily meditation (a challenge, to be sure, since the very fact that we've known this forever and haven't "managed" to find the time is a sure sign that we need to!), the Yoga Rebel girl, Tara Stiles, has 184 YouTube videos chock full of doable moves to help you get and stay fit that are easy to work into your day, no matter how tight your schedule or your pants – from airplane yoga to weight loss routines, and here, beginners too, sans the religious dogma. Just good-for-your-bod-and-spirit stuff. I like her, even though she, in her girlish – dare I say 'mindless'? – ignorance insists on calling me a 'guy' and has that teenybopper/ Valley Girl thing going (errgghh). She means well and her workouts are good ones. They build strength and don't pretend to any spiritual guristic nonsense. Check her out. I'm picking one 8 minute routine and working at it every day til i can do it without falling over or hurting myself in any kind of humiliating permanently damaging way.

Moving on...

No time to read the news every day? Ignore the TV. Just go to this great condensed resource I've added to my Bookmarks Bar. Those who wish to keep up with all the political shenanigans that affect you : RealityChex is all you need to be truly in the know all the time, with links to full stories. This Constant Reader covers the all the important news, and much that gets swept under the rug in other media. And the last fews days' news is right there as well, for reference, – a nice counterweight to the wave of political amnesia sweeping the country.

And speaking of news: whatever happened to the, deservedly so, Grand Dame of Journalism Helen Thomas after she was ostracized for telling it like it is? Here's the shameful story on that, and shame on those who perpetrated her demise. Why does it take Aljazeera to tell us this? Hmmm, cuz our own print journalism moguls are to blame? I hope Helen is sitting right there at the Pearly Gates when those SOBs arrive and try to get in, staring them down with her gimlet eye when St. Peter turns to ask her opinion.

Sometimes the old broads are the ones who really know what's what! (I plan on being one of them soon.) Two women in their eighties, Margaret in Texas and Helen in Maine, are blogging about national news and politics, with the cajones to tell it like it is! Delightful is the only word for these frank, witty gals. "Sarah Palin is a bitch." Works for me, but it's their comments about Rick Perry, Governor of Texas, and his plan to shove more government regulation up all our vaginas that is journalistic brilliance at its best. Why don't the Dems hire these gals as speechwriters?

And speaking of good journalism, Chris Hedges gives us some insight into the current thinking of one of my personal heros, Ralph Nader, in a recent interview he conducted at Ralph's home in Connecticut. This is a truly insightful piece (no surprise to me, as Ralph has always been one to cut to the chase on any issue.) Read his take on what's left of the american Left, the cowardly Democratic party and the equally cowardly American voter: "a cowardice that has further empowered the lunatic fringe of the Republican Party".


“The left has nowhere to go,” Nader said. “Obama knows it. The corporate Democrats know it. There will be criticism by the left of Obama this year and then next year they will all close ranks and say ‘Do you want Mitt Romney? Do you want Sarah Palin? Do you want Newt Gingrich?’ It’s very predictable. .. But because they do not make any demands, they are complicit with corporate power. ... By having this nowhere-to-go mentality and without insisting on demands as the price of your vote, or energy to get out the vote, they have reduced themselves to a cipher. They vote. The vote totals up. But it means nothing.”

God love ya, Ralph.

Here's an insightful bit from a recent commenter on the NY Times. Nails it.

"To call the Republican members of the House “Representatives” is false advertising. The polls show that when it comes down to it there is only a superficial connection between the evangelical conservatism that Republicans preach and the actual sense that most Americans have about what is truly important. Dangle enough shiny objects in front of ordinary folks and you’ll get their attention for a minute or two, but when people start to realize they may actually have to live in the world that Republicans want to build (or rather destroy), they have second thoughts.

Republicans are not working for the people. They’re working for corporate and financial interests that view the citizenry as cattle, best tied to a post and periodically milked until they’re dry. Of course they want to dismantle regulations on everything. Safe products are expensive products, which reduce profits. Of course they’re anti-science and pro-religion. Science costs money, requires an educated public, and makes it harder to get away with belching carbon at will into the atmosphere. Religion is free, and all the consequences don’t manifest until the voters meet their eternal reward. Let ‘em complain then.

Speechifying by Republicans is mysteriously void of facts, and constantly portending doom over things that never actually happen. It seems strange unless you realize what their true motives are, and then it makes perfect sense. Their mission is to mislead the public and foment discontent, finding ways to relate everyone’s general unhappiness and free floating anxiety to debt ceilings and the liberal elite. The disconnect between what the G.O.P says and what it does is the elephant in the room, and while you can’t always see it, you can smell it a mile away."

One final thing, and this guy is way cool:

A medical man/philosopher name of Iain McGilchrist has written a book (The Master and his Emissary) that calls into question traditional notions about exactly how the two sides of our brains actually function. He postulates that the right brain, having been dominant for much of human history, has given way to left brain (self involved and self referential) dominance in the west, and that this is most definitely NOT a good thing for the future of humankind. Go to the link above and read the description and PDF introduction. It's fascinating. Dr. McGilchrist is a true visionary.

But if you're not in the mood for any such heady stuff, if you just need a good laugh, here the politically incorrect video that's getting harder to find: a visit from Pearl, the old Pearl the Landlady/ Will Ferrell skit that never fails to entertain. Soooo politically incorrect.... and delish.

ciao for now from the snowy north

[HI! Meg!! thanks for tuning in!]

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