Sunday, June 22, 2014

Reading List

Reading is an activity that always falls by the wayside in a busy schedule. Call it research and make it part of your work day.



Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Green Door Magazine


I write regularly for Green Door Magazine, which was first published by husband and wife team Ellie & Akira Ohiso in 2011 and has been on a steady incline ever since. The magazine is a journal for "responsible living" in the Catskills and the Hudson Valley and caters largely  to "hickster" living: the growing body of New York City transplants who move to the country for a more wholesome life. Read their blog here. The summer issue asks the tongue-in-cheek question: are you a hickster? Well, I definitely am. Proud to be writing for a magazine that always has its finger on the pulse

If you want to know what a hickster is, you can buy the print version in New York City and upstate. You can also support the craft of journalism by buying the online version! 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Canine Canon

 
 
I'm not under even the slightest illusion that the furry creature I took from the shelter on the last day of January in 2014 as a puppy is "mine". I merely feed him and, in return, he barks at strangers and sees off mice, pigeons, chipmunks and squirrels.  He began his position as Head of Security of February 1st 2014 and took it seriously from the very beginning. I'm in cyber-terrorism and identity theft (changing passwords often and shredding confidential documents) and he's in the department of "Immediate Threats": the guy who wants to kill me for my purse, carjackers, the propane man with his enormous tanker and, of course, UPS. No provision is currently in place for the stoppage of pack-moving vehicle by members of the constabulary (current: US territories), although toll booths manned by the armed services of New York City are usually met with exclamations of "HI PUPPY!".

Alfie has many other rules and regulations as the newest member of our family. His Royal Highness will not be left alone. Separation of pack members is strictly forbidden and will result in severe consequences ranging from disfigurement of valuable items at present location to its utter annihilation, be it car, house or office, accompanied by incessant whining and/or removal of all vegetation from it's current earthy position.

Other consequences include, but are not limited to: disembowelment of cuddly toys; chewing of aforementioned vegetation; and inexplicably, muddy footprints on walls.

All pack members in contravention of this law will be a) licked to within an inch of their lives or b) nosed and clawed in the eye and/or groin.

Returning members will rest assured that Alfie DOES NOT take any personal responsibility for resultant consequences of pack member separation, although sobbing over yellow sponges and steaming buckets of soapy water will be taken into careful, inquisitive consideration. However, no guilt will be assumed.

All pack members bending over to pick something up will be ambushed with licks, kisses and nuzzling.

Chipmunks will be chased to their grave, if necessary. Mice will be intently stalked all over the house and growled at until they vacate the premises.

There is absolutely nothing in the regulations about taking a sneaky, swift long-tongued slurp of wine or beer, should the opportunity suddenly present itself.

When scratching simply does not cut the mustard, urgent itches will be dealt with quickly and violently with the front teeth.

Teeth brushing will be tolerated, but met with quizzical observation. See, also PEEING and SHOWERING.

All sticks are the property of Alfie, Head of Security. At no time will sticks be removed without the express consent of Alfie, HoS. All those contravening this law will be have sticks removed to an undisclosed location.  See, also BONES.

Roast Chicken Loss or Disappearance. There has been a recent spate of roast chicken disappearance. All those pack members who have had their roast chicken "lost", will be given Form H1N1 to fill in and submit to Head of Security personnel. All roasted chicken losses are "pending". There have been no RC recoveries at this time due to personnel shortage. Please check back at a later date. Media requests will not be granted. All files are closed until further notice.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Indian Movies


Today, I aired my radio interview with Kallirroi Tziafeta, an actress based in Bombay. Here are her recommendations for Indian movies:

Omkara
Makbool
Queen
Rajneeti

Omkara is a version of Othello; Makbool is a version of Macbeth and Rajneeti is a political thriller.


Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Links from the World of Optimism

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A house made of recycled pallets.

Spillian: a place to revel. A new Victorian-era, eight-bedroomed inn in the Catskills for events, weddings and simply kicking back, run by Leigh Melander and Mark Somerfield. Green Door Magazine reviews it in their Spring issue. It's on the former Fleischmanns' estate of the yeast magnate Charles Fleischmann in upstate New York. 

The number of young farmers in New York is growing quickly according to the Suffolk Times

A British woman gives birth on the sidewalk in New York. She was hailing a taxi, but the "baby didn't want to wait".


And, finally, above is my dog, still enthusiastically playing fetch in two feet of snow last week, diving into the powder head first like Scarface to retrieve the ball. If that isn't optimism, I don't know what is.

Goings On About Town and Country

The Holy Innocents Church in Halcottsville, NY is unusual for a country church in that its bishop and priest, Frank and Dante have been partners for 36 years, they conduct same-sex marriage ceremonies and welcome parishioners of all faiths.
"There's so much pain and suffering associated with churches because of the judgment and the condemnation," says Father Dante. "The teachings of Christ are an all-embracing love. If we truly look at the teachings of Christ, who he was and what he did on earth, that was something I was interested in." 
Read my piece on this unique country church and my interview with Bishop Frank and Father Dante in the Spring issue of Green Door Magazine, out today. You can download the latest iPad version for 99 cents.

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Monday, February 24, 2014

Science News & Links

Not sure who to attribute this next quotation to, but it influenced my last two radio shows: "When kids look up to great scientists the way they do to great musicians and actors, civilization will jump to the next level". So why haven't we had a reality show featuring scientists - perhaps locked up with each other "Big Brother" style - each competing to become the last scientist standing...? Hmm. Anyway, here's some mind-boggling recent discoveries in the world of science:

From the BBC News Website:
20 Top Predictions in science 100 years from now
Tiny Robots operating inside cells
Living robots powered by muscle
Printing New Human Organs
Spray on skin using a water solution and healthy cells from elsewhere in the body to treat burns victims



Saturday, January 25, 2014

Gossip Is Good For You


Gossip: a social minefield… Scientists have new data about gossip and it's effect on our lives and evolution. Those who gossip, get ahead, says one interviewee.


Sunday, January 19, 2014

Male-Dominated


I caught a tweet from Jon Stewart's camp this week and it said something like: "women making in-roads into a traditionally male-dominated industry". I'd like to ban this phrase because everything is traditionally male-dominated. Our entire written history for the last few thousand years has been dictated mostly by men from the ancient Greeks, to the apostles, to all the male translators of the bible, to the owners of the first newspapers. We had our hands rather tied until we got the vote, only 100 years ago when Schopenhauer said we're only good for obeying men.

Even traditionally female-dominated industries have been traditionally male-dominated. Think about nursing where until fairly recently, nurses were really doctors' assistants and took orders from them.

In the 21st Century, Hollywood is still a male-dominated industry with women taking only 25% of the speaking roles for the entire year of 2012. Hollywood is hardly feminism's last stand, but it's quite surprising that men still rule there despite women being 51% of the US population. I can barely believe that we really can't get enough of those blockbusters where grisly older men save the world while their much younger female co-stars sit around looking only slightly moved, doll-faced and impervious to the elements. 

So what's traditionally female-dominated these days? Plastic surgery? Dieting? Feminism?

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Art for Art's Sake

 
The Daily Dish quotes Schopenhauer: "The best works of great men all come from the time when they had to write either for nothing or for very little pay."
His brutal take-down of writing for money is about as good a case for that position as I’ve read:
The author is cheating the reader as soon as he writes for the sake of filling up paper; because his pretext for writing is that he has something to impart. Writing for money [is], at bottom, the ruin of literature. It is only the man who writes absolutely for the sake of the subject that writes anything worth writing. What an inestimable advantage it would be, if, in every branch of literature, there existed only a few but excellent books! This can never come to pass so long as money is to be made by writing. It seems as if money lay under a curse, for every author deteriorates directly [whenever] he writes in any way for the sake of money. The best works of great men all come from the time when they had to write either for nothing or for very little pay.
Schopenhauer's work has helped me understand the world, but we all need to eat. We cannot all be part of the leisure class with all day to sit around and ruminate like himself and the likes of louche Frenchmen like Richelieu. Oh, how I wish I was a wealthy sybarite, a full-time epicurean, because there's a stack of books festering on my floor that I'm dying to read. Week after week, the pile gets higher and higher. Alternatively, I suppose you could choose to be homeless and take to the streets, shuffling around in oversized garments scribbling notes on scraps of paper. The problem with this is that people tend not to listen to what you have to say when you're sitting up against an exterior wall wearing discarded clothing, holding in the underwire of your bra with a paperclip you found under a parked car. It's tricky when you've only got a dollar left in the hat: food or a new pen? Hm, tough choices. However clever, we can't all write for leisure.