Mark Twain

"Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great."

- Mark Twain

Thursday, December 15, 2011

1 out of 2 Americans are Poor!!!

Its a Mean Old World


Census shows 1 in 2 people are poor or low-income

-  HOPE YEN, Associated Press 

“If Americans ever allow banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation and then by deflation, the banks will deprive the people of all property until their children will wake up homeless.”

- Thomas Jefferson

"One of the funny things about the stock market is that every time one person buys, another sells, and both think they are astute."
- William Feather

Another Story about Aging -Maturity is Wasted on the Old

Maturity is Wasted on the Old - Montclair, NJ Patch:

Maturity is Wasted on the Old

With age comes wisdom, but that doesn't make it any easier sometimes.

By Jaleh Teymourian Brahms
December 10, 2011

I was very pretty once, but I took it for granted. I thought it was something that would always be part of me, like language or ethnicity.... Having said that, I'm not an old hag, I look pretty darn good – wait for it – for my age. Yes there it is, the age disclaimer.
...when you’re young you have no idea how to be a proper young person; you’re torn up with existential angst.  Life at that age is about hurtling forward and not about living in the moment. 

Elizabeth Wurtzel wrote, "Age is a terrible avenger. The lessons of life give you so much to work with, but by the time you’ve got all this great wisdom, you don’t get to be young anymore. And in this world, that’s just about the worst thing that can happen – especially to a woman. Whoever said youth is wasted on the young actually got it wrong; it’s more that maturity is wasted on the old."

I feel no older now than I did at 22, and yet looking at photos of myself at that age, it's clear I have aged. At 22 I sat in the Groucho Club in London and boldly declared to a friend that I wanted an extraordinary life. It seemed ludicrous for me to want anything less. 

Now, years later I still want an extraordinary life, I still have unfulfilled ambitions, but I am no longer young. The world tells me I no longer have a great expanse of time in front of me to achieve this extraordinary life, and perhaps should resign myself that my ship has sailed and all I have to look forward to now is grandchildren and retirement. The poet Robert Frost paints an equally bleak picture of getting old in: 

Provide, Provide

No memory of having starred
Atones for later disregard
Or keeps the end from being hard.

As Frost points out, youth and beauty which fade so quickly cannot help us transcend time. We all age, we all die. Coming to grips with mortality is sobering. Dealing with a body that has begun to betray you is frustrating. You are forced to deal with limitations you previously never had. None of us wants to think of our lives on this earth as temporal, and that once gone we will be forgotten, eventually, as the relationship between us and our descendants is no longer tethered in their very beings, as it is in our children.

We also fear the 'later disregard' as Frost said. During a conversation with my mother about a doctor's visit she said rather poignantly, "Now that I am 70, my doctors treat me like I am invisible or worse, feeble minded." Growing older has been denigrated and treated like a series of humiliating inevitabilities; regression to childish behavior, frailty and memory loss. These are stereotypes ingrained in our society.

As holders of deeply engrained stereotypes of the aging process, we subconsciously view them as facts of life. Psychologists have found that "low expectations lead to decreased effort, less use of adaptive strategies, avoidance of challenging situations, and failure to seek medical attention for disease-related symptoms."

In a Harvard study, Drs. Ellen Langer and Rebecca Levy "confirm the effect of these negative stereotypes on aging Americans. Using standard psychological measurements of memory, the researchers studied two populations of people who hold their elders in high esteem — elderly mainland Chinese and older, deaf Americans — and compared them to a group of elderly mainstream Americans. In addition, the researchers compared memory retention in the elderly with younger people in all three groups.

"Not only did the mainland Chinese and American deaf far outperform the mainstream Americans on four psychological memory tests, but the oldest in these two groups, especially the Chinese, performed almost as well as the youngest. Their performance was so strong even the researchers were surprised. They conclude that the results can be explained entirely by the fact that the Chinese have the most positive, active and 'internal' image of aging across the three cultures studied."

In other words, we fall victim to our own fears, in a tragic self-fulfilling prophecy.

And what about the way we look? As former supermodel Paulina Porizkova said, "Nothing galls me as much as age-defying celebrities who achieve their looks by "healthy food and yoga." I know this is bulls**t.  You may not. But I can guarantee we will both feel bad about the way we look, the way we have let ourselves go, when Michelle Pfeiffer and Demi Moore look not a day over 30."

In our society it's unacceptable to look our age, and yet unacceptable to admit to cosmetic procedures to avoid looking our age.  There’s nothing wrong with plastic surgery, but lying about it? Come on.

Susan Sontag said, "Aging is a movable doom. It is a crisis that never exhausts itself, because the anxiety is never really used up."

By treating aging as a disease and treating those we consider elderly as afflicted we do ourselves a disservice. We deny ourselves not only access to their wisdom and experience, but also examples of what it is to age well in some cases.

At the funeral service, an 80-year-old musician told me he still sees his friends as they once were and it's disconcerting to think of them as parents and grandparents, let alone dying. We spent hours listening to him talk about his experiences, watching him accompany my friend, a jazz vocalist, on the piano. He didn't wear reading glasses, he wasn't stooped or frail, he didn't have awkward memory lapses or anything we've come to associate with aging. "I'm still young," he told me tapping his heart, "in here where it counts."

Entire Poem:

Robert Frost - Provide, Provide

The witch that came (the withered hag) 
To wash the steps with pail and rag, 
Was once the beauty Abishag, 

The picture pride of Hollywood. 
Too many fall from great and good 
For you to doubt the likelihood. 

Die early and avoid the fate. 
Or if predestined to die late, 
Make up your mind to die in state. 

Make the whole stock exchange your own! 
If need be occupy a throne, 
Where nobody can call you crone. 

Some have relied on what they knew; 
Others on simply being true. 
What worked for them might work for you. 

No memory of having starred 
Atones for later disregard, 
Or keeps the end from being hard. 

Better to go down dignified 
With boughten friendship at your side 
Than none at all. Provide, provide!


Poet: Robert Frost
Poem: Provide, Provide
Volume: A Further Range
Year: Published/Written in 1936
Last read: Dec 14 2011, 8:47PM
Viewed 21,895 times.
Added Feb 20 2003.

Oldest in Canada - Human Interest Story

The woman believed to be the oldest living Canadian has died in B.C. at the age of 112.
___ was born in 1899 in Guangdong, China — four years before the Wright brothers first flight and nearly 10 years before the first Model T Ford rolled off the assembly line.
Her husband, ___, came to Canada in 1911 and later returned to China to marry her. He would return often to Canada to work and go back home to visit his growing family of three children.
Those were some very hard times for her ...
"Second World War, she had a very difficult time raising the family.
In 1954, she was allowed to immigrate with her children, settling in Vancouver's Chinatown.
In 1967, her husband died and the family moved to East Vancouver.
When she was 90, she underwent brain surgery, but recovered and soon after that, she travelled the world with many of her family members, visiting Germany, France, Italy.
They returned to China for a visit at a tumultuous time — the democratic uprising of the late 1980s, when tanks rolled in the streets and hundreds of protesters were killed... 1989, Tienanmen Square. She is there.  
She last flew on a passenger jet on a visit to California in 2010, when she was 111.
Fung's 112th birthday last Jan. 27 was marked with a proclamation from the City of Vancouver and a letter from the Queen.
She had some quarrels with modern society, especially skimpy bathing suits, and wore nothing less than a dress on a visit to the beach in Hawaii.
She also believed tap water could be contaminated and insisted on only drinking water that had been boiled.
... survived by a son, daughter, 14 grandchildren, 25 great grandchildren and two great-great grandchildren. 
With files from the CBC's Tim Week

This woman is a very lucky person to live to so great an age.  She can be seen as an example to us all to keep trying to improve and stay alert.   A person may be here on this Earth for a long, long time.  We will need all our strength and faculties to be able to enjoy the later years and to continue to learn and travel the world the way she did.

The lady's name was left off this blog entry for the sake of privacy for the family.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Pema Chodron

"It's just that when you really start to take the warrior's journey - which is to say, when you start to want to live your life fully instead of opting for death, when you begin to feel passion for life and for growth, when discovery and exploration and curiosity become your path - then basically, if you follow your heart, you're going to find that it's often extremely inconvenient."

- Pema Chodron, The Wisdom of No Escape

The Red Wheel Barrow

so much depends
a red wheel
glazed with rain
beside the white

William Carlos Williams, 1923


Every moment of our life is a relationship.  There is nothing except relationship.  At this moment my relationship is to the rug, to the room, to my own body, to the sound of my voice.
- Charlotte Joko Beck, from Everyday Zen

"To my mind, the idea that doing dishes is unpleasant can occur only when you aren't dong them.  Once you are standing in front of the sink with your sleeves rolled up and your hands in the warm water, it is really quite pleasant.  I enjoy taking my time with each dish, being fully aware of the dish, the water, and each movement of my hands... Thje dishes themselves and the fact that I am here washing them are miracles!
Thich Nhat Hahn, from Peace is Every Step

Magic Power, marvelous action!
Chopping wood, carrying water...
Soiku Sigematsu

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

14 Smart Things Adam Smith Said About Money

1. We want money to buy things
Goods can serve many other purposes besides purchasing money, but money can serve no other purpose besides purchasing goods.

It is not for its own sake that men desire money, but for the sake of what they can purchase with it.

2. You need money to make money

A great stock, though with small profits, generally increases faster than a small stock with great profits. Money, says the proverb, makes money. When you have a little, it is often easier to get more. The great difficulty is to get that little.

3. The pursuit and exchange of money is uniquely human
Nobody ever saw a dog make a fair and deliberate exchange of one bone for another with another dog. 

4. The first money was labor
Labour was the first price, the original purchase-money that was paid for all things. It was not by gold or by silver, but by labour, that all the wealth of the world was originally purchased.

5. It is our nature to accumulate money
The natural effort of every individual to better his own condition is so powerful, that it is alone, and without any assistance, not only capable of carrying on the society to wealth and prosperity, but of surmounting a hundred impertinent obstructions with which the folly of human laws too often encumbers its operations.

6. If you have money, you should be able to spend it as you see fit
It is the highest impertinence and presumption, therefore, in kings and ministers, to pretend to watch over the economy of private people, and to restrain their expense, either by sumptuary laws, or by prohibiting the importation of foreign luxuries.

7. The joy of having money is to show it off

With the greater part of rich people, the chief enjoyment of riches consists in the parade of riches, which in their eye is never so complete as when they appear to possess those decisive marks of opulence which nobody can possess but themselves.

8. We want payment on land we control
As soon as the land of any country has all become private property, the landlords, like all other men, love to reap where they never sowed, and demand a rent even for its natural produce.

9. The production and sale of goods is not for the welfare of others
It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest. We address ourselves, not to their humanity, but to their self-love, and never talk to them of our own necessities, but of their advantages.

10. Monopolies are a fact of life
People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices. It is impossible indeed to prevent such meetings, by any law either could be executed, or would be consistent with liberty or justice. But though the law cannot hinder people of the same trade from sometimes assembling together, it ought to do nothing to facilitate such assemblies; much less to render them necessary.

11. Taxes should be gentle

Every tax ought to be so contrived as both to take out and to keep out of the pockets of the people as little as possible, over and above what it brings into the public treasury of the state.

12. Taxes should be convenient

Every tax ought to be levied at the time, or in the manner, in which it is most likely to be convenient for the contributor to pay it. 

13. The government's job is to protect those who have money from those who don't

Civil government, so far as it is instituted for the security of property, is in reality instituted for the defense of the rich against the poor, or of those who have some property against those who have none at all.

14. Times get rough when too many people don't have money
No society can surely be flourishing and happy, of which the greater part of the members are poor and miserable. It is but equity, besides, that they who feed, clothe, and lodge the whole body of the people, should have such a share of the produce of their own labour as to be themselves tolerably well fed, clothed, and lodged.

Excerpts from The Wealth of Nations

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Dalai Lama's 18 Rules For Living - YouTube

The Dalai Lama's 18 Rules For Living - YouTube: ""

Uploaded by on Oct 17, 2010

At the start of the new millennium the Dalai Lama issued eighteen rules for living.

1. Take into account that great love and great achievements involve great risk.
2. When you lose, don't lose the lesson.
3. Follow the three Rs: 1. Respect for self 2. Respect for others 3. Responsibility for all your actions.
4. Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.
5. Learn the rules so you know how to break them properly.
6. Don't let a little dispute injure a great friendship.
7. When you realize you've made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.
8. Spend some time alone every day.
9. Open your arms to change, but don't let go of your values.
10. Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.
11. Live a good, honourable life. Then when you get older and think back, you'll be able to enjoy it a second time.
12. A loving atmosphere in your home is the foundation for your life.
13. In disagreements with loved ones, deal only with the current situation. Don't bring up the past.
14. Share your knowledge. It's a way to achieve immortality.
15. Be gentle with the earth.
16. Once a year, go someplace you've never been before.
17. Remember that the best relationship is one in which your love for each other exceeds your need for each other.
18. Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it.



'via Blog this'

Dalai Lama - Conquer your "self" - YouTube

Dalai Lama - Conquer your "self" - YouTube: ""

'via Blog this'

Dalai Lama: Inner Peace, Happiness, God and Money - YouTube

Dalai Lama: Inner Peace, Happiness, God and Money - YouTube: ""ploaded by on Jun 24, 2008 - The Dalai Lama (in an excerpt from the film "Dalai Lama Renaissance") speaking about Inner Peace, Happiness, God and Money. "Dalai Lama Renaissance" is produced and directed by Khashyar Darvich

'via Blog this'

Thich Nhat Hanh- Mindful Movements - YouTube

Thich Nhat Hanh- Mindful Movements - YouTube: "SoundsTrueVideos on Jun 20, 2008
Free Weekly Wisdom. Visit

Author: Thich Nhat Hanh
When you calm your body and your emotions, teaches Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh, you restore yourself, and you restore peace to the world around you. On mindful movements, this renowned teacher of mindfulness meditation guides you through a series of gentle exercises created specifically to cultivate a joyful awareness of the body and breath.

Learn More:
Howto & Style
thich nhat hanh meditation walking health sounds true soundstrue spiritual spirituality mindfulness mindful mindful movements mindfulness meditation walking meditation plum village buddhist walking meditation guide to walking meditation
Standard YouTube License

'via Blog this'

Sunday, December 4, 2011


File:Lombards Museum 163.jpg

Xochipilli, Aztec God of dance and music, 900-1500 A.D.

Nikos Kazantzakis quotes of a Religious Nature

“The canary began to sing again. The sun had struck it, and its throat and tiny breast had filled with song. Francis gazed at it for a long time, not speaking, his mouth hanging half opened, his eyes dimmed with tears.

"The canary is like man's soul," he whispered finally. "It sees bars round it, but instead if despairing, it sings. It sings, and wait and see, Brother Leo: one day its song shall break the bars.”
― Nikos Kazantzakis, Saint Francis

“When an almond tree became covered with blossoms in the heart of winter, all the trees around it began to jeer. 'What vanity,' they screamed, 'what insolence! Just think, it believes it can bring spring in this way!' The flowers of the almond tree blushed for shame. 'Forgive me, my sisters,' said the tree. 'I swear I did not want to blossom, but suddenly I felt a warm springtime breeze in my heart.”
― Nikos Kazantzakis, Saint Francis

“Overdraw me Lord, and who cares if I break!”
― Nikos Kazantzakis, The Last Temptation of Christ

“We are not men, to have need of another, an eternal life; we are women, and for us one moment with man we love is everlasting Paradise, one moment far from the man we love is everlasting hell. It is here on earth that we women love out eternity”
― Nikos Kazantzakis, The Last Temptation of Christ

“My principle anguish and the source of all my joys and sorrows from my youth onward has been the incessant, merciless battle between the spirit and the flesh.”
― Nikos Kazantzakis, The Last Temptation of Christ

“Truly, everything in this world depended on time. Time ripened all. If you had time, you succeeded in working the human mud internally and turning it into spirit. Then you did not fear death. If you did not have time, you perished.”
― Nikos Kazantzakis, The Last Temptation of Christ

“I say one thing, you write another, and those who read you understand still something else! I say: cross, death, kingdom of heaven, God...and what do you understand? Each of you attaches his own suffering, interests and desires to each of these sacred words, and my words disappear, my soul is lost. I can't stand it any longer!”
― Nikos Kazantzakis, The Last Temptation of Christ

“When everyone drowns and I'm the only one to escape, God is protecting me. When everyone else is saved and I'm the only one to drown, God is protecting me then too.”
― Nikos Kazantzakis, The Last Temptation of Christ

“You will, Judas, my brother. God will give you the strength, as much as you lack, because it is necessary—it is necessary for me to be killed and for you to betray me. We two must save the world. Help me."

Judas bowed his head. After a moment he asked, "If you had to betray your master, would you do it?"

Jesus reflected for a long time. Finally he said, "No, I'm afraid I wouldn't be able to. That is why God pitied me and gave me the easier task: to be crucified.”
― Nikos Kazantzakis, The Last Temptation of Christ

Kazantzakis more quotes

“Discipline is the highest of all virtues. Only so may strength and desire be counterbalanced and the endeavors of man bear fruit.”
― Nikos Kazantzakis, The Rock Garden

“Freedom was my first great desire. The second, which remains hidden within me to this day, tormenting me, was the desire for sanctity. Hero together with saint: such is mankind's supreme model.”
― Nikos Kazantzakis, Report to Greco

“Reach what you cannot”
― Nikos Kazantzakis, Report to Greco

“I said to the almond tree, 'Sister, speak to me of God.' And the almond tree blossomed.”
― Nikos Kazantzakis, Report to Greco

“All my life one of my greatest desires has been to travel-to see and touch unknown countries, to swim in unknown seas, to circle the globe, observing new lands, seas, people, and ideas with insatiable appetite, to see everything for the first time and for the last time, casting a slow, prolonged glance, then to close my eyes and feel the riches deposit themselves inside me calmly or stormily according to their pleasure, until time passes them at last through its fine sieve, straining the quintessence out of all the joys and sorrows.”
― Nikos Kazantzakis, Report to Greco

“Man is able, and has the duty, to reach the furthest point on the road he has chosen. Only by means of hope can we attain what is beyond hope.”
― Nikos Kazantzakis, Report to Greco

Nikos Kazantzakis quotes

“What a strange machine man is! You fill him with bread, wine, fish, and radishes, and out comes sighs, laughter, and dreams.”

― Nikos Kazantzakis

“My entire soul is a cry, and all my work is a commentary on that cry.”
― Nikos Kazantzakis

“Every perfect traveler always creates the country where he travels.” 
― Nikos Kazantzakis

Yes, the purpose of earth is not life, it is not man, earth has existed without these, and it will live on without them. They are but the ephemeral sparks of its violent whirling.
Let us unite, let us hold each other tightly, let us merge our hearts, let us create –so long as the warmth of this earth endures, so long as no earthquakes, cataclysms, icebergs or comets come to destroy us – let us create for earth a brain and a heart, let us give a human meaning to the superhuman struggle. ”
― Nikos Kazantzakis

“With the passage of days in this godly isolation [desert], my heart grew calm. It seemed to fill with answers. I did not ask questions any more; I was certain. Everything - where we came from, where we are going, what our purpose is on earth - struck me as extremely sure and simple in this God-trodden isolation. Little by little my blood took on the godly rhythm. Matins, Divine Liturgy, vespers, psalmodies, the sun rising in the morning and setting in the evening, the constellations suspended like chandeliers each night over the monastery: all came and went, came and went in obedience to eternal laws, and drew the blood of man into the same placid rhythm. I saw the world as a tree, a gigantic poplar, and myself as a green leaf clinging to a branch with my slender stalk. When God's wind blew, I hopped and danced, together with the entire tree.”
― Nikos Kazantzakis

“Beauty is merciless. You do not look at it, it looks at you and does not forgive.”
― Nikos Kazantzakis

“Throughout my life my greatest benefactors have been my travels and my dreams. Very few men, living or dead, have helped me in my struggles.”
― Nikos Kazantzakis

“We come from a dark abyss, we end in a dark abyss, and we call the luminous interval life.”
― Nikos Kazantzakis

“Let your youth have free reign, it won't come again, so be bold and no repenting.”
― Nikos Kazantzakis

“You have your brush, you have your colors, you paint the paradise, then in you go.”
― Nikos Kazantzakis

“True teachers are those who use themselves as bridges over which they invite their students to cross; then, having facilitated their crossing, joyfully collapse, encouraging them to create their
― Nikos Kazantzakis

“I hope nothing. I fear nothing. I am free.”
― Nikos Kazantzakis

“A person needs a little madness, or else they never dare cut the rope and be free.” 
― Nikos Kazantzakis

“Ideal teachers are those who use themselves as bridges over which they invite their students to cross, then having facilitated their crossing, joyfully collapse, encouraging them to create bridges of their own.”
― Nikos Kazantzakis

“Since we cannot change reality, let us change the eyes which see reality.”
― Nikos Kazantzakis

“How simple and frugal a thing is happiness: a glass of wine, a roast chestnut, a wretched little brazier, the sound of the sea. . . . All that is required to feel that here and now is happiness is a simple, frugal heart.”
― Nikos Kazantzakis

Zorba the Greek Quotes

“This is true happiness: to have no ambition and to work like a horse as if you had every ambition. To live far from men, not to need them and yet to love them. To have the stars above, the land to your left and the sea to your right and to realize of a sudden that in your heart, life has accomplished its final miracle: it has become a fairy tale.” 
― Nikos KazantzakisZorba the Greek

“God changes his appearance every second. Blessed is the man who can recognize him in all his disguises.” 
― Nikos KazantzakisZorba the Greek

“You can knock on a deaf man's door forever.” 
― Nikos Kazantzakis, Zorba the Greek

“For I realize today that it is a mortal sin to violate the great laws of nature. We should not hurry, we should not be impatient, but we should confidently obey the eternal rhythm.”
― Nikos Kazantzakis, Zorba the Greek

“Happy is the man, I thought, who, before dying, has the good fortune to sail the Aegean sea.”
― Nikos Kazantzakis, Zorba the Greek

“When everything goes wrong, what a joy to test your soul and see if it has endurance and courage! An invisible and all-powerful enemy—some call him God, others the Devil, seem to rush upon us to destroy us; but we are not destroyed.”
― Nikos Kazantzakis, Zorba the Greek

“Life is trouble. Only death is not. To be alive is to undo your belt and *look* for trouble.”
― Nikos Kazantzakis, Zorba the Greek

“Look, one day I had gone to a little village. An old grandfather of ninety was busy planting an almond tree. ‘What, grandfather!’ I exclaimed. ‘Planting an almond tree?’ And he, bent as he was, turned around and said: ‘My son, I carry on as if I should never die.’ I replied: ‘And I carry on as if I was going to die any minute.’
Which of us was right, boss?”
― Nikos Kazantzakis, Zorba the Greek

“I was happy, I knew that. While experiencing happiness, we have difficulty in being conscious of it. Only when the happiness is past and we look back on it do we suddenly realize - sometimes with astonishment - how happy we had been.”
― Nikos Kazantzakis, Zorba the Greek

“Every man has his folly, but the greatest folly of all … is not to have one.”
― Nikos Kazantzakis, Zorba the Greek

“If a woman sleeps alone it puts a shame on all men. God has a very big heart, but there is one sin He will not forgive. If a woman calls a man to her bed and he will not go.”
― Nikos Kazantzakis, Zorba the Greek

“the highest point a man can attain is not Knowledge, or Virtue, or Goodness, or Victory, but something even greater, more heroic and more despairing: Sacred Awe!”
― Nikos Kazantzakis, Zorba the Greek

“When shall I at last retire into solitude alone, without companions, without joy and without sorrow, with only the sacred certainty that all is a dream? When, in my rags—without desires—shall I retire contented into the mountains? When, seeing that my body is merely sickness and crime, age and death, shall I—free, fearless, and blissful—retire to the forest? When? When, oh when?”
― Nikos Kazantzakis, Zorba the Greek

“Every man has his folly, but the greatest folly of all, in my view, is not to have one.”
― Nikos Kazantzakis, Zorba the Greek
“All those who actually live the mysteries of life haven't the time to write, and all those who have the time don't live them! D'you see?”
― Nikos Kazantzakis, Zorba the Greek

“Free yourself from one passion to be dominated by another and nobler one. But is not that, too, a form of slavery? To sacrifice oneself to an idea, to a race, to God? Or does it mean that the higher the model the longer the longer the tether of our slavery?”
― Nikos Kazantzakis, Zorba the Greek

“Once more there sounded within me the terrible warning that there is only one life for all men, that there is only one life for all men, that there is no other and that all that can be enjoyed must be enjoyed here. In eternity no other chance will be given to us.”
― Nikos Kazantzakis, Zorba the Greek

“There is only one sin god will not forgive Boss, and that is to deny a woman who is in wanting ~ Zorba”
― Nikos Kazantzakis, Zorba the Greek

Zorba the Greek lived "the full catastrophe".

If a woman sleeps alone, it puts a shame on all men.

Alexis Zorba:
Damn it boss, I like you too much not to say it. You've got everything except one thing: madness! A man needs a little madness, or else...
Basil: Or else?
Alexis Zorba: ...he never dares cut the rope and be free.

Basil: I don't want any trouble.
Alexis Zorba: Life is trouble. Only death is not. To be alive is to undo your belt and *look* for trouble.

Alexis Zorba: On a deaf man's door, you can knock forever!

Alexis Zorba: Why do the young die? Why does anybody die?
Basil: I don't know.
Alexis Zorba: What's the use of all your damn books if they can't answer that?
Basil: They tell me about the agony of men who can't answer questions like yours.
Alexis Zorba: I spit on this agony!

Alexis Zorba: All right, we go outside where God can see us better.

Alexis Zorba: God has a very big heart but there is one sin he will not forgive___ [slaps table] __ if a woman calls a man to her bed and he will not go. I know because a very wise old Turk told me.

Alexis Zorba: Am I not a man? And is a man not stupid? I'm a man, so I married. Wife, children, house,everything. The full catastrophe.

Jon Kabat-Zinn named his first book on Mindfulness after the line in Zorba:

"Full Catastrophe Living"

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Happens all the time...

Magnetic field lines generated by the Earth's internal magnetic field.

Scientists understand that Earth's magnetic field has flipped its polarity many times over the millennia. In other words, if you were alive about 800,000 years ago, and facing what we call north with a magnetic compass in your hand, the needle would point to 'south.' This is because a magnetic compass is calibrated based on Earth's poles. The N-S markings of a compass would be 180 degrees wrong if the polarity of today's magnetic field were reversed. Many doomsday theorists have tried to take this natural geological occurrence and suggest it could lead to Earth's destruction. But would there be any dramatic effects? The answer, from the geologic and fossil records we have from hundreds of past magnetic polarity reversals, seems to be 'no.'

Reversals are the rule, not the exception. Earth has settled in the last 20 million years into a pattern of a pole reversal about every 200,000 to 300,000 years, although it has been more than twice that long since the last reversal. A reversal happens over hundreds or thousands of years, and it is not exactly a clean back flip. Magnetic fields morph and push and pull at one another, with multiple poles emerging at odd latitudes throughout the process. Scientists estimate reversals have happened at least hundreds of times over the past three billion years. And while reversals have happened more frequently in "recent" years, when dinosaurs walked Earth a reversal was more likely to happen only about every one million years.

Sediment cores taken from deep ocean floors can tell scientists about magnetic polarity shifts, providing a direct link between magnetic field activity and the fossil record. The Earth’s magnetic field determines the magnetization of lava as it is laid down on the ocean floor on either side of the Mid-Atlantic Rift where the North American and European continental plates are spreading apart. As the lava solidifies, it creates a record of the orientation of past magnetic fields much like a tape recorder records sound. The last time that Earth's poles flipped in a major reversal was about 780,000 years ago, in what scientists call the Brunhes-Matuyama reversal. The fossil record shows no drastic changes in plant or animal life. Deep ocean sediment cores from this period also indicate no changes in glacial activity, based on the amount of oxygen isotopes in the cores. This is also proof that a polarity reversal would not affect the rotation axis of Earth, as the planet's rotation axis tilt has a significant effect on climate and glaciation and any change would be evident in the glacial record.

A schematic diagram of Earth's interior and the movement of magnetic north from 1900 to 1996. The outer core is the source of the geomagnetic field. 
Graphic Credit: Dixon Rohr

Earth's polarity is not a constant. Unlike a classic bar magnet, or the decorative magnets on your refrigerator, the matter governing Earth's magnetic field moves around. Geophysicists are pretty sure that the reason Earth has a magnetic field is because its solid iron core is surrounded by a fluid ocean of hot, liquid metal. This process can also be modeled with supercomputers. Ours is, without hyperbole, a dynamic planet. The flow of liquid iron in Earth's core creates electric currents, which in turn create the magnetic field. So while parts of Earth's outer core are too deep for scientists to measure directly, we can infer movement in the core by observing changes in the magnetic field. The magnetic north pole has been creeping northward – by more than 600 miles (1,100 km) – since the early 19th century, when explorers first located it precisely. It is moving faster now, actually, as scientists estimate the pole is migrating northward about 40 miles per year, as opposed to about 10 miles per year in the early 20th century.

Another doomsday hypothesis about a geomagnetic flip plays up fears about incoming solar activity. This suggestion mistakenly assumes that a pole reversal would momentarily leave Earth without the magnetic field that protects us from solar flares and coronal mass ejections from the sun. But, while Earth's magnetic field can indeed weaken and strengthen over time, there is no indication that it has ever disappeared completely. A weaker field would certainly lead to a small increase in solar radiation on Earth – as well as a beautiful display of aurora at lower latitudes -- but nothing deadly. Moreover, even with a weakened magnetic field, Earth's thick atmosphere also offers protection against the sun's incoming particles.

The science shows that magnetic pole reversal is – in terms of geologic time scales – a common occurrence that happens gradually over millennia. While the conditions that cause polarity reversals are not entirely predictable – the north pole's movement could subtly change direction, for instance – there is nothing in the millions of years of geologic record to suggest that any of the 2012 doomsday scenarios connected to a pole reversal should be taken seriously. A reversal might, however, be good business for magnetic compass manufacturers.

Related Link:
› Earth's Inconstant Magnetic Field

Patrick Lynch
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

'via Blog this'