Thursday, October 29, 2009

Thursday Thirteen



TT 10/29/09

Why one should keep the science in fiction. Hint: it's largely fiction! Or, the fiction in science!

Dear Bratty friends,

My highly highlighted copy of Huston Smith's “Forgotten Truth” was calling to me from the bookshelf in the office the other day. It said, “Yvette! Yvette! Here I am. Remember me and all my good parts?”

(Heh heh, I said “good parts!” Now that's a Beavis and Butthead moment for sure.)

And indeed I do recall enjoying the book quite a bit. For those of you that haven't read it, Smith argues that the Western mind has been deluded by the techniques and miraculous findings of science into believing that science can provide all the answers mankind seeks when in fact it merely provides a small portion of a certain kind of answer – those geared towards the scientific question. We don't need to throw it away, Smith suggests, just assign it to its correct place in our world view. There's nothing wrong with science per se, but it can only get us so far in the search for the meaning of life, or at least in producing a meaningful pattern to help us understand life as it truly is. (Truly is, that's the catch, enit?)

And I think, subconsciously, we all know that. Think for a moment of all the movie and book plot lines you've seen where science runs amok (Jurassic Park) or creates monsters that ultimately don't help mankind, instead they harm (Terminator). Or, they take a cold and heartless view towards some natural phenomena in the name of trying to take it apart and understand it, boil it down to a hypothesis, or, even better, a nice fat round measurable number! (I hate to say this, but I saw E.T. in the theatre and actually stood up and started to walk out when they had poor little E.T. on the experiment table. So sensitive....aren't I?) Usually these plot lines have a “shortsighted scientist” who is in love with his/her work for its own sake. Or they take on the notion – as per Terminator -that science, once unleashed will get away from our control and cause us harm. The story lines usually end with the scientist being destroyed by his/her own creation and the world being saved from “the horror of science.” Yet we are all a little bit like mad scientists in that we are all still in love with each new creation always hailed to be the savior – or at least major time/life simplifier - that rolls off the Taiwan manufacturing line. So even if we do not fully believe science, we still swoom over it quite a bit.

Thus....science fiction continues to be a hot genre which itself has spawned other genres such as Steampunk and, I think, Apocolyptic fiction (i.e., Planet of the Apes). And science fiction romance – as author Linnea Sinclair puts it, the bastard stepchild of scifi and romance – which is gaining in popularity these days.

Over all, one can't really deny that the allure of science exists, so I think we should keep writing about it. But I urge you to keep in the back of your mind as you do so the many ways in which science is limited, not just scary or an unhealthy lifestyle choice for mad scientists. You don't have to write a mad scientist story to shed light upon science's dangers/shortcomings or failures. You need only consider the how science can make fragile or seek to eliminate the alternatives to science – such as religion, symbol systems, language, mystical knowledge – in order to write a book decrying the finality and absolute authority of science in a different way.

To aid in your consideration of science as not being the end-all it is oft touted to be, I provide for your Thursday Thirteen consumption 13 quotes from the book to mull over as you consider maybe writing some SciFi for this year's NaNoWriMo.

On science's ability to captivate the mind and its inherent shortcomings:

In the preface Smith asks, “People have a profound need to believe that the truth they perceive is rooted in the unchanging depths of the universe, for were it not, could the truth be really important?” And that's a good question. It demands a good answer. Unfortunately, he says, we have for the most part chosen science as our method of obtaining answers, and in doing so “misread science” - expecting more of it than it could provide.

  • “Our mistake was expecting science to provide us with a world view, when we now see that it shows us only half the world – its physical, calculable, testable, significantly controllable, half. And even that half is now unpicturable.....Postmodern science gives us not another model of the universe, but no model at all.”
So it gives us part of the picture, but not the whole, or worse, quantum mechanics gives us no picture at all as discoveries edge into the unmeasurable. In addition, science also tends to ignore things like religion, language, and feelings because they aren't things that can be precisely measured, examined, or proved. “...For whatever else science seeks, it seeks precision.” That usually means numbers.

  • “The alternative to numbers is words. Whereas numbers are signs, words are symbols, and therefore by their very nature equivocal; their ambiguity can be reduced but never eliminated. This bars them from the needle's eye of absolute precision, but the loose ends that prevent them from piercing that eye endow them with a texture that numbers cannot match.”
All writers can now say, “damn right and proud of it!” Go on, I'll wait. Here's another one:

  • “The despair of the logicians is the humanist's glory. From the adversity of verbal ambiguity, opportunity opens. The multivalence of language enables it to mesh with the multidimensionality of the human spirit, depicting its higher reaches as numbers never can.”

Okay, what's he talking about here? Let's back up a minute. Numbers v. words, that should be quite plain. But why is he talking about the human spirit? Good question! After all, I've never heard of a scientist being able to measure the human spirit. Food for thought there, eh?

But back to the original argument – does science provide us with the whole and unvarnished “truth” or are their other ways we come closer to the knowledge of the divine? And what's wrong with science exactly? I mean, why doesn't Huston Smith just love and accept it like everybody else?

  • “That the scientific outlook should, in Carl Becker's word, have 'ravished' the modern mind is completely understandable. Through technology, science effects miracles: skyscrapers that stand, men standing on the moon... There was the sheer noetic majesty of the house pure science erected, and above all there was method. By enabling men to agree on the truth because it could be demonstrated, this method produced a knowledge that was cumulative and could advance. No wonder man converted. The conversion was not forced. It did not occur because scientists were imperialists but because their achievements were to impressive, their marching orders so exhilarating, that thinkers jostled to join their ranks.”

Well, because after joining, did they stop and take a good look at what the new god of science actually provided to them? What kinds of answers? What kind of truth? Or did people just march blindly to the piper and forget....forget.....(as Spock intoned to a sleeping Kirk).

Science's answers are narrow and focused, and leave out a lot, Smith argues. Maybe we should notice that.

On the limitations of science:

  • “His [Karl Popper at the University of London] image likens science to a searchlight scanning a night sky for planes. For a plane to register, two things are required: it must exist, and it must be where the beam is... The point of this image is, of course, to make plain the restricted nature of the scientific quest. Far from lighting up the entire sky, it illuminates but an arc within it.”


  • “Norbert Wiener used to make the point by saying: 'Messages from the universe arrive addressed no more specifically than 'To Whom It May Concern.' Scientists open those that concern them. No mosaic constructed from messages thus narrowly selected can be the full picture.”

  • “The view that appears in a restricted viewfinder is a restricted view.”

  • “It presumes to control too much and to disclose more of reality than it in fact does.”

  • “...man possesses reason while at the same time exceeding his possession: reason is his tool, not his definition.”

  • “What science shows, a physicist has recently observed, is that our view of things has no chance of being true unless it is astonishing.”

But where to look for answers then? Where do we find clues about how the world really is if not through scientific observation? If you ask His Holiness the Dalai Lama, he will give you a different answer than a particle physicist. but one nearly as elusive as as the ones particle physics delivers. The deeper science delves into the microcosm of life, the less substance it finds there, and the question-to-answer ratio jumps sky-high. Who's sorry now, I wonder? Yet science in this case has not done us a terrible disservice, it has merely fallen flat on its face and showed us there are other ways back home.

What an alternative world view would include:

  • “Taken in its entirety, the world is not as science says it is; it is as science, philosophy, religion, the arts, and everyday speech say it is. Not science but the sum of man's symbol systems, of which science is but one, is the measure of things.”

  • “Since reality exceeds what science registers, we must look for other antennae to catch the wavelengths it misses.”

Lastly, do any of you know who said this famous line?

  • “The universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose.”



That was John Burdon Sanderson Haldane, a British-born geneticist and evolutionary biologist. He was one of the founders (along with Ronald Fisher and Sewall Wright) of population genetics.

Pity he didn't write any scifi!

Only two days left till NaNo! Good luck everybody!

Bratty

Rutabagas

Dear Bratty Friends,



I just got my TT done this week, but in the meantime I wanted to bring you this amazing thing from my kitchen countertop:




Do you happen to know what it is? If you said a Rutabaga, you are right!

The Rutabaga is a root crop that originated as a cross between a turnip and a cabbage according to the Wikipedia page. I think this one, which we grew ourselves looks rather much more like a turnip than a cabbage! And it was very sweet and mild in flavor. We cooked it, mashed it, and mixed it with regular mashed potatoes, but you can also cut the root into disks, slather them with honey and bake them. Yummy! Served with baked ham, it makes quite the tasty meal.

Baked Honeyed Rutabaga Disks
Martine Fiske, one of your fellow shareholders, contributed this recipe as a family favorite. Thank you Martine! It's adapted from “The Victory Garden Cookbook” by Marian Morash. You could also try this with a bit of the Sweet Chai dressing as well. Excellent for turnips too..

2 medium rutabagas or large turnips (2 lbs. total)
4 Tbsp. butter
¼ c. honey

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Peel rutabagas/turnips. Slice across width of vegetable to make ½ inch disks. Melt butter and brush onto baking sheet. Place disks on sheet and brush with butter. Bake for 15 minutes. Turn and coat with honey, bake another 15 minutes. Turn once more and coat with melted butter and honey. Bake another 15 minutes. You may have to adjust final time for size and thickness of the discs.

Oh, but this recipe from Vegetarian Times sounds even better: Rutabaga Pie!

Rutabaga Pie

Vegetarian Times Issue: January 1, 2003 p.64

Pumpkin meets its match in this custardy dessert, which is less dense than traditional pumpkin pie. The rutabaga lends a deep, complex flavor and contains nearly half the calories and about twice the vitamin C of the venerable pumpkin.

Ingredient List

Serves 10
Crust

* 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
* 1/2 tsp. salt
* 1/2 cup shortening
* 4 to 5 Tbs. ice water

Filling

* 1 1/4 lbs. rutabaga, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
* 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
* 1/4 cup dark corn syrup
* 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
* 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
* 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
* 1/4 tsp. salt
* 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
* 1 cup heavy cream

Directions

1. To make crust, in medium bowl, mix flour and salt. Cut in shortening until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in just enough ice water to hold dough together; do not overmix. Roll out dough on floured surface, and fit into 9-inch ovenproof glass or other pie plate.
2. To make filling, in large saucepan, bring generous amount of water to boil over medium heat. Add cubed rutabaga, and cook until very tender, 30 to 45 minutes. Drain well.
3. Transfer to food processor, food mill or blender, and process until smooth. If using blender, moisten mixture with 1/2 cup cream to process. Measure 2 packed cups rutabaga purée, and place in large bowl.
4. Preheat oven to 400F.
5. Stir sugar, corn syrup and spices into rutabaga purée, mixing well. Fold in eggs, then stir in heavy cream until well blended. Pour mixture into pie crust.
6. Bake for 45 minutes, or until set. Cool before serving.


Wine Suggestions
This pie blends the best of two dessert worlds—tangy fruit and cream—so you should choose a dessert wine that is either tangy or creamy or both. Try Bonny Doon Vineyard Vin de Glacière Muscat Canelli.
Nutritional Information

Per serving: Calories: 350, Protein: 5g, Total fat: 20g, Saturated fat: 8g, Carbs: 36g, Cholesterol: 95mg, Sodium: 230mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugars: 18g

I see that it has ginger in it, which reminds me of ginger root, which in turn reminds me of a f***ed up Haiku I once wrote:

Anything with soy sauce
Anything with garlic

That is the way to my heart





Wait...did I hear someone say CURRY? CURRY? How did you know?

You know, if I ever get to India.....I'm joining the ashram and I'm stayin'. Just sayin'....

Root Vegetable Curry

Vegetarian Times Issue: November 1, 1998 p.54 — Member Rating: 1111

This spicy curry is wonderful served over couscous and garnished with a dollop of sweet mango chutney. When buying curry powder, look for brands that contain the largest number of spices in the blend–16 is not unusual. The fewer the spices, the less flavorful the curry.

Ingredient List

6 Servings

  • 1/2 lb. baby carrots, halved
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 2 Tbs. all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 lb. daikon, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 Tbs. olive or canola oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp. curry powder or more to taste
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 lb. turnips (about 6 small) or rutabaga, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks

Directions

  1. In large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring often, until onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Add curry powder and stir until powder is heated and aromatic but not browned. Add broth and vegetables. Increase heat and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, 45 minutes.
  2. In small cup, whisk flour into water until smooth. Add to curry, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens, about 4 minutes. Serve hot.

Nutritional Information

Per serving: Calories: 113, Protein: 3g, Total fat: 4g, Saturated fat: 1g, Carbs: 19g, Cholesterol: mg, Sodium: 548mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugars: g

Well, if none of these ideas don't persuade you to give the lowly Rutabaga a try, at least bring wine if you show up at my house!

Love,

Bratty

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Who needs some 80's music?

I do!!!

So here for my Thursday Thirteen are thirteen 80's music videos that may bring back some memories for you.

I love this song. Perhaps my favorite REM song of all time:



And since we are back in that era...how about we really go back to the 1980's with a little something from the Violent Femmes? Love the hairdo on the guitarist!



The Psychedelic Furs were another popular band. I remember listening to them on the way to a keg somewhere in the hills around Wenatchee - of which there are quite a few!



And I was just thinking about my old Ramones tee shirt the other day - the one with the conehead skull on it. Where has it gone? I have a sneaky suspicion that I got rid of it years ago. Too bad! Wish I had another!





Now for a live performance by The Clash:



And who could forget Soft Cell? I think Tainted Love was one of the weirdest songs ever recorded, so how come it sticks?



Kind of like Flock of Seagulls - another 80's big hair fluff band. I think of their song, I Ran every time I'm out on the nature trail. It makes me giggle and snort, if you know what I mean!?



And now that we've moved from the serious to the fun to the laughable, maybe I should bring us all crashing back down to Earth with Wham! Oh yeah. Remember him? Yikes. Took himself a bit too serious that one!



I however never took him seriously. He had way too much blonde hair! And he looked like Ken of Ken and Barbie fame. Yuck!

Now I think I'll rock out to some Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Ahhhh....feels so much better!



And here is Tom Petty with Bo Diddly - who I saw live at Bumbershoot years ago - doing a Rolling Stones cover: Mona. I had a thing for this song back in like 4th grade. Can anybody explain that one?


And of course Petty was later in the Traveling Wilburys with Roy Orbison, Jeff Lynne, George Harrison and Bob Dylan, making some terrific music. But alas, no good videos exist on youtube. What's with all the covers? Eeek! There seems to be a dearth of good Petty videos to embed as well. Sigh....


But I've only got 2 more videos to go before I reach the Thursday Thirteen threshold. So what can I torture you with now.....hmmm.....I know!

Oingo Boingo!



And XTC! Who could possibly forget XTC?




There. Hope you enjoyed your trip down memory lane. The 80's were such a wild and woolly period weren't they? And kind of wiggly too. Sometimes off the mark, but for the most part, enjoyable.

See you cats later (oh yeah, I just remembered the Stray Cats!),

Bratty

Monday, October 19, 2009

Writing challenges

Dear Bratty Friends,

Here is a writing prompt for you. This actually happened to me today, and as luck would have it, or maybe it's just the general way my brain works, it started me thinking.....

Situation --- A man/woman pulls up to the McDonald's drive-through and waits to place their order. And waits. And waits. Nothing ever happens. Not a peep from the speaker board. Nada. The cars ahead all pull through the drive through and leave.

Possible scenarios --- okay, so where could this go? What kind of story could we weave starting with this one element?
  • SciFi- the McDonald's has just been taken over by aliens and the workers have been abducted to be used as cheap food source on another planet.
  • Action/Adventure - the McDonald's has been held up and all the employees rounded up in the freezer. Or, the employees have been rounded up, taken out the front door and put into a van where they will be driven to a river. They must raft the dangerous white water river or die trying.
  • Christian - rapture has occurred and all employees at this particular McDonald's were deemed worthy of ascension to heaven.Unfortunately, none of the customers qualified...
  • Foreign - the drive up window employee is too busy having sex with a young man/woman coming of age who is too in love with him/herself to bother with anything else.
  • Horror - strange vapors from the deep fry machine have turned all the McDonald's employees into crazed killer zombies who flat out refuse to make change.
  • Romance - the french fry fell in love with the burger and the two refuse to part even though one is rich and the other one is Jewish.
  • Animation - all the cute Disney-like kitchen equipment suddenly decides to stage a riot in retaliation for Bob the Grill's forced early retirement.
  • Comedy - what the hell's funny about sitting in the drive through yelling, "Hello!" at the speaker for minutes on end and feeling out of sorts? I ask you.
In other news, this is what I had for dinner:






And this is what I'm having now:




Oh, did I mention the GOAT LOVE?





Maybe this isn't a good time to bring it up?

:P

<3

Bratty

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Huston Smith




Dear Bratty Friends,

One time in high school I had to write a paper for history class about religion. I was about 16. I wrote the paper on the similarities between Buddhism and Christianity. I believe I got an A. But the grade wasn't really the point. It was the least of the thing. In reality the paper showed what I already believed - that religions, deep down, are really the same. They speak to the same place in the heart - the yogis will tell you the divine spark resides within you just two finger's width to the right side of your physical heart - and the messages are similar. Too bad the class didn't cover a writer who for me is a kindred spirit: Huston Smith. I had to discover him years later in another class in another time. But he was well worth the wait!

Right now I'm reading his autobiography, "Tales of wonder," and it's damn hard to believe the man is still alive. What a testimony to the healing qualities of yoga and mediation and prayer he is! Wow! Huston Smith was born in 1919, a year after my late grandfather, in Soochow, China. His parents were Christian missionaries in a town called Dzang Zok. His early life was a very simple life, and perhaps that's why he found a sort of meditative quality to life rather early. He left China for the U.S. in 1936, and has since taught at M.I.T., Washington University, UofC Berkeley, and Syracuse University. He is perhaps best known for his book, "The World's Religions," though the first book of his I read was "Forgotton Truth."



In fact, I have been working on a blog post about "Forgotten Truth," but have not completed it yet. Why do Thursdays seem to come and go so very quickly these days? I'm not lazy, I'm just distracted!

Smith also made a 5-part video series called "The Wisdom of Faith," for PBS with Bill Moyers in 1996 which is still available, as well as several other videos still available on Amazon. There's also a smattering of videos on Youtube to check out. Here's one:



The comments he is making on this video are very similar to his remarks in chapter one of Tales of Wonder, which I'm just finishing.

But if you really want to get to know the man's thinking, read his books. I'd lend you mine, but they are terribly highlighted, scribbled in, notated, and dog-eared!

I'll finish the Huston Smith post I've been working on, "the fiction in science" - a play on Donald Maas's "The Fire in Fiction" - in the next few days, and then it will almost be time for NaNoWriMo!



Gack!

How in the hell did it get to be November again? Somebody stop the clock!!!!

Love,


Bratty

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Horoscopes for the year ahead

Dear Bratty Friends,

You know those horoscopes that you get on your birthday that say, "You born this day..." etc.? Well I looked up a few and this is what they had to say.

Cafe Astrology

Excerpts:

Travel opportunities are likely. Matters related to universities, higher education, organized religion, publishing, legal affairs, and foreign interests proceed smoothly. This is an excellent year in which to seek advanced training or to further your education.

With Venus trine the Moon's North Node, you are very likely to attract loving relationships and/or new warm social contacts into your life. Your popularity increases and efforts to smooth over challenges in partnerships are more likely to succeed.

New contacts in your life are warm, friendly, growth-oriented, and stimulating. Creative instincts are strong. Your enthusiasm, vitality, and creativity are unmistakable this year. You need to feel that you can move and express yourself freely in order for you to succeed, and thinking outside of the box is natural for you. New ideas are easy to come by, and improving and refining your skills are in focus. Excitement is likely in your love life, and changes need to be made in order to improve your relationships.


Skywatch Astrology

If your birthday is this week (Oct 11–17)

You have a complicated and powerful Solar Return, the chart of a new year, Libra.

Your Sun is in trine to lucky Jupiter in this new chart and that means you have luck and protection on your side in the months ahead as long as you play it straight.

Powerful Mars in Cancer lines up in harmony with Uranus and Saturn in this new SR, Libra. That means unexpected changes in the workplace will likely be in your favor, and that situations you start this year can bring you benefits for years to come.

Health issues need addressing this year—improving your diet will give you more energy and help you avoid problems down the road.

Time to get realistic about money and what you think you need. Count on things costing more than you expected this year. Relationships that are weak will probably dissolve in 2010. Positive energy is around someone older, an authority figure, in your life—listen to them.

If your birthday is today

Excerpt:

Birthday Forecast for You


2009
is a Number Five year for you. Ruled by Mercury. This is a year of exploration and freedom. It’s a time when exploration and reaching out to others brings opportunities. It’s a good time to advertise and sell. Surprises are in store, and the routine is broken. This is a year when exciting relationships can be formed, or, if you are already in a partnership, new life is breathed into the relationship. Advice – explore, look for adventure, keep your eyes open for opportunities, mingle.


Astrology.horoscope.com


For those of us born on October 11:

This birthday year introduces you to a time of clear vision and new understandings. Your life path begins to open almost magically in front of you as you finally start to understand what direction to go in. If this sense of progress has been a long time coming, know that the wait will soon prove to be worthwhile.

Ultra Foo

"If I go out I'll be cold, but if I don't I can't whiz on the neighbour's porch."

Yeah...I was just thinking that! :P

But to be honest, this one fits me much better. In fact, I'd say I damn near live by this creed:

“Sometimes it’s to your advantage for people to think you’re crazy.”

Thelonious Monk, American jazz pianist and composer, 1917-1982.

And now for some cake. After all, didn't Marie (MaaaHReeeee) Antoinette (another Frenchie, eh?) quip, "Let them eat cake!"? Met thinks it was her, tho the quote is woefully out of context.


A Domo cake!


A dancing Shiva cake:

An OM cake:




And what could be better than a Star Trek cake? Hmmm??


Okay, enough goofing around. It's time all good birthday girls went to bed with a glass of wine....as my namesake Yvette Mimieux might do:




Really, I ought to have been named Elizabeth, but mom just wanted something a little bit different.

Thanks, mom!

Love,

Bratty



The 2009 potato harvest, et al

Dear Bratty Friends,

Here's some new pics straight from the Davis Farms storage room - aka the back porch, the kitchen, the weird little cold room next to the office or any place vegetables can be stacked, frozen, or stored canned - of the 2009 harvest. Well, parts of it anyway.

The potato harvest - some Kennebecs, some Russian Bananas, and some Russets.




I was trying to locate photos of the '08 harvest on my blog....but I don't see 'em. Couldn't find them on Facebook either. Damn! Ken says this year is a smaller harvest, I say not by too much, but then again....the proof is missing! Ack!

So, here we have some yellow storage onions and the last of the sweet peppers - we've eaten most of the sweet peppers fresh this year. Probably up on my vitamin A and C, as peppers in general are really good sources of vitamins. BTW yes that is a Star Trek TOS poster in the background! Joy!






We also dry some peppers for later use in sauces, etc. A food dehydrator comes in quite handy at times. Other vegetables of course get frozen (the corn and some peppers) or canned (tomatoes), etc.







And that leaves us with the winter vegetables still in the ground that will be consumed in the coming months (mostly cole crops):

Kale
Carrots

Beets
Brussel sprouts
Cabbage

Collard greens



Leeks


Rutabagas
and corn salad in the spring.

Corn salad, also known as "lamb's tongue" or "mache" is a crop used to fill the "hunger gap" in the spring when it's still too cold to work the land and yet you need that vitamin boost that only fresh greens supply. For more on the hunger gap, see the Four Season Harvest by Eliot Coleman. or see his web site.

Mache is beeoootiful too:




It never grows very tall, but its texture is smooth and buttery and it tastes somewhat sesame-like. I highly recommend it!

And here just for yucks is a pic of most of the garden in it's full glory or whathaveyou in August this year.

Now that the frost is here and everything's mulched or covered, it really doesn't resemble this quite so much. But be amazed - it will continue to produce all winter long!






So if y'all need some kale this winter, come see me! Sorry, but the lettuce is off!

Love,

Bratty

Saturday, October 10, 2009

I.O.U.S.A.


Dear Bratty Friends,

The 2008 documentary, "I.O.U.S.A." has graced my doorstep via Netflix. I didn't watch the whole thing, but what I did see prompted the following suggestions/complaints for the film's producers:

1. You show us the pie chart of U.S. spending but really only talk about the rising costs of Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, and how those will affect the country's future financial situation. You forgot to mention the gluttonous size of the country's military budget. Nobody ever seems willing to suggest we could cut government spending there....

2. You forgot to mention the workers, who, now paid a lower real wage than a worker back in the 50's or so, are quite unable to save money unlike previous generations did. There are other reasons than person choice for why people don't save these days.

3. And nobody mentioned the amount of U.S. goods manufactured over seas, which I have heard is largely a fallacy but it still bears some scrutiny, I think.

Most things could use more scrutiny.

Recently I attended a NAPMW meeting and seminar by Ken Perry of Broker Knowledge Group. He had two interesting videos to show us that I thought I'd post links to here. The first one shows Peter Schiff, president of Euro Pacific Capital being taken to task back in 2006 for sounding the warning bell of coming economic collapse:





It's weird to see WAMU and Merrill Lynch touted as good stocks to buy - mere months before they were on the chopping block!

The second one offers a two-part explanation for the term Crisis of Credit. For those that do like things explained visually, this could be helpful. It's still a complicated issue, tho simplified here:






But while finances are a fascinating subject, the Michael Moore
interview with Sean Hannity on Fox News is what really blew me away today. *shakes head* I mean, OMG I can't believe 1) these two are arguing over religion and money in quite this way, 2) Hannity just doesn't seem to get what Moore's trying to tell him, and 3) there's two parts! OMG!

Here's the first one -


And here's the second one:




Hannity seems to be soooo concerned with how much money Michael Moore makes that it's absurd! It's like he's on trial. Why? And how is partisan bickering solving any of life's questions?

My cat can make more headway against the credit crunch than these two together!

Mein Got! Is there a part III? Oh no......I don't think I can take any more! *runs screaming from the room*

AAAIIIIEEEE!

More later,

Love Bratty

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

A or B?

Dear Bratty Friends,

Do you ever go to the eye doctor and have an exam? Do you ever sit in that little chair with the huge goggles in front of you and attempt to read the chart waaayyyy down at the end of the darkened (why is it always darkened? I feel like I'm on a Dracula set or something) room while the good doctor flips the little lenses back and forth? Back and forth.....back and forth....it's sort of a rhythmic pattern, don't you think?

And as he/she flips them he/she intones, "A or B?" or "1 or 2?"

"A or B?"

"1 or 2?"

"Which one is better?"

Well, for an indecisive type person that is tantamount to jumping feet-first into boiling lava. (Okay, I exaggerate a leetle!) Which one? Which one? It seems like hundreds of tiny questions - but it's the same one really over and over and over.

Kind of like life, ennit?

Only we ask - if we are awake enough to ask, that is, and I know many who aren't - things like, "Who am I?", "How did I get here?", "What's the point of all this?", "What does life mean?", "What the hell am I supposed to do now?"

Well, I won't drag you there into my internal musings on those questions today. Nope. You get off easy.

I'm simply gonna ask you if you see any relation at all between these A's and B's.

Ready?

Okay, here we go.

Eric Gay of the Associated Press took this photograph of fish that were stuck in a fence in West Orange, Texas.


I took this photo of leaves stuck in a fence at the Walla Walla entrance to the loop trail after a violent wind storm.


In this case, A, B, or C?


The original - the Borg Queen! Resistance is futile! Oh, if they'd only told me that earlier. How much suffering I could have spared myself! Que lastima!


Um....look familiar at all?



Oh why does she have her breasts covered? Oh yeah, this is America where such things are frowned upon!

Sorry, I'll try not to confuse you like that again! :)

Here's an easy one: A or B?







Ha! That one was good, wasn't it? Well, now they're about to get tougher! Ha ha!







And what about this one then, eh? This one's even tougher:




Well? A or B? Hmmm......







Careful, don't let your eyes cross on this one:







More later, and Huston Smith too.

<3

Bratty