Chuang Tzu: The Wind Envies the Eye, the Eye Envies the Mind

The walrus envies the millepede
(for its many legs and nimble gait),
the millepede envies the snake
(which moves without any legs),
the snake envies the wind
(for moving far more quickly even without a body),
the wind envies the eye
(which travels without moving),
and the eye envies the mind
(which can observe more than just what is in front of it).

The walrus said to the millepede, “I have this one leg/trunk that I maneuver along on, though I make little progress. Now how in the world do you manage to work all those ten thousand legs of yours?”

The millepede said, “You don’t understand; it’s not like I consciously direct each one. Have you ever watched someone spew their drink? Out it comes; some drops as big as pearls, some as fine as mist, raining down in a jumble of countless particles. All I do is put in motion the heavenly mechanism in me – I’m not aware of how it all works.”

The millepede said to the snake, “I have all these legs that I move along on, but I can’t seem to keep up with you who have no legs at all. How is that?”

The snake said, “It’s just the heavenly mechanism moving me along – how can I change the way I naturally am? What would I do with legs if I had them?”

The snake said to the wind, “I move my backbone and ribs and manage to get to where I am going, but I still have some kind of body. But now here you come whirling up from the North Sea and whirling off again to the South Sea, and you do it without even having a body. How is that?”

The wind said, “It’s true that I travel far and wide. But if you hold up a finger up against me you’ve defeated me, and if you trample on me you’ve likewise overcome me. On the other hand, I can break down big trees and blow over great houses – this is a unique talent I happen to have. So I take the mass of little defeats in stride and make them into a Great Victory. To make a Great Victory simply with what I have/am – only the sage is capable of that!”

-Chuang Tzu (circa 369-286 BCE), excerpted from chapter 17, “Autumn Floods”

Strawberries and Sprouts Sandwich

Here’s an interesting little combo I put together when I was on a tomato n’ sprouts sandwich kick and ran out of tomatoes. I thought, “Hey, how about putting two layers of strawberries in there instead?” Strawberries in a sandwich with mayo?!

Yup, turned out really good in fact.

A strawberries and sprouts sandwich pic from Life Is Melody

A strawberries and sprouts sandwich

  • Two lightly toasted pieces of sprouted or whole grain bread
  • 3/4 cup of organic mixed sprouts
  • 6 (organic) strawberries sliced to 1/3″ thick
  • Organic mayo

Put a light layer of mayo on each slice of toast. (Toast makes a much better sandwich here than untoasted bread.) Build a two-layers thick bottom base of strawberries. Pile on the sprouts and maybe a little more mayo on the top piece of toast. Press down to slightly ‘pack’ the sandwich so the sprouts and strawberries don’t tumble out as easily. You’re set to go!

Munfy Toons: Will Code for Food

Because I think we can all agree that “Will code for food to be able to sell it for money to then get art supplies so that I can paint and then try to sell some paintings for rent and food so that I’ll have a roof over my head where I can then continue to learn and improve my coding skills to be able to then go out and code for more food” would just be too big-ass of a sign.

Here’s DCMunford’s cartoon this month:

Homeless person with laptop: Will code for food

‘Psycho’-phants On Wealth Disparity: Unwittingly Fighting A War Which They Refuse To Acknowledge

Bring up the historic levels of wealth disparity in this country and all of the sudden you’re accused by the ‘psychophants’ and water-carriers of waging class warfare.

How about that people are finally making commonsense observations about how democracy and rule “of, by and for the people” has been subverted by an oligarchic rule. Just by starting a discussion, you rub up against their indoctrinated misbeliefs, set off their shriek monkey alarms and are accused of starting a war.

A war that they themselves have been unwittingly fighting on behalf of people who disdain them. A war that has been going on for over thirty years in broad daylight, but one which they themselves refuse to acknowledge even exists. The real outrage should be directed at the widening wealth disparity, not at the people who are finally noticing it.

Just because there’s no tanks and bombs, no news coverage and no formal declarations, don’t think it isn’t war. It is. It’s unbridled class warfare; and you, your neighbors, your co-workers and your fellow citizens, along with the planet itself, is under attack. Remaining silent, claiming ignorance or simply not wishing to ‘rock the boat’ is simply acquiescing.

Here’s Thom Hartmann on “Billionaires vs “We the People.”

Ladies and Gentlemen, Septuagenarian Keith Richards

Oh yes he did. The Human Riff turned 70 today.

And what a ride it’s been. For his body, for music, and for all of us. Happy Birthday Keith.

His use of silence/space, the 5-string open G Tele, playing milliseconds behind or ahead of the beat, the multitude and breadth of styles he could inhabit, the infectious grooves he could create, the heart and ‘tude he’s brought to the table all these years.

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5 More Supplements for the Winter Months

Vitamin D, Echinacea, Garlic, Nux Vomica, Green Superfoods

With the arrival of colder temperatures for the last 2-3 weeks for much of the U.S. and Canada, it’s time for a followup to last year’s ““5 Great Supplements for Winter”” post. That article espoused Singer’s Saving Grace throat spray, vitamin C powder packets, OscillococcinumTM (homeopathic flu remedy), Rescue Remedy and Olba’s Inhaler as five of my trusted companions during the chillier part of the year. Here are five more supplements for the winter months.

  • Vitamin D -the most common forms come from cod liver oil and sheep’s wool. The lanolin version from sheep’s wool is the closest to a ‘vegetarian’ form since it technically doesn’t have you ingesting an animal part, and no animals are harmed during the process. Unlike vitamin C, there aren’t a whole lot of non-animal/dairy food sources of this nutrient. Many people also supplement with D in the winter because the northern climes they live in don’t provide enough winter sunlight for them to get their usual amount of skin-absorbed and synthesized vitamin D that they get during the warmer months. Capsules or drops in the 400, 1000 and 2000 IU dosages are popular. There’s been a noticeable uptick since 2010 of doctors and nutritionists starting to recommend higher dosages of this supplement for their patients, and of manufacturers rolling out potencies as high as 5000 IU.
Echinacea on the D.C. mall

Echinacea growing behind the Smithsonian in DC

  • Echinacea -tincture, tea or capsule form. The purple coneflower; echinacea angustifolia and echinacea purpurea are the two most commonly used species. Echinacea helps support the immune system and produce white blood cells. Usually ‘pulsed’; that is, taken for three to four weeks and then stopped, for a break, before resuming. Once a bug or cold is three days old, echinacea is not as impactful. Thus, it is a good immune supporting supplement when you’re not sick or if taken at the first signs of an oncoming illness. I prefer the liquid tincture forms, which usually come in 1- or 2-oz. dropper bottles in a vegetable glycerin or grain alcohol base. The alcohol-based tinctures tend to have a longer shelf life (sometimes by years) than the sweeter tasting glycerin ones, but you can prolong the efficacy of the glycerin-based tinctures by storing them in the fridge after opening them and using them up within six months. Good echinacea (tincture) causes a distinctive tingling sensation on the tongue after ingestion.

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Midnight Picnic Once Upon A Time; Suzanne Standing

Through the morning as I’m listening

To the bells of the cathedral
I am thinking of your voice…

And of the midnight picnic
Once upon a time
Before the rain began…

And I finish up my coffee
And it’s time to catch the train.

-Suzanne Vega, “Tom’s Diner”

Talk-sing-whispers. Suzanne Vega burst onto the scene in 1985 with her eponymous debut on A & M Records. My friend Giles turned me onto it over the holiday break that year while we were both in town visiting family and friends in Pittsburgh. It was a refreshing change-up at the time for acoustic music fans, and indeed the public at large, to hear something like “Marlene On The Wall” on the radio. Amidst a musical landscape dominated by synth pop, hair ‘metal’, modern R and B, a burgeoning alternative rock and post-punk scene, rap and more, came a record of quiet observations and introspective verse delivered in a half whispery singing style atop a finger-picked acoustic guitar. Qu’elle difference! A sparse but sharp set of backing musicians fleshed out the arrangements with a modern feel, mixing in atmospheric electric guitar and keyboards.

Her smash followup, 1987′s “Solitude Standing”, featured “Luka”, “Tom’s Diner” and a bevy of great songs including “Wooden Horse (Kasper Hauser song)”, “Ironbound/Poultry Parts” and the Homeric references of “Calypso”, presented live below from a July 2011 performance in France:

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