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October 2, 2004

From 'Poems' - by Anne Michaels

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Sometimes I'm certain that those who are happy
know one thing more than us... or one thing less.


Everyone knows promises comes from fear.


Even in a place you know intimately,
each night's darkness is different.


I'm living proof we don't stop wanting what we can't have.


I used to think we escaped time
by disappearing into beauty.
Now I see it's the opposite.
Beauty reveals time.


What I learned then sustains me
through every sorrow:
it's the believer who keeps looking for proof.


The source of light
is the painter's body.


The kind of music where loss wears gloves.


Only love sees the familiar for the first time.


Not that paint captures light,
but that light breaks free from the paint.


A still life isn't about fruit, but about
time.


Lovers are equal only when so steeped
in corruption, knowledge of the other
is no longer a weapon.


The immanence that reassembles matter
passes through us then disperses
into time and place.


Waiting for experience to find its way
into us.


How similar the leap of faith and the leap
of fear.


History is the love that enters us
through death; its discipline
is grief.


Walter Benjamin, who devoured books
"the way a flame 'reads' wood."


In a dream
the hooded hawk is sometimes
love, sometimes
death; everything stops at the moment
of unmasking.


Colette said, when one we love dies
there's no reason to stop
writing them letters.

October 2, 2004 at 09:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

'Collateral'

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I finally saw this today, at the theater as opposed to waiting for the DVD.

It was OK, good, I guess.

Maybe I just wasn't in my usual action mode, 'cause the reviews all said it was great.

I mean, I didn't daydream, or wish it was over, or shorter or anything, the way I do when I really don't like a movie.

I just kind of sat there, eating my pumpkin seeds (David & Sons, salted, in the small bag) and tossing the shells on the floor.

I always race out of the theater before the lights come up so there's no chance of associating me with the hill of empty white shells surrounding my seat.

I doubt there's a poster of someone who looks like me up in theater managers' offices around Charlottesville warning of the shell-scatterer.

I still am confounded by how it is that I only have to pay $5.25 to watch the results of $40 million up on the screen.

Seems like a huge bargain to me, always has.

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Jamie Foxx, the guy who stars opposite Tom Cruise in the film, is really quite good; I wouldn't have known his name unless I read it on the credits, though I know I've seen him in stuff.

October 2, 2004 at 06:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

'Yoga for the Hands'

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Sabrina Mesko's new boxed set, only $11.87 on amazon.

Sabrina's a former ballerina, Broadway dancer, and model who learned yoga to help overcome a back injury.

Then she got her bachelor's, masters, and doctoral degrees from the American Institute of Holistic Theology, moved to Beverly Hills - I mean, where else would you go? - and started an international teaching practice.

She wrote "Healing Mudras," which made the Los Angeles Times health best-seller list.

What's a mudra, you ask?

It's an ancient hand gesture found in one form or another in every culture.

According to Sabrina, we all use mudra-like gestures each day but without the powerful potential they offer when properly practiced and employed.

"Yoga for the Hands" shows you how, in daily sessions only three minutes long, you can profoundly improve your mudras.

Improvements in general health, productivity, communication skills, stress management, balance, and many other aspects of life will then be noticed.

October 2, 2004 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

BehindTheMedspeak: Zero Gravity 'Perfect Chair' is a Perfect Hoax

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Unbelievable to me, that Interactive Health has been able to flog this chair to where they're now selling 10,000 a year, at $1,500 a pop, at their 92-store chain alone.

Leanne Mattes, vice president of marketing for Relax the Back, said, "It puts you in a complete, stress-free position - your knees are higher than your heart, it promotes circulation, there are no pressure points on the spine."

The chair has been around for 15 years, but it's now being promoted for people with back pain or recovering from surgery.

Interactive Health says the design is based on the seats NASA provides the astronauts for blastoff during space.

Gee, I don't know about you, but my furniture hasn't moved much at all recently, nor have I experienced any major G-forces around the house.

You can get the very same benefits the Zero Gravity Recliner/"Perfect Chair" offers for absolutely no charge right at home.

Here's what you do:

1) Find a comfy couch, or your bed

2) Pile up some cushions so that when you lie down on your back, your knees are bent at 90° to your thighs, and your thighs are upright, at least at a 45° angle

3) Enjoy the $1,500 rattling around in your pocket

The whole point is to elevate your legs above your chest; the rest is bogus.

Besides, the chair's ugly as hell, who wants that thing sitting around?

Hey, I don't just talk the talk, I walk the walk:

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Above, my set-up, where I've been reading in great comfort, stress-free, for longer than the chair's been in existence.

I figured this one out on my own.

Note, for your amusement, the indentation left in the red chenille cushion (up near the lamp) by the skull-shaped container for my pea-sized brain.

October 2, 2004 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Eloisa Cartonera

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Coming to a hemisphere near you sooner than you think, this guerilla publisher in Buenos Aires, Argentina is turning the once-great, now-Third-World-like country's publishing industry on its ear.

Following Argentina's economic collapse in late 2001, this company arose from the ruins in Almagro, a lower middle-class neighborhood in Buenos Aires.

In a broken-down shop on Guardia Street, young writers and artists have established an art gallery and bookshop that serves as the public face of Eloisa Cartonera, a publishing house that makes original books from recycled cardboard and cheap prints and sells them for less than 5 pesos ($1.60) each, about a third the price of a conventional paperback.

Javier Barilaro, one of the publishers' three founders, said, "Anyone can do this. Anyone who has written anything can get the book printed themselves."

The book covers are printed with rough stencils and poster paints.

The content is usually printed cheaply or photocopied.

Eloisa Cartonera's books, by authors both unknown and famous, are selling well in the stores of established booksellers in Buenos Aires.

In the past year, they've published over 50 titles.

The company eschews banks, credit and copyright.

The founders consider it not a business but, rather, an applied art.

They also consider themselves "anti-Borgesian," because the great Argentine writer disdained popular culture.

The company has already spawned imitators across the South American continent, and other cardboard publishers have set themselves up in the Argentine city of Rosario, in Lima, Peru and Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.

Mucho mas que libros! (Much more than books!) is the slogan on the list of titles roughly pasted inside the back cover of each book.

Look for a version of this phenomenon north of the equator in the near future.

[via Richard Lapper in The Financial Times]

October 2, 2004 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Why 'Retro' will triumph over 'Metro' in the United States of the future

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According to Phillip Longman, a senior fellow at the New America Foundation and author of "The Empty Cradle: How Falling Birthrates Threaten World Prosperity and What to Do About It," 47% of those who attend church weekly say that their ideal family size is three or more children.

By contrast, only 27% of those who seldom attend church want that many children.

High fertility, he notes, also correlates strongly with support for President Bush.

Of the top 10 most fertile states, all but one voted for Bush in 2000.

Among the 17 states that still produce enough children to replace their populations, all but two - Iowa and Minnesota - voted for Bush in the last election.

Conversely, the least fertile states - including Maine, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut - went overwhelmingly for Gore.

Women living in Gore states have 12% fewer children than women living in Bush states.

Indeed, if the Gore states seceded from the Bush states and formed a new nation, it would have the same fertility rate - and the same rapidly aging population - as France, bastion of Donald Rumsfeld's "old Europe."

Longman writes that secular-minded Americans who decide to have few or no children unwittingly give a strong evolutionary advantage to the other side of the cultural divide.

Since most children wind up with pretty much the same religious and political orientations as their parents, Longman believes that America's future is "Retro," not "Metro."

[via The Washington Post]

October 2, 2004 at 06:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Himalania - pink salt from the Himalayas

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OK, at $22 /lb., it's more expensive than the "World's Largest Salted Cashews" from Trader Joe's, but it's an awful lot cheaper than that $3,000/lb. beluga caviar you bought yesterday.

So continue the as-salt and try some of this delicate pink product, "rich in calcium, magnesium, potassium, copper and iron."

Every spring, it's brought down from the heights (over 10,000 feet) by yak caravans to Nepalese valleys where it's prepared for shipment to you.

October 2, 2004 at 03:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

BehindTheMedspeak: Do stem cells cause cancer?

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Irving Weissman and colleagues, from the Stanford University Institute for Cancer/Stem Cell Biology and Medicine, think so.

Just look at the name of their institute.

In the August 12, 2004 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, they reported that among the millions of cancerous cells found in patients with chronic myelogenous leukemia, only a small, discrete population had the ability to replenish the cancer.

So far, scientists have found evidence of such cancer stem cells in breast cancer, a variety of brain cancers, and one other type of leukemia.

Michael Clarke, a professor of medicine at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, said, "What we've been doing is simply making the tumor shrink - leaving the equivalent of the source, or head, behind. So it just regrows. What we need to figure out how to sever the head so it doesn't grow back."

Cancer stem cells appear to be mutant versions of normal stem cells.

It remains unclear how they originate, but researchers believe they probably arise as a result of genetic defects or exposure to toxins.

Scientists are trying urgently to identify stem cells for every type of malignancy.

Then they can target just this small population of cells to kill the cancer at its source.

Work in animals by Dr. Craig T. Jordan of the University of Rochester has succeeded in identifying a molecular switch involved in cell survival that appears unique to leukemia stem cells and absent from normal stem cells.

Jordan's group has, in the animal laboratory, succeeded in killing tumor stem cells with specially formulated and targeted drugs, leaving normal stem cells unaffected.

A preliminary trial at the University of Kentucky involving leukemia patients is attempting to duplicate these results in humans.

Alas, the history of cancer research ever since Richard M. Nixon declared a "war on cancer" has been replete with promising early results that, in nearly every case, fail to pan out.

[via Rob Stein in the Washington Post]

October 2, 2004 at 12:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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