Monday, August 31, 2009

Relativity


Sometimes, it's good to be humbled. It reminds us not to be boastful nor complacent. Case in point, a tennis match I played this weekend. After fervently trying to connect with a friend in Georgetown, we finally met on Sunday for a couple sets. A couple excruciating sets, resulting in utmost humiliation for me. I was lucky to win the game I did, as he dismantled my serve and methodically held his.

It was like watching Roger Federer play Will Ferrell. Except, at least then it'd be funnier.

Not only was I practically violated, I remembered how relative everything is. I'm a good tennis player. In fact, compared with the majority of the world, I'm an excellent tennis player. Yet, within the top 2% of people who play tennis at a high level, I'm pitiable.

Take aesthetics for example. Many of us are semi-obsessed with our appearance. There are days we walk confidently and strut and days where we wish we lived as an eremite. Ideally we don't vacillate to far on either side of the pendulum, though it's easy to flaunt a new shirt and haircut. And it's just as easy to disappear during an acne breakout or bad sunburn.

Moreover, one can be the best looking person in a room (fairly objectively), and walk down the hall and be the ugliest. Our self-esteem is contingent on our environment if we allow it. Unless, we find inner meaning and value in ourselves, we're susceptible to the variations of life. Like Einstein discovered, the theory of relativity.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Halt

Buoyed by refreshing breeze,
The shaky quake reduces speed,
Stops the outside interference,
The sight of your smile in the distance,

A beat or two my heart does skip,
Uncontrollably I bite my lip,
This whirlwind of the world's commotion,
Ceases in a peaceful moment,

Like pressing pause on life itself,
There's only us all by ourselves,
Forever in everlasting grace,
I clench the experience I taste,

No one's grasped our cyclopean impact,
Disbelieving love is ever all that,
If only we could share our space,
For once they'd feel the emotional craze,

The thought of you makes my heart flutter,
Never satisfied with anyone other,
Your smile renders my body mush,
In love I fall in one grand whoosh,

Some people say we're meant to be,
Our hearts resoundingly agree,
Unconditional love I do possess,
Cherishing you my everlasting quest,

But then a thud intrudes my dream,
The crank's yell, the babies scream,
You're disintegrating like a mirage,
I beseech this wasn't a facade,

Stripped and hollow I wake up,
Tears gather as I choke up,
Another world a different existence,
You'd come and stay through mutual persistence,

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Youthful Naivete and Exuberance


One of the things I admire about some of my peers is how engaged and optimistic they are. Clinging to the notion they can holistically change the world, they work tirelessly and constantly discuss the great issues of our time. Washington D.C. is a haven for young professionals. Underpaid and overworked, their undeterred sanguinity is contagious.

Walk down any NW city block between the hours of 11 and 2 and you'll see a multitude of activists. Young women raising awareness about Darfur. Young men soliciting donations for the environment. Diverse workers from across the globe choose D.C.

After all, it's the new Wall Street.

As people age, they lose their vivacity for the causes they once championed.

Life comes at you fast. You get married, pay hefty bills, have children to provide for, a spouse to please - your previous passions take a backseat. Hopefully you retain the compassion and interest, but the insatiable desire for revolution mitigates.

Young people should be encouraged in their quest for progress. The window to immerse in that environment is brief enough as it is. Older friends and family members who criticize or jest should rethink their approach. It's well-known (insider knowledge) that Capitol Hill would break down if not for the 20-28 demographic working 60 -hour weeks for abysmal wages.

With all the griping and gridlock outsiders hear of the Beltway, it's easy to forget how much beauty and life there is. The wisdom of the old is realism. The wisdom of the youth is idealism. In the midst, change results.

It's their energy and idealistic naivete that propels the youth to continue. Don't squelch that, augment it. It's beautiful and refreshing.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

R.I.P. Senator Edward Kennedy


Senator Ted Kennedy passed away yesterday, and with him passed a generation of Kennedyesque heroism. Hardly removed from the death of his sister, Eunice, Ted died at an inopportune time, an ill-fated tradition of his namesake.

Death consumes us all, though rarely did it play such a heartwrenching consistent parallel than in the Kennedy family. A Shakespearean calamity, a family blessed with such wisdom, charisma, influence and ability yanked abruptly.

Ted was a champion of the disenfranchised. Many politicians and pundits proclaim that his absence during the health care debate is corrrelated with its regression. Offering such a commanding presence, colleagues on both sides of the political spectrum respected and moderated their views accordingly. Rarely given a viable opportunity to pass reform, we were at the cusp shortly before his death.

Now its passing becomes a looming mandate, a compulsory parting gift. If only he lived to see its success.

Although Ted was caricaturized by the media (who isn't these days) as a rigid liberal, his bipartisan resume is second to none. Senator John McCain just a few days ago attributed the current lack of leadership and gridlock to Kennedy's giant vacancy. During his 40 + years of service, although never deviating far from progressive principles, he corralled votes necessary to pass legislation.

Surely the name Kennedy reeks of nepotism in politics, though the pressure to live up to his family's stature is one he braved. He admired his older brothers for their accomplishments and worked tirelessly to fill their shoes. Instead of becoming a hopeless depressor after the assasinations, he became motivated and focused. He must have had an oversized heart to overcome the immeasurable grief he endured.

It's difficult to express the amount his passing is affecting me. Although I never met him, I always sympathized and admired his tenacity. When I was trying ardently to convince my friends to vote for Obama in 2008 (I endorsed Barack in 2006) I was shocked that Ted chose to
endorse him as well (much to Hillary and Bill's chagrin). I know how closely Ted had worked with the Clintons, and coming from a racist state, I figured he'd confidently promote Hillary.

I was glad to be wrong.

He spoke out against the Vietnam War, voted against the war in Iraq, and considered health care his calling. A man I respect. A man I admire. A man we can all learn from. I'm curious to know what inspired him to achieve after the anguish he encountered. A lambent mind and a bleeding heart, a tribute to - as President Obama said - "The greatest Senator of our time."

Rest in peace.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Riddle


Everyone argues over me,
Vital to resuscitate can't you see,
People are flouting "A Time to Kill,"
Insuring is the opposite of their will,

Manipulated by the shrewd pundits,
Like sugar falling from the stick of a Fun-Dip,

Am I the child left behind? Or will I be included in due time?

What am I?

Friday, August 21, 2009

The Irrelativeness of Ethics and Intelligence


Many brilliant minds have accomplished great financial success and popularity in the world. Intelligence and affluence don't always coincide, but pending motivation for financial gain, they're often fairly correlated. An example of an anomaly is a dedicated journalist whose brilliance is used philanthropically and not to increase one's own possessions. Or perhaps a teacher at a rudimentary level.

Both persons likely acknowledge they're not maximizing personal economic wealth. However, that's not what's most important to them. They'd prefer to live modestly and impact the world in a more altruistic fashion.

Another misconception is to connect intelligent people with virtuous living. In politics, often the opposite is true (see Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot, etc.) Many intelligent people utilize their sagacity to manipulate those who are particularly gullible. A great example of this is Antonin Scalia of the U.S. Supreme Court. Scalia is revered by liberals and conservatives alike for his wickedly clever logic and congruous opinions.

However, it would be a monstrous mistake to portray Scalia as a principled man of compassion. In fact, it would be outrageous.

Which leads me to ask a rhetorical question; why do certain folks champion the disenfranchised (like Colman McCarthy, Nicolas Kristof and Dennis Kucinich) while others revel in their disregard (like Clarence Thomas, Dick Cheney, Bill O'Reilly)?

Without a definite answer, some possibilities are; selfishness, psychological complexes, opportunism, capitalism and self-satisfaction. The appropriate designation would depend on the individual. However, the most powerful feeling on the planet is to possess the knowledge and capability to control other's without doing it. One of the most unhearlded virtues is restraint.

Take experimentation on animals as an example. Almost every adult human regardless of sex has the capacity to inflict pain and dominion over non human animals. Why not exercise that ability? We restrain ourselves because of cultural domestication of animals, the books we read, or fear of punitive consequences via law (not an exhaustive list).

Certainly there's (excuse the pun) a pecking order when it comes to ethics. None of us lead perfect lives, though many make concerted efforts to try. Others keep to themselves and spend minimal time thinking one way or another. While others use clever words to stultify, all the while aware of their devilish intentions.

This post spawned from an encounter I had with a coworker. Knowing my passion for ethics, he walked past me at lunch and told me loudly how delicious his steak salad was. And I thought, how obnoxious and crude. Certainly this guy is his own karmic enemy and the fact that he's 100 pounds or so overweight is testament to his unhappiness. Maybe he feels compelled to control animals because he cannot seem to control anything else in his life?

I managed to mumble, "sick." Some people are unreachable. And some people take pride in their grasp of influence (and use it to ridicule the good in the world). Well, illigiti non carborundum. Remember that even though you may respect someone because of their intelligence, you don't have to respect their moral compass. Often, you shouldn't. Keep in mind when watching the health care debate on television.

Be weary of diction used evocatively.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Office Life...


Although I'm not the most punctual employee, I don't take a cavalier approach to my work. The projects I complete, and the schools I'm assigned to recruit, are thoroughly researched to avoid any missteps. During my visits on campus, it's vital to bring vivacity and humor to every speech I deliver. Sometimes, numbering as many as 9 in a day.

A taxing venture, one that many of my colleagues complete with significantly less brio. Not to mention, meager results.

Therefore, when I'm back in the office, I take a somewhat ego-centric, and laid-back mentality. Surely I'm cordial and a resource to my colleagues, though I primarily keep to myself and ensure my tasks are done on time and satisfactorily.

More than that, I believe in the organization I work for - bringing opportunity and transformation to young person's lives. I experienced it, and I observe it firsthand every semester when new students arrive. Walking through the door tentatively and walking out confidently. I bring this up solely because it gives me enthusiasm and pride to take my job seriously.

This fall, I'm expected to recruit at 14 schools across the country. Three of which will be 2-day visits. The schools I'm assigned are; University of Connecticut, Southern Connecticut State, Quinnipiac University, Central Connecticut State, University of Washington-Seattle, Washington State, Eastern Washington, Western Washington, Arizona State, Florida State, Jacksonville University, University of North Florida, University of Florida and University of Central Florida.

When I step on campus, whether I'm familiar with my surroundings or not, I bring it. I understand my value to the organization is not office-time, rather the revenue accrued based on students who attend our program. The motif never deviates, though I'm expected to speak cogently with my audience. Sometimes it's freshman, sometimes seniors, sometimes faculty and sometimes professors.

What annoys me about the office - besides feeling out of my element - is that some people micromanage and/or snicker at the tasks levied my way. Or moreover, the need for some employees to righteously narc about petty components. Such as getting to work promptly or taking a longer lunch. Or, blogging perhaps.

In my humble opinion, unless I am not accomplishing my work, or if the fruition of my work is unacceptable, people shouldn't feel obligated to whistle blow. Of course, I'm not referring to harassment or any other event that compromises a fellow employee. I'm referring to matters solely reflecting the employee him/herself.

I believe in incentive and meritocracy. I am paid a salary and am therefore not stringently enforced to follow work hours exactly. As long as the job is done timely and professionally, that's what matters most (of course other factors are important as well such as dressing professionally and not slouching and being approachable, etc..)

The fact is, many employees who complain are projecting their inner guilt for utilizing sick days or their frequent trips to Dunkin Donuts. I rarely vacate my desk for anything deviant from work. Therefore, is it fair for these employees to criticize, when what they're really doing is masking their ineptitude?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Acceptance

Meandering through a whirlwind phrase,
Lost in translation, stuck in a daze,
Is it better to love and accept the difference,
Or to work to change our integral existence?,

For it's tough a task to see the good,
When citizens bare guns and flaunt their brute,
The patience expunged to avoid condemnation,
Contradicts my instincts to safeguard nations,

What's meaningful here is not my objections,
It's the method employed to appease aggression,
Accepting evil is not a virtue from God,
Better to love through example, unclothe fraud,

Decrying my lack of reconciliation,
Ignores my efforts for arbitration,
Dancing takes many to form a ball,
Reciprocating is an art too often dissolved,

Jesus asks us to be fish,
To stand up for others even against their wish,
To love friend and foe alike,
Doesn't imply acquiescing during extortion of rights,

The immeasurable amount of love I have,
Compels me to smile and take a stand,
It's not rigidity that I adore,
But my destiny burning, yearning for more,

You'd be mistaken to believe,
I'm despondent, gloomy, persistently in grief,
I only find it cheeky to detail my life,
I'm blessed with so much beauty, face little strife,

The posts you read are my compassion,
To defend the downtrodden my benevolent action,
Regarding all beings with equal consideration,
Don't reprimand my humor used for medication...

Monday, August 17, 2009

Sabotage

Outraged, incensed is who I am,
How dare the Dems revoke my plan,
Greedy government reveals it's coverage,
Public option, ha, what subterfuge,

I despise all governmental functions,
Private sector absolves dysfunction,
Fascists, Nazis, Socialistic Scrooges,
Shame on thee for invoking losers,

I'm as independent as can be,
Working for the post office, mother of three,
Before I served the military,
I longed to work for VA - apothecary,

The church I frequent is tax exempt,
Foolish government hasn't got their paws on yet,
Parks and schools my kids love,
Would improve much with a corporate shove,

Less regulation of toxic waste,
Small concession made in good taste,
Who needs to worry 'bout the uninsured,
Grandma's on Medicare rest assured,

If it weren't these for-profit ventures,
Who'd put out our fires or mandate indentures?,
How I despise the FDA,
Labels guiltily remind me of my weight,

I'll shout out vociferously my feelings,
Sick and tired of Orwellian briefings,
Leave me alone! Go away, shoo,
But wait, come back! I depend on you...

Thursday, August 13, 2009

R.I.P. Eunice Kennedy Shriver


Eunice was a courageous woman who made a profound impact on the world. She's responsible for founding the Special Olympics for citizens with intellectual disabilities. She married a wonderful man, Sargent Shriver, and together they epitomize deserved adulation.

Surrounded by such overachievers, it would've been easy to consecrate her life solely for herself. Instead, she became maybe the most influential and effective Kennedy ever. Her impassioned voice and tireless championing of of the disabled, created an organization that's expanded far beyond her initial expectations.

Watching many celebrities today, it's astounding their lack of empathy and obnoxious disregard for those in need. Granted a tiny window of spotlight and they crumble like a witch in water. Others flaunt their gaudy attire and jewelry to appease their grand egos and prove their fiscal superiority. Certainly not acting very Christ-like for many supposed Christians.

Alternatively, Eunice understood that her message of progress and equality would outlast her lifetime. She influenced many on her journey and proved that even the most privileged among us sometimes make that a responsibility and not a lazy exposition. Instead of furtively protecting her wealth and dismissing the proletariat, she became a humanitarian.

Next time you watch a pundit scoff at universal health care, think of her. Next time you look through a homeless person, think of her. Next time you decide where that bonus check is going, think of her. And remember why we remember her. It won't be for her wealth. It won't be because she's a Kennedy. It's because of the selfless and fosteringly spirit she used to assist others.

An agent of change. An advocate of the handicapped. Someone we will surely miss and emulate. Let's all try and be a little more like she was.

Rest in Peace.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Why You Should Read My Blog (And Tell Your Friends)


If there's one thing that's encapsulated the cynosure of the moment, it's that many people are self-serving, uncaring and/or ignorant.

The health care reform debacle produced outrage by a sect who work relentlessly to prevent reform. The outrage to see it succeed, is halfheartedly and unequivocally presented as an altruistic move to rescue the uninsured. An admirable gesture, though hardly a pressing one, considering this educated segment of society determined to reform is already insured. Not bound one way or another, these people are motivated primarily through benevolence.

To contrast, insurance companies bribe and utilize their excess via their successful obliteration of reform. The BILLIONS of dollars health companies have accrued through privatized for-profit health care allows much discretionary spending for lobbying. Even President Obama (Mr. Change) has acquiesced and bowed down to special interests.

Many citizens from all across the country (who depend on the government heavily) shout at Democrats for daring to remedy a broken system. Try and engage a coworker/friend in conversation, and you'd be hard pressed for them to invest in the topic whatsoever. The fundamental concept that health care is a right and an ethical mandate evades people. It's nonexistent. It's always, "Why should I have to pay?" "I don't want my taxes raised!"

Astonishingly, preposterous.

WHY YOU SHOULD READ MY BLOG

When your eyes glance over my blog, you're getting a perspective of someone who cares deeply for humanity, animals and the environment. You're reading someone who quakes at times responding to the sheer lack of compassion in the world. A man who agonizes of the solitude of his position. Someone who works to alleviate any hypocrisy in his life. A man who doesn't mind government intervention and raised taxes when it assists people in need.

I advocate peace and non-violence because I'm a pacifist. I promote exercise and healthy eating because I incorporate both into my daily life. I don't own a car or leave appliances plugged in because I know a future exists beyond my lifespan. I make a concerted effort to practice what I preach, and certainly I misstep. I don't live an eremitical life or a life solely of service. I spend time and money on myself and try not to put myself on any pedestal.

You're not getting an unbiased, objective outlook (as if you ever were). No. You're getting my interpretation of a world where I almost wholly nihilistically reject. A curmudgeon at times, and at others, hopefully optimistic.

What I promise my readers is to recuse myself from special interests. I have no sponsors, no ads on my page, no outside incentive to persuade. I have little money in the bank and no stock options to endorse. I attain no political position, nor do I receive any money from the Democratic Party (or any other political entity) or any news media organizations.

I have a vested personal interest to assist those who read my blog to challenge the world they participate in. To become more conscientious citizens. To implant a seed of doubt or knowledge that spawns future alterations to benefit our world.

Read my blog because it's refreshing. Because I may be wrong or naive or misled, but I'm unapologetically independent. I do not censor feedback or those who disagree with me (granted it's done civilly). I welcome alternative views and remain amenable. You'll share my jubilance at times and distress at others.

And one more thing. Thanks for reading.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Shoddy Journalism


About a year ago a friend of mine bought me a one year TIME Magazine subscription. Admittedly it wasn't my favorite news source, but you don't look a gift horse in the mouth, and I continue to read sparingly. Enticed by the cover story this week, I was intrigued if the idiosyncrasy proposed had any credence.

The unconventional hypothesis (exercise inhibits or nullifies weight loss) was loosely substantiated in the text. With nominal research and numerous redundancies the author likely convinced thousands of people to abate exercising (although he did mention other benefits of exercise in the article).

This was a classic example of lousy journalism. Instead of tackling a more difficult subject, the author growls at his stagnant weight even after his consistent exercise regimen. Later, he revels in his hypothesis based on a single school's research (Louisiana - one of the most obese states in the nation no less). His primary assessment is that food, not exercise is the potent factor in weight loss.

Some revelation, huh.

The author refers to his 4-hour weekly exercise program as enabling his idle weight. First of all, 4 hours of exercise is comparable to 5 hours of sleep per night. It's not near enough. I believe 8 hours of exercise a week should be standard. Secondly, how you exercise, not the duration of exercise is what's meaningful. For example, it's well known (but unmentioned in the article) that the human body acclimates itself to routine. Whereas we may burn 1,000 calories during 30 minutes of the eliptical our first try, by the 30th try it's down to 600. Therefore varying speed, resistance, machines and sports is crucial. Muscle confusion is paramount to metabolic stimulation. Third, the author claims that many people who exercise profusely, are more inclined to indulge in fatty foods as rewards. Well, if that's accurate (and it very well may be) that's an obvious miscue that any moderately intelligent athlete already knows. Of course you'll negate the benefits from the workout if you eat a Whopper meal at Burger King to satiate your hunger.

This article demonstrates why you can't be a gullible reader. Just because something is published in TIME, doesn't make it authoritative.

Reading additional articles in TIME accentuated my dissatisfaction. I advise all my readers to be conscientous consumers. Not only in what we eat, but in who we give credibility and turst. Get your information from various sources and challenge the hypotheses offered.

You'll be shocked how often your instinctive ambivalence to BS is well founded.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Who Can I Criticize?


The face of the GOP has been mysteriously AWOL the past year. As a politico, it's a steep challenge to justly direct criticism for the policies and tactics employed. Do I fault the Senators in Congress (for voting against Sotomayor)? Or the Representatives in the House (for being the party of no and fueling the 'birther' movement)? Do I blame the talking heads like Rush, O'Reilly and Hannity (for misleading their viewers and preventing any civil dialogue)? Do I fault the castaways like Sarah Palin and Michael Steele (who couldn't even rescue a child correctly they're so hapless)? Perhaps I fault the lobbying groups (for funneling money to defeat progress)? Or the vitriolic and birdbrained citizens for impudently shouting their idiocy?

However, it should be noted that much of my current schadenfreude is a projection of loathing for the Democratic Party. The party of yes we can, but no we won't. The party elected on a mandate of change we can believe in, diluted to a variation of more of the same. Obama had great expectations, and instead we got Oliver Twist.

Ok, moving on.

The bitter arguing has evaporated our brief civility. Fingers are pointed everywhere except at oneself. Republicans need to accept they aren't representative of a majority any longer. They've been voted out in a heap. They can be victims of a 'nuclear option' if they want to continue stymying legilation. Come up with counter proposals, offer amendments, criticize waste and unnecessary fluff (educationally and correctly). But enough with the fear-based dogma.

Democrats need to buck up and pass any/all bills to counteract the damage done during the past 8 years. Utilize the nuclear option. Stop being manipulated like extensions from lobbying firms. If Blue Dogs would rather side with the GOP, then find new candidates in their districts to replace them. DINO's are useless. But enough with the excuses and deflection of responsibility.

The bulk of my disdain falls on the talking heads (who seem to really control the Republicans these days). Many of my readers may not know this, but I'm a routine viewer of FOX News. Almost nightly I divorce my time between MSNBC and FOX (Maddow and Hannity) (O'Reilly and Olbermann). I'd be rightly out of the loop if I criticized vaguely or second handidly.

The irateness that invades our television each night from the town hall meetings stems from FOX News and Rush Limbaugh. They exaggerate and distort, sometimes outright create falsehoods to incense their viewers. Hence, it's no surprise to watch these people embarass themselves per lack of poise and knowledge. It's pitiable, if only they'd change the channel.

Democrats shouldn't fear the fringe. They shouldn't buckle under pressure from the emotionally charged and the noxious plan to spew dissension.

To reprise GWB, stay the course.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Birther Bellowing


The lunacy that surrounds today's politics is buoyed by the brio of modern conservatism. Feel powerful. Feel angry. Feel proudly idiotic.

The town-hall 'birthers' who've raised their incoherent voices are teaching us all a valuable lesson. It's time to stop listening. Using town hall meetings as background to shrilly stifle any rational debate, pathetically substantiates their fringe status and ignorance. It crystallizes the cemented image...being a Republican is a non sequitur.

Let's just look at what these people holler. "Get your government hands off my Medicare!" "He is not an American citizen!" "He is a racist!" Each accusation and utterance more pitiable than the last. It's as if the histrionics is intended and we're watching a play.

Except, we're not.

Welcome to the 2009 GOP. A party predicated on fear and filled with vitriol. Disenchanted with our nation's progress, the indelible brains behind the operation motivate the gullible through fear and fervent inaccuracies. Expounding on non-issues alters the debate enough to almost give it credibility. It reminds me of what Bill Maher said, you have to squash BS as soon as it presents. Otherwise the media is required to report it and is forced to Lou Dobbesize the moment.

It's no shock the droves of activists are out complaining. Their lethargy is momentarily thwarted just enough to last a one to two hour debate. After that, it's time to eat some hamburgers, shoot some guns in the air senselessly, turn on Bill O'Reilly and call it a night. Turn on the TV and you'll see what happens when undereducated people swallow a morsel of BS.

They're starving for information yet their complicit in the vacuous environment. Instead of demanding something better, they fall prey to clever demagogues. Unknowingly repressed and disoriented. Can you imagine if these folks were mandated to watch MSNBC for a week straight. Or even Comedy Central. It's exacerbating because it's tough to fault them for wanting to be proponents of something. They just have no concept of how to cipher out BS from sagacity.

It would behoove the educated to take a second to recognize the educational disservice we've done to many Americans. It's ironically encouraging to see so many people willing to take a stand. If only they had the acumen in tow.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Pics from Last Weekend...

That's me in the middle. Spiritually. Kids splashing around a public park in Silver Spring, MD.
Downtown Silver Spring.
Adjacent to the Discovery Channel Building (SHARK WEEK!) Reminded me of Gotham City.
My visit to the Brahma Kumaris Museum. Inside was comparable size to a 2-bedroom apartment.
Peace, brother. V-shape stands for victory.
Outside of the Meditation room. Sat in silence for 45 minutes.
Like Justin Timberlake sang, "What goes around, goes around, goes around, comes all the way back around."
Hands down the most poignant painting in the museum. Look closely to see the inner battle we face. How many directions are we pulled everyday? Quite the equipoise.
8 Powers. Balance.
Description for the above.
Staircase to heaven - leading up to the museum. Had impassioned quotes on both sides.
The winner of the first match I watched. Fast feet and consistent strokes.
The winner of the second match I watched. Played similar to me. Perhaps he's seen videotape footage of my Juco days.
Remind you of anyone? Nadal maybe? This kid was a wild-card at 16 years old. An American. One hell of a future.
Returning blistering 130 mph serves ain't easy. Specially with that GEICO gecko stuck in your head.
The last man to beat Nadal. On clay no less. Mr. Robin Soderling practicing for a match this week.
Lleyton Hewitt look-alike. If only play-alike.
This guy changed outfits more than Hugh Jackman at the Oscar's.
Hard to believe even on the ATP Tour it's better to look cool than perform well. The sun was bright and he's squinting as his hat's on backwards.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Why I'm a Vegetarian


Many folks have inquired my recent refinement adopting vegetarianism. Why do it? Is it really healthy? Are you getting enough protein? Will you really make a difference? Let's go one by one.

WHY

Growing up, my father was the only vegetarian in my immediate family. And not to say he had a laissez faire approach, though he never blistered my selection of food. He led by example. Subtly, I recollect analyzing his discipline and admiring his dedication to ethics. However, he never proselytized. Ok, rarely.

1 - There are an abundance of rationales to embrace vegetarianism. The first and foremost is compassion for living, sentient beings. The meat industry inflcits torture and maintains abhorrent conditions to animals. Animals are confined in a trammel existence. They are branded, shocked, plucked, ripped, cut without anaesthesia and ultimately slaughtered. I find it frustratingly risible to justify why this is nefarious. If it doesn't strike you as such, you may be devoid of empathy and frankly, immoral.

2 - Citizens across the world are impoverished directly because of our demand for meat. Much of the world's food supply is allocated to feed animals that are bred for human consumption. Supply and demand and price prove this. Wheat/grains is such a huge commodity for animal sustenance, there is a higher demand for those products thus raising the price such that third world nations can't afford to purchase, or, if they don't need to purchase because they grow their own, they may find it too tempting to sell on the world market than to invest in their own countries.
Hence, if we ceased 'playing God' and cared more for other humans than our lust for ravenous animal mutilation, we could reapportion crops. Countries across the world export crops to the US (to feed animals in factory farms) at the expense of their own population. Charity starts at home, as exploiters (referring to Americans) rather than exploited we rarely see the travesty.

3 - Unplugging appliances, carpooling, recycling and using different light bulbs are all ways we can help preserve our environment. Yet, a more cogent step is to become a vegetarian. When you eat meat you perpetuate a cycle of demand. The demand in the meat industry harms our environment by eroding our soil through animal excrement (130x more than humans). The ration of energy it takes to produce a calorie of animal flesh as opposed to vegetable food is 20:1. Additionally, carnivores require 14x more water compositely through their consumption. The greenhouse gases emitted to transport meat, keep it cool and the slaughtering machines all utilize precious energy resources. Not to mention the fishing and finning industry endandgers species and destroys reefs and ecosystems. In essence, you can't be an observable environmentalist without being a vegetarian.

4 - Many of us are hypocrites because we'll soon eat a hamburger, but wouldn't butcher the cow. Well, someone butchers the cow. And that man or woman is often an immigrant (legal or illegal). The rate of hazard and accidents on the job are astronomical for the meat industry. Secondly, we're forcing people to live violently and become accustomed and ambivalent to violence (which can transcend into their personal lives). Not to mention the actual exploitation of the workers themselves. As bluntly and clear as you can see, even this one reason has plenty of supplemental reasons to advocate.

5 - It's no secret vegetarians live longer, healthier lives than their carnivorous contemporaries. Fish contain high rates of mercury that can be very detrimental, specially to women. Consuming meat results in higher rates of cancer, blood problems and heart disease. The saturated fat and cholestoral in meat is disturbingly high as well. But, hey, you get your protein fix.

There's also varying religious scripture directing people toward vegetarianism, but once again, if these above reasons aren't enough....what would be?

IS IT REALLY HEALTHY?

Yes. Various groups like the AMA, ADA and HHS have either endorsed or agree vegetarianism is a much healthier lifestyle than eating meat.

ARE YOU GETTING ENOUGH PROTEIN?

Obviously eliminating meat from your diet causes a void. And the most essential ingredient you miss is protein. Where to find it? Vegetarians must make a sincere effort to include milk, tofu, nuts, beans, whole grains and rice into their diet. Hereby absorbing protein without the untoward consequences.

WILL YOU REALLY MAKE A DIFFERENCE

I already have. By lessening the demand and not contributing to this vicious cycle, I make a statement everyday. I've also educated those close to me (including composing this post). A few of my friends' interest is already piqued. As Mother Theresa says, 'Do good anyway.'

Our actions are not futile. They are reverent and relevant and will pave the way for future generations. So continue to eat meat, or don't. Just understand the consequences of your actions. The chain reaction will reach more than you know.