Sunday, 11 September 2011


If you follow me on blogger or youtube, then you know that I have recently been focusing on saving money. Recently I purchased 500lbs of bananas for $50! Today, as I was searching the web and thinking of ways in which I could save money, I came across this hilarious photo from google images. I wonder if any of you students or former students can resonate?

Monday, 29 August 2011

Tip for the Economic Crisis -Save BIG Money on Food

I hope you enjoy this video. By buying clearance bananas in bulk I was able to get over 70lbs of bananas for only $15. What are your tips for saving money?

Friday, 12 August 2011

The Next Christendom by Philip Jenkins

The following is an excerpt from the back cover of the book which I think provides a lucid "snapshot" and overview of the books contents:

     In this new and substantilly expanded second edition, Jenkins continues to study the emarkable expansin of Christianity in the global South, in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Among the major new topics covered are the growing schism between Northern and Southern churches over issues of gender and sexuality, immigrant and ethnic churches in Europe and North America, and changes in the Roman Catholic Church since the election of Pope Benedict XVI. Jenkins also analyzes the growing conflicts between Christians and Muslims around the world, particularly in Nigeria and the Sudan, but also within Europe itself.

     The first volume in a trilogy on the changing face of Christianity, this award-winning book will be welcomed by all of those who have come to recognize Philip Jenkins as one of our leading commentators on religion and world affairs. Youtube clip on The Next Christendom

Other books by Philip Jenkins:

The Lost History of Christianity: The Thousand-Year Golden Age of the Church in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia--and How It Died 

The New Faces of Christianity: Believing the Bible in the Global South 

Pedophiles and Priests: Anatomy of a Contemporary Crisis 

WHITEWASH by Joseph Keon

You hear so many contradictory things in this crazy world of ours. Some people make cow's milk out to be a quasi nutritional life-force, as important as oxygen or Oreos; a holy sacrament available for purchase. Others think it's the devil -still smooth but -finally- white for a change. So in light of these contradictions, it's good to look at the science. After all, maybe somebody's right.

I like WHITEWASH because Joseph Keon, in citing reputable sources like Lancet, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the American Journal of Epidemilology, and American Journal of Public Health is able to bring the science to the discussion table. Further,   I think that if the contradictions concerning dairy make you curious, like me, you'll also find this book useful. Youtube clip on WHITEWASH

Other Books by Joseph Keon include:

The Truth About Breast Cancer: A 7-Step Prevention Plan

The Truth About Breast Cancer (2nd) Second Edition 

Whole Health: The Guide to Wellness of Mind and Body

Thursday, 11 August 2011

We've Understood Nothing

We've understood nothing,
virtually nothing,
the brightest things in our experience,
the stars,
are barely seen
and what has been thought?
what has been dreamed?:
a whisper
a scribble;
the book is unwritten,
the fires unrealized,
zeal is undaunting,
and love unexplored;
our techna
our logos:
are mere wind-chimes
overpowered by hurricanes of potentiality
as the possibilities to move
to make
and be moral
love at first sight
a propensity to learn
and embarrassing acts of generosity
are confounded by notions of normalcy:
conformity to the majority;
at the center of this
school is so often
both prostitute and priest
exhorting and seducing us to accept
a kind of creative infancy,
an in-the-box
agreeable sense of inquiry,
a frighteningly narrow
definition of self-conscious intelligence;
yet aside from this pomp:
-these priggish mumblings of progress-
we've understood nothing,
virtually nothing.

Monday, 1 August 2011

I Love The Aspens

Have you seen the Aspens dance?
they're so beautiful:
12,000 silver-green lights
-souls in a sea of leaves;

I want to join them, be like them:
wind-moving, standing content
-peaceful in the mirrors they inhabit;
I love the aspens:

they have a will
to dance
to love
to laugh
to cry
to live and die:

people are like Aspens to me:
their neurons flash like silver-green stars -a galaxy of ideas;
their hands, as keen as leaves, clap making sounds throughout the forest;
moving music on the land:

I love the aspens,
I want to join them.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Unknowing: Naturalism, Supernaturalism, and the Multiverse

Where did the Universe come from?
Whereas in the past many believed that she was eternal, recent advances in cosmology suggest that the Universe expanded from a singularity, a point at which matter was infinitely compressed to an infinitesimal volume. This shift in understanding seems to have rendered previous views regarding the Universe's eternality implausible. Theists have capitalized on this shift by pointing to the necessity of a cause outside of the Universe (as they believe it is nonsensical to think she could be causeless without being eternal). Further, they have argued that God is the most reasonable explanation for her origination and that only a creative mind which transcends both space and time can adequately account for her complexity, order, and evolution.

Against this perspective is the mainstream secular justification for the apparent finiteness of the Universe. Eminent scholars, like Stephen Hawking and Michio Kaku, espouse what some have termed Multiverse Theory which asserts there is not one but rather numerous (possibly infinite) Universes. The explanation of the Universe's origins is therefore attributed to other Universes, the existence of which is potentially eternal. Naturalistic conceptualizations of the Universe are thus legitimized through this account of her origination and the problem of finiteness is deconstructed. 

But in considering both perspectives it seems to me that no matter how eloquent, interesting, and complex these conceptions of the Universe are, both require a great deal of faith. (While some would argue otherwise, neither explanation of the Universe can (yet) be verified scientifically.) And while my own understanding is theistic (while seeing no contradiction between Multiverse Theory and my faith) I recognize the need to distinguish between knowing and believing. Moreover, it is a mistake, I think, to equate the admission of the unknown with weakness. In reality admitting a deficit of knowledge is not a shortcoming but rather a strength as it both humbles and humanizes us; a practice which has the undeniable ability to promote empathy, peace, and (foremost) love between those of starkly contrasting ideologies.

I have watched and listened to many debates between atheists, agnostics, and theists in the past few years. Many atheists  have, with virulent fervor, attacked the "implausibility" of theism while those of religious inclinations have become equally impassioned in defending their beliefs. Too often, however, the debate has become a match of disparagement in which combatants depreciate each other's intelligence and intellectual credibility. Such insults are unnecessary and promote factionalism rather than transparent discussion. Further, while these debates are important I say let love, the one thing which makes the Universe meaningful, be preeminent. An honest admission of the limitations of human knowledge and an effort to empathize with one's ideological adversaries will do no one any harm.

Sunday, 29 May 2011

My 3 Favorite "Wild Edible" Books

Here are some of the best wild edible books for the Pacific Northwest. The descriptions are from the back cover of each book. If you haven't, check out my youtube clip where I show you how you can gather high quality food from the forest :).

1. Wild Harvest: Edible Plants of the Northwest

For everyone from backpackers to backyard harvesters, Wild Harvest is a field guide to wild edibles with their seasons and cooking suggestions.

2. Northwestern Wild Berries

Wild Berries contains a simple key and nearly 100 magnificent color photographs to guide you quickly to berry identification. Additional notes on how early Indians valued berries and where and when to collect them make this book an indispensable tool.

3. Guide to Indian Herbs

This well-illustrated handbook describes 52 of the best-known herbs used by the Indians of North America. Each plant is identified by locale, sketch and photograph, and the uses to which each one was put are briefly described. Tonics, inhalants, poultices, laxatives, diuretics, sedatives - there was a plant for every need. Some of these tribal remedies passed - often in more sophisticated form - into the repertoire of the medical profession; many others have a secure place in the annals of folk medicine.

Other books on Wild Edibles

Monday, 23 May 2011

How to live to be 100: "Healthy at 100" by John Robbins

I recently finished reading Healthy at 100 by John  Robbins (for the video review click here).

      1.       Author Bio
John was born on October 26, 1947. He is the son of Irv Robbins and nephew of Burt Baskin the founders of the Baskin Robbins ice cream parlour. His father Irv Robbins hoped that he could pass on the company to John but John had different ideas. He noticed a breakdown in his family’s health, which he attributed to their diet rich in ice cream. John refused to carry on the ice cream business and has instead become a major advocate of a “plant based diet”. He is the author of the Pulitzer prize winning book Diet for a new America and several other publications.

        2.       Content of the Book
The book begins by examining four cultures known for their long lifespan: the Abkhasia of the Caucus; the Vilcamba of the Andes mountains in Ecuador; the Hunza of Pakistan; and the Okinawans of Japan. Robbin’s inquires as to why these cultures are living such long and healthy lives.

Throughout the book he uses these people groups along with numerous studies to reveal the importance that diet has over health. He notes that traditionally these societies have eaten a much higher amount of plants; much lower amount of meat; and virtually no processed food.
He also reveals a deep respect for the eldest persons in each society. Robbins further, looks into studies which have shown a correlation between health and love. One such study showed that divorce had as severe as an impact as smoking on one’s health.

John shows the importance that regular exercise has in promoting longevity. My favorite story, in this regard, is of Seikichi Uehara an Okinawan who at 96 years old “was featured in a New Years day boxing match and televised across Japan”. His opponent was a 39 year-old and former flyweight World Boxing Association champion. For over twenty minutes Seikichi dodged every punch thrown at him while at the same time not retaliating. After twenty some minutes had passed by and not a single hit had connected with the 96 year old, Seikichi finally offered a single blow which knocked the young opponent off his feet and won the match.

           3.       Judgement
The book was a great read. I appreciate John’s easy going writing style and the stand he takes against some of the negative aspects within western culture. I also loved how Robbins wove the four cultures examined at the beginning of his book into his whole analysis. 

Yet while John is generally careful not to idolize the people groups he examines, at a few points in the book it seems like he's doing just this. But aside from this and a few points at which I felt the information was quite basic I learned a lot from John and found "Healthy at 100" to be an enjoyable (at points quite entertaining) read.

Other Books by John Robbins: 

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Grow Food on Every Inch of Your Property!

I mowed the lawn today and as I did a thousand questions, like incense, rose up from the sweet smell of grass and gasoline: "Why do I systematically cut blades of grass with a blade of steel? Why do I remove nutrients, pay for their disposal, and then purchase fertilizer to restore the nutritional deficit I've created? Why do I spend time, energy, and money to perform this seemingly meaningless task week-after-week, year-after-year? Why do I pollute to maintain such a strange version of perfection?" Thinking about these things I remembered a Youtube video I had come across. It was of this guy, John Kohler, who grew fruits and vegetables on every inch of his property. He apparently doesn't have any grass to cut:

As I thought about this man, my many questions were replaced with a new type of inquiry: "what would the world would look like if it were full of people like him?" I'd like to know what you think. Check out the Youtube video above and let me know: is this guy (John Kohler) "off his rocker" or is he practicing a profound degree of sanity?

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Schools kill creativity? (The Element)

     The Last book reviewed on this site was The Element by Ken Robinson. While the book is at times overly repetitive it offers readers unique inspiration. It does this through numerous stories of individuals who have successfully harnessed that which makes them passionate. Robinson refers to this practice (of finding and harnessing one's passions) as "The Element".

     Yet aside from encouraging readers to discover that which drives them, the book criticizes formal education. Robinson argues that public education often hinders creativity through students' gradual conformity to rigid expectations. To elucidate this point, in particular regard to children, he includes a poem from Loris Malaguzzi (the founder of Reggio schools). The poem, which follows, is taken from the last chapter of the book entitled: "Making The Grade":

The child
is made of one hundred.
The child has
a hundred languages
a hundred hands 
a hundred thoughts
a hundred ways of thinking
of playing, of speaking.
a hundred always a hundred,
ways of listening
of marveling of loving
a hundred joys
for singing and understanding
a hundred worlds
to discover 
a hundred worlds 
to invent
a hundred worlds 
to dream.
The child has 
a hundred languages 
(and a hundred hundred more)
but they steal ninety-nine.
The school and the culture
separate the head from the body.
They tell the child:
to think without hands 
to do without head
to listen and not to speak
to understand without joy
to love and to marvel
only at Easter and Christmas.
They tell the child:
to discover the world already there
and of the hundred 
they steal ninety-nine.
They tell the child: 
that work and play 
reality and fantasy
science and imagination
sky and earth
reason and dream
are things
that do not belong together

And thus they tell the child
that the hundred is not there.
The child says:
No way. The hundred is there.

     So I want to know what you think, has school made you less or more creative? 
Leave your comments in the section below

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Reading Rainbow

     For all of you who grew up to the tales told by LeVar Burton on Reading Rainbow, here is a little something; a little nineties nostalgia. :)

Thursday, 28 April 2011


I sat on some grass at the edge of a pond.
It was midnight.
Nostradamus was beside me smoking cigars with Fidel Castro.
In the wisps of tobacco were whispers of vague and unfulfilled prophecies
pronounced by blood, steal, and crumbling icons.
(They both looked pretty bad-ass in their black-leather jackets.)

Across the pond Foucault was busy dissecting things with a pen, the ghost of Kant, and a pair of spectacles.
But Buddha, who was seemingly unfazed by any external stimuli, including Krishna's purple dye, didn't seem to notice;
he was too busy staring intently at the fragrant lotus flowers blossoming at the edge of the pond.
Across from me there was someone wringing out a homespun cloth,
I squinted to see a bald and principled  man, Ghandiji, making salt, undisturbed by rippling water.
Splashing within the pond was Mother Teresa who was creating waves and blowing bubbles, her nun's habit was soaked but she looked childlike, happy, free, and surprisingly progressive.
Christopher Hitchens, saw her differently and was writing a book about it.

To no one's surprise a full moon appeared from behind some clouds -everything was illumined.
I borrowed Foucault's spectacles and was able to see that the grassy knolls,
stretching forever in every direction, were filled with people -
large crowds of pilgrims journeying to this humble pond: walking, running, and dancing across the fields.
I realized I was one of them, and my curiosity drove me to the waters edge.

In the center of the pond, undisturbed by Teresa's gaiety, were twelve stars
but conduits not sources of light.
A creature swam under these stars and reverent rumors of Leviathan rolled across the knolls.
It spiraled up and up and up from the depths of the pond.
It grew in size, Teresa laughed, Gandhi smiled, Fidel's jaw dropped, and the pilgrims clapped at the spectacle.
Teresa's waves were soon dwarfed by the tsunamis of Leviathan.
I approached the wisest and largest of creatures, now fully surfaced.
Her smile started an earthquake of laughter amongst those gathered, which was more the result of an effervescing joy than a knee-jerk reaction to a punch-line.
Her eyes were kind, bidding any to come to her, to embrace her, to love and be loved.
She was god-like but not a god yet the finest of creatures.

Perhaps because I was drunk from the rhythm of the place or maybe because the beauty of her eyes pillaged my judgment, I ran to her, and with remarkable stupidity jumped on her back, swinging my arms around her neck.
And with this, in an instance of playful levity she dove back into the pond.
I was submerged, my arms still tight around her neck, my world was suddenly changing.
It was out of my control and I didn't know where I was going.

With happy stoicism Buddha waved goodbye.

Book Consumption: What Were the Last Three Books that You Read?

What Were the Last Three Books that You Read?

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Everything is Music

I woke up this morning and plugged my ears into their headphones:
It was bliss man,
just listening to music before class:
"Hello, I'm Johnny Cash";
I noticed I was different, I wanted to I did -I like running-
I jumped up on a cement wall and ran like heaven
and all these words just started hitting me,
stuff that I'm sure, no one had ever thought of
and would probably make me a millionaire or something
-it was amazing-
malfortunately, I forgot what the words were, but they were amazing!
(you'll have to trust me),
one thing I do remember thinking was that music,
music is everything and everything is music
and sure there is dissonance; disharmony, but it's all a song:
trees, atoms, stars, sex, Led Zeppelin, neural synapses, breath, sidewalk chalk, day dreams
and this unending sentence I am now writing
and creativity -even grammarians-
are all part of a larger narrative, a meta-narrative:
conduits of a single river; notes in the song of existence:
thinking this way made me dance,
which I think is pretty natural when the whole world is singing:

Saturday, 2 April 2011

The Element by Ken Robinson

In this episode I talk about Sir Ken Robinson's book "The Element". Foremost he is an advocate for creativity and finding one's passion. I don't typically read inspirational books and was more interested in this one because of it's critique of the school system but overall still enjoyed it. Ken Robinson has a lot of interesting things to say check him out:

I hope you found this to be useful, post your thoughts below, what do you think do schools stifle creativity?
Ps. Sorry about the sound, I'm looking to improve my recording quality soon.

Friday, 1 April 2011

What Were the Last Three Books that You Read?

Hi guys,
In a constant search for new books to enthrall myself with and an insatiable curiosity with what others are reading, I'm wondering what the last three books that you read were?

Here are mine:
1. The Element by Ken Robinson
2. Whitewash by Joseph Keon
3. Northwestern Wild Berries by J.E. Undrehill

Thursday, 31 March 2011

Philosophy 101 By Socrates

I judged this one by the cover and thought it was going to be lame, but I'm really glad that I read it. It makes for an interesting commentary on the Apology and also includes the Phaedo and Crito accompanied by shorter commentaries. It's worth the read for sure.

St. Patrick of Ireland

St. Patrick of Ireland

With midterms becoming one of those monstrous realities in life my extra-curricular reading has slowed down a bit, but I'm blessed that it hasn't stopped. St. Patrick of Ireland was an excellent read and far better than I anticipated. If you like Ireland, history, mythologized saints, or all three you'll like this book.
The author, Philip Freeman, is a Harvard educated classical historian and professor at Lutheran College as well as a guest lecturer at Oxford among several other schools. He uses his knowledge of ancient history and a very limited number of sources to construct his biography and shed light on the world of Patrick (who in Roman fashion was actually named Patricius). Freeman offers lucid and lively insight on the man behind the myth and the crazy lives lived by Irish kings, slaves, and druids. The book is factual and honest but reads like fiction. I highly recommend it, impress your friends next Patty's day!

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Ep. 3 My book philosophy

In this episode I share my philosophy on reading. What's yours? Do read more for entertainment or information? Are you more into fiction or non-fiction? Check out my video below and post your thoughts below or on my youtube page.

Ep. 2 Whitewash (Joseph Keon)

I just finished Whitewash by Joseph Keon, if you haven't read it I highly recommend it -especially if you have kids. Joseph Keon touches on the negative effects dairy has on the body, I touch on a few of these in the video below. What do you think, is dairy bad for you? Do you drink milk? Comment below or on my youtube page: ep. 2 whitewash

Ep. 1 The Hobbit

I recently consumed the Hobbit. It was a delicious read. In the video below I share some of the things of learned from Bilbo Baggins. Have you read the book? What was your favorite part? Post below or on my youtube page: