Saturday, November 27, 2010

The trouble with Vegans

The issues are Belief and diet.

We are surrounded by people who are, on average, getting fatter by the day. There is a small minority who are actively concerned about their health, and work at their diet and exercise regimen to maintain or even improve their physical and mental capabilities.

Tasha was a committed Vegan. Despite insurmountable health problems caused by her diet, she persevered to the point of agony, driven by her Beliefs and the resulting disgust she had for the concept of consuming any animal products.

I am not preaching about diet here. I eat what I eat, and you are free to eat what you eat. I will discuss diet and exercise, but it not an evangelical trip. I do what works for me.

For me, Tasha's story is not about diet. It is the rocky journey that people take when changing their Beliefs, even when these Beliefs threaten their well-being, and even their life!

I have said in the past that the logic that people use to solve one problem, they apply the same "logic loops" to the way they solve other problems. Step-and-repeat.

A "coming to God" of Tasha's magnitude causes a huge dissonance. When people have a failure of a foundational, fundamental Belief, it fractures every other tower of logic and belief they have created in every other part of their life. A questioning of this scale washes through the entire rest of their Belief Systems, because their change in their thinking methodology in this has them looking at everything else where they hold strong convictions, and wondering if that thinking is wrong too.

And since their thinking methodology has been based on Belief, it is highly likely there is much wrong with the rest of their thinking.

This is a cautionary tale. At the end of the day, Tasha has traded one set of Beliefs for another. They may be radically different, but this nagging thought occurs to me.

Will she be as committed to her new Beliefs, and have as much problem with change in the future, or has she really changed the paradigm, the manner in which she solves the questions that will continue to arise in her life?

We are living in interesting times. Huge change is upon us. Can we accept the changes and adjustments we will all have to make, or will we have to go through the agony Tasha describes as we adjust?

Worth thinking about. How flexible are we, really?

Monday, September 13, 2010

The trouble with elections

Oh! Oh! Alarm bells!

It seems that American elections are upon us again, and we may even get back the Republican ship of fools that sailed us to the economic standstill in which we are apparently becalmed, despite the shouts of "Land, Ahoy!" from the White House rigging, and the certitude of the Tea Party in their refudiation of the Democrats' best efforts.

Now maybe it is time to take a leaf from the Australian political playbook.

Some background. Australia has two political parties, the Liberals (very conservative and rather gullible) and the Labour Party (rather left-leaning and naive).

The Liberals got tossed out a few years back, after their fearless leader, Little Ronnie Howard (no relation to the talented American actor/director) just pissed everybody off so much (dancing into Iraq with GWB, mission accomplished) that Labour took over. Meanwhile, management changes have taken place in the Liberal Party, and their new leader, Tony Abbott, calls climate science "crap", is very opposed to gay marriage, and has his knickers in a twist about illegal immigration by boat people. Yes, a true Republican in everything but name!

Well, if you have been following Australian politics, you would know that the elections in August 2010 resulted in a draw, so Australia doesn't have a Government. Yes, this could be a solution to the problems we have in the US, but that is not the reason I am writing this piece.

See, I am tired of elections being so incredibly boring. Yes, we all know that politicians promise the earth, and then don't do what they promise. Same story, different day, and voting only encourages them.

So why not have some fun along the way, Australian-style?

In these recent elections, the Labour Party ran a web site featuring the current leader of the Liberal party, Tony Abbott. The poster at the top of this page is one of the hundreds on the web site, and was designed by a visitor!

I am totally impressed with the idea of political web sites that encourage the electorate to use their skills to interactively design election material. And then include it in a blog!

I can't wait for the Sarah Palin web site. I am working on slogans already.

Hey, you know we won't get better politicians, but at least we can have some fun dancing on the deck. Who knew the ship of fools was called the Titanic?

Friday, August 27, 2010

Go to DVD? How about back to the theater?

There was a time when movies made it to the Big Screen, had their run, then went into the archives. If they had a big enough following, they would be resuscitated occasionally at seedy second-run movies houses that specialized in old movies.

The exception to this was Disney cartoon movies, like 'Cinderella' and 'Snow White'. They get re-released every seven years, which the smart Disney marketing people found to be a generational turnover rate. And the great thing about Disney movies in theaters has always been that the parents have to pay to get in as well!

Then, home entertainment play-back systems arrived. First videotapes, then DVD's. Movies never came back for a second run. They just went to a DVD graveyard.

But this weekend, the game changes. James Cameron is making history. His block-buster, 'Avatar', is hitting the Big Screen again, being released at over 750 3D theaters. Renamed 'Avatar: Special Edition', it has some added extra footage, and some more romance.

So why is it being re-released so soon?

When 'Avatar' was first released, there were around 3,000 3D screens, and around 40,000 2D movie theaters in the US. So most of the people who saw Avatar first time around saw it in 2D. Even in cities that had 3D theaters, the number of people who saw the movie in 2D vastly outnumbered the 3D viewers, because the 3D theaters were few, and always full.

From the date of Avatar's first release, the number of 3D movie screens has almost doubled, to around 6,000 theaters, and a lot of these installations have gone into towns which didn't have 3D theaters back then. This will give a huge new audience the opportunity to go and see the movie the way Cameron intended it to be seen, in 3D.

But the important determinant of the re-release date was the availability of the Imax 3D theaters. This schedule was decided back in March, when Imax committed their theaters for this project.

So August 27th marks the date for 3D release in both Imax 3D and regular 3D theaters.

What's the betting it finishes in the top 3 for the week end?

And, by the way, watch for the re-release of James Cameron's 'Titanic', in 2012. Yes folks. It is being refloated, but this time in 3D!

If you want a really entertaining read, here is an interview with James Cameron discussing the release, and much more besides.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Trouble with Chickens

There was a time when America had a sense of humor.

I wrote a comment on a New York Times opinion piece this morning, that they simply will not publish. Maybe it was because I expressed my self in a manner that could be taken seriously, or that hit a nerve with the 'editors' (those people at the NYTimes that sanitize everything).

So here's the goods.

Over the past few days, there has been a bit of a kerfuffle about a few eggs. Five hundred and fifty million eggs to be precise. And along with the reporting, there are comments about how the Brits have been vaccinating their chickens to fix their salmonella problems, and how well that has worked.

The fact that the FDA has not been able to be effective at implementing healthy change in the food industry (leafy vegetables, beef, eggs, etc) is leading to some comparisons with other countries that have effective solutions in place, and asking why they haven't been implemented in the US. Like this Brit chicken vaccination program.

Well, it would take me too long to list all the reasons it doesn't happen in the US. I have many suspicions. Lobbyists for the food industry? The vast criminal enterprise that is the American political system today, corrupted at every level from small town through to federal levels, unmonitored, without oversight of any kind, and no legal consequences even when misconduct is discovered?

This is not a new tale. It has been going on for years. A President can sell weapons to terrorists in Iran, and use the profits to buy weapons for other terrorists in South America, but he will not be impeached for it. But God forbid he protects an infatuated girl's honor, and his own incredibly bad taste in women, by hand-waving on whether or not he had sex with her, and he will be full-on impeached!

Now that we know where American priorities rest, and that they have nothing to do with the welfare of Americans or the law of the land, may I draw your attention to this craven lack of courage on the part of the New York Times.

You can find the New York Times article here. "Why Eggs Became a Hazard"

The author suggests that "probably" thousands of people have been sickened. Oh, now wild conjecture replaces reporting and statistics. OK, this is par for the course, particularly on Faux News. Seems to be catching on at the NYTimes as well.

OK, the article continues, pretty much as expected, a dreary history of neglect and foot-dragging that has become an American hallmark.

I like the comments. They are usually entertaining.

The very first comment caught my eye. Apologists for George W. Bush are absolutely everywhere, lying in wait for every issue that is raised, immediately jumping into a denialist position whether it makes sense or not. (This has something to do with being a Believer, and not allowing yourself to be confused by the facts.)

So the first comment, from a Mr. Gleason, said "Once again, George W. Bush is glad he is no longer President. He surely would be blamed for the salmonella outbreak."

To which I fell on the floor laughing, and wrote the response below. When I sent it to the New York Times, they wouldn't publish it. So here it is, for you to read.


"Now I saw John Gleason's comments about how George W. would be blamed for this whole fiasco, but there is no way! George W. never did anything! That's how we know he can't be blamed!

All of us Republicans are profoundly against regulations, because they push up the price of everything. We are also profoundly against the whole concept of Government health care, and that includes health care for chickens!

What we all know is, if you give chickens guns, they can regulate themselves! If they suspect something going wrong, or an unhealthy looking neighbor, they can shoot first, and ask questions later. Kinda like a Sarah-Palin-style neighborhood watch.

I am in television, and all this publicity for chickens has been setting us to thinking there is a whole new revenue angle to this chicken thing. My company is looking into several new chicken franchises, such as "Chicken Smackdown" (a wrestling show), "Who You Callin' Chicken?" (a combination quiz/reality show where the chickens get to answer questions, and the dumb ones get to beat up the winners), and several other winning ideas that I can't talk about here.

Now this is the beauty of the free-enterprise system. If we can keep the Government regulations off the chicken and egg market (what came first? LOL), then the extra money the chicken farmers make off these television shows will bring the cost of chickens and eggs down to the point where they are almost free! (And one of these shows is likely to be a chicken humor show, because everybody knows us Republicans have a great sense of humor. LOL)

Now isn't that better than pesky regulations? "


OK, now this is just me, but I thought this needs a little bit of humor and a little less frothing at the mouth.

I look forward to your comments. Tell me if you like or dislike, and if you dislike this, I really need to hear from you so I can understand why anybody would be upset by this response.