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Weston A. Price Foundation: shills and quacks

I've been seeing flyers around lately for a upcoming lecture in D.C. by Weston A. Price Foundation president Sally Fallon. Today I got spam from them about it, which prompts me to post a bit about these shills and quacks.

The Weston A. Price Foundation is one of the primary groups responsible for spreading some of the FUD that you may have heard about soy products. Their interest (both philosophical and financial) is in promoting dairy consumption, specifically raw milk. They make claims about supporting "traditional diets", which would be fine - except that the use of dairy products is fairly new in the 200,000 years history of the human species, dating only to the neolithic revolution of about 10,000 years ago; and of course dairy consumption was just about unknown in many areas of the world where lactose intolerance is common. In fact, Price himself wasn't such an advocate of dairy.

benefit shows at 2640; parties, circles, and gigs; Zelda's Inferno writing exercise

At the BARC benefit at 2640 now, Mongoloidian Glow on the stage. Zelda's will be in a while, but I came down early, got some food at The Yabba Pot and then came over to give BARC a few bucks and support the AR cause a little.

Wednesday we had a planning meeting here for the Water For the Well benefit next weekend. I'm excited that Jeff, my uncle, is going to be on the bill - first time we've performed together. Afterward I caught (most of) a Halloween music and spoken-word show at the Metro Gallery.

Thursday, I played the Fell's Point Musician's Showcase at Leadbetters, got a good response to my hour. It was the first time I'd played there since I got back to the U.S.; I'll be back for the happy hour gig on Halloween.

Friday, our Samhain circle got rained out - we decided to move the date so we could still do it outside, rather than moving it indoors. So I got to go to the show at Kiss Cafe that Kelly put together. Saw Chris and Wes there, in one of those Smalltimore moments.

Yesterday, promotions at the dojo, a long day. Then went out to see Telesma play at the Metro Gallery, good show as always.

Zelda's Inferno writing exercise: write a poem from a wordlist, generated from the theme "renaissance festival":

unicycle, plague, corset, beer, joust, serf, glimmer, awkward, wench, pine, pirate, armor, rouge, constricting

sometimes I feel the constrictions
of my created self
that fiction that defines my character
that places awkwardly-drawn boundaries around
what I say and do

a plague of personalities
an armoring identity

updated Leather Substitutes Resource Guide

Made some updates to the Leather Substitutes Resource Guide today, mostly updating web sites and clearing out dead links.

The return of Sara and Desmond's!

I just heard from my housemate that she's spotted a sign in Ellicott City - "Sarah and Desmond's Coming Soon". My favorite vegetarian coffeehouse returns! And the new location is right next to The Well, how convenient!

Spider-Man star Tobey Maguire: vegetarian

According to this article in Parade, Spider-Man star Tobey Maguire has been vegetarian (almost vegan) for 14 years.

I'm looking forward to the new Spider-Man movie - it will actually be opening here in Japan before the U.S., I think it will be subtitled not dubbed, so I'll be able to see it.

Sumo, Nara, and Indian food in Japan

In Puru Nima, an Indian restaurant in Shinsaibashi. Indian food is quite popular here - the restaurants are a savior for vegetarians (though I've resigned myself to missing the 100% vegan target, probably ingesting some ghee in something I order), and the menus all seem to have English.

Yesterday I daytripped out to Nara, one of my favorite places. Nara was the first "permanent" capital of Japan, though that lasted only a few decades (before that, it changed with each emperor). Paid my respects to the Daibutsu at Todaiji, the largest bronze Buddha statue in the world, housed in the largest wooden building.

Also visted Shin-Yakushiji, a temple dedicated to the Medicine Buddha and to the "Twelve Divine Generals", fierce spirits that drive disease out of the body. I visited both on my first trip over here, and really wanted to see Shin-Yakushiji again, a small temple but good energy (I felt blessed to see it right before starting my shiatsu training, a good omen). I bought a souvenir print of the Buddha and the 12 generals, which I think will go well on the wall of my treatment space (maybe I'll arrange a loan to The Well "from the collection of Tom Swiss"). I think I might return there to get some omiyage (souvenir gifts) for my shiatsu friends.

letter to Ted Rall

Letter in reply to Ted Rall's column:

Hello Ted. Long time reader, first time writer.

Regarding your piece "What Must Die So We Can Live?":

> Since the mid-19th century, some scientists have claimed, for example,
> that plants respond to music and speech. "The Secret Life of Plants" was
> a bestseller in the 1970s. The truth is, no one knows.

In fact, we know pretty well. "The Secret Life of Plants" is in the
same category as creation science, global warming "skepticism", and

ethical versus sentimental value

Another Slashdot post (quoted material is another poster to whom I'm replying):

Say there's going to be a huge tragedy and someone's family
is going to die. If you could chose whether your family dies or someone
other family dies, which would you choose?

There is a large difference between "If between my father and some
stranger, I can only save one, so I save my father", and "To save my
father, I'm going to kill a stranger." Everyone understands if I throw
the single life ring to my dad instead of some random guy (though I'd
try hard to save both); everyone also undertands that it would be
monsterous if I killed the stranger to get the new heart that my dad
(hypothetically) needed.

My father's life is more precious to me, sentimentally, than
that of a stranger, so if all else is equal and no one's rights are
being violated his claims have priority to me. But his life is not,
ethically, more precious than that of a stranger; I cannot make a good
argument that his life is more precious than J. Random Stranger, so I'm
going to kill J. Random Stranger to harvest that heart. We all
understand that to be a violation of J. Random Stranger's rights.

Shocking news: healthy diet and regular exercise still good for you

Reuters reports on a study showing that exercise and healthy eating may help prevent aging-related memory loss. They specifically cite omega-3 fatty acids and their anti-inflammatory effects; unfortunately, the article mentions only fish oils as a source of these, neglecting the plant based sources which may provide better results.

Anyway, whenever I hear of some new study like this, I always remember the words of Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy, when confronted with a purported "immortality" serum: "[L]engthen lives? Poppycock. I can do more for you if you just eat right and exercise regularly.".

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After a few hours of Drupal hacking, I've integrated the files archives from the old site into our new setup. Enojy!


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