The ramblings of an Eternal Student of Life     
. . . still studying and learning how to live
Sunday, August 30, 2015
Photo ...

Here’s a simple little home decoration touch that I recently saw in my neighborhood during a night walk. A nice way to take advantage of a slanted window.

◊   posted by Jim G @ 1:42 pm       Read Comment (1) / Leave a Comment
Thursday, August 27, 2015
Current Affairs ... Politics ...

If you read the latest headlines on the national political front, you might think that Hillary Clinton is in trouble. And you might be right. The voters don’t trust her, and things could get even worse depending on what the FBI finds (or doesn’t find) on her e-mail server. Although the vote is still months away, recent polls hint that Clinton could lose the New Hampshire primary to Bernie Sanders. That would not be a good way to start the primary season.

So, it’s looking a bit less likely that Hillary will be the our next President, although it’s not yet to the point of being a lost cause. Perhaps the most cogent insight regarding this topic is that Barack Obama may well be the king or queen-maker; if Obama decides that he wants someone other than Hillary to “carry on his legacy” (say V.P. Joe Biden), Obama could have the FBI and Department of Justice throw the book at Hillary for any petty regulation that she may have violated regarding government records management (something like what they did with David Petraeus). So, we shall see what Barack decides. For now, he seems to be giving Joe Biden a great big “MAYBE”.

On the GOP side, however — the Republican faithful seems to have lost all faith in the “deep bench” of viable candidates that they have. I.e., Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz . . . since the first GOP debate, the three candidates who have picked up the most interest and the most support in the national polls are Donald Trump, Ben Carson, and Carly Fiorina — three people who have never held public office. It doesn’t seem likely that  »  continue reading …

◊   posted by Jim G @ 9:11 am       Read Comment (1) / Leave a Comment
Saturday, August 22, 2015
Food / Drink ... Health / Nutrition ...

Here’s a health and nutrition topic that I believe should be watched by all those who, like me, have been looking for the fountain of eternal youth. Or at least something that slows the body’s aging and decaying process down a little bit, anyway. The topic in question regards the toxic chemicals found naturally in a variety of edible plants, and how they induce “hormesis” in the body. Hormesis is based on the notion that a little bit of bad can do you good. In other words, just a little bit of poison in the body, in just the right amount (not too much and not too little), puts temporary stress on the cells that make up our various body parts and systems; however, when the poison goes away and the cells recover, they become stronger and better than before.

It’s sort of like exercise, which improves the state of the body’s muscle fibers by causing slight injury to them, tearing and mangling little bits of them. Once you stop the exercise and rest, the body over-compensates in repairing these minor injuries, and your muscles become firmer and stronger, maybe even bigger (i.e., the body supplies more structural tissue to the temporarily over-used muscle, as to better handle similar stress in the future). Well, it turns out that many fruits, vegetables and condiments, especially the more bitter ones like broccoli, coffee, eggplant and turmeric, have various chemicals in them that help the plant to survive by making it unpleasant to insects. These chemicals (e.g. polyphenols) are somewhat toxic; too much of them can eventually kill living cells. However, in most edible plants, there isn’t enough to really harm a person, unless maybe that person ate only one thing (e.g. arugula) all the time and nothing else (just like too much exercise can result in actual muscle or joint injury).

But it you eat a typical portion of one of these food items, your internal organs (including your brain) will get a bit stressed, but given enough resting time to recover from the “insult”, they will be stronger and more disease-resistant. I found out about all of this in an interesting article in  »  continue reading …

◊   posted by Jim G @ 10:57 pm       Read Comment (1) / Leave a Comment
Saturday, August 15, 2015
History ...

Over the past year or two, race relationships have become a big political topic in the US once again. This is not an entirely good thing, given that the issue has been brought back from the 1960s because of a series of recent police killings of unarmed black men and women. Hopefully, something good can still come out of it, just as the the Civil Rights movements of the 1960s helped to change and reduce some of the many injustices against blacks (some but not all, unfortunately) that were embedded in American government and society up to them.

One interesting side-effect is that certain writers are taking a new look at the historical components that have contributed to the vexed and unsettled issues of race and equality today. One of the biggest historical institutions that still today affects how we get along is slavery. History has a lot of lessons to teach about slavery, both big and small. Let me share something I just came across, one of the smaller stories about slavery in America.

American slavery is usually thought of in the context of a rich white landowner of European heritage using African slaves for agricultural labor, i.e. planting and harvesting cash crops like peanuts, cotton and tobacco (and doing so in quite a cruel fashion). Interestingly, not all African slaves were owned  »  continue reading …

◊   posted by Jim G @ 7:14 pm       Read Comment (1) / Leave a Comment
Sunday, August 9, 2015
Current Affairs ... Public Policy ... Society ...

The New Yorker recently published perhaps the first personal profile of former Ferguson, MO Police Officer Darren Wilson since he shot and killed 18 year old Michael Brown. Wilson obviously met with and cooperated extensively with writer Jake Halpern, who gave a detailed overview of Wilson’s life and career experience leading up to the Brown shooting, and since that time. At first, I found the article to be fair and quite informative, a well-needed focus on the perspective of Wilson, given that he unwittingly became involved in an incident where the media overwhelmingly focuses upon the victim and the many reactions from the public. In the end, however, I was disappointed by this article. Halpern had an agenda after all, a very familiar one for media such as the New Yorker; basically, to use Wilson as exhibit 1 in explicating the faults of whites in general, and white police officers in particular, in dealing with African Americans in an organizational context.

Halpern spoke in some detail about Wilson’s choice to work in North County outside St. Louis, as it was a more challenging environment for a police officer than a quieter, more affluent suburb. While working for a different but near-by police agency prior to his employment in Ferguson (in Jennings, MO), Wilson made the acquaintance of Mike McCarthy, another white officer (a field-training officer). McCarthy seemed to have a better understanding than Wilson did of the minority communities they were patrolling, and thus Wilson asked him for guidance in how to best deal with the people living in these areas. Wilson admitted to “culture shock” while addressing McCarthy, who agreed to help Wilson. Halpern seems to indicate that McCarthy’s efforts weren’t in vain, and that Wilson appeared better able to work in relatively high-crime minority communities because of it.

Halpern obviously asks McCarthy how he felt about the Brown killing. McCarthy’s reaction was that Wilson was basically doing his job, doing what any police officer in that situation would have to do, and that the tragic outcome did not have to do with Brown being black and Wilson being white. But of course, Halpern was not satisfied with this, so he pushed McCarthy further. Was it possible, Halpern wanted to know,  »  continue reading …

◊   posted by Jim G @ 3:40 pm       Read Comment (1) / Leave a Comment
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