My Granddaughter

My Granddaughter

Five years ago tomorrow I became a grandfather.  Opa to my little one.  Due to various complications of life – living in different countries and some other factors I hadn’t been able to see her until this past week.  Believe me the first few days were a little emotional.  I’ve been sending her books for the last two or three years and have been able to read to her – makes me so happy.  Tons of Dr Seuss, Harry the Dirty Dog and lots more.  She is so outgoing, will talk to anyone and I’m so happy that her parents allow this and don’t make her afraid of her environment. 

AND I’m just so happy…

Here are a few pictures from our day at the park up the street.  More hiking shots later.

Posted by cyril0 in #children #child, #granddaughter, #grandfather, los angeles, park, photography, 0 comments
Global Warming – Scary, isn’t it?!!

Global Warming – Scary, isn’t it?!!

Governments are generally about controlling populations.
The media feeds off controversy.
These two things work together hand in hand to keep a general population – particularly in the US of A believing pretty much what they are told to believe.  Throw out information that is alarming and made more alarming by repeating it and repeating it and having the same information come from numerous sources, then it gets pretty easy to point a populace where ever you want.  
Two of the biggest controversies that I end up seeing on Facebook and the media in general are 
“Global Warming” and the ‘Gun’ controversy.  
If I want to alarm a people or get them on my side the simplest thing to do would be feed them a piece of information and not compare it in any way to other information of similar value.

Warning: Anyone reading this likely has made decisions on the above subjects one way or the other and many people won’t want to hear that there are rational arguments on both sides.  All I’m really trying to do here is get people to step back and not get sucked into media/government agendas.

If you were to tell your child constantly how bad they were and not point out successes, I’m pretty sure that you would have a pretty unhappy and recalcitrant child.  
Most of what I hear on ‘Climate Change’ or ‘Global Warming’ is how bad it all is.  Here is a success against pollution.  After the World War II, Los Angeles started a program to fix their  pollution problems.  The smog was getting worse there and there had been numerous deaths due to smog in Great Britain.  They did not want the same problems in LA so started a program to handle it.  
Here is a graph of improvements up until 1997:
You can find information on the whole project here: 
I was in Los Angeles in 1979 for a few months.  It was still pretty bad.  Again I was there for most of 2005 and part of 2006.  No comparison.  Completely different.
I agree with the fact that we need to take care of our planet. It will never happen by throwing alarming information at people.  Why not “Hey, look what they did in Los Angeles, isn’t that cool?”  
I’m trying my hardest here to not argue one side or the other of Climate Change or Global Warming.  
People freak out about deforestation in the rainforests of Brazil.  Here is a quote from an article on the subject.  
“Since 2004 the rate of deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon has fallen nearly 80 percent to the lowest levels recorded since annual record keeping began in the late 1980s.”
It is not remotely perfect yet, but there is improvement.  We have been and are fixing the planet.  If you listen to the media and Facebook, we are about two days from going to hell in a hand basket.
Here is another one that will stir the pot.  “30,000 gun deaths in the USA in 2014!!!” (I’ve seen several memes on Facebook with this figure.)   
There are a couple of things wrong with fact.  One, it doesn’t compare it to anything.  This could be double what it was 10, 20 or 30 years ago or it could be half.  It could be the worst in the world compared to other countries – which if you ask, most people will be sure that this is true – or it could be that the USA isn’t even in the top hundred per capita gun murders in the world.  The problem is a datum, any data, is useless if not compared to something else.  
The other thing about the ’30,000 gun deaths in the USA’ is that it is NOT TRUE!  It is completely false.  
Per a website called Gun Violence Archive the gun deaths in 2014 were 12,576.  And per US Department of Justice Statistics:

“Firearm-related homicides declined 39%, from 18,253 in 1993 to 11,101 in 2011”

So, you see, things are actually getting better, not worse.  
BUT, can you see some media whore saying, ‘Hey folks, things are going really well right now, there is no reason to be alarmed.’   Or ‘Things have improved so much, that we are not going to pass any new laws this year…’ 
I’m sorry, but that is not going to happen anytime soon because it doesn’t keep a population in fear and it doesn’t keep people hooked so that advertising can be sold.  
So, take a fact.  First check to see if it is true.  Check it against other facts.  Then take a look at what you can do about it.  By just passing it on, true or not true, it will likely just upset someone.  If you have a cause that you feel strongly about, then get your facts straight, find a starting point and do something about it.  
And here is a secret: posting shit on Facebook is not ‘doing something’!!  If you are going to change society or a part thereof, you are actually going to have to go out there and talk to people.  
But that is the subject of a whole different article.  The point of this one to check and compare your facts.  Governments and the media make money and control populations by keeping people afraid and upset.  
Do you want to forward their agendas?
It can be seen, if one looks that there are a lot of things that have improved in the world.  Believe me, I know there is a lot of shit in the world and a lot of evil.  
You will get further by making your environment calmer and show people how they can change things a little at a time than forwarding media alarmist hype.
We were put in this world to help.  Go out there and find a project – and help.  

Posted by cyril0 in media; government; Facebook; firearms; statistics; global warming; climate change;, 0 comments

Agree, Disagree – It’s up to you Or ‘How to Communicate’

Have you ever tried to communicate an idea to someone who is very angry with you?  Probably didn’t have much luck getting your idea across did you?

I watch people on Facebook and in real life arguing about guns or religion or some other political issue and they are trying to communicate their ideas into the face of someone who is in complete disagreement with their view.  If you break this down a bit you know that they don’t ‘like’ the other person and really don’t know much about them.  So, there is no real communication.  Mostly both sides are shouting at a wall.

I had a friend that did not like her daughter-in-law(nothing new in the universe, eh?). Anyway, the son and the mom had a grand falling out and mom is always wanting to get back in touch by ‘sorting out their disagreement’.  I have advised her to not continually go in on a point of DISAGREEMENT.  Trying to discuss all the details and who is right, etc. gets nowhere.  It would not be that hard to find things to agree upon that are completely unrelated to the mom vs daughter-in-law disaster.  And talk about that.  

When one finds points to agree upon, they will find they start to like each other more and more and will communicate – real communication, where they actually are willing to receive each others ideas.  99% of the time the big thing that was creating the massive upset becomes insignificant.  Or they will now have enough willingness to communicate and not just tell the other how wrong they are.  

My observation is that most people will think that the person on the other side of the fence is just stupid and not listening.  Guess what, they think the exact same thing about you!! 

Shouting and directing more and more volume of data to try and convince the person you are right and they are wrong will just create more of a rift and make things more difficult.  You will like the person or person’s on the other side less and less; you will think less of them to the point of doing harm to them is not too difficult to conceive. 

You can see this every day in the world. 

Just calling the other person an idiot, really doesn’t solve anything.

So, if you want to get your point of view to someone that has a completely opposite view to yours you will need some real communication with them. This means that you will have to find points of common agreement.  If that person does not like you at least a little bit or have some kind of respect for you(which is a type of liking) then there is no way in the world that are going to ‘get’ your communication.  

So, if you want to change the world, if you want the person on the opposing ‘side’ to understand your point of view, you are going to have to ‘get in communication with them.  This does not mean throwing more volumes of data.  It means finding who they are as a person, what makes them tick.  You will probably have to like them at least just a little bit.  The goal is not getting them to like you but you liking them – it will never work the other way.  If you can’t get yourself to the point of being willing to hear who they are and their side of the story then they will never listen to yours.  It doesn’t mean you have to agree with everything they say.  I am sure there will be points of agreement.  Maybe not on the subject of guns or religion or abortion but maybe it will be on muscle cars or crafts, who knows.  

This can apply to individuals and countries.  

There are a small percentage of people that will refuse to get in communication – they are a real minority.  
Posted by cyril0 in communication; religion; guns; Facebook; affinity; reality; agreement;, 0 comments

Intolerance

The toughest, most difficult thing really is to tolerate the intolerant. To resist the urge to throw all the bigots on a small island somewhere and let that island float away. I guess if I did that I would have to go with them.

Posted by cyril0 in bigot; bigotry; intolerance; intolerant;, 0 comments

Religious Tolerance and Religious Intolerance

This ‘rant’ could easily fall under the subject of manners.  
I have, this summer, been exposed to a couple of interesting examples of religious intolerance or what we minimally could call ‘bad manners’. 
The first was when a Sikh man came to my booth with his wife while I was working at the Calgary Stampede.  He started to chat with me as his wife was finding out about our skin cream from one of the other sales people.  Somehow the subject of religion came up and I mentioned mine  He immediately made a comment ridiculing an aspect of my beliefs.  I was taken aback and was a bit slow to respond.  After this he started to pitch me on his religion – Sikhism.  I was really sorry I did not call him out on this – he was actually a pretty nice young guy and I’m quite certain he would not have done this again if I had pointed out his hypocrisy.  
The second incident occurred more recently with a devout Christian friend of mine.  There was a Sikh man near us with a turban.  My friend made some very denigrating remarks about this man and his beliefs.  Thank god he was too far away to hear her.  At least I hope he didn’t hear.   My friend was quite vehement in her comments.  Saying things like ‘those people should dress like us when they come to our country’ and ‘they make their women cover their faces’ and similar comments.  (I will clarify the difference between Sikhism and Muslims and Hindus in a moment.)
First of all, I really don’t care how a person worships or what they believe as long as they don’t propagate fear and hate.  From anything I have read, Christ, Siddhartha, Nanak and Muhammad all preached tolerance for others and the beliefs of others. This was a very big part of their teachings – all of them.  It is only the subsequent teachings and interpretations that create hate and intolerance for the beliefs of others and their cultures.  
It is always a very small part of any group that promotes hate and fear.  The majority of people that I interact with in any group or culture or religion are good, decent people.  It is all to many people that criticize another culture or religion without actually finding out about it first.  I have been guilty of this in the past and generally feel like an idiot when I realize what I have done.  
As to the comments by my Christian friend about the Sikh, let it be known that the Sikhs are not Muslim or Hindu.  As one example, the Sikh religion allows for women to be equal to men in all aspects of life.  And there is no caste system in the Sikh religion.  There are many more differences and there is a link below if you would like to find out.
I have my own beliefs and religion.  But I respect that another person can have those different than mine.   But I do hope that even if you are a complete atheist(and that is OK if you are) that you will respect and allow me and others ours.  

To find out a bit more about the Sikh religion check this out:
http://www.sikhs.org
Posted by cyril0 in religious tolerance; intolerance; christian, siddhartha; christ; nanak; muhammad; religion;, sikh, sikh religion, sikhism, 0 comments

Gun Control vs Deaths in USA and Australia

When one reads statistics one must not look at too broad or too narrow an area.

I recently watched a comedian online (who was quite funny by the way) talking about gun control and violence in Australia vs the USA.  He pointed out that in 1996 there was a violent shooting in Australia that prompted laws to be put in place to remove guns from the people of that country.  This action is believed to have resulted in a 50% decline in gun deaths in the 15 years following. 

More details on that event here:
Australia and gun control
and:
http://www.aic.gov.au/statistics/homicide/weapon.html

I thought that maybe I should compare the same period in the United States.  That makes sense right.  The above article assumes that gun violence is rampant and increasing and pretty much out of control in the States. 

Well, lo and behold, lookey here… This surprised even me: From 1993 to 2010 the gun homicide rate is down 49% in the United States of America.  (In the same period of time non-fatal firearm crimes are down over 70%.)
Here is an article with some of these stats:
Trends in homicide rates USA

So, I’m thinking that there may be some other reason for the decline in gun violence in both places.  It might not have anything to do with guns.  Or not guns.  But it may not be controversial enough for the media. 

Would it not be better to find what is actually lowering these rates and reinforce that than bandy about one’s own version of the stats.  Maybe by actually figuring out why we could reduce this violence even more. 

Posted by cyril0 in australia, gun control, gun violence, guns, statistics, trends, usa, 0 comments
Recipe: Pork Tenderloin Stuffed With Prosciutto

Recipe: Pork Tenderloin Stuffed With Prosciutto

Ingredients:
One pound piece of pork tenderloin
A bunch of fresh basil leaves
2-8 tablespoons of hard cheese grated(I use Asiago or Grana Padano – I have them handy for my gnocchi recipe)
2-8 tablespoons of sun-dried tomato paste
6 -10 slices of prosciutto ham
1 tablespoon of olive oil
Salt and pepper

Olive paste
2/3 cup pitted black olives
2-3 garlic cloves
4 tablespoon olive oil

1. Trim away excess fat(if you want – I have always found that fat increases the taste – so trim after cooked if there is too much)
Slice the pork lengthwise being careful not to go all the way through.
2. Open out the pork and salt and pepper inside
3. Lay a bed of basil leaves inside
4. Mix the sun dried tomato paste and grated cheese together and lay on top of the basil. (The original recipe on this called for a couple of tablespoons of each but this was not nearly enough.  I used quite a bit more and was glad I did.  It really adds to the overall flavours.)
5. Press the pork back together and wrap with the ham.  Start with one over each end and hold those in place with the other pieces.  Don’t be shy with the ham.
6. Place in a pan/dish – I used a glass baking dish – seamside down.  Brush with a tablespoon or two of olive oil.  Place in the oven preheated to 375F.  30-40 minutes. 
7. For the olive paste: you can blend the olives, garlic and olive oil or finely chop the garlic and olives and just mix in a bowl with the oil. 
8. Cut the cooked pork thinly and serve.
9. We served with sliced tomato and avocado sprinkled with salt, pepper, basil and olive oil.
Note: try different stuffings.  I’ll probably add a bit of spinach next time or maybe some dried fruit.

Posted by cyril0 in asiago, garlic, grana padano, grated cheese, ham, olive oil, olives, pork, prosciutto, recipe, sun dried tomato paste, tenderloin, 0 comments

How long should I stay on my inversion table?

I bought my inversion table a little over two years ago.  It was definitely helping but not to the degree that I had hoped until a more recent discovery. 

I’ve had lower back and hip pain for many years.  The lower back pain for most of my life.  I have done all sorts of things to help it.  Lots of yoga, stretching and exercise – that helps but more to keep it somewhat comfortable but not so great for improvement or taking the overall pain away. Years ago I would go to Chiropractors but until I met one more recently none really helped at all.  A Chiropractor that my brother went to told him about ‘the table’ so I thought I would try it. 

First I did a bunch of research on tables and purchased.  I found lots of good testimonials on its use but not much on how to use to get the best results. So, it was a bit of trial and error.  I started using it about 3-4 times a week for about 20 minutes or so each time.  I had the angle at about 35-45 degrees.  I could feel it pulling and I did see some improvement for a while but after a bit,  not so much. I could not do an extreme angle for that amount of time as it would start to hurt my sinuses.  A few months ago, I started doing it for about forty minutes each time to see if that would help.  Not too much difference.  So after almost two and a half years I was getting relief but no solid improvement.

More recently, one of the lifeguards at the pool where I swim mentioned to me that one of the other patrons used to sell inversion tables for a living and was quite knowledgeable about them.  About three weeks ago he was a the pool at the same time as me so I asked him if I could ‘pick his brain’ about the tables.  He was quite willing and told me some very good data.  He told me a brand that he like but the key was how to use.  He said that I should place the bed at an angle of at least 60 degrees.  At that angle the weight of the body takes 100% of the pressure off the base of the spine.  Allowing it to heal.  The advice, though, was to only hang for five minutes or so three times a day.  This was great news for me as I could do that length of time without having a problem with my sinuses. 

I have now been using the inversion table this way for about three weeks.  With a few days here and there missed from being out of town.  At first I thought that some of the changes could just be in my head.  Kind of willing things to get better.  But I noticed this weekend, standing a lot working that a weakness in my leg that had been starting to develop was no longer happening.  And it does not hurt ‘all’ the time now. 

One other benefit of the “five minutes’ is that it is very easy to fit in through the day.  It does not add a lot of time anywhere.  I can do this for 5 minutes right after I get up or just before I’m going to go out to run some errands or when I get back.  It all adds up to about the same amount of time but just doesn’t interfere the same way with my schedule. 

There were some other comparative tests that this fellow told me about where people using the inversion tables for a certain period of time had 78% fewer back operations than the control group, etc.  When and if I find this I will try and add it to this article.

Posted by cyril0 in back pain, hip pain, inversion table, lower back pain, sore back, upside down, upside down table, 0 comments

HIGH SCHOOL 1957 vs. 2014

This was emailed to us today.  Says it pretty clearly. 

HIGH SCHOOL 1957 vs. 2014

Scenario 1:
Jack goes duck hunting before school and then pulls into the school parking lot with his shotgun in his truck’s gun rack.

1957 – Vice Principal comes over, looks at Jack’s shotgun, goes to his car and gets his shotgun to show Jack.
2014- School goes into lock down, FBI called, Jack hauled off to jail and never sees his truck or gun again. Counselors called in for traumatized students and teachers.

Scenario 2:
Johnny and Mark get into a fist fight after school.

1957 – Crowd gathers. Mark wins. Johnny and Mark shake hands and end up buddies.
2014 – Police called and SWAT team arrives — they arrest both Johnny and Mark. They are both charged with assault and both expelled even though Johnny started it.

Scenario 3:
Jeffrey will not be still in class; he disrupts other students.

1957 – Jeffrey sent to the Principal’s office and given a good paddling by the Principal. He then returns to class, sits still and does not disrupt class again.
2014 – Jeffrey is given huge doses of Ritalin. He becomes a zombie. He is then tested for ADD. The family gets extra money (SSI) from the government because Jeffrey has a disability.

Scenario 4:
Billy breaks a window in his neighbor’s car and his Dad gives him a whipping with his belt.

1957 – Billy is more careful next time, grows up normal, goes to college and becomes a successful businessman.
2014 – Billy’s dad is arrested for child abuse, Billy is removed to foster care and joins a gang. The state psychologist is told by Billy’s sister that she remembers being abused herself and their dad goes to prison. Billy’s mom has an affairwith the psychologist.

Scenario 5:
Mark gets a headache and takes some aspirin to school.

1957 – Mark shares his aspirin with the Principal out on the smoking dock.
2014 – The police are called and Mark is expelled from school for drug violations. His car is then searched for drugs and weapons.

Scenario 6:
Pedro fails high school English.

1957 – Pedro goes to summer school, passes English and goes to college.
2014 – Pedro’s cause is taken up by state. Newspaper articles appear nationally explaining that teaching English as a requirement for graduation is racist. ACLU files class action lawsuit against the state school system and Pedro’s English teacher. English is then banned from core curriculum. Pedro is given his diploma anyway but ends up mowing lawns for a living because he cannot speak English.

Scenario 7:
Johnny takes apart leftover firecrackers from the Fourth of July, puts them in a model airplane paint bottle and blows up a red ant bed.

1957 – Ants die.
2014 – ATF, Homeland Security and the FBI are all called. Johnny is charged with domestic terrorism. The FBI investigates his parents – and all siblings are removed from their home and all computers are confiscated. Johnny’s dad is placed on a terror watch list and is never allowed to fly again.

Scenario 8:
Johnny falls while running during recess and scrapes his knee. He is found crying by his teacher, Mary. Mary hugs him to comfort him.

1957 – In a short time, Johnny feels better and goes on playing.
2014- Mary is accused of being a sexual predator and loses her job. She faces 3 years in State Prison. Johnny undergoes 5 years of therapy.

Posted by cyril0 in HIGH SCHOOL 1957 vs. 2014; 1957; 2014;, 0 comments

Recipe: Stir Fry Lamb

This recipe take longer to tell than to cook.

Ingredients(extremely flexible)

Lamb sausages (pork chops or boneless/skinless chicken will do as well but by far our favourite is lamb)
Fresh green onions
Cherry or some sort of small tomatoes(any tomato will do – something with a lot of taste)
Feta cheese(dry)
Mushrooms
Zucchini
Red pepper
Pasta
Basil
Ground pepper
Olive Oil
Butter
Salt
Turmeric (use very lightly if I’m cooking with chicken instead of lamb)
Mint Sauce(with the Lamb)

I first get a pot of water going for the pasta as it take the longest.  Start the other items to time them to the completion of whatever kind of noodles that you are using.  Salt the water, add a bit of oil and when boiling throw in the appropriate amount of pasta. Note: This meal is not heavy on the pasta; I essentially cover the bottom of the eating bowl or plate, not heap it.

I get lamb sausages that are already spiced so there is no need to add anything to them.  If you use chicken or pork, oil them and season with salt, pepper and basil to taste.

Grill them if you can.

Vegetables: Mushrooms, Zucchini and Red Pepper.  Grill if you can or fry.  If you fry, wait until everything else is almost done before starting – I put zucchini in longer, then the mushrooms and the peppers for only a minute.  Covered.  With lots of butter and a little oil(I cook with grapeseed oil a lot).  Try not to cook the veggies too much.

If you grill the vegetables as well, then lightly oil and season with the salt, pepper and basil as well.

Garnish: Chop green onions(two or three) into a bowl that you can use for serving.  Half the cherry tomatoes and add them(a handful or two).  Add a good handful of Feta cheese(I use cow Feta) with a bit of pepper and basil.  The Feta I use is pretty salty so extra salt is not needed.  Just before you serve, add a bit of good olive oil and stir. 

When the meat is cooked, cut into bite sized pieces.

Presentation: I use wide soup bowls(from Ikea) for this dish.  Put a small amount of noodles on the bottom of the dish.  Add the vegetables(the grilled or fryed) and then the meat.  The garnish is on the table and is added as desired. Use a bit of mint sauce if you are using lamb.

This is best served with a decent Chianti. 

I think I’ve covered everything here.  A very flexible recipe.  Use what you have.  My garnish though, is pretty much always the same – incredibly refreshing.

Enjoy,

– Martin

Posted by cyril0 in stir fry; lamb; stir fry lamb; lamb sausages, 0 comments