The Peach Pit Monkey

One of the nicest memories of things I remember my father doing for me was when he arranged to get me a peach pit monkey. He knew a fellow at work that carved them as a hobby. So we patiently went through the summer peach season looking for as good and as big a peach pit as we could find. 

After making my selection, he took it a away and a few weeks later appeared my very own peach pit monkey.

The peach pit monkey seems to be a folk art staple item, hand carved from a dried peach pit. In order to hold its integrity the monkey is carved holding its tail, as shown below.


I really wish I had my actual piece to display. If you search you will find several examples online, but almost all are rather crude compared to the one I had. Mine was carved and sanded to smooth graceful lines and the head was a very proportioned shape. I kept it on a key chain and over time it developed the most beautiful burnished mahogany patina.


As an adult I came to a place where I saw that I had ventured very far from home, from my heart. In a heart swelling gesture of longing for times gone by I telephoned my parents. I said to my mother, "I want my peach pit monkey." Instinctively she heard the call of my heart. "Oh, honey," she said in the most dear and tender way. "Your father is just coming home with the groceries, I'll let him talk to you too." Tears come on retelling this. To reconnect to the love bond between a child and parents is a blessing.

Alas, the peach pit monkey disappeared from memory. Yet, the heart's treasures which things like that can only represent anyway are stored safe away always at hand.
I'm A Pepper


The world seems to divide in two along certain lines. One such division is between those who like chile peppers and those who don't. Not talking mild green, red, or orange bell peppers. Talking, the speecy/spicy kind.

If you are on the right side of the issue (that would obviously be if you like hot peppers) then there is no need to be convincing you that we eat these delicacies not so much for the heat, but for the ineffable and exquisite flavor(s) to which the heat is a open sesame or pass not barrier. But, even among chile lovers, there are the macho "bring the heat" types, and those like me who do not see eating spicy foods is an opportunity to prove something.

Back in college days I was visiting at a friend's and his Romanian grand dad taught me how to eat fresh hot long green garden peppers. It was my first introduction to the fact that the heat was carried in the seeds and in the internal veins of the fruit. He would split open a pepper lengthwise, deseed then carve out the line with the vein. Absolutely mild little munchy. Otherwise, blisteringly hot.

Some time later in a proper Taqueria in Arizona I helped myself to a complementary plate full of deep fried jalapenos (You heard of the Mexican who couldn't have any babies? He had a hollow penio.) At first I tried to muscle through eating them whole, but the stinging memory in my mouth and stomach still gives me heartburn. Ouch!

The trick, just like grandpa showed. Only this time I merely deseed and scrape the inner vein away. There remains the delicious jalapeno meat with just a little heat.

Recently I came across a stash of fresh jalapenos on steroids, 3+ inches long. Washed and dried, then tossed in a skillet with a 1/2 inch or so of oil. Fry until blistered nicely, drain and salt liberally. Process on the plate as per instructed. Enjoy.

Here is a link to a wonder list of heirloom pepper seeds you may want to plant in your own garden. Give them plenty of sunshine and the heat will return in some delightful ways. The nice thing about growing your own is that you get a cache of seeds at the end of the season to continue into seasons to come.



Also, in searching around for some more suitable videos, here's something that showed up that will add some spice too . . . (Totally unrelated and maybe inappropriate, I know. Spicy cheesecake.)

The Dude Abides

In my professional work with clients , I teach them a technique for releasing pain and stress. When you approach health from the individual's own experiential perspective, there are things than we can do for ourselves that promote self healing. When you go into the felt sense of things directly, powerful forces are released within you. This is about one such method.

I owe this to an early professional career mentor who conducted groups with psychiatric patients. As I see it anyway, one contributing factor to psychological distress is habitually thinking about an issue/problem. The simple solution is, "Don't do that". True, but useless when you are all balled up in your head. Try telling the man who rushes into the emergency room at the hospital screaming, "I can't breathe! I can't breathe!" that the simple fact that he is screaming so urgently is proof that he can breathe.

The trick as the good doctor pointed out is this, "Find a feeling". A feeling in your physical body. Any feeling. Whatever shows itself first. It does not matter at all what it is or where it is. It's there. Now, LET IT BE THERE. Nothing else to do. Just abide, dude. Oh, and yes, LET IT BE ENDLESS. Because, "Until it ends, it is endless".

That last point is critical. This may look simple in words. In actual fact it takes practice. We are so conditioned to always be managing our experiential world. Keep what you like, remove what you don't. When it comes to pain and stress the thrown tendency is to get rid of it, or at least manage it to whatever extent possible. "Take a pill" is what the profiteers spend so much marketing money trying to convince us. (Just remember, as Mr. Chris Rock once said, "There's money in the medicine. Ain't no money in the cure".)

Now don't get me wrong here. There are some pains that are just too big or too sharp to simply sit with. You know when you need attention. I'm here talking about those everyday pains and stresses that are part of living and over time become chronic features of who you identify yourself to be.

When you develop some confidence with this technique it becomes a tool you can rely on for life.
Heaven's Swing


Here's how it is. Unless, of course, you are one of those literalists who insist on things like . . . Eve ate an apple. Really. Then I query, what variety? Or, like some of my dearest loved ones, you bristle at me telling you anything other than the most common banalities of my daily circumstances. (Me and my dearest keep it on the surface, don't you know.) Believe what you will. Listen or don't. The Truth doesn't need an advocate or interpreter anyway. Truth is true. Not because some smarty like me says so.

If any of the foregoing got a little heat up in you, then maybe you have some metaphoric skin in this game. As they say, if the shoe fits, you'll wear it. My little girls use to sass back, "Whatever you say goes back to you!" Yes, indeed. But what about who's saying that. Touché! 

Look, all words are metaphors, just seems to be how close to the mark they fall. So ease your mind for this read. And if you don't like what I'm writing, be sure to check it out between the lines.

Each of us is born into this world with a Heaven's Swing way up there overhead. Never heard of that? Me neither. Just occurred, and it fits. At the first instant it's way up there overhead, almost completely out of sight. Note, almost.

As one matures there is a natural and automatic direction of growth toward that Heaven's Swing. At some point, however, there is a turning point. The inborn automatic growth appears to stop. It doesn't really, just that the context in which it operates gets transformed from what seems to be a purely physical happening to one of a more spiritual nature. Now these things are talked about separately because that is the nature of language and thought, to differentiate. In true fact, it's one thing, maybe just we see it from different perspectives at one point or another.

Let's just say that the swing is also always from the first instant lowering itself to us. Each according to our lot in life. Every thing and everyone has its own timetable for when we come and when we go. So I would say that at the end of days the swing comes and carries us away. How this happens in any one person's life seems to be different, maybe not in the actual structure of the fact of it, but more in the details; how it plays out.

I see it in these terms. You go on living through in this world and that swing keeps inexorably coming down toward you, lower and lower. Your days are numbered, don't you know? Somehow and sometime you get a glimpse of that Heaven's Swing. If you have the wit and the grace you can make a decision to keep one eye on it. To do something about it even. Form a relationship, if you will. I don't know how that is, just that like the fruit on the tree, you get to a certain ripeness and it becomes an obvious choice. Once made, you are on to something you could call a spiritual path. That's a big subject, or really a small one, depending how you look at it. But at some point some folks start wanting to learn the art of jumping on that swing. Others, it seems anyway, mostly just go about their personal quotidian narratives in ignorance, then get knocked down by it when their time comes. Never see it coming. Well, I believe we all do in fact see it; it's just that we seem to have the choice whether to ignore it. As a dear one had a habit of saying, I'll think about that tomorrow. Just that those tomorrows add up. And we shouldn't find ourselves in the position to start to be digging the well when the house catches fire.

Now this is something you either see or don't. I wouldn't worry about it either way. Early on I was very urgent about having others acknowledge this situation. Especially those most dear. In time, with some hard earned wisdom, I see that there's really nothing that can be done. Other than, of course, purify one's own heart. "But don't you dare tell me what to do!" In this world you have the blessed option to accept it all; all of it, even what you don't like and don't understand. My spiritual friend, Swami Muktananda summed it up, "See God in each other." 

Paraphrasing an old indigenous shaman priest, "Examine your conscience and cleanse your heart. Or, what is coming will seem to be a punishment." I don't know how what's coming will look, to me or to you. But, something is coming. Heaven's Swing I call it. Jump on, little grasshopper. It's not just for the ever after, but for the here and now.




The Myth of Progress is Dead?


About 25 years ago I heard a very wise man assert that the myth of progress is dead. Sorry if I didn't manage to inform the rest of the world. Progress is the new leisure it seems. Like the sharks, if we're not swimming, we're sinking. Going where, who knows? Just going. Or, as the priests, politicians, and marketersthose mafia of the soulendlessly promise . . . a better tomorrow.

When the sad news was announced that Steve Jobs had died, there was an avalanche of praise for him as a visionary, the truly enlightened modern day genius renaissance business man. Visionary, or compulsive driven enabler to a culture systemically habituated to consuming gadgets provided by an engine of progress defined in terms of cranking out ever new means of self absorption and distraction? (Too soon?)

The myth of progress got a shot in the arm with the promise of "data". All of it. Faster and faster. Tailored by some smart aleck kid's algorithm so you can even now get the information sifted, sorted then served to you based on what a subset of people like you will want to know.

Beware the algorithm. Don't say I didn't tell you.

Now there's an ancillary myth, the myth of data. It's basically the idea that all we need to sort things out and have the life we dream of is to have all the data, the right data, the timely data, the correct data. Information is power. In the dream. If you earnestly want to improve on the dream you may be a piece of human green fruit too young too soon to even suspect that you might be asleep. It may be a nice, even beautiful dream; but, chappy, a dream nonetheless.

If only for the rate of acceptance of new technology, we could probably even now be living in a world with implanted devices that threw virtual images in the near visual field that could be manipulated much like what now happens on a hardware screen.

Think about it. Whatever you want. Whatever you need. Just enter what you want to do each day and the algorithm will take you step by step seamlessly and effortlessly through. It's a point and shoot world.

The world leaders will be algorithm developers and their statisticians. Not to worry, they have access to all the data. They will be smart enough. Wise? What's that anyway. It's all in the data.

Smart enough to get down to the really granular. Like that old, still to be nailed-to-the-wall question . . . How many wrinkles in a bull's ass? Come to think about it, there may probably be an app for that already. Bend over. Point, shoot.



My Jewish Soul

I was raised a Catholic. But, after several years living in New York City, and a short time in Miami Beach, I have come to recognize my Jewish soul. So call me pisher!

Some chutzpa you say? Or, as Presidential candidate Congresswoman Michele Backmann put it, "Shutzpa".

I just want you to know that I have the credentials to back up my claim. I once shook the hand of the great Isaac Beshevis Singer. lf that is not to put the question to rest, I don't know what it would take. On evening on the Upper West Side of Manhattan I introduced myself to the man. He was gracious and warm. He gave me his time. He also had on his arm a most beautiful young assistant.*** So I know he was the kind of mensch I would like.

But I think I earned my chops in Miami Beach. At one time I lived in a South Beach Collins Avenue hotel where a lot of snow birds from Canada used spend the winters. The old Jewish ladies would vie for my attention and affection, bringing me little bubalas to eat. The best was my friend Rose Edelman who lived next to in an adjacent apartment. We shared a simple Seder alone together once. A blessing; how you say, a true mitzva.

Rose told me she once lived in a Catholic convent in Brooklyn where she leaned to crochet the decorative fringe for Catholic holy images. She made one for me with images of the Gurus Nityananda and Muktananda. Also, she knitted a meditation asana (mat) for me. I sent it back to her after a while in the hopes that it would comfort her in her last days. Blessed Jewish Rose of My Heart.

Not to get too sentimental, here's my favorite Jewish joke:

Sally comes back from her doctor exam and finds Sammy, her hubby of so many years, still firmly planted at the kitchen table nursing his usual cup of coffee and reading the newspaper. He barely notices she came in.

Excitedly she asks, “So, Sammy, you vant to know vat the doctor said about my br-r-reasts?”

Barely looking up, Sammy says, “Sure, vat?”

“The doctor said I had the br-r-reasts of a 16 year old.”

“Oh, yah? And, vat did he say about your 80 year old ass.”

Sally retorts, “Ve didn’t talk about you!”

Apropo of nothing in particular I recommend the book How to Be a Mensch, and Not a Shmuck by  Michael Wex. It gets into the deep history of the issue of what is and how to be a mencsh in the Jewish culture in an engaging and entertaining way.

So you ask, am I a mensch? Eh, I try.

+++++

*** Master of Dreams A Memoir of Isaac Bashevis Singer Author: Deborah Telushkin

In 1975, twenty-one-year-old Dvorah Telushkin wrote a letter to the great Yiddish writer Isaac Bashevis Singer, offering to drive him to and from a creative writing class in return for permission to attend the course. The literary master, then seventy-one, accepted the offer, which led to a twelve-year-long apprenticeship for Telushkin. Throughout Dvorah Telushkin's tenure with Singer, she kept detailed diaries chronicling both their literary efforts and the evolution of their personal relationship. Indeed, Telushkin was the one person to whom Singer tried to teach his craft as a writer. She writes about the great moments in Singer's public life, his winning the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1978, his fiery encounter with the Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin, his surprising meeting with Barbra Streisand, who adapted and starred in the movie version of Singer's short story "Yentl." But the private Singer is revealed as well, the "merry pessimist" haunted by despair and torn between the old-world ethic of his Hasidic forebears in Europe and the moral abandon of modern secular man. 

OSHO, IS THE GOOSE REALLY OUT?



Anand Bhavo, the goose has never been in.The goose has always been out. It is a Zen koan. First you have to understand the meaning of Zen and the meaning of a koan.

Zen is not a religion, not a dogma, not a creed, Zen is not even a quest, an inquiry; it is non-philosophical. The fundamental of the Zen approach is that all is as it should be, nothing is missing. This very moment everything is perfect. The goal is not somewhere else, it is here, it is now. Tomorrows don't exist. This very moment is the only reality. Hence in Zen there is no distinction between methods and goals, means and goals.

All the philosophies of the world and all the religions of the world create duality; howsoever they may go on talking about non-duality, they create a split personality in man. That has been the greatest calamity that has befallen humanity: all the do-gooders have created a schizophrenic man. When you divide reality into means and goals you divide man himself, because for man, man is the closest reality to man. His consciousness becomes split. He lives here but not really; he is always there, somewhere else. He is always searching, always inquiring; never living, never being, always doing; getting richer, getting powerful, getting spiritual, getting holier, saintly - always more and more. And this constant hankering for more creates his tense, anguished state, and meanwhile he is missing all that is made available by existence. He is interested in the far away and God is close by. His eyes are focused on the stars and God is within him. Hence the most fundamental thing to understand about Zen is: the goose has NEVER been in. Let me tell you the story how this koan started:

A great philosophical official, Riko, once asked the strange Zen Master Nansen, to explain to him the old koan of the goose in the bottle.

"If a man puts a gosling into a bottle," said Riko, "and feeds him until he is full-grown, how can the man get the goose out without killing it or breaking the bottle?"

Nansen gave a great clap with his hands and shouted: "Riko!"

"Yes, Master," said the official with a start.

"See," said Nansen, "the goose is out!"

It is only a question of seeing, it is only a question of becoming alert, awake, it is only a question of waking up. The goose is in the bottle if you are in a dream; the goose has never been in the bottle if you are awake. And in the dream there is no way to take the goose out of the bottle. Either the goose will die or the bottle will have to be broken, and both alternatives are not allowed: neither has the bottle to be broken nor has the goose to be killed. Now, a fully-grown goose in a small bottle... how can you take it out? This is called a koan.

A koan is not an ordinary puzzle; it is not a puzzle because it cannot be solved. A puzzle is that which has a possibility of being solved; you just have to look for the right answer. You will find it - it only needs intelligence to find the answer to the puzzle; but a puzzle is not really insoluble.

A koan is insoluble; you cannot solve it, you can only DISSOLVE it. And the way to dissolve it is to change the very plane of your being from dreaming to wakefulness. In the dream the goose is in the bottle and there is no way to bring it out of the bottle without breaking the bottle or killing the goose - in the dream. Hence, as far as the dream is concerned, the puzzle is impossible; nothing can be done about it.

But there is a way out - which has nothing to do with the puzzle, remember. You have to wake up. That has nothing to do with the bottle and nothing to do with the goose either. You have to wake up. It has something to do with YOU. That's why Nansen did not answer the question.

Riko asked: "If a man puts a gosling into a bottle and feeds him until he is full-grown, how can the man get the goose out without killing it or breaking the bottle?"

Nansen didn't answer. On the other hand, he gave a great clap with his hands and shouted: "Riko!"

Now, this is not an answer to the question - this has nothing to do with the question at all - it is irrelevant, inconsistent. But it solves it; in fact, it dissolves it. The moment he shouted: "Riko!" the official with a start said: "Yes, Master." The whole plane of his being is transformed by a simple strategy.

A Master is not a teacher; he does not teach you, he simply devises methods to wake you up. That clap is a method, that clap simply brought Riko into the present. And it was so unexpected... When you are asking such a spiritual koan you don't expect the Master to answer you with a loud clap and then shout: "Riko!"

Suddenly he is brought from the past, from the future. Suddenly for a moment he forgets the whole problem. Where is the bottle and where is the goose? There is only the Master, in a strange posture, clapping and shouting for Riko. Suddenly the whole problem is dropped. He has slipped out of the problem without even knowing that he slipped out of it. He has slipped out of the problem as a snake slips out of its old skin. For a moment time has stopped. For a moment the clock has stopped. For a moment the mind has stopped. For a moment there is nothing. The Master, the sound of the clap, and a sudden awakening. In that very moment the Master says: "See! See, the goose is out!" It is dissolved.

A koan can only be dissolved but can never be solved. A puzzle can never be dissolved but can be solved. So remember, a koan is not a puzzle.

But when people who are accustomed to continuous thinking, logical reasoning, start studying Zen, they take a false step from the very beginning. Zen cannot be studied; it has to be lived, it has to be imbibed - imbibed from a living Master. It is a transmission beyond words, a transmission of the lamp. The lamp is invisible.

Now, anybody watching this whole situation - Riko asking a question, the Master clapping and shouting - would not have found anything very spiritual in it, would not have found any great philosophy, may have come back very frustrated. But something transpired - something which is not visible and can never be visible.

It happens only when the silence of the Master penetrates the silence of the disciple, when two silences meet and merge; then immediately there is seeing. The Master has eyes, the disciple has eyes, but the disciple's eyes are closed. A device is needed, some method, so that the disciple can open his eyes without any effort of his own. If he makes an effort he will miss the point, because who will make the effort?

Christmas Humphreys, one of the great lovers of Zen in the West, the founder of the Buddhist Society of England and the man who made Zen Buddhism very famous in the Western world, writes about this koan, and you will see the difference.

There is a method of taking the problem in flank, as it were. It will be nonsense to the rational-minded, but such will read no further. Those who read on will expect increasing nonsense, for sense, the suburban villas of rational thought, will soon be left behind, and the mind will be free on the illimitable hills of its own inherent joy. Here, then, is the real solution to the problem of the opposites.

"Shall I tell it you? Consider a live goose in a bottle. How to get it out without hurting the goose or breaking the bottle? The answer is simple - 'There, it's out!"'

Kids Today!


It seems that now that I have progressed to a certain age of maturity, I have taken my place among the ranks of the senior generation to comment critically on the younger ones. What was so exasperating to me about that in my youth, I now am looking at from the other side. As they say, it depends whether you're pitching, or catching.

Nonetheless, would someone please explain to me the thing with the pants worn so low that the belt line falls under the butt cheeks; quarter mast, if you will. Is this a gay thing? Forward that query to your young ones and I'll bet it gets them to pull the pants up post haste. Unless, in fact they are gay; in which case they already are wearing their pants at the waist. That sub-set has its own unique signifier styles. (Not that there's anything wrong with that.)

Just the other day I spied one of our youth strolling by a group of young girls with his pants way low and his underwear the only thing covering up his protruding tuckus. (And, the undies weren't all that cool, by the way. Plaid seems to be what to wear if you go down the down low.) The girls called him by name, but registered nothing on the shame/outrage/silly comment/mockery scale at the sight of his bum. To me that bum with the bum looked like . . . a bum. I guess it's a generational thing. But, as adults we should perhaps convey to the youth that walking with the belt line of your trousers around your thighs will, over time, give you one hell of a funny gait. Call the Ministry of Silly Walks. Better to have plenty of insurance for all the unintended negative bio-mechanical consequences from walking having to have your thighs hold up your pants. Like the sergeant said in my Army days, "Boy, you march like a monkey trying to hump a football!"

The other thing is watching how contemporary parents are raising their kids. It's as if we regard our newborns as if they come into this world fully endowed and all's we have to do is provide food, light and water like some hot house flowers, and they will automatically blossom into the perfect beings we know they are. Now, I have grand children and they happen to be perfect. (Really, I am speaking with rigorous scientific objectivity when I assure you that they are . . . well, I won't belabor you with my high praise for those kids, except to say the fruit doesn't fall far from the tree. Tree-Wronski, that is. So you know I am right about that.) But, kids need guidance. Like many of the good nuns in my parochial school days who seemed to regard us as born devils in need of some ruthless, compassionate whipping into shape.

Specifically, I am thinking about how contemporary parents go about as I see them sometimes in public conversing with the kids as if those snot nosed little buggers have some equal say in the matter. "Johnny, what should we have for lunch today?" "Mary, would you like it if Mommy buys you a Hello Kitty purse, or some new Mary Janes?" (But, do notice the embedded maternal/paternal control. Mommy and/or Daddy are the ones giving the choice.)

Also notice the embedded lesson that life is about being a good consumer, making all the right choices. There's also the shopping for learning, for wealth, for fame, position, good looks, friends. It doesn't seem to be a fitting term, but there's even the shopping for memories; e.g., vacation destination promotion. And, the big one, shopping for experiences. The one who dies with the most/best/different experiences . . . wins! Really? You do know what I'm talking about. Values isn't about your taste in wine, or how many types of salt you keep in the kitchen.

There's nothing wrong with teaching your kid how to negotiate the world. But, there's more to it. When Mr. Sheen came out with his "Winning" he was mocked, but isn't that what we more than anything want our kids to do? Again, nothing wrong with winning, but there's more. While we are teaching our little precious how to make the right choices in life, how about inculcating a sense of duty and obligation. Duty and obligation to more than what may please at any given moment. Something more than the single minded selfish point of view of someone whose only goal is to win, whatever that may be. One's duty and obligation to do the right thing. To be true to oneself. To respect. To share. To trust. These fall in the purview of values. The culture, at least from what I can tell in the media, isn't going to offer much in that department. There, it is about winning; profits and power.

We recently read about a situation where the whole cheerleading squad came on the field at game time by mistake and several of the girls fainted and had to be ambulanced away. Whatever the researchers will come out on as the reason, it seems plain that at least some undue pressure to perform correctly was undercurrent in that bizarre event.

Values education may not be as concrete a thing to get at as learing how to decide what color car to buy. Values seems to fall more in the domain of teaching by example. As I heard Joseph Chilton Pearce say, "If you want your kids to grow up the way you want them to be, you be the way you want them to be."

I grew up in a home where the rule was children should be seen and not heard. As that endless kvetcher-kibbitzerNo way! Styles had definitely moved on even then: and, besides, we weren't living in Bavaria. (I've always wanted to learn to yodel though. Maybe mom had more insight into me than I give her credit?) But I do still have the seared in memory on another occasion of being the only little boy in the whole damn school when in the May school parade—in a springtime celebration of the Blessed Virgin the entire grade school of kids would march in procession from the school building to the church across the street—I was required to wear, can you believe it, short pants. Yuk! Talk about character building. But, in fairness and balance, as I grew older I did notice my parents ease up year to year in support of my independence. Noticeably, on things like my clothes choices and how late the curfew hour. As a young high school gent I was a pretty snazzy dresser. Would scour the city on my bicycle, away from home on summer days for hours. I always did eat what was served. My mother was a good cook, thank God.

I'm remembering once with my own two daughters at dinner when the older girl piped up that she didn't like the food. The younger one joined the protest in a heartbeat. Now, we were pretty good cooks, mostly from scratch with fresh quality ingredients. Yet, I also am savvy enough to know that not everybody has the same taste. But it was just a petulant protest, so I simply replied, "Well, who said you had to like it?" Stopped them right in their tracks. No further complaints. Other times when they were protesting having eaten enough, I liked to strike a bargain, "Just three more bites." I would pile up the fork and when they only ate a portion I would announce, "That one counted only a half toward your three bites". They ate well. And, learned their fractions in the process.






FOR MEN ONLY:

Front End Lifter


Two of the amusing things about Viagra that come to mind. 1) The unabashed media shilling for the introduction of the product by the once great Senator Bob Dole. 2) The wise crack by comedian Dennis Miller, saying that if he had an erection that lasted more than four hours he would call all his friends.

The situation has evolved to the point where now that drug and other similar prescriptions are now being promoted as just another normal everyday thing to take when you need a little help down there. We are not going to weight in on whether anyone should or shouldn't take a schwantz pill. Just a few comments on some things that may have gone unnoticed in all the enthusiasm. Specifically, something to keep in mind about the possible unintended consequences of using a pharmaceutical front end lifter as a staple prelude.

In general the drug industry is positioning more and more of its products as every day necessities. Also, transforming normal life changes as medical problems for whichyou guessed itthere is a pill to fix it. Surely, you have noticed? When its profits firstand it most certainly seems to bewe wonder just how much drug companies really have our well being in mind in their aggessive marketing of their wares.

As you probably know from personal experience, as you age the production of seminal fluid begins to slow. You just don't come back the way you used to as when you were a young man. As you age further, the production is slower yet and libido becomes muted. Big Pharma labels this Erectile Dysfunction and has invested millions to convince us that the fix is in their bottle. Ca Ching!

I'm talking to men now, so any lady reader should be advised if in you find yourself at point in the reading. Please don't play the offended card if the language bruises your ears.

But, guys, if you are slow to get it up, as Groucho Marx was to have put it, "Bend one in." A good water soluble lubricant for an assist to get to the goal. Once you're there, junior will wake up, I guarantee it. On that point, be sure your lady partner is ready. And, interested in the first place. It takes two to tango. There's nothing more stimulating than the readiness of your partner. Or, as the Ancient Chinese dictum (pun intended) goes, "Wait for the water to boil before adding the peas and carrot." Or, the chivalrous take, "Ladies come first."

This is not so much about having a little front end lifter. It's about something that is virtually unspoken of on the subject of sexual activity. Is it not an assumed fact that for the average male it is a given that part and parcel to sexual activity is a climax? Did you ever question that assumption? When you are a strapping young stud, it doesn't seem to be a question at all. But for the mature man, losing your vitality in an ejaculation does tend to slow you down. At around 35 years of age, for the average guy, you start to notice this. You not only take time to recover, you feel a little slowed down too.

Now, however, with a schwantz pill you can get around that slowing down cycle. I wonder, though, how it feels on the other side of the experience. You know how your coach in school advised you to abstain from sex so you would have all your energy for the game day? If a depletion of energy is an issue even for a young man, imagine what it is for a mature or older person. If you are an avid ED drug user you may be depleting your energy faster than it recovers. Hastening your demise? Looking like a zombie, all grey and lifeless.

What to do? Again, reconsider the almost universal assumption that for a man, sex = ejaculation. No, sex is not just a climax; but no climax with sexual activity is typically not an option. Who would even consider that as an option. There is such a thing as seminal retention. Husbanding and redirecting that vital energy.

HUGE RED FLAG on this point. If you do look into withholding your seminal flow, get some proper instruction. This is not a casual affair. The energies are potent and, unless you learn to redirect the energy flow, you will explode. Just kidding. But it's not a good thing to do this without guidance of a teacher knowledgeable in this aspect of Yoga Tantra or Qi Gung. Search terms like "Sexual Tantra", "Sexual Alchemy", "Completing the Microcosmic Orbit" for more information. Just be advised, this is not casual stuff, but requires practice and discipline.

Here's another alternative, the "Front End Lifter" . . .

Scale of the Universe



Molfetta’s Restaurant


David Wronski remembers . . .

Once upon a time in New York City there was a restaurant named Molfetta’s. It was located on 47th Street just west of 8th Avenue. There were a whole lot of other Greek restaurants in the vicinity, along with groceries and bakeries featuring Greek specialties.

The restaurant was on the lower level, with a night club upstairs. The restaurant itself was divided into sections, the main dining area with waiter service, and a smaller section for cafeteria style.

I often went there for the generous, tasty portions and good prices. In the cafeteria section, you were greeted by a man who seemed to be a fixture of the place, and who was probably the head man in the kitchen; a small, square and sturdy Greek with the biggest smile and most hospitable manner.

[Sidebar: And, I know Cooky Cat would agree with this. Of course a restaurant has to have food that you like, then some comfortable atmospherics. But, the service makes a huge difference in the dining experience. To put a point on it, if the service is brusque, rude, hurried, indifferent, unconscious, or lazy then there’s no amount of wonderfulness coming out of the kitchen that would make us want to come back. Put another way, sometimes the most prosaic restaurant meal is a peak experience when the service shows the love.]

Now back to Molfetta’s. . . At the back of the cafeteria section the amiable cook presided over a steam table with several covered pots, each easily 30 inches in diameter. For my delectation, he would happily lift each lid to show what was on for that day. Typically, always something with lamb. Lamb and string beans, lamb with artichokes, lamb and orzo, braised lamb shanks, even roasted lamb head. Also, some sea food offerings like a fish stew, something with squid, and grilled fish. There was a side salad bar with the staple steamed escarole swimming in a lemon-olive oil dressing. It was a complete menu, so there was also the requisite Moussaka, Spanakopita, Pastitsio, Avgolemono soup, classic Greek salad, and the Trinity appetizers: Taramasalata, Tsatsiki and Skordalia.

Here’s a favorite meal. Taramasalata appetizer with some good fresh baked neighborhood rustic whole wheat bread and Retsina wine. When I ordered the roasted lamb head it would arrive carved off the bone. That, and the escarole salad. Food for the gods.

Once at lunch time I had the place to myself. Something unexpected happened that looked like right out of a movie. An attractive young woman came in—also by herself—and sat down near my table. No one else in the place. I was smoking a hand rolled cigarette, and she asked me if she might have one. With a line of dialogue right out of a B movie I said, “Of course, I’ll make one for you; but don’t be intimidated if is rather large.” Cheeky monkey, huh? I invited her to join me and the waiters all got very enthusiastic helping her move to my table; like they were party to some classic cliché beginning of a screen romance. After our lunch she invited me to accompany her to her nearby apartment where I stood by as she geared up to go roller skating. And we met up later at a wild nightclub called Circus (something or other). It was on West 45 near where the Peppermint Lounge used to be. It was a walk on the wild side. Melody Reed was her name. (Really! Some name, huh?) The lady was way out of my league. A great, vivacious and beautiful creature. No further details, just to say . . . that dame was as varied and complex as a Greek salad. As fast and hot as a shot of Ouzo.

Speaking of dames, when I would go to Molfetta’s, upon entering, was a wall of celebrity photos. Melina Mercouri was snapped cavorting at the upstairs night club.

Opa!