W.H.A.T.E.V.E.R.


This is a rant. In which certain potentially offensive subjects are mentioned. Edible people, altar boy cum, the 0.1% of the 1%, and Pope Benedict XVI. Oh, yes, also Bacon Ice Cream. That papist mention should be beyond reproach; but in this day of modern thinking, there could be dissenters. Make that, there are dissenters for sure. Proceed under advisement.

Did all the crazy start with Einstein? Maybe. But, around the middle of the last Century — for any readers who have arrived on the scene recently, that would be the 20th — something changed. 

Maybe it was those damned Hippies? Or, that Rock N' Roll? Elvis, and his pelvis. Peaceniks? Maybe just how it had to be. Heck, up until then, things had been pretty well set. You knew where you stood. And, you were content to stay there. Give us that old reliable status quo. Mustard on hot dogs. Ketchup on hamburgers. Bacon in ice cream. Hell NO!!!

But, things changed. Things'll do that, you know. Haven't you heard? That's a universal law. The constancy of change. Buddha, and his bunch.

Up until then, a man was a man. A woman was a woman. And that's the way we liked it. Or, that's the way we said we liked it. 'Cause, different from the consensus reality wasn't exactly a position you'd want to be in. Or, admit to it, anyway. Unacceptable! Toe the line. Don't rock the boat.

Now, however, it's a Brave New World. You're not anybody now unless you are rocking the boat. Or, at least the appearance of such. Let's be honest, the folks who rule the world — the .01 of the 1% — tolerate a level of criticism and deviance. Just so long as it doesn't eat into their .01%. As long as the rebels aren't storming the gate, let them eat cake. Whatever ... the mob likes. Let's keep them distracted with the media circus. Just don't get too rowdy, folks. Remember that prime agent of the Evil Empire, Karl Marx with his idea that "The ruling ideas of each age have ever been the ideas of the ruling class." Such BS. Or ... we'll see how that question gets answered in the fullness of time. You can only fool the people so long. Or, to put it more sharply ... folk only take so much sh*t. "Fate" is just what you call it when you don't know who's f*cking with you.

Our world is so besotted with the phantasmagoria of spectacle and plethora of experience now it takes something really outrageous and extreme to capture the brief moment of our evanescent attention. That twerp, Miley, twerking. Octomom. Jocelyn Wildenstein. Kim's booty. I could insert photos, but you will recall easily enough. Point made. W.H.A.T.E.V.E.R.

This just in — Add Bruce Jenner to the list. You know him, America's pride. Olympic Decathalon Champion. Poster boy for the best of America's has to offer. At the ripe age of 65 Dear Bruce is going to become a woman. I don't get it. But, live and let live. My first exposure to such possibilities was hearing about Christine Jorgensen; famous in the early 1950s for undergoing sex reassignment surgery. It was joked about widely. "You know why Christine Jorgenson keeps her hands in her pockets? She wants to feel her change." 

Now with Bruce Jenner, and all the media attention his decision to "Go-Girl", we're going to feel his change. Already the subject of a one hour prime time TV interview. With the ever-respectful and profoundly supportive Diane Sawyer playing in the journalist role. Even Mom is proud.

Hey, you want to be this or that. Fine. I don't get it. That should be fine too. No? What I mainly bristle over is how it's being shoved down our throats that we should have this giddy acceptance of such oddities. In fairness, it may not be such an oddity. Apparently, there's a lot of it going around. It may be the conflation of what's "Normal" with what's "Usual". But, let's not get into a debate about what in fact is normal. Really, we're in one. And, it's a typical cluster-f*ck.


Which brings me to the business of "Born That Way." Maybe yes. Maybe no. It may not be definitive either way. At what point do we become conscious, more precisely self-conscious, in terms of how we decide to present ourselves to the world in terms of what's down there and what we think about it. Or, want to do with it. I always marvel at how science comes into play. Now, there's no science on how gender identity and sexual preference comes into being. Yet, to question the validity of the notion such as "Born That Way" invites a sh*t storm of disapproval from the very people who are so assiduous to be accepting of all sorts of alternative life choices. Also, on science. I notice that it depends on what side of a question you happen to fall. You can have lit that there's no reason not to since the science doesn't show anything untoward. Or, you can take the position that you can't do it since the science isn't sufficient. Science. Just another political football. Global Warming. Just saying.

Thankfully, we live in a free country. Do what you like. Just don't hurt others. Fine standard. I agree. Yet, I would be remiss in not mentioning something rather significant. This whole business of "Be All You Can Be", "Express Your True Self", "Be True to Youself" ... ideas like that. Are you really going to stop at knowing your true nature by the kind of show you make in the world? Who Am I?


I don't think we should let ourselves be distracted by what the media serves up as counterfeit for the Real Thing. Remember this simple fact, they are in it for commercial purposes. There's absolutely no money in reminding you of what you are, who you are, Really. If you are interested in exploring such matters, please do. I'm on a rant. Seek spiritual enlightenment elsewhere. This is about words, and point to make. Well, points.

Spiritual-wise, try this on for size:

"Don't be so fixated on the field of phenomena; it is the realm of our dynamic expression, but it is not our true abode. Just as the tree is moving in the wind, but the root is firm and still — be in the root of Being as Being itself. Let your branches play in the wind of life. That is okay, but at the root you must be strong, otherwise you will be uprooted. Know that the Self cannot be uprooted. Confirm your Self as one with Truth." ~ Mooji [Monte Sahaja 2015]

Moving on ... 

So what if I like bacon ice cream. Fine, in the privacy of your own home. In New York City, you're a schmuck if you haven't tried that, or Uni Gelato, or altar boy cum foamed onto a wild caught shark taco (look for that in Williamsburg, Brooklyn ... "Coming" Soon!). 

I just heard about a four year old kid, born female, who wants to be a boy. Go f*cking figure. Four years old? The parents are supportive. I hope they'll be just as supportive when their "son" decides they are too much of a drain on his resources and wants to do away with them. Don't think that's too far fetched. In a culture driven by greed and profit, somebody will inevitably come up with the bright idea to do away with the "scrap". There was a movie, Soylent Green; a look into such a future. The bright note is that the stuff was edible. Win, win. There's glimmerings right now. Not long ago on the Stephen Colbert show there was a guest interviewed who was marketing a super-food he named "Soylent". It really floored me that the otherwise quick-witted Mr. Colbert didn't bring up the reference to the movie. He lives in my town, and I've rubbed shoulders with him shopping. I will pose the question next time we meet. Hey, Steve ... did you know Soylent was ... people!

So, what am I talking about. Post-Modernism. Duh! [Do I have to spell it out?] That thinking goes — my own thinking on the subject, anyway — that since nothing has intrinsic meaning and we create the meaning things have for us, the meaning is relative. Your meaning. My meaning. I came into adulthood with the notion that there were certainties. Also, with a good measure of my own self-assured sense that my point of view reflected some established truth. Ah, youth. Then, when things in my life hadn't been turning out the way I thought they should, along comes a friend to announce to me that things, in fact, were "Loosey Goosey". Everyone is standing around that elephant and arguing about their different perspectives.



Well, things are indeed "Loosey Goosey" now! Everyone is going around being all they can be. At least in the US of A, and Western Culture in general. I did tell my daughters to marry within species, so at least that convention is holding up. It's a fraught discussion we're having. I'll not get into any can of worms. Not that there's anything wrong with worms. Some of my best friends are.

In my college prep school days the big question for debate was, "Does the end justify the means?". We have the answer. No, not, "When it does". But ... "Always!".


The recent Pope Benedict XVI on this subject at the opening of the conclave in 2005 said, "We are building a dictatorship of relativism that does not recognize anything as definitive and whose ultimate standard consists solely of one's own ego and desires." 

Dear Benedict said it best:




Cousin Rosco

Second Cousin Rosco Wronski was a recording artist. Quite famous actually. Looks-wise, he took after his dad: Harry, aka "Horndog Harry". While pater wasn't much upstairs ("Brains painted on," per Grandma Wronski) — downstairs, if you get my drift, was his metier — fils, while similarly endowed, hung his shingle in the music biz. 

You may have heard of him, but doubtful. He was wildly popular among a certain segment of the listening audience. The girls in Hollywood couldn't get enough of Rosco. Oh, to be sure, he got enough. Plenty. We offer an old family photo as proof of what otherwise would seem like a piece of pure fiction. You can't make stuff like this up, folks.


See all the other Wronski's by going to the sidebar "Oh! Wronski / All My Relations". 

Or, for the full bore hystericory CLICK to go to this page.
What's the Big Deal About Gravity

So what's the big deal I've been making about Gravity?

Yes, we all know about it. Simply put, it's what makes things go to the floor when you drop them. We would even acknowledge it's true that it is so constant and ever present we are inured to it. It passes under the radar. It's a given. Sort of like how kids today take computers and smartphones as just a part of their everyday life. The world into which they are born. We are born into the field of gravity. We don't know anything other. 

Gravity ... unspoken of and unrecognized as such, we learn to crawl, to walk, to live within its presence. Under it's influence. Like I said, it's a given. Sort of like how the fish and other creatures of the sea would probably not pay too much attention to the water, if they could talk about it, ever.

Maybe though, some fish would be aware of water as such. Those that leap into the air from time to time. Surely they sense the change, that there's an alternative environment. We humans too. We've traveled far enough from earth enough now to know what it is like to live without the effects of Gravity. Heck, there's even a NASA project going on right now with a human in space for one full year. His twin is back on earth, and they will use his brother as control to measure differences after his return to Terra Firma. Isaac Newton. Who doesn't know that name. He deduced gravity when he got the insight from a falling apple. 

[That apple. Adam and Eve. New York City, the Big Apple. The apple of my mother's eye. An apple a day. What's that about apples?]

So, as you know, I am scientifically and professionally interested in balancing humans with gravity. Fostering a transformation from Gravity as purely a concept, to being aware of it as a percept. And, having an active and conscious relationship with that natural ecological ineluctable fact. Why? Hey, it's a living. Seriously though ... for health and performance and creativity. And REALLY BEING ALIVE!

We are all in gravity. That, everyone knows. But, it's debatable on the point concerning just how "with" gravity we really are. If you look at your neighbors — don't forget to include yourself — with an architect's eye for structural balance and integrity, you'll notice something quite obvious now that you've looked for it. Most of us live slipped away from the simple vertically stacked pattern which both the science of Physics and Anatomy indicate is an appropriate arrangement for living under the constant pull of the force of Gravity.

Dr. Ida P. Rolf originated my field called Structural Integration. She put it this way: "Some individuals may perceive their losing fight with gravity as a sharp pain in their back, others as the unflattering contour of their body, others as constant fatigue, yet others as an unrelentingly threatening environment.  Those over forty may call it old age.  And yet all these signals may be pointing to a single problem so prominent in their own structure, as well as others, that it has been ignored: they are off balance, they are at war with gravity."

So the crux of it is not that what's been stated here is anything new. Not really. What's new is that something can be done about it.

What can be done? The human body is plastic. It takes the individual shape we see in ourselves and others over a period of time. Repeated movement patterns, a mix of good and bad habits. Throw in the occasional trauma, insult, and accident. We've learned copying adults around us who themselves may not have been adequate models. 

We all arrive at adulthood with a random mix of patterns, many off balance in terms of the simple level and square every architect and building trade worker takes into account as the rule for balance and sound structure. It happens so gradually we don't notice it as such. Dr. Rolf observed we naturally grow bigger and stronger as we mature. But, just how those parts come to work and fit together, that is to a very large degree learned. We may take it to be who we are. We become attached. "That's just the way I am." Do something? How dare you even suggest such a thing! There's nothing wrong with me! As if the mere fact that we stand on two legs and move about is enough proof that our relationship to Gravity is ... just fine, thank you! 

Structural Integration is something you learn. To those of us in the profession it's as basic as going to school and learning the 3-R's. Nobody questions the need to teach the children how to negotiate their world. Yet, when it comes to learning how to get their bodies into a healthy and correct arrangement, we leave that mostly to chance. We're all perfect, right? Perfectly, imperfect. 

Be that as it may, we mostly live well short of our easy and natural potential for simple architectural balance in the makeup of our bodies. Could it be that the war we wage is just an expression of something inner at conflict with itself? The merchants of war are not going to enlighten you on that point. War, Boy!, is good for business!

Bodily balance. Do you need it? You tell me. I'm just here to tell you that you can change. If and when you want. It does take some doing. Nothing all that difficult though. Just some doing. There's no need to be living putting up with a body out of balance. Which, more likely than not, translates to pain and stress. Not being as effective as you know you can be. 

Whether something should be done in any individual case, I leave that for you to decide. You can take the usual approach. Go on as you are and wait until something happens. A surgery to cut away the problem part. Pills are available. Just call your doctor, though, if — I kid you not, this is a disclaimer I recently heard — "your breasts start to produce milk." And that one about calling your doctor "if your erection lasts more than 4 hours." Heck, call all the girls you know first. Alright, in light of the current zeitgeist, the boys you know too. Whatever.

But let me say this on a related subject. About putting things off. You know about the environment. There are those saying that the time for doing something in certain areas was several years ago when the alarms first went out. It's a common assumption — hubris, really — that technology will fix anything in the future we encounter. That may be a good strategy for business if your profits come from the tech sector. But, there is such a thing as a Tipping Point: a time and situation where things are beyond the point of fixing. Just how many pieces of plastic in the waters of the earth will be too much? We wait to see. Need I get into subjects that have to do with the pollution of drinking water and the air? Or, the melting of the polar ice caps? A Native American spokesperson, Winona LaDuke Anishinaabe, recently said: "Someone needs to explain to me why wanting clean drinking water makes you an activist, and why proposing to destroy water with chemical warfare doesn't make you a terrorist."

Fortunately, the human organism itself has a great deal of restorative power. Not to suggest that there could come a time when things can't be corrected. But, the more time passes the harder it'll be down the road to make those necessary changes. It's never too late. But, do you want to experiment with your aliveness and health to wait and see? 

It's a fascinating part of my career to be involved in such a discussion. Of course, I am a convert. Just what it takes, if indeed there is anything that it could take, to awaken another to the same understanding, I don't know. You know you've been asleep only after you waken. 

I give it my best. But mostly, sleeping dogs will want to lie. Praying for a gentle awakening.
You Don't Tell an Italian How to Make Tomato Sauce

Recently I learned that an old friend had passed away. His name is Joseph Oddo. Joe.

Somehow a lot of strings got tied together. Beautifully.

Not long ago I got a Facebook friend request from someone whose relationship with me wasn't clear. I interact on a private professional page and assumed he was a colleague. I didn't inquire further and accepted the invitation. Yet it still nagged me a bit when Joe liked something or other I shared, but still I didn't inquire further.

Very recently I got a notice that he had passed away. Still I didn't look any further.

Then shortly after that news my partner Michele was cooking and asked me about that fellow I had always mentioned who never tasted the food he was preparing; but used his nose, his sense of smell.

It all came together.

Time was when I offered service at a meditation ashram in New York City. Joe Oddo was a contemporary. Offering service (Seva) is part of the dharma, and Joe and I did a lot of work in the kitchen, assisting the cooking of daily evening meals for up to 100, special events for 100's.

Once the community was asked to take over all the kitchen activities, and cover the work with volunteers from the community itself. Formerly, a full time dedicated cook was on staff to head the kitchen. I was asked to fill that role. (If you know about working in the Guru's ashram, you know your ego will get, well, challenged. All in the process of purification to be sure. But, challenged — better, pricked — and sometimes it feels like fire. We people have our differences, don't you know.

Well here I am as manager of the kitchen having to train people to cook full meals for large numbers. Some volunteer cooks with no prior experience. Just how do you cook a pot of rice for 100 servings? And, as I said, each with their own set of experience, backgrounds and temperaments.

If you've ever been in a position to manage a group of people you know it's a dance. Something between wanting to get your way all the time and feeling utterly useless in the face of the inexorable tide of things. Usually, the experience is closer to the latter. You sit back and watch it happen. Adding a little seasoning here and there. Of course, if you are properly placed to manage in a situation, you also know when to call a foul or stop something from going wrong. In the Guru's Kitchen you learn to orchestrate with a light hand. Yet, you will feel the heat in that Kitchen, sometimes get burned. If you are a true Yogi, you take that in stride too. You don't put a pot on to boil that your soul doesn't feel the heat.

Our Joe Oddo cooked with his nose. As many times as I tried to get him to taste the food, he wouldn't. His nose told him everything. Mother's knee sort of thing, I believe. Now I could get all up into a hot argument about how in the hell he could determine the right amount of salt, but he wasn't the sort who was open to that kind of discussion/argument. His speciality was Italian Tomato Sauce. And, like I said, you don't tell an Italian how to make his sauce.

Joe also, during my reign in the kitchen anyway, never mastered the knack of cooking right to the expected number of people. When Joe cooked we had leftovers. Where in terms of taste his nose knew, in terms of quantity Joe seemed to cook by eye. I never was able to get him into the math of calibrating the final goal amounts based on number of guests, serving sizes, cooked volume versus raw. But, Joe was a good cook and we folded his, ahem, abundance into the next meal.

I had also vividly remembered a time when Joe and I and a few others set about to fix the stone steps leading down from the sidewalk at the Ashram. Joe took charge. Let's just say, his way and mine were different. I fumed. (Remember, you burn in the Guru's House.) Not least for having to speed off very near retail closing time on Saturday fetching bags of concrete. Double burn. We literally took the stairs apart and rebuilt them. Fine enough, except the treads we reset were not the same distance apart. In short, not right. We hired a stone mason — Italian to boot! — and it was done correctly.

I had told Michele this story many times, clearly remembering Joe, but forgetting his last name. Then she asked what was his name and I instantly said Joe Oddo.

Aha!

Confession. I had remembered Joe — and so many others from my past history — mainly for the ways in which we rubbed each other the wrong way. This had been a nagging point of discord for me in my sadhana. Something unfinished. Remembering the past, and coming up with mostly sore memories. The word is Forgiveness. A word. But it's the act that matters. That counts.

I've always held that the time of a loved one's, or even an acquaintance's passing, is a time of blessing. So too with Joe Oddo.

I remember Joe very fondly and now those recollections warm and gladden my heart. I do apologize, Joe, for not recognizing you when you requested being a Facebook friend. You are a friend in a much larger sense than that. A friend of my heart. I love you. Happy trails.

Om Namah Shivaya!

Jai Guru, Hai!

If you get into that heavenly kitchen and cook up some sauce, don't overdo it. The Boss there is strict. But, as the joke goes, there aren't that many to cook for anyway.



App Store #10


Instant Chinese for "Virtually" Every One of Your Friends

10. Instant Chinese for Social Media Consumption. When you want to share a picture, but the food isn't all that, all that. Use the "Outsourced to China", aka "Instant Wok" app and your culinary creations will astound all your [virtual] friends.



Here's how it works for Pea Soup. Pretty snazzy, heh?


There's no end to the possibilities . . . 











Swing-A-Way Vegetable Peeler
RED FLAG! MADE IN CHINA

I you happen to own a Swing-A-Way we know you swear by it. At least, the one once made in the USA. It'll last you forever.


As for the vegetable peeler they market, it's something you swear at. Also, I've learned that now that the opener also comes from offshore, the Amazon review is that's it lousy. Corporations! Outsourcing!

Does anyone still know what products made in the USA stood for? It's not just about the Red, White, and Blue. Long lasting. Overbuilt. Bulletproof. Solid. Like that.

We're getting our second replacement peeler from the manufacturer. First one was dull as a mud fence. The one that replaced it fell apart. A vegetable peeler that falls apart! Swing-A-Way!

Here's the chronicle we submitted to Amazon . . . on the sale page for the Swing-A-Way Potato Peeler . . .

Step 1.

My Swing-A-Way can opener is bulletproof, reliable, well made . . . the only one you'll ever need. Also with that Made in the USA robust design and materials. The peeler . . . the exact opposite. It has been sitting in our drawer for a few years. I couldn't believe how poorly it worked. In fact, it never worked. I did call their customer service on that, but I must've made the wrong connection. The company at the time listed for that product answered as if I got the parking attendant's booth. Dead zone. Since I recently purchased the Jonas (Made in Sweden) peeler and found it to be light years better than anything I've ever used (not sticking peels, they just fly away. Razor sharp too.) I made another attempt to contact AmcoHouseworks only to find their customer number on the website is for retailers only. No listed number for consumers. They directed me to another number for consumers. The representative who answered the phone was rather uninterested in hearing that they were difficult to reach. I will be receiving a replacement and hope that the original unit was just a fluke. It was just such a shock after my glowing experience with the can opener. Customer service . . . C-. Yes, I'm getting a replacement, but sometimes a dissatisfied customer also wants to be heard. Deaf ears was my experience.

Step 2.

Got the replacement. Worked great. The new one had a sharp blade. Then, after about a dozen uses, the blade came away from the central shaft to which it is attached. A small length of metal either was never there or broke off the crimp collar which holds the blade to the shaft; so it couldn't surround the shaft and hold secure. After another lengthy search to find customer service I finally got a number. Will call tomorrow during business hours. Also wrote an email. Much too much effort over getting something this basic to work, from a company which seems to make so many quality products. And, the replacement was not as good quality as the original one I purchased. Their excellent hand can opener is USA made. I don't think the peeler comes from these shores. I'll report on the next transactions.

Step 3.

Getting yet another replacement. No hassle on that part. Customer service there confirmed all Swing-A-Way products are now made in China.

It's an interesting look into corporate ownership. Used to be a Made in USA product(s) with management probably within shouting distance of shipping. Now management is virtually inaccessible to peons like me; customer service might as well be in another state; quality control in another; and the production line in some backwater, and likely only accessible through some front company in Hong Kong. With manufacturing contracts won based on ballpark quality and lower costs. The previous replacement product was clearly not even to the quality of the first, which latter was probably also made in China.

Customer service was, well, serviceable. All the rep wanted to do was send me another unit. I finally suggested that I purchased two faulty units and that might be a red flag for somebody. But, in corporate culture, fragmented and distant as the parts are now, that point I’d bet won’t get noticed.

Rant . . . over.

Here's a photo I sent with the email to the manufacturer.


Step 4.

Awaiting replacement peeler.