Wednesday, February 21, 2007


"Life is a daring adventure, or nothing." ~ Hellen Keller

Just started reading Adventure Divas, in which the author defines adventure as a way of life.

"Adventure is about hurling yourself at the unexpected; it's how you walk to the corner store, and how you walk the Australian Outback."

~Holly Morris

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Livin' like a Paleolith

The mind, as it evolves

Depression as a survival tool? Some new treatments assume so.
By Julia M. Klein, Special to The Times
February 12, 2007

"The backdrop to therapeutic lifestyle change, or TLC, is an increase in depressive illness since World War II, Ilardi says. "There's increasing evidence that we were never designed for our sedentary, socially isolated, indoor, sleep-deprived, frenzied, poorly nourished lifestyle," he says.

Ilardi combines group therapy sessions with a set of lifestyle changes, each of which has proven effective against depression: aerobic exercise; ingestion of omega-3 fatty acids; light; positive social interaction; substituting activity for rumination; and increased sleep. The goal is for patients to live more like their Paleolithic ancestors."

check out the whole article at:,1,1133864.story?coll=la-utilities-health

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Joan Didion on Georgia O'Keeffe

"I recall an August afternoon in Chicago in 1973 when I took my daughter, then seven, to see what Georgia O'Keefffe had done with where she had been. One of the vast O'Keeffe 'Sky Above Clouds' canvases floated over the back stairs in the Chicago Art Institute that day, dominating what seemed to be several stories of empty light, and my daughter looked at it once, ran to the landing, and kept on looking. 'Who drew it,' she whispered after a while. I told her. 'I need to talk to her,' she said finally.

My daughter was making, that day in Chicago, an entirely unconscious but quite basic assumption about people and the work they do. She was assuming that the glory she saw in the work reflected a glory in its maker, that the painting was the painter as the poem is the poet, that every choice one made alone -- every word chosen or rejected, every brush stroke laid or not laid down -- betrayed one's character. Style is character.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

SOS - Children's Villages

Check out this organization -- I learned about their work through my news search about Kosovo, they have a village in Pristina, where they are dedicated to serving children, with no regard to ethnicity or current political situation. I'm impressed with their vision of creating real homes and families for orphaned children:

"SOS Children’s Villages was founded in 1949 in response to the needs of the many children left orphaned and abandoned after World War II. The original concept is still working today, over 55 years later, to provide children who have lost their parents or who are no longer able to live with them a loving home and a stable environment in which they can thrive. ...

Girls and boys of differing ages grow up together in an SOS Children's Village family like brothers and sisters. Natural brothers and sisters are not separated. Children are accepted from small babies until the age of ten unless there are brothers and sisters involved, in which case the children could be older.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Youth Voice in Mitrovica

In the midst of the publicized talks regarding the UN and the future of Kosova, life moves forward, and friends I know over there continue to work toward a peaceful resolution.

Check out this month's newsletter from Mercy Corps. I was excited to see a feature about Youth Voice, a magazine created by and for the youth in Mitrovica. I went to a meeting held by its leader, my friend Luli, where I met Safet and Luma, who I wrote about earlier in the blog. We ended up meeting once a week for English/Albanian lessons, and have kept in touch since. It's so good to see the picture of Luli (in a suit!!! which I had never seen on him, artist and filmmaker that he is) and Safet sitting next to him.

"Mitrovica/Mitrovicë, Kosovo - This is a city divided by a river, by walls topped with sharp razor wire, by heavily armed soldiers and, most of all, by ethnic discord. Some regional analysts have derided the place as "a dead city."

Dozens of area youth disagree - and they're helping compose the city's critical next chapter through the power of the written word." - by Roger. O Burks, Jr.

Future of Kosova

After years of UN administration and hopes for final status, tomorrow UN special envoy Martii Ahtisaari will officially announce his plan. A few of my friends who are there as aid workers are poised to evacuate if the announcement should incite fighting or war.

According to Douglas Hamilton writing for Reuters,

A summary of Ahtisaari's plan seen by Reuters confirms that Ahtisaari will avoid recommending independence by name, and will not refer to Serbian sovereignty, which Belgrade insists the United Nations cannot violate by amputating Kosovo.

It will, however, make clear that Kosovo will not return to Serbian rule and will obtain legal status that permits other countries to eventually recognise it as an independent state.

"Passage of a (U.N.) resolution would create a platform for Kosovo to declare independence and those countries minded to do so would recognise that," said a Western diplomat.

"The Serbs would have to accept the loss of Kosovo, the Kosovars would have to accept a continued international presence, significant limitations on their sovereignty and a very generous package of rights for the Kosovo Serbs..."

Hummer of Death

Hitchhikers beware, let this Hummer pass by. Whether you fear the carbon emissions, the laughably low gas mileage, or the petite blonde barely able to see over the steering wheel of her H2, designed for war, hummers are scary.

Yesterday I saw one such monstrosity parked in Pasadena, proudly announcing what it is: a machine of death. The entire vehicle was an advertisement for autopsies. The hood announced the phone number/website – The back window did not allow anyone to see out or in (one can only hope it is not because services are performed on-site), but was covered in information and a picture of three doctors hovering over a body on a bed.

  • Private autopsies
  • Forensic Autopsies
  • Toxicology & Serology
  • Medical Photography
  • DNA (Paternity) Analysis

And, of course, since we are in Southern California, an icon of a film camera stating: “Prod. (T.V., Movie) Consultant.

When I looked up the company on the web, I found that their mission statement is: “Mortuis Paresdium Et Vocem Dare Necessee Est - The Deceased Must be Protected and Given a Voice.” A good sentiment, but does the tank they drive advance that dark day?

Lest you worry that I am heartlessly mocking a group of well-intentioned folk who do what many of us dare not, please check out their gift catalog. It offers a SKULL CAP with 1-800-AUTOPSY emblazoned on the front and back, as well as a traditional scrub shirt with the company logo right above the heart. Do I need to mention the coffin case or the brain gelatin mold? The “glow skull magnet” suggests their sense of humor as they advise you “use this for your grave memos… this 2” plastic skull is realistically detailed and glows.”

Though you might miss all this info when the hummer blows by you at 75 mph, it would be hard to miss the piece de resistance: a toe tag on the passenger’s side door, inscribed “El Muerto.”