Dukan sees where food + politics/Econ/society mix

Article in the UK Guardian about the Dukan Diet. Addresses obesity as culture, obesity as economic model, obesity as product of economic growth (and capitalism’s mktg + advertising)

“the economic model of the west is based on obesity” — food companies, pharma.


Later he says, “[US and UK] are addicted to sweetness.” differing cultures — on food, meals, flavors.

Later, “obesity … corresponds with economic growth. You can see it in China now. A lot of processed food with sugar, salt and fat combined with advertising and marketing. People don’t move so much.”

notes from D. Tsoi, from seed fund.

the socratic question — what really matters in life?

what’s the story of your life?

i wanted to live a better story for my life.
i wanted to live a better story of my life.

in the US, we have an impoverished conversation…. we don’t talk about what matters to us deep down.

how you connect with someone. met at a professional event.

SEED Fund … conversation began as a conversation about
what are the issues that you care about? that question didn’t matter, since there were so many issues that mattered.

by giving $5K that others could apply towards $20K is very different than if i had given my lump of money on my own. for someone to connect their money to mine, is very different from giving it all on their own.

on youth philanthropy …
Inspired Legacies — youth giving circles.

books …
Your Money or Your Life — online programs.

Vijay at occupy boston


Most idiosyncratic. It is a fight-back website.

I am happy to be here. When I first heard that this was happening. It was the day after the first tent went up. I was bewildered.
It was a little chaotic initially. Basically, I have been waiting for this thing to happen forever.

It is inconceivable that we can live in such barbaric inequality, and barbaric miltarism. And that we can take it sitting down. THe right is out there doing its bizarre kind of politics. And all human beings are being silenced.

This is not a surprise to me. I was extremely glad that there were no demands. We have so many grievances. The reason is that we have so many grievances. There should be time for airing the million things that are wrong. Somebody doesn’t like injection, somebody is angry about starvation.

So what i decided to do was to travel to the different occupy sites. And to interview them: why are you here? why  did you come? what brought you here?

(2:07) I have learned surprising things. I have learned lots of things. Every single occupy site has a different focus. For instance, in New haven, homelessness. This is not the first time that the green has been occupied on the issue of homelessness. That green has been occupied in 2002, 1992. Twice in the 1980s on the issue of homelessness.

In Hartford, the central issue is starvation. You may not know that Hartford has an official unemployment rate of 33.5%. One of the poorest cities in the nation. There the question is starvation.

Here the question is — as you would expect — student debt. I have walked around, i’ve done a few interviews. Within half an hour, I learned from six people the principal issue bringing them here is student debt.
It clocked past 1 trillion last week. THe $1T threshold. We have a crazy society. $2.4 trillion in personal debt held by ordinary people.$1T in student debt.

Basically, the imagination is cut off. I get students coming in, first year. The only thing that they can think about, is what can i study that I can get a job so that I can pay back these student loans.

There is no time to develop an imagination. There is no time to develop logic. There is no time to breath. There is no time to read Moby Dick. Which I learned from teh NYT that every American should read. How can they read Moby Dick when they have to be functionaries in these buildings. If you want to be a functionary, there is no reason to read Moby Dick.
Moby Dick is going to make you want to not be a functionary. In a sense, it is a book about rebellion.

So, we get young people — $80K.$70K. They leave school, they need to pay that debt back.

(4:27) Their lives have already been indentured.
To be educated, is to be indentured.

TO be educated, is to not be free.
To be educated, is to put your brain into somebody else’s pocket.

It is no longer your brain. You have no autonomy.

THat is one great vulgarity in our society.

That is going to kill everything that people think that we stand for.
It is making us cogs to fill these buildings where there are in fact, no jobs. This is a Potemkin Village. These are empty buildings.

They have laid off everybody. They have lights in there, but nobody is to work there.

But it is not creating anything of value.

(5:10) In the last 10 years, we have spent $7.^T — supplemental wars — COlombia, Libya, Uganda. Maintaining bases in over 100 countries in the world.

Taking care of vetereans when they return. During Vietnam, the mortality rates were much higher.

So … not killed during the wra. but who lost limbs. When you add all that stuff together.

That is the crazy system that we live in. Ordinary people

What kind of society is that? In my opinion, that is not 99% . It is 100% wrong. Guess what, even the 1% are miserable.


more Vijay — ‘The Costs of War’ in counterpunch, July 30, 2011

The most dazzling fact is not this decline. It is what is to come. The National Urban League Policy Institute’s latest study finds that unemployment for Blacks with four-year college degrees has tripled since 1992, and overall unemployment is near 1982 levels, namely 20%. Such numbers have not been seen since the Depression. Langston Hughes wrote that the 1930s “brought everybody down a peg or two,” but that those on the darker side of the Color Curtain had not much to lose. That is no longer the case. The thirty years since 1965 provided a boost to the Black and Latino middle class, largely thanks to employment at the various levels of government (and salutations to the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees for its battles to hold public sector wages). With unemployment on the rise, it will be difficult to build back those assets.

seeing race

So, do you want to devise a way to bring more pocs to that venue?
Is it a worthwhile venue?

I’m not surprised by the heavy whiteness of such places. Our lives demonstrate how pervasive and divisive race is. We need deliberate, concerted, intentional efforts to overcome pervasive whiteness. It is what institutional racism looks like, in this day.

Questions on spirituality and self

Back in May, I was privy to an exercise called Wisdom Question. 1.5 days into a training on … (1. the integration of spirituality and social justice, and 2. being less triggered/intrusive as a facilitator). Here are the list of questions that each of us asked as the most pressing question as we were two-thirds of the way through:

  1. What are the obstacles that I create, that are grounded in fear?
  2. What is the role of anger in spiritual activism?
  3. How do we embody authenticity? How do we know when we are feeling authentic connection?
  4. How to be skillful in dropping down in a moment?
  5. How to stay with love?
  6. How do I want to show up?
  7. How to share and build this place?
  8. How we live, embody and take [this] out to the world?
  9. What worked in my facilitation yesterday?
  10. How are people experiencing me?
  11. What do you see that I bring? What do you wish that I would bring?
  12. How do I keep [my tendency to] beat myself up for speaking harshly at bay?
  13. When is my posture or energy is closed or slouching?
  14. What can i let go of?
  15. How am I showing up?

Emotion and experience were recurring topics. As was body language, and what our behavior was telling others.

pending: Enough for me and the wasps.

God, I do love this place. I am back here, the last Sunday in August. Hurricane Irene cancelled my Megabus ride between Washington DC and Durham, but provided the opportunity for friends in DC to escape the tropical storm by driving south and sleeping in the hermitage until the media-traumatizing storm blew up the coastline. On Sunday, the skies were clear, not a cloud in the sky. They had all been sucked up in the vortex of what was Irene.

Down here Mebane, I stood in the orchard picking apples. I gathered figs off of the every growing fig bush. The first time I pulled a fig straight from a branch was for a group, who were some of the first guests to visit the Stone House in the Fall 2007.

The first time I harvested — well, actually gleaned — apples had been a few summers’ prior when Tahz asked me to grab apples. The first batch were for a blue bucket, the second batch were tossed into a wheelbarrow. The blue bucket apples had spots, dimples and blemishes on their skin yet enough apple for the fruit to be pressed with the apple press. The wheelbarrow where apples that were to soft and mushy, or so marked up that they were unedible to the discerning eye of a Stone House guest in the kitchen.

What I most remember about being under the apple trees was the buzz of hundreds of wasps. I so freaked myself out of the oodles of wasps that it took me a minute to realize. The wasps didn’t care about me. There was so much apple to be eaten that the wasps paid me no mind as I picked up apples from the ground and off of branches and placed them in the bucket and wheelbarrow. I went from gently laying them in the two containers to tossing them three feet. The wasps, still didn’t care about me. I had concocted a narrative that they were going to sting me.

cuz ima move. and get out the way.

kinda like Ludacris once rhymed.

seeing Nicole this weekend, i remembered something significant. how vital it is that we foster the relationships and lines of communications amongst our selves, because as Black folks and as people of color, the affirmations of our humanities gets short-shrift oftentimes.

all 3 of you are in 1 city.
each of your are beautiful black people.
and you each could tell some stories about RG.
and tell more stories about your versions of this thing called life.
i pray that you can get to it. and get to one another.

My first time at the Rodeo


gorgeous long-haired livestock
Mom + 1 of the long-haired cattle

On Friday night, I got two tickets for Mom to accompany me to the 105th National Western Stock Show — an annual event situated under the I-70 interstate that cuts across north Denver. And what was I, a Black man, doing at the rodeo?

Foremost, I was reacquainting myself with Colorado. But I was shocked to find out that that this was Mom’s first time ever at the Stock Show. She never attended as a kid in Akron. Nor while in college at Boulder. Or as a young woman/mother/wife in the 26 years between 1968 and 1984. Nor come once in the ten years she’s been back in Colorado.

As for me, I also wanted to go because a) I had never been to the Stock Show, b) it was some quality time with Mom before she departs next week, and c) it is a highlight every January. I learned that Mom was jazzed to go considering that she i) wanted to arrive an hour early, and ii) put on her finest cowgirl boots and her favorite scully, from Denver-based Rockmount Ranch Wear.

Once we got there, Mom was on the prowl for some grilled bison meat. No such luck. We settled for 1/4 lb sausages — mom having bratwurst, I opted for the polish smoked — that were on the far side of the Education Barn.

The rodeo began with bareback riding. It featured cowboys with names such as Buck Lunak (from Cut Bank, Montana), Tanner Aus (from Granite Falls, Minnesota) and Tim Shirley (from Bailey, Colorado). Mr. Shirley was riding a horse named Lion Eyes. or is it Lionize? I wondered. Turned out that that buckskin’s name is spelled Lyin Eyes.

The second event was steer wrestling. Though there were hundreds of people of color — Latin@s and Blacks — in the crowds milling about and in the stands, there was only one Black cowboy in the ring — #958, Darrell Petry from Beaumont TX. Petry was the first of the steer wrestlers to be successful. As the announcer said, “that veteran cowboy” bundled it up in a wee 4.1 seconds. Seconds seems significantly longer in the 4 or 8 seconds that one person is grappling with 800 pounds of power and flesh.

The third event for the night offered the most laughs: mutton busting. Mutton busting is 6- and 8-year old boys and girls gripping onto the backs of full-grown sheep. So, the mutton has more to do with the little kids riding on the back, protected with their hockey helmets.

Clippers on a cow

The rest of the evening entailed bronc riding, tie down roping, the barrel race and ended with the bull riding. The announcer and clown kept the mood light-hearted, and the sound guy looped rock, motown, metal and hiphop. Even a little bit of Tupac’s ‘California Love’ when a Cali cowboy was in the gate.

The National Western is now over. I’ve got my focus and calendar ready for the Granby Rodeo, that runs from Memorial Day until July 4th.

resolutions for here/now

I stopped with the new years’ resolutions habit years ago. It was when I started to getting frustrated with the self-imposed expectations of the gym 7 times a week. Both my own proclamations of such, and those of others, were self-punishment. But, I’m back into resolutions. Thanks to Carlos Vega. Who’s remixed the resolution by having the same one each year: to see more movies.

Since imitation is the highest form of flattery, I’ma mimic the C.Vega resolution by trebling it:

My new years resolutions for 2011 (as of today, Nov 23rd) are:

  1. yes, to see more movies,
  2. to drink more coffee,
  3. to drink more beer,
  4. to cook more new meals — from both recipes and inspiration.

(h/t JVF)

synchronicity: in hope, anger, books, twitter

wow. this is the kind of shit that makes me glad to ask questions.
and therefore, ask more questions.

i feel like i’ve acessed a treasure trove of links. data and stories. data and stories.
dude, there’s no judgement, i have profound combo of feelings: amazement, delight, respect.

in part synchronicity, in part magic. i say synchronicity for a few reasons:
1. the Marshall Ganz article in Sojourners magazine is brilliant, laden with deep learnings. thus, will require slow digestion, and repetition in reading it.
in fact, i was just requesting Marshall Ganz’ newest book, Why David Sometimes Wins, off of paperbackswap.com earlier today. i’ve had 3 books requested from me in the last 24 hours. and someday, hopefully i will get those credits translating into Ganz‘ recent book, When David Sometimes Win, or the books by bad-ass farmer in southern Virginia, Joel Salatin.

2. also, i was just thinking of needin to locate that Malcolm Gladwell article. though it sounds like there are severe misgivings in the points he argues, it serves a tremendous purpose. as a writer, he puts his thoughts down on paper and into magazines that reach an audience of millions. inevitably, such an article — as a moment in time — offers a hook, or door ajar, to discuss concepts of society, technology, what moves and motivates people, and justice. and forces us to have to consider the story that we tell, the point that we are trying to make. by incorporating the new data that he puts forth. or determining that there is no merit in giving verbiage by responding to a Gladwellesque social thinker/critic.

3. and then, synchronicity. cuz in getting to glance at your links on pyramids of engagement, and that alchemyofchange response. which now that i’ve read it, is saying something similar to what i’ve said. in fewer paragraphs. and using  less pretty words.