Zanshin reconciliation

Zanshin reconciliation 

Zanshin is a word used commonly throughout Japanese martial arts to refer to a state of relaxed alertness. Literally translated, zanshin means “the mind with no remainder.” In other words, the mind completely focused on action and fixated on the task at hand. Zanshinis being constantly aware of your body, mind, and surroundings without stressing yourself. It is an effortless vigilance.

In practice, though, zanshin has an even deeper meaning.

Zanshin is choosing to live your life intentionally and acting with purpose rather than mindlessly falling victim to whatever comes your way…..”


photo by Mark Nichols courtesy of http://zanshin.net


Ashes and soot fallen

Petrified by blood and tears:

Whetstone for justice

haiku written by Boy

In a discussion in the comments thread under her own blog entry, Greencrow made a marvelous suggestion about contacting Donald Trump relative to the 9/11 Truth and Reconciliation idea promoted originally by Carl Herman at Washington’s Blog and picked up by her.  I mirrored them both by link.

Greencrow suggested that, “during the first upcoming debate, Donald Trump should make an announcement that, as soon as he is sworn in, he will set up a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to investigate 9/11 and its aftermath.  This would be a genius move on the level of Karl Rove because it would:

1. Surprise/scare the hell out of the perps and you might even see it reflected in the surprise on Hillary Clinton’s face! Don’t forget, it was her husband, Billary, who set up the 9/11 attacks. They were good to go when Dubya took over.

2. What could Hillary and her ilk say in response? Could they say they objected? On what grounds.? Any objection to bringing closure to the country and to the families would bring suspicion of complicity in the events. This would go for the main$tream media as well. Any objection will be evidence of “something to hide”.

3. It would get Trump off the hook during the rest of the campaign and afterwards…he could deflect all questions about 9/11 to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. He might even start throwing out possible names for members of the committee.

4. Finally, it would be hugely popular with at least 50% of Americans who don’t believe the official story.

Can someone post this on “Twitter”? …  It’s a win/win for everyone….except the 9/11 perps.

And  greencrow said…

“Oh…and if Trump refuses and/or gives lame excuses…listen carefully. In his response, you will also learn who, if anyone, pulls his strings. Some already have their suspicions…IMO, his response will provide conclusive proof.

Like I say…It’s win/win for everyone but the criminally complicit.”




At long last, an actual discussion among bloggers and other interested folk:


I dumped the guts of the previous As The Crow Flies  blog entry [ see http://greencrowasthecrowflies.blogspot.com/2016/09/truth-and-reconciliation.html ] (with links out to it and Carl Herman here at Washington’s Blog) over at the list-serv on Yahoo (long after the “breach”) for members of the 9/11 and State Crimes tele-conference group.

I have for years been an invited member of the monthly conference call meeting and was recently invited to join the list-serv. Both are somewhat closed groups, though the minutes and audio of the meetings are made public and are sometimes posted. The list of participants is a who’s who of 9/11 activists who are a league above me in caliber and output, but the subject interests me and I speak out. I am humbled to be among them.

I find the time spent listening to a lot of people a bit unwieldy and unfocused. [I’m a male; I don’t multi-task well, and I have a neuro-scientific appreciation for how multi-tasking diminishes critical attention.] The online discussion forum works differently, being asynchronous, and one can choose when and where to comment. I use my blog as a vehicle for response, especially its sister site The Sullen Bell, because it allows further time, freer expression, and the opportunity to note what others say to a wider audience.

[See especially http://www.thesullenbell.com/2016/09/01/bypassed-by-reality/:

“… I don’t care if my first responder rescuer brethren and the victims were blown up or down, by thermite or nukes, with Saudi or Israeli help; I want to see the perps walk to the gallows, and everyone who is or was complicit in the cover-up shunned for life….. Does 9/11 justice emanate from political struggle, legal maneuvering, or transformational thinking?… The 9/11 truth movement may well have been “caught responding to situations that have already changed”.]

The rules on what I may “export” from the list-serv where I have jump-started a discussion are murky and not in favor of easy cut-and-paste, though I am at liberty to copy my own comments.

Over there, there is a parallel discussion about the law, and limited legal liability, to which I responded:

Limited legal liability suggests impunity, and we’ve had a lot of that lately. People don’t get impunity and, if a corporation is a person, then a corporation shouldn’t get it either. But we are hanging in the wind with this whole thing, given the specter of the trade legislation that will give corporations global legal supremacy. Talking about the law is talking about politics and organizing political parties and movements that will rewrite (or kill) certain legislation, insure friendly judges, etc., and right now I don’t see any parties or movements (save possibly one, or its extension) that can muster the power (pun intended). Only the victors get to hold the trials and hang the perps. It’s been alluded to here before, and elsewhere with more interest and oomph, but the ability to exercise these kinds of major systemic change is implemented with the masses of people and/or the force of arms.

I’ve asked about (and await the YouTube recording from) the panel of legal experts at the recent conference in NYC. Do world courts have the legal power (and the other power to back up the legal power)?  Isn’t that a form of one world governance?

I posted the blurb about truth and reconciliation because I think the 9/11 truth movement (is that with a T or a t?) needs to have this discussion. Given the forthcoming election and the obvious attempts at bringing to the American people waves of cultural upheaval and violence, the looming possibilities of martial law or some variant thereof, etc., is it even worth having that discussion?

What is the reality on the streets, in the living rooms, on the stock exchanges and currency markets, and in armed state face-off with sovereign people and sovereign states?

Also on that discussion board, in another thread, is reference to the role of Judge Hellerstein’s role in preventing lawsuits relevant to 9/11 from coming to trial (hence no disclosure), and I’ve mentioned the role of Judge Stanley Sporkin in matters pertaining to the company and proprietary software seized from Catherine Austin Fitts, so be careful about going to court.

One of the problems in a cross-blog discussion is that it is sometimes not easy to back-check and read all the comment and responses to comments, a lapse on my part which was pointed out by GC.  I take no umbrage.  It’s simply the nature of asynchronous online discussion; people live in different time zones, and we all have more to our lives that that particular discussion.  Time allows us to knit together the ideas.

At the every end of my “white paper” on disasters, simulations and virtual communities, on the “about the author” page [that contact info is no longer valid], I noted my experience as an association executive, which entailed strategic leadership, lots of Board meetings, et al.  I marveled at but never found the skills exhibited by a Quaker physician I knew and revered who knew how to build consensus toward action. I’ve been a member of a now-defunct Virtual Community Working Group at learningtimes.net, was one of six beta-testers of the inaugural Internet-based “Game of Games”, and attended several online conferences on appreciative inquiry, as well as facilitating in an online world.  I designed a communications engine inside a theoretical simulation trainer that allowed people to take on differing perspectives and roles as a tool for surfacing ideas and difficult-to-find-facts and solutions.

Greencrow mentions the imminent election of Donald Trump. Meaning no disparagement of Greencrow or The Donald, that jury is still out on Donald’s access to the Oval Office, and the prospects of rigged election processes, some form of “October Surprise”, executive fiat, martial law, open warfare (internationally or civil), advancing severe weather/global warfare and even disclosure of the presence of extra-terrestrials remain on the horizon. Perhaps we’ve only been conditioned to think they are valid prospects, but lots of people are thinking they are valid.

Trump is no angel and is seen in some circles as being a “trojan horse” for the same interests who were allegedly behind 9/11, so don’t place faith in a politician the way so many did with Obama.  Obama was supposedly the antidote to the Bush dynasty, and Trump is seen as the only choice given the option of a Clinton/Obama dynasty. Just because Trump once alluded to 9/11 “truth”, be wary.  Allusion is closely related to illusion, and one of Trump’s supporters is Rudy Giuliani, a fellow any 9/11 activist knows is deeply implicated. By now we should have learned that they are all on the same team and, as George Carlin so nicely put it, we are not included. Our challenge is sometimes referred to as “herding cats”. But I do not wish to disagree with Greencrow so much as celebrate her inclusion in the discussion and her support in expanding that discussion.

Finally, GC said: “I appreciate the “Occurrences” Blog very much as it simplifies the daily task of getting an overview of geopolitical events from the alternative blog perspective AND it has an ecumenical approach, inclusive of the lesser known blogs like mine.”

I appreciate the comment very much.  It’s pretty much the nicest thing that’s been said about my labor of love, one of the reasons I climbed down off the hospital bed (and up off the floor) after I’d had a hemiplegic motor stroke. [Luckily, the event turned out to be positive and did not affect either my cognitive brain or my typing skills.]  GC’s comment is also a good summary of the intent of “Occurrences”.

It should be noted, for my general readers, that I am literally on the verge of completing my own personal living-space transformation. For the past two months, I’ve been doing what blogging I’ve been able to do using my wife’s MacAir, digging into her own writing time, because we bought our “forever” house.  The basement/office transformation is almost finished; my own iMac is functional, awaiting perhaps a transition to the new OS Sierra with Siri capacities (but I don’t think I want to import an open mike into my world), but it’s already capable of major blog production and more. Blog renewal time also approaches at the end of October (more about which later). The downstairs work space comes complete with a half-bath, a coffee bar, a pellet stove, safety rails for the stairways, my entire library, all of my logged music (including four days worth of jazz, rock and more), space for the air beds for the grandkids, two tables, lots of chairs, and my new photography tools. The windows look out (and the back stair/bulkhead opens out) onto a patio/garden/koi pond/waterfall complex with an overhead deck off the bedroom; you’ll find my wife in her gardener’s shed, in with the fishes, or in the garden. Tarzan knew where Jane wanted to go. It’s her reward after retiring from a 40-year career as a nurse during which she cared for her ailing mother (and now her nearly-disabled-but-miraculously-recovered black sheep of a husband). Which brings me to two last elements of the discussion about truth and reconciliation: love, and forgiveness.

Does it matter if we are Christian, or Buddhist, or something else?  My wife has taught me a lot about unconditional love. I have read a lot of Davd Ray Griffin, the theologian and expert on the topic of evil… I have read two books by the noted Catholic Worker James Douglass (JFK and the Unspeakable, at the end of which  — in the study guide edition— he talks a lot about evil, and more importantly his earlier book Resistance and Contemplation, the Trappist (Thomas Merton) root of his activism about nuclear weapons in which he talks about needing to be willing to go to jail, or die a horrible death at the hands of those opposed to truth). No one is suggesting that we all rush off to jail, but JFK asked if we believed in redemption just before he rode into the bullets.

One of the concerns that must be on the table is the extent to which our reconciliatory love bleeds over into giving permission for all the death and warfare that resulted, for the people important and minor who participated (does our grace extent to Abu Ghraib?), and becomes a quiet complicit celebration of militaristic ardor because we failed to differentiate or to hold people’s feet to the fire.

One of the more fascinating surprises for me was discovering a 9/11 activist who is also an ardent Constitutionalist who promotes a true understanding of the early legal meaning of the term “militia” at a time when actions aimed at the Second Amendment hang in the balance.

We would like to bring them to justice for treason; they call us “enemies of the state”.

The implications for 9/11 activism seem to be “all or nothing”: find the means to execute the perps mercifully or fugeddaboutit.

Who, in the end, is “the state”?  Our historical roots and documents speak about we the people.  I see little in the formational political literature of this nation in support of elitism, excess wealth, banking fraud, hijacked polity, oligarchy, dual citizenships, or the need for a hyper-security state.

I am still contemplating my own resistance.  My wife works diligently at shining her own little corner of the world, whether through flowers, or fishes, or grandchildren.  It is her maternal outlet, her paradisiacal escape, the creation impulse to which she can retreat when my own thoughts about things like 9/11 burst out into open conversation.

I write, read some more, contemplate, meditate, pray, breathe and write some more.



You Can’t Handle the Truth!

Psychologists Explain Why People are Still in Denial About 9/11 Despite the Hard Evidence



(Note: be sure to view the 30 minute video from which the transcript below was obtained. It has many images that I have never seen before – and I have probably spent a hundred hours or more studying the facts of 9/11.)

Seven psychologists plus author David Ray Griffin, Ph.D., provide insights on why so many people are in total denial regarding the truth about 9/11 despite “years of hard scientific evidence that disproves the government theory about what happened on September 11.”

Trauma, fear, pride, and cognitive dissonance (information that contradicts beliefs about our worldview) are among the reasons given for why people can’t handle the truth about 9/11.

The panelists were: Marti Hopper, Ph.D (Licensed Clinical Psychologist); Frances Shure, M.A. (Licensed Professional Counselor); Robert Griffin, Licensed Psychologist; Robert Hopper, Ph.D. (Licensed Clinical Psychologist); Danielle Duperet, PhD; Dorthy Lorig, M.A., Counseling Psychologist; John Freedom, M.A., Personal Development Counselor; David Ray Griffin, Ph.D., professor/author

Why are people resistant to looking at the hard evidence regarding 9/11?

At this point, we have 15 years of hard scientific evidence that disproves the government theory about what happened on September 11, 2001.  Yet, people continue to be either oblivious to the fact that this information exists or completely resistant to looking at this information.  So, the question becomes: Why?

Why is it that people have so much trouble hearing this information? From my work, I think we would be remiss not to look at the impact of trauma…

As we know, the horrors of what happened on 9/11 were televised all over the world. They were televised, in fact, live.  We witnessed the deaths of almost 3,000 of our fellow Americans.  We know that this had a very severe and traumatic impact on a majority of the population.   I, myself, cried for weeks after September 11.

A friend of mine, who is a psychologist in practice here in Boulder, said that her case load increased tremendously after 9/11.  People who she had not seen in ten years were coming back into her practice.

So, I think it’s safe to say that collectively, as a nation, because of what happened on September 11, we experienced trauma.

9/11 Truth Conflicts with Our Worldview, Causing Cognitive Dissonance

Why do people resist this information – the information that shows that the official story about 9/11 cannot be true?  What I’ve learned is that, as humans, each of us has a world view.  That worldview is usually formed, in great part, by the culture that we grow up in.

When we hear information that contradicts our worldview, social psychologists call the resulting insecurity cognitive dissonance. For example, with 9/11 we have one cognition, which is the official story of 9/11 – what our government told us and what our media repeated to us over and over – that 19 Muslims attacked us.

On the other hand, we have what scientists, researchers, architects, and engineers are now beginning to tell us, which is that there is evidence that shows that the official story cannot be true.  So now, we’ve lost our sense of security.  We are starting to feel vulnerable.  Now we’re confused.

Our Psychological Defenses Kick In When Our Beliefs Are Challenged

9/11 truth challenges our most fundamental beliefs about our government and about our country.  When your beliefs are challenged or when two beliefs are inconsistent, cognitive dissonance is created.  9/11 truth challenges the beliefs that our country protects and keeps us safe, and that America is the good guy….

When your beliefs are challenged, fear and anxiety are created. In response to that, our psychological defenses kick in and they protect us from these emotions.  Denial, which is probably the most primitive psychological defense, is the one most likely to kick in when our beliefs are challenged.

It’s Easier to Deny the Truth

America is a powerful nation.  It has never been attacked.  We were confident.  We felt secure.  And all of a sudden, that security collapsed.  People started to be fearful with all of the rumors, with all of the news.  People didn’t know what to think, which is a very uncomfortable state to be in.  Eventually, our mind shuts off.   Just like when a computer is overloaded, our minds get overloaded.  We can’t handle it anymore and we shut down. It’s easier to deny it and move on with our lives.

What some will tend to do is deny the evidence that is coming our way and stick to the original story, the official story.  We try to regain our equilibrium that way. Another thing that we can do is decide to look at the conflicting evidence and be sincere and open minded, and look at both sides of the issue.  And, then make up our own mind about what reality is.

We Will Do Just About Anything to Defend our Mental and Emotional Homes

If we can think of our worldview as sort of being our mental and emotional home, I think that all of us will do just about anything to defend our homes, to defend our families.  I see that with people.  I saw that with myself when my brother tried to talk to me about it: “Don’t mess with me. Don’t mess with my home.  Don’t mess with my comfort with how things are.”

About a week later, I read a lengthy article by professor Griffin about why he believes the official account of 9/11 cannot be true.  It was a very well researched article.  I was in my office at the time.  I sat there and felt my stomach churning. I thought that maybe I was going to be sick. And, I leaped out my chair and ran out the door and took a long walk around the block – around several blocks – and just broke down.

I understand now that my worldview about my government being in some way my protector, like a parent, had been dashed.  It was like being cast out into the wilderness. I think that is the closest way to describe that feeling.

I sobbed and I sobbed.  I felt that the ground had completely disappeared beneath my feet.  And, I knew at some point during the walk that at some point I was going to have to become active educating other people about this.  For me to retain any sense of integrity, I was going to have to take some action.  I couldn’t just let something like this go.

9/11 Truth Challenges Our Fundamental Beliefs About the World

Many people respond to these truths in a very deep way.  Some have a visceral reaction like they have been punched in the stomach.  To begin to accept the responsibility that the government was involved is like opening Pandora’s Box.  If you open the lid and peak in a little bit, it’s going to challenge some of your fundamental beliefs about the world.

Initial Reactions to Hearing Contradictory Evidence about 9/11

Following are some of those spontaneous initial reactions to hearing the contradictory evidence about 9/11:

“I don’t want to know the truth or I will become too negative and psychologically go downhill.”

“I’m not sure that I want to know.  If this is true then up will be down and down will be up. My life will never be the same.”

I refuse to believe that that many Americans can be that treasonous.  Someone would have talked.”

Initial Reactions are Based on BELIEFS, NOT Scientific Facts

But these are BELIEFS.  They are NOT scientific fact.  But, these beliefs do KEEP US FROM LOOKING AT THE EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE.

9/11 Truth Contradicts People’s Paradigm

You have empirical people who will simply say: look at the evidence and if it is convincing, I will change my mind.

Other people are paradigmatic people. They have a paradigm.  They say, this is the way the world works, and I am convinced that this is the way that the world works.  9/11 doesn’t fit into that paradigm.  So, I don’t have to look at the evidence.  It’s paradigmatic.

And then there is a third type of person that we often call wishful thinkers.  I call it wishful and fearful thinking.  So, they simply will not believe something that they fear to be the truth.  And, I find that to be, maybe, the most powerful factor of people rejecting 9/11 truth and not even entertaining the evidence.

The Truth is Not Bearable

So, whenever we say “I refuse to believe”, we can be sure that the evidence that’s coming our way is not bearable, and it is conflicting with our worldview much too much.

Denial protects people from this kind of anxiety.

A Common Emotion is Fear

As I thought about all of these responses, I realized that what is common to every one of them is the emotion of fearPeople are afraid of being ostracized, they are afraid of being alienated, they are afraid of being shunned.  They are afraid of their lives being inconvenienced – they’ll have to change their lives. They are afraid of being confused.  They are afraid of psychological deterioration.  They are afraid of feeling helpless and vulnerable.  And, they are afraid that they won’t be able to handle the feelings coming up.

When Presented with the Truth, Those in Denial Become Angry, Indignant, Offended and Ridicule the Messenger

None of us want to feel helpless and vulnerable.  So, we want to defend ourselves.   And the way that we often do that is with anger.  Then we become angry.  And, when we become angry, then we become indignant.  We become offended.  We want to ridicule the messenger. We want to pathologize the messenger.  And, we want to censor the messenger.

Raise Awareness with Gentle Dialogue and Gentle Questioning

So, how can we overcome this resistance in denial?  The first thing is to meet people where they are at.

One thing is that we need to raise people’s awareness about this – what I would call gentle dialogue and gentle questioning…  It doesn’t work to challenge people’s beliefs or immediately tell them “I know the truth about 9/11.”  A good way is to ask open ended questions that lead to open dialogue and discussion about it.

One of the ways to deal with the trauma is to find the answers.  That’s why I think it is of such importance to have a comprehensive investigation.

Pride is Another Reason People Deny 9/11 Truth

I believe that to become the type of country that we think we are, we have to face some of the things that are not as we think they are… Thinking that we are above such things – that it could happen in other countries, but it couldn’t happen here – that’s a lack of humility.  That’s excessive pride.  As, so not being able to see our dark side or our weaknesses is the most dangerous thing.

The observation that pride is one of the basic human flaws is absolutely correct.  This is especially true for Americans because we for a long time looked at other nations and said, “They are in such bad shape.  But, luckily we don’t have those problems.  We don’t have leaders that would do those things that were done in the Soviet Union, or done in Germany, or done in Japan… This is a type of pride that Americans have.

A feature of American history that makes particularly liable to this pride is this notion of American exceptionalism – that America is the exceptional nation.  That began from the beginning as this country was formed.

People would say that there was so much evil in the European countries, so much cheating, so much lying, so much using the people for the ruler’s purposes.  But not in America! We have leaders who are free from those sins.  This has made 9/11 particularly difficult for Americans.

Everyone can make mistakes.  But, our ideals and our principles get us back on track.

9/11 is One of the Defining Issues of Our Time 

This is one of the defining issues of our time.

Questioning IS Patriotic

So, we need to understand that questioning is patriotic.  Questioning is what we are supposed to do.  That’s our duty.

The Real Perpetrators Must be Held Accountable

When we come to the national level, when something like 9/11 happens, we need to be sure that we have a real investigation into who the perpetrators are.  And, then we need to make sure that those people are held legally accountable. It’s part of the healing process on an individual level and the collective level.



t/c to Gary Kohls, M.D.



Bisque du Homarus americanus

Bisque du Homarus americanus




Bisque (food) – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Bisque is a smooth, creamy, highly seasoned soup of French origin, classically based on a strained broth (coulis) of crustaceans. It can be made from lobster, crab, shrimp or crayfish. Also, creamy soups made from roasted and puréed fruits, vegetables, or fungi are sometimes called bisques.

Bisque | Definition of Bisque by Merriam-Webster

bisque: a thick cream soup made with shellfish or game.

What’s the Difference Between Bisque and Chowder? — Word of …

Sep 9, 2014 – Bisque. Bisque is a type of soup that’s rich and creamy, and traditionally made from pureed shellfish. Authentic recipes ground the shells into a fine paste and use that to thicken the soup. More commonly now, bisques are thickened with rice, which can be pureed or strained out at the end of cooking.


So there you have it… A simple introduction to the primary challenges you’ll face if you want to make homemade bisque:

  1. buy ‘em and boil them on your own stove;
  2. buy ‘em pre-cooked fresh at your favorite fishmonger’s; or
  3. buy pre-packaged lobster meat.

How squeamish are you? How much of a mess are you willing to tolerate in your kitchen? Are you going to use the shells in your recipe?

The traditional recipes call for boiling the crustaceans alive until they are bright red (but don’t overboil them), pulling them apart and pulling the meat out and setting it aside for some other recipe, and then roasting the shells, then pulverizing them, and making the base stock out of shells. (Naturally, some straining is necessary with cheesecloth and a colander.)

In the summertime, it’s handy if you have an outdoor grill or fire pit with a cooking rack and you can boil them outdoors.  That will save some wear and tear on your kitchen decor and you can keep the messy dissection process outside too.

For most lobster fanatics, it’s the succulent meat you’re after. The scale of excellence goes from the tail to the claws; most sunny-day lobster eaters stop right there. If you are a full-blown addict, and for a bisque, you use the whole thing.  Everything.

The way I do a bisque is an experienced-based amalgam of recipes and approaches.


I first encountered lobster bisque 42+ years ago when, on our honeymoon, I took my bride to lunch on the outdoor patio of the Jordan Pond tea house in the heart of Acadia National Park in Bar Harbor, Maine. My family roots are in Maine at the nexus of estuarial river, rocky coast, peninsula and … lobsters. Sitting on that patio, the Atlantic Ocean and the scents of salt air come in fom behind; clean mountain air and water lay out in front of you in the glacial fresh water pond at the end of which are the oft-noted Bubbles. The location and atmosphere work on the appetite and the mind, and the waitress beings this large bowl of creaminess of lobster.

So, however you decide to deal with the shelled seafood, you’ve got to have enough for your plans for feeding a small group of people. My wife may rank as the #1 lobster fanatic this side of the Connecticut, so we have devised this plan.

Go to the fish store and buy a 1.5-lb. lobster for everyone at the table. If the catch of the day is limited to smaller lobsters, buy more. You want an absolute minimum of a pound per person.

Have your fishmonger steam or boil them. They’ll end up hot and dripping in multiple large plastic bags. The sooner you get to the prep phase with the lobster meat, the better. Cooking flexibility moves you toward cooking them yourself, but if the fish store is nearby, you have it made.

Dis-assemble the lobsters.  I won’t provide a lesson on how to do this, but it’s easy once you learn.  Crackers and cleavers may be useful.  Snap off the tails and slice or snap open the shell in half and extract the tail meat; it’s the single largest piece you’ll get out of each one. Rinse them and set them aside.  Melt some butter and squirt some lemon juice on them and put them in a plastic storage device; they’ll keep for some time, even overnight, in the fridge.

Take apart the claws.  The main claw meat is the second largest piece you’ll get.  Take the tiny sub-claw or “thumb” off and set it aside to use as a garnish. Get as much of the knuckle meat as possible using a lobster pick. If you are doing only a bisque, you don’t have to get fussy. Traditionally, the lobster is served boiled or baked at table side with warm melted butter, but for the bisque, you are simply assembling a pile of meat.  Take the largest parts for the rest of the dinner you’ve contemplated; lobster tail and beef is the classic “surf and turf”.  In this case, we made a fresh cold lobster salad. Set aside the rest of the meat in melted butter and lemon juice; you still have a lot of work to do.

At this point I should mention that there are a number of recipes you can find that also use clams, crabs, shrimp and more. This will lead you into a survey of the differences between soups, bisques and chowders.  Then there are the seafood boils served plain or with or over a pasta. Emeril Lagasse grew up Fall River.

For your mise en place,you are going to need basil, thyme, parsely, pepper, paprika, Tabasco sauce or cayenne, fresh lemons, butter, seafood stock (or, alternately, clam broth or juice), a small can of tomato paste, a white onion, garlic cloves, shallots, chives, scallions, bay leaves (or Bay seasoning), all-purpose flour, extra-virgin police oil, and cooking sherry.

Here is where the rubber meets the road. You have to cook to your tastes and preferences and those of your guests. Fresh is best. I tend by necessity to always lean towards low-salt or no salt. Some judgment must always be used in terms of final volume, amount of ingredient, brand/quality, etc. In the case of bisque, you’re aiming for a quart of liquid per person. Often you end up with a bit more; it will keep in the fridge, but only for a short time.

So take all those shells you took off the lobsters, put them in a crude newspaper or parchment envelope, and pulverize them with a rubber mallet.  Toss them all (especially the bodies and their abdominal goodies like tomalley) in a large pot.  Throw in a bit of butter to provide some lubrication so all the left-over meats and juices you didn’t bother to get out of all the many crustaceans’ nooks and crannies ooze on out into the pan. Cover them with water and put on high heat, but do not let this boil over or you will have a major stove-top mess. When you get to boil, turn down to simmer. Boil down the water for half an hour or more; the more time spent here in the process, the higher the concentration of lobster flavor.  Let it cool and then strain the water into a fresh clean holding container; drape cheesecloth over a colander in that storage container in your sink and carefully and slowly pour off the liquid.  Keep the liquid; discard the shells in a double plastic bag with some lemon or pine soap to keep smells down and critters away and put them out into the trash ASAP.

Get out a large pot, and put about 5 ounces of extra-virgin olive oil in the bottom, and maybe a pat of grass-fed butter like Kerry Gold. Peel and chop the white onion and set to sweat or sauté until the onion is translucent (about 8 minutes).  Add minced garlic and chopped shallot and continue for another three to five minutes  Do not burn. Take them off the heat the moment they start to brown.

Add to your preserved lobster water whatever liquid flavoring you choose to use (Worcestershire, Tabasco) as well as selected spices.  I tend to hold out the bay leaves and the thyme until after you have added the roux, and use three-quarters of the allotted amounts of seasoning up front, adding the last quarter toward the end of the cooking process. Fish out the bay leaves just before you serve.

Open the can of tomato paste and take a healthy teaspoon of it and add it to the lobster water/stock pot. Stir it in and keep sitting regularly. It adds color as well as flavor.

Make the roux. The roux is the keystone to the bisque. Roux is simply a flour/butter thickening agent; learning to make a good roux quickly and simply is a useful skill.  Simply melt some grass-fed butter in the bottom of a saucepan and fairly quickly add all-purpose flour. The Culinary Institute of America instructional encyclopedia called “The Professional Chef” suggests a 3:2 dry weight mix of butter to flour, but you will learn to adjust this (and cooking time) to develop thickness and color, characteristics that will vary from recipe to recipe.  The key to roux is that it demands someone’s full attention from start to finish; using a whisk, you beat the flour into the butter (or is it the other way around?).  You must constantly whisk; do not allow the mixture to burn. You may want to add a bit more butter or a bit more flour as you do this; it’s okay.  Just keep whisking and do not turn away.  You whip it into a smooth and silky light brown or nutty brown mixture.  You can also add a smidgen of tomato paste for color if you choose; I would be wary of adding any flavoring of any sort beyond this.  Set the roux aside on the back of the stove until you are ready to add it.

The lobster water stock has been strained and set back on the burner to simmer. After an hour (or more), having made the roux, simply fold and slow-whisk the roux into the stock.  Add the last of your spices. Whisk and stir regularly; some people would even puree at this stage.

You are almost finished.  At this point, you are in the key holding zone. The stock is simmering and should simmer for at least an hour. Longer is okay.  This gives you that desirable period of time when you can greet and entertain guests, the cold salad having been prepared in advance to be served with oil and vinegar, fresh warm bread and butter, beverage of choice, and a small slice of cheesecake for dessert with coffee, or tea.

But the final assembly awaits and will take about 20-30 minutes.  You have the broth base; you can consider adding some seafood stock if you need more volume. Stir, stir.  To this you add a cup or more of cream; most recipes call for heavy cream, but I use light cream.  Heavy is better for taste and consistency, but light will please your cardiologist. Stir and stir again. Add a healthy amount of a cooking alcohol of choice.  You can spend a lot of time thinking about this choice. You can use a standard supermarket dry white cooking wine, or you can let your oenophilic tendencies out to run.  Someone suggests amontillado, which I think a bit heavy.  I almost always end up using a cream sherry. How much is always your choice; the alcohol will burn off.  My bisques tend to be loaded with lobster and sherry.

So you’ve stirred the cream and the sherry into the stock, and just at the end is when you can add the lobster meat. Let it all “get happy” in the pot for a while while your guests get happy on the patio or the deck.  This part makes my wife happy because she says most bisques have barely been introduced to the lobster. Ours is a full celebration of lobsteriness. When you’re ready to serve, bring out the bread and the cutting board, the salads, the beverages, and ladle the soup into the bowls with the remainder into a tureen. Garnish the bowls and the tureen with a pat of butter, a swirl of cream, a swirl of sherry, some parsley, a few croutons, and those tiny little lobster thumbs or some other meat.

The keys to the whole thing are to play and practice, to learn the proper selections of spices, to not overdo any particular ingredient or spice, and to enjoy your guests.


Cheers. Thank you Lord for these Thy many blessings.

Featured photo from Acadia courtesy of Nancy A. Marshall




Awakened to Responsibility

Awakened to Responsibility

Someone, having been told that I’d suffered a stroke, asked me “What has the stroke done to you?”

My immediate reaction was that he’d asked the wrong question.

He should have asked “What did having the stroke do for you?”

The first approach implies damage, deficit, having been left in an unfortunate place.  The question was proceeded with a frown ;<(.

It should have been proceeded with a smile ;<).

He followed a natural tendency to think that I was left with some serious brain damage, sequelae, residua.  Brain damage was done; there are sequelae and residua. But…

What having the stroke did for me was to awaken me.


Regular blog readers probably know many of the details of the event. I had a left-sided hemiplegic motor stroke; during open-heart surgery, some pieces of plaque that were lodged somewhere (I don’t know where; I was asleep) were dislodged and found their way to my brain. When I woke up, I couldn’t move most of half of my body. My leg was a block of cement; it took me days before I could will my toes to wiggle, an event celebrated with alerts to the nursing staff, my chief family contact, my friends online getting relays from a caregiver. In those early days, things looked grim, people were down in the mouth, etc.

But when I woke up, I was a different person. I don’t know how to explain a lot of things; they are the types of things for which words are insufficient. I know that I had, during the coma, a deep and noticeable hallucination.  My son, hovering nearby and in close contact with nurses and doctors, spoke of it and asked me about it later. I won’t here try to analyze it (though a new clue emerged even as I type this). But I also know that three people noted and wrote about the fact that, at one phase of the hospitalization or another, we each had paranormal communications with the other while separated by hundreds and in one case thousands of miles, and I also know that I had a deep and profound spiritual experience of some sort while I was anesthetized.

The skeptics will suggest a side-effect of the anesthetic. But the skeptics should read Jill Bolte Taylor and watch her TED Talk.  She is a neuroanatomist whose post-doctoral studies are in the field of psychiatry and neuroscience. When I watched her TED Talk after my own emergence, I simultaneously laughed, cried and cheered. It spoke to my own experience and, years later, I find her mantra “You are responsible for the energy that you bring” to be entirely consistent with my own experience and my response to it.

I took into the event the idea that I needed to learn about and work on how to give love, how to empower, and how to give something to the world. When I woke up in the ICU and my situation became clear, I knew I needed to find energy and motivation to recover, and that my self-assigned missions were #1) to finish polishing (and sharing) my e-book “Summon The Magic: How To Use Your Mind to be a Better Athlete (or anything else you want to be)”; and 2) to continue to blog in an effort to make more people aware of the deep politics, evil, hidden agendas, and covert plans, et al.  Both have been accomplished.  The second needs to be continued; the first needs to be updated, polished further, shortened, turned into other formats, etc.

I walked my daughter down the aisle. I was able to attend the birth of two grand-children.  I have renewed my love of photography. I become an auto-didact in cooking. Since then, I’ve been told that I have multiple co-morbidities, that I have gone beyond the actuarial tables for someone with my diagnoses.

What I discovered in the event, though it took hours and days and months of observation, is a radically-enhanced kinesthetic awareness.  What obviously followed was a significantly-ramped-up commitment to health and nutrition and, with that, an improved attention to and understanding of medications. What followed was a deepening respect (already present) for nurses, physicians, and their support staff. What was necessary was for me to apply the lessons I’d read about and excerpted for “Summon The Magic”, turning them from theory to action.  What burgeoned was gratitude, a more intense focus on psychology, spirituality, even religion. What followed the stroke was renewed self-confidence. What grew was patience, my ability to forgive, my tendency to be less combative or confrontational, the length of my fuse.  What grew unquestionably was my understanding of relationships, my love for my wife, my gratitude for life itself, how precious it is, how quickly it can depart, how important it is to do “the work” you were sent here to do, and how little time there is in which to do that work.


I don’t profess to be important, to have an experience that is different from or any greater than that of others, to have learned something that others haven’t learned or have been able to express in more eloquent times. I was lucky. I dodged a number of bullets.

I’m simply grateful for having had the experience. I cannot begin to thank my care-givers enough.  I cannot pay it back.  I can only pay it forward.




born that way

born that way

Gay people not ‘born that way,’ sexual orientation not fixed – US study

Published time: 23 Aug, 2016 13:05

Edited time: 23 Aug, 2016 13:56

A cross-discipline study has challenged the belief that human sexuality and gender identity are determined by biology and remain fixed, saying that there is no scientific proof of this. The study cautioned against drastic medical treatment for transgender children.

The notion that sexual orientation is predetermined by biology is an important part of the current LGBT discourse. If a person has no choice over whether to be gay or not, society cannot demand that he or she be straight, so the argument goes.

But regardless of its political worth, the “born this way” paradigm is not backed up by sufficient scientific data, according to a new paper published in the autumn issue of the New Atlantis, a journal focusing on political, societal and ethical ramifications of technological advances.

The study does not claim that being gay is a choice, merely that stating the opposite may be wrong.

The 144-page paper was written by Dr. Lawrence S. Mayer, an epidemiologist and biostatistician also trained in psychiatry, who is currently a scholar in residence at the Department of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, and Dr. Paul R. McHugh, a renowned psychiatrist, researcher, and educator and former chief of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Hospital. The paper’s three parts focus on sexual orientation, links between sexuality and mental health, and gender identity.


Drawing on studies in fields varying from neurobiology to social sciences, the authors wrote that “The understanding of sexual orientation as an innate, biologically fixed property of human beings – the idea that people are ‘born that way’ – is not supported by scientific evidence.”

The term ‘sexual orientation’ itself is ambiguous and is used to describe attraction, behavior or identity by different researchers. Sometimes it refers to things such as belonging to a certain community or having certain fantasies.

“It is important, then, that researchers are clear about which of these domains are being studied, and that we keep in mind the researchers’ specified definitions when we interpret their findings,” the paper said.

There are biological factors associated with sexual behavior, the paper acknowledges, but there are no compelling “causal biological explanations for human sexual orientation.”

Differences in the brain structures of gay and straight individuals identified by researchers are not necessarily innate and may be the result of environmental or psychological factors.

“The strongest statement that science offers to explain sexual orientation is that some biological factors appear, to an unknown extent, to predispose some individuals to a non-heterosexual orientation,” the paper said.

LGBT individuals are statistically at greater risk of having mental health problems than the general population, the authors say. As a more dramatic example, “the rate of lifetime suicide attempts across all ages of transgender individuals is estimated at 41 percent, compared to under 5 percent in the overall US population.”

The usually accepted explanation for this is social stress from discrimination and stigma, but the study said that those factors may not solely explain the disparity and that more scientific research on the issue is necessary.

The paper added that the notion that gender identity is fixed and determined by biological factors is also not backed up by data.

“In reviewing the scientific literature, we find that almost nothing is well understood when we seek biological explanations for what causes some individuals to state that their gender does not match their biological sex,” the authors said.

They strongly advocate caution in resorting to drastic medical treatment such as sex-reassignment surgery for people identified or identifying as transgender. This is especially true in children, whose sexuality is mutable and for whom such treatments may do more harm than good, they warn.

“There is little scientific evidence for the therapeutic value of interventions that delay puberty or modify the secondary sex characteristics of adolescents, although some children may have improved psychological well-being if they are encouraged and supported in their cross-gender identification,” the paper said. “There is no evidence that all children who express gender-atypical thoughts or behavior should be encouraged to become transgender.”

“Sexual orientation and gender identity resist explanation by simple theories. There is a large gap between the certainty with which beliefs are held about these matters and what a sober assessment of the science reveals. In the face of this complexity and uncertainty, we need to be humble about what we know and do not know,” it said.

The authors noted that their paper touches upon controversial issues and insist that first and foremost it is about science and the need for additional evidence in the field. Mayer said many people who contributed to the report asked not to be identified so as to distance themselves from the potential backlash.

“Some feared an angry response from the more militant elements of the LGBT community; others feared an angry response from the more strident elements of religiously conservative communities,” he said. “Most bothersome, however, is that some feared reprisals from their own universities for engaging such controversial topics, regardless of the report’s content—a sad statement about academic freedom.”

The paper was specifically written for the general public to draw attention to mental health problems of the LGBT community, the authors said. McHugh is an opponent of sex reassignment surgery for transgender people, arguing that it often fails to improve their well-being and instead does the opposite in the long run.




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God Isn’t Transgender

God Isn’t Transgender

In what has to be a new low for the New York Times, the Gray Lady (or should we now say the Bearded Lady?) has published an op-ed piece titled Is God Transgender?” by a New York rabbi named Mark Sameth. Cousin to a man who “transitioned to a woman” in the 1970s, Sameth contends that “the Hebrew Bible, when read in its original language, offers a highly elastic view of gender.” He marshals many purported examples of gender fluidity in the Hebrew scriptures, in order to argue that religion should not be put in service of “social prejudices” against transgendering. But his treatment of the Bible amounts to propaganda, not scholarship.

Proposing that the God of Israel was worshipped originally as “a dual-gendered deity,” the rabbi asserts, untenably, that the etymological derivation of Yahweh is “He/She” (HUHI). His argument requires that the Tetragrammaton be read, not from right to left (as Hebrew always is), but from left to right:

The four-Hebrew-letter name of God, which scholars refer to as the Tetragrammaton, YHWH, was probably not pronounced “Jehovah” or “Yahweh,” as some have guessed. The Israelite priests would have read the letters in reverse as Hu/Hi—in other words, the hidden name of God was Hebrew for “He/She.”

But biblical scholars are in general agreement that “Yahweh” is derived from the third-person singular of the verb “to be” (hayah), whether a qal imperfect (“he is” or “he will be”) or the causative hiphil imperfect (“he causes to come into being, he creates”). This view is confirmed by numerous lines of evidence: the interpretation given in Exod 3:14 (“Say to the sons of Israel, ‘ehyeh [‘I am’ or ‘I will be’ (who I am/will be)] sent me to you”); the use of shortened forms of Yahweh at the end (“Yah” or “Yahu”) or beginning (“Yeho” or “Yo”) of Hebrew names; the spelling “Yabe” known to the Samaritans; and transliterations “Yao,” “Ya-ou-e,” and “Ya-ou-ai” in some Greek texts. No historical evidence supports Sameth’s reading—only his own sex ideology.

It is true that the Hebrew Bible describes God in both masculine (predominantly) and feminine imagery (for the latter, see Isa 42:14; 49:15; 63:13; Hosea 13:8; by inference Num 11:12; Deut 32:11, 18; Hos 11:1-4). However, for God to transcend gender is not the same as his being “transgender”—which refers to a person’s abandoning his or her birth sex for a self-constructed and distorted self-image. It is no mere coincidence that God is never imaged as Israel’s (or the church’s) wife, but always as her husband, nor that God is never addressed as Mother.

Sameth’s purported evidence for a “highly elastic” view of gender in the Hebrew Bible is anything but. For instance, Sameth alleges: “In Esther 2:7, Mordecai is pictured as nursing his niece Esther. In a similar way, in Isaiah 49:23, the future kings of Israel are prophesied to be ‘nursing kings.’” While the feminine participle ‘omeneth refers to a woman who nurses a child (2 Sam 4:4; Ruth 4:16) the masculine participle ‘omen can simply designate a male “guardian,” “attendant,” or “foster father” of children (i.e., someone who cares for all their needs), as the very example cited by the rabbi from Isa 49:23 indicates (so also 2 Kings 10:1, 5).

This is not to say that feminine imagery couldn’t be appropriated positively by a Jewish male in the ancient world. The fact that Paul could describe himself in 1 Thessalonians 2-3, in relation to his converts, as a brother, father, nursing mother, and even an orphaned child is no indication that he approved transgendering. In fact, his reference to “soft men” (malakoi) in 1 Cor 6:9, men who actively feminize themselves to attract male sex partners, among those who will not inherit the kingdom of God makes pretty clear where Paul stood on the question of transgendering.

Similarly, the ancient Israelite figures known as the qedeshim (literally, “cult figures” or self-named so-called “sacred ones,” connected with idolatrous cult shrines), men who thought themselves possessed by an androgynous deity, were condemned for assuming female appearance (sometimes including castration; so also the Greco-Roman galli). Indeed, the authors of Deuteronomy and the Deuteronomistic History (Judges thru 2 Kings) characterize them as having committed an abomination (Deut 23:17-18; 1 Kings 14:24; 15:12 22:46; 2 Kings 23:7). The same tag is applied to any man who dresses like a woman (Deut 22:5).

Sameth’s further evidence mostly amounts to indefensible misreadings of orthographic variations. He claims: “In Genesis 3:12, Eve is referred to as ‘he.’” But this is an orthographic matter. The Hebrew consonantal text suggests hu’ (“he”) (with later scribes providing vowel pointing for hi’ [“she”])—an artifact of an early stage in writing, when hu’ was used generically of both sexes and the feminine form hi’ was used sparingly. By assigning her the pronoun hu’, Genesis is not imaging Eve as a man. This point is underscored by the fact that the verb form following this pronoun, nathenah, has a feminine ending (“she gave”).

Similar fallacies proliferate. Sameth writes that “Genesis 24:16 refers to Rebecca as a ‘young man.’” On the contrary: Here and elsewhere where the masculine/generic noun na’ar is used (of Dinah in Gen 34:3, 12; of young women in the legal texts of Deut 22:15-16, 21, 23-29) the context makes quite clear that no ambiguity of gender is implied by the non-use of the feminine na’arah. This instance constitutes either a generic usage (like Greek pais “child” for both male and female) or an orthographic variation in which the use of the final –h to indicate a feminine “a” is optional.

Again, Sameth claims: “In Genesis 9:21, after the flood, Noah repairs to ‘her’ tent.” The use of the suffix –h (usually feminine) with reference to men is common enough in the Hebrew Bible (it is used some fifty-five times) and associated only with a handful of specific words (such as the word for tent)—suggesting not “gender fluidity” but orthographic variations. Outside the Noah-Ham episode (which likely has to do with Ham emasculating his drunken father), the contexts for these other occurrences suggest no ambiguity of gender (e.g., of Abraham pitching his tent in Gen 12:8 and 13:3; and Jacob doing the same in Gen 35:21). By the rabbi’s reasoning, half of the protagonists of the Hebrew Bible were presented by biblical authors as candidates for transgender surgery.

Sameth’s propagandistic reasoning goes back to the very beginning. The image of the first human in Genesis 2, who is either male with a female element or sexually undifferentiated (the adam or earthling), from whom God then extracts a part to form woman, is no endorsement of attempts to erase one’s birth sex in order to transition to the opposite sex. Sameth’s statement that “Genesis 1:27 refers to Adam as ‘them’” is true, but Sameth overlooks the fact that “Adam” is here not a proper name but a description of “the human” or “humankind”: “God created the adam in his image.” Genesis 1:27 goes on to say, “male and female he (God) created them,” which is simply to acknowledge what Sameth denies: the significance of sexual differentiation for humanity.

Sameth opines that in ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt, “well-expressed gender fluidity was the mark of a civilized person,” and “the gods were thought of as gender-fluid.” In point of fact, there were many strictures against “gender fluidity” in the ancient Near East (e.g., men who assumed the role of women were generally denigrated). That opposition was ratcheted up in Israel, where any toleration of transgenderism was viewed as a mark of infidelity to Yahweh and an idolatrous concession to pagan religion.

Sameth has based his arguments on his left-of-center sex ideology, and not at all on a credible historical reading of the biblical text in context. His Times op-ed piece is historical revisionism at its worst.

Robert A. J. Gagnon is associate professor of New Testament at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and author of The Bible and Homosexual Practice.


See the book Transhumanism: A Grimoire of Alchemical Agendas 



Google News:

US Judge Grants Nationwide Injunction Blocking White House Transgender Policy NPR

Opinion:Q&A: Judge blocks Obama directive over transgender students Washington Post





One of the chapters in Julia Cameron’s book “The Right to Write: An Invitation and Initiation Into the Writing Life” is entitled “This Writing Life” and so it is wholly appropriate — as I settle in on the upper floor overlooking the garden waterfall where a crow, a robin and a chipmunk are simultaneously frolicking — because it asks the reader to stop procrastinating and start writing.


“Writing is alchemy”, she says, perhaps a premonitory echo of my having written the outline for a major piece, a riff on a phrase in Joseph Farrell’s book on transhumanism. One term he used piqued my curiosity and gave me a key that would let me in to a fascinating and troubling shift in our barely-visible culture. See http://www.thesullenbell.com/2016/08/20/engineering-human-evolution when you’re done metabolizing this.

If you want to write, you have to read. Perhaps it is better said “if you want to write well, you have to read widely”.  Or, if you want to write something that is of interest and value, you have to do your homework.

The carpenter came by yesterday.  He’s already put in the hand grips and bannisters that will allow me to get into and out of the 800-square foot space in which he is constructing a half-bath that will serve the household, the visitors to the garden patio, and the grandkids sleeping over. After the carpenter comes the electrician and then the plumber and then we empty the storage unit with the desks and chairs, the mountain of books, the bookshelves, and so on. Two windows look out through the tunnel under the bedroom deck onto the first three feet of airspace over the patio; the prominent image in that frame is the potting shed which will become the prime office of the resident gardener.  Once my office is set up, some time around Labor Day, I’ll have my full computer, the ability again to process digital photography, the music playback/storage/production capacities, and a library amassed over decades.  I’m just getting warmed up here. I envision a portable high-quality wireless speaker with which to entertain myself, the birds and the chorus of frogs.

Diamond (pages 31-32) says that writing is about change in our lives and how we can help it along, lean in to it, cooperate with it. She offers up an exercise through which we can document and reflect on our life and the environments and situations in which we found ourselves, in which we lost ourselves, in which we gained new understandings, new directions.  Speaking from the perspective of her experience in screenwriting, she speaks of “entrances and exits”.  The writing challenge she lays out at the end of that chapter is to write about those times in your life (past, present and future) when you had to “metabolize”.

Metabolization suggests change and acceptance. The first thing it brings to my mind is Reinhold Niebuhr’s “Serenity prayer”:

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, And wisdom to know the difference.”

Is the serenity prayer a passive-aggressive insistence that insures the success of the hidden powers of social engineering and the collective?  Keep calm and carry on. Hold still; this will not hurt you.

The textbook definitions of metabolism use the word biotransformation, or “the physical and chemical processes by which living organized substance is built up and maintained (anabolism), and by which large molecules are broken down into smaller molecules to make energy available to the organism (catabolism).”  In other words, “the sum of all biochemical processes involved in life”, which obviously focus on food, nutrients, fuel for the cells, but must also include breath.

This obviously also intimates that we may reject, toss back, or excrete that which has been forced down our throats.

If we include breathing, we must also include spirit. Where in the body does the spirit live, the ki?  Is it in the brain?  It is associated with the breath.  Is it in the lungs? The diaphragm? The belly?

“The human body is not an anatomical structure that is fixed in space and time. The human body is more like a river alive with energy, information and intelligence. It has a cybernetic feedback loop and can influence its own evolution and its own expression. It has the ability to learn from mistakes and the ability to make choices. The human body is an astronomical amount of raw material that comes from everywhere. In the last three weeks, a quadrillion atoms have circulated through our bodies that have circulated through the bodies of every other living species on the planet. We could think of a tree in Africa, a squirrel in Siberia, a peasant in China…. In less than one year, we replace 98% of our physical bodies… a new liver every six weeks, a new skin once a month, a new stomach lining every five days, a new skeleton every three months. The bones that appear so hard, solid and permanent are dynamic structures. Even the DNA, which holds the memories of millions of years of evolution, comes and goes every six weeks. The physical body is recycled elements — recycled earth, water and air — matter in all of its solid, liquid, gaseous and quantum mechanical forms.

Any time I explain the quantum mechanical model to my friends and colleagues, they ask me this question: “If it is really true that the human skeleton replaces itself every three months, then why is the arthritis still there?”

The answer I give is that, through our conditioning, we generate the same impulses of energy and information that lead not only to the same behavioral outcomes but also lead to the same biochemical processes, and that these biochemical processes are under the influence of our consciousness, our memory and our conditioned responses.”


“Quantum Physics and Consciousness”, by Deepak Chopra, M.D., in The Emerging Mind, ed. by Karen Nesbitt Shanor, PhD, Renaissance Books, Los Angeles, CA 1999.

If, however, we are a brick factory that continually re-builds itself, that is subject to rapid and ongoing changes that may be manipulated or stimulated in some way, there is still that certain something that keeps us centered on a core intent and belief.  While core intent and belief is malleable or plastic, it is under your own control and it can also be hardened against external interference.

While we are arrogantly reminded that “The Mind Has No Firewall”, the spirit is nebulous (by definition, it has none) and thus is not subject to short-term hacking. Long-term engineering is another matter.

Political systems, pharmaceutical companies, the new sciences of epigenetics, and transhumanism are topics for another time and approach, as is the teleportation of information. We have the ability, however unused and undeveloped, to project or transmit information to others, just as we have micro-antennae that are tuned to receive.  What’s playing on your channel?

Julia Cameron’s metabolism exercise focuses on the personal.  In my case (and yours to the extent that you want to play along at home on your own writing pad), metabolization involves birth, family, maturation, adolescence, learning, geography, the behaviors of parents and siblings, the deaths of family and friends, interpersonal relationships, employment and career, geographic relocation, marriage, children and grandchildren, health, aging, and the decay and disease of physical and perhaps mental capacities.

For some, lather, rinse and repeat may be appropriate.

If you are writing, you can zero in on any sub-topic, any selected span of time, any place, any individual, any situation.

The questions may be “Did you change? How did you change? What happened to create the change?  What happened after the change?” Or how did you metabolize the inputs, turn them into energy or re-direction? What did you bring to that time or moment, and what did you take away?

There are three constants in life, says Steven Covey: change, choice and principles. As a child, and even up through the age of 25 (give or take a few years), you don’t get much choice, and your principles were not firmly cemented in place.

Socio-cultural context and physical/geographic environment have a good deal to do with the shaping of an individual. There’s a great degree of emphasis (too much, in my opinion) on development in utero, though in my case, I did try to return meditatively to that time when I was within ten days before birth. I’d have fitted my mom with a body cam if they’d been available then and I had the option, but we can’t go back, can we? She died of causes only hinted at, and there was no autopsy that I’m aware of; I wonder if in fact my father’s attitudes over the years were because he didn’t want a third pregnancy but got one anyway. The female is in charge of birth and its control and most often the mother who carries a child into the ninth month has created a bond that most men can only guess at.

So there I was, without her, five days out, in the land of pretzels and beer and coal and railroads and Pennsylvania Dutch farmers’ markets, in the era of Hopalong Cassidy, eventually with one male friend whose father ran a chocolate factory and another female friend whose father was my pediatrician and who drove a Cadillac in which we drove to ice shows at Hershey. My two most prominent memories were of sitting in a vacant lot pulling up and eating wild scallions, and of packing a suitcase, loading it into my red wagon, and running away.  What was I metabolizing back then? What happened in my first 10-12 years that still generates influence on my life?

I was pulled up by my roots and transplanted to a rural area tucked in just to the west of the Appalachian chain under the ridge across which ran the Appalachian trail itself out behind the plot of land we shared with a pileated woodpecker, a swamp, a pond and a deer trail. I was given the responsibilities of cleaning out the chicken roost, stacking the wood, breaking down the loose kindling, mowing and raking, and being told where and when to go to school.

Getting an education in grades 4 through 10 requires a ton of metabolization, especially when you change schools five times. It wasn’t as bad as being a military brat, but it’s hard to develop long-term relationships, themselves miniature training grounds for growing up and taking a seat in society, with anyone. If you are in an extended family that is spread around over a wide geographic space, or is distant from one another for other reasons, then you have to assimilate the arts of bonding and dialogue in other ways.

As an adolescent, you get to begin to assimilate world-view from your family, your teachers and, to some extent, the media. You begin to think about the world and your place in it. Your teachers begin to assess you with the tools of testing, psychometrics, and the challenges of a curriculum. In the classroom and out of school, you begin to gain a sense of what you are good at, and what perhaps you should avoid. Teachers, coaches and parents are quick to tell you; perhaps you have other ideas. If you are lucky, you are able to find a key teacher or instructor with whom you might start an ‘apprenticeship’ of sorts, even if it only lasts a short while. Perhaps you were lucky enough to have been graced with a parent who showed you, over many years, how to go about things, how to master a skill, how to build a toolbox, something of the external world. And then there you are, out in the world. Perhaps someone has had your back; perhaps you grew up with a pre-ordained life, a silver spoon in your mouth.  Perhaps you jumped or got shoved out of the nest, brandishing six-plus years of having assimilated or absorbed or experienced more than can be written anywhere except in your journal or in your DNA. You do understand how epigenetic change happens, don’t you?

So there you are outside the previous safety zone with a clear idea of where you are going (or not), how you are going to get there (or not), who is going to pay how much to put your through your learning curve and just what they expect to extract from you thereafter. I had the option of getting a lot of help from the US government in return for at least one tour of duty on point in some Southeast Asian jungle but I grew up in New England where the poet laureate wrote something about a fork in the road.  I did three tours of duty in an ambulance stateside. When someone asks me if I served my country, I can honestly say “yes”. I didn’t know where I was going, but I got there anyway.

Certainly the whole of life gives you the necessaries for metabolization.  Changing jobs, let alone careers, means re-wiring your brain and your situational awareness. Reading the unexpressed intent of your boss is an art form; most of my jobs entailed working for large groups of directors.  Physical and geographic relocation rewire your brain in different ways, both on the wider scale of terrain, weather, and road nets as well as inside the limited space of household.  My wife and still learning that we keep that particular thing over here now; it is no longer with those things over there.


Moving at large in the world, politics and people are what you get to deal with.  You look around with innocence and wonder and you get introduced to learned and important people who are conning you all the while, treating you like a disposable or dispensable plaything or tool. They use you if and while they can, blindside you, and then sweep you away.  And then you get your own kids.  Some of us promise our kids something different and sometimes we are able to deliver.   Sometimes some of us promulgate a continuation of the grand hoax while they feed them junk food and junk thought.  And we watch astutely as we necessarily hand them over the the guidance and direction of others who mean well and are well-prepared, or who are prepared by people with a hidden agenda, or who simply don’t have the slightest fracking clue what in hell they are doing with the tender minds and spirits of the special human being you’ve brought far down the path.

And then we discover the new diagnosis and we get to metabolize a drawerful of pharmaceuticals, half of which bring side-effects for which there are more pills. And then we discover the bureaucracies through which we learn to navigate.

There are really nice people out there who will help when illness and disease come to your doorstep; if and when you find them, treat them well. Love them. Thank them. Learn from them.

Keep learning.  Believe in yourself. Learn to pray.  Learn to meditate. Read voraciously.

Keep metabolizing.

If you stop metabolizing, you’re finished.

“The resistance to the unpleasant situation is the root of suffering.” — Ram Dass

The capacity to choose one’s attitude, as well as “purposeful work, love, and courage in the face of difficulty” have been noted by Viktor Frankl,

the neurologist and psychiatrist imprisoned at Auschwitz

“There is only one way to happiness and that is to cease worrying about things which are beyond the power of our will.”  Epictetus

To Epictetus, all external events are beyond our control; we should accept whatever happens calmly and dispassionately. However, individuals are responsible for their own actions, which they can examine and control through rigorous self-discipline.

The philosophy of Epictetus is well known in the U.S. military through the writings and example of James Stockdale, an American fighter pilot who was shot down over North Vietnam, became a prisoner of war during the Vietnam War, and later a vice presidential candidate. In Courage under Fire: Testing Epictetus’s Doctrines in a Laboratory of Human Behavior (1993), Stockdale credits Epictetus with helping him endure seven and a half years in a North Vietnamese military prison—including torture—and four years in solitary confinement.[63]

Faith and The Stockdale Paradox

Jim Stockdale was the highest-ranking United States military officer in the “Hanoi Hilton” prisoner-of-war camp during the Vietnam War. He shouldered the burden of command, doing everything be could to create conditions that would increase the number of prisoners who would survive unbroken while fighting an internal war against his captors. He deliberately disfigured himself so that he could not be videotaped as an example of a well-treated prisoner. He exchanged secret intelligence information with his wife through letters, knowing that discovery would mean more torture and perhaps death. (His story is told in a book written by he and his wife called In Love and War.) He instituted rules that would help his fellow prisoners deal more effectively with torture. He instituted an elaborate secret internal communications system to reduce the sense of isolation imposed by their captors. Personally tortured over twenty times during his 8-year imprisonment, he lived out the war with no prisoner’s rights, no set release date, and no certainty as to whether he would ever survive to see his family again. When asked years after his release how he dealt with this uncertainty, he said “I never lost faith in the end of the story. I never doubted that not only would I get out, but also that I would prevail in the end and turn the experience into the defining event of my life.” He went on to explain that it was the optimists who never made it out, the ones who said “Oh, we’ll be out by Christmas”, and then Christmas would come and go, and then Easter too, and Thanksgiving. They died of a broken heart.”

The lesson, he explained, was this:

You must retain faith that you will prevail in the end, whatever the difficulties,., and, at the same time, you must also confront the brutal facts of your current reality and act on their implications.

from the book Good To Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t, cited in the sixth chapter of “Summon The Magic: How To Use Your Mind to be a Better Athlete (or anything else you want to be)” 

“… I really remembered Mark Van Doren’s quote. He said, “An intelligent person is one who, should a catastrophe strike, say doomsday… he could re-found his own civilization,” and I said, that’s what I’m here to do. And we had our own laws. I mean, I wrote them. And we had our own customs, and traditions, and proprieties.”


“… Every individual is connected with the rest of the world, and the universe is fashioned for universal harmony.[49] Wise people, therefore, will pursue, not merely their own will, but will also be subject to the rightful order of the world.[51] We should conduct ourselves through life fulfilling all our duties as children, siblings, parents, and citizens.[52]

For our country or friends we ought to be ready to undergo or perform the greatest difficulties.[53]

The good person, if able to foresee the future, would peacefully and contentedly help to bring about their own sickness, maiming, and even death, knowing that this is the right order of the universe.[54]

We have all a certain part to play in the world, and we have done enough when we have performed what our nature allows.[55] In the exercise of our powers, we may become aware of the destiny we are intended to fulfill.[56]

We are like travellers at an inn, or guests at a stranger’s table…”



Do the right thing even if it means dying like a dog when no one’s there to see you do it.

James Stockdale


Advance to meet the incoming negative energy and step out of its way; then redirect that energy and move to your advantage in a way that forces its submission.






“… If you told me a year ago we could stimulate 20 neurons in a mouse brain of 100 million neurons and alter their behavior, I’d say no way,” Yuste is quoted in Medical Xpress. “I saw the results and said ‘Holy moly, this whole thing [the brain] is plastic.’ We’re dealing with a plastic computer that’s constantly learning and changing.”

This is precisely the premise in my e-book “Summon The Magic: How To Use Your Mind to be a Better Athlete (or anything else you want to be)”, published online right here at BoyDownTheLane. http://boydownthelane.com/2015/05/13/summon-the-magic/

STM, as it is known in my household, was born during the process of my kids’ adolescent forays into athletics, high school and life. Most of their focus was on the ballfields, and most of my early interest was in sports psychology.  But in my reading over 300 popular, academic and serious texts in the field (STM has a bibliography and is extensively foot-noted), the reality emerged in full vivid focus that each of us has the ability — right there where you are sitting, without invasive technologies, and under your complete control — to modify your brain in a way that it will work more readily and effectively to — how is it that Thoreau put it? — “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you’ve imagined.” That was the quote written artistically in calligraphic style on my personalized “graduation diploma” when I completed Stewart Emery’s 40-hour Actualizations workshop back in the 1980s. “… in the spirit of the work of Rogers and Maslow, he offered the interpretation of the word Actualizations as meaning “to make the spirit of the authentic self real through action in the world”, “with experiential learning processes, contemplative learning meditations and individual coaching conversations in a group setting.”

I got up off the floor (literally, many times, after my intra-operative hemiplegic motor stroke eight years ago) with the intent of polishing and publishing that work. That’s my story.  As I lay in my hospital bed, I could hear the frequent arrival of medical helicopters carrying people who had suffered strokes, injuries in auto accidents, et al.  I met a few of those people and realized how insignificant my challenges were, which spurred me to harder work. Debbie Hampton’s tale (see below) is even more dramatic. Stephen P. Hall, in the New York Magazine, writes the story of one teen’s recovery from traumatic brain injury (TBI).

STM is now in multi-pdf format, free and freely offered to those who can and will take advantage of it.

My three blogs are also littered with references to neuroplasticity. See  http://boydownthelane.com/tag/neuroplasticity/ and http://www.thesullenbell.com/2015/06/22/doing-reverse-psy-op/.

“The human body is not an anatomical structure that is fixed in space and time. The human body is more like a river alive with energy, information and intelligence. It has a cybernetic feedback loop and can influence its own evolution and its own expression. It has the ability to learn from mistakes and the ability to make choices. The human body is an astronomical amount of raw material that comes from everywhere. In the last three weeks, a quadrillion atoms have circulated through our bodies that have circulated through the bodies of every other living species on the planet. We could think of a tree in Africa, a squirrel in Siberia, a peasant in China…. In less than one year, we replace 98% of our physical bodies… a new liver every six weeks, a new skin once a month, a new stomach lining every five days, a new skeleton every three months. The bones that appear so hard, solid and permanent are dynamic structures. Even the DNA, which holds the memories of millions of years of evolution, comes and goes every six weeks. The physical body is recycled elements — recycled earth, water and air — matter in all of its solid, liquid, gaseous and quantum mechanical forms.

Any time I explain the quantum mechanical model to my friends and colleagues, they ask me this question: “If it is really true that the human skeleton replaces itself every three months, then why is the arthritis still there?”

The answer I give is that, through our conditioning, we generate the same impulses of energy and information that lead not only to the same behavioral outcomes but also lead to the same biochemical processes, and that these biochemical processes are under the influence of our consciousness, our memory and our conditioned responses.”

“Quantum Physics and Consciousness”, by Deepak Chopra, M.D., in The Emerging Mind, ed. by Karen Nesbitt Shanor, PhD, Renaissance Books, Los Angeles, CA 1999.


“… neuroplasticity is an umbrella term referring to the ability of your brain to reorganize itself, both physically and functionally, throughout your life due to your environment, behavior, thinking, and emotions. The concept of neuroplasticity is not new and mentions of a malleable brain go all of the way back to the 1800s, but with the relatively recent capability to visually “see” into the brain allowed by functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), science has confirmed this incredible morphing ability of the brain beyond a doubt….” [ http://reset.me/story/neuroplasticity-the-10-fundamentals-of-rewiring-your-brain/ ] “… In his book The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science, Norman Doidge calls this the “plastic paradox.” (Read more: “Your Plastic Brain: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.”)

I know the power of neuroplasticity first hand, as I devised and performed my own home-grown, experience-dependant neuroplasticity based exercises for years to recover from a brain injury, the result of a suicide attempt. Additionally, through extensive cognitive behavioral therapy, meditation, and mindfulness practices, all of which encourage neuroplastic change, I overcame depression, anxiety, and totally revamped my mental health and life….”


I regularly and repeatedly go back and read this material myself; my arthritis is not only still here, but seems to be advancing.  Can you prevent the advance of aging?  Can you program your life for how it will look after your reincarnation? Those are subjects for a different time.

I strongly suggest — and because it is free there is no conflict of interest or financial incentive for me to proselytize — that you attend to reading STM ASAP (and sharing it with your children as they advance toward high school graduation)  before DARPA finishes its work.

Here are understandings and tools for you to accomplish the control of your mind and your life; read them honestly, with skepticism if necessary, and with trial periods.

Survey the world to see how others have used this and similar concepts to achieve new plateaus. I already have a small stack of personalized thanks; I already can point to results in my own children, their peers, and myself. Do you not think I recalled what I had read as I struggled to get up out of a chair and walk fifty feet across the room? As I navigated through a world of medical follow-up and personal interrelationship to get to the point where the entire encyclopedic collection is now on transportable media?

You have the option of getting to this work before entities associated with mind control, murder, war, totalitarianism and transhumanism beat you to the punch. Hurry; you have only a little time remaining.

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs are people who have come alive.” 

mouse neurons.jpg-large

“… The team found that “activation of a single neuron” can spark a response across an ‘ensemble’ of neurons, an effect which can be “reactivated at later time points without interfering with endogenous circuitry”.

During the experiments, researchers used a laser to stimulate a group of cells in a mouse’s visual cortex and have even restored sight and hearing to rodents who had lost those senses. Prior to this ‘optogenetic’ technology coming on stream, scientists had to surgically implant electrodes into the brains of subject mice but this new technique is far less invasive and offers more control.

These methods to read and write activity into the living brain will have a major impact in neuroscience and medicine,” said the study’s lead author and researcher….




Little Pharm

Little Pharm

Overheard at the local pharmacy

Pharmacy Tech (burdened by a steady steam of drive-up customers and incoming phone calls announced by a repetitive and monotonous recorded robo-voice at a chronically-slow, understaffed and error-prone outlet of a  major retail chain of consumer health services and items that blanket the city and the region):  “It’s never ending…!” (perhaps in spite of or maybe due to the availability and use of smart phone apps and other social media tools)

Customer (me), standing patiently (I’m retired) in line at the untended and unstaffed cash register/inquiry desk: “It pays the bills.”

Pharmacist (and weekend wise-acre): “… and it creates high blood pressure!”

Customer (again): “Well, there’s always high blood pressure medication [with its numerous side-effects, acknowledged and unacknowledged] if meditation  doesn’t work.” 



Shipping: “To assure that the right medications get to patients right away, Toho Pharmaceutical built a distribution center that is so highly automated most of the products processed there are never touched by human hands” [DC Velocity][via http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2016/08/200pm-water-cooler-892016.html ]. “The automation is so extensive that the 130 warehouse workers employed at the facility never touch about 70 percent of the products processed there. This is due in large part to several automated storage and retrieval systems (AS/RS) and a small army of robotic pickers. Tying all of the automated systems together are five kilometers (three miles) of conveyors.”