Wednesday, June 18, 2008


Wednesday, June 20, 2007


Maybe just one good thought is all it takes to change the world.

Do you have believe in the power of intention or that prayer can influence the outcome of a situation? Have you ever used your intention to create your reality? I believe we all do this every day in our personal lives and on larger scales when we congregate and work together for one cause. The collective consciousness if you will is a conglomerate of our true intentions as a human race. Is it possible to make real changes if enough individuals focus on the same intention? Can we create The Hundredth Monkey Effect?

I just learned today that Lynne McTaggart is conducting intention experiments on the internet. The next experiment is set for July 7th at 5pm GTM and I believe this is 1pm Eastern Daylight-Savings Time. Check her website out at The Intention Experiment.

What we are capable of is only limited by our imagination...

My intention focus right now is on my daughter and her health. She is 8 years old and is a wonderful and very kind hearted kid who happens to have diabetes. She has had it since she was 18 months old and tomorrow her diabetes treatment will change from 4 shots a day to the diabetes pump. This means that she will no longer need shots and her blood sugar levels should be better regulated. We are all excited to make this change as it will allow her more freedom in her life and will lessen possible complications with diabetes later in her life. She is such a courageous kid and I am a proud parent. I wish her an easy transition to the pump.

Friday, June 15, 2007


I had been a coffee drinker for 18 years until a month ago when I discovered matcha tea. Matcha tea is ultimately one of the finest beverages I have consumed on many levels and the case may be that my love affair with coffee has come to an end. Initially, I experienced some sadness in departing from my daily 2 to 3 cups of my favorite Joe every morning and after a month I admit that on occasion I think about the taste of a good strong cup of black liquid gold. However, over the years I have developed some aversions to coffee, for instance my stomach aches at times when I drink too much, I get jittery from time to time, I get that late morning crash from caffeine depletion and sometimes headaches that follow. So when I stumbled upon matcha tea and read that the caffeine content combined with amino acids in green tea is more slowly absorbed, the effects on your system is different from coffee - more subtle and relaxing. I found that regular green tea is stimulating and pleasant but does not compare to the ground matcha form in regard to taste. Also, it seems that matcha is the healthier choice due to the fact that you consume the entire leaf and receive more of the health benefits that researchers have found in green tea.

Personally, I have found that matcha tea does not have any of the side effects I found with coffee and is stimulating and calming at the same time. Apparently, Zen Buddhists have been consuming matcha for centuries prior to meditation and find that it aids them in their practice. I encourage anyone looking for an alternative to coffee to try matcha tea. It is also fun to prepare. The only draw back is that it is somewhat expensive and it seems to only be available online (at least in this area).

Here are some of the health benefits:

Tea and Health

Not only is tea soothing and delicious, but, throughout its history, it has been associated with important health benefits. New studies point to evidence that these healing properties have a scientific basis. While all tea is healthy to drink, Green tea contains the highest level of polyphenols (flavonoids), which are known for their antioxidant activity.

Consumption of tea is being studied for its reported benefits on:

* Enhancing immune function
* Lowering LDL cholesterol levels
* Increasing HDL cholesterol levels
* Reducing blood pressure
* Thinning the blood, reducing the risk of a heart attack
* Lowering the risk of stroke
* Reducing the risk of cancer
* Boosting longevity
* Aiding digestion
* Preventing dental cavities and gingivitis

Much of the focus of modern research is on the effects of three ingredients found in tea:

* Antioxidants (Polyphenols)
* Nutrients
* Caffeine


Many of the health benefits of drinking tea come from the fact that tea contains high levels of antioxidants called polyphenols or flavonoids. These compounds are most prevalent in green and white teas, but are also present in varying degrees in Oolongs and black teas. In the processing of black teas another antioxidant is formed – theaflavin. This is weaker than the polyphenols in Green teas, but still performs antioxidant activities in laboratory experiments. Polyphenols scavenge cell-damaging free radicals, which are linked with cancer-causing genes and cause LDL cholesterol to form artery-clogging plaque. The polyphenols in tea possess 20 to 30 times the antioxidant potency of vitamins C and E. Antioxidants impair the ability of free radical cells to harm the molecules that make up our bodies.

copied from -

Watch Matcha Tea Preparation:

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Saturday, June 9, 2007



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This tribute to creativity and community takes place each June in University Circle. Enjoy the celebration, based on ethnic gatherings around the world. A non-traditional art parade at noon features participants wearing self-made costumes, dancers and non-motorized floats. On Wade Oval, tents house interactive activities sponsored by local cultural and educational institutions. Performers and food booths complete the sights, sounds and tastes of this celebration.

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Thursday, March 22, 2007


I thought I was doing my part by driving less and purchasing products with less packaging but this guy and his family are giving up toilet paper for a year and using worms to eat their garbage!


DINNER was the usual affair on Thursday night in Apartment 9F in an elegant prewar on Lower Fifth Avenue. There was shredded cabbage with fruit-scrap vinegar; mashed parsnips and yellow carrots with local butter and fresh thyme; a terrific frittata; then homemade yogurt with honey and thyme tea, eaten under the greenish flickering light cast by two beeswax candles and a fluorescent bulb.

A sour odor hovered oh-so-slightly in the air, the faint tang, not wholly unpleasant, that is the mark of the home composter. Isabella Beavan, age 2, staggered around the neo-Modern furniture — the Eames chairs, the brown velvet couch, the Lucite lamps and the steel cafe table upon which dinner was set — her silhouette greatly amplified by her organic cotton diapers in their enormous boiled-wool, snap-front cover.

A visitor avoided the bathroom because she knew she would find no toilet paper there.

Meanwhile, Joseph, the liveried elevator man who works nights in the building, drove his wood-paneled, 1920s-era vehicle up and down its chute, unconcerned that the couple in 9F had not used his services in four months. “I’ve noticed,” Joseph said later with a shrug and no further comment. (He declined to give his last name. “I’ve got enough problems,” he said.)

Welcome to Walden Pond, Fifth Avenue style. Isabella’s parents, Colin Beavan, 43, a writer of historical nonfiction, and Michelle Conlin, 39, a senior writer at Business Week, are four months into a yearlong lifestyle experiment they call No Impact. Its rules are evolving, as Mr. Beavan will tell you, but to date include eating only food (organically) grown within a 250-mile radius of Manhattan; (mostly) no shopping for anything except said food; producing no trash (except compost, see above); using no paper; and, most intriguingly, using no carbon-fueled transportation.

Mr. Beavan, who has written one book about the origins of forensic detective work and another about D-Day, said he was ready for a new subject, hoping to tread more lightly on the planet and maybe be an inspiration to others in the process.

Also, he needed a new book project and the No Impact year was the only one of four possibilities his agent thought would sell. This being 2007, Mr. Beavan is showcasing No Impact in a blog ( laced with links and testimonials from New Environmentalist authorities like His agent did indeed secure him a book deal, with Farrar, Straus & Giroux, and he and his family are being tailed by Laura Gabbert, a documentary filmmaker and Ms. Conlin’s best friend.

Why there may be a public appetite for the Colin-Beavan family doings has a lot to do with the very personal, very urban face of environmentalism these days. Thoreau left home for the woods to make his point (and secure his own book deal); Mr. Beavan and Ms. Conlin and others like them aren’t budging from their bricks-and-mortar, haut-bourgeois nests.

Mr. Beavan looks to groups like the Compacters (, a collection of nonshoppers that began in San Francisco, and the 100 Mile Diet folks ( and, a Vancouver couple who spent a year eating from within 100 miles of their apartment, for tips and inspiration. But there are hundreds of other light-footed, young abstainers with a diarist urge: it is not news that this shopping-averse, carbon-footprint-reducing, city-dwelling generation likes to blog (the paperless, public diary form). They have seen “An Inconvenient Truth”; they would like to tell you how it makes them feel. If Al Gore is their Rachel Carson, blogalogs like Treehugger, and are their Whole Earth catalogs.

Andrew Kirk, an environmental history professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, whose new book, “Counterculture Green: The Whole Earth Catalog and American Environmentalism,” will be published by University Press of Kansas in September, is reminded of environmentalism’s last big bubble, in the 1970s, long before Ronald Reagan pulled federal funding for alternative fuel technologies (and his speechwriters made fun of the spotted owl and its liberal protectors, a deft feat of propaganda that set the movement back decades). Those were the days when Stewart Brand and his Whole Earth writers, Mr. Kirk said, “focused on a brand of environmentalism that kept people in the picture.”

“That’s the thing about this current wave of environmentalism,” he continued. “It’s not about, how do we protect some abstract pristine space? It’s what can real people do in their home or office or whatever. It’s also very urban. It’s a critical twist in the old wilderness adage: Leave only footprints, take only photographs. But how do you translate that into Manhattan?”

With equals parts grace and calamity, it appears. Washed down with a big draught of engaging palaver.

Before No Impact — this is a phrase that comes up a lot — Ms. Conlin and Mr. Beavan were living a near parody of urban professional life. Ms. Conlin, who bought this apartment in 1999 when she was still single, used the stove so infrequently (as in, never, she said) that Con Edison called to find out if it was broken. (Mr. Beavan, now the family cook, questioned whether she had yet to turn it on. Ms. Conlin ignored him.)

In this household, food was something you dialed for.

“We would wake up and call ‘the man,’ ” Ms. Conlin said, “and he would bring us two newspapers and coffee in Styrofoam cups. Sometimes we’d call two men, and get bagels from Bagel Bob’s. For lunch I’d find myself at Wendy’s, with a Dunkin’ Donuts chaser. Isabella would point to guys on bikes and cry: ‘The man! The man!’ ”

Since November, Mr. Beavan and Isabella have been hewing closely, most particularly in a dietary way, to a 19th-century life. Mr. Beavan has a single-edge razor he has learned to use (it was a gift from his father). He has also learned to cook quite tastily from a limited regional menu — right now that means lots of apples and root vegetables, stored in the unplugged freezer — hashing out compromises. Spices are out but salt is exempt, Mr. Beavan said, because homemade bread “is awful without salt; salt stops the yeast action.” Mr. Beavan is baking his own, with wheat grown locally and a sour dough “mother” fermenting stinkily in his cupboard. He is also finding good sources at the nearby Union Square Greenmarket (like Ronnybrook Farm Dairy, which sells milk in reusable glass bottles). The 250-mile rule, by the way, reflects the longest distance a farmer can drive in and out of the city in one day, Mr. Beavan said.

Copied from New York Times 3/22/07

Have you given up anything or changed the way you live to have less of an impact on the environment?

Tuesday, March 20, 2007


Time to start getting excited about heading to Remus, Michigan for one of the best traditional music festivals I am aware of. Three happy days of camping, hanging out, making music and listening to bluegrass, folk and other traditional sounds in a beautiful wooded area of Michigan. Something to look forward to each year. Wheatland is very family friendly with kids activities going on all weekend.

Wheatland's History

In the early seventies a small group of Mt. Pleasant Food Co-Op members and local musicians were staging free concerts and benefits around Big Rapids and Mt. Pleasant. Common sites were city parks and public halls. Proceeds enabled the food co-op to pay rent and utilities, barely. Meanwhile some of us were learning the rudiments for organizing indoor and outdoor musical events. There seemed to be just enough help to organize two concerts a month during the summer.

There were only a couple weekend festivals around Mid-Michigan at the time, one in Midland and the Stringbean Memorial in Charlotte. Dick Tarrier told us about the Stringbean Memorial and the Pine River Valley Boys led us to the festival in Charlotte. There is one bearded fiddler from Remus who will never forget sitting around a campfire at Charlotte with some older bluegrass fiddlers playing, "Listen to the Mockingbird." It is impossible to bottle and sell a jam session, but there are ways to stimulate such foolishness.

Gradually we tried to stir up some interest around Remus to attempt a one-day event and test the waters. Most people laughed at such notions and others were fearful or suspicious as to just what was going on. But the key to our motivation was feeling that enough people would attend a local festival that probably would not attend any of the more popular southern festivals. Mecosta County is not known for its farmers leaving home during the harvest season to travel to a fiddler's convention in West Virginia. So we thought a local old-time music festival would be welcomed.

The secret was getting enough help to make it happen. We also needed a suitable site, entertainment, electricity, a stage, a sound system, refreshments, first-aid, permits and volunteers. With a core group less than a dozen, and the help of a tractor and brush-hog, the wheels were in motion for the First Wheatland Bluegrass Festival as a benefit for the Mt. Pleasant Food Co-Op, August 24, 1974.

The Rhode family offered their farm, located four miles east of Remus on M-20. June Rhodes' utility room became festival headquarters, her backyard was the backstage area, and her sister-in-law's yard across the road was the parking lot. The flatbed trailers were in place along with the first-aid tent, a sound system, and a hotdog stand. Everything was planned to work and we gave it our best effort.

Several hundred people attended the First Wheatland Festival and it did go quite well. Perhaps the single most important attendee was the local postmaster. Before the first festival was even over he had already offered the use of his farm for the next year. The one improvement he could offer was a hayfield instead of corn stubble and dirt. All in all he knew just what the festival idea needed.

Who was that postmaster? And why would he want hundreds of strangers sleeping across his 160-acre backyard? What would his wife have to say about this? Mark and Gladys Wernette were contemplating taking a big step towards an uncertain future. But like their parents, Mecosta County's Alsatian pioneers, Mark and Gladys were committed to what they thought was their civic responsibility and offered to lend a hand.

By 1975 Wheatland was born. Elections were held and the board of directors was established. Many of the first directors are still active in the organization. This can be attributed to their faith in each other and their commitment to community service.

Attempts were made to keep the new organization as loose and manageable as possible. The only agreement we had was a hug-and-a-handshake understanding with the Wernettes to use their farm, and to take things one year at a time. We now set about fitting the festival to the farm.

It was time to exert some technical muscle. All we had for a stage was a sawhorse platform. But with a few boards, elbow grease and heavy black plastic (in case of rain) our main (and only) stage would be presentable. The pine grove would do nicely as a backdrop. Can jack pines enhance sound? I don't know, but for want of the perfect amphitheater, this centrally situated field became our main seating area. The backfields were thought to be more room than anyone could imagine for camping. But no fires please! For fire patrols we had a truck-mounted horse trough with some rakes and shovels.

For power we turned to Remus resident Frank Blanzy. Power was running out of the basement of the Wernette farmhouse all the way to the main stage with a series of extension cords. There was no money to install electricity so we used the closest source and the most available material. Frank became the official Wheatland technician for over ten years. When work was needed to power the main stage, Frank came forward. His efforts were tremendous and well done. We thank him for all his contributions to many years of successful festivals. He did have two able assistants for the overhead work. Don Lawrence and David Sands climbed and wired all the poles. And it was Dick Ray who came up with the floodlights for the concert area. Thanks fellows.

The shelter aspect of an outdoor festival got attention after power was figured out. Tents were needed and the Beal City Knights of Columbus had some to rent. If they could endure the Beal City Heritage Days as a beer tent, then they should hold up for our purposes. Don Stover and the White Oak Mountain Boys headlined the second festival with the Williams Family, the Kentucky Grass, the R.F.D. Boys, the Pine River Valley Boys, the Sunset Express, and the Stillhouse Stringband - the first band to appear at Wheatland featuring Dick Tarrier. Tickets were $5.00 in advance or $3.50 per day at the gate. Dan McGuire was well into his collection of excellent artwork for Wheatland posters and flyers. Thanks Dan for many years of fine artistic promotion. The weather became apparent that rain could stifle events in a thunderous fashion as the weekend began. In fact, it was a soaking weekend at best. In between all the fury of a late summer's storm very little festival happened on Saturday. Bands arrived but there was little hope of performing with so much rain in the forecast. By early Sunday morning most of the bands had left - the festival was a total washout. An hour or two of Sunday afternoon sunshine allowed for an impromptu gathering of musicians and singers to lead a bunch of old favorites, but for all practical purpose it was time to throw in the muddy towel. Several hundred vehicles were sunk down to their axles in the topsoil of what was always a wet farm to work anyway. The scene on Monday was reminiscent of the day following the Battle of Gettysburg when a powerful thunderstorm soaked the landscape. Except in 1863 horses hauled away the remains, whereas in 1975 tractors were recruited to hoist the mud-covered campers out to the road. The ruts that were left from that weekend still stripe the fields. Out of the futility of 1975 the organization still forged ahead. We still had the farm and Mark Wernette had some machinery to smooth out the rough spots. The festival date was moved to the weekend after Labor Day for 1976 where it remains eleven years [now thirty-two years] later.

Now - if your headed to Wheatland this year and would like to see the Avett Brothers perform - send a quick email to their booking agent at:

Happy Wheatland!

The Avett Brothers

Left On Laura - The Avett Brothers - Greensboro

Compelled to post another Avett Brothers video. Folk music that kicks ass!

The Avett Brothers - Talk On Indolence

Newbie to The Avett Brothers - saw them at the Kent Stage in Kent, Ohio last Thursday night. Wow, check them out if you haven't heard them. They provide a new twist on bluegrass/folk. I will never play the banjo the same way again.