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Though Much Is Taken, Much Abides: Poems on and for Old Age
Though Much Is Taken, Much Abides: Poems on and for Old Age
Price: $3.99

5.0 out of 5 stars “Try not to die before you die”, April 24, 2015
The title of this collection of poems about the experience of growing old nicely captures Freedman’s theme. It is not merely friends and relatives that have been taken, but a lot of the joy of life has dissipated because you are no longer the person you once were. You can no longer enjoy things the way you could when you were younger; you can no longer do the things you once did so well. Cognitive decline is real and so is the weakening of the flesh.

Yet…much abides. In these “small confessional verses” Freedman celebrates the fact that he can still walk. Yes, walk, and that really is something to celebrate. And he has the great joy of playing with his grandchildren. He can still argue with God and indeed show his impatience with God as in the poem, “I HAVE A WORLD OF MY OWN.”

Saturating these minimalist poems is Freedman’s inner struggle between faith and despair. There is “God” and there is “G-d.” There is how can he do this to my friends and family? How can He allow suffering and death? How, indeed. No one has yet reconciled the perceived evil in the world with an all-powerful and all-loving God.

The poems themselves are written in the simplest, most-straightforward language without clutter, without pretension, even without punctuation. Freedman eschews the comma; a semicolon would be a mortal sin, perhaps. Even periods are missing. The idea is to make the words themselves speak directly to the reader with such clear and unmistakable intent that punctuation is superfluous. One gets the sense that to be clever or fancy would be to be false. I would note that poetry is written in lines and those lines with their capital letter beginnings and their carriage return endings are themselves punctuation.

Freedman’s watch words in the eighth decade of his life are humility and courage—courage to face the awful truth of decline and impeding death; humility to understand that you are just one of countless billions of others who have faced the same challenge. Sun in the morning is hope. Being “a quiet grandfather” means taking criticism with good humor. Freedman tells us:

“I do what I am told
And shut up”

Anyone who has ever been a grandparent knows that this is a good strategy to employ with your offspring and their spouses!

I was touched with his enduring love for others, even those from long ago. And I was able to identify with a man who is ashamed that he takes too long in line at the market, a man who admits he is lost…and yet, although “slow in the morning,” there comes a point in the day when “he is already there.” This theme is returned to in the poem “EACH DAY I COME BACK AGAIN” which ends with the plaintive

“For now”

I was impressed with his courage in being able to declare to the world that he is a failure:

“…I am lost
I am poor
I am old
I am a failure
And my poems are not very good either.”

Ah, a bit of cleverness and a touch of humor! And note that end punctuation after the word “either”! (I throw in these exclamation marks as a little joke because I don’t believe Freedman has ever used one.)

Near the end of the collection in “ALL MEN ARE MORTAL” he touches on an idea that I have found freeing as I too face my inevitable decline and fall. He writes,

“…There is only one of me
I am the only one of me there is
It does not make any sense
That I should leave the world
Without me the world will not have me
Without me how can anything really be?
All men may be mortal
But I refuse to be
It just does not make any sense
And I will never agree”

“Without me how can anything really be?” It can’t. There really is nothing other than life. You never die. You are always alive. Other people sadly die, and you can anticipate your death. Don’t. You are eternally alive and will never experience being dead.

But Shalom Freedman is very far from a failure. His success is not in worldly goods or in the fame he so craved for in his youth. His success is in the courage, endurance and compassion that he has shown and in the life he has lived.

--Dennis Littrell, author of “The World Is Not as We Think It Is”


Sublime Beauty: Hawai'i's Trees
Sublime Beauty: Hawai'i's Trees
by Jim Wageman
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $40.80
22 used & new from $35.72

4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful book on Hawaiian trees, April 8, 2015
In his Introduction Wageman writes, “…at heart this book is simply a celebration of the beauty of Hawai’i’s trees.” And that it is. The splendid photography of the trees is enhanced by the 12 by 8 inch size of the book. Yes, a coffee table book meant not for erudition or for identifying the trees, but for casual, relaxed appreciation.
The book is in three main parts: Endemic and indigenous trees, Polynesian-introduced trees, and Post-contact trees. There’s a selected bibliography and an index giving the Hawaiian, English and scientific names of the trees. The book is by no means comprehensive. Some introduced plants that are common elsewhere are not presented. The emphasis is on trees that are impressive in some way, either because of their beauty, majesty or economic or traditional importance.
I was a bit fuzzy about the difference between “endemic” and “indigenous.” So I looked up the definitions on the Web. According to the National Geography Style Manual “endemic” means occurring nowhere else. “Indigenous” means native (not brought in from somewhere else) though the plant or animal may occur elsewhere. “Native” implies birth or origin in a particular place.
Another word used in this book that left me a bit puzzled was “calabash.” The word in English usually refers to a gourd, but in Hawaii it refers to
(1) a tree, the calabash (Crescentia cujete), la’amia in Hawaiian and its fruit
(2) A carved wooden bowl
(3) Kids you grew up with who came from the same neighborhood, the same calabash, the same pot, who are called “calabash cousins.” (I got this from a Frontline interview with Kristen Caldwell who identified Barack Obama as a calabash cousin of hers.)

--Dennis Littrell, author of “Yoga: Sacred and Profane (Beyond Hatha Yoga)”


Stupidparty Math v. Myth: Unmasking the Destructive Forces Eroding American Democracy
Stupidparty Math v. Myth: Unmasking the Destructive Forces Eroding American Democracy
Price: $2.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ha, ha, but not so funny if you are actually a card-carrying member of the Stupidparty, April 8, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
In addition to the humor and the detailed information about how things got so, so stupid, there are the many links that Andendall provides to support his thesis. Those links demonstrate beyond a shadow of a doubt that something horribly wrong has happened to the Republican Party.
The “Math v. Myth” in the title refers to what I think is most ignominious failure of today’s Republican Party, a political party that once attracted the better educated elements of the electorate. What happened?

Well, it’s complicated but a big factor is the fact that the Dixiecrats who once voted overwhelmingly for George Wallace and other conservative and racist Democrats are now mostly Republicans. The main result of this is that the “myths” of racism and sexism along with a lot of willful ignorance have supplanted the “math” of science and education.

This book is an illustrated, textual, linked-up entire course on what has gone wrong and why. There are tables comparing the once Grand Old Party of Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt and Eisenhower with today’s embarrassment featuring the likes of George W. Bush, Dick Chaney, Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachmann, Bobby Jindal, Mitch McConnell, et al.

The way the Republican Party has caved into ignorance and stupidity is almost beyond belief except that, hey, that is the way to win local elections in certain gerrymandered districts. In the final analysis it is the electorate that is stupid, and that even includes a lot of Democrats. The Stupidparty is just a symptom of a larger problem: the dumbing down of America which is the goal of the one percent who are effectively in charge. They want to stay in charge and the way to do that is to foster a fat, docile, malleable and relatively uneducated populous whom they can manipulate through their control of governments (local, state and national), wages, media and advertising.

--Dennis Littrell, author of “The World Is Not as We Think It Is”


Smart Weigh SMS500 Digital Bathroom Scale, High Accuracy, Dual Color Weight Change Detection and Smart Step-On Auto Recognition for 8 Users, Silver
Smart Weigh SMS500 Digital Bathroom Scale, High Accuracy, Dual Color Weight Change Detection and Smart Step-On Auto Recognition for 8 Users, Silver
Offered by MeasuRite
Price: $39.64
4 used & new from $39.64

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good family bathroom scale, April 2, 2015
I’m a sucker for scales since I am a fanatic about my weight. So I allowed the Smart Weight people to send me their memory scale. Nice design, slim and elegant, and a little smaller and lighter (4.4 lbs) than my two other bathroom scales.
Pluses:
Just step on (no need to nudge it first which is the case with my Conair Weight Watchers scale model WW59GD)—or was the case since that scale no longer works.
The scale “remembers” up to eight people that have stood on it by approximate weight down to a 4.4-pound differential. If the difference is smaller, the user must double tap the scale and enter a new user manually.
The scale also remembers your weight from the previous time you stepped onto the scale. After giving your current weight it will then display your previous weight and flash red if you have gained weight and green if you have lost weight. Cute.
The memory is easy to clear.
Capacity is up to 400 pounds.
Allows for three weight modes: pounds, kilograms and stones/pounds.
Comes with 4 AAA batteries in the box.

Minuses:
Gives readings to fifths of a pound. Some bathroom scales give readings to tenths of a pound.
The LCD screen is a little smaller than my other bathroom scales which means I have to have my glasses on to read it.
Won’t work properly on the carpet. As with other bathroom scales this one needs a firm surface.

I didn’t calibrate it for accuracy, but it gives readings very similar to other scales I use. The important thing for me is consistency; that is, if I step on the scale and it gives me 178.2 pounds and I step on it again a minute later I want it to read the same. And if I weigh myself before running and I sweat for 45 minutes I can expect to weigh two or three pounds less, and this scale recognizes that.
—Dennis Littrell, author of “Yoga: Sacred and Profane (Beyond Hatha Yoga)”


Amrita Energy Bars 24 Pack: Mango Coconut + Chocolate Maca
Amrita Energy Bars 24 Pack: Mango Coconut + Chocolate Maca
Offered by Amrita Bars
Price: $53.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent raw nutrition bars, April 2, 2015
The people at Amrita sent me a small box containing six of these bars in the hope that I would eat them and write a review. Well, I did indeed eat them (sharing some with my friends) and now I am, yes, actually writing a review. (First review in many months.) I give them a five-star rating since they are very good tasting for raw food health bars and their ingredients are as pristinely correct as any food could possibly be (at least according to a friend who has been a card-carrying Vegan for over twenty years). Consider this. The bars are:
Non GMO
Gluten free
Soy free
Peanut free
Dairy free
Kosher
70% Organic
They are “seed-based” and “allergy friendly” and “free of the 8 common allergens.”
They contain 185 to 230 calories each. The chocolate maca (dubbed a “protein bar”) is the heavyweight at 230 while the mango coconut “energy bar” comes in at 185. The other flavors are apricot strawberry, apple cinnamon, pineapple chia and cranberry raisin.
They are attractively and neatly packaged in pleasing rainbow colors. Bon appetit!
—Dennis Littrell, author of “Yoga: Sacred and Profane (Beyond Hatha Yoga)”


Amrita Energy Bars 24 Pack: Cranberry Raisin + Chocolate Maca
Amrita Energy Bars 24 Pack: Cranberry Raisin + Chocolate Maca
Offered by Amrita Bars
Price: $53.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent raw nutrition bars, April 2, 2015
The people at Amrita sent me a small box containing six of these bars in the hope that I would eat them and write a review. Well, I did indeed eat them (sharing some with my friends) and now I am, yes, actually writing a review. (First review in many months.) I give them a five-star rating since they are very good tasting for raw food health bars and their ingredients are as pristinely correct as any food could possibly be (at least according to a friend who has been a card-carrying Vegan for over twenty years). Consider this. The bars are:
Non GMO
Gluten free
Soy free
Peanut free
Dairy free
Kosher
70% Organic
They are “seed-based” and “allergy friendly” and “free of the 8 common allergens.”
They contain 185 to 230 calories each. The chocolate maca (dubbed a “protein bar”) is the heavyweight at 230 while the mango coconut “energy bar” comes in at 185. The other flavors are apricot strawberry, apple cinnamon, pineapple chia and cranberry raisin.
They are attractively and neatly packaged in pleasing rainbow colors. Bon appetit!
—Dennis Littrell, author of “Yoga: Sacred and Profane (Beyond Hatha Yoga)”


Amrita Energy Bars 24 Pack: Apple Cinnamon + Chocolate Maca
Amrita Energy Bars 24 Pack: Apple Cinnamon + Chocolate Maca
Offered by Amrita Bars
Price: $53.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent raw nutrition bars, April 2, 2015
The people at Amrita sent me a small box containing six of these bars in the hope that I would eat them and write a review. Well, I did indeed eat them (sharing some with my friends) and now I am, yes, actually writing a review. (First review in many months.) I give them a five-star rating since they are very good tasting for raw food health bars and their ingredients are as pristinely correct as any food could possibly be (at least according to a friend who has been a card-carrying Vegan for over twenty years). Consider this. The bars are:
Non GMO
Gluten free
Soy free
Peanut free
Dairy free
Kosher
70% Organic
They are “seed-based” and “allergy friendly” and “free of the 8 common allergens.”
They contain 185 to 230 calories each. The chocolate maca (dubbed a “protein bar”) is the heavyweight at 230 while the mango coconut “energy bar” comes in at 185. The other flavors are apricot strawberry, apple cinnamon, pineapple chia and cranberry raisin.
They are attractively and neatly packaged in pleasing rainbow colors. Bon appetit!
—Dennis Littrell, author of “Yoga: Sacred and Profane (Beyond Hatha Yoga)”


Amrita Energy Bars 24 Pack: Pineapple Chia + Chocolate Maca
Amrita Energy Bars 24 Pack: Pineapple Chia + Chocolate Maca
Offered by Amrita Bars
Price: $53.00

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent raw nutrition bars, April 2, 2015
Amrita Plant-based nutrition bars. *****
Excellent raw nutrition bars

The people at Amrita sent me a small box containing six of these bars in the hope that I would eat them and write a review. Well, I did indeed eat them (sharing some with my friends) and now I am, yes, actually writing a review. (First review in many months.) I give them a five-star rating since they are very good tasting for raw food health bars and their ingredients are as pristinely correct as any food could possibly be (at least according to a friend who has been a card-carrying Vegan for over twenty years). Consider this. The bars are:
Non GMO
Gluten free
Soy free
Peanut free
Dairy free
Kosher
70% Organic
They are “seed-based” and “allergy friendly” and “free of the 8 common allergens.”
They contain 185 to 230 calories each. The chocolate maca (dubbed a “protein bar”) is the heavyweight at 230 while the mango coconut “energy bar” comes in at 185. The other flavors are apricot strawberry, apple cinnamon, pineapple chia and cranberry raisin.
They are attractively and neatly packaged in pleasing rainbow colors. Bon appetit!
—Dennis Littrell, author of “Yoga: Sacred and Profane (Beyond Hatha Yoga)”


The Fracking Truth:America's Energy Revolution: the Inside, Untold Story
The Fracking Truth:America's Energy Revolution: the Inside, Untold Story
by Chris Faulkner
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $16.90
58 used & new from $6.94

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Does a good job of presenting the industry's position, June 16, 2014
Chris Faulkner is the President and CEO of his own oil and gas extraction company, Breitling Energy Corporation. That makes him an expert on fracking and so what he has to say is probably very much worth reading. However does this disqualify him from the debate about the merits and demerits of fracking? Maybe, maybe not. Readers should read this book and decide for themselves.

First what is fracking? Faulkner has a chapter on that. I read it twice. I am still not sure about how the gas and/oil gets out of the fissures and into the wellbore. It seems amazing that a wellbore could suck up enough oil from fractured rock to make it viable. Yet this is what happens. With gas it would seem easier. Fracking was and is a great technological breakthrough. It’s not going to go away. Alternative energy stocks (with some exceptions) will be risky investments for probably decades to come.

The central (and very difficult) question that this book attempts to answer is whether the relatively cheaper energy we get because of fracking outweighs the environmental damage that fracking causes. Clearly for Faulkner and Breitling Energy (and Halliburton and others in the business) the answer is clear. It does. Faulkner dedicates his book to the ten million “extraordinary people” in the industry “who are creating the American energy revolution.” For the rest of us (and please not in my backyard nor in Cheney’s nor in Faulkner’s) the answer is not so clear, and will not be clear until some years to come.

While Faulkner urges the industry to reveal what chemicals are used in fracking he doesn’t disclose them directly in the book. Figure 4-3 on page 86 gives the “Volumetric Composition of a Fracture Fluid.” 99.51% is water. The other 0.49% consists of 12 different agents with generic tags like “Corrosion Inhibitor” (which could be hydrazine which according to the article in Wikipedia is “highly toxic and dangerously unstable unless handled in solution.” Another is an “Adjusting Agent.” I couldn’t readily determine what an adjusting agent in this context might be. A third is “Friction Reducer,” which presumably is some kind of polymer of which there are many. Faulkner is being coy. He doesn’t want to use little-understood possibly scary-sounding chemical names. He does make the excellent point that the Keystone XL pipeline will probably be safer than transporting the oil by rail. Another good point is that natural gas is a lot less polluting than coal or oil.

In a sense the “debate” over fracking is really an empty one since, as Faulkner makes all too clear, fracking will go on regardless because of its value in reducing the cost of energy. The US government is not going to outlaw fracking (although some states may) because the relatively cheap energy will be seen as essential to our national security. It is not widely known but World War II was fought largely because Germany and Japan needed fossil fuel energy sources. And of course much of the turmoil in the Middle East is about oil and access to it.

There are many tables, graphs and attractive photos of Breitling fracking sites but for me the tables and graphs are too small to read comfortably. Younger eyes will do better no doubt. And the pretty photos of fracking wells peacefully nestled in snow with bales of hay dotting the surrounding farmland was just too precious for words. But I don’t blame Faulkner for the eye wash since he had to watch the documentary film “Gasland” which showed people near fracking sites lighting up the water faucets in their homes.

Bottom line for me is I am not much worried about fracking and indeed I accept Faulkner’s main argument that the economic good outweighs the ecological bad—for the near future. Ultimately however cheaper energy means the earth can support more people which means a quicker destruction of the planet. At any rate we will use these energy sources until the pollution price becomes too high. Apparently that won’t be for some decades to come. And if Wall Street can’t see past the next quarterly report how can we expect ourselves and our leaders to see decades ahead?

This is slightly beside the point but I was a little troubled reading Faulkner’s chapter on climate change. The evidence is overwhelming that we are experiencing climate change but Faulkner “hasn’t entirely” made up his mind on the subject. He goes on to say that a couple of the scientists at the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) (out of over 800 who worked on the Fifth Assessment Report) disagreed with the vast majority, one of whom disagreed because he didn’t think enough attention was given to the benefits of climate change. If you go to IPCC’s webpage and look at their organization PDF you can see the names, which country they’re from and the institutions they represent. To give you an idea of who these people are here are the first ten listed as authors of the Introduction to the AR5:

1 Cubasch Ulrich Freie Universität Berlin Germany
2 Wuebbles Donald University of Illinois United States of America
3 Chen Deliang University of Gothenburg Sweden
4 Facchini Maria Cristina Institute of Atmospheric Sciences and Climate Italy
5 Frame David Victoria University of Wellington New Zealand
6 Mahowald Natalie Cornell University United States of America
7 Winther Jan-Gunnar Norwegian Polar Institute Norway
8 Ding Yihui China Meteorological Administration China
9 Mearns Linda National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) United States of America
10 Wadhams Peter University of Cambridge U

These people are experts and, as Faulkner admits, he is not. It’s annoying that so many people get their ideas about climate change from reading say Forbes Magazine or some of the “education” websites paid for by people in the coal, gas and oil industries. I suspect that Faulkner is such a person. Either that or he is disingenuous or in a kind of denial. In the final chapter in the book, he does tip his hand a bit by making an argument that even though we might be experiencing climate change we need to be careful in our response since making energy expensive can be very painful for humans.

Another thing that Faulkner isn’t sure about is whether gas and oil deposits are biogenic or abiogenic. (p. 37) He does say that if they are abiogenic (which only a few experts think is the truth) then gas and oil are renewable resources!

To sum up, it is important when the issues are complex to hear both sides of the debate. Faulkner does a good job of presenting the position of the fracking industry.

--Dennis Littrell, author of “The World Is Not as We Think It Is”


Perfect Scissors - Heavy duty for a variety of uses - Home / Kitchen / Garden / Office / Art Craft or Workshop - A professional multi function shears with hardened and curved blades - Razor sharp Stainless steel blades with tension adjustment - Perf3ct Scissors comes with a handy bottle opener - Nut Cracker - Wire Stripper built into the handles and blades - Heavy duty Scissors - Dishwasher safe - All with a 100% Lifetime Guarantee!!
Perfect Scissors - Heavy duty for a variety of uses - Home / Kitchen / Garden / Office / Art Craft or Workshop - A professional multi function shears with hardened and curved blades - Razor sharp Stainless steel blades with tension adjustment - Perf3ct Scissors comes with a handy bottle opener - Nut Cracker - Wire Stripper built into the handles and blades - Heavy duty Scissors - Dishwasher safe - All with a 100% Lifetime Guarantee!!
Offered by The Perf3ct Shop
Price: $12.99
2 used & new from $12.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not quite perfect but close enough, June 15, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
There’s a nice feel to these attractive scissors and they do everything advertised; however I didn’t find them handy for cutting finger and toe nails. The bottom blade is a little too thick for that or maybe I need to work on my skill set. I also would not recommend them for cutting cardboard boxes. They do better than regular scissors but not nearly as well as bladed box cutters. The “crush garlic” claim is certainly correct if you realize the idea is to lightly crack the garlic skin and then peel it off. Crushing the garlic doesn’t work for me except in a garlic press. The best way to peel garlic is to use a garlic roll (available at Amazon and elsewhere).

I actually got these “Perf3ct” scissors to cut open the hard plastic that many products come in including these scissors, and to use in my garden. They cut through the hard plastic with relative ease, and they cut through a quarter inch palm frond stem with a bit of effort. Anything smaller was easy.

The real test may come when the scissors get dull and have to be sharpened. Stay tuned.

Regardless of these minor shortcomings I thought they were well worth the coin.

--Dennis Littrell, author of “Yoga: Sacred and Profane (Beyond Hatha Yoga)”


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