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Hoffer

“We have rudiments of reverence for the human body, but we consider as nothing the rape of the human mind.” —Eric Hoffer

That my friends is very true. Especially when it comes to to what some of us choose to do for a living or for fun for that matter (like watching the boob tube for hours on end).

Eric Hoffer, the author of this quote, was an American social writer and philosopher who published ten books, a newspaper column and truly lived his life. Born in the Bronx on July 25, 1902, the son of Knut and Elsa Hoffer, immigrants from Alsace, by five he could read in both German and English.

When he was age five, his mother fell down a flight of stairs with Eric in her arms. Hoffer went blind for unknown medical reasons two years later, but later in life he said he thought it might have been due to trauma.

“I lost my sight at the age of seven. Two years before, my mother and I fell down a flight of stairs. She did not recover and died in that second year after the fall. I lost my sight and for a time my memory”.

After his mother’s death he was raised by a live-in relative or servant, a German woman named Martha. His eyesight inexplicably returned when he was 15. Fearing he would again go blind, he seized upon the opportunity to read as much as he could. His eyesight remained, but Hoffer never abandoned his habit of voracious reading.

Hoffer was a young man when his father, a cabinetmaker, died.  Sensing that warm Los Angeles was the best place for a poor man, Hoffer took a bus there in 1920 and spent the next 10 years on Los Angeles’ skid row, reading, writing, and working odd jobs.

In 1931, he attempted suicide by means of drinking oxalic acid, but the attempt failed…he could not bring himself to swallow the poison. This experience inspired a new determination to live more adventurously. He left skid row and became a migrant worker. Following the harvests along the length of California, he collected library cards for each town near the fields where he worked and, living by preference, “between the books and the brothels.”

He ended up in the mountains, where he had gone in search of gold. He remained snowed in for the entire winter. While trapped, he read the “Essays” by Michel de Montaigne. Montaigne’s book left its mark on Hoffer and influence his life and future writings.

Hoffer lived in San Francisco by 1941 and became a longshoreman on the docks of The Embarcadero. It was there he felt at home and finally settled down. He continued reading voraciously and soon began to write while earning a living loading and unloading ships. He continued this work until he retired at age 65. Hoffer considered his best work to be “The True Believer“, a landmark explanation of fanaticism and mass movements.

In retirement Hoffer continued his robust life of the mind, thinking and writing alone, in an apartment near San Francisco’s waterfront, until his death at 80 years old.

Make sure whatever it is you do for a living, you are truly living.

-Cara

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At ABC Carpet and Home

Last Saturday I went to ABC Carpet and Home on Broadway to watch the Pangea Day films. I think it is crazy in such a huge city we did not have a large public event like in Cairo, Kigali, London, Los Angeles, Mumbai, and Rio de Janeiro, but was appreciative that ABC Carpet and Home hosted it, as they got nothing from it really. It may have been to their detriment, as people would come towards the showroom we were in and some left thinking they were interrupting something. Well maybe the people watching the film never came there before and now love it!!! Who knows? One thing they did gain was a fan, so if anyone from ABC Carpet and Home is reading this, thank you! Oh yeah, and we also ate in their restaurant, Pipa [nice place], so they did get some monetary value out of it!

For those that don’t know what Pangea Day is here is a link to an entry I did on it called, “What is Pangea Day?“. There were amazing films. It was a really great line-up. The only negative I will say was the three of the four hosts of Pangea Day were a bit annoying. I only really thought June Arunga cared about the event, the two men Max Lugavere and Jason Silva seemed very insecure and fake, so that kept distracting me and Lisa Ling was just on script. I could have also lived without all the actors reading their teleprompter, but I must admit when I told my mom Meg Ryan, Goldie Hawn and Cameron Diaz were a part of it, she got interested. Until then she was like, that sounds interesting dear…you know in THAT way…but later that same day she did email me and said she watched a whole hour. I guess it was a good idea to use popular Hollywood actors to pull in people like my mom, who are a little skeptical of us crazy do gooders, but trust that if Hollywood actors can support Pangea Day, it must not be too radical.

If you want to see some of these films go here. There was four hours of films [some ads, and songs, and such in between], I arrived about 45 minutes late, so only saw 3 hours and 15 minutes, but still they were so good time flew by. I think this was a great event, and in the words of the creator of Pangea Day, filmmaker Jehane Noujaim, “Movies can’t change the world. But the people who watch them can.”, so please take some time to watch these films and see where they take you.

One last thing, I just want to say I think Jehane Noujaim is an amazing woman and a beautiful soul and am thankful she exists in this world.

-Cara


Reason 90 from, 101 Reasons Why I Am Vegetarian:

Even if meat eaters are spared the big killers that their lifestyle is associated with (heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and cancer), their diet may still be robbing them of everyday good health. A meat diet is sure to lead to nagging conditions and ailments. A whole-foods, high-fiber vegan diet, full of grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes, is just the ticket to reduce arthritis pain, ease irritable-bowel disorders, mitigate common back pain, relieve cold and allergy symptoms, and lower risk for gallstones, kidney stones, and heartburn. But perhaps best of all, the vegan life is one free of constipation!

Scotch B

Summer is coming up, which means for me, it is time to make my Jamaican jerk sauce. Unlike most commercial jerk sauces, this one is not over sweetened and under spicy. This is the real deal. I have yet to make an entirely organic recipe as I have not found organic scotch bonnet peppers anywhere. I e-mailed a few companies today asking if they sold any organic scotch bonnet peppers or seeds. I will let you know what I find out. If you do find the organic peppers you can have an organic version of this Jamaican jerk sauce, which is how I will write it…I am just warning you if I can’t find organic scotch bonnet peppers anywhere in New York City, it might be hard for you as well. :)

Jamaican Jerk Sauce Recipe

Ingredients

  1. 1/2 cup organic ground allspice berries [you can use organic allspice berries, if available, but use enough to give the equivalent of 1/2 cup ground.]
  2. 1/2 cup packed organic brown sugar
  3. 6-8 organic garlic cloves
  4. 4-6 organic scotch bonnet peppers [to control the temperature you can take out some of the seeds for less heat]
  5. 1 tablespoon organic ground thyme or 2 tablespoons of thyme leaves
  6. 2 bunches organic green onions [also known as scallions or spring onions]
  7. 1 teaspoon organic cinnamon
  8. 1/2 teaspoon organic nutmeg
  9. Organic salt and pepper to taste
  10. 2 tablespoon organic tamari [or Bragg Liquid Aminos if you’d like] to moisten

Tools

Food Processor

What to do!

Place the allspice, brown sugar, garlic, scotch bonnet peppers, thyme, scallions, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, pepper, and tamari in a food processor and blend until smooth!

Once you are done put it in the refrigerator to chill. This sauce, if kept in the refrigerator, never goes bad. I usually rub it on my homemade organic seitan and leave it for a few hours to soak in, then cook it in a pan with a bit of oil for a few minutes on both sides till it’s warm enough. Then throw it on a roll will lettuce, mung bean sprouts, raisins [mine soon to be made in solar powered food dehydrator], and carrot shavings. It is the best, filling, and puts some pep in your step!

Scotch Bonnet Peppers are very tasty and one of the hottest peppers [a heat rating between 150,000–325,000 Scoville Units], some say it is the hottest, others say the habañero [a heat rating between 200,000-300,000 Scoville units] is. I say as far as heat I can tell no difference between the two, but I think scotch bonnet peppers are the best.

While doing my research on scotch bonnets I discovered this guy Neil who runs www.thehippyseedcompany.com. He created a YouTube channel dedicated solely to testing the effects of consuming a variety of hot peppers. In his own words, “Hey, ill test all my varieties, put the vids here, People can see my review buy the seeds if want and mabee get a laugh if its a Hot variety..”

His test rules are as follows,
1. Eat a whole chili
2. Chew a minimum of ten seconds
3. Swallow it (if can)
4. Wait sixty seconds
5. Note results

Sounds simple enough, but watching him go through it all is an experience in itself. If anyone has seen a friend in a bet eating a hot pepper or the millions of other YouTube videos where British guys are crying in pain as they eat their peppers, they are in for a surprise with these videos. This guy, he is serious…see for yourself below where he eats a whole scotch bonnet pepper and discusses in real time the effects it is having on him. Sometimes I really like the World Wide Web and what it brings to the table.

There are health benefits to eating scotch bonnet peppers as well. The active ingredient in scotch bonnet peppers [and all chili peppers] is Capsaicin. It has been said to be a miracle drug. I take it to increase my circulation, especially in the winter, in capsule form.

Here are some other ways chili peppers are healing according to SixWise.com,

1. Fight Cancer

A study published in Cancer Research found that capsaicin caused cancer cells to commit suicide. The substance caused almost 80 percent of prostate cancer cells to die in mice, and prostate tumors treated with capsaicin were about one-fifth the size of those in untreated mice.

“Capsaicin inhibits the growth of human prostate cancer cells in petri dishes and mice,” says lead researcher Dr. H. Phillip Koeffler, director of hematology and oncology at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and a professor of medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Further, researchers say capsaicin pills may one day be used to prevent the return of prostate cancer.

2. Provide Pain Relief

A topical form of capsaicin is a recognized treatment for osteoarthritis pain, and may also help alleviate pain from diabetic neuropathy.

Capsaicin is also known to inhibit Substance P, a neuropeptide that is the key transmitter of pain to the brain. Substance P can cause swelling of nerve fibers, which may result in headaches and sinus symptoms. Studies have found that capsaicin both relieves and prevents cluster headaches, migraine headaches and sinus headaches.

3. Prevent Sinusitis and Relieve Congestion

Capsaicin has potent antibacterial properties that fight and prevent chronic sinus infections, or sinusitis. Because it is so hot, it also helps to stimulate secretions that help clear mucus from your nose, thereby relieving nasal congestion. This phytochemical may also help relieve sinus-related allergy symptoms.

4. Fight Inflammation

Capsaicin is a potent anti-inflammatory agent. It works by inhibiting Substance P, which is associated with inflammatory processes. Capsaicin is being looked at as a potential treatment for arthritis, psoriasis and diabetic neuropathy.

5. Soothe Intestinal Diseases

A Duke University study found that capsaicin may lead to a cure for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The substance can also help to kill bacteria such as H. pylori, which can help prevent stomach ulcers.

6. Burn Fat and Lose Weight

Capsaicin is a thermogenic agent, which means it increases metabolic activity. This, in turn, helps to burn calories and fat. Many popular “fat-burning” supplements on the market contain capsaicin, as the substance may significantly increase metabolic activity for over 20 minutes after it’s eaten.

7. Protect Your Heart

Capsaicin may help to protect the heart by reducing cholesterol, triglycerides and platelet aggregation. It may also help the body dissolve fibrin, which is necessary for blood clots to form. Further, cultures around the world that use hot peppers liberally in their meals have significantly lower rates of heart attack and stroke than cultures that do not.

Eat well.

-Cara

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Fish make vibratory sounds with various “calls” that researchers have identified as communicating alarm and aggravation. They possess fully formed nervous systems as well as complex social behaviors. They are also capable of learning complicated tasks. British researchers discovered in 2003 that fish have the cerebral mechanisms to feel pain. As one animal activist once put it, “Fish are not merely vegetables that can swim.”

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