Monday, May 2, 2016

Books Read, April 2016

Last month was heavy on women storytellers and Thich Nhat Hanh.

  • Pax by Sara Pennypacker
  • The Woman Who Gave Birth to Rabbits: Stories by Emma Donoghue 
  • Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier

  • Calming the Fearful Mind: A Zen Response to Terrorism by Thich Nhat Hanh
  • Being Peace by Thich Nhat Hanh
  • Legends, Lies & Cherished Myths of American History by Richard Shenkman
  •  I, Spy: How to Be Your Own Private Investigator by Daniel Ribacoff

  • All-Star Superman by Grant Morrison, Frank Quitely, and Jamie Grant

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Thought of the Day, April 21, 2016: Advice on Living from the Living Dead

"If there's no great glorious end to all this, if nothing we do matters, then all that matters is what we do. Because that's all there is. What we do. Now. Today…. I want to help because I don't think people should suffer as they do. Because, if there's no bigger meaning, then the smallest act of kindness is the greatest thing in the world."
—Angel (David Boreanaz), from the episode 'Epiphany'

Nothing like my life philosophy succinctly summed up by a TV vampire with a soul!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Recipe Wednesday: Ful Medames

In the United States, legumes are often regulated to lunch or dinner while various cereals, breads, meats and eggs dominate the breakfast table. However, in other parts of the world they have staked their claim as early morning staples.

Consider, for example, the fava bean (no Hannibal Lecter jokes please). A part of the human diet since at least 6,000 BC, fava beans are commonly served throughout the Middle East at breakfast. They are especially popular in Egypt, where they are the stars of what is often called the Egyptian national dish: ful medames (“buried beans”).

Ful medames is also widely consumed in Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, Jordan, Israel, Sudan, Yemen, and Saudi Arabia. Like any dish eaten by so many people in so many places, there are countless variations on the basic recipe. Mine is pretty simple, and more or less representative of the average ful medames recipe you are likely to come across.

Ful Medames
(Serves 2-3)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 15-oz. can fava beans, rinsed
1 teaspoon cumin
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons tahini
Salt to taste

Preheat the oil in a medium size skillet on medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until soft. Toss in the garlic and stir for a couple of minutes.

Add the fava beans and cumin, stirring until everything is nicely mixed. Remove from heat.

Empty the contents of the skillet into a sturdy mixing bowl. Use a fork or potato masher to mash everything to together. Add the lemon juice, tahini and salt and stir well.

Ful medames is sometimes served with fresh tomato or eggs. I like to have it with a big dollop of hummus on top. It is pretty much always served with a flatbread such as pita. Hot, strong tea makes the perfect accompanying beverage.

If you’re feeling especially operatically-inclined while enjoying your ful medames, cue up Giuseppe Verdi’s classic “Aida,” which is set in Egypt and first premiered in Cairo in 1871. It remains one of the most performed operas in the world, just as ful medames is one of the most popular dishes in the Middle East.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Books Read, February and March 2016

I realize I forgot to post "Books Read" for February, so this is a double-whammy, extra large edition.

  • The Bards of Bone Plain by Patricia McKillip
  • Kissing the Witch: Old Tales in New Skins by Emma Donoghue
  • When Buddhists Attack: The Curious Relationship Between Zen and the Martial Arts by Jeffrey K. Mann
  • Hoodwinked: An Economic Hit Man Reveals Why the World Financial Markets Imploded--and What We Need to Do to Remake Them by John Perkins
  • Superpatriotism by Michael Parenti
  • Crime Signals: How to Spot a Criminal Before You Become a Victim by David Givens
  • Saga, Vol. 2 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples
  • Saga, Vol. 3 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples
  • Saga, Vol. 4 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples

  • The Promise by Robert Crais
  • Walking Dead by Greg Rucka (reread)
  • A Wild Swan and Other Tales by Michael Cunningham
  • Zanshin : Meditation and the Mind in Modern Martial Arts  by Vince Morris
  • You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) by Felicia Day
  • Slavery Inc: The Untold Story of International Sex Trafficking by Lydia Cacho
  • Saga, Vol. 1 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Thought of the Day, March 10, 2016: Glenn Morris on Gender and the Warrior Path

"Gender-based behavior is largely socialized behavior and has little to do with biological sex, but a lot to do with how we think those of our own gender should act. It is the first part of the social self learned, and at a time when our judgment is least critical, making such behavioral choices a stable part of your personality by as early as the third year. Gender identification is learned personality and part of the structure of the social self and ego. It's part of what gets killed on the warrior path."
—Dr. Glenn J. Morris, PhD., ScD., Kudan (9th dan) Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu, Rokudan (6th dan) Nihon Karate Jujutsu. Author of Path Notes of an American Ninja Masterone of my favorite books read in 2015.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Don't Be a Hero: The Risks of Employees Resisting Robberies

I won't bother recapping the story, as it's pretty short and you can quickly read it yourself. 

Not surprisingly, lots of people are all bent out of shape about this, rallying behind the fired veteran. I'm not usually one to play apologist for large corporations, but there are valid reasons employees are told not to resist robbery attempts.

* According to the Center for Problem-Oriented Policing, "When faced with an employee who chooses to actively resist and is in a face-to-face confrontation, robbers may resort to injuring the worker to avoid apprehension. Higher injury rates are consistently found to be correlated with measures employees take during the robbery."

* A 2006 study published in the American Journal of Public Health found that, "Resisting the perpetrator of the crime was consistently related to increased risk for injury for both employees and customers, and the risk was higher for robberies than for all violent crimes combined." The study also found that customers are especially at risk when an employee resists a robbery.

*A 2015 study published in the Journal of Occupational Environmental Medicine concluded, "Customers had higher injury risk when employees resisted the perpetrator, compared with robberies where employees did not resist. Employee resistance against a perpetrator during a robbery increased customer injury risk. Businesses can train employees to not resist during a robbery, providing benefits for both customers and the business itself."

I'll conclude with some wisdom from self-defense expert Marc 'Animal' MacYoung at No Nonsense Self-Defense... 
The—and we use this term loosely—good news is that robbers tend to be more 'job oriented.' They want what they want and and if they get it, then they are done. In many ways this makes them safer to deal with—if you cooperate. 
That is to say their motives are based on financial gain rather than  gaining the more subjective and fluid 'props'  common among the younger, less experienced and dysfunctional criminals. As far as robbers are concerned they are offering you a choice, cooperate and give them what they want or be hurt. If you cooperate there is no reason to hurt you. In fact, if the target is the business money you may be no more involved than being ordered to the floor while the cash is collected. 
This is why—unless you are ordered to a secondary location—it is advisable to cooperate with a mugger/robber who has gotten the drop on you. This gives your best chance of not being hurt.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Thought of the Day, February 29, 2016: Atticus Kodiak on Knives

"Knives suck, and fighting someone who has one sucks even worse, because there's no way to survive without getting cut, and I already had one to show for it. For some reason, people think of knives as somehow less dangerous, less lethal than firearms, and it's a bullshit and very dangerous assumption, because, like guns, knives are lethal weapons. Knife fights are something that happen between the Sharks and the Jets, that's it.... Everywhere else, it's not a fight, it's just someone trying to goddamn kill you."

Atticus Kodiak in Greg Rucka's novel Walking Dead