Duck! and Gather

Archive for August 2006

On one of my blog postings from May, AndI recommended that we “[c]onsider Colloidal Silver to protect yourself from H5N1.” Given that the commenters on my site seem to be intelligent and insightful types, I figured this was a worthy topic to investigate. I finally got the time to do so last week.

Short of is that I agree with AndI. Colloidal silver seems like a very promising therapy for handling viral and/or bacterial infection. Actually, this topic especially interests me because this therapy is consistent with my three-part model for discovering truth. Quickly, here are some of the factors that tickled my “truth spider sense”:

  • Ancient value — Gold, silver, and copper have been valuable elements going back into antiquity and beyond. Perhaps the origin of that value in pre-historical cultures concerned the medicinal properties of these elements, and from those beginnings, abstracted value accrued in the form of jewelry and coinage. This would be akin to religious dietary restrictions (e.g. pork abstention, fasting, etc.) which are presented as normative strictures, but which probably orginated from health concerns.
  • Periodic Table — Gold, silver, and copper are in the same column of the periodic table. Each has only one electron in its outer shell. This makes these elements excellent conductors, but, at least for gold and silver, reluctant oxidizers. Perhaps the health mechanism of these elements involves the facilitation of electcron flow within our bodies (see, e.g., Becker’s The Body Electric).
  • Skeptics and the FDA Scorn Colloidal Silver — When the moneyed interests in medicine go on the attack about a natural remedy, that suggests to me that the remedy probably works and works well, thereby threatening the hegemoney of the moneyed interests, thus prompting their attack.
  • My sister corroborated the usefulness of colloidal silver — My sister is a naturopath with decades of clinical experience — here’s her website. She confirmed to me that her experience reveals colloidal silver to be an effective remedy for viral/bacterial infections.

These factors have me planning on building my own colloidal silver generator and trying it out. That will provide me with four different natural approaches to combating viral/bacterial infections:

  1. Mega-dose Vitamin C (here’s a podcast from 2005)
  2. Rectal insufflation of ozone (see the above podcast)
  3. Urine therapy (here’s a recent podcast on this)
  4. Colloidal silver

Now, all I need to do is to get sick four times, try out the various remedies, and record their respective effectiveness. Problem is that I just don’t get sick anymore.

Curses! Just when I’ve become interested in health approaches, I can’t use myself as a lab rat. Well, maybe as my daughter ages, she will be bringing home viral/bacterial infections acquired from other kids at school, and I’ll contract these diseases. One can only hope.

Here’s the podcast on this: (89) Colloidal Silver

A couple of weeks back, the New York Times magazine ran a story called “The Brand Underground.” To me, this article is the follow-on to the magazine’s article back in 2004 on the word-of-mouth marketing phenomenon. Reading this current article, I experienced the same feeling of horror and revulsion that I experienced reading the earlier piece. For me, the basic theme of each piece is: The money has gone too far (podcast from 2005).

Here’s my current podcast on this phenomenon: (86) The Branding Underground

I just posted a podcast about “colloidal silver”. I found it to be a fascinating topic. Commenter AndI turned me on to it.

So I figured I’d go check out the blog of another regular commenter on this site — Sean LeBlanc. Sean’s blog is A Study in Sparseness.

Today, Sean posted a comment on a BBC documentary series called “The Power of Nightmares.” About the video, Sean said: “kudos, and I cannot recommend enough”. I concur.

In fact, it’s presently 11:45 p.m. over here — almost three hours past my normal bedtime. I’ve just sat and watched all three hours of the documentary. I found it fascinating and entirely thought-provoking. Tomorrow, I think I’ll do a podcast on it.

But for now, I’ll just say the following: The film presents what I believe to be a narrow but more or less correct vector of truth. Moreover, it is a vector that would seem quite useful to this more or less infantile nation of ours.

However, the film also struck me as a bit “false” in the way that stories lawyers spin in court are false. It’s often not so much what the lawyers said that is false. Instead, it’s in all the things they didn’t say, or otherwise de-emphasized.

Another way to say it is that the documentary throws more than a few babies out with all the bathwater.

That may be a bit obtuse. So I’ll go into what I mean in the podcast tomorrow. But for now, let me say: Thanks Sean! That was a great tip.

… Here are the podcasts:

(90) The Power of Nightmares, Part I: Praise and Criticism (wonderful documentary, but quite slanted toward the worldview of the Five, thus weakening it)
(91) The Power of Nightmares, Part II: My Take on 9/11 (perhaps I of all people shouldn’t have been surprised to learn that this take of mine — coming from the Far Left — is more or less in the ballpark of that of paleocon Patrick Buchanan — coming from the Far Right)

(I tried to post this as a comment on AndI’s site — but I couldn’t do so without joining MySpace.)

AndI has a really interesting take on this British “terror” bust of yesterday. He presents a well-reasoned argument that this whole episode is fake, and was staged by reactionaries trying to frighten us about “Islamofascism”.

I’d say that that is certainly possible. That is, the only thing we know about this event is what the media has told us, and the only thing they know is what the authorities have told them. And we can reason, as AndI does, that the authorities have a clear vested interest in stories like these being spun by the media. So with that degree of interest, combined with the facile nature of spinning false stories, I can see why AndI came to the conclusions that he did. Who knows? He may be right.

But what if AndI is not right? What if there really were some dozens of home-grown British jihadists who were planning to use common-looking liquids and MP3 players to blow up a bunch of trans-Atlantic flights? What then?

That, I believe, is where the really interesting dynamics come in. Just like cancer, those dynamics would have us ask: What is cancer? Where did it come from? Why did we get it? How should we have dealt with it when the first symptoms appeared? How should we deal with it now?

In the domain of health, these are fascinating questions one set of answers for which illuminate the wide chasm separating the Corporate interests of conventional medicine, from the humanistic interests of natural health.

In the domain of geo-politics, “Islamofascism”, and “world terrorism”, these are fascinating questions one set of answers for which illuminate the wide chasm separating the Corporate interests of what Republican President Eisenhower called the “military industrial complex”, from the humanistic interests of peace.

In the early 1990s, I moaned that history had passed me by — that we were living in a profoundly boring age. Fast forward to these early days of the third millenium. Now how do I feel? I feel these current days — and the questions they force upon us — are the most interesting days in recorded human history. I’m grateful to be alive, vital, and in my forties during these most interesting of days.

Due to all the spam comments I’m getting, I’ve set my WordPress options to hold in the moderation queue any comment that contains so much as one link. That sucks because the folks who tend to comment on this blog — Sean LeBlanc, And I, and Tom Brown, to name a few — tend to have interesting blogs of their own that they enter as links to their comments. I’d urge you to check those blogs out.

The problem is that spammers who are trying to send you to Viagra or porn or Phentermine or other such sites also often include only one link in their comment. I haven’t found an elegant feature in WordPress that allows me to distinguish useful comments from spam. And I don’t want to make commenters register.

So, for now, the best I can do is to put all comments in a moderation queue, and approve the useful ones as they come through. That happened this morning when Sean posted an interesting comment on “Finding the Joy in Operations”. So there will be a delay between the time you issue a comment, and when it appears on the site — the delay determined by how far away I am from my Mac. Sorry.

p.s. There’s an obvious but interesting “fighting terrorism” analogy here — but hey, I’ve said enough on this score for one morning.

I figured I’d join the other gazillion bloggers and give my two cents about the British arrests yesterday in that spectacular “terrorist” plot involving incendiary liquids. I thought some discussion here might be interesting because this event may well prove to serve as a political crossroads in the U.S., Britain, and the world generally. My two cents on this event is the same as that for this whole “war on terror” going back to 9/11.

Taking the reactionaries at their word — ie. that a notion like “Islamofascism” is coherent — what is Islamofascism? Well, some of these folks liken Islamofascism to cancer.

I think this is an apt analogy. Think of the billions of cells in our bodies as the billions of people on Earth. Then think of our various organs as the various countries on Earth. For example, maybe the U.S. is the heart, Russia the spine, Mozambique the spleen, and so on.

Now amidst this neatly organized system of civilized cells, there are some cancerous cells. Those cells are nasty because they don’t obey normal rules of civility. Instead they grow, replicate, and kill peaceful “civilian” cells indiscriminately.

Even if the cancer starts in one particular organ (e.g. testes), that doesn’t mean that whole organ is bad. It just means that that organ has some “rogue” cells (see, e.g., Pakistan helped break this British terror case).

Moreover, even if the cancer started in one particular organ (e.g. breast), left to its own nefarious devices, the cancer could metastasize and spread to other organs throughout the body (see, e.g., Keystone Cop “terrorists” pop up in friendly Canada of all places).

I think this is an apt analogy because these “Islamofascist terrorists” don’t run any countries (not even Iran or Syria). Instead, they simply comprise some small number of people spread around the countries of the world. Such “cancerous” people seem to pop up like mushrooms in most any country we look. This week it’s Britain. Back in June, it was Canada. Earlier it was Spain. And so on.

Like the analogy so far? Seems apt to me. So let’s proceed.

What is the standard treatment for fighting cancer? It’s chemotherapy. Chemotherapy is about going into the organs of the sick body, guns a blazin’, and blasting out those good for nuthin’ cancerous cells. Kind of like an Arnold movie.

Here’s the problem: more or less, chemotherapy doesn’t work.

(Hence my tidy little investment in gold.)

Here’s the related podcast: (88) Cancer and Islamofascist Terrorism

I ended the last blog entry by posing a challenge to myself: “I need to find the joy in operations”. Well, you know me. I’m always up for a challenge. 🙂 Count me in.

Here’s what I think is going on: As I have podcasted, I believe I am of the Eight type according to the Enneagram model of human personality. According to my unfinished book, Personality and the Brain, this may mean that my brain is left PFC dominant, and right amygdala dominant. This right amygdala dominance serves to jolt me “awake” when faced with a challenge that I have accepted. It’s sort of a general “start the engines” kind of switch.

My left PFC dominance tends to make me look out at the world and see only abstractions. I’ve previously blogged about the strangeness of Livin’ in Abstractions. One effect of living this way is that the infinte richness of reality is reduced to a small set of workable “handles and nobs”.

Seeing reality this way leads me to dividing the world of work into “projects” versus “operations”. To my limited brain, operations consist of the “same old, been there, done that” sort of stuff. My right amygdala doesn’t fire for that sort of work, and I remain sleepy.

But if I was a whole brain person, rather than a half-brained jackass, I’d realize that the only constant in life is continous change. That is, life is a flowing river. And dipping one’s hat into it one moment is always different from doing so the next. A whole brained person might notice the differences. These differences lie in the details which serve as the babies that are thrown away in the abstract wash.

So for me, the challenge of finding the joy in operations is the challenge of waking up my sleeping right PFC. How to do that? I don’t know but I do suspect that the answer will be found in practices like meditation, yoga, social interaction, and creative expression (e.g. creative writing, art, music, dance, etc.), to name a few.

I realize this discussion may seem obtuse to you. Maybe I’ll try to flesh it out in podcast when I have the chance.

Here’s the related podcast: (87) Finding the Joy in Operations

Podcast #85 goes into what I did over the past three months while I was, coventionally speaking, unemployed. Now it’s time to look into what I learned during this period. In short, what I learned — or, at least, what was really stamped home to me — is that I am relatively accomplished at projects, but unambiguously lame at operations. It further became clear to me that, after 43 years on this planet, it’s time I started improving on the latter, else spend the rest of my days as a half-man.

What I mean by “projects” and “operations” concerns the nature of work. Any type of work or activity that we engage in has two elements: (1) challenge or risk; and (2) application of existing skills. What I am referring to as “projects” concerns work in which the challenge or risk element is dominant or at least significant. In “operations”, that same element is relatively low or negligible.

A corollary to this definition is that projects have a definite beginning and a certain ending. They begin when the challenge or risk is accepted, and they end when the challenge has been overcome and the risk more or less resolved. In contrast, operations can continue pretty much indefinitely.

For example, the act of driving a car for a 16-year-old with her beginner’s license is usually a project. But for us who have been driving for years, and who employ safe “defensive driving” techniques, driving is pretty much all operations.

This example shows that all of life is full of both kinds of work — projects and operations. But, of course, in all of life, there is much choice for each of us in the kind of work we accept, day to day, and moment to moment. What became crystal clear to me during the quiet of my summer unemployment is that whenever, during the course of my life, the choice has been open to me, I have chosen projects over operations.

This persistent pattern of choice has served me more or less well over the course of my life. That is, until now. Now I have an infant daughter, and given that she is of splendid health and vitality, pretty much all of the “work” concerning her is operations. I suspect that even when she grows into a young kid, most of parenting will comprise operations. Loving, consistent, joyful operations.

So the challenge facing me in 2006 is clear: I need to find the joy in operations, else be a lousy dad.

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I’ve finally gotten around to cleaning out my backlog of podcasts. As podcast #85 explains, since my Summer of unemployment began on May 6, I’ve been doing heavy manual labor pretty much all day every day. But now that this period has come to an end, it’s time to get back to this blog, among other things. Here are the Duck! and Gather podcasts from the last couple of months:

(78) Life in America vs. Rest of the World: PhD vs. Bachelors
(79) Weeping, Pooing, and Creative Writing: Expiators
(80) Endings, Quiet, and Pain: Teachers
(81) I’m a Health Weirdo: Part I
(82) I’m a Health Weirdo: Part II
(83) I’m a Health Weirdo: Part III
(84) Canadian Keystone Cop Terrorists
(85) What I Did During my Summer of Unemployment


for the money has gone too far

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August 2006