Sunday, April 26, 2009

Who Thinks Up This Amazing Stuff:?

Read the paragraphs below FIRST before you watch the video
There is an awesome dance, called the Thousand-Hand Guan Yin, which is making the rounds across the net. Considering the tight coordination required, their accomplishment is nothing short of amazing, even if they were not all deaf. Yes, you read correctly. All 21 of the dancers are complete deaf-mutes. Relying only on signals from trainers at the four corners of the stage, these extraordinary dancers deliver a visual spectacle that is at once intricate and stirring.
Its first major international debut was in Athens at the closing ceremonies for the 2004 Paralympics. But it had long been in the repertoire of the Chinese Disabled People's Performing Art Troupe and had traveled to more than 40 countries.
Its lead dancer is 29 year old Tai Lihua, who has a BA from the Hubei Fine Arts Institute. The video was recorded in Beijing during the Spring Festival this year.
If your Internet connection is very slow, start the download and come back later after the download is complete - it's an extraordinary piece of live art that shouldn't be missed . . . .

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Here is a podcast

About the genesis of the Canalscape project in the Phoenix area. As Dr. Nan Ellin points out, we have more canals than Amsterdam and Venice and they are the reason we can be here. So why not make something of it?

Related website:



Join a Farmer, a Chef and a Naturopath as they explore how consciously grown and prepared food can keep you healthy.





Monday, May 4th | 5pm – 6:30pm
at the Farm at South Mountain | SW corner of Southern & 32nd St.
in Maya's Farm shed at the west end of property
$45 | To register, call Maya at 480-236-7097.

Payment is required to reserve your spot.


Farmer Maya

           from Maya's Farm talks about cultivating the soil and the soul.
Chef Ana

           from Sapna Cafe prepares a global feast for the attendees.
Naturopath Dr. Kim

           from the Farm at South Mountain explores the healing nutrition
           behind the flavors.


"Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food." - Hippocrates

Friday, April 3, 2009

The Most Dangerous Word in the American Vocabulary

According to Webster’s there are 31 definitions for the word FAIR. The majority of them are adjectives. We need only take a look at the first five definitions to see what kind of problems arise when people start throwing this word around—and lately they have been doing exactly that, more and more often, I would submit, than usual:

1. free from bias, dishonesty, or injustice: a fair decision; a fair judge.
2. legitimately sought, pursued, done, given, etc.; proper under the rules: a
fair fight.
3. moderately large; ample: a fair income.
4. neither excellent nor poor; moderately or tolerably good: fair health.
5. marked by favoring conditions; likely; promising: in a fair way to succeed.

As one who conducts upwards of 6 or 8 restraining orders per week and hears untold numbers of petitioners coming to seek such orders tell their stories, I have been struck by the number of times that people raise the defense of “it isn’t fair.” My response is always the same-what has fair got to do with it?

As you can see from the first definition above we are expecting that there is some ethereal quality to the concept that something is free from bias, dishonesty or injustice. The symbol for this is the blindfold on the eyes of justice as she balances the scales. But what does it really mean to be free of bias, dishonesty or injustice when those terms are situationally defined and very, very personal. What may be fair for me may be completely discriminatory to someone else. And as I often explain to the restraining order litigants, you each have your own truth-just as two people can come away from witnessing a car accident with two completely different versions of what happened, truth (or in this case lack of dishonesty) is also relative because we all process relationships and events through our own experiences, environments, perspectives, unavoidable biases and preconceived expectations. That is truly the way it is.

This differs in concept from definition number 2 for in that instance fair is determined by a set of rules. This, I think, is what we mean when we seek fairness from a neutral decision-maker; that if the rules are followed we can at least be assured of a fair fight. What makes it fair is the application of the same set of rules to all in that situation. Most people however, don’t make that distinction. They seem to think they are imbued with some overarching right to fairness.

Applying the fairness standard under definition number one, where there are not rules as under number two, we end up with a result that is reflected in definition number four-neither excellent nor poor. Do you suppose the Founders of the Unites States understood that? I just searched the United States Constitution and the word fair is conspicuously absent.

So, why is this dangerous? Because “fairness” as defined in number one seems to be the new standard by which all things in this country are judged and if our government determines that a particular industry or a particular sector is not inherently fair, well then they are going to do something about it. Fairness is President Obama’s mantra and a very effective one at that. Go back and search his speeches for the words fair and fairness and unlike the Constitution, I bet you will find dozens of hits.

It isn’t fair that the money folks were greedy so we are going to fix it. It isn’t fair that businesses have cycles that affect the people who are caught in the shifting sands of the economy, so we are going to take charge. It isn’t fair that everyone does not have perfect health care, so let the government right that wrong. Who can disagree with that?

As with every sweeping generalization the devil is in the details. Just like the embattled neighbor seeking to be free of the unfair intrusion into his voice mail but finding it unfair that it should be his responsibility to change his phone number, fairness has many facets.

Let’s use Bernie Madoff as an example. His treatment of his investors cannot be termed fair by any stretch of the imagination. He finally got caught and lots of people lost lots of money. Bernie’s bad. But is it fair for Bernie to take the whole rap? Is if fair to assume that people with lots of money who simply hand it over to some guy who is obviously promising a full moon on a starless night should not bear the responsibility for being so na├»ve? So then, is it fair that as a taxpayer I now have to house the aging Bernie and pay for his health care for the rest of his life because of what he did to a bunch of careless rich people? (At least he saved us the expense of a costly trial-maybe he has some morals after all.)

And how about the so-called “fairness doctrine” that says everyone should get equal time on the radio. Don’t get my wrong, I am no fan of Rush Limbaugh, but is it fair to take away his livelihood because people who disagree with him can’t figure out how to keep their own radio stations on the air? And to do that under the guise of something named for fairness?

The ultimate difficulty with applying the fairness standard is that the end result will invariably be what is represented by definition number 4. You cannot be fair to all people at once no matter how hard you try because the very definition of fairness is amorphous. To get even close you have to be so middle-of-the-road that you certainly have to flatten out everything to a pasty beige.

I don’t know about you but I don’t want to live in a tolerably good world (see definition number four); I want to live in an abundantly wonderful world. To have to settle for anything less just would not be fair.