Some thoughts on diets


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Mark Twain hit the basic problem with diets perfectly with,

“The only way to keep your health is to eat what you don’t want, drink what you don’t like, and do what you’d rather not.”

Wikipedia has a List of 100 Diets which will be the basic source for this post. We humans have the natural ability to eat and digest almost anything that other primates can eat. Gorillas eat lots of greens and little of anything else. I haven’t heard of anyone who eats a wild gorilla’s diet but the link above has gorillas in zoos eating supposedly healthy American diets and getting obese, diabetic and suffering from heart disease. Probably humans could eat gorillas’ diet but they probably don’t or the gorillas would have been driven to extinction by human encroachment on their living areas. Probably the same can be said for chimpanzees, bonobos and other primates’ food staples and natural habitats. Humans don’t eat those animals’ food because it requires more effort to harvest and/or digest those foods than it is worth for us. With the exception of fish, it appears to be more efficient for humans to grow most of their food rather than to hunt or gather it from natural sources.

We have genetically engineered natural foods for thousands of years to be domesticated for farming and to satisfy our particular human digestive abilities, nutritional needs, and taste preferences. The proof that farming works to our benefit is that for tens of thousands of years our wild human population was less than seven million and now it is over seven billion. That is, the Earth is now sustaining a thousand times more human beings using our modern industrialized farming techniques than it did when we were using hunter-gatherer pre-industrialized-farming techniques.

Much of our modern food productivity is based on one-time-use fossil fuels made of stored sun energy so that our large population isn’t sustainable unless other ways of harvesting the sun’s energy are developed. We are quite resourceful as a species so those necessary new techniques will probably come into existence. The population theorist Thomas Malthus wrote back in the year 1800 that our human population had reached its absolute limit, and indeed it had with the farming technology available at that time. However, since his book on the theory of population was published, we have gone from less than a billion people to seven and a half billion.

With the current CRISPR technology, it is probable that we will modify the DNA of desert and tropical plants to produce food usable by humans. It may be possible to create new food types that can be grown in currently sterile areas. Our present population may not be sustainable with our current technology but it may double within a hundred years with what we will probably bring into existence.

As amazing as the last hundred years have been, the next hundred years will probably be even more astonishing.

The Tao Teh Ching – #36 – Revealed by Lao Tzu – Rendered by Charles Scamahorn



When you wish something to be shrunken,
It must first be seen as over-expanded.
When you wish something to be weakened,
It must first be seen as over-strong.
When you wish something to be lowered,
It must first be seen as over-exalted.
When you wish something to be taken away,
It must first be seen as possessed.

Here is a well-known secret:
“The soft and weak conquer the hard and strong.”

This is secret knowledge and it will always remain a deep mystery.
Even so, these methods should not be exposed, and
Others must never see them in action.


I’ve been distracted again.


My thoughts on a new diet strategy for humanity are coming along nicely, and the conversations with my friends about it have been very positive and supportive. So, what’s my problem? I was distracted by an observation that the ancient Zeugma mosaic, the Playboy girl of the year 1972, the famous National Geographic refugee girl, and the Mona Lisa all have something ineffable in common. I would post them now, but the only one I have worked up to my satisfaction is the Mona Lisa. That little job took me a month of ten-hour days or more to clean up. I probably have the best Mona Lisa in existence in my living room and I look at her for a few minutes every day. I have inner conversations with her about what I should be doing with my time. These talks are rather similar to my questioning of the garden gnome Samupmsycle. They both have very strange looks when I ask them questions.

I realize this is totally my projected inner thoughts, and their responses are really coming from my mind seeing things that are not in those artworks but in me. All the same, these brief conversations are helpful. It is probably similar to people for thousands of years having conversations with religious icons of various sorts. We are really finding answers from our fog-shrouded inner beings.

For others to have any hope to experience what I am seeing will require many hours of work on each of these images. Just showing them in their current conditions, with their existing imperfections, wouldn’t do them justice. They need to be very clean to see their inner light. It is absurd for me to make the comparison, but I feel it is like Michelangelo seeing the Pieta within a stone and then washing away the obscuring material. The enormous difference is that I am beginning with another person’s conception of an image and then washing it a bit so that it is more clearly revealed.

The cleansing of preexisting ideas is all I do.

Clockwork Purple – Phenomenon of Man



Clockwork Purple writer’s group meeting at Aingeal Rose and Ahonu’s home

22 May 2017  11 AM – book chosen by J Michael

Our randomly chosen book – Phenomenon of Man – Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

340 pages unseen – Charles picks page 72, Linda picks line 12 – our prompt is

Looked at as a whole, this picture satisfies the requirements of reality” – 45 minutes, START writing

Teilhard stood there beside the dirt road near Piltdown, England (lat/lon 50.982, 0.051) holding a petrified jawbone his gardener had just dug up. He and a couple of archeologists had come down to this roadside ditch because several extremely unusual things had been dug up the month before. A strange long dinosaur bone that looked like an English cricket bat and a piece of ancient skull bone had been found last week, and absolutely astonishing to all of them was that the piece of skull fit the jawbone Teilhard now held in his hand.

This was the most fabulous find in the history of archeology! It was clearly the bones of a million-year-old human being. The teeth were almost human in appearance, but just enough different not to be a modern human. What was just a little peculiar was that the teeth had been ground away by ancient breakage and weathering so that it was impossible to know for sure it wasn’t modern. Also, quite unfortunately, the “articular condyle” of the jawbone had been broken and worn away just enough that even to the skilled eyes of the professional bone people they couldn’t be sure if it was from an orangutan or a human.

This jawbone was exactly right for what they were expecting to discover … almost. But somehow the strange inconsistencies seemed to be what would be expected of an obviously ancient bone that had been turned to stone. It takes a very long time, tens of thousands of years, for the bone fossilization to occur because the bone must be in just the right kind of local situation. It must be buried in a very watery place such as a functioning peat bog with just the right chemicals for fossilization to occur.

But in this moment of extreme excitement, all that didn’t matter. Here it was! That was undeniable, and it had been discovered by people of impeccable public reputation and it was perfect! All of the parts fit together perfectly! Looked at as a whole, this picture satisfied the requirements of reality, of scientific reality, of emotional reality. It fit exactly what the scientists had been looking for, and it had been discovered by several different scientists working together who were of the highest possible reputation.

The method of discovery was wonderful. It was an example of careful analysis and deduction that would please Sherlock Holmes’ fans. After all, no one just digs in a ditch and finds a trove of astonishing things. The discovery was made because that ditch was being used as a source of gravel for a local road covering. Some of the gravel being used was chips made while crafting stone tools. That was obvious only to the eye of trained scientists specializing in ancient stone tools. As it happened, not far from Piltdown was a man who was a searcher for old artifacts and who was known to take his constitutional walks on that particular road. He was the one who noticed the chips and asked around to find out where the gravel came from. After some diligent asking around he went to the Piltdown gravel pit. Even before anything other than the stone chips were discovered he contacted the archeological authorities in London thinking he had discovered an ancient stoneworker’s workshop.

Thus the professional archeologists began digging there in the roadside ditch near Piltdown. Soon they were calling the collection of bones the Piltdown Man. A young clergyman and author named Pierre Teilhard de Chardin began writing about the fantastic find and came into national prominence. Fortunately for Teilhard’s writing career, the most famous author of the time lived walking distance from the discovery site and befriended Teilhard. He was the creator of the most famous detective of all time, Sherlock Holmes. Arthur Conan Doyle was also interested in archeology, and even knew from former encounters some of the prominent people who came to dig. He even came by a few times himself to watch the digs while they were in progress

Conan Doyle looked at the whole picture as satisfying the requirements for a reality-based novel and he was writing one which was soon published as The Lost World. That novel was nearly a hundred years later made into an Academy Award-winning movie The Lost World.

Conan Doyle was making great stories that would make him famous for as long as there are humans who are capable of reading or watching movies or pursuing hoaxes.

Some post-writing spelling and grammar corrections were made and web links added.

Just do your chosen work really well.


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I’ve encountered the idea many times that the goal of workers doing extremely ordinary tasks like plowing fields, chopping wood, carrying water, or shoveling dirt is doing very high quality work. They concentrate on their work for many hours, perhaps years, of refining the thing they are attempting to do and when that is achieved to a level of perfection they choose to make a refinement to make their routine product even better. To make their completed works into quality products that clearly bear the unique distinction of details and overall pattern that is their ideal.

Scribes of every nation, language script and historical period have had their personalized highly developed style. The same can be said for artistic productions of every media. The trait for uniqueness seems to arise when the media the artists are working within is seemingly overladen with extreme repetition. Imagine the limitations placed on a violinist dragging a batch of strings over a few other strings and making fascinating music, and yet they bring it to an astonishing perfection.

It becomes a question in my mind whether we lifelong coffee-shop raconteurs have developed a sophistication of speech, of conversation, of intellectual subtleties comparable to the violinist or plowman who has put in similar hours of work? These days most of us don’t study rhetoric as a discipline. We do assert our thoughts and opinions and we do want the approval of our interlocutors, but generally we don’t seek their money or physical labor or vote.

Do people who put in, say, ten hours a day of television watching after three years of watching become expert watchers? That would be 365 days times 10 hours or 3,650 hours of watching per year, and after three years that would be 10,950 hours of watching. That is well over the supposed 10,000 hours that it takes for a person to become an expert at some task. Do we now have billions of expert TV watchers? And, after thirty years of watching, is ten times the expert level achieved, so that those people possess a godlike ability to comprehend TV?

If humanity’s time spent watching TV was shifted over into some kind of mutually productive activity, what would happen? What if it was only you that devoted that amount of time and effort to produce and publish to the world your unique personal pursuit? What would happen?

What would happen if just you chose to do your personal work really well?

Clockwork Purple – “In fact, when I told him of my fears, he burst out laughing.”


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From the book “Human by Day, Zeta by Night”, by Judy Carroll Pg. 101, Line 12

Prompt for 45 minutes of writing – “In fact, when I told him of my fears, he burst out laughing.”

Finally, after a long life of wondering, questioning, testing, complaining and a hundred other quibbling things we humans are plagued with, there He was, standing before me. He had gotten up from his throne to welcome me and was extending his hand in expectation that I would grip it like any well-bred Western man greets another.

“My God!” I gasped in my inmost thoughts, “Is this the fellow everyone has been so freaked out about for thousands of years?” He appears to me to be the most friendly and accepting person I’ve ever met. I told him of my concerns with Heaven sounding boring and eternal Hell being an unfair treatment for a moment’s indiscretion, or perhaps a lifelong belief that three was not one, or vice versa, that one was not three, would send one to eternal Hell. There seemed to be an ever-growing multitude of such double-binds that the various true believers were quibbling over. In fact, when I told him of my fears, he burst out laughing.

“That’s a bunch of nonsense! You got it right. That Jesus fellow was on the right track with his, ‘Do unto others as they should do unto you,’ but the various scribes and translators just couldn’t get with the should and converted that single word should to would and thus destroyed Jesus’s message. Treating others as you would have them treat you locks you into the level of development that you are already in. Whereas, the word should in Jesus’s version of the Golden Rule offers you a way to elevate your habits to a higher level of development. Don’t you think that’s obvious.”

Yes, I got that and was recommending it in modern English words that got to the core of the should idea. As I saw it, ‘One should treat others better than one treats oneself.’ That enables a person to see and reach outside of their present state of being and what things they value and to help another person get to a better developmental place. The advantage to a person of helping another is that they can see another’s needs more objectively and clearly than they could see themselves and by helping that other person they created the habits for helping themselves to a better place.

“You got it. What intrigued me is why even when Jesus stated it so clearly that the people responsible for spreading that simple message garbled it. Actually, by looking into the authorities motivations it was obvious that the purveyors of the message could make more money and gain more power by spreading the simple idea of treating others as you would wish to be treated. It gave the masters more power by locking the average person into their preexisting social caste, and it gave the masters more power and money because the common people thought they needed a conduit to the higher wisdom that they thought they already understood; so the people gave away more power and more money to their authorities. Of course, those who did understand the message of how to improve themselves soon did so but there was no power or money for them to spread the message. So, the money grubbers got all the money, and control, too. Sorry about that. Do you have any idea on how to cope with that problem?”

Of course, I wondered, what I should do now?

In fact, when I told him of my fears, he burst out laughing.

The snowbirds are returning.


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One thing about living in a retirement/resort town is that there is a flow of people with the weather. Back in a university town like Berkeley, the flow was with the academic schedule, and in Lake Tahoe where I spent the second week of September twenty-seven times the flow was driven by people leaving their summer vacation homes and returning to work.

Bend is in a temperate zone but the winters can get down to zero degrees Fahrenheit and the snow can get to be a problem. This last winter was a relatively harsh one with the snow piling up and making even the plowed streets slightly difficult. The snow plows can get down to the pavement but when there is a lot of snow, as there was this winter, the piled berms of snow creep in and the street parking gets squeezed into the normal driving lanes. I did buy a Subaru 4-wheel drive two years ago to cope with the winter snow and it did make a difference on several occasions. All the same, this difficult winter wasn’t much of a problem. That is, until the unusual wind storm, which all the old-timers said was the worst they had seen, blew five big trees down within striking distance of my house. Only one hit us, and the damage was minimal considering a ponderosa was lying on our roof. But, the damage was in the twenty thousand range and the insurance didn’t cover all the repairs. But that was just numbers.

For me the disaster was unexpected. I didn’t like even very friendly, helpful people traipsing around and in my house for the last six weeks. I think that has more or less ended, and yet everything is still in chaos. Furniture was moved repeatedly inside, and outside it seems every square foot of everything has had some sort of knocked about change, which even after the cleanups is still a mess. After big equipment had driven around in your yard for a while, the ground is a far deeper mess than just raking up will correct. Of course, we could just have some gardeners come in and make everything beautiful again, but that would cost money, probably lots of money, and we would have people running around all over our place again.

The snowbirds didn’t experience any of this, having fled to Florida, Southern California, Arizona, Mexico and extended tours of Europe. It was reported by one of my pals that Barcelona is a much better place to live than Venice. A couple of my friends have had too much weather and are moving to San Louis Obispo, California.

Basically, things are returning to great here in Bend, but I need a few days of calm.

My Wednesday’s writing group’s prompt was – Dancer


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1:15 PM, 10-minute writing prompt – Dancer

Bali Ram just gave us an introduction to his introduction to dancing.

From his infancy in Kathmandu, Nepal, he was interested in rhythm, and through seemingly magical circumstances he ended up in a dancing school in Manhattan, New York. There he endured endless hours of training in Indian-style dancing, and because he was such a beautiful youth, and such a beautiful dancer, he was linked up with Miss India to go on a promotional tour. That turned out to be so popular that they toured together for several years around the United States and the rest of the world.

That was back in the 1960s, and it is now 2017 and Bali Ram and I are now 82-year-old kids living in Bend, Oregon. Both of us are remarkably youthful looking for our recently acquired geriatric status. He is three months older than I am so I must give him his due as my elder, and listen respectfully as he tells his magnificent stories. Occasionally, he lets me squeeze in a sentence, sometimes two, about the famous people I have met and the astonishing things I have done. But it always seems so pathetic compared to his stories

However, I am presently writing a book which will be a best seller. And I will be famous for saving billions of people’s lives. He can’t say that. At least not yet.

Bali Ram was with us as we wrote our short stories and he said he really liked this piece about us.

The chaos is finally easing up



The painter finished with our living room an hour ago and the ceiling looks just like it did a couple of months ago. Having a fully mature Ponderosa pine fall on one’s house is not a recommended event. Interesting at times, and if it happens to you, you will discover that your neighbors are okay people. Probably not the ones you would seek out at your coffee shop but basically okay for short conversations.

A totally unexpected thing happened. After I got back from my morning chat with my old cronies I asked the house painter if I could walk his dog. “Beauty,” a one-year-old sort of German shepherd mix, had been tied up all morning and seemed to be comfortable with that but all the same she would probably like a walk, so I volunteered. Debbie and I took our usual walk around the neighborhood with Beauty on a leash, as required by local law, and we all had a fantastically good time. We had such a good time that about two hours later I asked if we could take another walk. We were all a little calmer this time but we had even more fun.

I haven’t had a dog since Tiger died, essentially of old age, in 1984. I still feel an absolute loyalty to the memory of the best friend I ever had and probably will ever have. Other than Debbie of course, but there was something of a companionship that no human can ever provide that a dog can and often does.

Debbie and I walk over to the local dog park a couple of times per week and know quite a few people and dogs there. Often we play with them, but it is always with the owner’s permission, and thus even though I have a good time as do the dogs, there is always the owner overseeing the whole event and other dogs distracting the flow. Those problems didn’t exist today and the fun of being alone with a dog was like the fifteen years I spent with Tiger.

Perhaps it’s time to get … another dog.

What am I trying to do?


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The goal of the new book I’m working on is to publish some ideas for public consumption on how to live one’s life more abundantly. The first chapter is about diet. That may seem a strange way to begin a book about life, but without a proper diet leading to a healthy body, there isn’t much chance of having a healthy brain with a fully functioning mind capable of adapting ideally to its whole body’s environment.

It is estimated that a billion people are presently obese to the point it is interfering with their present health. There may also be an equivalent number of people who are underweight from an absolute lack of sufficient nutrients. Those are obviously very generalized numbers but they are indicative of a truly massive problem for humanity. The world food situation for humans at present is probably better than at any time in the hundred thousand years that modern humans have been living on Earth. The evidence for that assertion is the rapidly expanding world population, which could only occur if there was an abundance of food. Until there is some form of fertility control that is acceptable worldwide, nature will assert itself with occasional famines. What I hope to accomplish with the new diet strategy is fewer people becoming obese or emaciated.

Hopefully when people understand what they need to do to best overcome either obesity or emaciation with the resources available to them, they can at least nudge their behavior in the best direction. When the population being offered a solution to a problem is two billion, then even a tiny change in the behavior of a small percentage of them is impacting a vast number of people.

Clearly, the current diet industry that purportedly grosses a half a trillion dollars per year is failing their public because the percentage of obese people is growing rapidly. One of the strange misconceptions our current public has is the idea of beginning a diet on New Year’s Day. It is going against a billion years of evolution to begin a diet during the time of year when food is becoming most difficult to obtain.

There are other obviously wrong ideas we can easily change with correct information.