A Timely Read

Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides was one of the top reads in 2007, and winner of the Pulitzer Prize, and since I'm enjoying it right now, I'd like to recommend it to any who haven't read it yet.
In the novel, Middlesex refers to the boulevard on which the Stephanides family, 2nd generation Greeks, buys a house in the Grosse Pointe section of the Chicago suburbs (a destination of many during the white flight after the 1967 race riots, or guerrilla uprising, as the narrator prefers to call them). Only by paying cash can the Stephanides family subvert the "point system" that ensured only white middle-class home buyers in Grosse Pointe.
Middlesex also refers to the gender identity of the narrator, Calliope/Cal, who "was born twice: first, as a baby girl,...and then again, as a teenage boy."
Although the unsettling of gender identities drives the narrative, I think the novel provides equal insights about whiteness and immigrant identity in America in the mid-20th century.
A great read at a moment when Americans are rehashing their ideas about gender, racial, and ethnic identities through the presidential primaries.

Food, the Body, and Healing

Here's an interesting piece that I was recently forwarded about how the likenesses of certain foods resemble parts of the body that they are reputed to be good for. The Law of Similarity at it's finest....
A sliced Carrot looks like the human eye The pupil, iris and radiating lines look just like the human eye...and YES science now shows that carrots great ly enhance blood flow to and function of the eyes.

A Tomato has four chambers and is red. The heart is red and has four chambers. All of the research shows
tomatoes are indeed pure heart and blood food.

Grapes hang in a cluster that has the shape of the heart. Each grape look s like a blood cell and all of the research today shows that grapes are also profound heart and blood vitalizing food.

A Walnut looks like a little brain, a left and right hemisphere, upper cerebrums and lower cerebellums. Even the wrinkles or folds are on the nut just like the neo-cortex. We now know that walnuts help develop over 3 dozen neuron-transmitters for brain function.

Kidney Beans actually heal and help maintain kidney function and yes, they look exactly like the human kidneys.

Celery, Bok Choy, Rhubarb and more look just like bones. These foods specifically target bone strength. Bones are 23% sodium and these foods are 23% sodium. If you don't have enough sodium in your diet the body pulls it from the bones, making them weak. These foods replenish the skeletal needs of the body.

Eggplant, Avocadoes and Pears target the health and function of the womb and cervix of the female - they look just like these organs. Today's research shows that when a woman eats 1 avocado a week, it balances hormones, sheds unwanted birth weight and prevents cervical cancers. And how profound is this? .... It takes exactly 9 months to grow an avocado from blossom to ripened fruit. There are over 14,000 photolytic chemical constituents of nutrition in each one of these foods (modern science has onl y studied and named about 141 of them).

Figs are full of seeds and hang in twos when they grow. Figs increase the motility of male sperm and increase the number of Sperm, a way to overcome male sterility.

Sweet Potatoes look like the pancreas and actually balance the glycemic index of diabetics.

Olives assist the health and function of the ovaries

Grapefruits, Oranges, and other Citrus fruits look just like the mammary glands of the female and actually assist the health of the breasts and the movement of lymph in and out of the breasts.

Onions look like body cells. Today's research shows that onions help clear waste materials from all of the body cells They even produce tears which wash the epithelial layers of the eyes

Santa Sangre!

I just found what is perhaps my favorite movie out there, and certainly what has to be the best circus film of all time: Santa Sangre by Alejandro Jodorowsky. For full screen, you might have to go to the link below, and click on the "FS" button on the lower right. Enjoy...

Here's the link to the video at the original site where I came across it.


It's not hard to measure the U.S.'s dependency on prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications when one takes into consideration the behemothian chain drug stores monopolizing the landscape. Yet, sadly, we continue to hear reports on the failures of the wonder-wares available inside these faux-fountains of youth. Recently, the FDA has issued a report on the dangers of over-the-counter cold medications for children under two; not until spring will they consider the safety of older children. And the New York Times just published an article slamming the biased studies of anti-depressant makers, arguing that drugs like Prozac and Paxil are far from as effective as most people think (and as many doctors prescribe). When coupled with America's penchant for conspicuous consumption (perhaps manifested in obesity having become a chosen way of life, according to one critic), the country seems to be consuming itself to death, literally.

EU Report Questions Biofuels

After posting the previous blog yesterday, I came across this article in yahoo that touches on the topic of biofuels, and why they might not be the best way forward in addressing fuel needs. The article discusses an EU report that calls for a different strategy based on a cost-benefit analysis conducted by the Joint Research Centre, the European Commission's in-house scientific body. In short, "The costs of EU biofuels outweigh the benefits."

Read the article here.

Oil: For your Car, or your Belly?

The New York Times has an excellent article by Kieth Bradsher examining the growing problem of an increased demand for oil around the world. What makes this issue significant is that the oil being demanded is not the type we are used to thinking about - it's not the oil for our cars and industry - it's the oils we use to cook. The article mentions, although only in passing, food riots that have occurred in a number of countries in recent months, and talks of the desperation that is beginning to surface around the globe.
So what is the problem?
Not surprisingly, it's fairly complex, but can be distilled down to a few basic issues. The demand for vegetable oils is facing an unprecedented spike. As industry is increasingly turning to palm, soybean, and other oils as a fossil-fuel replacement, supply has not been able to keep up with what is now needed. This has resulted in increased prices, and even shortages, of cooking oils, and as is the case in most other cases, the poor and "developing" are feeling the brunt of these changes. Other forces playing into the equation are a growing middle class around the world - not to mention a growing global population - increased demand for biofuels, changing climate resulting in the loss of arable land, and a growing demand for such oils in developed parts of the world looking for healthier oils for their diets. And sadly, there is no immediate answer to the problem of an increasing demand for a dwindling supply of the world's other oil...
Read the article here.
Check out an audio slide show here.

Hillary on Bolivia and Latin America

With the increased attention being given to the upcoming U.S. presidential election later this year, we here at recycled minds will try to find the occasional snippet from some of the candidates that you may not have seen elsewhere, and that relate to some of the topics we discuss here on this site. I think it's generally accepted that the country needs to embrace a new way of approaching things, and I'm not sure where the inspiration for change will come from, but the democratic candidates seem to have a hold on the theme at this point. So with all of this in mind, I offer a video of Hillary Clinton answering a question during a recent stop in Dover, New Hampshire. She was asked about U.S. actions in Bolivia, and what approach she may take to the country. While deflecting the question a bit, she does clearly state that she feels the U.S. should offer support to Evo Morales (the president of Bolivia), and even other populist leaders in the region - mentioning Hugo Chavez in particular. She also criticizes past U.S. dealings with the Latin American region, especially those of the current administration. Interesting and even hopeful - check it out:

Real Food and Michael Pollan

I recently finished reading the Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan, and found it inspiring insofar as bringing more organic and more local food into my diet. It helped confirm my choice to become a vegetarian - even if it is 15 years after the fact - and it puts in print right in front of you what is so wrong with industrial agriculture. His new book, In Defense of Food, is coming out at the end of the month, and the Guardian has had a couple of excerpts. The latest one offers tips on "How to Get Back to Real Food." Eating is perhaps the most important thing we do for ourselves everyday, and getting back to feeding our bodies in a way that is not only healthy for us as individuals, but also as a whole society - and of course healthy for the environment and planet - is one of the pressing issues facing each of us on a daily basis. Pollan offers thoughts and ideas on how to bring change about in accessible, and informative ways, and most refreshing, he adds some humor in there too. Of course we can't all do everything, but taking steps, and making an effort can begin to bring around real change, and taking control of your body and diet may be one of the most political acts we can make. Here are some of the tips he offers in the Guardian article:
- Don't eat anything that your great-grandmother wouldn't recognise as food
Avoid food products that make health claims

Get out of the supermarket
Eat mostly plants, especially leaves
Eat wild foods when you can
Don't look for the magic bullet in the traditional diet
- Eat less
- Eat meals
Do all your eating at a table
- Try not to eat alone
Cook - and, if you can, plant a garden

the Next U.S. President?

Here's a clip of Obama speaking upon winning the Iowa caucus. He seems to be making a pretty big deal out of it with some prophetic-sounding words, and it begs the question: Is Obama going to be the next U.S. president?
Watch, and tell us what you think...