There are No LImits Here: Bob Ross Remixed

PBS continues with its series of audio-video remixes of some of its classic shows. We shared the Mr Rogers Garden of Your Mind Remix, and had to share this one of the public TV painter, Bob Ross. This remix continues with the positive and creative messages espoused by these great shows of 1970s and 1980s public broadcasting. We're loving the memories - and the reminder to continue to explore our minds...

Views from the ANThill: Of Food and Buckets: Mobile Treats and Identity in Belize

A young purveyor of “bucket food” riding to her next customer 
in the small town of Punta Gorda, Belize. 
Photo courtesy of douglas reeser.
by douglas reeser on July 20, 2012
I love food. I like to eat and I like to cook. I like to eat what other people have cooked. From the white tablecloth to the white paper napkin, I love to try new foods in new environments. I’ve written about food and shared recipes that I’ve created. I’ve cooked with friends and family in kitchens all over the Americas. Creativity with food fascinates me and brings me great joy. I also enjoy thinking about food in an intellectual sense, and contemplating its many roles in the lives of the people around me.

At the recent Belize Archaeology and Anthropology Symposium, I was able to hear a paper by Ms Lyra Sprang, a graduate student of anthropologist and food scholar, Richard Wilk. In her talk, titled Food, Identity, and Tourism: Politicizing and Commoditizing Food in Placencia, Belize, Sprang discussed the concepts of gastronationalism and gastroidentity as they manifest in a town in southern Belize that is popular with international and Belizean tourists. Sprang has investigated how different ethnic foods take on more or less Belizean-ness based on a variety of factors ranging from the participant’s ethnicity to advertising signs at local restaurants. In the discussion following the talk, Belizeans in the audience engaged with the topic, and expressed their thoughts on how food shapes their sense of identity as Belizeans. For instance, the finding that some youth in Sprang’s study think of imported Ramen noodles as Belizean food raised significant concern and dialogue.

Three Monks: Antique Animation from China

by douglas reeser on July 17, 2012
Recently a friend turned us on to Obscure Animation, a channel on youtube that has a bunch of old and rare animations. It's difficult to choose a favorite, as they're all interesting in their own way. It's just cool to see such an excellent collection in one place. With a big thanks to those behind Obscure Animation, we present for you here, Three Monks, a quite famous animated short made in 1980 by the celebrated director, A Da. 

The film is based on the proverb that posits: "One monk will shoulder two buckets of water, two monks will share the load, but add a third and no one will want to fetch water."

From Obscure Animation: 
Three Monks is a Chinese animated short, released in 1980 and directed by A Da. It is one of the most famous and beloved of Shanghai Animation Film Studio's productions, and has won awards at film festivals throughout the world. A note about the columns of text that appear at the beginning: the first column reads, "one monk fetches water to drink", the second column reads, "two monks carry water to drink", and the third one merely says, "three monks". The unfinished sentence reflects the film's central question, which is whether the three main characters will learn to work together so that they can all have water to drink.

Views from the ANThill: Bringing Traditional Medicine into the Hospital

A Q'eqchi' Maya healer works on a patient whose soul
has left his body, leaving him listless and unable to eat.
Photo by douglas reeser.
by douglas reeser on July 13th, 2012
It was 2005 when I began my graduate training in anthropology. I had decided to get more serious about my interest in indigenous issues, and follow a path towards understanding traditional and indigenous knowledge in its many forms. It was then that I came across Joseph Bastien's Drum and Stethoscope, a book that details efforts in Bolivia to integrate traditional medicines with the biomedicine practiced in the nation's hospitals. This is a book from 1992, and 20 years later, we have yet to see significant advance in such efforts.

That's why I was excited to see an article from the BBC News about such efforts in Ecuador. Irene Caselli reports for the BBC on a new project in Riobamba, a small town in the Andes Mountains.  Riobamba's Alternative Andean Hospital is a private health center that has integrated Western and Andean medicine into its services. It's a place where traditional healers practice their unique services along side of biomedical doctors, where the two traditions are allowed to complement each other in an open and direct way.

Here in Belize, where I have been studying the health system for the last year, the State provides free healthcare through public clinics and hospitals. In the south of the country where I am working, traditional medicines remain active and fairly popular. Largely because of international pressure from organizations like the WHO, the Belize Ministry of Health is working on the formulation of a national policy on traditional medicine. It is not yet clear if they will move towards a partnership or integration of some sort, but it is at least promising that they are considering such issues.

First Friday Picture Show: Farmer's Bounty by Wayne Miller

It's the dog days of summer in the northeast, and the only relief from the blazing sun are thoughts of ripe vegetables fresh from the farm. In honor of these summer treats, our July Picture Show comes by way of the rural southeastern Pennsylvania countryside, where Wayne Miller shows us some of the bounty from his farm. Epic Acre Farm is a new patch of chemical-free vegetables located in the mountainous hills overlooking the Oley Valley of Berks County, Pennsylvania. Focusing on gourmet salad greens, heirloom variety vegetables, and various Carribbean "seasoning" peppers, this small farm sells locally at the Saucon Valley Market in Hellertown, PA, as well as to regional restaurants. Wayne Miller was the long time co-manager of Tim Stark's Eckerton Hill Farm and has recently started growing for himself on land that is part of his house property. He hopes to continue the tradition of excellent, homegrown-style growing he mastered at Eckerton Hill. If the beautiful Oley Valley is past your roaming area, you can also check out Epic Acre on Facebook. For now, enjoy the show!

Occupy for Independence!

On this Day of Independence in the US, we wonder if
it's time for another revolution?
Photo courtesy of douglas reeser.
In the spirit of Thomas Paine, whose manifestos rose the rallying cry for the U.S. revolution, we here at Recycled Minds offer the recently released Occupy Global Manifesto. Paine has been described as a radical intellectual and revolutionary who tirelessly advocated for what he believed would be a superior political system. He is considered one of the founding fathers of the United States for his actions and participation in the movement against the British elite. Today, Paine might be treated a bit differently, as the qualities that he embodied are not held in high esteem in the current political climate. We believe that were he active today, Paine would be taking part in the Occupy Movement in an effort to bring about a superior political system to the one in the U.S. that has become corrupted by the self-interests of the wealthy at the expense of the majority. In this spirit of resistance, debate and intellectualism, we present you with the Occupy Global Manifesto:

We are living in a world controlled by forces incapable of giving freedom and dignity to the world’s population (if, indeed, they ever were). A world where we are told ‘there is no alternative’ to the loss of rights achieved through the long, hard struggles of our ancestors.
We find ourselves in a world where success is defined in seeming opposition to the most fundamental values of humanity, such as solidarity and mutual support. Moreover, anything that does not promote competitiveness, selfishness and greed is seen as dysfunctional. This immoral ideology is reinforced by the monopoly of the mainstream media, the instrument that manufactures false consensus around this unfair and unsustainable system.
But we have not remained silent! Our consciousness has awakened, and we have joined the wave of collective consciousness now spreading light and hope to every corner of the world. From Tunisia to Tahrir Square, Madrid to Rejkavik, New York to Brussels, people are rising up. In the Arab Spring, in the dignity of Iceland, in the dignified rage of 15M and Occupy Wall Street. Together we have denounced the status quo. Our effort states clearly ‘enough!’, and has even begun to push changes forward, worldwide.
This is why we, women and men, inhabitants of this planet, are uniting once again to make our voices heard this May 12th. All over the world. We denounce the current condition of our planet, and urge the application of different policies, designed to encourage and promote the common good.
We condemn the current distribution of economic resources whereby only a tiny minority escape poverty and insecurity. Whereby future generations are condemned to a poisoned legacy thanks to the environmental crimes of the rich and powerful. ‘Democratic’ political systems, where they exist, have been emptied of meaning, put to the service of those few interested in increasing the power of corporations and financial institutions, regardless of the fate of the planet and its inhabitants.
We declare the current crisis is not a natural accident. It was caused by the greed of those who would bring the world down, with the help of an economics that has lost its true sense. No longer about management of the common good, but simply an ideology at the service of financial power, seeking to impose measures that stifle billions of people, without asking their opinion. They say there is no alternative. They say we must leave our future in the hands of the same experts who destroy it.
Here and now, we’re back. We have awakened, and not just to complain! Here and now, we aim at the true causes of the crisis: their policies and lies hidden in empty rhetoric. Here and now we propose alternatives, because we want to fix the problem while also moving towards a more democratic world. Simply put, we want a world ruled by the values of liberty, equality, and fraternity – the old dream of our ancestors when they rose against oppression in previous generations, throughout the planet! Simply put we want a world where every woman, man and child is guaranteed the right to the free pursuit of personal and collective happiness.
The statement below does not speak, or claim to speak, on behalf of everyone in the global spring/Occupy/Take the Square movements. This is an attempt by some inside the movements to reconcile statements written and endorsed in the different assemblies around the world. The process of writing the statement was consensus based, open to all, and regularly announced on our international communications platforms, that are also open to all (like the ‘squares’ mailing list, the weekly global roundtables and the ‘international’ facebook group). It was a hard and long process, full of compromises. This statement is offered to people’s assemblies around the world for discussions, revisions and endorsements.
There will be a process of a global dialogue, and this statement is part of it, a work-in-progress. We do not make demands from governments, corporations or parliament members, which some of us see as illegitimate, unaccountable or corrupt. We speak to the people of the world, both inside and outside our movements. We want another world, and such a world is possible:
1. The economy must be put to the service of people’s welfare, and to support and serve the environment, not private profit. We want a system where labour is appreciated by its social utility, not its financial or commercial profit. Therefore, we demand:
  • Free and universal access to health, education from primary school through higher education and housing for all human beings, through appropriate policies to get this. We reject outright the privatization of public services management, and the use of these essential services for private profit.
  • Full respect for children’s rights, including free child care for everyone.
  • Retirement/pension so we may have dignity at all ages. Mandatory universal sick leave and holiday pay.
  • Every human being should have access to an adequate income for their livelihood, so we ask for work or, alternatively, universal basic income guarantee.
  • Corporations should be held accountable to their actions. For example, corporate subsidies and tax cuts should be done away with if said company outsources jobs to decrease salaries, violates the environment or the rights of workers.
  • Apart from bread, we want roses. Everyone has the right to enjoy culture, participate in a creative and enriching leisure at the service of the progress of humankind . Therefore, we demand the progressive reduction of working hours, without reducing income.
  • Food sovereignty through sustainable farming should be promoted as an instrument of food security for the benefit of all. This should include an indefinite moratorium on the production and marketing of GMOs and immediate reduction of agrochemicals use.
  • We demand policies that function under the understanding that our changing patterns of life should be organic/ecologic or should never be. These policies should be based on a simple rule: one should not spoil the balance of ecosystems for simple profit. Violations of this policy should be prosecuted around the world as an environmental crime, with severe sanctions for convicted.
  • Policies to promote the change from fossil fuels to renewable energy, through massive investment which should help to change the production model.
  • We demand the creation of international environmental standards, mandatory for countries, companies, corporations, and individuals. Ecocide (wilful damage to the environment, ecosystems, biodiversity) should be internationally recognised as a crime of the greatest magnitude.
2. To achieve these objectives, we believe that the economy should be run democratically at all levels, from local to global. People must get democratic control over financial institutions, transnational corporations and their lobbies. To this end, we demand:
  • Control and regulation of financial speculation by abolishing tax havens, and establishing a Financial Transaction Tax (FTT). As long as they exist, the IMF, World Bank and the Basel Committee on Banking Regulation must be radically democratised. Their duty from now on should be fostering economic development based on democratic decision making. Rich governments cannot have more votes because they are rich. International Institutions must be controlled by the principle that each human is equal to all other humans – African, Argentinian or American; Greek or German.
  • As long as they exist, radical reform and democratisation of the global trading system and the World Trade Organization must take place. Commercialization of life and resources, as well as wage and trade dumping between countries must stop.
  • We want democratic control of the global commons, defined as the natural resources and economic institutions essential for a proper economic management. These commons are: water, energy, air, telecommunications and a fair and stable economic system. In all these cases, decisions must be accountable to citizens and ensure their interests, not the interests of a small minority of financial elite.
  • As long as social inequalities exist, taxation at all levels should maintain the principle of solidarity. Those who have more should contribute to maintain services for the collective welfare. Maximum income should be limited, and minimum income set to reduce the outrageous social divisions in our societies and its social political and economic effects.
  • No more money to rescue banks. As long as debt exists, following the examples of Ecuador and Iceland, we demand a social audit of the debts owed by countries. Illegitimate debt owed to financial institutions should not be paid.
  • Absolute end of fiscal austerity policies that only benefit a minority, and cause great suffering to the majority.
  • As long as banks exist, separation of commercial and financial banks, avoiding banks “too big to fail”.
  • End of the legal personhood of corporations. Companies cannot be elevated to the same level of rights as people. The public’s right to protect workers, citizens and the environment should prevail over the protections of private property or investment.
3. We believe that political systems must be fully democratic. We therefore demand full democratization of international institutions, and the elimination of the veto power of a few governments. We want a political system which really represent the variety and diversity of our societies:
  • All decisions affecting all mankind should be taken in democratic forums like a participatory and direct UN Parliamentary Assembly or a UN people’s assembly, not rich clubs such as G20 or G8.
  • At all levels we ask for the development of a democracy that is as participatory as possible, including non representative direct democracy.
  • As long as they are practiced, electoral systems should be as fair and representative as possible, avoiding biases that distort the principle of proportionality.
  • We call for the democratization of access and management of media (MSM). These should serve to educate the public, as opposed to the creation of an artificial consensus about unjust policies.
  • We ask for democracy in companies and corporations. Workers, despite wage level or gender, should have real decision power in the companies and corporations they work in. We want to promote cooperative companies and corporations, as real democratic economic institutions.
  • Zero tolerance to corruption in economic policy. We must stop the excessive influence of big business in politics, which is today a major threat to true democracy.
  • We demand complete freedom of expression, assembly and demonstration, as well as the cessation of attempts to censor the Internet.
  • We demand respecting privacy rights on and off the internet. Companies and the government should not engaged in data mining.
  • We believe that military spending is politically counterproductive to a society’s advance, so we demand its reduction to a minimum.
  • Ethnic, cultural and sexual minorities should have their civil, cultural, political and economic rights fully recognized.
  • Some of us believe a new Universal Declaration of Human Rights, fit for the 21st century, written in a participatory, direct and democratic way, needs to be written. As long as the current Declaration of Human Rights defines our rights, it must be enforced in relation to all – in both rich and poor countries. Implementing institutions that force compliance and penalize violators need to be established, such as a Global Court to prosecute social, economic and environmental crimes perpetrated by governments, corporations and individuals. At all levels, local, national, regional and global, new constitutions for political institutions need to be considered, like in Iceland or in some Latin American countries. Justice and law must work for all, otherwise justice is not justice, and law is not law.
This is a worldwide Global Spring. We will be there on May 2012; we will fight until we win. We will not stop being people. 
We are not numbers. 
We are free women and men.