Friday, October 30, 2009


from the motion picture "Easy Come, Easy Go" - which came out a year before Elvis's famous Comeback Special (His career had been considered by many to be artistically fallow since his return from the Army (1960), the subsequent Beatles invasion and a slew of mediocre motion pictures).

He seems pretty flexible to me.

“Yoga Is As Yoga Does” Lyrics

Well I can see that you and yoga will never do

Yoga is as yoga does there’s no in-between
Your either with it on the ball
or you’ve blown the scene
I can see lookin’ at you, you just can’t get settled
How can I even move, twisted like a pretzel

(Yoga is, yoga does)
(There’s no in-between)
(Your either with it all the way)
Or you’ve blown the scene
(Or you’ve blown the scene)

Come on come on, untwist my legs
Pull my arms a lot
How did I get so tied up
In this yoga knot
You tell me just how
I can take this yoga serious
When all it ever gives to me
is a pain in my posterious

(Yoga is, yoga does)
(There’s no in-between)
(Your either with it all the way)
Or you’ve blown the scene
(Or you’ve blown the scene)

Stand upside down on your head,
feet against the wall
A simple yoga exercise done by one and all
Now cross your eyes and hold your breath,
look just like a clown
Yoga’s sure to catch you if you come falling down

(Yoga is, yoga does)
(There’s no in-between)
(Your either with it all the way)
Or you’ve blown the scene
(Or you’ve blown the scene)

(Yoga is, yoga does)
(There’s no in-between)
(Your either with it all the way)
Or you’ve blown the scene
(Or you’ve blown the scene)

Thanks to Shiva for the head's-up

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


Just in time for Halloween...

Apparently the metal plate wasn't fastened down.

Oops! So much for The City That Works.

Good thing the neighbors never put the pylon away.

Friday, October 23, 2009




Or neither?

(Sadly, this Far Side-inspired cartoon will not appear in an upcoming issue of Yoga Chicago magazine).

Monday, October 19, 2009


...include quotes like this:

Heene, a storm chaser and inventor, and his family have appeared on the reality show "Wife Swap." Alderden said the couple met in acting school in Hollywood. Richard Heene has described himself as an amateur scientist, but Alderden said Heene has only a high school education.

"He may be nutty, but he's not a professor," Alderden said.

It writes itself....

Friday, October 16, 2009


Saturday marks Diwali or Deepavali, the Hindu new year, also known as the festival of lights. It is also celebrated by Sikhs and Jains.

That would make today the final day in an annus horribilis; perhaps the computer dying today, and then getting caught in a bitter rainstorm while on the bicycle will serve as the final nails in the coffin of Hindu Saka Era 1930.

Diwali itself began nicely enough last night, with a wonderful Lakshmi puja at a nearby restaurant. The intimate event went on and on, and included a small homa (fire ceremony) at the end, as well as singing, spinning in circles and of course feasting. The crown of the head was vibrating by the end. The priest from the Balaji Temple in Aurora was wonderful, inclusive *and* funny, and seemed genuinely surprised when I said "wamabaga" and held out the left hand during the string-tying part of the ceremony. (The photo above shows how Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, looked after being bathed and dressed during the puja. She is on the left. Another version is below).

Saturday is a good day to buy Lakshmi coins, to ensure wealth of all kinds in the coming year. I usually buy an affordable silver one, after doing some comparison shopping. They can be purchased at jewelry shops on Devon Avenue; read about my favorite ones here.

Most local temples are holding events events on Saturday; click here for a listing. And on Sunday there's a Diwali puja and celebration at the (Hare) Krishna Temple in Rogers Park, starting at 5:30. For more, go here.

And have a happy, peaceful and prosperous new year.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Sunday's New York Times magazine had a wonderfully thoughtful and non-dogmatic piece about going vegetarian for all the right reasons, by Jonathan Safron Foer, called "Against Meat."

An excerpt:

According to reports by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the U.N. and others, factory farming has made animal agriculture the No. 1 contributor to global warming (it is significantly more destructive than transportation alone), and one of the Top 2 or 3 causes of all of the most serious environmental problems, both global and local: air and water pollution, deforestation, loss of biodiversity. . . . Eating factory-farmed animals — which is to say virtually every piece of meat sold in supermarkets and prepared in restaurants — is almost certainly the single worst thing that humans do to the environment.

Every factory-farmed animal is, as a practice, treated in ways that would be illegal if it were a dog or a cat. Turkeys have been so genetically modified they are incapable of natural reproduction. To acknowledge that these things matter is not sentimental. It is a confrontation with the facts about animals and ourselves. We know these things matter.

Meat and seafood are in no way necessary for my family — unlike some in the world, we have easy access to a wide variety of other foods. And we are healthier without it. So our choices aren’t constrained.

While the cultural uses of meat can be replaced — my mother and I now eat Italian, my father grills veggie burgers, my grandmother invented her own “vegetarian chopped liver” — there is still the question of pleasure. A vegetarian diet can be rich and fully enjoyable, but I couldn’t honestly argue, as many vegetarians try to, that it is as rich as a diet that includes meat. (Those who eat chimpanzee look at the Western diet as sadly deficient of a great pleasure.) I love calamari, I love roasted chicken, I love a good steak. But I don’t love them without limit.

This isn’t animal experimentation, where you can imagine some proportionate good at the other end of the suffering. This is what we feel like eating. Yet taste, the crudest of our senses, has been exempted from the ethical rules that govern our other senses. Why? Why doesn’t a horny person have as strong a claim to raping an animal as a hungry one does to confining, killing and eating it? It’s easy to dismiss that question but hard to respond to it. Try to imagine any end other than taste for which it would be justifiable to do what we do to farmed animals.

Children confront us with our paradoxes and dishonesty, and we are exposed. You need to find an answer for every why — Why do we do this? Why don’t we do that? — and often there isn’t a good one. So you say, simply, because. Or you tell a story that you know isn’t true. And whether or not your face reddens, you blush. The shame of parenthood — which is a good shame — is that we want our children to be more whole than we are, to have satisfactory answers. My children not only inspired me to reconsider what kind of eating animal I would be, but also shamed me into reconsideration.

And then, one day, they will choose for themselves. I don’t know what my reaction will be if they decide to eat meat. (I don’t know what my reaction will be if they decide to renounce their Judaism, root for the Red Sox or register Republican.) I’m not as worried about what they will choose as much as my ability to make them conscious of the choices before them. I won’t measure my success as a parent by whether my children share my values, but by whether they act according to their own.

Read the whole thing here.

Learn how to eliminate meat from your diet here.



In other news... a friend just called and said that my name was mentioned several times during Steve Dahl's podcast today (in relation to this). Thanks to Gridlife for the head's-up.

Friday, October 09, 2009


"How stressed were you?" you ask.


It seemed like arrows were coming from every direction.

It was exacerbated by the lead-up to the father's death-day.

But most of the stress came from without, and it made the mind very busy.

On Tuesday night I awakened at 2:30 with racing thoughts, and never went back to sleep.

I took some Melatonin on Wednesday night so I could get some sleep. I retired at 9:30.

I awakened at 12:30, and never went back to sleep.

I was so tired while getting ready to teach at 6am that I did a classic maneuver.

Just before leaving, I carelessly popped a Shatavari capsule into my mouth, in the hopes that it would regulate the hormones.

A few second later, I realized it was not Shatavari, but Melatonin.


I immediately stuck the fingers down the throat and tried to womit it up.

You have to stick the fingers down quite deep, and leave them there for awhile, before something happens. How the bulimics do it is beyond me.

Finally, I gagged - and some watery, citrus-y stuff came up.

I think it was the large cup of lemon water I'd had earlier, rather than the orange-flavored Melatonin tablet.

I stuck the fingers down there four more times, in the hopes of getting everything out.

All day long I had a sore throat, from the womiting, and worried that I was catching a cold.

All day long the body was exhausted and the mind was numb.

I was so tired in fact that on Thursday night I finally got some sleep.

And on Friday I awakened at the usual 4:30am, feeling like a brand-new person.

*The song above is by the late M.S. Subbulakshmi - one of the greatest Carnatic singers of our time. It's difficult to listen her music and remain depressed/anxious. She combined technical perfection with unwavering devotion to the Supreme, which is apparent in the video. She was the first musician ever to be awarded the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian honor. Of course she was South Indian (from Madurai, Tamil Nadu).

When the stress level has been at an all-time high, the last thing you want is to see this - a health department sticker on the door of your favorite local comfort-food joint.

On the other hand, maybe it's for the best....

* * *

The good news is that I have been able to test and refine some of the stress-reduction techniques I'll be sharing at the November 14 Holiday Survival workshop at Yoga Trek.

Calm breathing, anyone?

Sunday, October 04, 2009


One of the many groups and solists performering at last night's 30th Anniversary of Link's Hall extravaganza did a quirky, 60's-ish dance with robotic elements to this 1959 song by the Italian pop singer Mina Mazzini, which has been stuck in the head ever since.

And now it's in yours....

The perfect song for a full moon day.*

* * *

Apparently Mina was Italy's first female rock singer, and a symbol of female emancipation. Read more here.

Local dance legend Asimina Chremos, who is sometimes known as "Mina," also performed at the festival - in the stairwell, after the main performance. The final performer and main-stage headliner was Link's Hall cofounder Bob Eisen - who accompanied me on my very first trip to India. More details soon.....

*Tintarella means "suntan."

Thursday, October 01, 2009


The Latex Gals' new interactive installation makes it debut at The Ravenswood Artwalk, which takes place this Saturday and Sunday from 11am to 6pm, and starts at 4256 N Ravenswood.

Called "Ill. Wishes," it will appear as part of a special one-time-only extravaganza called The Blago Project, which will feature work inspired by and about disgraced former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevic. The gallery is in his former office - the one that was wiretapped - at 4147 N. Ravenswood.

The centerpiece of "Ill. Wishes" is a wishing tree, upon which people may hang their hopes for the state of Illinois, post-Rod.

Here's some text from the installation...

The Tradition of the Wishing Tree

In Asian Buddhist tradition, it is believed that if you put your wish on a piece of paper and tie it to a tree, the wind will blow the words into the air and your wish will come true. In India, the kalpa or Wishing Tree is one of the celestial trees in the god Indra’s heaven. It grants whatever is asked and leads the aspirant liberation from the bondage of karma.

In the West, people have believed that certain trees contain spirits, and that you could make a wish by touching the trees (hence the term “touch wood”), or by walking around them three times in each direction. Sometimes, coins are offered - which can be effing golden.


In the spirit of hope for the future, what would you wish for the state of Illinois, post-Blagojevich?

Please write your wish on a leaf and tie it to the tree to bring it back to “life” - or write it in the green book.

* * *

Illinois Facts

Six Illinois Governors have been arrested or indicted since the state entered the union in 1818 (Seven if you count Gov. Joel Aldrich Matteson [1853-1857] and his shoebox full of money).

“Illinois” is an Algonquin word that means “tribe of superior men”

Some other famous Illinois men: Burl Ives, Melvin Van Peebles, Preston Sturges, Harrison Ford, Leopold & Loeb, John Paul Stevens, Ronald Reagan, Sam Shepard, Bill Murray, Quincy Jones, John Wayne Gacy, Richard Pryor, Miles Davis, Jimmy Connors, Raymond Chandler, Al Capone, Ray Bradbury, Harry A. Blackmun, Richard Speck, John Chancellor, Walt Disney, John Dos Passos, Wild Bill Hickok.