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Andrew Zimmern’s Picks Don’t Appeal January 17, 2011

Posted by nrhatch in Books & Movies, Food & Drink, Writing & Writers.
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200px-Musca_illustrationHave you ever watched Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern?

Even if I weren’t adverse to carnivorous foods, the stuff he sticks in his mouth would NEVER pass my lips without strenuous argument and objection.

I am disinclined to eat a frog’s beating heart, drink lizard sake, or quaff bull’s rectum and testicle soup.

I am equally opposed to eating baby eels, poached calve’s brain, grubs, deep fried worms, rooster comb, and any number of other bizarre “delicacies” that Andrew has shared with his viewers (and his intestines).

If Andrew and I went to a restaurant together, and he listed his 100 Favorite Foods on the menu, I expect that I would have tried only a few, if any, of his picks.

There might be only one or two things I had not tried that I would be willing to consume . . . for any amount of money.

Any offer on his part to order for me would be declined without hesitation.

There is no way I would willingly substitute his nutritional and epicurean  judgment for mine.

I felt the same way this morning, reading through Time Magazine’s list of  the 100 Best Books written in the English language since 1923.

I’d read between 10 and 20 of the two editors’ selections, and only enjoyed a handful of those.  Several books were required reading in High School and College.  Others were read, under internal duress, while I was still a member of The Clean (Book)Plate Club.

As I scrolled through the synopses provided by Time, I found only ONE book I had not read that I want to read:

The French Lieutenant’s Woman (1969) ~ John Fowles

For those of you who have not read it, here’s what Time Magazine had to say:

A magnificent game of a novel, one in which the brilliant postmodern contrivances actually add to the poignancy of its anguished Victorian characters. Charles Smithson is an amateur paleontologist living on the southwestern coast of England. Ernestina is his drearily upright fiancee. Sarah Woodruff is an enigmatic local governess, said to be pining for a French soldier who has misused her.

The fourth major figure in this book is not a character but the author. By no means all-powerful, he discovers early on that he has lost control of his characters and proposes in that case to let them have their freedom. And he means it.

The story procedes [sic] through alternative episodes — in one Charles marries Ernestina; in another he doesn’t — and multiple endings, with the author sometimes turning up to walk among his characters and comment tartly on their actions.

In its final pages — don’t dare to call them a conclusion; in a book so open-ended, what could that word mean? — he opens a vista onto freedom that’s both dazzling and devastating.

I don’t know if I will enjoy The French Lieutenant’s Woman, but I’m intrigued to see how the author tells the tale(s) while letting his characters lead the way.

The rest of the books on the Time’s list, I’ve either read or  am unwilling to consume.

I am disinclined to substitute the Time’s literary judgment for mine since its editors seem, like Zimmern, to lean toward the more unsavory and bizarre offerings of life.

What we put into our mouths is with us only a short while before making an exit through the back door (assuming we can choke it down at all).

What we put into our minds may haunt those hallowed halls forever.  I choose to jealously guard the entrance to mine.

How about you?  How often do you allow someone else to substitute their judgment for yours in selecting the food, books, and movies you consume?

No rules.  Just write!

Related posts:  Time’s 100 Best Books (My Literary Quest) * The Clean (Book)Plate Club * Inspiration and A Challenge (Reflections from a Cloudy Mirror) * Food Critic, Book Critic, Film Critic (BrainRants)

The Joy of Living Mindfully January 17, 2011

Posted by nrhatch in Gratitude, Happiness, Mindfulness, Nature.
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We have the innate power to improve our memory, our health, and our energy levels.  We can learn to calm the mind, accept life’s challenges, sharpen our brain functions, regulate blood pressure, and remove blocks to creativity.

We can add to our joy by mindfully cultivating love, compassion, and peace.   We can do more than survive, we can thrive ~ even in the midst of uncertainty. 

Any activity that connects us with the bottomless well of peace within adds to our joy in life: 

Yoga incorporates stretching, conditioning, breathing, and relaxation exercises to integrate your mind, body and spirit.  Yoga also reduces stress, fatigue, and pain while improving circulation and body tone.  As you increase your strength, flexibility, and balance (inner and outer), you  benefit from enhanced vitality. 

Music fills the heart with joy and nourishes the soul with peace.  You don’t need to “know” anything to enjoy beautiful music.  You just need to listen and hear what is being offered. 

Dance gives you a chance to move to the music, and groove to the tunes.  With or without rhythm, it’s tons of fun.

Meditation allows you to calm your mind, heal your body, and let go of stress.   Begin each day with a clear mind and peace in your heart.  Deepen your spirituality.  Discover blocks to inner peace and creativity.  Find your purpose.  Expand your faith and trust.  Connect with your inner wisdom.  Transform adversity and challenges into opportunities.

Watercolor is a beautiful and meditative medium.  As you play with color, space, and composition, you begin to appreciate the unpredictability of your creations.

In uncertainty, lie all possibility.

Birdwatching encourages you to get out where you benefit from the sights, sounds and smells of the great outdoors.  As you connect with nature, you connect with the wisdom within.

Writing allows us to document what we see, share what we’ve learned, enjoy what life offers, and entertain with our memoirs, fiction, anecdotes, or poetry. 

We can develop an attitude of gratitude and a greater present moment orientation by observing the world around us and journaling about what we see, hear, feel, taste, smell, and think. 

Qi Gong promotes longevity and adds to our quality of life by reducing stress, increasing energy, nourishing the brain and vital organs with improved circulation, and loosening the joints.  Qi (pronounced chee) is the life force and energy inherent in all things.  Qi Gong coordinates breathing patterns with simple, gentle exercises accessible to all, regardless of age or physical fitness level.

If we want to flourish, we must nourish mind, body, and spirit.  Be Here Now.

Quote:  There is no cure for birth and death save to enjoy the interval. ~ George Santayana

No rules.  Just write!

What about you?  How do you remind yourself to live mindfully and embrace the present?

Related posts:  Celebrate Life * Be Here NowMindfulness: A Miracle Drug * Your Brain On BlissBeginner’s Yoga 1~2~3 * 10 Happiness Boosters * 13 Tips to Stay Healthy & Happy * Meditation 101 The ABC’s of Happiness *  More ABC’s of Happiness * Living Without Regret (Think Simple Now)