Archive for the ‘lifestyle’ Category


 Pursuit of Happiness is a slippery slope for some.

 I am an incorrigible reader of news and where these are reporting human frailties my antenna goes up instantly; and with experience I know a good story even before I settle down to read it.

Take the following news for instance:

In the month of June 2012 one Patricia Smith, the former controller of an auto dealership in Pennsylvania, was headed to jail after embezzling $10 million from her former boss in a stunning case of a trusted employee looting the business then squandering the cash on luxuries.

Smith, who worked at Baierl Acura located in Wexford, Pa., an upper-middle class suburb of Pittsburgh, was convicted of systematically stealing for seven years–some $4,000 a day on average–for private jet travel, special trips to the theatre, fancy clothes and other goods, according to the court.

According to Shannon Pierre, of ABC Pittsburgh affiliate WTAE, who reported on the story from court, Smith’s reason for her crime spree was she felt like a “horrible daughter, wife, mother and friend” and the gifts were a way to “earn their love” because she wanted to see “what happiness looks like.”

Oh that was a good one! Pursuit of happiness was a phrase that made sense to Patricia. Here was happiness in its lurid colors and it didn’t work for her. In fact ‘pursuit of happiness’ was not simply a catchphrase but a whole sentence. Nearing retirement age she must serve 78 months in prison, three years of probation, and pay restitution of $10,349,569.14 for the fortune she obtained by making more than 800 money transfers from the Baierl Acura’s coffers to her personal accounts. (Good Morning America, June19, 2012).

When you are among lemmings watch out. Pursuit of happiness could land you in trouble.


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An extraordinary trend in mental illness (Reuters, July 13,2012): an increase in the prevalence of reported anxiety disorders of more than 1,200 percent since 1980.
In that year, 2 percent to 4 percent of Americans suffered from an anxiety disorder, according to the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) of Mental Disorders, used by psychiatrists and others worldwide to diagnose mental illness.
In 1994, a study asking a random sample of thousands of Americans about their mental health reported that 15 percent had ever suffered from anxiety disorders. A 2009 study of people interviewed about their anxiety repeatedly for years raised that estimate to 49.5 percent – which would be 117 million U.S. adults.’
Reading this immediately I called my shrink and he tells me that anxiety is good for me.
This is coming from one who has raked through my psyche with a garden rake for these past five years! All the worms he could unearth he said were enough to feed the schools of sardines from Persian Gulf to Straits of Sumatra.
Do I suffer from anxiety?
No whenever I am anxious about where my next meal coming from my stomach churns up and kills any thought of food.
If I fear I miss the boat I take the train of thoughts that lead to nowhere.
But my shrink says a life going nowhere takes the edge out of Paxil. So I have a new worry. Is Paxil folding up before my very eyes?

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In the previous post I mentioned that oneness of Nature allows matter to be of one susbstance. Life and material aspects of it are somewhat between and betwixt since soul is precisely that. Light can be particle as well as a wave and reality of soul in terms of reality is in direct context with Ultimate Reality. Think of it like a doughnut: it is not that hole is going to make any worse in your stomach than the bad dough. Similarly it is not how you defined your soul but how you handled your material form is the test you defined your substance.
If man does value his soul as his most precious possession will it not vary his order of priorities in the manner he approaches any situation? As a soldier the enlisted man is sent to kill one who is pointed out to you ‘enemy combatant’. In another situation a diplomat is sent out to dissemble abroad and hide the real intent of his nation and knowing he is peddling a pack of lies how does he handle it? Moral sense a man carries is a veritable minefield. In my opinion there is no simple answer as much as soul of another is not for me to direct. Every person who values his soul must arrive at the correct decision by himself.
The principle of self similarity shows nature of man directs the conformist as well as non-conformist, warmonger and the pacifist. Their actions good or bad will find similarity and it can go on posing grave risk, moral dilemma as we see at present in our midst.
How greed has taken over man’s lives cannot be said too lightly since his entire perception of his oneness with humanity or other life forms has been obliterated. He would rather denude Amazon for quick returns and his cattle for export must be given more room. The earth is sufficient for man’s needs but not for his greed. At the rate we have been exploiting the earth’s precious resources we would need two and half earths. Here also some have much more.
We hear now of ethical living. Is veganism any superior to eating meat? I do not know. I am skeptical about all fads where there seems certain idealism inherent but no susbstance. Is rubbing your nose in dirt for showing your love for god is comparable as reveling in the love of god as a babe in the arms of its mother? ( For me God is a Caring and Loving Reality. As a proof I can only prove in my care for others, all live forms included.)
Instead some sects ‘purify ‘themselves but for what? They cannot think of god except when they mutilate themselves or cry Jihad! They themselves define their gods by their stupidity. Not the other way about.
Plants are life forms too as chickens or porker. Moderation is all, sirs, in all things. (Leave the goodness of this earth for the needy too.) In our respect for life we are defining self-similarity of Nature in tokens that must in turn change even how world treats us? We are part of the same forces and add our very own. Surely?
The End

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During my all too brief dalliance with setting up a dating agency I

thought I could guide the hopefuls to making of a home. But then being a novice I could not get all the angles set down. So I had to have professional help. So Aunt Agathe was roped in.

First a suitable name I required. So had a seious chat with Aunt Agathe who had in her pre-dating era found her heart throb through social occasions. She had a fifth sense with personal chemistry:’I have a nose for what made one take the bait’ she told in a disarming way..

My belief was ‘those who approached us must be paired and the happy pair must ride out into the setting sun as in the western movies’.

The analogy of Lone Ranger and Silver I thought was apt.

‘Aunt Agathe agreed.’ The happy couple must have silver to keep going even if the sun is on the decline.’ I corrected her saying silver in question was a horse.

Aunt Agathe was a bit irritated. She said the idea was that the pair must be compatible. I mean it may be in the form of a horse or in the form of bullion. Agathe had zillion ways of making black looks like white. So I said somewhat bored with the way the discussion was heading,’ What will you do with Tonto,his side kick?

Seeing she was furiously trying to figure out what it was I suggested;’He is a native American’

Aunt Agatha brightened up. ‘I have married some five times. Brown yellow or Black side kicks always should be made to know their place.’

By then future of my dating agency was in the throes of a miscarriage.

Larry Fiske

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I ran a dating agency when I was in my thirties. It was not that I had experience on relationships but I had the right attitude to connect people and Aunt Agatha to advice.

Those who wished to find a date came to me. I accepted physically challenged and those with special needs.

The first woman was in her thirties. She had low vision. She was looking for a man who was sympathetic,warm and mature to love her for what she was. Ten minutes of chat made a great impression on me. I took down her particulars and said,’ Miss.X. You don’t worry a thing. You will meet a prince charming when you are not looking.’ Aunt Agatha under the table kicked me in the shin.

Because she knew just the right combination and she had to say her piece. She said,’Lady, get a seeing dog. He is sympathetic,warm and mature enough to lead you around.

Miss X. of course never came back”

Larry Fiske

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Self-help guru in court on manslaughter charges(AP News)

It is a curious phenomenon of our times that self-help gurus have entered in every aspect of our lives. These gurus motivate us to run our lives in ways they think are right . For instance Dr. Lean Meat MD  will tell the right diet for us. He has his mantra, a best seller and no one dare prove it wrong: he is a self help guru and if he advocates that  red meat is good for us   yes, we had better include red meat in our diet. Or if he says avoid bread  in any form we are ready to throw overboard our lifelong habit. Bread,  the staff of life  that was with us from time memorial has become out of fashion.

Is it because we want to be like sheep and follow a herd mentality the last refuge of the insignificant? Or does it tell our lack of intelligence to choose the best course for ourselves? Or is it shrewdness to latch on to the best in a flash?  Be that as it may, self help gurus have become the arbiter of our good living. If it is money we have self help gurus in that portfolio also. As Bernard Madoff did with our personal finances we overnight found ways to make million.

Alas we only see how solid these gurus are late when nothing much can be done to save the situation.. We have been so sensitized by hucksters in pinstripes that we are willing to hand over wallets and health to them. They take jets to meet their heavy schedules and lead sweet lives while we sweat, literally. ‘Sweat Ray’ by all accounts knew what was best for us. Till his bluff was called. The self-guru it turns out is as clueless as we. Wonder of wonders!


For now, Ray remains in an Arizona jail on a $5 million bond and faces three to 12 1/2 years in prison on each of the three manslaughter charges if he’s convicted, with probation being an option.

Regardless of the outcome of the criminal case, Ray could face deep financial troubles brought on by the episode as his self-help empire crumbles. He made millions with a motivational mantra that preaches spiritual and financial wealth, and the lucrative speaking gigs and books have dried up.

He also faces the likelihood of several costly civil lawsuits filed by the victims that could further erode his wealth.


I am a self help  guru. This means I must help myself to make each day count. I must seek unexpected pleasures of Nature at my own terms. I must sweeten my passage among the uncouth, illiterate, genteel folks  as best as I can. I need not throw my degrees or learning at those who takes pleasure in the helplessness and confusion of others. Thus when some cretin step on my corns or elbow me and say it was unintentional I have to accept it even though I know it was not. I have been sent on wrong directions in a new and strange village by yokels who have never thought of new ways to amuse themselves.  There are such who delight in others discomfort in villages and cities alike. Some find pleasure in oneupmanship or in playing on one’s creduiity. I am a self help guru so I content myself that they have risen to the level of their intelligence or breeding.

If the crowd is too much to my liking I must find some spot where I could nurse my bruised ego or nerves. In short no one can help you get the most out life than yourself. Self help guru is one who can swat the hand that reaches for your wallet while talking about where you want to spend hereafter. Remember Jim Jones and his followers? or David Querishi of Wacco?

Self reliance might make your span of life much longer.


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A Primer on Economic Inequality

I am Poor Joe. See my neighbor Mr.Fat  Cat.

We both are equal before Law. Isn’t that great thing about living in a free consumer society? we both are free to make money as we please.

Only that his credit is good and his million dollar home still looks grand whereas mine is foreclosed.

Recession made his personal worth drop a billion but he has still billions coming from his offshore accounts and from ends of the earth, which at the push of a button he can keep moving around. Whereas I walk from pillar to post for a handout.

We both are equal before Law. isn’t that a great thing I can go where and whenever I want?

Only that Mr. Fat Cat take his jet and I can only walk four blocks away?

Mr. Fat Cat write off his expenses while I must count nickels and dimes. He can twiddle his thumb all day and at the end of the day his interest adds up a tidy sum.  Only that I wear out my soles at the end of the day.

I look for jobs any position that are far below my qualifications.But I draw blank. Now that I have developed a permanent scowl and a hangman’s look from having nothing to do, I am in the sights of the law.  I cannot even make past the entrance gate before the law tells me to scram,’Shoo!’.

So being denied a position commensurate with my worth takes away even the basic stamp of humanity. Is this what means to be as equal with Mr.Fat Cat?


The other day Mr. Fat Cat made news. he was really none other than Bernard Madoff. I am still Poor Joe with no roof over my head. Mr. fat Cat is still lucky. He has a roof over his head and three square meals. All at Government expense.

Whereas I am still Poor Joe, living in a discarded mover’s box. I am not going any place. Why I am equal before law as the highest of the realm. Isn’t it a great thing?.


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“Organic food has no nutritional or health benefits over ordinary food, according to a major study published Wednesday.

Researchers from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine said consumers were paying higher prices for organic food because of its perceived health benefits, creating a global organic market worth an estimated $48 billion in 2007.

A systematic review of 162 scientific papers published in the scientific literature over the last 50 years, however, found there was no significant difference.

“A small number of differences in nutrient content were found to exist between organically and conventionally produced foodstuffs, but these are unlikely to be of any public health relevance,” said Alan Dangour, one of the report’s authors.” (Reuters-London)

I am quoting the latest news from Yahoo.News. Organic food is the latest mantra and there are so many takers for a healthier style of living. Naturally so. When big money dictate the kind of food we should eat and start strong arm tactics to make us fall in there ought to be some protest. It must also succeed. Afterall big Czars of Belly like Monsantos would want to see more greenbacks for every cent they invest we only want to see some green like peas or spinach. Between this unequal struggle which has been fought so many times through ages a third front shall always close ranks. This group has not money power but knowledge. It also acquires  voice echoing from many thinkers who have  ever been dissidents. The school of thought who rephrase such savants have in the past showed skepticism. Take the split between the Church and Paganism. The third front is rational belief. Science naturally takes to it.  When one group was for blindly believing in spirits of the woods,rivers, air and so on the Church was for transubstantiation and similar concepts.  Whereas the Church having grown in power (of unshakable supremacy) could burn the other as witches  we have to see the age of Enlightment as historical necessity.

It is in these fight between two ideas Science has come to play a role.

Science of alchemy over ages has given to a more sober approach to inquire into nature of things. These were quite men some living in their ivory towers never wanting to draw attention to themselves. But now even scientists are ever in a hurry to shock the world with some dramatic news. So many dodgy scientific papers where data are lifted from the inquiry into anthrax to fit on papers dealing with anthracite, have become the norm. I am sure benefits of organic food as touted by such charlatans take a life of its own.  One lie told in innocence and believed unchecked shall snowball into a avalanche. The public fads are myths and often have looks of intelligence. A scientific temper cannot be acquired unless one is prepared to pay in patience and make sacrifices.  Modern education, alas, produces clever men but not wise ones. (note: Recently we read about Science debunking the myths surrounding full moon. There was also another interesting news. Some witch doctors in an African country were found guilty of killing albinos for their supposedly curative powers. b.revised: Sept.2009)

Our societies often work on premises untested. What is the happiness factor? Material riches? In a consumer society what constitutes happiness? There are those who think a family that has money to burn is a happy family. My friend who is in the USA is affluent and yet he told me a couple of years ago with a touch of envy about his neighbor. He said his wife also shared his envy. My friend cited her words and sighed, ‘Why Ben, she can have beauty treatment every month and stop from ageing. Before her breasts could sag she had a breast implant for instance. It must be wonderful in these cash strapped times.”  When I sounded skeptical he said, “She can have her own oil reserves right at home.” Yes oil per barrel was near $100. I could see his line of thinking. Of course he had got facts mixed up.


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