Happy Halloween

or Samhain, whatever it may mean to you...
Which of these photos is better?

Zen of Lifting II

When I think
or let go of thinking
in those quiet moments
when the world is in synch

I know
that death
is the re-assimilation
of my electrons and energies
into the life around me,
the meaning of
going in one’s sleep.
I can feel
the peace of expanding
into eternity.

When I lift
and box,
my body contracts
from within and without,
hardened and hot
in the focus of work.
I can feel
I am a whole individual
forcing against space around me.
I can feel I am alive.

And afterward,
with more music than words
in my head,
and body rising and falling
with the swell of my lungs
and thrum of my heart,
there is a sweet twilight
where I can touch
and be everywhere
and close my eyes
and fly

Fall harvest

From within or from behind, a light shines through us upon things, and makes us aware that we are nothing, but the light is all.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

The poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese.

~G.K. Chesterton

Dahlia field

Barn raising at Mossback Farm

Good folks, good food.

October fog in the country

There are nights when the wolves are silent and only the moon howls. ~George Carlin

Empty inkwell

Writers fear the blank page. But what happens when the ink runs dry?
The letters on my first keyboard rubbed off under my fingers.
Now the computers provide endless "ink"
and writers are John Henrying into carpal tunnel.
If only my voice didn't interfere with my muse's,
I could try an audio recorder.

--Raw photo by me, of an empty inkwell, in end-of-September twilight

Net Neutrality - Bill Moyers - Nov. elections

We the People are hanging by a thread! Public taxpayers have paid for our Internet for 30 years, its birth and evolution, upfront investment, maintenance and advancement. Now that it's a vital platform for free speech and communication, giants want to lock it up. Don't let the would-be censors, corporate monopolists, political propagandists and ideology dominunists lock up the people's Internet.

Last night PBS ran The Net at Risk, a documentary produced by award-winning journalist Bill Moyers, with the SavetheInternet.com Coalition, who followed with an online discussion. It's an excellent look at the issue. The show is online at http://www.pbs.org/moyers. Find out why the U.S. ranks 26th in Internet connection speed.

Democrat Oregon Ron Wyden is the only man holding back this oppression law. He's put a block on it for the moment. But self-interest drivers are working to set wheels in place through Nov. elections, so they are ready to turn. Against us all.


From PBS.org

Some activists describe the ongoing debate this way: A small number of mega-media giants owns much of the content and controls the delivery of content on radio and television and in the press; if we let them take control of the Internet as well, immune from government regulation, who will pay the price? Their opponents say that the best way to encourage Internet innovation and technological advances is to let the market-not the federal government-determine the shape of the system.

"The genius of the Internet was that it made the First Amendment a living document again for millions of Americans," says Robert McChesney, a media scholar and activist and co-author of OUR MEDIA, NOT THEIRS. "The decisions that we're going be making ... are probably going to set our entire communication system, and, really, our entire society, on a course that it won't be able to change for generations."

Toronto Newsgirls stake all-grrls gym

Guts & glory
Toronto Newsgirls Boxing Club celebrates a decade of throwing & taking punches

Julia Garro/Xtra -- After a decade of sweating it out at gyms shared with male-dominated clubs, the Toronto Newsgirls are preparing to open the first-ever women's-only boxing gym in Canada, a 3,500-square foot "dream gym" at Gerard and Carlaw.

"It's going to be all female," says Howe, who's known in the boxing ring as Kapow! "I'd like to let in the boys but not at least for the first year... I think we need to establish ourselves as an all-female gym for the first little while just so we can pee in all the corners, you know, set it up the way we want to set it up."

Photo - CONTENDERS. Toronto Newsgirls (from left to right) Iceberg, Turbo, Double-R, Kapow!, Machine, Tank and Surly. (RJ Martin)

bullrider Vanessa Hodgson

Our bulls, ourselves: Women join ranks of riding elite

PAULS VALLEY, Oklahoma (AP) -- Brushing aside a few wisps of hair flying from her blond ponytail, Vanessa Hodgson prepares for battle against 1,700 pounds of snorting, raging bull.

If she can ride the beast for six seconds she has a shot at $500 in prize money. Six seconds is a long time, especially when a bull is hell-bent on tossing his rider on her rump and tormenting her in any way he can before a rodeo clown drives him to distraction.

But the money is not what drives Hodgson, a 22-year-old former barrel racer who has been competing on bulls and bareback broncos for three years. She grew up on a Michigan farm and in 2003 was named rookie of the year by the Women's Professional Rodeo Association.

"I was hanging around bull riders and they dared me to ride," Hodgson said. "Now I ride because it's fun."

Although they comprise a small group, women are making inroads into what may be the last bastion of all-male sports. Year after year, they crisscross the country in search of competition, showcasing their unique mix of athleticism and femininity in the dirt of the rodeo arena.

The rules in all-female competition are slightly different from the men's events, where eight-second rides are mandatory. But the danger is real for both men and women who ride slobbering, wild-eyed beasts that can gore them in an instant. Many times riders compete with broken ribs or arms.

read the rest at CNN

please print clearly

In a Washington Post story today on the demise of cursive handwriting, this passage culled the objection:

...academics who specialize in writing acquisition argue that it's important cognitively, pointing to research that shows children without proficient handwriting skills produce simpler, shorter compositions, from the earliest grades.

What a poor argument. To save time, let's just take for granted that the handwriting skill level is in fact the direct and sole cause of "simpler, shorter compositions." Okay. Now, what on earth is the reasoning behind faulting simpler and shorter compositions? It cannot be because complicated and rambling compositions are more desirable, nor that the thinking and writing skills required to produce "simpler and shorter" compositions are inferior. On the contrary - concise, precise writing is the product of developed skills.

So how to address this preposterous notion? One can only hope it is the messenger's fault; perhaps Margaret Webb Pressler did a sloppy job of paraphrasing. Perhaps it is the ideas within the composition which are not thought through, or that important information is missing from these compositions, when compared to the compositions regarded as superior? We cannot tell. Otherwise, if cumbersome, verbose, and lengthy compositions are rewarded in schools today, I propose there are more important things to worry about in writing classes than whether students write longhand, print or type.

(Obviously, this post was written by a professional writer who barely passed cursive class, and in adulthood has nearly illegible handwriting; otherwise, it would have been longer; if the correlation is proportional - much, much longer.)

The Handwriting Is on the Wall: Researchers See a Downside as Keyboards Replace Pens in Schools

fertile women dress to impress

Reuters - Women dress to impress when they are at their most fertile, U.S. researchers said on Tuesday in a study they say shows that signs of human ovulation may not be as mysterious as some scientists believe. A study of young college women showed they frequently wore more fashionable or flashier clothing and jewelery when they were ovulating, as assessed by a panel of men and women looking at their photographs.

"They tend to put on skirts instead of pants, show more skin and generally dress more fashionably," said Martie Haselton, a communication studies and psychology expert at the University of California Los Angeles who led the study.

Writing in the journal Hormones and Behavior, Haselton and colleagues said their findings disproved the conventional wisdom that women are unique among animals in concealing, even from themselves, when they are most fertile.

Some animals release powerful scents when ready to mate, while others display skin color changes, but human ovulation is notoriously difficult to detect. This is attested to by the frequency of unintended pregnancy, as well as test kits marketed to women wishing to become pregnant but unaware of the likeliest time to conceive.

Dear Diary, today we began eating the planet

BBC -- Rising consumption of natural resources means that humans began "eating the planet" on 9 October, a study suggests. The date symbolised the day of the year when people's demands exceeded the Earth's ability to supply resources and absorb the demands placed upon it.

How this gauge works The figures' authors said the world first "ecological debt day" fell on 19 December 1987, but economic growth had seen it fall earlier each year. The data was produced by a US-based think-tank, Global Footprint Network.

Natalie Woolfolk O-lifting toward Olympics

Woolfolk's uplifting story
By Eli Saslow, Washington Post Staff Writer

"Woolfolk's competitive weightlifting career started in an Annapolis garage -- make that a sloped, cold, cramped garage filled with outdated equipment. She would come home from a day of classes at Broadneck High School, pile on a few layers of winter clothes and shiver through a 90-minute workout. Sometimes, if Woolfolk accidentally dropped a weight, it would roll out of the garage, down the driveway and into the street."

Cutline -
Photo by Tom Kimmell For The Washington Post
Natalie Woolfolk established U.S. records for her weight class in both Olympic lifts: the snatch (220 pounds) and the clean-and-jerk (260 pounds). "I know I can make a name for myself in this sport."

Kelly Kulick first PBA female professional bowler

Kelly Kulick is the first female professional bowler to earn a full exemption for an entire year from the Professional Bowling Association. This is bowler-speak for an all access pass for her to compete in any PBA game in the upcoming season.

Listen at Weekend America

learning to love being in your body

Enjoying being in your body and living in peace with your body image are chief mystical benefits of working out.

Barbara Russi Sarnataro captures this beautifully in her article Workouts That Help You Feel Better About Your Body on Web MD. Though she's talking about yoga and Pilates, everything articulated in the excerpts below can apply to all disciplines which hone lean mass development - like weightlifting, of course.

"Even in the midst of a culture that promotes dissatisfaction with our appearance, adherents say that yoga, Pilates, and other mind-body exercises can teach us respect for our bodies -- whatever their shape.

"Body image, how we view ourselves, often lacks compassion," says Steven Hartman, director of professional training at the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in Lenox, Mass. "Many of us learn at an early age how to disconnect from our body and our body's signals. We learn not to pay attention to pain, to joy in our bodies."

Through yoga, he says, you can re-create a relationship with the body. In each pose, your attention is drawn not to how you look in your tights, but to whether you feel tight hamstrings or an imbalance in the alignment of your hips. Yoga, says Hartman "helps you have an objective awareness of the body."

Christina Sell, author of Yoga from the Inside Out: Making Peace with Your Body through Yoga, says yoga puts you in the moment.

"It's very here, very now, how you stand on the earth, how the position of the body feels on the mat," says Sell, a certified Anusara yoga instructor. "If you're focusing on the immediacy of the body's sensations and the steadiness of the breath, then the attention rests inside the body as it is, rather than in the mind and its projections and images about what is."

Amazon now posting reviews for Something Familiar

Amazon is now allowing customer reviews of my book to be posted. Five reviews are up - all five stars - four of them from top Amazon reviewers! Read 'em here. Release of the book got delayed a bit (of course), but it should be out any day now, literally.

blog goes beta

Mighty Mix is now produced in Blogger Beta, the second generation of Blogger run under the Google empire. The best feature you'll see is the list of Post categories in the left column; I hope readers find it helpful. Please let me know if you have any feedback on my organization of these categories. Mostly, the differences in Beta are on my side of the keyboard; all the features I labored over installing in code are now added and manipulated with startling ease. Niggly little formatting aberrations are now ironed out, so the blog should be tidier and more uniform to view in all browsers.

October 1st images

It was one of those perfect English autumnal days which occur
more frequently in memory than in life. ~P.D. James

October gave a party;
The leaves by hundreds came -
The Chestnuts, Oaks, and Maples,
And leaves of every name.
The Sunshine spread a carpet,
And everything was grand,
Miss Weather led the dancing,
Professor Wind the band.
~George Cooper, "October's Party"

Everyone must take time to sit and watch the leaves turn. ~Elizabeth Lawrence