Trainer Killed by Whale at SeaWorld Posted on February 26th, 2010
Trainer Killed by Whale at SeaWorld
A tragedy took place in the water today. Trainer Dawn Brancheau a woman with extensive experience working with Killer Whales was grabbed off a platform at SeaWorld Florida, pulled into the water, thrashed around in the whale’s jaws and drowned – all of this in front of stunned spectators.
I grew up in the Pacific Northwest. Among my most vivid memories was picnicking on coastal beaches when the unmistakable blowing by an approaching ‘”pod” of Orca (Killer Whales) stopped our entire family in awed silence. Beautiful creatures in the wild. Not so in captivity. In Vancouver BC due to a public outcry about Killer Whales being kept in captivity, I remember a movement to release the whales into the wild. Then in 2000, Bjossa after 20 years of service, the last killer whale at the world famous aquarium was sold to an aquarium in the United States. Captive again. My kids had grown up at the Vancouver Aquarium but the movie “Free Willey” the story about a young boy and a captive whale struck a chord in the city’s consciousness and the aquarium after 33 years, decided that it would no longer be home to Orcas. Keiko the star of Free Willey was prepared to be released into the wild but despite the best efforts of his trainers, he could not break his need for human contact, and kept following or returning to the trainers’ boat. Keiko eventually died, still semi-captive in 2003.
There is a social hierarchy within a group of killer whales which is female-dominant. They have strong bonds especially between mother and calf. I remember when an Orca was captured and taken to Seattle Washington to be transported to a distant aquarium, mother Orca followed her baby right into the holding pen in Puget Sound, grieving all the way. It is no wonder that these magnificent animals turn on trainers and others because they are trapped, penned and inhibited from the freedom of the vast ocean where they belong. Apparently we have learned much about the habits of these captive animals. We have learned at the expense of their suffering. Like all beings, we desire freedom – freedom of expression and freedom to be who we are. The tragedy today is a metaphor for all captives around the world, human and creature and what they may be driven to do.
Michelle Obama Tackles Childhood Obesity Posted on February 24th, 2010
First lady Michelle Obama tackles a subject that will have serious future implications unless something is done. Michelle is a competent mother of two and from all accounts there is no obesity in that family. She works out every day, has planted an organic garden and sees that her children are being raised with healthy foods. Not so in every household. With both parents working and many single parent families, home cooked meals have gone by the boards for over two decades. Most people think that childhood obesity is caused by too much food and not enough exercise – valid reasons. But where did the problem originate? In my opinion a little known cause that packs a big punch is the culprit behind the over-consumption of starch and sugar by adults and children alike. I am referring to a strain of yeast called Candida Albicans which gets out of control after a course of antibiotics and a high starch, high sugar diet. Antibiotics are not just over-prescribed but they are also widely used in the beef, dairy, pork and poultry industry. These factory farm animals are fed an unnatural diet and in order to prevent sickness or death, the widespread use of antibiotics is the norm – a good reason to eat organic. In my opinion, every adult and child that I have counseled is dealing with an overgrowth of yeast. Candida Albicans lives in the gut and in healthy people exists in concert with multiple strains of beneficial bacteria in the lower colon. But once the yeast, like a weed in the garden gets out of control, uncontrollable cravings for starch and sugar result – thus promoting over eating. Easy solution: following a course of antibiotics – take probiotics. This re-colonizes the lower colon with beneficial bacteria and prevents an over growth of yeast. Sure let’s get the home cooked healthy meals moved from the back burner to the front. Sure let’s get the consistent exercise going. Sure let’s get the kids outside and away from the TV and video games. But let’s tackle the real problem – Candida yeast one child at a time.
Looking to Do Something in Haiti? Posted on February 20th, 2010
When I was looking through Time Magazine lately I came across something that made a lot of sense. If you’re like me you were pretty shocked by the devastation in Haiti. Right away I sent a donation through my church. But who is to know how that money will be used. When I read about “Shelter Box” in Time Magazine – I thought – here’s an idea that makes sense. Each shelter box contains a ten person tent, a water purification tent, collapsible water containers, mosquito nets, water-proof ponchos, insulated sleeping mats, thermal blankets, cooking supplies, tools and rope plus crayons and coloring books for the kids. Each shelter box costs $1,000. But partial donations are combined to create a complete box. Once a donation is made, you can track your box and find out where it is going. The stories about how the most-welcome boxes are used are very inspiring. As Tom Henderson the originator of “Shelter Boxes” says, “ Within an hour of the tent’s going up, a mother starts hanging out a laundry line and someone else starts using the tools and the kids get busy with the crayons and paper, returning a degree of normalcy to a family or group of people.” Gather some friends together and make a donation – this one is very worthwhile. www.shelterboxusa.org
Hoda Kobt Suffers Like Many Others Posted on February 20th, 2010
Are you like Hoda with bags under your eyes? Recently I observed that Hoda Kobt, peppy host along with Kathy Lee Gifford of the Today Show, displays a common complaint shared by men and women – an extra set of luggage – right under the eyes.
Fatty deposits under the eyes which appear at a “certain age” are related to menopause or andropause (male menopause) sun damage, genetics or food allergies. Hoda Kobt now in her mid-forties is probably entering peri-menopause – a stage in life when estrogen levels start to decline and skin starts to sag. Bags under the eyes have other causes too. Hoda lives in New York City where poor air quality and pollution can lead to toxicity – thus an extra load on the kidneys. Airborne inhalants such as dust, dust mites, cats and feathers can all be contributing factors to eye puffiness. But I wouldn’t be surprised if that morning cup of coffee that she sips along with her side-kick Kathy Lee could be a contributing factor especially if it’s laced with cream. Dairy products are well known common allergens and contribute to fluid retention especially under the eyes. Bill Clinton is another example of eye puffiness, something that in my observation appeared to worsen after the Monica Lewinski debacle. Helpful strategies are: avoid dairy products, remove cats, dogs and feathers from the sleeping environment, purchase an air filter and schedule some acupuncture treatments to support the liver and kidneys – the body’s flushing system. Failing this, Blepharoplasty, a very successful surgical procedure to remove lower eye puffiness could be considered.
2010 Winter Olympic Opening Ceremonies in Vancouver Canada Posted on February 13th, 2010
Well … you had to be there as the saying goes. The 2010 Olympic Opening Ceremonies in the beautiful city of Vancouver B.C. Canada, was worth the wait and the ticket price! The scene was magical. Imagine walking into a winter snow scene with 60,000 people all dressed in white amid accent colors of icy turquoise – a special effects stunner. A huge crustal bear rose out of the ice and stood suspended in mid-air, whales breached and blew below the surface of the ocean and acrobatic skiers tumbled out of snowy peaks. All the “First Nations” of the region and across Canada were represented. Drums played by the audience beat the rhythm in unison. Enter the athletes – the crowning moment amid resounding cheers and pounding drums. Over the years, the athletes’ entrance has always moved me. I was there for that. Each team, large and small was greeted with waves of cheers. The athletes signified inspiration, energy, brightness, hopes and dreams – the dreams that we all carry for our own lives are played out in theirs. A singular moment will stand out in my mind forever – 60, 000 people gently waving candle flashlights to “Halleluiah” sung by K.D. Lang. The Opening Ceremonies compete with torches, totem poles and talent was probably one of the most exciting moments of my life. To fully capture the magic … well, you just had to be there.
James Ray The Secret Guru – Charged with Manslaughter Posted on February 4th, 2010
Well if you thought that you had heard everything you haven’t. James Ray spiritual guru, personal development expert and workshop leader is now in jail. Ray is being charged with negligence and 3 counts of manslaughter in conjunction with the deaths of three individuals in a sweat lodge ceremony in Sedona Arizona last October. Apparently participants paid $10,000 to attend the three-day workshop. Then they fasted for 36 hours before entering the “sweat lodge” in a make-shift tent erected in a remote area blasted by the heat of the Arizona sun.
What have we learned? First: never give your power away to anyone, even if the workshop leader IS one of the experts on “The Secret.” Second: do not “fast” and then go into a heated environment. Blood sugars can plummet and the heat can quickly cause one to feel uncomfortable and disoriented. Third: make sure if you are participating in a sweat lodge, that you are well hydrated and leave the area if you feel uncomfortable. Do not push yourself in any way and at any time beyond your comfort level.
All too often I see people giving their power away to others whom they feel are more competent than themselves. All too often I see “spiritual gurus” charging exorbitant prices for workshops where simple answers to life’s questions can be found in books or from life itself. The James Ray story is a tragedy – first, because people have died and second because people believed in someone instead of themselves. The fall from grace happens when people in a leadership position do not act with good sense and integrity.