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Saturday, March 30, 2013

Spring Reboot

Here it is March 29, 2013, with only 3 days left in the month, finally the lamb has arrived.  Much of the weather here in the New York "tri-state" this month has been a lion like mash up of unseasonably cold temperatures joined by an occasional mix of wet and wintry precipitation.

Today, the sun is shining bright and the temps are approaching their seasonal norms.  There is a noticeable change in that the sun is much higher in the sky during the day.  Almost on cue, the birds are returning and singing their tunes throughout the day.

There is much to do in the weeks and months ahead.  I have many projects to complete as I still have to repair several home items from damage caused by the Hurricane Sandy in October. 

Spring is a great time to get active and move as the winter typically finds me shut-in and being quite the couch potato.  That is a situation that can get routine if you allow it to and the results of that lifestyle are disturbing. 

I recently watched a cool documentary on Netflix called Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead.  In the film, Australian Joe Cross comes to the USA and for 60 days he undertakes a supervised juice fast.  He travels the country preaching the gospel of juicing to others that they "reboot" their lives with a juice fast. 

Joe Cross loses quite a bit of weight and an auto-immune disorder he has gets under control which allows him to eliminate the host of prescription medicines he takes.  Also, Joe meets a trucker during his journey who later seeks him out for help to save his life.

While, I have juiced fruits and vegetables in the past, I have never committed to fruit and vegetable juices as being my only source of calories for a defined period of time.  Seeing the results of others on the film and at Joe's website:, I plan to try some sort of juice fast sometime this spring.

My goal with the juice fast would be to reboot my system, lose a few pounds and attempt to carryover this wellness approach after the juice fast (i.e. avoiding the sweets and other pitfalls). 

Have you ever tried something like this?  Did it work?

In closing, have a Happy Easter or Passover and get out there and reboot your life this spring.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Happy St. Patrick's Day - Éire go Brách

Happy St. Patrick's Day.  Yes tomorrow is a day for all of us of Irish heritage to celebrate the patron saint of Ireland and also reflect on the important contributions the Irish have made and continue to make in  the United States of America.

The Irish in America have come a long way since the large scale waves of Irish entered "the new world" in the 1850's and 60's.  These poor people, fleeing their homeland due to the
potato famine and hoping for a new start in a growing country in need of their labor.   It's easy a century plus to romanticize the experiences of the Irish emigrating to a new country, however it surely was difficult and at times dangerous for them.

The Irish-Americans have contributed to most military campaigns in our history.  Here in New York, the Irish helped build the railways, tunnels, and bridges that form our region's vital circulatory system.  The Irish have made important contributions in politics and on of our own achieved the highest office, the Presidency in 1960. (Note to self: JFK a future post!)

The Irish-American immigration experience was probably no different than those people coming from non-English speaking countries today.  Certainly they share many commonalities:  hard work, love of family and to their church. 

I have always wanted to complete a genealogy for both my mother and father's side of the family.  The internet has been helpful with online census records in addition to other records.  I've been lucky having found census records showing my grandfather on my mother's side listed close to 100 years ago.  I've also was fortunate to have found a great blog:  I marveled that Mr. Tierney researched and found a picture of his great-grandfather, who was a New York City police officer at the turn of the last century.  I found that so cool, since both my grandfathers were NYC officers too.  Follow him on Twitter @JJT and check out his blog.

He's since offered me tips towards my own family history and he also gave me a link to an Irish Soda Break recipe:

Well whatever your background is, this weekend your Irish.  Let this St. Patrick's Day put you in a festive mood and thankful for the contributions your ancestors have made and be sure to toast one to them.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Sunday Arts: An Island in the Darkness

I remember "discovering" this song, An Island in the Darkness back in the peer-to-peer Napster days.  Although it was first released in 1995 by the band Strictly Inc, this 17 minute song really had little reception among audiences that who were weaned on 2-3 min pop songs. 

Well one of the members of Strictly Inc was Tony Banks, of Genesis fame, who used the guise of a band to continue his solo work.  He was no stranger to the longer works of music as Island echos some of his Prog-rock works with Genesis .  Joining Banks on this song as vocalist is Jack Hues of the 80's band Wang Chung. 

I enjoy this song first because of the strong imagery presented lyrically and second due to the musical virtuosity on display throughout the song.  From the opening introduction by piano-synth until its final note, this song rewards the patient listener.  I even like the Daryl Stuermer guitar solo (Hackett would have been better!).

Well sit back and enjoy:

Like a fuse to the end will burn
Like a wave when the tide has turned
You keep on coming regardless
You won't accept defeat

And in the light of a cold grey dawn
When all seemed lost and you felt so forlorn
You sensed a warmth surround you
And now you find you're
No longer on your own

It's impossible unbelievable news
It's impossible but it's true

You never thought you would ever be here
You never even dared to hope you would ever be here
In a world you used to dream of
And watch from afar

After all of the time gone by
Searching fruitlessly asking why
It's hard to stop the trying
To truly realize

That all the pain all that's gone before
Lies behind and you can close the door
In the past forever
No need to worry
No need to fear at all

It's impossible unbelievable news
It's impossible but it's true

You never thought you would ever be here
You never even dared to hope you would ever be here
In a world you used to dream of
And watch from afar

In every minute of every hour so many dreams die
Do you believe it will be any different this time
This dream will last forever
This day will never end

Now the fog surrounds you
Swirling all around you
Confusing all your senses
All you see are phantoms
Always just out of reach
They tantalize and beckon
Seduce but without promise
You don't want to be here anymore
You don't want to be here to take it anymore
Now the water rises
It takes you where it will
You cannot choose direction
Or control the motion
And in the end you're thrown up
On an island in the darkness
Nothing is familiar
Tell me are you frightened on your own
Do you have the will to carry on?