Novels: To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee; anything by Mark
Twain; The World According to Garp (and others) by John Irving.
Animal Farm, The Lord of the Flies. But it has been a long time
since I've read a novel – I usually am reading non-fiction, these
• The Tao
by Fritjov Capra – a physicist delves into the connections between
modern physics and Eastern mysticism.
• Small is Beautiful, Economics as if People Mattered, by E.F.
Schumacher – the title says it all.
• Lifetide, by Lyall Watson – Watson is a scientist with multiple
graduate degrees who writes about the fringes of science – where
the grip science has on our reality is most slippery.
• Paul Hawken – a successful capitalist who grew to question his
capitalist ways. He has since been at the forefront of the movement
to make the business culture more environmentally friendly.
• Margaret Mead – an anthropologist and humanitarian
of the highest order.
If you want to know about men and women, and gender roles, in
vastly different cultures, Mead's your writer, in my opinion. Not
to mention the fact that she coined my favorite quote,
(paraphrased) "Never doubt that a small, thoughtful group of
citizens can change the world, indeed, it's the only thing that
• Howard Zinn – A People's History of the United States. This book
is the antidote to the schlep that we were taught in high-school
• Autobiography of a Yogi, by Paramahansa Yogananda – A classic in
the field of Eastern Mysticism that reveals the scientific
foundation of the religious paths of both, East and West.
Movies: The quirkier, the better. Local Hero; Raising Arizona;
Being There; Oh, Brother Where Art Thou? I also like documentaries,
such as Zeitgeist, Fahrenheit 911, and The Corporation (Premise: If
the actions and tendencies of your average corporation were
psychiatrically tested – as if it were a human – they would likely
be labeled, "Psychotic." Think about that one for a minute.
Especially since, by law, a corporation has the same rights as an
individual. All the rights of an individual, none of the social
constraints of an individual.).
Music: I like most kinds, though I think I am too old-school for
most hip-hop. Notable exceptions might include Black-eyed Peas,
"Where is the Love?" (Beautiful lyrics plus Fergie's singing). I
love indigenous music played on indigenous instruments. Which
probably accounts for my love of tribal/jam bands, with their
extended, repetitive rhythms. Classical guitar – John Williams
playing Paganini pretty much takes the cake. Allman Brothers,
"People can you hear it? A song is in the air. People can you feel
it, love is everywhere. We're in a revolution..." Joni Mitchell,
Fiona Apple (The youtube videos of her performing with Nickel Creek
really show off some of her abilities, as a singer and songwriter.
The bluegrass version of "Criminal" is amazing. And I swear, she
sounds just like Patsy Cline on "Walking After Midnight.") Cyndi
Lauper, Joan Osborn, Ravi Shankar (sitar) with Yehudi Menuhin
(violin), Joni Mitchell, Beatles, Melanie Safka ("I've got a brand
new pair of roller skates..."), Dylan, Outback (didgeridoo, hand
drums, plus guitar and some wicked fiddle). Not a fan of most
modern country, unless it's the rootsier stuff. I used to like the
Dixie Chicks ... until they dissed President Bush! Now I LOVE me
some Dixie Chicks! Alison Krause and Union Station (tight band,
awesomest slide guitar-playing by Jerry Douglas). Oh, and did I
mention Joni Mitchell? :) I just recently came across the
formidable singing, songwriting and guitar-picking talents of Anaïs
Mitchell and her new album, "Hadestown, a Folk Opera," which
features (among others) Ani DiFranco.
Looking for some great music to dance your way through your
household chores? This one works for me, it's a jam band with an
african rhythm: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kdO6IMfIw7Q
Food? Yes, please. I like most food. Although, I steer clear of any
food with ingredients that sound like chemicals – you know, like,
"monosodiumglutamate." I don't require meat at every sitting,
usually tending to prefer either garden burger
as a substitute. The closer to me
my food was produced, the happier I am about it. And if it's
, to boot,
all the better.
The recipe for my current favorite meal:
Dice an organic apple, dice an organic orange, 3 or 4 handfuls of
Hemp Plus Granola (available in the bulk sections at Kiva, Sundance
and Market Choice – I've tried other granolas, but this is the
one!) and about 8 ounces (1/4 tub) of Nancy's organic vanilla
yogurt. Mix well in a large bowl. Makes enough for a meal, or two.
Add other fruit as available – Today, for example, I added a plum
from my plumtree and some blackberries picked on my hike through
the woods on the way home from my bus stop. I could eat this daily,
and often do. Sure, it's a glorified bowl of cereal – but, oh, how
glorious! It's like breakfast and dessert in one!
A quote I made up and believe to be true: "The best thing you, as
an individual, can do for the planet is to buy locally
whenever possible. The best thing you can do for you is to eat
organic, whenever possible."
Why? You ask. Consider this: the average foodstuff in this world
has traveled something on the order of thousands of miles before
arriving at your table. Those New Zealand apples were flown in. A
jetliner burns something on the order of 10,000 times as much fuel
as your average car ... per mile. So, I'm at the grocery store
looking at apples, one bin has apples from New Zealand, the bin
next to it has apples from the Columbia Gorge, I'm going with the
most locally produced one. And as for eating organic goes, I firmly
believe that there is very little produced by mainstream food
manufacturers that does not contain questionable contents. I also
believe that this "frankenfood" is harmful to us in ways that we
don't yet understand.