Category Archives: Deepak Chopra

Hot Air

The Rich: How They Get That Way

Kids, you have to read this smart — and smart-assed — work of art by a performance artist named Revolva (h/t to B-town’s hoop queen Paula Chambers for pointing it out.) Revolva has made tsunami-high waves on the interwebs for busting the heretofore beloved Oprah Winfrey’s chops.

Revolva

Revolva & Friend

See, the world’s most caring, powerful, brilliant, spiritual, all-knowing woman was throwing a great big narcissists ball in San Jose, CA this past weekend, charging up to a grand a ducat, and had asked Revolva to perform for free at it.

The SJ event was part of what the Oprah Outfit calls The Life You Want Weekend. It featured scads of self-help snake-oil peddlers, phony-baloney mystics, and shrewd entrepreneurs telling huge arenas of goggle-eyed woman how they control everything that happens to themselves and how they can attract good things by thinking sweet thoughts. The audience was cooed at and cosseted by the likes of bullshit artist Deepak Chopra and literary self-exalter Elizabeth Gilbert. For this, I repeat, many of the attendees  shelled out a thou a ticket.

Kari Revolva writes in an open letter to Oprah (all sic):

The life I WANT does not involve mega tours netting unfathomable amounts of real, tangible money, while local artists are coached to accept all or most of their payment in the least stable form of currency: exposure. If the “trailblazing” I do today is being an upstream voice, then I’ll at least make a bold statement about the life I DO want:

I want a life in which people are not asked to work for free — by people who can totally afford to pay.

Kari Revolva is an Oakland, California-based comedian/actor/dancer/writer/hoop artist who apparently does circus-ey things with the Hula Hoop and throws in some fire while she’s at it. She got a call from one of Oprah’s Harpo Studios producers asking her to work an outside stage at the last stop on the Big O Life You Want tour. She was shocked when she was told there’d be no pay. Not only that, she’d have to pay her own way from one end of San Francisco Bay to the other. Oh, and whatever else she had planned for that particular day that might have made her a dollar or two would be out of the question as she raced to donate her services to Oprah’s money-printing machine.

From revolva.net

Revolva’s Math

The Life You Want Weekend last month was skewered in a New York Times style section piece written by Jennifer Conlin.

Revolva continues:

In one day, your arena tour (capacity around 18,000, each ticket $99 to $999) is raking in more money than most people will make in a year. In ten years. In their entire lives. And yet, your side stage, featuring local acts, is paying in that old tap-dancing, phantom promise of “exposure.” As I was choking on my own tongue (stroke!), your producer also mentioned there was the added bonus of a ticket to the event. Unfortunately, her call coming just four days before your San Jose stop, I didn’t have the whole weekend free. I also texted my landlord, and it turns out he does not accept rent payment in Oprah Winfrey tickets. Gah!

I’ve long gagged over the genuflecting America did before Oprah, whose daily TV love fest (she retired from her show in 2011) regularly featured junk science, quack medicine, self-help bushwa, and the likes of fraudster Mehmet Oz. Today her magazine (which, by her own order, displays her sacred mug on every cover) features a column written by Herself entitled “What I Know for Sure,” which sounds just a tad presumptuous, no?

The sold-out arenas at which O put on her Weekends prove she’s still a huge draw. As Malcolm Muggeridge once observed:

One of the peculiar sins of the 20th Century which we’ve developed to a very high level is the sin of credulity. It has been said that when human beings stop believing in God they believe in nothing. The truth is much worse: they believe in anything.

Bad Thoughts

Now this might sound macabre, ghoulish, and even tinfoil-hat-ish but the question just occurred to me: Who’s going to get shot at first, Elizabeth Warren or Pope Francis?

Warren/Pope

Warren & Bergoglio

[E. Warren photo by Tim Pierce; for more visit Tim’s flickr page.]

I also include in the realm of possibilities food poisoning, trumped-up sex scandal, or — gulp! — plane crash.

Go ahead, laugh at me. I hope I’m wrong as wrong can be. I hope to hell I’m making an ass out of myself.

This mad, mad, mad, mad world lets troublemakers rock the boat — but only to a point. I’m guessing Warren and the Pope long ago went way past that point.

Hot Air

Up In Smoke

The other day I wrote a bit about teddy bears and other silly mementos to mark the passing of a human. The gist was if anyone tries to memorialize me through the use of a teddy bear or a crucifix, my dead soul will violate the physical laws of the Universe and haunt the crap out of the person or persons who committed that atrocity. [No link; I’m too lazy to dig it up this AM.]

A few days later, I came upon this:

Cubs Urn

It’s a Chicago Cubs-branded urn, sold by an outfit called The Eternal Image Group. Some perverse part of me wants to have my ashes sequestered eternally in something like this.

Then again, wouldn’t that be the equivalent of hell? (Which, BTW, I don’t believe in but if my Earthly remains are shut away in a Cubs urn, I would indeed be in hell.)

[h/t to Bleed Cubbie Blue.]

I Wanna Die

Zeke Emanuel, brother of my beloved hometown Chicago’s mayor Rahm, has written quite the controversial  piece for The Atlantic magazine.

Emanuels

Zeke (L) & Rahm Emanuel

[Photo by Annie Leibovitz]

Zeke, a noted bioethicist and medical school professor, says he wants to die at 75. This flies in the face of everything we’ve stood for in this holy land. The search for eternal youth and pushing back our mortality have been driving forces in America as much as eating sawdust-y fast food, screeching about taxes, and trying to catch glimpses of sideboob.

The mayor’s bro isn’t up for living to the ripe old age of 100. Now this is something I’ve been saying for years. Why would anyone want to live past, say, 85 even? Sure, sure, sure, you may point out that one oddball, that outlier who’s 89 and still swimming laps and going for long hikes. I hate that guy anyway, no matter who he is.

Runners

Jerks

He’s a scourge, an indictment, a reminder of what an achy, flatulent, overweight, in need of a nap curmudgeon with a scalpful of precancerous growths, a prostate the size of a cantaloupe, arthritis in every joint, achilles tendonitis, a bum hip, balky knees, hair over every inch of my body, wreck I am. Man, I hate that guy.

That slim, trim, maniacally grinning, running, swimming, salad-eating 89 y.o. loon is proof of nothing. There’s one of him for every million other 89-ers who can barely get out of bed in the morning and/or can’t even remember where the floor is.

Aging is something that can’t be beaten. Breakdown is built into our very cells. Hell, stories have been written since the time of the ancient Greeks about the folly of humans who find a way to live forever. Fraudsters like Deepak Chopra to this day makes scads of dough trying to convince the criminally gullible that they, too, can live indefinitely.

Why?

Albright

Ivan Albright’s “The Picture of Dorian Gray”

Zeke Emanuel writes that yes, dying is a loss, both to the dead person and her/his survivors. But, he points out:

[H]ere is a simple truth that many of us seem to resist: living too long is also a loss. It renders many of us, if not disabled, then faltering and declining, a state that may not be worse than death but is nonetheless deprived. It robs us of our creativity and ability to contribute to work, society, the world. It transforms how people experience us, relate to us, and, most important, remember us. We are no longer remembered as vibrant and engaged but as feeble, ineffectual, even pathetic.

I have a pal whose parents lived in the Netherlands. They were diagnosed with cancer within months of each other. It wasn’t that they were told they were going to die within the next three months but, in that country, there is no mania for life, no compulsion to live even if living is only a technical distinction. They elected to check out, together, at a time of their choosing. They threw a party for themselves and then, with the help of the Netherlands’ health care system, they went to a place and were ushered out, peacefully, with dignity, and well before the cancer that was growing within them could turn their lives into hell.

That makes a lot more sense than tilting against the windmill of death.

My mother, almost precisely a year ago, was found an inch from death on her bedroom floor by my brother. She’d been laying there for three days. Poor Joey had been overwhelmed with other responsibilities and problems and, for the only time since she’d turned frail and elderly, hadn’t checked in with Ma for those days. Wouldn’t you know it — that’s just when she fell and shattered her hips next to her bed.

When Joey saw Ma laying there, he was certain she was gone. She wasn’t, though. I wrote at the time that I wished she had died then and there. I knew that, alive, she’d be sentenced to a “life” of misery. And so she was.

Ma lost her home. She spent her remaining five months in hospitals and nursing homes, something she’d told me countless times she couldn’t even bear to think about. She was in great pain and she gradually lost touch with reality.

Oddly, some members of the fam. shook their fingers at me. How could you wish our sweet mother/grandmother/great-grandmother to be dead? they said.

I answered, Because she wasn’t really living.

Nursing Home

Living?

Emanuel writes of those who’ve bought into pushing death back as far as it can go:

So American immortals may live longer than their parents, but they are likely to be more incapacitated. Does that sound very desirable? Not to me.

The situation becomes of even greater concern when we confront the most dreadful of all possibilities: living with dementia and other acquired mental disabilities. Right now approximately 5 million Americans over 65 have Alzheimer’s; one in three Americans 85 and older has Alzheimer’s. And the prospect of that changing in the next few decades is not good. Numerous recent trials of drugs that were supposed to stall Alzheimer’s—much less reverse or prevent it—have failed so miserably that researchers are rethinking the whole disease paradigm that informed much of the research over the past few decades. Instead of predicting a cure in the foreseeable future, many are warning of a tsunami of dementia—a nearly 300 percent increase in the number of older Americans with dementia by 2050.

Half of people 80 and older with functional limitations. A third of people 85 and older with Alzheimer’s. That still leaves many, many elderly people who have escaped physical and mental disability. If we are among the lucky ones, then why stop at 75? Why not live as long as possible?

Even if we aren’t demented, our mental functioning deteriorates as we grow older. Age-associated declines in mental-processing speed, working and long-term memory, and problem-solving are well established. Conversely, distractibility increases. We cannot focus and stay with a project as well as we could when we were young. As we move slower with age, we also think slower.

I’m with Zeke. I’ll be more than happy to check out at the age of 75. Just stuff my ashes into a Cubs urn. They still probably won’t have won the World Series by that late date.

The Pencil Today:

HotAirLogoFinal Tuesday

THE QUOTE

“The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point then the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one.” — George Bernard Shaw

Shaw

UH, GEE, THANKS

Every year, someone who cares about you will give you a Christmas/Hannukah gift that you’ll never use. A gift, in fact, that you’d be embarrassed for the firemen to discover should your house go up in flames.

Surly Amy on Skepchick offered invaluable advice yesterday on what to do with a specific genre of such unwanted largesse.

From Skepchick

Go Ahead, She Won’t Bite

 

A reader wrote in to S.A. asking what to do with all the old pseudoscience, self-help, and pop metaphysics books she’s collected through the years. She has the courage and moral fortitude to admit she once bought into the “ideas” presented therein but now is a devoted skeptic. So, what should she do with those old books?

The usual answer would be to donate or sell them but the reader won’t do that because she doesn’t want to spread these virus-laden items around.

Surly Amy canvassed creative skeptics and was able to offer some fab alternatives:

  • Make an iPad holder
  • Make a “book” shelf
  • Create book art
  • Fashion paper flowers out of pages and book covers

From Skepchick

Voila: A “Book” Shelf!

Go to MadArtLab for more ideas on upcycling books and other fun projects.

Now you know what to do with those copies of Deepak Chopra’s big seller “Super Brain,” Michael Singer’s mega-seller “The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself,” or Rhonda Byrne’s old reliable “The Secret” that a well-meaning (albeit tragically misguided) soul might give you next week.

THE JOY OF GORGING

Speaking of X-mas, here’s my tried and true Italian holiday cookies recipe. Make these and you’ll be the toast of the block.

They’re great for dipping and late night snacking. And they’re guaranteed to add inches to your waistline.

I mean, what else are cookies for?

Now then:

Big Mike’s Italian Holiday Cookies

  • 5 cups flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 ½ sticks butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 heaping tsps baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp lemon extract
  • Half a bag of unsweetened jumbo baking chocolate chips

◗ Mix flour, powder, and salt together. Put aside. In second bowl, cream butter and sugar. In third bowl, fork whip eggs and add vanilla and lemon extracts — mix well.

◗ Pour egg mixture into creamed mixture. Stir well.

◗ Add flour mixture gradually to creamed mixture, combining as much as possible with wooden spoon. Then work dough with your hands. Completed dough should have the consistency of clay.

◗ Refrigerate for 1 hour. Preheat and set oven to 350 degrees. Roll dough into 1-inch diameter balls. Place balls on ungreased, non-stick cookie sheets. Press thumb into center of balls to make lens-like discs. Place large, semi-sweet chocolate baking chip, pointy end down, into center of each disc. Bake for 12-17 minutes, until golden brown.

Eat and gain weight. Worry about your waistline next year.

WOMEN YOU SHOULD KNOW

Recognize these names?

Women

If not, why not?

%d bloggers like this: