Monday, March 30, 2009

The Cookie Sutra

The Cookie Sutra

(Hope this comes out okay. Many Blogger issues with this post and at this time, I am leaving well enough alone.)

"Where imaginations are fertile, love will
never grow stale, nor crumble."

I was given this wonderful little book as a birthday gift from my niece, Ashley. Now, I don't usually do book or movie reviews. The reason? First, there are others who are so much better at it than I am, like Willow, Mindy, and Reya. Second, I don't have time to see a lot of movies. Last, the books I read, most people wouldn't be interested in, like: Theories of the Universe, Pathology for Massage Therapists, Whiplash and Related Headaches and Physics of the Soul. However, once in a great while, I make an exception and today's review is one.

The Cookie Sutra is a witty little book and a quick read, fifteen minutes, maybe 30 if you're sandbagging. It was written by Edward Jaye. The name Edward Jaye is a pseudonym for an award winning advertising executive who lives with his wife in a secret location in Massachusetts, USA. It is delightful treatise that successfully combines two of lifes, and my, greatest pleasures, food and erotica. It contains an ancient recipe for bliss alongside a contemporary recipe for baking your own gingerbread Cookie Sutra.

Everything about this book is as light as leavened bread, including the dedication: "To Lisa for showing me where we keep the baking stuff and not asking why.'' It includes tips on preparing the body, preheating the oven, and a menu of postures. For beginners, he offers the "First Posture, tried-and-true as milk and cookies." For advanced baker-love makers, he presents Autumn Dog, The Wheelbarrow, The Suspended Congress, and Bending the Bow. But Jaye cautions, "those no longer considered freshed baked should take great care, lest the cookies crumble."

As an anecdotal endorsement, I work in a salon with over 40 beauticians, therapists and aesthetic technicians. I left this book on the counter by mistake when I left for my day off. By the time I returned, The Cookie Sutra had made its way around the salon, returned to me (actually, I had to hunt it down) with hair color stained finger prints on the pages and cover. The majority of stylists I know really have little interest in reading books without pictures. I don't mean this in a bad way it's just that most, NOT ALL, (so no nasty e-mails, please 'cause I love my friends), of them are hands-on active women. They spend lots of time looking at literature with photos, like styling mags and People. This book has lots of pictures, humorous lovemaking tips, and recipes. Lots of good things all in under one cover. Any way, whether for yourself or as a gift, this is a fun book, a funny book, and a how-to for getting cookin' on many levels. I give The Cookie Sutra two buns up!

"The first complete illustrated translation. For lovers, for
the adventurous, for the curious, for the bakers. Especially for the

The Cookie Sutra
By Edward Jaye
ISBN-10: 0-7611-3809-9
Workman Publishing

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Theme Thursday...Mineral (Legend of Iron Mountain)

The Legend of Iron Mountain

The Iron Mountain Mine sits several miles to the west above my home. Iron Mountain is a mass of sulfide deposits located in Shasta County in the southern corner of the Klamath Mountains, about 9 miles north of Redding, California. I grew up seeing her rusty, scarred mountain side. The blood orange rock swipes a slash of roguish beauty across the greens, browns and blues of the vegetation, earth and sky. I take her for granted. Always have. She has been there for as long as I can remember. Little did I realize how little I knew about this mine I have lived beneath all of my life. What I did know was that the mining caused vegetation kills for many miles in all directions. The manzanita bushes that are so prolific, and that many believe to be indigenous to this area, were imported and planted in the 1940s and 1950s on the bare hills to stop erosion.

This mining area formed nearly 400 million years ago in a marine environment. Sulfur-rich hydrothermal fluids were released from geothermal hot springs on the sea floor. In the mid 1800s, a settler and a surveyor, after noticing the brilliant red color of the rock face of Iron Mountain, perceived "an immense iron deposit."

Sulphuric acid fumes kills trees on top of Iron Mountain Mine.

Photos courtesy of National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration/Department of Commerce

In addition to the iron, it contained silver. Mining of the silver began. Sulfide deposits were found inside the mountain in the mid 1890s and copper mining followed. The mountain was also found to be rich in gold, iron, zinc, and pyrite (iron sulfide). The pyrite, a sulfur source, was used for manufacture of fertilizers, munitions, and in refining petroleum. The mountain is the largest hard rock mine in California, and was one on the largest copper mines in the world. It is estimated that more than half of the original ore remains. Vast fortunes were evacuated from her bowels.

People labored in unimaginable tasks, pulling world changing copper ore from the earth, allowing for the modern age revolution. At the turn of the century, in gold alone, she made her owners over a million dollars a day. In 1896, after just three years, stockholders received over half of their investments in dividends. The mountain was a benevolent mistress, proffering not only wealth, but livelihood to as many as 2000 workers.

A small mining community, known as Minnesota, formed near the mine. Just last summer, a massive forest fire devoured what was left of the old town. Only the 80 year old school house remains. In the early 1970s, as a young adult, we used to party up there. We would pull off the road and hike into a series of beautiful water falls. At the beginning of the hike, we would stop at this one-room school house and explore. There was not much left even then. Some old books. A worn, chipped blackboard. One or two dilapidated oak, flip-top desks. And an eerie feeling of life existing just beneath the surface, like fish under the surface of a lake. Memories of another time were choked out by the vines pushing through the cracks in the foundation. We would linger for a while here, in another world, and then hike down to the lower falls, skinny dip and tan under the blasting Redding sun, burn some Mexican blunt, and drink Ripple.

Shortly after 1896, they began operating a copper cementation plant. A large basin of water filled with the water that drains from the mine was allowed to flow over a lot of scrap iron The resulting reaction precipitates the copper out. This is known as Acid Mine Drainage, AMD. Acid Mine Drainage was naturally occurring in the bodies of ore long before the mining began. By the 1920s, Sacramento River fish kills were blamed on Iron Mountain. The completion of Shasta Dam in the 1950s stopped the natural dilution of the acids by stemming back the heavy rains. The mine closed after the price of copper dropped to the bottom. The property was sold twice after that.

Iron Mountain is viewed as "a worst-case scenario" in the formation of AMD. The contamination was equal, in breadth and scope, to Love Canal, one of the largest environmental disasters on record. Money from the Superfund was appropriated for the clean up of the site. Superfund is the generic name for the environmental policy, Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA). The purpose of the law was to protect communities, people, families, and others from abandoned sites of toxic waste. The $950 million settlement was one of the largest settlements with a single private pay.

Acid mine drainage, Slickrock Creek

Photos courtesy of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/Department of Commerce

The owners of the mine, Iron Mountain Mining, Inc., IMMI, hung on despite the adversity. Throught the years, they have attempted bio-mining techniques that are believed to be harmless to the surface environment. Any attempts to tap the mines resources have consistently been stymied by the Environmental Protection Agency, EPA. IMMI insists that solution mining is the only viable remedy for the AMD, and the 25 year battle of Iron Mountain Mines continue in the Courts. Today 40% of all copper mining worldwide is solution mining. The company exists financially by selling what has already been mined, hobbled by the EPA at every step.

Interest in the sizable ore deposits of Iron Mountain have been rekindled by emerging technologies. Technologies like zinc/air batteries, solar cells based in cadmium that have the potential to liberate our dependence on foreign oil, and iron and copper catalysts. But these will have to wait until the courts settle the battle between IMMI and the EPA.

Until then, IMMI is planning to erect a huge statue of Christ and create an area for spiritual retreat, complete with gondola ride from the parking area to the summit. Also, they are offering sweet relief from our brutally hot summers in the cool mountain air. Some how, out of all of this destruction, life prevails. The University of California at Berkeley sent biologists to study the microbes that allow Acid Mine Drainage to occur. Among them, new life forms were discovered. The new organism, ferroplasma acidarmanus, is being studied with hopes of understanding how far back in the tree of life this life form originated. IMMI also has plans to erect a campus and laboratory at the old Minnesota town site. Additionally in the works, is a reforestation project. They hope to make Redding the heart of a technological revolution creating dependence from foreign oil. They hope to offer employment to the community in the making of finished products. They plan to protect the wild life and natural state of the area. Hmmm...Holy guano Batman! We need the Toxic Avenger!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009



The synergy of nature is so very evident this time of year. Before the leaves of the trees begin their emergence and eventual camouflage of their barren, winter skeletons, their support and transport systems are exposed for all to see. The trees, with their roots anchored in the earth for support and absorption of water and nutrients, gain most of their size from carbon dioxide absorbed from the air. The trunks of the tree give the leaf-bearing branches the height to reach the sun. In a photosynthetic dance, they devour carbon dioxide and give forth oxygen.

Trees exhale life rich oxygen for our bodies. Our respiration exchanges carbon dioxide and oxygen between the lungs and blood and between blood and body tissue. The circulatory blood flows nutrients, waste and gases to and from our cells and tissues. We exhale the gas, carbon dioxide, in reciprocation, back to the trees.

Breathing supplies our heart and brain with life sustaining oxygen. Our crucial breaths, full of emotion, express laughter and tears, bursts of anger, cries of contentment, sighs of relief, or become shallowly contracted with fear. The breath is sacred.

Mother Nature knows that it is not necessary to reinvent the wheel. Our nourishment systems appear to be nearly identical. In humans, nourishment comes via arteries, veins and capillaries while trees are supplied through the lines of trunk, branches and twigs. The Mother, in her infinite wisdom, magically mimics vital architecture from life form to life form.

"God breathed into man the breath of life, and man became a living soul."

Biblical scripture

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Theme Thursday-Vegetable (The Crystal Bowl)

Dana, The Goddess of Herbaceous Delight

The Crystal Bowl

Tomorrow marks the first day of spring. The 2009 vernal equinox in the northern hemisphere occurs Friday, March 20, at 4:44 am PDT; 11:44 UT. It is one of the four grand solar celebrations of the year. For the moment, Mother Earth is equally balanced in the dark and the light, soon to roll over into longer lengths of day. The year, a toddler at Candlemas in February, is now a young girl. Full of life. Full of promise. Full of love and joy. Fresh faced and beaming. Sampling what life has to offer, the clouds of sorrow and the brightness of the sun pass over her as quickly as they do the spring sky.

It is a time to plant the vegetables that will become the stores of fall harvest. Fertile seeds hold the prospect of new plants. New life. The ancient Italian custom of planting the gardens of Adonis on the first day of spring, persists in Sicily. After the planted seeds sprout, the women wrap the stalks with red ribbons and place them on graves on Good Friday. A scarlet reminder that life has cheated the Grim Reaper of his prey.

This is a time to celebrate the retreat of the dark part of the year. The light is coming. The Earth grows strong and gives new, green life under the warm, gentle persuasion of the sun. This time of planting symbolizes all of the attributes we wish to manifest during the coming year--love, grace, patience, understanding, wisdom, peace, abundance. All this and more, I see in my crystal bowl.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The End of the Rainbow

The End of the Rainbow
by Jason Erdkamp

This morning there is a rainbow. A brilliant, shimmery, prismatic rainbow. On St. Patrick's day, no less! I don't know what it is about rainbows, but they always bring joy. They give us all a reason to drop our mundane daily activities and, for a few minutes, step back into the wonder of childhood. A rainbow is like an etheric, magical card trick. A performance right before your very eyes that you know has been constructed but somehow, you just can't figure it out. But like love, you can not hold it tightly. It is ephemeral. A spectrum of light, appearing in the sky when sunlight is near dormant and refracted through rain drops. Quixotic. Chimerical.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Case of the Mystery Caller

The Case of the Mystery Caller

This is not your typical ghost story. This is a mystery. A walk on the other side...another place and another plane...a peculiar occurrence in time. This is a story of my sister.

Tami's story:

On Friday, January 9, 2009, I was laid off. The next day began like every other normal Saturday. But it would end quite differently. That afternoon my husband, Jim, and I went to our shop, R-T Auto Repair, to wash, wax, and clean my very filthy truck. It was so dirty, it should have been spanked. On the way home, we stopped by Win River, an Indian gaming casino, for a couple of hours. We won some money and left. On our way home I was hungry, so we went to Jack in the Box. As we pulled up to the drive-thru menu, I called my son, Brandon, to see if he wanted something to eat. He didn't want anything which is probably the greater mystery. But I digress.

I'm sure you'll agree, so far, a very normal day. Too normal. Unnervingly normal. After calling him, I checked my phone to see if I had missed any calls while inside the casino. I had received two calls from Jeanne's cell phone number. Jeanne is my long time friend and frequent coworker. The first call came in at 10:24 p.m. and the other one was at 10:28 p.m. There was no message. I looked at my watch. It was 10:40 p.m. I called her back and her phone went to voice mail. I left a message. I thought maybe they were at Win River and saw us leaving and that was why she had called.

The next afternoon, Sunday, I called Jeanne to let her know that I had been let go. I asked her what she had wanted when she called last night. I had been thinking about her A LOT on Friday after my release and on into the next day. She was confused. So, I asked again, what she had wanted last night when she called. She was still confused. I told her the story about the two calls four minutes apart with no message left.

Still sounding confused, she asked if I was sure it was her. I told her yes, it was from her cell phone. Silence. After a few hanging seconds, with a catch in her voice, she said that she hadn't called me last night. She asked if I was sure it was she that called. So I grabbed my cell phone and double checked the number. It was her cell number all right! Jeanne, once again sounding confused, said as a matter of fact, her daughter Colette had called last night while she and her husband were asleep. After Colette hung up Bill, bitched to Jeanne because she had called so flippin' late. Jeanne looked at the clock and laughed. It was only 9:30. After telling him he was a grumpy, old fart, she rolled over and fell quickly asleep.

Next, Jeanne checked her cell phone which was in her purse. It was turned off. She knows that, while she was awake, she never called me. She said that she had never sleep-called anyone. She wondered if it was possible she just doesn't remember because she was asleep. I told her she had been on my mind all weekend. Maybe her phone got my psychic message and took it upon itself to call me because, after all, she and Bill are old, need lots of sleep and had no time to talk that night.

Jeanne's story:

I would think I had sleep-phoned her if her number was on my phone. It wasn't. I had been thinking a lot about Tami because she had been so upset but I didn't want to "butt in." This is unexplainable, in my opinion. I wish I had left her a voice message from my dreams. That would have been even more eerie.

Ronda's story:

What do you think happened that night? Who or what made those calls? My sister gave me this story because, as she says, she knows I love this kind of s*** and might have freaky friends who have ideas. Or did she say freakin' friends? And I really think she meant you might have ideas about how this happened because I KNOW you all have ideas of one type or another. I mean, I don't think she believes my friends are vacant, does she? It is late. I can't remember. Anyway, how 'bout it freaky friends? Do you have an explanation. We don't. Hit me back!

Theme Thursday...Animal (To Speak or Not to Speak)

To Speak or Not to Speak, That is the Question

Somehow, because we have opposable thumbs and large brains, we homo sapiens believe we are the dominant species. In our egocentric folly, we exalt our status in the animal kingdom for our superior communication and language abilities. We think that since we can talk, we are special. Just us. The chosen species. I often wonder if our bravado is misplaced.

All of the animals of the world have unspoken systems of sophisticated, inter-species expression. These systems have served them for eons. Conversation among animals takes many forms: posturing, a glance, a swag of the tail, a prick of the ear, a yawn, a sniff, a bark, high pitched sounds, low ultrasonic vibrations, and scents. They employ energetic exchanges that telegraph their intentions and warnings clearly. Very clearly. There is no mistaking, at the watering hole, who is on the prowl for a meal and who is just thirsty. Instant, telepathic articulation to the entire community of animals is routine and elementary.

We are the ones who are retarded in our communication skills. The animals, who we consider a lower life form, know with certainty that their messages will be understood among their kingdom. They are clear, concise and blunt. No apologies. Their senses of vision and hearing are sharply developed and keen. And when one dog sniffs another dogs behind, it is a whole conversation. They can tell where the other has been, what has been eaten, who they have been around, and the state of their physical and emotional health. No lies. No subterfuge. No miscommunication.

They make our interchanges look clumsy, cumbersome and archaic. We pride ourselves on our vocabularies and verbal skills. But we muck up relationships and interactions daily. We tend to go through life talking over everyone else. Even in the pauses of our speaking, our internal chatter keeps us missing a large part of what the other person is saying. We spend so much time trying to explain ourselves that we miss much due to inattentive listening and observation. We are busy, busy, busy...jacking our jaw... farting our brain...congratulating ourselves, in the essence of our very being, on our self-important Big Brain Theory.

I have truly wished to know, for just five minutes, what it would be like to hear or smell like a dog. Oh, stop! I don't mean I want to be stinky. What I do mean is that I want to experience the sensory gluttony of the animal kingdom. I know this is weird but, I have spent a lot of time trying to imagine myself in my dog's body. I have attended a couple of animal communication workshops instructed by famed animal communicator, Amelia Kinkade. I have had some success with her intuitive techniques. But for me, this requires a lot of practice and I am not always compliant.

My quest? One moment, or even one second, of total immersion in a zoological auditory and olfactory experience. I want exclusive, backstage VIP access to the entire universe of expression to which we are not privy. We, the youngest species on planet Earth, have a lot to learn from our animal counterparts. They have been communing far longer than we have. Sometimes I think a good ol' sniff up the bum would do much to eradicate human calamity and error.

This butt's for you!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Happy Barkday to Me, the Sweetiest!


Well, hello my darling two-leggeds. I am Miss B.B. La La. Today is my Barkday! I sent my human, Ronda, out across the field to look for the Frisbee she threw for me. Shnuff! Shnuff! She thinks I didn't see where it landed but I'm really just ignoring her so that I could paw the computer away from her for a little while. Shnuff! I am nine years old. That's 63 in dog years. But as I always say, dog years, shmog years. Who ever invented that system had their foot in a pile of stinky ol' poo! I think I am holding up well and don't look a day over six. I have work done, you know. A little nip here. A tuck there. A little Puptox and Collie-gen will take years off in a swag of the tail.

Since I'm still as active as a pup, I do a lot of charity work. I need as many two-leggeds as possible to help animals that aren't as lucky as me. Many shelters are old and in danger of being shut down. In our region, the Butte Humane Society shelter has problems with heating, drainage, broken pipes, and ventilation among other problems. They don't have enough kibble to afford the repairs.

The shelter entered an online contest called Shelter Makeover II on Butte Humane Society is currently ranked 5Th out of more than 2,000 shelters across the nation. Points are earned every time someone new joins the website or if current members post pictures or comments. March 13, 2009 is the deadline for points accumulation.

Judges will visit the top 20 shelters and select ten which will be voted on by the public in April. Please help the Butte Humane Society earn points to win the contest by going to: When you get to their home page, scroll down to the bottom of the page and you will see the link to Shelter Makeover II. Maybe a shelter in your region needs some help too. There are many listed to choose from.

Like most everyone, us critters are also facing tough times during this economic down turn. One of Frisbee girl's friends works at the Haven Humane animal shelter. She said that she is seeing so many really, really nice animals being surrendered because their humans can no longer afford to house or care from them. They have implemented a program where they accept food and supply donations to assist owners in keeping their animals at home. It is far better to help families care for us in our own home than to leave us at the shelter. I am sure that shelters everywhere are in need of such assistance.

So, when you think about donating to a food bank, think also about donating to animal food banks. Join us today in helping! After all, it's my Barkday. Pretty please, with chocolate chip cookies on it? Even though I'm not supposed to have them, they're my slurppiest. I've been known to pull a full cookie sheet of them off of the counter and pretend I didn't know it was wrong. Well, gotta go. Here comes Frisbee girl. I'll see if I can get her to go fetch it again. Shnuff!

Wiff luv,
Sweet Miss B.B. La La
For your catvenience, I have included a list of shelter necessities:
For Our Animal Friends
Dog food, Cat food, Puppy formula, Kitten formula, Bottles with nipples, Items for rabbits, guinea pigs and hamsters, Blankets, Dog toys, Kong toys, Newspaper, Towels, Animal crates, Cat carriers, Cat litter, Collars and leashes.

For Our Staff
Copy machine paper, Oust Air Freshener (anti-bacterial type), Hand sanitizer, Office supplies, Paper towels
Hand dolly.

For Our Facility
Storage shed (20x20 wood, double doors), Commercial grade washer/dryer, Metal awning (13x14), Lumber for outdoor animal pen (2x4-2x6-4x4), plywood, roofing, cement, nails, New gutters for Haven's shelter roof
Parking lot resurface, Anesthesia monitor, Ultrasonic cleaner, Digital X-ray, IV stand, Exam light, electrosurgical unit, Lift table, Cat scale, Ultrasound machine , Microscope, IV fluid pump.

Happy Barkday, to me.
Happy Barkday, to me.
Happy Barkday, Happy Barkday,
Happy Barkday, to me!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Theme Thursday...Glass

Shaken. Not Stirred.

On a sunny afternoon around 3 o'clock in March, my afternoon activities were interrupted by a tumultuous shaking. This must be an earthquake, I thought. The strange rolling motion took my stomach along for the ride. An electrifying combination of fear and excitement rushed through me like the wet-cold fire of a menopausal hot flash. From the tips of my toes to the top of my head, moist beads of thermodynamic reaction spread.

The violent shudders came closer and closer together with the varied and increasing intensity of pre-birth contractions. One following another followed by another. Moving was perilous. I sought to balance myself as if walking on an undulating rope bridge high above the ground. For a few minutes, the concussions came closer and closer together. Faster and faster, I rolled. Ripping horizontal slaps intermittently spaced between random twists and turns. The ordinarily horizontal skyline stood vertically, then fell sharply away. Household bric-a-brac fell, like thousands of snowflakes, from the sky.

Through the sunlit glass windows, I saw a huge, shadowy figure. Dark and distorted. And voices. Low and rumbling. Someone is out there! My pulse jumped like a frog in a race.
"Fee," I heard the muffled voice utter. "FEE!" There it was again! My first thought was to that of fee-fi-fo-fum, words from the Jack and the Bean Stalk story. Irrationally, I thought, are we being overtaken by giants?

First, the voice, barely more than a whisper, smoldered with agitation. Suddenly, the eerie quietness and pitching motion was stunned by a formidable outcry, "FIONA! I said put that snow globe down immediately and come to dinner!"
"Sorry mama. That glass with the little people in it is just so pretty."

The ground calmed. Quiet came. The serene beauty of my world, for the moment, restored.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Random Album

"To Overcome Desire is to Satisfy It"

by: Ophisternon
Here is a fun Random Album meme from Coffee Messiah. It is quick and fun to do!

And here's how to make yours:

1 - BAND NAME Go to "wikipedia." Hit “random article” or click
The first random wikipedia article you get is the name of your band.

2 - ALBUM TITLE Go to "Random quotations"or click
The last four or five words of the very last quote of the page is the title of your first album.

3 - COVER ART Go to flickr and click on “explore the last seven days”or click
Third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover.
When you finish, go to his blog and let him know you posted your album.

"Call Me Ishmael"

"Call Me Ishmael" is the opening line of Chapter One of Herman Melville's 1851 novel, Moby Dick. It is the adventurous story of a wandering sailor, Ishmael, on a whale ship voyage. The commander of the ship is Captain Ahab who is in pursuit of one super-sized, predatory, white whale known as Moby Dick. In an earlier confrontation, this alabaster leviathan destroyed Ahab's boat and gnawed his leg off. Moby Dick was the focus Ahab's of vengeance.

Through Ishmael's journey, he ponders his place in the universe and his personal understandings of life. The notions of gods, good and evil, and social status and class are considered. Moby Dick has been seen as symbolic of many things including life events that are beyond human control and nature.

Globally, nationally, and personally many of us are navigating choppy waters and may well fear that life events are out of our control. Careful. There is danger in getting swept along in the rip tides of fear. Looking specifically at problems instead of generally may help. For instance, we continually hear about the bad housing market. We hear that homes and properties are just not selling.

When I asked Brad Maloney, realtor, in Redding, CA,, if his business was struggling in the current economy, he said no. He stated that he has been selling properties and that property sales are not as gloomy as reported. When listening to sales reports, you have to consider your region of the country.

He further stated, our north state region is down, but only by about 33%. Some areas of the country are much harder hit. In any business, there are peaks and valleys. And although we are in a valley right now, it is still a good time to buy. Interest rates are down, prices are down, and there is a large inventory currently for sale. It is a good time for first-time home buyers and investors. Prices continue to fall. It is likely that the average buyer will not know where the bottom is, but rather, where it was.

Also, the first-time home buyer has till the end of the year to take advantage a large tax credit. This is a windfall from President Obama's economic stimulus package. They may claim the $8,000 credit or - 10% of the home's value, whichever is less - on their 2008 or 2009 taxes. The $8,000 credit is expected to bring an additional 300,000 new home buyers into the market, according to Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors. More information can be found at
Just as killing Moby Dick becomes the single-minded goal in Ahab's life, the whale can be seen to represent all of our goals. His retribution against the whale parallels our struggle against fate. If he reaches his goal of killing the whale, what is left for him to do? We all need something to reach for in life. If we obsess too much on all of the maladies around us, it can become hard to enjoy life's simple pleasures.


A ship at sea is sometimes a metaphor for the soul. As a friend of mine used to say, come up out of your own little world now and then and lift your eyes up. Look around. Where is your heart? Where is your soul? Like Ishmael, we ponder our understanding of life and our place in the universe. This is a great time for introspection rather than obsession.

Nor was it his unwonted magnitude, nor his remarkable hue, nor yet his deformed
lower jaw, that so much invested the whale with natural terror, as that
unexampled, intelligent malignity which, according to specific accounts, he had
over and over again evinced in his assaults."
-- Herman Melville, MOBY DICK