The Curious Autodidact

May 30, 2015

USA: A Prison State

Filed under: book related,media related,social justice — Honilima @ 8:46 pm

From 1973 to 2009, the prison population grew from about 200,000 to approximately 2.2 million. With this spike, the U.S. now holds close to a quarter of the world’s prisoners, even though it accounts for just 5 percent of the global population.

If the Marshall Project has gotten you thinking about America’s vast prison industrial complex, or if you have taken a road trip on America’s Blue Highways and seen the spreading of prisons outside small towns you are aware of how many resources are now put into locking up prisoners. Why do we spent some any tens of thousands of dollars to lock up people for even petty crimes? Why don’ t we work harder to help these people live productive straight lives when they are released?

There are many theories about this and it seems it has finally gotten to the point it is so bizarre that even George Soros and the Koch Brothers have decided to help fund programs to stop mass incarceration.

If you want to know more please read: The New Jim Crow  by Michelle  Alexander, Inside This Place Not of It by Robin Levi and Ayelet Waldman, (you can hear them at Columbia University here <begin at minute 25>) New Jack: Guarding Sing Sing by Ted Conover, or Running the Books by Ari Steinberg.

You can watch the Frontline program Prison State about Kentucky. Then listen to Stanford trained civil rights attorney/author Michelle Alexander from a 2010 appearance at the University of Washington. She reminds us that there are more African Americans are incarcerated, on probation or on parole than were enslaved in 1850! Black men under the age of 35 with no high school diploma are now more likely to be in jail than working in the labor market, sad indeed, but you should move to change it with small steps by talking to your politicians about how distasteful it is that prisons are becoming rural employment centers and prisons upon release have so few options and resources.


May 29, 2015

Thoughts about True Friends from Eleanor Roosevelt

Filed under: women heroes,Word Related — Honilima @ 2:47 pm

Image result for google image friendship



Many people will walk in and out of your life,

but only true friends will leave footprints in your heart.


To handle yourself, use your head; to handle others, use your heart.

Anger is only one letter short of danger.

If someone betrays you once, it is his fault; if he betrays you twice, it is your fault.


Great minds discuss ideas

Average minds discuss events

Small minds discuss people, he who loses money, loses much;

He, who loses a friend, loses much more;

He, who loses faith, loses all.

Beautiful young people are accidents of nature,

But beautiful old people are works of art.

Learn from the mistakes of others.

You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself.


– Eleanor Roosevelt

May 26, 2015

Ginger: Infographic

Filed under: cool internet stuff,kitchen tips — Honilima @ 6:21 pm

Chef Hari Ghotra's Key Ingredients Infographics Ginger

May 23, 2015

Choosing the Right Seat

Filed under: cool internet stuff — Honilima @ 9:19 pm

This morning I felt lucky to be seated between two amazing women. I thought to myself “better lucky than smart” then tonight I ran across this infographic from Alex Cornell and you know how I dig this stuff. Interesting that someone has studied this and has the good sense to share it in such an approachable format. Is it not just dumb luck after all?

May 22, 2015

End of Life Wishes

Filed under: end of life,helpful hints — Honilima @ 7:13 am

Even if you have done everything to communicate your own end-of-life wishes, you may find need to take the initiative and have the discussion loved ones who have not shared their end-of-life wishes with you. Here are pointers to keep in mind:

Select an Appropriate Setting
Find a comfortable place that is free from distraction to hold a one-on-one discussion.

Ask Permission to Begin this often Tender Conversation
People cope with end-of-life issues in different styles. Ask permission to discuss the topic, this assures your loved one that you will respect and honor all of his or her wishes. Here are a few suggestions:

  • “I would like to talk about how you would like to be cared for if you got very sick. Is that okay?”
  • “If you ever got sick, I would be afraid of not knowing the kind of care you would like. Could we talk about this now? I would feel better if we had the conversation in advance.”

What To Expect
Keep in mind that you have initiated this conversation because you care about your loved one’s wellbeing – especially during difficult times. Allow your loved one to set the pace. Focus on maintaining a caring manner throughout the conversation, show your love and concern:

  • Nod your head in agreement, acknowledge them with kindness
  • If appropriate hold your loved one’s hand
  • Offer a hug or comforting touch

A few questions you may want to ask about end-of-life care include:

  • If you were diagnosed with a life-limiting illness, what types of treatment would you prefer?
  • Have you named someone to make decisions on your behalf if you become unable to do so?
  • How would you like your choices honored at the end of life?
  • What can I do to best support you and your choices?

You may well encounter resistance the first time you bring up this topic, sadly death and dying is not spoken about in our culture. Don’t be discouraged; instead try again at another time.

Be a Good Listener
Be sure to make an effort to hear and understand what the person is saying. These moments, although difficult, are important and special to both of you. Some important things you can do are:

  • Listen for the wants and needs that your loved one expresses.
  • Make clear that what your loved one is sharing with you is important to you.
  • Show empathy and respect by addressing these wants and needs in a truthful and open way.
  • Verbally acknowledge your loved one’s rights to make life choices – even if you do not agree with those choices.

Having conversations with your loved ones about their end-of-life wishes can be a sensitive discussion. These conversations matter and are needed to learn about your loved one’s wishes so that those wishes can be honored at the end of life.

May 21, 2015

Throwback Thursday: Podcasts Worth a Listen

Filed under: book related,cool internet stuff,media related,social justice — Honilima @ 9:31 pm

Here are a few podcast that are worth a listen either on your mp3 player or on your computer via the links detailed below.

John Mcphee.jpg

Pulitzer Prize winning author John McPhee appears on the program On Point Radio and talks about his career as a writer. He is a brilliant author and one is reminded of his great mind during this interview, you will want to go back and read at least one of his thirty books.

Thom Hartmann’s latest book is “Threshold: The Crisis of Western Culture.” He spoke at Town Hall Seattleand his talk can be listened to on-line here.

National Endowment for the Humanities chairman Jim Leach talking about his ‘civility tour’ on Michael Krasney’s KQED program FORUM. Also interviewed by Mr. Krasney is playwright Dan Hoyle talking about his 100 day road trip across America touring small towns and his work “Real Americans.”

May 20, 2015

Curious Phrases of Seafairing

Filed under: origin of phrases — Honilima @ 11:50 pm

Image result for google image knots



Very drunk.


Our colleagues at CANOE, the Committee to Ascribe a Nautical Origin to Everything, have been hard at work and, to their great pleasure, they can add this phrase to their list. ‘Three sheets to the wind’ is indeed a seafaring expression.

To understand this phrase we need to enter the arcane world of nautical terminology. Sailors’ language is, unsurprisingly, all at sea and many supposed derivations have to go by the board. Don’t be taken aback to hear that sheets aren’t sails, as landlubbers might expect, but ropes (or occasionally, chains). These are fixed to the lower corners of sails, to hold them in place. If three sheets are loose and blowing about in the wind then the sails will flap and the boat will lurch about like a drunken sailor.

The phrase is these days more often given as ‘three sheets to the wind’, rather than the original ‘three sheets in the wind’. The earliest printed citation that I can find is in Pierce Egan’s Real Life in London, 1821:

“Old Wax and Bristles is about three sheets in the wind.”

Sailors at that time had a sliding scale of drunkenness; three sheets was the falling over stage; tipsy was just ‘one sheet in the wind’, or ‘a sheet in the wind’s eye’. An example appears in the novel The Fisher’s Daughter, by Catherine Ward, 1824:

“Wolf replenished his glass at the request of Mr. Blust, who, instead of being one sheet in the wind, was likely to get to three before he took his departure.”

three sheets to the windRobert Louis Stevenson was as instrumental in inventing the imagery of ‘yo ho ho and a bottle of rum’ piracy as his countryman and contemporary Sir Walter Scott was in inventing the tartan and shortbread ‘Bonnie Scotland’. Stevenson used the ‘tipsy’ version of the phrase in Treasure Island, 1883 – the book that gave us ‘X marks the spot’, ‘shiver me timbers’ and the archetypal one-legged, parrot-carrying pirate, Long John Silver. He gave Silver the line:

“Maybe you think we were all a sheet in the wind’s eye. But I’ll tell you I was sober; “


May 19, 2015

Doris Lessing’s Thoughts on Aging

Filed under: women heroes,Word Related — Honilima @ 8:55 pm

All one’s life as a young woman one is on show, a focus of attention, people notice you. You set yourself up to be noticed and admired. And then, not expecting it, you become middle-aged and anonymous. No one notices you. You achieve a wonderful freedom. It’s a positive thing. You can move about unnoticed and invisible.

Doris Lessing, novelist, poet, playwright, Nobel laureate (1919-2013)

May 18, 2015

Simple Ways to Volunteer Your Time

Filed under: cool internet stuff,helpful hints,nonprofit — Honilima @ 8:15 pm

girls with hula hoops


Think that you are too busy to volunteer your time? Consider how many older people live in your neighborhood who would value a visit or a homemade something brought to brighten their day. Send a funny cartoon to someone who is housebound. Write a letter to someone who is incarcerated, many of whom haven’t heard from their family in years. These simple things will brighten someone’s day who is compromised and make you feel good too.

If you have regular time available go on-line and get matched!



May 17, 2015

The Kaizen Way: One Small Step Can Change Your Life

Filed under: book related,helpful hints — Honilima @ 2:17 pm

This is a little book, One Small Step Can Change Your Life by Robert Maurer, PhD but that doesn’t mean it is easily forgotten. It is about the Kaizen way but written for Westerners and accessible for a wide audience.  I have given it to people of all ages including a recent college grad who told me he read it and then turned it over and reread it right away to see what he might have missed.

The theory is that we must achieve large changes by starting with the smallest steps and learning to grow using this method which is simple but for some quite hard too. Kaizen is about small incremental improvement. This is a great guide book to increasing your effectiveness and outlook on daunting tasks that you can simplify into manageable steps. This  books makes a stunning graduation gift that will have very practical applications.

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