Tag Archives: b

10 Incredibly Useful Mental Life Hacks

Do you ever wonder if there any hidden subconscious things that we all do, that if you were aware of them, you would be able to change or control any life situation much better? Well, it is something that has been running on my mind for a while.
After doing some online research on this subject, I found some valuable advice from reddit discussion thread. So I decided to compile the top advice given by other users on how to get the situational advantage. Check out these life hacks that will help you decode hidden messages people might be sending.
10 Life Hacks
1. When meeting people for the first time, take note of their eye color while flashing a good smile. It is probably because of you having to take a few more seconds to look at them in the eye but you might be surprises at how people are more responsive after that. It’s kind of like they feel more connected to you.
2. Give attention to a person’s feet. When approaching a group of people having a conversation, if you notice that they only turn their upper body without moving their feet to talk to you then that means they are not interested in having you in their conversation. Also, if you are talking to a work colleague who is seemingly paying attention to you but has his feet pointing to another direction then he wants to end the conversation. Book recommendation on this specific topic – Carol Kinset Goman’s “The Nonverbal Advantage: Secrets and Science of Body Language”
3. Want to learn something new quickly? Well, teach a friend about it. Why does it work? Well, if you can teach something to someone then you probably know it very well.
4. Address people by their names. Everyone loves to be called by their names and this establishes rapport as well as trust right away.
5. Foot in the door concept. What this means is that a person will more likely do anything you want them to if you ask them to do simple and easy tasks at first. Gradual effort makes a person feel that you are fond of him or her.
6. If someone isn’t giving enough commitment in answering a question you’ve just asked, keep quiet and keep eye contact. They will most likely continue answering your question with more commitment.
7. Whenever you are in a situation that makes you nervous like a public speaking event or a bungee jumping session, simply chew a gum. I don’t know where exactly I have learned about it but if you are chewing something your brain will think that it is not in a dangerous situation since you won’t be chewing eating anything if you are in danger. This has helped me control my nervousness a couple of times.
8. You can prevent sidewalk shuffle by focusing your eyes in between people’s shoulder tops or heads in a group. This will show them which direction you are heading. People will usually create some space for you to pass through.
9. Assume everyone already likes you when you’re walking into a room or if you’re talking to people. This puts you in a more friendly and welcoming disposition, and people gravitate toward that. If you already have an “everyone hates me” mind-set, this can be a self-fulfilling prophecy, as people can sense the negative vibes you’re throwing off.
10. If you ask a person to do something small for you, a mental process called cognitive dissonance will make it seem for him that he must like you because they did that small thing for you. (Ben Franklin)

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To start from the very beginning would take much time, and although part of this story, a very distant part. Enough of it is said, that my first wife gave up on our marriage because she could not watch me swallow poison every day.

Breath of Fresh Air came into my life during that period, and saw in me, and gave me new hope.  Our love flourished, faltered, failed, and prevailed largely around the use of poison in our lives, and those of our dear friends.   Running Bear became part of a relationship that has us both dance with poison for the past 35 years.  As I write, the beast is on the proper side of the line in both of our lives.  I pray that the Universe keeps it so.

As life, trust, and love with Breath of Fresh Air grew, so did her tummy.   The Universe had created in her a being so honest and pure of heart, we could only know her as Shining Light, or Kayla.

To call her Shining Light Is no exaggeration, or mistake.   Since she was young, she would not speak until she could form a complete sentence.  She has always known that she is a teacher, and still that in her profession today.  Her teaching began with the first of our friends.  Those who removed their shoes at the campfire were graced with their immediate retrieval and offering by Kayla.  It was after all, not safe tto walk around the camp without covering for ones’ feet.   Shining light saw very little but good and bad.  There was little grey area to confuse her convictions.

In her father, Spirit Fights with Mind, she saw only good.   There was indeed, much good, as Spirit is more powerful than Mind, but there was also much mind.   Mind sought to be numbed for whatever reasons, and swallowed much poison.  Shining Light saw the poison as bad, but still loved the blood spirit in her father from that point forward.  Through many many disappointments, she stood behind the Spirit, hopeful when it was present, and weeping when it was blocked by mind.

Breath of Fresh Air finally ran out of the energy to fight the demons that Spirit Fights with Mind, and this marriage ended in the shadow of the poison.  The love and friendship did not, and the disappointment she felt will be celebrated very much as a victory when Spirit finally accepts victory over mind and poison.

There were many many good times, and also much poison.  So many of the good times were coupled with poison that sometimes it was hard to tell much difference, if any.  Other times, like when Father fell asleep at the dinner table, it was plain to see.  Still Shining light had enough love and faith to allow Father the honor of playing the flute music for her 18th birthday.  This is an honor father will never forget.

Just as Kayla was there for her Father, she has been there for her sister Peace Between us.  Kayla was the first to arrive to help Mother Mary slay the dragon I unleashed when I submitted myself to a much overdue Medical Detoxification program.  I had put my heart at risk by drinking myself into a heart condition called A-fib, and knew that I had been swallowing enough poison that it would be dangerous for me to stop “cold turkey.”  I needed help, and I knew it was going to get ugly.

Kayla rubbed my back and tendons, as I was under restraints, and had the Spirit to laugh at the irony when I phierted in her face.   I will never forget the determined face of my fearful little girl, telling me that “you can do this daddy.”   It is my prayer, now, that after her 26 years of trying, the Spirit might grant her wish.

I will forever be saddened by the fact that all of this occurred on the celebration of the birth of Mother Mary.  I will, however, be honored and delighted to forever call March 7th, 2017 my sobriety day.  May this be more a testament to the love I have for her, than the embarrassment I caused her and her family on that day.  I did not even consider this when I submitted myself for medical help – only that it had to happen, not when.

Peace Between Us has had no easier time of the struggles with her father’s demons, and has had no margin less resolve.  She has literally carried me up to my tent, dead drunk, and acted the next morning happy to see that at least the poison had not claimed my life – only put shadow over my spirit.

She happily flew down to watch Dog with no Hate as Mother Mary had to take some well-deserved family time to celebrate the union of the first of her Nieces (or nephews).  Kelsey and I were both happy for her that she could get away from the day to day of the “recovery.”  Mary had been at my side every day since I submitted the family to this ordeal.

Kelsey met me at the hospital, waited for the doctors, waited for the wheel chair that never came, and happily “flew the coop” with Spirit Fights with Mind when the opportunity presented itself.  The Doctors, nurses, and staff at Kaiser were over the top.  I had one nurse that stayed up and watched me all but two of the 12 nights I was there.  Thank you Whitney, and the too many others to mention. It was symbolic that the final comment to the remaining staff for saving my life was that the wheelchair was a half hour late. Spirit Fights with Mind indeed.

Making no mention of this we proceeded to our next set of appointments.  On arriving at the facility, I saw a dent in the parking garage floor, and thought that it must have been a door.  It was, and it happened to be the door to the Pharmacy (where I was able to fill all the prescriptions the hospital left us with) the waiting area for my next appointment, and a source of food.  It was by the 2:30 and neither of us had had lunch.

We spent the time playing cards and talking about what all had happened, and how blessed we were.  The appointment went smoothly (amazingly so) and we were able to immerge with a long-term plan to keep the poison away from Spirit Fights with Mind.

Upon reflection that evening, Spirit Fights with Mind was searching for a proper tribute to those nearest and dearest to me who have believed in me for decades, years, or months.  It was Peace Between Us who suggested that we call Shining Light and discuss what had happened between us all, for so many years.  It was through that conversation that the Universe has chosen the words on these humble pages.



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Now In Happy Retirement, John Boehner Admits Republicans Will Never Agree on Obamacare Repeal

In today’s episode of Confess Your Unpopular Opinions, I confess that I kind of like Mitch McConnell. I’m grading on a curve, of course, the curve being “people who oppose everything that is right and good about America.” Still, I kind of like the fact that McConnell doesn’t generally get on his high horse. For example, when Republicans blocked Merrick Garland last year, most conservatives started peddling a load of nonsense about how Supreme Court justices were never confirmed in a president’s final year and they were just upholding the grand traditions of the Senate blah blah blah. But not McConnell. He basically said that Republicans were doing it because they could. That’s OK. I mean, if you’re going to screw me, don’t try to pretend that you’re doing me a favor at the same time.

Likewise, I kind of liked John Boehner too. He was just a man born too late. If he had been Speaker of the House 30 years earlier, he would have been fine. He would have logrolled and compromised and made deals and the government would have chugged along. By 2011, however, the GOP was fully tea party-ized and Boehner had more trouble with his own caucus than he did with the Democrats.

Boehner seemed genuinely happy when he finally left the House, and ever since he’s been unusually open about the reality of trying to deal with the loons in his own party. Today, he cheerfully explained that Republican plans to quickly repeal Obamacare were just “happy talk”:

He said changes to former President Barack Obama’s signature legislative achievement would likely be relatively modest. “[Congressional Republicans are] going to fix Obamacare — I shouldn’t call it repeal-and-replace, because it’s not going to happen,” he said.

….Boehner said the talk in November about lightning-fast passage of a new health care framework was wildly optimistic. “I started laughing,” he said. “Republicans never ever agree on health care.”

“Most of the framework of the Affordable Care Act … that’s going to be there,” Boehner concluded.

Yep. I wrote a piece for the magazine a couple of months ago making the same point, and it got way less attention than I thought it deserved. That’s rankled my fragile male ego ever since, so I’m taking this opportunity to highlight it again. Here’s the ending:

Obamacare’s preexisting-conditions provision provides Democrats with some leverage. Republicans need Democratic votes to repeal the provision and pass a workable law, which means that if Democrats hold out they can certainly get a far better deal than Ryan’s plan. They might even be able to stop the Obamacare repeal in its tracks. It all depends on how well they play their hand.

Boehner’s argument is expressed differently than mine, but it comes to the same thing: the best way for Republicans to repeal and replace Obamacare is to compromise with Democrats. Their next best option is to somehow ram through a plan of their own and accept all the flak this entails. However, both options require Republicans to stay ruthlessly united, and as Boehner says, what are the odds of that?


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These last moments of the Standing Rock protest will break your heart.

 by  –

This is the end of the Standing Rock camp. For now.

Photo by Stephen Yang/Getty Images.

After a Trump administration executive order, the Army Corps of Engineers ordered protesters to vacate the camp by 2 p.m. local time on Feb. 22, 2017. Authorities were set to physically remove everyone in the way of the Dakota Access Pipeline’s construction upon sacred Native American land.

In a symbolic gesture, the protesters set fire to their camp.

Photo by Stephen Yang/Getty Images.

“People have said their last prayers, and offered cedar to the sacred fire and are also burning these structures we have ceremonially built, so they must be ceremonially removed,” Vanessa Castle of the Lower Elwha Klallam tribe told the Seattle Times.

Here are some images of those last moments.

Photo by Stephen Yang/Getty Images.

Photo by Stephen Yang/Getty Images.

Photo by Stephen Yang/Getty Images.

Photo by Stephen Yang/Getty Images.

Photo by Stephen Yang/Getty Images.

Photo by Stephen Yang/Getty Images.

We can still stand with Standing Rock and help them as they take their struggle from the ground to the courtroom. For more information, visit the official Standing Rock Sioux Tribe site.

Photo by Stephen Yang/Getty Images.

Share image: Stephen Yang/Getty Images.

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#ThankYouMattDamon uses laughs to make a vital point about whitewashing.

by  –

“The Great Wall” has all the makings of an epic action blockbuster.

It had a massive budget. It attracted a global audience (at least on paper). And it boasts one of the biggest Hollywood stars on Earth, Matt Damon — which, ironically, may have been part of its great downfall.

Aside from the onslaught of poor reviews — “If ever a film was made with more money than sense, this is it,” film critic Kenneth Turan wrote for the Los Angeles Times — “The Great Wall” is taking heat for its questionable casting decisions.

“The Great Wall,” a film set in 11th century China, stars Matt Damon as the hero who saves the day. And that’s more than a little cringeworthy.

There weren’t a lot of Europeans in China during the Song dynasty (to put it lightly), so, even for a film whose premise hinges on conquering supernatural beasts, Damon’s starring role seems a little too far-fetched for many audiences.

From a historical perspective, the absurdity of Damon’s character reflects the film industry’s terrible habit of whitewashing: casting white actors in roles that were created for people of color. (See: Emma Stone portraying Allison Ng in “Aloha,” Jake Gyllenhaal as Dastan in the “Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time,” and dozens and dozens of other films.)

If all races were seen frequently and fairly on screen, and if actors of color were cast more often in roles that aren’t defined by the color of their skin, maybe whitewashing would be less of a problem. But that’s not the case. Last year, researchers at at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism found that women, minorities, and LGBTQ people were severely underrepresented among the over 21,000 characters and behind-the-scenes workers it analyzed in its study.

Unsurprisingly, the internet was not about to let Damon off the hook.

On Feb. 16, 2017, the day before the film’s release, the hashtag #ThankYouMattDamon started trending, sarcastically thanking the star for his role in “The Great Wall” and all the other things he’s contributed to Asian history and culture.

The trending phrase — created by comedian Jenny Yang — reached far and wide.

I’m glad everyone has caught on to this ludicrous film where a white guy saves all of China. Oh yeah, and builds a wall 💁

For saving my ancestral homeland, my name backwards actually translates to

Such a shame all 1.5+ billion Chinese people in the world have gone extinct and we need white people to portray them 😪

Forget Mulan, Matt Damon is the only one who could save China

for telling me how to write “WHITE SAVIOR” in Chinese for my new Chinese tattoo.

If it seems like the internet really has it out for Damon on this issue, it’s because of his recent mishaps when it comes to speaking up about diversity.

In December 2016, Damon compared the casting criticisms of “The Great Wall” to fake news, then proceeded to defend the film by confusing whitewashing with race-bending (when white actors wear makeup to appear as a different race).

That came after a 2015 episode of HBO’s “Project Greenlight,” in which Damon caused a few jaws to drop for interrupting successful producer Effie Brown, a black woman, to explain to her how diversity works.

Except he got it wrong: “You [promote diversity] in the casting of the film, not in the casting of the show,” he told her, trivializing the importance of having people of color working behind the camera as well as in front.


Although whitewashing may seem like a trivial issue — particularly in the uncertain era of President Trump — we shouldn’t overlook its effect.

Not only does whitewashing sideline actors of color, limiting and typecasting the roles available to them, it prevents stories from marginalized groups and characters from being told authentically to a wider audience. And when people of color are represented on screen — like in recent films “Hidden Figures” and “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” for instance — it makes a big difference to the people watching.

The diverse cast of 2016’s “Hidden Figures.” Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images.

#ThankYouMattDamon laughs aside, actor Constance Wu captured the seriousness of whitewashing in “The Great Wall” — as well as creating narratives that solely celebrate white men as the heroes — in a viral post last summer.

“We have to stop perpetuating the racist myth that only a white man can save the world,” Wu wrote. “It’s not about blaming individuals. Rather, it’s about pointing out the repeatedly implied racist notion that white people are superior to [people of color] and that [people of color] need salvation from our own color via white strength.”

Let’s hope Damon’s somewhere taking notes right now.


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Top Ranking General Makes Historic Stand Against Donald Trump


Donald Trump’s scandalous administration is causing great concern among America’s military leaders. One top general is now saying that enough is enough.

General Raymond Thomas was promoted to lead the U.S. Special Operations Command a few years back, so he knows a thing or two about running a tight ship. Now, he’s saying that Trump’s reckless and chaotic administration is threatening America’s safety.

“Our government continues to be in unbelievable turmoil,” General Thomas said. “I hope they sort it out soon because we are a nation at war.”

“As a commander, I’m concerned our government be as stable as possible,” General Thomas said. And with Trump, our nation has experienced the OPPOSITE of stability.

These are bold words from one of America’s greatest military minds. But he makes a great point: the United States is only as prepared as its executive leader.

And Trump is so clearly in over his head right now. He can spend his time watching TV all day, but he’ll never be able to escape the fact that he’s the sorriest excuse for a president the world’s ever seen.

It’s not just General Thomas either, some of America’s other great military leaders are just as concerned. For one, Obama’s ex-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is totally alarmed at Trump’s ineptitude as well.

“I’ve never been so nervous in my lifetime about what may or may not happen in Washington,” Panetta said. “I don’t know whether this White House is capable of responding in a thoughtful or careful way should a crisis erupt.”

And that sounds about right. Panetta has spoken previously about how Trump will have blood on his hands if a terrorist attack occurs during his absent-minded leadership.


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Hawaii wants to ban chemical sunscreens to save its coral reefs

by Katherine Martinko 

When sunscreen chemicals wash off beach-goers, they bleach coral, stunt its growth, and sometimes kill it outright.

If you’re heading to Hawaii, or any other tropical paradise, to soak up the sun this winter, you might want to leave the sunscreen behind. It sounds counterintuitive after years of being told to slather on sunscreen to protect our skin from dangerous UV rays, but now research is showing that human use of sunscreen could be seriously damaging tropical coral reefs.

Senator Will Espero presented a bill to the state congress on January 20 that would ban sunscreens containing oxybenzone and octinoxate (except under medical prescriptions) in Hawaii. Espero argued that a ban is crucial to maintaining the health of coral reefs – an tourist attraction on which Hawaii relies.

Sunscreens use filters, either chemical or mineral, to block out the sun’s radiation. The chemical filters are most damaging, washing off the skin into the water while swimming, surfing, spearfishing, or even using a beach shower. Researchers have measured oxybenzone in Hawaiian waters at concentrations that are 30 times higher than the level considered safe for corals. According to Hawaii’s Department of Land and Natural Resources:

“[These chemicals] cause deformities in coral larvae (planulae), making them unable to swim, settle out, and form new coral colonies.  It also increases the rate at which coral bleaching occurs.  This puts coral reef health at risk, and reduces resiliency to climate change.”

Says Craig Downs of Haereticus Environmental Laboratory in Virginia, whose research on stunted coral growth has heavily influenced Espero’s bill:

“Oxybenzone — it kills [coral]. It turns them into zombies if it doesn’t kill them outright. It makes them sterile and you do not get coral recruitment.”

This problem is not unique to Hawaii. Approximately 80 percent of the corals in the Caribbean Sea have died over the past 40 years. While there are many compounding factors, such as temperature anomalies, overfishing, coral predators, coastal runoffs, and pollution from cruise ships and other vessels that affect coral health, the fact that an estimated 14,000 tons of sunscreen wash off annually into the world’s oceans is a serious matter.

Not surprisingly, Espero has met resistance from sunscreen manufacturers, such as L’Oréal, which say the evidence is not yet strong enough to justify a ban; but Espero insists the public support is there. Scientific American quotes him:

“We have advocates and science on our side. Fishermen, boat owners, sailors, ocean-sports enthusiasts, ocean-tour operators and environmentalists rely on the ocean for recreation and jobs. Opponents will be out there, but supporters as well.”

If you’re wondering how not to burn in the sun, check out the Environmental Working Group’s 2016 guide to safe sunscreens, and consider its advice: “Sunscreen should be your last resort.” Use clothing (long-sleeved shirts or special UV blocking clothes), shade, sunglasses, and careful timing to minimize exposure to sunshine.


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