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Thursday, April 24, 2014

The David Returns to Italy

Posted by Raul on June 2, 2011

The other day I received this joke in an email. I thought it was funny, but also makes you think of what’s happening in the US, and how people around the world see Americans. (The email was in Spanish).

The David returns to Italy


After two years loaned to the US, the David of Michelangelo is returned to Italy


Its proud sponsors were:

Crazy, Isn’t it?



Cynicism Exercise

Posted by Raul on October 21, 2010



01- “Luck doesn’t exist…it is our own doing that brings us the good or bad things we receive”

-So how then do I influence the action of buying the right Lottery ticket number?

02- “Everything happens for a reason and is an opportunity to improve ourselves in the future”

-Should I tell that to the Jewish men and women that spent several years in concentration camps just to die there after so many tribulations?

-The early death of my child allowed me to learn the deep meanings of life, but how can I tell my child “you had to die so I could learn”

03- “We master our own universe, we are in control and it depends on us how we perceive our reality and how we control it”

-Then the earthquake came and we lost our house and all our possessions.

04- “I choose to be in love with everything and everyone; I love my surroundings and all that is part of it; I see the beauty in all the things and people that are part of this wonderful world”

-Including that wonderful being that happily went on driving after several drinks and run over my child.

    I’ve been lucky enough not to loose a child; I been lucky enough not to be in a concentration camp; I’ve been lucky enough not even to win the lottery (which I don’t play). Yes, I’ve been lucky enough…but I’m not blind, and even though I love life, nature, and I do believe there is goodness in people, sometimes when looking around I can’t stop being a cynic for a moment!

    A cynicism exercise…to dust off this human capability that protects us from our own, sometimes innocent blindness.

    I’m not feeling down or disappointed, I just want to experience the full range of human feelings, at the same time that I taste a bit of reality, so my feet can remain on the ground.


The Importance of a Couch Potato

Posted by Raul on October 18, 2010



    Perhaps one of the most criticized creatures of modern society. The segregated rebels; the elements of the movement that’s mostly about anti-movement. The silent heroes that quietly sacrifice themselves everyday in their quest for sustaining a materialistic society that, at the same time that claims minimalism, requires consumption of goods as a way of sustaining itself and its trading characteristics.

    Before you start criticizing your resident couch potato…have you thought of all the goodness they bring to this modern society?

    For instance; what would happen to the potato chip industry if only fitness conscious people existed?  What would happen to the soda pop and beer industry?  Even the remote control batteries need to exist for them!

    Every year bigger TV screens and better sound systems are developed for what seems to be the satisfaction of couch potatoes, yet, if it wasn’t for them, there’ll be no need of such marvels of technology in a society that claims the best way to spend time is running, jogging, or simply practicing some form of sport.

    What about the TV industry that have to supply endless programs and shows to be aired 24/7?  What would happen to those aspiring actors and actresses that dream of the red carpet, and find an opportunity to show their “talents” in some obscure reality show?

    To the couch potatoes we owe the existence and remain of such dedicated industries, and with it, the possibility of so many jobs for people to have.

    (Violins playing in crescendo)

    Products are created and distributed, jobs become available and money circulates around, sustaining the system by which this modern society survives.

    It is not just the creation of products like potato chips, pizza, soda pop and beer, but also the distribution of those goods, even to the extent of home delivery.

    No tax reduction or government incentive has succeeded in reactivating the economy. When the intention is to motivate consumers to consume, so the industry can remain, only couch potatoes have quietly, and without any government incentive, persevered in their quest for industry movement.

    To them we owe a still alive economy that remains in a seemingly inexorable fall and that, maybe otherwise would not even exist today. 

    (A fifty people chorus singing in crescendo)    

    To those unsung heroes that quietly go away and disappear after death, with no tombstone reminding us of their sacrifice with a simple phrase like “Here are the remains of a dedicated couch potato; who persevered throughout his life in his quest for an active and financially fit industry, even to his own doom”

    “Have you hugged a Couch Potato today?”

    Couch potatoes are true human beings. They smile, cheer or criticize some characters on TV; laugh out loud and get emotional to tears with the tribulations experienced by some others in the screen.

   Couch Potatoes experience the full range of emotions reserved only to those who dare to be openly human, without restrictions imposed by self improvement books that suggest the restrain of one side of the emotional spectrum, such as sadness, anger, confusion, desperation, etc, in favor of the other extreme of such spectrum as happiness, laughter and satisfaction.

    They know how to freely scream and express their emotions in an unrestricted way when the player missed the opportunity to score. They can really express their happiness and satisfaction when seeing the funny side of a TV program, and even a TV commercial.

    Couch potatoes can, and do experience the full range of emotions reserved only for a complete human being!

With tears in my eyes I dedicate this post to those that, in a non selfish way, without expecting recognition and applause, standing the criticism and segregation of the others, the fittest ones, still persevere in their quest of saving the economy of modern society, so we can not only live, but have a decent place to be in.

    Couch Potatoes of the world…I salute you!  :)



Posted by Raul on September 20, 2010



There have been many inventions throughout time that we can classify as very important or useful in our lives, many creations that have helped us in achieving things or simplify our everyday tasks.

One of my personal favorites is the bicycle!

Even though I wasn’t an “all the time” rider, I did have my share of bicycles in my younger years in the past Millennium (yeah, I’m that old!) and I can remember brief images of happiness while pedaling around the block and trying things with my trusted bicycle of the moment.

It is my opinion there is no other transportation device that allows us to enjoy and experience the surroundings while traveling better than a bicycle. We can feel the breeze and the wind; we can hear every sound around and smell every scent that happens to be in the area we are going through.

About twenty five years ago I read in a newspaper the news about a man who wanted to travel and see the world, so he said goodbye to his girlfriend and took his bicycle to travel almost all around the planet, which took him twenty years! When he finished his trip he went back to find his girlfriend was still waiting for him, so they got married  :)

At one hand, talk about waiting for a loved one! But at the other, what an experience it must have been! All the sights, all the feelings, all the memories…I would love to do something like that, but I’m not that crazy! (No, I won’t do it)

Such a simple machine that works as an “energy multiplier”

With the same energy used for walking five miles we can travel fifteen miles, thanks to the bicycle. We also can transport more packages than we could when just holding them in our hands.

I’m not talking here about the “green” aspect of a bicycle, which is very important nowadays indeed, but if you consider that a bicycle doesn’t need fuel, oil, heavy maintenance, registration, insurance, etc, there are so many elements, expenses and work we can save ourselves from when riding a bicycle instead of a car, or even a motorcycle or a scooter.

So for these reasons a bicycle represents freedom to move and explore, without having to carry too many tools or spare parts and without being dependant on finding supplies and fuel on the road.

“The bicycle will rule in apocalyptic times!” (Just kidding)

But maybe is mostly a thing for older generations.

My son is not a bicycle rider; he is just not interested and rather prefers to ride the bus when going back and forth to college, so he can relax and listen to history podcasts in his ipod. I think is a great thing though, so he is using the transportation time in a way of acquiring more knowledge…a practical way to use time.

But for the older generations the bicycle was more about enjoying the moment than using it wisely, I must admit (at least in my case)

So when I have the time and some energy left, I like to jump over my bicycle and have a short trip around in the area where I live, just to revive those memories of a child pedaling with energy against the wind; having a reddish face with the heat and a big smile that reflected a being enjoying the surroundings, the views, the breeze and the sights; enjoying the moment, the now, in this amazing planet we have.


Induced Overweight

Posted by Raul on December 4, 2009



I used to be thin for the first 44 years of my life, and then suddenly became 1.35 times myself! I jumped from 132 to 178 lbs. What happened? Cheap food and flavor!


In the previous post How to Really Loose Weight! I told you about differences in eating customs and exercising between the US and my country in South America; if you read that post you noticed that the amount of food consumed back there is pretty small compared with here, and also the amount of exercise is bigger.


What happens is that food being so cheap here and having an automobile to my personal use I started to eat more than what I needed and exercise less than I should, so the result is becoming overweight.


With so much food available in such great variety at so small prices the instinct of survival that moves us to eat what’s available keeps kicking without the restriction of lack of money. If you add to that all the advertising about buying more you see is no wonder that it becomes the norm a high amount of food consumption, and with the facility of transportation, thus the lack of exercising, a general overweight problem occurs.


So first are the campaigns about “buy and eat more food” then is the campaigns about “buy weight loss products” and finally “buy medicines to prevent medical problems” And all starts with our instincts of survival that, when reached properly thru psychology in advertising, motivates us to “live to buy and consume” so we become overweight, and since it is the norm around, we accept it as the way it should be.


So the real program to loose weight is not about what kind of foods and in which amount, but how to control our own instinct of survival that pushes us to consume more food than we really need and motivate us to avoid physical activity every time we can.


It seems that it is more about “re-training” our brain than following a step by step program; learning to say NO to excessive food and inactivity instead of saying YES to the latest weight loss program, and it required of self control since there is no automatic control by high food and transportation costs that limit our access to them.


No need to spend money, just self control and motivation. It is all up to us!


Damn it!







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