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  • Day 365: Tell the Women of Congo You Love Them!

    Date: 2011.02.28 | Category: Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

    As my Year Without Candy comes to a close today, I’d like to use my last post to help the women who live in what Nicholas Kristof called the “rape capital of the world,” the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC.)

    They’re women who have bigger problems than a sweet tooth. They’ve had to survive a lot worse than a year without candy.

    Please consider pressing the DONATE button on the upper right hand corner of this blog and give whatever you can. The link accepts PayPal and other major credit cards and takes no more than two minutes to donate.

    I pledge to give any monies donated to this blog to Eve Ensler’s wonderful new project in Bukavu, Congo called the City of Joy, that is for women survivors of rape.

    Even better, you can go directly to this link that is to the donation form to contribute to the City of Joy.

    Click here to read the recent New York Times article about the City of Joy:

    “You build an army of women,” Eve Ensler told the Times. “And when you have enough women in power, they take over the government and they make different decisions. You’ll see. They’ll say ‘Uh-uh, we’re not taking this any longer,’ and they’ll put an end to this rape problem fast.”

    The Congo rape problem is hellacious.  Educate yourself by watching the video below and then become part of the solution by donating to the City of Joy.

    It will say the video embedding is disabled.  Just click on where it says to watch on YouTube and it will take you to the video instantly:


    Congo is the most dangerous place on the planet to be a women or a girl.

    Since 1996, sexual violence in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has been used to torture and humiliate women and girls and destroy families. Hundreds of thousands of women and girls have been raped since the conflict began. In addition to the severe psychological impact, sexual violence leaves many survivors with genital lesions, traumatic fistulae, severed and broken limbs, unwanted pregnancies, and sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV. Survivors are regularly ostracized and abandoned by their families and communities.

    In 2007, V-Day and UNICEF launched the global campaign STOP RAPING OUR GREATEST RESOURCE: Power To The Women And Girls Of The Democratic Republic of Congo that is:

    RAISING AWARENESS about the level of sexual violence in the DRC, the root economic causes of the war and the historical context.

    ADVOCATING FOR CHANGE on local, provincial, national, and international levels.

    PROVIDING SUPPORT to activists in the DRC and around the globe who are working to end the atrocities and change perceptions about sexual violence.

    CREATING City of Joy, a transformational community for Congolese women survivors of sexual violence, conceived, created and developed by the women on the ground. City of Joy will support women survivors of sexual violence to heal and provide them with opportunities to develop their leadership through innovative programming.

    By joining this campaign, you will be supporting Congolese women and men who are demanding an end to rape. You will be supporting local efforts to demand justice and accountability. You will be supporting survivors of sexual violence to heal and rebuild their lives and communities. And you will join others around the globe to demand that women and girls in DRC are safe.



  • Day 364: What If the World Did End in 2012?

    Date: 2011.02.27 | Category: Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

    What a fun day on T Minus 1 of a Year Without Candy!

    The late morning was the most interesting! My friend Katherine (see her blog here) and I hit two different coffee places in Vieux Nice, two very American-style coffee places. We sat outside at the second cafe, even though the weather turned cloudy and cold.

    I had a drop of caramel syrup on top of my cappuccino but candy still has to wait until March 1st.

    “What about 2012?” Katherine asked suddenly.

    She meant the people who cite the Mayans’ belief that the world would end in 2012.

    “If you knew the world was really going to end in a year, what would you do this year?” she asked.

    I had to think about it.  We both did.  Then Katherine spoke about a vision she had with a person who does past-life regressions.

    Katherine saw herself as a child, and as someone who had squandered her life.  Katherine said there was no emotion or charge around that realization, it was just a fact that came up about that particular lifetime – apparently one of many.

    “I don’t want to leave here without leaving something behind,” said Katherine.

    I agree.  Which made me look up some pictures from my 3rd birthday (above, I’m on the left, and one at the very bottom of this post.)

    If the child is the father (mother) of the (wo)man, what do you see when you go back in this life — that can inspire you to do something more before you leave this planet?

    As I write this, late at night in France, I’m also in a Skype  conference call with Libyans in Tripoli who are worried about what Gadhafi is going to do as the international noose tightens around his neck – and his desperation grows.  “There is going to be terrible bloodshed,” Naser is warning.

    They dream of the U.S. Sixth Fleet steaming up in a show of force and support for the Libyan people.

    The Libyans you speak to are like people who’ve been stuck in a nightmarish family with a mentally ill father for 42 years.

    They’ve just getting their voice after years of iron repression and brutality.

    They didn’t squander their lives.   It was squandered for them because they had so little freedom to be who they are.

    Charlie Sheen had every freedom.   What is he going to leave behind?

    I’ve heard from friends in Argentina,  Italy, Massachusetts, Texas, San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York today.

    My friend in South America was describing her travels into Patagonia: “It’s great, but it’s a long way to go for essentially Lake Tahoe but with sharper peaks.”

    Our favorite numerologist weighed in from LA as only he can:

    Go for it girl! Major contracts for you to share your wisdom are here.  Media and it’s electricity is embracing you. Dreams are guiding you. Talk to your money and love it. You are prosperity. The 33 is very emotional so watch out and channel all your fire. Walk, embrace the wisdom of the Ancients, the Avatars as Buddha, Jesus, Mary Magdalene, John Lennon and your favorite. Music will soothe and take you to other levels of consciousness. Laugh. Enjoy. LOVE..LOVE..LOVE..Lots of Love Julian the 3.

    When you think of who you were long ago…

    Is there something you still want to do so you’ll feel you’ve fully lived your life?

    Are there sharper peaks you want to climb?

    Give it some thought.

    Remember, don’t be careful.

    Happy Birthday!

  • Day 363: Twilight of the Dictators, Twilight of No Candy

    Date: 2011.02.26 | Category: Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

    T minus two days now and my Year Without Candy will be up.

    I can remember this weekend one year ago as if it was….

    What does that psalm say?

    “…God knows all future events, 1000 years in the past is like yesterday  in his memory…”

    That’s it, last year at this time is like yesterday.

    My friend Michele Petty, brilliant Texas endurance rider/trial lawyer, mailed me two bars of her favorite dark chocolate with raspberries and they arrived earlier this week.

    They are waiting to be consumed anytime after midnight on Feb. 28.

    This year has gone by so fast and I’m not sure that’s such a good thing.  Because I know the ensuing years will go by even faster.

    As I wrote at least once before during this year, I haven’t changed in the way I thought I would change.

    I actually gained weight during the first few months that I gave up all sweets!  I didn’t even mention it that much because it was kind of embarrassing and didn’t make sense.  It certainly wasn’t inspiring.

    Then – in November on a trip back to New York – I went to see my good friend, a doctor who ordered thyroid tests (which I’d had before.)  But he ordered more extensive testing.

    When I returned to his office three days later, he showed me my results.

    “No wonder your metabolism is dead,” he said.  And put me on all-natural Armour dessicated thyroid.  I’ve eaten more since November than usual and not exercised as much.  Net loss?  Ten pounds.  Get tested!

    So my year without candy was a wash as far as seeing how much weight I lost as a result.  I do know that my friend Antonia has been sugar-free for about two months and lost more than ten pounds, though!

    I think I’ve changed in ways that I never even considered; I have much more clarity about life.

    Maybe it’s fitting to feel bittersweet tonight.

    I spent the afternoon speaking on Skype to terrified people sitting in their barricaded homes in Tripoli, Libya while Col. Moammar Gadhafi desperately tries to hang on to his doomed regime by paying mercenaries to shoot his own people.

    One man’s two young daughters sat next to him crying out in Arabic as he spoke about the scary armed gangs wearing police uniforms terrorizing the city.

    I took a break at dusk by walking along the seafront here where the massive, surreal floats in the ongoing Nice Carnival rolled by silently on their way to Place Massena and the night’s show.

    The theme of this year’s Carnival is “The King of the Mediterranean.”  But if you turn away from the parade and the floats, and look out into the Mediterranean, and face east — you can pretend you see Libya all the way on the other side, across from Italy, where that other king of the Mediterranean is duking out his last days.

    With Tunisia, Egypt and now Libya going down like dominoes, I wonder what it must be like in the very inner circle of these spoiled, entitled despots who never saw this particular end coming.

    What is Gadhafi doing right now, how is he feeling, knowing the end is near to his brutal 42-year reign?

    All the coverage is either very official, how many shot and killed in rathole towns with weird names, or very heartbreaking, as when you see grown men weeping in the streets of Tripoli.

    But what’s it like for the guys at the very end? When the jig is up.  When a lot of the $130 billion in assets is frozen, when no country will take you and your thug sons?

    I was speaking to Mohamed Aljahmi, a longtime Libyan dissident tonight, from his home in Boston.  Mohamed’s brother, Fathi Aljahmi, Libya’s leading democratic dissident, died while in state custody in Libya in 2009.

    “Gadhafi’s cornered,” he said. “He’s at Bab Al Azizia, his compound in Tripoli and he’s just got a small circle of people with him. But he’s delusional.  He’s going to fight all the way. He’ll be shot or arrested.  I don’t think he’ll kill himself but you never know.”

    I still don’t know what I going to do about my sweets consumption beginning March 1st.  I am leaning toward a modified second year without candy.

    But I am eating those chocolate bars this week.

  • Day 353: Howl of a Candy Addict

    Date: 2011.02.06 | Category: Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

    Allen Ginsberg  (1926-1997)


    (For Carl Solomon)

    I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked,

    dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix,

    angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night,

    who poverty and tatters and hollow-eyed and high sat up smoking in the supernatural darkness of cold-water flats floating across the tops of cities contemplating jazz,

    who bared their brains to Heaven under the El and saw Mohammedan angels staggering on tenement roofs illuminated,

    who passed through universities with radiant eyes hallucinating Arkansas and Blake-light tragedy among the scholars of war,

    who were expelled from the academies for crazy & publishing obscene odes on the windows of the skull,

    who cowered in unshaven rooms in underwear, burning their money in wastebaskets and listening to the Terror through the wall,

    who got busted in their pubic beards returning through Laredo with a belt of marijuana for New York,

    who ate fire in paint hotels or drank turpentine in Paradise Alley, death, or purgatoried their torsos night after night

    with dreams, with drugs, with waking nightmares, alcohol and cock and endless balls,

    incomparable blind streets of shuddering cloud and lightning in the mind leaping towards poles of Canada & Paterson, illuminating all the motionless world of Time between,

    Peyote solidities of halls, backyard green tree cemetery dawns, wine drunkenness over the rooftops, storefront boroughs of teahead joyride neon blinking traffic light, sun and moon and tree vibrations in the roaring winter dusks of Brooklyn, ashcan rantings and kind king light of mind,

    who chained themselves to subways for the endless ride from Battery to holy Bronx on benzedrine until the noise of wheels and children brought them down shuddering mouth-wracked and battered bleak of brain all drained of brilliance in the drear light of Zoo,

    who sank all night in submarine light of Bickford’s floated out and sat through the stale beer afternoon in desolate Fugazzi’s, listening to the crack of doom on the hydrogen jukebox,

    who talked continuously seventy hours from park to pad to bar to Bellevue to museum to the Brooklyn Bridge,

    a lost batallion of platonic conversationalists jumping down the stoops off fire escapes off windowsills off Empire State out of the moon

    yacketayakking screaming vomiting whispering facts and memories and anecdotes and eyeball kicks and shocks of hospitals and jails and wars,

    whole intellects disgorged in total recall for seven days and nights with brilliant eyes, meat for the Synagogue cast on the pavement,

    who vanished into nowhere Zen New Jersey leaving a trail of ambiguous picture postcards of Atlantic City Hall,

    suffering Eastern sweats and Tangerian bone-grindings and migraines of China under junk-withdrawal in Newark’s bleak furnished room,

    who wandered around and around at midnight in the railway yard wondering where to go, and went, leaving no broken hearts,

    who lit cigarettes in boxcars boxcars boxcars racketing through snow toward lonesome farms in grandfather night,

    who studied Plotinus Poe St John of the Cross telepathy and bop kabbalah because the universe instinctively vibrated at their feet in Kansas,

    who loned it through the streets of Idaho seeking visionary indian angels who were visionary indian angels,

    who thought they were only mad when Baltimore gleamed in supernatural ecstasy,

    who jumped in limousines with the Chinaman of Oklahoma on the impulse of winter midnight streetlight smalltown rain,

    who lounged hungry and lonesome through Houston seeking jazz or sex or soup, and followed the brilliant Spaniard to converse about America and Eternity, a hopeless task, and so took ship to Africa,

    who disappeared into the volcanoes of Mexico leaving nothing behind but the shadow of dungarees and the larva and ash of poetry scattered in fireplace Chicago,

    who reappeared on the West Coast investigating the FBI in beards and shorts with big pacifist eyes sexy in their dark skin passing out incomprehensible leaflets,

    who burned cigarette holes in their arms protesting the narcotic tobacco haze of Capitalism, who distributed Supercommunist pamphlets in Union Square weeping and undressing while the sirens of Los Alamos wailed them down, and wailed down Wall, and the Staten Island ferry also wailed,

    who broke down crying in white gymnasiums naked and trembling before the machinery of other skeletons,

    who bit detectives in the neck and shrieked with delight in policecars for committing no crime but their own wild cooking pederasty and intoxication,

    who howled on their knees in the subway and were dragged off the roof waving genitals and manuscripts,

    who let themselves be fucked in the ass by saintly motorcyclists, and screamed with joy,

    who blew and were blown by those human seraphim, the sailors, caresses of Atlantic and Caribbean love,

    who balled in the morning in the evenings in rosegardens and the grass of public parks and cemeteries scattering their semen freely to whomever come who may,

    who hiccuped endlessly trying to giggle but wound up with a sob behind a partition in a Turkish Bath when the blond & naked angel came to pierce them with a sword,

    who lost their loveboys to the three old shrews of fate the one eyed shrew of the heterosexual dollar the one eyed shrew that winks out of the womb and the one eyed shrew that does nothing but sit on her ass and snip the intellectual golden threads of the craftsman’s loom,

    who copulated ecstatic and insatiate and fell off the bed, and continued along the floor and down the hall and ended fainting on the wall with a vision of ultimate cunt and come eluding the last gyzym of consciousness,

    who sweetened the snatches of a million girls trembling in the sunset, and were red eyed in the morning but were prepared to sweeten the snatch of the sunrise, flashing buttocks under barns and naked in the lake,

    who went out whoring through Colorado in myriad stolen night-cars, N.C., secret hero of these poems, cocksman and Adonis of Denver—joy to the memory of his innumerable lays of girls in empty lots & diner backyards, moviehouses’ rickety rows, on mountaintops in caves or with gaunt waitresses in familiar roadside lonely petticoat upliftings & especially secret gas-station solipsisms of johns, & hometown alleys too,

    who faded out in vast sordid movies, were shifted in dreams, woke on a sudden Manhattan, and picked themselves up out of basements hungover with heartless Tokay and horrors of Third Avenue iron dreams & stumbled to unemployment offices,

    who walked all night with their shoes full of blood on the snowbank docks waiting for a door in the East River to open full of steamheat and opium,

    who created great suicidal dramas on the appartment cliff-banks of the Hudson under the wartime blue floodlight of the moon & their heads shall be crowned with laurel in oblivion,

    who ate the lamb stew of the imagination or digested the crab at the muddy bottom of the rivers of the Bowery,

    who wept at the romance of the streets with their pushcarts full of onions and bad music,

    who sat in boxes breathing in the darkness under the bridge, and rose up to build harpsichords in their lofts, who coughed on the sixth floor of Harlem crowned with flame under the tubercular sky surrounded by orange crates of theology,

    who scribbled all night rocking and rolling over lofty incantations which in the yellow morning were stanzas of gibberish,

    who cooked rotten animals lung heart feet tail borsht & tortillas dreaming of the pure vegetable kingdom,

    who plunged themselves under meat trucks looking for an egg,

    who threw their watches off the roof to cast their ballot for an Eternity outside of Time, & alarm clocks fell on their heads every day for the next decade,

    who cut their wrists three times successively unsuccessfully, gave up and were forced to open antique stores where they thought they were growing old and cried,

    who were burned alive in their innocent flannel suits on Madison Avenue amid blasts of leaden verse & the tanked-up clatter of the iron regiments of fashion & the nitroglycerine shrieks of the fairies of advertising & the mustard gas of sinister intelligent editors, or were run down by the drunken taxicabs of Absolute Reality,

    who jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge this actually happened and walked away unknown and forgotten into the ghostly daze of Chinatown soup alleyways & firetrucks, not even one free beer,

    who sang out of their windows in despair, fell out of the subway window, jumped in the filthy Passaic, leaped on negroes, cried all over the street, danced on broken wineglasses barefoot smashed phonograph records of nostalgic European 1930s German jazz finished the whiskey and threw up groaning into the bloody toilet, moans in their ears and the blast of colossal steamwhistles,

    who barreled down the highways of the past journeying to each other’s hotrod-Golgotha jail-solitude watch Birmingham jazz incarnation,

    who drove crosscountry seventytwo hours to find out if I had a vision or you had a vision or he had a vision to find out Eternity,

    who journeyed to Denver, who died in Denver, who came back to Denver & waited in vain, who watched over Denver & brooded & loned in Denver and finally went away to find out the Time, & now Denver is lonesome for her heroes,

    who fell on their knees in hopeless cathedrals praying for each other’s salvation and light and breasts, until the soul illuminated its hair for a second,

    who crashed through their minds in jail waiting for impossible criminals with golden heads and the charm of reality in their hearts who sang sweet blues to Alcatraz,

    who retired to Mexico to cultivate a habit, or Rocky Mount to tender Buddha or Tangiers to boys or Southern Pacific to the black locomotive or Harvard to Narcissus to Woodlawn to the daisychain or grave,

    who demanded sanity trials accusing the radio of hypnotism & were left with their insanity & their hands & a hung jury,

    who threw potato salad at CCNY lecturerson Dadaism and subsequently presented themselves on the granite steps of the madhouse with the shaven heads and harlequin speech of suicide, demanding instantaneous lobotomy,

    and who were given instead the concrete void of insulin Metrazol electricity hydrotherapy psychotherapy occupational therapy pingpong & amnesia,

    who in humorless protest overturned only one symbolic pingpong table, resting briefly in catatonia,

    returning years later truly bald except for a wig of blood, and tears and fingers, to the visible madman doom of the wards of the madtowns of the East,

    Pilgrim State’s Rockland’s and Greystone’s foetid halls, bickering with the echoes of the soul, rocking and rolling in the midnight solitude-bench dolmen-realms of love, dream of life a nightmare, bodies turned to stone as heavy as the moon,

    with mother finally *****, and the last fantastic book flung out of the tenement window, and the last door closed at 4 A.M. and the last telephone slammed at the wall in reply and the last furnished room emptied down to the last piece of mental furniture, a yellow paper rose twisted on a wire hanger on the closet, and even that imaginary, nothing but a hopeful little bit of hallucination—

    ah, Carl, while you are not safe I am not safe, and now you’re really in the total animal soup of time—

    and who therefore ran through the icy streets obsessed with a sudden flash of the alchemy of the use of the ellipse the catalog the meter & the vibrating plane,

    who dreamt and made incarnate gaps in Time & Space through images juxtaposed, and trapped the archangel of the soulbetween 2 visual images and joined the elemental verbs and set the noun and dash of consciousness together jumping with sensation of Pater Omnipotens Aeterna Deus

    to recreate the syntax and measure of poor human prose and stand before you speechless and intelligent and shaking with shame, rejected yet confessing out the soul to conform to the rhythm of thought in his naked and endless head,

    the madman bum and angel beat in Time, unknown, yet putting down here what might be left to say in time come after death,

    and rose incarnate in the ghostly clothes of jazz in the goldhorn shadow of the band and blew the suffering of America’s naked mind for love into an eli eli lamma lamma sabacthani saxophone cry that shivered the cities down to the last radio

    with the absolute heart of the poem butchered out of their own bodies good to eat a thousand years.

    What sphinx of cement and aluminium bashed open their skulls and ate up their brains and imagination?

    Moloch! Solitude! Filth! Ugliness! Ashcans and unobtainable dollars! Children screaming under the stairways! Boys sobbing in armies! Old men weeping in the parks!

    Moloch! Moloch! Nightmare of Moloch! Moloch the loveless! Mental Moloch! Moloch the heavy judger of men!

    Moloch the incomprehensible prison! Moloch the crossbone soulless jailhouse and Congress of sorrows! Moloch whose buildings are judgement! Moloch the vast stone of war! Moloch the stunned governments!

    Moloch whose mind is pure machinery! Moloch whose blood is running money! Moloch whose fingers are ten armies! Moloch whose breast is a cannibal dynamo! Moloch whose ear is a smoking tomb!

    Moloch whose eyes are a thousand blind windows! Moloch whose skyscrapers stand in the long streets like endless Jehovas! Moloch whose factories dream and choke in the fog! Moloch whose smokestacks and antennae crown the cities!

    Moloch whose love is endless oil and stone! Moloch whose soul is electricity and banks! Moloch whose poverty is the specter of genius! Moloch whose fate is a cloud of sexless hydrogen! Moloch whose name is the Mind!

    Moloch in whom I sit lonely! Moloch in whom I dream angels! Crazy in Moloch! Cocksucker in Moloch! Lacklove and manless in Moloch!

    Moloch who entered my soul early! Moloch in whom I am a consciousness without a body! Moloch who frightened me out of my natural ecstasy! Moloch whom I abandon! Wake up in Moloch! Light streaming out of the sky!

    Moloch! Moloch! Robot apartments! invisable suburbs! skeleton treasuries! blind capitals! demonic industries! spectral nations! invincible madhouses! granite cocks! monstrous bombs!

    They broke their backs lifting Moloch to Heaven! Pavements, trees, radios, tons! lifting the city to Heaven which exists and is everywhere about us!

    Visions! omens! hallucinations! miracles! ecstacies! gone down the American river!

    Dreams! adorations! illuminations! religions! the whole boatload of sensitive bullshit!

    Breakthroughs! over the river! flips and crucifixions! gone down the flood! Highs! Epiphanies! Despairs! Ten years’ animal screams and suicides! Minds! New loves! Mad generation! down on the rocks of Time!

    Real holy laughter in the river! They saw it all! the wild eyes! the holy yells! They bade farewell! They jumped off the roof! to solitude! waving! carrying flowers! Down to the river! into the street!


    Carl Solomon! I’m with you in Rockland

    where you’re madder than I am

    I’m with you in Rockland

    where you must feel strange

    I’m with you in Rockland

    where you imitate the shade of my mother

    I’m with you in Rockland

    where you’ve murdered your twelve secretaries

    I’m with you in Rockland

    where you laugh at this invisible humour

    I’m with you in Rockland

    where we are great writers on the same dreadful typewriter

    I’m with you in Rockland

    where your condition has become serious and is reported on the radio

    I’m with you in Rockland

    where the faculties of the skull no longer admit the worms of the senses

    I’m with you in Rockland

    where you drink the tea of the breasts of the spinsters of Utica

    I’m with you in Rockland

    where you pun on the bodies of your nurses the harpies of the Bronx

    I’m with you in Rockland

    where you scream in a straightjacket that you’re losing the game of actual pingpong of the abyss

    I’m with you in Rockland

    where you bang on the catatonic piano the soul is innocent and immortal it should never die ungodly in an armed madhouse

    I’m with you in Rockland

    where fifty more shocks will never return your soul to its body again from its pilgrimage to a cross in the void

    I’m with you in Rockland

    where you accuse your doctors of insanity and plot the Hebrew socialist revolution against the fascist national Golgotha

    I’m with you in Rockland

    where you will split the heavens of Long Island and resurrect your living human Jesus from the superhuman tomb

    I’m with you in Rockland

    where there are twentyfive thousand mad comrades all together singing the final stanzas of the Internationale

    I’m with you in Rockland

    where we hug and kiss the United States under our bedsheets the United States that coughs all night and won’t let us sleep

    I’m with you in Rockland

    where we wake up electrified out of the coma by our own souls’ airplanes roaring over the roof they’ve come to drop angelic bombs the hospital illuminates itself   imaginary walls collapse   O skinny legions run outside   O starry-spangled shock of mercy the eternal war is here   O victory forget your underwear we’re free

    I’m with you in Rockland

    in my dreams you walk dripping from a sea-journey on the highway across America in tears to the door of my cottage in the Western night

  • Day 351: Self-Deprivation Sucks

    Date: 2011.02.04 | Category: Uncategorized | 5 Comments »

    Guess what I’m eating right now?

    A container of plain yogurt to which I’ve added some Stevia, an all-natural sweetener.

    Guess what I wish I was eating?

    Yes – on February 1st I announced I was going totally sugar-free for my last month of a Year Without Candy.

    What a suck-ass plan. All I can say is — you have no idea how much sugar must be added to “normal” foods until you embark on a totally no-sugar plan.

    Cravings, except for ones that lasted just a few seconds, have pretty much evaporated as this year has worn on.   However, as soon as the totally sugar-free hammer came down Feb. 1st, all I wanted was SUGAR!

    Today, after working hard, I went for a run along the Promenade des Anglais.  I wanted one thing:  Haagen Dazs chocolate chip cookie dough. Haagen Dazs is hard to score in these parts but there is a gas station with an American-style mini mart along the Promenade des Anglais.

    If it weren’t for this ridic blog, which keeps me honest, I would have thrown in the towel on this year and this month.  I would have gone into the little market and gone right to the back where they keep a tiny, magical freezer stuffed with pints of Haagen Dazs.

    I have a great bottle of wine at my place and had a glass tonight.  Unfortunately, it just makes me feel sleepy and sort of off my game.  It doesn’t make me feel how wine should feel – relaxed and adult and sophisticated.

    Where’s my chocolate chip cookie dough?

    I want some. I want it now.

  • Day 350: Sugar = Gangrenous Toes!

    Date: 2011.02.03 | Category: Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

    Do You Drink 93 Packets of Sugar A Day?

    That’s the title of a fantastically explicit, new anti-sugar diabetes PSA that began running this week.  Explicit is good if you’re like me and need to be scared straight.

    So watch the below video and read the article from AOL Health below.

    And toe the line!

    By Catherine Donaldson-Evans

    An overweight man is shown drinking a bottle of soda in the morning, a sweet tea at lunch, a giant frothy iced latte in the afternoon and more soda with dinner. The number of packets of sugar in each heavily sweetened drink appears, ending with the staggering total of 93 packets gulped down that day.

    But then the PSA abruptly shifts gears, going into shocker mode. An obese man, presumably the same person later in life after he has gotten diabetes, is seen riding down the street in a motorized wheelchair. Images of blackened, gangrene-infested toes and the man being resuscitated after a heart attack flash across the screen.

    The jarring ad ends with the warning: “Don’t drink yourself sick” and asks, “Are you pouring on the pounds?”

    Is this what it takes to get through to people about the dangers of sugar-laden drinks? The New York City Health Department thinks it is.

    “Too many sugar-sweetened drinks are fueling the obesity epidemic,” Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley said in a statement. “Obesity and the serious health consequences that result are making hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers sick or disabled. This new campaign shows how easy it is to drink a staggering amount of sugar in one day without realizing it.”

    The Health Department says the graphic ad intentionally tries to frighten people into curbing their consumption of over-sweetened drinks and adopting better eating habits.

    Nutritionist Megan Fendt of the Gerald J. Friedman Diabetes Institute at Beth Israel Medical Center said such shock ads can have mixed results.

    “Scare tactics are going to work for some people,” she told AOL Health. “Other people are going to totally ignore it and shut it off.”

    Fendt believes the Health Department does have the right idea when it comes to raising awareness about the health hazards of overly sweetened drinks.

    “It does make sense to target sugary drinks as a behavior modification and encourage people to have something else instead,” she said. “It seems to be one of the easiest changes people can make in terms of the overall calories they’re taking in.”

    But the PSA’s depiction of blackened, gangrenous toes as a consequence ofdiabetes is questionable, since the condition is so rare.

    “Those [effects] are not that common. They’re usually very end-stage,” Fendt said. “Those are generally in people with very, very poor control and not a lot of follow-up. It’s not like you get diabetes and you wake up a day later and your toes fall off.”

    Heart attacks like the ones shown in the ad more frequently befall those with the disease, she said.

    More than 700,000 New Yorkers currently have diabetes and more than a million suffer from a condition known as pre-diabetes, according to the Health Department. The blood-sugar illness — which has been linked to heart disease, high blood pressure and some cancers — leads to about 1,700 deaths, 2,800 amputations and 22,000 hospitalizations just in New York City alone, the news release said.

    It isn’t the first time the city’s health officials caused a stir with a public service announcement. Last month, an AIDS ad showing explicit photos of anal cancer sparked controversy.

    The diabetes campaign was launched on Monday and will run through February 22.

    Read story in full at AOL Health here.
  • Day 349: Dreaming of Thailand

    Date: 2011.02.03 | Category: Uncategorized | 7 Comments »

    Heading into my second day of  my zero sugar month meant a slight headache this morning – and the sense that I couldn’t go another 27 days without even so much as a spoonful of peanut butter or raspberry jam.

    Then again, I was tired today for the first time in ages and fatigue weakens my resolve and makes me crave chocolate.

    Feeling tired is unusual these days. Giving up candy and sugar-based desserts has given me more energy than I realized over the past year.

    Im fact, it occurred to me that I rarely need more than five hours of sleep a night now.  That must be the result of my year off junk sweets.

    So as the day wore I began feeling better and more inspired to go zero sugar.

    Tonight got busy, though, and there was no food for dinner in the house. I slipped outside into my ‘hood in the Vieux Nice (see illustration above from La Vie Soleil) for some streetside pizza.

    Pizza, with its sharp, tangy flavors and gooey, doughy texture is the perfect antidote for a day, week, month, or year without candy.

    But is it truly sugar-free?

    I was on the phone tonight with my friend Mathias of Florence, Italy who was detailing his upcoming month vacation in Thailand.

    Mathias pointed out that if you are really serious about going without sugar, you can’t eat pizza because there is a little sugar in the dough and the tomato sauce.  For chrissakes, as Kathy Griffin’s mother would say.

    Mathias will be spending two weeks at one of those luxe but inexpensive Thai spas where you can fast or do detox cleanses.

    If I had the time to go now, I’d jump right on a plane and do the 7-day liver cleanse. Fun!  I’ve got a few friends like Mathias who understand but most people don’t get how invigorating it can be to challenge yourself to a fast or very tough mountain hike or other physical tests.

    You feel amazing when you go to one of Thailand’s all organic fasting and cleansing spas.

    You could try it at home too, if you were as strange and obsessed as Gwyneth Paltrow.

    Mathias said he once did a month totally sugar-free and it meant “pretty much just eating vegetables.”

    I’m suddenly exhausted at the very thought.


  • Day 348: Zero Sugar: Help Me (St.) Brigid!

    Date: 2011.02.01 | Category: Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

    Today marks the first day of my last month of my Year Without Candy.  It has gone by so fast it’s scary.  They say in the end it’s the blink of an eye.

    So for these last 28 days, I am going totally sugar-free.

    Readers of this blog know that during the year I’ve given up all candy and desserts but have still eaten foods like peanut butter, ketchup, yogurt etc. that have sugar added to them.

    Does it sound easy to you to just get slightly more hard-core for just the last month?  It doesn’t sound easy at all to me! In fact I’m dreading it already.

    I need help.  From above – and below.

    Coincidentally, it’s also the Feast Day of St. Brigid in Kildare, Ireland (see above photo.) I was going to go there for this celebration called Feile Bride, but Egypt has been blowing up and I stuck close to home for work instead.

    St. Brigid, who’s one of the three patron saints of Ireland, is my favorite saint because, in part, there’s no actual proof she ever even existed!

    But I am asking her here to help me make it through this last month with zero sugar.

    Here’s the TV Guide synopsis:

    Whoever Brigid might have been, she sat on the cusp of Ireland’s transition from the pagan Druidic religion to Christianity.  The Christian invaders were no dummies and they cannily co-opted some of the hot gods and goddesses of pagan Ireland into Christianity to make it more palatable to the Irish. Which is how Brigid the fabulous pagan goddess became St. Brigid the pious Catholic saint.  No word on whether she’s still rolling over in her grave.

    Even if you read a lot of about ancient Celtic history from Ireland, it’s almost impossible to sort the fact from the fiction. How very Irish!

    Brigid, if she ever was a real person, is thought to have been born around 453 AD. A more Christian version of her life is available here.  I’ve been to Ireland many times but never to Kildare where Brigid’s spirit is very much alive.

    I hope to go next year for the feast.  I have a feeling it must be a interesting mix of everyday Catholics as well as the dreaded New Agers who call each other goddesses and go all Wiccan.  Just will have to trust that Brigid’s spirit is enough to pierce through the Irish moss and call to me directly when I get there.

    Much the same way I hope she gets me through this last, especially abstemious, month.

    Partly because I have pure Irish roots, I love Irish Celtic history, mythology and mysticism.  I wasn’t brought up Catholic or with any religion and I’m glad because this way I’ve been able to seek on my own.

    My mother, the unrepentant ex-Catholic and avowed agnostic, set me up though. She named me Dana, which is the modern Irish name for Danu, (photo above) the mythic mother earth goddess of  the Tuatha Dé Danann, the great fairy race of Ireland.  Fairy in the human with supernatural powers sense, not the pink, winged, stardusted sense.

    Some of the fairies and fantastic races of otherworldly creatures of Irish mythology came from below, which can be as rich a locale as above.

    Which is why I have two crosses, a tiny gold crucifix – and the famous St. Brigid cross, which was originally made with rushes and is just a little bit… off center.

  • Day 341: Are You Too Chicken to Read This?

    Date: 2011.01.26 | Category: Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

    My friend Erik Sherman and I have a lot in common.  True, I didn’t go to MIT like him (teensy issue with my math SATs,) but I’ve got a spiritual slide rule in my pocket.

    Erik lives in my home state of Massachusetts and writes for a living from his home, like me.  More important, he has a flock of chickens (at left.)  I never tire of hearing news about them on his Facebook page.

    In fact, I was brooding about them what with the record, subzero temps back home and was relieved when Erik announced last week he was going to install a heat lamp in their coop.

    Well, you can imagine what happened next. We started imagining. And by “we” I mean all of us geeks (see MIT above) like Erik’s and my friend, the writer, Linda Lenzen Treiber, and others who like to have pun.

    For me, at least, having an eggstraordinarily sweet thread like this for distraction is the next best thing to having a big block of milk chocolate at my side while I work.

    Erik Sherman

    Chickens’ heat lamp is on and the red glow has issued forth. I expect the mirror ball to descend any minute. Instead of break dancing, they will probably do beak dancing. Or the Funky Chicken.

    Monday at 2:46am · Like · Comment

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    Erik Sherman Stairway to Henven

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    Dana Kennedy Haying Alive

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    Erik Sherman Last Train to Clucksville

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    Gene Retske I Started a Yolk

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    Linda Lenzen Treiber Layla

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    Erik Sherman Sweet Home Alabumen

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    Linda Lenzen Treiber West Fried Story

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    Linda Lenzen Treiber Bwock Like An Egyptian

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    Linda Lenzen Treiber Bwock This Way

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    Dana Kennedy Beat It

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    Sue Anderson Wagner I’m A Scramblin’ Man – Waylon Hennings

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    Linda Lenzen Treiber Cluck You – Cee Lo Green

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    Linda Lenzen Treiber It’s a Hard Bwock Life

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    Linda Lenzen Treiber Poulet Vous Coucher Avec Moi?

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    Erik Sherman Stormy Feather

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    Erik Sherman I Love You a Bushel and a Peck

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    Erik Sherman Buckgin the Beguine

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    Erik Sherman Sunny Up Side of the Street

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  • Day 339: R.I.P. Jack LaLanne!

    Date: 2011.01.24 | Category: Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

    One of my all-time heroes made it t0 age 96 by walking the walk as much as talking the talk.

    Goodbye, fella.

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This American candy addict/journalist in France writes about quitting candy – and all desserts – for at least one year beginning Feb. 28, 2010. Follow my progress – or relapses – as I delete candy corn, moelleux au chocolat, peppermint patties, Carambars, tarte tatin, After Eights, crème brûlée, Nutella, tapioca pudding, mint chocolate chip ice cream, Haribo Polkas, M & Ms and more from my life. Learn about the evils of white sugar and its effects on mood and health from my interviews with experts and friends! Let the sugar fog lift!

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