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Monday, November 30, 2009

Tiger Woods

I am fascinated by the Tiger Woods Saga. Here's a really cute, talented guy who comes up from nowhere (thanks to two great parents), marries a waif, has a child, and is supposed to live happily ever after.

My best friend, Pov, accuses me of having a crush on Tiger but I don't. Really. That is as ridiculous as saying that I have the hots for Hugh Jackman.

*ahem*


But if I did have a crush on Tiger, it's taken quite a blow recently. I have no sympathy with men who cheat on their wives, as I've been through it before with my ex-husband. I also don't understand women who poach: Aren't there enough men in this world? Can't you find one that isn't wearing a wedding ring?

Of course this is assuming that Tiger did have an affair with an Angelina Jolie look-a-like who can't keep it in her pants. From news accounts, this supposed mistress has seen more male anatomy than a urinal.

It's currently speculated that Tiger's wife, Elin, helped him achieve his "car accident" as well as his six minutes of unconsciousness. I can never condone violence, although I certainly can sympathize if, indeed, Elin attacked Tiger after hearing of the affair. And of course this affects their two children, one of whom was born only this year.

Although some people are joking about Tiger's "wood", asking if he drove a Volkswagen Golf, and talking about how Elin is "green" with envy, this is no laughing matter.

I've written about heroes with blemishes before. They exist, but I'm hoping that we don't have to add Tiger Woods to that pantheon.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Black Friday

Although I will mostly be avoiding the crowds today, I'm going to be fighting my way through the masses on Saturday. It's an experience like no other: There's an "end of the world" feeling when you're in the middle of a mob of women who are trying to buy the last wind-up fake hamster on the shelf.

As for me, I won't be buying much of anything at all. However, I love the hustle and bustle (perhaps it comes from years of retail management). This is the day that retailers often can breathe a sigh of relief. It's called "Black Friday" for a reason: It's the day that merchants finally go into the "black" and out of the "red" that they've been suffering through all year long.

There are predictions that this year will be better than last year. How could it not? Last year was the worst Black Friday in thirty years (according to the news last night).

Then again, experts argue that online retail is now where consumers are turning. This is good news for those of us who sell on Ebay. I don't sell much, but I am now frantically gathering up odds and ends of things that I meant to put on Ebay in the past: It's time to sell, people, sell!

One of the things that will drive online sales is the retailers' desire to lose as little money as possible. Therefore, stock is down, prices are up, and retailers are hoping they won't have to budge much on price this year. I even heard a commercial on the radio in which the head of a major chain is encouraging shoppers to buy what they want now, as they might not find it later. Good luck with that con. Let's see how gullible American shoppers are this year.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Best Thanksgiving Casserole Ever

I'm sorry I didn't post yesterday. My best friend, Pov, got into a terrible car accident. He's sore and may have whiplash, but nothing is broken or ruptured, thank God. His beloved sports car is quite injured, but it could have been much worse.

Every Thanksgiving, my family has this amazing casserole. It's something that everyone wants more of and so it's always a great idea to double the recipe if you have room in your oven. Because Thanksgiving is around the corner, I'm sharing it with you. If you want a great potato based side dish, this is the casserole for you.

POTATOES DELUXE

2 lbs. frozen hash browns, thawed
1 C chopped onion
1 C cream of chicken or cream of mushroom soup
1 pint dairy sour cream (non-fat works just as well)
1 stick (8 oz) butter or margarine, melted
8 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, grated
salt and pepper to taste
1 C crushed potato chips

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Put in 9x13 baking dish. Sprinkle with crushed potato chips. Bake 1 hour at 350F. Serves 12.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Seriously?! THAT is "The Sexiest Man Alive"?


What am I missing here? And can someone hand that guy a razor? Perhaps a pair of shears?

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Debunking Crystal Healing

CRYSTAL HEALING

At one time, I would have loved to believe in Crystal Healing, and for years I considered the possibility (though I never experienced it). I don't believe that "crystalogy" necessarily precludes any religions any more than aspirin does: If it works, then it works.

(A caveat: Some of what some crystalogists propose does contradict certain religious teaching, but much of it is supposedly for healing only).

And yet, despite my past desire to find this concept to be true, I have not been able to do so. Perhaps that is due to my being raised by an objective scientist who taught me analytical thinking at an early age. If I were more gullible, I might see it differently.

For eight years I went through a nebulous stage in my belief system. I was a born-again Christian at age 5, I had been raised from a strict Protestant standpoint, but at age 30 I set out to see if I had missed anything.

During this time I styled myself as an "agnostic" and did much research in the various religions of the world, with an open mind. I must note that I never seriously practiced other religions or belief systems, but I studied them intensely.

For many of these years I've owned "Love is in the Earth" by a woman who calls herself "Melody". It is the definitive bible for crystal healers, and it is the primary source of all crystalology. I have come to treat it as a work of fiction.

I have found nothing to substantiate crystalogy, despite all my research. This doesn't mean that I am right, but I see nothing to indicate any other conclusion at this time. Of course there is The Placebo Effect, and I do believe that it comes into play here.

CHILDLIKE THINKING

Since crystalogy is primarily based on Melody's book, it bears examination. Much of the metaphysical definitions of how crystals supposedly work come from Melody's claims, derived from her personal experiences.

What do we know of Melody? Very little, despite years of my attempts to find out anything about her. Melody is obviously not her real name, and although she claims to be a scientist with a B.S. degree and an M.A. in mathematics, there is no substantiation of this.

Her book is not well-written. Many crystal workers complain that it is vague in some parts (and indeed it is). There are also odd wording and spelling choices (such as the word "dis-ease").

Most importantly, however, is that Melody's decisions on how the stones work often seem to be simplistic (and perhaps subconscious) assumptions based on their composition, appearance, or the names of the stones themselves.

If an item's healing powers were linked directly to its name, then an aspirin (pronounced ass-prin) could only be used to treat hemorrhoids.

I am now going to list many examples. Feel free to skip this section and go directly to the next part, titled Dangerous or Foolish Claims.

AMBER: This is fossilized resin and is known as "Nature's Plastic". Like plastic, it can be rubbed to generate static electricity. Melody claims it can balance "...the electro-magnetics of the physical body." [sic]

ANGEL WING AGATE and ANGELITE and ANGLESITE: "...can also be used to facilitate the opening of the pathway for communication with those other-worldly beings..."

ANHYDRITE: A substance is said to be anhydrous if it contains no water. So obviously, anhydrite can "...ameliorate water retention and swelling."

APATITE: Suppresses hunger.

ASTROPHYLLITE: Helps the user with astral travel.

AURICHALCITE: "...clears the aura..."

AVENTURINE: (Sounds like "adventure") "...augment(s) the "pioneering" spirit."

AZURITE: Treats asthma. Note the "AZ" sound at the beginning of both words.

BABINGTONITE: (Do you hear the word "Baby"?) "It can be used during "re-birthing" sessions..."

BERTHIERITE: (Do you hear the word "Birth"?) "It can...enhance the security of the newly born. It has been used in the treatment of conditions associated with infertility."

BLOODSTONE (a.k.a. Heliotrope): Nicknamed "bloodstone" originally because it looks like blood (although there is green bloodstone), Melody says that it can be used to purify the blood, and can influence the flow of blood.

BOLEITE: (Do you hear the word "Bold" in this?) "It provides for courage... produces daring, unhesitating action..." BOLIVARAITE supposedly has similar properties.

BRAIN GEODE: These are geodes that look like human brains. Under "Geode", Melody writes that the Brain Geode "...has also been used in the treatment of brain tumors and mental imbalances."

BRAVOITE: Increases bravery.

BRAZILIANITE: Brazil is a hot place, right? So it makes sense that Brazilianite can "...alleviate the conditions of both heatstroke and sunstroke."

BROOKITE: Our circulatory system runs along like a series of rivers or brooks. And Melody claims that Brookite solves circulation problems.
BLUE AGATE:
Ever hear about someone who is "true blue"? Well, it's no surprise that this stone teaches us about love. So do most of the blue stones, apparently.

CALCITE: (Sounds like "calcium") "...can be used to promote the de-calcification of bone growths; in addition, it is a balancing agent for the assimilation of calcium..."

CALEDONITE: "Cal" is a designation for "Calorie", which is defined as "the heat necessary to raise the temperature of 1 g of water from 14.5C to 15.5C." Since Melody claims to be a scientist, it is quite believable that she associates "Cal" with heat and, sure enough, Caledonite "...can be used in the alleviation of chills, to bring warmth..."

CARNALLITE: Merriam-Webster defines "carnal" as "relating to or given to crude bodily pleasures and appetites. Marked by sexuality." Melody says that Carnallite "...enhances passionate and procreative energies..."

CARROLLITE: I love to sing Christmas carols. In fact, I go carolling every year! So perhaps I need to carry some of this stuff, as "It can be used to enhance the voice and to stimulate clarity with respect to the verbalization of communication..."

CAT'S EYE: Obviously "This mineral can be used in the treatment of eye disorders..." and to increase night vision.

CELESTITE: (Sounds like "celestial") Melody claims this stone can be used in astral travel, allows you to be more spiritual and appreciate the Divine.

CHILDRENITE: This stone supposedly treats childhood ailments such as "...fevers, flu, measles, chicken pox, mumps, etc."

CHLORITE: (Sounds like "chlorine," the primary ingredient in bleach) and is "...a purifier and is quite useful for cleansing the aura, the chakras, and the energy meridians."

CHLOROCALCITE: Like Calcite, it's "...used to ameliorate calcium deficiencies...." and is supposed to also have the healing properties of Chlorite.

CHOCOLATE MARBLES: These are fossilized mud balls. But like chocolate, they "...are joyful stones and... tend to eliminate worries and to enhance ones state of well-being." [sic]

CHRYSOCOLLA: (Pronounced "Kris-Oh-Cola") Sugary colas are full of oxygenated bubbles. And Chrysocolla helps "balance the blood sugar" and "...has produced excellent results in re-oxygenation of the cellular structure."

CHRYSOPRASE: (Do you hear the words "Christ" and "Prays"?) "Chrysoprase helps one to recognize the trinity within oneself..."

CITRINE: (Color: Gold) Attracts money. Oddly, silver and gold do not (perhaps because that's too obvious).

COLEMANITE: (Do you hear the word "Coal"?) Coal is dark, but Colemanite ranges in color from white to yellow to gray, so it must be the opposite of coal, right? Therefore "It further provides light to the darkness of ones soul." [sic]

COOKEITE: There's nothing like a good cookie, fresh out of the oven. And if you are wearing Cookeite while you eat it, it can "...enhance the assimilation of nutrients."

CORAL: (Composition: Calcium Carbonate) This supposedly can be used to strengthen the bones of the body through meditation. See "SHELLS".

CORNETITE: Corns on your feet can be more than annoying: They can be painful. So it's nice to know that "It can be used in the treatment of disorders of the feet..."

CORUNDUM: According to Merriam-Webster, a conundrum is "an intricate and difficult problem." Corundum apparently solves those conundrums because it "...promotes insight to the unknown."

COWRIE SHELL: Cowries were used as coins by many Native Americans, so is it any wonder that they are supposed to "...bring both good fortune and affluence to the user."?

CREEDITE: A creed is a statement of belief, as in "The Apostles Creed." Melody claims that Creedite "...helps one to gain access to the sacred texts..."

CRYOLITE: You can cry out, or you can go on a crying jag. Either way, this stone is for you. "It assists one in public speaking and has been effective and constructive in the amelioration of speech disorders (which are) due to emotional and/or psychological needs."

CUPRITE: Cups hold liquid, just like the body does. So Cuprite "...can be used in the treatment of water retention...bladder and kidney disorders."

CUSPIDINE: A cuspid is a tooth. And "Cuspidine can be used to treat problems of the teeth."

CYANOTRICHITE: When someone is poisoned with cyanide, most cyanide is concentrated in the red blood cells: A simple test of a victim's red blood cells will reveal the poisoning. Cyanothrichite is used to treat "red blood corpuscles", among other things.

DAMSONITE: Ever hear of "the damsel in distress"? Apparently Melody has, because "This mineral stimulates the feminine aspects of a person..." If only Melody had known about damson plums.

DAPHNITE: Daphne is a nymph in Greek mythology who transformed into a tree. And Daphnite is a "stone for transformation and transmutation."

DATOLITE: Do you have trouble assimilating data? If you carry around Datolite, your troubles are ended because "It has also been used to enhance the memory."

DESCLOIZITE: (Sounds like "disclose") This stone allows information to be disclosed to you and "...assist(s) in the assimilation of information."

DIABANTITE: The word "Diagnostic" starts with the same three letters and, sure enough, Diabantite is "...helpful in diagnostic situations."

DIAMOND: A recent symbol of fidelity when worn as an engagement ring*, Melody claims a Diamond is "...known as a "stone of innocence", bringing forth purity, constancy, and the loving and open nature..."

DINOSAUR BONE: "It stimulates the adventuresome nature..." After all: What could be more adventurous than a dinosaur? And since bones are made of phosphorus (despite the fact that Dinosaur Bone is fossilized), "It can be used to assist in the assimilation of phosphorus..."

DOLOMITE: Merriam-Webster states that if you are dolorous, you are "...marked by, or expressing misery or grief." Happily, Dolomite "...relieves sorrow."

DUFTITE: If you are a duffer (an incompetent, ineffectual, or clumsy person), then Duftite "...helps rid one of inferiority complexes." Can you see the commercial now? "Are you a duffer? Try Duftite!"

DUMONTITE: (pronounced Dumb-on-Tite) If you're dumb as a box of bricks, "This mineral... increases ones imaginative capabilities... stimulates the intellect... (and) enhances speech..."

DUNDASITE: (Do you hear the word "Done"?) With Dundasite, consider it done since "It is a "stone for accomplishment".

EMMONSITE: The word "emancipate" sounds similar, doesn't it? And Emmonsite helps to maintain personal freedom.

ENARGITE: (Sounds like "Energize") Melody informs us that Enargite can "...be used to increase physical vitality."

EPISTILBITE: According to Merriam-Webster, an epistle is "a composition in the form of a letter." So if you are wearing a piece of Epistilbite, it "...assists one in writing personal thoughts clearly," or so Melody asserts. From the way her book is written, I have to assume that she had none in her possession when she wrote it.

FAUJASITE: "Faux" means false, but Faujasite "...acts to keep one true to ones feelings..." [sic]

FERRIERITE: As Wikipedia says, "A farrier is a specialist in equine hoof care, including the trimming and balancing of a horse's hoof and the placing of shoes to the horse's foot." Goodness knows a horse must be able to be in top shape in order to carry you any distance at all. Interestingly, Ferrierite "...is useful in matters concerning transportation..."

FERSMANNITE: (Do you hear the word "First"?) According to Melody, Fersmannite "...can assist one in gaining prominence..."

FILLOWITE: (Do you hear the word "Flow"?) "It enables one to flow with all situations..."

FLINT: To be "flinty" is to be unyielding and uncompromising. Melody claims that Flint "...assists one in severing the emotional ties..." Flint was once used in arrowheads and knives, and so it is logical that she believes it can be "...used for psychic surgery," as well.

FLOURITE: Fluoride is used to prevent tooth decay. So it is interesting that Melody prescribes Flourite (which sounds amazingly similar) to dispel various infections.

FOSSILS: If someone is resistant to change or is very old, you've heard them referred to as an old fossil. But Melody says that fossils "...can be used to dispense with old "programming" and schedules, and to be open and receptive to, and perceptive of, the fresh innovative forces which are available."

FOURMARIERITE: Do you recall that Melody claims to have an M.A. in Mathematics? Throughout her college studies, she was bound to learn about Joseph Fourier (pronounced "For-ee-er"), a famous mathematician. He is so famous, in fact, that many theories and equations are named after him.

Isn't it interesting that his last name sounds like the beginning of this mineral's name? Tellingly, Melody claims "Fourmarierite can help with the pursuits of the mathematician and analyst..."

GAUDEFROYITE: (Can you hear the words "God" and "Freud"?) Ever hear of someone who has a "god complex"? It basically means they're stuck-up. Well, if you meet someone like that, hand them a piece of Gaudefroyite because it "...helps one to eliminate pretentious and ostentatious mannerisms..."

GOLD: Remember the phrase "as good as gold"? And how many times do we hear about the purity of gold? So it's no surprise that Melody says "Gold symbolizes the purity of the spiritual aspect of "All That Is"."

HAMBERGITE: If you're like me, there's nothing better than a greasy hamburger, loaded with the works. Of course that can put on a great deal of weight, but if you use Hambergite, "It can also be helpful in the stabilization of weight." So, you can go on and enjoy that burst of cholesterol.

HANKSITE: When you have a cold, you use a hankie! Oh, and you also should use Hanksite "...to ameliorate "head colds"."

HARKERITE: Hark! What do I hear? Let me grab some Harkerite, which "...can help one to eliminate somnambulistic 'consciousness', to be attentive to the moment..." In other words, it can help me harken.

HARMOTOME: (Sounds like "Harmony" and "Tone", doesn't it?) According to Melody, Harmotome "...is also useful to one who is actively engaged in musical pursuits."

HEMATITE: The root "hemo / hema" means (referring to) the blood. It's used in hemorrhage, hemangioma, and other words relating blood problems. Hematite is Iron Oxide, and as we know, iron is important to blood function. With all these associations, it is no wonder that Melody claims that Hematite "...can be used in the treatment of... blood disorders (such as anemia)..."

HEMIMORPHITE: If you want to morph into something else, this mineral "...assists one in self-transformation, personal evolution..."

HERDERITE: When you are dealing with a herd mentality and you wish to take on the role of shepherd, look to Herderite which "...can be used to promote leadership qualities and is an excellent stone for facilitating tact and cooperation within groups..."

HETEROSITE: "Hetero" means "different", as in "heterosexual" (attraction to the opposite sex). So Heterosite encourages you to be different as well: "It also provides one with a freedom from the material world and rids one of undue modesty."

HIDDENITE: This mineral "helps to stimulate... the loving side of ones nature in order to bring forth the unknown." [sic] In other words, it reveals the hidden.

HODGKINSONITE: Hodgkin's Lymphoma is a type of cancer that attacks the white blood cells. Interestingly, Hodgkinsonite is supposed to "...improve cellular reconstruction activities."

HOLTITE: (Sounds like "Hold Tight") "This mineral can be used in disorders involving the hands."

HOMILITE: A "homily" is a commentary that follows a reading of scripture. And if you are wearing homilite while you give your homily, it "...improves ones conversational and understanding qualities when one is in communication... It also provides for centering during activities of writing and speaking."

HOPETITE: Hopetite gives you... wait, you guessed it already, didn't you? Hopetite gives you hope. "It can... be used to stimulate the faith necessary to facilitate healing on all levels."

HOWLITE: Have you ever gone wild and "howled at the moon"? How about howling in anger? Well, "Howlite can be used to eliminate...rage", and "It can help to lessen rudeness and boisterousness."

HUMMERITE: If you've ever been around a horny teenage boy, you've heard the word "hummer". For those of you who don't know what this means, I refuse to explain it. Just take my word for it: It's a sex act and it has nothing to do with the vehicle. According to Melody, "This mineral can be used to relieve the causes of frigidity and to help one to creatively and peacefully deal with ones sexuality." Good thing those teenage boys haven't discovered it yet.

HYDROZINCITE: "Hydro" means fluid. So it's obvious that Hydrozincite is "...useful in helping to balance the liquid in the body..." and is "...used to dispel the fear of water." It is obvious, isn't it...?

ILMENITE: If you're ill, use Ilmenite. It "...can be used in the treatment of all dis-eases." [sic]

IOLITE: (Pronounced "I-Owe-Lite") "I owe, I owe, it's off to work I go." Iolite "...performs well when used for the elimination of debts..."

IRON: Like Hematite (and for the same reason), Iron can be used for blood disorders. In ancient Irish legends, iron was poison to fairies. However, Melody asserts it can be "...used to provide contact with the "fairy kingdom" of this world..." and says "It has also been used to stimulate contact with other-worldly intelligence..."

IVORY (FOSSILIZED): Ivory is akin to bone, so it's plain to see why Melody thinks "It can be used in the treatment of bone disorders..." and can fix "...dis-alignment of the spinal column." [sic] Of course if it's fossilized, Ivory is merely another type of stone.

JADE: According to Merriam-Webster, "jaded" means "... made dull, apathetic, or cynical." However, Melody says that you can counter jaded beliefs by using Jade in your meditations. "One who reveres a beautiful vision or ideal can utilize the energies of jade to assist in realizing those thoughts."

KATOPHORITE: Ever hear of The Cato Institute? According to Wikipedia, "The Cato Institute is non-partisan, and its scholars' views are not consistently aligned with either major political party." In other words, it's a think-tank. And Katophorite "...promotes intellectual decision-making..." and "...encourages originality in problem solving."

KIDWELLITE: Like Childrenite, Kidwellite treats childhood aliments such as "...dyslexia, mental confusion, learning disabilities, and instability."

KYANITE: Let's sing the Kyanite song (sung to "Let's Go Fly a Kite" from Mary Poppins) "Let's go Kyanite! Up to the highest height! Let's go Kyanite and send it soaring..." Kyanite helps you to soar through the astral plane.

LABRADORITE: This beautiful stone is sometimes called The Dark Moonstone. It has a lovely iridescence and positively glows, which is why Melody assumes that it "...represent(s) the "temple of the stars...", and "...brings the light of the other planetary beings into the soul of the user."

LAMPROPHYLLITE: Like a lamp, this mineral "...energizes the chakras with the purity of illumination."

LAUBMANNITE: Have you ever heard of Laudanum? It's an old-fashioned opiate that was commonly used by our grandparents. It sure sounds a lot like Laubmannite, doesn't it? And like an opiate, Laubmannite "...enables one to feel pleasurable anticipation instead of anxiety..." and can aid acupuncture/acupressure... to support weight loss and to reduce the craving associated with smoking."

LAUMONTITE: "Laumon" sure sounds like "lemon" to me, which is a highly acidic fruit. It apparently does to Melody too, as this is one of only several stones I can find that counterract "acidosis."

LAVENITE: To "lave" is to wash. Lavenite can be used to "...decrease noxious odors."

LEAD: When I was delaying some chore that I had to do, my mom would snap "Get the lead out!" And you've certainly heard the saying "As heavy as lead." Well, according to Melody, "It assists in the elimination of sedentary aspects and encourages being "on the move"..."

LEAVERITE: If you want to leave certain problems behind, then Leaverite is the stone for you. It is "...helpful in banishing intolerance and prejudicial favoritism."

LEPIDOLITE: "Lepidoptera" are butterflies and moths, which are famous for transforming from ugly squiggly things to beautiful winged insects. Lepidolite "...is recognized as a "stone of transition," and "...allow(s) for smooth passage during the change." It "...assists in birth and re-birthing..."

LEUCITE: Sounds like "lucite", doesn't it? Lucite is a type of plastic (usually clear). My son collects lucite paperweights which are beautiful in their clarity. And, coincidentally, "Leucite provides a window through which to discover..."

LIBETHENITE: Ever hear of "libido"? Well, if your libido is a little under the weather, use Libethenite to "...stimulate ones sexuality..." [sic]

LIEBIGITE: Like Libethenite, this also starts with the "lib" sound (as in "libido") and can also address sexual issues such as menopause, "menstrual disorders", and "increase fertility."

LIMB CAST: This is another word for "petrified wood". And guess what? Limb Cast can be used to provide strength and stamina to... you got it! Limbs!

LODESTONE: It sure is a load off my mind to find out about this stone. "It assists in relieving burdens..."

MAGNESIOFERRITE: Do you remember those annoying Milk of Magnesia commercials? Who wants to hear about constipation during the dinner hour? Besides, who needs it anyway, when you have "Magnesioferrite (which) can be used in the treatment of... constipation..."

MAGNETITE: Like a magnet, "Magnetite provides for a connection..." and "...can be used to attract love." It also catches "things", whatever that means.

MANGANESE: Like Magnesioferrite, this sounds like it should aid the digestive system in some way... and it does! "This mineral can be used to diminish free-radical oxides in both food and in the body." Strangely, The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry claims that our bodies need only miniscule amounts and it's highly poisonous in larger doses. Luckily we only use it for meditation, right?

MANGANOSITE: Like Magnesioferrite and Manganese, it can be used for "...intestinal disorders." Is anyone sensing a pattern here?

MARBLE: If you lose your marbles, just grab a hunk of Marble and meditate. "It helps to actuate the "unused" portions of the mind..." and helps you control your thoughts.

MARCASITE: This is a highly shiny stone, and it's used in a lot of jewelry making. Melody tells us "It also shows one how one may appear dull to others and encourages one to "shine"."

MARIALITE: If you are a Catholic and worship Maria, this stone is for you. "[Marialite] provides for the precious spirit of independence to be subservient only to the "light" of goodness."

MELIPHANE: "A mellifluous voice or piece of music is smooth and gentle and very pleasant to listen to." And Meliphane can help that by treating "...dis-ease related to the mouth and throat." [sic]

MESSELITE: Are you naturally a messy thinker? Messelite brings mental orderliness.

MICA: This very shiny mineral "...provides reflective qualities..." and also "It provides for self reflection..."

MICROLITE: Sometimes it's hard to see the small stuff without a microscope. And Microlite is that metaphysical microscope which "...allows one to see the "universe in a mustard seed..."

MIMETITE: Were you ever scared by mimes when you were young? Those darned mimes just wouldn't talk! If we'd known any better, we could have handed them some Mimetite which "...enhances the communication/receiver modes..." and is used for "...disorders of the throat."

MITRIDATITE: According to Google, "Mitral Valve Prolapse is a heart problem in which the valve that separates the upper and lower chambers of the left side of the heart does not close properly." Mitridatite also has something to do with the heart: It can be used "...in the repair of the arteries and valves at the heart locality."

MIXITE: Are you going to hold a mixer and you want it to be a success? Mixite "...enhances cooperation."

MONTICELLITE: When I was a kid, my parents took me to Monticello. I loved Thomas Jefferson's home. Let's face it: American Presidents are the closest thing we have to royalty. And sure enough, Monticellite "...is the stone of castles and kings."

MORDENITE: The beginning of this word sounds a lot like "morbid". According to Merriam-Webster, if you are morbid, you are "abnormally susceptible to or characterized by gloomy or unwholesome feeling." And if you're a JRR Tolkien fan, the mention of Mordor makes you shudder.

However, Mordenite counterracts any gloom. "It provides for a swift release from depression and disillusionment," writes Melody, and "It has been used to assist in white magic activities..." Take that, Sauron!

MORGANITE: This stone's "...colour ranges from pink to rose." So, naturally, "It helps to bring love into ones life..." [sic]

MOSANDRITE: Have you ever heard of the prophet Moses? Perhaps he carried a little Mosandrite with him, as "This mineral can stimulate the gift of prophecy..."

MUIRITE: I always loved the old reruns of the TV show "The Ghost and Mrs. Muir." She was a widow who lived with the ghost of a crochety old sea captain. Talk about the living trying to communicate with the dead! And Muirite helps you do just that: "It can assist one in understanding and clarifying "mixed" messages from both the Earth plane and from other worlds."

MULLITE: In case you need to mull something over, "It helps one to recognize all "sides" of an issue, enhancing the contemplative powers and dissipating ineffectual reasoning."

NATROLITE: The beginning of this word sounds a bit like "Natal", doesn't it? Natal means "of or pertaining to one's birth". And sure enough, "This mineral can be used to soften the experience of re-birthing..." And since we were all at one time completely submerged for 9 months in prenatal fluid, "Natrolite can be used to enhance swimming techniques, to overcome the fear of water..."

NATROPHYLLITE: Like Natrolite, this can be used "...to enhance the environment of the unborn..."

NORTHUPTITE: On a map, North is "Up". So if you want to go up, Northuptite is the way to go! "This mineral can stimulate travel (physical plane) and adventures. It can facilitate a connective force between those of the stars and those of this plane..."

NUUMMIT: (Pronounced "Numb It") "It has been used to relieve pain and discomfort..."

OBSIDIAN: If you run up against someone who is obstinate, "It provides a shield against negativity, transforming negative vibrations within an environment."

OCEAN SPRAY AGATE: This is apparently an agate that has a particular look to it - there are no pictures of this that I can find, so it may be up to interpretation. But since it's called "Ocean Spray", we realize that a logical train of thought could lead to "salty water spray" and sure enough, Melody says that this stone can treat sinusitis, congestion, and mucoid formation. Just like nasal spray.

OLIGOCLASE: (Pronounced "Olig-O-Class") An "oligarchy" is a type of government in which a minority of the upper class rule the majority. And if you are running an oligarchy, wear a necklace of Oligoclase because Melody is certain that "This mineral emits a sustaining energy, assisting one in maintaining a "hold" on situations or activities..."

OKENITE: If you want to feel OK, Okenite is a feel-good stone and "It provides one with inner approval..."

OPAL: Since opal has an ever-changing appearance, Melody assumes that it can be "...used to assist one in becoming "invisible"..." and "It brings one a quality of "fading-into-the-background"..." She also states that "It is known as a "stone of happy dreams and changes"...

ORTHOCLASE: Orthopedists fix problems in the skeletal system. Orthodontists fix teeth. And because Orthoclase begins with the prefix "Ortho", "It has been used in the alignment of the spinal structure and the teeth."

OVERITE: (Sounds like "ovaries") "It has been used in the treatment of... infertility in females."

PALERMOITE: If you are paler than most, this is apparently nature's blush. "Palermoite can enhance the purity of ones skin and can affect a glowing image, radiant in itself."

PAPAGOITE: Is your Papa a workaholic? Perhaps an alcoholic? Do you need to build a better family? "Papagoite is also quite useful in strengthening the bonding of relationships; it instills a deep connected-ness between one and the family..." [sic]

PASCOITE: (Pronounced "Pass-co-ite"). "Do not pass go, do not collect $200." Don't you just love Monopoly? But next time you play, make sure you have a piece of this mineral in your pocket. "Pascoite presents one with a "ticket" for entry to the realm of choice, providing for an unimpeded path during the journey."

PENNINITE: This word begins with the first three letters of the word "Penis" or "Penile" and, sure enough, "It can be used for the treatment of disorders associated with the male reproductive system..."

PERIDOT: Whenever I hear the word "Perineum", I cringe. I associate it with childbirth, as it is common to cut the perineum (the area below the birth canal) to make room for the baby to emerge. I guess because "Peridot" and "perineum" share the first four letters, Melody has determined that "It has been used as a facilitator for the birthing process... facilitating the opening of the birth canal."

PETOSKEY STONE: Melody informs us that this "...is a type of fossilized colony coral which exhibits an "eye" when polished." Because of this, "This stone stimulates the third-eye and the intuitive levels..."

PHARMOCOSIDERITE: Like a pharmacy, Pharmocosiderate "...can be helpful in the amelioration of all dis-eases and disorders." [sic]

PICTURE JASPER: This type of jasper has formations that resemble pictures. Melody asserts that it can provide insight and stimulate visualization (a.k.a. "pictures").

PIETERSITE: (Pronounced Peters-ite) By now you may be thinking I have a dirty mind, but I assure you that in my teenage years I heard more in the halls of my highschool than I've heard since. Most of you probably know that "peter" is slang for "penis". So it should come as no surprise that Melody believes that Pietersite can produce ("in the proper quantity") the hormones concerned with sex (among other things).

PLANCHEITE: (Pronounced "Plan-Chet") This has such striking similarity to the word "Planchette", which is the pointer used with a Ouija Board. Another type of communion with "the spirits" involves automatic writing and the mineral Plancheite "...can be used to stimulate automatic writing..."

POWELLITE: If you want power, Powellite "...is a good stone for support during presentations, oratorical displays, and when one is intent on convincing others..." It "...also activates the innate abilities to allow one to overcome physical handicaps and limitations."

PREHNITE: Do you notice how "Prehnite", "Prediction", and "Prepare" start out with the same prefix? So does Melody, who tells us that "It enhances ones ability for prophesy..." and "...prehnite is considered the stone to assure that the "commandment" to "always be prepared" is followed."

PSILOMELANE: Is it any surprise that this can boost psi powers?

PUMICE: This rock floats and it's very abrasive, so Melody has decided that "This mineral is a reminder for one not to "sink" into despair..." and "It helps to combat abrasive character traits..."

QUARTZ: The different varieties of quartz follow the usual metaphysical color associations. Among other definitions: Blue means fidelity, clear means clarity, etc. Melody also discusses different quartz formations and how they can relate to the user. As usual, what they look like has a great deal to do with what they supposedly can accomplish.

RALSTONITE: Does anyone remember the Ralston Purina company? They were famous for their dog chow. And speaking of dogs, Ralstonite can cure rabies! Look out, Old Yeller.

REDDINGITE: If you "red up" something, you're putting it right. And in the case of Reddingite, "This mineral can be used to assist one in correcting an unjust situation; to "right" a "wrong"..."

RHODOCHROSITE and RHODONITE: Coming in various forms of pink, these are obviously stones of love. Right? So if you love me, buy me a nice strand of the stuff: It's quite pretty.

ROSASITE: Have you ever hear the nursery rhyme about The Black Plague? It starts with "Ring around the rosy..." And there are many other diseases that produce a rosy skin problem. So Rosasite "...lessen(s) the affects of measles and chicken pox..."

ROSE QUARTZ: Like Rosasite, Rose Quartz is used to treat rosy skin. In this case, "It has also been used to diminish burns and to relieve and vanquish blistering due to heat."

SAGENITE: A sage is a wise man. And "Sagenite is a "stone for wisdom"," according to Melody.

SALESITE: What a coincidence! "It has been said to be an excellent stone for any "merchant" profession."

SANDSTONE: This stone is grainy and abrasive. Melody says "It can... be used to dispel abrasiveness..."

SCAPOLITE: Melody admits it looks like "cat's eye" and then states that "Scapolite can be used in the treatment of cataracts, glaucoma, dis-alignment of the iris..." [sic]

SELENITE: Selenium is a dietary supplement that is an antioxidant and helps prevent cellular damage. Selenite, on the other hand, can supposedly be used in meditation to "...facilitate regeneration of the cellular structure and the protective membrane linings which surround the cells - hence, providing a tool to both prevent and to overcome damage caused by the well known "free radical"..."

SERENDIBITE: Throwing all caution to the winds, Melody states that "It is known as a "stone of serendipity"..." What a happy coincidence.

SERPENTINE: Serpents are squiggly things that most of us would rather not pick up or have in our lives at all. Parasites are smaller squiggly things that... well, you get the picture. But Serpentine to the rescue! "It can be used... to eliminate parasitic infestations within the body..."

SIDERITE: For those people who are stuck inside, "Siderite is an excellent stone to use in the care of those confined, either to bed, to home, or to an otherwise confining environment."

SHELLS: (Composition: Calcium Carbonate) These supposedly treat calcium deficiencies (not through ingestion but through meditation) and can treat broken bones.

SILVER: (Mirror-like surface) "Can be used as a mirror to the soul."

SKAN: This stone is used to scan for problems during "Laying-on-of-Stones."

SODALITE: Am I the only weirdo whose parents used to give her baking soda for her acid stomach? It always worked but tasted like absolute hell. Interestingly, Sodalite "...can be used in the treatment of digestive disorders...", so I'm betting Melody has tried the baking soda remedy, too. Also, this stone is a lovely "true blue", so "It can be used to enhance truthfulness..."

SONOLITE: (As in "Son-O'-Light") Since it's masculine, "This mineral can be used to increase the male aspects of the character..."

SPHENE: This stone is only one letter off from "Sphere", as in "The music of the spheres", which is a theory about the stars and planets. So it's no wonder that Melody writes "This mineral can be used to promote contact with the heavenly bodies within the universe."

STITCHTITE: When you are suffering from hernia or ruptures and you need to be stitched tight, look no further than this mineral.

STILLWELLITE: If you can't stand still, "This mineral helps one to maintain motionless and stationary..."

STRENGITE: Strengite can supposedly strengthen the tendons and strengthen "...the power of the "silver cord" connection between the physical and astral bodies..."

SUNSTONE: This mineral can be used "...for a brightening of the chakras..."

TARBUTTITE: There is such a thing as a "Tartar Emetic", which makes you yip your cookies faster than you can say "Snickerdoodle." And Melody has found that Tarbuttite "...can also be used as an emetic."

TELLURIUM: In case you have trouble "telling" all, Tellurium "...is also a facilitator for communication..."

THOREAULITE: Henry David Thoreau is a famous philosopher who is renown for being an idealistic visionary. "Thoreaulite provides for an idealistic visionary state...," Melody informs us.

THUNDEREGG: "The ancients believed that the thundereggs were a result of the wrath and anger of the gods..." Melody declares. Therefore, it makes sense that "The thunderegg can be used to descrease anger and hostility."

TIGER EYE: Like Cat's Eye, it can help you see with clarity and "It has been used in the treatment of disorders of the eye..."

TIGER IRON: Showing no shame, Melody claims it "...stimulates the physical vitality to "put a tiger in your tank"."

TREMOLITE: If you have tremors, Tremolite "...can also be used to assist in stabilizing nervousness, shakiness, and those dis-eases related to these disorders." [sic]

TRILOBITE: A trilobite is an ancient critter which was covered in mud after it died. Eventually, it became fossilized. Melody writes "It is an example for humanity that one may be in charge of the world, and still, virtually, be required to "sit in the mud"."

However, trilobites first appeared in the fossil record during the Early Cambrian period and flourished up through the lower Paleozoic era. During the Paleozoic era, the trilobite had some competition. I wouldn't agree that he was King of the World.

TUFA: Tufa toughens you. "It can be used in disorders related to weakness in the body..."

TURQUOISE: Turquoise, which is sky-blue, "...has been used extensively in "cloud-busting" (initiating rain)..."

VALENTINITE: Valentine's Day and hearts go together like peanut butter and jelly. So it's pretty obvious that Valentinite "...stimulates... the heart chakra..." and brings "...the love of the heart to the actualization of the spoken word." It can be used to promote love in all relationships.

VARISCITE: Do you know someone who suffers from varicose veins? Variscite "...can be used in the treatment of... constricted blood flow, excessive blood flow..." and it "...can help regenerate elasticity in the veins..."

WAKEFIELDITE: If you are still awake in the wee small hours of the morning, "It has been used to alleviate insomnia."

WAVELLITE: Waves flow constantly. And "Wavelite can be used in the treatment of flows; energy flows, blood flows, etc."

WEEKSITE: "This mineral has been used to assist one in scheduling activities..." along with Daysite and Monthsite. Just kidding: Daysite and Monthsite don't exist.

WHITLOCKITE: Apparently "Whitlock" sounds like a mix of "Winchester" and "Flintlock" to Melody, as she writes "This mineral can be used to help one to "make a last stand"..."

WILLEMITE: Doesn't "Willem" sound a lot like "Welcome"? I think Melody would agree. "This mineral provides a "welcoming" aspect to those beginning the journey..."

WITHERITE: Withered (a.k.a. atrophied) limbs are not something that is healed easily (if at all). However, Witherite "...can also be used to ameliorate conditions of atrophy."

WOODHOUSEITE: "Woodhouseite can allow one to understand the meaning of the concept that the physical body is the temple of the soul..." I'm hoping my temple is sturdier than a wooden house here in Florida. Give me concrete block any day.

DANGEROUS OR FOOLISH CLAIMS

Certain stones, such as Ametrine, Eosphorite, Malachite, Sphaerocobaltite, and Mochi Balls supposedly "...stabilize and /or correct the RNA/DNA structuring within the body." Now how can Melody possibly know this without scientific research? It's easy to see a bone heal before your eyes, but RNA?

Similarly, Biotite "...has been used in diagnosing disorders associated with disorganized cellular patterns." Chiastolite is used "...to repair chromosome damage." Chromite does "...healing work on a cellular level." Kainosite "...can provide for cellular renewal..." Kasolite (which is radioactive) can treat "...cellular inadequacies." Lapis Lazuli is used to "...restructure cellular... disorders".

Some of Melody's claims are downright dangerous. As Jeffrey Shallit wrote:

"What's worse, however, is that this book is potentially extremely dangerous to one's health. First, here is the obvious danger that people who fall for this nonsense might avoid seeking competent medical treatment for serious conditions. For example, Melody recommends the use of a form of sphalerite for "the treatment of AIDS" on p. 592.

Second, Melody recommends various ways of creating "elixirs" on pages 62 and 63; this involves soaking the mineral in water and/or alcohol and then drinking the water. While most minerals are not very soluble in water, this process could still lead the user to consume small amounts of toxic minerals -- particularly because Melody almost never gives any warnings about the toxicity of various minerals.

Take witherite, for example. This mineral is barium carbonate (BaCO3), which is so toxic that it has been used as a rat poison in the past. The fatal dose for an adult human is about 5 grams, which is not that much because of witherite's high specific gravity. (See more about barium carbonate here.) But Melody doesn't say a single thing about the toxicity of this mineral. Instead, she says "It can be used in the treatment of disorders of the digestive system, providing for a cleansing effect on the unitary whole"! (p. 695) Anyone who followed Melody's recommendation and made an "elixir" of witherite might end up solving their digestive problems for good.

Other toxic minerals that Melody recommends for various uses include

* orpiment (arsenic sulfide) ("can be used to stimulate the intellect, to cleanse and to activate the solar plexus chakra, and to assist one in reasoning capabilities");

* anglesite (lead sulfate) ("It can be used in the treatment of nervous disorders, to stimulate neural transmitters, and to promote the circulation of blood")

* the radioactive mineral autunite (calcium uranyl phosphate) ("The energy emanating from autunite has been used to soothe the temper and to ameliorate heart disorders")

For betafite, a mineral which can be extremely radioactive, Melody suggests that it is "used to grid the body, via wearing and/or carrying". I would definitely not recommend wearing or carrying this mineral. You might set off radiation detectors at airports or borders, and you would be exposing yourself to a significant source of radiation, potentially leading to skin or other cancers."

SUMMARY

It may be that there is still a chance that crystalogy can work. But the supposed experts such as Melody have certainly done nothing to prove this. In fact, they have gone a long way to disproving it.

Are they merely as thoughtless and primitive as the savages who chewed on the bark of the white willow tree? Those savages knew that bark worked for them, but they didn't know why. It took someone of higher intellect to process it, market it to the masses, and call it "aspirin".

I don't believe they are equivalent at all. The savages had consistent results when they ingested the bark, but crystalogists do not and apparently cannot show such consistency.

If crystalogists are genuine, their standards need to be redefined, and crystalogy needs to be quantifiable (at least to a certain extent). Until then, I cannot buy into a system based on such ludicrous beliefs.

*Diamonds have only been used as an engagement ring standard within the last hundred years.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

The GOP Must Stand United?

In an article yesterday, Newt Gingrich writes "However, all of us who oppose the Left need to realize that civil war within the GOP will reelect Barack Obama and make Nancy Pelosi speaker for life."

Nonsense.

This ridiculous antiquarian attitude is what defeated the GOP during the last Presidential election. No prominent Republican wanted to publicly admit that George Bush was an idiot and therefore the public identified all Republican candidates with a moronic, weak, lame duck President who refused to listen to the people.

This attitude is why Gingrich openly endorsed Dede Scozzafava: A liberal Republican who stands for everything the party stands against. Why did Gingrich endorse her? Because she was a Republican.

If this is Gingrich's policy, all Barack Obama must do is change his party and Gingrich will fall right in line.

The Republican party is riddled with cancer. It is rife with special interest groups, Big Business, and has long ago forgotten the blue collar worker who made it what it was in the 1980s. The blue collar worker's values have not changed, but the Republican party has.

It is time for that civil war.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Domestic Violence a Big Secret?

In a recent interview, recapping her beating by boyfriend Chris Brown, Rihanna says "Domestic violence is a big secret. No kid goes around and lets people know their parents fight. Teenage girls can't tell their parents that their boyfriend beat them up," according to The New York Post.

What?

Perhaps this is a cultural thing: I didn't grow up in Barbados as Rihanna did. What she considers to be normal is hardly the average American experience.

Of course there are cases in which domestic violence IS a big secret. But as a nation, we have grown much better about defining what it is, and what it isn't. In fact, we encourage people to cry "abuse" so often that there are times in which it has become like the Salem Witch Trials.

And it is easy to declare someone is abusive if it helps you get what you want: Does your mom demand you make your bed every morning? Threaten her with Child Protective Services! Does your wife want a divorce and you want the house? File a domestic abuse complaint with the court to have her forceably evicted!

On the other hand, there are genuine victims. We now have wonderful organizations that help abused women find shelter and jobs. In many states, stalking is now also considered to be abuse, which allows the victim additional protection.

And I have no doubt that Rihanna was abused.

But Rihanna's last sentence really seems to take it over the top. If, as a teenager, I had ever been beaten by a boyfriend, all I would have to do is tell my parents about it. They would have had the police at our door faster than you can say "body slam". And I firmly believe this is the way the vast majority of Americans would handle it.

But, sadly, we have become a nation of self-indulgent whiners. We can see this in the proliferation of daytime TV court shows and horrid train wrecks such as "Jon & Kate Plus 8". Marketing firms cater to this trend with slogans like "you deserve [fill in the blank]."

Why? Because we're special! We're unique! Just like everyone else!

This gullibility is alarming. Because we want to believe it, we do. It bars fact-checking because it reaches deep into our psyches and hits us where it counts.

Do we all truly believe, deep down inside, that we are better than everyone else? Yes: We all do. But it's up to us to realize that this instinctive belief is not the truth, and we must overcome this.

But I digress.

To sum it all up: Is Rihanna right? Is domestic violence a big secret?

No. Domestic violence has, for the most part, come out of the closet. And in the case of Rihanna, it is on page 1.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Going Rogue/Going Rouge


Sarah Palin

Sarah Palin has come out with a new book, "Going Rogue". Judging from the comments that both conservative and liberal men make about her, I hope she has a few pictures from her swimsuit segment in that famous beauty pageant. Her book will be a sure-fire bestseller.

My colleague, "Sue", is a dead-ringer for Sarah Palin: So much so, in fact, that Sue is constantly waylaid in public by men begging for her autograph and asking for a picture with her. When we are in a business meeting, the men are inevitably staring at her until they finally screw up the courage to ask her "Why do you look so familiar?"

It is an amazing experience to be part of "Sarah Palin's" retinue.

But although Sarah Palin is a highly attractive, polished woman, I feel that there is less substance to her than I'd like. I admit immediately that I've not read her book yet (it's release is slated to be November 17th). However, it's not clear if we can really call it hers, as she had it ghost written by Lynn Vincent.

Interestingly, there's another book about Sarah Palin that will be released shortly. It's called "Going Rouge", and is supposed to be composed of a group of commentaries written about her by a group of people who are distinctively unimpressed with her.

Both books will be interesting to skim through... *ahem*, I mean read.