This site's current contents (surf pages via links on the left):
Home ~ Below is a summary of the pages of upchange.com. Right side: recent thoughts and suggestions.
Meal & Heal Shake ~ How I make a complex, good-tasting, remarkably healing smoothie, after years of research.
Mind and Mood ~ Insights from various cultures and times, which may help you feel good, think clearly, be frequently
Leadership ~ Thoughts and quotations on how to lead wisely. Links, books, issues and how to help the U.S. Congress
do its job.
EarthTalk ~ Questions & answers about our environment. Only this page of upchange.com is from the editors of E/The
Exercise ~ Ways of moving toward health. Favorite exercise and yoga and qigong videos, a few devices and the no-cost
joys of low-velocity ambling.
Agenda ~ Suggestions for folks of the United States, and beyond, on upgrading their lives and government.
Havens ~ Thoughts on finding, buying or creating a good home. Review of Living The Good Life, by Helen & Scott Nearing. Books on earth-sheltered and nontoxic homes. And a tip on
Herbs ~ Growing and living with healing plants, and making tea.
Qi ~ Views on improving life and health, from Chinese philosophers and healers. Reviews of books on Chinese herbs.
Experiences with acupuncture and a recent invention with surprising healing effects.
Cycles ~ Surprise: some aspects of astrology are valid, useful and learnable. Suggestions on websites, magazines, books,
Language ~ Reasons and ways to learn additional languages, and why the most useful ones for folks in the US to learn
(after English) are probably Spanish and Chinese (Mandarin).
Veganism ~ Improve your health and environment through vegetarianism, and develop compassion. This page may help.
Computer ~ Comments on the Macbook and on switching to a Mac (easier now that Macs run both Windows and the pleasant
Mac operating system). Helpful Firefox extensions, for PC and Mac.
Health Books ~ Reading can enhance your health, if you also attend to the other needs of your life, such sleeping,
eating, exercising, loving, earning, voting, and visiting this web site.
The Man Who Planted Trees ~ full text of Jean Giono's phenomenal story of one man gradually rejuvenating a whole region
through years of planting seeds and growing happiness
Self-Reliance ~ full text of Ralph Waldo Emerson's superb essay on the value of finding your own fresh way of thinking
and living. "Whoso would be a man, must be a nonconformist." Wise women understand "that envy is ignorance, that
imitation is suicide".
US Constitution ~ Let's ponder the crucial organizing document of the United States, and the rights guaranteed (somewhat,
sometimes) by the amendments.
Human Rights ~ The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted and proclaimed by the General Assembly of the United
Nations in 1948
Tao te Ching ~ full text of Lao Tsu's classic on enduring through not straining to seem great. There are many good
translations, but few are as free of charge as this one by James Legge, first published in the 1800s.
Good Sites ~ Some of my favorite websites
My Path ~ How Upchange's grower grew, from enchildment in Washington DC to laboring in Yellowstone Park, co-devising
a swell bookshop in Silicon Valley, volunteering in Democratic campaigns, making medicinal gardens, music, films, photos and
a little love, then moseying into Arkansas and websitefulness.
"It's not the strongest species that survive, nor the most intelligent,
but the ones most responsive to change."
~ Charles Darwin
Eventually everything at Upchange.com (and elsewhere) will be revised or replaced -- with major changes often appearing
monthly, sometimes weekly or daily, or in a moment or two. Please stuff suggestions in the comments box at the bottom of any
page. Occasionally Upchange will be blog-like, usually more like an unfinished, living book whose chapters and essays
are slowly improving, with major additions mentioned on the first page. EarthTalk grows monthly.
Various healthy practices can improve our lives, and this site will discuss several useful options, from gardening to registering
voters. Sometimes we can help determine the larger directions of our society, and we can usually make positive changes right
where we live, in the way we live, which will improve our health, our community, and set a good example.
"Confront the difficult
while it is still easy;
accomplish the great task
by a series of small acts."
~ Lao Tsu, translated by Stephen Mitchell
Or you could reward your own swell self at MAGAZINES.com.
A few I've chosen: Body and Soul, Yoga Journal, Alternative Medicine, This Old House.
Are you ready for refreshment? For thoughts on how to make tea and what herbs to use, see the Herbs page.
We're all imperfect, and know less than we will. Let's become increasingly aware of our surroundings, the large and small
scale of our situations. Learn, develop skills, avoid violence, find ways to be helpful, find allies and bring positive change.
Each day we can do some good, even if only a little. Teach someone to read, help someone in need, plant a seed. A small tree
is better than bigotry. Being a superpower confers no benefit when we have no sense.
My plans for improving upchange.com include: developing my site-making skills; adding more frequent updates (including to
EarthTalk); writing more about medicinal plants, yoga, conserving, sensible energy sources, health research, worthy books
and exercise videos; evaluating agenda options for the finally upgraded U.S. government. Probably the best changes to come
here, or anywhere, are unforeseeable.
My life beyond the computer includes gardening, home repair and clutter-removal projects, learning to play guitar, going for
acupuncture treatments every month or two, walking around the small town where I live nowadays, wondering if I'll again find
a pleasant and multi-dimensionally compatible female companion -- and I may describe some of those things here, by and by.
I'm one of those who came gut-wrenchingly close to dying awhile ago, after eating bean tostadas brought to me from Taco Bell,
and maybe I'll write about that too -- it's one reason why the site languished awhile, and sometimes other projects or goof-off
options grab my attention. In coming months I plan to enjoy life and be productive, without straining. In the past year and
a half, I've lost about 24 lbs, down to 175 or so. Some of the causes of my weight loss were acupuncture and use of a far-infrared
lamp (both described elsewhere on upchange -- I'll eventually write more) and sleeping more (melatonin helps a bit, as does
valerian) and drinking more water and tea when hungry/thirsty, instead of too-quickly eating. Based on health research by
some Russian scientists (and others) I've quit eating most flour-based products including bread -- except for breads made
with sprouted grains (more on that later too). I've been exercising moderately and diversely, and practicing yoga - probably
no more or less than usual (I do plan to review several more yoga and exercise videos -- have used dozens).
I look forward to the pleasure and, well, burden maybe, of learning to use several website-making programs, including Flux
and Freeway Pro. One of my favorite programs is Circus Ponies Notebook (discussed on the Computer page), which helps me organize
all of my writings, web clippings, to-do-lists and projects into a single file which looks like a notebook, with tabs, ability
to add voice annotation, ability to publish pages or the whole notebook to the web, and many other nifty features. I've never
used Microsoft's One Note program, but it may offer some of the features of Circus Ponies (though it's not as wonderful, I've
heard). Mac users who don't want to buy Circus Ponies (usually $49) might like xPad (freeware and a simpler program).
I'll add more photos here, taken with my pleasant, pocketable Panasonic DMC-TZ5 digital camera (having finally switched from
film). Also I've bought my first digital camcorder, and will gradually learn to use it and edit what I shoot. I loved making
short films when I was in college and for several years beyond, and helped make a couple of documentaries for TV -- was especially
fond of editing film. While the digital approach will differ in some ways, I look forward to the joys of making videos about
my gardening, yoga, cats, toads and assorted human stuff.
I hope that you have an excellent future or two.
Please don't croak while hopping through this site.
In its early years, Upchange.com had no ads. Eventually it became clear that visitors could benefit from links
to books and products which improve life -- and of course advertising helps pay for some of the site's costs. Let me know
if any ads seem obtrusive or unuseful.
Michael Carpenter, on Rachel Maddow's MSNBC show 7/14/17, said that he's observed Russian government meddling in many
elections in several countries, in his numerous years of jobs as the top Russian expert in the US State Department and in
the Pentagon and on the National Security Council -- and said that Russian political interference (in diverse forms) was not
just alarming in the US last year, but has been particularly intense in Ukraine (where Paul Manafort was paid $10 million
over 4 years to help Putin-affiliated politicians, before becoming Donald Trump's campaign manager in 2016).
went on to note that Russia assists not just Russia-friendly politicians and political campaigns (such as Trump's), but also
assists many groups within many countries -- including some conservative organizations in the US, and including the National
Rifle Association, even though the Russian government would never espouse widespread public ownership of guns within Russia
U.S. intelligence agencies report that there have been multiple years of unusually frequent Russian government
interaction with several of Trump's associates -- including but not limited to Manafort.
Eventually we'll know more
about the deceitful traitors who govern us and, I hope, choose better leaders.
via Russian and FBI help, + hiding tax returns and impressing the gullible and immature by boasting, strutting, belittling,
Except for the Meal & Heal Shake page (which is new, though just a draft), most of upchange.com was created years ago
and needs to be updated. I realize that some features no longer work, and some things I said are outdated. I plan to fix all
of that and freshen up the site. If you want to suggest anything or discuss something, see the contact form at the bottom
of any page. All of the questions in that form (including what's your name, etc) are optional.
Here are a few incomplete, imperfect thoughts on the unsettling political turbulence now underway in the United States:
By unquestioningly believing improbable miracle stories (from a single, old, supposedly complete and flawless book), which
are relentlessly repeated to them over many formative years, blended with somewhat worthy though limited moral principles,
Fundamentalists prepare the neural networks of their minds to accept and worship outlandish pronouncements from charlatans
like Trump and other tyrants. Both the simplistic, anti-scientific content and the cocky, know-it-all delivery style make
lies and hate talk feel right to such damaged minds.
By limited moral principles, I mean, among other things, that texts such as the Bible (and the often bizarre speeches
by Trump) fail to teach humility, a recognition that one never knows everything, fail clearly to teach nonviolence or the
right of all people to fair treatment and rights (regardless of race or gender), fail to teach responsibility for environmental
protection, and fail to teach civic responsibility.
Nothing like the kind of advanced government created by the US Constitution existed when Jesus advised people to "render
unto Caesar what is Caesar's", and fundamentalists tend to seek a return to backward authoritarianism, such as what Trump
is trying to impose, with only the supposedly infallible leader's views heard, with no role for a free press or scientists
or people who've done research.
Let's pay attention, keep learning, keep trying to help, in our own ways. And get ready to vote the traitors out of office,
if the Supreme Court doesn't nullify the 2016 U.S. Presidential election, as I believe it should, even now.
Casual Observer ....
aloof to most human philosophies and diversions
I hope there'll be ways for many more people to catch Robert Reich's remarkably clarifying and inspiring 2013 documentary,
"Inequality for All" -- half of which I've watched again on Pivot (a newly available tv channel here, on my "basic
cable"), and I hope to watch it again. Bernie Sanders said "This film explains it all" and Elizabeth Warren
said "See this movie!".
Scrabble presented me with an ad for this:
Words which my scrabble program won't allow:
egodunks (put-downs of pompous foes)
phunite (element used in making clowns)
bunnery (range type where buns are fired)
nopine (we opine ideas; no ideas? Nopine)
unpig (you may be a pig, until unpigged)
slipline (chorus girls on ice)
unicage (we're all prisoners in the unicage)
biogale (animal & tree-filled wind/tornado)
dratism (belief of one who often says drat)
topcat (in lieu of tophat, cat-lovers wear it)
podre (if pods rule, priests will be podres)
igmortal (unwittingly doomed to die)
goonline (lineup of suspects, all goons)
While rss-compiling apps are more common sources of the news I see, I've finally found a way to make twitter helpful, not
a waste of time -- not as a medium to express myself, but as a way to learn -- by highly selective "following". Reich's twitter
account (one of the very few I've found to be worth following -- good, concise ideas) is RBReich. Others I follow and think
you might appreciate: paulkrugman and CDCemergency. (Most of the health, political and ideas-related tweeters I've checked
are overly verbose or uninteresting.) And billmaher on twitter gives infrequent, funny and often thoughtful clips from his
HBO show, for which I'd otherwise have to pay.
Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma, which is living with the results
of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have
the courage to follow your heart and intuition. ~ Steve Jobs
Let's grow, explore, create
Courage card from the Osho Zen deck, in my hand, near backyard holly
An update on my worm situation: I've started growing red-worms again (my worm bin failed a couple of years ago, after doing
fine for about 20 straight yet wiggly years) -- I use the compost they make (from old newspapers and unusable food), in my
gardening, mainly transplanting. I first bought worms to grow for composting in 1974, when living in California, from an ad
in the back of Organic Gardening Magazine. They came from Plains, Georgia, from a farmer named Jimmy Carter. That guy was
elected President a couple of years later.
Recommended viewing: a video about veganism and living in a wise and healthy way: "A Life Connected" -- see http://www.nonviolenceunited.org/veganvideo.html
-- it's just under 12 minutes long.
Below is a nice song, Hang on Little Tomato, performed by the small orchestra which devised it, Pink Martini, which
performs around the country and the world on behalf of environmental causes, peace and musical pleasure. Somebody over at
youtube put together this pretty good video (a photo montage) to go with the song. If you know of a more wonderful song (or
any other remarkably good thing), please let me know via the "comments" box at the bottom of any page of upchange.
Please delay sending anything via my amazon wishlist (not currently working). Probably won't take long to fix, but I have
more pressing priorities. The contact form below does work. Various site additions and repairs will come before long.
Please send your comments or suggestions, below.
All fields are optional.
Your info won't be shared with others,
unless you request that.
See links at the top for other pages in this site.