I want to learn short hand…

inside pages

Originally uploaded by squareintheteeth

…without having to become part of a secret group and without having to work as a secretary. Or are they called PA’s now? I don’t know and care, but the writing in this book looks pretty neat. It comes from a Flickr set of scans from a Masonic handbook, The Book of Solomon,  ca 1920, and there are some transcriptions of the text in the comments. I went through a phase when I was really interested in code, sparked by reading Neal Stephenson‘s Cryptonomicon and parts of David Kahn‘s The Codebreakers. However, because I just S U C K at math and all related disciplines I soon gave up. But I remember really liking Stephenson’s book back in the days. That was years ago, though, so don’t crucify me when you read it and it turns out to be lame. I was in my early twenties when I read it, I think.

Speaking of books, I started reading Michael Pollan‘s Omnivore’s Dilemma and it is about to change my life! You’ve probably already heard of the book or the writer, because he seems to be all over the place lately. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Omnivore’s Dilemma is about food, or better, the food industry and you’d be surprised by a number of things. As always, dealing with the industrial-food complex has gigantic grossness potential (see the Rolling Stone article on hogfarms), but he manages to spare you the worst bits, although corn is not doing much better. And you’d be surprised that corn is everywhere. If you can’t be bothered to read the entire book, Pollan published a number of articles that sketch out his views and opinions, so go forth and read here, here, or here. Here’s a snip from the last one:

some of the cultures that set their culinary course by the lights of pleasure and habit rather than nutritional science are actually healthier than we are—that is, suffer a lower incidence of diet-related health troubles. The ”French paradox” is the most famous such case, though it’s worth keeping in mind the French don’t regard the matter as a paradox at all; we Americans resort to that word simply because the French experience—a population of wine-swilling cheese eaters with lower rates of heart disease and obesity?!—confounds our orthodoxy about food. Maybe what we should be talking about is an American paradox: that is, a notably unhealthy people obsessed by the idea of eating healthily. 

Other news from the healthward front are that I’m still keeping my pledge of riding my bike everywhere I can, following the strike of the public transportation employees a few weeks ago. Now I just have to eat more veggies than pasta and couscous and I’ll be fine. 😉


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