* How to Wire Your Brain for Happiness

A follower sent me the below link; I don’t think I need to comment on the article, but just highly recommend it.

How To Wire Your Brain For Happiness

Well, I will say this much. In “Chaos Overwhelms the Poor” and elsewhere I stress the effects on the brain itself, of chosen spiritual disciplines. This article reinforces that concept, with much good advice.

talk radio, talk show host, on air talent, the homeless blogger

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* All about breads

I have been asked to share my vast wisdom on the subject of yeast breads (chometz).

I’m not a big fan of lots of different recipes for bread. My philosophy is to find one basic recipe and then do variations on it: experiment with different ratios; stir in a cup of raisins or nuts or grated cheese; make rolls, using cinnamon, sugar and butter, or jelly, or peanut butter and jelly; use milk or evaporated milk or even fruit juice or cream instead of water; and so on.

I’ve forgotten the basic recipe I used before becoming homeless. One could start with this one, and experiment with different ratios until one settles on one one likes.

BASIC RECIPE

½ cup butter, melted but not hot
1 cup warm water
¼ cup sugar
1 large egg
1 package commercial yeast
flour: I don’t know how much. Have at least four cups available.

This is destined to produce a small loaf. You can increase amounts later.

Put all the ingredients but flour in a bowl and mix well. Begin stirring in flour, a little at a time, until the dough is firm enough to knead. (Note: There is not, and never will be, an exact amount of flour to use, as the right amount on any given day will depend on the humidity in the room, etc.)

Dust a cutting board or tabletop with flour; turn the dough out onto this, and knead. Sprinkle flour on the wet or sticky spots as needed. Kneading is done when the dough has become springy and elastic.

Put the dough into a greased bowl. Coat the surface with vegetable oil to keep it from drying out. Cover with a cloth, and put in a warm place to rise.

When it has doubled (about two hours), punch it down. At this point, you’ll form it into any special shapes you want, or make the jelly roll, etc. Put it in or on a greased baking pan, cover with cloth, and put up to rise for another two hours.

Bake at 325⁰ for as long as necessary, which will depend on the size and shape of what you’ve made. It’s done when it sounds hollow if you tap on it.

STRATEGIES

Using store-bought yeast, one can start a batch at noon and take it hot from the oven at supper; in which case the whole will probably be consumed that night.

Clean all surfaces and tools a.s.a.p. after use. Once the traces of dough begin to harden, they’re much harder to clean.

Be forewarned: you WILL “waste” flour; it’s inevitable. You WILL make a mess; it’s inevitable. Determine from the get-go to regard cleanup as fun rather than as a chore.

SOURDOUGH

The biggest difference between sourdough and other bread is that sourdough takes much longer to rise. If I start a batch this morning, I will anticipate baking it tomorrow night.

To make sourdough starter: half fill a small jar with flour, and stir water in until it becomes a paste. Cover loosely and put in a warm place, like the kitchen window. After 2-3 days the wild yeasts already in the flour will have become active, and it will be bublly. Now it’s ready to use.

You can keep it in the cupboard, loosely covered, indefinitely and it won’t go bad. Every day, discard 1 tbsp. of what you’ve got — our use that much to start a batch of bread — and stir in as much new flour to replace it. Thus you’ll keep the sourdough starter fresh and active.

How much water to use is up to you. The thicker the starter is, the less sour your bread will be; the thinner, the more sour.

SPIRITUAL CONSIDERATIONS

(1)  All activities associated with breadmaking provide an ideal occasion for presence or mindfulness meditation: one focuses one’s attention wholly on the activity at hand, giving oneself completely to the experience.

(2)  It’s a good time to maintain an attitude of gratitude.  Give thanks to God for providing the materials.  Thank God for, and pray for, the farmers who produced it.  Thank yeast (or “Yeast”) and wheat (“Wheat”), who have been staunch friends to our species for thousands of years.  Pray that your taxes, tithes and activities may so create shalom as to make bread more accessible to the hungry. Praise God that you can so pray.

(3) Love for “the least of these.” I’ve always made it my business to actually love the yeast. These tiny fun guys (fungis) are actually right to stand tall and take pride in themselves. No less than the Blues Brothers, they are “on a mission from God,” to destroy complex starches and create simple sugars (cf. Jeremiah 1:10); to consume those sugars and produce ethanol (:)) and carbon dioxide.

(4) The Parable of the Yeast —

Matthew 13:33: He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and [hid in] three measures of flour until all of it was leavened.”

— illustrates what happens when one begins to establish presence. A little harmony and peace facilitates greater harmony and peace, and one’s motivations become increasingly coherent, until one’s whole being is transformed.

Why shouldn’t I dream about these things?

Previous pertinent posts:
Jesus’ outrageous parables
What a homeless man dreams of

on air talent, radio talk show, talk show host, the homeless blogger

* “Chaos Overwhelms the Poor”

Yahoo! Voices has released my latest piece:

Chaos Overwhelms the Poor
10/18/2013
“Personal failings” and “an environment that is not conducive to success” so interact that many poor folk come into a state of self-generated, self-perpetuating crisis.  Personal failings can be outgrown, however, and untoward circumstances transcended.

For the moment, this is my definitive expression on the subject.

on air talent, radio talk show, talk show host, the homeless blogger

She discovered the opiate receptor

Candace B. Pert, neuroscientist who discovered opiate receptor, dies at 67

The significance of this discovery is not to be underestimated.

I would have supposed it occurred much earlier.  To put things in context, 1973 is the year I graduated high school.  So maybe that’s about right.

This opened the door to study of the whole world of receptors, with many important developments.  Discovery of the serotonin receptors was key to invention of the medicines now most widely prescribed, and most successful, for treatment of depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder.  Discovery of the insulin receptors has wholly changed research into diabetes.

At least from its Amazon page, Everything You Need to Know to Feel Go(o)d seems to deserve attention.

News 08/17/13: Religiosity and intelligence; NDEs

Links to the headlines within this post:
Tenn. judge changes infant’s name from ‘Messiah’
Religious people are less intelligent than atheists, study finds
Near-death experiences may be explained by brain activity


Tenn. judge changes infant’s name from ‘Messiah’

No comment.

Religious people are less intelligent than atheists, study finds

I know many people who must be exceptions to the rule.

In practical terms: who provide me food, shelter and clothing?

Near-death experiences may be explained by brain activity

Nothing here surprises me.  The NDE is a special case of astral projection, and not to be dismissed completely unless we account for features of clairvoyance and precognition, as for example in the case of George Ritchie.

News roundup 08/10/13 – Tawana Brawley, Tavon White, more

Links within this post to headlines:
Tawana Brawley
Tavon White pleads guilty
Mercury and autism


Tawana Brawley hoax: Why she’s paying $627 a month
Trials of Tawana

I had not known about the defamation case.

Gang leader Tavon White pleads guilty in jail scheme

Study Sees No Link Between Mercury Exposure, Autistic Behavior

The search continues for an environmental scapegoat, for what to me appears to be a strictly genetic disease.