Send Us to Japan!

Hello there, folks.

SendUsToJapan

https://life.indiegogo.com/fundraisers/send-us-to-japan–3

I don’t normally post things of a personal nature or talk about my family online. But I have a really good cause that I’m trying to promote right now: intercultural learning. My daughter Katie (on the right–a junior in high school) is going to Japan this summer to study anime and manga art. She has dreamt of this trip for at least three years, ever since she knew about it. She also happens to be, at 16, a very talented artist, whose preferred format is manga. I would post one of her drawings, but she is shy about sharing. She and her friend Jennifer have posted an IndieGogoLife site to raise money for the trip. If you would like to help sponsor them, please click on the link to read their statement, and if you can contribute any amount, they would be very grateful!

Thanks so much, and God bless. (The good karma of your actions will come back to you!)

100 Years of High Tech

IMG_1239What’s this? Is it the Enigma Machine made famous again recently in the film The Imitation Game? No. That’s not what this is. It’s the keyboard for a Monotype machine, one of the last machines to produce individual type for letterpress printing. The Monotype machine was unveiled at San Francisco’s 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exhibition (now celebrating its centennial with programs and exhibits around San Francisco). With the machine, operators were able to create individual pieces of metal type required for a specific print job, specifying not only the letters they needed, but also the spacing and special characters. On the other end of the system, a Monotype caster would pop out the individual type, cast out of a molten metal mixture using a matrix of individual brass character molds. This was cutting-edge high-tech at the time. It sped up the typesetting process by creating all the individual characters needed on demand, rather than having to search through typecases and hoping you had enough t’s, r’s, e’s, etc. to set a given job.

Now of course, we type on the computer and text on our phones, and can change the size, style, and font of our words almost instantaneously. But letterpress printing was the name of the game from the 1440s when Johannes Gutenberg invented movable type until the mid-20th Century, when offset printing took over as the dominant form of graphic reproduction. In the 1980s, however, letterpress printing experienced a revival, as appreciators of the fine, old-timey craft created a demand for old-fashioned, high quality printing. Nothing in modern printing compares with the “bite” of real metal type into the paper, creating a highly tactile art form.

On February 28th, 2015, the Monotype system was on display at the centennial Open House of M & H Type, a craft foundry that has partnered with Arion Press, both housed in San Francisco’s Presidio, where they continue to publish limited-run, fine-art books for the discerning bibliophile. M & H type has the only monotype foundry that runs year-round, continuously since 1915.

India’s ‘festival of lights’

Writewireless:

In the midst of all the ghoulishness and turmoil of our western calendar, here’s a bright spot!

Originally posted on Yoga & Joyful Living:

Every year in autumn, Indians are celebrating Diwali, or Deepavali, by lighting earthen lamps and distributing sweets. Firecrackers are part of it, too. So what’s it all about?

The “festival of lights” is a cornerstone of the Indian calendar. Each year, Indians celebrate – in a symbolic way – the eternal conflict between good and bad and (of course!) the victory of the good. Lighting lamps signifies the victory of light over darkness, and hope over despair.

In yogic terms this can be understood as a renewal of our inherent capacity for clarity in thought, word and action. Lighting a lamp signifies the dominance of sattvic qualities over rajas and tamas which are considered to be chaotic fluctuations.

And not only Indians in India are celebrating – Diwali is an official holiday in Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Mauritius, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, Suriname, Malaysia, Singapore, Fiji and Pakistan.

Here’s some eye candy, and maybe some inspiration for future trips! 

Happy travels,

~ Andrea

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A New Economy: The Chocolate Standard

Moonstruck Chocolates

Why do people value gold so much?

I think the standard for wealth should be chocolate. It is much more nourishing, more coveted, and more satisfying. Do you ever develop a sudden craving for gold in the middle of the day? (or the night?) Does gold satisfy a deep-down need in your soul as it transits your tongue in serendipitous sweetness, bathing the back of your throat in warming smoothness, as it enters your stomach and fills the hollow of your being? I think not. But chocolate does. Chocolate is love. It is perfection. It is the answer to all prayers, the righter of all evils. Nothing gratifies as well. Nothing else delivers its promise so instantly.

No, gold is only a second measure of wealth, in that you can buy chocolate with it.

Imagine if the world economies shifted their wealth standard to chocolate. At first, people would fight over it, destroy the earth for it, horde and covet it, and lord their possession of it over others. But eventually, the chocolate would melt, get that powdery, grayish film on it, and decay. Mice would break into the chocolate coffers and nibble away at it.

You see, you can’t keep chocolate forever. You have to enjoy it when it’s in its prime. This knowledge would convince rich people to share their chocolate with others, rather than letting their investment waste away. There would be a self-limiting factor to this type of wealth: overindulgence in this commodity would lead to visible and palpable illness: bloating, weight gain, acne, tooth decay, and ultimately, diabetes and certain nervous disorders.

Over time, the wise (or anyone paying attention) would realize that wealth—chocolate—is a fleeting thing that must be shared in order to be fully enjoyed. Failure to distribute wealth would lead to grotesque body deformations such as overextended bellies, saggy butts, and craterous acne. Wealth hoarders would be easy to spot, and would bring shame upon themselves, and, even worse, be openly ridiculed. Fear of public derision would make everyone want to share their chocolate.

On the other side, those who had been shared with would be so elated (by both the generosity of the act and by chocolate’s pheromone-mimicking effect) that they would want to pass the experience on to others, creating over the longer term a sort of Economy of Euphoria. The exchange of chocolate would supplant all other trade, because when people are in a good mood, they don’t ask for collateral, don’t price-gouge, don’t mount hostile take-overs and leverage other people out of the market. They just naturally share what they have, and the good will that sharing creates makes others want to share as well.

Photo: Moonstruck Chocolates by Eszter Hargittai, 2009
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