Day 358 6/28/14: South Africa’s Intoxicating Marulla Fruit

I love Randall (of the famous Honey Badger video) because he’s funny and truly loves animals. This video of tipsy South African animals is pretty great.

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Day 357 6/27/14: Handy Tips for Shark Cage Divers

I’m leaving for my South Africa shark trip tomorrow night. In addition to packing seasickness pills and stacks of books for my million hour flight, I’m trying to “prepare” to meet the sharks. For example, I got a mani-pedi in a gorgeous slate gray color in tribute to the white shark’s camouflage. On a more practical level, I’ve been reading a particularly helpful volume given to me by shark legend Ralph Collier, is the wonderful bookimages-4 Field Guide to the Great White Shark by R. Aidan Martin.   Here are a few excerpts:

1. Do not extend your arms or any part of your body out of the cage. While observing or filming one shark, you could easily be nipped by another.

2. Even very large great whites can be very cautious or even timid on approaching shark cages and are easily “spooked.” Sharks are very aware of divers’ eyes and seem to dislike being stared at as much as you or I do. To foster the closest possible approaches by Great Whites, avoid flash photography or direct eye contact during the earliest phases of your dive. Wait for the sharks to build up their courage and approach the cage in their own good time. Once they have decided the cage and its bubbling inhabitants are not a threat, Great Whites will more-or-less ignore both to fuss their attentions on the bait or each other. That’s when you can observe the most interesting behavior and capture the best images.

3. Be aware that Great Whites have attacked boats. In some instances the boat sank; in others the attacking shark actually leapt into the boat in pursuit of pinnipeds or hooked fish.

4. This tip will come in handy if the shark destroys the cage and I have to somehow make it to the surface:

While in the presence of a great white, maintain a vertical orientation in the water column. Perhaps because most swimming animals are longest horizontally in the direction of travel, many sharks seemed more unnerved by height than length. A vertical orientation—combined with persistent eye contact—may make you seem larger and more intimidating to a Great White.

Day 356 6/26/14: The Last Shark

How did this 1981 gem, “The Last Shark,” (a.k.a. “Son Jaws”) ever escape my attention? A quick skim through it reveals lots of people are wearing satin and visors, a guy with an overgrown Robert Shaw mustache and a mayor who refuses to believe the truth. There’s lots of murky underwater shark action, but the Universal Studios style predator reveals himself fully at 1:16 09.

Day 355 6/25/14: The Power of Hopelessness

images-3This excerpt is from Pema Chodron’s book “When Things Fall Apart.” It’s a longish read, but worth it. 

If we are willing to give up hope that insecurity and pain can be terminated, then we can have the courage to relax with the groundlessness of our situation…Begin the journey without hope of getting ground under your feet. Begin with hopelessness.

….We are raised in a culture that fears death and hides  it from us. Nevertheless, we experience it all the time. We experience it in the form of disappointment, in the form of things not working out. We experience it in the form of things always being in the process of change. When the day ends, when the second ends, when we breathe out, that’s death in everyday life.

Death in everyday life could also be defined as experiencing all the things that we don’t want. Our marriage isn’t working; our job isn’t coming together. Having a relationship with death in everyday life means that we begin to be able to wait, to relax with insecurity, with panic, with embarrassment, with things not working out. As the years go on, we don’t call the babysitter quite so fast.

Death and hopelessness provide proper motivation for living an insightful, compassionate life. But most of the time warding off death is our biggest motivation. We habitually ward off any sense of problem. We’re always trying to deny that it’s a natural occurrence that things change….

….Can’t we just return to bare bones? Relaxing with the present moment, relaxing with hopelessness, relaxing with death, not resisting the fact that things end, that things have no lasting substance, that everything is changing all the time -—that is the basic message.

….Giving up hope is encouragement to stick with yourself, to make friends with yourself, to not run away from yourself, to return to the bare bones, no matter what’s going on. Fear of death is the background of the whole thing. It’s why we feel restless, why we panic, why there’s anxiety. But if we totally experience hopelessness, giving up all hope of alternatives to the present moment, we can have a joyful relationship with our lives, an honest, direct relationship, one that no longer ignores the reality of impermanence and death.

 

 

 

Cowspiracy: The Biggest Environmental Disaster Exposed

This is the documentary I’ve been waiting for!!! The biggest reason for deforestation, global warming, water shortages: cows. But even most environmentalists will not talk about this obvious issue.

Tonight’s Los Angeles premiere is sold out, but I am going to the San Diego screening in July.

Click here to find out about upcoming screenings of Cowspiracy.
PLEASE spread the word about this important film!

Day 354 6/24/14: “You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away”

When I was a child, I scanned the TV listings every week. If a Beatles movie was being shown during school hours, I would feign illness or just beg my mother to stay home and watch. She usually relented. I loved everything they did, but “Help!” always blew my mind because of John’s “pit bed” his Dylan-sneer, the rich color, and because let’s face it: they all looked so damned beautiful.This clip, like all things Beatle, is a forever source of inspiration and happiness for me. I would love to hear if The Beatles cast an enduring enchantment on you.

Day 351 6/21/14: More Deep Sea Gossip

1. Have space aliens created an underwater base off the coast of Malibu?

2. I hope this is true: Great white numbers surging.

3. Can you handle the cuteness of baby pygmy sea horses?

4. Great news: Obama expands Pacific marine sanctuary.

5. MUST SEE: White shark taste testsImage expensive video camera, spits it out.