My Experience with YouTube

I really value all I have learned on YouTube over the past few years. I find it to be my “university at home” and am always surprised when people tell me they don’t know anything about it. Beyond the big name entertainment and actual university classes (from institutions like MIT and Yale) I follow probably a dozen subjects on this platform, embodied in the video producers listed below. Check them out if you are interested in any of these topics: 

  1. Food, including what and when to eat, what to avoid, how to shop, how to cook: FlavCity with Bobby Parrish, Serious Eats, NutritionFacts.org, The Dr. Gundry Podcast
  2. Optimizing general health, including sleep, stress, and supplements: Dr. Eric Berg DC, 2 Fit Docs, Bulletproof Radio, Silicon Valley Health Institute (also, the medical professionals I follow are here)
  3. Movement and exercise: Bob & Brad, DailyDosePD, SmartXPD, Mike Chang, Invigorate Physical Therapy 
  4. Stuff to think about: Anand Giridharadas, BookTV, Big Think, Intelligence Squared, Talks at Google
  5. Habits and intention: Matt D’Avella, Break the Twitch, The Daily Stoic, Tim Ferriss 
  6. Funny and interesting to me: WheezyWaiter, the Yarn Therapists, Sunflower Farm Creamery (the goats!), My Self Reliance with Shawn James (off grid living in rural Ontario), Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee
  7. Great interviews: 92nd Street Y, Kevin Nealon (interviews while hiking in the Hollywood Hills), Rich Roll, The Commonwealth Club
  8. News and explaining the crazy: VOX, Democracy Now!, The Common Good with Robert Reich
  9. Music: NPR Music (Tiny Desk Concert), Playing for Change
  10. Local: Groundwork, Here:Say Storytelling, Traverse Area Community Media, Traverse City Film Fetival, Traverse City International Affairs Forum
  11. Home building and interior design: Apartment Therapy, Levi Kelly, House & Home, Kirsten Dirksen, Grand Designs
  12. And Weather, because, you know, I have six apps and three television sources for this topic, but this guy is really good, and my appetite for this information knows no limits! Direct Weather

Parkinson’s Nutrition 2020 Research Update

Slices of fresh ripe avocado on a dark wooden table

I just received this report from Sarah King (Invigorate PT & Wellness) and Casey Farlow (Theory Health). It is a terrific summary and evaluation of 16 important and recent Parkinson’s nutrition research studies on a variety of diet and supplementation topics relevant to Parkinson’s patients. It includes a link to the actual hard-copy of each study. Highly recommended to anyone interested in the connection between the food we eat and disease.

Consequences

If we really cared about what can only be called an epidemic of obesity – and the resulting health care costs – we would appoint a cabinet level seat to look holistically at the impact of:

    • Easy to acquire, highly refined carbohydrates distributed as “food”
    • Huge government subsidies for the corn industry
    • Junk food marketed to children
    • The use of corn in factory farming to lower the price of red meat
    • Decreasing emphasis on cooking at home
    • Decreasing emphasis on movement
    • Food companies engineering addiction into taste
    • Lack of nutritional training for medical professionals

Data from: https://stateofchildhoodobesity.org/data/

Blue Morning Drive

This poem was written on written on January 2, 2018

I open the garage door and start the car to warm it
Back out into the squeaking snow,
the headlights reveal flakes as big as cereal and
Six inches of powder, new to this place in the world
The air becomes increasingly blue as nautical dawn emerges, no other light but my little ship sailing down the road
The firs are magnificent in their heavy green and white robes; their
deciduous cousins groan as they wave their naked arms and complain about the cold
At the corner where our dirt road meets the county road, no other cars,
I make the turn slowly and venture further into blue
The second house on the right still displays a Christmas tree
I see the lights through the picture window,
Those big multi-color lights, impossibly cheerful on this frigid, forlorn morning
At the intersection where the county and state roads meet,
movement and life
A clumsy county snow plow, blinking and nodding, moves forward in a cloud of snow mist,
A semi follows, snow streaming off its roof
I turn and join the regatta,
sailing slowly through the blue

Two Miles High in Michigan

This poem was written in the Spring of 2018

“First there was the ice; two miles high,
hundreds of miles wide and many centuries deep.”
Waiting for the Morning Train by Bruce Catton

First, the ice.
Then a roar as millions of giant first growth trees fell into lumber.
Furs, muskrats, confusion and disease for the first people.
Storms on the big lake and tales of bare-knuckled survival.
Lighthouses, floods, and the relentless immigration from northern Europe.
Now retirees learn to snowshoe, and tourists climb the dunes.
No one knows if the second and third growth trees smell as sweet in the heavy summer air.
But sometimes, when the wind is from the north and the conditions are just right, you can smell what is coming next.

Whispering Trees

When I think of northern Michigan, my first thought is of the trees. The smell of pine needles on a hot still summer afternoon, the incredible riot of autumn color, skinny sentinels standing guard all winter, the moment of spring giddiness when the first buds emerge. Michigan’s trees are stressed now – since the great logging era ended 100 years ago, age, disease, and climate change have decimated millions more trees, and recent trends of not re-planting what is “harvested,” have already changed the northern Michigan my niece and nephew’s children will see. Ash, Beech, Oak, Spruce and Fir are all under threat or dying from insects, fungus, or disease. Hemlock could be next.

Michigan still has 19.3 million acres of forest – that’s more than 50% of the state’s land – so these trees are critical to our identity. The diversity and mix of trees are also critical to the wildlife we have here. 

When the trees are  gone, the birds and the birdsong will be gone too. The silence will be deafening.

Plastic

Plastic bag caught up in a tree

I’ve become obsessed with a plastic bag caught in a tree near where we live. It’s a common enough sight in urban areas but I don’t think I have seen one here. Every time I drive past it, I think about how long that bag will endure.

Even if I could get my hands on it, there is no real way to get rid of that bag. It will be in a landfill, or in the lake or an ocean for enough years that it may as well be forever. My understanding from a cursory look at the research is that bags last 450 to 1,000 or more years. Burning them releases enough harmful dioxins that experts say it is better to put it into a landfill. Of course, they can be recycled. Another way of existing forever.