Culture

THE BENEFITS AND DANGERS OF GINSENG

Ginseng Roots

Ginseng Roots

2016-08-15 @ 10:47 CDT

Until very recently, I’ve been drinking coffee and cocoa to help stimulate my brain and body. I decided to quit both and test the effects of something I tried for a while – Korean ginseng – more thoroughly. (The above image comes from here and was found on Google Images.)

The good thing about ginseng – for me – is that it has all of coffee’s ability to stimulate the blood flow without the “high and crash” that comes with caffeine. It’s also good for me to be free of the addictive qualities of coffee.

But while looking for images of ginseng, I found a very thorough article on ginseng by a medical doctor: “Benefits and Dangers of Ginseng“. I thought the link worth preserving and noting here.

Early in his article, Dr. Kumar writes:

The term Ginseng is used to represent over eleven species of various plants. The true benefits of Ginseng may not be widespread among all these species but is specific to a few. It is difficult from commercial labelling to get a sense of which ones represent the true Ginseng potential.
As with many similar herbal remedies, Ginseng falls under the herbal supplement category and its sale is not subject to the same level of research, scrutiny and regulation as pharmaceutical drugs. This allows traders to mix fact with fiction and it gets difficult to seek sensible advice.
It is always useful to have balanced view of the benefits, dangers and potential interactions of these remedies before one decides to take it.

Korean Ginseng Tea (c/o Amazon.com)

Korean Ginseng Tea (c/o Amazon.com)

The species represented here (cf. Amazon.com) presumably is Panax ginseng. Korea began cultivating ginseng when worldwide demand outstripped the wild supply.

(יוחנן רכב)

Categories: Culture, Daily Life, Google, Health, Internet, Science | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

THE SECOND MOST IMPORTANT DECISION WE’LL EVER MAKE

Wedding Dress and Tux (c/o PaperCulture.com)

Wedding Dress and Tux (c/o PaperCulture.com)

2016-08-03 @ 00:00 CDT

I haven’t been able to get to this blog for quite a while, not least because somehow I got locked out of it. But as my wedding to Yisraela Batya is 18d 16h and not much more at this writing (the time and date is Sunday, August 21, 2016, @ 5:00 PM), I think I need to write an update on what’s going on. (The above graphic is based on a design found here.)

Johanan Rakkav's Wedding Ring (c/o Tungsten World)

Johanan Rakkav’s Wedding Ring (c/o Tungsten World)

First, the timing of the wedding, to the day, hour, minute, and second if memory serves, may be tracked using a special timer I created here on Time and Date.com. Second, we have made great strides in preparing for the wedding and the days immediately following, although there is still much to do. Third, we have made excellent progress in putting our financial houses in order – something which really delights me, as I often think I wouldn’t know a workable budget if it bit me on the ankle.

Yisraela Batya's Wedding Ring (c/o Palm Beach Jewelry)

Yisraela Batya’s Wedding Ring (c/o Palm Beach Jewelry)

As the days go on and my love for Yisraela blossoms more and more fully, so does my sense of responsibility. This is the second most important decision I will ever make, following only the commitment I made at Christian baptism.

In like manner Yisraela has a decision of like importance to make – once again, second only to the commitment she made to God and the Church of God at baptism. We both take our preparations and our mutual commitment very seriously.

As is usually the case, the bride is the busier of the two of us at the moment. That will change a few days after the wedding, when I have to coordinate the move and storage of my belongings during the last week or so of August.

Earthlight Orchestra: "Hey, Christopher Alain (Catalyst Mix)"

Earthlight Orchestra: “Hey, Christopher Alain (Catalyst Mix)”

For the occasion, I did my utmost to bring my favorite original song to perfection. A combination of Finale (with Garritan instruments), Scala, Audacity, and further professional mixing did the trick. The results may be heard (and purchased) here on CD Baby. The song, so long simply a work of imagination, is now dedicated in real life to my fiancee, Yisraela. ❤ – (יוחנן רכב)

Categories: Church of God, Culture, Daily Life, Music | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

A JOURNEY OF UNDERSTANDING

Earthrise Over Compton Crater (NASA/LRO/Wikipedia)

Earthrise Over Compton Crater (NASA/LRO/Wikipedia)

2016-07-08 @ 00:00 CDT

On this Gregorian date, I am 57 Gregorian years old. Oh frabjous day (insert sarcastic tone of voice). 😉

But turning points in one’s life – my soon-coming marriage being a far more important one to my mind – are good times to stop and reflect. Tonight, before I went to bed, I decided to take just such a break.

I found it difficult to decide which version of the above poster I should put up. Should I put up the one I made which points out that the Earth is, in effect, my personal, psychological (not religious) “mandala” – a symbol of the wholeness of self that I seek, a wholeness rooted in a unified understanding of “both geos and kosmos“? (See this page, section “Functional Analysis”, subsection “Extraverted iNtuition”, for the basis of that last turn of phrase.) Should I play with the joke that “it’s a small world after all”, or should I note soberly that we really are “one world”?

In the end, I picked the idea that says all of the above and more to me, the one that states the root of everything else I seek to believe and to do: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1).

But my mind branches out from there in many directions of discovery about myself, others, and the world. One of the most profound directions began (formally) when I signed up for Vicky Jo Varner’s Type Discovery course on 2009-03-16. What I allude to about psychological type is based on what I started learning there. In time I was able to extend another psychologist’s model of how personality type works onto a biblical foundation. Here is how my mind is meant to work as a Christian, with the Eternal God ruling it and the Ego (in effect, how the biblical “Spirit of Man” behaves) being subordinated to Him while being in very close touch with my inner Self.

The "Converted" ENFP Psyche (After Haas/Hunziker)

The “Converted” ENFP Psyche (After Haas/Hunziker)

I used to have discussions of my studies of this particular topic on this blog and on another which I took down. Perhaps, should my very limited time allow it, I can start such discussions again.(יוחנן רכב)

Categories: Bible, Culture, Daily Life, Despair.com, Humor, Inspirational Posters, Internet, Personality Type, Psychology | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

ELEVEN AMERICAN NATIONS?

The Eleven American Nations (c/o Tufts Magazine)

The Eleven American Nations (c/o Tufts Magazine)

2016-02-22 @ 12:30 CST

Given my schedule, often I have to put something on this blog for further study, without making too many comments of my own. Here is one such item, which I spotted – somewhere – on Facebook today.

The Washington Post (November 8, 2013) cites this telling analysis by Colin Woodard (Tufts Magazine, Fall 2013) about how North America is sorting itself out into eleven distinct “nations” with very different makeups and outlooks on life. If Woodard is right – and his analysis makes a lot of sense to me – the implications not just for this election year, but our national future, are powerful.

As Woodard writes in Tufts Magazine, “Our continent’s famed mobility has been reinforcing, not dissolving, regional differences, as people increasingly sort themselves into like-minded communities.” This has great implications for dealing with violence-related issues such as gun control and the death penalty, again as Woodard notes. It seems unlikely that these eleven distinct “nations” can come to a consensus on these or any other major issues – at least any which will satisfy everybody. – (יוחנן רכב)

Categories: Culture, World News | Tags: , | 1 Comment

PARODY MOTIVATIONAL POSTERS: INFJ PARANOIA

Original Photo c/o The Official Grumpy Cat

Original Photo c/o The Official Grumpy Cat

Yes, the INFJ I’m courting – who is a huge Grumpy Cat fan – agrees this is true. – (יוחנן רכב)

Categories: Culture, Demotivational Posters, Despair.com, Grumpy Cat, Humor, Internet, Personality Type, Psychology | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

“DRAMA” IN THIS PRESENT EVIL WORLD

Siberian Tigers Fighting (c/o Google Images)

Siberian Tigers Fighting (c/o Google Images)

2016-01-22 @ 11:00 CST

My apologies for the length of this post—I hope it will make the content more useful to the reader, not less.

The online Urban Dictionary is one of my “resources of last resort” in searching out information on our popular culture. I don’t recommend using that resource except as such a “last resort”. Its content reflects the increasingly vulgar, antisocial, and unspiritual nature of modern American society. That said: the fact that people “on the street”—sometimes, as it appears, with rather impressive credentials and/or positive life experiences—contribute anonymously to its definitions can make the resource unexpectedly useful at times.

At this writing, what “drama” means in our society, and how one should respond to it, has been the focus of conversation in some corners of Facebook. Ironically, Facebook is one of the best tools there is for breeding and transmitting “drama” such as the Urban Dictionary defines it. Not for nothing does a pastor I know, citing direct experience, call Facebook “Two-Facebook”. Users of Facebook acting one way In Real Life and another on Facebook, or two different ways on different parts of Facebook, pose one of Facebook’s most common problems.

At any rate, in hopes of lending clarity to the discussion of “drama”, I give the Urban Dictionary’s best “take” on the word. Now please understand: the following definition, useful as it is for understanding “drama” and related words in popular culture, is not to be applied to anyone who has genuine, deep problems—either by the person with such problems or by any onlookers.

DRAMA
A way of relating to the world in which a person consistently overreacts to or greatly exaggerates the importance of benign events.
Typically “drama” is used [that is, applied by or engaged in] by people who are chronically bored or those who seek attention.
People who engage in “drama” will usually attempt to drag other people into their dramatic state, as a way of gaining attention or making their own lives more exciting.
Common warning signs/risk factors of drama or a dramatic person are:

1. Having one supposedly serious problem after another.
2. Constantly telling other people about one’s problems.
3. Extreme emotionality or frequently shifting, intense emotions.
4. Claiming to have experienced negative events that are highly implausible.
5. A boring job or mundane life.
6. Making claims without sufficient evidence or a lack of detail about supposedly serious events.
7. A pattern of irrational behavior and reactions to everyday problems.

[Examples of use of the word “drama”, or of what that word represents, as given by the contributor:]

Sarah had a slight fever and mild cough. She decided to use drama, in order to receive sympathy and attention, so she told everyone she was deathly ill.
Debra lost her keys then spent four hours crying and yelling at her husband.
Mary did not answer her cell phone for an hour, so John feared that she had died in a horrible car accident.
Someone stole Steve’s can of Coke from the break room fridge, now he believes that someone at work is trying to destroy him.

by AgActual December 23, 2009

Others on Urban Dictionary, trying to explain what “drama” means in popular culture, note that 1) backstabbing, gossip, blackmail, and related negative social actions are very frequently involved with what our society calls “drama”; 2) women and teenage girls in our society increasingly thrive on that kind of “drama”; 3) there is a strong element in such severe “drama” of trying to get someone else involved in whatever argument is going on, and to get that other person to take one’s side against the other person in the argument, with partiality; 4) some contributors say sarcastically that one should “seek professional help” for an addiction to causing such “drama”, or “if all else fails”, one should “grow up”. (Radical immaturity certainly is associated with “drama” as our popular culture defines it—hence both the pieces of advice in point 4).)

There is a strong bias in the contributions as nobody singles out men as being “dramatic” in this way. But far too many men are. (Some of them are running for President this year.)

Nobody giving input to the Urban Dictionary calls trying to help others in a legitimate way, dealing with real crises in one’s life or the lives of others, telling others about a long chain of legitimate problems, or anything else which a Christian should do with or to other people, “drama”. Such edifying actions are not part of the popular definition of the word—that much needs to be made crystal clear! And while there are warnings in the Bible against getting involved—at least improperly—with that kind of “drama” in others, there are also examples and forms of encouragement for those who can make peace in such situations. I want to study those various passages to get a fuller picture before saying anything more about the biblical teaching and example.

But going beyond what the Urban Dictionary talks about, there is such a thing as denigrating the real problems of others—as if the problems were “all in their head”, being exaggerated for the sake of attention, and so on. Unfortunately, these days I hear plenty about that sort of denigration, especially by people who don’t understand anything about those who suffer from depression, PTSD, or other psychological problems. Such people often mistake the symptoms of some or all of these problems for the symptoms of immature, self-serving “drama”.

But let’s stop and think, using both “head sense” and with “heart sense”. People who are “dramatic”, in the way the Urban Dictionary would describe the problem, are so because they want to be—but nobody wants to struggle all their lives against the effects of a trauma. But to struggle against the effects of trauma is not immaturity—it is courage of the first rank. It is the human mind using its God-given capacity to seek internal balance against all opposition.

In particular, speaking of those who are traumatized through bad family relationships, the way they understand and interpret parent-child relationships especially is compromised. (I speak as a student of personality type models—this is the consistent observation I’ve made to date, about people who suffer from PTSD of this sort.) Frequently this compromises how such people deal with God on the one hand and legitimate human authority on the other, unless God intervenes. This is not immaturity—it is normal reaction to abnormal conditions.

I think that one of the ongoing crises among the faithful will be telling the difference between people with deep, legitimate problems and people who are addicted to immature, self-serving “drama”—and knowing what to do with each class of people.

(יוחנן רכב)

Categories: Culture, Daily Life, Google, Internet, Urban Dictionary | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments

THE LION OF THE TRIBE OF JUDAH ISN’T “SAFE”

From THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA, Vol. 1 (c/o Google Images)

From THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA, Vol. 1 (c/o Google Images)

2015-01-08 @ 13:22 CST

C.S. Lewis, the famous Protestant apologist, sought to teach people about the God of “traditional” Christianity in various ways, including allegorical fiction. His most famous series of books in that category is the collection THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA, which I once read from front to back. (I have also seen the first two films inspired by the books.) An important character, Aslan the Lion, is a thinly veiled symbol of Jesus Christ – and at the very end of the series, Lewis made crystal clear he meant it to be that way.

I’m rethinking my whole relationship to speculative fiction, but I do remember many quotes from many spec-fic works. I liked this quote, which I found on Google Images today. Three children who visit Narnia – in the first volume – learn about Aslan from two talking beavers. One of them asks if Aslan – who, of course, also talks – is “safe” to be around. No, He isn’t “safe” – but He is good, and that’s the point. And woe be to those who stand against Him – even the Ice Queen, who is so obviously a minion of the Devil.

By the way, Aslan is a Persian word – I recall it means “lion” in and of itself.

I recall also that the biblical apostle Paul knew the Greek literature – even the mythology – written by then-famous Greek authors. He quoted two poems – originally meant to praise Zeus – in praise of the true God (Theos), when Paul stood before the council at Athens. He quoted two other authors elsewhere. All are quoted verbatim in their own Classical Greek, which was more formal than the Common Greek Paul spoke every day.

(Acts 17:28 RSV) “…for ‘In him we live and move and have our being‘; as even some of your poets have said, ‘For we are indeed his offspring.'” (two quotes)
(1 Corinthians 15:33 RSV) Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.”
(Titus 1:12 RSV) One of themselves, a prophet of their own, said, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.”

Paul had a curiosity about the world around him, and about its literature. But he knew how to sift the wheat from the chaff, so he could be “all things to all men”. He didn’t indulge in that kind of thing merely for its entertainment value, or merely to nurture his ENFP-style gift of imagination. This is an example which I, as a fellow ENFP and prone to making certain mistakes accordingly, am trying to learn from now.

I hope it’s understood that I’m doing the same here with Lewis’ fictional work: sifting the wheat from the chaff. Lewis’ fantasy has many things wrong with it, not least the blend of classical mythology with “traditional” Christianity which is so characteristic of so much art and literature over so many centuries in the European world. But Lewis had a valid point about Jesus Christ’s sovereignty. He is King because He is good, both in what He is and in what He does. And no, He isn’t even remotely “safe” to be around – not at least if you do evil by breaking His Father’s commandments. His eventual judgment of the world will be neither evaded nor mocked.

Now let’s go in closing from speculative fiction to prophetic revelation, this time through John:

(Revelation 5:1 RSV) And I saw in the right hand of him who was seated on the throne a scroll written within and on the back, sealed with seven seals;
(Revelation 5:2 RSV) and I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?”
(Revelation 5:3 RSV) And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it,
(Revelation 5:4 RSV) and I wept much that no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look into it.
(Revelation 5:5 RSV) Then one of the elders said to me, “Weep not; lo, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.”
(Revelation 5:6 RSV) And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders, I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth;
(Revelation 5:7 RSV) and he went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who was seated on the throne.
(Revelation 5:8 RSV) And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and with golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints;
(Revelation 5:9 RSV) and they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy art thou to take the scroll and to open its seals, for thou wast slain and by thy blood didst ransom men for God from every tribe and tongue and people and nation,
(Revelation 5:10 RSV) and hast made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on earth.”
(Revelation 5:11 RSV) Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands [hundreds of millions!],
(Revelation 5:12 RSV) saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!”
(Revelation 5:13 RSV) And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all therein, saying, “To him who sits upon the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might for ever and ever!”
(Revelation 5:14 RSV) And the four living creatures said, “Amen!” and the elders fell down and worshiped.

(יוחנן רכב)

Categories: Creative Writing, Culture, Google, Internet | Tags: , , , | 4 Comments

A SLEW OF PARODY MOTIVATIONAL POSTERS

Wherever You Go

Wherever You Go

Parody Motivational Poster: Garfield and Mr. Chainsaw

Parody Motivational Poster: Garfield and Mr. Chainsaw

ENFP: Compassion and Purity of Heart

ENFP: Imagining Kepler-452b

ENFP: Imagining Kepler-452b

INFJ: Chaotic World

INFJ: Chaotic World

ENFP Qui-Gon Jinn (STAR WARS)

ENFP Qui-Gon Jinn (STAR WARS)

We Are the Abominable... Borg? ;)

We Are the Abominable… Borg? 😉

ENFP-INFJ Love (c/o NASA, DIY.Despair.com and Johanan Rakkav)

ENFP-INFJ Love (c/o NASA, DIY.Despair.com and Johanan Rakkav)

ENFP: NARF (Pinky from PINKY AND THE BRAIN)

ENFP: NARF (Pinky from PINKY AND THE BRAIN)

INFJ: Balancing Act

INFJ: Balancing Act

INFJ: Microscopic Scrutiny ;)

INFJ: Microscopic Scrutiny 😉

ENFP: Cosmic Naivete ;)

ENFP: Cosmic Naivete 😉

INFJ: Cat Thinking

INFJ: Cat Thinking

ENFP/INFJ: Hiccup and Toothless (c/o Dreamworks

ENFP/INFJ: Hiccup and Toothless (c/o Dreamworks

ENFP: Emperor Kuzco (c/o Walt Disney)

ENFP: Emperor Kuzco (c/o Walt Disney)

ENFP: Roo (from Disney Pooh)

ENFP: Roo (from Disney Pooh)

Original Photo c/o The Original Grumpy Cat

Original Photo c/o The Original Grumpy Cat

Love, Anime Style - Poster (c/o DIY.DESPAIR.COM)

Love, Anime Style – Poster (c/o DIY.DESPAIR.COM)

Overconfidence (c/o Despair.com)

ENFP: Hawkeye Pierce of M*A*S*H (Alan Alda)

ENFP: Hawkeye Pierce of M*A*S*H (Alan Alda)

2015-12-18 @ 06:50 CST

“He must be bored,” you’re saying. “What an eyeball-busting combination of schlock,” you’re saying. Well, in starting over on this blog I took out a lot of posts which contained parody motivational posters of various kinds, most of which had to do with personality type patterns (especially ENFP and INFJ). As I’d like to keep my original work available to the general public via Google Images and other search engines, I put all of the posters back up in one fell swoop. – (יוחנן רכב)

Categories: Culture, Demotivational Posters, Despair.com, Garfield, Google, Grumpy Cat, Humor, Internet | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

I CAN SEE WHAT’S HAPPENING…

2015-11-12 @ 08:15 CST

And if he falls in love tonight
It can be assumed
His carefree days with us are history
In short, our pal is doomed

…well, everybody should be so doomed

(יוחנן רכב)

Categories: Culture, Daily Life, Internet, YouTube | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

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