Parks and Recreation – best of American comedy

Generally, I’m not a fan of American comedy. But, I like Parks and Recreation a lot. It has very good characters and a good mix of gentle satire and sometimes is very funny.

As a vegetarian, yoga practising, socialist, my favourite character is Ron Swanson, the carnivorous, yoga hating, capitalist.

A close second is Andy Dwyer, I haven’t laughed out loud so much, since the first time I watched Fawlty Towers. It’s sometimes reminiscent of Monty Python in terms of being out there.


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Nature vs Nurture – Is a poet born or made?

For Sri Chinmoy Races.org, I have written an article on some personal experiences of self-transcendence. An article which bought back memories of winning Menston village fun run (under 7 category) and also coming last in a school cross country race (aged 15). In this article on sporting immortality, I failed to mention that I was also awarded “Menston Cricket Club under 13 fielder of the year”, but you don’t want to boast too much about these sporting achievements. (I think I was the only one to catch someone out in that particular season).

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Early efforts at self-transcendence hampered by feet not reaching the pedals.

When I was young, I didn’t feel I was a gifted athlete. In fact, as mentioned, I came last in a cross country running race. After coming last, I “retired” and decided my genetics for sporting events must be very poor.  To be fair, my parents were not exactly sub three hour marathon runners.

But, 20 years later, and after winning the National Hill Climb Championship, many might have assumed I had very lucky sporting genetics. But, I’m not sure, what to make of the role of genetics.

I do feel that meditation and a spirituality can have a positive impact on sporting performance. I cannot quantify the impact, but it does make some kind of difference. I certainly believe there is more to potential achievement than the pre-determination of genetic ability. Whether you meditate or not, even great personal faith and inner belief can have a positive impact. Continue Reading →

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Cyclamen flowers

cyclamen

Cyclamen is a perennial flower, which is native to parts of Europe, such as Turkey. In September, the small flowers suddenly appear (before the leaves). It is a time of the year, when many other plants are finishing flowering, so their arrival at the beginning of autumn is very welcome. Continue Reading →

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Overcoming writer’s block

Since coming back from August Celebrations, I’ve struggled to get back into writing about economics. In New York I lost track of economics and politics, and became more focused on meditation. It was a good experience, and it is interesting to feel how your interests and motivations can change in a short space of time. It seems after a lot of meditation, interest rates and quantitative easing temporarily lose their lustre!

However, I have a book to write – so I need to get some of the old economics flow without losing the renewed inspiration for meditation.

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Sri Chinmoy’s birthday August 27th 2016

Sri Chinmoy was born 27th August, 1931 in Shakpura, Chittagong, India (now part of Bangladesh).

For disciples of Sri Chinmoy, August 27th is a special day, which we mark with a race, meditation and musical performances. This year, there were perhaps 1,000 people from all over the world who came to meet in Jamaica, Queens, New York.

August 27th is one of the few days a year where I feel I have no outer obligations or responsibilities. The phone and computer is switched off; it is simply a day for meditation and being at peace with the world.

I start off by meditating at 5am. Usually, getting up at 5am to meditate would be a difficult task, but the energy of a spiritual celebration seems to help reduce the need for sleep. (Plus jet lag from UK works in favour of getting up early.) Continue Reading →

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Jharna Kala sky

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In New York, it can be harder to appreciate nature – eye level is dominated by high rise buildings and a mass of electrical and telephonic wires. However, we were driving up through Queens after a hard days work selling books, when the sky suddenly caught the eye. We had to strain the neck to glimpse beyond the concrete blocks, but it rewarded with a beautiful patchwork of clouds – nature’s spontaneity created by the Supreme Artist. Continue Reading →

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The flower that refuses to die

Last November and December I went through an orchid spending spree. It was the combination of the grey, miserable British winter and the ability to buy beautiful plants for excellent value. Orchids are a particularly robust plant, which excel on calculated neglect.

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The only trick to growing orchids is not to over-water them; don’t leave them standing in water. Apart from that, you can water every 5-14 days; so even if you go away for two weeks, they will barely look out of sorts.
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Photos of England

Some photos capturing the different aspects and moods of England. Many of the photos are from Oxfordshire and Yorkshire.

houses of parliament

Houses of Parliament – London.

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The River Thames, with Parliament in the background.

london-eyeLondon Eye and the River Thames. More photos of London

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Road through the old wood of Wychwood Forest, Charlbury. Wychwood is derived from an Old English name Huiccewudu meaning ‘wood of a tribe called the Hwicce – an Anglo-Saxon people. Due to traditional woodland, it is a site of Special Scientific Interest.

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The power of synchronicity

river-wharfe-through-trees

I was cycling in the Yorkshire Dales. The roads were surprisingly quiet for such an idyllic August afternoon. But, despite the breathtaking rural scenes, my mind was ruminating over economics; in particular, I was thinking deeply about UK labour market regulations and the National Minimum Wage. I was a little bit annoyed with myself for being so taken with economics, when I felt I should be enjoying the scenery.

My mobile phone in my back pocket started to ring and, unusually for a cycle ride, I decided to take the call.

“Hello, is that Economics Help?” (in strong Scouser / Merseyside accent)

“Er, yes”

“Can I ask a question on economics?”

Usually, when people ring up asking me economic questions, I abruptly say I’m too busy – especially if I am cycling. But, for some reason, perhaps because I was thinking about economics, I persevered. Continue Reading →

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