Saturday, 31 January 2015

Stress = disconnection from the present moment

(Originally posted on Wednesday, 2 November 2016)

Stress = disconnection from the present moment.

It's not my idea, but when I heard about it during a training course at my work it blew my mind. This definition of stress is true in vast majority of cases.

How often are you stressed by the present moment? Probably when somebody is yelling at you because you have actually made a mistake. But otherwise the present moment is not really stressful. It's the thinking about what can possibly happen in the future or what had already happened in the past that is stressful. In such cases you can consciously come back to the present moment (stop thinking about the past or about the future and focus on what you are currently doing) to get rid of the stress almost completely.

To be clear: it's obvious that we have to think about the future because we have to plan some things in advance. The point is that when we have already thought a particular thing through and we have made a particular decision then there is nothing more that we can really do. It is pointless to worry about all the possible negative outcomes when there could be only ONE such outcome or NO such outcome at all (the problem may work itself out and disappear).

Friday, 30 January 2015

My previous New Year's resolution (for the year 2017)

(Originally posted on Monday, 1 January 2018)

My previous New Year's resolution (for the year 2017) was to exercise twice a day. That would give me 732 sets of exercises in the whole year. I described is my own set of exercises here:
My previous New Year's resolution

With only 5 reps (repetitions) of each kind of exercise it would give me 3660 reps of EVERY exercise! In reality in the year 2017 I managed to do only 85 sets of exercises, which is only 11.64 % of the plan. Pathetic result, but nevertheless it means that during the year I did 425 push-ups, 425 knee-bends, 425 “leg-ups”, 425 dumbbells lifts and 425 reps of every other exercise I do during every set. Better this than nothing.

My New Year's resolution for the year 2018 is exactly the same as for the year 2017 – to exercise twice a day – preferably one set of exercises right before breakfast (in most days it would have to be before my work – very early in the morning) and one set right before dinner or supper.

My previous New Year's resolution (for the year 2016)

(Originally posted on Sunday, 1 January 2017)

My previous New Year's resolution (for the year 2016) was to exercise twice a day. That would give me 732 sets of exercises in the whole year. With only 5 reps for each kind of exercise it would give me 3660 reps of every exercise I do during every set.

In reality in the year 2016 I managed to do only 130 sets of exercises, which is only 17.76 % of the plan. Nevertheless it means that during the year I did 650 push-ups, 650 knee-bends, 650 “leg-ups”, 650 dumbbells lifts and 650 reps of every other exercise I do during every set. That is almost a 100 % improvement compared to the year 2015.

My New Year's resolution for the year 2017 is exactly the same as for the year 2016 – to exercise twice a day – preferably one set of exercises before midday (in most days it would have to be before my work – very early in the morning) and one set after midday (in most days it would have to be after my work – rather late in the afternoon). Maybe this time I will be more successful.

Thursday, 29 January 2015

My previous New Year's resolution

My previous New Year's resolution (for the year 2015) was to exercise every day and I would like to sum it up.

I created a short (maximum 10-minute-long) set of exercises about 15 years ago (about the time I stopped playing amateur basketball – toward the end of my college times). The set in my opinion is very useful for “normal” men (men who have no time or no possibility or no “power” to exercise regularly for longer periods of time). Maybe I will describe it in detail some other time, but now I would like to point out only the main things.

Nowadays I repeat almost every kind of exercise ONLY 5 times (there is one exercise I repeat 7 times and one that I repeat 10 times). Toward the end of the set (after some warming up and stretching exercises) there are the most difficult exercises: push-ups (all the way down – until I touch the floor with the tip of my nose), knee-bends (on FULL feet and NOT too deep – until my thighs are PARALLEL to the floor), “leg-ups” (lying flat on my back with my hands partly under my buttocks and then raising my STRAIGHT legs and moving them over my head and a little farther, but not too much) and dumbbells lifts (ONLY 7 kilograms in each hand).

Now to the point of my post – even with so laughable number of repetitions (5 reps for each exercise) you can achieve VERY good results if you are able to exercise every day. That was my plan for the year 2015, but I failed, as it was to be expected. I managed to do only 66 sets of exercises during the whole year. Pathetic results considering my New Year's resolution, but it still means that during the year 2015 I did 330 push-ups, 330 knee-bends, 330 “leg-ups”, 330 dumbbells lifts and 330 reps of EVERY other exercise I do during every set.
Not so bad.

My New Year's resolution for the year 2016 is to exercise TWICE a day – one set of exercises before midday (in most days it would have to be before my work – very early in the morning) and one set after midday (in most days it would have to be after my work – rather late in the afternoon). If I succeed then by the end of the year 2016 I will have done 3660 push-ups, 3660 knee-bends, 3660 “leg-ups”, 3660 dumbbells lifts and 3660 reps of every other exercise I do during every set. THAT would be something. We'll see.

(Friday, 1 January 2016)

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Kids and parents (my own rhyme in English)

(Originally posted on Saturday, 27 May 2017)

My daughter wants to take part in a recitation contest at her school, but this time she is supposed to recite a rhyme written in English. I didn't like the two rhymes she got from her English teacher and she didn't like a rhyme I found on the Internet. So, I decided to write my own rhyme in English that would suit her needs – a short rhyme with simple words that she could memorize and recite rather easily. I am quite pleased with the result and I would like to share it.

Kids and parents

Kids are happy, kids have fun
Parents are calmer and kids wonder why

Parents are older, parents are wiser
Kids are just learning, as their life keeps getting harder

Life can be harsh, life can be bleak
As parents get older, they thank God they have kids

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Why I hate Halloween

Halloween happens on 31 October – one day before All Saints' Day. Halloween is a total opposition to All Saints' Day which is one of the most important days in Poland.

Every year on 1 November (All Saints' Day) millions of Poles visit cemeteries and light candles on the graves of their dead relatives and in places of special memory of people whose graves are far away.

All Saints' Day is a day when everybody gets thoughtful about things that are really important. Not about stupid jokes, not about work, not about career, not about money, not about hedonistic pleasures, but about life in general, about families, about relatives, about things that made us the people we are today.

Some people claim it's a sad day, but I totally disagree. It's a day when relatives meet together and never quarrel. It's a day to remember good things about people from our past. It's a day full of peace. Of course people who have recently lost a close person have a hard time, but they would have a hard time anyway.

I like to go to the biggest cemetery in the evening, when it's already dark, to see thousands of burning candles. Unforgettable feeling. On almost every grave there are several candles, and in places of special memory there hundreds of them.

Halloween is a disgrace compared to All Saints' Day in Poland.

Below there are some pictures I took today (on 1 November 2014). Unfortunately my camera is too weak and they are somewhat blurred.

The graves on the first picture are random – they are not graves of my relatives. The next pictures are from places of special memory. The words on the third picture are “TO VICTIMS OF WARS AND VIOLENCE”. On the fifth picture there are words “TO MEMORY OF DEPORTEES TO SIBERIA” and a map of Russia with marked places of forced labour camps where many Poles were deported.

(Saturday, 1 November 2014)

Monday, 26 January 2015

Glycemic index makes fools out of people

(Originally posted on Thursday, 13 July 2017)

Recently I “discovered” what glycemic index really means and I am pissed off because nobody has pointed it out clearly to me. It is NOT explained properly even on the Internet sites where there are whole tables with glycemic indexes for many different foods!

My wife suffered from gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy) and she ate mostly foods with low glycemic index. Unfortunately, even though she had changed her diet very significantly she still ended up using insulin. She did her own thorough search about diabetes on the Internet then, so I didn't analyzed the topic myself. The only thing I remember from that time is that “white bread is bad because it has a high glycemic index”. I didn't believe it then and I don't believe it now. To make a definite opinion I had to understand what the glycemic index really is.

The problem is that hardly anybody explains the methodology behind the glycemic index OR sometimes the methodology is explained incorrectly!!! What’s worse some Internet sites don’t give precise numbers and just group different foods into 3 categories based on their glycemic indexes (good, medium or bad). Even worse, some isolated results for some foods are so strange (compared to other sites) that there had to be a mistake somewhere (as always, you shouldn’t base your knowledge on just one Internet site).

Below there are glycemic indexes for several foods that are rather universal, except for honey. It turns out that the glycemic index of honey depends heavily on what kind of honey it is. Some honeys are mainly glucose, which makes the index very high, and some other honeys have much more fructose in them, which makes the index much lower.

Glycemic index (GI):
1. Glucose (the base for all the glycemic indexes): 100
2. Baguette French bread: 95
3. White wheat flour bread (average): 75
4. Honey (average): 70
5. Sucrose (white sugar, table sugar): 65 (!!!)
6. 100% Whole Grain bread: 50
7. Pumpkin seeds: 25
8. Fructose: 20
9. Mayonnaise (classic, homemade): 0

Looking at the results above some people may come to some strange conclusions, for example that white wheat flour bread is worse than white sugar. Or that any amount of such bread is bad just because it has a “high glycemic index”. Or that it is safe to eat lots of fructose (pure sugar from fruits) just because it has a “low glycemic index”. Some Internet sites really say such things, but I always felt that there is something wrong there. Now I know what the problem is – it is the methodology behind the glycemic index or rather the meaning of the results given by this methodology.

Buried somewhere on this site:
there is a rough description of the methodology behind the glycemic index:

“The glycemic index of a food is defined as the incremental area under the two-hour blood glucose response curve (AUC) following a 12-hour fast and ingestion of a food with a certain quantity of available carbohydrate (usually 50 g).”

Basically it’s a relative comparison of one kind of food to glucose as far as blood results are concerned measured after 2 hours after eating the food. The problem is that it does NOT compare the same amounts of foods!!!

For example let’s analyze the glycemic index of bread calculated in reference to 50 g of glucose. In a typical bread there are around 50 % carbohydrates, so to deliver 50 g of carbohydrates a person needs to eat at least 100 g of bread. And this is how the glycemic index of bread is calculated – after eating at least 100 g of bread. But it is calculated relatively to the effect of 50 g of glucose! And this is exactly what makes glycemic index so unnatural. And vastly misunderstood.

What’s worse the methodology uses the term “available carbohydrate”, which means that the amount of eaten food was even bigger than it may seem at first. Let’s ASSUME that 20 % of carbohydrates in bread can’t be digested, so only 80 % of carbohydrates in bread can be labelled as “available carbohydrates”. It means that there are only 40 % “available carbohydrates” in bread. So to calculated the glycemic index of bread a person needs to eat 125 g of bread (125 * 40 % = 50 g). So, the glycemic index of bread actually shows the effect of eating MUCH more bread (125 g) than 50 g of glucose that it is referred to. Strange isn’t it?

On top of that, or should I say at the base of that, there is a problem that is completely ignored: it is hard to precisely calculate the percentage of carbohydrates in every food and it is even harder to precisely calculate the percentage of “available carbohydrates” in every food. Different calculation of a particular glycemic index may be carried out with different assumptions about the amount of “available carbohydrates” in the analyzed food. It would explain why some glycemic indexes of the same food are sometimes so different from each other.

The truth is that it is MUCH better to eat 50 g of ANY bread than 50 g of white sugar just because there are only around 25 g of carbohydrates in 50 g of bread (compared to 50 g carbohydrates in 50 g of white sugar).

Some people might say that my way of thinking is wrong because the amount of delivered carbohydrates is different. I disagree. I believe that we SHOULD compare foods this exact way. The problem in most of today’s societies is that people weigh too much and it is caused by them eating too much, especially too much carbohydrates. When people start eating less carbohydrates it will be good for them. Of course we shouldn't avoid carbohydrates completely, because it is the main source of energy for people, but on the other hand we should not “maintain” the same level of carbohydrates consumption when we see that our weight is not what it should be.

A better way to compare foods is the glycemic load (instead of glycemic index):

“The glycemic load (GL) of food is a number that estimates how much the food will raise a person's blood glucose level after eating it. One unit of glycemic load approximates the effect of consuming one gram of glucose.[1] Glycemic load accounts for how much carbohydrate is in the food and how much each gram of carbohydrate in the food raises blood glucose levels. Glycemic load is based on the glycemic index (GI), and is calculated by multiplying the grams of available carbohydrate in the food times the food's GI and then dividing by 100.”

The above description is strange, but the idea is to compare the same amount of food instead the same amount of “available carbohydrates”. The formula for the glycemic load is actually pretty obvious:
GL = GI * % of “available carbohydrates” in a particular food

In the above example (with the GI of bread) it would be like this:
GL = GI * 0.4,
which is consistent with the actual amounts of foods used – the GI of bread compared the effect of 125 g of bread with the effect of 50 g of glucose, so to make the foods comparable as far as they actual weights are concerned we have to makes this calculation:
GI * 50 g / 125 g = GI * 0.4.

To calculate glycemic loads for the foods mentioned above I needed the percentages of “available” carbohydrates in the foods, but I found on the Internet only tables with percentages of overall carbohydrates (sums of “available” and “unavailable” carbohydrates per 100 g). What's worse the percentages for the same foods were sometimes very different from each other (on different Internet sites). I decided to take the MAXIMUM overall carbohydrates percentages that I found on the net, which means that I calculated the WORST possible values of glycemic loads.

Overall carbohydrates percentages in particular foods:
1-3. Glucose (the base for all the glycemic indexes): 100 %
1-3. Sucrose (white sugar, table sugar): 100 %
1-3. Fructose: 100 %
4. Honey: 80 %
5. Baguette French bread: 60 %
6. White wheat flour bread: 56 %
7. 100% Whole Grain bread: 50 %
8. Pumpkin seeds: 18 %
9. Mayonnaise (classic, homemade): 0 %

Glycemic loads (relative to glucose):
1. Glucose (the base for all the glycemic indexes): 100
2. Sucrose (white sugar, table sugar): 65
3. Baguette French bread: 57
4. Honey (average): 56
5. White wheat flour bread (average): 42 (!!!)
6. 100% Whole Grain bread: 25
7. Fructose: 20
8. Pumpkin seeds: 4.5
9. Mayonnaise (classic, homemade): 0

The list for the glycemic load is significantly different than the list for glycemic index! Now it is clear that “white bread” is not so “lethal” after all. Its effect is only 42 % of the effect of glucose and 65 % of the effect of white sugar. Sure the 100% Whole Grain bread is better than “white bread” as far as glycemic load is concerned, but what do the numbers above actually mean? They mean that instead of eating 1 slice of white wheat flour bread you “can” eat 1.68 slices of 100% Whole Grain bread (42 / 25 = 1.68) AND the effect after 2 hours after eating will be exactly the same. However this “can” in fact should be said “can't”. Why? Because the glycemic loads regard ONLY what will happen exactly after 2 hours and ignore completely everything else. For example glycemic loads don't “show” what will happen after 3, 4 or more hours after eating! Remember that all those “available carbohydrates” don’t disappear, but are just digested at a different rate! They will simply “load” some other points in time. We'll get back to this issue later.

I noticed yet another strange thing – on the Internet there are some tables with glycemic loads for different foods, but they are calculated for “servings” of different weights! This is ridiculous! It makes the foods still incomparable! However, that made me come up with a cool idea – I decided to calculate glycemic loads for the weight equal to the weight of glucose that is usually used to calculate the glycemic index (50 g).

Glycemic loads (relative to glucose) for “servings” of 50 g:
1. Glucose (the base for all the glycemic indexes): 50
2. Sucrose (white sugar, table sugar): 32.5
3. Baguette French bread: 28.5
4. Honey (average): 28
5. White wheat flour bread (average): 21
6. 100% Whole Grain bread: 12.5
7. Fructose: 10
8. Pumpkin seeds: 2.25
9. Mayonnaise (classic, homemade): 0

Now we can calculate how many grams of food a person can eat to get the same effect after 2 hours after eating (relatively to 50 g of glucose):

1. Glucose (the base for all the glycemic indexes): 50 g
2. Sucrose (white sugar, table sugar): 77 g
3. Baguette French bread: 88 g
4. Honey (average): 89 g
5. White wheat flour bread (average): 119 g
6. 100% Whole Grain bread: 200 g
7. Fructose: 250 g (!!!)
8. Pumpkin seeds: 1111 g (over 1 kg!)
9. Mayonnaise (classic, homemade): infinity!?

Please notice that the numbers are consistent with the example with the breads: 200 g / 119 g = 1.68, which still means that instead of eating 1 slice of white wheat flour bread you “can” eat 1.68 slices of 100% Whole Grain bread AND the effect after 2 hours after eating will be exactly the same. As I wrote earlier this “can” in fact should be said “can't”. Let’s analyze a little more the example with the breads. Those 1.68 slices of 100% Whole Grain bread will actually make your carbohydrates consumption (50 % * 1.68 slices * the weight of 1 slice = 0.86 of the weight of 1 slice) significantly higher that when eating just 1 slice of “white bread” (56 % * 1 slice * the weight of 1 slice = 0.56 of the weight of 1 slice). I made similar calculations relatively to 50 g of glucose.

The amount of carbohydrates consumption leading to the same effect after 2 hours after eating (relatively to 50 g of glucose):

1. Fructose: 250 g (!!!)
2. Pumpkin seeds: 200 g
3. 100% Whole Grain bread: 100 g (!!!)
4. Sucrose (white sugar, table sugar): 77 g
5. Honey (range): 71 g
6. White wheat flour bread (average): 67 g
7. Baguette French bread: 53 g
8. Glucose (the base for all the glycemic indexes): 50 g
9. Mayonnaise (classic, homemade): 0

Interestingly after I made all those steps in my analysis I ended up with a list that could be calculated from the first list with the assumption that the base is 50 g of glucose. Bravo me! But I would never understand the meaning of the last list without all those little steps I made earlier, especially the list for the glycemic load.

Again the numbers are consistent with the example with the breads: 100 g / 67 g = 1.5 = 0.86 of the weight of 1 slice / 0.56 of the weight of 1 slice.

What this last list means? It means that eating lots of foods with low glycemic index or low glycemic load actually makes the overall situation worse! Don’t fix yourself on the glycemic index nor on the glycemic load! They have to be analyzed together with the overall carbohydrate consumption. In fact the glycemic index and the glycemic load are a secondary issue, behind controlling the overall carbohydrate consumption.

Basically the most important thing is the overall amount of eaten foods, especially foods with high carbohydrates percentages, mostly sugars. And the foods with low glycemic loads only help you prevent rapid increases and decreases of the level of glucose in your blood. And that’s it. Eating one and a half slice of ANY bread every 3 hours is usually more than enough to keep you satiated, especially when it is eaten with a little cooked meat and/or a little vegetables. Consumption of big amounts of food should be generally avoided – even lunch or dinner should be eaten in modest amounts. The same goes for fruits and “sweet vegetables”. The rule “Eat little, but often” is still valid. In fact it is as valid as ever.

By the way, I found some interesting things about breads in general:

I have to also point out that fructose in high quantities is very BAD on its own:

Overall, any “sweet water” is NOT healthy:

Obviously mayonnaise can't be eaten in big amounts either, even though both its glycemic index and its glycemic load are zero. I myself eat mayonnaise regularly in small amounts and I believe that people should NOT avoid it completely.

Some time ago I've become a “fan” of pumpkin seeds. Apparently they are one of the “super foods” and their low glycemic index and their very low glycemic load are only two of many of their virtues:

PS. Analysing carbohydrates consumption is much more terrifying than thought. I bought a small kitchen scale that allows taring and weighted several foods and liquids. Then I made some calculations and I got one shocking result.

In one mug (250 g) of very “healthy” juice (based on 44 % carrots,
11 % apples and 9 % oranges, with some cane sugar) there were
26 grams of pure sugar! This may seem like not a big deal, but I checked how much is that compared to an average teaspoon – it's a little more than 4 (FOUR) heaped teaspoons or a little more than 8 (EIGHT) level teaspoons!!! That's around 10 times as much sugar as I put in tea in the same mug!!!

Let's compare the “healthy” juice to the “very unhealthy white bread”. There are only 20 grams of carbohydrates in one slice of “white bread” (that weights around 35 grams), compared to 26 grams of carbohydrates in one mug of the juice. More importantly one slice of “white bread” will definitely keep you more satiated than one mug of “sweet juice”. The truth is that “healthy” juices can in fact be a carbohydrate trap, not to mention other “sweet waters”.

I think that we should drink liquids just to deliver water to our bodies not carbohydrates. Sure there can (or even should) be a little sugar in the water (for example in the form of concentrated syrup) but ONLY
3 grams per mug. Not 26 grams per mug!

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Asceticism is neither the key nor the goal

(Originally posted on Saturday, 28 January 2017)

Several days ago a phrase popped up in my head that made everything clear to me – the best phrase to build the proper picture of asceticism is this: “Asceticism is neither the key nor the goal”.

The sheer fact that there are named many different types of asceticism proves that the concept of asceticism is not so simple after all. Moreover the main definitions of asceticism concentrate on religious reasons and/or avoidance of pleasures, which is a mistake in my opinion (a mistake in definition, not in behaviour).

With the above phrase in my head I imagined an example that shows what asceticism is all about. Let's imagine a person who is “materially” ascetic, but considers it as a way to reach a bigger goal – a way that should make him (or her) calm/happy/good/holy/whatever. He (or she) owns only basic commodities and refuses to get anything more, but in fact he does it against himself – he would like to own more, but he sacrifices himself for “a bigger goal”. Would such a person became calm/happy/good/holy/whatever? I doubt it.

Now let's imagine a person who is “spiritually” ascetic and is free of any kind of desire, except for a desire to own some basic commodities in order to satisfy his (or her) basic needs. If he doesn't desire to own more than some basic commodities then he will own only basic commodities, just like the first person. The difference is the fact that the second person is calm/happy/good/holy/whatever because he doesn't do it against himself. So his “material” asceticism is the RESULT of his “spiritual” asceticism. And what is his “spiritual” asceticism? It is his state of mind. Just a state of mind. It's neither the key nor the goal.

Please notice that this “spiritual” asceticism has nothing to do with a religion or pleasures, but with a simple concept of desire. In the above case it was a desire to own things, but the same example can be used for any KIND of desire. And this is what a true asceticism is all about – being free from desires.

Obviously we can't reject all our desires because we have to eat, breathe, have a place to live, have a family and have a little fun too, but the more desires we reject the more happy we become. “Let's enjoy the little things, for in them the formula for happiness is written.” With a true asceticism the joy from little things comes in a kind of automatic way.

Almost every human activity is based on a desire – without a desire there would be no willful action at all. If there is a desire then we can control it in most cases. There are some obviously “obligatory” desires, like a desire to eat or a desire to drink water, but a desire to eat a lot of foods, a desire to eat sweets or a desire to drink alcohol are the kinds of desire that are NOT “obligatory”.

In my case the sheer fact that I can identify a desire makes this desire much weaker – it's embarrassing to realise that you are a slave to your own desires. And I can identify a desire practically always. In fact it's very easy when you actually think about it.

I must point out that there are also positive desires that turn into something negative when they are too strong. For example reading books. Nowadays fewer and fewer people read books, so it is generally a very positive thing when a person reads books. But if he (or she) reads them all the time and neglects other things then it is clearly a bad thing. Similar examples can be given for anything that is considered positive and in extreme cases it concerns even religion.

I'll give you two more examples. Just two. When I see that somebody, for example my wife or my child, has just done a thing that was illogical, impractical or that it could have been done more efficiently I feel a very strong desire to tell them about it – to explain it to them – to give them an advice. Usually this “advice” is considered as a criticism and makes them angry, no matter if I'm right or not. Over the years I realised that in most cases it is actually better not to say anything to them at all or maybe to turn my advice into a kind of joke. Now when I realise that all my actions are actually based on my desires, in this case it is a desire to make other people “better”, I feel less inclined to do it (to give them an advice), because it is my desire, not theirs.

The second example came to my mind while I was writing this very post. It's about expectations – a particular expectation can be considered as a desire too. In this case my desire was that when I was writing this post my children would understand that I was busy and would leave me alone for some time. This desire was in fact silly and it made me nervous because my children kept coming to me to tell me something or to ask something from me. Without my desire I wouldn't get nervous because of it.

I came up with this idea (asceticism considered as being free from desires) a week ago and I must say that it is rather helpful. It's enough to keep thinking what desires make you do what you actually do. Just thinking about your desires, without trying to change yourself right away.

By the way, here's a great song that makes me calm and peaceful:

Saturday, 24 January 2015

A tribute to my Father

It's been almost a year since my Father died and I would like to pay Him a tribute.

There are no perfect people and my Father was not perfect either, but He set a very good example to me in most cases. Interestingly He sometimes tried to convince me that I should behave “this and that”, even though He himself behaved differently. But He did it in good faith – He tried to make me more “successful” than Him. And He failed – I am as “hopeless” as He was, but I think He was quite successful in His own way. There were many important rules that He (together with my Mother) taught me, just by setting an example.

He was honest. He never tried to gain anything at someone else's expense.

He was lawful. He believed that official rules should be respected.

He was truthful. He was not afraid to face the consequences of His own actions and opinions.

He was sincere. He always tried to make everything clear, so there would be no misunderstandings.

He was assertive. He defended his own rights and He didn't take blame for other people's faults.

He was proud. He was not impressed by strangers, even if they held an important position.

He was peaceful and non-aggressive. He didn't like violence or imperialism of any kind.

He was strong-minded. He didn't change his opinions easily and He believed in His own conclusions.

He valued balanced opinions. He often explained to me what understatements or simplifications were made in a statement we had just heard on TV.

He was objective. He was not afraid to admit that our team won a game just because the referee made more mistakes in our favour.

He was compassionate. He fully realised and felt the tragedy of other people and He never laughed at other people's accidents or other misfortunes.

He was careful about other people feelings. He taught me that we shouldn't brag about our achievements or emphasize our material possessions.

He was financially responsible. He didn't fall into any debts just because some other people had more money than Him.

He was against vegetarianism. He was convinced that it is simply not healthy and that humans are more much more carnivores than herbivores.

He was not a mindless devout in any sense. He had his own opinions and beliefs, but He was not displeased by different opinions or different beliefs of other people, as long as they were not harmful or evidently untrue.

He was against taming of wild animals. One day when I was very young He drove me and my Mother to a circus, but He didn't go in with us to see the show and He simply waited for us in the car.

He was a sportsman when He was young. He encouraged me to try many different sport activities and He controlled how my body was developing, mostly by checking if I didn't have scoliosis or hunchback.

He was forgiving. He was surprisingly calm when I did something stupid as a child and He cared only if I was hurt or not.

He didn't use physical punishment. He tried to persuade me with words and bonuses or, as a last resort, with non-physical punishments.

He was not a despot. He didn't plan my life for me.

He was foresightedly wise. He discouraged me from engaging too much in one set of activities or deciding too early on my future goals.

He was imaginatively careful. He taught me to foresee what dangerous things can happen even in seemingly safe conditions.

He was critical of extreme sports. He thought that it is really stupid to voluntarily risk your health or even your life just for some excitement.

He was interested in science. He encouraged me to read books and magazines about how our world is functioning.

He was always reconciled to his life. He never anguished over his misfortunes or despaired over his life, even after He was diagnosed with blood cancer.

I feel very lucky that I had such a great Father.

(Thursday, 22 October 2015)

Friday, 23 January 2015

We are all brain-dead motherfuckers

(Originally posted on Tuesday, 21 November 2017)

Nobody is perfect and everybody has his (or her) own “demons”. To me it has always been my addiction to computer games and to lesser extent my addiction to chess. I have been kind of lucky because there are much more dangerous addictions than mine (like alcohol or narcotics), but there are also other things that make us all morons anyway.

The problem is that at some moments we consciously ignore our own common sense (a kind of “voice inside our head”) when it tells us that we should not do what we are about to do. I'm talking not only about addictions that are repetitive, but also about some single events that can end up very bad for us. We also ignore some “suggestions” to do something good for us, even when we know perfectly well that the “suggestion” is correct.

Below there is the song Miss Europa Disco Dancer by Manic Street Preachers that features some lyrics that are utterly universal and thought-provoking. More importantly the final phrase of the song, repeated 23 times, gives a surprisingly positive feeling. Well, I must admit that the first time I have heard this song I was irritated by such an ending, but over time I appreciate it more and more. By the way: only Manics can combine harp with such lyrics!

Miss Europa disco dancer
Feel the drug of your persona
Miss Europa disco dancer
I'm in heaven when I see ya
Miss Europa disco dancer
Favourite son and favourite daughter
Miss Europa disco dancer
Suck - suck up all of your power

So serene the world turns blue
Heads are spinning – it feels so good
It's poetry, sheer poetry
The way you destroy your beauty

Miss Europa disco dancer
Brutally becomes a no hoper
Miss Europa disco dancer
Had your luck and had your chances
Miss Europa disco dancer
Never reached the super-nova
Miss Europa disco dancer
Wake up drunk and then fall over

So messed up the world turns grey
All washed up with debts to pay
It's agony, sheer agony
The way your life just fades away

So serene the world turns blue
Heads are spinning – it feels so good
It's poetry, sheer poetry
The way you destroy your beauty

So messed up the world turns grey
All washed up with debts to pay
It's agony, sheer agony
The way your life just fades away

Brain-dead motherfuckers

Thursday, 22 January 2015

My shot at reading The Holy Bible

(Originally posted on Saturday, 23 December 2017)

First of all I have to point out that I am a religious person, but I am definitely not a fanatic. Moreover I have a very good high-school-time friend who is a die-hard atheist and we have had some very interesting discussions about religions in general. Fortunately he is not a fanatic either and we respect each other in every way. One day he told me something that surprised me very much – it was something like this: “Jesus was a normal person, not a god, but he did have some very wise things to say”. Hearing something like this from an atheist is all I can dream of.

Overall I know the main objections against my religion (or religions in general) and I can see some problems myself, but it doesn’t make my faith weaker. On the contrary – it’s always uplifting when some minor issues don’t divert your attention from the main topic. In case of religion the “main topic” is all about becoming a better person and finding inner peace. At least to me, but I realise that some religious people base their faith on some kind of fear of „eternal condemnation”. It doesn't seem like a good idea to me because fear (any kind of fear) will never lead to inner peace, which makes it much harder to become „worthy of Heavens”.

The first step was to pick the “version” of the Holy Bible. This is something very important because the vast majority of people who “read the Holy Bible” in fact read a translation of the Holy Bible, not the “original” Holy Bible. The sheer fact that it is a translation should make people very careful about understanding it literally – some phrases are very hard to translate from one language to another. There are some hilarious examples of likely mistranslations, for example Moses with horns:

I searched the net for discussions about the Holy Bible and I was surprised by the amount of dubious (or utterly pointless) divagations by people taking literally every single word of a particular translation without even wondering if the translation is actually correct. Very good examples are the different translations of one of the Ten Commandments (for the Catholics it’s the 5th Commandment): “You shall not kill” vs. “You shall not murder”. It appears that neither translation is perfectly correct. The translation “You shall not kill” (the one that causes many strange discussions) is claimed by some translators to be definitely too broad and the translation “You shall not murder” is claimed by some translators to be somewhat too narrow. My common sense doesn't like the translation “You shall not kill” because it leads to some contradictions within the Old Testament itself. Also this translation is dubious during wars, when you have to defend yourself from being slaughtered by enemies invading your country. Killing other people in a true self-defence is acceptable to me. Very sad, but acceptable.

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of translation problems that may change the way we look at the Holy Bible, so jumping to conclusions is definitely not recommended. I must also point out that at some moments I did wonder whether some parts of the “original” Holy Bible (both the Old Testament and the New Testament) had maybe been “tweaked” for the convenience of the ones who had supervised the writing or re-writing process. It’s definitely not impossible, but as I wrote earlier: some minor issues should not divert our attention from the main topic.

I was very lucky, because there had been a relatively recent (2008) “approved” (by the Catholic Church) translation of the Holy Bible from the original languages directly to my native language that seems to be very precise and that, at the same time, reads very naturally because it uses (whenever possible) modern-day vocabulary:

At first I wanted to read the whole Holy Bible with all the theological comments given right below the text, but I failed. God forgive, but some of the comments were kind of annoying and the sheer volume of all the comments was overwhelming on its own. I can understand the fear of misinterpretation, but the reality is that somebody who is open for misinterpretation (or for a blind criticism of the text) would ignore the comments anyway. I decided to read the text without the theological comments (to speed up the process), but under the assumption that I would not jump to any conclusions. The text in vast majority of places “speaks all by itself” when you read it without prejudice. I must also point out that I do read short comments that are at the side of the text, just out of curiosity. They explain some old words and/or some old customs that are alien to modern-day people or provide some other interesting trivia.

I wanted to read the whole Holy Bible chronologically, but I failed again. The Book of Genesis was basically a “page-turner”, but after that the Old Testament got much more difficult to read. Some parts (I repeat: SOME parts, not all of them) were kind of controversial and I was, at first, overpowered by them. I don't want to get into details, but the most striking examples were the issues of slavery and divorces. Another problem was the sheer volume of the Old Testament. It is huge. Physically huge. In the above edition the Old Testament is 2100 pages long! In comparison the New Testament is “only” 600 pages long in the same edition. When I realized that it would take me months (or even years) to finish the Old Testament I got discouraged, to say the least. For these reasons I started to read the Old Testament alternately with the New Testament.

When I switched to the New Testament I instantly felt much more “at home”. It was much more to the point about moral values and about finding inner peace – the most important things about the Holy Bible (at least to me). Overall I would say that in the New Testament “the pace” is better and “the plot” is a little more consistent than in the Old Testament. Obviously there are many good things to be found in the Old Testament too, but there are also some things that seems to be more or less irrelevant for modern-day people, for example the issues of animal sacrifices.

I even found a great way to read some parts of the New Testament outside my home. There is a pocket edition of the four Evangels (Gospels) of the New Testament (which are, by the way, the most important parts of the New Testament) based on the above edition of the Holy Bible. The translation is identical and there are also all the theological comments from the full edition. Unfortunately there are no “side comments” (the ones that I actually read), so whenever I read the pocket edition I later come back to the full edition and read all the side comments up to the point where I have finished reading the main text in the pocket edition.

In the pocket edition of the four Evangels (Gospels) of the New Testament the font is smaller and more dense, but still easy to read. The most important thing is the fact that it is truly a pocket edition (it fits into the inside breast pocket of a suit jacket). The difference in size between the full edition of the Holy Bible and the pocket edition of the four Evangels (Gospels) of the New Testament is staggering:

I have to point out that I AM going to read the Old Testament till the very end. For two reasons. The first reason is the fact that the Old Testament is officially a part of the Holy Bible and many parts of the Old Testament are considered by the Catholic Church as perfectly valid. The second reason is that I want to know the part of the Holy Bible on which Jesus was raised.

At the end I have to write about something that may seem strange. When I started to read the Holy Bible my “demons” (especially my addiction to computer games) got much stronger. Obviously the Holy Bible doesn't “encourage” such things, so it seems to me that something exactly opposite was taking place – as if something was trying to divert my attention away from the Holy Bible. I'm sure my atheistic friend would find an explanation for this, but to me it was quite unsettling.

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

My last post on such topics

(Originally posted on Tuesday, 2 January 2018)

This is my last post on such topics. This time I found something on the net that I have to share. No matter if you believe that demons are real or not this testimony is worth reading – she was very lucky:

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Wise quotes

(Originally posted on Saturday, 3 March 2018)

This is real stuff. We’re all human at the end of the day. That’s why I look at every person I encounter the same way. I don’t care who you are. You can be the smallest person off the street or you could be the biggest person in the world, I’m going to treat everybody the same, with respect.

My mom always told me: Never make fun of anybody because you never know what that person is going through. Ever since I was a kid, I never did. I never did. I don’t care what shape, form, ethnicity, nothing. I treat everybody the same. You never know.

I had friends that I thought was perfectly fine, next thing you know they’re a drug addict and can’t remember yesterday . . . I never had a drink in my life because I grew up seeing so many people drinking their life away to suppress the (troubles) they were going through (…).


Now I like DeMar DeRozan even more. Interestingly I have recently written about him or the Toronto Raptors in three different posts:

DeMar DeRozan reminds me of Clyde (the Glide) Drexler (2 January 2018)
Ha, ha, ha! (How I wish it would be true.) (9 February 2018)
I hadn't laughed so hard for a long time! (16 February 2018)

Monday, 19 January 2015


(Originally posted on Tuesday, 24 April 2018)

Sunday, 18 January 2015

I feel more and more disconnected from this world

(Originally posted on Tuesday, 1 May 2018)

I feel more and more disconnected from this world. It’s not that I am suicidal or depressed – on the contrary, I am as peacefully happy as ever. But I feel more like a spectator rather than a true participant. And it bothers me that so many people do so many things that are not good for them. Unfortunately some of things I mention below are ignored even by my close family and I am tired of repeating myself.

First of all I have to point out that I understand perfectly well that some people go through difficult phases of their lives and very often struggle mentally, but at the same time they do things that make their lives even more difficult, causing new problems that make them struggle even more. A vicious cycle.

I will not explain every single thing because many topics have been covered in detail by other people and it is pointless to repeat all the arguments again. Please notice that by “people” I mean “many people”, not “all the people”, obviously.

1. People try to gather too much info on too many topics, overtiring their mind.
2. People fool themselves that it is not their fault that they are fat/overweight.
3. People compete too much in too many ways.
4. People eat too much.
5. People are afraid to admit that they don't know something.
6. People eat too much “highly-processed” foods that are fresh (eatable) for a very long time.
7. People are not able to enjoy a “boring life”.
8. People avoid eating normal bread – the best source of energy for a human being (it is digested not too quickly and not too slow).
9. People want to possess too many things.
10. People eat too infrequently.
11. People buy some products just because they are endorsed by “celebrities”.
12. People eat too much sweets and/or drink too much “sweet waters” (including “healthy” fruit juices).
13. People waste too much of their time by traveling too often and/or over too long distances.
14. People don't realize that sweetened “sugar-free” products confuse the brain (a sweet product is normally understood by the brain as containing some kind of sugar), which in the long run may result in metabolic problems.
15. People talk or think too much about lives of other people.
16. People drink too little water during eating.
Well, I have to comment on this because such info is very hard to come by. Water fills out stomach as good as any food, lowering the feeling of hunger (with the same amount of foods eaten) AND, more importantly, it lowers the feeling of tiredness after eating – to “use” the eaten foods your body has to digest them and absorb them into your blood, but the whole process needs water. If there is not enough water drunk during eating the needed water is taken away from the rest (the main part) of the body, which makes the rest (the main part) of the body temporarily dehydrated, which makes you temporarily sleepy.
17. People often lie/cheat/mislead/trick/harm/abuse/exploit other people.
18. People drink too little water overall, which often makes them think that they are hungry again instead of only thirsty.
19. People want to become happy through buying things, having friends, drinking alcohol, using drugs or having sex, without realizing that the happiness HAS to start with them, not other people or things.
20. People eat too many fried foods, especially too much fried meat.
21. People avoid being objective and/or try to see everything as “black or white”, ignoring all shades of grey.
22. People eat/drink some foods/drinks just for their taste, ignoring the truly important properties of the foods/drinks.
23. People want quick answers/solutions.
24. People mindlessly avoid non-fried fats, like mayonnaise.
25. People don’t avoid watching or just listening to all the TV commercials or other advertisements (most of which are misleading/manipulative, to say the least).
26. People either eat too much meat or avoid it totally.
27. People buy expensive things that are totally unnecessary for them.
28. People drink energy drinks or coffee, which makes them become overtired – instead of resting they go on doing too many things.
29. People lament about other people being unfair instead of concentrating on being fair themselves.
30. People don't realize that eating foods or drinking “healthy” juices with lots of fructose (sugar from fruits) is actually even worse (even more unhealthy) than eating foods or drinking drinks with the same amount of white (table) sugar (fructose in big amounts is apparently co-responsible for many illnesses, most importantly diabetes and gout).
31. People watch misfortunes of other people, including some gruesome accidents, living through much unnecessary negative emotions (there is enough negative emotions in our own lives already).
32. People eat too little fresh vegetables that taste good on their own (without any sauces or spices), like tomato, bell pepper, cucumber, radish, carrot, cabbage, kohlrabi or cauliflower (most of them can be quickly blanched to make them a little more “safe”/healthier without losing any positive properties).
33. People want to get rich very quickly and they do all kinds of stupid/unacceptable/illegal/pathetic/dangerous things.
34. People eat too much foods with vinegar instead of foods that are fermented, for example it is healthier to eat fermented (non-vinegar) pickled cucumbers than cucumbers pickled in vinegar (another great/very healthy fermented food is sauerkraut).
35. People care about meaningless rules, like very precise (to the point of ridiculousness) behavioural etiquettes.
36. People don’t do regular physical exercises, even the most basic ones.
37. Young people want to become adults far too quickly, often making their lives more difficult than they should be.
38. People get aggressive for ideological reasons (atheists as well as religious people), ignoring the fact that we will never be able to fully understand the world we live in nor the “outside” world, the same way a “2-dimension person” will never be able to understand his (or her) own limitations nor to detect the third dimension, not to mention to understand it (this is actually the main difference between atheists and religious people – the believe in “something” outside our own world; I am a religious person myself, but it bothers me when some religious people fool themselves that they can learn all about the “outside” world just by reading their holy texts).
39. People brag about themselves (or the things they own) in a way that shows they don't realise the fact that it is impossible for everyone to be equally successful and/or lucky, no matter how much work and effort the other people would put it in.
40. People hurry too much, often while driving their cars.
41. People forget all about logic/common sense when their animal instinct (sexual drive) kicks in.
42. People like to watch modern-day gladiators (people in the spot-light) fail/get in trouble.
43. People want to be famous/powerful/influential without realising in advance all the dangers it is associated with.
44. People think that they can always identify when they are being manipulated by the mass media, ignoring the fact that the best manipulations have several layers and are not truly recognizable without access to classified data (the non-manipulated classified data).
45. People complain about their lives, when the truth is that their lives could always be much harder than they currently are.
46. People don't really appreciate that they are healthy until their health deteriorates significantly.
47. People constantly use smart-phones or tablets even outside their homes, increasing even more the amount of data their brains try to absorb.
48. People either have very little imagination or assume that all the possible negative scenarios will never possibly happen to them.
49. People often live on credit, having many unnecessary debts.
50. People in many cases stretch the word “necessary” waaay too much.
51. People rest/sleep too little because they always find some unnecessary but very interesting things to do/watch/read about.

The last issue is actually still my own problem. Fortunately the other 50 issues are not, but I see every single day many other people with such “obvious” problems. Well, nothing is obvious until you realize some things yourself.

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Make Your Own Life Your Own Hobby

Make your own life your own hobby. Enjoy the little things like washing your face or preparing your meals. Take your time doing such things. Relax just for a while.

Try to make other people feel better. Be kind and do some small favours even to total strangers. Surprise your family by doing things you don’t really like to do. Take pleasure in making them happy.

Do the things you know you have to do. Listen to your own common sense. Remember how you feel when you are finally done with something that was hanging over you for a long time. Do the things that need doing and enjoy your inner peace.

Don’t daydream. Concentrate on the thing you are currently doing. Think even about your movements. Take pleasure in controlling your mind and your body.

Keep fit, however you can. Do some light exercises every day. Make them short, but regular. Help your mind by helping your body.

Don’t try to do everything perfectly. Don’t compare yourself to other people. Be yourself. Realize that you are exceptional just because there is no one else like you.

Be aware of what is happening around you. Take pleasure in finding beautiful things in your everyday life. Enjoy the sunshine and enjoy the rain. Decide to be happy.

(Saturday, 14 January 2012)