Archive for July, 2009

Study finds suppressing emotions can hurt

I have heard the same thing through so many articles and books.  One of the most basic techniques to manage emotional mind is by handling the emotion that needs venting.  The process is easier to talk about than actually put into practice.  I have found it necessary to build one's lifestyle around this principle.  I don't think everyone has enough control over their environment to control the internal emotional flow but is essential to a healthy and productive life both for a person, the community and the organization if any.  The emotions ought to be let out constantly and the level of emotional pressure has to be maintained at the healthy level.  I wonder what percentage of the population of this planet can have such lifestyles.
July 25, 2009

EUGENE, Ore., Jul 25, 2009 (UPI via COMTEX) — Emotional suppression may cost college freshmen friendships, a co-author of a University of Oregon at Eugene study said Saturday.

"Hiding your emotions is something that is very common but it's something that often is not the right thing to do," Sanjay Srivastava said. "We're not saying never ever do this, but doing it may have negative effects in certain contexts, such as in transitioning into college."

Srivastava, a professor of psychology, said in a press release from the university that suppressing emotions in a new or difficult situation is understandable and may be appropriate, but carrying it too far may result in difficulty trusting and being trusted by others.

The study looked at 278 college freshmen who filled out weekly diaries with data on support received from parents and friends, their closeness with others and social and academic satisfaction. When the term ended, the participants addressed the same topics and the researchers spoke to their friends to determine how they were faring during their first term.

"People who were hiding or masking their emotions were having more difficult times forming close, meaningful, supportive and satisfying relationships," Srivastava said.

Book Review: The Brain Wash: A Powerful, All-Natural Program to Protect Your Brain Against Alzheimer’s, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Depression, Parkinson’s, and Other Diseases

The Brain Wash: A Powerful, All-Natural Program to Protect Your Brain Against Alzheimer's, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Depression, Parkinson's, and Other Diseases

I enjoyed reading the BrainWash.  Nutrition books have similar content and if you have read a few good nutrition and prevention books in recent years, the BrainWash will read easily for you.  The overall health is reviewed in terms of the bodily systems and the causes for problems.  The information is very standard but organized in a useful format.  The few pages on how-to apply are very good and will work for most people.  I recommend the book to anyone middle age or beyond.  The BrainWash has too much details so will read slowly for some but the background information is not as important as the sections on how to apply preventive measures.  They can be read fast and time spent on learning to follow the procedure.  This is a  good book to read and a lifesaver. 

Damn Interesting: Steely-Eyed Hydronauts of the Mariana

*********************************************** Damn Interesting is a great site with one flaw that finding damn interesting information is harder than imagined thus infrequent posts.  The whole idea of a valley under the ocean being 7 miles deep is fantastic.  Is it really a lifeless area?  If I was an alien from another planet with need of a base on this planet, I would say Challenger Deep rank as one of my top locations.  Then, aliens do not exist and we know that for sure.  What about the 60 people who jumped overboard rather than serve the queen?  

from Damn Interesting by Alan Bellows
Challenger crew, 1874

On 21 December 1872, the British naval corvette HMS Challenger sailed from Portsmouth, England on an historic endeavor. Although the sophisticated steam-assisted sailing vessel had been originally constructed as a combat ship, her instruments of war has been recently removed to make room for laboratories, dredging equipment, and measuring apparatuses. She and her crew of 243 sailors and scientists set out on a long, meandering circumnavigation of the globe with orders to catalog the ocean's depth, temperature, salinity, currents, and biology at hundreds of sites–an oceanographic effort far more ambitious than any undertaken before it. For three and a half long, dreary years the crew spent day after day dredging, measuring, and probing the oceans. Although the data they collected was scientifically indispensable, men were driven to madness by the tedium, and some sixty souls ultimately opted to jump ship rather than take yet another depth measurement or temperature reading. One day in 1875, however, as the crew were "sounding" an area near the Mariana Islands in the western Pacific, the sea swallowed an astonishing 4,575 fathoms (about five miles) of measuring line before the sounding weight reached the floor of the ocean. The bedraggled researchers had discovered an undersea valley which would come to be known as the Challenger Deep. Reaching 6.78 miles at its lowest point, it is now know to be the deepest location on the whole of the Earth. The region is of such immense depth that if Mount Everest were to be set on the sea floor at that location, the mighty mountain's peak would still be under more than a mile of water. Nothing was known of what organisms and formations might lurk at such depths. Many scientists of the day were convinced that such crevasses must be lifeless places considering the immense pressure, relative cold, total lack of sunlight, and presumed absence of oxygen. It would be almost a century before a handful of explorers finally resolved to go down there and take a look for themselves.

WrittenbyCush Edition Four – July 17 to July 24, 2009

This edition probably will not show the underlying changes I am making but they are taking place.  I am still doing book reviews and critical writing based on worthy articles but also increasing the number.  My choice articles are becoming clearer as a group and over the next few editions should appear as a permanent line of thinking.  I find it hard to rewrite because the volume of the articles is increasing and the ideas are somewhere in the mess.

The book reviews are few.  

I read more books obviously and some always appear in my video and my photo blogs.  I have also made a new blog to collect copies of all my posts.  World of Cush may be the best place to find all of my book reviews in one spot.  My reviews blog also makes an attempt to keep a copy of each.  Starting Your Consulting Business is a very introduction to this vocation.  The Transormation of Cities was a good book but more of a theory text than what I had expected and not as useful as accurate.    How Your Brain Deceives is a great book to read for some of us.  I found it difficult to read mostly because of the style of writing and that I sometimes have a difficult time fast reading works by female authors.  The male writing style usually is straightforward and gets to the point.  The female writing complicates ideas while describing them.  I cannot read slow or re-read because the text is not in my field or that interesting of a read.

The articles are a good bunch for this edition.  Wine and psychology dominate and the articles are better than average.  

I am neither a left nor right brain person and the test given failed me by casting me as left brain.  The descriptions given for dedicated left brain person hardly make any sense if you know me.  Racism can be eliminated according to some and I agree but what is most interesting is the broad definition the article provides for racism.  I really like that viewpoint.  Mine has been weak and not productive.  Social security numbers cannot be protected online which I think is a much bigger problem than most people realize.  I have practiced negative thinking as a practical mean and agree with the article that it can work in some situations.  Beautiful people are now scientifically smarter based on how good looking.  and finally Francis Ford Coppola tells us all.  

I wrote a definition piece of what a sommelier is and no debate exists over the definition but I am confident the profession is misunderstood at least in the US.  The wine business has a chance to learn from the wine drinkers and will not listen as usual.  World's largest appellation comes into existence and amazes us.  I thought the whole point of an appellation was to attempt some control.  The word appellation should show preference for small to achieve more control.  Large appellation should be an oxymoron.  And the $1 million wine book has arrived.  That should give a good idea of the different levels of people involved in the wine business.  It is not just about wine as a drink.  Wine critics are born and made but the article reminds me of a good friend who cannot taste and proves a great theoretical point.  

Book Review: A Mind of Its Own: How Your Brain Distorts and Deceives

A Mind of Its Own: How Your Brain Distorts and Deceives
I speed-read A Mind of Its Own and somewhere about 1/3 of the reading I stopped asking myself if the writer was a woman.  I checked the back jacket for her photo as I thought I had seen and yes.  Women can write differently than men which is no surprise since we communicate very differently but the writing and the thought process can be so personalized that speed reading fails the reader.  The thoughts and words are not arranged as a normal writer would and require close attention.  I wish I had the time but I liked what I could read.

What Is A Sommelier?


This picture is actually a photograph and looks great.  The winery name Merryvale can be seen against the back wall and the link at the bottom can take you to a short blog post about.  However, I picked the photo to make a brief point here.  I actually found a very similar photo in the current issue of Wine Spectator in a full page ad for an airline.  The former cellar is a much larger one with smaller but greater number of barrels.  And my point is?  People involved in the wine business carry many titles.  In the US, the titles are very flexible which means anyone can create or use an existing title unless heavily regulated.  I do not think anyone in the business will get away with calling oneself a Master of Wine or a Master Sommelier if one is not but many call themselves wine director, sommelier, wine director and so on.  A basic question remains of what is a sommelier?  One can find many definition.  The dictionary provides a few leads and the standard resources a few more.  Anyone who has been in the business has some sort of working definition.  Since I have worked as a sommelier and insulted a few last week by comparing a sommelier to a house servant, I feel obligated to clarify the point.  I think a great way to understand what a sommelier does is by understanding the history especially at its best.  The profession of sommelier did not go public until the French Revolution and existed as a high skilled position with an aristocratic household as a private position.  I was given this illustration of the profession a long time ago and still think is one of the best.  If one is to understand the essence of what a sommelier does, you should keep this photo in mind.  The cellar with its many barrels is where sommelier position happened.  Historically, wine was not sold in bottles from famous producers with fancy labels and descriptions.  It was sold in barrels.  The barrel holds the wine while it ages.  The wine changes slowly as it ages.  In a wealthy Old World household, one or more cellars existed on location to house the wines.  The significant thing to remember is the consumption of wine took place in quantities unlike what is seen in the movies with a bottle presented and uncorked for a rich couple dining.  The purchase, storage, care, distribution and the service of wine was fairly complicated.  A typical cellar held many barrels of different wines from various producers.  The vintages and other conditions varied.  Each of these variable factors made the understanding of that wine more complicated.  The process was very subjective and one or more professionals were needed who understood the wine and could manage the ever-changing wine cellar.  This person could tell based on who made the wine, where it was made, when it was made, what was put in the wine, how it was made, the price of the wine and many other factors what the drinker would experience by drinking the beverage.  The final qualification was truly subjective and an art.  If the sommelier could do this properly, he was appreciated as a great skilled servant.  And if not, everything would be off for everyone.  The actual service of the wine blended with food and events making it more complicated.  The sommelier decided which wine for what occasion served at what point of the meal or celebration (occasion).  The sommelier unlike what today people would believe was not the well-dressed polite person helping with wine selection and serving the bottle.  That can be done by a trained wait staff or house servant.  The sommelier is the person who can actually stand in a strange cellar of barrels (not bottles with labels of information) and is qualified to figure the barrels' contents out.  Only a truly qualified and skilled person can achieve this task.  How does one accomplish this?  Every single element that can be taken into consideration can aid.  The more knowledge of the origin and the making of the wine, the better.  The sommelier in the worst possible situation uses one's nose and palate to check the wine.  He (she) ought to be able to tell as much about the wine as if he has a printed sheet of information.  What is the use for such accurate information that a skilled person can acquire blind? He can estimate the price of the wine.  He can tell the varietals and the area.  He can tell the vintage.  He can tell the condition of the wine today and the future.  He can match the wine with food or propose occasions suitable.  He can decide to release the wine, keep it or sell it outright.  Sommelier can do this and great many things more.  How does one become a sommelier?  High skill is developed by study, practice, experiment and most of all learning from a fully qualified person.  The level of knowledge and skill is high and subjective.  Only a body of very qualified peers should determine if a person is at the proper level.  US is built on standards created by the locals for their own benefit.  In other words, the standards are subjective but not qualified by the qualified.  Anyone with some wine knowledge and involvement in the wine business sets one's own standard of who is qualified.  So is a sommelier a high-end wine servant? Historically, he was but the position became part of the not-private world benefiting greater many while surviving the challenges of maintaining standards and traditions, sommelier became a serious profession.  

Left brain versus Right brain


I have taken tests about left and right brain and the results have consistently been I am right in the middle.  I have no dominant side.  I think it is fair to attribute the state to my parents:  My father was extremely left and my mother was extremely right.  I took the test mentioned on just to satisfy my curiosity.  I have to mention the test does say "for teens" and probably not comprehensive.  I scored Left-brained and I read the description and almost everything is wrong about me.  I pasted the right description at the bottom and that sounds slightly better.  I tell people always not to trust results of research and tests but nobody listens to me.


From self-help books to popular television shows, you've probably at least heard of right brain vs. left brain dominance. According to this theory, each side of the brain controls different types of thinking. Additionally, people are said to prefer one type of thinking over the other. A person who is "left-brained" is said to be more logical, analytical and objective, while a person who is "right-brained" is said to be more intuitive, thoughtful and subjective.

The right brain-left brain theory grew out of the work of Roger W. Sperry, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1981. Later research has shown that the brain is not nearly as dichotomous as once thought. For example, recent research has shown that abilities in subjects such as math are actually strongest when both halves of the brain work together.

While often overgeneralized and overstated by popular psychology and self-help texts, understanding your typical behavior can help you develop better ways to learn and study. For example, students who have a difficult time following verbal instructions (often cited as a right-brain characteristic) can benefit from writing down directions and developing better organizational skills.'s Guide to Homework Help, Grace Fleming, has created a fun quiz to help you determine your "brain type" and improve your study habits and academic skills. Take the right brain-left brain quiz to learn more.


The Results Are In!You can use these results to help you identify the best ways for you to study effectively. Be sure to find more ways to evaluate your own personality and study skills. It will pay off!

You are a left brain dominant student!

You probably like some order in your life and in the classroom. You are comfortable listening to lectures and taking most test types, but you might be uncomfortable with open-ended essay assignments that require you to imagine scenarios. You want class directions to be clear. A disorganized teacher or unclear assignments will drive you crazy! You are good at analyzing problems to find the right answer. You may have considered pursuing a degree in science or math. You don't like mushy love movies. You might be a Jeopardy champ one day, not because you're smarter than right brain students, but because you are able to answer questions quickly.


I am more like the following

Do you get bored when teachers lecture too much? Do you feel like you can size up people easily by watching them? If so, you may be right-brain dominant.

Characteristics of Right-Brain Students

  • You take notes but lose them. You may have a hard time keeping track of your research
  • You might have a hard time making up your mind
  • You are good with people
  • You don't fall for practical jokes as easily as some
  • You seem dreamy, but you're really deep in thought
  • People may have told you you're psychic
  • You like to write fiction, draw, or play music 
  • You might be athletic
  • You like mystery stories
  • You take time to ponder and you think there are two sides to every story
  • You may lose track of time
  • You are spontaneous 
  • You’re fun and witty
  • You may find it hard to follow verbal directions
  • You are unpredictable
  • You get lost
  • You are emotional
  • You don't like reading directions
  • You may listen to music while studying
  • You read lying down
  • You may be interested in “the unexplained” 
  • You are philosophical