Tag Archives: Hollywood

The Thursday Morning Memo – more than just a podcast

ThursdayMorningMemo1400x1400The new podcast has arrived. It’s called The Thursday Morning Memo, a stimulating ragbag of motivational thoughts and ideas to make your life better, smoother, and happier.

Topics covered each week will include improving your self-worth, making money without struggle, the Law of Attraction, and so on. New books, new audio, new movies and TV shows, and a ton of tips and sound advice for getting you up to the next level. It’s short, it’s fun, and it’s entertaining. Hear the latest episode HERE. It features an interview with a British hypnotherapist who came up with a fantastic technique for getting the money-making principles contained in Napoleon Hill’s bestseller Think and Grow Rich directly into your mind.  The Life Quiz

This, then, has been the end of a process. If you remember, I put out a series of podcasts called The Life Quiz earlier this year. Those were very well-received too, and season 2 is now up and running, and includes even more amazing, accomplished people talking about normal_arrow-down-red_benji_par_01life and the lessons they’ve learned.

But there’s the thing: I needed something else.

If there’s one problem with that show, it’s that it’s fairly timeless. You could listen today or next century, it wouldn’t matter; the lessons in the episodes would still be meaningful. I love that about it, but it can be a little limiting for me in terms of subject matter. What I needed, I realized, was a second podcast, a weekly rip-and-read show that was up-to-date and dealt with the other things that interest me – health, spirituality, motivation, new ideas, and so on.

Well, hey presto.

Please say hello to The Thursday Morning Memo. Each and every week, I’ll be broadcasting a lively and information-filled 20-minute bulletin from Hollywood, California. So why not give it a listen?

You can subscribe and download it on iTunes, which I recommend, or just click on THIS LINK and listen RIGHT NOW to the latest episode.

ThursdayMorningMemo1400x1400

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Filed under Health, Hollywood, movies, politics, Television commentary

Candida: could there be a magic potion cure after all?

Taming the Beast Within Final CoverHappy new year, candidates.

New book – available now. Taming the Beast Within. How I tackled Candida and won (almost). Maybe it will help you as well. 

Buy it on Amazon today (click on picture to go to site), and iTunes very soon. 

This is a brief –  but getting longer all the time – P.S. to the Candida post I wrote last year. That whole thing, if you recall, was an experiment to discover what the causes of candida overgrowth are and to find ways to bring it under control. It was a mixed bag. As interesting as it was, other than cutting out sugar, dairy, and wheat, and reducing salt, I’m not sure we ended up any the wiser and the world still searches for a solution.

candida-albicansMy own status is that I still have whistling in my ears and slight recurring deafness that has no rhyme or reason to it, as well as skin that’s prone to break-outs whenever it feels like it, but usually related to the foods I’ve eaten. The break-outs puzzled me for the longest time. Then I discovered they might be related to leaky gut syndrome, and I went, “Oh.”

That’s all: oh.

Well, come on, how many theories I have heard by now? Thousands.

Sometimes, when you have a candida overgrowth, you find that nutrients, toxins, and whatever else spill out through holes in the intestines and enter the bloodstream, which then redistributes them around your body, causing zits, rashes, and all kinds of acne-like symptoms. I’m making it sound more fun than it is, but trust me, it’s annoying in the extreme. Same thing happens with parasites.

Anyway, I’d almost given up trying to solve what is turning into a long-term systemic problem. I was done. Nothing worked. It was just the luck of the draw – something I was stuck with forever. That’s how I saw it. It was quite depressing.

Then, one day last November, I stopped by an amazing health food restaurant in Los Angeles to buy some lunch, and spotted in the cooler cabinet a little plastic bottle with no label on it. Underneath, stuck to the shelf, was a piece of paper that said, ‘Anti-candida shot.’

Wow. Really?

The guy behind the counter assured me it was: i) very popular, ii) tasted good, and iii) actually worked.

The mystery potionSo naturally I bought a bottle. Here it is, on the left. It looks like something you’d carry a urine sample in.

Having drunk the contents, I can honestly say that the man in the store was lying through his teeth – about number ii anyway: the potion was probably the worst-tasting liquid I have ever put in my mouth, and if you know me or have followed my career as a travel writer even a tiny bit, you’ll appreciate how bad it must therefore be. Soooo bad, actually, that there’s nothing to compare it to. Except maybe urine, mixed with vinegar, pepper and ginger.

But hey, that’s just me. And if it works, what the hell – right? It’s worth any amount of suffering if it means getting my hearing back and clearing up my skin.

To make things more complicated: a) the drink is only ‘alive’ in the bottle for 48 hours, so you can’t buy a batch of it in bulk ahead of time; and b) the store only makes it when the chef is in the mood, OR if you nag him by calling up every morning, asking, “Is it in yet?” Which is what I did. After much pestering, I’ve managed to get them to agree to make and sell me two bottles every two days for the next two weeks. It’s my two-two-two candida solution, and if it works, then I’ll be the first to tout it as the miracle healing potion we’ve all been looking for.

So what does the bottle contain?

I asked them. It’s a cocktail of several powerful natural ingredients mixed in set proportions, including oregano oil, pau d’arco, cayenne, apple cider vinegar, and ginger (but no urine). Because it’s made fresh, the store doesn’t ship it, but – and this is where it’s so great – if you email them, they will give you the recipe!!!!! Not sure why they would do that, but it’s what the manager told me. I mean, how fantastic is that? I love these people.

So there you go – I feel a whole new experiment coming on.

The crash test dummy is submitting to another two-week self-medication program. I’ll be drinking a bottle of the mystery potion every day, though not all at once, of course – it’s so strong – and reporting back. At the same time, I’ll be helping the process along by cutting out sugar, gluten, and dairy from my diet, and reducing my salt intake. That at least gives the potion a fighting chance. Then, if it works, I’ll name the place and give you their email address, in case you want to follow up and ask any questions of your own. How does that sound?

Good.

I returned from the store an hour ago, clutching my first two bottles. I am very excited. So let the masochism begin. Come back tomorrow and I’ll tell you how the first day went. Watch this space.

DAY 1:  Drank the potion in two separate stages.

By mid-afternoon, felt slight pains around my liver and also where my gallbladder would be if I had one.  Bear in mind, my body is very confused right now. When you take into account the combined abuse it received between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day – all the food, all the drinking, and so on – it’s a wonder my organs still function in any meaningful way and haven’t stormed out in protest. So I’m allowing a little leeway for my system to clear itself up.

Leaky Gut

Actual X-ray of my stomach today

As a result, my leaky gut is flaring up terribly and my face is a mess (if this is the equivalent of organs storming out in protest, then the protest is right there on my skin). As the potion kicks in and I cut out the things that cause the problem – sugar, wheat, dairy, etc. – that will subside, I’m sure.

What I’m noticing on this first day is that the skin tone is better. Not  a lot better, but part of it could be that I’m waving goodbye to cookies and chocolates and coffee, and switching to salads and green drinks, using water to flush the system and calm everything down. But it’s hard. Taking this potion is like throwing a wet towel over a nuclear power plant fire. The problem won’t go away in a morning. But at least I’m noticing minor differences, and any zits are clearing up faster than normal.

By tomorrow, there should be progress.

DAY 2:  Well, I guess it depends on what we mean by progress. I say this because something terrible happened.

To begin with, let me admit that I think it’s working. At some level, the magic potion is causing change to happen, because my skin tone is definitely better and the volatility of my complexion has subsided greatly. I still bear heavy scars from the Holidays and the gluttony that is my calling card these days, but on the whole things are picking up quite noticeably.

I have huge sugar cravings still, which I’m told is a sign of candidiasis, because, like the plant in Little Shop of Horrors, the angry yeast needs feeding.  And I confess, I buckled: somebody landed a box of Edelweiss chocolate pretzels in front of me, and I simply didn’t have the willpower to resist eating two of them. But no more. I’m done with sugar, dairy, etc. There will be no more lapses.

So things, I thought, were improving.

Then, last night, something terrible happened, and it left me quite shaken.

I was having a crazy dream – the kind of dream that’s so vivid it jolts you awake. You know the kind? Well, in this dream I was choking and drowning, desperately trying to expel water from my throat. It got so bad that in the end I opened my eyes, and found that it wasn’t a dream. I tumblr_men3eomeiA1rm2wy4o1_400really was choking and drowning.

There was fluid stuck in my throat. My gag reflex was triggered. Vile-tasting fluid that I think was bile, and which would neither come up nor go down, had accumulated in the hinterland past the back of my tongue, blocking my passageway. Oh my god, it was horrible. For thirty seconds or more I resisted panicking and just coughed and swallowed, coughed and swallowed, until eventually the bile dissipated and I could breathe again. But it was a horrific moment. My throat is still sore and the muscles in my neck are aching.  The taste in my mouth afterwards was ghastly as well. Again, it had to be bile from my liver.

First thing this morning I rushed to the health food shop and spoke to the guy who prepared the potion. He seemed unfazed by my apoplectic ranting about almost dying in my sleep. “It’s probably your lymph system detoxing,” he told me calmly.

“But I’ve done four Master Cleanses, how much more bloody toxicity can there still be in my lymph system?”

He rolled his eyes. Doesn’t think much of the Master Cleanse, apparently. “The body’s just clearing out toxins, that’s all. The liquid is strong.”

“Oh. Okay.”

And so I bought two more bottles.

I felt like a fool doing so, but I can’t stop now. I can’t allow myself to be thrown off-course by an act of non-erotic auto-asphyxiation. The experiment will continue. Drinking lots of water and green tea now. No more sugar, coffee, dairy, gluten, etc etc etc. You know the drill.

And we’ll see how things develop tomorrow. I promise I’ll never use the word progress again.

DAY 3: Itchy. So very itchy. It started off at my thighs, but now my ankles itch as well. I’m told that many lymph nodes are in the legs, so maybe that’s it, and the potion is being a new broom, cleaning out all the trash. Still, it’s annoying. Just visited a friend’s place for brunch, and people kept looking at me, wondering what I was scratching.

Also, woke up with loud ringing in left ear, almost distractingly so. Is the candida throwing a tantrum?

The chef who makes up the potion has gone to Australia for a month, so he instructed someone else how to make it while he’s gone. Clearly, the recipe didn’t get passed on right, because this batch is a lot less offensive. I managed to drink a full bottle in under an hour, and do so without convulsing and making noises.

Poop-check: Was expecting blobs of candida in my stool, but nothing so far. The poop sits in the toilet like a sleeping dachshund, peaceful and happy. Hopefully, as I continue drinking, that will change.

DAY 4:  Did I mention the itching? Oh my god. It woke me up twice in the night. Thighs and shins, itching like mofos. And you know how much a mofo itches.

I also have the most appalling sugar cravings today. Since a symptom of candidiasis is an insatiable hunger images-1for sugar, I have to believe that this is connected. Without sugar, the candida overgrowth will start dying off, and it doesn’t want that. So perhaps the itching is symptomatic of change. I notice when I eat too much sugar, or if I drink a Diet Coke, my arms and legs itch for hours afterward. It’s possible it sends the lymph system into overload, trying to remove the crap I’m putting in. So, without sugar, the lymph nodes start cleaning themselves out and I end up itching all over again. Maybe. Who knows?

On the plus side, my skin is looking better all the time. The zits from New Year’s Eve are subsiding finally and things seem to be looking up on that front.

I’m thinking this might be a two to three-week process – reducing the foods that stoke the candida while killing off the overgrowth that’s already there. My ear is whistling today, but not as much. I’m just trusting that this is the candida being pissy like a two-year-old,  and howling – literally – in agony. Instead of tinnitus, I imagine it screaming, “Nooooooooooooooo!”

This is all becoming quite bearable, though, now that I’m in the groove. Even the potion doesn’t taste quite so bad.

Today, off to buy two more bottles. I love the way the store is making sure they have them available when I get there, so that I can continue this treatment. The woman behind the counter told me, “It’s more about the health thing than the money thing.” I love that. They could go broke before I’m healed, mind you, but I’ll respect them as long they’re open. Hurray for them.

DAY 5: I had high hopes that there would be some improvements by now.

The skin thing is definitely a plus, but other than that there’s not much to tell. The tinnitus has subsided, which is good, but the itching continues and is maddening. Whatever’s happening on the inside of my thighs I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy, unless I wanted him to scratch himself to death. Since this is a new phenomenon, I must assume that it’s all linked in to the cleanse.

Last night, a friend came over for dinner. “Don’t hug me, I have a cold,” she said. Then it turned out she’d given up wheat and dairy and her body was detoxing. The runny nose was just her body clearing itself out. It’s what happened to me on the parasite cleanse last year. Even so, she left without eating, and without a hug, she felt so bad.

The sugar cravings are catastrophic. I caved again yesterday. Ate two chocolate-covered almonds. Hardly the end of the world, but it broke my intention. I’m shocked at how much the candida wants to be fed and how powerless I am against its demands. They say sugar is as potent as heroin, and I believe it after this. I keep getting up and going hunting for something sugary sweet, then telling myself, “No, buster, you’re having an apple.” But it’s hard. Reeeeal hard.

Oil[UPDATE about sugar cravings] I read somewhere that a great way to combat sugar cravings is with coconut oil. ‘If you take a tablespoon of coconut oil twice a day,’ the article said, ‘it not only has a bunch of health benefits, but it stops the craving for sugar.’ How it does this I have no idea, but clearly it’s a brilliant thing and I’ll give anything a try. So yesterday, when every impulse in my body was telling me to go to Coffee Bean & Tea leaf and buy some cookies, I instead took a tablespoon of coconut oil, and….well, bingo! My desire went away. Just like that.

Now, don’t forget, I’m highly suggestible, so it could be my mind playing tricks. Also, coconut oil is fat you’re putting into the body, but I certainly didn’t want any sugar for the rest of the day.

I must admit, it’s taking me longer each day to get around to opening the little bottle and drinking the potion. Right now it’s 1.13pm and it’s still sitting in the fridge, untouched. I just can’t face the taste. But I need to have it by mid-afternoon, so I’m bracing myself.

Hope things start improving tomorrow.

DAY 6:  Slept through without itching in the night. So that’s good, right?

First thing, off to the health food store to get two more bottles. The woman who usually makes them was late today, so the cashier had to do it. I hope that’s okay. She seems like she knows what she’s doing, but who knows? In any case, I looked at the liquid as I was leaving and it has blobs floating in it. Blobs of goodness, no doubt, but still….

As I sat in the store waiting, my ankles began itching and I spent the whole time scratching them. Without doubt, this is the worst part of this exercise, but otherwise I feel great. What I think is happening is that the liquid is going in each day and bullying the candida into backing down. There are battlefronts all over my body, and the potion is working hard to take down the enemy. Yesterday, I had ticking in my ears. That’s new. And I was a little woozy briefly – I mean for seconds, that’s all. These are, to me anyway, signs of die-off, a signal that something is going on unseen, so I’m just accepting it and plowing on.

I am, however, eating half a pot of probiotics every day, to counteract anything the potion might be killing. Because, let’s face it, it could be a bloodbath in there for all I know, with millions of dead flora and yeast lying around all over the place. I have to put good stuff in to replace that.

Still no candida in poop, I should add. That’s disappointing. Poop-watchers everywhere can stand down. Nothing to see here.

DAY 7:  Depressed and angry today. Wow, this is going great.

SadWhat I noticed when I did cleanses a while ago was that the release of physical toxins often triggered the release of trapped  emotional toxins too. All kinds of old wounds surfaced during the two weeks or so of the cleanse, and I became quite mopey. Well, maybe this is what’s happening today. Not feeling good at all. Persistent problems rankle, old scars are nagging me. Feeling discontented, mildly resentful. Very strange. I keep telling myself, ‘It’s just part of the die-off.’ Only, myself keeps replying, ‘But what if it’s not, and you’re just depressed and angry?’

It took me all day yesterday to face what was in the bottle. If you recall – and if you don’t, scroll up – the woman by the register in the shop made the potion for me because the chef was late, and it had dark blobs in it. Not to be overdramatic or anything, but I see them as ‘dark blobs of terror.’ And…I dunno, I just had a feeling they’d be tough to get down and keep down, so I waited, and ….well, I was half-right. The drink was more potent than usual. I realize now, you have to shut off that part of your brain that goes, “Oh my god, yeuwwww!” and just drink it. Get the thing down and shut up with your whining. Anyway, an hour later my left ear started screeching. Hopefully, that was the candida taking it to the gut and acting up like a little girl.

On the plus side, the itching is way less today. My legs are sensitive and if I wanted to, I’m sure I could scratch them, but I’m trying not to exacerbate anything. Ignored candida is happy candida, I’ve decided.

DAY 8:  Feeling much brighter, thanks for asking. The clouds have passed.

Skin good, itching stopped. Ear whistling more than usual, but bearably so, and anyway it’s probably due to the wine I drank last night.

Wait – what?

This quitting sugar thing is hard, as is cutting down on salt. They’re in everything, often discreetly, especially if brockyyou eat out in restaurants. I’m convinced, as I once again transition to a mainly raw, living, plant-based diet, that if there’s something going wrong with the body, it’s our fault. We’re doing something to ourselves that causes the problem, or perpetuates it anyway, and if we’d only stop doing that harmful thing, then the body – which knows a thing or two about healing and can be its own physician – will put itself right. It knows what to do, it’s just that we keep hindering its efforts by eating the wrong foods, or abusing ourselves with substances, additives, excessive sugar, salt, gluten, and so on.

keep-calm-and-eat-no-sugarThe more I cut out sweet stuff, salty stuff, gluteny stuff, fatty stuff, and dairy-y stuff, the better I look and feel, that’s just a fact, and the healthier my body becomes. So what if it’s as simple as that? Make essential adjustments that the body is crying out for – and we know it is, because that’s what pain and disease are, the body trying to get our attention – and it will heal. Could take a little time, but healing can happen, if only because healing is always on the body’s to-do list.

Yesterday, my closest friend was diagnosed with HIV. he’s been losing weight drastically for a while. The doctor told him, ‘Your liver is eating you alive, and eventually it will kill you.”

OMG. Your own liver can eat you?

When he first got sick, we discussed how he might switch to raw, living food, and try being less angry, exercise more, dump his phobias in favor of enjoying life, and so on – but he was resistant. He loved his comfort foods too much, and his anxieties were a safety net. Instead, he was looking for an external solution; a pill to sort out his problems. But of course that doesn’t work, and now here he is, faced with taking a cocktail of harmful poisonous medicines for the rest of his life, just to keep his liver from swallowing him.

For anyone interested in natural ways to heal HIV, I found a brilliant article you might want to read. The final quarter deals with ideas on how to bring the body back to full health. It sounds amazing, if true.

believing book coverIt would also be remiss of me if I didn’t mention my book. This blog is not about plugging stuff, but the book includes the ‘7 Pillars of Self-Healing,’ and these have helped people all over the world who are sick or coping with disease to understand how healing works. I know it looks like a religious book, but it’s not. But it’s a really useful thing to have on your shelf just in case. It’s available HERE.

So what am I thinking? I’m thinking that this ‘magic potion’ from the health food store may well assist in bringing candidiasis under control, and seems to be doing exactly that – hurrah! – but in the end, it’s going to be down to me – and you – to figure out how we’ve abused the delicate balance of our internal infrastructure, and to take steps to put that right. It’s us, it was always us.

Okay, sermon over. I’m now going down to the store to get two more bottles.

DAY 9:  January 1st, California made it illegal for stores to use plastic bags to put your Unknown-2stuff in. The bags now have to be paper or nothing, and if you want a paper one you have to fork out ten cents. I found this out for the first time the other day at the supermarket, and thought, ‘Nah, I’m not wasting 10c on a bag,’ whereupon, like an idiot, I walked all the way home with an armful of vegetables.

So I go to the health food store yesterday. My two bottles are waiting for me, specially labeled, which is nice (love this store!), and I buy them. But the woman behind the counter doesn’t put them in a bag. And when I ask for one, she in turn asks for ten cents.

“We don’t use plastic bags any more. You can either buy a paper one or bring one of your own. You didn’t know?”

“Yes, I knew,” I say, “but I keep forgetting. And I can’t carry a bag around with me just to put two small bottles in.”

Hippie bag for carrying two bottles in“Sure you can. Get a bag and carry it. Like this one.” (She bends down and picks up a woman’s hippie-style purse as an example.)

“Just so that I can put two bottles in it?”

“Of course.”

Good grief. No way, okay? So I give her ten cents and buy a bag. She then begins riffing about how we have to save the planet and be kind to Nature, something I agree with but don’t want to hear from her. So I rush out before I’m tempted to cancel future orders and not come back. Hate being lectured to by zealots. Even lovely, well-intentioned zealots.

Anyway, I have my precious potion, that’s all that matters.

Update: zits on face clearing up nicely, though it’s taken a week. Ear is whistling still. Skin tone good. No candida in poop. Keep getting little pains here and there throughout my body – stomach yesterday – but that could be part of the die-off.

So all’s going well and I’m feeling good. Don’t forget, though, I have changed my diet as well, and that is probably 90% of this. I’m eating mostly raw living food every day, and anything that’s cooked has to be vegan. I’m only drinking green tea and water. So by not feeding the candida, this is helping enormously. I even have a feeling, as yet unproven, that if I simply did the diet without the magic potion, things would still be improving at the rate they currently are.

But I’m pressing on with the regime anyway to the end. Then we’ll draw our conclusions.  Oh yes.

DAY 10:  Sunday. Got shifting pains in my stomach. Wondering if the potion isn’t a bit hard on the system.

Otherwise, feeling good. Ear still whistling – wondering if that might have something to do with NISC, non-intentional salt consumption. We ate out last night, and nowadays everything I eat in restaurants tastes really salty. Every so often I break with the raw food thing to have normal stuff, just to ensure balance, but always I suffer. By the time we left, I’d lost 30% of my hearing capacity in both ears. Today I’m fine again, but food’s impact on our bodily system is clearly huge. They’re right when they say you are what you eat. Last night I was chicken piccata. Today I’m humble pie.

There’s an interesting article here about whether salt is good for you or not. The comments at the bottom are fascinating. One person says, “My basic nursing course gave me enough knowledge to know salt causes intercompartmental shifts of fluids.” Oh my god, really? That could explain why my ears go deaf when I eat salty food. After all, aren’t the ears compartments? Sure they are. They’re compartments I listen to stuff with. And salt causes ear fluid to thicken in those listening compartments, and I go deaf. So it’s all connected.

Other than that, nothing to report. The face is still in the process of clearing up, but nothing new or bad is happening, so that’s a good thing. I need new bottles, but my partner is getting them from the shop as I’m finding it a little tedious to keep going down there every two days.

Only a week to go. Yay!

DAY 11:  A warning about the potion. It’s made fresh every day, and potency varies.

I mention this because the latest batch is so awful I can’t get it all down. Sorry, not possible. It tastes like they’ve added an extra ingredient, which could be Castrol GTX, or that liquid they put in refrigerators to help them freeze. (Kidding BTW – they wouldn’t do that). Anyway, it’s so disgusting for some reason that, quite honestly, I’ve left a quarter of the bottle undrunk. That means I have one and a quarter bottles to drink tomorrow. Ghastly or not, at five dollars a pop, I’m not going to waste it – are you crazy?

When I recoiled visibly at the first sip, my partner walked over and tried it too for the first time. There was no expression for a while, then a bunch of red-faced coughing and ‘Woah, that’s strong.’

Good, so it’s not just me.

But there’s no doubt it’s having an effect. Face looking better, feeling okay. I have a rash on my neck that I didn’t even bother to mention before – I’ve had it so long, I forget it’s there – and even that seems to be clearing up. So maybe it was all candida-related.

A little miffed that there was no candida in my stools this past week, though. I did a coffee enema yesterday, using this fantastic special enema coffee from Canadadetail_3_detail_2_newbags__36647.1270646735.1280.1280. Once I was done, I was like an archaeologist probing and investigating, digging in my poop for anything even remotely suspicious. But other than making me think, ‘I really have to start chewing my food more,” it was a bust. Nothing interesting.

Oh, and then I had an accident.

Dramatic re-enactment

Dramatic re-enactment

Bear in mind, I’m a stable human being generally and haven’t fallen over, not that I remember anyway, since I was a toddler, but yesterday I fell over. I was putting my shoes on after the enema, using the bed to rest them on. Obviously I didn’t want to get the bedcover dirty, so I used my messenger bag as a footrest instead. I tied the laces, but when I tried to lift my foot off, it caught in the bag’s handle. I hopped a bit, tugged a bit, kept tugging, but too late, I went crashing to the floor. Ouch. Bruised my arm and did something funky to my back that had me worried all night that I may have damaged myself. Fortunately, I’m only bruised, but it’s little mishaps like that that lead to hip replacements in later life. “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.” Very worrying.

DAY 12:   Couldn’t do it. Sorry. Nope. no way. I could not get the thing down my throat. Not immediately anyway. It was so vile that for the first time I watered it down and drank it in stages. Even then, I only managed to get 75% of the thing into my system.

The problem is worsened by the fact that, when you buy two bottles, if the first tastes horrible, then you just know the second one will too, because they were made together. Needless to say, this has been a grueling two days. And my back still hurts.

At Xmas, someone gave us a box of chocolate-dipped glazed apricots. It’s been sitting here the whole time untouched because I was staying away from sugar. But yesterday I lapsed and ate one, and, oh my god, huge mistake. My legs started itching like mofos again. So when you couple the sugar cravings with the itching, I seriously think we’re talking candida in the legs here.

Skin much improved, though. Rash on neck better. Ear squealing still, so not much change there. And feeling fine. The pains in the stomach seem to have stopped. Obviously, it’s doing some good, so I’m not complaining, and I think if it’s coupled with a rigid diet change etc., taking the potion could be beneficial, but as we approach the end of the experiment, I’m almost ready to conclude that a change in diet and health regime alone will perform miracles, and to hell with drinking anti-candida shots.

DAY 13: The potion wasn’t ready today. The person who knows the formula didn’t arrive until 3.30pm, and even when they got there, the store didn’t have lemons. So I had to wait until 4.10pm. There’s something adorably scrappy about any business with organic/raw nutrition at its heart. The people seem to have it together on the surface, but look beneath the patina of civility and decorum and there’s always a little kooky turmoil going on. I like that. And I still LOVE this store.

Ear termites

Ear termites

These new bottles taste better, that’s for sure. Yesterday’s was an aberration we’ll never mention again. What’s interesting is that within an hour of taking the latest lot, my left ear started ticking the way it has done before, but more intensely, and crackling. This continued until I went to bed. I can’t decide if that’s the candida physically being torn from the cells and sent packing by the potion, or if I have something trapped in my ear that can’t get out. I’ve read about doctors finding spiders and even cockroaches in people’s ears before now. This sounds like termites.

And the itching in my legs! Oh, boy. They’re practically bleeding from the scratching I’ve been doing, and that’s not good, right?

Also the zits have come back around my nose. I’m now convinced that this has more to do with diet than anything. Diet feeds candida, which promotes leaky gut, which leads to zits. That’s it. That’s the circle of life for yeast.

Mouse, visual aidOh, and I woke up in the middle of the night and there was a mouse on my bed!  A mouse, though! Not once have we ever had rats or mice in this house, but last night I opened my eyes and found a mouse sitting on my blanket. Jeez. Maybe this potion works like a cologne and makes me attractive to rodents suddenly. ‘Eek! for Men’ from Jean-Paul Gaultier. That would really round off my week perfectly.

DAY 14:  Just got back from the health food store. Told them about the severe itching – they had no idea what it might be. Told them about the disgusting, foul-tasting liquid they’d sold me, passing it off as an anti-candida shot, and they were quietly horrified. So they’re giving me two free ones. That means I’ll be doing the experiment for an extra two days, then giving it a rest for a while to see what happens.

saunaSpeaking of itching, I now have a lumpy rash behind my right knee – a cluster of bobbles crying out to be scratched. And of course I oblige. This, together with how raw my ankles are from scratching, is making life extremely uncomfortable.

I mentioned this to the woman in the store and she agreed that it might be the lymph system playing the diva and going toe to toe with the candida. If so, there must be a full-scale battle happening in there. I mean, what, other than candida carnage, causes bobbles behind the knees? She suggested I take a sauna to speed up the release of toxins. Well, it just so happens that we have an infra-red sauna in the house. We bought one years ago. Had it shipped from China. It’s a great little thing. So I’ll use that tonight and see if it has any results.

Other than that…nothing to report. Ear still ringing, sugar pangs just as strong as they were, feeling okay. No candida in poop. I do keep getting small headaches above my left eye, which I believe has something to do with the liver/gallbladder meridian, so something’s happening there too.

To sum up, I’m a mess, but a healthy one.

DAY 15:  I’ll keep this short, simply because the itching is making me irritable and I can’t sit in one place for long.

Had a sauna last night to drain some of the toxin build-up away (see above). I still scratched my legs well into the night, however, so I’m not sure it helped at all. Let’s just say it didn’t, and leave it at that.

Another great way, I read, to help the lymphatic system drain is rebounding.

Me this morning on my rebounder.

The lady is a trampoliner.

Well, how’s this for amazing? Just as we happen to have bought a sauna years ago, we also, around about the same time, bought a rebounder, which is a fancy name for a mini-trampoline, the kind clowns leap on at the circus before jumping through a fiery hoop and setting their hair on fire.

According to a site called Candida Solutions: “Rebounding is a cellular type of exercise that cleanses the cells and strengthens the body’s immune system….The act of jumping can cleanse the lymph nodes and cause perspiration, which can also have a cleansing effect. It also gets your heart rate up and gets oxygen through your body, which creates an alkaline environment. Because candida thrives in an acidic environment, it’s ideal to get yourself to an alkaline state.”

Same thing, only with an annoying person doing it.

Same thing, only with an annoying person doing it.

Ooooooh!

But wait, there’s more. According to the same site: “Just five to ten minutes a day of rebounding could substantially increase your body’s ability to successfully reduce candida bacteria production.”   Woah, dude – that’s huge.

So I’m throwing this into the works as well, while taking every precaution as I do so to make sure my hair doesn’t catch fire. My new regime, then, consists of: rebounding every morning, sauna-ing every night, and in between times consuming lots of green vegetables and juices. This is combined with a reduction in salt intake, and cutting out refined sugar, dairy, and wheat products altogether. I will also be continuing with the anti-candida potion until Monday.

I have to say, though, that my skin is much-improved; the rash on my neck is considering going, I feel sure of it – it’s clearly in two minds; the bobbles behind my knee have gone; I have no aches and pains, and I feel great. Oh, except for the damn itching, which is in my ankles, my thighs and yesterday in my back. Otherwise terrific.

So there you go – consider yourself updated.

DAY 16:  So I wake up this morning with a large puffy growth on the inside of my right elbow – at that point where syringes go in when nurses need a blood sample. And I’m thinking, ‘Wow, candida, you’re quite something. This potion is your nemesis and it’s causing you to flee.’

Turns out it’s a spider-bite. Bloody hell. Now I have something new to scratch.

The itching in my legs had stopped completely by last night, though, and I slept right through. That bit’s great. This morning, they’re back to itchy again. Half of me wants to go ahead and stay on the potion until the candida is eradicated; the other half of me is scratching the spider bite. First a mouse, now this. Jeez.

The whistling in the ears has gotten quieter, I think. And, very noticeably, my complexion is way better. And when I eat foods that previously gave me zits they don’t now. So the leaky gut is being tackled all the time and resolved, I would say. But, as I keep repeating, I’ve also modified my diet to largely exclude troublesome foods, so it could be that. At any rate, I’m coming off the potion Monday and will stay off the harmful foods too, see if the skin thing keeps going well.

Today I have to go visit my friend with HIV before he starts chemo for lymphoma this week, so my thoughts will not be on myself and my itchy legs for once. That might be useful as they’re starting to obsess me.

So there’s progress, but not the kind of blazing success I was hoping for. If I consult my book of medical divination, the I Tching, I see that, the moment I come off this potion, all these symptoms will stop. I can only hope.

DAY 17:  So here we are, on day 17 of our 14-day experiment. I have two final bottles left in the refrigerator, one for today, one for tomorrow, then I’m stopping.

Current state of play: my ankles are bloody from scratching. Bloody, I tells ya! My left ear is still whistling, though nowhere near as much as it was. My shins have small swellings on them. My face has a zit that, even though everything else cleared up, has persisted throughout. And I got bitten by a spider – nothing to do with the experiment, it’s just one more swelling on my body that won’t go down.

In the healthfood shop yesterday, I spoke to a guy this time, and he emphasized that the anti-candida shot is no use at all if it’s not accompanied by tough lifestyle choices – no sugar, reduced salt and fat, and so on. “If you’re taking the anti-candida shot, but you’re still eating these things, how can it work? It can’t.” Which makes me feel even guiltier about those chocolate-covered glazed apricots I ate, and other sundry lapses. Damn my boundless appetite for the good things in life!

After tomorrow, my plan is to continue the experiment, this time without the potion. Cut out all the candida-promoting things that I like to eat, maintain a steady regime of green vegetables, juices, etc., and simply monitor what happens.  At the very least, I think the itching will go.

The whole thing has been annoying, I would say, with no conclusive result I can point to and go, “See? My candida’s on the run. It works!” That’s just not how I feel. I’m left thinking, ‘Hm, I wonder if it’s the candida that’s causing the itching, or the potion itself?’

All of that said, yesterday I visited my friend who has AIDS and cancer both at the same time and is wasting away before my eyes. The fact that my legs itched and I’d been bitten by a spider suddenly seemed particularly smallfry concerns alongside his suffering. At least it added a sense of proportion that was missing up to this point. We have every belief that he’s going to recover somewhat, but he’s at his lowest ebb right now, and I came home in a much more sober frame of mind and less obsessed with something as trifling as whether my ankles are bleeding.

DAY 18:  Well, this is depressing. I wrote an entire entry this morning explaining the state of play, and for some reason it never appeared on the blog. All day I felt my work was done, and now I have to rewrite it. Bugger. Anyway, here goes…

Today I’m not itching. This is the headline. But I figure it’s because I’ve not had my potion yet. And why have I not had it? Because I wanted to eat a scone first.

“But hang on – why, given that everything about a scone promotes candida, would you eat a scone?”

You make a very good point. Because I wanted to see if it was sugar causing the itching in my legs, or the drink.

So I ate the scone, and guess what – no itching. Hurrah.

Therefore it must be the anti-candida potion. Which leaves two options: either the potion itself causes the itching and I’m allergic to something in it, OR my legs are Afghanistan and the potion is on the front lines fighting the Talibandida. trying to regain ground over my lymphatic system, and everyone knows that lymph nodes are rampant in the legs. Hence the itching.

That’s my theory. Probably not a good one, but it’s all I have.

So it’s now 2.50pm on the very last day of the experiment. I will drink the potion at 3pm. Even now it still takes me ten minutes to summon up the courage to drink it – it’s quite horrible – and about an hour to get it down. Tomorrow I will tell you what happened, and also finally reveal the name of the store and its details, in case you want to contact them about their lovely potion.

Secretly, I’m quite glad this is over. I’m tired of wriggling and people staring at me, wondering if I have fleas or bedbugs.

DAY 19: Here we are, it’s done.

I left off this blog yesterday just before I drank my final anti-candida shot. By bedtime, I can report, my legs were itching again. So the two are definitely connected – hopefully in a good way.

Therefore here is my conclusion: the anti-candida shot probably works.

Probably, notice. Because I have no idea, honestly.

It seems on the face of it to be a worthwhile addition to our armory on the assault on candida overgrowth, but I don’t think it’s an antidote all by itself. We have to play our part too, and that part seems to involve – unsurprisingly – cutting out of our diet all the things that promote candidiasis: sugar, fruit, dairy, wheat, etc etc etc. Without those actions by us, there’s no magic potion that can come along and zap away the problem. This is not Bewitched. On the other hand, anyone who’s willing to take all necessary steps to avoid those factors that promote candida overgrowth may well find that the anti-candida shot is a worthwhile weapon in the battle. It tastes so horrible, how can it NOT be doing something?

I found the people at the health store to be incredibly concerned and helpful. They couldn’t have been more obliging during this experiment. These are really nice guys, and even if you don’t use their ‘anti-candida shot’, I still recommend the place. The word awesome is overused, but this store definitely is. The food – and especially the raw desserts, OMG – is incredible.

My spiritual home

My spiritual home

It’s called Lifefood Organic. 

The store is at: 1507 Cahuenga Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028

Their phone number is: (323) 466-0927. Their website is: HERE. And the glowing Yelp review page is HERE.
 
Also – because I know what you’re like – you can email them HERE. 
 
When I was in there Saturday, I asked the guy, “Is it okay if people contact you for the formula for the potion?” And his reply was, “All the ingredients are available commercially, so it’s not a secret. Yeah.”
 
So I leave it up to you.
 
And finally, for the sake of perspective once again, I should note that my friend who’s dealing with AIDS and cancer simultaneously goes in for his first chemo today. He called me yesterday, unable to speak and barely able to breathe. He’s lost 95lbs in mere weeks, and is very depressed and very scared. He fears he’s dying. We hope not.
 
[UPDATE ON LEN]  Sadly, he didn’t make it. The AIDS swept through his body so fast – diagnosis to demise in under six weeks. He thought he would live forever. And to a certain extent that’s true, he will. Still, we’re all missing him like crazy.
 
His brother, Ray, is a phenomenal writer. Prior to Len’s death, he penned this article about him. Check it out.  
 

 
 
 

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There’s something weird happening on the Moon.

Yesterday was the beginning of the End Times for the book industry.

I said it would come. In fact, I’ve been promising a revolution for years, I just didn’t know how soon or what form it would take when it got here. Only that the book industry as it’s been for the past few decades had to die a grisly, horrible, humiliating death and that this would begin the moment something better came along to replace it.

Well, yesterday that something came along. It’s called the Kindle DX.

Basically, it’s an ordinary Amazon Kindle, the flat-screen, glareless reading tablet that made its debut, I believe, in 2001. Not the year, the movie. And which lets you read books, magazines, flight-paths, and articles about mysterious happenings on the Moon all in one handy gadget. Only now they’ve DX’d it! And when you DX something, you make it bigger and slicker and suitable for reading newspapers, PDF files, and text books too.

Also, if you’re too lazy to read the stuff you’ve downloaded, the Kindle DX becomes all masterful and starts reading it to you in a spooky robot voice, like the one on the GPS in my car. Or Hal in 2001.

Another thing I predicted – I’m always predicting things, then conveniently forgetting the ones that don’t come true  – was that the moment the current younger generation found a gadget that would help them avoid lugging a stack of cumbersome text books around campus in a backpack, then the book industry as we know and despise it would be screwed and collapse like a faulty card table.

Well, bingo! That’s happening right now.  The Kindle DX, and the flood of  similar devices that will follow it, are the book industry’s Kryptonite.

Here’s why.

Bookstores will eventually disappear. They’ll have to. We won’t need them any more. Have you been inside one lately? They’re already like graveyards. I visited my local Borders recently and had trouble finding where the books actually were. Instead, the place seemed to be filled with DVDs – another technology that’s on the way out. So it’s only a matter of time – years, maybe, but not too many – before these stores are no more.

This follows a business model I like to call ‘The Music Industry’.

We used to have a giant Tower Records on Sunset Boulevard here in Hollywood. That’s now gone. Closely followed by the Virgin Megastore. Why did they close? Because we started bypassing their overpriced merchandise by downloading music instead of buying CDs.

And why did we prefer to do that? Because the music industry was exploiting us. It had become smug, inefficient, bloated, and more about business than artistry.

CDs were not only bad value, but they usually contained only one or two good tracks – the ones that became singles – while the rest were mediocre if you were lucky; utter crap if you weren’t.  Then along came Napster, illegal music-sharing, bands giving away whole albums for free, and finally, with iTunes, a new form of democracy where the consumer actually grabbed back control and only bought what he wanted to buy. As a result, we got to download the songs that were any good, while the crap ones got ignored (are you listening, Elton John?), which is how it should be. In consequence, the music “industry” is now bordering on extinction.

Yay!

The same will happen with book publishing. These days it’s become more about business than artistry, and someday soon, trust me, that’s going to cost the boring, scheming weasels in suits who run these ridiculously top-heavy enterprises their very livelihood.

I mean, have you tried to get a book published in the last few years if you’re not already famous or influential in some way, with a built-in audience? It’s beyond difficult, verging on impossible. I hear this all the time from writers.

Gone are the days when a brilliant, well-written manuscript would sell simply because it was good and deserved to be published. Now it’s become a labored committee process. Accountants are involved. Marketing people are involved. Publicity people are involved. Lawyers are involved. And a whole bunch of other faceless nobodies, none of whom could write a book themselves if their life depended on it.

I recall, when I put together my handwriting book Instant Insight a few years ago, I had to fly over from England to New York at my own expense and actually audition for a boardroom full of people in suits before I could even get a commission to write it. It’s nuts.

At our radio station in downtown LA. we have shelves and shelves filled with books. Books that flood in every day. Books that hold no interest for anyone. Tedious, badly-written, total-waste-of-paper books that publishers put out year after year in the hope that someone somewhere will open them – “Please? Somebody? Aw come on, see how glossy the cover is!” – and take a look inside. Books that sit there in our office until there’s no more room for them, then they get jammed in boxes and tossed out. What a waste.

The Kindle DX will do away with all of that nonsense. The new democracy that revolutionized music is heading for the book industry. Decades of apathy, bad judgements, smugness, and fatcattery are about to be washed away by a cleansing tsunami of consumer power. No more bookstores, no more libraries – they’ll become museums, or just continue to be places where the homeless can go to clean up and take a dump – and no more needless hassle for authors.

I told all of this to the publicist at my own publisher the other day, and she almost turned suicidal on me.  Apparently, none of this had ever crossed her mind. “But I’ll be out of a job!” she wailed down the phone.

Yup.

There’ll still be publishers in the future, of course, they won’t go away. But the emphasis will shift. In this new world, they’ll be there to help authors hone their manuscripts ready for direct download to the Kindle, or whatever other device comes along, instead of putting up roadblocks to prevent them getting their work to the public, which is what happens now.

In fact, most authors will publish their work directly themselves as glorified blogs without ever going through a publisher, and the emphasis will shift to marketing. Chapters will routinely be given away for free, books will come with video clips and maybe introductory talks by the author about his work – it’s going to be fantastic and fun and energizing and extremely liberating.

For us at least. Not for people currently working in the book industry.

Hah!

So there you go. We’re in the midst of something huge. To all those frustrated authors out there who can’t get their books in print – I say hang on. Help is on the way.

Speaking for myself, so far I’ve had seven books published. Some were good and still sell even now; some less so, and I wish they weren’t available on Amazon Old and Used.

The new book

The new book

The latest, Naked in Dangerous Places, is one of my very best. My editor and I, and a bunch of others, worked very hard on it for almost two years to make it as good as we could, and I’m extremely proud of it. It is, however, probably the last non-fiction book I’ll entrust to an old-fashioned publisher.

My next one, due out in the summer of 2011, will circumvent all the old ways, all the accountants and lawyers and PR people and faceless nobodies, and use new technology and internet marketing to reach its target audience. I won’t be asking anyone’s permission, I won’t be submitting proposals, there’ll be no committees or debate; it will just happen. Plus, it will be accompanied by a small film I’ll be making, which you’ll be able to download too, to enhance the experience. I mean, come on – how great is that?

I’m sorry? What did you say? What’s the book going to be about? Oh, I can’t possibly tell you. Not yet.

But here’s a clue: there’s something weird happening on the Moon. Astronauts have dug a pit and found a big black tall thing at the bottom of it that talks to monkeys and goes “EEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!” when you touch it.

Go buy a Kindle DX – I’ll tell you more in the summer.

TV Swami – he say YES to democracy.

www.cashpeters.com

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What the hell has Mary Tyler Moore done to her face?

Living in Hollywood, I’m surrounded by face lifts. Half the people you pass in the street who are over 50 seem to have had a little something done.  A tweak, a lift, or a total overhaul that leaves their eyebrows locked in the “oooh!” position, their top lip fixed rigid like a ventriloquist dummy’s, cheeks as round and smooth as bobbing apples, and everything else pulled taut, stretched tight, and held in place around the back with a bulldog clip. It’s the norm here rather than the exception.

What these people don’t realize is that: a) face lifts sag, so eventually you have to have them re-done, and b) by the time you reach 70, all your surgical chickens come home to roost for the whole world to see, leaving you looking like a deflated party balloon.

I have a friend in her sixties who comes to dinner sometimes. She’s always tampering with her looks. You think you know her, then, boom, she’ll surprise you by turning up looking like a total stranger. A stranger with the same features, but in a different order. Or polished. Or with one eye slightly bigger than the other.

It’s highly disturbing, and I would never, ever do it myself, any more than I would have, say, Botox injected into my muscles and risk ending up with a stiff Frankenstein forehead like Simon Cowell and Sharon Osbourne, or Lasik surgery on my eyes, not after hearing Kathy Griffin say she’s now 30% blind, and after I read that the earliest pioneers of this technique in Japan have found their scar tissue ripping, also leading to partial blindness.

Then

By the way, the reason I mention all of this is because 7-time Emmy winner Mary Tyler Moore was on Letterman the other night. She’s 72, and I don’t know what happened, but I’m guessing it’s a ton of surgery, because she looks terrible. Teeeerrrrrrible. Tweaked, stretched, gruesomely fiddled with, or something. Whatever she did – boy, how she must be regretting it now. If you ever wince when you see your own reflection, go look at photos of her and you’ll feel ten times better immediately.

Of course, you can’t assert that people have had plastic surgery when they might not have done, so I’m not definitely saying she has, you understand. But the signs are usually right there.

For me, the telltale pointer is your own shock when you next see them.

Take, for instance, Joan Rivers, who’s the nearest thing we have to, if not a comedy goddess, then certainly a living waxwork of one. According to her own recent reality show, she’s had….guess how many procedures. Go on, guess.

744.

Is that even humanly possible? Has to be a joke, right? Did it actually say ’74’ and my eyes were blurred and saw triple figures? God, I’d like to think so, for her sake. But no, I went back and checked. 744.

And believe me, without make-up, the evidence of what Joan has done to herself over the years is right there: she has a face like an unbaked scone. It’s beyond sad. How lost, I wonder, how troubled, and how much must you hate yourself deep, deep inside, to do something like this to your face? That’s the question I ask when I see people like that. Especially if it turns you into a laughing stock. The irony is that her main claim to fame these days is Fashion Police, a horrible bitchy show in which she criticizes and jokes about the way celebrities look, which everyone laughs and thinks to themselves, “Jeez, with that face, how does she even have the nerve to attack anyone else?”

Then there’s Liza Minnelli. She was on Rosie O’Donnell’s variety show a couple years ago. The woman still seemed as ditsy and addled as ever, but now she’s a different Liza somehow. Thinner, more vibrant, and looking so rejuvenated that mere cosmetic tampering alone can’t be the answer. More likely, scientists secretly took her DNA 35 years ago, planted it in a petri dish, and started growing a second Liza as a back-up, in case the first one went right off the rails, which she looked like she might do for a while. It was a remarkable transition, and I still don’t know if I like it. Luckily, her bizarre routine with O’Donnell was a hokey, embarrassing, cringe-making debacle – so nothing’s changed on that score, at least.

Now

UPDATE – 20th January 2011. Remarkably, Mary Tyler Moore resurfaced again last night on the second season opener of TV Land’s Hot in Cleveland. She was reunited with Betty White for the first time since 1977, when they played together in The Mary Tyler Moore Show.

In Hot she was Betty’s cellmate, lying on a bunk, her face hidden from the camera, which, in hindsight was advisable, because when she turned round, my lord…well, it wasn’t good. 90% of the studio audience must have been going, “Er…who the hell is that?

At 74 years of age, Mary’s new face looks dark and evil. So completely different to the girl-next-door comedienne we once loved (and actually recognized). I know that many years and a whole lot of living have gone into that face, but you could say the same about Betty, who may have had a little something done years ago herself perhaps, but is otherwise untouched and looks natural and wonderful, and won’t send the children to bed screaming.

So a lesson for all of us there – leave your face alone. Grow old in your own good time. Love yourself for who you are and stop trying to be someone you’re not.

UPDATE – May 12 2011. Mary has a brain tumor and is going to have it surgically removed. Now this kind of surgery is probably justified. But in any case, she’s an icon and a legend. Let’s quit our showbiz sniping for a few weeks and pray she recovers and survives.

UPDATE – January 16th 2012. Tonight Mary Tyler Moore appeared on a very cheesy tribute show for Betty White’s 90th birthday on NBC, and she’s not aged well. Frail, shaky, distant. She’s only 75 but at first glance she seemed older than Betty herself. The poor woman has had a brain tumor removed, so we must be very kind and understanding. She’s also nearly blind due to diabetes.

On that ground, I refuse to comment further about her looks. Except to say, “Oh – my – god!” If nothing else, treat this as a PSA from the showbiz community. Stop going to plastic surgeons. If you have third degree burns, maybe. On the other hand, if you look just fine, but don’t want to end up looking like you once had third degree burns, leave yourself alone.

Oh, and since you’re here, don’t forget: Cash has two books out right now.

The first is a delicious mystery-thriller called Force of Habit: Sister Madeleine Investigates, which people are already calling ‘Dazzling’ and ‘Frightening’ and ‘So cool’. It’s hard not to love it, frankly. Right now it’s only $2.99, and GREAT fun.

The other is a quite stunning and fascinating chronicle of Cash’s 12-day journey to Brazil to undergo spiritual surgery from famed healer John of God. It’s a total page-turner. Called a little book about believing, the ideas it contains will blow – your – mind, as well as change your life. Now available on Amazon – Kindle or paperback.

REVIEWS: “Gripping. I couldn’t put it down. A book even skeptics can believe in.” – Len Richmond, director of What If Cannabis Cured Cancer?

”This book is wonderful, surprising, challenging, eye-opening, sensitive, touching…I’m running out of words. Just get it and read it.” – Caroline Lehman, author of Through the Moongate.

“An extraordinary book with a life-changing message.” – Andreas Moritz, author of Cancer Is Not a Disease.

And a reader: “Started reading the book last night at eleven. Read til 4am, passed out. Finished it today less than an hour ago. It’s hard to convey at how perfect a point in my life it came. I have you and your exquisite little book to thank for changing my life forever, intimately and positively.”



 

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I’m not going to lie to you: we’re screwed

They’re showing an episode of new cop drama Lie to Me on hulu.com. Episode 6. A young girl has gone missing. In order to track her down, the main character in the show, played by Tim Roth, is given the job of striding around various houses and offices being quirky and unpredictable for an hour, as main characters in dramas have to be now, if they’re to compete with Hugh Laurie in House.  

Roth plays a human lie detector who uses body language and other psychological tics to tell if people are being deceptive. And we the viewers play a group of people who have to sit through sixty minutes of this stuff, of actors clearly acting and reciting words they’ve learned from a script, and try to pretend we’re enjoying it.

So unriveting is this show, in fact, that, leaving it to play in the background, I skip the visuals and only half-listen to the dialogue while switching to another screen and writing emails.  

I don’t know about you, but I’m finding dramas like this harder and harder to focus on these days. And it’s all the fault of reality television.

Such is the pervasive, even insidious presence of reality TV in our lives, from the good ones like Amazing Race  and Kathy Griffin, Life on the D-List (and even those are contrived to a certain extent), right down to the lowest of the low, such as I Want to be a Hilton, Keeping up with the Kardashians, Hey Paula, Kid Nation, and Sons of Hollywood – clunkers all – that anything less than real people on screen yelling at each other and facing constant rejection and upset in real environments (mostly Hollywood mansions), is starting to seem phony and dull and performed.

I’ve said this before, but actors need to watch out, because they’re going to be surplus to requirements soon. In fact, a word to Rachel Bilson and Hayden Christensen about their wedding: I hope someone’s filming it, my dears. You may need the income.

Luckily for us, TV networks are in a recession too, and since top dramas cost around three mill an episode to produce, and reality shows cost…I don’t have an exact figure in front of me, but let’s say fifteen bucks. And also since recent tentpole dramas that were supposed to be huge – Christian Slater’s My Own Worst Enemy, for instance – tanked badly in the ratings, the focus is shifting away from scripted tosh to less costly ways to keep us entertained. Or if not entertained exactly, then at least preoccupied, diverting our minds from how this ghastly economy is impacting our lives, which nobody wants to think about.

Anyway, according to ABC News today, when the fall season rolls around in September, one of the networks’ prime responses to the deepening recession will be a raft of programs about…the deepening recession.

Kelsey Grammer’s in one of them. He plays a Wall Street financier who becomes a nanny. Totally believable, that. Another is about young investment bankers who quit the world of finance to become something else. What that might be is unspecified – though unemployed and living under a bridge is probably the most realistic option. And there’s a sitcom about a Detroit car worker who’s down on his luck. Of course, if he were to move out of Detroit, his luck would change immediately and he would be a lot less depressed, it’s a terrible city. But I don’t think that’s part of the story arc.

So you get where I’m going here. TV is downsizing. Even NBC, to save money among other things, is about to replace its entire 10PM drama strand five days a week with Jay Leno’s new talk show. A bad idea? Sure. And believe me, I’ve told them a thousand times in my dreams. But one we’re stuck with. 

Interestingly, though, the crisis we see playing out on TV is a reflection, not only in content but actual substance, of what’s going on out here where it matters, in the real world.

Hard times like these are good for us. They’re cleansing. The tide of prosperity has gone out and it’s going to stay out for a while. That forces us to reevaluate our priorities. Losing your savings, being laid off from a job, getting thrown out of a house you couldn’t really afford because you overextended – all of that is traumatic and a major shock to the system, natch, but believe it or not, it’s a good thing. It helps you regroup, prioritize, clean out the cobwebs. You’re compelled to ask yourself, the way the networks are doing: what job do I really want? Where would I like to live in future, now that this unwanted and unexpected choice has been thrust upon me? Am I in the right relationship? Have I been happy up to this point or do I need to make changes? Was it wise to put Jay Leno on at 10PM, given how bland, uneventful, and anemic his talk show usually is?

All of this is a vital step towards a better life. So that when the tide comes back in again, and it will, you’re ready for the next stage. That’s why there’s no point complaining about it, or getting depressed, or, worse, taking it out on society by shooting up a post office or shopping mall, or whatever your plans were for today. Instead, get a grip. Make the big changes now, and when everything stabilizes again, you’ll be glad we all went through this. Trust me.

By that time, of course, Lie to Me will have been canned, as will that Kelsey Grammer sitcom probably, reality shows will represent 95% of all TV output, and the only memory our children’s children will have of these gruesome, difficult, depressing times will be that Jay Leno will still be on at 10PM and nobody can figure out a way to get rid of him.   

Lie to Me gets two magic carpets out of five for being slick. Otherwise…

TV Swami – he say NO.  

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American, idle. An addict reaches out.

I’m furious at myself for getting hooked again.

After Season 7 of American Idol I was an emotional husk – ask my friends, they’ll tell you – having invested waaaaay too much time and energy in performers who, a few weeks later – actually, minutes in some cases – and removed from the ethereal glow of the spotlight, seemed pretty rubbish. Aside from the occasional Jennifer Hudson or Kelly Clarkson, the only time we hear about these guys again is a couple of years later when their house is being repossessed or they’re dropped suddenly by their management company and are releasing songs through a MySpace page.

So last year, especially when the right David didn’t win, I quit cold turkey. That was it. Finished. No more American Idol for Sir.  It was like a New Year’s resolution, only in May.

But oh, how soon we forget.

January. More out of curiosity than anything else. Just to check out the level of talent on offer. And also because I report on these things for the BBC – I mean, I have to stay in touch. I stopped by one of the Hollywood shows. A casual glance one evening when nothing else was on TV. And goddamnit, I got hooked all over again! 

You have no idea how angry I am at myself right now.

Tonight it’s the wild card round. They’re about to give three more people I won’t remember in a year’s time the chance to be forgotten by millions of others as well, by joining the twelve-step program that the show becomes from now until the finale, when the dozen will be whittled down to one, the wrong contestant will be crowned the winner, and we can all thankfully resume our normal lives once again.

The favorites are already obvious. There’s…

The guy with the Danny Wallace glasses who lost his wife and is never done milking it, hoping, I guess, to secure the granny vote, but alienating everyone else. Unfortunately, he blows you away when he sings, so he’s staying; 

The tall guy with the ridiculous black manga hairstyle and the screeching voice that will cause your  fillings to drop out. Very talented, but he’s way too theatrical and screechy, and dental work is costly; 

Lil Rounds. Slick, talented, and will probably win, mainly because her name is so catchy, though I doubt she’s distinctive enough to succeed big-time in the real world later on. In the cold light of day, even the most gifted performer on American Idol can seem like a washed-up hooker singing karaoke between tricks. But the judges are swooning. So, of the girls, Lil’s in with the best chance. And if her career takes off too afterwards, wonderful;

The blind guy. He’s absolutely hopeless in dance routines and has to be led everywhere by his brother. Good voice, though, and excellent when you direct him to where the piano is and place  his hands on the keys – it’s just that he’s excruciating to watch. I find myself on edge the whole time, yelling, “Don’t leave your stool!” One week he’s going to drop off the stage, and I don’t want to see that. He’ll get the pity vote for being a tryer, but I so hope he doesn’t win;   

And my favorite right now, Jorge – pronounced Horhay – from Puerto Rico, who has a lazy eyelid that’s going to require surgery at some point, and who sobs in Spanish every time something good happens. But he has a lovely voice, he’s tricky when he dances, and he keeps smiling at me – at me, mind, not you – every time he’s on screen. I love this guy and I’m going to vote for him ’til my fingers bleed.

One note to God, if he’s listening: during tonight’s wild card vote, please remove Tatiana del Toro and send her packing. She’s the coquettish little drama queen they’re setting up to be this season’s Sanjaya. She has a hideous tittery laugh, a tendency to sob more than Horhay does (and that’s a lot of sobbing), and is far more interested, it seems, in how she looks on the studio monitors than how she sounds in my ears. If this little screamer makes it to the top twelve this year…..God, I know you move in mysterious ways, but that would be almost too strange and you need to rethink it.

In fact, if Tatiana’s not booted off tonight, I almost think it could be the last straw. The one shock event I need to snap me out of my American Idol addiction once and for all. I am not watching this show if she’s in it. That’s it. Finished. No more American Idol for Sir

Well, y’know – until next week.

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