Sunday, October 01, 2006

This Blog Is Currently Inactive -See Link to New Site

I am currently posting at:

I promised someone (you know who you are) I would make it easy for them to find my currently active blog by searching on New Vrindavan (or New Vrindaban) and looking for View From a New Vrindaban Ridge. As of this date, this blog still shows up higher on the search results page than my new one of the same name. So I am making this post to direct that someone correctly.

Interestingly enough, this blog still gets lots of hits, mostly as the result of searches, and is the most consistent referrer to my new site. So I feel some loyalty to it, and some gratefulness.

Ah, the good old days (a month agao)when life was simple and I was posting here. I was so young and naive then.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Gosh Mooved: He Went That'a Way --------->

Yes, Gosh has mooved his blog to a new server. He mumbled something about difficulties with uploading pictures, not being able to post some days, not being able to schedule posting times, and no categories for the posts. Why anyone needs to categorize fence posts is beyond me, but hey, no accounting for taste.

So he said to invite you to come on over anytime, but once you are there you will want to change your:

Bookmarks (Favorites)
Site Feed Subscriptions
Links (Blogroll) from your website, MySpace, or blog

He was practically begging you to update your Links list on any sites you have, or even add him to your Links if you haven't already. Something about how by mooving he lost his Site Ranking karma or some other such human silliness. I didn't even know cars had mothers, but shame on anyone who would lose their mother.

So just to be sure you got the message, all his new posts will be at a new host, even though the name will remain the same "View From a New Vrindaban Ridge."

Monday, August 28, 2006

The Yellow Line Is There For A Reason

Tejo's curve

Here is a letter that got sent out by Jaya Murari to his mailing list. I am hoping to get him to start sending (teh the the the the the thethe the the the the the the the the the the the the the the the the the the the) the content to a blog. (Note the repeated "the". This is because I have gotten a bad habit as a self taught typist to write "the" too quickly, often resulting in a "teh". It is time consuming to go back and correct this, so I have made myself type "the" correctly 20 times in a row every time I make a mistake. I have been doing this for a while, but still not perfect so I am subjecting my subconscious mind to a public humiliation by not deleting the exercise this time. I apologize if this creates a lack of clarity)

"Haribol All Devotees of New Vrindaban,

"I have a humble important request to make. I was driving out to Rte 250 the other day and came close to wrecking twice due to people flying by. There really is no need to go 40-50mph down this road. I called the State Dept. and the limit is 30 mph. The road is windy and in many areas you can't see around the corner or if the embankment has slipped. Going thru the residential area of Madhuban is another bad spot where people go so fast like it's a highway. The speed thru a residential area is 25 mph actually (as it is going thru Bethlehem). We see animals and deer, baby fawns, killed left and right.

Dead fawn hit by speeding driver

"I will practice what I preach and commit to driving slower and on my side of the road. I ask all of you to do the same and if ever you catch me not following this please chastise me.

"Your servants,
Rama Lila dasi and family"

I would like to add to this the concept of a yellow line down the middle of the road is to indicate that while you are entitled to half the road, it isn't the middle half. It is the right half. While I can understand the concept of cutting the apex of a curve to save wear and tear on your tires, and to save gas, please confine this activity to your side of the road. The half to the right of the yellow line is several feet wider than your vehicle, and is more than adequate to allow the cutting of the apex practice.

If your driving skills are so inadequate that you are fearful of going into the ditch, perhaps you should reappraise the viability of your driving at all. Or, SLOW DOWN so you CAN keep it between the lines.

If you see me coming and you are left of center, look closely at my hand. The gesture is NOT a friendly wave.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Kurma Is Coming To New Vrindavan!

Kurma is coming to the Festival Of Inspiration in New Vrindavan next May. This is good news, as he is a famous cook, not just inside ISKCON but also all over the cooking world. Cooking is important because all whatever whatever aside, most devotees were originally attracted by prasadam, and will admit it in confidence. I am an avid fan of Kurma's blog.

New Vrindavan used to have the best prasadam. Today it is fashionable to treat Kirtanananda as a bad person, but the truth is not so convenient. Despite his flaws, he had some good qualities, one of which was his cooking and teaching cooking through surrogates. Srila Prabhupada taught Kirtananada (he called him Kitchanananda) and Kirtanananda taught the devotees how to cook. Unfortunately, all the great cooks have moved out of the temple and no younger devotees have been inspired to learn. That chain is now broken. Advaita told me he was cooking for the Sunday feast recently, making samosas Srila Prabhupada style, and not a single person knew what he was doing. They tried to tell him he was doing it wrong.

In the old days, there were so many good cooks around, but many preps had one cook who could do it best. Radhanath was sandesh, Garga Rsi was rasgullas, Dharmakala was cheesecake, Ambarish was sweet rice, Pracetas was ice cream, Lajjavati was kanti, Kutila was malpuras, Candra Mauli was black walnut burfi, etc. They would spend years cooking the same prep until they perfected it, and if you wanted to learn that prep, you would go to them. Sudhanu and Advaita were famous for being able to cook large-scale feasts with the quality of a Deity offering. Cooks would also learn in other temples and then bring their knowledge and share it.

My own meager contribution was the infamous oat water, so much maligned in the imagining. It was actually quite tasty and nutritious IF prepared CORRECTLY. It suffered from poor branding. Creamed Oats Nectar would have been a better name. Kirtanananda made it first, and then taught me how to do a small batch, then I taught Sudhanu and he introduced it in scale to the main kitchen.

I would put it up before mangala arotik, and then let it simmer until after the morning program. Those were the days of the "shotgun program". Tulasi and guru pujas were immediately after mangala, followed by SB class, all done in 1 1/2 hours. Lightly salted, with plumped raisins (added later in the cooking), ginger, and one tablespoon of ghee per gallon. It would become a drinkable liquid, the oats essentially dissolved. Longer cooking of grains converts starch to sugar, so it was sweetish without adding sugar. It digested easily, as opposed to globs of sticky oatmeal, and was very satisfying. Of course, like anything, oat water can be prepared poorly and be just awful, especially if it gets cold. The basic concept was adding more water and cooking it longer than recommended.

Friday, August 25, 2006

So Much To Post, So Little Time

I love this kind of stuff. The cultural fleshing out of the bones of Krishna consciousness:

Read the whole story at

"Though, there was a safety issue. There was no one to catch the guys who could have fallen down. That’s why we decided to break the hundi as soon as possible the last time to avoid any accidents. I am thinking that if we have just 5 more guys than what we had the last time, then this issue can be solved. Even the last time, the hundi was around 15-17 feet (above the ground) and it was looking very imposing..."

Utility is the principle:

Strong Opinions, Weakly Held

"I was talking the Institute’s Bob Johansen about wisdom, and he explained that – to deal with an uncertain future and still move forward – they advise people to have “strong opinions, which are weakly held.” They've been giving this advice for years..."

Knowledge is only skin deep:

The Deepest Hole

"Another unexpected find was a menagerie of microscopic fossils as deep as 6.7 kilometers below the surface. Twenty-four distinct species of plankton microfossils were found, and they were discovered to have carbon and nitrogen coverings rather than the typical limestone or silica. Despite the harsh environment of heat and pressure, the microscopic remains were remarkably intact...

"When drilling stopped in 1994, the hole was over seven miles deep (12,262 meters), making it by far the deepest hole ever drilled by humankind. The last of the cores to be plucked from from the borehole were dated to be about 2.7 billion years old, or roughly 32 million times older than Abe Vigoda. But even at that depth, the Kola project only penetrated into a fraction of the Earth's continental crust, which ranges from twenty to eighty kilometers thick."

I did a version of this last year for New Vrindavan college freshman:


"Most 18-year-old students entering the class of 2010 this fall were born in 1988. They grew up with a mouse in one hand and a computer screen as part of their worldview. They learned to surf the internet as they learned to read. While they were still in their cribs, the 20th century started to close as the Berlin Wall came down, the Soviet bloc disintegrated, and frequent traditional wars in Latin America gave way to the uncontrolled terrors of the Middle East..."

Thursday, August 24, 2006

"Rivulose" by A.R. Ammons

You think the ridge hills flowing, breaking
with ups and downs will, though,
building constancy into the black foreground

for each sunset, hold on to you, if dreams
wander, give reality recurrence enough to keep
an image clear, but then you realize, time

going on, that time's residual like the last
ice age's cool still in the rocks, averaged
maybe with the cool of the age before, that

not only are you not being held onto but where
else could time do so well without you,
what is your time where so much time is saved?

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The Riddle Of Misplaced Kama

First, here are a few riddles.

What 5 letter word typed in all capital letters can be read the same upside down?

What 11 letter word in the English language ends with the same three letters that it begins with?

Krishna is everywhere, if we accept sastra at face value. Why can’t we see Him? The following riddle gives us a hint:

What country is hidden in the paragraph below?

As defendants, we deny all involvement in the unscrupulous dealings which have come to light in the recent government investigation.

(If you give up, the answers are in the Comments.)

As for what damage a little misplaced comma can do:

Comma Quirk Irks Rogers

“It could be the most costly piece of punctuation in Canada.

“A grammatical blunder may force Rogers Communications Inc. to pay an extra $2.13-million to use utility poles in the Maritimes after the placement of a comma in a contract permitted the deal's cancellation.

“The controversial comma sent lawyers and telecommunications regulators scrambling for their English textbooks in a bitter 18-month dispute that serves as an expensive reminder of the importance of punctuation.

“Rogers thought it had a five-year deal with Aliant Inc. to string Rogers' cable lines across thousands of utility poles in the Maritimes for an annual fee of $9.60 per pole. But early last year, Rogers was informed that the contract was being cancelled and the rates were going up. Impossible, Rogers thought, since its contract was iron-clad until the spring of 2007 and could potentially be renewed for another five years.

“Armed with the rules of grammar and punctuation, Aliant disagreed. The construction of a single sentence in the 14-page contract allowed the entire deal to be scrapped with only one-year's notice, the company argued.

“Language buffs take note — Page 7 of the contract states: The agreement ‘shall continue in force for a period of five years from the date it is made, and thereafter for successive five year terms, unless and until terminated by one year prior notice in writing by either party.’... ”

“The validity of the contract and the millions of dollars at stake all came down to one point — the second comma in the sentence...”

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Light And Fluffy As a Cloud

Ever Wonder How Much A Cloud Weighs?

"Let's start with a very simple white puffy cloud - a cumulus cloud. How much does the water in a cumulus cloud weigh?

"Peggy LeMone, senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, did the numbers. "The water in the little cloud weighs about 550 tons," she calculates. "Or if you want to convert it to something that might be a little more meaningful … think of elephants."

"Floating Masses

"Assume an elephant weighs about six tons, she says, that would mean that water inside a typical cumulous cloud would weigh about one hundred elephants. The thought of a hundred elephants-worth of water suspended in the sky begs another question - what keeps it up there?

"First of all, the water isn't in elephant sized particles, it's in tiny tiny tiny particles," explains LeMone. And those particles float on the warmer air that's rising below. But still, the concept of so much water floating in the sky was surprising even to a meteorologist like LeMone. "I had no idea how much a cloud would weigh, actually, when I started the calculations," she says.

"Outweighing Elephant Populations

"So how many elephant units of water are inside a big storm cloud … 10 times bigger all the way around than the "puffy" cumulus cloud? Again, LeMone did the numbers: About 200,000 elephants.

"Now, ratchet up the calculations for a hurricane about the size of Missouri and the figures get really massive. "What we're doing is weighing the water in one cubic meter theoretically pulled from a cloud and then multiplying by the number of meters in a whole hurricane," she explains.

"The result? Forty million elephants. That means the water in one hurricane weighs more than all the elephants on the planet. Perhaps even more than all the elephants that have ever lived on the planet. And that is a lot of water."

Bhagavad-gita 6.46-47 -- Los Angeles, February 21, 1969:

“The sunlight is acting, evaporating the water and it is turned into ocean. Then it is overcast all over the land and there is production. And there is river flowing down. You stock your water tank high, and there are mountain heads, there is stock of water and all year the river is flowing, supply water. Don't you see how nice brain it is? Can you pour water? If you want to evaporate hundred gallons of water you have got to make so many necessary arrangements. And here, millions of tons water is taken away immediately from the ocean and sea and turned into cloud, light cloud so that it may not fall down immediately. You see? Not like a tank. And it is reserved on the head of the mountain and it is sprayed all over the land so everything is there. You require water to produce grains, vegetables. So everything is there.”