Tuesday, April 24, 2007


The weekend finally ended Tuesday morning.

It began last Wednesday night at 9:15, when I came out of class and saw that my left front tire was flat. I ran to Jewel, got some Fix-a-Flat, and drove the poor thing home in time to get up at 5 to teach my 6-9AM classes. Afterwards I got new front tires.

That night after teaching, Enelle and I drove down to the Museum of Science and Industry to see the Body Worlds exhibit. That's the one with the real human cadavers -- some of whom are reputed to have been executed Chinese prisoners. It was amazing to see how all of the body parts we learned about in anatomy class fit together. There were strange bits, too; one of the cadavers was called Yoga Lady, although she wasn't doing a pose I'd ever seen. After the lung exhibit there was a video of Yul Brynner's last will and testament, in which he asks everyone to quit smoking. Next to it was a lucite box where you could drop your pack of cigarettes and sign a pledge to quit. We had the audio tour-devices, and when I pushed the button to hear about the "Angel" cadaver, the narrator got a whiny, self-righteous tone in his voice and went on and on about criticism of the exhibit and how all of the cadavers in it had signed releases when they were alive, etc. etc. Not one word about "Angel" from him. But it was well worth seeing. It runs 24-hours this weekend from Friday through Sunday, when it closes for good.

I spent most of Friday dealing with the loud whiny sound that has been coming from the front of my car. It turns out that it's not one but two things that are causing the noise and need replacing: the power steering pump and the A/C air compressor, which is a special type that was only made for two years and is impossible to find so I must fork out $500 to replace the entire thing. I'm living with the noise for now.

I was feeling so sorry for myself that I could barely tear myself away from "Edward Scissorhands" and head down to YogaNow to see Bhagavan Das do kirtan that night. His chanting pulled me out of my funk far more effectively than anything Tim Burton could ever produce.

On Saturday morning I practiced at home and got on my bike and headed down the lakefront bike path to the Green Festival at McCormick Place. It was a long, slow journey on my heavy, cumbersome bicycle, and it made me miss the Cinelli. I arrived with just enough time to illegally lock up my bike and find the famous Movement Room. About 17 people took my class, which was the first one on the first day of the festival. It was impossible for them to hear, so I summoned up the spirit of my fellow Dharma student from Tokyo -- who taught our small group class in Japanese -- and made a point of demonstrating the poses as clearly as I could. It worked, I think. One of the Movement Room students had taken classes with Dharma back when he was in the West Village, and she seemed to like it. Just as they went into Savasana (corpse pose), Mayor Daley was introduced on the mainstage, to thunderous applause.

I stuck around the festival for most of the day, and ran into people (including some former employers) and even manned the Yoga Chicago and YogaNow booths for awhile. It was such fun that I didn't want to ride north and get ready for the LL's birthday party. But I went anyway.

On Sunday morning I attended the VIP breakfast (thanks, Charles) and learned that Saturday had been such a smashing success that many vendors had run out of free samples and flyers, and ran to Kinko's on Saturday night to make more. Among others I spoke to folks from Yes! magazine, Transamoeba Studio and Traditional Medicinals.

After heading north to teach at the Chicago Yoga Center, I went back to the Green Festival place for an hour and hung out with solar seller Enelle and heard part of David Korten's speech.

Then I left to teach at the Fancy Health Club. But I could not find my way to the parking lot. I kept ending up in a parking garage when my car was outside. Each time I tried an exit I could not get out. I was like a rat in a maze, and instead of slowing down and thinking I panicked and kept moving faster and faster as time ticked away. Finally a security guard pointed me in the right direction. Lake Shore Drive was at a standstill. I called the club to tell them I'd be late for class and to tell the members to stretch and do sun salutations -- which is what they were doing when I arrived. I apologized profusely, and we proceeded to do half primary series. They were incredibly understanding, and I was grateful.

Despite all that I could not miss the weekly potluck at the Holmes House. On the way up I stopped by Stanley's -- which was packed -- and picked up salad fixings.

In the morning I taught at 6:30, 8AM and noon and practiced from 9:45-11:45. The noon class was a no-show so I had a long, leisurely $4.50 lunch down the street from YogaNow at Baba Palace, a cabby hangout that boasts halfway decent chai and very loud Pakistani soap operas on the TV that made me think of Aunty's.

Then it was back to YogaNow for a vedic astrology session with Bhagavan Das. More on that later. Suffice to say that among other things I'd make a great dominatrix and need to take the 10-day Vipassana meditation course (which I've known for some time but did not want to admit).

After teaching my evening ashtanga class at the University I went home, ate and fell into a deep, dreamless sleep....

only to get up, practice, teach a class and hit another deadline.

Yet it still feels like rest, compared to the busy weekend.


  1. Anonymous9:32 AM

    Sure that cadavar lady wasn't a "Bad yoga lady?"

    I feel the same about the Vipassana


  2. Film on Global Warming Is Challenged.

    Scientists Demand Changes to Global Warming Skeptic's Film

    LONDON (AP) -- A group of British climate scientists is demanding changes to a skeptical documentary about global warming, saying there are grave errors in the program billed as a response to Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth."

    "The Great Global Warming Swindle" aired on British television in March and is coming out soon on DVD. It argues that man-made emissions have a marginal impact on the world's climate and warming can better be explained by changing patterns of solar activity.

    An open letter sent Tuesday by 38 scientists, including the former heads of Britain's academy of sciences and Britain's weather office, called on producer Wag TV to remove what it called "major misrepresentations" from the film before the DVD release -- a demand its director said was tantamount to censorship.

    Bob Ward, the former spokesman for the Royal Society, Britain's academy of science, and one of the letter's signatories, said director Mark Durkin made a "long catalog of fundamental and profound mistakes" -- including the claim that volcanoes produce more carbon dioxide than humans, and that the Earth's atmosphere was warmer during the Middle Ages than it is today.

    "Free speech does not extend to misleading the public by making factually inaccurate statements," he said. "Somebody has to stand up for the public interest here."

    Durkin called the letter "loathsome."

    "This is a contemptible, weasel-worded attempt to gag scientific criticism, and it won't work," he said. "I don't believe they're interested in quality control when it comes to the reporting of science -- so long as it's on their side."

    Durkin acknowledged two of the errors highlighted by the scientists -- including the claim about volcanic emissions -- but he described those changes as minor and said they would be corrected in the expanded DVD release.

    But the scientists do not want the DVD released without edits to completely remove the material they object to -- something Ward said would fatally weaken the film's argument.

    "The fact is that it's a very convincing program, and if you're not very aware of the science you wouldn't necessarily see what the errors are," Ward said. "But the errors are huge. ... Without those errors in, he doesn't have a story."

    Ward has also complained to Britain's media regulator, which said it was investigating the matter. British broadcast law demands impartiality on matters of major political and industrial controversy -- and penalties can be imposed for misrepresentations of fact.

    The decision to broadcast Durkin's documentary on Channel 4 was an unusual move in a country where the role of man-made carbon emissions in heating the globe is largely taken for granted and politicians regularly spar over which party has the greenest environmental policy.

    As for the former vice president, Gore has been hired as an adviser to the British government, which plans to send copies of his film to schools around England.

  3. We saw Body Worlds a couple of years ago - I think it must have been a prior exhibit. Fascinating and thought provoking. Loved it.