Weekly Link Love — Edition 108

Research of the Week

“Molecular mimicry” (a la autoimmune disease) may lie at the heart of COVID-related pathology.

Early domesticated cats dined on rodents who followed human agricultural settlements.

“The recommendation to wear surgical masks to supplement other public health measures did not reduce the SARS-CoV-2 infection rate among wearers by more than 50% in a community with modest infection rates, some degree of social distancing, and uncommon general mask use. The data were compatible with lesser degrees of self-protection.”

A megadose of vitamin D3 in severe COVID patients was safe but ineffective.

Gobekli Tepe inhabitants were using huge stone troughs to cook porridge.

New Primal Blueprint Podcasts

Episode 456: John Gray PhD: Host Elle Russ welcomes John Gray of Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus fame.

Primal Health Coach Radio Episode 85: Laura and Erin chat with Tony Horton of P90X fame.

Media, Schmedia

The Iroquois hope to compete in Olympic lacrosse as a separate nation.

Looks like I’m supposed to have diabetes.

Interesting Blog Posts

Keto vs. ketones.

Social Notes

A good dad.

Everything Else


An ancient epidemic brought COVID-relevant adaptations in East Asian populations.

Giving kids beef, whole milk, butter, and green veggies reduces the incidence of upper respiratory tract infections.

Fatty liver on the rise in children.

Things I’m Up to and Interested In

Instrument I’d never encountered: The Japanese shamisen.

Interesting hypothesis: Micro-filtered raw cow milk for COVID protection.

Good day: A day in the life of Brad Kearns.

Treatment just keeps getting better: Ivermectin, zinc, vitamin D3, and doxycycline appear effective against COVID.

Important detail: Dopamine does not contribute to felt pleasure.

Question I’m Asking

Why is there a petroglyph of a Phoenician-style sailing boat at a Michigan copper mining site from 1600 BC?

Recipe Corner

Time Capsule

One year ago (Nov 14 – Nov 20)

Comment of the Week

“I never bought the idea that stoicism and epicureanism are rival philosophies. While the largesse of the stereotypical epicurean is at odds with stoicism, so is it at odds with truly embracing life’s pleasures – decadence without temper becomes cloying and, ultimately, unsatisfying. Constant orgies (of any flavor) act counter to the actual epicurean ideal.

A true stoic, guided by discerning taste, can grasp Epicurus’s goal of modest and sustained pleasure more than anyone who just heaps indulgence upon indulgence as they become stale.”

-Nicely said, hate_me.

About the Author

Mark Sisson is the founder of Mark’s Daily Apple, godfather to the Primal food and lifestyle movement, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Keto Reset Diet. His latest book is Keto for Life, where he discusses how he combines the keto diet with a Primal lifestyle for optimal health and longevity. Mark is the author of numerous other books as well, including The Primal Blueprint, which was credited with turbocharging the growth of the primal/paleo movement back in 2009. After spending three decades researching and educating folks on why food is the key component to achieving and maintaining optimal wellness, Mark launched Primal Kitchen, a real-food company that creates Primal/paleo, keto, and Whole30-friendly kitchen staples.

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106 thoughts on “Weekly Link Love — Edition 108”

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  1. You should do a better job of explaining this:

    “The recommendation to wear surgical masks to supplement other public health measures did not reduce the SARS-CoV-2 infection rate among wearers by more than 50% in a community with modest infection rates, some degree of social distancing, and uncommon general mask use. The data were compatible with lesser degrees of self-protection.”

    So it still decreased transmission by potentially 50%! Not great, but masks also help prevent you from spreading it if you are asymptotic (which they can’t test for).

    1. This study is extremely misleading it tells us *nothing* we didn’t already know.

      1) Surgical/Cloth Masks are to protect the people around you. Not you. And this study only confirmed what everyone already knew.
      2) n95 would have shown an effect because that’s what the entire certification is fore.

      IMO Mark should remove it because its incredibly misleading.

      1. I completely agree. This only serves to stoke skepticism and minimize adherence. The headline could just as easily read, “Not wearing a surgical mask increases the likelihood of infection by almost 50%.”

        Additionally, the study seems rife with limitations:

        “Inconclusive results, missing data, variable adherence, patient-reported findings on home tests, no blinding, and no assessment of whether masks could decrease disease transmission from mask wearers to others.”

      2. It’s a legitimate part of the scientific body of knowledge, even if it’s not the whole picture. The study does a good job of acknowledging its own limitations, and truly understanding the situation is going to involve a nuanced look at many variables.

        It would be scientifically negligent to ignore or remove the study just because the conclusion doesn’t support a particular confirmation bias. I’ll admit, the 50% is a bit confusing to me regarding the actual numbers in the study – will have to go over it a few times to understand how they’re applying that.

        Hopefully there are similar such experiments from elsewhere in the world to either support or refute these findings.

      3. The study should stay. It is important to point out that cloth masks won’t protect you from the corona virus. Too many people use them as a substitute for social distancing.

        It is also important to point out that there is little to no scientific evidence that masks protect others and that they are giving people a false sense of security. Sure, a new mask will stop large droplets from a cough. But what happens when you keep wearing that mask? Those large droplets are remobilized by your breath, and since they are smaller now, will travel farther than if they would if you were unmasked. Another problem with cloth masks is that they create a moist warm environment for viruses to stay alive. The viruses in those large droplets that would have dropped to the floor and died are kept alive on your mask and are added to the concentration of virus in the air around you.

        Telling the vulnerable population that they can carry on with their normal life as long as everyone is wearing masks is killing people. The only thing people can do to reduce their risk of the catching the corona virus is to be around fewer people, and stay farther away from those people they do meet.

    2. You should start your own blog and explain to heart’s content, Ghandi

  2. Think everyone has COVID. The mask is to keep you from giving it to me.

  3. I’m not discounting the possibility that bronze-age Mediterranean people may have sailed to the New World – archaeological finds often show we underestimate our predecessors’ capabilities (Homo floresiensis, for example). However, the linked article seems to read far too much into the specific features in the petroglyph. Stone is a medium that lends itself greatly to stylistic representation over precise detail. The number of ribs on the hull, the pattern on the sail, the dimensions of the vessel, etc…. these are much more likely due to variables in the artist’s skill/memory and the stone’s structure than any strong evidence of a Phoenician ship. I could see a sailing canoe in that image, just as easily.

    On a different note – I hope the Iroquois get their Olympic hopes. It is entirely in-line with the spirit of the modern Olympics.

    1. The numerology related to the petroglyph borders on schizophrenia or at least manic tendencies on the author’s part. The recent comments on that old blog are sort of hilarious. I would tend to believe it might have Viking origins though if it’s really old. The location is certainly is a prominent way point for anyone exploring Lake Superior. The Keweenaw Peninsula is a great place to explore from July to October

      1. Longships have only been traced to about the 4th century BC, so it would be a leap to see one ~1300 years earlier on an entirely different continent. Again, not discounting the possibility, it just seems more likely to be some local craft depicted on a difficult medium (assuming the glyph, itself, is legit).

  4. In answer to the question you asked, my answer is:

    Why not?

    After all, we know damn little about what went on in the world that far back. We do know, however, that ancient peoples weren’t stupid. In fact, they had to use their brains far more than we do because they didn’t have computers to do their thinking for them.

    Unfortunately, the article is a wall of words with no paragraph breaks. TL;DR.

    1. Reading through the entire article, I am reminded of the speculation after some bored hillbillies made some circles in cornfields.

      The site should have an “I Want To Believe” poster, a la Agent Mulder, as its logo.

  5. For obese kids the problem is likely what mine was. Carb addiction while all your friends, family and the so called experts tell you to eat less fat. What do you replace that fat with? Carbs, which makes your addiction worse and as a kid you have about zero percent chance of figuring out that everyone is lying to you because they are ignorant parts of the problem.

  6. 50% protection is nothing to complain about. Layering multiple methods of risk reductions can add up to bigger results. Kind of like how co-factors of vitamin D work synergistic-ally with D to get even better results. The CDC recently publicized their opinion that masks protect you to a certain extent from getting covid from others, just as the mask to a certain extent protects others from you in case you have it. Finally, a sensible conclusion. It doesn’t need to be perfect to be helpful. And it finally acknowledges that materials may provide some filtration both directions. I never could understand how a piece of material could be somewhat effective one way, and effectively invisible the other way. Unless maybe some are made from the same material as the emperor’s new clothes.

    1. My thoughts exactly. And given that people tend to be more selfish than altruistic, it would have been a better approach to have started out with the message that “masks protect you.” So many people have the belief that they aren’t sick so they don’t need to wear a mask. The concept of being asymptomatic carriers totally escapes them.

    2. This was a terrible interpretation of the study.

      The study lasted 30 days and the incubation period for the virus is 14 days. There was no run-in period to make sure that there were no people already affected with Covid. They were simply swabbed on the first day which would not reveal a recent infection.

      On top of that, less than half of the mask group wore the mask all the time. It was underpowered to find a difference. The conclusion of the study stated that the study should not be used to argue against the use of masks.

  7. I’m learning more about gratitude in my current journey and God is part of it thank you for being brave enough to speak about this subject to many times in our current society it’s frowned on.

  8. Mark,
    I have always felt that there is a power/force greater than me. Been pulled from wreckage, attacked in a major city and have felt the higher power presence.
    As we all try to improve and achieve our desired success it is never easy…but focusing on a higher power helps.
    I’m reminded of author Victor Frankl’s quote from Man’s Search for Meaning:
    “For success like happiness, cannot be pursued: it must ensue, And it only does so as the unintended side effect of one’s personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the byproduct of one surrender to a person other than oneself.
    Thanks Mark for your continued push….

  9. Every morning, as a part of my light therapy, dry brush, cold shower, coffee and daily goal setting and reflection ritual, I write out three things I’m grateful for. I try to be super specific, not repeat things often, and carry the sentiments with me throughout the day. It’s been pretty transformative and something I intend to do forever. Today, one thing I’m grateful for is this blog and the community that engages here.

  10. Gratitude- There is a body of research demonstrating the positive effects on the brain. If you look at Dr. Richard Davidson’s work on the Four Constituents of Wellbeing too, Positive Outlook and Generosity are two concepts that work at the neural circuit level. So, if one does not believe in a higher power, but works to practice gratitude, that in turn seems to create a more positive outlook, which can in turn create more acts of generosity, this all changes the brain for the better. So, if considering the implications of a potential ripple effect and the “energy” this puts out into the universe, then, I think we can have this impact on the world without rituals and deities. If one does not believe in a HP I think it is still worth it to thank the Universe, thank mother nature, thank the animals, and just be grateful that we are alive, even if we are potentially just a host to a variety of microorganisms and parasites. Be well!

  11. Thanksgiving- I am one of those who pray and give thanks to the omniscient creator of all things. So to those of you who don’t… I say the best way to express “universal” thanksgiving, is to give to others in the way you have received.
    Whether it’s your money, time, or resources, give to someone else in the same measure that it his been given to you. Without expectation of anything in return. Don’t engage in this practice as if you were going to earn something in the process. Give as if you are giving back to the one who gave to you, by giving to someone in need.

    Thanksgiving is an acknowledgment that we have been blessed. If we give AS we have received, we are actually giving thanks to the One who gave first.

    1. That is beautiful, Aaron. Giving (loving your neighbor) without expectation but because it comes from a grate-filled heart. Forgive because you have been forgiven. This can all come from “obedience” but clearly a heart motivated to love because you know the love (blessing) you have received, that is a thankful heart. A motive not manipulated by ritual or expectation but by pure love that one has received. That’s what I love about worshipping the God who is Love. He changes hearts. ?

  12. Of course secular people can, and do, practice meaningful gratitude. In fact, I would even argue that not only do secular/agnostic/humanist/atheist folks practice heartfelt gratitude, but that they also feel an obligation to act as shepherds of the earth’s and society’s riches so that others may enjoy health and happiness too. Because they aren’t leaving the fate of themselves, or others, up to a higher power, they take the responsibility of caring for our home and others seriously.

  13. Gratefulness/gratitude and journals vs prayer, I think whether one is religious or spiritual or whatever, it is the feeling of gratitude that makes the mind/heart more open not the act of asking. Feeling grateful is counter to feeling of lack, of depression. Ritual is different. A celebration or recognition of an event is not the “prayer”. It may cause one to feel grateful but, again, it’s the feeling that works and can be achieved many ways.

  14. If you want to be thankful, read Steven Pinker’s “The Better Angels of Our Nature”. It’s a great book, but also a reminder and primer on how horrible life was for the majority of human history. We have it so good in the grand scheme of things, the stuff we complain about is pure trivia.

  15. On Gratitude–if you see the Earth and Sun as indifferent, think again! Why not thank the Sun for shining? Be grateful for the light, the warmth, the Sun powering the plants, which power the animals. Thank the river for nourishing the plants and animals; without rivers or the ocean none of us are alive. Thank the blue-green algae and the plants and trees for making the oxygen without which we could not live. Thank the Earth for the beauty that surrounds us. You can carry it onward with a belief in an omnipotent God which put all these wonderful things in place for us. Or you can just be grateful for what we have, and give thanks each day to Earth, Fire, Water and Air.

  16. I think we are designed to give gratitude (worship). Everyone either gives gratitude to God or hasn’t figured out how to and gives it to worldly things (people, money, themselves,…)

  17. I think we are designed to give gratitude (worship). Everyone either gives gratitude to God or hasn’t figured out how to and gives it to worldly things (people, money, themselves,…).

  18. Thanks Mark, being thankful so important.
    Yes I do believe in God, and in His son Jesus who died for our sins. Blessings and being thankful He outlines in His holy word.
    This world and its design is too complex for the Big Bang nonsense. Even contemporaries of the first century claim His ominous! Ponder and search!!:)

  19. In response to Sunday with Sisson, it seems the only alternative to being grateful to a higher power is worship of the state. That seems to be what is lacking in the human condition now. If there is no power greater than you are, it’s much easier to demonize fellow human beings. I am not an organized religion person because of the exclusionary and judgmental aspects of most of them (there are a couple that are ok), but spirituality seems so intrinsic to the human spirit, that it’s obvious it must be replaced by something–and history shows us it is usually some kind of totalitarian thinking that replaces it. Leftism is a religion now and fanatics of any religion can be dangerous. Not that mos individual people are — but ideologies are. They cannot come before humanity and our faith in one another and in some energy higher than us. Making enemies lists by not extreme groups but members of congress? McCarthyism. Censorship even some of the left literary community is concerned about? As I said I am a spiritual person, not fundamentalist, so judgment of individuals does not seem right. Judgment of judgment? Ha. Well, I judge actions, not souls, but I don’t condone tolerance of intolerance. And I don’t judge peoples’ souls and that is the best I can do. I pray these days more than I ever have that He sorts out this disaster. We are being tested for the virus and gathering as we usually do, leaving doors open and using the woodstove and gas fireplace for heat, less circulating forced bad air. Praying that Trump gets therapeutics out there for all of us–I just read he released these antibody treatments for emergency use, and I’m grateful for that. I’m still grateful that so far we live in the greatest country on earth. And for people like Mark who is a buoyant spirit in trying times. He has given me much pleasure over the years. Thanks, Mark.

  20. Nothing angers the anti-science cult more to than the mere suggestion that breathing your own filth all day might be ineffective at fighting disease. Just believe that the magical mask works.

  21. I have also given this thought lately. On a secular level, I believe gratitude is a state of being. Like feeling happy or sad, you don’t actually require an external source for the internal experience. You could live every day in a state of gratitude. Formalizing the expression of gratitude moves it to to an occasional, externalized event; I feel it’s more beneficial to internalize it.

  22. Anything that gives some level of protection is worth it. I’ve come to the conclusion that if we could all magically isolate for a year or 2 the virus would surge after we came out of isolation. It is going to run its course and it seems obvious that those who are not metabolically broken will win the fight of the infection. In the meantime it’s wise to protect the vulnerable with whatever measures we can. I hope that there is a true wake-up call to us to just eat real food and restore our natural immunity and fighting ability. That’s why this virus is so lethal, we have severely compromised our ability to survive by living a modern lifestyle. I think that anyone who is following the primal blueprint has an excellent chance of not catching it or at worst, surviving it as if it were a standard flu.

  23. On gratitude: we have instrumentalized this along with everything else – what’s in it for me? A couple quotes I like: “feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” And, “unexpressed gratitude is ingratitude”. If I express gratitude, it benefits more than just me. I am grateful for so many gifts that I can’t attribute the source of – like Being, Existence, Beauty – so until I know better I will humbly express my thanks to God and he can unwrap that present if he likes :).

  24. Gratitude:
    I think there are two kinds of gratitude. One is gratitude for something. This is actually a negative, because it divides people. If I’m grateful for being rich or good looking, it’s something that only has value in comparison to those less well off. But another kind is gratitude just as a general feeling. This bridges divides and brings people closer together. If two people are both grateful in general, they are much more likely to get along, and be kind, cheerful, relaxed, caring and all sorts of other positive qualities. So gratitude in this sense is a positive force in the universe whether or not there is a god.

  25. I’m a Christian and I pray. I also started a journal that has my day to day calendar, exercise log and a gratitude and reflection section. Writing down what I’m grateful for, my fears, concerns, my thoughts, what’s going well. Basically what’s in my heart.

  26. The idea of gratitude is really interesting. So is the idea of ingratitude. Happiness, unhappiness, justice, injustice, right and wrong seem to point to a higher authority. The book “Mere Christianity” by C.S. Lewis is a great way to tip toe into the idea of a higher authority. He was an atheist who started to realize that some things were contrary to his worldview. His reasoning is definitely worth consideration and should be required reading for anyone who is curious about the possible existence of a higher power.

  27. Sadly I kind of think we’re screwed. I’m suffering from something neurological and almost bedridden at this point. I can’t force or delude myself into believing in a higher power though that hasn’t stopped me from trying prayer, calling out the cosmos and a lot of crying. I just wish doctors would recognize suffering and quietly help me go in my sleep. My life is no longer meaningful for anyone including myself but that does not curb the pain, illness and fear.

    1. I know this might sound strange, but instead of trying to do anything about suffering, try just watching it. If you are already suffering then it’s already there, so why not look at it and try to see what it actually is, not the thoughts it invokes, but the thing itself. Even if only for a moment. Hating, resisting, escaping from suffering, crying for help, these are all natural instinctive responses we’ve been trained to invoke since birth. But are they necessary, or can one observe suffering without any action or intention?

    2. Desperation. I’m sorry for your pain. Try homeopathy. Research your symptoms. It could be resolved that way. If you can, begin to play the Bible via the youversion app starting in the Psalms. May you find comfort for your spirit and if you seek Him (God) with your whole heart, you will find Him.
      “He is near to the broken hearted.”

  28. Did I read that right? Are you really asking atheists if they pray thanks to a higher power?

    No way. That’s not how they are wired. By definition.

  29. Is the Universe is indifferent?
    If one is conscious of and genuinely expresses gratitude for even the most basic needs, or an abundance in their life, regardless of belief in a higher power, I believe it’s that awareness that can be transformative.
    A few years ago I had an opportunity to let my Ex-mother in law know how much she and my father in law meant to me. She was able to hear me and thanked me for sharing. She recently passed away and I’m again grateful that I was able to tell her and can continue being grateful for all she/they brought to my life.
    Some might pray, meditate, write, play music, paint, or verbally share their gratitude, it’s beautiful no matter how it’s expressed. ?

  30. I think it is great. We don’t all believe in a higher power.

    We still want to be slimmer and be more healthy.

  31. This is in response to the Sunday with Sisson on gratitude.

    I am so grateful and humbled by how fortunate we are in my family.

    Do I express thankfulness to a god, river spirits, Krishna, etc.? No!

    It’s due to pure dumb luck. I was in the right place at the right time to get access to all that I enjoy.

    Part of my dumb luck was being fortunate enough to have the right kind of bad childhood to make me incredibly strong and resilient.

    Those who feel that their success is due to anything else are delusional.

  32. There is no reason that a belief in a power greater than ourselves must mean a belief in the supernatural.

    We like to see this distinct dichotomy between science and religion, yet almost all of the foundational advances in modern science came about from devout (sometimes, even cloistered) individuals seeking a deeper connection with their god. While a greater understanding of the natural world allows many to shift their cosmological dependence away from some divine agent, it doesn’t dispel the natural greatness that being was once credited for.

    Even if Arceus didn’t create the universe, that universe is there and still full of forces that belie any human sense of superiority.

  33. Well, thanks for asking our opinions. Myself, I am an Atheist. I came to be this way because of my parents raising me as a Jehovah’s Witness. They are a controlling cult, they spy on you, call you in to their little meetings to berate you, etc. Also, they are a Pedophiler’s Paradise. I hate them.

  34. “Giving kids beef, whole milk, butter, and green veggies reduces the incidence of upper respiratory tract infections.”


  35. The article on stone troughs reminds me of other ways to cook without pots: one of Bradford Angier’s outdoor skills books suggested that if one was hungry while skinning out a game animal, one might take a spare piece of hide and use it to line a depression in a rock or the ground, put in water and hot rocks and toss in scraps as one worked in order to make a quick stew. Natives of the American northwest are said to have made baskets so watertight that they were used for hot rock slow cookers. Having tried the “boil water in a paper bag” trick, I believe it could be done.

  36. Your most recent Sunday with Sisson regarding Thanks giving struck a chord with me as I believe praise and thanksgiving to God to be so vital. I don’t thank the universe but I do see God in creation. The universe is awe inspiring but I choose to thank the Creator not the creation.
    Dr Mark

  37. The Christian mystic Meister Eckhart said “If the only prayer you said was thank you, that would be enough.” We can do that by saying “thank you” to that silent presence that exists within each of us, our deepest Self.

  38. Mark,
    Spending any amount of time listening to you talk about the genius of our amazing bodies one can’t help but heavily lean into the existence of a genius designer. It takes extreme faith to believe this amazing finely tuned specimen came from nothing. But, to each his own for sure.
    Grateful for a creator that seemingly worked with precision. Our bodies and this Earth are beyond words. Awe inspiring!

  39. Sundays with Sisson – I am a Christian. I pray and read my Bible nearly every day. Reading Job now, actually. From chapter 2:

    Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die.” But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?”

    The hardest thing in my life has been to thank God for the bad with the good. Troubles with my father, first wife that ran away, mild depression, etc. All these things helped shape who I am and what I am about.

    I am 44 now, and I have the most peace in this life that I have ever had. I have a new wife who is loads better than the first one. I learn daily (including through this site) how to overcome that depression. My dad is happier and more productive now than he ever was in my childhood, and I want to be happy about that.

    We can always find what to be thankful for. I live in Italy right now, and my planned half-marathon along on the Amalfi Coast was cancelled due to COVID restrictions. So today I ran it here alone in my city, and every one of my students and their parents came our to support me. The kids rode their bicycles and made signs, and it was the most personal “race” I have ever run in.

    Happy Thanksgiving to all <3 Teaching overseas means each year I am away from my mum on this favourite holiday of mine. But yesterday I received a Thanksgiving card from her with special napkins tucked inside – one for each of my students. None of them are American, but you can bet your @$$ we will be thankful in my classroom this week for all we have.

  40. To me God created everything so He requires our thanks. To thank anything/anyone else is worthless.

    1. “He requires our thanks.”

      Is mandated gratitude really gratitude, or is it cowardice? The bully is stronger than me, so I give him my lunch money when he demands my lunch money – or do I refuse and god beats me up for my insolence?

      I’m not questioning the validity of your religious views, just the logic behind your evangelical ardor.

      If someone buys me a drink, do I thank him for buying me the drink – or do I thank god for granting him the free will by which he buys me said drink? By that logic, thanking the dude IS, by extension, thanking god.

      Do I just drink the drink and say nothing? That just seems rude.

      Do I refuse the drink, altogether? That’s just not happening. Happy Thanksgiving.

  41. Wow. You put forth a question that is way too huge to address in a moment or two. People build careers on this subject. There’s so much to say, but I will try to be succinct by only addressing one tiny part of it all.

    Does it really matter if the universe is indifferent? If your heart and soul are full of gratitude, and you try to live your life that way, it’s coming from within and shining out of you. You give gratitude. You never know if its received or who received it, no matter who you call out to.

    It just will make you happier. It will make you a better person, a loving person, a nice/kind person. So, why does it matter if the universe is indifferent, if you are changing the world one moment at a time with your gratitude and kindness.

    Thanks for you Sunday offerings, Mark. I’m a huge fan!

  42. Psalm 69:30 I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify Him with Thanksgiving.
    Rev. 7:12 …Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God for ever and ever! Amen.

  43. Thanks (of course, right?) for your email on thanksgiving. I’ve often wondered how those with vague or non-existent concepts of a personal God can “give” thanks, because it just seems inescapable that meaningful expressions of thanks are personal, and given to a personal (with personhood) being. If the universe is impersonal, all there is, and doesn’t care, what can giving of thanks to it mean?
    But lots to chew on.

  44. I say over my food


  45. We have a big, beautiful lemon tree in our AZ backyard. Every winter thru spring it gives us the juiciest meyer lemons. Laundry baskets full. We have a telescoping picker tool to try to reach the middle and we have to climb on the roof to reach the top. When we moved into this house 5 years ago the tree was only about 10-12 feet tall. We thought the harvest was great then. Now it’s 4 times as much. We share bag fills with our neighbors, family and friends. We dutifully take care of the tree all year, pruning, watering, giving compost, and it takes care of us when our immune systems need the wonderful lemon goodness most. My kids and I thank the tree out loud every time we pick another basketful of fruit. And we sit under it while we drink our homemade lemon aid and eat our treats with homemade lemon curd, talking to the tree and telling it how wonderful the lemons are this time. Good work tree! You made more amazing fruit. I tell the kids we are not allowed to take any lemons until we have told the tree we are about to, and give it a hug and thank it.
    I have now caught the kids thanking the basil plants before picking a leaf to chew on while they go down the slide, thanking the rose bushes before we cut a few to bring indoors, and the hummingbirds for coming to visit us at the feeder in the mornings while we sip tea on the porch. All these things make our life so much sweeter, and by thanking the energies around us for it, it only gets sweeter still.

    1. This is what it’s all about. Thank you for raising your children in this way. May they spread more of this love over generations.

  46. My belief is that “By Jesus all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions, rulers or authorities all things were created through Him and for Him.” (Colossians 1:16). I am thankful to be included in the story that displays His attributes and glory. I thank Him for the creation but I worship the Creator.

  47. 1 Timothy 1
    I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength to do his work. He considered me trustworthy and appointed me to serve him, 13 even though I used to blaspheme the name of Christ. In my insolence, I persecuted his people. But God had mercy on me because I did it in ignorance and unbelief. 14 Oh, how generous and gracious our Lord was! He filled me with the faith and love that come from Christ Jesus.

    15 This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”—and I am the worst of them all. 16 But God had mercy on me so that Christ Jesus could use me as a prime example of his great patience with even the worst sinners. Then others will realize that they, too, can believe in him and receive eternal life. 17 All honor and glory to God forever and ever! He is the eternal King, the unseen one who never dies; he alone is God.”

    Grateful that God chose me before the foundations of the world were laid, that someone shared the Gospel with my dad in the 1970’s and radically transformed our family, and that the Truth (Jesus the Christ) is my shield and buckler.

  48. Mark, it seems the question you are asking, “to what or to whom should one offer thanks,” is an attempt to fill the God-shaped vacuum within each of us, that Blaise Pascal wrote of. I’m not sure one can achieve what you are seeking by bypassing the creator. I would say keep an open mind and maybe even offer up a prayer of thanks to God anyway. That may bring the contentment and peace you are looking for. I’ve been on both sides of this — devout believer and agnostic. I can say that life for me has been so much more profound and meaningful by opening my heart to God.

  49. Not really what you are asking, but I start each day thanking God for His love for me.

  50. I think that the more gratitude we send out to the universe, the more live we receive in return. To feel the energy of gratefulness allows us to project positive energy. The sense of well-being internally is sent outward to all beings. Love creates more love. It is certainly what we need to counter the negative energy that seems more blatantly abundant these days.
    So write in your gratitude journal, or meditate with the intent of gratefulness. It helps us all.

  51. Re: Sunday with Sisson 11/22

    You are blessed and don’t know it! God is whispering to you. Stop wasting your time looking for a secular response. Pray! Go find a priest. Accept your gracious invitation and more whispers will come.

  52. For me gratitude is a place to stand. It is the recognition that my life is not my own doing and that I am a product of all of the lives that went before me, all the lives that I have touched and that have been touched by me. The payoff isn’t that I have shown respect to, or prostrated before, some higher power. The payoff is that when I stand in gratitude my world is filled with loving kindness instead of fear and blame. No other reason.

  53. “Is there a secular way [to harness the power of belief in the form of gratitude] ?”

    I believe so. There is a book by neuroscientist and philosopher Sam Harris titled ‘Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion’. He also created an app by the same name (minus the second part), which contains lots of content around meditation. Gratitude is often a topic that comes up, and many exercises are focussed precisely on appreciation.

    Headspace is another very similar app. While many of the teachings in either app are derived from Buddhism, I don’t recall ever being told what to believe (or that having any kind of belief is even a requirement), or that religion X is superior to religion Y.

  54. I guess none of us will know until we get there, but it is the belief that fuels the gratitude juices…
    Being happy is a choice. So is being grateful- but with the first, the second naturally follows….
    I am grateful that I am blessed with faith hope and love.

  55. I am shocked and disappointed that you would share the finding from the “Danish mask study” without comment. A tiny scrape of the surface of this research would reveal that it doesn’t say anything at all about whether wearing masks helps prevent the spread of covid to OTHER PEOPLE—which is why widespread mask wearing helps entire communities. This study is being reported in a counterproductive way, and as someone who regularly goes deep into nutrition studies to show they don’t say what the alarmist headlines seem to say, you of all people should know better. Please do better.

  56. J,
    The certification of N95 is 95% effective of 3 micron’s or bigger. Covid is 1 micron or smaller.

    Discussions are healthy for a society. Censorship because somebody doesn’t like a comment is the undoing of a civil society.

  57. Thank you so much for all your very well-researched posts which are so helpful. The one on Gratitude made we realise that while feeling gratitude is certainly good, thanking a person is more rewarding and as C.S.Lewis says, completes the experience of enjoyment. People sometimes think God is selfish in wanting us to thank Him but He’s not. He knows it is better for us to do so. People also wonder how to experience His love tangibly. They would if they got into the habit of saying “thank You, Jesus” under their breath throughout the day. It opens the door to seeing more and more blessing and enjoying His presence even when life may be difficult. God bless, Clodagh from Ireland

  58. Thanks for the Sunday Session.
    I was referred to your books by my Dr he,s a no pills guy just wisdom and education.
    Thank you for making life and moving real no fancy gym required.
    I now know its OK not to be a slave to the Gym machine. My garden is my gym my Ski my cardio and my dog my relaxing.
    Thank you waiting on your books to arrive.I’m in Australia.
    Have a great Christmas and stay safe

  59. I love your Sunday posts, thank you!
    I am excited to hear about more Cornwell books and am going to try Ellroy and Winslow as well.
    I enjoy a story being told robustly and fully, if there is violence, depict it properly, same with all other facets, too many authors shy away from everything remotely non PC and it makes for a stinted and half-baked tale!

    Please have a look at Seveneves by Neal Stephenson, wow wow wow!

    Also, Interference by Sue Burke, the unique concept and the humanness of the tell is exceptional.

  60. The Sharpe TV series is the best thing you’ve never seen, Mark! Get right on it, is my advice.
    It was originally an ITV production or co-production, but shown in America by the BBC. It wasn’t a BBC production. But it was GOOOOD!!

  61. mark, as for your reading for pleasure section……one of my favorites is Tim Dorsey. Funny. Now that you’ve moved to Florida, you should give him a try. I’d recommend starting with his first, but not an absolute necessity. For TV, we loved watching Ted Lasso on Apple TV. My selections may not be as intellectual as yours, but they are very enjoyable.

  62. I read the Richard Sharpe series 35 years ago. Nice to see someone else likes them. I m presently reading Attica Locke

  63. We watched feel-good movies and relaxed most of the day yesterday, it was a welcome break from the constant go, go, go of the pre-Thanksgiving rush. Like you, I feel guilty just sitting but sometimes your body just needs some rest. We watched the movies Home for the Holidays, Larry Crowne, Pulp Fiction (Ok not all were feel-good movies) and the last one I don’t remember the name of but it was during Christmas and made my cry. Something about a girl receiving a heart transplant and having a hard time with life until she learns to help others. And a surprise twist at the end. Has the girl from Game of Thrones in it.

  64. I fell in love with Bernard Cornwell’s “Sharpe” series in the 1990s. The BBC series stars Sean Bean and is quite good too.

    Currently I’m attempting to expand my skill set by reading a series of books on small business marketing.

  65. What am I reading? Everything I can get my hands on. Mostly fiction at the moment. Two of Daniel Silva’s, a couple by David Lindsey, one by Joseph Kanon, and a recent one by Carlos Ruiz Zafon that I haven’t gotten to yet. Also the most recent in the National Geographics History series. I tend to panic if I don’t have something to read. I’m undoubtedly one of Amazon’s best used book customers, but they aren’t as cheap as they once were. (I don’t have a Kindle and don’t want one.)

  66. Mark, I saw that you linked to amazon for the Cromwell books. In order to support small local bookstores, please consider linking instead to bookshop.org, which helps people support local bookstores, or a particular independent bookstore like Powell’s.com.

    I suspect that your politics align better with independent bookstores than with Amazon’s disregard for its workers health.

  67. We just finished utopia, starring john cusack. The similarities to covid paranoia are so juicy.

  68. Answer to your question today re what I’ve been reading.

    The Eleventh Man by Ivan Doig Fiction

    Alexander McCall Smith’s latest novel in his Isabel Dalhousie series: The Geometry of Holding Hands Fiction

    Don’t miss either of those authors.

  69. I just finished Gifted Hands by Ben Carson and Atomic Habits by James Clear. Also read Mark Twain’s biography of Joan of Arc over the summer. I’m working on Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Little Men and just started Haing Ngor: A Cambodian Odyssey. Out loud to my kids I’m reading Cheaper by the Dozen and Narnia (we’re half way through The Silver Chair). And I put your recommendations on hold at my library, Mark. Thanks!!

    1. Oh! And I forgot I’m also reading Longitude by Dava Sobel and The Brain that Changes Itself by Norman Doidge. SO fascinating!

  70. I don’t really read many books, but I’m continuing to watch new episodes of The Mandalorian every Friday when they come out, and re-watching some episodes of Star Wars Rebels. I don’t watch much that isn’t Star Wars-related. Do videos of people falling on YouTube count? I’m so sorry but people falling is just always going to be funny (except for old people, that’s never funny).

  71. What am I watching for pleasure?
    Quentin Tarantino movies, Luc Besson movies, and anything by Studio Ghibli…

    Four-Season Harvest, by Eliot Coleman
    Seabiscuit, by Laura Hillenbrand
    Joel Salatin books, all
    Philip Pullman: The Book of Dust, vol 1 & 2; eagerly awaiting vol 3 😉

  72. As so often, G K Chesterton has something — well, a lot! — to say that is uplifting on what we might call ‘the attitude of gratitude’.

    A search for ‘Chesterton gratitude ‘ will keep you smiling for hours. But it’s not fluffy H*llmark fun as the following shows.

    “Gratitude, being nearly the greatest of human duties, is also nearly the most difficult.”

  73. I’m reading The Last Kingdom series by Bernard Cornwell, and he is a supremely talented writer. It is one of the best series of books I think I’ve ever read

  74. My father was a minister, albeit somewhat unconventional. He was a missionary in India after WW2. I think they may have done more converting than he did.
    What I learned was that the act of prayer, or giving thanks, is what’s important. The person praying, whom or what they are praying to, and the subject of the act are incidental. In the vastness of the cosmos, we are everything and nothing. Despite our perceived insignificance, everything we do ripples across the universe. An act of gratitude is all it takes to change our world and ourselves.