Sunday, March 21, 2010

Would You Eat A Scorpion?

Pincers, body armor, a barbed-tail filled with paralyzing poison, second only to spiders: scorpions have to be the creepiest arachnid.

We never worry about scorpions in Canada. Maybe when we escape to Arizona or Central America, during the famous Canadian winter, thoughts of poisonous night crawlers never cross our minds. My friend's grandparents are "snow birds", retirees who fly South for the winter. We used to stay in their trailer, in Mesa, Arizona, during spring break from high school. We would go out onto the golf course at night with black lights, and freak out at all of the scorpions illuminated on the golf course, because scorpions glow under UV light.

In Costa Rica, my friend put her hand behind her pillow, and a scorpion stung her hand underneath. Jennifer panicked, and ran to the front desk of her hotel for First Aid, because her lips were going numb. The staff laughed at her worries. They knew the local scorpions are harmless to fully-grown healthy humans. Since she told me this story, I've taken a second guess before I put my arm under my pillow anywhere south of the 49th Parallel.   

I've never considered scorpions anything more than a pest; however, in China scorpions are a culinary delicacy, and have said to cure blood cancer and tumors.

In most Asian markets and traditional pharmacies you will find worms, bees, snakes, scorpions. In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) a scorpion is considered an earth animal. Ground animals, and insects, dig through soil and ingest the garbage within. In TCM, the idea is that by ingesting insects you can root out the garbage in the systems of our bodies. Dried scorpion (Quan Xie) is considered a herb that when consumed targets the liver meridian and is said to relieve headaches and calm seizures (For more info: &

The only three Mandarin words I remember are: "Jiu", (酒; pinyin: jiǔ) the word for alcoholic beverage, "Pijiu" (啤酒 Pinyin: Píjǐu) the word for "beer", and Baijiu (白酒; pinyin: báijiǔ) means white liquor and is made from distilled grain. On Daqingshan Mountain, in China's Shandong Province, we were served fried scorpions and treated to a tincture of baijiu, ginseng, goji berries, and scorpion. Imagine drinking lightning mixed with sweet dirt. The fried scorpions tasted like "Chicken Popcorn" from KFC: only crunchier. However; this tincture, which was referred to as "Jiu", is rumored to kill any tumors or cancer growing inside you.    

The superstition behind the healing properties of scorpion venom healing is now gaining ground as a legitimate alternative medicine in the West. National Geographic News, NBC and ABC, have reported on the potential for use of scorpion venom in "painting" brain tumors, and as a nanopartical for passing through the blood-brain barrier so drugs can act on tumors. Also, a patent filed by Jinghai Zhang, Runlin Ma, Siling Wang, Yanfeng Liu, Chunfu Wu, claims that a peptide found in the venom from a black scorpion can be used an analgesic and anti-tumor drug. The method Zhang, Ma, Wang, Liu, and Wu, use to extract the active peptide is by diluting the scorpion in either distilled water, a basic or an acidic formula. Alcohol, such as baijiu, is a basic solution.

So, would you eat a scorpion, or drink alcohol infused with scorpion venom?

If you were diagnosed with a serious health dilemma would you try this alternative treatment, or would you be suspicious of taking a treatment based on superstition?

Please comment, retweet, and share.      

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Friday, March 19, 2010

DJ Champion: the Led Zeppelin of Dance

Last weekend, March 7, 2010, I went to see DJ Champion at Sugar Nightclub, here in Victoria. House music is not my first choice for listening, but I can wash some serious dishes to it. Drop some sweet vocals and get five guitarists to create a wall of sound and you have: "the best dance party in Victoria", according to Sara P., a local radio DJ from the Zone (91.3 FM).  A friend described the band as being: "the Led Zeppelin of House music".

The best part of the night was a guy who was either a body builder or a mixed martial artist asking me in a thick Eastern European accent, "Do you think they will play the song I'm So Big?". I said, 'Of course, it is one of their big hits". He was so anxious he went to to the bar to get a pen and a piece of paper. He walked past me and flashed a sign reading SO BIG.

DJ Champion and the G-Strings played I'm so Big for their encore. Buddy was so pumped for this song, it was the best part of my night. Training is hard, and can mess with your mind. Any music that can get you through the pain of training is something worth celebrating. I was there for a friend's birthday party, and we all had an awesome time; but how happy this guy was hearing his favorite workout song added extra meaning to the music of DJ Champion.

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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Tai Cheers

A few nights ago, as I was heading out to tai chi class, I found myself singing the theme song from the TV show: Cheers: "You want to go where you can know/ your troubles are all the same./ You want to go where everybody knows your name". Long before I ever tried a beer, I would watch this show with my Dad. I never really understood what those lines meant until I found a group activity I could stand to be involved in.

   Where I grew up, playing hockey is mandatory. Every kid in Kamloops (BC) tries to become the next farm-town millionaire in the hockey big leagues. I remember the announcement of the draft on the PA in high school. Everyone cheered when so and so got drafted to this team, or that league, and who would disappear into a training camp that summer. I remember the names of those who were skipped, and watching their high hopes of being the next Trevor Linden fizzle. Those guys ended up in the arena stands with me, watching the home town hockey team (the Blazers), and hoping somebody on the ice gets hurt: to justify the game is something worth sacrificing for.

   Despite having watched my classmates get auctioned off like cattle, I still participated in sports like: soccer, gymnastics, skateboarding, martial arts, and the non-political informal versions of hockey, baseball, and football. The chip on my shoulder has rounded off and I realize there is a lot to love about sports: training, teamwork, and competition.

  One time in Tai Chi class, a guy I was working with on a partner drill said, "You guys are they only people I feel like I don't need to have a drink in my hand to feel comfortable with". Our group is a bunch of misfits, but we all share a common interest in our learning and practicing of our art. It doesn't matter who does what outside of the group, but while we are in the group we can always talk sport.

  When we get together for practice or for class we know everyone there has their troubles, and these problems are the same. Sam Malone, Norm, Cliff Claven, and found their camaraderie at the pub with a glass of beer. Although, Tai Chi and beer do not mix, Tai Chi is a break from all your worries. Wouldn't you like to get away? 

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Sunday, March 14, 2010

6 Months and 600 posts on

 Sheesh, I can stop Tumbling to write about Tumblr, right? Alright. This should be easy. Just let me reblog this hilarious .gif, there we go. 

Tumblr is a microblogging site, much like Twitter, but with far less limitations. It's name comes from those clickers doormen use to count room occupancy. The numbers roll over, and over, and over, with each click, as it is with Tumblelog  posts: a stream of posts appearing ad infinitum.  Tumblr is where you go to get sick of looking at beautiful art and people.

 According to their motto, Tumblr is the easiest way to blog. Aside from photos, you can post videos, quotes, text, and formsprings. Uploading audio files is limited to one per day, but if you find a song that is externally hosted (with a url link) you can post as many as you want, which is far better than what facebook allows (none at all). It is invitational, you can block, and follow, accounts just like Twitter, but it is also geospecific; you can find people "Tumbling" in your city or next door. Tumblr's infinite scrolling feature, is another reason Tumblr is miles ahead of their competition.

 Much of what you will find posted on Tumblr is Not Safe For Work (NSFW), "whatever-you-can-get-away-with" artistic posts, and crude but awesome humor. Interesting posts get reblogged, or liked, and quality posts rise to the top, because they are user regulated. In minutes, anyone can start a free Tumblr account and begin spreading whatever meme they choose. Some of my favorites:,, and   

Have fun and happy tumbling!


P.S. Although I am blogging about social media, I do have a job: 

Credit for the picture goes to sabino:

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