Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Rosewood Meditation Beads:

Product Review:

This set of Meditation Beads was skillfully hand crafted in Mysore, India from genuine rosewood and sandalwood beads. Each bead measures 9mm which is a comfortable size for meditation. The rosewood beads are a beautiful deep mahogany color, with the wood grain showing through the smooth finish. Three fragrant sandalwood beads divide the 108 beads into four sections. The sandalwood beads are tan and smooth to the touch. Genuine sandalwood has a natural soothing aroma which does not fade over time, for this reason sandalwood is highly valued and sought after. The beads are strung on two strands of strong, quality thread providing extra durability. This Mala is finished with a tassel made from 100% cotton. With proper care this Mala will last for many years of regular use, and will acquire a lovely antique finish over time.

Included with this Mala is a beautiful silk pouch for safe storage. A percentage of the proceeds goes to supporting women and children in the Katmandu valley of Nepal

About offers quality rosaries, prayer beads, and meditation beads, each skillfully hand crafted using only the finest materials. As a testament to the quality of their products, all of their prayer beads have a unconditional 30-day money back warranty. offers a variety of prayer beads form various backgrounds.

Benefits of Meditation:
In recent years science has found that meditation when practiced on a regular bases has many health benefits. Studies have shown that with as little 10 to 15 minutes of daily meditation we can improve our physical and emotional health, while at the same time strengthening our minds. Considering the benefits, devoting a few minutes of our day to meditation is time well spent. (Please note that meditation is not a substitute for medical care, and should never be used as such).

1. Stabilizes the autonomous nervous system.
2. Increases concentration, self-esteem, spontaneity, creativity, and depth of awareness. Studies also show that mediators have warmer interpersonal relationships, less anxiety, increased self-esteem and self-confidence, increased problem-solving ability and greater creativity.
3. Reduces anxiety attacks by lowering the levels of blood lactate.
4. It reduces the heart beat
5. Lowers high blood pressure- There is strong evidence that meditation helps lower blood pressure in people who are normal or moderately hypertensive. This finding has been replicated by more than nineteen studies, some of which have shown systolic reductions among their subjects of 25 mmHg or more. A few people with acute hypertension have also experienced lower blood pressure in experiments of this kind. Several studies, however, have shown that relief from high blood pressure diminishes or disappears entirely if meditation is discontinued(not practiced on a regular bases)."
6. EMG activity increases
7. Stomach function and bowel function improve
8. The endocrine function is heightened- It has been recently demonstrated that meditation reduces sympathetic adrenergic receptor sensitivity, producing a decreased response to stressful situations.
9. Body posture is improved
10. Stamina increases
11. Improved energy level and vitality
12. Production of serotenine increases- Serotonin influences mood and behavior in many ways. Low levels of serotonin have been linked to a variety of disorders. For example, conditions associated with low serotonin levels include: depression, obesity, insomnia, narcolepsy, sleep apnea, migraine headaches, premenstrual syndrome, and fibromyalgia.
13. Intake of oxygen gets stronger
14. Reduces anxiety attacks by lowering the levels of blood lactate.
15. Decreases muscle tension (any pain due to tension) and headaches.
16. Increases exercise tolerance in heart patients.
17. Leads to a deeper level of relaxation.
18. Increases serotonin production which influences mood and behavior. Low levels of serotonin are associated with depression, obesity, and headaches.
19. Helps those who suffer from insomnia:: When trained in meditation, 75% of suffers experienced improvement.
20. Helps to improve chronic diseases like allergies , asthma etc.
21. Helps those who suffer from Chronic Pain
22. Reduces Pre-menstrual Syndrome.
23. Helps in post-operative healing.
24. Enhances the immune system.
25. Improved Awareness and Concentration.
26. Slows the aging process
27. Helpful for treating Habits and Addictions


How To Use Meditation Beads?:
There are many different ways to use meditation beads, below are links to websites about meditation. The below information is from

"Meditation beads have been used throughout history to aid in mindful meditation practices. The use of these beads transcends religions and practices, being found as a form of focus and comfort by many around the globe. These meditation beads are used for chanting, repeating mantras, praying repetitive prayers or simply comfort during meditation. Japa meditation is one of many meditation techniques that employs the use of a Mala, since the fingering and movement of each bead can help you to focus on the mantra or chant being recited as you move from word to word during the meditation process.

Meditation beads serve many purposes. For one, they help you remain focused while meditating. One of the biggest challenges when meditating is to tame the mind, or keep your thoughts in focus on the object of your choice. That may be your breath, the rising and falling of your chest or abdomen, alternate nostril breathing, a particular word, sound (om is one of the most popular sounds uttered during meditation), image or prayer. By handling something tangible, it is easier to keep your mind focused on the task at hand.

Meditation beads also help you to stop worrying about how much time has passed while you are meditating. It is very tempting to want to look up and check how much time has passed when you first try meditating because time seems to pass slowly and your mind is anxious for a distraction. By committing to chanting, meditating or breathing through all 108 beads on your meditation beads, you can relax about the passage of time and focus on making it through each bead. Simply move one bead over with every breath, chant or prayer until you have made it around the entire necklace.

Meditation beads can serve as reminders and comforts as you go throughout your day. After a beautifully calming session of meditation, slip your beads over your neck and wear them throughout the day. As stressful events comes up, finger the beads and return mentally to that place of peace. You’ll find the mere presence of the meditation beads to be quite soothing and reassuring."


Historical evidence suggests that beads have been used for prayer and meditation for thousands of years. According to most historians prayer beads originated in India around 500BC, from there prayer beads spread to the Middle East, China and Japan. Prayer beads have various names, one of the oldest names is known in India as Mala, (meaning “garland” in the Sanskrit language. Below is a list of other names for prayer beads:
  • In Catholic Christianity the most widely used form of prayer beads are the Rosary (The word rosary is derived from the Latin word rosarium, meaning "rose garden" or "garland of roses".) Catholics also use other prayer beads known as Chaplets.
  • In Orthodox Christianity the Chotki also known as a Prayer Rope are the main form of prayer beads used.
  • In Protestant Christianity also makes use of prayer beads know as the Anglican Rosary.
  • In Islamic prayer beads are known as Misbah.
  • In Buddaism prayer beads are known as Malas
  • In Hindu Tradition prayer beads are know as Japa Malas
  • In Greece Traditions prayer beads are known as Worry Beads.


My Personal Opinion:
While doing research for this article I decided to test the benefits of meditation by meditating each night before bed. Meditation has helped me to feel less stressed and I've noticed an improvement in my asthma. The deep breathing used in meditation has a similar effect to practicing the alto recorder, it seems to help build up your lungs so that breathing is easier. (Please note: I do not recommend practicing deep breathing meditation as a substitute to asthma medicine. Also if your lungs are sore from having an asthma attack wait till the following day when you lungs are not sore.)

The craftsmanship and quality of this Mala is very nice, as someone who crafts Rosaries I am impressed by artist's craftsmanship. I recommend this Mala to those looking for a quality set of meditation beads.

This set of Meditation Beads can be found at

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Rustico Hand-Crafted Quote Book Journal

The Quote Book Journal is Rustico's smallest leather bound journal, designed for keeping your thoughts, quotes, or poetry on the go. This Journal is hand crafted in the USA from quality materials and is unique. Unlike manufactured journals, Rustico journals are made when ordered. The Rustic cowhide cover and hand torn pages give this journal an old world appearance, reminiscent of the journals used in the late 1800's- early 1900's.

About The Cover and Binding:
The cover of this journal is made from smooth top grain cowhide leather, made when cowhide is split from the top layer and refinished to the desired texture. Top Grain leather is the second highest grade of leather, and is as strong and durable as full grain leather. All leather used in Rustico journals are hand antiqued and crafted, giving each journal an unique appearance. The binding is hand sown to the cover making this journal sturdy and durable, made to last for many years.

Whats Inside:
In the Quote Book journal there are 96 hand torn blank pages for writing your thoughts, ideas, special memories or poetry. The paper is a thick weight recycled paper that is acid free. Rustico is an environmentally conscious company which prides in using only recycled paper or a cotton/paper blend in their journals. The unique texture and torn page edges gives this journal an old world appearance, reminiscent of the hand made journals used in the late 1800's- early 1900's. Paper Size: 3.25” x 3.5”

What Makes Acrid Free Paper Unique?
Unlike regular paper which disintegrates after a few decades, Acid free paper is designed to last for at least 100 years with out disintegrating. Acid free paper is especially useful for scrapbooking because it will not discolor, or damage photos. I recommend using an acid free or archival quality ink in this journal, this type of ink will not fade or discolor over time like regular ink. (If you decide to add small wallet size photos to your journal, you will not have to worry about the ink damaging them over time)

Information About Rustico And Artist Bio:
Isaac Childs -"Rustico began when I started making leather bound journals about 10 years ago because I like to write. My shelves were filled with tattered notebooks and folders stuffed with random thoughts and experiences along with great quotes I may have come upon or overheard that caught my attention. The trouble was that I had these sweet experiences and wonderful thoughts, quotes and ideas and no place that I could keep them. I wanted a book that would have a unique personality and classic look about it to hold my ideas and thoughts. I wanted my journal to be made to last for a lifetime and become more refined with each use. I wanted to have a book that I could carry with me everywhere, whether I was at work, on vacation, in the mountains, or even downtown. So I started making journals."

"Since then we have grown and have had to find ways to keep up with the demand for our books, still maintaining the personalized touch used from the beginning. I have brought on several friends to help keep up with all of these requests, yet personally oversee the production to ensure that only the highest quality of workmanship is put into each book."

"They represent only the highest quality of work. The pages in most of our sketchbooks, journals and photo albums are hand torn and folded to specific sizes. The paper we use is acid free and still has the unique texture of old fashioned paper presses. Our leather covers are cut from top grain hides and bound by hand to the paper using a style of binding that has been used for centuries. Throughout the process, we put the same amount of personality into each book. My hope is that our journals, sketch books and photo albums will be used to savor those precious memories that will bring sweet remembrance for years to come. I personally guarantee that you will be completely satisfied with your journals, sketchbooks, and photo-albums, if not I will gladly replace your book for another, enjoy!"

~ Isaac Childs
Designer/General Manager, Rustico L.L.C.

My Personal Opinion:
The size of this journal makes it ideal for traveling, easily fitting in a pocket or purse. The quality is impressive, featuring handcrafted leather and rustic appearance. The leather is soft, flexible and has a nice feel, which is something I look for and value in leather bindings. Thick weight paper makes this journal a good choice for writing, drawing or mounting small photos. The thick leather cover and quality binding protect the pages when the journal is carried. I recommend this journal to those looking for a small high quality journal or scrapbooking project.

The Journal featured in this review can be found at

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Refillable Leather Composition Journal: LeatherKeepsake.Com

Leather Keepsakes refillable composition journal is designed to give writers a convenient notepad for jotting down ideas, thoughts and other information. It's small size measuring 5. 1/8” x 3. 9/16” makes this journal the perfect sized pocket notepad for traveling and daily use. Skillfully hand crafted in the US from genuine steer hide leather, this notepad journal is sturdy and durable made to last for many years. Engraving is a nice feature for personalizing this journal, it not only adds to the journal's appearance but serves as a quick identification.

About The Cover and Binding:
This journal is crafted from smooth top grain steer hide leather. The leather is a good heavy thickness that will with stand the riggers of daily use. Steer hide leather comes from the hide of neutered bulls, it is somewhat stronger and more durable than cowhide. Top Grain leather is leather split from the top layer of the hide and refinished to the desired texture. As the second highest grade of leather, Top Grain leather is as strong and durable as full grain leather. Leather Keepsakes exclusively hand-crafts their products from American leather, each journal possesses it's own characteristics making each one unique. The thread used in the stitching of this journal is a high quality upholstery grade thread, which adds to the durability and appearance of this journal. Size 3 ½” x 5”

Whats Inside:
Refillable journals come in handy for taking notes, writing down ideas, or anything you may need to write down. This Journal can be refilled with any standard size 3.25” x 4.5” composition journal. Paper Size: 3.25” x 4.5”

Engraving: The engraving on this journal was done using laser technology, each letter is uniform in texture, color and detail. Because of the level of detail possible with laser technology a wide rage of engraving options are available initials, a name, or a saying, they can also engrave a companies logo for business, or corporate gifts

Information About Leather Keepsakes And Artist Bio: Leather Keepsakes is based in the heart of the Rocky Mountains of Utah. They strive to ensure that all of their products are of the best quality and craftsmanship available. They offer a large line of hand made leather journals and photo albums. All of their leather products are handmade in the US, to ensure quality and craftsmanship.

My Personal Opinion:
Growing up in an upholstery shop I learned to recognize and appreciate the craftsmanship and quality of materials that go into hand crafted products. I am impressed with the quality of this notepad and it's craftsmanship. Lately I have been using this journal a lot, it's great for jotting down ideas, phone numbers, and making grocery lists. It easily fits in my purse or back pocket allowing me to write down any ideas that come to mind. This journal is especially useful to write down ideas, or thoughts while on the go. I recommend this journal to those looking for a durable notepad for daily use.

The Journal featured in this review can be found at

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

ON MONSTERS: An Unnatural History of Our Worst Fears By Stephen Asma

ON MONSTERS: An Unnatural History of Our Worst Fears
ISBN13: 978-0-19-533616-0 ISBN10: 0-19-533616-X
(Oxford, October 15, 2009)


Monsters. Real or imagined, literal or metaphorical, they have exerted a dread fascination on the human mind for many centuries. They attract and repel us, intrigue and terrify us, and in the process reveal something deeply important about the darker recesses of our collective psyche.
Stephen Asma's On Monsters is a wide-ranging cultural and conceptual history of monsters--how they have evolved over time, what functions they have served for us, and what shapes they are likely to take in the future. Asma begins with a letter from Alexander the Great in 326 B.C. detailing an encounter in India with an "enormous beast--larger than an elephant with three ominous horns on its forehead." From there the monsters come fast and furious--Behemoth and Leviathan, Gog and Magog, the leopard-bear-lion beast of Revelation, Satan and his demons, Grendel and Frankenstein, circus freaks and headless children, right up to the serial killers and terrorists of today and the post-human cyborgs of tomorrow. Monsters embody our deepest anxieties and vulnerabilities, Asma argues, but they also symbolize the mysterious and incoherent territory just beyond the safe enclosures of rational thought. Exploring philosophical treatises, theological tracts, newspapers, pamphlets, films, scientific notebooks, and novels, Asma unpacks traditional monster stories for the clues they offer about the inner logic of an era's fears and fascinations. In doing so, he illuminates the many ways monsters have become repositories for those human qualities that must be repudiated, externalized, and defeated.
Asma suggests that how we handle monsters reflects how we handle uncertainty, ambiguity, insecurity. And in a world that is daily becoming less secure and more ambiguous, he shows how we might learn to better live with monsters--and thereby avoid becoming one.

What's Inside?:
ON MONSTERS by Stephen Asma is a look in to the history of monsters and explores how they have evolved over time, what functions they have served, and what shapes they are likely to take in the future. Mr. Asma describes how monsters, from the obvious movie creatures to terrorists to serial killers, embody our deepest fears, anxieties and vulnerabilities, and symbolize the mysterious territory just beyond the safe enclosures of rational thought. Mr. Asma explores philosophical treatises, theological tracts, newspapers, pamphlets, films, scientific notebooks, and novels, to illuminates the many ways monsters have come to represent our insecurities and uncertainties in daily life. And in these somewhat frightening times, Mr. Asma shows how we can live with our monsters, even if it means looking in the mirror.

Table of Contents

Introduction to Extraordinary Beings

Phobias * Repulsion and Attraction * Inhuman * Unthinkable * Unmanageable * The Literal and the Symbolic


Alexander Fights Monster in India
Embellishing * Manliness

Monsters Are Nature's Playthings
Griffins * Monstrous Bones * Natural History and Credulity * Monstrous Races

Hermaphrodites and Man-headed Oxen
In-between Beings * Reason and Superstition * Aristotle's Monsters * Phantom Images

Monstrous Desire
Plato's Monster * Monstrous Mother


Biblical Monsters
God's Lackeys * The Apocalypse * Giants

Do Monster have Souls?
Monster and a Creator God * Baptizing the Monstrous Races * the Descent of Monsters * Alexander's Gates

The Monster Killer
"I Have Known Much Peril" * Tolkien's Tragic Beowulf

Possessing Demons and Witches
St. Anthony fights Demons * Witches * The Witch Hunter * Illusion or Reality * Monstrous Desires Revisited * Driving Out the Demons

Natural History,Freaks, and Nondescripts
The Hydra * Eradicating the Fantastic * Responding to the Marvelous * A Mischievous Taxidermist * Freaks

The Medicalization of Monsters
Monstrous Births * Pregnant Women Should Not Look upon Monsters * Monsters and the Mechanization of Nature * Frankenstein * John Hunter's Monsters * Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire's Teratology * William Lawrence and the Headless Children

Darwin's Mutants
Monsters and Transmutation * No Monstrous Jumps in Nature * Mutationism and Helpful Monsters * Alberch, Gould and the Return of the Monsters * Evo-Devo


The Art of Human Vulnerability: Angst and Horror
Fear and Cognitive Mismatch * Angst and Horror * Freud * Torture Porn (Note: A genre of Horror films: Hostel, Hostel II, Dawn of the Dead, and Saw fall in to this genre) * Creeping Flesh

Criminal Monsters: Psychopathology, Aggression, and the Malignant Heart
Monsters in the Headlines * Leopold and Loeb * Rage and Aggression * Monstrous Desire Revisited * Cold Detachment The Cause of Psychopathology * Judging and Managing the Monsters

Torturers, Terridt, and Zombies: The Products of Monstrous Societies
Xenophobia and Race * Theoretical Xenophobia * Instinctual Xenophobia * Monstrous Civilizational * Pathological Societies * Monsters from the Oppressed Classes * Monsters of Ideology *Deconstructing Monsters

Future Monsters: Robots, Mutants, and Posthuman Cyborgs
Mutants and Robots * Cyborgs * Disembodied Minds Playing God: Biotechnology * Are Monsters in the Eye of the Beholder?

Epilogue * Notes * Index

"Monsters literal and metaphorical are dissected with skill and discernment in philosopher and scholar Asma's penetrating "unnatural history." Erudite, funny, and deeply attuned to the profound psychological and moral implications of monstrousness, Asma encompasses the mystical and the scientific as he ponders the simultaneous repulsion and attraction monsters arouse... Asma is insightful and entertaining in his discussion of monsters of the deep, supernatural doppelgangers, zombies, and vampires, and intense in his discussion of Freud and the 'science of monstrous feelings...' Asma's far-reaching book of monsterology is original, captivating, and profoundly elucidating."--Booklist starred review

"With insight, erudition, and humor, Asma's compendium of monsterology traces the evolving meanings and manifestations of monsters since antiquity, in religion, philosophy, science, literature, popular culture, and the human psyche. To explain the eternal attraction and repulsion of the monstrous, Asma draws on material from Aristotle to nanotechnology, revealing myriad, surprising ways that supernatural, natural, and metaphorical monsters inhabit the landscape of our imagination."--Adrienne Mayor, author of The First Fossil Hunters and The Poison King

"On Monsters is a humorously omnivorous consideration of the monstrous. It's a delightful book, a terrific balance of scholarship and wonder."--Audrey Niffenegger, author of The Time Traveler's Wife

"A wide-ranging exploration of fear and evil, Asma's presentation and theories are original and practical, depicting those dark, repulsive notions of an unstable, turbulent world in which everybody must struggle to remain human and civilized." --Publishers Weekly

About the Author:
Stephen T. Asma is Professor of Philosophy at Columbia College Chicago, where he holds the title of Distinguished Scholar. Asma is the author of many books, including Stuffed Animals and Pickled Heads: The Culture and Evolution of Natural History Museums (OUP, 2001). He lives in Chicago.

My Personal Opinion:
Mr. Asma presents an interesting look into the subject of monsters, the mythological, pathological and futuristic. I found this book to both interesting, and entertaining.

This book can be found on the publisher's website

And on through the link below