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The Other Man - F.W. de Klerk
An Interview with Director Nic Rossier
By Mende Smith
To Nicolas Rossier, anyone with an untold story is a documentary subject: any complicated and misunderstood figure brings an opportunity to see the story through new eyes. Rossier’s work spans eccentric street performers in central park, to the most transformational world leaders of our last century. Here, Rossier explains his thinking, and his method of construction—with a deeply felt conviction in his projects. His latest project is, 'The Other Man' a documentary about South Africa's F.W. de Klerk. He talks with Reap about overcoming the obstacles of the business that is film.
So, you are a filmmaker, Nicolas, your writing and directing credits are pretty heavy even for the genre—you have had to do some heavy lifting telling these stories, let’s talk about what that’s like.
It’s interesting, yeah. I guess I have always fallen on subjects that were some how out of the main stream in a way. I fall on subjects that are somewhat controversial when I treat the subjects and sometimes they are not controversial later. For different reasons I am always interested in stories that are not really told because that’s where I can come in as an independent, otherwise I compete with too many other people all telling the same stories.
Like the story you told on the life of Isidore Block? Life Is A Dream I am also a published poet, and a very big fan of poetry. I am really curious what making that film in 2000 was like…so few poets are ever celebrated on film, Nicolas, it is very cool that you told his iconic story.
Yes, that was a very interesting story. I met him by chance after two years arriving in New York, I find him to be quite amazing. I got together with a great friend of mine who liked him as well and we filmed him over 3 years and opened in New York in July 2000.
Did you have to have conversations with yourself about the kinds of stories you wanted to tell? You picked the most difficult genre to make into films—doing docs and docudramas— Some of the subjects of your films are very controversial and tackle sexual and physical abuse, prejudice, brutality, and racism—people and periods of history triumphant and ugly, how did you navigate that?
It is especially difficult to navigate it, yes, when I first arrived in New York I studied film and I also studied acting so I did a lot of theatre and when I was studying theatre, I started following my first character, who was Isadore Block and it took 3 years. One thing they teach you in acting; especially if you are studying method acting is to create in you the feelings and thoughts of the characters you play and they also teach you how to leave these characters when you’re done. But it’s hard sometimes when the character is as powerful as this poet was. After a year with Isidore, I started sounding like him. You don’t have to love your character but it sort of comes into you—who ever they are. He was so funny and he was so brutally honest, and he had had a terrible life and yet he was using his drama, his tragedies to make beautiful poetry. He was a soul in the park. He came out of nowhere and sat next to me and opened up to me. I was just on a bench and he came like somebody from another world and he started talking to me. It was very special and I got completely dragged into this world and so I had to tell his story and it was my first piece and it became a one-hour film.
So what were some of the challenges making that first film?
It was a film that I directed with a friend of mine, actually. We made mistakes and we probably could have gone much further with that film—had we had a little bit more money or maybe it was the time—so you learn and I was maybe, 27 then? I think it was a fascinating story and I should have developed it into a script. I watched my film with an agent and he said he thought I should make it into a feature film! He wanted to talk to punch and to get somebody to play Isidore like DeNiro or Hoffman, and I said no, I am not ready! Now, looking back, I would have done it of course and said, yeah, sure go ahead, call Dustin Hoffman or DeNiro. He was very serious.
What did it look like when you first delved into the history for your most recent film—I read your director’s statement in the press release, but I want to ask what was it that made it such a passion for you to tell the story—in what ways did you most connect with the character F.W. de Klerke?
The Other Man is an interesting story and I was actually working on idea for a series which was about Nobel Peace Prize Laureates, the untold stories of the more less known honorees and that sort of thing when I came across de Klerk’s story on a shoot in South Africa in 1998 (my first trip in SA was in 1992 during CODESA). I was helping my friend make a film about someone who had disappeared during Apartheid and so I studied the conflict of that country and kept reading about it and so I thought let’s start the Nobel Peace in South Africa—I know it better than other places and then [Nelson] Mandela and my focus was going to be on de Klerke and Mandela together but then I realized Mandela was off and he was not giving interviews anymore and so I decided to focus on the one who was completely unexposed which was de Klerke.
And so you switched your focus onto him and then what happened next in the process?
I decided to do the film through the eyes of the “bad guy” and how he changed. And the idea that if somebody is bad and then becomes good it is probably more interesting idea to explore than a portrayal or iconography of someone who was good all the time, and psychologically, it’s interesting to understand why people make their decisions and why they change, and how we can maybe entice others to do the same or to help others to understand a little better how we can affect change.
What was he like, de Klerk, when you first met him what was your impression of him as a subject for this film?
Actually the first time I met him face-to-face it was not so good. He was trying to control it he had seen the work I had done previously about Aristide and how he was overthrown and sent into exile and he was actually embraced by the ANC government. He knew I was going to cover some controversial issues so the first interview was not so great. He was polite, he gave me an hour, and I think I got what I needed. The second time I saw him it was much better and he was very open to me. I think he’s a typical male Afrikaner and the men are all very reserved. But he let his guards down and in another interview and you can really feel how he has personally wrestled with many difficult questions.
In many ways I imagine it is like the Victorian Era in their refusal to show the truth and emotions, with society being very reserved and not open to certain dialogue, feelings, or even open to discussing their own history?
Exactly. It’s interesting, I remember one South African lady saying to me that South African men don’t like to express their emotions too much, they have this burden on them that they have to be the protector like this ideal of the pioneer male who is still there fighting against the harsh elements of the wilderness, this very masculine, old fashioned way of behaving—that may be why they are so good at Rugby? I don’t know you just have to understand it.
There was a story of this friend of de Klerk who told me how his brother who was an intellectual and who had a huge influence on him. His brother Wimpie talked even earlier against Apartheid and he was more liberal than F.W. I would say and he spoke out for change much earlier. So the brother had this big influence on him. One day his brother had a black gardener who worked for him for a long time and one day he was injured and he was bleeding and he had to take him to the hospital as the man was bleeding to death and when De Klerk’s brother took the hand of the dying man he realized that their blood looked the same and how they were just one, same flesh, no barriers anymore. These things to me are fascinating, because it’s through these types of experiences in life that we change.
Wow, that is such an incredible story, the dying man actually reached out to him and he reached back.
Yes, it was just love. Falling in love with someone of a different race and culture at the moment where race doesn’t matter anymore, religion doesn’t matter anymore or when you find yourself dying with somebody who is not your family or your culture or whatever and so you have to help each other. All at once these differences just go away—only through personal experiences like this do you have the epiphany.
And he was willing to talk to you about this and was all right with it being on film?
Well, actually no. He kept saying “Off camera! Off camera! I can’t do it with the camera on…” He insisted and I ‘d say, it is so important that we see this story this way too. So, yeah, they are very, very afraid about telling things that are a little bit too revealing of things and in America, here, we love it because that is the way we understand things, we love these types of things; maybe sometimes too much, but that is our way to understand things around us. So, in that sense the males are very different from us. They are still very much in the nineteenth century about sharing their emotions.
In working with these real characters and discoveries and all of these things put together that make films stand out from one another, can you name the shift to where you as the director have that “Aha!” moment? You are working with public officials and former statesman or men and women who once held powerful positions, what is it like to know that it is working and it will be all right?
It is a shift, yeah. The shift can happen through unexpected events like that or in an organized more predictable way. There is always, consciously or unconsciously an emotional thing happening and sometimes you don’t realize it. One time I interviewed this minister of law and order and he is not in the film, but he is the only one who went as far as asking for forgiveness, he went on to wash the feet of the relatives of his victims, actually the wives and daughters of people he had ordered to kill. He said to me in 1994 that he was not convinced emotionally that what they did was the right thing—adding that it took his own wife’s suicide in their pool—for him to see that what he had been doing was wrong, admitting he had not internalized it until that happened. That is how change comes for most people, in big events or small ones, it is gradual but it happens all the time.
I interviewed Dr. Diane Watson back in 2010—she was a dear friend of Winnie Mandela and visited her when Nelson was first let out of prison. She told stories about the uproar and the politics of that time—I would love to get your take on what it had to be like for the women who were there at that time of great change?
Let’s see the most famous one is Winnie Mandela, or you have Nadine Gordimer or Lilian Ngoyi. You have hundreds of them, some very exposed some forgotten but all played key roles in fighting the regime. The whites and blacks that have been the pioneers of change have struggled since the 50s there. What I noticed through my film is that; and there is a debate now in South Africa, I focus through the eyes of de Klerk and people around him that played a role. But we have to remember, we are talking about thousands of people who have made this change possible—and many of them are women. In my film, I try to go about that through the eyes of Marcia and her mother. Her mother was an activist who was executed by a famous death squad leader. There were hundreds of women like her who sacrificed their life for the cause. I tried to identify some of those people but all of the heroes should have a voice.
Rossier is still looking for more forgotten laureates to feature in his upcoming series. His current film, The Other Man is opening in New York this weekend at the Quad Cinema and will play in select theaters and festivals around the globe.
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Into The Theatre Of The Mind:
A Talk With Dan Woren
By Mende Smith
Dubbing English translations for Anime films, lead and background vocals for video games, or the obscure feature roles of trusted storyteller for libraries of best-selling audiobooks, there is so much work in the voice over world—once you find it. For veteran actor, voice over talent, and audiobook narrator Dan Woren, his savvy narration skills have kept him in the business most of his life. The growing popularity of listening to the books we love appeals to book lovers of all ages. For listeners’ young and old, Woren’s vocal style conveys all the animation, wonder, and fascination you might expect in an interview, telling his own living history with all the charm of a so-well-liked baritone that delights as well as accompanies one long-playing session after another. And he has rave reviews to match his unequalled performances. It cannot get any better than having a fan take you aside and exclaim “When we got to the destination of our road trip we still had a ways to go to the end of the story, and the wife and I sat in the car and waited fifteen minutes to come to the end.”
Fifteen minutes of Woren’s voice is butter caramel-smooth and the investment is easy on the ears. A timely, patient, elegant, and purposeful voice can lull a thousand babies to sleep, or keep a bike rider fixed on his path. “Ever since I was a kid in Elementary school I always liked reading aloud.” Fast-forward to his college years whenever his friends needed narration for their projects, Woren answered the call. With a degree in Theatre, his voice work dominating his schedule from the very start of his career, and he says, he ‘fell into it fortuitously’. “I met people who complemented me on the quality of my voice and thought that I might be good at it.” Auditions later, Woren found his rightful place at the mic for commercials and Anime work. Over the years expanding his base to incorporate live acting roles too. Woren says that working behind the microphone is the same as on camera or stage acting.
To date, Woren has narrated over 60 audiobooks, both fiction and non. He holds the writers of the works he has had the pleasure to read for in the highest regard, naming fiction writers Leif Enger and Steve Martini especially great. He says he does not have a favorite genre after a lifetime of narrating books, though he prefers fiction—and he says he will read anything if the timing is right. He is flexible, and believable. His range, inexhaustible. With a poignant dictation style and rapier wit, Woren has easily repped for Commercial Real Estate and Life Insurance firms. Among his Anime series credits are leading roles in Bleach, Fate Zero and Digimon. Video gamers know his trusted voice in the crazy-popular World of Warcraft series, among six others. Adept at so many genres, Woren’s delicious timbre makes it all seem so easy to pull off.
On being prepared for work he offers this advice: Just go for it! The industry is exclusive and evergreen, provided you are willing to work hard. If you are an actor looking to break into the business, Woren says, “Get into the workshops and formal training programs that have cropped up all over the country—whatever you can afford, do that. The gaming industry alone is primed for aspiring voice actors.”
Woren says he highly recommends Deyan Institute to get beginning or ongoing coaching in audio book, animation or video game performances, adding that they were integral in his own skillset development. “They are not only great people, they have excellent instructors for every genre that one might want to explore. In addition to the institute, Deyan Audio casts, records and produces numerous audio books each year, at their two facilities in the Valley (Northridge and Tarzana). I have had the pleasure of working with them for over 7 years.” Woren credits the program for helping him to become established in the land of audiobook narration, and introducing him to the business—into the forays of the voice over world. Like tuning an instrument for a concert performance, voice demands equal preparation, practice, and technique. “It’s a wonderful period of time for actors because there is so many opportunities with new media. Online, and even on Netflix and now Google is starting as well, there are so many companies that are producing products.” Woren adds, being a narrator in this field, it is not necessary to have the ‘impeccable booming baritone voice’ that is so often thought of with regards to the listening experience.
“There is room in the market for a myriad of vocal types and qualities. Quirky, compelling, interesting, young, old, textured (or not) my point is, that just because one doesn't have the quintessential narrator or announcer voice, doesn't mean that you can't get work in the field.”
He loves to read and believes reading is the key to carry on in this business. He reads aloud every day to keep on top of his craft. “It is best to stay fresh and to hear what your voice sounds like to others, that is the key to acting work.” The key to projection, the key to timing and the whereabouts to the greatest stories are the silver key to his success. Through the years, he says, he has always been working—like a machinist, or a cable runner, spooling along from platform to platform. With great humility and enthusiasm he discusses his living history. Seamlessly speaking from one reading to the next, and the next and so on, in the long auditions, call backs, and numerous television shows he kept a level head and a steady pace. Woren never lost his interest in connecting with people and loftily took his voice back into theatre—his first love. Having recently finished an on stage performance in the New York stage premiere of Behind Closed Doors: The Musical, playing to sold out houses in the New York Fringe Festival, Woren recounts the awesomeness of his volley back to the stage. “ I just got back from New York and was there for five weeks. Acting on stage again really was a tremendous thing—and I am always staying active and adding tools to my craft. I am looking forward to acting in another play now that opens in March.”
In 2014, Woren was honored to receive two Earphone Awards from AudioFile Magazine (arguably the bible of the industry, reviewing over 2400 audiobooks each year), and was also named one of the magazine's Best Voices of the Year. Deeply humbled by the recognition, he is delighted to have captured the attention of children and family listeners while working on one of his favorite projects. A relative newcomer to the field, he has been successful in the audiobook industry for over 8 years, now. “No matter where you live,” he smiles, “there are always good opportunities for good voices, especially with the emergence of home-studio recording."
According to Woren, to be ready for a career in acting—whatever the platform may be, it is to always be training. “Like for instance sometimes reading for non-fiction can be pretty dry—don’t get me wrong here, I am grateful for the works of non-fiction—and so it’s a challenge at times making it not sound that way to someone that’s listening to it, and in that world, it’s your job.” Woren laughs. “And doing an audiobook is to bring it to life, into the theatre of the mind, so to speak.”
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Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Reality
By Sharon Freedman
Actors, writers, directors, we’re all pieces in the big puzzle that makes up a particular project. It often feels like we’re at the mercy of other people to make all of our decisions for us. Sure, that’s the case when it comes to whether or not someone chooses to collaborate with you, but we always have a say in the decision too. More importantly we can choose how we feel about a situation. Just because you don’t get a certain job doesn’t automatically mean that you have to be upset and feel down and unfocused. The key to having greater control of your emotions is being able to get clear on what you’re actually feeling without judgment. This leads us to the second part of Mindfulness, DESCRIBE.
DESCRIBE is about separating our true thoughts and desires from our judgments of ourselves. I believe our thoughts create our reality and as the Buddha said, “ All that we are is a result of what we have thought.” I think it’s empowering to know that if you don’t like the direction of your life currently you have the power to change it by changing your thoughts. That being said you’re equally powerful when it comes to buying into a negative reality.
You know that nasty voice that says things to you like, “You’re not good enough to get that job?” or “You really f^&%$ that up!” or “Why even bother trying, ‘cuz you’re not going to get it anyway.” I refer to that voice as The Sabatour. The good news is that The Sabatour and your true self are not one in the same. The bad news is that The Sabatour owns real estate in your brain. The Sabatour’s job is to keep you safe and freaks out when presented with the possibility of change.
One really helpful way of dealing with The Sabatour is to personify it and then kill it with kindness. Honestly, taking some time now to get to know your Sabatour will save you boatloads of pain later. I’d suggest actually writing about or visually creating your Sabatour. Give it a name, describe what it looks like, what it says, when it appears. Then next time it speaks you can put a face to that voice, which will make it much easier to separate it from yourself. Then literally thank it for doing its job and tell it that it can go on break now. Finally, move full steam ahead toward whatever it warned you against or look at the situation from a more loving perspective because it only appears when you’re doing something that’s important to you.
When you buy into what The Sabatour is saying you end up judging yourself harshly. Then when you get upset at yourself for listening to The Sabatour you’re judging your judgment and it becomes a nasty cycle. The only way to stop that wheel from spinning is acceptance. You’re going to feel low sometimes, you’re going to listen to your Sabatour sometimes, and that’s OK. By working this way with your Sabatour you’ll get much better at trusting your instincts and feeling like you’re more in control of the reality of your life.
Next month we’re going to check out the final part of Mindfulness, PARTICIPATE. That’s a fun one and I can’t wait to tell you all about it.
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Autism And The War On Alternative Medicine
By Alexander Ostroff
I recently visited my good friend Lajos “Lalee” Hugyetz, a legendary Hungarian kickboxer and MMA fighter. Lalee’s accolades in the world of competitive fighting are truly mindboggling. 5-time World Kickboxing Champion; 7-time European Kickboxing Champion; 5-time European Cup World Kickboxing champion; 4-time USA Kickboxing Champion; 31-time Hungarian kickboxing champion, and Guinness Book of World Records holder. Outside the ring Lalee is a gentle giant and a master instructor who runs a successful personal training business in Los Angeles. His clients range from regular folks to celebrities and everyone in between. Lalee also works with kids and teenagers who have disabilities. One of his best students is Armand Stevens, a second generation Hungarian-American teenager who is autistic. I thought this was very inspiring and asked Lalee to put me in touch with Armand’s mother, Ildiko Cseto Stevens.
I arrived to Ildiko’s home not knowing what to expect. Up until then I’d heard sound bites here and there about the whole vaccine-autism controversy. My understanding of autism was mostly limited to movies and television. All my preconceived notions were swiftly dispelled when I met Armand. He’s a handsome and extremely fit young man, polite and welcoming, a bit shy, though no more than any teenager would be if a new person came to visit. Little did I know how much improvement he made since childhood, all guided by the wisdom and love of his dedicated, seemingly indefatigable mother.
Armand disappeared and I was lead to the kitchen by Daniel, a burly war veteran. After serving his country for five years in Afghanistan and Iraq, Daniel returned home a war hero and received two Purple Hearts. He went on to earn a degree in nursing education and became an expert in helping autistic and disabled adolescents.
Ildiko Cseto Stevens was waiting for me at the kitchen table. Autism is an emotional issue, so I was prepared for a challenging interview, but she was surprisingly candid about her life. Ildiko is a successful attorney with a practice in Beverly Hills; a self-made woman who’s learned how to transform challenges into positive results. She’s an elegant and classy lady with a calm, soft-spoken manner; the kind that comes from having great inner strength and hard earned wisdom.
Ildiko says that Armand was the perfect Gerber baby. A friend from Germany had warned her about the dangers of MMR vaccinations. She made a decision to postpone the vaccinations until she could obtain more information. Ildiko’s husband was unsure and questioned the merits of her friend’s warning. He decided to consult his physician son, who strongly advised that Armand get vaccinated as soon as possible. Needless to say, this created a lot of tension between husband and wife. According to Ildiko, her husband eventually made a unilateral decision and took Armand to get vaccinated without her knowledge. After receiving the MMR vaccination, Armand went into a seizure. From age two Armand didn’t speak or make eye contact. Taking him out anywhere became nearly impossible, as the sensory overload would provoke meltdowns. Ildiko has absolutely no doubt whatsoever that Armand’s autism was triggered by vaccinations. Glutathione is the body’s main detoxifier and is created through methylation. Healthy children are able to naturally detox. Toxins never break the blood-brain barrier, so there is no brain damage. Research has shown that 90% of children on the autism spectrum have impaired methylation, meaning their bodies are unable to effectively remove toxins like heavy metals, pesticides and chemicals from the body.
“I wish I had known about these tests when Armand was a child,” said Ildiko, referring to special DNA and chromosome tests that can determine if the body has an impaired detoxification process. “I would’ve never let him get vaccinated… Parents must use their own judgment. There are pediatricians who will agree to a lighter schedule of vaccinations, phasing them out—no more than one vaccination a year—or even not to vaccinate at all.” Ildiko recommends doing a detox protocol before and after the vaccinations. She also warns that parents should never allow a physician to vaccinate a child whose immune system is down, such as from a cold or flu.
Those blessed with never having to deal with more than an annual check-up tend to have romantic misconceptions of how the American healthcare industry works. Perhaps such ideas are influenced by poplar television shows, where scholarly looking medical sages in sleek lab coats go to the ends of the Earth for their patients. In reality, patients often find themselves becoming pinballs, fired into a world of inimical moving parts.
Ildiko recalls the time when she took Armand to see a prominent pediatric neurologist at a major medical center in Los Angeles. They waited two hours in a tiny room with no windows and no toys. By the time the neurologist showed up, Armand was overwhelmed by anxiety and red eyed from crying. The physician scrutinized Armand’s inflamed appearance and ordered him to undergo twenty-four-hour observation, while tied down to a bed and with electrodes on his head. Ildiko reluctantly agreed.
Once again they sat in the waiting room, this time for half a day. Ildiko even brought a sleeping bag in order to be next to Armand. When it was finally time to do the test, she was shocked to discover that there was a sick child in the test room. Enough was enough. No more testing, it was time to go home. The pediatrician stormed in and launched into a diatribe.
“There are physician healers who are at the highest level of their profession. Then there are those who just practice medicine,” said Ildiko, recalling the early years when she had to navigate through the dark, foggy waters of the healthcare system. “Doctors who push multiple vaccinations in one day are not intentionally trying to hurt the child. They’re following what they’ve been trained to do. A parent must be strong and listen to gut feelings when making a decision. Read a lot. Ask around. Always do what feels correct. A diploma on the wall from a good school doesn’t mean the doctor is good, doesn’t mean they do their research and are open to new ideas.”
The social challenges associated with having an autistic child can easily overwhelm parents. “Every family with autistic kids have their share of horror stories, said Ildkio. “There are some very evil people out there, but there are also angels.” Traveling with an autistic child is particularly challenging. Ildiko recalls the time when they had to fly out of state to see a specialist. It was Armand’s first time on a plane and he had a meltdown shortly before takeoff. One of the passengers raised hell and threatened to sue the airline if Armand was not removed. They left and took another flight, on a different airline, which turned out to be a blessing. “US Airways were very nice,” said ildkio. “Their entire crew did everything possible to make Armand feel comfortable. They understood that this trip was a chance for healing and that I couldn’t ride in a car with Armand.”
Ildiko and her husband divorced when Armand was nine years old. Spouses strive to work together seamlessly to maintain unity and happiness while caring for their autistic child, but it’s a 24/365 job. Maintaining emotional and mental stamina throughout what is essentially a life time commitment of care requires all kinds of strength. Sometimes spouses disagree over what is the best form of treatment for their autistic child. A confluence of social and interfamily issues can build up over time, until love is no longer able to override stress and a marriage starts to crumble.
Although Ildiko has moved mountains for her son, she knows that Armand’s treatment milestones of eye contact and speech would’ve been unattainable without her faith in God. “When you’re a spiritual person and when you enter another dimension through prayer or meditation, and ask God for help, it will be given,” said Ildiko, who is Jewish. “It has been given to me every single time I asked during the healing process. This is something that works for me and I believe in it.”
Ildiko recommends that parents choose carefully when seeking therapy for their autistic child. “Therapists can be leaches,” said Ildiko. “There’s speech therapy, occupational therapy, this therapy, that therapy—therapists have built lucrative careers off of autistic children. ABA is good but it only works for a period of time”, said Ildiko, referring to Applied Behavior Analysis. “Armand would do six hour sessions every day, until he plateaued. I was always there watching carefully. I combined the therapy with floor time, play time and more fun.”
The Son-Rise Program has helped Armand tremendously. This special program was created by Barry (Bears) Neil Kaufman and Samahria Lyte Kaufman, founders of The Options Institute and the Autism Treatment center of America. “These children must be reminded that they are perfect. There’s no point in reminding them that they are different,” said Ildiko. “The Son-Rise program uses a very loving and positive approach. Autistic children understand everything that is going on, they just can’t communicate. They would like to do what we want them to do, but they cannot. If we try to force them, they will withdraw even more. That’s why it’s important for the learning environment to be full of love and praise. If they feel relaxed and are having fun, then they will learn.”
By the time Armand was eight or nine, other than his autism, he was a super healthy child. “Except for gluten and casein, I don’t follow any absolute restrictions,” said Ildiko, discussing Armand’s diet. “He doesn’t eat shrimp, which has a lot of metals. The smaller the fish the better it is. Less seafood is best. I built up Armand’s taste buds by giving him healthy foods. For dessert he likes fruits. I introduced him to healthy veggies. We don’t use sugar. Raw honey is good. Nuts and seeds are good.” Armand also takes various supplements like B-12 and probiotics. Ildiko explains that gluten and casein have an opioid molecular structure. Most autistic children only eat a few items like bread and milk. When Ildiko first instituted a gluten free diet for Armand, he went cold turkey. “I didn’t know that I should’ve gone slowly. Armand got withdrawal symptoms like headaches, dark circles, aggressive behavior, insomnia and all that. It takes about nine weeks for the opioid substance to be out completely.” Ildkio emphasizes the importance of detoxing the body. “The toxic metals and viruses from the vaccinations damage the gut and cause a lot of stomach problems,” said Ildiko, adding that chelation therapy and neurofeedback have been part of Armand’s treatment protocols. Although conventional medicine tends to reject these types of alternative treatments, Ildiko has been through it all and knows what works and what doesn’t work. Armand has made incredible progress using alternative medicine. No doctor can deny this fact. Ildiko is quick to point out that alternative treatments must be respected and properly administrated by well-trained professionals. Most of the reported dangerous and failures stem from improper application.
Ildiko remembers when she took Armand to see an allopathic pediatrician for the first time. When she mentioned that Armand’s autism was triggered by vaccinations, the pedestrian hit the roof. He told her that this is total nonsense. A couple of years later she and Armand went to see him again. By then Armand was able to speak. The pediatrician was flabbergasted. “I’m very sorry I was rude to you,” he said, eyes welling up with remorse, “It was I who was the ignorant one. I’ve seen hundreds of cases of autism and never, ever have I seen such remarkable improvement. Whatever you have done and are doing with Armand, I want to learn.”
Exercise is a critical part of Armand’s routine. “I believe that the body is the temple of the soul,” said Ildiko, who used to be a competitive gymnast in Hungary. “Even when Armand was a baby I started doing baby gymnastics with him. He’s great on the trampoline and very good at swimming and horseback riding.” Presently, Armand is focused on martial arts and working out with weights. At first, Ildiko was afraid to let Armand train in Taekwondo with Lalee Hugyetz. She was afraid the movements would be too complex for her son to handle. Armand’s exceptional memory assuaged her worries. He was able to pick it up faster than any of Lalee’s regular students. Armand is currently working on getting his green belt.
One huge sign of progress has been Armand’s amazing ability to self-regulate. “Armand is a self-healer and does whatever he needs to do to make himself better,” said Ildiko. “He knows homeopathic medicine, how to eat properly, how to get good sleep. Most importantly, he knows how to heal through the power of love, prayer, meditation, and the belief in the higher self.
Then there’s the issue of household toxins. “Autistic children are extremely sensitive,” said Ildiko. “Get rid of as many toxins from the household environment as possible. For example, just changing the cleaning supplies, like the cleaning agents and the solvents. Use all natural products for laundry. Most people don’t realize how much toxicity there is in the things they buy and use.”
Armand was home schooled until he became verbal. He currently attends Vista Del Mar, a one hundred year old Jewish orphanage in Los Angeles. A few years ago Vista Del Mar went into special education. It’s a unique school with a unique program that allows autistic students to receive a well-rounded education. “Armand is athletic but he’s also very creative,” said Ildiko. “He paints, plays piano, he loves to sing and entertain. Vista Del Mar is built around entertainment and athletics, next to the academics. They have extensive athletic facilities, including pool, basketball courts, and tennis. The temple serves as a theater.”
The vaccine-autism debate brings attention to the ongoing war against alternative medicine. Most doctors continue to question and attack anything that is not approved by the conventional medical establishment. Ildiko doesn’t deny the merits of medical science, she simply refuses to allow a highly dysfunctional healthcare system to dictate her son’s future.
Overall, there’s a lot more awareness and acceptance of alternative medicine among Americans. Getting access to it is another matter. Some health insurance policies cover acupuncture and a few other kinds of naturopathy, but even then it’s usually for an insufficient amount of sessions. Alternative medicine is not a feel good pill. It takes time to work. A patient should expect to spend more time with a naturopath than a physician, which is good thing.
Skepticism of alternative medicine is not unfounded. There are charlatans out there who peddle unproven treatments that are a dangerous. Proper research and common sense are the best defenses against bad apples, which exist in every profession. In truth, the majority of naturopaths are knowledgeable and caring professionals. The medical establishment criticizes alternative medicine, yet seems to ignore the following statistics:
According to Dr. Gary Null and colleagues in their March 2004 article entitled Death by Medicine, the number of people having in-hospital, adverse reactions to prescribed drugs to be 2.2 million per year. The number of unnecessary antibiotics prescribed annually for viral infections is 20 million per year. The number of unnecessary medical and surgical procedures performed annually is 7.5 million per year. The number of people exposed to unnecessary hospitalization annually is 8.9 million per year… Conventional medicine kills 783,936 every year. That means that medical errors are the leading cause of death in the United States. Keep in mind that this is from 2004. Needless to say, things haven’t improved.
Part of the vaccine-autism debate has to do with the use of thimerosal, a mercury-containing preservative used in some vaccines. In July 1999, from an abundance of caution, various health organizations and vaccine manufactures agreed to reduce or eliminate thimerosal from vaccines. The medical establishment claims that there is no convincing evidence that low doses of thimerosal are dangerous. This may or may not be true. How do we know what the health effects will be in twenty or thirty years from now? Consider the history of lead, which used to be added in “low doses” to a plethora of consumer products.
Clair Cameron Patterson was a brilliant American geochemist who discovered that there were increased levels of lead in the food chain and the environment. Patterson started his push against lead around 1965. Lead was officially removed from all gas and consumer products in 1986. That’s how long Patterson had to fight the top notch scientists hired by the lead additive industry. The pro-lead scientists probably knew Patterson was right about the dangers of lead. But truth is always despised by all except those who seek it. In the wrong hands science offers countless nooks and crannies where seeds of deception can be planted. The pro-lead scientists didn’t need to prove to Patterson himself that he was wrong; they were paid to persuade layman decision makers like judges and politicians, and the public, that Patterson was wrong. It took decades for Patterson’s work to finally result in lead being removed from fuels and other consumer products.
When someone takes on the powerful medical establishment, their only chance of success is indefatigable persistence, fearlessness and the ability to get people to actually sit down and think for themselves. Relying only on proof to force the medical establishment to reverse their entrenched positions on various health issues is like pitting a military reenactment battalion against a real military battalion.
Government and the healthcare industry work together symbiotically. Their motivation is painfully obvious; the healthcare industry ranks as one of the most profitable industries in America. If we factor in all the healthcare subsectors, then it’s by far the most profitable industry on the planet. Their army of lobbyists have Washington by the testicles and the recipients of this ever increasing grip are enjoying every moment. It is one thing to present scientific research for consideration. It’s quite another to shove it down parents’ throats as unquestionable truth. The fundamental problem with the vaccine safety studies is that they’re directly or indirectly controlled by the companies producing the vaccines. The fact that researchers have been discovering more and more bias in medical publishing is hardly a revelation. The conclusions of these studies are released to the world via medical journals and magazines. Most doctors and all health agencies accept these conclusions as gospel and use them to make decisions.
The pro-vaccine medical establishment cites numerous studies concluding that vaccines are safe. In summation, all these studies claim there is no evidence that vaccines trigger autism, and that complications arising from their administration to children are extremely rare. Rarity proves existence.
These vaccine studies are sophisticated operations conducted by the best and brightest, using the most advanced research methods available. That’s fantastic, except they only show positive results that support the pro-vaccine positon. This creates the appearance that science was used to figure out how to arrive at a mandated pre-exiting conclusion.
After many individual studies were concluded over the years, the medical establishment decided to conduct a meta-analysis. This form of study aggregates and examines the results of multiple, earlier studies. By increasing the size of the research study sample, scientists can generate more accurate conclusions. The meta-analysis concluded that vaccines do not cause autism. Not much of surprise since the earlier studies used to conduct the meta-analysis arrived at the exact same conclusion. Apparently the pro-vaccine medical establishment felt that a huge meta-analysis would sound so profound and authoritative that no one would ever bother notice that it was actually completely redundant.
What about a massive official study of children who were not vaccinated and did not get autism? There is anecdotal evidence derived from a number of physicians around the world who claim that out of the thousands of unvaccinated children examined, none of them had autism and all were far healthier than vaccinated children. A number of surveys have also arrived at the same conclusion.
Studies have shown that a decrease in vaccinations caused an increase in preventable diseases among children. However, none of these studies provide any details about what conditions these children were living in and how their parents were taking care of them. More importantly, these studies fail to point out all the unvaccinated or lightly vaccinated children who have never got sick, or did get sick and fully recovered. Nature gave us an immune system for a reason. Otherwise human civilization would’ve died out a long, long time ago.
Until truly objective medical research can provide definitive, indisputable proof that vaccines are completely safe in the long-term and do not trigger autism, then there is no bases to say that the viewpoints held by the anti-vaccine movement are false. Whether or not parents chose to vaccinate, the fundamental point is that no public or private entity has the right to embargo or revoke their right to make this choice. It may be for religious or spiritual reasons, not believing the research, or other personal reasons—it really doesn’t matter. The American people are not obligated to explain themselves to government or the health care industry. It’s supposed to be the other way around.
In the 1980s, the vaccine manufacturers were forced to endure expensive lawsuits over injuries caused by childhood vaccines. The manufactures claimed that these lawsuits were preventing them from developing new vaccines. In 1982, the pharmaceutical industry told Congress that they will deprive the nation of vaccines unless they are provided with liability protection. In 1986 Congress enacted a law that gave them this protection, making it extremely difficult for vaccine victims to obtain federal compensation in the U.S. Court of Claims.
On October 1, 1988 the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) went into effect. According to its website, the VICP provides a streamlined approach to compensate children and their families in the “very rare instance that a vaccine causes injury.” It is a no-fault system, paid by a small tax on every vaccine. The VICP has already awarded millions of dollars to families, and there are over five thousand pending cases. Here’s the kicker, all of the medical records and other case details are unpublished.
Considering the immense resources of the pharmaceutical industry, it’s hard to believe that any amount of lawsuits could impede their ability to develop new vaccines, not to mention that creating more vaccines would equal more profit. It appears that the vaccine manufactories were so scared of the cluster you-know-what of lawsuits, that they defecated their pants and blackmailed the government into creating VICP. All of this leads to one obvious question: if it is true that vaccines are not dangerous and do not trigger autism, then why did all of these legal events take place? If the families’ lawsuits were baseless, the issue would’ve died out long ago. Obviously these lawsuits were not baseless, otherwise millions of dollars in damages would not have been awarded. Everything happens for a reason.
Nevertheless, it’s unfair to vilify the entire pharmaceutical industry. Modern pharmacology has enabled many people to live productive and active lives. The pharmaceutical industry employs some brilliant and caring researchers. Sometimes their work sees the light of day and ends up helping a lot of people. Other times it conflicts with the purgatives of the C-suite.
Ildiko says her upcoming book and documentary film will be educational, but will also focus on the beautiful and positive memories of raising Armand. “All of these children have the potential to be healed and improved to a point where they can have a meaningful life,” said Ildiko. “The biggest challenge to healing these children are their parents. I would like to help parents change their attitude, thinking process, emotions toward this so-called incurable problem. Nothing is incurable.”
Ildiko emphasizes the importance of positive thinking. “God has given me this challenge for a reason,” said Ildiko. “The experience has taught me so much about life and health. Without it I wouldn’t be the strong woman that I am today. Having an autistic child is a tragic situation, but what we think about is what we create. Healing can only start to take place when we weed out every negative thought and learn to be happy and in the moment. Our thoughts are powerful energy. Most people live in the past and never get over it. But the past is gone. The future may or may not happen, no one knows. I’ve made the choice to be happy. No experience can make me feel unhappy. This is the only way to heal.” The strength of any nation is intrinsically linked to the health of its people. The health of the American people continues to rapidly decline. Healthcare costs and medical errors continue to skyrocket. Something is clearly not working. No public or private entity can fix it for us. Medical technology has made great progress, but there will never be a magic pill for perfect health. The American people must find the courage to step back and consider all the options that exist for both preventing and treating health problems. Enlightenment does not originate externally. It comes from choosing to be open-minded and then putting in the intellectual work necessary to obtain the answers we seek.
Contacts Lajos “Lalee” Hugyetz www.lakickbox.com
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iPad Air 2 And iPad Mini 3
A Breath Of Fresh Air?
By Kia Dargahi
iPad Mini 3:
The 3rd generation of Apple’s iPad Mini lineup was announced last week and I’m sad to report that it is a very mini update indeed. The Mini features changes to its home button, now coming fully equipped with a touch ID sensor, as well as a gold color variant for those of us with more of a bling factor than others. That’s it. Nothing else has been modified and it features the same specifications as the iPad Mini 2 (or iPad Mini with retina display 1st generation) BUT Apple is selling the Mini 3 for a whopping $100 more than the previous generation. This raises a few questions about Apple; for one, does Apple so strongly believe in this iteration of the iPad Mini that it isn’t going to bother updating its specs? Does Apple believe Touch ID and limited functionality Apple Pay is worth a $100 upgrade? Or is Apple trying to draw attention from the Mini to its older brother the Air 2?
It is important to note that the last generation of iPad’s featured identical specifications, except of course the screen size options. Or so it may seem. In fact, many reviewers were quick to point out that the retina display found on the iPad Mini featured a low color gamut of about 67% color accuracy. Compared to the 100% color accuracy of the iPad Air at the time, it is hard to see why Apple would keep the same exact “poor performing” display in the iPad Mini this time around. Going back to one of the questions I raised earlier, note that Apple’s iPad Minis have been cannibalizing the bigger iPad’s sales ever since it first came around 3 years ago; it’s a very portable device and finds itself at home with kids and traveling adults around the world. This could be a rebuttal of sorts from Apple, showing that the iPad Air 2 is clearly superior in every manner to the Mini, making it almost disappointing to buy one, as we shall now see.
iPad Air 2:
The undeniable star of the show, the iPad Air 2 was announced alongside the new iPad Minis and highlighted a number of key improvements. First of all, the processor has been updated to an A8X processor with 2 GB of ram. This is by far and large the most powerful processor that Apple has ever had on one of their devices and is a huge selling point for the iPad Air 2. With twice the RAM as before and quite a bit more processing power alongside the software enhancement “metal”, the iPad Air 2 finds itself as a much more capable long-term device than its predecessors. Furthermore, the camera has been updated to an 8 megapixel snapper on the back and the same facetime HD camera found on the front. This, of course, means better pictures alongside better camera software, which is always a plus when it comes to specs. Furthermore, the Touch ID sensor has been added alongside a thinner chassis with no orientation lock/mute button present. To think that Apple could make the original iPad Air thinner baffles me; the device was already so thin and light for its size and materials at the time that holding the iPad Air 2 truly feels impressive and most of all easy on the hands. The Touch ID sensor brings online Apple Pay and fingerprint verification with it, making your iPad Air 2 free from the hands of bad hearted people. The omission of the mute toggle was clearly needed to keep the iPad so thin; however, it’s a clear downside to those who have gotten used to it. Control center should prove as a decent alternative; but there’s something about that click of a hardware toggle that never gets old. Finally, the display has been glazed with an anti-reflective coating, which actually works quite well in ambient light.
There is only good to say about this iteration of iPad Air; the near 2K display with coupled with amazing build quality, powerful processing, and a plethora of new features makes this tablet killer. The gold color option is also present here, matching its iPhone cousin. I would contend that the iPad Air 2 is even a rather large upgrade from the iPad Air only announced a year ago. It’s really that good (although the display is a bit less efficient on the new model). This obsession with thinness makes for a truly portable and usable device; I’ve only ever been so impressed with the thinness and lightness of something when dealing with the iPhone 6 only a month ago. If you’re on the fence about getting this device, wait until black Friday comes around and go ahead and treat yourself to this monster of a device; it’ll make a ghost of your old one, just make sure it doesn’t come back to haunt you…
The iPad Mini 3 finds itself in an awkward position when compared to its bigger alternative the iPad Air 2. While the iPad Air 2 features a thinner design, massively improved specifications, and a $100 higher price tag than the Mini 3, the Mini 3 only has Touch ID to offer when compared to its previous iteration an a worse performing display. If you’re on the fence about choosing the Air 2 or Mini 3, go with the Air 2 this time around; at $100 more expensive, it is a bargain compared to the Mini 3. Apple has solidified its larger tablet lineup while seemingly neglected its smaller tablet lineup, which makes for an interesting roadmap for what’s to come…