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The Child and Family Center, a National Association for the Education of Young Children accredited program located in the Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) Building, will hold its annual open house from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Thursday, April 3, in FCS rooms 107/109.

The center, a nationally recognized student-teacher training facility, provides childcare services for CSULB employees and their families for children 18 months to 5 years of age. The open house is an opportunity for families to receive enrollment applications and information, meet the lead teachers and administrators, tour the classrooms and learn about the center’s curriculum.

For more information, call the Child and Family Center at 562/985-8500 or visit its website.

You’re working hard to plan for your retirement, but have you thought about how to protect your assets and maintain your quality of life should accident or illness strike? Without long-term care coverage, paying for future long-term care can quickly deplete even sizable savings and retirement accounts.

The CalPERS Long-Term Care Program is accepting new applications. The program offers flexible long-term care coverage options and is designed specifically for current California public employees, retirees, their spouses, parents, parents-in-law, and adult children and adult siblings, between the ages of 18 and 79. You do not need to participate in CalPERS retirement or health benefit programs to be eligible.

CalPERS Long-Term Care coverage can provide you peace of mind, knowing that you have made important decisions about your future. Take the first step today. Learn more about CalPERS Long-Term Care Program by requesting an application kit at the CalPERS Long-Term Care website or by calling 800/908-9119. This information is also available on the Benefits Services website.

Amy Tomczyk, the director of outreach and education at Blue Zones–a Minneapolis-based longevity company that shows people how to set up their lifestyle and surroundings for health and happiness–will be the Donald P. Lauda Wellness Lecture Distinguished Speaker on April 8 at 5 p.m., in The Pointe in the Walter Pyramid. The lecture will touch on recreation and leisure as a vital component in promoting healthy lifestyles, with Tomczyk giving insights on how to promote health and wellness.

Blue Zones shifts the focus from individual behavior to evidence-based strategies that optimize one’s “life radius” so people have healthier places in which to live, work and recreate. In her position, Tomczyk leads national level marketing, communications and public relations strategies to promote Blue Zones and increase engagement in community and workplace health programs called Blue Zones Projects. Tomczyk received her master’s degree in education from Loyola University and her B.A. in journalism from the University of Minnesota.

Her presentation first describes the identified Blue Zones areas–places that have the greatest life expectancy and where more people reach age 100 than anywhere else–and the nine common denominators among those locations. Using National Geographic photography, she shares the inspirations of longevity and offers a science-backed blue print for the average American to live an additional 12 quality years.

Tomczyk’s presentation also includes stories and results from the Blue Zones Project community health efforts where these secrets of longevity, health and happiness have been introduced to 17 communities around the country, including beach cities in the Los Angeles area. By using a systematic, environmental approach to health improvement that focuses on optimizing policy, social networks and the built environment, the Blue Zones’ team has successfully raised life expectancy and lowered health care costs.

Blue Zone's logo

Established in 2002 through a grant from the Kaiser Permanente Foundation, the Donald P. Lauda Wellness Lectureship was established to bring knowledge to the CSULB campus and the community at large through an innovative series of presentations by renowned experts in mental, physical, and spiritual health. Beginning in 2012, the lecture series was incorporated as the signature event for the inaugural College of Health and Human Services Wellness Week.

Five of the leading candidates to become the next mayor of Long Beach had an opportunity to tell voters how they will lead the city as CSULB hosted a mayoral forum March 19 in the campus’ Beach Auditorium.

With the election on April 8 less than a week away, the race to be the city’s mayor is clearly in the final stretch, and candidates were interested in sharing their thoughts for the city and trying to set themselves apart from the other contenders.

The event was co-sponsored by the CSULB Department of Journalism and Mass Communication, Associated Students, Inc. and the Long Beach Press-Telegram.

Addressing an overflow crowd that spilled into the University Student Union lobby, the candidates—real estate investor Damon Dunn, Vice Mayor Robert Garcia, Assemblywoman Bonnie Lowenthall, Long Beach City College trustee Doug Otto and Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske—took on a variety of questions on the future of the city’s budget, economic development growth, employment, the civic center project, port operations and more.

Press-Telegram Public Editor Rich Archbold moderated the forum while CSULB Faculty Senate chairman Daniel O’Connor and Daily 49er Editor-in-Chief Daniel Serrano joined Press-Telegram City Editor Melissa Evans on the panel that posed the questions to the candidates.

“It is a historic election that we’re facing on April 8,” said Archibold. “Historic, in the sense that for the first time we’re going to be electing a new mayor and five council people. As the election heads into the home stretch, this is a great time to see these five candidates.”

In all, some 10 candidates are vying for the chance to lead Long Beach at a time when it appears to be gaining renewed strength after the recession. The possible recovery, however, may be accompanied by serious challenges, including rising pension costs, the controversial question of whether to build a new civic center complex and the ongoing tasks of managing port operations and providing effective public safety.

During opening statements, four of the five candidates were quick to point out their connections to the university. Garcia recalled his first address as a student at the university, for which he eventually served as the student body president. Schipske, a CSULB instructor for many years, thanked her students for letting her dismiss class early so she could take part in the forum. Lowenthal pointed out her past employment as a computer programmer at the college and Otto spoke of his days of running the campus’ “Hard Fact Hill” as a student athlete at Long Beach’ Millikan High School.

It seemed there were few differences between the candidates and much agreement on many issues as they answered the questions posed, especially as it pertained to economic development. Throughout the forum, the loss of Long Beach’s economic development office was mentioned by each candidate, sometimes more than once. All five appeared to believe that the office or something like it should be re-established if the city is to continue in its economic recovery and bring more businesses to the city.

CSULB and the city’s education system was a continuing topic of discussion at the event. In fact, both questions Serrano posed had to do with the university and its students.

First, he queried the candidates on their position regarding the California State University system’s request for an additional $95 million for its 2014-15 budget for its efforts to enroll more students instead of turning them away. Then, the 49er editor asked them how they might go about creating jobs for CSULB graduates if they were the city’s mayor.

All five candidates supported the additional funds for the university, including Lowenthal, who noted she would take that support back to Sacramento in her role as an assembly member. On the jobs question, Dunn and Garcia suggested that the city and local businesses look into partnerships with the university. Otto and Lowenthal noted that collaborative meetings with education leaders would be helpful in the jobs arena, but Schipske disagreed with that, saying that it would be much more productive to meet with the students who are graduating and find out why they are leaving the community.

Near the end of the forum, members of the audience and the viewing public were able to submit questions to the panel on index cards and via Twitter as the forum was streamed live by the Press-Telegram and broadcast live on the radio by campus radio station KBEACH (88.1 FM-HD3) via its website and smartphone apps.

Purdue University Professor Ei-ichi Negishi, co-winner of the 2010 Nobel Prize in chemistry, will present CSULB’s 35th Nobel Laureate Lecture on Tuesday, April 8.

From 11 a.m. to noon, Negishi will give a general lecture on the “Magical Power of d-Block Transition Metals—Past, Present and Future,” followed by a technical lecture from 4 to 5 p.m. on “General and Highly Enantioselective (? 99% ee) Catalytic C-C Bond Formation via ZACA Reaction.” Both lectures are scheduled to take place in the University Student Union ballrooms.

He is the H. C. Brown Distinguished Professor of Chemistry at Purdue where he did postdoctoral studies after earning his Ph.D. at the University of Pennsylvania and bachelor’s degree from the University of Tokyo.

Negishi shared the Nobel Prize with Richard F. Heck of the University of Delaware and Akira Suzuki from Hokkaido University in Sapporo, Japan. According to his website, “By creating a more precise method for coupling two different (or same) carbon groups, Dr. Negishi created a powerful tool for synthesizing a wide range of useful chemicals used in medicine, agriculture and electronics.”

The three scientists’ work led to new methods of synthesizing complex organic compounds that have a variety of medical and commercial applications ranging from antibiotics to light-emitting diodes. Negishi focused on developing metal-based reactions called palladium-catalyzed cross-coupling to allow easy synthesis.

Nobel Laureate Lecture Features Chemist Negishi
Ei-ichi Negishi

The event is sponsored by CSULB’s College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics (CNSM) Student Council and co-sponsored by the CNSM Dean’s Office, Office of the President and Associated Students Inc.

The event is open free to the university. Members of the public may attend on a space-available basis and must purchase a guest parking permit at parking lot kiosks. For more information, contact Linda Sherwood at 562/985-2716.

–Anne Ambrose

English’s Suzanne Greenberg saw her new novel Lesson Plans named as one of the Library Journal’s Spring Picks in February in anticipation of its May publication by the Pasadena-based Prospect Park Books. Plans also was praised as “witty and insightful” in a recent Reader’s Digest article titled “7 Great Books from Small Presses that are Worth Your Time.”

“I’m really excited about Lesson Plans and its publication this spring,” said the member of the university since 1995. “It was such a boost when Reader’s Digest chose Lesson Plans as one of their favorite new books from independent presses. And, as a Library Journal Spring Pick, it will reach librarians all over the country. This is a novel for adults that revolves around home schooling in Southern California. It depicts the struggles families have in deciding how their children will be raised. It takes a sometimes funny look at the choices parents make on behalf of their children.”

Humor has always played a role in her writing. “I really like humor,” she said. “It is a natural element in my writing and I use it even in serious situations because there are serious moments when you find yourself laughing. It is just the way life is. This doesn’t mean the novel is a comedy. There is an underlying seriousness where characters are in danger. There are scary parts and sad sections but alongside both is humor.”

Prospect Park Books is a California publisher of both print and digital books focusing on fiction, humor, cooking/food and regional titles. ”I feel really happy about Lesson Plans, finding a home with Prospect Park Books,” said Greenberg. “It has been a long process. There were many “near hits” along the way. I feel lucky that I found a great agent who believed in the novel.”

Greenberg explains she wrote Lesson Plans without taking a stand for or against home schooling.

“I don’t, in fact, really have a strong opinion about home schooling. It’s just intriguing and works as the background for a cast of characters,” she said. “The main characters are David who home-schools three daughters while his wife works as a successful attorney. Beth, separated from her husband, Keith, home-schools her 7-year-old daughter, Jennifer, who has allergies, some of which are life-threatening, and which cause her to miss lots of school. Beth stumbles into home schooling. Then there are Winter and Patterson with their twin boys. Patterson has a religious impulse to home school his kids. These parents meet in different ways and conflict ensues. “

When Greenberg first became interested in the home-schooling sub-culture, she discovered a paradox.

“Despite its insular reputation, the world of home schooling seemed paradoxically really social to me,” she said. “Since the kids don’t go to school, they meet up with other families at special events. Home schooling is not about being at home for these families. There is a variety of reasons why families home school. I found it interesting to spend time with characters who were with their kids all day without that separation of school.”

As a winner of the 2003 Drue Heinz Literature Prize for Speed-Walk and Other Stories (a $15,000 prize accompanied the recognition—the collection came out in paperback in 2013) Greenberg is a successful short story writer. “I enjoyed the chance to write a longer plot,” she explained. “I felt freer when I didn’t have to wrap it up in 20 pages. A lot of writers end up having to make cuts. I have the opposite problem. I had to force myself to expand.”

Lesson Plans Of Her Own

Another challenge was making drama out of the domestic front. “You have all the elements of war when you are with kids all the time,” she laughed. “These may not be grand dramas but they are no less serious for that. These are the small dramas of getting kids out of bed on time. There is the drama of going back to work after having kids. There is plenty of conflict.”

The mother of three saw her self-mage as a parent change after writing Lesson Plans. “I never saw myself as the kind of parent who is always right,” she said. “I always have been impressed by confident parents who seem to know what to do. They know the right pre-school and high school and college for their kids. They know how to discipline. As it is, I parent primarily by instinct. But being a parent gave me all the right settings for the book, whether that meant playgrounds, ice skating rinks, parks, zoos or aquariums.”

Greenberg enjoyed setting her novel locally. “I placed the story in the neighborhoods where I live and spend time, such as Belmont Heights and Los Altos,” she said. “There are scenes in Sunset Beach and Laguna Beach and even Irvine. It is a very Southern California novel complete with Santa Ana winds. All I had to do was look out the window and use my imagination.”

Greenberg received her B.A. in English from Hampshire College in Amherst, Mass., and her MFA in creative writing from the University of Maryland.

Greenberg warned aspiring novelists to be ready for rejection.

“There was nothing about the publishing process that was easy,” she recalled. “You may think you are prepared for rejection but you are not. There will be more than you think. You need the right person with the right manuscript on the right desk at the right moment. There are so many factors including serendipity. What is needed is what your grandmother may have called stick-to-it-iveness. You need keep writing and, when it comes to publishing, to persevere.”

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering interim chair Jalal Torabzadeh’s expertise in enhanced oil and gas recovery processes is supported by solid fact.

“There will be dependence on petroleum for the foreseeable future,” said the member of the university since 1986. “That is true whether we are talking about solar, wind, biomass or any kind of alternative energy source. This is especially true for transportation. Currently, about 60 percent of our energy consumption still comes from oil and gas and this trend will probably continue for the next couple of decades and it will stay that way until a meaningful substitute is found.”

Torabzadeh’s conclusions are backed by professional experience as a reservoir engineer with the National Iranian Oil Co. and as a research engineer for the Chevron Oilfield Research Co. The winner of many awards from engineering professional societies including the Society of Petroleum Engineers’ Distinguished member and the CSULB Nicholas Perkins Hardeman Academic Leadership Award, he earned his B.S. degree in chemical engineering from Abadan Institute of Technology in Iran and his M.S. and Ph.D. in petroleum engineering from USC.

“When we talk about oil and gas reservoirs, we are not talking about pools of oil and gas,” he said. “The oil and gas are in porous spaces in sedimentary rocks. When there is pressure from one side or the other, the oil moves. An oil reservoir resembles a tray of marbles. Put oil in that tray and the liquid occupies the porous spaces between the marbles. What oil and gas recovery processes do is to push it from one side to another.”

That push can become a shove when the oil is deep enough. “When an oil or gas reservoir is discovered, the surface of the Earth is often several thousand feet above, and, in some cases, even 30,000 feet above,” he explained. “That depth represents tens of thousands of pounds per square inch pressure. The term “primary recovery” refers to the production of oil/gas due to the force by the natural energy stored in the reservoir (high pressure) which is released when a conduit is established between the reservoir and the surface.”

But after years of production and the natural energy of reservoir are depleted, the pressure drops and there will be no movement of the fluids. “When the natural energy of the reservoir is depleted, it is time for secondary recovery methods,” he explained. “The reservoir will be subjected to the injection of gas, which can be introduced into one well to help produce oil from another well. The same effect can be created using water but the mechanism is not very efficient due to big difference in mobility of oil and water. Additionally, due to the nature of sedimentary rocks and wetting characteristics, the oil sticks to the porous surfaces or is trapped in tiny pore channels. It acts like grease that sticks to dishes and needs to be washed by a detergent solution.”

The next step in oil recovery known as “enhanced oil recovery or tertiary method” is the use of chemicals. “Combined with water, these Surface Active Agents (Surfactants) clean out the residual oil by acting like detergent,” he said. “The primary process of using the reservoir’s natural energy recovers only 25-30 percent of the stored oil. The primary recovery must be supplemented by secondary and tertiary methods referred to as `improved oil recovery methods.’”

Long Beach, Wilmington and Signal Hill demonstrate oil recovery in action.

Oil Dependence Continues
Jalal Torabzadeh

“In the Wilmington fields, one of the largest reservoirs in the U.S. has been producing close to century. It has gone through the primary and secondary recovery process and still producing through use of chemical-floods, hot water injection and-steam floods to this day,” he said. “Look at Signal Hill which still uses pumps because the natural energy of the field is depleted. Even a field that has produced as long as 100 years still has more than 50 percent of its original oil in place.”

The pressure for more and more energy isn’t going away any time soon. Being the primary energy sources for a century, oil and natural gas will still be the main players in fulfilling the energy demand of the world for a foreseeable future.

“For instance, after decades of research and development, change in auto design and manufacturing and investment of billions of dollars, less than 5 percent of the cars in California (the largest user of alternative energy fueled-cars in the U.S.) use alternative fuels,” said Torabzadeh. “That leaves over 96 percent of trucks and cars still using gasoline, diesel fuel or natural gas. Electric cars are limited by their mileage and power. How can heavy vehicles like trucks operate on electricity? The batteries of electric cars should be charged daily/nightly. Where that energy (power) is coming from? Still, mostly from power generated by power plants burning oil, gas or other fossil fuels.

“Petroleum resources are scarce and limited,” he added. “We should use this energy resource wisely and efficiently and not waste it. Unfortunately, till now a major percent of oil produced is burnt. Oil is used in production of literally thousands if not millions of other products from medicine to household items, cloths, construction materials, space-related materials; computers, you name it. We should not burn it.”

Bill Gibson / A Fractured Community
Thousands of trucks continuously kick up massive amounts of dust, which creates dangerous conditions for one North Dakota community.

Fracking is a dirty business. To some, it’s a dirty word.

In 2012, Bill Gibson went to western North Dakota to research an article for Earth Island Journal. He saw what effect fracking—the fracturing of rock underground by a pressurized liquid—could have on a community, finding it has taken a personal toll on many.

“Above ground, people’s lives are being irrevocably harmed,” said Gibson, a professor of sociology at CSULB. “It is unlikely this will change in the next 10-20 years. What will happen after the oil and gas are gone can’t be totally determined, but right now, the rate of destruction is extremely high.”

The most obvious and visible assault on North Dakota’s Bakken Shale Territory are the oil well rigs—lots of them. They began appearing in 2006, and within a few years dominated the farming landscape. The industry plan is to go from 15,000 wells to roughly 50,000 during the next 15 years, according to Gibson. He thinks even that might be a conservative estimate.

“The people of western North Dakota are not uniformly opposed to the oil and gas industry,” said Gibson, “but they’re very much again the lack of accountability. And they stand very much against the speed and intensity of what is happening. The figure I heard is that this should be done over 100 years, instead of 15.”

According to a U.S. Geological Survey, the territory has a reservoir of up to 4 billion barrels of recoverable oil that would put it on par with Alaska’s North Slope. In 2012, North Dakota was producing about 660,000 barrels of oil a day, making it the second largest oil producing state behind Texas.

Another discernable sign of the industry’s presence are the trucks—lots of trucks, which can no way, no how go unnoticed. At approximately 1,000 truck trips per well, Gibson estimates that amounts to about 35 million trips over a 30-year period. With tractor-trailer rigs going up to 80 miles per hour, non-stop, 24 hours a day in many areas the impact on the roads is simply overbearing.

“The plan creates such intense land use that they will destroy everything well before they get to 50,000 wells,” said Gibson. “I’m just not sure the region can withstand it.”

When it comes to fracking, according to Gibson, the conventional thought is that building more wells is better than conventional coal mining and burning coal.

“In some ways yes, but it’s not a night-and-day contrast,” he said. “The entire natural gas infrastructure of wells and pipelines is so poorly constructed that it leaks massively. Methane is a green house gas 22 times more potent than carbon dioxide. On the ground this agrarian area has been turned into an industrial site. Thousands of trucks kick up massive amounts of dust, which is harmful to the people. And then the cattle have started coming down with what’s called ‘dust phenomena,’ where their lungs clog up with dust thrown up by the trucks, and they die.

“The trucks slow down on the side roads,” added Gibson, “but those roads are made of scoria, and it has a red dust. So as all these trucks go up and down these red pumice roads they crush that rock even more and send up continuous clouds of dust. When I talked to the people who lived out there, they said if you were on a rural route and had a mailbox on the side of the road it was usually full of this dust.”

Gibson said the intense dust combined with the non-stop truck traffic creates dangerous driving conditions for community members.

“I talked to a woman rancher about how she got on the road one day and the dust cloud was so thick she had to stop because there was zero visibility,” he said. “When the dust lifted enough so she could see, a tractor-trailer was right on top of her and it pulled off at the last moment. People get killed with great regularity.

“And people told me that social life in the surrounding areas had deteriorated because it was just too dangerous to drive to town on a Friday or Saturday night,” added Gibson, “that simply traffic was so bad people didn’t want to risk getting out on the highway.”

The traffic scenario wasn’t just hearsay for Gibson as he himself experienced the hazards of traversing those same roads first-hand.

“The driving was frightening, absolutely frightening,” he said. “I had to be hyper alert. It was frightening on the state highways because the speed was so great and on the county roads there was a lot of truck traffic, and those truck tires pick up rocks and throw them. People kept telling me they lost windshields routinely. They got the rear windshield on my rental car.”

And a nighttime drive through the area can be even more treacherous simply because it can get so very dark, said Gibson. The western North Dakota darkness, however, is dotted with well side flares going 24 hours a day and burning upwards of 500 million cubic feet of natural gas a day.

“At night it’s like driving through the gates of hell,” recalled Gibson. “It’s a demonic atmosphere. The wells and the flares are pretty close to people’s homes. If a flare goes out you’re in deep trouble, meaning the gas can simply drift into your house.”

In his Earth Island Journal article, Gibson tells the story of Brenda, a local who said the flare near her home did go out while away and she came back to house full of gas. It’s happened to her three times—so far.

“They’re afraid,” said Gibson. “The feeling of invasiveness permeates their lives; they can’t get away from it. They can’t get any peace, they have no solace anymore because this non-stop industrial machine is running 24/7. People there feel like they are being run over by the oil and natural gas industry and they can’t stop it. They feel like collateral damage and they are. I don’t think that’s an incorrect judgment at all.”

Of course, underground, fracking can create its own kind of a hell.

In some cases, wells fail, and in turn, fracking fluid spills over or blows out onto the land. That fluid is the mix of chemicals and water oil drillers use with intense pressure to break open the underground rock structures.

“Sometimes that process fails because fracking is an explosive grade force in terms of pounds per square inch,” said Gibson. “It’s 3,000-15,000 pounds per square inch and if you’re exercising that kind of force, it shouldn’t be surprising that thing don’t always go right.”

Gibson noted that the Bakken Territory bumps up to Theodore Roosevelt National Park and there’s this constant worry that the drilling is going to begin within sight of Roosevelt’s original ranch and would directly intrude upon the park in the very near future.

“I think it’s important that we understand what we are doing to our own country,” said Gibson. “It may be western North Dakota, but it’s still the United States.”

Asked what President Roosevelt might think of what’s taking place in western North Dakota, Gibson responded, “I think he would say that we as a people and as a government had failed to protect the land.”

Rick Behl, Geology, co-authored a paper in the journal Paleoceanography titled “Vertical oxygen minimum zone oscillations during the last 20 kyr in Santa Barbara Basin: A benthic foraminiferal community perspective” in January.

Martin Fiebert and Christopher Warren, Psychology, along with graduate student Marcie Dorethy recently published “Examining Social Networking Site Behaviors: Photo Sharing and Impression Management on Facebook” in the International Review of Social Sciences and Humanities.

Kent Hayward, Film and Electronic Arts, will screen his short films from 7-10 p.m. followed by a question-and-answer session to be held in Venice, Calif. on April 27 at the Dudley Cinema at the Beyond Baroque Arts Center.

Julie Van Camp, Philosophy, published a new 11th edition of Applying Ethics: A Text with Readings (Wadsworth/Cengage, 2014), and an essay “Expression in Dance” in Art and Expression, Ananta Charan Sukla, ed. (Verlag Traugott Bautz GmbH, 2013), pp. 180-187. She was the co-editor (with Renee M. Conroy) of a print symposium on “Dance Art and Science” in the Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 71:2 (Spring 2013), 167-210. She presented a paper on “Dance and Human Expression” at the 19th International Congress of Aesthetics, Krakow, Poland, on July 26, led a workshop on aesthetics at the Crocker Museum in Sacramento for the docent education program Oct. 16, chaired two sessions at the Rocky Mountain Ethics Conference in Boulder on Aug. 9, and refereed manuscripts for Oxford University Press, Dance Chronicle, Dance Research Journal and Contemporary Aesthetics.

Create Your Own Religion: A How To Book Without Instructions

Daniele Bolelli, lecturer, History

First appearing from Disinformation in 2013, Create Your Own Religion: A How To Book Without Instructions is Bolelli’s third title following 50 Things You’re Not Supposed to Know: Religion and On the Warrior’s Path: Philosophy, Fighting and Martial Arts Mythology. Bolelli, a member of the university since 2001, means his new text to serve as an open invitation to question all the values, beliefs and world views that humanity has held as sacred to find answers to the very practical problems facing us. Bolelli leads the reader through 3,000 years of mythology, misogyny, misinformation and flat-out lies about “revealed truth” that continue to muddle 21st century life. “Our world views are in desperate need of some housecleaning,” said Bolelli. “We enter the 21st century still carrying on our backs the prejudices and ways of thinking of countless past generations. What worked for them may or may not still be of use, so it is our job to make sure to save the tools that can help us and let go of the dead weight.” The martial arts author took the same approach to religion that fighting legend Bruce Lee took to hand-to-hand combat, Bolelli explained. “Bruce Lee looked at all the martial arts styles out there and took the best from different sources and put them together in a way that made sense to him,” said Bolelli. “I took the same approach to religion and decided to look at the key questions asked by all religions—is there an afterlife? What is life’s meaning? Then I looked at the questions with healthier answers than others in terms of consequences.” Bolelli is not asking his readers to copy his choices but to copy his thinking process, he said. “I want my readers to find the answers that make sense to them,” he said. “Not all good answers can be found under the same cover.” Bolelli’s research convinces him that in all religions, people choose what they like. “There are those who swear by the Bible but only by some parts and not by others. It is the same way with the Koran and the Torah and all religions,” said Bolelli. “I decided I might as well be honest about that and try to find the best answers from all the sources.” He hopes his readers come away from Create Your Own Religion with a new way of thinking. “There are certain results to the way we think that makes us go to war over

Author of the  Month: Daniele Bolelli

different religions and there are results that help us engage in dialogue,” he said. “It is up to my readers to figure out the objective of their ideas. I want them to take their individuality and think for themselves. It is how they think about the possible answers that is as important as the answers they find. The questions raised in this book are the questions everyone has to answer if they want a way of life or a personal philosophy. We all must come up with answers to the issues here.” Bolelli’s research interests include American Indian history, the history of world religions (with a particular focus on Taoism and Buddhism, and on the interaction between monotheistic and polytheistic religions), U.S. History, ancient Roman history and the global history of martial arts. Bolelli earned his B.A. in anthropology from UCLA, an M.A. in American Indian Studies from UCLA and an M.A. in history from CSULB.