Wednesday, November 30, 2016

A Fake Venice on a Garbage Island

There are changes that I have made to my budget to be a bit more proactive as a citizen.  One of these was to take the half-price offer for digital versions of the New York Times which also includes a batch of free news magazines.  Conservatives say it is liberal trash propaganda and liberals say it has become a corporate shill for backing down on  hard hitting news against the conservative corporate machine.  Thus far I am feeling if I support it (at $7.50 a month) I will at least get a year of news reading that is not as awful as television has become.  It will give me news on everything and not just politics and I become the driver for time I want to read and what subjects I want to read, and since I do not have birds, I have no worry about newspapers to recycle.  I can read it on all my electrical devices.

I most recently read a book review:  "If Venice Dies" by Salvatore Settis.  I visited Venice decades ago and was so impressed by its exotic decadence.  I was a naive traveler at the time even though I had lived for some time outside the USA.  I have just spent time looking for Italy photos from 2003, after slides and after prints and finally found them on a DVD!

The photos that I took were from an older low resolution digital camera...wish I had been able to do better!

Now for some text from the review in the NY Times:

"The beginning of Mr. Settis’s book is its own plague of terrifying facts and figures. Today, visitors outnumber Venetians by 140 to 1. If tourism development continues apace, the city center may soon have no residential lodging at all. Among the institutions that have closed since 2000 along the Grand Canal: the National Research Council, the Mediocredito bank, the transport authority, the local education agency, the German Consulate. Souvenir shops have replaced grocery stores. Luxury hotels have replaced medical offices.

“A tourist monoculture now dominates a city,” Mr. Settis writes, “which banishes its native citizens and shackles the survival of those who remain to their willingness to serve.”

There’s a depressing falsity to it all. The city has become a replica of itself. Epcot by way of Palladio.   And the city is hostage to the tourism industry. Cruise ships blight the scenery, ravage the canals and disgorge their day trippers. Yet the governing class passively accepts it, “all in the name of a single reward: money.” What Venice desperately needs — which Mr. Settis doesn’t say until the penultimate page of his book — is a rehabilitation of its own industries, like fishing, and better infrastructure for a new creative class...

He devotes three chapters to lamenting the various simulacra of Venice around the world, including the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas, which he fears are “corrupting the real Venice’s image of itself” by further reducing the city to caricature. The ultimate insult: a possible amusement park, Veniceland, on one of the islands in the Venetian Lagoon now dedicated to storing garbage. But will it happen? And if it did, would the resulting tragedy really be what he describes? “A fake Venice next to the real one, whereby the truth of the simulacrum shatters and engulfs the truth of history”?"

Interesting and depressing and enlightening all at the same time and I guess money and politics still raise their ugly heads.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

A Thursday Thirteen Dichotomy and a Happy Thanksgiving!

Defined with examples. (Please ignore the html numbering that I cannot seem to correct.)

  1. Reading about a 5-day fitness plan connected to my Fitbit newsletter while eating chocolate chip cookies.
  2. The photo below shows two bags of  textbooks.  One I brought and the other my new student brought to our first class meeting.  You can guess which was hers and why I am now jogging in place as fast as I can!
  1. I have been better about doing my free weight routine every other day...then on the days I am not working with weights I am lifting other things---to my mouth.
  2. I had fiddled with my settings on Blogger to make it easier for me to use the template and it seems to have resulted in my readers being unable to find my blog updates.
  3. I changed the bedding in the guest bedroom last week after my young-uns had left and because I complained about hubby's snoring keeping me awake last night he said, with a smile, I should just sleep up there since the sheets are clean.
  4. I wrote a brief poem on my other blog, but like this blog, no one can seem to find it!
  5. Each year I send out a list of possible things we would like to get in order to help busy children with their Christmas gifting, and as a result, I usually know what is beneath the wrapping paper on Christmas morning.
  6. We have a new brand of supermarket in the area.  The produce looks fresher but the meat selection is not so good.
  7. I have been carefully searching for real news sites that are not dependent on corporations for profit as much of the "liberal" press skims real news these days and now walks on eggshells since our new leader does not give much access, but this also means I am still reading news which is depressing.
  8. I have a list which I have printed and placed next to my PC of  liberal news (im)postors that post click-bait junk and misleading headlines to my Facebook feed.  I no longer visit those news sites.  I also have a list of conservative news "impostors" on Facebook, but I rarely read them anyway.  An imposter is an imposter.
  9. I have begun my bird counting.  The first two days were so windy I could barely see the little brown birds  among the little brown leaves, both hopping about.
  10. We are eating out at a restaurant for Thanksgiving which means no food shopping or cooking or clean up.  It also means no family and no leftovers and no homemade items.
  11. If you wonder why the world seems to be a dichotomy for me, the leader of the free world, while speaking with clarity, keeps changing his verbal position to an opposite stance on so very many things and this is very confusing to me.  I like consistency in old age.  Experience has shown it is wise.
Yes, I am a little bent out of shape these days...but not this skinny!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Turning the Corner on the Wall

While I am not sure that the God most people believe in is anything like the energy of goodness that remains on this planet, I am sure that there is some good reason I am here at this time and place from some energy force I cannot see.  I have gone through many roller coaster thoughts about what this man who says one thing and does another or does one thing and says another while surrounding himself by white people who think that minorities have taken away opportunities for white Americans and advocate that women need to look "good" if they want to work in commerce.  (Artificial breasts along with artificial smiles, perhaps?  Whatever you do, do NOT contradict the men in the room.)

Anyway, before I get off on this rant that is happening on all social media, I repeat that I am blessed.  I will be starting today to train a middle-aged immigrant woman in better use of English so that she can work her way forward in this world.  I understand she ran a business in Peru before she came here.  I do not know if she came legally or illegally, but she has registered for classes, so I am guessing she is a legal immigrant trying to find a better life.  I feel the heavy responsibility, but I am practical enough to know that we are our own changemakers and not our mentors.

I may keep you posted, although I think this is going to be a bit of a whirlwind of a curriculum as she is super motivated and very smart.

As a mentor I get to bask in the glory of saying I am doing something to turn around this ship of fate no matter how small, while I ask myself, "How fast did Rome fall?"

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

The Game Is Rigged

One of the fanciest hunting huts I have ever seen.  Even had some tools inside but no cup holders.

Oddly there was not a crow, squirrel or other corn eating life form in sight!

Monday, November 14, 2016

Catching UP!

First, a big thank you to those who responded to my recent call for comments.  I now feel less ghostly!  I also get to add some new folks to my blogroll.  Second, the comment by Mage had me going, because she has a classic vocabulary.  Anyway the answer is "two mauve plastic plant pots" on the floor of the garage.  (If you do not know what I am talking about you have to read the comments.)  Third, I have been gone for three days taking care of a 5-year-old, a 9-year-old and an 11-year-old.  All went stitches and  with the two being very active boys, I consider that a win.  The smoke alarm problem I wrote about before was a CO2 alarm dead battery problem located just across the floor and thus we spent $75 bucks having the electrician assist...although even he did not figure it out for quite some time. I also spent $30 on a new, and now unneeded, smoke alarm.  I am suggesting that smoke alarms and CO2 alarms should be required to have different tweets!!

My sciatica is kicking in which is rare but I still have to go out into the swamp today and help other volunteers with cleaning out the Wood Duck boxes.  Weather is calm and dry but will be in the low 40sC.  UGH.

I am still very depressed and angry at the election.  But we have met the enemy and he is us and we have only ourselves to blame for not seeing the deep seated frustration of this country's citizens and not holding our party's feet to the fire on fairness in selecting a broader band of candidates.  I WILL continue my fight on the issues of racism which has emboldened some very dark souls.  I will continue my outspoken belief that women do not get a fair chance in this country yet.  I will continue to write my representatives regarding the importance of our social programs that are on the agenda for being dismantled including Medicare which leaves many on fixed incomes with no alternative.

AND you can go here if you want to help count birds at your feeders:

Now I am off to find some shoes that I do not mind getting muddy.

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Thursday Thirteen: Signs of the Time

It is truly autumn and I have a list to prove it. (I almost did not post this because for some reason my blogs have become so boring that NO ONE comments anymore and that ---and the election results---took away my motivation.  My stats show that many seem to visit and that is fine, but could you at least say "Hi."?)
  1. "They" are talking of a first frost in the coming week.  Mornings are into the low 50's F so it seems too early for Jack to visit.
  2. Bird feeders are out and filled for participation in the Cornell Feeder Project.  This will be my seventh year in this citizen science program with over 80 counts submitted.
  3. I am baking things with pumpkin in them.
  4. I am transplanting iris that have taken over certain areas.  I am pruning most perennials.
  5. The sugar maple is well into becoming brilliant red and it is well into losing its leaves.  This photo was taken days ago.

6.  I have been collecting kindling from all the trash that trees drop after every storm.  Hubby has been splitting wood.

7.  The three citrus trees are inside in the kitchen corner and under new lights pretending to be sun.  See prior post.
8.  Even with daylight savings time changes I still get up in the dark and go to bed in the dark.
9.  If the weather breaks 60F the sulphur butterflies appear on the pineapple sage.  I wonder where they go when the weather is cold.
10.  Holiday season means that most meetings have come to an end...wonderfully!
11.  I am so addicted to cosmos and will so miss them in the coming weeks.

12.  My tutoring project has been ended, maybe with mutual consent and maybe I will write a post on that someday when I have perspective.
13.  The bluebirds that were out and about elsewhere all summer have returned to my back yard and that has brought me some peace. your turn.

Monday, November 07, 2016

I Was Never Good at Math But I Know When Things Do Not Add UP!

I had family down for an overnight and was so exhausted when they left on Sunday morning that I did not move for the rest of the day.  I just did bill paying and TV watching.  Then this morning I changed the sheets in one of the guest bedrooms and washed all the linens and towels.  Then I noticed that the sunlight is brilliant today.  It is that golden angle of the sun that photographers usually find only in the late dawn or early sunset hours most of the year.

Oddly even something as lovely as this lighting reminded me I needed to wash the windows.  I got that done on the first floor on three sides of the house and feel better.  The rest of the windows may never be cleaned before spring.  As you can see, I have a LOT of windows.  You can also see we have moved in the three citrus trees.

I finished the laundry and paid some more bills.  While going through the mail I got a thick envelope from my Long Term Care policy.  It is never good when you get a thick envelope of 5 pages written in 10 point font.  I scan the legalize and find that my long term care insurance will go up 15% this year...and no, it is impossible to blame this on the ACA.

"The premium increase is being implemented in accordance with the laws and regulations of the state (commonwealth or district) in which your policy was issued for delivery.  The premium increase is not based upon a change in your age, health, claims history or any other individual characteristic.  Our decision to increase premiums is primarily based upon the fact that the expected claims over the life of your policy form are significantly higher today than we originally anticipated when your policy form was priced.  Our decision to increase premiums was not based upon the current economic environment."

Underlining is mine.  In other words these guys get multi-million dollar salaries and they cannot predict with any success the health costs when there is "no inflation" for years and no increase in investment interest for years.  This paragraph is so carefully crafted by their lawyers, since individual owners changes in health, etc. are not allowable for premium increases, that I am not actually sure what it says.  What the hell is the increase based on??

Well, I will make a nice cup of tea and play with my photos this afternoon and hope I do not need to enter a care facility any time soon.

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

I Think I am Back to Normal so ...

Please stop by the Chubby Chatterbox website for a lovely work of art giveaway!!  His blog is wonderful to read and full of great stories  as well as short lessons on historic art.  You will like adding him to your blog list.  Or you can go here for the original link.