Showing posts with label Culture. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Culture. Show all posts

Monday, December 08, 2014

Walking in Someone Else's Shoes

Bryan quietly slipped on his right boot.  They were laces, so they would not make the noise that his Velcro running shoes made.  He was trying to be whisper quiet as he wanted to avoid waking his wife and the baby.  Because of the holidays his work schedule now started before the sun got up.  The shoes were new and still pinched on the sides a little.  Bryan forced himself to ignore that pinch because policing the Brinker neighborhood was going to take all his focus today.  As the holidays got closer the crime rate went up on those narrow streets and there seemed to be more crazies.  His partner, Colin, had already started to get angry even before he hit the breaks of the car.  Colin pushed the situation just to get it over with and to get on to the next crazy thug.  The cops at the station thought that Bryan was just too naive in these situations.  They told him he would be sorry one day when he always wanted to give the other side the benefit of the doubt.

Jimar laced his favorite new tennis shoes carefully tightening the turquoise neon-blue laces.  He was going to get to the park early, before his dad came to pick him up this morning.  He knew it was wishful thinking because his dad was always late.  Jimar was excited because he only saw his dad once a month and for just a few hours.  He grabbed his black plastic gun which he took everywhere.  It made him feel safer for some reason and it looked like the ones the big guys in his neighborhood sometimes pulled quickly from their pockets just like a magic trick.

Morty rubbed the sand from his eyes.  One of them was itching more and he knew it was probably infected again, but the free clinic didn't open until Monday.  He moved his stiff joints knowing he had to walk to another corner before that cop came by and banged him on the legs telling him to get moving.  He liked to sit just on the back corner near the grocery store because the housewives sometimes gave him food or change this time of year.  Maybe that fat guy was going to be selling cigarettes today.

(all photos taken from the Internet and Photoshopped to protect the honest)

Thursday, September 20, 2012


What a busy vacation!  One whole week of beaching, snorkeling, eating at fancy and not-so-fancy restaurants, hiking, touring, going to festivals, swimming in the pool, shopping, and of course, photographing.  But in the very center of all the activity and in the physical center of the island itself I found my center and some restorative peace.  We visited the oldest church (rebuilt of course) and while I have mixed feelings about visiting churches on remote islands from outside religions by non-natives, the simplicity and honesty of this one calmed my spirit.  There were no bells, whistles, gold leaf or tragic icons to call to the attention of a distant god who might have forgotten them.

Inside was one lone soul praying quietly in the cool shade and whom I did not frame in the photograph.

Behind the church was something even more refreshing and inspiring.

I do not believe in traditional religions but I do believe in the power of prayer.  I slowly walked this maze and said to my self with each careful step "Peace on Earth. Goodwill Toward Men."  I held in my mind the embassies across the globe with their hardworking diplomatic corps wondering if they will be called home without warning on this day or if they might face a greater challenge through no fault of their own.

And then we took a tourist photo for remembrance.

Monday, September 17, 2012

I Am the 1 Per Cent!

We have certainly had the luxury of travel often in our retirement, and my son, on this recent trip with him and his future wife, pointed out that, if my retirement income was rated globally,  I am among the 1%.  I am retired but get to travel when I want and pretty much where I want.  You may very well be among that group also.  All you need to be a part of the global 1% is an income of $34,000!  No, you cannot travel when or wherever on that income, but the perspective of this figure pretty much makes you sit up and realize how lucky you are to be in this strata.  It also makes you wonder how much of your life is producing waste and could be better budgeted and more generous.

I only have one home, do not keep money offshore to avoid paying my fair share of taxes, nor send my business manager to a Caribbean island for 6 months so that the IRS cannot reach her, as an acquaintance of my son's did!  I have this status, not because I am brilliant or sneaky, but because I lived and worked overseas for the first 7 years of my married life and did not have to pay for my housing or the cost of an automobile during that time.  Since both my husband and I had a combined income during this time we invested every dime that we could and that gave us the head-start that we needed to have the retirement we are now enjoying.  It was luck and the willingness to live outside my country in a country that had water and electricity just often enough to keep me comfortable.

I will not have this luxurious life-style I now enjoy if the stock market crashes once again.  I have no respect for Wall Street folks as the money they make has nothing to do with improving the United States or the lives of its citizens or creating jobs.  How much money does a billionaire have to have before he invests in a small business or two?  Their supercilious lobbying forces will destroy this country again thanks to the "non-activist" Supreme Court Judges that were appointed under conservative Presidents and passed the Citizen United ruling.  This country has been bought and if you want a voice you had better demand the repeal of Citizens United from your representatives.  I mean this in all seriousness.  Both parties are beholden and only if we take back our country (perhaps with a third party), will we return to a true democracy.

I say this because I have done my research carefully and read the data.  You can scream the dangers of class warfare all you want, but the rich are not suffering in anyway in this.  WalMart family has more wealth than the combined 40% of the lowest income of our society.  It is no where near a class war until they have reached the wealth of the combined lowest 4%!!  It is up to you.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Thursday Thoughts #36---13 Things That Annoy Me

The world if full of annoyances which if not ignored will drive us to tearing our hair and screaming into the night sky. So we ignore them as best we can. Today I will list some of my favorites.

THINGS THAT ANNOY ME  (Listed in the order in which they burble to my consciousness...nothing 'pops' into my head anymore):

  1. Salad Kits.  These can be found in the produce section and they are plastic bags filled with chopped greens, and perhaps, a plastic bag of dressing as well.  I do admit that if you do not know how to chop lettuce you should stay away from knives.  But a SALAD "KIT"?  Puhleeze...just shred the lettuce with your hands and buy a bottle of dressing.
  2. Any 'Housewives of'  Television Show.  No further comment, except if you enjoy these you need to go to more of your family reunions for entertainment.
  3. Comments from My Children on How I Spend My Time.  Yes, I do spend inordinate hours taking and processing photographs.  Why does no one comment on how much time a chef spends perfecting his skill, a weekend boat builder in spending years on his hobby, your husband and his sports related stuff?
  4. Cleaning the kitchen sink and finding 5 minutes later it is covered in tea leaves.  Enough said.
  5. Lowfat Yogurt.  This stuff tastes like something weird and certainly NOT yogurt.  Ice cream and yogurt have to have fat in them or they are not worth eating.
  6. Plastic Wine Stoppers.  Real cork has been proven to be the more environmentally friendly way to go and metal screw on tops have been proven to be a better way to seal wines for aging.  I HATE plastic wine stoppers and you cannot tell you have one until you remove the aluminum wrapper and spend an hour trying to pull out the stopper!
  7. Provocative clothes for any girl under 14.  You can complain about childhood promiscuity and the danger of pedophiles...but if your kid wears a bikini or tiny skirt I am ignoring you.  If your 14-year-old wears white skin-tight slacks I am going to hit you up the side of the head.
  8. People who assume you have an open book in front of you on your lap because you are bored and want to talk to them.
  9. Congress.
  10. Picky Eaters.  Wasted time trying to plan a meal or choose a restaurant that makes them happy.
  11. People who read over my shoulder.  I apologize, but it is a quirk I cannot contain.  Hubby knows better!
  12. Mosquitoes after the rain.
  13. Late Acceptances.  After inviting my son and his girlfriend down for the 4th two weeks earlier and not hearing from him we gave up and decided to head to the city for fireworks.  He calls at 1:00 that very afternoon and asks if he can come down with his gal!
Anything particularly annoying for you these days?  (The oyster photo has nothing to do with this post...isn't that annoying?)

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Essential Things You May Have Missed Out On

It amuses and amazes me everyday how I have become that old person who looks back on life and wondered how I ever got through it without all the aids, gadgets, networks that are available today.

I raised two delightful and complicated children back then.  We did not have seat belts in cars and my friends who smoked were allowed to smoke while we went somewhere.  Miraculously my children survived both these dangers.  I unknowingly fed them foods in containers lined with carcinogenic plastics or probably sprayed with dangerous pesticides.  School lunches included the vegetable ketchup to balance the repast.  Abandoned refrigerators and mean dogs were the greatest fear in neighborhoods.

Because I am a technologically savvy grandma, I purchase gifts from my grandchildren via that new magical mall, the Internet.  These companies then automatically assume I need paper versions of their inventory as well and my mail box begins to regurgitate colored catalogs of items beyond my wildest dreams.

There are gates and locks and containers that even an enterprising raccoon would have difficulty surmounting.  Children now have their own luggage when they travel, and sunglasses and helmets when they are out riding in that dangerous but very comfortable stroller.  With the added cup-holder and side music speakers, as Fran Lebowitz says, they are never leaving that stroller.

In the latest version of one of these missives offering "thoughtfully selected products," I have the opportunity to purchase a Potty Watch that alerts small children with lights and music to remind them to go to the bathroom at preset intervals...I cannot help but think of a child who would become dependent on this and could not go to the bathroom without the know, that idiot CEO at the board meeting!  I could buy a pillow that supports good posture in small children when they sleep...unless they sleep sideways across the bed as does my grandson #1 or with the pillow over their head as does my granddaughter.

There is even a strange device that one uses to remove mucus from the noses of little ones who have not mastered the art of blowing.  The mother puts it against the child's nostrils and then puts a little plastic tube in her mouth and proceeds to suck on the tube.  The text assures us that the mucus goes into a tissue and not the mother's mouth.  It still looks very unsettling in the photo (above) of mother and child using it.  The real clincher is that the publisher claims it has been used by European parents for years.  (They probably write in the European version that it has been used by North American parents for years.)

How did our baby "animals" survive without this stuff?  What new wonders will be available to my grandchildren when they begin to raise their little ones?  All of these do not belay the real dangers of global climate change, air pollution, water pollution, crime, drugs and daily stress that our little ones have to battle.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

You Can Fool Dumb People All of the Time

American college students, bored housewives, and elderly couples without a life are now in mourning across the country.  Afternoons will soon be filled with the reality of "real" lives instead of the drama of soap operas.  No, I do not really care.  I was addicted to soaps back in college and later when stuck staying at home with babies.  This was kind of stupid watching these serial dramas, since it was all that romance and hot body action that resulted in my being confined at home with diapers, humans that could not yet talk, and slow afternoons that were perfect for soap operas in the first place.

Now it is my understanding that today's economics have driven the daytime entertainment programming industry in a new direction so that now Americans will be watching real people 'act' out their lives instead of actors telling stories written by writers.  These 'real' people will be lousy at their jobs because their lives are filled with strife, arguments, sex, break-ups, alcohol, self-doubt, and all while wearing impractical clothes in the worst taste possible.  But some of these 'real' people will break out into more than 15 minutes of fame.  And if their enhanced cleavage holds up, and their hair stays thick and their mouth doesn't betray them, they may even get to give a college graduation address or two or perhaps write a book on why we should not make all the mistakes they have made in their pathetic little lives...sorry, my must be my envy.  Their public advice will not be free, but it will certainly not be worth what they are paid.  They will make six figure incomes while teachers and fire fighters and policemen and soldiers who lead honest lives will struggle to put food on the table.  Daytime reality stars will tell boring stories while real writers will struggle for the attention span of mediocre American minds on independent channels.  But the primary point is that reality stars will not make the humongous salaries of real actors (like that wonderful talent Charlie Sheen who milked his production studio dry...must have been that union he belonged to.)

Watching these reality shows will emphasize the worst behaviors and character flaws that can be found in our society.  They will be excellent examples of what not to do if you are watching with your teenagers.  Real reality would be boring to watch as it might involve intelligent people with mature ideas and cooperative relationships muddle through their days.  "Reality television' is an oxymoron like Fox's "Fair and Balanced" news programs.

For all of those who think American culture is now stagnating in a swamp of mediocre stimulation, it gives me no pleasure to agree with you.