Monday, October 31, 2016

Something Positive

"Can you hold on a minute I have something to show you," he said running back inside. He brought out his cell phone to show me an image. "Do you see it?" he asked.
"Tell me what you see and I will try," I said.
"The head of Jesus. There's the goatee, the nose, the eyes," he said, pointing.
"Yes I do! I see it," I said. "You know what, you might want to get yourself some watercolor paints," I suggested.
"I love to draw," he said.
"Great, because you've developed your eyes," I said. "You could see faces in that tree, for example,"
"I do all the time."
"Well then, drawing is a perfect way to use your trained eye," I said.
"Thank you, something positive today," he mused.

Locked Out

Lily barked. I went to the door. It was the girl next door locked out of her apartment. "Do you have a chair so I can climb up?" she asked pointing to the fire escape. "I have a kitchen stool, that will be taller. Do you think the window will be open?" I asked. "Yes," she said. "Let me come help you so you don't hurt yourself," I said. She climbed up and I held the base steady as she grabbed the rung of the fire escape ladder. We were both puzzled about how to get her further up. I suggested she use her legs to climb the wall but her boots slipped off the brick. Then I held my hands up high for her to step on with one foot and then the other, and it worked as leverage. She climbed up to the top of the fire escape but the window was locked. "Oh well, nice try," I said. I guided her feet back down onto the stool. "You can come inside and call your mom, my phone is an old fashioned plug-in-the-wall kind." I showed it to her. She stared at it and tried to make it work. I smiled. "It's strange isn't it, compared to a flat screen," I said. I dialed the number and handed the receiver to her. "Hi Mom, I'm locked out, I lost my key, I'm at Emily's, I'll go to the library," she explained. When she hung up I could see that her big eyes were teary. "It's emotional isn't it?" I said. She nodded. "It's frustrating. It happens to all of us, Bill got locked out once at night and he slept inside the foyer until I rescued him. Would you like a snack, an apple?" I offered. "No thanks," she said. "Would you like me and Lily to walk you over to the library?" "No, I'm fine," she said. I was glad that I was home. I hope that made it slightly less traumatic. She's all grown up now.

Fear and Control

“The more you can increase fear of drugs, crime, welfare mothers, immigrants and aliens, the more you control all of the people.”
― Noam Chomsky

Propaganda

“That's the whole point of good propaganda. You want to create a slogan that nobody's going to be against, and everybody's going to be for. Nobody knows what it means, because it doesn't mean anything.”
― Noam Chomsky

Corporate Monster

“How people themselves perceive what they are doing is not a question that interests me. I mean, there are very few people who are going to look into the mirror and say, 'That person I see is a savage monster'; instead, they make up some construction that justifies what they do. If you ask the CEO of some major corporation what he does he will say, in all honesty, that he is slaving 20 hours a day to provide his customers with the best goods or services he can and creating the best possible working conditions for his employees. But then you take a look at what the corporation does, the effect of its legal structure, the vast inequalities in pay and conditions, and you see the reality is something far different.”
― Noam Chomsky

Instinct for Freedom

“If you assume that there is no hope, you guarantee that there will be no hope. If you assume that there is an instinct for freedom, that there are opportunities to change things, then there is a possibility that you can contribute to making a better world.”
― Noam Chomsky

Chompsky on Neoliberal Democracy

“Neoliberal democracy. Instead of citizens, it produces consumers. Instead of communities, it produces shopping malls. The net result is an atomized society of disengaged individuals who feel demoralized and socially powerless.

In sum, neoliberalism is the immediate and foremost enemy of genuine participatory democracy, not just in the United States but across the planet, and will be for the foreseeable future.”
― Noam Chomsky

Neptune

“Either you repeat the same conventional doctrines everybody is saying, or else you say something true, and it will sound like it's from Neptune.”
― Noam Chomsky

Question Everything

“I was never aware of any other option but to question everything.”
― Noam Chomsky

Optimism is a Strategy

“Optimism is a strategy for making a better future. Because unless you believe that the future can be better, you are unlikely to step up and take responsibility for making it so.”
― Noam Chomsky

Noam Chomsky

“The whole educational and professional training system is a very elaborate filter, which just weeds out people who are too independent, and who think for themselves, and who don't know how to be submissive, and so on -- because they're dysfunctional to the institutions.”
― Noam Chomsky

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Jacob Needleman

“This is the mark of great ideas: they unify people and they also act to unify the disparate parts of the human being; they speak of a social order that is possible on the basis of an ordering within the individual self.”
― Jacob Needleman, The American Soul: Rediscovering the Wisdom of the Founders

“Labor to keep alive in your breast that little spark of celestial fire called conscience.”
― Jacob Needleman, The American Soul: TK

“One of the great purposes of the American nation is to shelter and guard the rights of all men and women to seek the conditions and the companions necessary for the inner search.”
― Jacob Needleman

Nicole Krauss

“Bravery is always more intelligent than fear, since it is built on the foundation of what one knows about oneself: the knowledge of one’s strength and capacity, of one’s passion.”
- Nicole Krauss
source

When Someone Really Listens, We Heal

Article

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Henry Green

"Prose should be a long intimacy between strangers with no direct appeal to what both may have known. It should slowly appeal to feelings unexpressed, it should in the end draw tears out of the stone."
- Henry Green

Dream

I dreamed that my dentist was going to remove my gall bladder. He was driving over to my home which was the ground floor of a factory building. I was having a party and we were all anticipating the operation. There was lots of food. Someone brought an Italian panettone. My dentist arrived late and said he had been in a car accident. He had black grease paint all around his left eye, just like what football players wear. It was covering a bruise.

I dreamed that a few girls at the local arts high school told me they were sleeping in the park rather than have a long commute. I was very upset. Something must be done, I said, especially if there's more than one.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Dream

I dreamed I was sitting next to the pool using my computer. When I got up after an hour and a half, I saw that the pool was empty. There wasn't any water inside. "How did I miss that," I asked myself.

Sari Botton

Article

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Art and Artificial Intelligence Experiments

Article

Alive and Breathing

“Not just beautiful, though--the stars are like the trees in the forest, alive and breathing. And they're watching me.”
― Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore

Murakami

“A certain type of perfection can only be realized through a limitless accumulation of the imperfect.”
― Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore

Narrow Minds

“Narrow minds devoid of imagination. Intolerance, theories cut off from reality, empty terminology, usurped ideals, inflexible systems. Those are the things that really frighten me. What I absolutely fear and loathe.”
― Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore

Deep Wells

“She waited for the train to pass. Then she said, "I sometimes think that people’s hearts are like deep wells. Nobody knows what’s at the bottom. All you can do is imagine by what comes floating to the surface every once in a while.”
― Haruki Murakami, Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman

Part of It

“Death is not the opposite of life, but a part of it.”
― Haruki Murakami, Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman: 24 Stories

Silence

“Silence, I discover, is something you can actually hear.”
― Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore

Haruki Murakami

“I have this strange feeling that I'm not myself anymore. It's hard to put into words, but I guess it's like I was fast asleep, and someone came, disassembled me, and hurriedly put me back together again. That sort of feeling.”
― Haruki Murakami, Sputnik Sweetheart

Haruki Murakami

“Whatever it is you're seeking won't come in the form you're expecting.”
― Haruki Murakami

Nourish Human Loneliness

“Why do people have to be this lonely? What's the point of it all? Millions of people in this world, all of them yearning, looking to others to satisfy them, yet isolating themselves. Why? Was the earth put here just to nourish human loneliness?”
― Haruki Murakami, Sputnik Sweetheart

Haruki Murakami

“Sometimes fate is like a small sandstorm that keeps changing directions. You change direction but the sandstorm chases you. You turn again, but the storm adjusts. Over and over you play this out, like some ominous dance with death just before dawn. Why? Because this storm isn't something that blew in from far away, something that has nothing to do with you. This storm is you. Something inside of you. So all you can do is give in to it, step right inside the storm, closing your eyes and plugging up your ears so the sand doesn't get in, and walk through it, step by step. There's no sun there, no moon, no direction, no sense of time. Just fine white sand swirling up into the sky like pulverized bones. That's the kind of sandstorm you need to imagine.

An you really will have to make it through that violent, metaphysical, symbolic storm. No matter how metaphysical or symbolic it might be, make no mistake about it: it will cut through flesh like a thousand razor blades. People will bleed there, and you will bleed too. Hot, red blood. You'll catch that blood in your hands, your own blood and the blood of others.

And once the storm is over you won't remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won't even be sure, in fact, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm you won't be the same person who walked in. That's what this storm's all about.”
― Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore

Set your Mind

“Set your mind on a definite goal and observe how quickly the world stands aside to let you pass.”
― Napoleon Hill

Napoleon Hill

"Do not wait: the time will never be 'just right.' Start where you stand, and work whatever tools you may have at your command and better tools will be found as you go along."
- Napoleon Hill

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

May Sarton

Suffering often feels like failure, but it is actually the door into growth.
- May Sarton, Journal of a Solitude (p.147)

Yay to Our Mayor

Article

Dream

I dreamed I was swimming in an Olympic-sized pool with a swim team. The pool was very deep and at one point I hung out on the bottom watching the swimmers. When I got out of the pool I was still underwater. Robert De Niro was there. He had a special oxygen vest, which was allowing him to talk and breathe underwater while we were standing in a nearby office. "You don't need one," he said, about the vest. I told him I loved swimming and dancing. "I once danced in my living room for four days," I said.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Film: Kumu Hina

Kumu Hina is the story of Hina Wong- Kalu, a transgender native Hawaiian teacher and cultural icon who brings to life Hawaii’s long-held embrace of mahu — those who embody both male and female spirit, and were traditionally respected as caretakers, healers, and keepers of ancient traditions.

The film traces Hina’s evolution from a timid high school boy to her position as a married woman and cultural director of a school that specializes in Hawaiian language, history and culture, located in one of Honolulu’s grittier neighborhoods. As she contemplates who should lead the school's all-male hula troupe in their final performance, a surprising candidate presents herself: Ho’onani, a sixth grader who is proud to be seen as a mixture of boy and girl. As Kumu Hina helps Ho’onani negotiate the mixed reactions of her classmates and her family, the power of culture to instill a sense of pride and acceptance becomes clear.

The film also delves into Hina's pursuit of a dream of her own: a fulfilling romantic relationship. Her tumultuous marriage to a headstrong Tongan man offers insight into the universal challenge of loving somebody outside the norm and a deeper understanding of the true meaning of aloha – love, honor, and respect for all.

Article

Subtle Gifts

This morning on my walk people said hello and I was grateful because I am on the dark side of the moon. A kind greeting is huge especially when the inside of my head is blue. Thank God for community.

A woman was getting out of her car holding a small brown doughnut bag and I noticed her pinky was sticking up. She had beautiful hands. There are subtle gifts in receive-mode.

Be the Change

Be the change that you wish to see in the world.
— Mahatma Gandhi

Denise Levertov

"Strength of feeling, reverence for mystery, and clarity of intellect must be kept in balance with one another. Neither the passive nor the active must dominate, they must work in conjunction, as in a marriage."

"I'm not very good at praying, but what I experience when I'm writing a poem is close to prayer."

Diwali

Diwali
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Diwali or Deepavali is the Hindu festival of lights celebrated every year in autumn in the northern hemisphere (spring in southern hemisphere).[3][4] It is an official holiday in Fiji, Guyana, India,[5] Pakistan,[6] Malaysia, Mauritius, Myanmar, Nepal, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago. One of the major festivals of Hinduism, it spiritually signifies the victory of light over darkness, good over evil, knowledge over ignorance, and hope over despair.[7][8][9] Its celebration includes millions of lights shining on housetops, outside doors and windows, around temples and other buildings in the communities and countries where it is observed.[10] The festival preparations and rituals typically extend over a five-day period, but the main festival night of Diwali coincides with the darkest, new moon night of the Hindu Lunisolar month Kartika in Bikram Sambat calendar. In the Gregorian calendar, Diwali night falls between mid-October and mid-November.

Experience Flow

The happiness literature has identified one of the most deeply satisfying human psychological states to be one called “flow.” It occurs when you are so immersed in an activity that you lose track of the passage of time. If you can land a job that enables you to experience substantial periods of flow, you will be among the most fortunate people on the planet. What’s more, as the years pass, you will almost surely develop deep expertise at whatever it is you’ve been doing.
Article

Some Days


by Philip Terman

Some days you have to turn off the news
and listen to the bird or truck
or the neighbor screaming out her life.
You have to close all the books and open
all the windows so that whatever swirls
inside can leave and whatever flutters
against the glass can enter. Some days
you have to unplug the phone and step
out to the porch and rock all afternoon
and allow the sun to tell you what to do.
The whole day has to lie ahead of you
like railroad tracks that drift off into gravel.
Some days you have to walk down the wooden
staircase through the evening fog to the river,
where the peach roses are closing,
sit on the grassy bank and wait for the two geese.

- Philip Terman from Our Portion © Autumn House Press, 2015.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Flying Umbrella

This morning I found the top of our picnic table umbrella standing upright in the backyard. We forgot to fold it up ahead of the wind storm. The gusts were so severe the umbrella was blown off the bottom section of the wooden pole. Luckily no harm was done. I folded it up and brought it inside.

World Peace through Pie

I met a couple who strongly believe no conflict among people can't be resolved by sitting down and sharing pie. Today, I am thinking they are right as we are eating slices of yesterday's apple pie.

Jayson Greene

I’m sorry that you will live with me, to some degree, in grief.

“It is a beautiful world,” I tell him, willing myself to believe it. We are here to share it.

Amazing Article

Portuguese Kale Soup and Apple Pie on a Rainy Saturday

Yesterday we were celebrating Jeffrey's birthday. We went to Price Rite and bought three heads of kale because they looked great, 1 package of hot chourico, and two boxes of Betty Crocker pie crust mix. I had to twist my arm to use a mix but I told myself I needed to practice with the mix before I was ready to become a pie crust from scratch expert. These are my training wheels.

When we got home I took out my biggest soup pot and started rinsing the kale and chopping it. I added to the pot with water and started boiling it. Then I chopped the chourico into tiny cubes and added sliced 4 big slices of ginger root and 4 cloves of fresh garlic and a several bloops of olive oil. I added three chopped bell peppers that were ripe-red. I added lots of soy sauce and some sesame oil. I added kosher salt. Then I let it simmer while we cleared the enamel table to make the apple pies.

We sat at the table each with a paring knife and small cutting board and peeled and sliced the apples filling a huge plastic pickle bucket. I had another bucket for the cores and skin. Then I tossed the apples in sugar and cinnamon in the big wooden salad bowl. I added the water to the dry mix and shaped it into a ball and rolled it out on the enamel table top using my big wooden rolling pin and dustings of flour. The pie dough looked like a map of France. My French radio station was playing. I used a spatula to slowly lift the dough and fold it in half transferring it to the glass pie plate. I added the apples, piled high and I rolled out the top crust. I forgot to mention that I added dried cranberries to the apples. I preheated the oven and assembled another pie. The pies baked at 450 for ten minutes and then 350 for the remained of the hour. The pies had to cool off. We cleaned off the table and had bowls of hot soup. It was delicious. Then we had pie. It was the best apple pie I'd ever had. The crust was thin and flaky and delicious and the blend of cortland, empire and yellow delicious apples was amazing.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Teaching Teen Moms to Cook

I was a guest chef a bunch of years ago at the local YWCA. We baked bread, roasted a chicken, pressure cooked beans, and made applesauce. I'd love to do this again. We need a public kitchen for teaching baking and cooking.

3 Minute Orange Elbow Pasta in the Pressure Cooker

I still can't believe it. Making pasta in the pressure cooker works and it truly only takes minutes. I bought carrot squash flavored elbows marketed to children. They were orange. Sprinkled with freshly grated Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper, it was a perfect lunch for a rainy day.

Abusers are 100 Percent Responsible

“Abusers are 100 percent responsible for their abuse, and only they can stop it,” Malkin concluded. “Until they do, interactions won’t be safe.”
Six signs you were raised by a narcissist.

Numerous Negative traits of Narcissists

People in narcissistic rage can hurt or kill. Do you know someone who is radically unforgiving when they feel judged or betrayed? Normal people get angry. A narcissistic person will often want revenge, and won’t let go.

People with narcissistic entitlement can psychologically injure those close to them. Do you count; I mean really count? Narcissistic people do fall in love, but they usually fall in love with being in love – and not with you. They crave the excitement of love, but are quickly disappointed when it becomes a relationship - and not just a trip into fantasy. You are left wondering what just happened. And if the narcissist is your Mother or Father, you stop being an adored child when parenting starts getting hard.

Article

Toxic yet Fragile

Evelyn Ryan

Have you noticed that the most toxic people have the biggest and the most fragile egos?

Ever wondered why?

They are part of the facade, the illusion of smoke and mirrors masking a core of deep-seated shame and self-loathing and powerlessness. They are crude covertly aggressive parasitic attempts at taking others’ power for selfish self-serving purposes by those who cannot and do not want to generate their own. Oh, they may try to pass it off as power, however aggressiveness and the needs to control and charm and be self-righteousness and manipulate are not power.

Truly powerful and influential people do not manipulate others and are not self-righteous because, simply, they do not have to be. However, generating our own power takes hard work including putting our egos aside for not only our own good but for others’ as well. And what key character qualities does this require? You got it – selflessness, conscientiousness, commitment, compassion and empathy: qualities these broken personality disordered people lack and have replaced with self-righteousness and manipulation and a sick desire to make others lose.

Story Behind the Story

Thank you Russ Olivo!
Article

Narscissistic Righteousness

I'm agitated by the bad movie playing out; the one in my head triggered by the one over the airwaves.

Lily Leaks

Our lovely Lily has a leak problem. I try to give her water just before the walk.

The Opiate of Choice

‘Judd is not always a happy person’ is the kind way to say it,” Dr. Ling said.

How did she deal with this blue period? “I let Judd watch television. This is something his parents started when he was a kid. You can’t fight nature. It’s his opiate of choice.”

Article

Wilderness Therapy Theater

The show is about — that place of darkness where a gulf separates children and parents, and there’s no knowing whether anyone will get out of it safely, or together.
Article

Novelists are like Fur Trappers

Last winter, Zadie’s emails to me became not only more infrequent but shorter. Then things went silent, as they often do when a friend’s writing is going well. Novelists are like fur trappers. They disappear into the north woods for months or years at a time, sometimes never to reemerge, giving in to despair out there, or going native (taking a real job, in other words), or catching their legs in their own traps and bleeding out, silently, into the snow. The lucky ones return, laden with pelts.

As much as I missed Zadie, I was prepared to wait a year or two until she reappeared. But by May her new book was finished. One of the first things I ask her, therefore, is how she wrote it so fast. “I went to therapy,” Zadie says jokingly, but she soon grows serious and explains, “I’ve always felt very cringe-y about myself. Fiction is a useful way of getting around it or disguising oneself one way or another. Not being able to write in the first person was very much about that, and self-disgust or anxiety about saying ‘I.’ I used to sit in front of the computer and have a very tough time writing, and I just noticed, once I was in therapy, I didn’t find it so difficult to write.”

Like a good therapist I say nothing, only murmur, encouraging her to continue. And then Zadie says something I don’t expect, something much more surprising than her previous admission: “It did seem to me, when I was a kid and also now that I’m a grown-up writer, that a lot of male writers have a certainty that I have never been able to have. I kept on thinking I would grow into it, but I’m never sure I’m doing the right thing.”

Article

Friday, October 21, 2016

Pit Stop

Yesterday on my long walk to Harris Pond I had to pee. I spotted two port a johns at the ball field and picked the large one so Lily could come in and with me. It was perfect.

Domestic Violence: Power and Control

Article
Another Article

Kenojuak Ashevak Pioneer of Inuit Art

Article

First Day with the New head

"This time we looked high and low. No head. No Jesus."
Article

Treat a Cold

The natural way.

Cranberry Scones

Cranberry Scones
Author: Katerina
Lightened-up, no-butter sweet Scones made with a delicious vanilla yogurt and ruby red cranberries.
Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
⅓ cup sugar
½ teaspoon salt
⅓ cup olive oil
⅓ cup skim milk + more for brushing the tops
1 tub (5.3-ounces) Vanilla Siggi's Yogurt (or buttermilk)
½ cup dried cranberries (you can use fresh cranberries, too, but cut them in half)
½ tablespoon turbinado sugar, optional

Instructions

Preheat oven to 400.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.
In a large mixing bowl combine flour, baking powder, sugar and salt; whisk until combined.
Make a well in the center of the flour-mixture and add milk into the well; add olive oil and yogurt.
Using a wooden spoon, stir all the ingredients just until the dough comes together.
Using your hands, add cranberries and knead the dough around about 4 to 5 times.
Transfer dough to previously prepared baking sheet.
Flatten ball into a disk; using a pizza cutter, cut the dough into 8 wedges.
Brush tops with milk and sprinkle with turbinado sugar.
Separate each wedge, leaving about an inch in between each scone.
Bake for 15 to 17 minutes, or until golden brown.
Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes or until cool enough to handle.
Serve.


Read more at http://diethood.com/cranberry-vanilla-yogurt-scones/#2h1jy5COOUjW5OKi.99
Source

Buttermilk Scones

Buttermilk Scones from Baking with Julia

Recipe By Marion Cunningham

Ingredients

3 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter -- cold (6 ounces), cut into small pieces
1 cup buttermilk --
1 tablespoon grated orange zest -- or lemon zest

1/2 stick unsalted butter -- (2 ounces), melted, for brushing
1/4 cup sugar -- for dusting

4 tablespoons jam -- or jelly,
and/or
4 tablespoons dried fruit -- diced
or small, plump, such as currants, raisins,
apricots, or figs, for filling (optional)

Recipe


Position the oven racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 425°F.

Mixing and Kneading: In a medium bowl, stir the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together with a fork. Add the cold butter pieces and, using your fingertips (the first choice), a pastry blender, or two knives, work the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal.It's OK if some largish pieces of butter remain--they'll add
to the scones' flakiness.

Pour in 1 cup buttermilk, toss in the zest, and mix with the fork only until the ingredients are just moistened--you'll have a soft dough with a rough look. (If the dough looks dry, add another tablespoon of buttermilk.) Gather the dough into a ball,pressing it gently so that it holds together, turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface, and knead it very briefly--a dozen turns should do it. Cut the dough in half.

TO MAKE TRIANGULAR-SHAPED SCONES, roll one piece of dough into a 1/2-inch-thick circle
that is about 7 inches across. Brush the dough with half of the melted butter, sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of the sugar, and cut the circle into 6 triangles. Place the scones on an ungreased baking sheet and set aside while you roll out the rest of the dough.

TO MAKE ROLLED SCONES, roll one piece of dough into a strip that is 12 inches long and 1/2 inch thick (the piece will not be very wide). Spread the strip with half of the melted butter and dust with half of the sugar. If you want to spread the roll with jam and/or sprinkle it with dried fruits, now's the time to do so; leave a narrow
border on a long edge bare. Roll the strip up from a long side like a jelly roll; pinch the seam closed and turn the roll seam side down. Cut the roll in half and cut each piece into six 1-inch-wide roll-ups. Place
the rolled scones cut side down on an ungreased baking sheet, leaving a little space between each one. Repeat with the remaining dough.

Baking the Scones: Bake the scones for 10 to 12 minutes, until both the tops and bottoms are golden. Transfer the scones to a rack to cool slightly. These are best served warm but are just fine at room temperature.

Storing: If you're not going to eat the scones the day they are made, wrap them airtight and freeze; they'll stay fresh for a month. To serve, defrost the scones at room temperature in their wappers, then unwrap and reheat on a baking sheet for 5minutes in a 350°F oven.

NOTES : Makes 12 triangular or 24 rolled scones.

Swimming at Dawn

Swimming at dawn warms me up for the day but I am not ready to chat with anyone at the pool. I stick my head under the water and swim like mad, I sink into my imagination.

Simple Four Minute Soup

Last night I chopped a head of green cabbage, 4 carrots, 3 stalks of celery, and three cloves of garlic and 4 slices of fresh ginger and a tablespoon of olive oil and added a few cups of water, salt and Adobo seasoning. I pressure cooked it for four minutes. It was fantastic. I have a bad cold and this is soothing and hydrating.

Stories

“There have been great societies that did not use the wheel, but there have been no societies that did not tell stories.”
― Ursula K. Le Guin

Profound Hurt

“A profound love between two people involves, after all, the power and chance of doing profound hurt.”
― Ursula K. Le Guin, The Left Hand of Darkness

Responsibility of Choice

“What is an anarchist? One who, choosing, accepts the responsibility of choice.”
― Ursula K. Le Guin

Unread Story

“The unread story is not a story; it is little black marks on wood pulp. The reader, reading it, makes it live: a live thing, a story.”
― Ursula K. Le Guin, Dancing at the Edge of the World: Thoughts on Words, Women, Places

Bonkers

“While we read a novel, we are insane—bonkers. We believe in the existence of people who aren't there, we hear their voices... Sanity returns (in most cases) when the book is closed.”
― Ursula K. Le Guin

Belief

“Belief is the wound that knowledge heals.”
― Ursula K. Le Guin, The Telling

Unanswerable

“To learn which questions are unanswerable, and not to answer them: this skill is most needful in times of stress and darkness.”
― Ursula K. Le Guin, The Left Hand of Darkness

Made New

“Love doesn't just sit there, like a stone, it has to be made, like bread; remade all the time, made new.”
― Ursula K. Le Guin, The Lathe of Heaven

Survived

“The creative adult is the child who has survived.”
― Ursula K. Le Guin

Uncertainty

“The only thing that makes life possible is permanent, intolerable uncertainty: not knowing what comes next.”
― Ursula K. Le Guin, The Left Hand of Darkness

Eaten by Dragons

“People who deny the existence of dragons are often eaten by dragons. From within.”
― Ursula K. Le Guin, The Wave in the Mind: Talks & Essays on the Writer, the Reader & the Imagination

The Journey

“It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.”
― Ursula K. Le Guin, The Left Hand of Darkness

Find Out

“We read books to find out who we are. What other people, real or imaginary, do and think and feel... is an essential guide to our understanding of what we ourselves are and may become.”
― Ursula K. Le Guin

Alone

“We're each of us alone, to be sure. What can you do but hold your hand out in the dark?”
― Ursula K. Le Guin, The Wind's Twelve Quarters, Volume 1

Shadow

“When you light a candle, you also cast a shadow.”
― Ursula K. Le Guin

Crazy

“What sane person could live in this world and not be crazy?”
― Ursula K. Le Guin

Banality of Evil, Terrible Boredom of Pain

“The trouble is that we have a bad habit, encouraged by pedants and sophisticates, of considering happiness as something rather stupid. Only pain is intellectual, only evil interesting. This is the treason of the artist; a refusal to admit the banality of evil and the terrible boredom of pain.”
― Ursula K. Le Guin, The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas

Freedom

“Freedom is a heavy load, a great and strange burden for the spirit to undertake. It is not easy. It is not a gift given, but a choice made, and the choice may be a hard one. The road goes upward towards the light; but the laden traveler may never reach the end of it.”
― Ursula K. Le Guin, The Tombs of Atuan

Unconsenting Soul

“It is very hard for evil to take hold of the unconsenting soul.”
― Ursula K. Le Guin, A Wizard of Earthsea

True Books

“Children know perfectly well that unicorns aren’t real, but they also know that books about unicorns, if they are good books, are true books.”
― Ursula K. Le Guin

Imagination

“Truth is a matter of the imagination.”
― Ursula K. Le Guin, The Left Hand of Darkness

Most Ethical

“The law of evolution is that the strongest survives!' 'Yes, and the strongest, in the existence of any social species, are those who are most social. In human terms, most ethical...There is no strength to be gained from hurting one another. Only weakness.”
― Ursula K. Le Guin

Participate in it's Creation

“As you read a book word by word and page by page, you participate in its creation, just as a cellist playing a Bach suite participates, note by note, in the creation, the coming-to-be, the existence, of the music. And, as you read and re-read, the book of course participates in the creation of you, your thoughts and feelings, the size and temper of your soul.”
― Ursula K. Le Guin

All you have is what you are, and what you give

“It is our suffering that brings us together. It is not love. Love does not obey the mind, and turns to hate when forced. The bond that binds us is beyond choice. We are brothers. We are brothers in what we share. In pain, which each of us must suffer alone, in hunger, in poverty, in hope, we know our brotherhood. We know it, because we have had to learn it. We know that there is no help for us but from one another, that no hand will save us if we do not reach out our hand. And the hand that you reach out is empty, as mine is. You have nothing. You possess nothing. You own nothing. You are free. All you have is what you are, and what you give.”
― Ursula K. Le Guin, The Dispossessed

Living in a Nightmare

“I am living in a nightmare, from which from time to time I wake in sleep.”
― Ursula K. Le Guin

Curious Artifact

“The book itself is a curious artifact, not showy in its technology but complex and extremely efficient: a really neat little device, compact, often very pleasant to look at and handle, that can last decades, even centuries. It doesn't have to be plugged in, activated, or performed by a machine; all it needs is light, a human eye, and a human mind. It is not one of a kind, and it is not ephemeral. It lasts. It is reliable. If a book told you something when you were fifteen, it will tell it to you again when you're fifty, though you may understand it so differently that it seems you're reading a whole new book."

(Staying Awake: Notes on the alleged decline of reading, Harper's Magazine, February 2008)”
― Ursula K. Le Guin

Virtue of your Peculiarities

“Change is freedom, change is life.

It's always easier not to think for oneself. Find a nice safe hierarchy and settle in. Don't make changes, don't risk disapproval, don't upset your syndics. It's always easiest to let yourself be governed.

There's a point, around age twenty, when you have to choose whether to be like everybody else the rest of your life, or to make a virtue of your peculiarities.

Those who build walls are their own prisoners. I'm going to go fulfill my proper function in the social organism. I'm going to go unbuild walls.”
― Ursula K. Le Guin, The Dispossessed


“You cannot buy the revolution. You cannot make the revolution. You can only be the revolution. It is in your spirit, or it is nowhere.”
― Ursula K. Le Guin, The Dispossessed

Human and a Fool

“My imagination makes me human and makes me a fool; it gives me all the world and exiles me from it.”
― Ursula K. Le Guin

Cares What Words Mean

“A writer is a person who cares what words mean, what they say, how they say it. Writers know words are their way towards truth and freedom, and so they use them with care, with thought, with fear, with delight. By using words well they strengthen their souls. Story-tellers and poets spend their lives learning that skill and art of using words well. And their words make the souls of their readers stronger, brighter, deeper.”
― Ursula K. Le Guin

Le Guin: Perception Compassion Hope

Today is the birthday of science fiction writer Ursula Kroeber Le Guin (books by this author), born in Berkeley, California, in 1929. Her father was the well-known anthropologist Alfred Kroeber, and she grew up listening to Native American legends. She would later say, “My father studied real cultures and I make them up — in a way, it’s the same thing.” She’s best known for her Earthsea series of books about a world populated by wizards and dragons. It’s been translated into 16 languages. She also worked for 40 years on a translation of Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching.

An interviewer once asked her advice for writers, and she replied: “I am going to be rather hard-nosed and say that if you have to find devices to coax yourself to stay focused on writing, perhaps you should not be writing what you’re writing. And, if this lack of motivation is a constant problem, perhaps writing is not your forte. I mean, what is the problem? If writing bores you, that is pretty fatal. If that is not the case, but you find that it is hard going and it just doesn’t flow, well, what did you expect? It is work; art is work.”

She said, “It is above all by the imagination that we achieve perception and compassion and hope.”
-Writer's Almanac

Carrie Fisher

“By the time I was 13, maybe even younger, I would write to calm myself down,” Fisher recalled in an interview with the Chicago Tribune. “I had an overflowing of words. And I realized that if I put things down on paper I could get out from the emotions and organize myself.”

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Rival to Therapy

“I would say that writing, in its own way, is a rival to therapy.”
—E. B. White

Find Reality

“We are living in a fake world … But we find reality in this fake world.”
—Haruki Murakami

Cheever

Part of the thrill of being told a story is the chance of being hoodwinked.”
—John Cheever

Sharp and Keen Eye

He was drawn to the everyday, boring, and the banal– and wanted to show the inherent beauty of things that we often overlook.

“He is the freest person I’ve ever met—he just does what he wants.

I think the most important quality that a street photographer should have is a sharp and keen eye. It doesn’t matter how technically proficient you are or how expensive your camera is. Without having a sharp and inquisitive eye– you will never make an interesting photograph.

“It’s like chopping down a huge tree of immense girth. You won’t accomplish it with one swing of your axe. If you keep chopping away at it, though, and do not let up, eventually, whether it wants to or not, it will suddenly topple down…But if the woodcutter stopped after one or two strokes of his axe to ask, “Why doesn’t this tree fall?” and after three or four more strokes stopped again, “Why doesn’t this tree fall?” he would never succeed in felling the tree. It is no different from someone who is practicing the Way” – Zen Master Hakuin

“Without instruction, at a very early age, I could play the piano. Anything, particularly—after hearing it once. Not reading music. I would pass a quite fine piano in my house everytime we came from the back from the front—and everytime I would pass it I would play a few things, and without any success at all. And I got a little better and better, and time went on. And maybe never playing the same one twice. It aint much different the way I work today, still [in photography].”

Article

Clicks in your Chest

I ask if he likes to talk about photography. Eggleston closes his eyes. “It’s tricky,” he says. “Words and pictures don’t — they’re like two different animals. They don’t particularly like each other.”

I mention that for decades people have studied his compositions, the geometry of his images, which seem to grow more complex the more you look. But this sort of analysis of his work strikes Eggleston as “nonsense.” Photography is second nature to him — intuitive not analytical. “I know they’re there, the angles and compositions,” he says. “Every little minute thing works with every other one there. All of these images are composed. They’re little paintings to me.”

Eggleston’s images can trick you if you’re not careful. You have to look at them, then you have to look again and then keep looking until the reason he took the picture kind of clicks in your chest. In one photograph, taken in the mid-1970s, a beautiful boy — his son Winston — sits in a padded restaurant booth looking down at a magazine. Printed on both pages of the magazine (upside down to the viewer) are guns. The image is a one-two punch. The innocence of the boy breaks your heart; what he’s reading then stops it for a beat. I tell him, “When I look at it, it makes me hold my breath a little bit. Do you know what I mean?” He says, simply, “I do. I feel the same way. I think that’s an incredibly wonderful picture. I don’t know why.”

Article

Listen to Many

Listen to many, speak to a few.
- William Shakespeare

Negotiate for Itself

Let every eye negotiate for itself and trust no agent.
- William Shakespeare

Love All

Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.
- William Shakespeare

Overdoses

Better three hours too soon than a minute too late.
- William Shakespeare

Ourselves

It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.
- William Shakespeare

Thinking

There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so.
- William Shakespeare

Legacy

No legacy is so rich as honesty.
- William Shakespeare

Cowards Die

Cowards die many times before their deaths; the valiant never taste of death but once.
- William Shakespeare

All the Devils are Here!

Hell is empty and all the devils are here.
- William Shakespeare

A Wise Fool

A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool.
- William Shakespeare

The Play is Badly Cast

“Actors are so fortunate. They can choose whether they will appear in tragedy or in comedy, whether they will suffer or make merry, laugh or shed tears. But in real life it is different. Most men and women are forced to perform parts for which they have no qualifications. Our Guildensterns play Hamlet for us, and our Hamlets have to jest like Prince Hal. The world is a stage, but the play is badly cast.”
― Oscar Wilde, Lord Arthur Savile's Crime and Other Stories

Plethera of Misinformation: The Confabulists

A few people I know are a plethora of misinformation. It's one of those things that I either laugh about or cry about depending on my mood. I don't get it. "You don't know about parallel universes?" she asks.

In psychiatry, confabulation (verb: confabulate) is a disturbance of memory, defined as the production of fabricated, distorted or misinterpreted memories about oneself or the world, without the conscious intention to deceive.[1] Individuals who confabulate present incorrect memories ranging from "subtle alterations to bizarre fabrications", and are generally very confident about their recollections, despite contradictory evidence.

Narcissism 101

The psychology majors must be having a field day watching the narcissist unravel. I loathe narcissists. Who doesn't? Having been raised by more than one makes me able to detect them a mile away. This is one of the gifts of having survived. Never again, I say.

All the World’s a Stage, William Shakespeare

All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first, the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms.
Then the whining schoolboy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress’ eyebrow. Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honor, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon’s mouth. And then the justice,
In fair round belly with good capon lined,
With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,

As You Like It, Act II, Scene VII [All the world’s a stage]
William Shakespeare, 1564 - 1616

Jaques to Duke Senior

Start the Day Like a Turtle

I went swimming this morning and my muscles were smiling. I felt like a dancer! There were two other devoted lap swimmers there. The sun was lighting up the sky. I walked home soaking wet in flipflops, cozy dress and sweatshirt and jumped into my home pool, my yellow bath tub.

Receive-mode is here and so I am desperate to swim and walk as soon as I wake up to lift my vantage point. It's an old and welcome friend, and very reliable. Receive-mode usually lasts late October until early January. Get comfortable, I tell myself, there's no changing it. Dance with the shadows and swim with the fish. Be sure do get daylight on your face each day. The earlier you rise the more daylight your brain registers.

I might need to add running to the list because the melancholy is intense.

I love seeing the colorful mums everywhere. The seasonal colors are spectacular.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Wednesday

Many of the transmissions on the police radio feature my neighborhood.

I went swimming in the sunny pool and had coffee and lemon biscotti, they tasted even better today.

Tomorrow it will rain. That's okay. It's 80 degrees today.

There's a cauliflower sale on the Harris Ave Park and Shop supermarket. I might have to go!

October is a haunted month. I am feeling really creepy. I turned on the air conditioner, I was roasting even with wet hair.

Dickens Hope and Despair

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair. —Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities (1859)

Constant Calls for Cultural Inclusion

Article
Nearly three decades ago, a poster by the Guerrilla Girls, an activist group of female artists, asked: “Do women have to be naked to get into the Met Museum?” Their continuing protest at women’s underrepresentation in museum collections still applies to museum leadership. But there are reasons for optimism. Changing gender expectations have resulted in the emergence of a generation of female arts leaders. Outside the top 12, women are now running influential arts institutions like the Studio Museum in Harlem, the Courtauld Institute of Art in London and the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles.

Miles of Orange Trees

This morning Lily and walked all over the city to enjoy the trees. We crossed the river a few times to checkout the view. I was flooded with memories when I got to Market Square and Front Street. The old neighborhood!

The Slumlord Cycle Continues

We try to educate the landlords on simple things like night lighting and trash but it's no use. A slumlord only wants one thing.

Missing Boy

Woonsocket police asking for public's assistance in finding missing ...
www.pressreader.com/usa/woonsocket-call/20161018/281500750778846
21 hours ago - Woonsocket police asking for public's assistance in finding missing city ... a 16-year-old developmentally delayed boy whose family hasn't seen him since Oct. 11. Shawn Medina, of 158 Rathbun St., is a student at the Bradley ...

Art of Aloise Corbaz

Article
Aloise was born in 1886 in Lausanne, Switzerland. Her mother died when she was 11 years old, leaving Aloise in the care of her eldest sister, whose tyrannical control left an indelible mark on Aloise’s psyche and on the family. This sister, discovering Aloise’s love for a priest who lived nearby, put an early and cruel end to the affair by sending her off to work as a governess in Germany in 1911, when Aloise was about 25. At first, Aloise worked for a family in Leipzig and then for a chaplain in the service of Emperor Wilhelm II in Potsdam. How involved Aloise was in court life is unclear, but coaches, thrones and jewels were recurring motifs in her vibrant pictures.

In 1913 Aloise returned to Switzerland, but her mental health soon deteriorated. She spent the rest of her life in institutions, at first with no opportunities for her creative inclinations, but from 1920 she started secretly drawing on scraps of paper with toothpaste and juice squeezed from leaves. When her activities were discovered, they were encouraged and, given colored pencils, she would draw on larger pieces of paper or in notebooks, often ripping out the pages and sewing them together into large sheets or scrolls. With similar resourcefulness, Aloise frequently used both sides of the paper she worked on and when no clean sheets of paper were available, used newspaper or pages ripped from magazines or books, including one on display in the exhibition drawn over a page from an art book on Japonisme.

Unlike the majority of Art Brut artists, whose knowledge of Western cultural history is minimal or non-existent, Aloise was well educated and incorporated elements of the cultured outside world into her art. She was well-versed in three languages, as well as with the stories of her beloved operas and was familiar with science, religious art and history; Napoleon, Mary Stuart and Winston Churchill are but a few of the famous personages who populate her pictures.

But more than anyone else there is always a representation of Aloise herself in her paintings, in one with her breasts a bloom of roses — symbolic, perhaps, of a sexuality desiring to be plucked — and another, also done in red, oddly appearing in the guise of Father Christmas. And, no matter the picture, the same blank, blue eyes punctuate each and every face.

For Aloise it seems that her art was not so much a form of self-expression as a form of self reinvention, a place where she could reorder the world, and her life story, in a more appealing way.

“Aloise’s art,” says Akiko Mori of the Watarium, “offers the possibility of rebirth. There is a tremendous feeling of freedom in her world.”

Hence, no doubt, the recurrence of symbolic images of such as the egg and the butterfly in the highly consistent world she produced. This perhaps accounts for the emerging interest in Aloise and Art Brut in general in Japan — following the successful Henry Darger exhibition last year at the Hara Museum — at a time of financial and cultural malaise that is probably leading more and more people to question who they really are.

For Aloise it seems that her art was not so much a form of self-expression as a form of self reinvention, a place where she could reorder the world, and her life story, in a more appealing way.

“Aloise’s art,” says Akiko Mori of the Watarium, “offers the possibility of rebirth. There is a tremendous feeling of freedom in her world.”

The New England Journal of Medicine

A review of more than a thousand studies has found solid evidence that being overweight or obese increases the risk for at least 13 types of cancer. The study was conducted by a working group of the International Agency for Research on Cancer, part of the World Health Organization.

Strong evidence was already available to link five cancers to being overweight or obese: adenocarcinoma of the esophagus; colorectal cancer; breast cancer in postmenopausal women; and uterine and kidney cancers.

This new review, published in The New England Journal of Medicine, links an additional eight cancers to excess fat: gastric cardia, a cancer of the part of the stomach closest to the esophagus; liver cancer; gallbladder cancer; pancreatic cancer; thyroid cancer; ovarian cancer; meningioma, a usually benign type of brain tumor; and multiple myeloma, a blood cancer.

Article

Trippy Wonderful Scary

Article

The Caretaker Gazette

(sample)
http://www.caretaker.org/
MAINE

FRIENDS OF SEQUIN ISLAND LIGHT STATION in Georgetown, Maine are seeking 2017 season caretakers from Memorial Day to Labor Day. The primary duties include:
-maintaining grounds and equipment
-providing tours and hosting overnight guests
Must apply as a pair as it is a two person job. Families are encouraged. For more information, please visit www.seguinisland.org or call Cyndy Carney at the Seguin office at (207) 443-4808 or email keeper@seguinisland.org

Toaster is a Biscotti Machine

This morning while toasting my sourdough I said the toaster is a biscotti machine!

Potemkin Effort

Of Russian origin: Potemkinskie derevni
by Vladimir Kremlev for RT



Those are the fake settlements allegedly erected by the Russian Minister Grigory Potemkin to impress the Empress Catherine II during her visit to the Crimea in 1787.

Something that appears impressive but in reality lacks substance

The story

In 1787 Empress Catherine II announced her intention to visit the Crimean Peninsula, which had been annexed from the Ottoman Empire four years earlier. According to “eyewitnesses,” this is where the events took place.

Catherine’s journey brought her through the vast steppes located along the Dnieper River. As legend has it, Potemkin, in an effort to impress the Empress with the work he had done in the south of Russia (which for many years had been a desolate area ravaged by constant conflict), allegedly constructed fake villages along the route of the Empress and her foreign guests.

He then ordered peasants to stand along the side of the road with happy smiles. To make his “villages” more authentic he even had herds of cattle move along the road. Each time Catherine saw the cows she did not realize they were the same ones she had seen the day before.

The truthfulness of this story has been the subject of much debate. To make conclusions it is necessary to take a look at Potemkin’s background.

The man close to the Empress

Grigory Potemkin was born in 1739 in a village in central Russia into a family of noblemen. At the age of 18 he entered the Moscow State University and made the list of the 12 best students. Later, however, he was expelled for truancy. He then served in a regiment in St. Petersburg and in June 1762, as luck would have it, he became involved in the coup against Russian Emperor Peter III which brought Catherine the Great to the Russian throne. It is not known exactly what Grigory Potemkin did on that day but he was immediately promoted and given 400 peasants – a gift from Catherine herself.

There were many stories about his passionate love for the Empress. When he was first introduced to her, she was apparently thrilled by his ability to imitate people. When Potemkin left for the war with the Ottoman Empire, Catherine sent him many intimate letters in which she asked him to take great care of his life and not risk it unnecessarily.

In 1772 Potemkin was promoted to the rank of the General and became a member of the State Council - the Empress’s main advisory body. The St. Petersburg nobility named him “the most influential person in Russia.” According to one rumor, Potemkin even had conversations with the Empress in his nightgown (many gossipers said it was the only thing he had on). In 1775 he was given the title of Count and became the Governor of one of the southern provinces.

For some reason, during this period, Catherine’s attitude towards him cooled as she turned to other favorites. The relationship, however, continued to be friendly. For 10 years Potemkin reformed the Russian south. He took great care of the infrastructure of these territories – upon his order many factories, enterprises and educational institutions were erected. Potemkin prided himself on the construction of a shipbuilding center in Nikolaev and the fortress of Kherson on the Black Sea Coast. He is considered one of the founders of the Black Sea Fleet. At the time the fleet was weak but still strong enough to beat the Ottomans. Potemkin was one of the masterminds behind the invasion of the Crimean Peninsula. When Russia annexed the territory he was the one in charge of the region’s development.

Historians tend to agree on three conclusions regarding Potemkin: he truly wished to restore his friendship with Catherine to its previous status; he was a good and far-sighted manager; not everybody in the court of the Empress was happy about the restoration of relations between Potemkin and Catherine.

Truth or myth?

Modern historians are deeply divided on the degree of truth in the story behind Potemkin’s villages. Most consider the myth about fake settlements to be an exaggeration. They claim that the allegations are based on malicious rumors spread by Potemkin's opponents.

Nobody denies Potemkin’s real and significant accomplishments, which solidified his power in the region. But precisely because of this it is highly possible that he could have ordered peasants to scatter along the riverfront to greet the Empress – to help her convince the foreign dignitaries that life was going on well in the Russian Empire.

Another interesting part of this story can be found in the “revelations” of some travelers accompanying the Empress that were published 20 years after Potemkin’s death. The Swedish nobleman Johan Erenstrom recalled not only the scene of the fake villages but also cited that peasants tried to sell things to the traveling party. However, Erenstrom’s recollections are not proof for researchers, as this Swedish nobleman was known to switch sides between the Russian and Swedish imperial courts. So his “act of unfolding the truth” could have been perpetrated for political purposes. There are also memoirs of other participants of the trip that describe the legend about the villages as “a fake.”

The legend lives on

Nevertheless, the concept of the fake villages is widely used in many other circumstances - especially when someone tries to surprise people with things that do not really exist. As modern history shows “Potemkin villages” have become an international phenomenon.

When the Nazis famously showed their “Paradise Ghetto” during World War II to the International Committee of the Red Cross, it was a prime example of a Potemkin village: the façade was attractive but the treatment of the prisoners was far from humane, with extremely high death rates from lack of food and contagious diseases. In fact, for many inmates it became a stopover on the way to the Auschwitz concentration camp.

Another example of a Potemkin village can be found today in North Korea. Several kilometers north of the demilitarized zone there is an ideal rural area, created to impress people with the “successes of socialist construction in the country.”

During the US Congressional debates on a new jobs package in December 2009 one congressman called the proposal a Potemkin village. He was sure that this piece of legislation would never turn into law because it “would never see the light of day in the Senate.” The concept of a Potemkin village was also used by many journalists to show that the plan of the US administration on the reduction of carbon emissions might never work.
Unknown painter. Fireworks during visit of Catherine II of Russia to Crimea.
Unknown painter. Fireworks during visit of Catherine II of Russia to Crimea.

In the USSR organizers of tours for foreign citizens carefully selected the sites to be visited. The best schools, factories and hotels were portrayed as typical and the routes were impossible to change due to strict limits for foreign travelers.

In the 1970s and 1980s - when regional Communist Party leaders hosted their “bosses” from Moscow – they showed them huge amounts of cattle inside modern facilities in an attempt to demonstrate rapid developments in agriculture. But in many cases pigs and cows were specially brought in for the occasion from other places in order to impress the “people in high places.”

This can still occur today in Russia when lower-ranking officials try to impress their bosses. Some far-sighted regional leaders see this as a big problem. “We don’t need Potemkin villages,” said the governor of one Siberian region. “We need real action to improve the infrastructure in the region.”

Many observers and political analysts often use the term “Potemkin villages” when somebody does something to try and change the mindset of the “bosses” at various levels – and this holds true in Russia as well as many other countries around the world.

Written by Oleg Dmitriev, RT

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Do you Know About the Clowns?

Do you know about the clowns? We found a machete under the car, we gave it to our parents. They're going to give it to the police to dust for fingerprints.
-the three brothers in my neighborhood

An Expression of Freedom

“Bill devoted his life to documenting style, but to him style went far beyond clothes,” Mr. Bloomberg said. “To him style was less about what people wore and more about how they wore it. It was an expression of freedom.”
Article

Survivor of Human Trafficking

Article

Perfect Pasta in Minutes!

I have been telling everyone that making pasta in the pressure cooker is revolutionary. It takes only a few minutes. I can't believe it. All you do is put dry pasta in the cooker and add just enough water to cover the noodles and a bloop of olive oil. The oil is crucial for controlling the foaming. Close the lid and heat the pressure cooker. When the regulator starts jiggling, time the pasta for 2 minutes for regular or tricolor and 4 minutes for wholegrain pasta. General rule of thumb is that it is half the cooking time as what is printed on the package. Cool the cooker under cold water to release the pressure and then open the lid and pour the noodles through a colander. Enjoy!

The Power of a Dinner Table

Article

Elizabeth Strout

I write pieces, and move them around. And the fun of it is watching the truthful parts slide together. What is false won't fit. ELIZ. STROUT