Sunday, August 01, 2021

"TIME GOES BY" DRAMA -- CAFE' NOIR -- OBNOXIOUS

"TIME GOES BY" DRAMA

"Time Goes By" (TGB) blog with past content appears to presently continue being available on the Internet hosted by TypePad with this URL:  https://www.timegoesby.net/ as Ronni wrote here.  We can thank another blogger at "Cop Car's Beat" (her cat's name) for her research locating Ronni'sTGB post quote regarding her blog :  

"Arrangements are being made for this blog to remain just where it is online for at least five years after I've died.  If anything is different, my friend Autumn, who is handling everything following my death, will let you know via this blog.  So, when she posts information, it will show up in your email subscription just as you receive it now."

TGB readers who do not have blogs recently contacted me when they received notification of changes with the RSS feed that regularly has provided them the TGB blog.  Their effort to implement the newly provided Feed/blitz link did not work.  They have been concerned as to whether they will continue to be able to receive TGB and access those existing blog posts plus any new publications should there be any. 

In an effort to find an answer for them, I emailed questions to TGB's host TypePad but received no response; then suggested to the readers they might want to contact TypePad themselves.  One reader reported she did receive a TypePad response that this was now a host Feed/blitz issue.  These TGB blog readers questions remain unresolved as I write this, to the best of my knowledge.  

For whatever the reasons,  Autumn has to date not written any further posts on TGB since  December 2020 when she said she intended to continue the blog.   The blogger at "The Awkward Widow" recently reported:  "She [Autumn] is not going to post", concluding TGB "...is dead."

We cannot always control that our specified wishes will be carried out after we die despite our best efforts as the Awkward Widow notes.   I might add,  there may even be occasional instances when individuals have written, signed, documented forms specifying health care wishes that may later be contradicted by family with the medical provider, so there are no guarantees even before death either, in my experience.  

If, for some reason Autumn is unable to write a post on TGB where all comments are now also closed, and there is no active contact email address there, I wish she would contact any one of numerous TGB blogger commenters, or me -- that she would write a statement with as much or as little specifics as she might choose to share regarding TGB's publication, especially the blog's subscription feeds and her intent to continue the blog, or not.  

I, or a blog commenter she might choose, would welcome the opportunity to publish on our blog such official information from Autumn which I believe TGB's followers deserve to know and Ronni would expect at the very least -- some final resolution directly from Autumn regarding TGB's future, not simply ignoring the blog's followers.

Will TGB have a new editor writing blog posts?

Will TGB existing content continue to be on the Internet with TypePad hosting the current URL?  

Will TGB'S existing and/or any new content continue to be fed to subscribers by Feed/blitz, including to those readers who don't have blogs?

I would like to add, I see no useful purpose in speculating further about Autumn's plans, or why she has handled the matter as she has.  She wrote she was only a child when she first knew Ronni who was then an adult and their close relationship developed from that point forward -- I think, maybe being family-like.  

I continue to feel sympathy for Autumn's loss and whatever challenges emotionally and otherwise she may be experiencing resolving Ronni's estate.  Some of us can even act a bit flaky, or appear to be so, after the death of someone for whom we care very much -- sometimes for quite a long period of time after that person is gone from this earth that others may not understand and even we may not about ourselves.

CAFE ' NOIR

Well, I did it!  I finally retired my large but old automatic coffee maker.  I purchased a single cup automatic coffee maker producing from 8 to 14 ounces of my cafe' noir from whatever my favored grind.  Unfortunately,  for me, that is generally decaf, unlike many years of my drinking lots of caffeinated coffee and espresso, but this is much more conveniently in line with my coffee drinking habits now.   I can vary the strength, adjust the amount from cup to travel mug.  I don't use those limiting expensive little prepared cups used with some coffee makers.

I won't share the product brand since my blog policy, like Ronni Bennett's "Time Goes By" policy,  does not provide free advertising or promotion for commercial products.  If a reader ever wants to know about anything I mention on this blog, I'll share such information in response to a private email that can be sent to the address in the upper ride hand corner of this screen page.

OBNOXIOUS

Nothing ensures with more certainty that I will NEVER conduct business with an individual, company, or organization than if they ignore or fail to remove me from their email or any other mailing lists, including postal service mail, if I request them to do so, as has occurred with regular letters from one such advertiser.   Another obnoxious company, but on the internet,  said I could unsubscribe but when I submitted such a request, ultimately more than once,  instead they bombarded my email with multiple emails every day for weeks to months, finally reducing it now to only one email almost every day though I've never responded to any -- and I NEVER WILL!

Comments here on any or all of the above topics are always welcome.   Those attempting to sneakily seek free advertising or promotion in comments with links, often with no relation to any blog content, can be assured their comment will never see the light of day on this blog and will instead be screened out, sent directly to spam, even permanently blocked.


 

Sunday, July 25, 2021

LIFE IN SO CAL INFUSED WITH DRAMATIC MEMORIES

Let's take a look at what's going on in my neck of the woods -- Southern California, sometimes referred to as SoCal.  Then, we'll briefly move across the pond which has prompted a personal memory of my modest, rather inconsequential but thoroughly enjoyable, occasionally hammy in dramatic terms,  life.

Pandemically speaking, Delta+ infections, especially among the unvaccinated and younger people, soar in Los Angeles County,  as reported in our local newspaper, Claremont Courier, by reporter Steven Felschundneff.  "The vaccination rate has stalled at 64% of the eligible population" in our town, he reports. 

I continue to mask whenever I go out, even to drive thrus and for pickups as I had been doing, even when that requirement had been relaxed.  Frankly, I don't see the situation changing anytime soon and current news reports suggest October may see a peak.  But this virus and variants wickedly change so I recommend you regularly check reliable news health sources you have both nationally, as with  Dr. Fauci, M.D., NIAID (National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases) Director, I respect, and your local sources.  

***Late insert:   I just read this from my daughter:   "Very frustrating and unsettling when your unvaccinated teammate comes to work sick and apparently has been for the past 2 weeks, then doesn’t bother to take a covid test because they think they couldn’t possibly have covid and then tests positive for covid thereby exposing the entire team plus surely countless others."

She has been vaccinated and has continued to mask when her employer required the team start coming back into the office a couple days a week which none of them wanted to do. Their work remotely has been as productive or even more so during the time they've worked remotely and there is no reason why they could not continue doing so. Now, of course, she will have to be home for two weeks. Hopefully, remote working for the team will resume at the end of that time. I don't know if the ill person has been unvaccinated, or not, but they certainly are creating problems for all as well as themselves.

Back to My So Cal up date.....We're experiencing increased drought conditions this year.  Recently we've been asked to voluntarily reduce our water usage by 15%.  Avoiding cutbacks or complete loss of power has resulted in the electric utility company requesting periods when we limit our use of appliances and other electronic devices during certain daily hours.

We're sometimes asked throughout the year to not use our fireplaces burning wood if air pollution issues are of increased concern.  But that's another matter relative to our environment, air quality, to which smoke from any forest fires would also contribute.

Temperatures have been hot and higher in the three digits more frequently this year than previous years.  Fire risk is elevated in our mountainside forests exacerbated by dry undergrowth but, hopefully, all will be spared should flames arise, and homeowners won't have to evacuate, much less lose their homes, possessions, animals or even lives.

The creatures living in the mountains are feeling these climate change effects impacting their lives, food sources and comfort.  Consequently, some animals, including coyotes who have previously established packs in some towns like my own, are venturing more into our foothill neighborhood communities.  

The numbers of bears frequenting human environments in our foothill communities as they've done for years seem to have increased.  Bears have been sighted in our town again this year, probably only a mile or so from my neighborhood.  Given that my next door neighbors have a pool, plus a large community pool for subscribers in a limited area also exists at the end of our street about which I hope the bears don't find out.

Here's a short 14 sec. video of a bear taken last year in our town followed by a 2:48 min. video in another community of a mama bear and her cub cavorting in a family's pool they have been regularly visiting this summer -- after the pool is cleaned, of course.


Earlier this month the bears who generally visit primarily the night before, or in early morning hours when residents have set out at the curb their garbage cans for pick-up,  have expanded their talents.  We, in my neighborhood, have been spared that bear "raiding the garbage can" activity so far.  

As if human porch pirates of packages isn't enough, now the bears are getting in on the action.  In LaVerne, the community next to mine, a family discovered a bear had chosen one of their Amazon-delivered packages, the one full of chocolate, naturally, to take right off their front porch in this ABC7 youtube video:

Moving across the pond, more familiarly known as the Atlantic Ocean, I was intrigued earlier this spring when I read popular crime writer Agatha Christie's play, "The Mousetrap" was going to resume London performances after having been shut down due to the pandemic.  This play had been running continuously for over 60 years!

As I may have mentioned previously,  I was bitten by the acting bug whose juices have remained in my soul -- but resulted in overt expression by being in plays when I was young and single.  The juices effects subsequently dissolved into the background of my life when I worked in TV and after I married, then had children.  This occurred because, the traditional way of staging a play as I knew it required setting aside at least four weeks of my free time just for preparation, learning lines if acting, and rehearsals.  The commitment continued for however long performances to a live audience were scheduled.

I just didn't think I could do justice to a play, my children, husband, coupled with the demands of the rest of my life, retain my sanity, if I became involved in theatre.  My husband had pressures of his own so would have difficulty trying to pick up any slack for our family my being away from home so much would have caused.

Through the years I sometimes have felt nostalgia for this theatrical part of my life.  However, when I was still single, there had been a period of time when I had even seriously been debating between moving to NYC to audition for acceptance to train in the American Academy of Dramatic Arts or applying to the Pasadena Playhouse on the West Coast -- from which I still have the application form I requested but never submitted.  No doubt I am just one of many who had similar thoughts but never acted on them -- one of the differences between those who succeed in the business and those who don't.  

London's West End Theatre's "Mousetrap" re-opening announcement news triggered memories for me immediately, as I recalled those years in my mid-twenties when I was very active in amateur little theatre.  The passion I developed never left me after the very first play I was in during high school -- a drama I had strongly urged we present, "Drums of Death." In retrospect, perhaps a different type play might have been a more wise choice for our high school group and audience -- something light-hearted.  I think I still have a copy of my play book.  Perhaps I can sell it since it's now out of print, but I see one paperback being offered on the internet for $30.

When I entered college, I enrolled in an elective one hour credit course called "Stagecraft" with drama activities and plays.  These soon became my primary focus over and above all of my other coursework designed to prepare me for a career to become a Medical Technologist.  I wisely changed majors at the end of the term.

My studies the rest of my undergraduate college years included a certain number of theatre focused classes along with my extra-curricular involvement in lots of plays as well as broadcasting on our campus radio station with my music program, "Jo's Jukebox".  My last year I was thrilled to be chosen as the only female character in a live one-act play in a relatively new entertainment media then, television, on a nearby commercial TV station.  I was becoming aware of some of the potentials for a possible future career.

After graduation, returning to my native state, I enthusiastically joined a local little theatre group, Foothill Players,  which filled all my free time after work for the few years I lived in that town.  Primarily, I acted in, and/or directed plays, including a couple of Agatha Christie's -- "Witness For The Prosecution" and "The Mousetrap"; produced and directed with friends another successful, including monetarily, children's play, with an adult cast, "Winnie The Pooh".

We encountered racism initially in our effort to use the theatre stage to mount this play, "Pooh" through the Players group, to which most of us belonged, for the public but overcame that challenge.   The theatre group which has successfully grown and expanded now has since readily taken credit for our production just as they accepted the small profit we made over and above the expenses using the theatre for which we paid them, then donated our profits to them.  We had paid out of our own pockets to stage "Pooh", making our costumes thanks to a talented artistic non-member of the theatre group who hadn't been allowed to join.

"The Mousetrap" which I directed proved to be a very demanding undertaking when our leading actress had a miscarriage early in her pregnancy during the week before the play was to open.  I visited her in the hospital and in my young inexperience-in-such-aspects-of-life hardly knew what to say or do, but concerned for her welfare, wondering what to do about the play.

Our "Mousetrap" cast later gathered with other theatre leaders.  The consensus was the old show biz cliche', "the show must go on", since the publicity was out there, some tickets sold, and it was so close to opening night.  Furthermore, much to my concern and it certainly hadn't been my suggestion, all concluded I was most familiar with the play, all the characters lines, therefore I should play the lead.  I, extremely hesitant, very reluctant, finally agreed. 

I spent every free moment in the few days we had before the weekend opening, reviewing and  memorizing my character's lines with cues, especially key since there was not to be time for a rehearsal, but I knew the stage blocking, having designed that myself as director.  I had real reservations I might have to depend on off-stage prompts for some lines which in all my other acting performances I had never needed to utilize.

I'm quite sure this was one more experience greatly contributing to a skill I had reason to have to use in most every work position afterward that I describe as needing to "fly by the seat of my pants" -- unexpected situations developing to which I would generally readily adapt with relative calm while maintaining my sanity.

To my great relief the day before our play was to open our leading lady said her doctor had decided she was well enough to perform safely, if she wanted to,  that, in fact, the activity might even be good for her.   

Sitting in the audience, as I usually did during plays performances that I directed, I hoped and expected all would go well.   No reason for me to stay backstage since everybody knew what they were to do and now it was up to them to do it!  I would only be in the way -- especially if anything went awry they would need to focus all their energies on adapting with no distractions from others telling them what to do.  I did have a slight bit of apprehension that in case there was a problem with our leading lady that I better be prepared to go on stage after a short break to assume the role.  Happily, all went well!

Sunday, July 18, 2021

BULL RAISING THREATENED BY PANDEMIC

PERSONAL MEMORY OF BULL FIGHTING .....

               CULTURAL ART OR ANIMAL CRUELTY?

Bull raising is threatened in Spain I read recently in the news as this pandemic has taken a toll on many business enterprises.   The bull raising business, especially in Spain, is no exception though it has been under assault for other reasons for a number of years as has been bullfighting for which these bulls are raised.

"The most well-known form of bullfighting is Spanish-style bullfighting, practiced in Spain, Portugal, Southern France, Mexico, Columbia, Ecuador, Venezuela, and Peru.  The Spanish Fighting Bull is bred for its aggression and physique, and is raised free-range with little human contact.

The practice of bullfighting is controversial because of a range of concerns including animal welfare, funding, and religion.  While some forms are considered a blood sport, in some countries, for example Spain, it is defined as an art form or cultural event, and local regulations define it as a cultural event of heritage.  Bullfighting is illegal in most countries, but remains legal in most areas of Spain and Portugal, as well as in some Hispanic American countries and some parts of southern France.  (CGTN Rahul Patnak). 

This 2002 The Art of Bullfighting video (17:20 duration) best presents the bullfights ritual sequence of actions I was to see one mid-1950's afternoon.  Video commentary notes:  "Every attempt to ban bullfighting in Spain has failed.  In fact, since Spain joined the EU, it has enjoyed a renaissance as Spaniards stand up for their cultural heritage."  

 

Actually, since this video, a few Spanish cities reportedly have outlawed the practice of bullfighting.  There may have been some slight decline in bullfighting acceptance around the world in subsequent years in addition to the toll the pandemic has taken.   

PBS recently aired a special program series on writer Ernest Hemingway that I watched.  During this TV series, books he wrote about bull fighting evidenced his fascination with this activity in Spain.  He stressed bull fighting was not a sport as conventionally viewed in the United States.

I was aware of Hemingway's non-fiction book, "Death In The Afternoon", published in 1932, examining the Spanish traditions and ceremony of bullfighting.  Deeper meanings about fear and courage, life culminating in death, though the latter supposed to be only for the bull, are the focus true aficionados appreciate he noted.

His earlier novel, "The Sun Also Rises", published in 1926 portrays American and British expatriates who travel from Paris to the Festival of San Fermin in Pamplona to watch the running of the bulls and the bullfights.  The story is based on real people in his life.  Thought to be a lost generation after WWI Hemingway suggests they were resilient and strong.

"The Running of the Bulls occurs every July 7th-14th in Pamplona, Spain.  6 Spanish fighting bulls, along with 6 steer, run from the Corrales de Santo Domingo to Pamplona's Plaza de Toros (bullfight arena).  Over 1 million spectators watch thousands of runners over the 8 days of the San Fermin Festival.

Rick Steves, European travel authority, describes the event:

The 2021 Running of the Bulls event was cancelled for the second year in a row as reported by Reuters due to the pandemic.   The event, expected to resume in 2022, is being promoted on the Internet now for visitors to make travel bookings and accommodations reservations.

I have not been particularly interested in bullfighting so hadn't read either of Hemingway's  books though I did see the 1957 movie based on "The Sun Also Rises".  I especially recall sultry actress Ava Gardener in a leading seductress roll pursuing the bullfighter which reportedly became her reality in real life.  There was also a much less appreciated 1984-TV miniseries I didn't view of that same book that is said to not have been favorably received by critics and the viewing public.  The news item and focus on Ernest Hemingway prompted numerous thoughts and memories of my own from the mid-fifties.

My only sibling, decade older brother now deceased, made an effort to expand my horizons in various ways throughout my life.  Not all his undertaking went well such as the time he sat preschool age me on the back of his bike with me gripping his bike seat.  My little legs hung down as he rode his bike uphill toward our house.  Apparently, my legs tired and I attempted to rest my left foot somehow, but ended up entwining it in the bike wheel's spokes.  I still carry the large scar on my ankle but have no conscious memory of the event.

When I was a senior in high school my brother visited, gave me the keys to his convertible enabling me to have the rare opportunity to drive alone into town on my own one evening from our then rural home.   Then when I graduated from high school his gift to me was a couple pieces of Samsonite luggage which was perfect for moving out into the world, or college as I had hoped and he certainly encouraged.  A few years later he gifted me a necessary standard bit of jewelry accessory for any young woman's social life I was yet to experience -- a high quality simulated pearl necklace.  

So, years later when I visited him in Ecuador, one unexpected activity he introduced me to was an afternoon at a popular event in South American countries as well as Spain -- the bullfight.   The event featured an increasingly popular young bullfighter, Jaime Bravo, who was busily making a name for himself though relatively unknown then.  Bullfighting was more universally accepted during those years, partly due to Hemingway's writings describing the Spanish art form aspect of the event.

I recall visiting a local hotel an afternoon after attending the bullfight where my brother's young children were able to interact with the giant size Galapagos tortoises in the courtyard.   I heard quite a commotion inside the hotel which soon revealed itself to be fans encountering their idol, Bravo, who was staying there.

My recent research about Jaime Bravo's career revealed in his biography he led quite a colorful life, eventually groomed to be a U.S. motion picture star, actually appearing in several movies including: 

"Love Has Many Faces" (1965) with him as a matador, of course, a movie that was scandalous at the time.  "Starring Lana Turner, Cliff Robertson, Hugh O'Brian, Ruth Roman, and Stefanie Powers, the film was rife with repeated affairs...seemingly Bravo was typecast."  His voice was dubbed due to his heavy accent, though he spoke English.

"Known for his death-defying style, in the late 1960's ... Jaime Bravo was a bullfighter for many years, especially popular with the ladies and with the border town crowds.  He had the looks and the charm, if not the talent, to make it on the screen and to some producers, that's all that mattered."  Ava Gardener is said to have showered her attention on him at one of his bullfights.  Born in Mexico in 1932, he died there in a car accident in 1970.

Whatever point of view one has about bullfighting, after my viewing the afternoon spectacle, talking with others, reading about the various perspectives of bullfighting aficionados and critics, the moment when the banderillas planted their spiked end wooden sticks designed to tear muscles, nerves and blood vessels, my reactive opinion was formed.  

Then, when the bull charged the mounted padded horses with the consequences of their sharp pointed horns out of view my perspective was reinforced.  Yet later, more flesh damaging sticks were thrust into the bull's neck and shoulders.  There was never any doubt in my mind -- how could such torture and brutality be part of or considered as art -- this was animal cruelty.  


 

Sunday, July 11, 2021

ROBOTS BENEFIT ELDERS LIVING IN PLACE, HEALTH CARE?

LIVNG IN PLACE, independently, alone, after my husband's death, then retiring years later, resulted in changes that prompted necessary adaptations in my life coinciding with my aging.  As I've written here earlier, I've  gradually become aware daily activities that once were incidental in the scheme of living are increasingly taking more time, and effort.  I've realized some assistance from others is becoming necessary to maintain my lifestyle, living in my home with no family locally to assist me.  

Preparation for those occasions when I might not be able to take care of my basic needs including when I become ill have required some pre-planning.   All other times, ordinary routine shopping at a store, cooking and cleaning, even driving my car, have necessitated I plan ahead but they took on unexpected importance when the pandemic emerged.  I've benefited from the increased availability of pickups, deliveries, ordering online, even occasional aid from kind-hearted young neighbors.    On the other hand, I've been reticent about hiring help to come into my home lest they expose me to the virus.

I've continued to pay attention to any services that are becoming available or are expected in the future that could enhance my being able to remain in my home through this final stage of my life.  More and more older people have indicated, just as I am doing,  they prefer living in place in their residences to moving into facility groupings for older people such as nursing homes, retirement communities, other type senior residences.  

Our U.S. government has not taken action to adjust our health care system financing to enable more older people to remain in their homes rather than have to go into a facility to receive needed care.  I think this should be a health care goal in how to care for our older population for those who choose doing so, but one that is unlikely to occur in my lifetime.   Nevertheless, I continue to note there are some efforts being made to find ways to help older people to live independently and safely in their homes.  Moving, relocation from familiar surroundings can be health complicating factors for elders.

NOTE: (Added after original publishing).     Reports are that costs are less for elders cared for in their residences than if they're cared for in facilities as currently occurs.

We're told our nation is having an increasing need for more doctors, nurses, caregivers and general health care workers whether older people are in hospitals, other facilities, or living in their residences.  There has been some expansion of virtual care since the pandemic but where does all the extra help needed come from?  

One such proposed source being explored are robots.  Research and prototype robots have been created with ongoing improvements being developed.  Recent years I've been intrigued by numerous news stories, videos that have shown us some of the robots, their increasing skills and capabilities, older people interacting with them and creators design plans.  

Click on this recent Orange County Register newspaper article an elder friend sent me titled "6 Robot Helpers Used for Health Services, Eldercare and Social Support".   These are some of the robots mentioned with links here to their sites:  Elli-Q, Care-O-Bot, Qoobo, Lovot, Paro, Tombot.   Do you favor one of these robots?

Some additional videos that give a glimpse of robot efforts such as this one, Rudy, designed to offer "... care and companionship to seniors" as he engages in conversation.  (This PBS News Hour video with Judy Woodruff is 4:03 minutes duration.)   

Then, there is the robot with AI, Mabu, involved in your health care and Jimmy.                   (5:55 mins. duration) 


Time magazine offered a video of robots working in health care:  (1:34 mins. duration).         


Researcher Thomas Bock's TEDxTUM talk presentation describes his vision of the future of robots in medical care.  (17:51 mins. duration) 


I think robots offer some potential benefits for elders as these machines are refined in the future.  I have reservations about how much I want them involved in my health care.  I do know some robots are now being used in select surgical procedures such as hip replacement which some elders need.  Further examination of robotic surgeries viability will be of interest as they become more prevalent.  Some reports have said the robots are more surgically proficient than their human counterparts.

I don't perceive wanting to interact socially, or converse with robots other than for the simple novelty the exercise might provide.  Dancing with a robot doesn't appeal to me; singing, maybe.  I become easily frustrated communicating with recorded messages on my phone since they often inadequately provide options appropriate for addressing my reason for calling; as often also occurs with limited contact choices offered by many businesses on the internet. 

I don't desire a robot pet whose reactions would soon become very repetitive and predictable,  Perhaps some elders needing to relieve their loneliness might react differently to robot pets as they do to toy stuffed animals.  I can appreciate some individuals with dementia could enjoy a robot but for others trying to maintain their reality orientation they could be problematic.  

What do you think about the use of robots in our health care, social lives, or what could robots provide that would be most useful as you become or are a senior/elder? 

Sunday, July 04, 2021

FAMILY -- CELEBRATING INDEPENDENCE -- AGING

 Celebrating Independence Day -- July 4th!

Let us preserve our independence, democracy, freedoms, by re-pledging our allegiance to the  United States Constitution this year and for future years.

Following the Constitutional Convention in 1787 Benjamin Franklin, one of the founders of our country is reported to have been asked, "Do we have a republic or a monarchy?"  His reply was, "A republic, if you can keep it!"

Our democratic republic was threatened during the previous federal government administration like never before as select officials acted in ways that could be interpreted as violating their oath of office and threatening our republic.  Even now numerous legislators are reticent in defending our form of government.

May we not succumb to being governed by anyone, including a future or former leader who seeks primary allegiance to him/herself,  rather than our Constitution, takes actions to undermine our democracy that leads to establishing another form of government such as an autocracy, monarchy, theocracy. 

Let us remember bipartisan election officials across this nation have unequivocally stated 2020 was our most secure Presidential election so we should reject those false conspiracy theories that state otherwise.

We must persist in establishing true equality for everyone, safeguard voting rights for all without suppressive efforts aimed toward some, despite political efforts and selective judicial rulings otherwise.

Let us continue to pursue social and financial equality for all our citizens regardless of race, creed, color, sexual gender.

May all those who planned, supported and participated in the Capitol January 6th insurrection be identified and prosecuted with preventative actions to ensure such an activity never again occurs.

May American patriots re-dedicate ourselves to supporting and preserving the United States of America's constitution, our democratic republic and our planet's environment.

FAMILY  DELIGHT

We continue having high hot temperatures in our Southern California drought conditions.  Uninterrupted electric power provides much-needed air conditioning I certainly appreciate.  Fortunately, water rationing has not been necessary to date.   

I feel emotionally rejuvenated following a visit the past week with a few of those still living family members who drove halfway across our country to my home.  We always have a variety of frequent virtual communications throughout the year, but with the pandemic we did not see one another in person for much too long.  What a delight to hug a young grandson who has grown immensely since last I saw him as he prepares to enter 5th grade.

I especially benefited from having my son aid me by performing numerous long overdue tasks to enhance my ability to more comfortably keep living in place independently in my home.   There is much more work to be done that will continue to be my focus.  He may be able to return in the future to provide more assistance.  

Unfortunately, aging's effects have slowed my work efforts considerably, including my determination to reducing my possessions, so my progress is slow.  Also, I expect I'm not alone in finding performing everyday necessities I once considered as incidental in life requiring minimal time and effort have now become much more prominent major time-consuming activities.

In the mix for me will be finally getting crowned -- not the royalty variety -- following another earlier root canal.  I will continue my weekly blog post here but visiting other's blogs to comment may be lessened, as this past week, while I order my life a bit more.

Sunday, June 27, 2021

FARM SLAVE LABOR -- ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS ?

Immigration is such a touchy topic -- all those illegals entering our country -- maligned by so many.  Do we benefit from low priced food because of the labors some provide?  

Some of them may make up the farm workers who harvest our fresh produce, vegetables and fruit.  Mostly they earn only starvation wages, have no health care, meager possessions, pathetic housing conditions.  Decades pass and these issues seem never to go away, ebbing and flowing from bad to worse and back again.

Living in the Midwest when I was young my awareness of the laborers harvesting our food out west was not in my consciousness.   I became accustomed to seeking ways to earn money that began in my early years as my mother incentivized me when I helped her with a sideline greeting card business.  This was long before greeting cards other than for the really big sellers at Christmas were readily available in stores.  

We took orders for the Christmas cards by the box, plain or name engraved.  The other cards we sold throughout the year when someone would phone saying they needed only one or the other card for some occasion from a box of "everyday cards" we kept on hand -- get well, birthday, anniversary, sympathy.  I delivered them on my bicycle and received a small amount of pay from my mother for my efforts.

We moved to the country the year I started Jr. High School.  One summer I learned of a farm down the highway from where we lived that was hiring workers to harvest potatoes on an upcoming Saturday.  I was enthusiastic about this opportunity to earn some extra spending money.  I was to be paid by the weight of the potatoes I gathered though I don't recall now the rate.  

We followed a tractor pulling a mechanical device unearthing the potatoes allowing us to pluck each one from the dirt  to add to the huge bag we drug behind us.  Our bag filled we took them to a wagon for weighing and emptying together with all the others.  

I remember how dirty, hot and sweaty the work was, exhausting me at the end of the picking day.  I hadn't set any records for the meager number of total potatoes I harvested so earned very little compared to the expectations I had when I took that job.  

I had, however, just added one more type of employment to the list I was formulating in my memory that I knew absolutely I did not want as a career when I became an adult.  By the same token, I had learned from my Mother's model I would be wise to be experienced in doing many jobs I might not find appealing in order to survive, to not be too proud to do so.

I think now of farm workers of varying ages harvesting crops day after day, all day long and appreciate the fruits of their labor with every bite I take.  I think of the meager wages for such exhausting work these people earn, limited if any benefits they have including health care, with only their basic living conditions at best.

A recent article by Nina Lakhani in "The Guardian"  shared photographs by Encarni Pindado from Texas' Rio Grande Valley:   "Meet the workers who put food on America's tables -- but can't afford groceries.  Undocumented immigrants are doing the backbreaking farm work that keeps the US food system running but struggle to feed their families."

Lakhani reports "About half of the 2.5m farm hands in the US are undocumented immigrants, according to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), though growers and labor contractors reckon the figure is closer to 75%."

One woman, Linda Villareal, (not her real name) written about:  "For this backbreaking work, Villareal is paid $7.25 per hour, the federal minimum wage since 2009, with no benefits " She has also had to cope with the debilitation of Covid 19 symptoms.

Villarreal works six days a week, sometimes seven, putting food on Americans' tables but earns barely enough to cover the bills and depends on food stamps to feed her own family.

Writer Lakhani reports, "Even before the pandemic, farms were among the most dangerous workplaces in the country, where low paid workers have little protection from long hours, repetitive strain injuries, exposures to pesticides, dangerous machinery, extreme heat and animal waste.  Food insecurity, poor housing, language barriers and discrimination also contribute to dire health outcome for farmworkers, according to research by John Hopkins Centre for a Livable Future."  Farmworkers are reported to have experienced "a disproportionate impact of Covid 19" during this pandemic.

"Many undocumented farmworkers have been toiling in the fields for years, pay taxes and have American children, yet enjoy few labor rights, have extremely limited access to occupational health services and live under the constant threat of deportation.

In truth, farmworkers here are never harassed while working in the fields, which advocates say suggests a tacit agreement with growers to ensure America's food supply chain isn't disrupted by immigration crackdowns.  It's everywhere else that these essential workers, who kept toiling throughout the pandemic, are not safe."

The NYTimes reports our US Supreme Court recently decided a California court case preventing unions from organizing at the farmworkers workplace since this infringed on employer's rights.  "The case concerned a unique state regulation allowing labor representatives to meet with farm workers at their workplaces for up to three hours a day for as many as 120 days a year."  The vote was 6 to 3, with the court's three liberal members dissenting.

"The decision did away with a major achievement of the farmworkers' movement led by Cesar Chavez in the 1970s, which had argued that allowing organizers to enter workplaces was the only practical way to give farmworkers, who can be nomadic and poorly educated, a realistic chance to consider joining a union."   I experienced my English as a Second Language (ESL) students having to leave as they followed the various crop harvests across California some years ago after only a few classes.  Is it any wonder they may have difficulty learning English?

Are those whose skills may be unappreciated and unrewarded going to be content to be taken advantage of forever?  

Will there be a day of reckoning for American's farm worker slave labor -- our food availability and how much we pay for that food?  I wonder what the situation is in Europe and the rest of the world?


 

Sunday, June 20, 2021

LUCKY ? -- FATHER'S DAY -- JUNETEENTH

HAPPY FATHER'S DAY to all those great Dad's that many are fortunate enough to have, or had in their lives.  I'm pretty sure from all accounts both of my grandfathers were great Dads.  Unfortunately, my grandfathers had departed this earth before I was born or had a chance to know them.

JUNETEENTH DAY was declared an official national holiday beginning the 19th.  The commemoration recognizes the final end of slavery, that hadn't been established in every state until two years after Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation in 1862 during the Civil War.

LUCKY ?    

Are some people luckier than others?  

Lucky is said by some to stress chance bringing about a favorable result.   

One online library definition differentiates between chance and luck.  

"Chance-oriented persons decide according to given or estimated odds that define the decision problem.

"Luck-oriented persons, on the other hand, rely on self-attributions of personal luck, and ignore the probabilities of decision outcomes"

Luck is often associated with gain or loss through gambling which I think must be a luck-oriented activity.   On the other hand, some forms of gambling as offered at casinos are said to offer a greater chance at winning than others.   The slot machines, which are the only games I've ever played in casinos, I understand to offer the least chance of winning.   

Drawings winning odds can vary based on the number of entries.  Possibly the least chance of winning a drawing can be found in some of the various U.S. state lotteries that have been offered in recent decades.  The potential $$$ winnings can be very attractive despite the odds. 

I think I'm basically a chance-oriented person although my occasional drawing participations and slot machine gambling may carry an element of being luck-oriented, though I didn't seriously expect to win.  (Maybe my lack of believing I would win adversely affected my odds -- introducing another element).  Of course, my slot machine gambling and years past friendly poker-playing card games occasionally with family members and friends had been for fun.  

I've never considered myself to be unusually lucky when it comes to casino gambling or in drawings.  I have won two drawings in my life.  One when I was in my twenties soon after I had purchased my first car.  The nearby newly opened Gulf gas station I had begun frequenting had a drawing (obviously only few entries) where I won a boy's bicycle.  I sold it.

Many years later after moving to the west I entered a drawing at a local news stand/video rental store I occasionally visited.  I was surprisingly delighted to win a transistor radio, especially since they were not inexpensive as the latest new tech device of the time before personal computers.   Months later my enjoyment was short-lived when our house was broken into with the thieves stealing my radio along with a journal gifted to me in which I had just started writing.  

I recall many years ago, soon after I was wed, attending the annual meeting of a business organization associated with my husband's work then.  Before we joined the other three owners and their wives at our table, my husband mentioned to me that the wife of one of the senior owners seemed to be uncannily lucky and just about always won when they had drawings.  Sure enough, from the hundred or more people present her name was drawn for one of the prime prizes.

Then, there are the gamblers like Marlon Brando's character who sang "Luck Be A Lady Tonight" in the movie version of the Broadway musical "Guys and Dolls". 


An acquaintance recently told me of her experiences going to the casinos with her much more affluent younger sister who she believes to be especially lucky.  Their most recent visit the "lucky" sister won some big bucks though my acquaintance is the one who really could have used the financial boost.   Her sister did share a portion of her winnings though my acquaintance said she was reluctant to accept the generosity since she wasn't inclined to accept such gifts.   

A friend of mine seems to have the magic touch when it comes to slot machines.  They've occasionally traveled to casinos, including Las Vegas for years during visits to family residing there.  They usually stop in a casino before returning home.  She, but not her husband, generally wins enough in only a short time to minimally gain the cost of their trip -- driving expenses, hotel bills if they've chosen to stay in one which they frequently do, dining out costs, and sometimes even more on their overnight or several day jaunts.  They have no really big wins but rare are the occasions when she hasn't won enough to cover all their travel outlay.  

Those are a few examples of individuals who may be considered to meet the criteria of some for being "lucky" that come to my mind.  

Do some people you know seem to be luckier than others?

Do you think you are a more chance or luck-oriented person?  


Sunday, June 13, 2021

BECOMING WOKE

I received an interesting phone call the other day.  A gal I know said she wanted to ask me a question.  She prefaced her enquiry by noting how we disagreed on a number of matters but she seemed to think the matter she was enquiring about was associated with views of mine, even though she repeated not agreeing with some of them.

Her query was, "What does woke mean?"   I explained I understood its use today referred to individuals becoming aware of realities they previously might have not believed to be true.  Probably one of the most significant areas of being "woke" was with regard to the prevalence of racism.  

She replied she had begun to think that was what the meaning was, then immediately related the topic to those today becoming "woke" to discriminatory actions, even racism in our law enforcement.  She noted those people who had that belief would be sorry if funding was altered which she seemed to assume would result in loss of the protection from our police -- as though any proposed change in our police department policies, functions, or re-allocation of funding would result in undermining the safety our police could provide.

I reminded her of a decade or so younger mutual acquaintance (deceased now) who had years earlier shared with us stories we all found quite appalling, even objectionable, of actions of some of her family members in law enforcement,  even one who had been a very high official in state law enforcement.  Yet, this person's overall beliefs were very much aligned with that of the gal with whom I was talking, that no change in law enforcement practices relative to discrimination was needed.

My caller acknowledged recalling our mutual acquaintance's examples she, too, found unacceptable behaviors, but there was no further progression of thought that just maybe something needed fixing.   Apparently, both of their beliefs are that those law enforcement individuals were just a couple of rare instances of bad attitudes but no recognition the system might need some overall adjustments to lessen the prevalence of such actions reported elsewhere, too.

How does that make sense?  If the problem is so prevalent not only with those two officials but most everywhere else, too, as is being revealed, perhaps there is more of an issue than just a few so-called "bad apple" law enforcement persons.  Something more may need reassessment and change -- hiring requirements, training, policies, to name a few areas that should be re-examined.

I mentioned to her that some years ago, here in California -- perhaps in some other states, too -- there had been significant decreases in our mental health care system services to decrease costs.  The unintended consequence placed more burden on law enforcement to criminalize some of these people's actions absent the health care they needed.  

Mentally ill patients were released from care settings back into ordinary life for which they were ill-prepared to function effectively.  They often did not have adequate access to, support for their mental issues, or receiving monitoring to try to ensure they take necessary medication.  Some individuals, unable to cope, initiated behaviors necessitating law enforcement being called to protect law-abiding citizens, and even these ill patients from themselves.

I think of family issues, neighbor quarrels, acquaintances squabbles, distorted thinking with poor judgement resulting in calls to the police to quell disputes -- social issues others might be better trained to resolve to avoid violence, the challenge of helping those with the inability to reason rationally.   

Perhaps some adjustments to our law enforcers responsibilities might not only be better for all by relieving officers from the responsibility of coping with such, though I don't profess to be an expert on such matters.    Officers might even welcome a focus back on more traditional criminal activity.   What do you think?

Sunday, June 06, 2021

WHERE IS THE EQUATOR ..... EARTH'S CENTER?

Visiting family in Quito, Ecuador (9350 feet above sea level) I was introduced to numerous sights and experiences during that 1950s time.  This video reveals how much the city has developed, expanded into the countryside in the past almost seven decades since I was there.  I do recall never having seen as much gold in one location as I did in a church we visited, contrasted with the surrounding poverty outside.

 

In one interesting experience we drove a narrow two-lane dirt road out of the nation's capitol, Quito, occasionally passing cottage-like houses at the side of the road.   I noticed large carcasses of fly-covered butchered meat hanging under the roof covering front porch-like areas at some of those small houses.  Obviously, power for a refrigerator or freezer, electric lights and other features taken for granted in most U.S. homes was not present.

Our travel led us to a large cleared rough dirt area with the Ecuadorean nation's small plain marker in the center around which we could drive, also with ample room to park which we did.  There were no other structures or people visible, a very isolated nondescript site actually.  Stepping to designated areas I was able to stand spreading my feet simultaneously with each foot on purported opposite sides of the equator.

Suddenly, a small wizened-looking woman with classic witch-like appearance including long hair flying about her head appeared, apparently from the natural unkempt surrounding brush.  Startling us, she cloyingly but demandingly solicited a hand-out to which being mesmerized we did not immediately respond, still adjusting to her unexpected presence.  Her manner and facial features abruptly became very contorted into a wicked grimace with glaring eyes when we did not respond as promptly as she expected.

This truly witch-like-looking little woman waved around her arms and pointing long nailed fingers at us, shaking her hand menacingly, uttering Spanish-sounding curse words as she began casting a damning spell on all of us.  Such an intended fear inducing outburst in that brief period of time served to dampen any inclination we felt toward acquiescing to her demands leading us to not linger there longer.   I don't think we even had bothered to take any photographs at that point and never did.

Recently, I searched for an Internet photo of the small plaque/monument I recalled seeing to share here.  What has been revealed to me is the subsequent evolution of Ecuador's "Middle of the World" equator concept the nation has developed for their unique recognition in the decades since my visit.

The site we visited in the mid-1950s appears to have acquired a surrounding small town marking the area, but in Jim Ferri's NeverStop Traveling fun-reading short article is designated as "Ecuador's Fake Equator".   Wha-a-a-t !  ..... FAKE equator?  

Jim wrote:  "...the screw-up was caused by a French expedition in 1736 that marked the wrong spot.  And get this, the mistake wasn't realized until just a few years ago when the Global Positioning System (GPS) was invented."

But never fear you can go to the close nearby real equator at "the Inti Nan museum, which is about five minutes away" though "tourist trap" has been applied by some to that site.   "...you can stand on the line painted on the "real equator," plus do other interesting equator activities.

Wait a minute!  "...others say that neither spot marks the real equator and that the correct location is even further away."  Incidentally, Jim notes there are some GPS issues with the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, England, too,  lest we become too concerned.

Quitsato Project describes "there is the possibility that the Quitu-Caaranqui indigenous people, Before the conquest of the Incas, they were able to reach the exact positioning of the equator in the archaeological site of Catequilla (see 27 sec. aero vdeo), which was possibly used as an astronomical observatory ... located exactly on the Equinoctial line, easily verifiable with satellite technology, GPS or Google Earth".

Hugh Morris of Great Britain's "Telegraph" describes the situation well, along with short paragraphs on numerous other sites around the world where designations of the center has become questionable.  In addition to London, other centres in Europe, there are complications with Alaska and Hawaii causing the centre of America to be in South Dakota, then there are 3 centres declared in Scotland.  Seems there can be some confusion.

Many of the links above feature some colorful photos accompanying mostly short articles.  The Quito countryside is surrounded by spectacular mountains with one inactive dormant volcano, Mount Chimborazo peak soaring to over 20,564 feet above sea level -- the highest peak on earth when measured from the center of the earth rather than sea level.

 

A brief recap before moving on to a different topic is what I expected to describe when I started writing this post.  This would be a simple account of my standing with each of my feet simultaneously on opposite sides of the equator.  Clearly, the matter has taken on unexpected complicating proportions.

Without the Internet most of us lay people would likely never have known about all these matters others now disagree about.  Ignorance can sometimes be bliss as the saying goes, simplifying life, not knowing what we don't know.  This applies to other topics, too.  Would you agree or whadda you think?


Sunday, May 30, 2021

"TIME GOES BY" -- HAS TGB GONE ... BY ... BYE?

MEMORIAL DAY COMMEMORATION

Memorial Day commemorates those whose lives were taken in defense of each of us and the United States.  I especially remember those who fought in WWII though few of that generation are still living -- the veterans themselves, other contemporaries.  I have written posts devoted specifically to honoring all those serving our country you may access in this blog's archives numerous years on this date.

HAS TIME GONE BY?

Others have commented here missing the "Time Goes By" community and reading Ronni Bennett's writing at her blog due to her death last year.  I was reminded last month we often celebrated her April 7th birthday with her.  I think we all knew what skills, experience and perspective with humor she brought to her blog were unique to her, not to be easily imitated or reproduced by another.  She expended considerable time and energy into promoting the goals she had for TGB's focus on aging and providing encouragement to elderbloggers.  

Like most who were influenced by or followed RB's blog we have looked forward to the blog continuing with a new writer.  We were delighted to read a close friend Ronni had encouraged decided to become TGB's blogger to be known as Autumn as she last told us in December  2020.

Since Autumn's December pronouncement TGB readers have awaited the next communique.  Some readers, including myself, wanted to support keeping the TGB community together.  We, independent of one another, tried to follow Ronni's dictum to "talk among yourselves" as she had encouraged on those few occasions in the past when she had little to write.  So, we generally referenced some topics about which she had previously written offering our new fresh commentary and encouraging others to add their thoughts, to select other of her blog post topics to comment on, or even introduce some new topics.  This was all done, hopefully to maintain interest, and TGB community followers until that unknown time when Autumn has been expected to begin writing there.

Whatever the plans for TGB they remain unknown.  In the past months comments have been closed on all of the TGB topics so keeping the blog active for reader community dialogue is obviously not part of the plan for the blog presently.  Or perhaps someone stopped the comments because too much moderating was needed for an increasing number of unacceptable comments, those seeking free advertising, trolls polluting the content.  Coincidentally, just before comments were closed, I had decided to discontinue commenting there further any way, on what I had come to see as a dormant TGB for new posts.

I don't presume to know what Ronni's thoughts were, but based on what I knew of her desire for her blog, I think she would be disappointed her blog has not been actively continued in some fashion with at least an occasional brief status update since that last December pronouncement. Possibly Autumn continues to be involved with resolving issues associated with RB's death, formulating her plans for TGB, securing her own continued anonymity if that is her preference, and many other explanations.   Everything is pure speculation so TGB followers apparently must be patient a while longer for the promised blog continuation.

I've looked forward to learning what the philosophy of TGB would be, the guidelines for posts and comments to be followed, if TGB will continue to be non-commercial as well as the blog's content focus.  I've looked forward to seeing if the blog will still be of interest to me as one of the older bloggers there.  RB was close to being a contemporary of mine though slightly younger, plus we had other shared interests.

Will matters pertaining to older bloggers be addressed as well as the focus wisely being primarily on Boomers and younger generations?  I realize as someone whose life as a child was during WWII that those of us still living are increasingly few in number, but I've appreciated encountering others like myself at TGB as well as reading of other generations experiences and point of view.  I don't know what sort of connection I may feel with another blogger or bloggers and the direction TGB may take if, in fact, TGB continues.  Unfortunately, many of the aging issues RB addressed continue to exist in our culture impacting all ages ultimately, so there are still many matters needing discussion for how to resolve.

Incidentally, quite by accident some months ago I came across an exchange of comments on another blog that has since become dormant, too.  That blogger expressed congratulations to her commenter for having decided to continue as TGB's blogger.   My clicking on that commenter's icon surprisingly to me linked to TGB though she was commenting from a different blog.  When queried about her relationship to TGB she responded such a link was an accident.  I did research that commenter's name who will remain unnamed in respect of her privacy.  I did not contact her and have no further information to share on this matter.

I don't know if or when TGB will resume with Autumn or someone else or others writing, or what is the intent for the blog's future focus and content. I'm as curious as you may be.  The December 2020 post Autumn wrote says she will be continuing with TGB, so only time will tell when a fresh post will be published, if ever.  Surely, if Autumn has since changed her mind, deciding to not assume blogging at TGB she or someone would say so.  Meanwhile, "Time Goes By".

 

Sunday, May 23, 2021

DID I, OR DIDN'T I ?

Another lesson learned ..... did I or didn't I take that daily antihistamine pill due in the regimen I started one recent weekend when the pollens worsened my reactions -- sneezing, sinus drainage, eyes watering, nasal stuffiness when I try to sleep, to name a few unpleasantries.  I recall noting directions said to allow 24 hours before taking the next pill as I was holding the pill bottle.

Suddenly, the phone had rung from a number I had, coincidentally, been thinking of calling myself, not some obvious unwelcome sales promotion.   S'pose that was ESP as I've experienced quite a few times before with phone calls through the years.  But, I digress -- that's quite another topic.  That catch-up phone conversation with my friend ended after a reasonable time with all pertinent topics covered, questions answered.   

A couple hours later, I happened to think -- "Did I take that antihistamine pill?"  I remembered holding the pill bottle, but did I take that pill just before answering that phone call?  I'm not sure, but I don't think so.  So I took a pill.   Then, I started to have second thoughts.  "What if I took a pill before?"  I reviewed the directions and read again what I remembered -- definite instructions "do not take another pill for 24 hours"!

Oh, my gosh!  What if I had taken a pill earlier and this one only 3 hours later -- is that an overdose -- and what could happen -- what should I do?  Obviously, this called for an Internet search which brought up -- "Call poison control!"

Referring to a more specific product link, I read the side effects I could experience -- "nausea, dizziness" and more unwelcome symptoms, plus "call your Doctor if you experience these".  Also, the description said if no complications I would just have to ride along with them 'til they were out of my system.  So, I settled back, to await my fate.

Fortunately, many hours passed without my having any of those side effects indicating I had not taken two pills as I had been concerned I might have done.  I've never had this kind of pill quandary previously and I don't want it again.  Another time, maybe I should make a little note on my calendar when I take that pill. 

I wonder if others ever find themselves in a dilemma over whether or not they took a pill they wouldn't want to overdose on? 


Sunday, May 16, 2021

REDHEADS AT RISK FOR DISCRIMINATION ?

All the senseless deadly discriminatory violence that is occurring across our country has reminded me of historical accounts revealing the many different groups singled out for rejection at one time or another.   

Discriminatory stories prevail about the Native American Indians, Chinese, Irish, Italians, Hawaiians, Japanese, Negroes/African-Americans/Blacks, Puerto Ricans, Mexican, various religious groups, and many others.   Discrimination occurs from some on the basis of how others speech sounds, or other differences considered to be outside the so-called prevailing range of what they consider "normal", or acceptable, though we're all human beings.

Could it ever happen here?  For example, could discrimination occur based on even hair color?  Could redheads ever be discriminated against as a group?  Surely not!

But ... given so many of our fellow country-persons continuing to believe our former President's lies, his new ones, including conspiracy theories, the most despicable discriminatory words and behaviors with individuals being physically attacked have been more openly expressed.  There are those who believe that it's okay to treat some people as "less than," because they are different  from them in some respect -- by skin color, other physical body differences.

Perhaps redheads and some other groups, including religious, political, social, to which some of us belong shouldn't be so confident we'll never be discriminated against.  As for redheads, it's not as though those with red hair have never experienced discrimination before.  

A recent prime example of discrimination is a woman in India with natural red hair I recently discovered when researching whether or not there were no redheads in India as a Google search statement reported.  I thought, considering India was under the rule of Great Britain for so many years with many English persons and some other nationalities living there that possibly there might have been some genes mixing.

During my process of verifying the facts, I found this story written in 2017 with photos of a lovely young woman and her parents where you can see this, apparently, rare redhead in India.  She was thought to be diseased, her parents shunned because she looked different.  Perhaps there are other redheads in India hidden away for self-protection who simply have not been discovered.

Redheads have been revered by some and reviled by others through the ages.  Given the current obsession and susceptibility some people have for believing conspiracy theories perhaps we redheads should be concerned we could be placed on the list in the future to join those being discriminated against in our own U.S. country. 

For what, could others discriminate against you?   Those who discriminate against others should be aware that all groups of people are at risk of being discriminated against if some others decide, for whatever their reasons, to single them out for rejection because of their looks, beliefs, behaviors, or simply for political reasons as happens in some countries.

We see journalists as one group that are systematically under discriminatory attack by some nations leaders trying to exert excessive message control -- as did our previous President in his discriminatory press treatment.  Think also of Saudi Arabia's Jamal Khashoggi's assassination.  Other leaders stifle similar dissidents by imprisoning them as in China, Russia, Myanmar, Hong Kong, Turkey, to name a few current ones, by censoring their nation's press.

Some physical appearance differences occur that are unnatural.   I had occasion to be in Quito, Ecuador in the 1950's for a visit with family.  All of us had natural red hair and drew much attention with many stares, especially from native Indians we happened to encounter when we walked about the downtown area.

The surrounding region was inhabited by Indigenous Tsachila (means "true people") also known as Colorados which means "the red-colored ones" whose men traditionally dyed their hair red with sap from the achiote tree as in this Science Source link to a photo of a boy and one also on that site of an adult man.  So, some cultures have found red hair, even if artificially colored, to not only be desirable but to signify honored exceptionality.  

Redheads reportedly are thought by some amid current senseless conspiracy theories to be the result of aliens breeding with humans, citing supporting evidence involving red-headed kings and queens as farfetched as this may seem to most of us.

Then, there is also the belief some have had that redheads become vampires when we die.  Long ago ashes of redheaded males burned alive are reported to have been used to fertilize fields.  Redheads were believed to have no souls.  All this and more with photos appear in brief accounts of 11 historical myths about redheads by clicking on this link.

Redheaded women were thought to be witches, have volatile tempers.  A recent blurb featured by Wisewebwoman on her blog:  "The Other Side of Sixty" gave me pause, seeming apropos here:  

"Who knows why we were taught to fear the witches, And not those who burned them alive?"

On the other hand, redheads have been said to bring good luck.  When all is said and done, I don't think we have any special powers simply because of the color of our hair.  

Red hair (or ginger hair) is present in people all over the world though we're considered to be only less than 1-2% of the population.  Scotland and Ireland have the most frequency of redheads. 

A number of years ago redheads were reported to be becoming extinct but this study was subsequently refuted when Proctor and Gamble was disclosed to have sponsored the research in relation to selling their hair dying products as noted in a Smithsonian article, "Requiem for the Redhead" available with a direct search using this title.

A Geneticist reports redheaded people and even those with blue eyes will decrease significantly in number to become more rare, but will not completely cease to exist though there may be some disagreement among geneticists on that matter.

Whatever our future holds I hope discriminatory words and actions cease.  How everyone talks everyday with loved ones, friends, and others -- beginning in the home with children, our grandchildren, nieces and nephews, strongly contributes to eliminating discrimination.  Communication demands civility, courtesy and respect to all -- those we know and those we don't.  There is no place for physical assaults.

Language, words and actions matter!  


Sunday, May 09, 2021

MOTHER'S SAYING -- AGEING ODDITY

Best wishes to mothers the world over with this repeat post, some current editing, I wrote here years ago.

My mother enjoyed language, words, and the double-play of meanings.  Prominent in my mother's time was Dorothy Parker who was quite adept with word humor as a later quote will attest.  Ms. Parker is described in Wikipedia as "an American poet, writer, critic and satirist based in New York; she was best known for her wit, wisecracks, and eye for 20th century urban foibles".

Phrases, Sayings, Idioms, and Ageing

Lying in bed one recent night thoughts of the world's financial precariousness caused me to wonder why so many corporate, financial and government leaders fail to accept and implement problem solving solutions provided them in ways to benefit their country's population multitudes and not primarily just the 1-2% obscenely wealthy as in the U.S.

Somehow, I evolved into thinking about how we receive information for ourselves or that we provide others and yet do not often apply what is in their as well as our own best self-interest in a balanced approach benefiting all.

I thought of my mother's youth occurring during horse and buggy days, the changes and necessary adaptations wrought in her world.  Autos, planes were invented.  Women's right to vote the year she became age 21 and cast her first ballot were some of the highlights in her time.

What else came to my mind was typical of what I've often experienced since my mother's death years ago.  The older I become, the more I think of her with increasing understanding, identification with some of her aging experiences.  One of her favored sayings will pop into my mind as did this one:

"You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink." 

My curiosity led me to this information from phrases.org.uk.  Interestingly, that Old English Homilie was recorded as early as 1175, the oldest English proverb that is still in regular use today.

"The proverb 'lead a horse to water' has been in continuous use since the 12th century.  John Heywood listed it in the influential glossary A Dialogue Conteinying the Nombr in Effect of all the Prouerbes in the Englishe Tongue:

'A man male well bring a horse to the water, But he can not make him drinke without he will.'

It also appeared in literature over the centuries in a variety of forms.  For example, in the play Narcissus, which was published in 1602, of unknown authorship, subtitled as A Twelfe Night merriment, played by youths of the parish at the College of Saint John the Baptist in Oxford:

Your parents have done what they coode, 

They can but bringe horse to the water brinke,

But horse may choose whether that horse will drinke.

It wasn't until the 20th century that 'lead a horse to water...' got a substantial rewrite, when Dorothy Parker reworked it from its proverbial form into the epigram 'you can lead a horticulture, but you can't make her think.'

I don't mean to offend the sensibilities of any reading this, but Parker has been considered to be quite a wit.

Noticing English wording and spelling in days of yore, I wonder how our language as we speak and write will evolve, perhaps looking antiquated to those encountering our current communications in future generations.

Aging observations Dorothy Parker is quoted as saying a few years before her death in an interview with Gloria Steinem with which my mother, I'm sure, and now I can agree.

"You know, the odd thing about being old is that you see something--something especially good or rotten or funny, and you think, 'Oh, I must show this to so-and-so, it's just his [or her] sort of thing.'  " She smiled, and walked slowly to the door.  "And what's odd--is there are so many gaps in the circle now--that so-and-so is gone."

 

Sunday, May 02, 2021

UNWRITTEN RULES -- LOW FLOW WATER

Have you noticed that household breakdowns, appliance malfunctions, even personal health problems for some unknown reason usually occur at the end of a week or on a weekend, challenging obtaining the service or care needed, or does that just happen to me?  What I recently experienced was no exception to this unwritten rule.

Perhaps I should forewarn you this topic focuses on bathroom issues in case any have sensitivities on such matters and want to skip reading further.  I figure there's little we can't talk about here though I suppose there still are some unpleasant, even taboo subjects.  

I encountered a serious household complication late one Thursday night, with a sudden stopped-up toilet.   I felt pretty lucky that the timing for service went well, even better than I expected, with no complications when the service people called first thing Friday in response to the recorded message I had left for them the night before.   The office person said the plumber was scheduled to come a couple hours later that morning.  Wonder of wonders the plumber called later that he was able to come an hour or so earlier than originally scheduled, "...to arrive in about twenty minutes, if that was convenient."   Convenient?  I was thrilled!

While awaiting repair service and during the time that service is being provided, I've found the logistics of timing when needing to use the bathroom can sometimes be tricky with that facility out of commission.  I don't recall this was ever a matter of as much concern when I was younger, or before this cursed pandemic, since going out somewhere to use other's facilities isn't as easy for me now -- and where to go?  Even that matter resolved without my having to leave the house.

The repairman arrived, ran his grinding rooter cable through the sewer line, discovered he had to further assess the problem which revealed a re-seal on some connections below the floor to the present commode would be needed.   Considering that cost, I determined I would be wiser to invest in a new environmentally sensitive low flow water commode, plus I could obtain that tall one I had long wanted that kept me from having to sit so low down.  Maybe I should have instead had that re-seal done, and purchased an elevated seat for the commode I had.  Too late now.   

Am I the only ageing person who finds standing up from a sitting position not as easy to do as it once was?  I was pleased with the prospect of getting this tall commode even more so when the service man checking his office learned he could pick up the unit and install for me that same day.  Could this be more perfect?

So, off he went for about an hour to pick up the new tall commode, leaving me with my now temporarily functioning old commode since he had previously cleaned out the line.  Even my body cooperated, and I was able to use the old commode as needed just before he returned.  An hour after his return I had my new tall functioning commode, one environmentally efficient with low flow water usage.

Fast forward to late Sunday night.  After multiple flushings since installation the preceding Friday, there was suddenly now trouble.  I had flushed the commode but did a double-take when the bowl didn't empty.  Fortunately, the strong force of minimal water that flows during flushing was limited so the bowl didn't fill up to overflow -- the bowl had just unacceptably not emptied.  I was afraid to flush it a second time lest the bowl fill up further with more water, then overflow.  I had to recognize that should an overflow occur I would be more than hard-pressed to try to clean the floor as I have always before been capable of doing, plus I have no one coming in to help me if needed.

A call from my plumber's office the next morning in response to the message I left the night before told me a serviceman would be available a few hours later.  Once he arrived his quick use of his hand-held device made my new commode operational within minutes.  He explained that California's new environmental water conservation commode requirements have resulted in less and less water being used for flushing purposes.  New housing constructions sewage lines and bathroom installations were designed to be more compatible, but all of us with older homes and sewage lines could have difficulties, he noted.  Wonderful!  Just what I needed to hear.

My other tall commode in the master bathroom hooked up to the same sewer system has been flushing just fine.  That unit met environmental conservation requirements in effect when it was installed, but during the ensuing years the commode water flushing amount has been reduced even more the repair man said.  Commode manufacturers keep having to redesign their product accordingly.

The serviceman explained in the future I might try flushing in the midst of using the commode for some functions, and then again when I finished.   So, this is the procedure I have adopted -- only I am concerned that flushing only once in the midst of use can sometimes not be enough.  I sometimes also flush one additional time after my final flush just to be sure the lines are as cleared as they can be.  I don't want to have to keep calling a plumber, though there was no charge for this last service.  Note: minimal amounts of toilet paper have always been used so that's not an issue.

I might add here that some time ago an ancient person I know (that means older than me), told me that in order to avoid having to call plumbers for her commode, an expense she couldn't afford, she had placed a box by her commode and a sign telling everyone to deposit all toilet paper in the box -- "Do not flush TP in commode".   At the time, I must confess to thinking to myself this must be an eccentricity and surely the odds of her frequently needing a plumber were slim.  It never occurred to me at the time as it does now, to ask if she had a new environmentally conservative low flow commode, but now I wonder if maybe she does.  The next time we talk, I'll ask her.

I do have to wonder with extra flushing needed, when before it was usually just once, are we ultimately going to be using the same amount of water as before, or maybe even more?   I'm trying to be as environmentally sensitive by preserving resources as much as possible, but some adjustments such as this leave me wondering how well-researched they all are.   Maybe we need to install old-fashioned outhouses in our backyards.

I wonder when I have guests who need to use my bathroom, if I may need to educate them about how to use my commode?  I must formulate the dialogue:   "Hi, welcome to my home!  By the way, if you need to use my bathroom, depending on what you have to do, we need to discuss the procedure you'll need to follow."

I don't want to wait until they've been here a while, then suddenly ask, "May I use your bathroom?"  They may not be able to wait for my instructions.  Or, maybe I need to post a sign for them to read.  I haven't yet composed the wording -- maybe something with humor?  I'm not real keen on the box for TP idea for several reasons.  Besides, there are landfill issues for trash, presenting more environmental issues.

Has anyone else encountered low flow water issues with commodes or other devices?

Oh, well!  This is the world in which we live today.  I'm sure I'll figure something out as I observe my water usage in the months ahead.

I should add, some consider California "the canary in the coal mine" predictive of what more U.S. areas and some in the rest of the world experience in water availability and conservation needs.  We've been told here in SoCal we're in a drought now with lakes and reservoirs way below normal though we're not at the severe level yet.    Reportedly, we have an ample amount of water for this year, but next year will be considerably less then, after that, what to expect?   Water rationing may well be in our not-too-distant future.  The last recorded drought here we're told lasted three decades, but now a major back up source, the Colorado River may no longer have as much water for our use  as once was available.


Sunday, April 25, 2021

HUMMINGBIRD DRAMA -- DANGEROUS LIVING

DANGEROUS LIVING

Remember those two cute little Allen's Hummingbirds in a nearby SoCal city I previously wrote about that hatched in a patio nest built on a string of Christmas tree lights?  During one of my occasional live streaming video visits I discovered their world has been more dangerous than I ever imagined as compared to those much larger Bald Eagles I've written about previously.

Here's a short video of Allen's Hummingbird from the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles:

  

Streaming video site of the hummingbird nest I've been writing about here had dialogue reporting a Kestrel (member of the falcon family) had swooped in grabbing both hummingbird nestlings grown to fledgling size, almost ready to make their first flight -- expecting to fly independently, not to be carried up in the sky by a large raptor intent on a meal.   This predator Kestrel dropped one hummingbird nestling named Clover -- the other named Crimson likely did not survive.    

Here's a National Audubon Society Kestrel video.  I was surprised to learn they can hover in midair.

 

Alik of "Nature With Alik" who has been monitoring this nest was alerted to this kidnapping and luckily found one nestling, Clover, on the ground nearby.  He returned that nestling to the nest.   Reports were the nestling was traumatized, thought to be in shock for a time, apparently not visibly injured.  Fortunately, the mother, Emerald, eventually returned and Clover resumed feeding her one remaining nestling.  

A day later I visited again, coincidentally shortly before unexpectedly another hummingbird threateningly swooped in at Clover as I was watching.  Later, on the streaming video chat there was a report that the Kestrel had also returned and was observed to be spying from a distance on the nest containing Clover.  Also reported was an "aggressive female hummingbird ... with intent on harming Clover ... " had been harassing the nestling.  This led to the conclusion about Clover, "...this bird will not make it until tomorrow".

Alik is reported by Carole Turek at "Hummingbird Spot" to have been chasing away the aggressive female hummingbird and he reportedly planned to take Clover from her nest to the Ventura Hummingbird Rescue.  When ready to fledge Clover wold be released.

Unlike the Friends of Big Bear site of the Bald Eagles I wrote about here who simply observe whatever occurs naturally in nature without interference,  these Hummingbird folks apparently do involve themselves in some instances as with this nestling, thus altering nature.    Of course, the Eagles nest at the top of a tree in the mountains is hardly as easily accessible as that of this hummingbird's nest on a residential patio.  Also, I would think should two parental eagles decide they didn't want trespassers at their nest, given their size, dangerous-looking beak, the consequences for any visitor(s) could be more dangerous than the one tiny hummingbird mother might inflict who is the nestling's only caregiver, but I'm no bird expert.

I continued watching, expecting to see Clover removed from the nest, when suddenly the streaming video went black.  Soon, chat reported Clover had unexpectedly fledged when the effort was made to cover her with a small blanket in order to remove her from the nest.

Time passed, the video and chat remained inoperative with no report specifically describing what happened.  I was left to wonder then if the Kestrel had swooped down to capture Clover again as she fled ... and did she actually fly on what would have been her first flight, or did she fall out of the nest ... or did that other hummingbird attack her?  I visited a site where Carole reported Alik observed Clover had strongly flown to a tree and was thought to be safe where her mother, Emerald, could look after her.  

What an introduction to the world this newbie had!  Does give us thought to consider just how tough is our life?    

Hummingbird Spot (click on link), a web site sharing colorful photographs and videos started by Carole Turek, may be of special interest to hummingbird fans as her effort is to film all of the many varieties of these delicate-looking little birds all over the world, some quite unique in appearance beyond their flashy iridescent colors.  Of note, reportedly ......                                           

"Carole is photographing EVERY hummingbird species?!  180/363 are already done!"

(Permission I requested in the past to share a YouTube video of that local SoCal hummingbird nest here but never received a response.)

Emerald is reported to possibly be building another nest elsewhere in which to lay more eggs for a third successful clutch this season, but I don't know if a live cam will be streaming video of that new site, but I don't expect to follow it or others here.