Sunday, March 27, 2022


I don't recall my age or the year I realized and accepted that some activities I had always imagined I would experience some day, that I never would, such as visiting Paris, Scotland to name a couple foreign locations.  I have always had an appetite not even remotely fulfilled for travel to sites and continents away from my own.

I did fly to South America's Ecuador where I had never even thought about going or imagined I would visit, but leaped when the opportunity was presented.  Taking advantage of such situations when they occur is wise even if sudden schedule and life adjustments may be necessary.  I had to borrow money for the trip from the bank where I was then working in the loan department. 

An unscheduled stop occurred in Jamaica on the flight there.  I made a quick deplane just to say I'd been there before re-boarding to continue the flight.  My return flight had an unexpected stop in Peru where the most strikingly handsome and beautiful golden-skinned couple I have ever seen in my life boarded our plane.  I'll always wonder who they were.

Years later after I wed, I learned my husband was much more enamored with traveling in the U.S.   He said there was so much here that we had never seen.   So, we stayed primarily on this continent, did go to Hawaii but didn't get to Alaska and enjoyed only a limited Niagara Falls trip into Canada.  An anticipated further exploration north of our border never materialized, regrettably.  

Mexico visits were few, but simply walking across the border, except for once when I convinced my husband to drive over.  Thoughts of driving the Pan American Highway intrigued me.  I learned later the highway was incomplete in many places and little more than a dirt road in others as I rode on in Ecuador. 

This trip with my husband was a very brief intrusion into Mexico.  He was  unfamiliar with the Spanish language so turned on to a street with a sign that probably had said the street was closed to traffic for repairs.  I had studied French so was no help.  A workman running toward us, shouting, frantically waving his arms, conveyed our presence was a mistake. His behavior quickly convinced my husband to turn the car around and drive back across the border to the U.S. before we had an accident or got arrested.  The workman probably muttered to his colleagues, "Those loco gringos don't know how to drive!"

Early years before our children were born, we took a few short cross-country flights he privately piloted that were compensating pleasures to foreign travel for me then.  Many scenic drives through numerous states, plus visits to our U.S. national park system and monuments offered a bounty of attractions.   We were unable to visit as many Parks as we had hoped, especially when his declining health in later years altered those expectations.  Lengthy cross country scenic train trips in the U.S. and Canada about which we mused never could become a reality.

All of this came to mind when I recently checked my KCET Public Television Station's (PBS) weekly Friday night movie.  I always wanted to visit Scotland which I learned was the evening's 1983's movie's setting.  I was in the mood for a movie with some beautiful scenery and a light entertaining story line.  No record of Scottish ancestors had been found among those of mine so efficiently researched a few years ago by blogger/researcher Judy at "Onward and Upward -- Ever Forward".   I remain convinced there may be some forefathers preceding those whose identity was named in my English/European background.  

"Local Hero was filmed in several locations around Scotland.   Most of the Ferness village scenes were filmed in Pennan on the Aberdeenshire coast and most of the beach scenes at Morar and Arisaig on the west coast" reported by Wikipedia.

Here's the original 1983 "Local Hero" movie trailer:

Here's a more extensive current link to sites with color photos of film locations offered at "Almost Ginger" by blogger Rebecca Sharp "twenty-something avid cinephile and traveller, as well as a minimalist, optimist, Hufflepuff and proud ginger."  Corrected link to "Almost Ginger".

So, I viewed "Local Hero" -- lovely country and beach scenes, subtle ideas and all that you might enjoy from a Criterion Collection of films I recommend.  Here's some of what Criterion said about the film:

"Bill Forsyth put Scottish cinema on the map with this delightfully eccentric culture-clash comedy.  Riffing on popular representations of Scottish life and folklore, Local Hero follows the Texas oil executive Mac (Peter Riegert), who is dispatched by his crackpot boss (Burt Lancaster) to a remote seaside village in Scotland with orders to buy out the town and develop the region for an oil refinery.  But as business mixes with pleasure, Mac finds himself enchanted by both the picturesque community and its oddball denizens---and Texas starts to feel awfully far away.  Packed with a near nonstop stream of droll one-liners and deadpan gags, this enchanting cult hit finds Forsyth surveying the idiosyncrasies of small-town life with the satirical verve of a latter-day Preston Sturges, arriving at a sly commentary on conservation, corporate greed, and the legacies we leave behind."

An interesting 2019 essay by Jonathan Murray includes:

"Bill Forsyth is Scotland's most famous filmmaker, and Local Hero (1983) is his most famous film---for many, the true subject of Local Hero's title is the Glasgow-born writer-director himself."

Perhaps you have also concluded some once anticipated activities are no longer likely to occur for you during your lifetime.

Sunday, March 20, 2022


(My life has been busier than usual the past week or so and will continue to be for at least another week or more.   I've been visiting other blogs  less frequently but will resume again soon.) 

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                     Tears For Fears -- "Everybody Wants To Rule The World"

Performed on a recent Late Show With Stephen Colbert celebrating the release of their latest album "The Tipping Point".

DW a respected German news source, one of several media in other countries I follow, recently reported "Democracy in decline worldwide" in Peter Hille's article you may read by clicking on that title with these excerpts:  

"For the first time since 2004, the Bertelsmann Transformation Index (BTI) has recorded more autocratic states than democracies around the world.  Civil society activists often represent the last bastion of resistance."  [Emphasis is mine.]

Hille's report continues:

"Of the 137 developing and transition countries examined, only 67 are still considered democracies.  The number of autocracies has increased to 70."

Additionally, Hille notes:

"This is the worst political transformation result we have ever measured in the 15 years of our work," says Hauke Hartmann, BTI project manager at the Bertelsmann Foundation.  This is due to the fact around the world there are fewer free and fair elections, less freedom of opinion and assembly, as well as increasing erosion of the separation of powers." [Emphasis is mine.]

Many tactics were employed for four years during our previous president's administration to weaken our democracy including spreading falsehoods about our election's fairness, attempts were made to stifle contradictory opinion, and limiting efforts were directed toward our free press.

Most egregious was the exploitation of the legal system to undermine our U.S. Constitution including efforts to erode the separation of powers in our nation's three branches.  The executive branch increasingly dictated to the other branches, legislative and judicial, often attempting to ignore or circumvent the rule of law which was espoused to being believed but  actions demonstrated otherwise.

You are probably aware of many examples of efforts within our country that continue to be made to weaken our democracy as practiced by that former president and enablers.  Consider voter suppression laws in some states.  Efforts to manipulate election officials.

Those who falsely lament most about our 2020 election being stolen appear to currently be engaged in using nefarious means to be able to attempt to steal future elections should they not like the results of fair and legal voting.  They do so under the false flag our election process cannot be trusted  Even members of their own political party have stated unequivocally there is no evidence our election results were false and cannot be trusted in the future with existing officials.

Unfortunately, one political party appears to currently be dominated by that ex-president with those who are appeasing autocracy supporters, to describe at best what they are about.  This would seem to give voters who want to preserve our democratic republic pause to seriously think about not only their national but local and state candidate selections, including judiciary, plus voting choices in the future.

Voters no longer will be deciding between two political parties with differing issue views but united in their dedication to democracy and how best to govern our democratic republic.

Voters may well be choosing between a party dedicated  to retaining our freedoms within a democratic republic or a party that is masquerading an intent to convert our government to an autocracy with a dictator calling himself a duly elected president.  

Hopefully, more and more people will consider these issues preparatory for congressional elections as well as presidential election primaries, national conventions, and general elections   What are your thoughts?

Sunday, March 13, 2022


I would like to go through one week without some mechanical or tech device not requiring special operational attention or my having a dental or medical issue surfacing.  These are minor irritants for me compared to major catastrophes occurring in life for too many people around the world.  Most recently I continue to think of Ukraine.

Maybe I've become more sensitive to my personal annoyances since the pandemic descended upon us even though the virus effects appear to have lessened some presently.  Now, the invasion and atrocities committed by Putin's Russian army including slaughtering Ukrainian civilians also generates negative feelings in me.

One result of Putin's war on Ukraine felt here in SoCal is auto gasoline costs have been increasing every night.  The past week 13 cents a gallon has been added each of several successive nights with expectations that total costs per gallon will rise to $6, even $7 or more soon.  My displeasure with this added expense mellows a bit when I consider these higher gas rates are said to be a consequence of U.S. efforts to pressure Putin to stop his war, thus help the brave Ukrainians resistance.  Ukraine's needs are so much greater than my own, with no end in sight, and so little else I can do.

I welcome opportunities to lighten my mood a bit, often find entertainment in the most mundane places.  My attraction to unusual topics reflects my somewhat warped sense of humor though you may or may not perceive the matter in quite the same way.  One such topic is this recent TV news story I discovered being reported somewhat differently on various news channels.   With tongue in cheek, I note they all raised a fundamental question many may wonder about whenever any one of these animals is seen -- cow, bull, or steer?

The initial TV station I viewed, KCAL-TV, the male anchor described an escaped "steer" being shown racing for freedom on city streets before being safely corralled in a yard.  The female co-anchor then referred to her partner's steer as a "cow".  From that point forward they both used only the term "cow" which I found perturbing -- because I thought the animal was definitely a male, in fact a steer.  Why did the male anchor change the term he used?

A subsequent TV channel, KABC-LA reported the same story with both the male and female anchors describing an escaped "bull".   Maybe a bull or a steer (castrated male/bull is what seemed visually obvious to me) -- a cow (female animal) it was not.

I suppose some adults don't know how to discern the difference between male and female cattle or bovines, but that's another topic I'll not get into here.  However, I got to thinking about another matter -- what do we call one "bovine" if we're unable to see the physical differences to determine cow or bull?  I've not heard people say, "Oh, see that bovine?"

A pig is a pig, a horse is a horse, whether male or female.  Cattle, if just one animal is a bovine -- but who says that term?  

A third TV station's KABC-LA news anchor laughingly summed up the story by noting confusion in their newsroom as to whether the animal was a cow or bull.  He concluded his life experience had familiarized him with these animals and this was a bull.  All I can say is that he must have had a view not shown in the various news videos I saw, because I think it was a steer, but a bull is a more accurate term than a cow.

Finally, FOX 11 has a local newsman who generally really tries to get his stories straight (unlike some on FOX national network level, IMHO).   He described the animal as a steer.  A recorded earlier clip of his station reporters filming live from their helicopter in their audio used the term, cow.  I'll give them the benefit of the doubt that maybe they couldn't see the animal well enough at their altitude in the sky to discern if it was a steer or bull.

I subsequently noted in this NBCLA News video, totally off base with a "cow" designation, also answering an additional unrelated question about which I'm sure we've all wondered -- can cattle climb stairs?  Especially anyone living in a dwelling with steps considering having one of these animals as a pet would certainly want to know the answer to that question.

The matter is resolved in my mind that this bovine is a steer.  The issue of a commonly used term we can use, like we use pig or horse, for the unknown sex of a singular one of these cattle animals continues to be bovine at best as far as I know, unless you know some term I don't.

Now that I've brought these monumental issues to your attention, please feel free to make any astute observations, including disagreeing with me, that may come to your mind.  I hope, if you didn't already know, that you appreciate the fact I've also shown you that cattle can climb stairs, or at least this steer can. 

Sunday, March 06, 2022


What a week this has been!

My life challenges seem so insignificant compared to what is occurring for so many in Ukraine.  I find myself thinking about older people and how they are experiencing the events they're encountering.   I consider how would I be able to cope. 

This invasive war has significant bearing on our world as we know it.  For the sake of our younger and future generations, Ukraine's situation demonstrates our nation must preserve our republic's democracy.

SoCal weather in my area this past week gave us summer-like warm temperatures, then abruptly dropped about 20 degrees to wintertime again.   Promised rain where I live did not materialize though other areas did receive some moisture. 

A second storm in recent days has brought snow to the mountains and a little rain below the foothills.  We have only a few more weeks in our ordinarily rainy season to end our drought, but only dry warmer temperatures in the 70s arrive early next week.

We welcomed new life this past week when the Big Bear Bald Eagles successfully had the first of their two eggs hatch.  Pip watch continues for the second egg for possible hatching any day now.  The warmer weather was giving way to winter's return soon after that first little fluff ball finally emerged from the eggshell.   

The following video courtesy of Friends of Big Bear Valley reveals the incubating eagle literally covered in snow.  The video frame rate appears to have been ramped up at the beginning.