Wednesday, July 10, 2024

Ticks and Tricks

 

Recently, there has been an outbreak of West Nilus Virus in Israel.

A few hundred  people have been infected , several people (elderly and immuno-compromised) have died.   In hebrew, the infection is shortly  called  'Kadahat  HaNilus' (Nilus Fever).

As it is summer with strong waves of heat and humidity, the Ministry of Health has issued some warnings concerning  flying /crawling insects and their bites.   People are advised to use repellents,  wear long sleeves and long pants to cover exposed skin, avoid places with a large population of bugs (parks, woods , gardens). 

Keeping bugs out  by sealing entry points (cracks, gaps etc..) and using mesh on windows , is the way to go. However,  these measures don't completely solve the problem.

Whenever I see any of the insects in the house, I try to act immediately. For ants I use water, for cockroaches  I've got a proper spray that eliminates them.  It goes without saying, that we have to maintain clean kitchen and bathroom; 

So far, I've not used any repellents. I might do, if necessary.
I've noticed that mosquitos (the ones biting us ) are active mainly in the dark; so,  lights on to prevent biting , is a good measure. A fan (near the computer or bed) is also  a good preventive measure; it keeps the flies away.

When outside, I sadly,  avoid the shadowy places with bushes and trees. It so happens that when I sit on a bench to rest for a few minutes, I get bitten (even through the sleeves and pants) and that's very annoying.  
So,  I'll prefer to walk on the sunny side of the street until I get to my destination ( applying sunscreen  prior to getting out of the house is a Must!). 

Hopefully, the crisis of the Nilus Virus , and the heat of the summer will both soon end.   I have no wish at all , to get adventurous and deal with bugs of any kind, neither at home, nor outdoors.

                                                                              insects among flowers (AI image)


Tuesday, July 2, 2024

Food Security.


I like it that our Ministry of Agriculture is going to add to its title - Food Security (It used to be- Ministry of  Agriculture , then  addition of ...Rural Development. Now it would be - Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security). 

There's Climate change and Military conflicts  out there, as well as increase in population - all of which  might endanger food supply ,  cause shortage, and hunger ( just to mention  one hazard of the last year - the yemenite Houthis terrorists attacking cargo ships in the Red Sea).

The current process of encouraging import and  dependence on other countries, has to be  reversed!   It is local agriculture and self- production   that have to be encouraged , nourished, and fortified  for our own sake.  Farmers should be given incentives to practice cultivation of sustainable crops.

Where there's need for import, as in the case of wheat, most of which is not grown in Israel ( or grains to feed the animals), diversifying import sources is important.  And , indeed, agreements have been signed with more than one country.  After all,  wheat is our bread - the most basic food!

Food security is seen , and rightly so, as a vital component of national security. Shortage of  food, lack of food diversity,  rise in prices, can lead to social unrest.

wheat  fields (AI image )

 

Thursday, June 27, 2024

Authority

 

We all need  authority in life;  it guides us, protects us, defends us, if neccessary. When we are children and teenagers, we fear/ respect/ obey our parents and teachers.    Parents and teachers are the first phase authority.  

When we grow older, there's  the authority of the boss at the place of work. Unlike parents, and even teachers, there are ways to replace a boss  if he's hard on us,  or...  we could just move to another workplace. 

As  to  political authority,   so far, it has failed us bitterly. Sometimes it's not even existent. Other times, it makes us wonder about its neccessity. Most of the time it gets on our nerves.

God,  is  the highest, ultimate authority ,  as everything that exists was created by Him.  There's a spark of God  in everyone of us.

I believe in God, pray to Him, ask Him for help. So, do others, individually,  or as part of religious worship.   My own belief has very little to do with religion.  It is basically  based on my wish for a direct link to Him, to that Spark he left in me and in everyone else.

Belief in God  can prevent us from doing evil to ourselves and to others. Not always., perhaps.  There are those among us, that are more concerned with the outer, superficial aspects of God's worship than with good and evil done to fellowmen.
Anyway, God stays with us forever.

Browsing the web,  I came upon some over ten types of authority (or sub-authority if you wish),  regarding the obedience of rules or orders given by a person or entity:
1. academic authority   2. charismatic authority (based on the charisma of the individual  3. expert authority   4. founder authority 5.  ownership  authority  6. administrative authority   etc...


adult and policeman authority (AI image generated)


Saturday, June 22, 2024

Paying Attention

 

Sometimes, we could help ourselves just by paying attention to our body's reactions to food, to environment, to people.  After retirement from work, we've got the time  and patience to do it. 

Like any other human being I seek interest, pleasure and relaxation in Nature,  and in whatever the Outside world has to offer in terms of entertainment, culinaria,  travel .

However, I also try to devote some time to  sort of  'exploring' my soul and body to find out about their needs, and how this could help my physical and mental issues. 

I once wrote a post ( 'A Matter of Health'  - July 7, 2021) on this topic.      I mentioned , among other things, how I discovered after intensive 'detective' analysis, that the rather heavy  backpack  I  was carrying on my back, caused me palpitations.  Palpitations is no light matter. 

There's a medical procedure for the above condition (if meds  are not effective), known as ablation  (eliminating heart tissue which when triggered , interferes with its electrical system).    However, this procedure doesn't work for everyone .  In certain cases people turn to the doctor  again and undergo a second, third...  ablation.  Just reading about this and the various stories behind it,  kept me away from even thinking about the subject.
Anyway, since the backpack discovery ten years ago  -  no backpack, no palpitations either,  thank  God.  Everything heavy gets in my shopping cart or a wheeled duffel bag, when leaving home.

During Covid 19, we were encouraged to take vitamin D3 - something to do with immunity strength .   After a while, I noticed that the intake of this vitamin caused   boosting of hair and nail growth. Though it didn't prevent hair loss, the mere boosting of hairgrowth pleased me .
(I'm not sure the above  has happened to others too, as things are often individual. Haven't done any research on that:).

Anyway, I've stopped taking this vitamin since then, yet , so far I don't see any change  in the hair/nail growth.  Perhaps the vitamin has 'awakened' something that used to slow down the growth. Go figure!





Friday, June 14, 2024

Doomsday Clock


Until quite recenly I knew nothing about the Doomsday Clock . Never heard of it.

Apparently, this clock, set and maintained since 1947 by experts - atomic scientists actually-  measures nuclear risks, climate change, biological threats,  disruptive / inovative technologies (such as AI).

It's in fact a symbolic clock, an imperfect one, used more as a metaphor than a prediction;  still  - an important device which draws attention to existential threaths, and might show us how close we are, God Forbid,  to destruction.

Judging by most headlines, the world is a mess. Climate Change is doing its terrible work of heavy floodings, scorching fires, lava eruptions,  melting of ice, hurricanes etc.... Arms of all sorts are produced  and shipped to any part of the world for money.  Instability caused by political and social unrest,   leads everywhere to corruption,  wars, and terrorism.

I believe Humans won't be surprised if all the above might lead somehow, someday, to the extinction of the present world.   In the meantime,  they all play the  'elections game'. In many cases, elections are but a farce meant for the gullible- naive people. These elections won't change reality into something better.

On a more dangerous note, elections might lead to  civil war  and bloodshed  due to the diversity of the population, and activism of violent groups within it.

In ny country,  demographics plays a major role in the outcome of the elections. The people in power and their supporters whose majority's completely assured by demographics, are the least knowledgable, the least productive  people in the country, and yet they are the ones who get the state funds and make up the rules. How bad does that sound ? Very bad!


corruption (AI image generated)



Sunday, June 9, 2024

The Decline of the Printed News

 

Whenever I read a news article, I tell myself - that's  how decline of journalism looks and feels like. One of the major  reasons for this decline is the rise of the competing digital media platforms (internet, mobile phone), but not only.

There seems to be no critical, experienced eye on the material before it gets published - and that  sometimes leads to shameful spelling errors, and factual inaccuracies.  

We would expect a true journalist to ensure that the facts are correct, verified , balanced,  and objective, that the  sources on which the published story is  based are available to the reader, to make it credible to him. But in most cases, no such thing.

Recently, two well-known journalists were sued by the PM, for writing  lies about his health. I'm rather surprised.  After all, they,  the journalists, should know better than us, the ordinary people, what's possible and what not in this defamation game.

To write about someone's health you should have before your eyes a valid document, such as a doctor's report. They probably didn't have one, but based their assumptions on rumors and speculations.

So, they'll probably pay compensations to the suing party, unless they can convince the judge that a man in the PM's position should perhaps directly disclose his real health conditions to the public. 
We don't have to guess about it or rely on various questionable sources to reach a conclusion.We should know the truth, and nothing but the truth, about the man that runs the country and its people.


                                                                                                *(AI image generator)

Sunday, June 2, 2024

The Inseparable Bond

 

As a young boy, my elder brother Hersh (diminutive version: Hershole),  spent a lot of time in the kitchen alone or with Mum. He liked the place and learned in it all aspects of food preparation.  

He also liked to be close to Mother, and she to him. During the Holocaust, they got separated ; he as a child of four was put in an orphanage whereas my mother was placed in ghetto Mogilev , Ukraine to face hunger, beating, sickness.

After returning from the Hell of Ukraine,   mother and son  became inseparable. 

Despite his obvious preference for the kitchen, he was not encouraged , though, to choose a culinary profession; it was not considered proper for young men .  At that time, young men were persuaded to acquire a technical or commercial line of profession.

Hersh (official name - Herman), liked neither of the above two categories. Besides  attraction to culinaria (and to amateur soccer), he had musical aptitudes, and wished to study music, precisely, violin playing. The sad truth was that we lived in a small town with no musical school and possibilities.  Culinary professional school or courses were inexistant either. My parents didn't have the means to keep him at studies in another town.

 So, he went on studying the violin with a private teacher, and in the meantime studied commerce and accounting to get a certificate that would enable him to start working and earn a living.

Years later, in Israel, he acquired a technical profession too, but lost any ambition for culinaria . He liked to cook for friends and family, displaying  his great skills on the matter, but nothing more. 

The inseparable bond between mother and son tragically came to an end,  in 1998 when Hersh died untimely (at  age 58.5)  during a tour abroad with his wife. The tragic irony was his final collapse  - while watching the Mondial  (Soccer World Cup) on TV (soccer being a great passion of his).






After his death I wrote a few words in all my three languages : romanian, hebrew, english.

"Hersh, my beloved brother  /Tall, handsome, a real charmer. Suddeny taken away from me, while on a trip to Hungary.
As a Holocaust child survivor/ You should've been given more years/  To wipe out your childhood suffering and tears".




Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Paper Shredder


Several years ago, I bought a small, cheap paper shredder to dispose of confidential documents.  I've barely used it in the past. Now,  with my decluttering projects, I've discovered it.

It shreds 2 minutes and  rests....45 minutes !
That's even written (in small print) on a label placed on the front  (shredding cycle 2 min, pause 45 min). Haven't seen the label till now.    I checked the instructions. Unbelievable! It's written there too.  

Who sells such a device? Who's the stupid person (Me, me) to buy such an item?
0f course, it soon got on my nerves , and I decided to take care of my documents, manually. 

I've learnt two things from this experience - both already known to us :1.   cheap is expensive 2. one should carefully read instructions before starting work (I could have immediately returned it to the store) and pay careful attention to any label on the front or bottom of the device.

Anyway, I might have to buy a more solid  shredder that will do proper work for old CDs  floppy diskets, credit cards. ( buying a new item?!  - here goes my decluttering principle).
I know things could be destroyed manually, but it's not that effective, and not without risks. 

Perhaps the better devices also have the same working cycle (which is probably meant to prevent motor overheating). Who knows? What a disappointment!

Paper  Shredder  (AI  picture generator)

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Blinken


 It seems the camera likes Antony Blinken (America's  Secretary of State). I think he knows that, and cooperates with it.  His profile looks good in most of the pictures I've seen so far.

Blinken is jewish, and his wife christian. They met at the White House where they were both working  for the Obama and Clinton administrations.  

At their wedding, the religious service was performed by a rabbi and a priest. (I wonder how that goes...never been to an interfaith  wedding ceremony).

According to his biography he is fluent in French (he lived in France for a period of time, with his Mother and her husband , and went to school there).  He also plays the guitar and sings. 

Not everybody's happy with his guitar playing ('it sucks' , wrote someone). I believe,  that with the kind of job he does, the guitar saves him. ( Currently, he's got Israel and Ukraine on his head, two very tough  'clients' !) .  

Lately, he was seen in a bar in Kyiv,  dressed in jeans and holding a red guitar, performing  onstage together with a local rock band in celebration of some more military help given  by the USA  to Ukraine. 

He combines diplomacy with music, and it probably works for him; the two domains somehow complement each other. (Bill Clinton as I recall, was playing saxophone).


A. Blinken  (web picture)
        
youtube - Blinken rocks in Kyiv


Friday, May 17, 2024

Yes, to Pockets


I've always liked pockets on my clothing, but I got constantly discouraged by people telling me pockets were for men's garments mainly.

 I feel angry at  clothing  designers, as for decades,  pockets have practically been excluded  from women's fashion.
The famous Christian Dior  made the following claim (according to the Media):  " Men have pockets to keep things in, women for decoration".  His words placed functionality versus decoration.

Pockets are in fact practical receptacles for holding small things such as:   keys, wallet, lipstick, tiny tools, and even a mobile phone. At the same time they could also well be made to look as adding decor and fun to the outfit.  No big contradiction here between practical and decorative.

Anyway,  pockets -  usually made of fabric or leather -  come in different sizes and shapes. They are either sewn into the garment or  on it. 
I like them on most  of my clothes; pants, shirts, jackets, skirts, coats, dresses.   At present,  I'm creating and attaching pockets to some of my pocketless clothes.

I'm glad to mention that I possess a pair or two of Cargo pants (with big utility pockets), and a multi-pocket vest.  Both items have been of great use to me,  especially at travel time. 
However,  I'm not for overloading regular clothes with pockets as it might feel uncomfortable and even damage the fabric.

Warning: please empty pockets before doing the laundry!
multi-pocket vest (AI generated photo)

cargo pants (AI generated photo)

I'll leave you with a short  and quite true  'pocket' quote:
"Deep pockets and empty hearts rule the world."  

Friday, May 10, 2024

Decluttering

 

Decluttering is very much on my mind.  It's not an easy matter. Over the years, we get attached to our stuff;  on the other hand, there comes a time, when we begin to realize that at a certain age,  and under  certain circumstances (such as living in a war zone or seismic zone that might involve evacuation,  lack of money  and food),  a minimalistic way of life would be more apropriate.

There's nothing at the moment, that has actually 'taken over' my home, and yet I feel the need to let many things go ( with or without regrets), and reorganize the freed space.  
There are lots of articles and online courses on the subject of Clutter,  yet I think it's mainly a personal and individual issue.

To my mind,  in order to succeed with decluttering, one has to make a thorough Plan and stick to it. First of all, for the time being, stop buying new stuff. Use up the old items even though they are not in their best shape. Secondly, evaluate  one by one, the various item Categories at your disposal: clothes, kitchenware, books, paperwork, furniture , suitcases/bags, sentimental memorabilia,  etc...

Well, from my own experience so far, I think it's easiest  'to dispose of'  and find decent Homes for  clothes and shoes. These  could be donated to individuals  as well as to second - hand  shops. Books are  hardest  'to dispose of'.  Not all books; fiction books are still very sought after as gifts and  means of escapism.  

Most of my books , however, are non-fiction:  guides, law books, biographies,  health books, encyclopedias - all in good condition.  I'll have to make up a list , decide what to keep . and the rest of it  try to place in libraries or even sell some, if possible.  Let's face it; we live in the world of computers.  and most of the knowledge is online. Besides, books  take up place and need periodical dusting. 

Anyhow, it takes time and patience to make the best of all worlds - my world, and the world of my stuff. 

clutter - AI generated picture

Thursday, May 2, 2024

The Flying Deadly Toys

 

Israel has been accused by Iran of killing one of its  prominent  generals within the iranian embassy  on Syrian soil.  Whether true  or false, revenge was expected  on the day/days following Friday, the end of the Ramadan Fast (major muslim religious event).

On Saturday, the 14th of April,  at 23 o'clock in the evening , we've been told:  "that's it, Iran's flying 'toys' ( hundreds of drones, ballistic rockets, cruise missiles ) are on their way to us, carrying many tons of explosives" .

As an ordinary person, I was quite impressed by the mere  detection of these  objects from such a distance (over 1000 km)! However, Fear and Panic were my dominant feelings. I live alone, on the third floor , it's middle of the night. I won't even try to reach the shelter behind the building. I 'll say my prayer to God, and...que sera, sera.

After a while, we've been told it's gonna take several hours to nine hours for the objects to get to Israel (except of the ballistic rockets which reach their target in minutes)  -  as the route is long and their move is slow.

I managed somehow to fall asleep. When I  woke up in the morning, I faced the unbelievable. Our defense system Hetz3 (Arrow3)  has had 99% success in downing the deadly objects far outside the country.  The little videos displaying the knocking down were fascinating (Yes, sometimes the dreadful can fascinate)!

The major target of the attack appeared to be a southern air force basis, "Nevatim",  home to the prestigious F-35 jet fighter.  As I understood later, only superficial harm was done to the military basis. A seriously wounded 9-year old girl from a near by bedouin village, was the main and only known  casualty of the iranians' massive attack . May she survive and get well!     

The nice  and rather secretive part was a coalition of countries under the leadership of the USA - that helped us too: USA, UK, France, Jordan, South Arabia. Everyone of them was part of the  successful   anti-iranian 'show'.

Anyway, war is terrible, it causes loss of life;  it also  costs enormous amounts of money - money which could definitely better humans'  living conditions,   and not bring about destruction and death.  Peace is greatly needed in the world, and particularly in this cursed region of the Middle East.



Tuesday, April 2, 2024

Metals and Health


I remember buying my Mom a copper bracelet, said to fight arthritis. She looked happy with it , and that made me happy too. Did it help? I don't know. The full name of the gift was - London Sabona Copper Bracelet (made with the purest copper available).

web picture

Apropo copper, I saw an advertisement on 'copper infused knee sleeve support'. It made me curious as I usually put on knee sleeves before going out on a long walk. I'll probably know what this copper infusion is only when I buy the item, as there were no details in the ad.

I used to read about precious metals (gold, silver, titanium) that they're good for jewelry and the economy, but not for health. Well,  this has changed. Now,  the claim is that precious metals are beneficial to our well being. Silver has anti- microbial properties, gold and titanium are used in anti-cancer drugs and procedures.

Moreover, they say,  the metal jewelry we wear, helps the body achieve balance and bring about mental peace. Good to know that, and hopefully, it is backed by science.
After all, most of us, women, do wear jewelry quite regularly. Of course, we have to beware of allergies caused by certain metals or metal alloys.
My favorite precious metal is 9-karat gold ; it has low purity of gold (after 24, 18, 14, 12 karat) but I like its warm color and feel on the skin.

I believe  the gems, embedded or not in the metal jewelry pieces, with their beauty, clarity, and cut, also contribute to peace of mind and good feelings.

AI generated picture

On another matter...
This month, we celebrate Passover (Pesach), starting with the 22 of April.
I've got cleaning  and other things to do, so , the coming week, I'll be  taking a break from blogging.
God willing, see you beginning of next month!

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Figures of Evil


The concept of evil poses great challenge to our thoughts. What is evil, where does it come from? After all,  those who commit evil acts,  are in fact, or at least look like ordinary people. Is evil part of human nature? Complex topic!

Putin is now regarded by the West , as a combination of Hitler and Stalin. I just happened to see  (in the "Times Argus") a short list  of principles used by those two tyrants . The list is  by  Dan Lindner who's currently reading a book on Hitler and Stalin, under the lens of contemporary politics.

Here it is : establish and maintain absolute power, never admit a mistake or failure, lie consistently, spread disinformation, persecute those who disagree with you.

 I must confess, I've never taken much interest in the evil characters of humanity (Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini,  etc..). I spent no time reading books or watching movies featuring them. That much I know - Evil and its heroes have always been, and always will be, here and there, ready to strike.

 I do take interest in the people though - those who could and did try to prevent evil. Not much has been  done  about prevention as people are engaged in the difficulties, pleasures, and intrigues of life which they claim to be short. Life is indeed short, and I'm not sure at all whether we, humans, can actually prevent evil and disaster.  

Along the years, Man has violated God's  World Creation, and judging by the climate change , wars, and various other existing conflicts, it doesn't seem certain He'll  be willing to give us another chance in case of  world destruction.

However, God might help with the survival  of individuals and groups that  are not ignoring His omnipresence and not using  His name in vain, for getting power and money meant to harm the others.


Thursday, March 21, 2024

The three D's : Dependence, Democracy, Demographics


 I was once told that dependence  of any kind is...'slow death'.

I'v given much thought to dependence as an individual, trying to learn how to minimize it. I've given only little thought as to the country's dependence on other countries or factors.

We've always been dependent on the USA.  America is our greatest friend, ally, mother and father. Without her backing we feel like orphans.

Being a small country, surrounded by adversaries, Israel greatly needs the american military,  diplomatic, economic  support.

I must say, that I don't consider this  a healthy relationship, as it prevents us from seeing and facing reality clearly. Besides, times change,interests change, things get complicated for both sides.


AI generated picture

Democracy means 'power of the people' (greek: demos- people, kratos - power). It's a way of governing which depends on the will of the people. The majority wins the elections.   It can be successful  where the nation is more or less stable demographically.

voting  (AI generated picture)

In our neck of the woods,  certain circles (mainly orthodox, but not only) have a high birth rate and that turns democracy into a joke.  We are experiencing now this kind of joke following  the last elections when these circles , not the most productive ones in the population, got the majority of votes and are now trying to shape everything according to their way of life - which is not for the benefit of the whole country.

AI generated picture

Saturday, March 9, 2024

B.B.


Yesterday (8.3.2024), on International Woman's Day, I found myself  thinking about Brigitte Bardot (B.B.) - former french movie actress, dancer, singer , model.   In my much younger days she was a 'hot' name, considered one of the most beautiful and sexy women in the world.  Her exciting appearances in movies, her marriages ( to Roger Vadim, Jaques Charrier ..),  and romantic relationship with other french actors - dominated the headlines and the imagination.

                                           young B.B.  (Wikipedia photo)

After she left the entertainment world in 1974,  she became an activist for the rights of animals (she created a foundation for their welfare and protection), and later on,  a fervent anti-immigration speaker.  The last activity brought her a lot of trouble; she even got fined several times for using racial terms, and accused of inciting to  hatred.  

Now and then, I 've seen  photos of her in which she looks  old, fat, and wrinkled , but alive and kicking. The vestiges of beauty - gone, but replaced with activism of some sort , activism  she has claimed to be for the public benefit.

In a world of political correctness and high hypocrisy, she's seen in certain french circles as a courageous, outspoken person who doesn't hesitate to speak up her mind, for better or for worse).

                                           B.B. in old age (Wikipedia photo)

Anyway, I personally prefer to remember her as the beautiful movie star,  the sex symbol of the period starting with the famous movie "And God created woman".  Thousands of women in the world have admired her hair, figure and face, and tried  to resemble her not only physically, but also in talent and personality. 


Saturday, March 2, 2024

ZAKA

 

A few days ago,  a shooting attack at a gas station, left two fatalities on the spot: a teenager, and a 57 year old man,  father of three, long time member of the Zaka volunteer organization.  (RIP).

Zaka (search, rescue and identification) has been formally established in 1995 by israeli ultra orthodox people with the main purpose of dealing respectfully with the dead and wounded in disaster places. 

After  disaster occurrence,  there is , sometimes, no corpse left but remaining pieces of it , scattered around.  Zaka people collect the pieces and all the evidence available on the scene, submit it to the forensic teams  and police  to get a DNA, which is key to identify the victim. They then, help arrange the burial , bringing closure to the family.

Zaka teams are also sent to 'rescue and identification'  missions abroad, after occurrence of eartquakes, tzunamis, volcano erruptions, terror attacks, mass shootings etc..
(In Thailand, the Zaka people were named 'the  team that sleeps with the dead',  as they transformed the pagodas into morgues to identify the tzunami victims).

Zaka volunteers are trained paramedics, and are great believers in the dignity of man - dead or alive.  In 2016,  the United Nations granted Zaka the status of a non-governmental consultant.

Zaka logo in hebrew  

Monday, February 26, 2024

The Coldest

 

Winter is definitely not my season. I feel bad in cold weather.  Luckily, in my neck of the woods, it's usually  a short and mild season.
However, this year , our February  has been quite cold and rainy,  making me often think of the survival of people in those many  places where temperatures drop much below zero.  It requires special resilience and  preparadness to be able to live under freezing conditions. 

I am  familiar, of course, with  the names of the  coldest places in the world:   Antarctica, Alaska, Greenland, Canada, Siberia (Russia), the Scandinavean countries ( Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark), and Iceland.

There are some more places of which I knew almost nothing about their very cold winters, until recently while reading an article mentioning them:  Mongolia (central Asia), Kirghizistan, Tajigistan (asian Russia), Chili (South America).

Ulaanbatoor, capital of Mongolia  is considered the coldest capital city on earth (Yakutsk in Siberia is known as the coldest city, not capital). 
Kirghizistan and Tajikistan  - two gems in  asian Russia,  have very cold areas around their mountain ranges.
Chili is the closest country to Antarctica. In its southern part, there are polar frosts in winter. 

And yet. even in the worst winter months , there is life , culture, fun and...prosperity in those places.  It's mostly due to ski tourism, and all that surrounds it: the beauty of snow-capped mountain peaks, hotels, markets, winter festivals etc...

(AI  generated picture)


Monday, February 19, 2024

Clown Care

 

I've been familiar with the term 'medical clown'  for quite a while. The son of a good friend of mine, always looking for volunteering , found his vocation in clowning for entertaining hospitalized children  (that was before he started his own family and became a busy chemistry teacher in high school).

To become a 'medical clown', he had to attend a  special course and get a diploma. In his activity as a clown he usually wore a red nose, funny clothes and carried colorful baloons. He and his mother were very proud of this project.

Lately, I've become aware that there is more to it. There are 'clown doctors' , not ordinary people looking to volunteer , but professional doctors trained, in addition to their specialty, to help the patient deal with pain and fears of various medical procedures, through humor and distractiveness.

Health Care clowning is nowadays a worldwide practice.  Professional doctors and ordinary volunteers can achieve good therapeutic goals with both children and adults,  using means to create a light-hearted atmosphere free of anxiety and stress.

(AI Bing picture)


Monday, February 12, 2024

Manuals

 
Recently,   my eyes fell on a rather intriguing title :  "A manual for being human", by Dr. Sophie Mort .
A Sunday Times bestseller,  the manual is defined as a self-help book based on various principles of personality and psychology. 

The main message of the book, (according to reviews and comments), is that we, humans, are not raised to understand ourselves, and that makes it difficult for us to  understand life and the world around us.  

True.  We come into this world with no... manual attached. Parents and schools are supposed to educate, guide , teach us about  the facts and meaning of life,  They don't always manage to do a good job. Well,  nobody's perfect. Life is not perfect. 

On the other hand,  whenever we buy a specific product we insist on getting its manual. It comes under various names : User's manual,  Instructions manual, Repair manual. Manual for beginners/advanced/experts, etc...

manual is meant to give  details about the product, and teach us how to use it and maintain it . We are more successful  when dealing with specific products than  with Life in general.  Life is too vast and complex  for us, both, as individuals and as society.

I haven't read the book yet (published in mid 2021). I think it's perhaps, an eye opener ; some readers may find answers and solutions for their problems in its content.  Still,  a manual for being human  sounds rather far fetched and confusing to me.

                                              (AI)

Tuesday, February 6, 2024

Removable Or Not - that's the question.

 

Whenever something  works well for me, it gradually disappears from the market - gets discontinued, as they say.

My android smarthphone is 7 years old. Lately, its battery has been showing signs of  'getting south' : the phone is slower, sometimes it shuts down unexpectedly, things like that. It's a removable kind of battery, and this is how I like it, as it gives me control over the phone. If I feel something is wrong , I open the case, take out the battery , leave it out for 10-15 minutes, then put it back - and voila!  Everything is fine.

During the last years, very few phones come with a removable battery. In  my neck of the woods these phones are almost inexistent ( except perhaps some Nokia types, which don't connect to Hi-Fi).  The manufacturers "blame" it on the consummer. The later, they say, likes the non-removable battery as this makes the device  slimmer, more sophisticated, allowing use of premium materials .

A non-removable battery, as opposed to a removable one, is glued and screwed into the internals of the phone. Only an expert who has the proper tools, can  take it out to replace it.  This costs money, of course, and makes one dependant on the lab.  and the technician. 

So far, I haven't  managed to get a new battery to replace the current one.  Over the years, my phone has had several falls, and I don't want last moment surprises. So, I'm facing now the reality of buying a new one, with ... a non-removable battery.                                

                                              yes. I love my phone  (AI)



Thursday, February 1, 2024

I Wish I Could...

 

Sometimes,  teachers would encourage a pupil by telling him he's got potential, and can achieve anything he puts his mind to, provided he works hard on it. Well, I'm afraid that's not always true. We have our inborn limitations that can seldom be much improved by self-will and/or teaching.

I've recently been reflecting on things I wished I could do, but I haven't got the right aptitude for it,  such as sewing, rhyming poetry, and drawing.  

I managed to teach myself  basic design sewing, using the genial method of the german magazine Burda. That was before the appearance of the internet. I remember how proud I was when I finished sewing an elegant dress for my Mom!

Well, the internet makes it  possible for me to approach the other two, with its rhyming dictionaries,  and  AI image generator.  

The online 'rhyming dictionaries' (a good tool for lyricists and songwriters)  help us find words that rhyme with other words or endings, and thus greatly enhance  our writing.  I believe that a rhyming poem looks and sounds more festive and /or solemn (depending on the occasion), than a standard one .

As for drawing, the Bing  AI image generator gets  you a more or less successful image following the prompt given by you in text format.  Below, is the birthday card  for Irma,  21(age)in the left bottom corner, and a rose in the middle - all of which was demanded by me in my prompt.

birthday card - created by AI image generator

I  suppose there are other such nice little discoveries to be made. They require ,of course, some practice in order for the outcome to be successful.


Friday, January 26, 2024

The Unknown

                                                        storm damage

After many  debates on global...warming,  we're ironically facing now  freezing cold weather. 

Personally, I dislike the heat of summer, but I dread the cold of winter as it usually brings with it viruses and health issues. The annual influenza vaccine has not been helpful to me. The little mask is, and I still wear it when outdoors.

Science doesn't seem to have answers for us. Every day of the week we are notified about another natural disaster occurring in some part of the world,  causing loss of lives, misery, and property damage.

We've been told that  the massive glaciers in Antarctica are slowly melting, causing rise of water in the oceans, as a result of which, islands and coastal cities are going to be swalowed and totally disappear.

Earhquakes, tornadoes, volcano  eruptions - are already 'busy' with contributing to the rest of the world's destruction. Climate change brings about escalation; the probability and intensity of disasters' occurrence, being higher than usual.

We are aware  of things, and yet we do not know with exactitude when, where, and how they'll strike. That's why we  seem to ignore obvious dangers, such as  living by the sea, and around volcanoes.

Anyway, the Uknown is the worst of enemies. Knowledge is power that could help us better protect ouselves and our homes by teaching us how to avoid fires, floodings, drought, outages, finding the right shelter etc..

                                                    lava eruptio

Monday, January 22, 2024

Help, I Need Somebody (The Beatles)


 I sometimes go with the trash bag to the collecting waste bin in the evening hours. Beware!  - someone said to me, You might get attacked at this hour ,even though you carry no purse.  I have news for you, was my reply,  I might get attacked during the day hours as well, with nobody coming to my rescue. They are all seatted in front of TV and computer screens. No desperate cry for Help will make them go outside to see what it's  all about.

* picture made with AI  image generator

A few years ago I stumbled and fell on the pavement, hurting my right shoulder.   Unlike shown in the AI  generated image  below,  there was No One around to help me get on my feet. All I wished for was to get quickly home (which was not far away) to start applying ice to reduce pain and prevent surgery . Finally, ignoring the agonizing pain,  I gave a loud, long shout -  and slowly tried to get up.

* picture created by AI  image generator

I had the purse with me during the fall.; it could have easily been stolen, and there was nothing I could do to prevent that. ( By the way, in being attacked for any reason, reaction time is key. If taken by surprise, no time to try and defend yourself, regardless if it's  day hours or evening hours).
Since that traumatic fall,  I'm trying to be careful as to how, where, and when I walk. 

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Beauty, Drama, and Destruction

 



 A dormant volcano  near Reykjavik, Iceland, has recently come back to life after nearly 800 years. What happened ? Has Climate Change  awakened it? No casualties so far, but evacuations of people  from the surrounding areas.

(On the web, there are lots of stunning pictures of lava flow  from that volcano  and people gathering to watch it).

                                                     *            

In my younger days I visited mount Vesuvius in Italy. Still an active volcano; it could erupt any day. I got to the edge of the crater; smoke was coming out of it. The location is fascinating : overlooking Naples and the ruins of the  destroyed cities Pompeii and Herculanes (which I visited separately).

                                                         on top of the Vesuvius

                                                   Bay of Naples in the background

They say the soil under and around the volcano is very fertile and makes the residents in the densely populated area, rich. That's why they are reluctant to leave despite  the danger of being caught in an eruption of lava. 

The activities of the volcano are closely monitored by the experts at the 'Observatorio Vesuvio', and yet it could suddenly and unexpectedly erupt and cause loss of lives and damage to property.

                                                          red ,volcanic soil

                              the edge of  the crater ; smoke coming out

                                                    me and friend on the edge

                                                        lava flow in Iceland (Youtube)

Yes, as mentioned in the title,  volcano eruptions definitely offer beauty, drama and destruction.