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


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.


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.