Monday, 30 July 2007

Ingmar Bergman Dies

A friend of our family, Ingmar Bergman was a frequent houseguest when my husband (who is also my fifth cousin) was a child in Provence. May this great movie director rest in peace.

Saturday, 28 July 2007

John Ruskin

"A countenance in which did meet Sweet records, promises as sweet."
The perfect loveliness of a woman's countenance can only consist in that majestic peace, which is founded in the memory of happy and useful years,--full of sweet records; and from the joining of this with that yet more majestic childishness, which is still full of change and promise;--opening always--modest at once, and bright, with hope of better things to be won, and to be bestowed. There is no old age where there is still that promise.
Thus, then, you have first to mould her physical frame, and then, as the strength she gains will permit you, to fill and temper her mind with all knowledge and thoughts which tend to confirm its natural instincts of justice, and refine its natural tact of love.
All such knowledge should be given her as may enable her to understand, and even to aid, the work of men: and yet it should be given, not as knowledge,--not as if it were, or could be, for her an object to know; but only to feel, and to judge. It is of no moment, as a matter of pride or perfectness in herself, whether she knows many languages or one; but it is of the utmost, that she should be able to show kindness to a stranger, and to understand the sweetness of a stranger's tongue. It is of no moment to her own worth or dignity that she should be acquainted with this science or that; but it is of the highest that she should be trained in habits of accurate thought; that she should understand the meaning, the inevitableness, and the loveliness of natural laws; and follow at least some one path of scientific attainment, as far as to the threshold of that bitter Valley of Humiliation, into which only the wisest and bravest of men can descend, owning themselves for ever children, gathering pebbles on a boundless shore. It is of little consequence how many positions of cities she knows, or how many dates of events, or names of celebrated persons--it is not the object of education to turn the woman into a dictionary; but it is deeply necessary that she should be taught to enter with her whole personality into the history she reads; to picture the passages of it vitally in her own bright imagination; to apprehend, with her fine instincts, the pathetic circumstances and dramatic relations, which the historian too often only eclipses by his reasoning, and disconnects by his arrangement: it is for her to trace the hidden equities of divine reward, and catch sight, through the darkness, of the fateful threads of woven fire that connect error with retribution. But, chiefly of all, she is to be taught to extend the limits of her sympathy with respect to that history which is being for ever determined as the moments pass in which she draws her peaceful breath; and to the contemporary calamity, which, were it but rightly mourned by her, would recur no more hereafter. She is to exercise herself in imagining what would be the effects upon her mind and conduct, if she were daily brought into the presence of the suffering which is not the less real because shut from her sight. She is to be taught somewhat to understand the nothingness of the proportion which that little world in which she lives and loves, bears to the world in which God lives and loves;--and solemnly she is to be taught to strive that her thoughts of piety may not be feeble in proportion to the number they embrace, nor her prayer more languid than it is for the momentary relief from pain of her husband or her child, when it is uttered for the multitudes of those who have none to love them,--and is 'for all who are desolate and oppressed.'"

~~John Ruskin, from Sesame and Lilies

Friday, 27 July 2007

Thursday, 26 July 2007

Noise Pollution Kills

Photo: Dick van Patten in Mel Brooks' High Anxiety, after being trapped in a car with loud, bad music ("If You Love Me Baby, Tell Me NOW")

You have the right to not be blasted with thundering "music", at home and on the street. Those who perpetrate the booming terror are assaulting you, and citizens must act, maybe even mobilize in groups, to exercise their rights to quiet enjoyment of life.
Peter Bright of Australia writes this about how humans unwittingly cause the barking-dog problem that plagues so many citizens.

Thursday, 19 July 2007

Goya's Ghosts

I've just discovered the 2006 movie, Goya's Ghosts, by Milos Forman.
Here is a video about it Goya's Ghosts
Francisco de Goya y Lucientes is my favorite painter. I'm eager to see the film!


Wednesday, 18 July 2007

In the Category of "No Good Deed Goes Unpunished": Bulgarian Nurses


Clip: Bulgaria, the EU and the United States say Libya has used the medics as scapegoats to deflect criticism of its dilapidated health care sector.
Foreign HIV experts testified during the case in Libya that the infections started before the six arrived at the hospital and were more likely to be the result of poor hygiene.
Last month, Bulgaria granted citizenship to the Palestinian doctor to help bring him out of Libya if the death penalties were commuted.

UPDATE, July 24th: Libya released the seven....

Saturday, 14 July 2007

In a Pig's Ear!

No doubt some people thought I was rummy when I reported circa May 30th that China was exporting fish and seafood raised in raw sewage. This month, that news is everywhere. Now, China fights back with allegations against Tyson Foods (you remember them--ex-President Clinton's contributors down in Arkansas, who polluted rivers with their waste), and other U.S. meat companies about the poisonous qualities among their exported chicken feet and pigs' ears.

Friday, 13 July 2007

The Lie-Free Zone

Many people believe that the U.S. government's service in question is guilty of confiscatory and punitive actions which are outside the law.

Now that you've looked at the page, here is an update: a judge declared that Tom Cryer, Esquire, is NOT GUILTY of neglecting to file income tax returns.

A Seemingly Endless, Seamy Parade of Fashion-Victims

My Magnificent Other, with a note that I cannot print here, so aghast was he at this slideshow, sent the link to me from our shared computer.
Shiny clothes abound, emphasizing all the worst features—and what’s with soccer player Abel Xavier? Is he trying the look like Mr. Hel-l-l-l- No, the former U.N. Sec’y? But the very worst, according to my husband, was the leather-clad Russian tennis player.
Well, now I know what Jimmy Kimmel looks like, without having to watch his show (I avoid television).

Sunday, 8 July 2007

Dreamliner by Boeing: Countdown to Roll-Out

UPDATE: I saw it. It was a very exciting ceremony! The BOEING 787 Dreamliner is going to change air-travel. It will leave a twenty percent smaller footprint on the environment, and accomodate passengers with larger seats and cleaner interior air. Japan and Italy played large roles in the production of the Dreamliner, as did an interior designer named Patricia who was born in Spain. I didn't hear her surname clearly. She made a great speech, noting nostalgically that people used to dress up to travel, because it was more civilized. Patricia expressed hope that the commodious, elegant 787 would lead to a renewal of glamour in the flying experience. Boeing's Scott Carson also mentioned the old dress-up days of air-travel. Could they be hinting at what I've been suggesting for years, that people ought to dress with more respect for themselves and their environment (if not other people), and even wear shoes? With the majority of the population traveling in flip-flops, shorts and pyjamas, their manners have slipped as well. I'm praying for a sartorial revolution commensurate with that of the innovative Dreamliner.

The 787, Boeing's first all-new plane since airlines started flying the 777 in 1995, is scheduled to enter commercial service next May, when Japan's All Nippon Airways takes delivery of the first of 50 Dreamliners it has ordered.
To date, Boeing has won 642 orders for the 787. Factoring in nonbinding commitments, delivery positions are filled through 2015, two years after rival Airbus expects to roll out its competing A350 XWB.
It will be the world's first commercial jetliner made mostly of carbon-fiber composites, which are lighter and sturdier than aluminum. Boeing has said that and other technological advances will make the 787 more fuel-efficient and cheaper to maintain.

At the roll-out ceremony, a representative from Mitsubishi, a company which took part in the production of the plane prototype, made an enthusiastic speech, as did a dignitary from Italy. There is more detailed information at the BOEING site about the roll-out of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, which I regard as the biggest news of 2007.

Trucktoon, by M-J

Trucktoon, Copyright M-Jeanne de M., 2002

Friday, 6 July 2007

Boeing May Help Japanese Develop Jetliner

The Founder of the Environmental Protection Agency

President Nixon, Lino-Cut by M-J, 1972
The Nixons with Beverly Sills
President Richard M. Nixon's Domestic Policies

Although often viewed as a conservative by his contemporaries, Nixon's domestic policies often appear centrist, or even liberal, to later observers. As President, Nixon imposed wage and price controls, indexed Social Security for inflation, and created Supplemental Security Income (SSI). The number of pages added to the Federal Register each year doubled under Nixon. He eradicated the last remnants of the gold standard. Nixon created the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), promoted the Legacy of parks program and implemented the Philadelphia Plan, the first significant federal affirmative action program, and dramatically improved salaries for U.S. federal employees worldwide. As a party leader, Nixon helped build the Republican Party (GOP), but he ran his 1972 campaign separately from the party, which perhaps helped the GOP escape some of the damage from Watergate. The Nixon White House was the first to organize a daily press event and daily message for the media, a practice that all subsequent staffs have performed.
On January 2, 1974, Nixon signed a bill that lowered the maximum U.S. speed limit to 55 miles per hour (90 km/h) in order to conserve gasoline during the 1973 energy crisis. This law remained in effect until 1995, though states had been allowed to raise the limit to 65 miles per hour in rural areas since 1987.

Thursday, 5 July 2007

Another Stride in Seattle's Path of Self-Destruction

Already popular on the professional "homeless" circuit, Seattle is inviting more of them with a new policy: have "buskers" in parks to help fight crime, and pay them something to be there.,1,6511421.story?ctrack=1&cset=true Now, is THAT a brilliant idea to fight crime? Granted, Seattle police are feckless, but this is ridiculous! Imagine the turf-wars in the parks, not to mention the talent-wars and their by-product, sabotage. Especially in striving Seattle, where success, even in the top ranks, is met with back-stabbing acrimony. These buskers, or street performers, are the people who choose the lifestyle. Seattle does nothing to cure the real homeless problem, rather, it just comes up with lame ways for them to maintain their homeless status. My husband and I find this appalling, having worked with homeless people in the past, he having donated money to a program in another city that found jobs for them, and I having spent many volunteer hours feeding the hungry (serving food) in New York City, alongside church-ladies who would deny poor, old black gentlemen an additional packet of mustard or ketchup (I over-rode that decision and gave it to them with a smile).
We had to spend time there, so we know what the City of Seattle is like. Seattle wants to be like New York City. It's more like Amsterdam, where I once heard a busker playing Dylan songs below my hotel window, and paid him by throwing a Dutch guilder which made a bull's eye into his guitar case from the 8th floor. With Amsterdam's canals, open drug use, straight and homosexual porn on the street, and sex for sale in-your-face everywhere you turn, it has a twin city in Seattle, which ought to take Rudy Giuliani's New York City as an example instead.
Back to Seattle: you haven't lived until you find that your public tennis court in once-grand Volunteer Park is being used as both a bed and a toilet, and pay the perpetrator twenty dollars to decamp. Not a bad man, mind you--he came back a few minutes later with some flowers for us. Then it dawns upon you that the excrement you've been finding in there wasn't from the ubiquitous loose dogs in town (with even looser owners). Subsequently, you pay to join Seattle University's campus tennis courts, and one day find that they have been turned into a temporary homeless tent-city; again, a solution that is merely window-dressing. Seattle does nothing but invite more people to town to subsist on its streets. And, it wouldn't know compassion or even tough love if it kicked them in the teeth. No, it is run by a totally misguided bunch of hypocrites who talk till they're blue in the face, but do nothing to actually elevate the place.
Seattle's more fortunate people are so spoiled and have such cushy lives that they spend a lot of energy dispensing blame on the wider America, all while befouling their own backyard.
A city that has no sanitation department and counts on rain to wash the sidewalks of the liberal dog-walkers' calling-cards (Phydeaux's scat doesn't stink, these Yuppies think), letting litter befoul the place hoping that the drugged-up populace will act responsibly, has no business proselytizing to the rest of the world about pollution. Why not pay the homeless to clean up the town--after all, the Yuppies and trust-fund hippies are trashing the sidewalks thinking it is someone else's to clean up. And make the salary a living wage while you're at it.

The city known for its environmentalism and peacenik population is a haven of polluters, shooters, and public waste--of all kinds. Read about one of Seattle's most highly touted, expensive neighborhoods:

To be Continued

Don't dare upset the majority liberal population of Seattle by flying a flag or wearing a bumper sticker on your car supporting the troops or the president, because freedom of speech only applies to them. Any diversity of opinion expressed outwardly may earn you a broken car window, graffiti on your house, or worse. Peace is a concept to which abundant lip-service is paid in Seattle, but like the environmentalism that is propounded there and not practiced, it is for others to observe--or else! The seven hills of Seattle are high on hypocrisy.
Of course, the sections of town with the heaviest liberal population quotas are the ones where you need boots to wade through their litter and excreta. But, because they are the "enlightened" ones, their trash is like manna from heaven--so please don't mention it. As for Mayor Nickels' "conformance with the Kyoto Treaty", just try to walk on any Seattle street and you will inevitably get a ripe snootful of cigarette smoke every few feet. This is because of the city's backwards rule about not smoking in private spaces--bars and restaurants--which causes the public spaces to be utterly polluted. Yes, the environmentalists preach to the world, "Think Globally, Act Locally", but if you take a view of this world from outer space, you will see a great cloud of smoke rising from that spot in the formerly great Northwest, Seattle--mostly generated from its mobs of protesters, smoking every substance they can get their hands on. Not to mention the hot air as they scream at President Bush.

Oh, and watch out for drunks, too, homeless and otherwise--even if they are too polluted to read your bumper sticker, they may urinate on your car. Liberalism gone potty: that's Seattle. Forget the coffee. Wake up and smell the sewage on the streets, Mayor Nickels!

Wednesday, 4 July 2007

The Marquis de Lafayette

France and the Marquis de Lafayette : their aid to the United States' struggle for independence
A word from the honorable Jean-David Levitte at the
Ambassade de France aux Etats-Unis - 2007

Ambassador Levitte's July 12th speech on Franco-American relations. Here is the speech: French-American Relations

Fred Thompson's Retort to Michael Moore

Michael Moore challenged the Honorable Fred Thompson about his smoking Cuban cigars (now there's a man who knows the right thing to do with a cigar). Here is the response on You Tube:

President and General George Washington

President and General George Washington

Monday, 2 July 2007

The Art of Winemaking in Ancient Persia

I don't drink, but a bottle of very fine wine at two friends' dinner party last night inspired me to do some internet research. The bottle was the product of an Iranian ex-pat Darioush Khaledi, who has lived in California for many years. The Art of Winemaking in Ancient Persia