Monday, January 30
Rising concentrations of greenhouse gases may have more serious impacts than previously believed, a major scientific report from the UK government stated.
The report, published yesterday based on a study starting in Feb 2005, says there is only a small chance of greenhouse gas emissions being kept below "dangerous" levels. It fears the Greenland ice sheet is likely to melt, leading sea levels to rise by 23 feet over the next 1,000 years.
What that means in real terms, is that New York city will not be a city as we know it anymore. All the subway systems could be flooded if the sea level only rises 3 feet (about a meter) or so.... Could that happen in the next five years? Nobody knows for sure.
I don't want to sound like an alarmist, but in my opinion greenhouse-gases are unlikely to be reduced until it is too late. So this trend is truthfully irresolvable. But why is it that humanity only learns through pain and suffering, and even then makes only minute steps towards betterment.
You know, deep down I don't even care about the survival of the polar bear. I am not a "eco-freak". Yes, that polar bear looks cute on pictures, but I have never met one and probably never will. My concern is the survival of this human race, and not some species that can be left behind throughout a transitional period. So you might ask: "Zee, what the heck are you going to do about it?" Truthfully, I feel overwhelmed and see the only remedy that all of us do small steps - as good as we possibly are able to do!
My steps are such:
1. Reject Hummers and vehicles that are fossil fuel hungry
2. Add more solar panels to my studio so it becomes completely independent from the grid
3. Increase the size of my vegetable garden so I can sustain without running to the Supermarket every day
4. Inform other people what they can achieve in their particular environment (at least help)
Now it is YOUR turn to add suggestions and put them on this list. Be creative, I yearn for your imaginative input!
Sunday, January 29
Saad Djebbar, an international lawyer and commentator on Middle East politics told the BBC that the chaotic scenes meant that the whole trial was being undermined:
"I think it was a big mistake that this trial was held in Iraq because the judge, you cannot find a person, one individual today in Iraq - judge, lawyer, prosecutor who is impartial vis a vis Saddam Hussein.
... I must agree, they should have had him tried somewhere else. Too bad that that the US denies the validity of the Hague (international) court. It complicates matters.
pics are from around the corner from where I live
MINE EMENY IS GROWING OLD
by Emily Dickingson
Mine enemy is growing old, -
I have at last revenge.
The palate of the hate departs;
If any would avenge, -
Let him be quick, the viand flits,
It is a faded meat.
Anger as soon as fed is dead;
'Tis starving makes it fat.
Friday, January 27
When the history of the Kyoto Protocol comes to be written, Canada will appear as a particularly influential figure in the narrative.
It has already played the role of Florence Nightingale, nursing the treaty back from the brink of oblivion.
Is Canada's newly elected Conservative Party now preparing to don the mantle of Darth Vader and emasculate the protocol to the point of impotence?
Thursday, January 26
For decades, Fatah - the party founded by the late Yasser Arafat - has totally dominated electoral politics, but that time is over. The likelihood of a resounding victory for Hamas - which is committed to the destruction of Israel - sent shockwaves though the Jewish state. Yes, I do understand the worries of the Israelites. But the truth is, that the decades of violence and uncertainty in that region might now have a chance to find a turn towards betterment. The blindfolded commitment of the US towards Israel, both money wise and other, will now be in question and the leverage the US and European countries had towards Palestine has ceased- which will finally leave Israel free to find it's own destiny and renew its identity without a "big brother." Maybe that is a good thing. Sharon (still in a coma I believe) intuit this development and thus ordered (he after all was a military man and a strategist) the withdrawal from occupied territories, not to punish settlers, but to make sure that in a long range plan the borders of Israel would be secure.
Condi Rice stated that there would be no negotiations with Hamas who now in her own words have "one foot in terrorism and one foot in politics." Israeli sources verbalized similar sentiments and Bush today made an embarrassing press appearance concerning these new developments. Whatever these first reactions might indicate, the truth of the matter is that down the road negotiations will be inevitable. Hamas, similar to the IRA in Ireland, will not give up its weapons easily. But as they (Hamas) will now be involved in a political process, reconsiderations of how to go about things. Perhaps violence will now become less and less an act of random desperation killing innocent people, but an action of deliberate strategic consideration (as Israel has done successfully in the past). And maybe it will sink into some knuckle-heads that blowing yourself up results in indefinite rejection by Allah.
Far from that I subscribe to violence, but in the long haul Palestine and Israel might find a way to co-exist - if not, we will be witness to the "Third World War" with our own eyes.
Ok, my chicken is marinated now, time to stuff it into the oven and roast it.
Tuesday, January 24
From counterweights to woman, from woman to finished windows. Yes, woman are the windows to see the world if you are willing to go from room to room within them, enabling you to see different vistas depending where you are at, or where they themselves are at. Physical windows are easier to tackle and comprehend, even though they also can be a pain in the neck at times.
Anyhow, finished the restoration of this triple window at Ventford Hall today. Feels good to be done with that project.
Monday, January 23
You see, I grew up in a village called Dornach near Basel - Switzerland. There you will find a building that is quite extraordinary in its design. It's called the Goetheanum if you wish to "google" it...
Anyhow, that building was the backdrop of my dream. As some of you might recall, I lost "Sunrise" my dog a few weeks ago and in my dream he was standing on the balcony of this building and barking at people passing by. I scolded him a bit and he was quiet, he left the scene but quickly appeared in a library, nobody minded, he was wagging his tail. I don't remember checking out any books at that point - just was content that my dog was alive, at least in my dreams...
Then I woke up and yes, we do finally have our snow back in my "present neck of the woods." That is good. The snow is the cover to protect the earth naturally while humans struggle to find artificial and often useless sheaths of protection.
Sunday, January 22
At home I face a daily invasion of girls and I escape (no it's not that bad) often to my studio. They are all mostly charming. But my daughter is a beautiful stubbern head and knows very well how to rally up support when she has put something into her mind. Sometimes it is just too much to handle. At work I was confronted with counterweights of old fashioned windows (the restoration project of Ventford Hall). When the window is done, with trim and all - I will post an other picture.
What's new? The weather forecast pledges snow and not rain for a change... I'll go for that! This Jannuary has seen the most unstable weather since many years.
Friday, January 20
"Following technical analysis of the Osama bin Laden tape aired today, the CIA assesses that it was the voice of Osama bin Laden" said some anonymous voice from that department. The official provided no details about how the Central Intelligence Agency concluded that the voice was actually that of Bin Laden. It doesn't really matter if it was "him" or not.
How come that the CIA concluded, and the US government subscribed to this statement in such a short period of time?
It dawns on me that BOTH, the US government AND the extremist muslims need to keep the phantom of Ossama alive. What do they have in common? Both of them advocate perpetual warfare, a lofty fight for freedom on issues that are striking in their resemblance. Ossama for the one group "is" the devil, for the others he is the focal point to "fight" the devil (infidel).
If we keep this trend and continue to be stuck in present fixed parameters of this obnoxious view of "evil" , both in the west and in the east, I can guaranty you that Ossama will stay alive for at least a couple more generations to come, despite his kidney problems...
Thursday, January 19
Here is an image of a page from my song book where I had glued the picture, admits scribbled lyrics, of one of my dearest friends - and we had met over a quater century ago between the weaving lyrics of my own life. And now today I superimposed a snapshot on the right hand side from the present.
Haven't talked to her for at least three years or so - but today I did. Her voice and attitude is spunky and vibrant as ever. She lives in Norway... a country full of optimistic and resourceful people.
Being on a "roll", I tried to catch up with other friends. I checked out websites of musician friends and such, made calls ... but the imagery was not always comforting. People my age looked like bald rats and spoke stale stuff in un-enthused mutterings. That was a disappointement.
What the heck is this, this "aging" thing anyway? Does everyone above 28 has to live in a "mid-life" crisis for the rest of his or her life? That's sort of stupid, isn't it? Personally I feel like I crossed the Fjord once with my ferry boat successfully and now will attempt to cross the waters again to find the haven where I started from. Midd part of a journey.
So Miss E from 25 something years ago is doing the same thing - proud but not arrogant, fearless, humble and still beautiful.
All the power to her, we need more people whith such an outlook at life!
I only worry about those who gave up feelings and the forces of youth within their strivings down their road of destiny ... the lack of it makes them look very, very old indeed!
Tuesday, January 17
Need to focus on some things that I will have to teach for my next block. Therefore I am going into a self-"propelled" retreat and will not post here as often anymore for a while. Nevertheless, Gary, Dimitri and all the other bloggers will see me around. Certainly I will read their posts, if nothing else...
Monday, January 16
Fascism to the underdog.
Let me use the particular angle of a smoker. NY state wants to increase the cigarette tax by an other dollar, bringing it up to a total revenue of $2.50 which will bring up retail price in NYC to over $8 per pack. In which coffers does this money disappear?
When I arrived in the US 18 years ago the price for a pack of cigarettes was around $1.50!
Before I came to the United States I happened to live for five years in Scandinavia (Norway). Cigarette prices were exuberant there as well even then. But what did that state do? They provided universal health care to every living soul on their territory, including medicine, drugs, elderly care - you name it...
But here in the US you get nothing in return except vague promises that the money will benefit "something".
The six fold increase in price since I've been here did not decrease six fold the numbers of smokers, right? So increasing the tax on tobacco merely increases revenue for the state which might be OK if they use it to help people. But that is not what is happening! Instead the state syphons off this "poor mans tax" and spend it on god knows what...
In the mean time the yuppies in their boxy SUV's stay content to go to a smoke free bar these days, but beware - if they ever were to pay appropriate taxes on their deadly vehicles, who spit out 40 cigarets worth of carbon monoxide a second, a yuppie revolution would be around the corner, or maybe not...
Bottom line. It is easy for a politician to endorse legislation that paints a wonderful picture of success to his or her constituency by changing the laws that will affect the underdog who could but will not oppose, and by this gaining points climbing up the political ladder even higher. It is much harder indeed to invigorate REAL CHANGE, like for example that the US would accept some kind of protocol on emissions (Kyoto), tax SUV's equally and have same emission standards for them as automobiles, insist on tougher regulations for mid-western coal burning plants, invigorate public transportation... and so on; and thereafter start to worry about "emissions" from smokers.
Perhaps this way additional millions of lives can be saved right now and many more to come in the future.
In the mean time - buy your smokes from your indian reservation, and light (lighten) up.
P.S. And if you wish: STOP SMOKING - but not because your tax man says so... only because you can do it for yourself, and for the ones around you !!!
Sunday, January 15
Modigliani was the bohemian artist par excellence - his posthumous legend is famous and in stylistic terms he was an oddity: contemporary with the Cubists, but not part of their movement, he forms a bridge between the generation of Toulouse-Lautrec and the Art Deco painters of the 1920s. Unfortunately he died in his 30's, too much booze and drugs.
His father Flaminio was an unsuccessful entrepreneur who had a small money-changing business, and his mother, Eugenia, by far the stronger personality of the two, ran an experimental school. Amedeo Modigilani, in childhood nicknamed Dedo, was their fourth and youngest child. In 1898 the eldest son, Emmanuele, then aged twenty-six, was sentenced to six months imprisonment as an anarchist. Since these people were Jews, that might be somewhat of a surprise. Anyhow, I like his paintings, stark and straight but with much sensuality - something we need in winter days.
Wednesday, January 11
I am not opposed to whales, neither to brain mass per body ratio analogies.
Nevertheless, the naked human being -yes naked- has to invigorate much more intelligence to get dressed every day which by all accounts the whales are spared to do so.
In my view intelligence is not an accumulation of brain mass, but rather the ability to interconnect continuos changing circumstances depending on social and environmental challenges. In this respect the "human" has a unique position, weighing continuously the odds of survival and extinction of its own existence.
The possibility of having your own fate in your own hands is unique to the human compared to all other species. Perhaps one could label it "freedom" - a thing that no other creature on earth can aspire!
So here are the lyrics to a song that is rendered very well by Christy Moore,
and I am trying to memorize them (since years). The chord progression on the guitar is easy, d-minor/C,F,G,E ...
Did you know that swans are one of the few species that "mate for life", humans certainly don't!
Two island swans mated for life,
And his faithful heart would not consider any other wife.
For three years peaceful joy midst the rushes of the pond,
Proud and gentle was the loving of the last two island swans.
Their love was like a circle, no beginning and no end,
With his lady by his side a treasure and best friend.
And the pond was all so peaceful with the rising of the sun,
Young and free like the island breeze their life was just begun.
'Til a dread day in November when the searing cold did start,
Stalked the hunter with his bow, he put an arrow through her heart.
Husband come to my side let your feathers warm my pain,
For I feel I will not spend another day with you again.
And the cold winds blow,
He was brave but he's laid low.
By her body in the isle of mist,
I saw him give her one last cold kiss, one last cold kiss.
Of swans the people talk of only one in this days tide,
They brought him twenty ladies he would take no other bride.
They say he will not move from the place where she did fall,
Once so proud he's beaten now, he will not speak at all.
And the cold winds blow,
He was brave but he's laid low.
By her body in the isle of mist,
I saw him give her one last cold kiss, one last cold kiss.
Tuesday, January 10
The cost of the Iraq war could top $US 2 trillion after factoring in long-term health care for wounded US veterans, rebuilding a worn-down military and accounting for other unforeseen bills and economic losses, according to a new analysis.
The figure is more than four times what the war was expected to cost taking in this year — about $US 500 billion, according to congressional budget data.
The estimate by Nobel Prize-winning Columbia University economist Joseph Stiglitz and Harvard lecturer Linda Bilmes far exceeds projections made by the Bush Administration.
For example, the study attributes a portion of the increase in oil prices to instability in the Middle East caused by the 2003 invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein and sparked a bloody insurgency. It estimates that the shock to the oil industry has already added at least $25 billion to the price tag of the conflict - and so on and so on...
It really is a disaster this war. No one can tell me anymore that anybody gained anything from this. And the long term costs of life and resources probably exceed any price tag even a smart Nobel price winner can ever pin down.
Monday, January 9
before we started
Michael and I, restored a few years ago large portions of Ventford Hall in Lenox MA, a building that used to belong to the late daughter of P.G. Morgan - yes THAT Morgan, the banker! The building was also used for the award winning movie "The Cider-House Rules".
Anyhow, I'm back working with Michael on this endles project - but more importantly, Michael is giving me his expertise in cabinet work so I can build a fancy bookshelf for one of my students. Thank you Michael!
All right, so that activity might pay my bills.
But you see allready that also I make compromises in this regard. Bankers (and lawyers) in my eyes are part of the scumm of the world, greedy to the extent of complete nausea. And so "I'm bying in" you think? No, I touch solely wood not human destinies through money and legal procedures. At least that is my excuse.