Memorial Day, the day we recognize and honor the fallen soldiers - and the survivors of war.
The war of Iraq might have stipulated 80,000 civilian deaths and casualties in its five years existence, and thousands of deaths on the military side. Soldiers die, that is what they go to war for. It is their duty and commitment. They bought into it. It was always this way, it will continue to be that way. Soldiers are the suckers of the establishment, the rulers extension of force. I feel sorry for their ambiguous ambitions.
Yes, it is important to preserve your country, your life, your culture - and the military can have a vital role in this. The role of soldiers in this scenario play a vital role. But the arms of the octopus of US ambitions has reached its limits, the beast has been washed ashore. The states we live in is the state of the United States (somewhat united)of America. That is what we should care most about. Forget the military bases all around the globe, the ones in South Korea, the German ones, the splattered ones on unknown islands, the camps we maintain in Eastern Europe who rival Guantanamo Bay. Let's forget or foreclose the trillions we spend annually on death and war, payed by the idiot taxpayers like me and instead invest into life, the soil we live on, and not all this foreign territory - unless of course we wish to go down as the second Roman Empire.
There is no real conclusion to this post. It is history to be watched. We will see. I just have to note that the misery in Asia has peaked to levels in human casualties that rivaled in five days what has happened in Iraqi in five years. This is not a moral statement, it is only an observation.
We must endure!
Tuesday, May 27
Memorial Day, the day we recognize and honor the fallen soldiers - and the survivors of war.
Tuesday, May 20
While I am painting the house, I am also babysitting the house - and a dog, while the master is away. The dog is something else. When I go to bed, I usually sport an array of different blankets, layers to be fit for any kind of temperature change. The dog adds to the equation, snuggling under blankets wherever he can find them. At least he doesn't snore, like the majority of you!
Monday, May 19
"I am leaving with the last ferry. You can have the island for yourself for the next few days."
He spoke eloquent, as if he could endow peoples content and happiness by sheer presence. He left. The void of the island-villain did not punch a hole into my psyche, instead his departure resurrected tense muscles in my neck to almost normal conditions.
Island life is direct and immediate. What you seed is what you get back. Manhattan is an island as well, but you can drown there as a black dressed person, loosing everything that makes up your individuality, your face. In Manhattan there are no immediate check and balances, you stay anonymous. Not so on this island in Maine. Everybody knows, everybody hears, about everything you do. Something to consider.
Those considerations are not part of the equation to my "island-villain" friend, part of the reason that he doesn't make it here, on this island.
"It is fascinating to see and observe how you dig into my stash of food lately, without giving it a second thought, or even asking. Don't you have enough cash to buy your own beans for the morning coffee, or are you just that cheap kind of guy?" I asked. There was no conclusive answer. Instead he was telling me the same old story again, the one I have heard twenty two times before, the one of doing this and that, the one where one expects a congratulating clap on the shoulders from the listener. It exhausts me. Self manufactured praise is the cheapest form of gratification. It is so sad to see a friend go down that road. There is no return, there is no passage. Pity replaces valuable bonds you once had in common. There is nothing you can do, you just stay patient and wait it out...
Little tidbits of island life, the pictures are from outside the library where I park my truck to get internet connection. The story of island life is not sad, the story is infectious. More later...
Saturday, May 10
Here are a few flowers from my garden for the mothers of this world. I give you in particular Japanese cherry blossoms. They are not pink, they are not white, they are not purple but a mysterious blend thereof. A painters dream or nightmare - depends...
My beloved ocean (and island) is calling me. My internet chit-chat will probably decrease - or surprisingly implode for the next three weeks, who knows.
Before I forget, the ...
... ahh, you can finish that sentence yourself.
Thursday, May 8
The Arabic name for Lebanon is Lubnan which means white - the colour of the Lebanese snow-covered mountains. Phoenician cities include Byblos, Baalbek and Tyre. Byblos, one of the world's oldest cities is inhabited since Neolithic times. Tyre is thought to be one of the oldest urban areas in the world.
Phoenicians who lived there were seafarers and traders. They were one of the first to use the Northen Star as a point of reference for navigation.
The Phoenician alphabet, which consisted of twenty-two consonants and vowels, provided the foundation of the alphabet used by us here today.
Part of Solomon's temple and palace were built using Lebanon's gorgeous cedar trees - and Jezebel, the wife of King Ahab of Israel, was a Princess of Sidon who became the Queen of Israel.
As you can see here on this skimpy overview of Lebanon, history is a meander and trail dug dirt deep, without any true recognition by the people of the present. People nowadays just don't care. They rather dance on superficial surfaces of given societies or retreat into religious ecstasy and violence. "History - teaches us nothing" ... to quote from a Sting song, the lead singer from the former pop group Police.
Why do I get into this train of thought? Maybe because it is my birthday today. I was born in Switzerland, a country comparable in size and population to Lebanon. And as Switzerland still enforces a law that prevents you to hang up laundry outside your house on Sundays, Lebanon has to deal with burning tires on roads, no matter what the day of week is. That is not fair.
The present situation in Lebanon is grave. I just talked to someone this morning living somewhat outside of Beirut. I called there because I just wanted to know if that person is safe. The report I got back was not that cheerful.
The streets are blocked, and most importantly the road leading to the airport and the seaports are strangulated, cutting off all commerce and necessary exchange to keep a small country rolling. On the other hand, a plane originating from Iran was allowed to land, spewing out a bunch of mercenaries, now hiding in certain sections of the capital city, waiting for the orders to be spelled out for them.
The incapacitates to form a formal government in Lebanon is beyond my reach. The misery experienced by the people there due to the lack of such formation is part of a larger regional problem.
I was going to book a flight there for September, now I am not so sure anymore.
I'd rather see my friend back in NYC....
In lieu, or parallel to the human catastrophe happening in Burma right now, this here in Lebanon seems to be a petty matter. But the cyclone, who hit the shores far east, was nature given. In Lebanon it is the doing of human will ... or the lack thereof, and perhaps also the endless fight for power of different entities, preventing unity to happen even whenever a temporary compromise had been carved out.
In the long run such tendencies have proven to be more destructive than any cyclone nature can produce.
UPDATE (May 10th):
It seems that tranquility has been achieved between the Sunni dominated people in West Beirut and Hezbollah (Shiah) who occupied it, and the government, thanks to the army from all peoples there is... The army demanded to go back in time, before the crisis started and established those parameters again.
UPDATE (May 11th)
unfortunately not all is solved as of yet...
Tuesday, May 6
As my hormones drop dead in the dozens, I can at least rest assured that younger ones don't have to deal with that issue yet. So at a fine "block-party" my daughter and her newly found boyfriend socialize with the kids of the neighbors. It is refreshing to observe this energy in youngsters, may they be 8 or 18.
Before you know it, they also will rule the world. And that's a good thing. The lame old guard of "US" has to retire, step away. In that respect I agree with Obama - we need change! Even though his mission is vague at times, I do support his vision. The "House of Clinton" lack this kind of enthusiasm. Enough of this boring politics - the time will come when those youngsters grip the rudder. That is the time I am truthfully looking for. And I hope that then I still will be alive to see it all.
The first map is the traditional style found in every contemporary atlas. It enhances the northern hemisphere by cheating the latitudes running through the US, Europe and Russian areas by increasing "the view" in simply changing the scale ratio.
The second map is closer to what the world really is. The latitudes are put down in constant increments. Therefore South America and Africa show their real size in comparison to their "Eurocentric" neighbors.
Just for an example, watch the transition of the Scandinavian countries from one map to the other. Fairly dramatic space change there.
I post this because I am bothered that students and other people still live with that image of a "warped" world imagery. An image that has nothing to do with physical reality.
I might also be inclined to say - and you can call me a racist if you wish, that nothing much of importance originated culturally, spiritually and constructively from the southern hemisphere in the last millennium. Maybe that is why the maps got "warped". Either way, down south they would adopt "western-culture" and made it suit their own, or they live in famine, desperation, genocide, religious extremisms or dictatorships. No, this was not a rant about how grand "western culture" works today. It doesn't have a chance for the future - don't copy the present decaying stream. That wasn't my point.
This post was more about the actual facts of graphical size, not the supposed "qualities" of different nations and regions in the world. That latter thing I might ponder upon an other time ...
In the mean time, create your very own image of what is what. But keep in mind, the world below the equator is larger than you think, that in fact was all I tried to say!
Sunday, May 4
It might be of interest to you that I follow all the news on the radio, actually that might not be of interest to you at all.
But then folks get killed by tornado's and troubadours, so I hear lately and you stay startled. Others perish in Iraq or Afghanistan. Well, Afghanistan will keep the poppies growing to supply the west with needed narcotics so we can survive mentally. Iraq will supply the west with needed oil so we can still produce bicycle tires once the oil runs out and once there are no more cars on the road. What? that makes no sense at all ...
All right then, let's try this again.
Iraqi oil resources are being estimated to be the second largest oil reserve in the world after what the Saudis got. No, I don't lie this time - do your freaking research on your own time and confirm this for yourself, if you wish.
What in all earth does this have to do with troubadours and bicycle tires?
Well, it is so damn easy. Troubadours sing the wrong tunes these days - and tires are made of raw crude oil.
Both avenues will run out of steam, eventually.
We'll see what disintegrates first, the song or the rubber.
In any case, this story is not cheerful (again?). What now!
Plant more vegetables - the only source of your survival kit.
Use pots and pans in Manhattan. It actually works, many tried it successfully.
My "gloom" these days is maybe a lack of testosterone or some other kind of depreciation. What the hell do I know. In any case, you be well and stay sane, plant your crops and race with me to catch up on carrots or peas. Good luck. That kind of action would be indeed better than playing the lottery.
Empire State building NYC, March 2006
Saturday, May 3
So what shall I blab about. My own tribulations or yet an other political sinister disappointment scribbled on the horizon of this blackboard? Chalk is cheap.
While I ponder, stare at the picture. It is my "downtown". The house on the left is the "mount" (Mount Washington Hotel, talked about that one before) - the one on the right is the local wine store who also serves an abundant palette of eatable gourmet delicacies.
I am sitting on the porch of the Hillsdale House (the other eatery and pub). My truck is parked at the junction, the black Jaguar from someone I don't know, just in front of my nose.
Whenever I am here I will order a black Guinness; sit, smoke, drink. The simple life.
After one drink I usually go home. Not today, I crossed the border to Massachusetts and had a fine Indian meal. Sometimes you have to pamper yourself. (right Seraphine?)
I will be leaving to the island in Maine again in a few days. It all depends in how quickly I am able to clean up the mess here in Hillsdale, NY. (spring cleaning)
In Vinalhaven I will be scraping, then painting a house. Somehow some money has to roll in. I can't wait for our government to hand out bittersweet chocolate bars in evening hours that can be consumed in a matter of minutes. Oral delight without might. So there you are, now I ended up ranting about myself after all, due to a void of other stories at hand.
See you around with other news next time - greetings Lukas. (Zee)