iPAD FIVE YEAR ANNIVERSARY


The iPad – first generation.

This iPad I am writing on was released April 3,2010, and is now almost five years old.

Back then, I stood in a very short line of two people at the computer department on that morning’s opening time at my local London Drugs store, my favourite go-to store for just about anything.

Who could know then that this small thing that wasn’t a laptop and responded to touch, would be the start of a whole new generation of tablets and touch generated gadgets? It had a lot of potential, but was unproven at that time, but has proven its worth to me since. I have still only used 48 GB from the 58.1 GB available.

From the first day I loved the little thing. Nobody really knew yet how useful it would be; plenty of people saw many drawbacks for this not-a-desktop computer. It was a toy, they said.

I am really, really happy to have taking the risk and for purchasing my little companion to everywhere. It never has needed repairs and did not break, even when I dropped it, numerous times. The metal back and sides are very sturdy.
For a while I had a rigid plastic, blue clip-on cover for the screen, until I left it behind somewhere at an airport. I have not even bothered replacing it. The transparent vinyl stick-on screen protector seemed to do its job very well. I never have had to replace it yet.

I use my iPad to write short pieces while sitting on my couch, in an airport lounge, or at a hotel, or a cafe, anywhere I want to write. I don’t need a light to see what I am doing. I can read books without bothering anybody else, listen to my music anywhere with ear buds with an excellent quality of sound (I guess also depends on the earbuds), don’t need a wireless connection for my play list, as its battery lasts forever. On my last plane ride it drowned out the crying of the toddler on his mom’s lap beside me with my fave tunes.

When I am at home using my home wifi, answering my email is easy, and even posting on my blog is simple, except for adding photos from somewhere else than from my iPad. So I have ways around that: I look up any photo I want to copy on the internet-Safari first, then save the photo to my iPad.

I took a chance and paid for the top of the line version with option for 3G, in case I would be outside the country without Internet/wifi.
I used that option only on 1 trip to Mexico and bought the Bell sim card for the iPad and put that into the in my tablet with a short term contract, for a month’s duration. It worked great and I felt quite privileged accessing the net, while riding on the ETA bus through Jalisco towards my destination, Guadalajara. The bill came later. I have not repeated that contract, also because most places now seem to have free wifi.

And not to forget, the iPhone had already been developed in 2007 with cellular connectivity, followed by a buying frenzy, which has not stopped yet. Revolutions were video taped on iPhones, criminals as well as the good ones were observed. The demand for Internet wifi and digital data exponentially took off everywhere on the globe with the advance of the iPhone; digital data services are in competition for customers while offering cut rate prices. The date are sent through satellite networks and towers everywhere on the globe at unbelievable reasonable prices (except in Canada, where cell phone rates stay extremely costly for some unknown reason).

Yes, we are connected through our gadgets on a constant basis, all day and all night long, if you stay up late. The gadget has become the biggest time waster in the history of man and woman, and also the biggest time saver, if work needs to be completed at home. It has made an appearance on almost every TV show, even in hospitals and offices, as it is so handy and portable.

The verdict is still out on which side the tablet and iPhone frenzy will end, good or bad for our social life. I only use my iPhone for phoning: I turned off all my data functions and I wait till I am at home to do my Internet accessing and data processing.
I try to limit my time connecting with friends and family through gadgets, I like meeting face to face better, as gadgets quickly can become a substitute. I prefer contact with real people, for which you have to leave the warmth of your cosy home and brace the weather. And for which you have to get off the couch and put some decent clothes on. I fear that isolating oneself with lack of social functionality is too easy to do with spending much time on gadgets.

The first generation iPad had no camera; since that first version, iPads have now all a built-in camera. One can Skype someone now from your iPad, how great is that? For now, I want to go home and see my friends and relatives that are far away through Skype on my home laptop. Skype is fantastic: the FREE alternative to visiting in person. It is imperfect, but great to keep up and talk for a few hours, if so inclined.

A drawback of tablets and smart phones is that people looking down at their iPhone or tablet, regardless of what other activity they are involved in, causing many accidents if they were driving, or walking into cars if a pedestrian. Another drawback is that the headaches are starting, as your head is attached with ligaments and muscles to your body and the strain of extending them for most of the day will cause physical problems.

I am of that generation that feels it is an insult to present company, when you show that others (on your iPhone) are more urgent or important than me, and you have to look and respond immediately. Unless you expect a call to serve at a war, or a riot, or are a first responder of some kind and get that call for your attendance at an accident or a murder, you are NOT excused. Aside from those issues, the iPhone is a great gadget in my book and eases life greatly. I just love watching Netflix on my big screen TV monitor, just so great!

Apple sure changed the social landscape in those five years.

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INVASION OF THE BOOMERS


INVASION OF THE BOOMERS

Help, the boomers are invading life everywhere.

I used to go to a yoga studio for years. The teachers were all properly trained and the owners adherents of the Yogi preacher whom provided the background for the yoga philosophy. It was all very proper and ethical, and the was studio decorated with great esthetics as well.

I took in the mildly religious aspects together with the health aspects as part of the whole yoga environment without it bothering me. The folding of the hands into the palms touching while seated cross legged, singing the word “aum” for a few seconds, at the end or the start of the class, lent a sweet aspect to the whole event for me.
After the peaceful Svassanah minutes at the end of the class, (integrating the physical exertion with stillness of the mind) the instructor wishes her class with a deep bow “namaste” acknowledging a spirit in us: the spark (of the soul) in me reflects the spark (of the soul) in you. Students then bow their heads in the direction of other students, making eye contact and repeating the gesture to each other. Most seasoned yoga students take time to go through this respectful greeting, although some are otherwise occupied already.

It so happened that I attend Sunday class. Raised in a strict religious family with church attendance twice on Sundays, this all felt strangely familiar to me. Getting up on Sunday morning, dress, and quickly eat something, and while most people are still sleeping or having leisurely brunches, I left home and drove through empty streets to class. What a nice replacement of rituals. After class I felt great, relaxed, aware — a bit of a difference with church, as I back then I was always thinking of ways to get out of church.

Over the last ten years, the class composition has changed, as well as the instructors. I used to be one of the few “older” students, and felt OK being there, but glanced occasionally at my fellow classmates who were much more agile, and lean and well, more beautiful. Now I am one of the crowd, since most there now seem over 50, have discovered yoga, and taken over the class. My Sunday class is now much larger with only members of the “silver wave”…and the number of men have increased too.

Not that men are the majority: they represent about 25% of students, but oh boy, are they ever the presence! They claim the public stage, as men always seem to do. They have an urge to make jokes, ask attention from the teacher, make unnecessary comments, etc. all perhaps in an attempt to breach the silence that might be uncomfortable to them. Before men, the brief time before class usually was spent by people relaxing, lying down, or holding some poses to loosen certain muscles or joints, without much talking, or only whispering. Not anymore since the men arrived. The six men count for about twenty women in noise and presence!

The dynamics of mixed company in this generation is always the same wherever you go. Men claim the public stage as their own, while women defer to them and play a supportive role, generally speaking.
The first time that more than the one (or two) token male attended class, the men all sat in a row, side by side to each other in the back of the classroom. How odd…. the last vestiges of their school memories made them repeat that childhood pattern. They were very vocal and obviously sought strength in numbers. I guess that most of these men are dragged to class by their partner, but separated from her, claiming independence, and sat in the back row all together. After the teacher pointed out their “bad boys on the back” behaviour to them, that pattern was broken. Good for her: young and assertive!

The teachers also have changed: from the more mature forty-somethings they became younger; they could be the grandchildren of the current crew of students. My current teacher is maybe at the most thirty, if that, although she looks 12 to me. You need to know that the type of class is “gentle”, and ability of any level is suitable for this class. In any case, instructors always encourage to adjust the poses to a level one is able to comfortably do without pain. If it hurts, don’t do it. Always good advice.

The teacher presents a bit as if she were teaching a Kindergarten class, tone of voice gentle, patient and simple, ensuring the class repeatedly that we were doing “beautiful work”. It seemed that the younger the instructor, the more they talk down to us, seniors, although not intentionally. My teacher does not have kids, and when she shares some of her life, it is uncomplicated – yet.

At grade school I was a chatterbox distracting others in class, so teachers always put me on the first row, so I have gotten used to being in the front of any public event. Automatically I seek the front position, now having ulterior motives: one ear is deaf, so I position myself strategically. So also in yoga class, which is the reason that I seldom see others perform their poses. Today I ended up in the back of the class, due to lack of spaces in the front. I had the view of the class, and very interesting it was!

There were new students that brought in her coat and handbag; one of them was fiddling before class with her cell phone, until the last moment possible. Actually, there were two students who brought in all her belongings into the classroom, handbag, coat, except shoes that we must take off in the lobby. All others leave their stuff usually hanging in the reception room, which is then supervised by the receptionist: no need to think of theft. Bringing a cell phone in this room of serenity is,close to blasphemy. I have never seen one or heard one ringing during class.

Another person was taking the most floor space she could, by positioning her mat so generously in the middle of the space that no third row was possible. Obviously, she is asserting herself, or possibly, is really afraid of getting too close to others. Then a few others spaced themselves within their row of mats, but far away from the next person beside them, by taking a space-and-half, to prevent others from positioning in between ending up too close beside them. Same message: “please don’t touch me.” When in the pose, with the mind focused inside, eyes closed, and if you suddenly touch a life person when you stretch out a limb, yes, that can be distracting, but for only a second.

The teacher often reshuffles the class to move those “spreading” students, forcing them back within their allocated spaces by insisting that we make space for three rows and move closer to each other. The class easily can accommodate 25 students. Good for her, I say. Most Sundays there a that many; our church is full!

I could not help noticing the student that quickly moved through the poses, as if she had done it many times before, sloppy and half-assed, not deliberately moving her muscles, but in a lets-get-through-this-quickly-since-I-am-here-anyway kind of way. She was maybe in over her head; I noticed when a longer held pose was too much and she had to come out of it; she stopped participating for a while. Had she saved her energy and been slower with less movement and more deliberate, she might have gotten more more out of the class. She was oblivious to the greetings and the namaste closing rituals; she was already preparing to leave. I hope she will come back and slow down next time to experience the benefits of focus, deep breathing, and intentional body moves. I love my yoga class. I will go early next time, so I can be in the front row of my church again.

Do you have any experiences in yoga to share? Please write a comment, rate this piece at the top of the page and pass it on to whom you think might like it, and please, Like me on Facebook.

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SMOKING and Strata Life


SMOKING AND STRATA LIFE

Last week’s newspaper called it the last frontier: smoking in strata and apartment buildings. My home is my castle. Or is it? Do I get to smoke in my own home where and when I want to? Sure you can, and who is going to stop you?

The funny part is that most people do not want to smoke inside their home anymore, as smoke makes their nice-looking home smelly, and turns nice clean walls brown. So, the smoker sneaks off to the deck or the porch and lights one, inhales deeply, and exhales, blowing the smoke away from themselves.

That’s all OK, you’d think. The great outdoors can absorb a cigarette or two, sure. But where does that smoke go, does it not dissipate and blend with the fresh air? It might, or it might not.
In my strata complex, my neigbours’ smoke does not evaporate in thin air. No, it gets sucked straight into my laundry room and also into the fresh air intake of my furnace, so when the heating kicks in, the smoke gets distributed throughout my home.

You see, I live in a high density complex of blocks of townhouse units, with their own entrances and porches and decks. Between each block of four units are corridors leading to the backside of the complex where the lawn, trees and cedar hedges are, and beyond the cedar hedges, a parking lot and the shopping centre.

Those corridors act as a funnel and wind tunnel for all air around the building, thus sucking the smoke right into the tunnel and it doesn’t matter which end you are on. That’s why they are called Breezeways. Between you and me, I think building those corridors, that it was a design flaw.

On the other end of the corridor and at the front of the block of units–street-side–the landscaping consists of a narrow strip of lawn with shrubs and trees, and then a sidewalk and the street, were the people walk their little doggies and let their darlings do their little doo-doo. Some of them even pick up after their companion pet.

You would think that walking the dog would be a good occasion to have a smoke and kill two birds with one stone, so to speak. No, not so! The smoker obviously hasn’t got the restraint anymore to wait for a few seconds more for walking a few paces first. Smokers preferably light their cigarette right outside their front door (and my door and the breezeway) so yes, I get to enjoy a “fag” as well, involuntarily. I am not even talking now about medicinal marijuana either, just tobacco. Could you imagine when “medicine” comes into the picture? I indeed have smelled pot inside my home already too, and I wasn’t smoking it!

It is clearly against the law to smoke in front of doors, open windows and fresh air intakes; the British Columbia Tobacco Act states a smoker has to be 3 meters away, but by golly, does anybody know what 3 meters are? Most Canadians are only metric when it suits us….
By the time smoke has penetrated my home, and I go outside looking for the culprit, the perpetrator is long gone. On stat holidays and on weekends, it is so bad that my clothes smell of smoke when I leave them in my laundry room; I have to wash them again. How annoying.

Last year’s Annual General Meeting of the strata complex saw a no-smoking Bylaw voted down. The proposal was to make the whole complex smoke free. New owners would then know this is a no smoking building and smokers would eventually be replaced by nonsmokers, over time. As an interim measure and a compromise to those still smoking, the option of smoking inside your own home was offered, as a way to grandfather the new Bylaw for the current smokers.
That was fair, at least the non-smokers thought. However, the smokers were not in agreement. Some even stomped out of the meeting prematurely, all in a tiff, obviously very angry. If you smoke and like it, why not smoke then in your home? It seemed reasonable enough to the non-smokers.

It is clear that smokers do not really want to smoke and consider it a filthy habit that they do not want to practice in their own home. Rightly so!
If quitting is no option, why not step away from the building and go for a walk in the street, if you don’t want to smoke inside your home? Dear smoker, if you want to shorten your own life, be my guest, but realize that I don’t want your smoke in my home either! You can’t have your cigarette and smoke it too…so to speak.

Does anyone out there have any bright ideas how to solve this dilemma? Anybody who would share strategies on how to pass a no smoking Bylaw?

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THE SILLIEST TV COMMERCIAL


The silliest commercial–The Laughing Cow/La Vache Qui Rit.

Don’t you hate those ads where animals talk and eat, or food is going to be eaten but is still talking, thinking and feeling, like those M&M ads, and are all happy about being eaten too…although the super-sized M&M talks back to the father who wants to eat them: “You get in’a bowl…” Unbelievable and weird. I wonder who comes up with those things.

The most idiotic TV commercial in my opinion is the one where the cows make cheese from their own breast milk, pack it in cute little triangles, and then happily eat it with the whole family. Who would do that–cows or people!?!

In no way is it feasible that even anybody would like to eat a product made out of breast milk. Who has heard of that? The idea is weird and quite repulsive, don’t you think?

Breast milk is food, granted, but it’s a natural food for babies only. You wouldn’t let anybody else drink it, if you were a mother, would you? That would be a deviant sexual thing, probably.

In the case of cow-mothers, the milk is meant for calves. If you think some more about it, you wouldn’t even want to drink cow’s milk.
That’s why the milk production is sanitized to the hilt in more than the visual presentation: through processing it hardly contains any of the goodness and fats that it naturally contains.
Milk is pasteurized and packed in cartons, so the milk is hidden from view, until it guzzles down your throat, or you pour it from the square box into your cereal bowl.

I guess the producers count on the fact that nobody associates milk with cows’ breast milk. When they watch the commercial I hope for the parent that their kids are still curious enough to start asking questions about this, as it might offer a wonderful opportunity to expand on the miracle of birth and why mothers have breasts, and milk….and maybe make many parents cringe, trying to avoid having to answer….

When we drink milk, dairy producers wouldn’t want us to see pictures in our head of cows being stabled, dropping some patties or other wetness in the process, and having their teats cleaned, before being hooked up to equipment. We don’t see the large amounts of the milk that the robots pump from their teats. We never see a cow feeding a calf naturally, not on TV and not in real life.

Sure, we have domesticated cows at mega-farms (somewhere else in the country) and their calves are never kept with their mothers. Their babies are separated, as soon as they are viable and can be fed without their cow mother. Yet, we don’t consider that cruel or unusual, and accept that without questioning.

In that light, I find it rather surprising that the producer of the Laughing Cow cheese triangles would want to point out that cows do possess motherly feelings, and want to feed their kids, pardon me, calves, and have milk.

Amazingly, our attention in the commercial is drawn to the fact that the cows’ children–the calves—and all the others around too, bulls included–eat the cheese made from the cow-mother’s milk. The only thing that is rather strange: that we do not get to know from the ad that the milk actually comes from the cow’s teats! I guess we’re just supposed to think the milk comes from somewhere else on the farm….

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SCHOOL REFUSED CHILD MEDICATION


SCHOOL REFUSED CHILD MEDICATION

Often, I get inspired by the news cast. Today the news was about a child who was not allowed to take the prescribed medication at school. This kind of news makes me see red. Who are those teachers anyway that they can decide on the life and illness of a student with special medical need, contrary to a physician’s recommendations?

That is almost as bad as an employer who, against a doctor’s recommendations and in spite of the proper form that says this employee is ill and is not able to work, expects employees to come to work anyway!
How cruel and unjustified of the school. What could be behind this insensitivity? Hold a minute! I heard in the next sentence that the medication of the student was physician prescribed marijuana.

Alright then. Maybe this student has cancer and no appetite, and because she is able to walk and talk well enough, and for reasons of not becoming socially isolated, she is allowed to be at school. So what about it?

Maybe the boy has anxiety disorder and just maybe the extra strong BC Bud knocks him out long enough that he is able to be his classroom, instead of running out, even of he does not get too much learning out of it. At least he is with his classmates. We would not want him to be socially ostracized and isolated now, in addition to being anxious, do we?

Another case might involve a girl with glaucoma, another good reason for taking medication that decreases the pressure in the eye and prevents worse, blindness.Traditional medications might not work for this child, because she is allergic.

You see that I am switching gender here, as I don’t want to appear prejudiced or gender-biased, god forbid.

The news flash got my imagination going, and my memory as well. It seemed like yesterday that I met with the vice-principal of my daughter’s high school to discuss the use of marijuana that she was taking for personal problems.

Yes, it was self-prescribed, minor detail, but who knows better than the person taking it whether it helps or not for what ails you? She was just ahead of her time; doctors did not prescribe it them.
Personal problems? Yes, you see, my marriage was falling apart at the time and my daughter was stuck between two warring parents. She had good reason for self medication. Not that she wasn’t as well a rebellious adolescent….

So, how did that discussion go, you wonder? Not very well. That is to say, not very well for me and not at all, as you would expect.

My position was that the school is no place for a student that is out of it, stoned out of her head, and that it would be doubtful that she would get much out of the materials offered, or could be serious, or objective and rational in class discussions. I felt sorry for the teacher as well. I would not be surprised if the VP would suspend her, at least for the day. That might make her think and would make her more careful, more sensible and more serious about graduation.

My daughter’s position was simply that she had not used any marijuana and that her mother was (still) out to lunch.

The VP’s position: he had no evidence for my assertions that less than an hour ago, she showed all the signs and smell of recently smoking up, probably with some friends, when I picked her up for lunch.
“What can I say, it is just your word against your daughter’s. It is not clear who is telling the truth and what is really going on. The consequences would be quite serious for your daughter, if I took your word for it. We treat our students fairly. We have a zero-policy for drug use at school. She is no trouble at school and I will give her the benefit of the doubt.”

The evidence:
Contrary to an hour earlier, when I picked her up for lunch, at that moment in the office of the VP, her eyes were clear and not bloodshot, she smelled nice and of perfume, not of the skunky smell that hung around her earlier. I was obviously an out-of-control mother, a real problem.

So how would that situation unfold if that were today?

“Say, Tina, why is your head on the desk? Are you asleep? Did you go to bed late last night?”

“No mister Clark, I have just taken my medication and need a few moments, I will be alright in a half our or so. How beautiful those birds sing, and what about that sunlight, it looks like gold, do you see that?”

“No, I don’t, but that’s alright. You take your time, you can join us when you are ready. Feel free to take a fruit bar from the bowl, if you get hungry. And my apologies, didn’t mean to put you on the spot. If it doesn’t get better, and you need to go home, just let me know, and the receptionist can call your mom to come and get you.”

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CORRUPTION


The news Jan 21 2015

RBC employee arrested for pulling off a large heist

Police officer caught dealing drugs

Child protection manager arrested for producing/distributing child pornography

Trader caught in enormous Ponzi scheme executed over 10 years

Unbelievable, what is going on? What is the process of corruption that led employees in responsible and public positions into doing the opposite of what their jobs are supposed to be? What is happening?
Were the people, initially hired because they had the right qualifications for their job, changed through experiences in their lives, or experiences on the job, became disgruntled and disappointed?
Or maybe did they get dissatisfied with their salaries and saw ways to subsidize their rather poor wages in an easy and undetectable manner, taking advantage of their position of trust?
Where they put under pressure by others to deliver and pay up, maybe a nasty divorce, or from greedy children, or possibly, their dealer, or other creditors?
Or where they from the start the same people that were just biding their time, until they could strike, with anti-social personality disorder from the start, who finally showed their true colours?

Then the case of the dental students comes to mind who posted misogynistic (woman hating) messages and photos on Facebook, slandering co-students, all people that are not even in their positions of trust yet and already losing sight of their responsibility before entering the work world. God help us; lucky for us that they already showed their true face. Were these students afraid for the competition they got from their co-students, or were they rebuffed in their attempts to bed the young women, taking revenge by their unfunny jibs and slandering? Or were they challenged into showing how “manly” they are, when faced with questions of their sexual preferences? Or maybe they were just drunk.

I would love to do some research in each of these examples that were all on one day within the news hour on TV today. I can’t remember the corruption being so blatant and frequent as reported today.

I sure hope that this day is NOT symptomatic for the year we are going to face.

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Pegi Morton Young


Pegi Morton Young

I heard in a belated catching up session with friends on last year’s significant events, that Neil Young has traded in his wife of 36 years (and partner in his band) for a younger model. I could not believe it and was shattered by this news. I don’t know why exactly, but part of it is that I had put Neil on a pedestal and thought Neil to be above this trendy and superficial, but apparently inherent benefit of rich and famous men.

I find it a shame that Neil was unable to stay grounded and loyal to his family and his wife of many years, although this seems to be a fate of many celebrities: they cannot handle the temptations. Only Love Can Break Your Heart. Neil made it come true for Pegi. I am with her and on her side, when sides need to be chosen.

I suspect (hope?) that he will be one of those men that when it is too late, when he is lonely and dissatisfied with life, old and cranky, he wished he would have never left his wife. Loyalty and commitment is hard to find these days…

On the other hand, maybe she threw him out, tired of all his escapes and narcissistic antics, after all these years under his controlling ways. Who knows? Just saying, that picture might be another reality. What do you think has happened here? I delved in and found some public facts known about Pegi on the Internet.

Initially, my company and I spent some time on determining that the names of the celebrities were correct and that we were all talking about the same people. You know, as we get older, retaining names in our memory gets less reliable, so we had to make sure.

The Internet had to be recruited for the final determination and yeah, there were the photos of Neil and the new woman, a mediocre actress with a light-weight (in my eyes) affinity with ecological matters including the seal hunt, an issue where the parties divide themselves in a simplified “pro seal” versus “pro Inuit”.

http://resources3.news.com.au/images/2014/09/12/1227055/965479-403d117a-39c3-11e4-9209-b8d69e4f035f.jpg

Pegi Morton Young just turned 62 in December. She is an American born singer and song writer, an educator and environmentalist, and a philanthropist. She has a step-son with Neil who was born with cerebral palsy. Zeke was the reason she and Neil have extensively fundraised over the years for the cause of physical disabilities, in particular for children with speech and severe, physical challenges, putting the supports in place for those who need it, as there were not any when Neil and Pegi were looking for support for their son.

Her son’s CP affected his ability to speak and he has severe physical challenges.  Together with Neil, she has two other biological children, Amber and Ben. She entered the world of music publically, when she was one of the back-up singers in the Academy Awards event in 1994 for the song Philadelphia that Neil had written for the movie.

Pegi and Neil were married for 36 years and a lot of Neil’s love songs were inspired by Pegi. They met when she was waitressing in a cafe in his home town; that must have been in the early seventies; they married in 1978. (Song: Unknown Legend, 1992). Since the 1990s, Pegi performed with Neil on stage in the band. That’s how I saw them in concert together a few years ago, in Kelowna. The couple impressed me then with their performances, as well as that of the rest of the band: a tight group, completely professional and supportive of each other, to bring the best life concert to the audience, even in this relatively small venue in a small city.  The whole event was run like a well-rehearsed show. Two other facts were obvious: Neil is one of the ugliest looking front men on a stage, at least in my mind, and that he is completely in control of the band, as the ultimate conductor. According to Rolling Stone, Pegi last performed with Neil and his band in October 2013.  Neil filed for divorce in July 2014, according to the Internet source, Wikipedia.

Pegi is more than a pretty face and she has an impressive career on her own accord. In 1986, Pegi had initiated a special school program, The Bridge, for children with severe speech and physical challenges. She has ever since fundraised for the program that expanded and became a well-respected international program. Together with Neil, she organized an annual Benefit concert for The Bridge program in Mountain View, California, in which many other celebrity musicians participated.

She served on the executive board of The Bridge, as well of on boards of other institutions for the development of better programs and supports, especially through the arts, to serve people with severe challenges.

Pegi also is an environmentalist and has fundraised for Farm Aid, together with her ex, and joined the board of Directors of The Rainbow Connection in 2013, concerned with deforestation of the Rain Forrest.

Pegi has her own musical career with her band, The Survivors, and has recorded since 2007 three albums at her home studio at The Broken Arrow Ranch in California, where she lived together with Neil before their break-up. (I have no idea if she or Neil got the ranch in the divorce proceedings or whether there is a settlement). She also tours with her band and by year’s end had completed a tour in North America. She was on the performers’ list for the Farm Aid concert in Raleigh, scheduled for September13 2014, but was removed from the list.

I hope that Neil and Pegi can be level-headed in the future for the benefit of the children and themselves, and allow each other an afterlife post-divorce.

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THE PAGAN HOLIDAY


THE PAGAN HOLIDAY

Anything can be taken as an offensive jibe, depending on one’s state of mind. I wondered why the so-called season of cheer and peace is so fraught with angst and the indignant expressions of righteousness for so many people. Is it that they feel inadequate because they lack the financial means to celebrate? It is because the criticize others for not doing the traditions the “right way”, thereby leaving one’s own customs as well open for comparison?
I am sure there are many reasons for unhappiness, even as we shop ourselves to death, possibly for some literally who “shop till you drop” ending up ill, or depressed in the December month. To tell you the truth about how I feel: forever getting more resentful about this basically religious holiday becoming a tyrant and leaving no space for others, who do not want to celebrate it.

The thing I want to keep in mind is that the instigation for any holidays in December in the northern hemisphere is the biological need to start something bright and light in this time of the year. When the days are shortest in the annual cycle, the weather contributes to people feeling sad and cold. This has been going on along as people have inhabited the earth.

I am no historian and the exact time we have experienced and survived through a winter escapes me, especially what that means. The earth began well over 4 billion years ago, scientists have estimated according to the BBC’s website History of Earth. People only evolved a mere 200.000 years ago from a single cell organism over time into our ancestors, the great apes, and from them to human form as Homo Sapiens. Then to know that we humans existed for only a fraction of the time that the earth has existed, is mind boggling. We would do wise to see the big picture and place ourselves a notch down in the hierarchy of the universe.

Now so far our history is clear, where science and evolution are concerned. For some reason we humans have developed powers to think. Funny thing is that Humans always have used this to make fairy tales and create constructions of a higher power, religion, so to speak, developing an irrational side, while we made great strides in science.
We struggled to survive as people, and needed to find meaning in suffering. Here is where Homo sapiens has created religion: as a means to feel safer and find meaning in suffering, and to explain unusual events and planetary processes that cannot be explained with the current information we had at the time.

Modern Christmas…..

The darkness and the shortening daylight of December days were a scary event for humans and our biology reacted, and still does. The hormonal housekeeping reacts and we suffer in various forms under low light conditions. For example, darker skinned peoples have protection from burning in the sun in tropical regions, but when living in the north they need extra vitamins, as the sun doesn’t trigger production of vitamins when skin is not exposed to the sun. Pale-skinned people also need sunshine and get depressed, but get a few rays extra that are not filtered out so much by their white skin. Nowadays we try to evade those feelings of SAD-ness (Seasonal Affective Disorder) by spending time down south on a vacation in warmer and brighter nations, where our hormonal clock gets a reset.

However, the people that live in those warmer (sub) tropical climes also experience a relative decrease in light, as the sun moves away from the equator towards the southern hemisphere. The nights become longer and darkness sets in earlier for them too. Those who live in Australia in the southern hemisphere, have the opposite happening, where they have their summer now. Unfortunately, it’s is hardly doable for Joe Blow or Joanna Blow to move every six months to countries with the unabated sun, although lots of rich people and snow birds just do exactly that and go where the light is longest in a day.

So, make no mistake: at our core, we are all pagans, as we seek light and distractions from the darkness and cold. We incorporated religious myths and stories in our lives and these are as diverse as peoples are. From the Aztec and Celtic feast of chasing away the bad spirits by creating big fires and ceremonies, much ritual dancing and inebriation, to easier reach the good spirits — all is meant to feel better.
The feast of Saint Nicholas in the Netherlands, the day of the Virgin de Guadalupe, in Mexico, the processions with lights and singing, gift giving, as well as the midnight Christmas Eve mass that is celebrated all over the world, all parties of some kind. The Yule celebration, feast of light, and the winter solstice celebrated by Zoroastrians and Scandinavians, Wicca: same thing, it’s all about the party!
The need for comfort and closeness, and spiritual practice, is an attempt to try to control what is uncontrollable, and led to the myths of Christmas, Chanukah, feast of Eid, and Bodhi Day, and of other religions, such as modern Africa’s Kwanzaa believers, what have you.

Dia de Virgen de Guadalupe

And yes, you Christians, no need to become so defensive in refusing to wish others Happy Holidays as a way to be more inclusive in Canada, where other religions also thrive, but have not made it yet to official statutory vacation day. Don’t be so afraid; there’s no direct danger on the horizon that your religion will be wiped out any time soon, as the richest countries in the world adhere to that religion. North America is one solid, religiously Christian block.

The pope touches the Virgin’s image at the Vatican’s cathedral. The original is in Mexico City.

No reason to be fearful of Muslims taking over the Christmas “shopping” holiday, as that religion is overwhelmingly adhered to in developing countries in Africa, the Middle East and Asia that do not have the shopping power of North American and European industrialized nations. Their winter events changes its day each year with their calendar that is different from the Georgian calendar, and is not adhered to by all branches of the religion. The major Muslim celebration is Ramadan that was in June in 2014, which is a time of fasting all day for 30 days. Families get together after sundown to finally eat that day. This practice is meant to get closer to spiritual values, and to remind the believer of the fate of poor people who do not eat each day. Eid al Fitr is the celebration to end the Ramadan and is the most significant event in the Muslim religion all over the world, but does not take place in winter. The Muslim religion is the second largest (and still growing) religious belief system in the world, with 1.2 billion believers. In 2015, December 28 will be the Sunni day for Mawlid-an-Nabi and Dec 28 for the Shia Muslims. Some also celebrate other significant days in their religious calendar in December. Their holiday of light is still largely a religious family holiday, just like Christmas used to be, when I was growing up.

Chanukah is the only real competition for Christmas from Dec.16 to Dec 24, 2014 and its feast of light means eating and gift giving, to remind the Jewish people, when they were one of the native peoples in the Palestinian region, how they won in a battle 162 BCE against the Syrians, back in the days before it became a British protectorate. They believe that a spiritual miracle happened when a tiny bit of consecrated oil sustained an oil lamp in the Temple throughout the battle. In general, the survival of the Jewish diaspora is celebrated as well on that day.

The Sikh, Hindu, and Buddhist Eastern religions of course have their celebrations as well. The Bodhi day is the most significant one for the Buddhists, celebrating the origin of the religion, that the Buddha (Lord Siddhartha) reached enlightenment when – a mere mortal and son of the reigning king – he was sitting under a tree, trying to find the meaning of his life, as he meditated himself into enlightenment.

Diwali – Huffington Post

From the Huffington post: Diwali is one of the biggest festivals in the Hindu calendar and there are multiple reasons why Hindus celebrate this festival. The most popular narrative, based in the ancient Sanskrit epic the Ramayana, is of Lord Rama, his wife Sita and brother Lakshmana returning to their kingdom Ayodhya after defeating the demon king Ravana. On that dark new moon night, the residents of Ayodhya joyfully lit oil lamps to welcome Rama, Sita and Lakshmana back to the kingdom. It is celebrated by Hindus, Jains and Sikhs. This was celebrated this year on October 23.

Diwali

My message for December is: enjoy in enlightenment of the pagan rituals of the ages.

Posted in Diversity issues, Global immigration, latest news items, Mexican life, Music, religion, righteousness, travel, Uncategorized, world issues | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Love, Marriage, and Other Bad Stuff


BABYBOOMER johanna van zanten:

An astute observation from another blogger that I am re-posting from Lifeintheboomerlane…..

Originally posted on Life in the Boomer Lane:

lawyer-ad-life-is-short-get-a-divorce-van-ad

Since 1990, the divorce rate for Americans over the age of 50 has doubled, and more-than-doubled for those over the age of 65.  Over half of all grey divorces are to people in their first marriages, who have been married at least twenty years.  This can either be interpreted as an attempt to avoid costly, and completely unnecessary,  50th wedding anniversary parties, or it can be something else.

Part of the rise in grey divorce is due to there being so many darn boomers.  They are everywhere.  It’s impossible to go through one’s day without seeing at least on of them out in public.  And those infomercials that sell music from the 60’s and 70’s are mind-numbing.  Just thinking about all those people calling in to order Sly and the Family Stone CDs is enough to give one the willies. But the bottom line is, more boomers means more of…

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A SCAMMER, OR THE FUTURE LOVE OF YOUR LIFE?


A SCAMMER, OR THE FUTURE LOVE OF YOUR LIFE?

I seem to be walking around on the internet with a target on my forehead: “Scammer, pick me for your scam”. It is rather entertaining to get so much attention, and flattering too, in some ways. In other ways it annoys me to no end, enough to write about it, hoping the scoundrels read this too and will bother me no more.
After having spent quite a bit of time responding, I find the confirmation that yes, here is another scammer trying to find a bread and butter deal, or maybe just out to steal my identity. I am this close to not date on Internet sites at all.

For those ladies, who are still believing in such silly, teenage things as: love on first sight; soul mates; finding the love of your life; till death do us part; and romantic, self-sacrificing love, I would respond: in what century are you living? This is the age and decade of hunting for deals, did you not know that? Internet deals come in all form and shapes, women included, and you can even see their photo before ever meeting her in that market.

I can understand it, as it there’s no bottom to the numbers of single women looking for a mate, and why not try one’s luck? If these ladies can be on the Internet, they must have some money. If you look at their Facebook photos and see them, indeed, they have a great life, willing to share generously with someone else, anyone! If they are in Canada or another rich, developed nation, they might not catch on quickly, and be a willing victim. Yes, I get it.

Are you poor, or lazy, or better even: poor and lazy, and do you know how to use the phrases that some women crave, such as: You are beautiful; I know it must be you for me; I want to go to the end of the word for you, and such things, yes? Please, do NOT write me and tell your sweet seduction, do it to someone else, or better, not at all, to nobody. Unless you mean it and say it to your girlfriend who still believes you.

My second last lover boy was a spinner of tales, and quite inventive, with a great penchant for drama. He was a geologist, specialized in sale of minerals, he said, and he lived in Montreal for the last two years, of all places, but was raised in England and still had an office in London, UK. He cited a list of all his credentials, high school, colleges, and his university degree from there. I vetted it all on the net, each institution, and found them all. His mother had died in childbirth. His dad remarried, and he was mean, so his step-mom was nice. She left his father, when he was eight and took him with her. I will call him Paul. His step mom has ever since, lived with him. He was married long time ago, no children; they divorced, as he was always gone to exotic places for his mineral jobs that never were about oil, always hard minerals, like diamonds. He had worked for The Beers, the big diamond company. Funny thing, though, if he trades in diamond, he would be a member of the London Diamond Exchange, and he was not—I checked. He was now slowing down and thinking of finding a woman to love for the rest of his life. My photo had set him on that path. In short, this person (I hesitate to say “guy”, as the language used of sweet nothings and of spinning beguiling scenery and wishful thinking of the future, could only have been written by a woman), pursued me for two months with almost daily emails, in spite of my cool and rational responses. Maybe that turned him/her on, who knows.

I had a strong feeling that he was not the person who he said he was, but I played along. I had already reported him/her to the dating site as a scammer: within one message he proposed to go off line and use regular email: a sign of SCAMMER.
He also asked me not to share our conversations with anybody, as others tend to become jealous and destroy other’s happiness! A flag for a SCAMMER. Nothing added up. For one, the phone number never worked, just took messages, never let on whose number it was. S/He would not call me, or Skype, was always in transit and had no time for calls.

Once in the middle of the 2 months, he was silent for a week, but “came back” magically when I also stayed silent. His step-mom had died, he said, and he had to transport her body to Southampton, where she was originally from, to bury her there. That time, I finally got another photo out of him of her, a frail, very white lady, together with him, a Caucasian older man, who could be the same man as the photo he displayed on the dating site. Before her death, he had already made an offer on a home in my town, a big home with a view and a pool. Unfortunately, the purchase could not proceed under the circumstances; he was not making the move to my home town.
At that moment, I was expecting a plea for a substantial sum of money for some reasonable reason, such as due to a bank problem (because of being in transit), he had a need for a loan, but it never came. He kept writing and I suggested that there is no sense in continuing a conversation, now that he would not move. He said he would still travel back to Canada. I suggested to see some proof of that he was even going to Canada. To my surprise he sent me an electronic copy of a ticket London UK- Montreal for a week later. That set me thinking, could he book a flight, and then cancel, and still get his money back, or not pay at all? I suspect a good SCAMMER could indeed.

Paul also traveled for a distraction from his step mom’s death to Dubai for a mineral sale, letting me know how luxurious the hotel was and how beautiful the scenery, and how he wished that one day we could do this together, or something outrageously romantic for somebody you have never seen or spoken with — a delusion.

I kept all the emails for some reason; his/her language was good, sometimes with odd turns of a phrase, and mostly ignoring completely what I wrote back. Eventually, I got tired of the charade. I confronted him in a jolly way, asking him whether he wanted to meet my daughter. Since we are such good friends already, he surely would want to meet her, who happened to live in Montreal where he supposedly was, currently.
That was the end. He/she sent me a terse email that he wished me luck, but we were not meant for each other. Then, out of the blue, another terse email, another 2 months later: “This is proof that I was sincere. Too bad others must destroy someone’s happiness; see where I am now and enjoy the photos.” I clicked on the link, but nothing came up, but the Google mail website! When I tried to sign in to my account, I had forgotten the password….

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