Friday, December 26, 2014

Help- The Herald Angels "Sing"...

My particular little corner of Purgatory has been enhanced this year; resulting in even less brain function available for positive uses.

Smidgen- now to my horror 9 years old - has become an enthusiastic singer.  This is much my doing, since I have worked for multiple years to teach her "how".  She was not a "natural".  That doesn't bother me; many "non-natural" singers can and do learn, and sing beautifully.

I, unfortunately was a natural.  One of those sometimes despised individuals who learn new long melodies almost instantly; and correctly.  And my sense of pitch, inherited from my mother; was such that our very meticulous high school band director - would have the oboe give the A to tune the band- and use my ear to indicate flat/sharp - for the entire band.  Thank god I never thought that was anything to be snooty about; I'd have been killed quickly.  Just physics and dumb genetic chance.

Smidgen, to my very great joy as a parent, has reached the point where she enjoys her music.  And she loves learning new songs.  She now sings- constantly.  And only semi-conciously; yesterday was "Silent Night".  All day.  Erupting repeatedly in inattentive moments; being suppressed, then re-erupting.  Even the periodic "Look, kid!  Go outside and sing to the dogs and cats for the next half hour, ok?", once performed; does not result in any decrease in the internal pressures driving the eruptions.

Many of you know what comes next; there are multiple aspects of "music" that she has not mastered- or even noticed, yet.  Her internal sense of relative pitch is ok; but what ever key you are singing in, when she joins in she will bring her own key with her.  She'll stay in a key, once found; but her sense of melody is unique, in my experience.  She learns melodies ( like phrases and variations in Silent Night) - not sequentially, but by gestalt.  She knows, truly, the entire gestalt of the entire Silent Night.  When she sings; she reproduces the gestalt accurately - and completely at random.

The outcome for the onlooker is jarring.  It works ok if she's singing the same song (in the same key this time) with 2-3 other people, then you're likely at the end to hear "My, Smidgen; you sing harmony beautifully!  However did you learn?" which will result in a baffled, and growling, Smidgen.

Oh, the sanity!

Happy Everything; Anyway.

:-)

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Ah, the news.


Wanna talk about the news?   You're crazy.  Ick.  Wow.  I don't think I'm imagining it- my impression is that the news, in particular the "Big News" has gotten just astonishingly horrifyingly worse in the past few months.  Not one thing after another; but 10 things, after another, all life-threatening for the planet and/or our species, and/or any remaining shreds of what we used to call "civilization".

So; I want to share this with you; I'd encourage you to go to YouTube, see it full screen, and maybe turn your screen brightness up a bit, as this clip is a little dim (it's supposed to be dusk in the movie, for one thing.)  I've sworn that one day - I'm going to DO this.  On a crowded street.  The time is ripe.



I think- it would be good to start a movement of THOUSANDS of people DOING this - around the world.  The world is revolting yes?  This would fit right in.

And it is by far the most cogent comment on the world and news I know of.  And Steve Martin had it nailed in 1987.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Ebola- keep your fingers crossed.

Thank goodness- the worst did not happen in the USA.  Or a lot of other places.

But as this sound and really pretty hopeful article keeps repeating- now is not the time to relax.  Rather it's the time try to get ahead of the virus.

Ebola cases are currently stabilizing in Guinea and Liberia; but accelerating (after a drop) in Sierra Leone.  "The exact causes of the lull are unclear." The perpetual frustration of epidemiologists; pathogens can surge, and recede- without any obvious reasons.  In this case one factor may be burial customs- the people in the epidemic areas have actually changed the practices, because of education on the risks.  People apparently can be taught.  That's hopeful, all on its own.

The long range risks are still there, alas.  With thousands still sick, and thousands of survivors sent home but possibly still infectious via semen or breast milk, the virus still has the largest chance it has ever had to get out of Africa- and into India; China; Europe...

So; fingers crossed.  Yes, we could actually get lucky.  But- I'd rather not rely on luck, when a virus is involved.


Saturday, November 1, 2014

Listen to the Silence, too.


As part of our "how to understand the world" theme here; I'll point out that what the media is not saying is very often as significant as what they are.

I've been searching the web since last night; and cannot find any official news about the state of Dr. Craig Spencer, being treated for Ebola at Bellevue Hospital in NYC, that is more recent than 2 days ago.  And only one other blogger who has also noticed.  Not a peep from CNN or anyone else.

That's scaring me a bit.  The entire world seems to be assuming that of course, he'll recover; since he's being treated in the USA, etc, etc.  He did receive a blood transfusion from an Ebola survivor; several days back; and that was about the end of the updates; that he was "tolerating" the transfusion well.

This is a young man who deserves to get well, and to be appreciated for his warm humanity.  If he made any mistakes, it was the grave sin of believing what he was told by his superiors.  "This is safe." they said.

I fear the social consequences too; if he does not recover- dies- the impact on our fear and chaos levels will be very large; and very little of that would be beneficial.

Listen for when the crickets quit.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Yes! No! Maybe....Not!


So; who to believe?  About which?

I think I wouldn't worry about it, since between Governors declaring public health emergency quarantines, but not enforcing them, and nurses deciding to ignore Governors, and judges deciding their job is to judge science, not law....  you're not getting any of the choices in here, anyhow.

Crazy, yes?  This is some of the damage caused by fear-panic in plagues.
Current results; the State Troopers in Maine are no longer sure if they should obey the Governor's orders; or wait for court clarification.  Citizens - have no idea who to listen to.

There is a saying in all the armies I can check on; so old it defies attribution; "Order, counter-order, disorder."  Chaos is just around the corner; when people do not know who to follow or who to trust.

The business world has a similar Law: "Even a bad decision is better than no decision."  A little more subtle, but proven true repeatedly.  Make a bad decision?  You may find that out quickly, and change direction.  No decision?  The Universe will decide for you, and you probably won't like it.

So who's in charge here?

Yep, I don't know either.



Sunday, October 26, 2014

School Shootings. (so you can avoid this if you wish.)


Old-timers here know my opinion.  Which has just been clearly demonstrated, again.

This young man, almost certainly, would never have chosen this method of suicide, if it hadn't been pounded into him repeatedly that this is a great way to die.

I will not belabor it; I already have here.  The reason for bringing it up at all is that the present instance is a change; a metastasis of the disease.

This is blindingly obvious to me; and I truthfully am unable to comprehend how it is NOT obvious to everyone.

These events are suicides; every one of them.

A certain type of potential suicide will choose this path- not because it hurts people; but because it makes the shooter an instant world-wide celebrity.  Next week, everyone will still be discussing how your potty-training made you a killer, your face will be everywhere; they'll write books about you, and every time a similar suicide happens, they'll run all your stories again, with photographs.  Immortality, really.  By god, the world will never forget what a shitty deal you got.

We don't publish names and photos of rape victims; and no one suffers because of that horrifying restriction on our "right to know!"  The fact is, the papers love these events now- because they make SO much money off them.  Someone needs to document the money; imagine the headline then: "Numbers reveal CNN makes $130 Million for every school shooting."  They do, you know.

This young man experienced something traumatic last week; probably with his cousins, and it was difficult to live with.  In normal times, he might have hanged himself, alone.  That would be horrible, and should be prevented if possible.

But it would not even have occurred to him to shoot his cousins also- except that at his age, they've been having "shooter lock-down" events at school since he was in kindergarten.  Obviously, this is what's expected.

Never publish the names.  Never publish the photos.  Never discuss their "reasons" (which baffle the authorities always).  If the shooters are "erased"; there will be no shooters.

Can anyone explain why (besides the money) this is not obvious?

Because I literally don't get it.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Ebola 12. The Mali Border.

I saw this photo first yesterday, on BBC.  It has been haunting me; literally; ever since.  I've been on and off about whether to share it here; it seems to have mostly vanished from the media feeds; I would guess because it is too disturbing; thought provoking, bottom of the pit sad, and frightening.


The file I uploaded is high enough resolution for full screen; get it big enough so you can really see it.

My narrative:  This beautiful woman has dressed up, neat and lovely in her good clothes; for a day in town.  A treat, pretty certainly.  She has put worries aside, for just a little while.

Then she is abruptly confronted.  Required to stand still and be monitored.

To see if she is going to be the next to die.



She knows she needs to stand, for the good of all.  She stands.  She wishes she could run away from the muzzle of the thermometer; which feels like a gun; though she knows perfectly well it isn't.

She can't run; there isn't anywhere to run.  She has already seen death, or knows it is coming closer every day; and there is nothing to do; but stand.  And wait.


I find the panic in our press and among our officials offensive beyond belief.  These people on the Mali border are not panicked.  They're doing all they can to cope; and live, while they can.

With nothing but words from the rest of the world, to help them.  She knows.

I have a lot of contempt boiling inside these days, too.

She haunts me.