PBS : CRAFT IN AMERICA // and in MEXICO

A Puerto Rican sculptor is one of many featured artists.

The word craft has many layers of cultural meaning.  If you want to enjoy the high end of the spectrum — if you long for inspiration and uplift — I invite you to consider this series, CRAFT in AMERICA.  It’s available on Amazon Prime, Apple TV, and from many Public Broadcasting Stations.  (The link is to a 2-minute preview at PBS.  Amazon previews are not found by me, and viewing PBS here in Mexico can be tricky, involving use of a VPN – a virtual private network.)  

NOTE: The season/episode numbers are a jumble, being dissimilar  between PBS and other streamers.  For example: at PBS, the item above is Season 11, Episode 2;  but at Amazon the same episode is Season 9, Episode 2.  Season 7, Episode 1 is titled Neighbors at Amazon, and features craft artists from Mexico; but PBS says that particular production is Season 9 Episode 2, so there appears to be no correlation between platforms and numbering.

To find the Identity episode at Amazon, go to Prime Video. Search for Craft in America: Identity.  Individual episodes are $1.99 usd.  Subscriptions are $2.99/month.  Start the new year inspired!

 

PUT the HAND to the PLOW and HOLD ON

photo by MeridaGOround

Awakening. Woke. Consciousness. Awareness. Mindfulness . . . all these terms are buzzing in the HiveMind these days.  A friend shared an essay with me recently which is worth circulating.  It reminded me of a tune from  my iTunes library which I will now attempt to embed , by Mahalia Jackson, titled,  Put the hand to the plow . . . . > nope, Apple won’t let me, but youtube will.  SKIP AD.

More importantly, here’s the essay.  Blessings, for now.

THE LIGHT RETURNS

Copyrighted photo by Matt Molloy, 500 px; fair use claimed by MeridaGOround

This Saturday is winter solstice.  Our star, Sol, The Sun, will appear ever-so-subtly to begin its annual northerly march, delivering longer days and more light and warmth to our hemisphere, and to our lives. The ancient Mayans were astute observers of this phenomenon, ably predicting the event with amazing mathematical accuracy, long before the invention of the telescope brought the heavens visually closer for Europeans to argue that Earth was not the center of the universe.  (“The church” fought this science, spilling blood in its futile resistance to truth – but that’s another story.)  

Let’s think about light as metaphor, setting aside superstitions about a flat Earth at the center of a dying fallen world, and welcome the returning light of learning which ever increases our understanding of our place in creation, if we would grow wiser.  Reading between the lines of scripture can be instructive in this exercise, for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life (see v.6).  A flexible approach to reading tends to enlighten.  (In a hurricane the rigid pine tree snaps, while the graceful palm bends and survives and grows more fruitful.)  Yes, rigid literalism is a major problem in discerning truth.

Yesterday I was looking at various translators’ renderings of a popular  Christmas verse: Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel (Isa 7:14).  Some scholars and Bible students have long favored literalism, insisting that Mary, mother of Jesus of Nazareth, was a virgin — but this word can simply mean a young woman.  This rendering can generate more heat than light!  One scholar, an expert on ancient Bible languages, also a brilliant storyteller, has written a very credible novel titled Rabbi Jesus, arguing that Jesus was viewed in his hometown as born out of wedlock — which I’ve commented on, here.

Such a story might offend many believers, just as evidence that Earth was not central outraged many churchmen in Galileo’s day.  Rather than personally taking a position on something as unprovable as a young girl’s virginity 2000 years ago, I found myself looking for the blessing in this more flexible prophesy.  IF, as Professor Chilton argues, Jesus was born out of wedlock, how might that impact us?  Doesn’t that make him more human?  Could this be “a sign” that God cares deeply about all children?  

The rendering which really grabbed my attention on this is from the Good News translation, which differs significantly from the New International Version (you can compare by using the pull-down menu: GNT, or NIV) by pointing out that the Lord’s sign would arrive through a young woman who was already pregnant.  And, hey, although she didn’t name her child Jesus, but Immanuel (which means God with us) — her kid came to deliver a peace regarding God’s presence which Jesus clearly demonstrated later in life.  He told us we are children of light. We can enter into that peace today.  “The government is upon his shoulders”— a verse sung so powerfully in Handel’s Messiah: Unto us a child is born.  (skip ad to listen)   

Blessings to all readers.

Post Script :   Nowhere in the gospels is the date of Jesus’s birth specified. The first time it’s pinned down to 25 December, or at least to the “Eighth day before the Kalends of January” is the year AD354, in the Roman calendar of Philocalus. The date seems to have been chosen to replace the prior festival, decreed by Aurelian, of the unconquered sun – Sol Invictus. ¶  As a midwinter festival of the sun, the date makes celestial sense. It falls just after the solstice, when the days are perceptibly lengthening.  source.

¿¿ WARREN SANDERS FOR PREZ ??

Robert Reich has produced a punchy video on “electability” to counter propaganda coming from Wall Street, favoring centrists.  He makes some compelling arguments in this six minute clip.  But by failing to endorse either of the two (Warren, or Sanders) he leaves the problem raw, which will cause failure for either of his faves, resulting in his (and my) worst fear: nominating a boring centrist who can’t win. (I addressed this problem boldly, earlier.)

For Dem primary voters who are nervous about charges of “socialism” you might find this history of that issue in USA of interest.  Hey, socialism is who we are as a species, along with ants and bees.  But communism is another critter, and Trump seems to love his commie buddies, Putin and the gang in Russia.  Go figure, America!

 

TEACHING A TURKEY TO CROW

by Rob Rogers, copyright Andrews McMeel Syndicate, 2019 (fair use)

 

by Mike Lukovich, copyright 2019, atc.com, (fair use)

 

by Adam Zyglis, The Buffalo News, ©2019,  (fair use)

These cartoons remind me of a favorite childrens book: The Emperor’s New Clothes.

by JD Crowe, Alabama Media Group, (fair use)

¿ TENNIS ANYONE ? — DEATH TO MOSQUITOES !

Mosquito Bat — "Mata Moscos"

Mosquito racquet — “raqueta para matar mosquitos”

This blog entry is an update to one in which I awarded a Nobel Prize in Consumer Electronics to an amazing device   (Of course there’s no such category — but what fun !)   Well, the earlier design has been cheapened in a pricing race-to-the-bottom — the result being shoddy quality-control, and premature failure: I can’t find the brand depicted in the earlier entry, but junky competitors abound.   So I was delighted when I found a new version at a new store  :  MINISO, a Japanese retailer with seven outlets in Merida, including  City Center, Centro, and Harbor.  (We’ve visited two, and the mere experience of reviewing their wares is engaging, as the variety of unusual items is intriguing.)

The purchase confirms my suspicion that this is a superior design, including a lithium ion battery.  One feature I really appreciate — the handle displays the charge as a sliding indicator, zero to full, so you are not swinging with a depleted battery.   Take back your home space!  $199 pesos.

JOE BIDEN : : SLEEP WALKER

 

Click here to watch Joe snooze.   short video  / no ads

Dear Democratic National Committee :  I promise to stay home on election day if you nominate Sleepy Joe Biden, a slam-dunk loser, an instant replay of Hillary 2016.  Please wake up!

From TheAtlantic [emphasis added by me] :  This spring, Joe Biden, who entered the 2020 presidential campaign selling himself as the Democrats’ Trump-slayer, gave a speech in which he discussed the event that, nearly 30 years later, remains an open wound for many: Anita Hill’s testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee alleging that Clarence Thomas had sexually harassed her. “She was abused through the hearing,” Biden acknowledged. “She was taken advantage of. Her reputation was attacked.” He paused. “I wish I could have done something.”

Biden failed to mention that he had been the chair of the Judiciary Committee during the hearing—that, in fact, the person in the best position to have done something to help Hill had been Joe Biden. But the kind of slippery nonapology he offered—at an event called the Biden Courage Awards—was standard rhetoric for Biden, so common that the Hill family had turned it into a joke. Whenever the doorbell rang unexpectedly, Hill said last year, someone in the house might shout, “Oh, is that Joe Biden coming to apologize?”

§

For a hard-hitting, but deeply-caring look at our governance problems, I invite you to read “The Enemy Within” – an  essay from Truthdig by (NYT) Pulitzer winner, Chris Hedges, cautioning against more of the same from both parties.

THE INTERNAL GOD : A Book Mention

BEWARE YE WHO ENTER HERE.  I may be a heretic.  (The original Greek sense of this word implies one who is free to choose.)  But the evolved  meaning is one who holds an opinion at odds with what is generally accepted.  Thus, Jesus of Nazareth was a heretic who was guilty of choosing freely to oppose the mainstream religious practices at the Jerusalem Temple ;  and of loving too much, getting himself crucified by those with whom he differed about how to worship — those who thought they owned the practice of worshipping “correctly.”  

I hope I model myself after such contrarians as Moses, Socrates, Buddha, Jesus.  But I may be very wide of the mark.  It’s above my paygrade to know ; and above ours to judge.  “Judge not, lest ye be judged” said Jesus. Yet so much of religion is based on the silly question of who’s in and who’s out? Who knows?  Certainly not me.  If you think you know, beware, for there are those who feel sent to kill the heretic.  You might be drawn in to joining a murderous crowd. 

Ok, about the title of my essay, The Internal God.  The more common expression is eternal, forever-lasting.  But most of our observations tell us that almost nothing is eternal — as even the Sun will eventually run out of energy, explode, or vanish into a black hole, whatever that is.  Ah, but ideas can be both internal and eternal. — Just imagine going to the tool crib for a seven and being told they are all presently being used by other borrowers – sorry, wait your turn.  “Seven” is eternally available to everyone.  Your ability to grasp the concept of number, or beauty, or justice, entitles you to use it.  But be careful — powerful tools often cut in two directions.  For example, those who want justice when they’ve been wronged also want forgiveness when they have transgressed.  

So where is this internal God?  Let’s be clear — I am not God!  But perhaps consciousness, the awareness of the presence of an ideal — the I AM — is God in us.  This is an elusive concept.  It can’t be possessed. But it can be beheld. Jesus said the kingdom of God is within you (Luke 17:20,21 see various renderings via pulldown menu).  ¿ So, can you see God in me? (Probably not, if I choose not to see God in you!)  Yep, words are slippery, and it’s our task to squeeze’em to get all the juice.  

There’s a new book which speaks to such a broadened approach, titled THAT ALL SHALL BE SAVED: Heaven, Hell, and Universal Salvation.  It is likely to draw fire from those who prefer “that old time religion” which crucified Jesus and his fellow heretics.  An excerpt can be read here.

 

DEAR SENATOR SANDERS, I supported you…

foto: milleniumreport.com

Dear Senator Sanders:

DO THE RIGHT THING, BY ENDORSING ELIZABETH WARREN.

       RUN THE REPLAY, BERN !!!

Have you forgotten, Bernie?  Just prior to the Democratic convention in summer 2016, WikiLeaks handed you the smoking gun : nearly 20,000 emails hacked from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) proving that there had been wholesale cheating to rig the nomination, “coronating” Hillary, even before the initial kick-off.  Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz was “replaced” — translation :  thrown under the bus to protect the bus owner’s enterprise.

So, you could have stood up at the convention and demanded from the podium that Hillary stand down, for cheating.  Instead you choked.  You apparently worried you would become “the goat” if you lost to Trump.  You blew it.  No do-over, sorry.  (You know this, Senator.)

YOUR WORDS ,  BERN, at the convention — “By these measures, any objective observer will conclude that – based on her ideas and her leadership – Hillary Clinton must become the next president of the United States. The choice is not even close.”  You endorsed a cheater, and she lost. You coulda beat him, populist versus  populist, Bern, but you choked.

Bernie, you didn’t have the courage to own the possibility of a loss to Trump.  And now, you are about to repeat the same mistake by spliting the vote, thereby handing the nomination to Joe Biden.  It’s time to do the right thing.  If you don’t stand aside, Sleepy Joe Biden, the man who gave us Clarence Thomas, will be the instant replay of Hillary’s loss — Obama’s Secretary of State, and next, Obama’s Veep?  Don’t even go there, man!

Get real, Senator.  By dividing the nominating pie with Elizabeth Warren, you are giving the nod to Biden, a Wall Street pushover, a corporate puppet. History will not smile on you.  (And if DNC runs Biden, I will stay home, since merely defeating Trump is not an adequate goal.)  Instead, we need real leadership from someone with courage and heart and vision, someone who has surrounded herself with the sharpest mind’s in the nation.  Biden is over the hill.  Trump will dine on his bones.  Nostalgia for Obama’s days will not Make America Great Again.

But Trump will have a much harder time bullying a woman, especially someone as quick on her feet as Senator Warren.  Voters will pummel him for bullying her — someone he’s actually afraid of — as are the banksters she has intimidated.  But Joke Biden would be an easy target for Trump. 

Bern, I donated to your campaign, I made calls for you, I wrote letters to friends and wrote blogposts for readers.  Smell the coffee Bern. You must stand down, Senator. (Hey,  thanks for making such a huge contribution to American political thought!)  But now it’s time to pass the torch to someone unafraid of owning the possibility of a loss.  She will dance around Goliath and sting him down, as could a yellow jacket.  Yes, she can win, Bernie.  And you missed your chance.  Now get out of the way, and allow real leadership to flourish.  Don’t make the same mistake twice!

foto: washingtonpost.com

Speaking of what a woman can get done, she points towards Francis Perkins, FDR’s Secretary of Labor (the very first woman cabinet member) :

“So, what did one woman — one very persistent woman, backed up by millions of people across this country — get done?” Warren said. “Social Security. Unemployment insurance. Abolition of child labor. Minimum wage. The right to join a union. Even the very existence of the weekend.”

Channeling her own campaign slogans, she added: “Big, structural change. One woman, and millions of people to back her up.”  

source : https://www.politico.com/story/2019/09/16/warren-women-new-york-1499570

SEE COMMENTS

 

 

 

ART OPENING : ÁRBOLES CON ALMA, Stefanie Schikora @ The Olimpo

During “Nobel week” there will be three salas of art — opening Thursday evening, September 19, at 8:00pm at the Olimpo.  In Sala 2 artwork by painter and teacher Stefanie Schikora will be featured.  (I’ve enrolled in one of Stefi’s painting classes, and am enjoying it thoroughly.)  We discovered her work while making the rounds on the Artist’s Studio tour in February.

One of the great things about living in Merida is there is so much free culture to be enjoyed.  So come on out to the Olimpo @ Plaza Grande, corner of c.61 and c.62 in Centro (not to be confused with Gran Plaza, a shopping mall in the north of the city).

Stefanie, Artist Studio Tour, Itzimná