And there goes the last sunset of a turbulent 2016. Good bye old year.
to all readers.
Saturday, December 31, 2016
Friday, December 30, 2016
Wednesday, December 28, 2016
It’ll never cease to amaze me what so-called “experts” are digging up to make it a trend. The most recent “discovery” I have come across is the meaning of the word HYGGE. Hygge is Scandinavian (Danish+ Norwegian) and it means to be cozy. After living 25 years in Norway “Hygge” is something that we always have practiced at home. It is simply living in a comfortable home with f.ex. something good to eat, or watching a TV movie or just sitting in front of the fireplace with a glass to drink. Here is the article I found about it. Obviously, it’s going to be the next big thing with a lot of commerce to it.
In troubled times, Danish art of 'coziness' sparks international trend
The author of "The Book of Hygge: The Danish Art of Living Well" says hygge can be practiced with other people or alone. "It's about the quality of presence.
Lifestyle enthusiasts from around the world have latched on to a centuries-old Danish cultural practice, "hygge", or what some call the art of "coziness."
This year, nine books will be published featuring the concept of hygge in their title, while social media platforms are teeming with pictures of falling leaves and woolly socks. There are more than a million hygge-related posts on Instagram.
"Hygge is about creating a circle of warmth. It's an uncomplicated moment of relatedness, contentment and ease," says Louisa Thomsen Brits, author of The Book of Hygge: The Danish Art of Living Well.
For Thomsen Brits, hygge offers a "feeling of belonging to the moment and each other — a brief restorative pause."
She says the best way to practice hygge, is to establish a point of focus.
"Make tea, or share a meal, or make conversation. Open a book or play cards, or put on a movie."
Louisa Thomsen Brits says "sharing food is the epitome of hygge." (Julie Van Rosendaal)
The idea of hygge was introduced after Denmark lost its empire in 18th and 19th century. The Danes were encouraged to look inward, and identify with smallness.
"Hygge is facilitated by small means," says Thomsen Brits. "Paying attention to each other and the possibilities of the moment."
Louisa Thomsen Brits maintains hygge has been distorted by a capitalist system directly at odds with the concept. "I think it's been hijacked."
Michael Booth, author of The Almost Nearly Perfect People: Behind the Myth of the Scandinavian Utopia, agrees. "It is being used right now to sell newspapers, magazine, books, candles, socks and all these other things that we already have."
Booth says hygge has its value, but he's frustrated with all the hype. "It's been elevated into something aspirational and it's not that. It's about having a cozy time."
He also says there are downfalls that aren't being considered, like an aversion to riskier topics of conversation, including politics.
"This middle ground where everything is non-confrontation, it's just boring."
Booth says hygge's emphasis on community can also used to exclusionary ends.'It has been slightly appropriated by the right to reinforce a sense of "Danish-ness", and by that they mean people who are ethnically Danish.'- Michael Booth
Hygge likewise has a defeatist edge.
"It's no coincidence why the world has gone crazy, what a troubling year and unpredictable future we're staring down the barrel at in this moment. What's more natural than to shut the curtains and stick your head in the sand, and that's what hygge invited you to do."
While I like Hygge I do agree with Michael Booth who calls this new trend a hype. I mean if you are not able to enjoy yourself with a book in front of the fireplace, you won’t neither be able to force yourself to “practice” hygge. It’s not like you learning a new yoga exercise. You either like to be cozy or you don’t. You can’t learn hygge from reading a book. In order to enjoy hygge you would also need to have a “hyggelig” cozy place to live. If your furniture is willy-nilly strewn about your place you will probably lack the feeling of coziness and I seriously doubt you ever have missed to be cozy. Fortunately, most people have a natural desire for warmth and coziness and will try to live it,……with or without being “trendy”.
Sunday, December 25, 2016
Saturday, December 24, 2016
Thursday, December 22, 2016
By David Horsey
I have never seen anything quite like the grief being felt by the majority of American voters who did not vote for Donald Trump.
Back in 1980, there was disappointment among Democrats when Ronald Reagan won. In 2000, after the long Florida recount and the intrusion of the Supreme Court into the decision, there were plenty of upset people who thought Al Gore, not George W. Bush, deserved to be president. But the losing voters in those elections were not despondent. They were not breaking out in tears weeks later. They were not waking up each morning with feelings of dread about what was to come.
This time it is different and, in my experience, unique. This is not simply a case of Hillary Clinton supporters being bad losers. For most of those who feel traumatized by what happened on Nov. 8, this is not about the candidate who won the popular vote, yet lost the election. It is about the candidate who was picked as president by the electoral college on Monday. People are mourning because the fate of their country will now be in the hands of an intellectually disinterested, reckless, mendacious narcissist.
It is not just Democrats. There are plenty of conservatives and Republicans among those feeling depressed. Their party has been captured by a man who has no bedrock belief in any principle; a man whose only allegiance appears to be to himself.
David Frum, conservative Republican and ex-Bush speechwriter, has been very explicit about what he expects from the Trump White House: corruption and authoritarianism. In a series of tweets the day after the election, Frum predicted that Trump will engage in “massive self-enrichment” and, once the media and Democrats begin investigating and criticizing his actions, he will retaliate “by means fair or foul,” utilizing the powers of the presidency and aided and abetted by a compliant Republican Congress.
“Construction of the apparatus of revenge and repression will begin opportunistically and haphazardly,” Frum wrote. “It will accelerate methodically.”
No one — certainly no Republican — contemplated such a scenario when Reagan was elected, or when George H.W. Bush or his son took office. Nobody thought a victory by Sen. John McCain in 2008 or Mitt Romney in 2012 would have threatened democracy. This time that concern is widespread and far from irrational, given Trump’s words, actions and erratic, bullying temperament.
Those who are troubled by Trump’s ascendancy are almost equally distressed by the mindset of their fellow citizens who voted for him. It is understood that most Trump supporters are decent folks, many of whom have been left behind by changes in the global economy. But how can they believe some of the things they believe? In a post-election survey, the Public Policy Polling organization found that 67% of Trump voters think unemployment increased during Barack Obama’s presidency while only 20% know the opposite is actually true. Though the stock market skyrocketed to record heights during the Obama years, 60% of those who voted for Trump either do not know it or do not believe it. Forty percent of Trump voters also say their candidate won the popular vote, even though Clinton now leads in the count by nearly 3 million ballots. Perhaps that is why friendly crowds at his victory rallies continue to cheer when Trump makes the obviously false claim that he won the election in a landslide. They do not know better.
And then there are those among the Trump loyalists who buy into clearly insane ideas, like the fool who shot up a pizza shop in Washington, D.C., because he believed fake news stories that had identified the restaurant as the headquarters for a child sex ring run by Hillary Clinton. With that muddle-headed level of discernment rampant, it is no wonder Trump gets away with his unending stream of falsehoods.
There have been a number of commentaries written about the need for liberal “elites” to gain a better understanding of those who voted for Trump; the folks in the Rust Belt and rural America who feared for the future because they felt the country they knew was changing too dramatically and leaving them behind. Well, the fear is now on the other side, and not only among so-called elites. It is ordinary Americans of all classes and races who fear that, under Trump, environmental protections will be dismantled, limits on Wall Street greed will be removed, the rights of minorities and women will be undermined and American foreign policy will be run by dangerously unseasoned amateurs with a crush on Vladimir Putin. Such fears are not based on feelings or fake news stories; they are confirmed by the composition of Trump’s Cabinet.
In the presidential campaign, the fears of one group of citizens morphed into a powerful anger that Trump harnessed to propel himself to the White House. Now, another set of Americans — a significantly larger group — is feeling profoundly distressed. If their fears are borne out, their anger, too, will become a political force that could upend an election yet to come.
Wednesday, December 21, 2016
Tuesday, December 20, 2016
Friday, December 16, 2016
Veteran CIA officer Glenn Carle said in an interview with Radio Boston that the widening rift between the intelligence agency and President-elect Donald Trump is a historic crisis.
Carle is the author of the 2011 book The Interrogator: An Education. He worked as a high-level operative in George W. Bush’s War on Terror before breaking with the agency over the use of torture on detainees.
Host Meghna Chakrabarti asked Carle — who served with the CIA from the presidencies of Ronald Reagan to George W. Bush — about whether reports of a contentious relationship between Trump and the CIA are true.
Carle said that yes, in fact, Trump’s feud with the agency is real, but that it pales in comparison to the question of Trump’s complete incompetence with regards to the knowledge needed to be the nation’s chief executive.
“There’s a rift flowing all across the headlines, the page and everyone’s consciousness. It’s tremendous. But it actually is only a secondary issue compared to the larger issue of the competence, or lack thereof, of the President-elect with regard to national security and international affairs,” Carle said. “It’s stunning, and an existential moment for the United States, much less the C.I.A., absolutely.”
We are currently unprecedented territory, Carle said
“My personal experience goes back to President Reagan. But that means I overlapped with colleagues whose direct experiences go back to the Eisenhower administration, frankly. And there’s never been a circumstance like this,” he said.
Trump, he said, is “almost clinically incapable of dealing with the world that we all live in,” which makes him wildly dangerous as a commander-in-chief.
“It’s a horrifying moment,” Carle said. “Others have said that the U.S. is facing — and I completely agree and I myself have said separately — that the U.S. is facing the greatest crisis to its institution since 1861.”
The CIA’s job, Carle said, is to “present objective reality as best as we can find it.” Sometimes they must tell powerful officials things they don’t want to hear. Intelligence personnel expect to be met with some resistance from time to time, but for Trump to shut them out completely — as he has done since Election Day — is unheard-of.
“If you can’t talk to the President, how can you function? If the President is dismissing any product, any assessment that you make, as somehow partisan or unwelcome, and simply locked out, then you serve no purpose,” he said.
He doesn’t have much hope that the president-elect can be expected to grow and change.
Carle said, “We have seen from the first day what the visceral psychological approach to interactions is of the President-elect and that won’t change. He will remain egocentric, narcissistic, very defensive, and will deny, destroy and attack anything that challenges anything other than praise for him. That does not augur well at all for relations of the C.I.A. with the executive in the Oval Office, or the functioning of the national security establishment.”
Thursday, December 15, 2016
Sunday, December 11, 2016
WASHINGTON — A funereal atmosphere has taken hold in government offices in the U.S. capital, where numerous federal employees describe mournful, even tearful, scenes among dejected co-workers commiserating about Donald Trump's impending presidency.
Employees — speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals — shared anecdotes about the sorrowful reaction in multiple departments to Trump's win last month, and their own feelings about what comes next.
One employee said she'd cried on her way to work that morning — and wasn't the only one weeping in her office.
"I have seen so many tears. From the top down,'' said the woman, who works on international initiatives and fears the incoming president's derisive cracks about foreign nation-building mean the U.S. might scale down its foreign engagement.
"I've seen supervisors addressing staff — crying.... It's their life's work. It's really demoralizing.''
Antipathy to the incoming president in the left-leaning national capital is no secret. Trump got just four per cent of the vote in Washington, D.C. Yet that's worse than usual for a Republican — in fact, it's the worst result for any since the district got voting rights in 1964.
There are now internal debates about how to proceed.
The employees who will have to execute the president's orders are having office discussions about staying or leaving government; how to respond to an unethical demand; and whether it's moral or even technically possible to thwart what they consider bad ideas.
A man who works in foreign affairs says federal employees are sworn to uphold the Constitution. He said everyone around him is unhappy. But if the democratically elected government asks employees to carry out constitutional orders they have two choices: "You execute. Or you leave.''
However, some suggest there's actually a middle-of-the-road, third option historically favoured by skeptical bureaucrats: Execute, but very slowly.
Someone who works on climate policy says he's heard people wonder whether Trump's agenda might be stymied for a year. Then governing activity slows down in a midterm election year. Finally, the president starts worrying about his own re-election.
"People are already talking about that,'' he said.
He likened the post-election mood in his office to that of a "funeral home.'' In three words, he summarized the skepticism of government energy experts regarding Trump's promises to out-of-work coal miners in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia — that he'd restore their jobs, in the face of global trends toward cheaper, cleaner natural gas and green technologies.
"It's a crock,'' he said.
Apparently expecting such institutional resistance, the incoming administration has reportedly demanded the names of employees in the Department of Energy who helped design the Obama administration's climate policies.
The new administration has numerous levers to enforce its will.
That's always true in the U.S. executive branch, more so than in most countries following a change in government. When a new government takes office in Canada, for instance, the staff might change in ministers' offices, and perhaps also at the highest ranks of the public service.
But in the U.S. there are thousands of personnel changes.
The new president gets to pick his people far beyond cabinet members' offices, and into the top three or four ranks of the civil service in every department — meaning career bureaucrats will report to Trump political appointees, who report to other political appointees, and then others still, and they report to the cabinet.
One employee described the senior-most bureaucrats in her department, almost like a protective wall: "That's your buffer.''
Lots of career plans are now being second-guessed.
One man said he wasted no time applying for a job outside government. He did it on election night, before going to bed. One woman said she's now a little worried about representing the U.S. abroad, concerned about anti-American hostility.
If the president issues unconstitutional orders, she's heard colleagues determined to thwart them. Like the Muslim ban Trump floated during the campaign, for instance. She said colleagues talk about volunteering to implement the policy — and doing their job very, very slowly.
With growing resistance towards Trump & Cronies chances are that this government will not be very successful. It is also clear that many Trump voters are already feeling the cold wind towards them. Cuts to social security, medicaid and medicare are underway. Workers are feeling they have been conned. The Trump cabinet is resembling a horror film of the worst making. Old guys (like Trump himself) no women and CEO’s from Big Business are now gonna rule the affairs of the little man on the street. Good luck Americans. I pity you and your country.
Saturday, December 10, 2016
Friday, December 9, 2016
|You think the years are passing faster and faster? You are not alone. We do think that as well. Years used to last the double. Not anymore. They seem to have been devaluated. And I know who did it. WE did it. I did it and YOU did it – by getting older. So the time for us needing a new calendar to keep up with all the days flying by is getting shorter…and shorter.|
Luckily, today I have something you might want for either having it yourself or giving it away to your camper neighbour. Our friend Simone Ritter from St.Andrews, NB has created the neatest Vintage Camper Calendar, all of the campers shown as beautiful water colours art. What a great Christmas gift idea for RVers!
You can order it directly at:
www.SimoneRitterart.com or by writing to:
48 King Street. Saint Andrews,NB E5B 1Y3, CANADA
While Simone was visiting Campobello Island this spring she even painted our house!