April 10, 2016 Vol. 9 No. 200 445th Consecutive
Hi again from the shores of the Salish Sea. Sometimes, as action-packed as April is, I think we should make the 11 other months longer and let this one go to the Great Calendar Heaven up yonder.
First, the month itself does not get off to a promising start when it is known as “April Fool’s Day.” That’s a 24 hour stretch when sadistic people with entirely too much time on their hands get to really mess with the lives of the gullible. The cost of that in terms of lost production alone is incalculable.
April is also the month when Americans pay federal taxes based on what they have made and what they have saved, what they have spent and what they have spent it on.
Many view the process as an artful game in which the tax payer tries to spend as little as possible for the maximum of services provided. Others consider it a penance paid annually for being born in a land of taxation with questionable representation. But the majority of us pay the band for the music and do not entertain private fantasies of replacing the musicians. I personally think taxes should be paid in December, when people are already in a giving mood.
This April also falls during the American presidential primaries and in 2016 tends to mirror rather dramatically, if not somewhat appallingly, the decline in manners in America in general. What other nations must think when they hear former First Lady and Secretary of State being slandered and libeled not only by her opposition but by members of her own party?
What kind of a nation have we become when a man with a billion dollar mouth and the tact of a porcupine in a tanning salon feels so above it all that he can say and do whatever he wants without thought to consequences or collateral damage?
What kind of testimony to our national character is it when we can castigate in such pathetically parochial and racist terms a fellow American who has won the mandate of his state and then his nation; has proven to be a good father and one of the few presidents in recent history whose libido has not been a source of national shame?
Both parties are equally guilty of promoting behavior that would be a national disgrace under most other flags on the planet and yet consider themselves still fit to suggest to other countries how they should live.
It’s been a very good week for hypocrisy, gang. Happy April.
I hope no one is surprised by this. I’m not. Facebook is a marketplace just as much as Craigslist and Ebay. Only peace will eliminate the demand. Facebook Groups Act As Weapons Bazaars For Militias
Way to go, you guys! SpaceX Nails Historic Rocket Landing
If ever there was a time for this, surely it is now. Francis’ Message Calls On Church To Be Inclusive
INTERNATIONAL HEADLINE NEWS
The United Nations April 2016 Global Update is now available. Headlines include: Progress For Girls’ Education, Why Gender Data Matters, and How Energy Empowers Girls and Women
Thailand Police Investigate Royal Family Stickers On Line
OCEANA & POLYNESIA
TOPICAL HEADLINE NEWS
CLIMATE CHANGE & WEATHER
ESPIONAGE AND TERRORISM
ON A TRAIN WITH SOLDIERS
A few days ago, I had another train ride in quite usual for me railway passenger open carriage. It is always a different experience spending about 20 hours alongside random people. As there were no walls separating them, everyone became quite friendly and opened up to one another.
This time, there were demobilized soldiers going home. According to official news about 45 thousands soldiers, subscripted in July 2014- January 2015 are to come back home before Easter, which for Orthodox falls this year on the first of May.
Their commanding officer was in his early sixties and one of those kind of people in whom you have immediate confidence and for whom you feel immediate respect. Already a grandfather he was looking forward to returning to family life and again running his village household.
Mishka, what was especially moving was his attitude toward the younger of his soldiers. He made everyone feel comfortable, talking to them not as their superior but as their shoulder to shoulder comrade, which he also obviously was. He had a very soothing way and because he had been through the hell of combat with them, they appreciated that.
At night one of soldiers had bad dreams, talking and moaning in his sleep. The officer said that contract soldiers will take their place on the front line. This, he believes, should make the Ukraine army more professional
It was a really nice spring sunny morning by the time the train arrived at the station. As the soldiers were leaving, one of them gladly said, “My dear land, hometown. Good to be back”.
That’s all for this week. And Happy Mother Earth Day!
Where has one of North America’s foremost kayaking photojournalists and writers been lately and who or what has he been shooting? Yep, find out here.
World Wildlife Foundation Trips
SARA’S FULBRIGHT YEAR: TAICHUNG, TAIWAN
Monday, April 4, 2016
Before I formally start this blog post, here are 3 wonderful websites that I ask you to visit for at least one minute! These are all projects and ideas that have caught my interest over the past few weeks. Part of my goal for this blog is to further help facilitate cross-cultural exchange, which often simply means encouraging exposure to new ideas. I love giving updates as to what I have been doing and seeing andexperiencing here in Taiwan, but it is also my hope to inspire others to stop and think for a minute about a new idea (or two or three…)
1) This is a nice way to quickly see a wide variety of sites in Taiwan. I have been to many of these places – please take the opportunity to gain a visual sense of this fascinating country via photography: http://www.srune.com/lists/100-reasons-to-visit-taiwan/43
2) I have been working with one of my co-teachers to coach a Grade 4 student in preparation for an upcoming storytelling competition. Like many Taiwanese students, he tends to be shy when in the spotlight and we have found it challenging to help him present the English narrative in a more dynamic, engaging way. I came across this article as I was doing research about strategies for reaching students like him, and I find this to be an amazing story. I hope that you will take a minute to read about the power teachers possess when they truly believe in their students, and about the wonders that that power can bring about. https://www.dramanotebook.com/the-shy-child/
3) Someone recently posted this, and the video at the bottom of the webpage (as well as the book described throughout!) is so exciting. These are the kinds of projects we discussed regularly during classes for my Master’s in urban education last year, and it is refreshing to read about a program like this one. I find it incredibly inspiring to read about other people who believe in meeting students where they are, and who strive to teach the way those students want to learn. Enjoy: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/updates/what-white-folks-who-teach-in-the-hood-get-wrong-about-education/
This will be great if it works. Website Seeks To Make Government Data Easier To Sift Through
These folks are a trip. Meet The Jeans-Wearing, Nature-Loving Nuns Who Helped Stop A Kentucky Pipeline
I definitely see a Kevin Costner movie in this one. How An Army Of Ocean Farmers Is Starting A Revolution
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This, quite obviously, needs to stop. Banned Chemical Still Used In Hospital IVs Is Linked To Attention Deficit Disorder
This is a sadness almost beyond words. In Ancient DNA, The Story Of How Native Americans Thrived — And Then Were Wiped Out
We concur with the prosecution. Hastert Molested At Least Four Boys, Prosecutors Say
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OUR SCIENCE SECTION, ABRIDGED
This is so cool. Drones Marshaled To Drop Lifesaving Supplies Over Rwandan Terrain
You mean there might be weather stranger than where I’m living now? Sigh. Exoplanet Oceans Could Flow In Reverse, Creating Bizarre Climates, Scientists Say
This is like the dreams I have if I eat pizza or lasagna too close to bed time. I’ll bet Franz Kafka had the same problem. But with more widely published results. This 430 Million Year Old Bug Tugged Its Kids Around On Leashes
66 Million Years Ago An Asteroid Destroyed The Dinosaurs. Now Scientists Are Drilling Into The Crater It Made To Understand How.
THE GREEN AGENDA
Americans’ Junk Food Habits Start In Toddler Years. At Age 1, We Eat Fries And Brownies — But Few Veggies
Competition for homes is heating up all over the map – from Everett and Monroe to Kent, Renton and North Bend — as the housing squeeze spreads beyond King County. Our interactive map shows the price and sales trends in your area.
Overnight closures of Highway 99 began last night — and will last for three weeks. Check out the list of full closures related to tunnel construction.
People have raised $245,000 for Greenwood after last month’s blast there leveled two buildings and destroyed businesses. A new book, described as a “love letter to Greenwood,” aims to raise more money with its collection of stories and poems.
Think it’s pricey here? In San Francisco, tech workers are fleeing $4,500 rents — and they’re coming to Seattle, an influx that is helping to dramatically reshape our job market.
BEST OF THE NET
THOUGHT OF THE WEEK
“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all –
And sweetest – in the Gale – is heard –
And sore must be the storm –
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm –
I’ve heard it in the chilliest land –
And on the strangest Sea –
Yet, never, in Extremity,
It asked a crumb – of me.
To subscribe and experience Thoughts in their original, please contact Amy at SpringggRain@aol.com
NORTHSTAR MEDIA SERVICES
Advertising Copy ~ Classified and Display
Comedy ~ jokes, monologues
Editing ~ General and International
“Americanization” of International Websites
Online English Tutoring
ALL CREATURES, GREAT AND SMALL
Sad but better there than in my backyard. ‘Monster’ Alligator Is Shot In Florida
We probably should not encourage this kind of behavior. However…Turkeys Torment Teaneck
If all of Africa could co-operate like this, that vast continent would know peace. World’s Rarest Antelope Flourishes Under Community Conservation
If you’re feeling generous and want to spend some money making yourself feel good, instead of a trip to the mall or the deli, check out one of the outfits on this list and consider joining it. You’ll be contributing to something really important and each month, you’ll be reminded of what your contribution is doing. Some of them even have cool things like sweatshirts with their name on it or coffee mugs with lids. As the King of Kitsch, that kind of appeals to me. And if you want to throw a couple of bucks or Euros in our sugar can, here’s now to do that. Thank you very much, guys. Rusty
YOU GUYS THINK WE MAKE THIS STUFF UP
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