Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week is photos that have basically two colors.
CFFC: Reflections and Shadows
Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week is reflections and shadows.
CMMC: White or Off-White
Cee’s Midweek Madness Challenge this week is “white or off-white.”
SYW: The Golem, Sufferings of the Natural World, the Death Penalty, and Today’s Blessings
Another Monday, another Melanie’s Share Your World! I have not participated in several weeks, although I think there are a few unfinished ones in my Drafts.
What mythical creature would improve the world most if it existed? (If you don’t know, just choose something that you think would improve things.
The golem is a creature of Jewish folklore created from inanimate material, such as mud or clay, brought to life to serve a particular purpose. It originated in the 1500s in Prague. In some stories, the golem was created to defend against anti-Semitic attacks. Based on the news I’ve been watching this evening, there is a dangerous rise in anti-Semitism and the growth of the “Christian nationalism” movement, which to me smacks of Nazism. (Congress member Marjorie Taylor Greene, I am convinced, would have been an ardent supporter of Adolf Hitler.) So I think we need to create a golem – a gigantic one – to guard against anti-Semitism and perhaps other ethnic and racist attacks as well.
Should the death penalty be re-instated? Why or why not?
First of all, the death penalty is still alive and well in some states (Texas comes to mind). Where I live, in Illinois, it was suspended about a decade ago after a group of Northwestern University law students discovered that several men on death row had been wrongly convicted and were actually innocent. The governor, a Republican, in light of these revelations, suspended the death penalty, and it is still inactive in this state. Several other states have also banned or suspended it, but it’s still active in many states. Most “civilized” countries banned the death penalty long ago.
Morally, I am opposed to the death penalty, particularly because it disproportionally affects black people, especially men, who are incarcerated at a far higher rate than white men. Our justice system is imperfect, and as the Northwestern students proved, there are innocent men on death row; in fact, innocent men have been executed even though their cases contained a lot of doubt about their guilt. Also, the death penalty is not a deterrent to crime (this has been shown to be the case through research, regardless of what death penalty advocates would have us believe), so why have it? It is a barbaric vestige of medieval times.
Another problem with the death penalty is its financial cost. Lawyers of people on death row generally try to appeal their clients’ cases multiple times. This costs taxpayers money. It is less expensive – and, I believe, a worse punishment – to sentence someone to life in prison with no possibility of parole. Sometimes, prisoners who have been incarcerated for a long time do good things in prison to improve themselves – some have even obtained college degrees in prison! Also, there are some who become pastors who minister to their fellow prisoners. In my opinion, these prisoners that have shown themselves able and motivated for self-improvement have proved they have been rehabilitated and could be released. The prison system in our country is awful, and there is a lot of big money interests behind it. Meaningful prison terms can sometimes be served in service to others or in learning to work on farms or ranchers, for example. The prisoner learns a skill that can be useful to him (or her) after release.
Spontaneity Or Stability?
I yearn for both.
Can a dog/cat suffer? What about an ant? What about a plant? What about a bacteria cell? Why do some humans think we’re the only species that does suffer? Your thoughts?
I know that animals suffer – just as we do; after all, humans are animals. Anyone who has owned a pet or has contact with animals knows this. Plants, perhaps also. Trees that have had disease struggle to recover, but little by little wither and die. When I neglect my garden, I can see the plants suffering from lack of water and care – such as removal of weeds that grow around them and threaten to choke or smother them. If lack of water, they show their suffering with wilted leaves, which perk up amazingly well after a good watering or a couple of good rains!
I have no idea why some humans think we’re the only species that suffers. Perhaps it’s to justify their cruelty to animals or their sense of superiority and dominance over the earth. Some use the Bible to “prove” their claim that other species don’t suffer and that humans have the right to dominance over all creatures. The Bible, however, also says the opposite, telling us to take care of nature. (Read Psalm 8, one of my favorites.) I have heard people say that because an animal doesn’t cry out in pain during labor and giving birth, it means the animal doesn’t feel pain. This makes no sense! Animals in the wild can’t afford to cry out while in the pains of labor, for it may attract predators.
What are two things that have brightened your day today?
- Reading to a fellow resident in my book group. She has low vision and cannot read the book we’ll be discussing, even with large print. So my sister and I are taking turns reading to her. We all get together and enjoy hearing (and reading) the book together. I enjoy reading aloud and would do it for any resident under whatever circumstances.
- Learning the benefits of the Power Plate machine for a variety of conditions – today we had a workshop at the fitness center, where one of the instructors demonstrated its benefits. Then I used it to massage my feet for six minutes!
GREAT questions this week, Melanie!
SYW: Shopping, Drawing, Questionable Music, & Awful Jobs
I really like the questions Melanie has presented in Share Your World this week! So here goes!
In your opinion, what do you buy way more of than most people? I asked my husband what he thinks I buy too much of, and he said “nothing.” And in truth, he has to convince me that it is OK to buy something I really want but I am reluctant because it’s expensive. I often want to buy some new clothes but I don’t really need them and I think it’s wasteful of resources to buy excessive amounts of anything. I should shop at resale shops!
Which workers have the worst jobs?
The jobs most Americans won’t do, but are much in demand, are often done by the lowest paid workers. They do the drudge jobs, including working in fields of large agricultural farms, bending over in the hot sun for long hours; cleaning toilets; factory work where there is dangerous machinery or an assembly line processing meat products (separating the organs and guts from the ‘good’ meat). These jobs are stressful, have long hours, and no job security. Here is an interesting article about the worst jobs in America: What are the worst jobs in America?
Opinion. John Cage is a composer who composed a piece named 4’33” for any instrument. The performers are instructed not to play their instrument for four minutes and thirty-three seconds. Is this music or is this art? A combination of the two? Neither, it’s stupid. Your opinion?
I have seen this “performed.” I thought it was weird. In college I had some music nerd friends who really got into this avant-garde type of music. John Cage was a preferred composer among these people! But not for me!
How good are you at drawing? I am pretty good. I have been drawing all my life. I’ve only recently started learning how to paint. But drawing is still my forte. Here are some of my personal favorites, ranging from 1973 to 2022!
Which one do you think is the oldest? (Some of them are dated.)
GRATITUDE SECTION (as always optional)
Feel free to share one amazing thing you’ve experienced (any time frame).
Travel – each trip more amazing than the one before. I was amazed on my first safari, seeing wild animals roaming free, and no further than a few yards from us! They amazed me with their natural behavior and their antics – a mother cheetah playing with her cub, elephants playing in the water, lions and giraffes mating. There’s nothing that can compare with being among these creatures who share the earth with us.
On the other hand, I was also amazed – gobsmacked! – by visiting the ancient Egyptian monuments and realizing that they have endured thousands of years! The famous pyramids and sphinx were created over 4,000 years ago and yet they still stand! And visiting tombs and monuments where I got to see beautiful artwork – carved on pillars and walls of monuments, sometimes with the paint still visible, and the beautiful, colorful artwork in the ancient tombs. I just find it so amazing that these things have endured for more than 3000 years and we can still visit them. The Ancient Egyptians did create these tombs and monuments to last for “millions and millions” of years, but thousands is already very impressive!
CBWC: Creatures Great and Small
Cee’s topic for her Black & White photos this week is animals, farm or wild.
What better subject than zebras?
Some birds, such as this ibis and egrets, are also natural subjects.
Cee’s fun Foto Challenge this week is Basically Two Colors.
Cee is starting a new series on color in her weekly challenge, Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge.
This week is all (or mostly) one color.
SYW: Games, Scary Movies, Nature, etc.
Melanie’s back with a new set of Share Your World questions today!
(Two ‘seasonal’ and two plain today)
What is the scariest game (board or on-line) you ever may have played?
I have never played a “scary” board/on-line game. I have never heard of a scary game, but I’m not a big “gamer” in terms of online/video games. Perhaps when I was a child, I may have gotten scared by some game like Hide and Seek if I felt left alone and couldn’t find anyone. I don’t remember, so it probably didn’t happen. I have played games that are thrilling and exciting, but not scary.
What’s just ‘over the rainbow” for you?
Traveling – we finally got our new passports!
mDo you have to watch something upbeat after watching a suspense or horror movie so you can go to sleep?
I don’t normally watch those kinds of movies. I have a few that I like in that genre, but no, I wouldn’t watch them late at night! I went alone to Silence of the Lambs at a local theatre many years ago. It was dark out when I left the theater, and I started to walk home, only about 2 blocks away. Once I left the downtown area and started down a street that was not well lit, I saw a man coming toward me, on the other side of the street! He didn’t make any threatening gesture and I couldn’t even see what he looked like, but I started running and didn’t stop until I got inside my apartment building! Never again!
Is there intent behind every action?
EVERY action? No, I don’t think so. I often do things without thinking, although I don’t think that is a good thing to do in general. I usually don’t even remember most of the “actions” I have taken during any particular day.
GRATITUDE SECTION (as always, optional)
Feel free to share some gratitude with folks today! Thanks!
Although it’s probably got some connection to climate change, I am grateful for the warm, summerlike weather we have had the last week.
I am also grateful for nature. Yesterday, I was sitting on our screened porch and noticed a bird at the foot of a tree. It looked bigger than most birds I see around here, but maybe it was a pigeon. But then it flew up on a low branch on a tree and I saw that it was a hawk! And it was trying to catch a squirrel! I watched the drama of predator and prey play out for at least five minutes. The hawk was unsuccessful, though – the squirrel escaped every time the hawk tried to grab him. Lots of flapping of wings and scurrying up the tree and onto higher branches. I think the hawk was young, probably born this year and now out fending for himself, but apparently he has much to learn about swooping down and grabbing his prey before it can get away. Each and every time, the squirrel outwitted the hawk. I sat there, watching the scene and in the back of my mind, I was wishing I’d had my camera right then – I could have gotten some great shots! But I was content just to witness the scene. There are dramas unfolding every day in the natural world!
I have a new phone, and it takes sharper photos than my previous one. Here are a couple of photos taken at one of the ponds of the heron who comes here every day.
LAPC: Keep Walking
Lens-Artists’ Photo Challenge #163 invites us to share photos of our walking trails and discoveries!
We used to hike much more than we do now. Even so, when we are traveling and there is an opportunity to take a walking tour, we take advantage of it! Also, we go on day trips in the Chicago area, to a variety of places to find something artistic or unusual.
On our first day in Tanzania, we spent the morning on a genuine hike! This ficus tree captured my interest.
On that same hike, our guide stopped to pick up something off the ground – a giraffe turd! Holding it in his open palm, he told us it was the turd of a male giraffe, because of its somewhat football shape. Female giraffe turds are flat on each end! Several of our group of hikers crowded around to get a close-up of this unusual find! The guide patiently waited, while with his other hand he looked at something on his cellphone!
Where there is giraffe poop, you can be sure there are giraffes nearby! This one walked nonchalantly away from us – since it was also a male giraffe, I wonder if his was the deposit we had been examining!
Later during that trip, on the day we arrived at Serengeti National Park, another hike had been arranged! I love to walk because that is when I see the small things that would be missed on a bike or traveling in a vehicle! I took photos of these three small things on that hike.
Most of my walks are short treks either around campus or somewhere else in town. On campus one day, which happened to be my birthday, Dale and I were taking our usual walk around campus, when we came upon two other residents who were walking their dogs and had stopped to chat (while social distancing!). It’s common for residents to greet each other or chat on these walks, but before long, someone says, “Well, I need to keep walking” and they go their separate ways.
During the pandemic, we’ve taken day trips to far-flung suburbs and nature reserves.
Some of my favorite walks are in sculpture parks! Our walk at Morton Arboretum, which happened to be on my birthday this year, was in search of a new installation of sculptures by a South African artist.