Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Ghosn alive and well in Beirut...

Unlike what Carole, Carlos Ghosn’s wife told a Brazilian newspaper after the Lebanese catastrophe, the couple’s home in Beirut wasn’t really damaged by the explosion that rocked the downtown area on August 4.
What Ghosn must be worried about is that his political protector’s day might be numbered and with it, its welcome mat in that country, along with his protection against being sent back to Japan.

One would think that the Japanese could put pressure on their fugitive, but they’ve been good sport and as always, have been very generous by providing emergency relief goods including 1,800 blankets, 400 tents and 400 water tanks to help the Lebanese.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s also sent a message of condolence, saying that the tremendous damage caused by the blast was heartbreaking and that he hopes the damaged part of the city can be rebuilt as soon as possible.

Sure, the Japanese government has asked Interpol to help catching Carlos Ghosn, but Lebanon has indicated it’s unlikely to hand him over, absent an extradition treaty between Japan and that country. Neither Brazil nor France that have extradition treaties with Japan wouldn’t ship Ghosn back to Japan either, as he’s got these two nationalities as well, and both countries don’t extradite their nationals.

So for the time being, Ghosn can breathe a sigh of relief...

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Let’s add Trump to Mt. Rushmore!

For those who still don’t know it, Mount Rushmore is known the world over for its colossal sculpture carved into its granite face deep into the Black Hills of South Dakota.

Gutzon Borglum designed it and oversaw its carving from 1927 to 1941. The sculpture depicts the head of Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln, and each one of them was chosen to represent the nation's birth, growth, development, and preservation.

Instead of taking positive steps in containing Covid-19, Trump had recently told Kristi Noem, governor of South Dakota, that he was looking to have his head added to the monument. It’s also been reported that last year, a White House aide reached out to the governor’s office asking what’s the process to add additional presidents to Mount Rushmore?
From what I was able to observe and gather, there isn’t enough granite to carve Trump’s big face into it. I think American should be more resourceful than that, bring some cow manure (there’s plenty of it in the Midwest) and give Donald his due.

That wouldn’t be rocket science and it would hit the nail on its head. The material is very malleable, can be sculpted into the perfect Trump likeness and, as the colloquial “bull-shit” expression indicates, would address another “value”, that is the remarkable propensity of our sitting president to lie as much as he breathes.

Just be careful to wear a mask and bring galoshes if you ever fancy to visit the place after the addition has been made!

Monday, August 10, 2020

How to persevere?

Like everyone else, when obstacles get in the way, I find it horribly hard to persevere, and yet, somehow, for reasons almost unbeknownst to me, I break through and keep on doing what I was intent to accomplish.

For one thing, new endeavors always have appeal to me and suit my explorer’s mentality. I may also be because I set pretty simply and achievable goals to start with. I’m also an eternal optimist that viscerally hates to giving up whatever it is that I undertake.

It may also be that I’m the eternal optimist, clinging to the rosy aspect of most situations, and that I can very easily visualize my goal as something feasible and up to my abilities.
What also makes be persevere is loving to be challenged regardless of the obstacles thrown into my way and that never fail to fuel my determination.

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Verdict out on our home...

Over the past 44 years, we’ve lived in 12 different places and since we have found our dream spot in Park City, we’ve lived in five different houses, including two that we’ve built ourselves.

During all that time, we’ve learned an awful lot about what works and what doesn’t in a home. Views, orientation, design and a lot of pertinent details like weather and temperature variations, ways in which the sun tracks into the sky over the course of each season and much, much more...

This last home in which we’ve lived for the past six years is almost perfect for us. I say almost, because no matter how hard one tries, it’s almost impossible to miss a few details here and there.
Oriented to the south, our house soaks tons of sun in winter when it’s cold and the sun rides low, but our exceptionally deep eaves block the hot summer rays as they only strike the roof, keeping the facade cool.

That steel roof we picked will absolutely outlast us and was just perfect for receiving the solar panels that we installed. Insulation is close to perfection and keep us warm when temperatures hit records low in winter, and cool enough when the summer sun bakes the air.

We hardly ever use our air-conditioning system except from 4 to 10 pm on the few extremely hot evenings that demand it. We also have a wonderful covered deck where we can cool off, read, congregate and enjoy “al fresco” breakfast, lunch or diner, from March to October.

Literally nestled into the trees, our house views open up to the ski runs and the mountains, is served by a street with minimal traffic and no noise, offers a comfortable and optimum living space without the need for incessantly climbing up and down the stairs, and is crowned by a beautiful backyard, naturally landscaped, that’s a true oasis of nature and tranquility.

This place is the culmination of many years of learning, practical observations and experiences that have worked perfectly for us!

Saturday, August 8, 2020

Making fears productive!

In an ideal world there would be no fear and absolutely nothing to worry about. What would happen if this were the case? We’d probably all would become (too) fat and (too) happy…

Boredom, the kind – or presumably worst - that we’ve experienced during that Covid-19 pandemic would invade our lives and make them long, uneventful and totally miserable.
This is one good reason that we all need a sprinkling of fear every now and then, to get us off our rear-end and going into multiple directions, doing something that hopefully is constructive.

That's in fact what makes us uniquely different from our peers from the animal kingdom. So, I hope we’ve all got the message; time to make some comfortable room for a bit of healthy fear into our lives!

Friday, August 7, 2020

Responding to nefarious emails

It happens all the time since “Fake News” were officially enshrined by Trump and Facebook. I receive lots of “fake information” and I generally ignore it unless it comes from friends or folks I know well.

Then, I feel compelled to respond and try to set the record straight. The last in date went like this: “Pictures From Hell (Formerly Called Paris, The Capital Of France)” and showed a succession of pictures of black and Arab individuals amidst chaos and trash, even some urinating inside public transportation (see samples).
I have several reaction to that message that I shared with the sender and the other addressees: I don’t recall seeing quite the kind of mayhem showed on these pictures and described in the text the last time I recently was in Paris.

This said, it seems to me that there is a racist and xenophobic undertone in these pictures and the narration accompanying them. I don’t believe racism as we know it has such great future. Humanity also happens to originate from Africa, we should never forget it.

Granted, there’s a racist in all of us and it seems to me that it’s in our self best interest to curb that tendency and work at eliminating for good. The immediate problem that I can see with the situation as it’s portrayed, is the current French government’s responsibility.
Just like our dear American government, it needs to do a much better job at reviewing and amending its emigration policies, integrating any bonafide immigrant into its society, yet have zero tolerance for folks praying in the middle of the streets, roaming around in burkas or peeing in the subway.

Smarter folks know that religion is poison, whether it’s Christian, Muslim or whatever. The government also needs to make sure its public schools are equal for all, set and have its citizens abide by certain standard conducive to a harmonious society if they are to remain part of the community.

Finally, we’re more than 7.7 billion people on this planet and don’t be naive enough to expect national borders not to bulge at the seams, especially now in this 24/7 age of Instagram and Facebook. Not just France, but governments the world over should do something about overpopulation that’s dooming our planet.

Remember that global warming is but a symptom of overcrowding on earth. Overpopulation is the real cause we need to go after...

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Ski the Nevele while it lasts!

Last night we stumbled upon a documentary about the Nevele ski and summer resort near Ellenville, New York, that opened in 1901 and closed in 2009.

The Nevele dated back to the days of the “Borscht Belt”, a name given to mostly defunct resorts of the Catskill Mountains, located about 90 miles northwest of New York City. These resorts were a popular vacation spot for New York City Jews from the 1920s through the 1960s.

While it sounds as if the name was related to snow, “Nevele” is “Eleven” spelled backwards — according to lore, after the eleven nineteenth-century schoolteachers who discovered a waterfall within its present-day property.

My wife asked me if I ever heard of that resort, and me, the know-it-all, had to reluctantly admit that I didn’t.

Not only is the resort equipped with a Poma double-chair, fixed grip, 1240 feet long, serving a whopping 151 feet vertical with an 800 people per hour capacity, but its property also includes a once highly regarded 18-hole golf course and a 9-hole golf course have now fallen into disrepair.

The whole place reminded me of Tamarack that partially-completed Idaho ski resort, but it mostly of a Chernobyl version of a dead ski resort. Nothing appears to be salvageable except for an impressive ski rental section complete with thin-style Elan skis and rear-entry boots.

After decades of failed attempts to sell and resurrect the place, it is once more for sale. If you badly want to own a ski resort, here is your opportunity!