Image #116 – Miley Cyrus…eat your heart out

Image #116 (1)There’s been a lot of talk recently about Miley Cyrus. I was fortunate enough to miss her performance but there’s been no missing the news coverage. In addition to her twerking it was also mentioned that she has an agile tongue. My cat, Rainbow, as you can see, would be happy to give Miley a run for her money.

Having seen “the twerk” in other video pieces I would have to say that it is not the most attractive dance move I’ve ever seen but I’m old enough to remember when The Twist was deemed offensive and threatened western culture as we know it. Of course seeing what has come after The Twist perhaps all the critics were correct. ☙

Image #115 – New Day

Image #115 (1)We’re back!  Bigger and better than ever…  Computer woes are (hopefully) behind us. The new iMac is a joy and the transfer of data was a breeze. When you’ve matured along with the computer industry you can REALLY appreciate advancement. Twenty years ago it was a nightmare to transfer data from an old computer to a new one. This time the delays were the operator’s fault,  not the operating system.  And there is the pesky element of serial numbers and product keys.   Software programs are unrelenting about wanting that kind of stuff. Having recently moved it was a bit time consuming tracking down some really old, original boxes and discs. Programs are not happy with update product numbers. They are insistent on the original product number.  To all my friends and followers I can highly recommend 1Password. Not only does it track all those online passwords but it also has a folder specifically for software data. It made this process much easier.

So, back to an image a day.  Frequent readers will recall this was supposed to be the iconic photography project – 365.  365 images in 365 days.  I’ve already cheated since I don’t make it a picture I took THAT day.  Sometimes it works out that way but mostly I viewed this as a chance to share some of my pictures, expound a bit on life in a new community or other matters, and keep in touch with friends. I’m sure there are some very disciplined photographers who have done the true 365.  My hat is off to them but now it is back to my version.

This tall fellow, by the way, with his small traveler on the back of his neck, is a giraffe from the Paraa Preserve in Uganda, Africa. I was on a medical mission and we had a day of R&R at the Preserve.  A special time … ☙

Computer Woes…

To my frequent readers, my daily image postings are in a hiatus because of computer woes. My beloved 8 year-old Mac Pro computer is in hospice care. I thought it had died on Wednesday, the writing had been on the wall for some time. I ordered a new iMac which has arrived and will begin the moving process today. I was able to coax the Mac Pro back to life but it wasn’t happy about it. Hopefully it can hold on a bit longer.
Postings will return in a few days. Thanks to those who took the time to wonder.

Words matter

Recently I heard a television news report about the suicide death of a teenage girl in Florida.  The report stated she was “bullied in cyberspace” by more than a dozen girls and could no longer stand the pain.  Her mother poignantly asked of those who bullied her daughter, “Who teaches them the hate?”

A very good question.

This young girl, press reports say she was 12, was first bullied at school and then the bullying followed her home on Facebook. Even after switching schools and closing down the Facebook site the bullying continued via other social media.

It is hard for me to understand how anyone can be “terrorized” in “cyberspace.”  But I am more than half a century older than this girl. We may as well be from different planets. I am wise enough to see that today’s children and teenagers inhabit a world that is far different from the one in which I “came of age.”

I remember being bullied but it was contained to school. When I came home I knew I was safe. When I was twelve my parents moved us from Massachusetts to Florida and I switched from public school to parochial. That school switch prompted some bullying but it probably also saved me because we wore uniforms. My parents were not wealthy and, as a culture, we had begun to enter an age in which “branding” was everything. The “right” shoes, dress, car…all of it became so important because everything we read or saw said it was.

So, is it the “branding” that teaches us hate? To a certain extent I think the answer is yes. Many children have so much material wealth with no sense of how it arrives and the tribal nature of children encourages cohesion and exclusion based on what is most familiar and comfortable.

But I also think of the time in which this young girl lived. She was born in 2000 and in the whole of her life she only knew war and divisiveness. War in Iraq and Afghanistan, divisiveness … everywhere.  Elections, Congress, TV talking heads, gangs, Fox vs. CNN, Apple v. PC, and on and on.  She was bombarded daily by thousands of words, not all of them very nice words and the majority of them thoughtless–as in without thought.

When they eventually identify the 12-15 girls who cyber-bullied this young twelve year-old I am sure that one of them will say, “Well, I never thought ________.”  Fill in the blank. You know what it will be. Another pathetic apology about the sin of not thinking that words matter.

And that is where this story becomes so sad to me. According to the report I saw this young girl, Rebecca Ann Sedwick, wrote the following:

“How many lives have to be lost until people realize that words do matter?”

Oh, Rebecca.  My heart was already aching for you but these words pierced my soul because they are SO true. Words do matter and our society has forgotten that. We seem to be moving at light speed away from the understanding of words and their value.

Several years ago I overheard two young colleagues talking to each other and one used the expression “ ’Ho” in referring to the other.  Something like “You ‘ho.”  I couldn’t bear it any longer and I called them to task. “Words matter,” I said. “If you call her a ‘ho she becomes a ‘ho.”  They both looked at me with that look the young give the old.  It plainly states, “You don’t understand.”

The one who had used the term tried to defend it and the recipient of the description waved it off, as if to say “It’s nothing.”

“You don’t understand,” I said.  “Language is the bedrock of society. If our language deteriorates so will our culture. Words are important.”

They both looked at me differently and the one who had used the phrase became thoughtful. “Language is the bedrock of society…,” she said.  “I have never thought of words in that way.”

For Rebecca’s sake, let’s please start thinking about our words.

Image #114 – Sunday Morning

Image #114

Sundays at our house are very low key.  Usually I watch “Sunday Morning” and the critters …  Well, you can see they take it easy too. That’s Tango, on the couch and Rainbow cat above him.  At one point they had touching paws but by the time I got the iPad to take this picture the touching paws was gone.  Oh well, it is still a sweet image ☙

 

Image #112 – Dead Butterfly

Image #112

Some time ago I posted a blog called “Dead Hummingbirds.”  Over time it has been among the biggest draws to my blog.  I can’t imagine who is Googling for “Dead Hummingbirds” but stats don’t lie…right?

Today I present a dead butterfly, most likely a swallowtail variety. Friends and frequent readers will know that I worked in hospice for six years and I can already hear a few of them — “Leave it to Alice to find a dead butterfly.”  Maybe it is a cosmic, spiritual link that leads me to these things. I mean, how many people have found a dead hummingbird on their front yard?  Dead butterflies are easier to find. I have numerous pictures of various wing parts, shattered on some roadway or forest floor. This particular butterfly was on a dirt road, somewhere near Franklin.  I was sitting, almost laying on the road trying to get a shot of the “Broken Hearted Tree“.  As I went to get up there was the remains of this butterfly.  Such a small bit of a beautiful thing. How could I not take a moment to acknowledge and photograph it?

“All things must pass,” sang the great George Harrison. It is an important thing to remember.☙