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We all make some sort of statement about ourselves when we go out, through our clothing, our make-up, our general attitude and appearance. It’s something we cannot stop, cannot avoid, simply because people read our character according to what they see, what they imagine we are showing of ourselves.
If you haven’t caught it on the news, on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Google or anywhere else and don’t know what the Ice bucket challenge is, then I will be very surprised. Depending on who happens to be pouring water – or bundles of cash – over their heads, the promotion to raise cash and donations for the ALS Foundation has hit the news big time. If you’re not sure what it is Wikipedia has a very good article on the disease.
In an article published in Political Ears, it is shown that of all the money raised through the Ice Bucket Challenge, a mere 27% finds its way towards research. This is the main point of the article but, if you look at my illustration – to save you time reading the large print article – you’ll see that there is considerably more to it than that. A further 32% goes towards public education on ALS, and 19% for patient and community services. That’s a total of 79% used for further education, care and research, which is what the money is intended for.
Aside from the sheer audacity of the article – trying to rile people up over something which has been doctored to show false figures – I found it more than amusing how the website places its adverts, which hardly seem to suggest a serious article or editorial policy. Techniques to gain any woman through seduction are more spam than anything else and rightfully earn their place in the trash can.
A serious website? Possibly, and possibly a serious article, if only the facts had been properly highlighted rather than the author attempting to create a scandal where none exists.
Love & Kisses, Viki
Has the Internet brought a whole new form of language with it? Is it possible that the evolution of our mother tongue, whichever one it may be, is being pushed on through the manner in which younger people express themselves online, through status updates, through the need to abbreviate what they have to say on Twitter?
There are stacks in the bedroom, on the side table in our living room, along one wall in the small hallway, right when you enter the apartment. Behind the couch are more, just growing there as new titles are added every few days. My small library, those few choice books I brought with me to Germany all those long years ago, has grown.
Not that this is a problem, but someone – who shall remain nameless – has been looking at me out of the corner of her eye as if to say it’s about time I did something with all these books, which seem to litter although there is some form of order. It’s about time that I moved them to better places, so that we can vacuum without risk. It would be good, her gaze seems to say, when we get to see a few table tops again, when there isn’t the risk of everything falling over.
Photo Credit: Maarten Takens – Creative Commons
This week I took things into hand. I began sorting through the titles, arranging the stack anew, getting some form of order into the whole. We invested in some new bookshelves, although probably not enough to accommodate every single work, and I began trying to see exactly what I have. Each opened book, each book which I even rest my fingers on, has its own story, its own history. None of them are leaving this apartment, none of them will be banished, given away or sold. But there has to be some form of order and so I have begun listing them properly. I’m nowhere near complete with the work, it will take a long time and I still want to be able to read, to write, to do other things. In between all the other pleasures of life, I note their names, the author, in which language they are written. I don’t know when, if ever, the task will have an end but, at the moment, there are one thousand two hundred and forty-three books listed.
And all she says, as space begins to appear once more, as order comes back into our lives, as the risk of an avalanche of paper recedes, is that she can hardly believe I have enough time to read so much.
Love & Kisses, Viki.
Maybe I should cut back on the selfies a little, I seem to be posting one or two sets every single week although, thinking about it, I’ve not had any complaints yet. The thing is, I consider selfies to be a photographic art form. We have seen so many different styles and schools of art over the centuries, everything gets classified, so why shouldn’t selfies be the photographic art form of our generation?
Photo Source: unknown, via Tumblr
What I like about this one – assuming that the second photograph is the same person, of which I am not sure – is that you can almost sense something in her eyes, in the way that she smiles into the camera – or whatever she’s using to take the shot. There is, you might think, much more there and, of course, some people will imagine that ‘much more’ to be, well, the lower half of the selfie.
There are some posts I write where I think: this is it, this will get people talking. Others seem almost to be place-fillers, something which was on my mind or which happened to interest me for a moment or two but no more than that where I imagine they will be seen but hardly noticed. My expectations are seldom right! It is really strange what interests people, what makes them stop and think, what gains the most views during the day or over a longer period of time. Perhaps it is just the luck of the draw, just chance that one or another post rises above the rest and arouses interest, wakes people out of their Internet slumbers and entices their fingers to caress the keyboard and leave a written reaction. Or perhaps we are so used to the media hype, the millions of newsworthy stories, posts, status updates and Tweets which appear or have appeared, that there is nothing left which inspires, and we are just wandering through whatever is there without a real thought in our minds.
Photo Credit: Just Nora – Creative Commons
When I scroll through the various news sites on the Internet, or check out the ones which appear to have attracted the most clicks, the most interest, I often wonder why so many people have read what is there. Is it really from interest, or just because it has been seen by countless other people and, therefore, must be important? Or is there something special about the story, some draw on the mind, which brings people to spend their time reading? Does Breaking News or Exclusive even mean anything these days, when so many news sites manage to get their information at exactly the same time, manage to publish it almost immediately for all and sundry to gasp over?
Did you know that the phrase Land Of The Free is not just a line in the Star-Spangled Banner? It is the title of the national anthem of Belize, and the text was written by Samuel Haynes who, in the 1920s began organizing the Universal Negro Improvement Association there. As many already know, Belize was a British colony until the 1980s, and suffered under their powers for centuries with slavery and oppression being the order of the day. Even today, many years after independence from the British, there are separations within Belizean society, with areas of Belize City still referred to as the former slave quarters and other areas only populated by white people and the richer blacks.
This, of course, is a foreign country, it is not the United States of America where everyone is free and has an equal chance. At least, that is what some people in the United States would have us believe. Yet, with the continuing race problems in Ferguson and elsewhere, we see the reality on our screens every single day of the year. That reality is reflected here:
where it is easy to see that some appear to believe that those living in Ferguson, those thousands of people are not American and of less value than one white American.
You stand in front of a wardrobe overflowing with dresses, with blouses, skirts, shoes, underwear, pullover, t-shirts, everything imaginable, and don’t know what to wear. Or, worse still, come out with that well-used statement that you’ve nothing to wear. Perhaps nothing suitable for the occasion, depending on what it is, but the frustration rises as you look here and there, take one thing out, put it back, try another. Decisions.
Photo Source: unknown, via Tumblr
The best thing to do, perhaps, is try several different combinations on and see how it looks. Imagine yourself in a boutique, in the changing booth with the allotted three or four items and a chance to try each one on and see which suits you the best. This, as we all know, is the nightmare of every single man although, just between you and me, I know this feeling only too well. I’ve been on both sides: in the booth with piles of potential purchases, and outside, waiting. But let is take it one stage further: we’re not looking for a dress, a new skirt, a matching blouse but something closer to the skin.
It is fair to say there is nothing humorous about the Presidential Elections in the United States. The battle for nomination as candidate for the next President seems to begin before a running election process is even complete, and it consumes more money than anyone cares to admit. Yet it could be so easy, if we followed a different path and left the democratic process behind. Not that the democratic process is anything like democratic when it comes to elections in the United States, but that has been covered to excess over the last few decades.
Wouldn’t it be so much easier if someone took the decision for us and we were just left in peace? Whatever happens, whoever gets the position and by whichever means, no one is going to be happy with the results in the long-term anyway. Not in the USA, not in any other country. So perhaps we ought to go the way the Financial Times appears to be suggesting.
Imagine how much stress and strain, how many fights, how much controversy would be wiped out in just one move if a company like McDonald’s was capable of simply nominating a new President to run the country. No more political party in-fighting, no more elections, no more adverts which distort what we believe we already know. Perhaps it would also herald the end of Fox News and a few other biased entities.
Anyone who hasn’t caught on to my love of books clearly hasn’t managed to grasp the whole story yet, although I’ve never been one to trumpet what I’ve read it can’t be said that I have never mentioned books and reading in my blog.
Fortunately I am not the only one who enjoys reading, who almost always has a book with them, who reads whenever the chance arises. There are many of us out there, even if it is just a light romance, a penny-dreadful, we read for the love of words, the love of other worlds and experiences. On the Goodreads site, for example, six hundreds and eleven thousand people signed up for the reading challenge this year: setting a target for how many books would be read over the year and then updating their status as each book joined its fellows on the shelves.
Achievable targets are good, in my opinion, they spur a person on to do something. One over what is achievable is also more than acceptable if not downright desired; the extra challenge to spring over your shadow and really do something, to go that extra mile. Without a challenge in life, what do we have?
What surprises me is how many people set themselves outlandish challenges, ones where anyone with an ounce of sense will ask how they can possibly hope to achieve their target. I have seen people who put down one thousand books as their target for the year – I can only assume that they thought they’d have masses of free time and a very deep pocketbook – and those who try for five or six titles. In all, the Goodreads challenge for 2014 encompasses well over thirty-two million titles, with an average of fifty-three titles per person, and nearly two thousand people have reached or surpassed their noted number.
But, as we draw towards the end of the year, I am also surprised to see how many haven’t read any books. Or perhaps they simply haven’t updated their status? I set my target at a very conservative twenty-five books: college work and many other leisure activities taken into account, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to keep up with my past efforts. I’ve surpassed my target, which is pleasing, and still managed to do all those other things life brings.
Setting targets, taking on a challenge, is a good thing. Perhaps we ought to do it more often, and then admit to our success or failure not only to ourselves. It spurs us on to greater things, to new targets, new challenges, new experiences.
Love & Kisses, Viki.