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Sunday, August 14, 2016

Trump and His Women: The Pop Culture of Politics

Trump National Golf Club, September 15, 2014

Trump, now on his third wife, has his discarded exes who show us how they fared after his attention waned.

Above, he is with Ivana Trump, his first wife and mother of his three children, including Ivanka Trump who is described as his "closest adviser" with a likely post in his potential government.

Here you have it: The America from Washington (and Lincoln and even Carter) degraded to Trump.

Below s a photo of Ivan Trump trying to make things right while attending her son gala event: The Eric Trump 8th Annual Golf Tournament at Trump National Golf Club Westchester on September 15, 2014 in Briarcliff Manor, New York. The money raised goes to the habitual "philanthropic" cause: the St. Jude (hospital) Foundation. Eric Trump talks about his foundation as the "ETF."

Ivana was with him to support her son, and obligingly sat next to her ex-husband, who was by then married to his third wife Melania Trump (from Eastern Europe too, and with an accent just like her).

She was three years younger than Trump, but she looks ten years older, and like those aged rich women who go through countless face, and other, lifts. They put on packs of makeup to look younger, and wear gaudy jewelry and glittery clothes from their small fortunes usually obtained through alimonies from their various divorces. They always miserable.

Ivana has had her string of boyfriends and husbands, but none stuck and she seems back to being alone again. She is a painful reminder of Trump's "love" of women, something (and someone) which he would rather keep out of the limelight. She is his reject.

67-year -0ld Ivana in 2016 vacationing in in St. Tropez with her fourth ex-husband
(whom she divorced n 2009) and who is now her on-again-of-again companion.
He is 23 years younger than her and they were marred only a year.

His second wife on whom me married five years after his divorce from Ivana. He had cheated on Ivana, who confronted Marla on a ski slope in Colorado. Marla later divorced Trump after she cheated on him.

“You b..., leave my husband alone” was the cry of anguish from wronged first wife Ivana on a ski slope in Colorado, in 1989 a year before Trump divorces her for Marla Maples, the woman on the slopes

Goddess on a New York Rooftop, Marla Maples, in 1990, on Vanity Fair
The magazine which published her and Trump's "love story" a year after he started cheated on Ivana with her, and two years before Trump becoming Trump's second wife.
Marla and Trump divorced in 1999, after five years of marriage. She was the alleged "cheater" this time.

The women can't help themselves but to take off their clothes. Or attracting pop culture. Marla became a contestant in the long-running Dancing with the Stars, although her stardom is not clear.

The Trump family continues with its crass behavior.

Here is that future senate seat-holder Ivanka Trump, posing in her version of soft-porn, back when she was a model.

Ivanka Trump on Stuff Magazine in 2006
during her "modeling" years and who also then was
the Trump Organization's VP of Real Estate Development

It is no surprise that Melania's indiscretions are hardly worth a mention in the Trump family account, since most of the family's female members behave in a similar fashion.

Melania Trump on the British GQ Magazine cover in 2000,
pre-Trump marriage

Below are Ivanka's mother and stepmother, at her brother's wedding. Ex-wives are expected to show up at their children's various milestone (her son's wedding in this case). But, there is no rule for this. Ivana would have been better off away. The elderly lady is Maria Zelnicek, Ivana's mother.

Mar-a-Lago Club on November 12, 2005 in Palm Beach, Florida.w
Current wife, ex-wife and ex-mother-in-law joined for Donald Jr.'s wedding
Trump Jr. with Melania seems to be on the way

And the heiress:

Ivanka Trump after her speech introducing her father, Republican National Convention, July 2016

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Why Don't You Smile?.....

One of our custodians asked me yesterday after I said hello to him in the elevator: "Why don't you smile?"

I was a little taken aback, but I guess it is a fair question.

What would you prefer: a neighbor who has a perennial grin on her face, or someone who appears to take things seriously and isn't ready with words (and smiles)?

I didn't ask him that of course, but I said after I had gathered my thoughts together (about half a minute): Oh well , I am smiling at you now! How are you?

Fine he replied with a toothless grin and a Mexican accent.

That was why I never bothered to wish him, and his female co-worker, a good day. Each time I seem them, they are conducting their conversation in Spanish. I did ask them once, in Spanish, if they were Mexican, and they told me that they came from El Salvador.

What are El Salvador cleaning people doing in our Canadian condo?

The other side of the equation, of course, is that almost all the elevator riders I am with never say anything to me, and keep on talking to each other in Hindi or Urdu or Arabic and of course in Spanish. I do hear the occasional English, and these days it is an elderly couple with the gentleman always in a hurry to be out of that elevator - a little like me. I've said hello to them a couple of times, but I don't want to trouble them and leave them to their thoughts and worries.

That's why I don't bother with my Canadian niceties.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Labs and Lives

David and Goliath: 1 Samuel 1-58

Gian Lorenzo Bernini
67 in
Galleria Borghese, Rome

( Bernini's David, viewed three ways)


David and Goliath: 1 Samuel 1-58

1 Now the Philistines gathered their forces for war and assembled at Sokoh in Judah. They pitched camp at Ephes Dammim, between Sokoh and Azekah.
2 Saul and the Israelites assembled and camped in the Valley of Elah and drew up their battle line to meet the Philistines.
3 The Philistines occupied one hill and the Israelites another, with the valley between them.
4 A champion named Goliath, who was from Gath, came out of the Philistine camp. His height was six cubits and a span.
5 He had a bronze helmet on his head and wore a coat of scale armor of bronze weighing five thousand shekels
6 on his legs he wore bronze greaves, and a bronze javelin was slung on his back.
7 His spear shaft was like a weaver’s rod, and its iron point weighed six hundred shekels.His shield bearer went ahead of him.
8 Goliath stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel, “Why do you come out and line up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and are you not the servants of Saul? Choose a man and have him come down to me.
9 If he is able to fight and kill me, we will become your subjects; but if I overcome him and kill him, you will become our subjects and serve us.”
10 Then the Philistine said, “This day I defy the armies of Israel! Give me a man and let us fight each other.”
11 On hearing the Philistine’s words, Saul and all the Israelites were dismayed and terrified.
12 Now David was the son of an Ephrathite named Jesse, who was from Bethlehem in Judah. Jesse had eight sons, and in Saul’s time he was very old.
13 Jesse’s three oldest sons had followed Saul to the war: The firstborn was Eliab; the second, Abinadab; and the third, Shammah.
14 David was the youngest. The three oldest followed Saul,
15 but David went back and forth from Saul to tend his father’s sheep at Bethlehem.
16 For forty days the Philistine came forward every morning and evening and took his stand.
17 Now Jesse said to his son David, “Take this ephah of roasted grain and these ten loaves of bread for your brothers and hurry to their camp.
18 Take along these ten cheeses to the commander of their unit. See how your brothers are and bring back some assurance from them.
19 They are with Saul and all the men of Israel in the Valley of Elah, fighting against the Philistines.”
20 Early in the morning David left the flock in the care of a shepherd, loaded up and set out, as Jesse had directed. He reached the camp as the army was going out to its battle positions, shouting the war cry.
21 Israel and the Philistines were drawing up their lines facing each other.
22 David left his things with the keeper of supplies, ran to the battle lines and asked his brothers how they were.
23 As he was talking with them, Goliath, the Philistine champion from Gath, stepped out from his lines and shouted his usual defiance, and David heard it.
24 Whenever the Israelites saw the man, they all fled from him in great fear.
25 Now the Israelites had been saying, “Do you see how this man keeps coming out? He comes out to defy Israel. The king will give great wealth to the man who kills him. He will also give him his daughter in marriage and will exempt his family from taxes in Israel.”
26 David asked the men standing near him, “What will be done for the man who kills this Philistine and removes this disgrace from Israel? Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?”
27 They repeated to him what they had been saying and told him, “This is what will be done for the man who kills him.”
28 When Eliab, David’s oldest brother, heard him speaking with the men, he burned with anger at him and asked, “Why have you come down here? And with whom did you leave those few sheep in the wilderness? I know how conceited you are and how wicked your heart is; you came down only to watch the battle.”
29 “Now what have I done?” said David. “Can’t I even speak?”
30 He then turned away to someone else and brought up the same matter, and the men answered him as before.
31 What David said was overheard and reported to Saul, and Saul sent for him.
32 David said to Saul, “Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine; your servant will go and fight him.”
33 Saul replied, “You are not able to go out against this Philistine and fight him; you are only a young man, and he has been a warrior from his youth.”
34 But David said to Saul, “Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock,
35 I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it.
36 Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God.
37 The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.”Saul said to David, “Go, and the Lord be with you.”
38 Then Saul dressed David in his own tunic. He put a coat of armor on him and a bronze helmet on his head.
39 David fastened on his sword over the tunic and tried walking around, because he was not used to them. “I cannot go in these,” he said to Saul, “because I am not used to them.” So he took them off.
40 Then he took his staff in his hand, chose five smooth stones from the stream, put them in the pouch of his shepherd’s bag and, with his sling in his hand, approached the Philistine.
41 Meanwhile, the Philistine, with his shield bearer in front of him, kept coming closer to David.
42 He looked David over and saw that he was little more than a boy, glowing with health and handsome, and he despised him.
43 He said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come at me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods.
44 “Come here,” he said, “and I’ll give your flesh to the birds and the wild animals!”
45 David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.
46 This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. This very day I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds and the wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel.
47 All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.”
48 As the Philistine moved closer to attack him, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet him.
49 Reaching into his bag and taking out a stone, he slung it and struck the Philistine on the forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell facedown on the ground.
50 So David triumphed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone; without a sword in his hand he struck down the Philistine and killed him.
51 David ran and stood over him. He took hold of the Philistine’s sword and drew it from the sheath. After he killed him, he cut off his head with the sword. When the Philistines saw that their hero was dead, they turned and ran.
52 Then the men of Israel and Judah surged forward with a shout and pursued the Philistines to the entrance of Gath and to the gates of Ekron. Their dead were strewn along the Shaaraim road to Gath and Ekron.
53 When the Israelites returned from chasing the Philistines, they plundered their camp.
54 David took the Philistine’s head and brought it to Jerusalem; he put the Philistine’s weapons in his own tent.
55 As Saul watched David going out to meet the Philistine, he said to Abner, commander of the army, “Abner, whose son is that young man?” Abner replied, “As surely as you live, Your Majesty, I don’t know.”
56 The king said, “Find out whose son this young man is.”
57 As soon as David returned from killing the Philistine, Abner took him and brought him before Saul, with David still holding the Philistine’s head.
58 “Whose son are you, young man?” Saul asked him. David said, “I am the son of your servant Jesse of Bethlehem.”

Saturday, August 6, 2016

The Complaint of Peace

By: Erasmus of Rotterdam
From: The Complaint of Peace

Plato somewhere says, that when grecians war with grecians, (notwithstanding they were separate and independent dynasties) it is not a war, but an insurrection. He would not consider them as a separate people, because they were united in name and by vicinity. And yet the christians will call it a war, and a just and necessary war too, which, on the most trifling occasion, with such soldiery and such weapons, one people professing christianity, wages war with another people holding exactly the same creed, and professing the same christianity.

The laws of some heathen nations ordained, that he who should stain his sword with a brother’s blood, should be sewed up in a sack, and thrown into the common sewer. Now they are no less strongly united as brothers whom Christ has fraternized, than those who are related by consanguinity. And yet, in war, there is a reward instead of punishment for murdering a brother. Wretched is the alternative forced upon us by war. He who conquers is a murderer of his brother; and he who is conquered, dies equally guilty of fratricide, because he did his best to commit it.

After all this unchristian cruelty, and all this inconsistency, the christian warriors execrate the Turks as a tribe of unbelievers, strangers to Christ; just as if, while they act in this manner, they were christians themselves; or as if there could be a more agreeable sight to the turks than to behold the christians running each other through the body with the bayonet. The turks, say the christians, sacrifice to the devil; but, as there can be no victim so acceptable to the devil as a christian sacrificed by a christian, are not you, my good christian, sacrificing to the devil as much as the turk? Indeed, the evil one has in this case the pleasure of two victims at a time, since he who sacrifices is no less his victim than he who is sacrificed by the hand of a christian and the sword of war. If any one favours the turks, and wishes to be on good terms with the devil, let him offer up such victims as these.

But I am well aware of the excuse which men, ever ingenious in devising mischief to themselves as well as others, offer in extenuation of their conduct in going to war. They allege, that they are compelled to it; that they are dragged against their will to war. I answer them, deal fairly; pull off the mask; throw away all false colours; consult your own heart, and you will find that anger, ambition, and folly are the compulsory force that has dragged you to war, and not any necessity; unless indeed you call the insatiable cravings of a covetous mind, necessity.

Reserve your outside pretences to deceive the thoughtless vulgar. God is not mocked with paint and varnish. Solemn days and forms of fasting, prayer, and thanksgiving, are appointed. Loud petitions are offered up to heaven for peace. The priests and the people roar out as vociferously as they can “give peace in our time, O Lord! We beseech thee to hear us, O Lord.” Might not the Lord very justly answer and say, “why mock ye me, ye hypocrites? You fast and pray that I would avert a calamity which you have brought upon your own heads. You are deprecating an evil, of which yourselves are the authors.”

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Behold the fowls of the air:
for they sow not, neither do they reap,
nor gather into barns;
yet your heavenly Father feeds them.
Are you not much better than they?

Mourning Dove
Pastel Drawing
Kidist P. Asrat

It's been almost a year (a month and and day short - there must be some numerical significance to that number) since I posted on this blog. There are a few drafts (three to be exact), but I briefly resumed activity at Our Changing Landscape, and I started something I called Society for the Reclamation of Beauty (more on this later), but for the most part I have just been posting photos, and the occasional communications with other bloggers.

My silence was not a renunciation, but a way to revive my interest and general excitement when I start a new blog post.

For some reason, I felt tired, as though there was nothing more to say.

What an error in imagination! There is always something to say.

I think what I felt was that there was nothing positive left to say.

As I discussed with a friend, this nihilistic, apocalyptic view of the world is anti-Christian and anti-God.

Who am I to judge, and decide, when things are over?

Even in the midst of horror, God would wish us to live. Each step we take in life is a preparation for harder times, making us hardier and more resolute to keep our world and fight for our world. We are sure to meet our ultimate enemy some time. It is better that we harden ourselves now.

Yet, we should also wonder at the eternal cheerfulness of the little bird.

It is telling that got my earthly resolve back almost as soon as I participated in a "Birding With Experts" walk, a program organized by the Riverwood Conservancy, where we meet and greet (so we think!) or pesky little fowl friends, who may grace us with their song, although it is more often with their flight.

Here are some photos I took of some birds at my last visit, along with the woods now almost fully clothed with their green cloaks, all the more easier for our chirping chickadees to hide in.

The Mourning Dove, elusive and shy,
with its silhouette against the early morning sky,
makes that plaintive cry

I'm not sure what this is. I think it is a yellow warbler.
I will ask at our next meeting.

The Indigo Bunting. It was playing hide-and-seek with us, calling out with its song, announcing spring, until it appeared hight up on the bare branches, above us, and any danger (except for that hawk!).

A Red-Tailed Hawk, glancing at our intruding group. He is ready
to circle and pounce on the rodent he's just eyed

Luc Fazio, our steward, as the conservancy calls him. The pole holding the video camera acts as his staff with which to rescue wayward members. I have slight vertigo, even for elementary slopes. and he called out at one time, pushing the pole before me:
"Just hold on!"
"But you won't be able to pull me with that!"
"Just use the stick as a guide, don't cling onto it."
I did as bidden, barely touching the stick, and sure enough, I was out of my hole!

"It's all psychological," said our kind shephard. "I once had a women in my group in Brazil, who wouldn't do as I told her. She fell, lacerated her arm, and we had call for medical assistance."

God forbid that they would have had to call medical assistance for me!

The Credit River, flowing through Riverwood

[Photos By: KPA]
Posted By: Kidist P. Asrat

Sunday, July 19, 2015

"I Will Counsel You With My Loving Eye On You"

(Photo I took at the US/Canada border last April, 2015)

Psalm 32:8
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.
Posted By: Kidist P. Asrat