We always have cut flowers in the house, sometimes more and sometimes less. Today, this got me thinking…
I wonder when humans first used cut flowers to adorn their surroundings. Surely, cavemen did not. Nor did nomads, who had little water and no means to keep them alive, if they were even so inclined to seek beauty and to care for plant life.
Humans surely noticed flowers and flowering plants, but probably gave them as much thought as they did to anything around them not threatening or needed to sustain life. Survival was more pressing than lifestyle. Once, daily survival became less urgent and settlements were invented, someone must have sought to brighten up dull surroundings with a bit of colour. Cutting a flower was the only alternative, since paintings and photographs had yet to evolve. Because no fossil evidence is possible, we will never know who was the first and when this happened. Not really a problem…
Tonight was the European Song Contest, the biggest non-sports event with about 500 million viewers around the world. Imagine Texas competing against Maine or Georgia against New York and so on. And, then how they would vote for one another.
For some reason the organizers—The European Broadcasting Association, a group made up of all government controlled broadcasters—include Israel and Australia. Most famous winners have been Celine Dion (for Switzerland, although she’s Canadian) and ABBA (Sweden, of course). Most winners are rarely heard from again, even in their own country.
A jury of music experts make up half the vote and nations voting makes up the other half. All countries have equal weight, so votes from San Marino (population about 30,000) are as important as votes from Russia (around 150 million folks). One can see the way national prejudices and current international politics play a role in the voting. People cannot vote for their own country’s entry.
Each year, the contest features some excellent songs, many mediocre songs, and some horrible songs. Most lyrics are in English, because nations seem to think that this will help them win votes across borders. Of course, the French always sing in French. (I do not recall France ever winning.) And, despite having fluency, the English entry usually ends up at the bottom of the scoring. Former Soviet republics usually vote heavily for the Russian entry. (If there were a US entry this year, not matter how good the song, they would garner few votes.) In the past, many countries sought to highlight their musical culture, but these usually lost. Now, songs are chosen by juries and citizen votes in each country, with the idea of winning pushing aside any idea about communicating anything about the country.
You have to check the internet on Sunday, if you have the slightest interest in who won this year. The country with the winner gets to hold the contest in their country nexts year.
I recall writing, after the results of the presidential election were announced, about hoping that things would not become as bad as they might be.
Who could have imagined how bad things would become and that they would keep getting worse?
I will share the words of someone more talented with words:
"I am not proud to be an American at this time. Frankly, I’m not sure what America even stands for—but none of it is honorable, admirable, or healthy under Trump, who is the most detestable and unworthy president in history. His legacy will be the ruin of the nation, the demise of Democracy as the Founding Fathers envisioned it, the rise of ugliness as a national trait, and the stench of mendacity that pervades the planet. Everyday is agonizing under his corrupt reign. He has unleashed the forces of ignorance, greed, bigotry, and lawlessness from their rat nests and roach holes. The GOP is craven, immoral, dishonest, and only self-serving."
Occasionally, one hears the question asked about human’s best/most important invention. The answer heard most is: fire. But, humans did not invent fire, they merely stole the idea from nature. Lightning was starting fires long before the first fish took their first steps on the way to evolution of humans or humans started grilling hamburgers.
The actual answer to the question has surely evolved over time. Using a rod as a lever was pretty significant for cavemen, just as gunpowder was important for white men plundering foreign lands. One choice might be money or some other form of artificial value to be used in the exchange or goods and services.
Today, I think the most important invention has proved to be the bar code. Can you imagine daily life without this simple idea? Everything would be slower…or impossible.
The widespread moves by Republicans to end legal abortions is, at first, difficult to understand. Most abortions are performed on poor people, and those are mostly Black. Who fills the prisons? Blacks. About 15 years after the passage of Roe vs. Wade, crime in the United States dropped. The reason was easy to determine: less unemployed Black youths.
So, Republicans are hoping to fill the for-profit prisons in the future. The seeds they sow now can be reaped for years to come. They can put up a smoke screen about religion and sanctity of life, but this is all about money.
Alabama Senate Votes to Virtually Eliminate Tourism to Alabama
By Andy Borowitz
MONTGOMERY, Alabama (The Borowitz Report)—The Alabama Senate voted on Tuesday to approve a measure that would virtually eliminate tourism to Alabama.
Greg Reed, the Senate Majority Leader, said that, if signed into law, the measure would achieve his fellow Republican senators’ long-standing goal of making tourism to Alabama “so rare as to be essentially nonexistent.”
“This is a great day for everyone in the state of Alabama who has worked so hard to wipe out the evil scourge of tourism,” he said.
The bill now goes to the desk of Governor Kay Ivey, who has been aggressively urged to sign it by anti-tourism activists.
“If Governor Ivey does the right thing and signs the bill, Alabama could start losing billions of dollars right away,” Reed said. “This will be the best thing to keep people from visiting Alabama since Roy Moore.”
The mass hyperventilation waiting for the birth of some kid in England being reported daily across all media was bad enough. Now, headlines are filled with news of who gets to visit the kid and who has not been there, as if this reveals global importance of said individuals.
What is wrong with these people?
Trump Urges Americans to Boycott Chinese Goods and Just Buy Things at Walmart
By Andy Borowitz
WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—Asking for their solidarity in his trade war with China, Donald Trump is urging Americans to boycott Chinese goods and “just buy things at Walmart.”
Trump made his request via Twitter, where he told his fellow-citizens that it was their “patriotic duty” to punish China by buying as many goods at Walmart as possible.
“If you go to a great american store like Walmart, you’ll find lots of cheap sportswear, shoes, and other items for you and your family to enjoy,” he tweeted. “What better way to show China that we don’t need their dumb stuff!”
Shortly after Trump sent those marching orders to his countrymen, the Chinese President, Xi Jinping, offered a muted response. “I’m beginning to see how he lost a billion dollars,” Xi said.
Nb. Of course, most people that voted for the clown will not get this!
Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.