Cluster Map

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Pollyanna greets you

Titan and Pollyanna like to think of themselves as retirees who are relaxing after years of hard labor and ranting. They have, in their joint persona of T_P decided that it is not fair to their countless fans and readers to deprive them of the wisdom they can dispense.
Yes, Virginia, we have a sense of the absurd. We also think that age is not a big deal; Pollyanna at over 100 and Titan at 4.5 billion hold out hope for all of us to say nothing of Biblical figures.

They will try to alleviate the effects of climate change through which we are all laboring. If you can find a denier, try to keep him/her away from air conditioning--they are not worthy of it. The fact that in the US both the President-elect and his EPA appointee are of that breed does not bode well.

T_P have noted that things have not become better since they retired from active ranting. They have decided, therefore, that they will come back to a schedule, with Pollyanna at mid month and Titan at the end of the month. Their recent move with their amanuenses YandA to a place full of retired people has renewed their energy and desire to bug people. As usual, Titan will rant mightily while Pollyanna will try to be glad, but will allow herself rants about women and girls or blatant human rights violations.

The Charity Corner has found a home on the Miriam Shlesinger HumanRights Action site. Titan and Pollyanna hope that you will visit there, take the actions and make the donations.

Pollyanna, Titan and Yanda hope all their friends enjoy the winter holiday season with Christmas, Hannuka and Kwanzaa awaiting to give us joy.


He was the first US astronaut to orbit the Earth, Feb. 20, 1962.

On February 20, 1962, astronaut John Glenn entered the spacecraft Friendship 7 to begin the first American-manned mission to orbit Earth.
(Photo: NASA [Public Domain] via Wikimedia Commons)

At a time when the US was suffering from lack of confidence in the wake of the Soviet achievements in space, the short, three orbit flight brought back faith that the United States could indeed hold its own against the Soviet Union in the Cold War and might someday prevail. After leaving NASA, Glenn served as a US Senator from his native Ohio for 24 years. The NYTimes has an obituary as does the Guardian.



Kirk Douglas is a great American actor, the last survivor of the Golden Age of Hollywood. He was born to a poor Jewish immigrant family as Issur Danielovitch Demsky and broke out of poverty with the aid of a scholarship to the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. His career really began after WWII when the lead role in The Strange Love of Martha Ivers got him rave reviews and he never looked back. A detailed biography can be found in IMDb and his birthday party is described by the media.
Image result for Kirk Douglas birthday



woman in white with black tape covering her eyes
Girls are more likely than boys to be denied an education, which could open their eyes to new possibilities and job opportunities
Pollyanna calls your attention to a study of the abuse of women shown in the Guardian. Photographer Bhargavi Joshi’s series of images represents the violence and injustices that confront women worldwide, regardless of their age, race, culture, education and socio-economic background. The women are painted white to shift the focus from their physical traits, race or culture to their gender, says Joshi. Pollyanna recommends this series of images strongly--it gets the message about misogyny across most


Malta has become the first country in Europe to ban gay conversion therapy after the parliament in Valetta unanimously approved a bill outlawing attempts to “cure” homosexuals of their sexuality.
Under the new Affirmation of Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Gender Expression Act, anyone found guilty of trying to “change, repress or eliminate a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity and/or gender expression” will face fines or a jail sentence.
A reveller waves a rainbow flag during the Gay Pride parade
The new law states that ‘no sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression constitutes a disorder, disease or shortcoming of any sort’. Photograph: Raul Arboleda/AFP/Getty Images
 Pollyanna is glad and applauds.


Pollyanna is outraged, as are all decent people at the  reports of massacre of civilians as the Syrian-Russian-Iranian axis completes its conquest of Aleppo. Syrian rebels prepared to withdraw from Aleppo on Wednesday after a ceasefire agreement that ended years of fighting in the city and gave President Bashar al-Assad his biggest victory yet after more than five years of war.
Syrian civilians flee towards safer southeastern Aleppo, on December 12, 2016, during an operation by Syrian government
Syrian civilians flee towards safer southeastern Aleppo, on December 12, 2016, during an operation by Syrian government STRINGER/AFP
read more:
There appeared to be a truce of sorts  that should have enabled civilians and rebel fighters to leave the city.  The United Nations earlier on Tuesday voiced deep concern about reports it had received of Syrian soldiers and allied Iraqi fighters summarily shooting dead 82 people in recaptured east Aleppo districts. It accused them of “slaughter”.
“The reports we had are of people being shot in the street trying to flee and shot in their homes,” said Rupert Colville, a U.N. spokesman. “There could be many more.”
The Syrian army has denied carrying out killings or torture among those captured, and Russia said on Tuesday that rebels had “kept over 100,000 people in east Aleppo as human shields."
Fear stalks the city’s streets. Some survivors trudge in the rain past dead bodies to the government-held west or the few districts still in rebel hands. Others stay in their homes and await the Syrian army’s arrival. For all of them, fear of arrest, conscription or summary execution adds to the daily terror of bombardment.
People are saying the troops have lists of families of fighters and are asking them if they had sons with the terrorists. (They are) then either left or shot and left to die,” said Abu Malek al-Shamali in Seif al-Dawla, one of the last rebel-held districts.
Terrible conditions were described by city residents. Abu Malek al-Shamali, a resident in the rebel area, said dead bodies lay in the streets. “There are many corpses in Fardous and Bustan al-Qasr with no one to bury them,” he said.
 Pollyanna hopes the people can really leave safely as reported. It appears now that the truce is at the point of collapsing and the future appears very dim.
Image result for aleppo buses
Buses burn--evacuation stalled


Bob Dylan (born in Duluth MN, cheers!!) received the Nobel Prize for literature this year, which raised some controversy. He did not attend the ceremony, but sent a speech. Patti Smith sang Hard Rain is Gonna Fall. 
She was so excited and nervous that she forgot a line and had to restart. That is OK Patti. Here are the lyrics and they are true today as ever. Click to hear her.
Oh, where have you been, my blue-eyed son?
And where have you been my darling young one?
I've stumbled on the side of twelve misty mountains
I've walked and I've crawled on six crooked highways
I've stepped in the middle of seven sad forests
I've been out in front of a dozen dead oceans
I've been ten thousand miles in the mouth of a graveyard
And it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard, and it's a hard
It's a hard rain's a-gonna fall.

Oh, what did you see, my blue eyed son?
And what did you see, my darling young one?
I saw a newborn baby with wild wolves all around it
I saw a highway of diamonds with nobody on it
I saw a black branch with blood that kept drippin'
I saw a room full of men with their hammers a-bleedin'
I saw a white ladder all covered with water
I saw ten thousand talkers whose tongues were all broken
I saw guns and sharp swords in the hands of young children
And it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard, and it's a hard
It's a hard rain's a-gonna fall.

And what did you hear, my blue-eyed son?
And what did you hear, my darling young one?
I heard the sound of a thunder that roared out a warnin'
I heard the roar of a wave that could drown the whole world
I heard one hundred drummers whose hands were a-blazin'
I heard ten thousand whisperin' and nobody listenin'
I heard one person starve, I heard many people laughin'
Heard the song of a poet who died in the gutter
Heard the sound of a clown who cried in the alley
And it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard
And it's a hard rain's a-gonna fall.

Oh, what did you meet my blue-eyed son ?
Who did you meet, my darling young one?
I met a young child beside a dead pony
I met a white man who walked a black dog
I met a young woman whose body was burning
I met a young girl, she gave me a rainbow
I met one man who was wounded in love
I met another man who was wounded in hatred
And it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard
And it's a hard rain's a-gonna fall.

And what'll you do now, my blue-eyed son?
And what'll you do now my darling young one?
I'm a-goin' back out 'fore the rain starts a-fallin'
I'll walk to the depths of the deepest black forest
Where the people are a many and their hands are all empty
Where the pellets of poison are flooding their waters
Where the home in the valley meets the damp dirty prison
And the executioner's face is always well hidden
Where hunger is ugly, where souls are forgotten
Where black is the color, where none is the number
And I'll tell and speak it and think it and breathe it
And reflect from the mountain so all souls can see it
And I'll stand on the ocean until I start sinkin'
But I'll know my song well before I start singing
And it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard, and it's a hard
It's a hard rain's a-gonna fall.


The Trump presidency is coming at us and we are indeed afraid of what is to be expected. His appointees are the denizens of the Wall Street swamp that he promised to drain.  When the unemployed coal miners of Pennsylvania and West Virginia see that the mines are not reopening because there is no real market for polluting coal, perhaps they might realize that the offer of alternate industries that the Democrats put forward was the preferred option.  The New Yorker presents us with the views of 16 writers on the aftermath of the election. All are worth reading. We expect very little from Trump.

If he compiles an enemies' list as did Nixon, we agree with Taj James "If they create an Enemies/List," says the poet Taj James, "Sign me up." Only by showing our solidarity with those so-called enemies can we hope that the listmakers themselves become the "enemies" of the people. These are words for our unfortunate times.


By Taj James

If they create an Enemies
Sign me up
But that hour has not come

The sun has not set and

Though it is cold 

Winter is not yet upon us
While we still can
Stop them from making an enemies list
but if we can’t stop them 

Sign up
While we still can
Stop them from creating a Muslim registry

and if we can’t stop them 

Sign up
While we still can
Stop them from creating internment camps
but if we can’t stop them 

Show up
While we still can
Stop them from seizing power
But if we can’t stop them 

Bring down their Dictatorship
If they create an enemies list 

Sign me up
That is the only way to love & defend my family and neighbors 

That is the only way to not lose my humanity
when invited to participate 

in the dehumanization of myself and others

in our global human family
If all of the people 

are enemies of the state 

at that point

it becomes clear

that the State is an enemy of the people
We must protect all from violence
Especially those with the power 

to do violence to others.

All those who have lost their humanity
We express our love for them 

by denying their ability to do harm
to themselves and others
Now is the time to show 

our limitless Love
We are building a world in which 

#AllOfUs can thrive
Even those who have lost their own humanity

and don’t have the capacity to see ours
Even those who celebrate our death 

and the death of our children
We believe in redemption 

We believe in healing and reconciliation

For All and for the Whole
But the harm that is done must be repaired
And we must stand against those 

who seek greater power 

to do unimaginable and unthinkable harm
We show our love by protecting all people from harm
They gain that power 

only when we allow them to have it
Let us reclaim our power

In the name of Love.



 Pollyanna is shocked at the news that red cards and sending players off is going to become part of the sport of gentlemen. The new rules state that “threatening an umpire, physically assaulting another player, umpire, official or spectator; or any other act of violence” will be a sending-off offense that will result in a team being reduced to 10 players for the remainder of the match. What is the world coming to asks Pollyanna.
The red-card penalty, which will apply to all levels of competition from Test to village green, is expected to come into effect next October.
The red-card penalty, which will apply to all levels of competition from Test to village green, is expected to come into effect next October. Photograph: Dinuka Liyanawatte/Reuters/Alamy Stock Photo



The writer Irin Carmon discusses the question of what women really think of men in the Sunday Review of the NYTimes.  She makes many valid points including the idea that simply declaring that men are louts and that there is no way of changing that really lets men off the hook for whatever behavior they choose. We see this now in Israel where a general who raped two woman soldiers  under his command is being helped by his buddies in the military justice system to cook up a plea bargain that will keep the slime out of jail. Ms Carmon is right that in a world in which men and women are equal, men would not get the cop-out pass for any kind of action. Pollyanna sincerely hopes that women and men in Israel will raise their voices against the sort of "boys will be boys" treatment that Brig.Gen. Buchris is getting from this colleagues in the military mafia.


Pollyanna would like to link you to a summary of 2016 in science as presented by the science journal Nature. One of the most worrisome problems that is raised is the fate of the planet when the President of the United States thinks that climate change is a hoax of the Chinese. Let us hope that enlightenment comes, although his appointments bode ill for science and humanity.

Another troubling matter is the spread of the Zika virus. 

What we know

  • Zika is spread mostly by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito (Ae. aegypti and Ae. albopictus). These mosquitoes bite during the day and night.
  • Zika can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus. Infection during pregnancy can cause certain birth defects.
  • There is no vaccine or medicine for Zika.
  • Local mosquito-borne Zika virus transmission has been reported in the continental United States. Learn more.
The apparent link to microcephaly in infants in Brazil has not been proven. According to the World Health Organization, the expected explosion in microcephaly cases and other Zika-linked birth defects across the Americas has not materialized, despite the virus’s spread across the continents.
Even in Brazil, extremely high rates of microcephaly remained confined to the country’s northeast region — and researchers began to suspect the influence of confounding factors. In July, Brazilian authorities launched a study to find out whether environmental, socio-economic or biological elements, when combined with Zika infection, could explain the odd distribution of elevated rates. They expect preliminary results early next year. On the other hand, CDC laboratories in the US have found that zika virus replicates in fetal brains and placentas implying that it does cause many birth defects including microcephaly.

The virus is still spreading and the news is still bad.

 A four-month-old baby born in Brazil with microcephaly.


On the positive side of science, we saw the Juno spacecraft get into its polar orbit around Jupiter. The mission’s goal is to determine what Jupiter is made of — including how much water it contains, what powers its Great Red Spot, and whether it has a core. Jupiter is the Solar System’s biggest planet and was the first to condense around the Sun 4.5 billion years ago.
From its orbit around Jupiter, the spacecraft Juno will probe what powers the planet's Great Red Spot.




What happens to people when the worst thing in the world happens to them? What happens when someone just like you has a normal, happy life, and then in one moment, it’s gone? How do you go on living? That is the subject of director Kenneth Lonergan’s beautiful new film, Manchester By The Sea.
We have seen it and we suggest you make sure to see it. It is wonderful and will leave you thinking about basic questions. It is reviewed in the New York Review of Books  (if you can open it) and in Hollywood Life.

Michelle Williams as Randi Chandler and Affleck as Lee Chandler in Manchester by the Sea , 2016
The Affleck/Middleton Project/Roadside Attractions/K Period MediaMichelle Williams as Randi Chandler and Affleck as Lee Chandler in Manchester by the Sea , 2016


We have not visited Zack and SMBC for a long time. Perhaps you will understand why, although we like this, unlike Pollyanna who thinks it is idiotic.


Startup Opportunity

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Pollyanna is with you again

is taking her turn now.She has successfully navigated past the holiday season and is now waiting for some winter weather and rain. Anyone, including President-elect Trump who still thinks that climate change is not real, is totally delusional.

The Charity Corner has found a home on the Miriam Shlesinger Human Rights Action site.  Pollyanna and Titan hope that you will visit there, take the actions and make the donations.


LEONARD COHEN 1934-2016 

Leonard Cohen, the hugely influential singer and songwriter whose work spanned nearly 50 years, died Monday at the age of 82. Cohen's label, Sony Music Canada, confirmed his death on the singer's Facebook page Thursday evening. Cohen was the dark eminence among a small pantheon of extremely influential singer-songwriters to emerge in the Sixties and early Seventies. Only Bob Dylan exerted a more profound influence upon his generation, and perhaps only Paul Simon and
fellow Canadian Joni Mitchell equaled him as a song poet. A biography is given in Rolling Stone.


Pollyanna, Titan and YandA are all shocked at the victory of Donald Trump in the US elections. In general, we have had surprise results recently, including the Brexit and the initial  rejection of the peace deal with the FARC by the Colombian public. It appears that the pundits are totally out of touch with what the masses of people are thinking.  Paul Krugman writing in the NYTimes puts it in basic terms: "We thought that the nation, while far from having transcended racial prejudice and misogyny, had become vastly more open and tolerant over time. We thought that the great majority of Americans valued democratic norms and the rule of law. It turns out that we were wrong. There turn out to be a huge number of people — white people, living mainly in rural areas — who don’t share at all our idea of what America is about. For them, it is about blood and soil, about traditional patriarchy and racial hierarchy. And there were many other people who might not share those anti-democratic values, but who nonetheless were willing to vote for anyone bearing the Republican label."

These failures of prediction tell us that the media and the pundits, to say nothing of the liberal political class, must become more attentive to the needs and frustrations of the people who have been left behind by technological and cultural changes and who see their familiar world crashing around them. It is indeed not realistic of them to believe that the likes of Trump or Boris Johnson will turn back the clock, revive the moribund coal industry and restore the America or Britain that they remember and in which they held a position of value and prestige. This is particularly true of men--one day you are a foreman at a steel plant and the next day you are  on the dole. So you vent your anger and frustration at the voting place in the futile hope that something will change. Punditry has again turned out to be a false guide as shown so clearly by David Schulz in Counterpunch. Of course, one pundit may have it right.

The failure of punditry did not keep Anthony Dimaggio from providing us with an interesting analysis of what the Trump presidency might hold for all of us. It is not a pleasant prospect by any  means. He puts the question why tens of millions of people voted for Trump. There is no single magic bullet answer to this question, and anyone who claims to have one is not giving you the full story. It seems silly at this point to deny considering a mountain of polling data that much of Trump’s support originates from a noxious blend of sexist, racist, and xenophobic beliefs.
The future of punditry is indeed secure:
Image result for punditry

It is worthy to consider the situation of minorities under a regime such as may well evolve under Trump. We consider two cases, an Arab-Israeli who went to the US to seek asylum from the position of a second-class citizen in Israel and the other the case of a native American Jew pondering whether he can still trust the country he loves.  The two articles are important in that the breaking of faith that comes when the regime changes is a trauma toward all should feel empathy.


Ali Afshar a California physician was driving along when he saw a black man in police custody.  As you may or may not know, the incidence and relapse rates of schizophrenia in African-Caribbean males in Western countries has been reported as being much higher than equivalent white male cohorts. E.g.

We found remarkably high IRRs (inter-rater reliability) for both schizophrenia and manic psychosis in both African-Caribbeans (schizophrenia 9.1, manic psychosis 8.0) and Black Africans (schizophrenia 5.8, manic psychosis 6.2) in men and women Fearon et al, 2006 

He saw what looked like severe mental issues with the prisoner and stopped to offer medical help. The reaction of the cops is something you must read.


Enough of politics says Pollyanna and calls our attention to a profile article in the New Yorker by Janet Malcom about the pianist Yuja Wang. At age 29 she is on top of her field and her virtuosity is matched by her mode of presenting herself visually. Yuja Wang has appeared in Israel with the Philharmonic and every concert has been an amazing experience for us

This photograph shows how she attacks the piano. Rather than quote from the profile, Pollyanna says go read it all and be glad that you did.


Ilana Dayan is a major TV journalist in Israel. She has put many a public figure in the frying pan, the latest the PM himself. Pollyanna invites you to read a detailed interview with her by Ravit Hecht. The PM responded to the critique by sending her a vituperative letter which she read out on live television. You can dig out the details yourself, Pollyanna wants you to get into the world of Ilana Dayan. It is worth the read.

 Since we seem to be living in an alternate universe in which people like Trump and Netanyahu are elected, let us look at some whatif's from an alternate
universe--ye gads!!


The Talmud tell us (Avot, IV) Said Rabbi Meir: Look not at the vessel, but at what it contains. There are new vessels that are filled with old wine, and old vessels that do not even contain new wine.
Apparently this applies to classical records as well. The good folks at KUSC (Los Angeles) have compiled a list of the worst record labels. They have come out with the first ten. For example:

Oh…busts…I get it.:
Open the link for the rest of the goodies!!



WUMO show real insight into the male psyche


Friday, October 14, 2016

Pollyanna is glad about the holiday season

is taking her turn now. She spent Yom Kippur with her brother Titan at his lakeshore (methane) synagogue.
and is happy to wish you all a very happy Succot(Tabernacles) holiday, coming up on Sunday night.
אתרוג,לולב,הדס וערבה

They (Pollyanna, Titan and YandA) hope you will try to alleviate the effects of climate change through which we are all laboring. If you can find a denier, try to keep him/her away from air conditioning--they are not worthy of it.
In this holiday blog, Pollyanna will try to be glad, but will allow herself rants about women and girls or blatant human rights violations while mostly trying to be glad and positive. As usual, Murphy will provide companionship, humor and legal advice.

The Charity Corner has found a home on the Miriam Shlesinger Human Rights Action site.  Pollyanna and Titan hope that you will visit there, take the actions and make the donations.



Conductor Neville Marriner, who led the Academy of St Martin in the Fields to become one of the world's most-recorded classical music groups, has died, the academy said Sunday. He was 92.
Marriner, a violinist in the London Symphony Orchestra, joined with several other musicians in 1959 to form a chamber group, which was intended to perform without a leader. The group's mouthful of a name, the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, was inspired by the church in central London where they performed. The rest is history.

We have all enjoyed Sir Neville's musicianship and he will certainly be missed.   He became music director of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra from 1968-77. He then became music director of the Minnesota Orchestra 1979-1986, and directed the Radio Symphony Orchestra in Stuttgart, Germany from 1984-89.He leaves behind a huge discography. The NYTimes has an obituary and the Guardian a personal appreciation by one of his players. 
"Then there’s the famous encore story. Our three stock encores for many years were Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro overture, a Brahms Hungarian dance and the slow movement of Mendelssohn’s Reformation symphony. We had them ready in a prescribed order, all beautiful in their own right, but not when played simultaneously. Neville was standing there waving frantically shouting “idiots, idiots”. I think the Brahms triumphed after about 16 bars..."


Colombians have rejected a peace deal to end 52 years of war with FARC guerrillas, throwing the country into confusion about its future. With counting completed from 98.98% of polling stations, the no vote led by 50.2% to 49.8%, a difference of fewer than 54,000 votes out of almost 13 million cast. Turnout was low, with less than 38% of the electorate casting a vote. Analysis of Colombia’s "Brexit " moment showed  how politicians misjudged popular anger at FARC amnesty. All sides were left shocked by the narrow rejection of the peace deal which would have seen guerrillas guilty of war crimes escape jail.
Those who supported the peace agreement were shocked when the result was "no"

This result means that the deal cannot now be implemented. Polls before the vote predicted that the yes camp would win with a comfortable 66% share. Santos had been confident of a yes result and said during the campaign that he did not have a plan B and that Colombia would return to war if the no vote won. His opponents, led by former president Álvaro Uribe, said a win for their side would be a mandate for the government and rebels to negotiate a “better agreement”.

While it is unlikely that fighting will resume, it is indeed not clear what happens next. Uribe will certainly play a role in the next stage. Pollyanna wishes the best to the people of Colombia and hopes they manage to work out the problems.


Pollyanna is delighted to tell you that on Thursday 22 September, Andrew Holness, the Prime Minister of Jamaica, announced the ratification of  ILO Convention 189 – an international standard to protect domestic workers from exploitation. The Prime Minister announced the ratification in front of a global audience, while attending the United Nations General Assembly in New York (UNGA).

Mr. Holness said, “We are committed to the protection of rights of the most vulnerable among us and to ensure the welfare of domestic workers within the framework of our determination to promote a decent work for all.”

In the three weeks leading up to the UNGA, the Walk Free movement collected 52,412 signatures showing the Prime Minister the international support behind his mission to end domestic slavery in Jamaica. Pollyanna says Cheers and asks all to ensure that their country does the same.


Pollyanna would like to call your attention to an Amnesty International campaign on sexual and reproductive rights of young people in South America. We hear from six activists from South America working together through Amnesty’s It’s My Body! program empowering young people aged 13 to 19 years old to claim and promote their  rights.
Joaquin, from Argentina, and Sofia, from Chile (in the foreground) exchange their point of view on issues related to sexual and reproductive rights at the kick-off meeting of the It's My Body! programme. Lima, Peru, May 2016 © Amnesty International
They are from Peru, Argentina or Chile, yet all share the same goal: make sure they have the power and freedom to demand and access their sexual and reproductive rights. Over five years these young activists will work together to empower others to make informed decisions about their bodies and sexuality, and provide their peers with information and training on issues related to
sexual and reproductive rights.

As they meet for the first time in Lima, Peru, we learn what their participation means to them, and how they intend to change attitudes in the region. Pollyanna recommends that you read the full post and wishes them all success.

In this context Pollyanna is delighted at the action of the Polish Parliament. The members rejected by an overwhelming majority a law that would have added new restrictions to abortion rights. Poland already has some of the most restrictive abortion laws in Europe, with terminations legally permitted only when there is severe foetal abnormality, when there is a grave threat to the health of the mother, or if the pregnancy resulted from rape or incest.

The new law would criminalize all terminations, with women punishable with up to five years in prison. Doctors found to have assisted with a termination would also be liable for prosecution and a prison term. No one can say that Poland is liberal, but a social catastrophe was warded off for the moment.


Pollyanna calls your attention to this organization. The Association for Women's Rights in Development (AWID) is an international, feminist, membership organization committed to achieving gender equality, sustainable development and women's human rights. A dynamic network of women and men around the world, AWID members are researchers, academics, students, educators, activists, business people, policy-makers, development practitioners, funders, and more. Pollyanna suggests that anyone interested in promoting women's rights and gender equality might wish to use AWID as a vehicle of activism.


Usually Pollyanna does not vent in Titanesque manner about politics, but the tragicomedy of the elections in the US is beyond the pale. Let us look to Shakespeare for some insight.
JooHee Yoon
In the early 1590s, Shakespeare sat down to write a play that addressed a problem: How could a great country wind up being governed by a sociopath?

The problem was not England’s, where a woman of exceptional intelligence and stamina had been on the throne for more than 30 years, but it had long preoccupied thoughtful people. Why, the Bible brooded, was the kingdom of Judah governed by a succession of disastrous kings? How could the greatest empire in the world, ancient Roman historians asked themselves, have fallen into the hands of a Caligula?
For his theatrical test case, Shakespeare chose an example closer to home: the brief, unhappy reign in 15th-century England of King Richard III. Read and draw your own analogies.



By Maria Semple
Illustrated. 259 pp. Little, Brown & Company. $27.

Reviewed in the NYTimes by

Maria Semple, 52, is the author of the bestselling Where’d You Go, Bernadette, which was shortlisted for the 2013 women’s prize for fiction and is currently being adapted for a film directed by Richard Linklater. Her latest novel, Today Will Be Different, is about a day in the life of Eleanor Flood, a woman who vows every day that she’ll be a better person. The reviews are favorable and she appears to be a writer worthy of further attention. Pollyanna recommends.

Édith Carron 


Pollyanna is delighted to pass on to you some recent updates from the world of physics. This is a website to which you can subscribe and it is always interesting.
Proxima Centauri as seen by the Hubble Space Telescope. (Courtesy: ESA/Hubble)

An old but amusing What If--beware these wild elementary school teachers.



Friday, September 16, 2016

Pollyanna and Titan are returning in force


and Pollyanna

like to think of themselves as retirees who are relaxing after years of hard labor and ranting. They have, in their joint persona of T_P decided that it is not fair to their countless fans and readers to deprive them of the wisdom they can dispense. Yes, Virginia, we have a sense of the absurd. We also think that age is not a big deal; Pollyanna at over 100 and Titan at 4.5
billion hold out hope for all of us to say nothing of Biblical figures. 

They will try to alleviate the effects of climate change through which we are all laboring. If you can find a denier, try to keep him/her away from air conditioning--they are not worthy of it.

T_P have noted that things have not become better since they retired from active ranting. They have decided, therefore, that they will come back to a schedule, with Pollyanna at midmonth and Titan at the end of the month. Their recent move with their amanuenses YandA 

to a place full of retired people has renewed their energy and desire to bug people. As usual, Titan will rant mightily while Pollyanna will try to be glad, but will allow herself rants about women and girls or blatant human rights violations while mostly trying to be glad and positive. As usual, Murphy will provide companionship, humor and legal advice.

The Charity Corner has found a home on the Miriam Shlesinger Human Rights Action site. Titan and Pollyanna hope that you will visit there, take the actions and make the donations.


This Philippine national who was a domestic worker in Indonesia is under a death sentence. Veloso was arrested in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, in 2010 while carrying a suitcase containing 2.2kg of heroin. Her supporters say poverty made her susceptible to people traffickers, who promised her a job as a maid in Malaysia but instead made her an unwitting drug mule. It is believed in general that she was duped into carrying the drugs. Her execution was stopped in April 2015 with a temporary reprieve hours before she was due to be killed.
Mary Jane Veloso was sentenced to death in Indonesia for drugs trafficking. Photograph: Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images

Her reprieve came after Maria Kristina Sergio, a woman accused of recruiting Veloso, handed herself in to police in Manila. The former Philippine president, Benigno Aquino, made an appeal to Jokowi on the basis that Veloso would be needed as a witness in the case against Sergio.

Pollyanna agrees that drug lords should face prison terms, but is certainly against capital punishment and killing unwitting dupes who are victims of the drug empires.


Erik Satie 1866-1925 

This year we note the 150th anniversary of the birth of an interesting and often underrated French composer. He was scorned by the musical establishment, but has in recent decades enjoyed a revival of interest and appreciation. A complete CD recording of his solo piano music has been published in honor of the anniversary. We refer you to the KUSC site:

Erik Satie: The Complete Solo Piano Music Jean-Yves Thibaudet, piano

A fixture in the avant-garde in Paris at the turn of the 20th-century, Satie was an important influence on such diverse figures as Stravinsky, Debussy,and Philip Glass. This new compilation includes 5 CDs of solo piano music performed by acclaimed French pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet and a bonus CD of four-handed piano music with Jean-Philippe Collard and Pascal Roge. Magnifique!

His short piece Vexation, designed to be repeated 840 times had its world premier 70 years after its composition, on 9 September 1963 before a gathering of off-Broadway actors and artists at the Pocket theater in Manhattan.   It took John Cage and his relay team of pianists, including John Cale who would later co-found the Velvet Underground, 18 hours and 40 minutes to perform the musical marathon from start to finish, playing continuously from 6pm until lunchtime the following day. Patience was rewarded: those who attended were refunded five cents of their $5 dollar ticket for every 20 minutes they stayed, with a bonus for anyone who crossed the finish line. Only one man did; another, as it finished, called out “encore”. Pollyanna is properly impressed.
Portrait of Erik Satie playing the harmonium by Santiago Rusiñol. Photograph: Heritage Images/Getty Images


Hieronymus Bosch 1450-1516 

This year marks the 500th anniversary of the death of Jheronimus van Aken, the Flemish master who signed his works as Jheronimus Bosch. His imagination ranged from a place beyond the spheres of Heaven to the uttermost depths of Hell, but for many of his earliest admirers the most striking aspect of his art was what they described as its “truth to nature.”

The round anniversary has generated two major exhibitions and a spate of books. The New York Review of Books provides an interesting article to those who can reach it. 

The exhibitions and books include:

Hieronymus Bosch: Visions of Genius an exhibition at NoordbrabantsMuseum, ’s-Hertogenbosch, the Netherlands, February 13–May 8, 2016Catalog of the exhibition by Matthijs Ilsink and Jos KoldeweijBrussels: Mercatorfonds, 191 pp., $35.00 (paper) (distributed byYale University Press)

Bosch: The Fifth Centenary Exhibition an exhibition at the MuseoNacional del Prado, Madrid, May 31–September 11, 2016 Catalog ofthe exhibition edited by Pilar Silva Maroto Madrid: Museo Nacionaldel Prado, 397 pp., €33.25 (paper)

Hieronymus Bosch: Visions and Nightmares by Nils BüttnerReaktion, 208 pp., $22.50 

Jheronimus Bosch: The Road to Heaven and Hell by Gary SchwartzOverlook Duckworth, 254 pp., $70.00 Hieronymus Bosch, Painter and Draughtsman: Catalogue Raisonné bythe Bosch Research and Conservation Project Brussels:Mercatorfonds, 607 pp., $150.00 (distributed by Yale UniversityPress)


Hieronymus Bosch: Garden of Earthly Delights by Hans BeltingPrestel, 125 pp., $14.95 (paper) 

The highlights mark links to reviews.
The Garden of Earthly Delights


The world refugee crisis continues to fester. Amnesty International has issued a call for people action. Right now, record numbers of people worldwide have beenforced to flee their homes. But instead of showing true leadership and protecting refugees, most countries are slamming their doors shut.

The world’s wealthiest nations are leaving a handful of countries to cope alone with nearly all the world’s 21 million refugees. Powerful media and politicians are manipulating reality and dehumanizing them, portraying refugees as “illegal”, or faceless “invaders” who are “a security threat”. They are evading their responsibility to protect people fleeing violence, persecution and conflict. And every single day that goes by, their indecision and inaction are causing immense human suffering.
William, 11, is a refugee living in a camp in northern Kenya. “I was born here in Kakuma, but I know we had a lot in Sudan. We had three houses: one for cattle, a shed and one that we lived in." © Amnesty International (Photo: Richard Burton)

But if we can’t rely on our politicians to change the world, we shall do it ourselves. Our recent survey of people’s attitudes across the world showed that 80% of us stand ready to welcome refugees into our countries, communities – even our own homes. Together, we are a movement of people who believe that the things that unite us are far more powerful than those that divide us.  We do not see refugees as a threat, but as people whose lives are under threat-people who need a safe place to start again and a chance to make a positive contribution to society. 
We appreciate the commitment of President Obama to accept 110,000 Syrian refugees, but the 10,000 so far is a  paltry fraction and the attitude of state governors is shameful
Please sign the Pledge.


Pollyanna is very excited about the apparent discovery of an Earth-like planet just around the corner at Proxima Centauri, 4.2 light years away. European Southern Observatory (ESO) officials have finally confirmed that they have discovered a newexoplanet candidate named Proxima b inside the habitable zone of Proxima Centauri - a red dwarf star in our closest neighboring star system, Alpha Centauri. While the experience of other recent "discoveries" that were later debunked (Big Bang echoes for example) should be kept in mind, this finding appears quite solid.
Artist impression of system

Nonetheless, as put so well by the late Carl Sagan, "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence" and David Hume wrote in 1748: "A wise man ... proportions his belief to the evidence", and "No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such a kind, that its falsehood would be more miraculous than the fact which it endeavors to establish." In the case of Proxima b a group of researchers launched a campaign to ferret out the planet. They called this effort the Pale Red Dot — a nod to Carl Sagan's famous description of Earth as a "pale blue dot," and the fact that Proxima Centauri is a small, dim star known as a red dwarf. The results are most convincing.


Here us a link to a timeline of the variation of Earth's temperature. Thank you Munro.

This might be useful depending on the degree of idiocy of the denier you are foolhardy enough to engage in a discussion. As Andy Borowitz pointed out the in New Yorker (June 23, 2015) "Many Americans are tired of explaining things to idiots, particularly when the things in question are so painfully obvious, a new poll indicates...Of the many obvious things that people are sick and tired of trying to get through the skulls of stupid people, the fact that climate change will cause catastrophic habitat destruction and devastating extinctions tops the list, with a majority saying that they will no longer bother trying to explain this to cretins."

On the subject of climate change, Pollyanna is disgusted with the pussyfooting and hypocrisy of scientific organizations refusing to stand up to polluting corporations. In particular, as members of the American Geophysical Union, we signed the petition calling for the AGU to drop support from Exxon. The AGU board just received the petition with 50,000 signatures and we hope it will show courage and integrity.
Image Credit: The Natural History Museum


Here is a What If from the archive
Is there any way to fire a gun so that the bullet flies through the air and can then be safely caught by hand? e.g. shooter is at sea level and catcher isup a mountain at the extreme range of the gun. 
The answer is yes and we find it amusing.

Ed Hui, London 


Our leaders have a wonderful grip on reality