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
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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.


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