Thursday, January 18, 2018

Driverless Cars, the Good and the Bad

I've been thinking about the new driverless cars that are being tested. Yes, friends, this topic is a change from my usually light subject posts but I find it fascinating since the cars will soon be here. Chandler, Arizona is allowing cars without drivers on its streets and is a hub for testing and developing these cars. Chandler has many wide and flat streets which is a plus for the driverless or autonomous vehicles. This is big news,friends.
Winners. Anyone who is not able to drive is a potential customer for these cars. Many senior citizens (that's me), handicapped people, and also people who might want to have a drink and then drive or are taking prescription drugs that say "do not drive." These people could benefit from having a car that will drive itself at their beck and call. Would people be able to put a young child in a driverless car for a visit to grandma?
Losers. People who drive for a living. Truck, taxi and Uber drivers. That includes people in my family. On the other hand Lyft spokespeople say actually more riders will mean more drivers/hosts will be used to make the experience of using Lyft more welcoming.
Losers. Everyone who values freedom from government watching them. That includes me.
It is predicted that once it is shown that cars without drivers are much safer than we human drivers, within 10 to 100 years, people "for public safety reasons" will be forbidden from driving. Except perhaps the super rich and powerful. Cars driven by "robots" will not be distracted by texting, will stop at each stop sign, will not speed, will avoid hazards, so the potential is for close to zero accidents.
The government surveillance could occur because although you know the way to the liquor store, church, synagogue, etc. the car will not. It will get the directions from a giant computer. That information of every place you go will be available to authorities. In addition, if networks are down, you will be stuck where you are.
I am imagining future scenarios, again "for your own good". The computer notes you have been to a gambling casino once a week. To an ice cream parlor once a week. Too many visits, or too few, to a place of worship or too much gambling or ice cream. Whatever the benign dictators decide.
Do you watch the TV show Humans? It depicts how people are learning to live with synths which are robots which look human. In one plot line a stern synth (human appearing robot) is assigned as his nurse to an old man against his will. The man helped design and create the synths. She/it insists he take pills and eat boring food, etc. and watches his every move in a very tyrannical manner. I recommend the show.
Oh well, this is mainly a problem for the citizens of the future. I do see driverless cars as a boon to many people but with a nasty downside.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

My word is Rest

I had no ambition or desire to choose a word for the year, but recently, reading about a blog friend's choice of her word "kindness", I suddenly felt "rest" is my word for 2018.
After a difficult year in 2017 and a broken heart in 2016 in which I focused on survival, I hope this year will be one in which I rest, love and rebuild.
Also, today I am rather sick and have been resting and fell asleep for an hour at 1:30 in the afternoon, so Rest seems needed and healing.
My aim is not a lazy rest, ha ha, but one to build strength so I can find joy again, and be a support to my sons who are a mighty source of support for me, and to also find the power to help my friends and friends I've yet to meet. And lots of other activities including my hope I may write again, a new book or find a publisher for two that need a publisher home. Rest will remind me that I want to slow down at times. One recent Sunday our minister said that Hurry is a stealer of Peace, and I think Rest will allow space for Peace.
So hello to Rest.
If you have chosen a word or theme for 2018 let me know in a comment. Everyone's choice seems to suit them perfectly. If you aim to enter the year free style without choosing a word I understand and cheer you on too.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Great book about rescued animals "Misfits of Love"

"Misfits of Love: Healing Conversations in the Barnyard" written and illustrated by our fellow blogger, Katherine Dunn.
I wildly admire the author and artist’s talent with words and paint brush as she captures the personalities of her rescued misfit animals. Her farm is brimming with mostly older animals including goats, pigs, dogs, cats, a goose, donkeys and more that she and her husband rescued and created a forever home for them on their farm.
Dunn’s paintings/sketches of her misfits show kindness in the eyes of her subjects and often wisdom. How does she capture that kindness in the eyes and in the tilt of the head? Dunn takes some of her most perceptive misfits to visit people in retirement homes and hurting people visit them at the farm too. One of the misfits is an older donkey named Matilda who has discovered that her inner calling in her own retirement years is to give love, often by standing still as people approach her, pet her and lean gently on her. Rosie the Grumpy Pig and Pino the Healer are more members of her animal family. Dunn’s words and paintings will make you smile, feel wistful and realize that death is part of the cycle of life. I think every thoughtful animal lover will treasure this book and proceeds from book sales go for food and other costs for her Misfits. For more information I enjoy reading Dunn's blog  Apifera Farm which Katherine keeps up to date.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Jingle Jingle What's That I Hear?

Yes, jingle bells are what I hear, on my front door wreath and in my heart too.
Here are some of my decorations; the big tree isn't shown cuz we have lots of ornies to add to it.
Two new stockings for Fluffy and Bounce.
I know Bounce is thinking, what is she thinking of? His new Christmas sweater.
Above are gifts from the Surviving the Holidays program at a local church. This program helps people survive the holidays when we are grieving. From handmade candles to chocolate to a book about heaven and a Christmas music CD, they had us covered with love. Oh and a pack of kleenex for our tears and an ornament to decorate with a word about our loved one. I wrote Kisses on my ornament, cuz that's what Will and I were about.
GriefShare is a national program so look online for a local program if you or a friend or family member are grieving this year. It is free and has a Christian theme. They say it does not matter how long ago your loved one died, you are welcome.
This is the new 24 inch tall tree I bought this year, with twelve birds from National Wildlife Federation.
Are you decking your halls too?

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Book Beginnings: The Four Graces by D.E. Stevenson

Here is the beginning of "The Four Graces" by D. E. Stevenson: "The voice that breathed o'er Eden, That earliest wedding day, The primal marriage blessing, It hath not passed away." Matilda Grace was humming the words to herself as she played it on the organ. She enjoyed playing the organ in her father's church -- firstly, because she knew the instrument so well (it was a very old friend and possessed the faults and failings of an artistic temperament); secondly, because making any sort of music gave her pleasure; and thirdly (why not admit it?), because it really was rather amusing to see everybody without being seen."
This is the second of Stevenson's books I have read, the first was the wonderful "Miss Buncle's Book". The four Graces are the four Grace sisters, and the setting is an English village. The book was published in 1946.
D.E. Stevenson was born in Edinburgh in 1892 and she lived in Scotland her whole life. In her lifetime 7 million copies of her books were sold, in Great Britain and the USA. I like what the author wrote in a short preface explaining the humor the Graces display: The author has found that "All the best people have at least one bat in the balfry."
Rose City Reader hosts a Friday event where we are all invited to post the first sentence or two of a book we are reading.
I am adding this on Monday, Dec. 4. I quickly completed reading "The Four Graces" and loved it. It is charming, happy and all the characters are appealing, except for aunt Rona who barges in and hopes to live with them permanently and sets her cap for Mr. Grace. I ordered another of her books yesterday, "Miss Buncle Married", because this one was so good. Be sure and read "Miss Buncle's Book" before the one I have on order. Happy reading.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving to All

Here in the USA we celebrate Thanksgiving on November 23 this year with a feast, prayers, family and friends.
George Washington declared a Thanksgiving Proclamation of 1789.
"May we all unite in rendering unto God our sincere and humble thanks ---
For His kind care and protection of the people of this country,
For the great degree of tranquility, union and plenty which we have enjoyed. "
Washington continues on and asks God "To protect and guide all nations and to bless them with good government, peace and concord."

And those are my wishes and prayers for all you, my blog friends, all around the world.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Witty insults

I am de-cluttering paper and found a list of insults that I printed out years ago.

Here are a few that might make you chuckle:
"He has the attention span of a lightning bolt." -- Robert Redford
"Thank you for sending me a copy of your book, I'll waste no time reading it." -- Moses Hadas
"He is not only dull himself, he is the cause of dullness in others." -- Samuel Johnson

"A modest little person with much to be modest about." -- Winston Churchill
"In order to avoid being called a flirt, she always yielded easily." -- Charles, Count Talleyrand
"He has no enemies, but is intensely disliked by his friends." -- Oscar Wilde
and in the words of Groucho Marx
"I've had a perfectly wonderful evening, but this wasn't it."
Nitey night all. Sweet dreams.