Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Some Athletes of Rio (that we met)

One of the most amaing things about this trip to Rio was the chance to met a lot of Athletes.  It was really really fun.  I admire the work ethic and ability of all of these people.  Almost all were charming.  Almost (you'll have to study to see who wasn't).
This is Madison Hughes - the Captian of the Rugby 7s.  He was charming and cute as a bug!

This was Weverton - the Brazilian Goalie. The night after they won the Gold, he was at the airport and took pictures will all of the locals.  He was a huge hit.

This is Mariel Zagunis.  She is a multiple Gold Winner in Fencing.  She was super charming.

Me and Madison and Ed.  This was at another event.  He is fun.

This is Adam Von Koeverden.  You might remember him as Adam Von Kayak - he was the Mascot of the Month a few years ago.  Time has not made him pleasant.  Like, I'm sorry the sponsor brought you here to talk to people.  Next time just wear a sign that says, "Don't fuck with me, I'm cranky"

This is Alev Kelter.  She is on the Rugby Sevens Women's team.  She was also very very nice.  And maybe related to my sister in law!

Wieird picture because of the lighting for the mural. But the young lady is Lee Kiefer, a US fencer.  She wanted to met the artist so I drug her over. (I am not shy - I think we know that).

This was actually the same mural under white lighting.  The artist did this during the party.  It was a blank wall to start!

These are two Canadian Judo Team Member s- they were great.  It is Antoine Bouchard, me, Antoine Valois-Fortier and Eddie

Monday, August 22, 2016

A Quick Update on Rio - More Later

Rio de Janerio and the Rio Olympics were fantastic.  I feel sad about the coverage the Olympics received in the United States.

Cariocans (Rio residents) watching Beach Volleyball Finals in the rain at midnight.  It was great!
No, the city wasn't unsafe.  Rio de Janerio is a city in a developing country, and -as so - it pays to be careful.  But charging all  of Rio (and Brazil) with the crime of certain areas, is like being afraid of the entire country of the USA due to the crime rates in Chicago.*

Rio did a great job.  People loved the Olympics, the Subway got done in time, the city was relatively safe (the number of athletes that were assaulted was lower than the number of athletes that committed rape at the games towards Brazilians).

Ryan Lochte is a tool - and makes all Americans look bad.  He lied, whines and leaves - letting his friends trying to cover it up.  He still can't say he lied. But he is learning from American politicians - so that is no surprise.  PS - No one in Rio believed he was robbed for a second, because a real robber would take his cell phone.  They are worth a ton in Rio.

Anyway, I'll post more later, but the people were great and I hate hearing all the shit from the US about the crime, racism and corruption.  It makes me sad.  When did we all get so freaking bitter?

*Or, imagine if we said all of Chicago is like the very worst parts of the city with riots, rampant murder and police on the take.  If you think that isn't really fair, then that is exactly what Cariocans (Rio residents) think about us.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Really - Not the same at all

This is not at all the same at all...

Robbery and Paying for Damages - The same!

Still, Lochte didn’t walk back completely, defending the way he has described himself and fellow swimmers as victims in the situation. “It's how you want to make it look like. Whether you call it a robbery, whether you call it extortion or us paying just for the damages,” Lochte said. “All we know is there was a gun pointed in our direction and we were demanded to give money.”

Day 2 was great

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

We are about to head off to Brazil for the Olympics

... so before I go, I wanted to post a couple of images from Sarajevo.

Why Sarajevo, because one of Ed's colleagues gave me "The Cellist of Sarajevo" to read and it brought memories of these two buildings.  Both were destroyed early in the war to erase the memory of an independent country.
Above is the National Post Office.  Built by Austrai Hungary in a very Viennese form.  It is beautiful.  It houses the Post Office and one of the Internet / Phone companies and other offices. It was destroyed by someone walking a bomb into it.

Below is the Sarajevo Library.  It has been rebuilt and is used as City Hall. There are no books left, they all burned.  They Serbian forces shelled the buildng and then opened sniper fire on the fireman that came to put out the blaze.  The City Hall / Library is at the far end of Old Town, down in the valley while the snippers and mortars were in the hills around them.

Trump Felt "Boxed In"

Oy Vey!

Trump was feeling"boxed in".

If this is "boxed in", I am stupefied to see what Trump Unleashed is.

As for those of you that (luckily) haven't heard of Breitbart. It is a right wing crazy News / Gossip aggregator that will, occasionally, run original content. That content is proven, pretty much 100%, as false.

Like today they have a headline "Two Months Until Obama gives control of the Internet to Dictators."

I spent a year on ICANN, and it can be more defined as a collection of cats, than Dictators.

AND, the CIA has a back way to take control back anyway (as does Silicon Valley if everyone screws the pooch).

So - no need to go further.  I am, luckily, in Brazil fore the next 5 days and happily say good bye to the shit show that this election has become.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Images from today

So.. I was wandering and saw these things I thought were interesting....

You know, we had 1 set of these Canada Geese and a few little ones less than 3 months ago.  Now they are everywhere!

These two guys watch over the back entrance at our apartment when I take Trevor out.  I think they are talking about me behind me back.

Trying to Put This Year in Perspective - You Need to Step WAY Back

I just read an amazing article, that tried to put current events in some perspective.  There was the day in August of 1914 in Sarajevo that set off "The Great War" (as WWI was know until there was a second one).

In a similar vein,  Slate Author Yascha Mounk explains the significance of the week of July 11th.  Brexit, The Turkish Coup, Donald Trump and Mike Pence, the Terrorist attack in Nice.  He makes some excellent points.

But, like that one day in August in 1914, there is more than one day or one week.

In fact the quote at left forces me to think when, exactly, this whole shit show might have started.  I think it is a complex situation, but not impossible to figure out.

Unfortunately, the answer / solution is tougher to fix than we want.  I think it started, with great force, at the end of the 1980s.

My basic premise is this, Without the shared sense of opportunity for all people, the political institutions will fail.

Technology, television and radio, showed the people of Communist Eastern Europe what opportunities - in both power and consumption - were available in the West Capitalistic countries.

Unable to match the consumption of the West, and unwilling to killing thousands or millions to maintain power, these countries collapsed.*  The cold war ended, and peace came about.  It is important to realize, however, that in a few of these countries NOW, autocratic rulers (near dictators) have been elected to power on the promise to deliver prosperity or traditional society or both (Hungary, Poland and Turkey).

Arab Spring was another manifestation of this problem where the greater populations sees what is possible., albeit with different technology.  The rise of Facebook and Twitter lead to uprisings because the political systems in these countries, originally sold as a path to deliver prosperity to everyone, had been corrupted to deliver benefit to only a few.  AND social media was abel to expose this.

What happened in Brexit and what is happening with Trump / Sanders is this same manifestation that a system designed to bring prosperity to everyone has spectacularly failed some.  And those "some" are highly motivated to change the system. It was easy to sit back and be superior when that "system" was communism or Arab Oil-ograchy. But it is Capitalism and a Democracy that has been hijacked by the monied interests in many ways.

Decent into Authoritarianism (with or without a fig-leaf of Democracy) is a real possibility.  And it is valid, at least in that the system as implemented is delivering real value to many Americans and very little value to many other Americans. For people who don't get value from the current system, it seems (and is in many ways) designed to suck value at the expense of their economic situation.  Authoritarianism looks better than the status quo.

And under Authoritarianism, either the government delivers the goods (like Singapore or China) or that because they cannot deliver the goods, they become increasingly antagonistic towards minorities (like Hungary and Turkey).

So, in some ways, we should be thankful for Trump.  Had he come to this same stage via a 3rd Party, we would be close to armed conflict (think the Civil Rights Riots, but AK47's worth worse).  The fact that he co-opted the Republican Party and that Party still has plenty of "establishment" people that are invested in a healthy Democracy, there is time for the Democrats and the Republicans to fix our system.

By toot-suite kiddies.  We don't have a lot of time. And the disadvantages of the current system are really really clear to see.

This is where I see the Bernie Sanders folks getting super-frustrated.  I think Hillary Clinton is a fantastic candidate for the current system.  But, like Sanders and Trump backers, I don't see her changing that system significantly.  We need to swing the pendulum quickly back to serving the majority of Americans.

*China avoided this by lurching towards Authoritarianism during the Tieneman Square uprising. 

Monday, August 15, 2016

Another Amazing Instagram Account: George and Troja

My Instagram Account Favorites are all over the place, I know this.  One of the best though is @george_and_troja.

George rarely makes much of an appearance.  Troja is a beautiful dog and they live somewhere at the end of nowhere in Norway.  It is lovely because in many ways it is like watching Norway through the seasons through the dogs eyes.

And Troja loves the outdoors and the snow and life. Just look at these and don't smile.  I dare you.

In Other News: Shepard Boy Cries Out "Wolf"... Again

A Healthy Dose of Liberal Nostalgia - Updated

So - I have removed this post.  It was quietly depressing.  I am not depressed, but the world was getting me down.

But then, every now and then Facebook actually gives you something that makes you feel better.  And it did today.

I can't imbed it, but it worked for me.  If you are having a shit day - I suggest this... https://youtu.be/d4ufWg6FKms