Happy Canada Day!

Happy Canada Day, all! It is a cool, breezy but sunny day here in Lotus Land – hard to believe that it is the first of July since the temperature has not risen beyond 20 degrees yet this summer … Since I have been back from Turkey, I have done the following:

Unpacked and put away my bags.

Vacuumed and dusted the entire apartment, including the walls (really a futile job, since with two shedding beasts, and two long-haired humans, the dust bunnies immediately start to accumulate again. However, if it was never done, the four of us would have to poke our heads out of our respective dust burrows to breathe).

Gotten rid of many years worth of accumulated “stuff” gracing every flat surface and the tiny apartment storage room (not all of it, mind you, just a portion of it that I could bear to part with, pack rat that I am). Cleaned out my closet of clothes that I haven’t worn for a while. Boxed up books that I will never  read again. Several bags full were taken to the Wildlife Rescue Thrift Store on Granville, our favorite charity, including several boxes of used, but serviceable, computer bits and pieces.

Extracted all the dead plants and shrubs from the planters, swept up the accumulated dirt and vegetal debris, home to spiders, worms and other assorted wildlife, and washed the terraces and balcony on my hands and knees.

Planted new perennials and bedding plants in the newly cleaned planters.

Removed my artwork and other bits and pieces from the apartment storage room to the larger storage lockers downstairs – now we actually have room to store things in the storage room. Rearranged stuff in the storage room to maximize available space. Ty had previously completed the much bigger job of moving our stored stuff from the storage facility down the street to the lockers in our building.

Packed away boxes of books for later rearrangement on the built-in bookshelves that Ty is going to install in the computer room.

Begun an InDesign book. I plan to make four books about my trip this spring, one on the art work I did in Cappadocia, one on the artwork I did in Kas and Gumusluk, one on landscape, and the last on ruination.  These will be illustrated “coffee-table” style texts which I may or may not actually print, depending upon the cost. But they will be published on the web as “flipping books”, virtual books exactly like actual physical entities.

We have also had plenty of time to ride around on our bikes, have drinks on patios, go to the beach, and play with the dog, the usual summertime fun; even though it’s unseasonably cool, it is still beautiful and sunny here on the west coast. Mind you, all the Turks I know would freeze here at these temperatures. (I am reminded of the stories that I have heard from more than one source of Turks marrying Europeans, moving to their spouses’ countries of origin, and being miserably unhappy there, not simply because of the weather, but certainly the coldness of both weather and culture would be hard for them to bear).

See a few pictures here.

Yesterday a plane crashed into the Indian Ocean off the coast of east Africa with 153 people on board. Although I am not a terrified flyer, I must admit that the more I fly, the more I think about the possibilities of disaster. I listen for strange engine noises (as if I’d know whether or not a noise was “strange” …) and am alert to nuances of tone in the voices of the airline personnel as they make announcements. What are the chances of survival if the plane were to have trouble? A 14 year old girl was the only one to survive this latest airplane crash … the sole survivor – why? The BBC has an article that asks “Are children more likely to survive plane crashes” here:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/8128827.stm

Also, a few days ago a train carrying liquified gas exploded at a railway station in the northern Italian town of Viareggio, the beach resort where I have often gone inline skating when in Florence for the LBST Abroad program:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/in_pictures/8125909.stm

Finally, the super-fraudster whose antics I was following last December was sentenced to 150 years in jail for his massive 50 billion ponzi scheme:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/8124838.stm

With respect to this case, I am reminded of the old PT Barnum adages “A fool is born every minute” and “A fool and his money are soon parted”. While Bernard Madoff is a corrupt and conscience-less crook, he could not have played his enormous hustle without the many thousands of investors who wanted in, irrespective of the fact that the gains he purported to offer were impossible to achieve without fraud.

Madoff piggy bank: money goes in and doesn't come back out again Madoff: fraudster extraordinaire

[Between 1999 and 2008 Harry Markopoulos, who worked for a rival firm, tried to simulate the returns that Madoff made. He couldn’t. Mr Markopoulos came to the conclusion that something was very wrong with Madoff’s funds. Mr Markopoulos complained to the SEC several times from 2001 onwards. Even after he left that firm, he devoted his energies to uncovering what was at the heart of Madoff’s amazing returns. In 2005, Mr Markopoulos gave the SEC in New York a 21-page document. He concluded that Bernard L Madoff Investment Securities “is the world’s largest Ponzi scheme.” The SEC’s conclusion? “The staff found no evidence of fraud,” a memo said. All they concluded was that Mr Madoff violated securities regulations by operating as an unregistered adviser.] http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/7939145.stm

“The Madoff scam – if proven – is the perfect fraud for our times – during the boom years America was seduced by the illusion of easy money, and a blind faith that house prices could only up. Now, after the collapse and with the global economy reeling, it seems obvious: it was always too good to be true”.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/7898874.stm

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