Here I am in the United States, in the City Different, where I discover a bug helplessly afloat in my pet's water bowl. While I try not to hurt a fly, people go about harming other people, strangers, with unimaginable cruelty. While I empty the bowl carefully so as to help that bug get back on it's feet, others seem to want to tear others down and apart, living/feeling people just like themselves. I just don't get it. What happened to empathy?

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, a 19 year old immigrant was well liked and seemingly well integrated and old enough to make and stand by his own decisions, not just follow and obey an admired older brother. He reminds me of an Easter European introvert, sensitive 17 year old buddy I had in school. In fact Dzhokhar reminds me of being a teen, feeling rebellious, protesting the system, feeling alienated and searching for a way of being in a world not of my choosing.

Of course I tried dope, some drugs, it was the seventies, which were for us the American sixties. I happened to not like drugs and happened to have a horror of the idea of getting hooked on drugs, knowing myself all too well, my inability to leave a piece of chocolate alone when in reach, I avoided altered states induced by external means and instead sought out creative means for experiencing heightened states of consciousness and aliveness. Creative self expression did that for me. Crying over paint, moving to the rhythm of my heart, giving a voice to my feelings in extemporaneous expressions did that for me. Once I found ground to stand and rely on, I was home free, I found myself and my power and was finally able to own my experiences, something no one would ever be able to take from me.

What allows one man to take away the life of another man? Life is so wondrous and mysterious and multi-faceted, what, but arrogance and utter disrespect allow one human to deprive another human of a chance at setting things right, a chance at fulfillment, or at the very least redemption? No doubt Dzhokhar, not old enough to enter a bar legally in the US, will face the death penalty and no doubt many will scream bloody murder with their thirst for revenge.

Radicalization must have become easier yet through the internet. Do some of us mistake extremism with passion? Do some choose terrorism in an attempt to make their lives meaningful when they feel alienated, unloved and uncertain about their place in their world, when they have no ground to stand on? What personal tragedies may prompt those insane acts against humanities from apparently sane individuals? Are we all just living on a continuum of relative sanity to total, out craziness?

There is a line that should not be crossed, the taking of human lives, be it by individuals or institutions, that is, has been, and will be my position. Life and death are sacred and ought to be revered, given great care and consideration. What prompts a seemingly sane individual to cross those lines? I just don't get it.

Today's Best Shot

Our pear blossom tree is in bloom.
I was up and out with the sun
in an attempt to capture some of the glory,
this is what I got.
Not easy those red tones,
I had to fiddle a bit in post-processing,
this from my first batch of macros from my new Nikon.

Where To Draw The Line?

“You buy furniture. You tell yourself, this is the last sofa I will ever need in my life. Buy the sofa, then for a couple years you're satisfied that no matter what goes wrong, at least you've got your sofa issue handled. Then the right set of dishes. Then the perfect bed. The drapes. The rug. Then you're trapped in your lovely nest, and the things you used to own, now they own you.” Chuck Palahniuk

I got my new camera, a Nikon D5100 refurbished, only yesterday late afternoon, by the evening I was looking at lenses, almost bought two by midnight, but had the good sense to put a halt to my madness. In consideration are a 55-200 mm lens and a 55 mm, small portable, supposedly very sharp one. Voila, my first decent test shot with what I got for now:

Meanwhile I have been visiting repeatedly that gorgeous, ornate Indian trunk featured below. It did go to someone's home for two days, then got returned. It has nine compartments, something I can deeply appreciate and something that appeals to my need for organization and order, so I might almost make it's purchase a practical necessity for me. Ah, the mind is a marvel!

What I really need is footwear. Six pairs of shoes have holes in their soles and come apart at the seams, for real. Last year I learned how to make do because I could not afford a new pair, or be bothered searching for an alternative. By the way I love my boots the ones I bought on sale at an artisan market in Zurich to discover that a friend of mine had made them. They were the most comfortable ever and they will be made in to planters within days, as soon as this present cold spell is over. They were funky in 2007 when I took this photo, but they managed to outlast those new boots. 

I do need to replace the washer that has served me very well since 1988. It was then an energy efficient front load that fit perfectly in to my closet. Try to find something like it now, something that will last as long and does not cost and arm and a leg and a life's savings. I don't want a dinky  apartment size top loader meant for those renters that will still have to make runs to the laundromat with their bedding and the like. I am overdue on a run to the laundromat on bike again for now. Amazing how much can fit on two wheels. The right machine will show up in time, I like to trust.

The fridge is probably the biggest energy drain in my home and I would save the environment and myself the time and the trouble from regular de-frostings. In a quarter century it had never occurred to me to change my appliances, why would I want to, they were working just fine. But there is the stove with plates that stay hot as the warning light has long gone out. I am afraid I might burn down my home and those of others forgetting one time too a often. I am also tired of cleaning the darn thing and wish for one of those smooth top electric ones. But why pay for a huge oven when all I need is two hot plates and one toaster oven?

Maybe eventually I will have it all together, all done with, but wait, there is the bathroom sink in glass that would make for a much better fit then my outdated current version. And the silk curtains that the Pretty Kitty ripped, I will need to figure what to do with them, to mend or replace will mean to take the whole darn thing apart as my neighbor had been kind enough to prevent the curtain rod from crashing down one more time. To restring the upstairs wooden blinds as they too did their service for over a quarter century, might give a local guy a job, new ones will be out of the question, that is for sure. I dare not even approach the subject of those four wheels, my VW vanagon. Will it be fixable after having been parked for more then two years with an engine that has barely 3,000 miles on it? I love my van, but not it's costs.

Is there ever an end to wanting, wishing and needing? Where is one to draw the line?