Showing posts from July, 2019

Who Said "Advanced Society"?

Once upon a time, at the advent of the internet, it was thought that having infinite information at our fingertips would make all of us instructed and better informed. We would see information on different subjects discussed in different ways, and we could create our own informed opinions, based on actual information, and not simply speculation or because we accepted verbatim how our brother-in-law explained something.  Um, no. It's turned out that most people only search for information that will confirm their biases. If that information also calls those who opine differently dumb as rocks, even better. When social media, such as Twitter and Facebook showed up, those with cool heads thought it would mean that people of different ideas would share them and learn to live together. Those with cool heads live on a different planet. A true story follows.  Jamie belonged to a closed Facebook page that followed the political party she favored. From time to time, she would comment o

Goodbye, Salvo

I read in the paper about a week ago that Andrea Camilleri has died. He had a massive heart attack last month and had been in a Rome hospital since then. Between that, and the fact that he was 93, and already blind, I suppose it should have been no surprise. But it is a sad occasion. He was the writer of the Inspector Salvo Montalbano series of novels, set in Vigàta (Porto Empedocle), Sicily. He's also written many other books, and was a script writer for Italian television, but he gained renown after beginning his Montalbano series when he was already seventy, back in the 1990's. His first books were so widely read in Italy, that they were translated to the English from then on, and his fame became worldwide.  I think I picked up one of his first books in the tiny English corner of a bookstore in Santiago. After reading it (I don't remember which one it was), I was hooked, and went online and started buying all the ones published until the moment. We also have one in S


Fifty years may not sound like much, especially not when containing the span of a lifetime. But, when the present is compared to fifty years ago, the difference is sometimes abysmal. This past Saturday was the fiftieth anniversary of man's first trip to the moon. What a difference fifty years make. I don't remember the moon landing at all. The fact that I was almost four months old would explain that. I don't remember if my parents watched it or not. I think I asked my mother a long time ago, but I don't remember her answer. At the time of the landing, we were living in an apartment in East Boston, our first pied-à-terre in the United States. We were there the first six months. Afterward, we moved to 9 Hanover Avenue in Boston's North End, a tiny apartment consisting of two rooms, a kitchen, a bathroom, and a fire escape. I do remember a television set there. It was a large cabinet television, with a small curved screen exclusively in black and white. My parents d

That's Not the Reason

I sat down to watch the live stream of the "Salute to America" the night of the Fourth. I don't know whether I made it to the point at which Trump mentioned how the American Continental Army took control of the airports during the War of 1812 (!) or not, but I quickly stopped wasting my time. This guy has no idea of what the Declaration of Independence, made so many years ago on this day, means. He takes it to mean that it is what enabled America to become the greatest nation on earth. Or, more truthfully, a photo op for him, and a chance to rally his unconditionals around him and his lack of knowledge of the founding of this country. The Declaration of Independence marked a before and after in systems of government. It based the government of a country on the arguments of philosophers such as John Locke. It is a product of the Age of Enlightenment, and as such is an ode to reason and individualism. With the incorporation of the philosophical ideas of Kant, Voltaire,