From the Editor

Peace

 

 

Peace: a state of tranquility or quiet: such as a: freedom from civil disturbance b: a state of security or order within a community provided for by law or custom 2: freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts or emotions 3: harmony in personal relations 4a: a state or period of mutual concord between governments b:  a pact or agreement to end hostilities between those who have been at war or in a state of enmity 5:  used interjectionally to ask for silence or calm or as a greeting or farewell at peace: in a state of concord or tranquility” https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/peace

Recently, I had someone make a comment to me, about what they thought I believed, concerning a ‘hot button’ issue.  Maybe because it had been a long day or because their inference about my feelings, regarding this matter, were so erroneous or perhaps because it just struck a chord; but within seconds of their statement – I feel almost certain we did not let them even finish their sentence, Kate and I immediately began to declare not only where we stood on the matter, but some of the things we are engaged with that “put our money where our mouth is” as it were.

They had perfectly good reasons for having perceived my feelings the way they did; in general, I do not speak about the things I do for others and frankly, it takes a great deal to for me to comment on social media these days, not that I do not, but I certainly weigh the price of my reaction to a meme or article or event. I want peace.

Over morning coffee today, we discussed the Pax Romana; I have always been fascinated by the Pax Romana (27 BC to 180 AD) not just the actual more than two hundred years of peace that the term traditionally refers to, but the notion of what can be accomplished when we live in peace.

Augustus faced a problem to make peace an acceptable mode of life for the Romans, who had been at war with one power or another continuously for 200 years. Romans regarded peace not as an absence of war, but the rare situation that existed when all opponents had been beaten down and lost the ability to resist.  Augustus’ challenge was to persuade Romans that the prosperity they could achieve in the absence of warfare was better for the Empire than the potential wealth and honor acquired when fighting a risky war. Augustus succeeded by means of skillful propagandaSubsequent emperors followed his lead, sometimes producing lavish ceremonies to close the Gates of Janus, issuing coins with Pax on the reverse, and patronizing literature extolling the benefits of the Pax Romanahttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pax_Romana

According to Rome, Oxford Archaeological Guides, edited by Barry Cunliffe, the Temple of Janus, no longer stands; though it has been proposed that the north temple, in the Forum Holitorium, is most likely what is left of the building that once housed the two-faced god of boundaries.  During times of peace, the temple doors, or gates of war, were closed, but when Rome was at war, the gates remained open, providing this god with an unobstructed view.

Augustus (Octavian), who ushered in the famed Pax Romana, closing the gates of Janus three separate times, was a man who came to power because of Gaius Julius Caesar’s murder, a man whose life is most assuredly defined by war, and whose death birthed even more violence and mayhem; yet his adopted heir brought about a time of growth, stability, and prosperity in Rome, because she was not at war.

Recently, I have been craving a Pax Romana, a wide spread peace in all aspects of my life.  How about you?

The most obvious source of dismay is of course all of the political bickering, which we do not seem able to escape; it has permeated everything from the news, to entertainment, to social media, and family dinners, and sadly, there seems to be little hope of any of the discord going away.

I seriously cannot believe that today’s latest flair up is not how we, as a nation, should address the little girls, young ladies, and women being kidnaped, tortured, raped, forcibly converted to their captors religious beliefs and sentenced to a life of slavery, at the hands of Boko Haram and ISIS, but rather whether or not it is proper to put your shoes on the couch?

Honestly folks, I think we were all raised with the dictate that your feet do not belong on the sofa, especially if you have shoes on! I do not care if you are the former First Lady or top advisor to the President or just a guest in my home; do not put your feet on the couch – leave your feet on the floor.  But apparently, poor Emily Post, your work has come to naught, because instead of thinking, talking, writing, and creating meme’s about things that are truly impacting our life and the world we live in, we are more comfortable discussing how a lady should sit.  How has this become an issue of concern for our nation and the world?

Since I was a child, I have been an aficionado of the news. I remember watching the stories about Vietnam, Richard Nixon, and the Yom Kippur War when I was in grade school; and turning on Good Morning America, every morning as I dressed for high school. I have always loved CBS News Sunday Morning, starting with Charles Kuralt, through Charles Osgood, and now with Jane Pauley, who by the way is doing an excellent job of filling some pretty remarkable shoes.  I was madly in love with Peter Jennings, and when Charlie Rose was on CBS, in the middle of night, and I could not sleep he was my go to guy, where I could always count on being informed about something – often something that I had no idea I needed to be informed about it – I still turn in to Mr. Rose on PBS, but not with the same joy I once felt or on a regular basis, something which makes me sad.  (Wishing you a speedy recovery Mr. Rose, may God bless you.)

Repeatedly, as I search for peace, I find that instead of checking in with one of the cable news channels or tuning into the national news, I inform myself by reading a few headlines, as quickly as I can before a state of dismay sweeps over me. Will I be forced to exchange being well informed for peace?  It is starting to feel that way, I must say.

Historically, I know that we often say that war brings innovation, funded through government monies, which are not as readily available in times of peace; but while there are certainly things, like synthetic rubber, which were created directly as a result of war, often what I find is that being in a state of war simply improves and/or provides new uses for things that had already been invented. Arguably, the Civil War, in the United States gave everything from the rail road to the telegraph to the camera a more prominent and vital role in the nation, but these innovations were all in existence before the state of war was declared.

There are things, many things worth fighting for and worth going to war over; I cannot imagine what the world would look like today, had it not chosen to fight Adolf Hitler, but not all or even most issues can or should be compared to the atrocities committed by the Axis powers during World War II.

I sometimes feel like we are choosing to live in a state of war because it is easier than the work of rebuilding and repairing the damage done through the state of unrest, which we have been living in for years. War can be a distraction that we over romanticize, to give our life purpose, and to give us an excuse to not address the real issues in front of us.

Pick your issue, any issue – at the end of the day it does not matter what issue we choose to focus on, they are really all the same.

How about education? The current state of the public schools in the United States . . . you can rant and rave about over paid and/or under paid teachers, you can talk about Common Core and new math or revisionary history, or funding in urban area verses rural or suburban neighborhoods, you can scream that the problem is that teachers do not care, or the students are disengaged, or the parents do not care, or that the teachers, students, and parents are all drugged . . . go ahead, make your list, hold your placards in protest marches, boycott and sign petitions, post on social media, make memes, share articles, and by all means go to school board meetings; but when you are done, we are right back where we started.  The vibrato has not brought about a single change that is impacting our students, society, or education, it has only distracted us from the fact we were too busy yelling to actually sit and tutor a child or paint a classroom or ask the teacher what we can do to help our student succeed.  We need peace.

After centuries of war, the Pax Romana ushered in a time of productivity, which we still benefit from today.  The peace allowed for advancements in construction from the use of concrete to perfecting how roads are built to the creation of aqueducts.  It also created an environment where people such as Horace, Virgil, Propertius, Tibullus, and Ovid were free to write and record words that still feed, inspire, and enlighten us.  Peace also brought a time of prosperity with growth in agriculture and exports to the empire; as well as advancements in the laws which impact society and the rights we are allowed to exercise.

The Roman ideals were pietas, (a sense of duty), gravitas, (seriousness of purpose), and dignitas, (a sense of personal worth); do they seem attainable today? Can we live a life of duty, purpose, and worth? I have to believe that we can.  (The World Book Encyclopedia, World Book, Inc., 1985)

I am most assuredly, obviously, in favor of free speech and self-expression; but I truly believe that it is time to act. That Is All For Now

Perfect Post Cards – Picture and a Thousand Words

The Curtis-Lee Mansion

 

“May 21st, 1942

Washington, D. C.

Am having a great time. Leaving tomorrow about 9.  Don’t know if well go straight through without stopping or not.

Sue”

The card with its sharp 1 cent stamp that reads United States of America, Industry Agriculture for Defense, is of the Curtis-Lee Mansion, in Arlington Virginia. It is addressed to Mary Jenkins of South Carolina, and sent five months into World War II.

On the back of the beautiful linen card with its bursting colors, it states: “The Curtis-Lee Mansion, in Arlington, Va., was the home of George Washington Parke Curtis, adopted son of Washington. It was afterward the home of Colonel Robert E. Lee, whose wife was Mary Curtis.  During the Civil War the Arlington Estate became a military cemetery.  The Mansion is preserved as it was in the days of Curtis and Lee.”

What it fails to mention is that is a post card from the Arlington National Cemetery – perspective is everything.

 

Connected

Digital Life and Death

 

Tech-016-300x225

 

What will your digital legacy be and who will manage your digital life once you die? Tough questions, but they don’t necessarily have to be difficult if managed, while you are in control.

Just as we should have a will that helps our loved ones deal with the assets of our life, we should now have one for our digital life. The fact is, many of our assets are digital, but have you given someone the key with which to unlock your digital life, once you are gone?

We have a large digital footprint today that is a part of our life. What is considered a digital asset? A digital asset can be your email, digital pictures, social media profiles, mobile phone, iTunes, Kindle, video games, financial assets, bitcoins, and any data files whether online or stored locally, as well as online shopping profiles, are all considered a digital asset.  Now, who has access to your digital life? Is there anyone who knows what you want done with your Facebook profile for example?

You need to have a roadmap to your digital life in the event of your death that can unlock your will. Many people handle their affairs online, from taxes to insurance to healthcare and every day business, such as the electricity and water bills. Can the person you are sharing your life with, step in and take over what you do?  What about your digital content such as online magazines, blogs, or any other intellectual digital property.  Does someone know what to do with your digital content?

What would a digital will look like and what would be the most important steps needed to secure your digital afterlife?

First, let us look at your mobile device, phone, iPad or tablet? Does someone have access to unlock your digital devices?  Once in your digital device, are there items that you would want deleted or shared?  You are giving someone access that you trust will do what you want them to do.

Second, what about your laptop or computer? What are the passwords to gain access to your computer?  Is it bio-metric access only, such as a finger swipe?  Consider having another option to access your laptop, in addition to bio-metric.  Once in your computer, are there files that you want deleted?  Do you have content that you want shared?  Are there letters that you want distributed after you are gone?  Photographs that are earmarked for some person in particular, that you want to make sure they receive after you are gone?  Think about making a file, clearly labeled for your digital executor to be able to execute your desires.

Third, what about your email? Often email is correspondence of deeper thought that is shared in confidence, not to be announced to the world.  How would you like your email to be handled? Many times on the road, we will stop at a second hand store were Jill will find old post cards and letters that not only document a moment in a person’s life, but also history!  Maybe, you do not want your account and all your email deleted.  Think about the reason you are keeping some of your older email and decide how you want to handle it, in the event of your death or that you are incapacitated.

Fourth, what to do with your social media profiles? Facebook has an option that you can be memorialized, but you can also have your account deleted.  Other social media sites have similar options and should be considered when thinking about your digital afterlife.

Fifth, the top four items deal with your personal digital life, this next item is truly about others in your life that will need to handle your financial affairs. I always remember a dear friend in her eighties lost her husband and was truly lost when it came to their financial life.  You do not want to put this burden on the person you love who is mourning you!  This step is the most important step, because life has become so digitized.  It is absolutely necessary that your loved one has access and knows all the financial accounts, insurance, and any other monetary digital asset that you were managing.  Keep an encrypted digital document of the financial institution, account number, user name and password.  It is also a good idea to establish the amount of money that should be in the account. Ideally, these digital assets should be edited every six months, even if there is little to no change; it is a good digital checkmark.

Final steps to consider, online shopping accounts should be deleted, especially if you have credit cards stored in your profile, and unfortunately your online media, such as books, movies and music are not actually yours, and the license expires upon your death, but your account should also be deleted.

Your digital legacy is in your hands. How do you want your digital life to be summed up and remembered?  It is truly up to you and you should make it known.  Today, we need to think of every aspect as we allow someone to take over our digital identity to make sure that it is completed with digital dignity. Stay safely connected, even after you die.

 

Film’s Recommended by Marcial

 
This is a trading world and men, women and children, who cannot live on gravity alone, need something to satisfy their gayer, lighter moods and hours, and he who ministers to this want is in a business established by the Author of our nature.  If he worthily fulfills his mission and amuses without corrupting, he need not feel that he has lived in vain.
 
~ Phineas T. Barnum ~

 

American Beauty, US, 1999, 122 minutes, Drama

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, US, 2004, 108 minutes, Comedy

The Green Mile, US, 1999, 189 minutes, Drama

Rain Man, US, 1988, 103 minutes, Drama

Chicago, US, 2002, 113 minutes, Musical

The Upside of Anger, US, 2005, 118 minutes, Comedy

Scarface, US, 1983, 170 minutes, Thriller

The Notebook, US, 2004, 123 minutes, Drama

Million Dollar Baby, US, 2004, 133 minutes, Sports drama

Good Bye, Lenin!, Germany, 2003, 121 minutes, Comedy

Finding Neverland, UK, 2004, 101 minutes, Drama

Spanglish, US, 2004, 131 minutes, Comedy

The Aviator, US, 2004, 170 minutes, Drama

The Bridge on the River Kwai, US, 1957, 167 minutes, Action

Pulp Fiction, US, 1994, 154 minutes, Thriller

The Magnificent Seven, US, 1960, 128 minutes, Western

Zorba the Greek, Greek, 1964, 142 minutes, Classic

O Brother, Where Art Thou?, US, 2000, 106 minutes, Comedy

La Strada, Italy, 1954, 108, Drama

In Bruges, UK, 2008, 107 minutes, Thriller-Comedy

Whatever Works, US, 2009, 92 minutes, Comedy

Good Morning Vietnam, US, 1987, 119 minutes, Comedy

Awakenings, US, 1990, 120 minutes, Drama

Patch Adams, US, 1998, 116 minutes, Comedy

Captain Abu Raed, Jordan, 2008, 102 minutes, Drama

Bandits, US, 2001, 123 minutes, Comedy

Lucky Number Slevin, US, 2006, 110 minutes, Thriller

The Chorus, France, 2004, 97 minutes, Drama

Butterfly, Spain, 1999, 97 minutes, Drama

K-Pax, US, 2001, 121 minutes, Science Fiction

Winter in Wartime, Netherlands, 2008, 103, Drama, Suspenseful

Elling, Norway, 2001, 90 minutes, Comedy

Il Postino, Italy, 1995, 108 minutes, Drama

Under the Tuscan Sun, US, 2003, 113 minutes, Comedy

Les Comperes, France, 1983, 88 minutes, Comedy

Midnight in Paris, US, 2011, 94 minutes, Comedy

Moscow, Belgium, 2008, 102 minutes, Romantic Drama

Keeping Mum, UK, 2005, 103 minutes, Comedy

The Help, US, 2011, 146 minutes, Drama

Il Postino, Italy, 1995, 108 minutes, Drama

Mrs. Henderson Presents, UK, 2005, 103 minutes, Comedy/Drama

Memoirs of a Geisha, Japan, 2005, 145 minutes, Drama

Vitus, Switzerland, 2007, 123 minutes, Drama

Children of Heaven, Iran, 1997, 89 minutes, Drama

Volver, Spain, 2006, 121 minutes, Comedy

Rashomon, Japan, 1950, 88 minutes, Drama

Guantanamera, Cuba, 1994, 104 minutes, Comedy

Little Miss Sunshine, US, 2006, 101 minutes, Comedy

Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears, Russia, 1980, 150 minutes, Romantic Comedy.

The Pursuit of Happyness, US, 2006, 117 minutes, Drama

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, France, 2007, 112 minutes, Drama

Thank You for Smoking, US, 2005, 91 minutes, Comedy

Big Fish, US, 2003, 125 minutes, Drama

No Country for Old Men, US, 2007, 122 minutes, Thriller

Dirty Pretty Things, UK, 202, 92 minutes, Drama

The Edge of Heaven, Germany, 2007, 122 minutes, Drama

There Will Be Blood, US, 2007, 158 minutes, Drama

The Wrestler, US, 2008, 105 minutes, Drama

Bottle Shock, US, 2008, 110 minutes, Drama

The Truman Show, US, 1998, 103 minutes, Comedy

Stranger than Fiction, US, 2006, 113 minutes, Comedy

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, US, 2008, 166 minutes, Drama


The Gecko Says

The Gecko Says

Follow Revolutions and Revelations One thing I’ve never run across during my trips around our Sun is anyone who did not like music. Sure, there’s forms of music we may not care for; but I’ve never heard someone say “I just don’t care to listen to music.” Like you, dear Reader, I too have...

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My Mother’s Favorite Verse

“Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.”~ Jeremiah 33: 3 ~

~ Aristophanes~

High thoughts must have high language.

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