From the Editor

Maybe Change Has Come

 

 

“Don’t know if you have power yet….I don’t . . . but the church does. We’re open if you and Kate need it at all and…we have a shower!!! :)”

~ My Pastor~

As I made my way into my bedroom to get ready to shower and go to bed, I turned on the television; channel surfed for a few minutes, frankly a bit amazed, at the lack of coverage, of the terrorist attack, on our nation, on October 31, 2017.

I was trying to process what had happened in New York City, once again, but I was also a bit preoccupied with what is going on in our life, something that I felt slightly guilty about.

It had been a long day, preceded by a long week, long month, long summer, and a long year. As you know, when we talk about a long day, sadly, we rarely mean a long day spent with loved ones or at the fair or beach.  Usually, a long day means that we have endured not that we have celebrated.

Thus, I got ready for bed thinking about the fact that tomorrow I must go to the basement, for myself and check the damage, from this week’s storm. The basement, which is half carpeted, was flooded when we lost power, and thus the sub-pump went off; do not feel bad if you do not know what a sub-pump is or that it needs a generator to keep it running when you lose power; I had no clue.  We also had a very large tree fall, which seems to have taken down a smaller tree with it, luckily they did not hit the house; but it does not seem our insurance covers tree removal.

 

 

I have not actually gone to see any of our damage, in person, because I was using an electric hedge trimmer, after having done some work outside, which meant I was rather damp, when I cut the extension cord and preceded to get an electric shock, that eventually led me to hit the ground, where I somehow hurt my foot, that is now in a little air boot, that has me hesitant to either go outside and explore the tree damage or to the basement and see the water damage – but I am on the mend!

When I got into bed, my long day continued with me thinking about how AOL has betrayed me, by insisting that I update to their Gold AOL that honestly does not work as it should. Also, my entire computer, that I depend on for more than I should, is starting to feel like it is on its last leg; and with me the computer problem just like the AOL problem is how much I hate change in my technology.  Do I need to print twenty years of emails this week?

I feel asleep very quickly, thinking about the update Kate had given me on her day and how much had not gotten done in either her world or mine, remembering that I need to do some updating on a website, that I completely forgot.

Oh well, overwhelmed and exhausted, with more on my plate than I want and an endless to do list – sound familiar?

If I slept for an hour, that would be a lot; but I woke up from my nap and thought about an email the Pastor had sent me. She had actually offered me a hot shower – that is a pretty nice thing when you do not have hot water.  As I lay in the dark, I went over her email, in my head.  She had not asked if we had lost power, but had the power been restored, and even more importantly she had let me know that the church was open and ready to help.

Thinking about Pastor Linda’s email, made me feel quite blessed and I scrolled backward, on my timeline to an exchange, that evening, with my friend Linda, who I had recently been able to see when her ship docked in Portland, for a few hours. She had sent me two photographs, which in my app less world, I was not able to previously view.  I am so glad to have a memento of our day together.

 

My friend Linda is a professional photographer, this is her work!

As I continued flipping, in my mind, I settled on two pictures I had posted to my sisters, where they were both laughing more joyfully than I have seen either of them laugh in a very long time, they were taken on Sunday, as a reaction to our tasting “whip cream” made from the water of garbanzos, yes it taste as you might expect.

On the last Sunday’s of the month, our family gathers together for a Blue Bloods dinner.  My older sister had made a comment, on social media, about how nice those fictional dinners seem, and I suggested that a Sunday dinner was most assuredly available to us, if we so chose.  The garbanzo whip cream was an attempt to address our various diets; but I am pretty sure that next time we are going for the Cool Whip.

 

 

I stayed in bed for a while longer, remembering Sunday’s dinner; and how nice it had been. My brother-in-law had offered to help with the dishes, something that I should be embarrassed to admit, but with the exception of my Uncle David, who insisted, I do not normally accept help from men in the kitchen, as this is one of those times where my vintage Cuban side out-weighs my feminist side.  But on Sunday night, Kate’s total exhaustion, we had just come in, from the road, and my sore foot overrode it all, and I said yes, thank God!

 

 

That night, the storm knocked out our power, and on top of everything else, I would have been quite sad to wake up to a dirty kitchen; which normally would not happen, but Kate and I were both completely spent and I do think we would have gone to bed with the kitchen a mess, instead of in order and with the dishwasher having completed its cycle.

My mind circled back around to the note from the Pastor, and I thought about how nice a simple note can make one feel. The Pastor’s note reminded me that before we had left, we had received a lovely handwritten card from Dave and the Stewardship Team, thanking us choosing to be a part of the church.  I have to say that was quite lovely and deeply moving.

I have struggled for a long time to find a church. Of all things, I think I may be too conservative for the church I am attending; but oddly it may be okay, because the church is so welcoming.

I want the church of my childhood, but it does not exist anymore and that truly makes me sad. I have looked for years, especially within the denomination that I was raised.  Apparently, I have issues with change not only in technology, but almost everything else in life; but as I lay in bed, debating whether or not I was going to get up and come read the Pastor’s email again, the thought occurred to me that maybe I actually have a Pastor and a church, and that makes a long day a lot better.

I had not planned to write about this, rather as you already know by the stories I have been sharing, if you are following along on facebook, #MeToo has certainly been on my mind and that article is coming. But as we get ready to think about what we are grateful for, I have to say I am feeling rather amazed that my church is open if I need it – including for a hot shower.  That is all for now.

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 ~
 

 

Ladies in Lavender, UK, 2004, 103 minutes, Drama

Paper Moon, US, 1973, 102 minutes, Classic

Outsourced, US, 2006, 103 minutes, Comedy

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

Run Lola Run, Germany, 1998, 80 minutes, Thriller

Frida, US, 2002, 122 minutes, Drama

The Hours, US, 2002, 114 minutes, Drama

Garden State, US, 2004, 103 minutes, Comedy

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

Connected

 Cryptocurrency

 

Tech-016-300x225

 

Most people, who know me, know I love action movies. Thus bank heists fit right in to my genre of films.  Whether it is Point Break where the leading character disguises his face as one of the United State Presidents or Inside Man, a brilliantly executed hostage situation, or Swordfish which steals money through hacking into a mainframe, or Firewall, where Harrison Ford, designing what he thought would be a theft proof IT system for a financial institution, or one of my favorite movies, Live Free or Die Hard, where the thieves take down part of the electrical grid, which diverts attention from their real job, breaking into the NSA facility to steal the nation’s entire personal and financial records.

I enjoy Bruce Willis movies, and I often joke that Live Free or Die Hard stole my master’s thesis, which was written about protecting the electrical grid in the United States and the possibilities of financial theft in the event that our electrical grid was breached.

So what is the next plot line? I believe we are about to see an explosion in our interaction with cryptocurrencies. What are cryptocurrencies?  Many of us have heard and even have used Bitcoin, but there are many other cryptocurrencies such as Ethereum, Ripple, and Namecoin.  In fact, there are greater than nine hundred cryptocurrencies presently today.  Cryptocurrency is a decentralized digital payment system, meaning peer to peer transactions without a client or server.

The first digital currency was Bitcoin, which was created in 2008, released publically in 2009 by Satashi Nakamoto, a pseudonym. To this day, the identity of Satashi Nakamoto is not definitively known.

Ethereum, a rival of Bitcoin, is an open source platform technology that allows for easier programming for developers. While there are some differences between the two technologies, Ethereum, has become the second largest cryptocurrency after being live for only a couple of years.

Presently, Ethereum is backed by major financial institutions and tech firms such as Microsoft and Intel. Out of the nine hundred plus cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin and Ethereum, have a very good chance to take over traditional banking and are already supported by the International Monetary Fund, IMF.  According to the managing director of the IMF, Christine Lagarde, “Bitcoin and cryptocurrency have as much of a future as the Internet itself. It could displace central banks, conventional banking, and challenge the monopoly of national monies”.  https://fee.org/articles/imf-head-predicts-the-end-of-banking-and-the-triumph-of-cryptocurrency

Which brings us to our next question, is cryptocurrency legitimate and will it be used to replace the United States dollar in favor of a global currency? Yes to all of the above!  While cryptocurrency has had its’ fair share of critics, it is a legitimate source of payment.  As major businesses start to not only get behind the digital currency but support the technology, you will start to see a growth in legitimate decentralized payment systems which will lead to the global currency.

However, while cryptocurrencies are legitimate and are being recognized as such, we likewise see a rise in interest with cyber thieves; leading us to the next question, are cryptocurrencies secure?

Since cryptocurrencies are decentralized the point of attack would not be a masked gunman, holding a bank teller at gunpoint, but identities can still be stolen and I think we are only beginning to understand the possible attack vectors that may exist.

Take for example a recent story of a person who sold all of his stocks and bought on Coinbase, (a platform to buy, store, and sell digital currency), Bitcoin and Ethereum. Both digitally currencies had risen in the market extensively since his purchase.  However, he received a phone call from his cellular provider that they were switching his phone number to another device.  While he told the provider that this was not at his request, and attempts were made to stop the transfer of his phone number, it would be too late.  He ran to his computer, logged into Coinbase, only to see his wallet being emptied in on his screen.  In less than five minutes, his life would change, and his Coinbase wallet, would be cyber robbed.

All the movies above are directly related to what we address daily in the cyber world. Whether we are masking our identity, holding our data hostage in ransomware, or hacking into institutions to steal money, we know that cryptocurrency will have the exact same issues to address, as traditional banks and institutions do today.

Will it be as exciting to see a favorite actor walking in on a movie villain, who has just hit the Enter Key? No, clearly not; but as the financial world continues to evolve and embrace cryptocurrencies, I am afraid that the future of action movies hangs in the balance, along with our paper currency.  Stay safely Connected.

 


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