From the Editor

Evil is not the Answer

 

I would like to write about the bittersweet moment this morning, of going to my container garden, and harvesting Cuban oregano, and tomatoes, to complete the Johnny Marzetti, I am making for dinner.

Yes, it was wonderful to reap such abundance; but it made me sad to pick the tomatoes, which I tend to save for the great niece and nephews, who so much enjoy, going out to the plants, and seeing what is available to harvest, and consume it, as if it were candy.

I walked by a ruby red strawberry, without stopping; hope does spring eternal.

What I had started to write about, for this column, ten days ago, was someone else’s idea, I have not yet found who to credit the quote to, that we should live our lives, in such a manner, that we do not need to go on vacation. Yes, I know, I have never been one to stay put for too long; I most definitely was born with wanderlust, and I so love the road.

This period of quarantine, has brought me some interesting insights, which I thought might be worth sharing.

But between me planning to write about some of the more positive side-effects, which have emerged in my world, in no small way because of the time covid-19 has created; our world has once again, been too dramatically impacted to ignore the change.

I feel like everyone else I know or have heard speak, or read their comments, regarding what happed to George Floyd is heartbreaking and overwhelmingly sad. There is no way to logically understand what happened to this man; and I certainly do not have the right or the words to try and explain or console anyone in this matter.

Shortly after first viewing the video of Mr. Floyd; I commented to Kate, can you imagine if the police officer was raping a woman? The thought of such a crime being taped and played and replayed, on television gave me pause.

After thinking about how horrible that would be, my mind went to what it would mean to have “proof” of the crime, one which regardless of how many times it happens, the victim is rarely believed.

What would that kind of evidence mean to the countless victims, especially of high profile assailants? You would not have to prove something happened to you, produce medical records or collaborating stories; because there was video. I am in no way trying to usurp this incident.

But then that moment, like the pandemic which has dominated our lives for the last few months, gave way to a whole new trauma. How have you been sleeping? Or are you too dreading what nightfall brings, of late?

Because of the way I was raised, and that wanderlust, I have traveled a bit, which for me ultimately means walked on those cities streets, so many of which I am now seeing the scars of being looted and set on fire. When I see the pictures from Los Angeles to New York City, or Boston to Miami, and Cleveland to Dallas, I feel devastated and find myself crying; no I am not crying for the brick and mortar, but what that building represents.

It is not that the Waffle House, in downtown Atlanta, is owned by a friend or family member, but it is where we shared a waffle with our friends, their first, on what to me was a marvelous road trip; not to mention hotels and other sites in that area, visited on our many different trips to Atlanta, which have all mattered. It saddens me to see what has happened.

I feel like this country that I love is under attack; and not by some unseen virus, which was bad enough, but by mobs of people, who think stealing everything in a Target or at Chanel’s, somehow address inequality.

I hate this; I was starting to feel hope, believing before a dreaded “second wave” we would get a break, and at least be able to go out of our house, without worrying that we were somehow either spreading or being infected by covid-19.

I cannot help but think of all those people, who have lost so much during the pandemic, tried to obey all of the rules, about social distancing, and finally had reopening guidelines, to count on; and now have lost everything.

Historically, we know what happens when we wage a civil war; the casualties are twice as high, as in other wars, because we are fighting ourselves. All the losses are ours.

I can see nothing good coming from these riots. We are destroying our country and setting back the timeline on healing. Do not doubt that America will heal. These wounds will be nursed and we will recover, but at what cost?

I know I should put a happy spin on this, but I am sad. Yes, a list of grievances and suggestions and needs would be nice; I somehow imagine the Oprah’s and James’s of the world are already in possession of those. So where are we?

For me, I go back to the notion of a rape, being captured, on tape. It is an evil, heinous crime, which I will never understand. We all know that it happens, and too many of us have firsthand or secondhand knowledge of it occurring. What can we do to stop it? I do not have an answer, to why evil happens or how we can put an end to it, as a society.

But I do know that perpetrating evil on others, because you have been a victim of evil, is not the answer. As a society, we have to decide that an eye for an eye is not the answer; that action only leaves us all blind. That is all for now.

In the Wild!

A Yellow Chickadee!

 

This lovely little chickadee dropped by for a visit;

and brought a smile to our face!

Poet’s Corner

Pandemic

 

Dare I say the word?
It still seems surreal.
But here we are,
in the middle of a pandemic.
Some horrible virus has spread throughout world;
now whether we want to admit it or not,
our lives have been redefined.
This day should be about something else.
We should all be snapping hundreds of photos,
as we nudge each other to get closer to you
and say the most heartfelt congratulations.
Yes, today was supposed to be about you
and your hard earned achievements.
We should be gathering for cake and presents,
listening excitedly as you share your future plans.
Continents and thousands of miles
should not be dividing all of us
who want to wish you well.
But there is a pandemic.
Celebrations have been postponed,
as we all try to navigate
in a much darker world.
I remember your first dorm room,
and that infectious smile,
which said more than I am going to be just fine,
I plan to thrive!
This is not how I planned to say congratulations,
or let you know how very proud I am of you,
and how much I wish you well.
I know the wrong kind of tears will be shed today,
for which I am truly sorry;
but as hard as it will be,
do not let this pandemic define you.
Your dreams and desires must speak for you,
even if at the moment,
you feel silenced.
Someday,
this will pass;
and you are going to shine!

~ Cristina Jill Mosqueda ~

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 ~
 
Road to Perdition, US, 2002, 117 minutes, crime drama
 
L.A. Confidential, US, 1997, 138 minutes, crime thriller
 
Capote, US, 2005, 114 minutes, crime drama
 
The Jacket, US, 2005, 103 minutes, Science fiction thriller
 
Hugo, UK, 2011, 127 minutes, family drama
 
Source Code, US, 2011, 93 minutes, Science fiction thriller
 
It’s a Wonderful Life, US, 1946, 132 minutes, classic drama
 
Casablanca, US, 1942, 102 minutes, drama/romance
 
How to Steal a Million, US, 1966, 127 minutes, classic comedy
 
Beginners, US, 2010, 105 minutes, comedy/drama
 
The Debt, US, 2010, 114 minutes, espionage thriller
 
Larry Crowne, US, 2011, 99 minutes, romantic comedy
 
Ed Wood, US, 1994, 127 minutes, comedy
 
Keeping Mum, UK, 2005, 136 minutes, black comedy

The Mouse That Roared, UK, 1959, 83 minutes, comedy

The Party, UK, 1968, 99 minutes, classic comedy

Fair Game, US, 2010, 108 minutes, political thriller

The Right Stuff, US, 192 minutes, Drama

The Black Balloon US, 97 minutes, Drama

Shopgirl, US, 2005, 106 minutes, Romantic Comedy

The Tree of Life, US, 2011, 139 minutes, Drama

A View from the Road

A Pick-Me-Up From Wyoming

 

 

Driving west on the I 70, we are cautioned to buckle up, as we accelerate our speed to 80 miles an hour!  Of course, this is a speed limit mandated to bring a smile to Kate’s face; and oddly, a sit back and enjoy the view, look to mine.  I do so love the unencumbered road.

Connected

Covid-19 and Changes to the Cybersecurity Landscape

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Covid-19 has changed the cybersecurity threat landscape. Often, the cybersecurity community looks to reduce the attack surface and provide less opportunity for bad actors. But Covid-19 has opened a very wide door and Advance Persistent Threats are on the rise, targeting businesses and individuals.

Personally, I have had calls from individuals who are working at home, from companies that have my personal identifying information. I have no idea what type of security controls they are using and how they are protecting my information. Thus, individuals have become a very real target.

What is happening and simple steps to protect yourself:

First, beware of scams and terms that lure you with the title; Covid-19. Identity thieves are taking advantage of the fear that has been created with the Coronavirus pandemic. Individuals, who are looking for financial information, medical advice, and basic protection and treatment of Covid-19, are going to malicious websites. The fake websites are collecting personal information stating that updates will be provided to you, if you provide personal information. They have also set up donation sites for victims of Covid-19. Be very aware, before donating money. If you would like to donate money, check the traditional sites such as Red Cross, and Samaritan Purse, as examples of a couple of good organizations which individuals can donate money.

Additionally, fraudulent e-commerce vendors are promoting sale of personal protection equipment, such as face masks, hand sanitizer and even test kits. I would avoid nontraditional websites and look online at Walmart, Amazon, Home Depot, as examples of companies that will be able to provide certain protections for the consumer. And presently, there is only one authorized Covid-19 at home test kit, and you cannot buy it online. The home test kit for Covid-19 is from Pixel by LabCorp, is only provided to healthcare workers and first responders. If you have tried to buy a home kit and provided your medical information, call your insurance company and look for email alerts with explanation of benefits, EOB.

Second, beware of Phishing and Vishing, voice calls looking for information. Individuals and businesses, wanting more information on Covid-19, are more susceptible to fake coronavirus emails, texts and voicemails, such as alerts. Do not click on any links provided in emails or texts. And if someone calls wanting information, just hang up. Be aware, like I stated above, I had calls from my insurance company that appeared at first to be potential spam. I did not provide them information, but had them provide me with the information, on the reason for the call. Companies have their employees working from home, and are masking the individual’s phone number. So not all calls are spam, but remember, there is no reason to ever provide your full social security number. There are other ways in which to identify you, such as your zip code. These times are unprecedented, and policies are changing, being less restrictive on identification as an example.

Third, employees have also been a target, when they are looking for updates, on work conditions. Legitimate looking websites have been spun up, collecting personal information of the employee and even capturing sensitive business data and customer information. Businesses will provide the means on how employees will connect. Again, be aware of how you interact with your personal and business devices.

Fourth, spoofed government communications has also provided another threat vector, personally connecting with a lot of people who want information. While many of us do not go to local news sites, in this instance, I would recommend this avenue. The reader will be able to get the latest information, on what is happening in their community, and what efforts are underway for legitimate help.

Fifth, job sites and applying for unemployment has provided another opportunity, for bad actors to collect all of your personal identifying information, even what you were earning. Fraudulent websites appear legitimate, so again, be aware and know your social security number will never be needed, when applying for a job. And applying for unemployment should only be done at the state department of labor site.

As we emerge from the Coronavirus shutdown, the world will be a different place for us, personally and digitally. We need to stay safely Connected at home as well.


Public Square

Public Square

Key West Memorial to José Martí José Martí, el Apóstol, the apostle, is considered to be the father of a free Cuba; something not yet achieved, in my humble opinion. Today, May 20, is one of the days celebrated as the Cuban Independence Day, and thus I offer you a look at this memorial,...

Nature

Nature

Gardening Through Quarantine (My first keiki {baby orchid} in Maine, and it bloomed!) There...

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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