approaching winter and politics

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The Yemenite Jews have a saying. ‘There are no fish without bones; no life without troubles’. It rhymes in Hebrew, which gives it a little pizzazz. And knowing that non Jews eat certain sea food that are devoid of bones, I suppose that this pearl of wisdom should be looked upon as a cultural tidbit rather than a universal truth. But as I took my morning walk each day this week, looking at the beautiful autumn colors on the vegetation in the neighborhood and in the park, this saying has been going through my mind again and again.

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Here we are in this gorgeous country in the middle east. We have temperate weather. The summer isn’t too hot. The winter isn’t cruel. Nowadays, as we reach the end of fall, and approach winter… after a week of rain, green shoots are seen everywhere, spurred on to optimism by two days of sunshine. We have the sea shore, a short drive from anywhere you might live in the country. A few beautiful deserts, and some mountains too. The lowest land spot on dry land in all the planet, next to the Dead Sea, where you can actually sit on the water’s surface and read a newspaper on a lake that has a depth of three hundred meters, because of the buoyancy of the water. There hasn’t been a serious earthquake in a hundred years, and there are no tsunamis or hurricanes in our area. What more could we request?

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my friend, Charlie

Of course, we have a few vocal minorities… but that’s the sort of thing you have to expect in a modern democracy. After all, the discomfort here is less extreme than what a number of other countries face… see for instance, the US. We have had to endure a few wars, now and then. But the cynics among us point out that more people die from motor accidents than from wars.

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and indoors, soaking up the sun

Yet even though I could argue that we’re enjoying the good life, and are enjoying good fortune, life does have its problems. In fact it seems like it’s a series of ups and downs. And we wouldn’t appreciate the good times without their being interspersed by bad. As we know, when the young have it too good, they often endanger life and limb (or good sense), just to avoid the threat of boredom. In our case, or so it seemed to me this week, our sorrows seem to come from a distended sense of drama.

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For instance, there has been some serious debate in our parliament over next year’s budget. A lot of money is going to be spent on ‘security’. That is, we have to have more police and army to deal with an increasing occurrence of terror attacks, plus we have just recently watched millions go down the drain as expenses in the last war. So it seems that we will either have to adopt an austerity plan or tax the middle and upper classes, who are already paying about 50% of their income supporting the general welfare. But at the same time, word has arrived from Berlin, where some Israeli yuppies are enjoying European culture, and sharing their impressions on Facebook. They report that cottage cheese is cheaper there than here. This news has the young middle class up in arms, and they are demanding free baby sitting, free dental care, and cheaper cottage cheese immediately. They feel that these minimal demands are the hallmarks of an enlightened society.

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At the same time, there have also been some harsh words exchanged in parliament about the definition of our state. Though it was stated in our Declaration of Independence that we have established the state as a Jewish, democratic nation, there are those among us who believe it is a matter of urgency to pass a law making Israel a Jewish state. At the other end of the spectrum, there are those who see our country as a ‘state of emergency’, while still others claim it is a ‘state of mind’. Members of the coalition government became insulted by their own interpretations of what their colleagues said… and all of a sudden, one year after this government was elected for a four year term, I hear that the government is to be disbanded and a new election about to take place. Of course, elections cost money. The coming election will probably cost many cups of cottage cheese.

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And since every one of the public opinion polls in the last few months reveal that the majority of the public see our present prime minister as the most appropriate choice for the job, it is hard for me to appreciate what could possibly be gained. But our dear prime minister assures us that he will be able to do a better job if he gets a bigger majority. The opposition on the other hand, is not impressed by the polls, and assures us that they will do the better job just as soon as they throw out the reigning prime minister and replace him with their own. Still, what about the baby sitting and the free dental care?

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The hard part, though, is listening to political propaganda for the next three months. Ear plugs alone can’t guarantee happiness. And even if they could assuage some of our distress, there is always the danger that we’ll find out that they can be bought cheaper in Berlin.

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84 responses to “approaching winter and politics

  1. We have same meaning but saying in different way, ” Who loves roses must put up with their thorns”… I didn’t know this fish quote dear Shimon. Another beautiful meaningful words. Life is not easy, like climbing to Himalayas… I enjoyed being here through your wisely touches and beautiful photographs. Of course, my best one is Charlie, seems like a big cat 🙂 Thank you dear Shimon, have a nice weekend and new week. I wish you happy December, love, nia

    • Hi Nia, yes we do know that life has its ups and downs, and we have to be able to deal with the difficulties in order to enjoy it. Sometimes, though, we get so involved in details that we forget to see the big picture. Best wishes to you too. And yes, Charlie is a big cat, and very friendly. A joy to have around. My best wishes to you too, for a very good week, and a happy warm month.

  2. Wonderful visit with you. Love you photos. You have such a delightful and wise outlook!

  3. Reblogged this on Nutsrok and commented:
    Lovely post from The Human Picture

  4. This made me laugh….cottage cheese, indeed!:):) Oh Shimon, politics, politics, politics, and of course the bloody politicians that keep the wheels spinning.

    We are also pre major election next May, and all the propaganda and nonsense is revving up to a high level….what can I say?

    One of my new years resolutions is to remove myself even more from the mainstream…..and if that means wearing ear plugs which play beautiful music, so be it.

    And who is Charlie????? He is beautiful….is he Nechama’s new boyfriend?

    By the way, your country is beautiful and as you say it has all the elements which make for a very comfortable life. I am about to watch a documentary about Israel later today and so will report when I have seen it. Meanwhile have a beautiful weekend. Janet. xx

    • Thanks, Janet. I remember back some years, when I had the hope that politics would provide a mechanism to improve the mechanics of society. I have to say, that though representative democracy seems to be the best way, true progress is very slow. Hope you enjoyed the documentary on Israel. We had a very nice weekend, and now it looks like the rain has returned, and it’s gray and cloudy through the window… but still a beautiful day. Charlie is Chana’s cat, and we’ve become good friends, But since Chana’s household includes a (very charming) dog, Nechama has no interest in visiting. I wish she were a little more liberal about these things. But I haven’t been able to convince her. All the best, Janet. xxx

  5. I love your irony and the beautiful pictures! Shimon for Prime MInister!

  6. Oh boy…..I laughed out loud reading this….I’m still laughing as I type!!! You are absolutely hilarious….this should be published IMMEDIATELY in your national paper……I think I will laugh now every time I see cottage cheese. Thanks for this, brilliant! ….and I love Charlie!!!xxx

    • So glad that I was able to provide a laugh, Dina. It’s amazing, the problems we make for ourselves… all the worse when people take themselves too seriously. Wishing you a beautiful week, my dear friend. xxx

  7. A cynic in your old age?
    Reminded me of Ephraim Kishon.
    Berlin? Really?!

    • Ah, what a sweet comment, Rachel. Kishon was really wonderful. Did you see his movie Blaumilch canal? I can still start laughing just remembering how much I laughed when I saw that one. Wishing you beautiful days, and may you always wear that smile you have on your icon. It melts my heart.

  8. It is always something, Shimon. Heavy sigh……Charlie is precious, especially him indoors in the sun. We all need to be more like Charlie. Take care.

    • Yes, Charlie has a very easy going attitude. He doesn’t delude himself with the thought that his vote could make a difference. Thanks so much for your comment, Loisa.

  9. You have a wonderful way of writing, a fine sense of humor combined with deep thoughts and wisdom. I have been to Israel twice within the 80s. Once I’ve been to Jerusalem and it is engraved in my memories although I was teenager of 15 – very insightful and emotional. I loved it. Israel is a beautiful county with warm hearted people. Whenever I hear about the political decisions and the wars going on around for years it makes me sad. The people deserve better. Thank you for making us part of your world and thoughts.

    • Thank you so much for your kind words, Erika. I’m glad that you enjoyed your visits to Israel, and especially my home town, Jerusalem. Unfortunately, we’ve had some hard times with our neighbors in this part of the world. We have a free and democratic society, and this is a challenge, when viewed by by a dictatorship. But over the years, I think we’ve shown that the advantages outweigh all the difficulties. Like other people living in a democracy, our people have a great love and desire for peace. The problem is what to do when you’re attacked. Unfortunately, the picture of us in the international news media is quite warped. But I do believe that eventually people will understand what we’re dealing with.

      • Thank you for your reply. No civil people wants war. Actually they would all live together in harmony without any fights about borders and ground or their origin.It is the politics that delivers a different picture and makes decisions you would never support. I believe that I am not the only one that truly knows that not the inhabitants make the war but the ones on the top. But you are the ones that have to bear the consequences in first place. We made the most wonderful experience with your people even the military helped us out, when we got stuck with a broken car in the midst of the desert. I love Israel and I hope that one day I can stand in Jerusalem again. And happy Chanukka!

        • I can only speak for my own country, Erika. But I assure you that neither the people nor the politicians have any desire for war. Unfortunately, we are surrounded by dictatorships… where they have leaders who don’t have to answer to the people. We have been attacked repeatedly. And in our long history, we’ve learned that turning the other cheek doesn’t help when you’re faced with armed attack. This last summer, we had rockets raining down on our southern cities for months, with civilian population running to bomb shelters numerous times a day, before our government finally decided to hit back. Watching the international news, I had the impression that the facts were sorely misrepresented.

          • I think I understand. Israel is in the situation to simply defend itself on one side and be possibly blaimed for the fights on the other side. I don’t follow the news on a regular base. I stopped that, since (as you write) you cannot always believe what is told. I simply hope that the minds calm down and that the countries realize that they only harm themselves in fighting a war that can never be won.I traveled a lot and in Israel I found the most tolerance towards different religion and origins. I truly hope that the peaceful people in Israel soon may live as they used to. I am glad that you are an israelic voice that reaches out to the world!

  10. Sounds like business as usual in the world of politics the world over Shimon. Save us from politicians and bankers, the only ones who seem to win whatever way things turn out. Enjoyed your Friday post as always my friend. Charlie is a very handsome chap. 🙂

    • Glad you enjoyed the post, Chillbrook. I told Charlie that he’s about to become a celebrity. He wanted to know if that meant he’d be getting more chopped liver. I didn’t make any promises. Thanks for your comment.

  11. I enjoyed the reading, as always. Sounds like you have wonderful weather there. Thank you for sharing your wisdom, Mr. Shimon. Love these beautiful photos. Charlie is lovely, the soaking up the sun is a great capture. 🙂

    • Unfortunately, we’re back to rain and heavy clouds today, Amy. Winter weather. Thank you for your kind words. It’s a pleasure, sharing my thoughts with my friends… as it is recording those little scenes that make life such a joy. And, of course, cats are always my inspiration. They relate to the essence of things… and try to have fun while doing so.

  12. I don’t envy you the season of elections, Shimon. After having survived all the recent negative campaigning (even on the internet – I don’t watch much T.V.), I must say I’m relieved that it’s over. Unfortunately, most of those for whom I voted lost…

    I have a question: should Israel vote to become a Jewish state, would that make it a theocracy?

    • Thanks for your question, Cathy. Jews are an ethnic people who were forced to leave their land by a conquering power (the Romans). We have been persecuted in many different places, and at different times, and for different (declared) reasons. We have been attacked and killed, regardless of whether we were religious or not. More than half of our population is not religious, but still Jewish by culture and social identity. As Jews, we live according to democratic principles, and our laws and government are democratic. The law wouldn’t change any of this. It would just legalize something that is understood as the reality by all who live here. The reason for the law is that we are regularly attacked because of our concern for our own people.

  13. I’m awed and amazed by how much alike everyday people are, even on opposite sides of the world. Thank you for sharing your humor, wisdom, and new friend, Shimon. May you be blessed.

    • One of the things that amazes me, is how much more difficult it is, at times, to get along with those who are closest to us. That’s why we see such unhappiness within a family… fights between brothers, and the like. Yet there are many similarities, as you say, Judy, between all people. And especially when it comes to social relations. Thanks so much for your comment and your blessing.

  14. I like the way you think Shimon! And I like Charlie too 🙂

  15. Thank you for the smiles, Shimon. It’s a wry smile, but one nonetheless.

    Politics and politicians do not change no matter the location. The demands of those that want “free” things reflect on a group that does not understand what “free” means.

    We’re finding ourselves going on longer and longer walks these days.

    • You’re so right, Bill. I’ve often thought that when it comes to material things, ‘free’ is always very misleading. It’s a common marketing technique, but I find it quite obnoxious. On the other hand, going on long walks is a great and truly free pleasure. I’ve been doing it too… and find it brings tranquility as well as good health. Best wishes always.

  16. Ah, if only we all could enjoy our economically-priced cups of cottage cheese in peace, without the nattering of politics spoiling our appetites. In our country (USA) we have all sorts of unusual political practices, such as electing officials, and then forbidding them from having the ability to accomplish much of anything at all, because our Congress and Senate tend to disagree on mostly everything, so every discussion turns into slowly-hardening concrete, eventually stalling out even the most watered-down of ideas or laws that are presented for action. When that doesn’t sufficiently stop any progress at all from happening, then individual states start suing their federal government, or trying to impeach their elected leaders. The only ones continuing to make money are the lawyers and politicians, while the people they represent have empty cups with no cottage cheese anywhere in sight. We may just have to find a map and look up where this Berlin place is located. Especially if we like our cottage cheese.

    Lovely photos of Charlie. He seems to have found himself a couple of friends. Assuming, of course, that Nechama doesn’t mind his company.

    • My daughter Rivka runs a private kindergarten according to the Montessori principles, and she once told me how she convinces the little children to do something that they really don’t want to do. She gives them a choice of two possibilities, and they will usually choose one of those possibilities without resisting to the issue as a whole. It seems to me that there is something like that in modern western politics. We are given choices. We get the feeling that we have a hand in deciding what will happen. But in fact, there are a lot of restraints… and ultimately the path is often taken to avoid bigger problems. It is rare that any of our leaders come up with ideas that are outside the box. Even if the lawyers and bankers make more money than the average worker, experience has shown that in a capitalist country like yours, the general population lives on a higher standard of living than in socialist countries. And in those countries too (though they are very few that have survived the last century), there is also a very slow process of dealing with those who are in real need. What is interesting, is that we always take the advantages of our society for granted, and complain about what we don’t have.

      Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to spark a friendship between Charlie and Nechama. Charlie lives with my friend Chana, and her bitch, Bonnie, and Nechama has a prejudice against dogs. But who knows… maybe she’ll soften eventually. Thanks so much for the comment, Nancy.

  17. … haven’t been here lately … sorry … u are always on my mind … things going on in my life … holding on to a thread, but still standing … Love the pics of Charlie … Love you, Shimon … Always, cat.

    • So glad to see you, cat… and kind of you to think of me. I do know what it’s like when life gets a bit too intense. I’ve been having similar problems recently. Wishing you strength and happiness… and clarity too. with love.

  18. Robert D. Hayes, D.O.

    Took a while for me to comprehend the saying as related to Politics. I am sadly un knowledged about your Politics. (How’s that for english?) 🙂 I can’t imagine cottage cheese being related to an uprising. And then there is the line about non-jews eating non-bony seafood. Which makes me wonder (again, my lack of knowledge) do Jews not eat shrimp and lobster and calamari? Or was that related to politics too?
    We are inundated with politics here. It’s very sad, and I can see the possibility of the collapse of world economy because of our idiot president and the upswing of middle class encouraging teen agers to get pregnant as each baby they have is more income from welfare. Sad. Very Sad.

    • Traditionally, Jews are only allowed to eat sea food that has fins and scales. So shrimp and lobster and calamari are seldom seen in our country though more than half of the population is not religious. I’m rather disappointed with politics. I once had hopes. But the news media is happy to twist anything to get a good story, and the politicians look at their role as a career like any other. Of course, most of us don’t see the big picture. We just see what we have to deal with… what touches us. As you say about welfare, part of the problem is that most people don’t see the whole picture, and are moved by very subjective interests. And the pendulum swings back and forth… going from one extreme to the opposite. Always good to hear from you, Bob.

  19. Oh for the day when the universal element of politics wasn’t the 24/7 politicking..

    • Yes, Mimi, we do get tired listening to the bickering and the narrow view of things that we hear so often from politicians. I think I’ve grown tired of the news. Once a day is fine for me. The rest of the time I prefer listening to music or quiet. Thanks for the comment.

  20. What a familiar story! At least we both live in democracies where we are able to express differing opinions and argue about them.

    • I agree with you completely, Andy. We can’t ever take for granted the advantage of free speech, and different opinions. When I was younger though, and heard of some really stupid move on the part of the government, I would often suppose that they saw things that I didn’t, and understood the complexities better than I did. But now that I’m older than the leaders and representatives, they’ve lost most of the mystique, and affairs of state can lead to pessimism.

  21. If everything was tied to the free babysitting, free dental care and the cheaper cottage cheese…
    I don’t like the “politics” of any kind, if I’m honest to the bone.
    I want a better world for all, without the need to tear the skin off for the petty issues… we have other problems.
    Here, swiss cheese (even if we’re a nation well-known in this respect) is expensive! The dental care we have to pay to the sound of francs (a simple visit to the hygienist for a 30 min. cleaning, cost between 100.- / 150.- CHF)… for an hour of baby-sitting, the price is set on basic wage of parent’s gain, an au-pair costs you (with food and acommodation) 2’000.- francs (and you get a minor daughter in the house as if it were your own, with a nice list of issues to be monitored).
    Switzerland is a country that attracts as bees are attracted to flowers…
    But honey, here is a product that you can hardly share considering the singularity of our tiny country. Our strengths are the social support, health security (which increases the cost of the same as there is social solidarity), and here nobody, but really nobody, suffers from poverty & hunger.
    We could be an example. Maybe. But which nations could take a democracy mixed as in Confederatio Helvetica?
    Most of all, we don’t have war… and our peacekeepers are sent all over the word. Still, I’m a World Citizen… and my Mind and Soul hasn’t boundary!
    Finally your dearest friend Charlie looks like mines… all of them are something so special to us, and their presence makes us forget everything that we would not want to have to live…
    I wish you a lovely week 🙂 claudine

    • I can understand and identify with your dislike of politics, Claudine. The problem is that most of the alternatives to a representative government are even worse. Whether we look at a particular country, or the world as a whole, the more we reach for equality, and fair pay for the workers, the more expensive the commodities will become. It is only when workers are abused, and children are working in factories, that we can buy cheap products. So if we want to have a better world, we have to be ready to share the wealth, and pay more for our enjoyments. Thank you for letting us know about the prices in Switzerland. I think that what happens, is that everyone takes his own advantages for granted, and looks at what is better over at the neighbor’s. I’ve seen the living standard go way up over the years in my country. But it doesn’t always mean that people are happier. I suppose real happiness has to come from inside. Thanks for the comment.

  22. I didn’t realize that cottage cheese was in such demand. I hope it won’t become a campaign issue; otherwise, you’ll have to hear about for the next few months until the new, improved government is installed. 🙂

    • Each election seems to bring new issues to argue about, but they are soon forgotten when the politicians have to stop politicking, and move to activities within the given framework. I think I’ll be listening to more music, and staying away from news programs till the campaign is behind us. Thanks so much for your comment, yearstricken.

  23. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on the current situation–I find it very interesting and I appreciate your dry sense of humor, Shimon. Wishing you all the best!

    • I suppose it’s something of a relief to be amused by campaign issues. One could almost believe that we don’t have any real problems. But on the whole, I have to say that with all it’s faults, a free democratic system is much better than the alternatives. Thanks so much for your comment, Naomi.

  24. I am sorry to be replying at last.I found a rat running in the kitchen so was looking for a cat.I showed it your photograph but you did nothing for it.I need something quite menacing in your expression.See what you can do as it has eaten all the cheese both cottage and Swiss Ementhal.Well i can’t stay here as it may have a second coming… please send your menace immediately or who knows what lights up ’em.
    If you receive this message in terror kindly tell me who you are now..

  25. Don’t leave me in the lurch

  26. It’s very interesting comparing different countries,politics,humor,literature,newspapers.The photographs here add charm to a delightfully witty post which I will recomment to friends.The winter light gives very interesting shadows of the tree trunks.Well done!I look forward to photographs of winte especially in sunshine.

    • I have to admit, that when it’s cloudy or rainy, I don’t seem to find the energy to do much photography. As some of my friends have pointed out to me, many a time, one can find beauty in the winter weather too. But it’s when there’s a little sun or color around me, that I come to life. Thanks for your comment, Nerys.

  27. Haha, I love the comparison to being able to buy things cheaper in another country. Here in Australia, almost anything can be purchased more cheaply somewhere else, especially when our dollar is strong. At one point, it was cheaper to fly over to America, buy a certain computer program and fly back again to Australia, than to go to the local store and buy it there. The argument is that the cost is high because the population is low, and because of that, the price needs to be higher to sustain the national economy. I don’t know if it’s really true, but certainly there are other things to worry about than cottage cheese? 🙂 Though I would never complain about cheaper dental if the quality was maintained.

    Good luck with the propaganda. I hate it as well.

    • I think it is true, that the prices are higher when the population is smaller, and that’s one of the advantages of a united Europe. But it seems to me that the other problem is that some people are always looking across the fence to admire the greener grass at the neighbor’s. I see it as wasted grief. Everyone has some sort of advantage… and other things he can’t stand. Best for us to come to terms with our own circumstances. Thanks for your comment, Jess.

      • I absolutely agree! I have noticed it as a trait in some family and friends of family, and it seems like such a waste! You’re welcome 🙂

  28. Your reasoned thought and deft touch are a balm to my soul. Living in the U.S. is not something I would trade, but it can become a bit of a trial when the Republicans and Democrats decide the time has come to prove to their voters that they are, indeed, quite different from one another. You can hear their caterwauling from one end of the nation to the other, and no particular good comes of it.

    Too many people in our country are dedicating their lives to encouraging anger or fear in the populace. Well, and a sense of entitlement. Jeremiah had it right: “Peace, peace, they cry, and there is no peace.”

    Thank you for this wonderful post. And I do agree that a little withdrawal can be restorative. I just took a week in the country, with no phone, internet, television, radio or newspaper. Miracle of miracle, I survived! The world is still here, and so am I. It’s good to remember from time to time that we’re not the center of the universe.

    • Speaking as an outsider, shoreacres, I actually think it’s better when your two political parties are locked in combat. Because it allows for issues to be aired, and for a discussion of real problems. But I blame the meanness on the news hounds. As newspapers go out of business, and there’s more competition from the internet, those news folks will publish anything to get a good story… and sometimes it twists the reality right out of shape. If only they would find some positive things to notice now and then. But our consolation, as you say, is that the world is still here. Let’s enjoy it.

  29. Thank you for visiting my blog and I enjoyed your post immensely. Yes, when it isn’t one thing is another. The “cottage cheese” might be different but the arguments around it seem pretty much the same everywhere. I hope Charlie keeps enjoying himself and keeping you on your toes. And hopefully we’ll endure the next batch of politicians…if they aren’t too loud…:)

    • It was a pleasure to visit your blog, Olga, and as I mentioned, I read one of your books last night, and it had me thinking for quite a while afterwards. Forgive me for saying this, but I felt that Pat was almost as much to blame for the disaster she was going through as Herman. I believe that a human being has to know when and where to draw the line. Even if he or she is being mistreated. I don’t blame her for her radical revenge in the end, but I blame her for her sympathy towards Herman. Sometimes sympathy and mercy is as much to blame as out and out transgression. We have responsibility for our actions; even when we’re the underdog. But I thank you for giving me something to think about.

      • I don’t disagree. Indeed the final line of the story goes towards that interpretation too. At the very least she has become a part of the problem. I have a few stories where sometimes things aren’t black or white but many shades in between. (Although I market is as a young adult story, ‘Twin Evils?’ that has a bit of the fairly tale in it, also questions goodness and badness and how we can define them.) Mostly I hope my stories entertain although I’m pleased if they can make people think a bit.

  30. What does the adage say; let me think…why have one opinion when you can have three, (whether or not you want one, some, or all of them).
    It never ceases to irritate me just how much money politicians can slosh about freely, except where it would be most socially beneficial, especially when the money so freely dispensed is from the public purse. Defining what would be socially beneficial for your own political and social arena, (tubs of cottage cheese aside) would produce a myriad of answers that not even an election would resolve.
    ….Back to where we started with the adage I think.

    • Actually, my dear menhir, it seems to me that the seriousness of administration is in inverse proportion to the wealth of society. This is true for individual families as well. When we’re starting out in life, we’re usually very frugal, and careful only to spend our resources on those things that can truly advance our aims. Here and there, on a special occasion, we’re happy to have a little party. But then, later in life, when money money is less scarce, we are willing to spend even on what we don’t need, if we see something offered at a good price. Most of the western societies today have become wealthy and insensitive. Thanks for your comment.

  31. I love the dialogue between the text and the pictures. Very good to meet this “you.” With best wishes in this holiday season, Wm. Eaton, Montaigbakhtinian

    • Thank you, William Eaton, for coming by and for your generous comment. As you can see, at times, I’m so invested in living life that I don’t manage to answer comments till later. But I used to write long before the invention of the internet, and I’m grateful that I managed to live to see the fine innovations of the digital age. I remember when type had to be set, and it was a long process to include illustrations in articles… and something of a rarity when a writer or photographer received a personal comment after publishing his work. So this has become a great adventure for me, rather late in life.

  32. Thanks for all your interesting posts. Happy New Year!

  33. Hope the new year will be better than the last and the political scene will improve, too. Wishing you th best during 2015.

    • Well Barbara, you probably know the old joke, ‘better than the alternative’. This is true in many situations. And as ridiculous as the politicians might seem to me at times, I am grateful that we have a democracy, and willing to go along with the will of the majority… even if it differs from mine. Thanks so much for your comment.

  34. May the political world stage share more enlightenment, rather than tightening security. Peace for us all. Charlie is beautiful. ❤

    • I join you, dear Jane, in your prayer for peace. After all, peace is famous for offering security. And how good it is to live in security. Thanks for your kind words about Charlie. I too, think he’s beautiful. Best wishes!

  35. A Happy new year to you. There’s politics and there’s politics. The kind that you must find yourself in, in Israel and the wider Middle East would vex the greatest of thinkers. There’s politics and the there’s politicians who all have a vested interest in the continuing a saga that in large part is of their own making – not ours. Then every so often they look off stage to us, the audience and ask for our endorsement for them to continue doing it for the next 5 years. It’s enough to make us crave cream cheese – what ever the price.

    • Actually, our political system is very unique in the middle east. In most middle eastern countries, if they do have an election, it is often with just one party running, and the victor often gets something like 97% of the vote. Whereas in our country, we have something like 20 political parties, all of which take part in the democratic process, and the government is always the result of a coalition between different (and often opposing) ideologies. I have many complaints and criticisms regarding the process. But even so, I have to admit that there is an integral beauty to democracy, and in our case, it’s certainly better than the alternative. Thanks for your comment, Bill.

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