Archive | June, 2013

A Reblog

30 Jun

 

A Letter To My Daughter

AnnaMaria

IMAG0318I don’t know how to start this but I hope when you read this in the future I hope you find understanding to why things went the way they did.

You are now 7 driving me crazy and keeping me filled with happiness when we currently have none but you don’t know that because every day I hide it from you that is why your dad has been distant to you it was not lack of love it was that I failed you and in my heart I felt that I was not worthy of your hugs and kisses.

After the discharge from the Army things quickly went downhill for lack of financial preparation but we had enough to survive a year but I never thought I could not find work after 14 months and becoming homeless was unavoidable.

I don’t have family to fall back on because my side of the family was a very small and extinct.  As for friends well I guess they were distant acquaintances and to seek assistance would have been a chore of broken promises.

Our Church could not help us so one day we stop going for I felt the uneasiness they felt in seeing one of their own not being able to pull his own weight.  They cared I guess but they did not want to get involved they would easily give us to prayers and holds us out to God but God was not helping and I felt they already did their part.  I became bitter for faith without sacrifice is no faith at all and it was better to leave then stay and gather with people that really could not help us or did not know how to help us.

Your mom I don’t want to really say much about your mom for I don’t want you thinking bad thoughts but I will tell you this so at least you have some real foundation about her.  Your mom loves you so much but she really did not want to raise you and your grandparents were too old to raise you so your mom would have easily sold you or put you for adoption but if she had the resources she would have easily raised you like a loving Mother.

I know adoption would have been the best for you but that would have meant that I as your father I really abandoned you and that is so much pain that you really don’t know how much pain it is until you reach that point of love which very few people ever reach.

So for now I am pleading the world for assistance for social services has limited resources to help a father and a daughter due to my gender and their lack of resources.

Just to make things clear Anna I have applied to 300 jobs or more and I have sent letters to CEO’s across America and I guess with all their wealth they could not feel or spare a little compassion to help a man in desperate need.  I was not asking for much just a job something to bring in income and I guess they could not help…

So I write this now and I don’t know what is going to happen in the following weeks but it seems the internet saves things forever and unless a miracle happens and change our present course one day you might want some answers to why and what happened. Hopefully I gave you just enough for you to understand what I was going through and not hate me for my failure to provide you a normal life.

I love you more than you would ever know and for every broken promise and they were just a handful I shed so many tears for it but the promise in raising you and providing you with unlimited possibilities that all parents provide was one promise I hated myself to break and that sealed my fate.

Just always know that I love you my Princess and always know that…

What is going to happen now is so uncertain but I will try my best to keep all your hopes and dreams as beautiful as your heart.

Love You Always

Dad (I hope one day I earn that title)

The link below is provided to ease in donating the little that you can:http://oyolagroup.com/donations.html

Respectfully,

Jorge Luis Oyola
3142 Lundin Drive Apt 6
Manhattan, Kansas 66503
785.320.3655

Rainy Weekend

29 Jun

So far it has been another rainy weekend (“ein verregnetes Wochenende!”). It’s raining ‘Cats and Dogs’ so to speak. And this after it had been quite wet for most of last week. Well, maybe tomorrow, Sunday, is going to be a bit better. 🙂

Viva la Siesta

29 Jun

This is a Copy of an Article in the English Section of the German Magazine “DER SPIEGEL”

 

Viva la Siesta: Should Southern Europe Really Be More German?

An Essay by Max A. Höfer

Southern Europeans see their traditional way of life under threat.Zoom

REUTERS

Southern Europeans see their traditional way of life under threat.

In the wake of the euro crisis, Southern Europeans have increasingly traded their traditions of leisure for more work and more consumption — often at Germany’s prodding. As backlash sets in, this logic must be questioned.

Europe is groaning under German hegemony, but that isn’t something we in Germany like to hear. From the perspective of most Germans, when it comes to saving the euro, Berlin more or less selflessly comes to the aid of bankrupt euro countries by spending vast sums of money. This explains why they find it so incomprehensible when Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben proposes the creation of a sort of “Latin Empire,” consisting of France, Italy and Spain, as a bulwark against the north.

ANZEIGE
 

But Agamben is well received in France and Italy, where he apparently strikes an emotional chord. His central charge is that the euro crisis is forcing Southern Europeans “to live like Germans.” He is concerned about nothing less than the “disappearance of cultural heritage,” namely the “lifestyle” of the Latin nations, and about defending their way of life. The debate, he says, has escalated into a battle of mentalities, of a Protestant work ethic against a Catholic savoir vivre.This isn’t absurd. In fact, there is even concrete evidence that Agamben has a valid point. The siesta hasn’t existed in Spain since the fall of 2012. That was when the Spanish government, under pressure from the euro troika of the European Commission, European Central Bank and IMF, eliminated the siesta.

The country believed that it could no longer afford to “lounge about” in the midst of a national bankruptcy — not even in the searing midday heat. For centuries, the people of Southern European countries observed a midday break from noon, the sixth hour after sunrise (sexta hora), until 4 p.m. They left the fields or their offices and went home to relax, eating meals together, engaging in conversation with friends and family members, and generally avoiding stress. Their midday naps were sacred. But now that idyllic aspect of southern life is over.

Consumption over Culture

The current debt crisis is only part of the reason, because the siesta was already curtailed once before. In 2005, the government of then-Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero eliminated the siesta for public servants, arguing that, in an era of global turbo-capitalism, time had to be utilized more productively. The government pointed out that nowadays air-conditioning makes it easier to continue working despite the heat. Today everyone is expected to keep working and, during their shorter lunch break, to spend more time shopping and going to restaurants, increasing consumption and tax revenues.

As a result, Spaniards have traded their siesta, their shared meal with family members, their leisure, their art of enjoying life, for more work and more consumption. It’s a bad trade, and many have protested against it, but to no avail. But isn’t it an absurd tradeoff? A century ago, Spaniards earned 20 times less than they do today. Aren’t they in a much better position to afford their siesta today than 100 years ago?

The Spaniards see the loss of their tradition as the result of a German dictate, an effort to convert them into practitioners of Prussian virtues. “They now speak German in Europe,” as conservative politician Volker Kauder once said with typically German innocence.

The Spirit of Capitalism

Now the European press is calling the demise of the siesta an adjustment to Northern European culture. If money were the only issue, the solution would be self-evident. Excessive indebtedness has always existed. The Spanish kings were deeply in debt centuries ago — to Germans, among others, in the form of the Fugger banking dynasty. In the end, they did not repay their debts, which came as a shock to the Augsburg bankers but was not the end of the world. People would never have hit upon the idea of abandoning their culture because of debt. But now that is precisely what they are expected to do.

In the areas within its protectorate, the euro troika is exerting control over labor agreements, changing the retirement age and requiring longer working hours. The siesta is being dispatched in the process. It is a cultural struggle that is clearly reflected in the debate over the siesta, an inherent part of the Latin culture of rest and leisure. The puritanical spirit has always engaged in a crusade against sleep and the good life, because both are equated with laziness and blasphemy. Those who sleep are robbing God of the day, earning nothing and wasting the profits they could have been generating instead of sleeping.

In “The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism,” German sociologist Max Weber offers a very clear assessment of the puritanical fight against sleep: “According to God’s unambiguously revealed will, it is only action, not idleness and indulgence, that serves to increase his glory. Wasting time is therefore the first and most serious of all sins.” Weber shows that among the Calvinists, loss of time through “more sleep than is required for health — six to eight hours at the most — is morally, absolutely reprehensible.” Work, on the other hand, “is the end and purpose of life commanded by God.”

Time is Money

 

Benjamin Franklin’s famous adage, “time is money,” is the epitome of the capitalist spirit. The only time that counts is time that can be converted into money. For Franklin, time spent lazing about is lost time, and the interest on the money that is not being earned as a result is lost interest. Man, he argued, should have a need only to be useful, not a need for time.The need for time contradicts the neoclassical economic assumption of endless needs. Anyone who desires to do nothing wants for nothing, and appears not to have endless needs. Sleep, which is so similar to idleness, fundamentally calls the total utilization of time into question. In this sense, sleep has always been suspect to puritans. Cotton Mather warned the first settlers in Massachusetts that sleep was a “temptation of the devil,” designed to prevent them from working.

Franklin criticized the French in 1784, in his “Journal de Paris,” writing that they went to bed too late and didn’t wake up until noon, which was inefficient and costly because it meant that a lot of money was being spent on candlelight. His lack of understanding for the French way of life is remarkably similar to that of American tire magnate Maurice Taylor, who earlier this year criticized the work ethic of French tire workers in the northern city of Amiens, setting off a diplomatic tiff between Paris and Washington. Taylor declined to buy a tire plant there, because, as he claimed, the plant’s “so-called workers” worked only “three hours” a day and spent the rest of the time idle.

Part 2: The War on Sleep

In his extensive study “The Slumbering Masses. Sleep, Medicine and Modern American Life,” anthropologist Matthew Wolf-Meyer shows that the original puritanical and functional attitudes about sleep, oriented toward usefulness, “continue to shape the understanding of sleep in America today,” and that medical sleep research in the United States long aimed to “make sleep American by intensifying interests in its efficiency and management.”

Today Americans suffer from a chronic sleep deficit. The National Sleep Foundation has found that many people sleep less during the week and make up for it on weekends. The consequence is a growing abuse of sleeping pills and an increase in admissions to sleep clinics. Sleep, like many of life’s other challenges, is now seen as a management problem, one that is fundamentally fixable with rational means, which, in the case of sleep, often means medication.

Everything remains subordinate to efficiency and productivity. Capitalism is systematically turning night into day. Everything has to be available 24/7, without interruption, because there could always be someone with a desire to consume something, a desire that must be satisfied. The unlucky souls who work in Indian call centers are forced to sacrifice their nights to their jobs, which revolve around the timing of life in the West. Global capitalism is colonizing sleep.

In other words, the euro sovereign debt crisis is merely the tip of a cultural struggle, one in which not only the way of life of people in Southern Europe is being challenged, but also that of Indians and Southeast Asians. The EU troika, backed as it is by a real or imaginary German hegemon, claims to be pronouncing indisputable truths. In truth, it is executing a radicalization of the Protestant work ethic.

The Prussian Taskmaster

Realistically speaking, very few euro countries, least of all Italy orGreece, will be able to repay their debts by increasing economic growth. That would require real growth rates above 3 percent for many years to come. The Germans must ask themselves whether it makes sense to further ramp up the speed in the economic hamster wheel, to wield the whip and execute an austerity regime in the euro zone that is doomed to failure — especially as these reform programs are perceived as dictates in Southern Europe and are plunging the European community of nations toward a crucial test.

Germany should not allow itself to be forced into the role of the Prussian taskmaster, who aims to implement strict discipline on the labor front throughout Europe and is being held responsible for the demise of cultural traditions. The social market economy does not follow the tennets of a radical, market-driven machinery of efficiency, which would of course have only one response to the subject of siestas: Get rid of them.

Agamben’s popular call to defend Latin culture has a real background that would be foolish to ignore. Perhaps we should warm to the idea that the Spanish kings, in the days of the Fuggers, chose a solution that wasn’t half bad: They did not repay their debts.

Max A. Höfer, 54, is an economist who lives in Berlin . His most recent book, published by Knaus, is called “Vielleicht will der Kapitalismus gar nicht, dass wir glücklich sind?” (“Maybe Capitalism Doesn’t Even Want Us to be Happy?”).

Translated from the German by Christopher Sultan

Be Thankful

28 Jun

I love this quote. This is why I want to reblog it on my website. Thanks Pam!

Mushy Cloud

image

I found this via Facebook, credit at the bottom of the picture.

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Some Thoughts about Religion

21 Jun

 

This is from Street Arts which was published on Facebook.

What are your thoughts on it?

President Obama in Berlin

20 Jun

This is an article in the German magazine DER SPIEGEL , Wednesday, 19th June 2013:

 

Fifty years after John F. Kennedy’s legendary Berlin visit, Barack Obama wowed the city with a rousing speech at the Brandenburg Gate, saying all oppressed people are “citizens of Berlin” — and urging the world to help free them.

Not even the unseasonably hot summer haze could damper the enthusiasm as crowd members clutching fluttering German and American flags filed into Berlin’s Pariser Platz on Wednesday. It’s here, on the east side of the Brandenburg Gate, where President Barack Obama was to make his first public speech in the German capital city as the leader of the United States.

 

“The flag-lined square was flanked with secret service and police, who perched on the roofs of buildings and weaved in and out of the some 4,000 invited audience members braving the glaring sunlight. In the crowd, there was an almost American vibe, with copious brimmed hats, women lithely fanning themselves and men in short-sleeved button-ups and suspenders. One bleacher, holding some 600 high school-age students of the local John F. Kennedy international school, showed particular ardor by chanting “Obama” in unison and doing the wave as the 3 p.m. start time neared.

A violinist warmed up the crowd, beginning with a vaguely celtic version of the American national anthem and then segueing into Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal” over a backing track. He announced that his next song was at the president’s request. “It’s Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Born in America,'” he said before breaking into a rendition of “Born in the USA.”

Finally Obama took the stage, together with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Berlin’s mayor, Klaus Wowereit.

After brief comments by the mayor and the chancellor, Obama approached the microphone. It’s been pointed out that Merkel and Obama have very different public personas, and this couldn’t have been clearer than in the contrast between the chancellor’s somewhat subdued introduction and the president’s booming “Hello, Berlin!,” which was met with thunderous applause.

Yet Obama was quick to point out a similarity between the two leaders: “Angela and I don’t exactly look like previous German and American leaders,” he said after thanking the first female chancellor for her friendship. He then removed his jacket, citing the weather. “We can be a little more informal among friends,” he quipped to cheers from the crowd.

‘Ich Bin ein Berliner’

As expected, President Obama, who gave his speech behind dramatic panes of bulletproof glass as sweat dripped down his forehead, made heavy reference to Kennedy’s iconic 1963 Berlin speech. He recalled the former US president’s historic sound bite before asking the audience to look past it.

“That’s not all that he said that day,” he said. “Less remembered is the challenge that he issued to the crowd before him: ‘Let me ask you,’ he said to those Berliners, ‘let me ask you to lift your eyes beyond the dangers of today’ and ‘beyond the freedom of merely this city.’ Look, he said, ‘to the day of peace with justice, beyond yourselves and ourselves to all mankind.'”

Obama went on to apply Kennedy’s notion of “peace with justice” to the contemporary world. He referenced poverty and the mass unemployment that has followed the global debt crisis, and touched on race, religion and gender discrimination, specifically mentioning equality of sexual orientation less than two weeks after a German court ordered that same-sex partnerships be given the same tax benefits as married couples.

“And if we lift our eyes, as President Kennedy called us to do, then we’ll recognize that our work is not yet done,” Obama continued. “For we are not only citizens of America or Germany — we are also citizens of the world. And our fates and fortunes are linked like never before.”

Obama then discussed — albeit vaguely — on the NSA spying scandal, the closing of Guantanamo Bay and the American drone program. He was more concrete on the subject of nuclear disarmament, which he pledged to tackle in the coming years in cooperation with Russia. But the parallels between the issues of today and the history of Berlin, in particular, seemed to go over well with the crowd, which remained in good spirits despite the unrelenting heat.

‘It Felt Like They Were Standoffish’

I really liked how he tied in the history of Berlin with current issues,” said Esther Stern, a 16-year-old from Braunschweig who had come to Berlin with a group from her high school. “In spite of the heat, it was great! He’s a very good speaker — different than when you see him on TV,” she continued.

Some were slightly more critical, however, like Will Giles, a 20-year-old political science student in Berlin on a semester abroad from Duke University in the US. “It was interesting to observe the Merkel-Obama dynamic,” said Giles. “You can tell by body language what people really think of each other, and it felt like they were kind of standoffish.”

At the bleacher of local international students, however, the take-away was undoubtedly positive.

 

“It was definitely worth the six hours of waiting and boiling,” said 14-year-old Emma Defty, standing in a rare shady spot as her fellow students filed out behind her. “It was also great that he talked about Kennedy, because he and Kennedy are a lot alike I think. They’re on the younger side and they really speak to the public. They seem somehow… human.””I think he really earned sympathy points when he took off his jacket,” added her friend Elisabeth Evans, 13. “It’s like we’re all friends!”

“And I liked that he talked about global warming,” Defty said. “Yeah,” Evans rejoined, “because it never gets this hot!”

 

 

The Twin’s Birthday this Month

18 Jun

Twin's Birthday 2011

And this is Ryan with Grandma

And this is Ryan with Grandma

These pictures were taken on the twins birthday in June of 2011.

Two months ago I published the above pics and in one reply to a comment I said these grandsons looked like little angels when they were kids. And Munira said that she can’t imagine them as kids. Ha, ha! So I replied:

“All right, Munira, as soon as I can scan pics again, I’ll show you how they looked when they were little! The twin’s birthday pics were taken just a few days before I started blogging. My profile pic that I still use, was cropped from that birthday pic where you can see me with Troy.”

Well, their birthday is coming up next week. So here I am publishing what they looked like as kids.
I went through all our photo albums this morning and unfortunately I could not find this special picture of the twins where they really look like little angels.

It’s very frustrating after looking for hours for one particular picture it still is nowhere to be found!
We just have too many pictures. Well, the pictures of the twins that I can publish today are all more than thirty years old or at least close to thirty years. The twins are going to be thirty-four years old in one week. When they were kids they were often together with our daughter Caroline. So Caroline is in these pictures here too. The boys loved to call her “aunty Caroline” just for fun. But she really is their aunty. Unbelievable! Sometimes people thought the three of them were triplets. However we had to explain then that Caroline is more than six months older.

T one

T three

T four

T five