Wise Words

Many of us, this writer included, have chafed at the invisible bonds of stay-at-home orders, lockdowns, and the rest. Many of us finally accepted that this was the only way to save lives and we’ve made our peace with it, though still we sometimes whine. Our friend Hugh shared a piece today that made me sit back, take a deep breath, and think, put our troubles of today into an entirely new perspective. Is the glass half-full, or half-empty? Each of us will have our own take on that. Please read this short piece … and realize that what we are going through today is NOT the end of the world, and that this, too, shall pass. Thanks Hugh! We all needed this, I think!


I have no idea who wrote the following piece, but it strikes me as worthy of wider dissemination than it has had so far. My son sent it to me the other day and said, simply, “it was written by a co-worker.” It strikes me as particularly important given the fact that we are all feeling fed-up with the coronavirus and all that it entails. We simply cannot wait until things go “back to normal” — refusing to admit to ourselves that there may be no return to normal and that the “new normal” will be like nothing we have ever experienced.

In any event, we wallow in self-pity since few of us has ever had to deny ourselves much of what we want. This is, after all, the “Age of Entitlement” not only in the schools but in the homes as well. We buy on plastic and run up…

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Saturday Surprise — Let’s Travel!

Good Saturday morning, friends!  We made it through yet another work week,, hopefully none the worse for wear, and now it’s time to have a fun, relaxing weekend, yes?  Last evening I was wracking my brain (yes, it did hurt, as a matter of fact) for a fresh idea for Saturday Surprise, and I decided that it is time for a bit of travel to some unique and interesting places.  So, fasten your seatbelts, and sime I’m driving here, you might also consider a crash helmet!

blind driver

Let us begin our journey in Hanoi, Vietnam …

We live about two miles from a set of railroad tracks, and I rarely hear them during the day, as there are two busy streets and an interstate highway between our home and the train tracks, but late at night, especially when it is quiet, with no furncace or television to distract, you can hear the whistle and even the clacking of the wheels on the track.  That is from two miles.  Imagine if you lived in the Old Quarter of Hanoi …

Diesel train coming down the train tracks through a narrow street in Hanoi showing how close the inhabitants live to the tracks. Image shot 2014. Exact date unknown.

Every day around 3:00 p.m. and again at about 7:00 p.m., the train comes barreling through this neighborhood.  Drying clothes are carried inside, children ushered indoors, and bikes pulled to the side of the road just before the train speeds past, with a couple feet of clearance at most on each side. In some places the train is mere inches from the buildings.


The street’s residents press tight to the walls or duck into nearby doorways with a startling nonchalance and go right back to walking across or sitting on the tracks as soon as the train has passed.


I can only imagine what that would do to dishes sitting near the edge of a table, not to mention the nerves of the people who live on that street.

Next let’s pop over to Kiev, in the Ukraine, for a look at an interesting museum …

The Toilet History Museum is flush with toilet tidbits and facts you probably didn’t learn in a history class. You’ll discover how toilets looked 5,000 years ago, why medieval toilets were called “wardrobes,” and how a toilet invented by Leonardo da Vinci functioned.


The toilet museum covers the many types of commodes throughout history, from Egyptian limestone toilet seats to the mechanics of a modern-day loo. It aims to explore culture and history through the lens of an everyday experience shared by people around the world.


But that’s not all.  They even have a giftshop where you can buy ashtrays, key rings, lighters, and tobacco pipes in the form of a water-closet!  What’s not to love, eh?  In related museums, there is, in Sandown, England, there is a National Poo Museum, but … I didn’t think that would set well on a Saturday morning, so I am not taking you there tody.


While we’re in England, let’s run over to London for a minute, for there’s a library I wanted to check out …

moving car.gif

It may not look like much on the outside, but this building houses Britain’s largest clown school, London’s National Centre for Circus Arts, formerly Circus Space.  Founded in 1989 by Jonathan P. Graham, this is the only such school to offer accredited BA (Hons) and Postgraduate programs in Circus Arts in the UK.

circus spaceDegree student Michael Standen sums up most people’s reaction when they visit this unique space, “I decided to go to circus school and came here and my mind was blown.”

And lastly, let’s make a quick stop at ISHINOMAKI, Japan.

Tashirojima Island initially caught my eye because it reminded me of my own home, with the description: On the island of Tashirojima, the cats outnumber people, and the people like it that way.  In my house, there are 3 humans and 7 felines, so we are outnumbered approximately 2-to-1.  Most times tt’s not a problem, but on the rare occasion we happen to run out of the canned food and they have only kibble to eat … we get nervous.

cat-1It’s no accident that the cats who inhabit Tashirojima, or what has become known as “Cat Island,” in Japan have come to be the island’s primary residents. Cats have long been thought by the locals to represent luck and good fortune, and doubly so if you feed and care for them. Thus, the cats are treated like kings, and although most are feral because keeping them as “pets” is generally considered inappropriate, they are well-fed and well-cared-for.



Well-fed, indeed!

While the feline population is on the rise, not so the human population that has dropped from over 1,000 fifty years ago, to right around 100 today.


nd no, folks, I am jet-lagged and ready to go home.  I hope you enjoyed today’s brief tour, and that you all have a wonderful weekend.  Love and hugs to all from Filosofa!