NEWS WE CAN USE

As the United States prepares for a new president whose word, according to one advisor, “should not be taken literally,” I have been thinking about the news and how events are reported. If the president’s word is not to be taken literally, then whatever he says cannot to be believed and the news business is going to have to change its approach in order to get to the truth.  I suggest a three-part approach, easier to draw than to explain:

HOW NEWS RELATING TO PRESIDENT TRUMP SHOULD BE REPORTED (IMHO

IMG 0631 580x258 NEWS WE CAN USE

 

 

 

Posted in Alexis Rankin Popik, Elections, General | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

THANKSGIVING 2016

turkey THANKSGIVING 2016

This turkey looks as if he  knows what’s coming.

Thanksgiving 2016 may well be a different version of a favorite national holiday. As a little kid, I used to enjoy bringing up politics at that meal, causing a great uproar among the tipsy Republicans, Democrats and know-nothings in my mother’s extended family. This year there is no need for a mischievous little kid to stir things up. This year, everyone is stirred up, for better or for worse. For this week’s blog, I looked for an apt poem for Thanksgiving; among the sentimental, harsh and inscrutable poems on the internet, I discovered this gem by Alberto Rios, Poet Laureate of Arizona. As with most poems, it can be taken at face value or appreciated as a metaphor for life.

PERFECT FOR ANY OCCASION
A Poem by Alberto Rios

 Pies have a reputation.
And it’s immediate—no talk of potential

 Regarding a pie. It’s good
Or it isn’t, but mostly it is—sweet, very sweet

 Right then, right there, blue and red.
It can’t go to junior college,

 Work hard for the grades,
Work two jobs on the side.

 It can’t slowly build a reputation
And a growing client base.

 A pie gets one chance
And knows it, wearing as makeup

 Those sparkling granules of sugar,
As a collar those diamond cutouts

 Bespeaking Fair Day, felicity, contentment.
I tell you everything is great, says a pie,

 Great, and fun, and fine.
And you smell nice, too, someone says.

 A full pound of round sound, ah ahh, all good.
Pies live a life of applause.

 But then there are the other pies.
The leftover pies. The ones

 Nobody chooses at Thanksgiving.
Mincemeat? What the hell is that? people ask,

 Pointing instead at a double helping of Mr.
“I-can-do-no-wrong” pecan pie.

 But the unchosen pies have a long history, too.
They have plenty of good stories, places they’ve been—

 They were once fun, too—
But nobody wants to listen to them anymore.

 Oh sure, everybody used to love lard,
But things have changed, brother—things have changed.

That’s never the end of the story, of course.
Some pies make a break for it—

 Live underground for a while,
Doing what they can, talking fast,

 Trying to be sweet pizzas, if they’re lucky.
But no good comes of it. Nobody is fooled.

 A pie is a pie for one great day. Last week,
It was Jell-O. Tomorrow, it’ll be cake.

Posted in Elections, Food, Holidays, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

TESTING, TESTING

 TESTING, TESTING

Cambodian temple frieze

Testing to see if I’ve fixed my blog publishing problem.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

TRUMP, TRAVEL AND TRAVAIL

 TRUMP, TRAVEL AND TRAVAIL

Young Monk at Siem Reap

After three weeks of travel in Burma, Thailand, Laos and Cambodia, I returned to learn that while we were flying home, Donald Trump became president-elect of the United States.* I make a point of not writing about politics in this blog; there are plenty of people who write thoughtfully about our political situation, so I stick to interests of mine that I think will appeal to my readers. I do, however, care deeply about my country and its future and am trying to foresee what a Trump presidency will mean for our democracy. It’s difficult to be optimistic. In case you missed it, here is a link to Kate McKinnon’s opening to Saturday Night Live.It’s unforgettable. And as she says, “I’m not giving up and neither should you.”

 TRUMP, TRAVEL AND TRAVAIL

*We voted via absentee ballot.

Posted in Alexis Rankin Popik, Blogs, Buddhism, Elections, General, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

BURMA AND BANGKOK

Burma and Bangkok offer many photo ops, but first, who can resist a cat picture?

 BURMA AND BANGKOK

These feral cats could live anywhere. In this case, they hang around a Buddhist nunnery in Yangon and are well fed, as you can see.

 BURMA AND BANGKOK

There are several blocks of street markets in the Chinatown section of Yangon. I like the pattern these long-toed chicken feet make.

 BURMA AND BANGKOK

I have no clue why this wrestling statue is featured at the waterfront park in Sittwe, Burma (Myanmar).

 BURMA AND BANGKOK

The King of Thailand died last month and the entire country is observing a month-long period of mourning. There are shrines and memorials all over the city of Bangkok and many people are dressed in black.

 BURMA AND BANGKOK

This Buddhist monk lives in a beautiful monastery adjacent to the Grand Palace in Bangkok, Thailand.

 BURMA AND BANGKOK

The Bangkok Grand Palace is a huge complex full of stunning temples, pagodas and statuary. This fellow is the representation of a demon.

 BURMA AND BANGKOK

McDonald’s seems to be everywhere, along with Starbuck’s and Dunkin’ Donuts. In Bangkok, Ronald meets customers with the wai gesture, a traditional Thai greeting.

This gesture comes in handy for expressing gratitude, apology and (in my case, since I don’t speak the language) friendliness. So I’m sending you a wai for now from Thailand…until next Monday.

Posted in Alexis Rankin Popik, Buddhism, Burma, Myanmar, Photography, Thailand | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

ON THE ROAD IN BURMA

The internet is working in Yangon (formerly Rangoon), Burma, so here are a few photos from some of the places we’ve been during last week’s internet-less world.  Eventually I will write something about this country but it is overwhelming right now–the ancient temples and pagodas, dirt-poor villages and wealthy parts of Yangon, elderly women with facial tattoos and monks with cell phones.  Where to begin?  I have to think about it but meanwhile….some unedited photos.

DSC00809 580x387 ON THE ROAD IN BURMA

Fisherman on
Inle Lake

DSC2631 580x386 ON THE ROAD IN BURMA

A house on the river between Sittwe & Mrauk U

DSC2659 200x300 ON THE ROAD IN BURMA

A tattooed woman from the Chin tribe. This custom is dying off with her generation.

DSC2740 200x300 ON THE ROAD IN BURMA

Baby from a village near Mrauk U. The paste on his face is sun protection.

20161030  Alexis and monk 0001 580x386 ON THE ROAD IN BURMA

A monk at Shwedagon Pagoda, Yangon, Burma.  We are laughing because we had to stand so close together for the photo. 

 

Posted in Alexis Rankin Popik, General, Myanmar, Photography | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

BAGAN, BURMA, PART 2

We have returned to Yangon (Rangoon) briefly and the internet works well, so here are two photos, not yet processed (i.e., Photoshopped) in any way.

DSC00631 1 580x410 BAGAN, BURMA, PART 2

Fishermen at Inle Lake

DSC00870 580x867 BAGAN, BURMA, PART 2

Baby biker in Nyaung Shwe

Posted in Alexis Rankin Popik, Burma, General, Myanmar | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

GONE TO BAGAN

We are on the road in Southeast Asia, current in Bagan, Myanmar (Burma).   I have already taken hundreds of photos I was planning to share on this blog but I can’t download them to the site for “security reasons,” whatever that means.  I don’t know if the problem is with Word Press, an internet connection that is considered sub-par or something more serious due to Myanmar politics.  I will try later to post photos on my Facebook author’s page, which does not require that you be a FB friend to read it.  You can find me at Alexis Rankin Popik, Author.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

WHY WOMEN DON’T TELL

100 0804 580x435 WHY WOMEN DONT TELL

I didn’t tell you this before.

There has been a lot of hoo-ha in the news this week about why women don’t tell others about inappropriate sexual advances. Most women understand this because it has happened to almost all of us.   Unwanted physical advances are so common that unless they are certifiably criminal assaults, no one reports them. Certainly the men who initiate them aren’t going to tell and for the women who endure the degradation of being groped, they are often embarrassed and angry at themselves for not being able to avoid the situation.

My experiences with sexual harassment in the workplace were run-of-the mill. There was lots of leering and suggestive comments; one guy where I worked during the summer used to sneak up on me and grab me around the waist. This was supposed to be “a joke.” One manager used to close his office door and put his arms around me. It was really difficult because I liked the guy and I knew if I reminded him that this was inappropriate we would never be friends again. I didn’t want to embarrass him so I let myself be embarrassed. Once a boss slapped me on the butt with a file folder as he walked by. I brooded about it for a couple of days, then told him that I never wanted him to do anything like that again. He denied it; he said I was imagining things. Two days later I was terminated.

Donald Trump’s alleged assaults are particularly vulgar and egregious. There is one thing the guy is clearly good at: picking the weak out of the herd. The women who came forward this past week were very young and/or needed a job. Men like Trump use their power and their victims’ vulnerability to get what they want–though is it really gratification that these predators want? Is it sexually exciting to reach under the skirt of a stranger in a nightclub? Or is it even more thrilling to be a physically bigger man who can get away with it and therefore make himself feel powerful?

Posted in Alexis Rankin Popik, Elections, General, Secrets | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

FOOD IS LOVE

14425402 1164057136973802 7436606933265005792 o 580x773 FOOD IS LOVE

Family Dinner in Maine

We’ve all heard the expression, “Food is Love.” In the Sixties, a famous Pillsbury slogan was “Nothin’ says lovin’ like somethin’ from the oven.” Last Friday my husband, Bill, read to me a “What to Cook This Weekend” column by Sam Sifton of the New York Times. I had never heard of Mr. Sifton or of his column and was very impressed by his writing skill and literary references to Autumn (Thomas Wolfe—la-di-da!). Bill decided immediately to go to the grocery store and pick up ingredients for the Apple Green-Chile Pie with Cheddar Crust.

I cannot remember if or when I ever wanted to spend an afternoon trying out a new recipe “for fun.” Eating for fun: yes. Cooking for fun: not really. In some families, food is love or, more accurately, cooking and serving food is a way of expressing love. Think of the place that preparing meals and enjoying them together holds in so many cultures. I grew up in a predominately Italian community and always looked forward to dinners at Mrs. Bertuccelli’s table. My Croatian Grandma Angela Juracich was also a fantastic cook and effortlessly turn out meals for my father’s large extended family.

My mother came from Irish stock; I’ve never heard anyone rave about the pleasures of Irish cuisine. Mom cooked because she was a good mother and took her responsibilities seriously. Meals were fresh and nutritious but though there was plenty of love going on in our house, it didn’t turn up via meals. Bill’s family is different. He remembers his mother as a fantastic cook who loved to cook meals for large groups. He and his sister, Sue, are both wonderful cooks and love to talk about food. It is one of their many bonds.. Bill taught my daughter, Sara, to cook when she was a little girl and regularly exchanges recipes and food photos with our niece, Angela, another one of his cooking buddies.

There are lots of ways of expressing love. One way is by saying, “I love you.” I like this one because it doesn’t involve grocery shopping. But “lovin’ from the oven” is pretty darn effective, too. Apple Green-Chile Pie, anyone?

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment