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- Best Photos of 2019 by JMG-Galleries Blog Readers January 16, 2020I’m excited to share the results of my 13th annual Best of Photos project. 112 photographers from around the world (amateur and professional alike) have shared their best photos of 2019. I’m always amazed at the quality of work shared and I hope it’s a source inspiration to you for the coming year. For those who are new to my blog project, photographers ta […]Jim Goldstein
- Best Photos of 2019 by Jim M. Goldstein January 1, 2020Thanks for checking in to see my best photos of 2019. This year for a variety of reasons I didn’t have many opportunities to get out and pursue photography to the degree I’d have preferred. Some of the reasons why were good (new house, settling in, kid activities with both boys being in elementary school for the first time, etc.) and some were downright bumm […]Jim Goldstein
- Blog Project: Your Best Photos From 2019 December 17, 2019It is time to kick off the 13th annual best photos of the year blog project! I’m proud to say over the years that hundreds of photographers have taken part (see Best Photos of 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008 and 2007). It’s great to see the community of photographers that have developed around this blog project. As always I […]Jim Goldstein
- Best Photos of 2019 by JMG-Galleries Blog Readers January 16, 2020
- Five Community Events for Photo Fans October 8, 2015Love the Weekly Photo Challenge here? Looking for more opportunities to share your photos and meet other bloggers? Try one of these community-run events.Michelle Weber
- Five Community Events for Photo Fans October 8, 2015
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Thoroughly enjoyed Il Volo: Ten Years Together on TLN (May 28/22; originally aired in 2019), though we had to cut off some great news broadcasts. Fantastic singers, Piero Barone, Ignazio Boschetto, and Gianluca Ginoble, and wonderful musicians!!!
I have profound respect for Ukraine’s courageous President Volodymyr Zylenskyy.
At first, Ukraine’s battle to fend off Russia’s totalitarian regime and imperial forces looked like a genocidal slaughter waiting to happen and a sure defeat. Yet, President Zylenskyy dug in his heels and stood up for this great and strategically important nation — where 99% of politicians and state leaders might have deserted their posts, and left the citizens and army to fend for themselves. KUDOS to President Zylenskyy and Ukraine’s brave people!!!!!!!
Canada, itself, is comprised of many people of Ukrainian heritage (I’ve been blessed to know a few). And the Canadian prairies — the ‘breadbasket’ of the nation — would not be what it is without the early settlements of Ukrainians. Likewise, Canadian “culture, the economy, politics and sports,” etc, would be poorer without people of Ukrainian ancestry: https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/ukrainian-canadians.
You can get Canadian-sold, organic cotton T-shirts here (oops, they’ve been taken down overnight, huh!): https://www.spreadshirt.ca/
(NOTE: I became aware of a soldier / fighter / warrior bent to my own nature in the mid-1990s (age 27), which became increasingly pronounced as various, sometimes-intense, experiences and forces of oppression or trauma ensued (particularly between 1997 to 2005). As chaotic or seemingly destructive as I may have become, at times, I nevertheless applaud and salute those who fight for important causes, like freedom and democracy, socio-environmental-economic restoration / healing / justice, quality healthcare and education, and so on.
My companion D is a devout MSNBC viewer. Now, I’m a fan, too. I have nothing but the utmost respect and gratitude for the incorruptible icons of justice and various trustworthy legal-beagles, who appear on MSNBC News: like The Beat host Ari Melber, Chuck Rosenberg, Joyce Vance, Frank Figliuzzi, Barbara McQuade, Maya Wiley, Katie Phang, and many more — I forgot to mention luminaries, like Watergate prosecutor Jill Wine-Banks (a great favourite of mine, because back then, more people actually did their jobs — without fear or favour, or playing party politics), and the truly incomparable Ruth Bader Ginsburg (and the film about her, RBG (2018)), whom I only came to know of and appreciate more recently. They are all people who shine a light, and help others understand what ought to be done by people and government, with respect to the rule of law and the U.S. constitution.
Richard is supremely brilliant — a genius, really! And a great hugger, with his eye on the big picture, like both the planet and the entire cosmos.
Allison and I were supposed to do the Shoppers Drug Mart 5K Run for Women, 2 days later, but I had to back out at the last minute. Looking forward to next year’s!
(Photo of Allison, from Allison.)
Very excited to see the ads for the new film, Downton Abbey: A New Era (2022), coming out soon!
Was going to ask my companion D. if he wanted to see this latest Downton Abbey film. The TV series is such a well-acted program, with a brilliant script, beautiful historical costumes, incredible set design (at Highclere Castle in England), awesome scenery, etc.
Awhile ago, I had watched a documentary about The Real Downton Abbey (Highclere Castle), with a great interview with the phenomenal writer and driving force behind it all, Julian Fellowes (ie, Downton Abbey, the show). Also really enjoyed the hilarious appearance of Hugh Bonneville (Robert Crawley), Michelle Dockery (Lady Mary Crawley), and Allen Leech (Tom Branson) on Late Night With Stephen Colbert (December 11, 2015).
It should be excellent, just like the PBS Masterpiece TV series!!!!!!!
I believe the first movie I ever saw at the theatre starred the incomparable Dame Maggie Smith.
Image source: TownandCountrymag.com
Image source: TownandCountry.mag
The Real Downton Abbey: Highclere Castle
I realize social media is where things are at, but in some ways, I may actually be a Luddite (if you can find a real definition and history of that word). Lol.
Downton Abbey: A New Era (2022)
Downton Abbey film (2019)
Downton Abbey TV Series (2010-2015)
Downton Abbey Creator Julian Fellowes on A New Era‘s “Different View”
“The Downton Abbey Sequel Film Will Be in Theaters in 2022″
PBS Masterpiece Theatre: Downton Abbey
THE REAL DOWNTON ABBEY: HIGHCLERE CASTLE DOCUMENTARY
(First written May 13, 2022; and edited June 9, 2022.)
Although quite a portrait has seemingly been painted of me so far in my life, here’s what I also know:
EXAMPLE 1: AIRLINE
When I worked for an airline back in the 1990s, I laboured for well over a year on a proposal that would have improved the entire company, and benefitted all of its internal and external customers around the world. I did so, even if it meant putting myself out of a job. (I always figured there is always other work to be done. And I used to believe in improving things for their own sake.)
My boss literally spluttered at me: “Are you trying to get us all fired?!?” Then, she promptly kiboshed the whole thing.
Yet, centralizing information management would have vastly enhanced both internal-external communications in all types of media, across 7 languages, globally — and it would’ve meant 100% accuracy, accessibility and accountability — plus more flexibility, efficiency, strengthened customer service, and a better bottom line. And it would’ve cost ZERO DOLLARS to implement.
With all the technical and scheduling information, alone, and communicating with such disparate parties as their subsidiary companies, loyalty club, the International Air Transport Association (IATA), 52 airports worldwide, thousands of travel agents / agencies and tour operators, hotels, mass media, the budding internet (in the form we now know it; see Note 1)**, and so forth — well, you can imagine that accurate information is absolutely imperative. And yet, that wasn’t necessarily happening. Or, it was very difficult and cumbersome to maintain; and there were a lot of information silos. It was a simple solution to an obvious problem; and it didn’t take a lot of brains to see it.
Still, I worked my ass off — slaving away through holidays; staying late regularly; and even pulling all-nighters at the office. I also put my own funds into creating the proposal; recruited friends to help me; and started to sprout gray hairs by age 27.
And what was in it for me? Maybe a pat on the back and reimbursement for my efforts (as I had used my own funds for the project) — but most of all, it would’ve made my own job easier and less labour-intensive. Eventually, defying my boss’s orders, I did invite various middle managers together to present the idea to. In hindsight, I should’ve just gone straight to senior management — as one of the managers eventually tried to do with my proposal, after I had tendered my resignation, and minus all the research and evidence I had accumulated to back it all up.
The only cost involved with this communications proposal would have been to reassign one of their crème de la crème management trainees to be the central information coordinator in the Corporate Communications Department. A few of the managers immediately suspected me of trying to create this new position for myself; but no.
**NOTE 1: History of the Internet: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_Internet
EXAMPLE 2: PETITION LETTER
At another job, prior to above, the management merged both the engineering department and design section (basically , the office part of the company) with the factory — and then, simply rolled back the employee benefits of the former two.
Obviously, people were upset, and I agreed to write a letter that was signed by I forget how many people (25-50?). A few people tried to quietly suggest that I was putting myself at risk. And indeed, the company did use various intimidation tactics to get people to hastily sign and accept their new contracts, so the concerns for me were not unfounded.
I had more to lose than to gain, yet I did care about my fellow co-workers and respecting basic rights — despite my now having evolved into someone who is at times sometimes self-obsessed and difficult to be around.
EXAMPLE 3: O Canada 🇨🇦
My love for Canada runs deep. Although, admittedly, I’ve held on nostalgically to a Canada that seems to have rapidly disappeared.
Elsewhere in this blog, I mentioned how I love having a balanced diversity and inclusivity — but I also mean one that is in keeping with this nation’s unique history of both the First Nations people and the European settlers (initially British and French colonizers, then others). Yet, I also said many years ago that I believed we should “work with what we have” — whilst stemming the tide of uneven immigration, or even too much immigration. I have said repeatedly that the original Canada I once knew and loved is being dissipated and weakened; that it needs to keep fortifying itself from within — its own historical roots, customs, values, practices and overall rich heritage — before it can take on so many newcomers.
In a way, I have personally wished to preserve and also revive the Canada of old (see Note 2)** that had made it such a shining example of excellence, integrity, unique character and courage, both at home and on the world stage — but I had wrongly hoped this might be done with its lawfulness and some recourse to justice still intact.
[EDIT JUNE 7/22: However, this is unrealistic in a rapidly changing global society that is also rapidly attempting to colonize outerspace (and galaxies beyond), whilst polluting it with ‘space junk’ and harming the atmosphere, too — let’s face it. I’m sure there’s an abundance of information out there (or perhaps not) about the multitude of human, scientific, technological, and cultural developments heading in infinite directions.]
(Anyway, the same issues mentioned above are being struggled with in the U.S., who unfortunately is even more fragmented and polarized than we are; plus, they tend to disperse their efforts and resources in so many different ways and in places around the world. Driving up their debts, and owing so much to China. And both the 2 major wars they have fought since the 9-11 attacks in New York (2001) and the vast funding of the military — plus the after-effects on their veterans, like lost limbs, biochemical poisoning, PTSD, suicide, drug addiction, homelessness, etc — damages or kills so many of their fine young people. Used up and spit out, while those in power reap the rewards of their soldiers’ loyal efforts. Gun violence is another crazy problem plaguing that great nation. They literally have the equivalent of 1-1.5 mass killings per day, annually. And all of their schools hold safety drills, in case a shooter shows up — gak!)
Like many other fellow Canadians, I recognize that many people who have lived and worked in Canada all of their lives, or who have served as veterans for example, are getting short shrift — especially those in their retirement years — as compared to, say, those who may get a generous leg-up and also tend to network in ways that many other people don’t.
Like many conscious Canadians, I believed in a certain vision of Canada: a strong, healthy, peaceful, safe, prosperous, well-functioning, ecologically-flourishing, highly advanced (see Note 3)**, and responsible, diverse society that could be a model to other nations — even if this means facing and enduring a certain amount of systemic racism and oppression in my own life — given the fact that I am Asian-Canadian, feminist, alternative in various ways, a former activist, underemployed, a mental health survivor, etc.
These are all very complex issues, and I am admittedly very ignorant about it all. But I was once upon a time quite passionate about collaborating with others on developing innovative solutions to address the pressing problems our nation is facing — especially from a healthy, holistic, transformative and sustainable environmental perspective.
**NOTE 3: Despite bringing back portable solar charging panels from overseas, and other information and possible ideas for strengthening ‘green development’ — I probably became extremely antagonistic and resistant towards technological and cultural advancements or ‘progress’, in general. However, I believe the real sticking point for myself and many people — especially activists — is the *ethics* behind what is being done. Especially in the areas of cutting-edge science and medicine, technology and computers, engineering, Big Business, media — or anything that has significant impacts on or relevance to humans (and all life) or our shared environments, ecologies, and ecosystems — scrutiny is necessary. Or was. With extreme power and / or secrecy, it can be very easy to bypass or bend rules, laws, and regulations that are intended to protect people and society. I have no issue with ‘advancements’ — it’s the accountability and long-term impacts or consequences of any area of human endeavour that has always had me concerned. Like when I was 11, and went on a tour of a nuclear power plant. I asked my engineer father, But what do we do with it after?? (Ie, the spent nuclear fuel or used uranium rods. Plus, the many nuclear weapons, which continue to proliferate around the world. Perhaps the higher cosmic beings are able to neutralize those, when the time comes.
The bottom line is: as with the above 3 examples, I believe that I do care and think about a lot more than myself. I may be self-oriented and, in times of prolonged stress or crisis moments, I may be inclined to either pump myself up, or become self-obsessed — but somewhere inside is a loving heart.
THOUGHTS ON OPPRESSION
About systemic oppression: many people don’t fully appreciate how soul-destroying and yet intangible it can be. How it hits some harder than others, depending upon so many factors. I can give just one tiny example of a young Jewish man, whom I knew briefly.
This wonderful fellow introduced himself to our group, and later, he oscillated between giving us the anglicized version of his surname and his actual one — although neither would have been seen as anything but anglophone, which is exactly how it came across.
And yet, it was clear to me, in that moment, that he bore the full weight of his ancestry, with all its historical persecution (see Note 5)** — even though, he is ‘privileged’; and was among supportive, open, friendly people; plus, he had no language barriers or accent (or acquired speech + vocabulary difficulties, as in my case); he wasn’t identifiably Jewish in any way, including his last name(s); and so forth.
Yet that is how burdensome both systemic and internalized oppression can be, often suffocating people in so many layers of experienced negativity — usually by being identifiable, not accepted or discriminated against, and thus, are often unable to surpass certain sociopolitical or economic barriers — both obvious and hidden ones. Or just mental barriers. It is so painfully real that some may even twist themselves into knots just trying to be seen for who they ARE, or what they CAN DO — without prejudice or stereotypes, and being somehow pushed down, cast aside (or shunned; isolated, either personally or collectively [as in ghettos]; beaten; jailed; made ill; poisoned; maimed; tortured; killed!).
Anyway, both traditional and digital / social media, as we know, is massively powerful. It can also be abused, manipulated and totally faked, with complete news stories perpetuated — even headlining ones! And technology is so sophisticated now that they even have the ability to resurrect people from the grave in life-size 3D talking, moving holograms (see 60 Minutes segment).
In short, I am guilty of many things — including over-glorifying myself and engaging in ‘aspirational puffery’ (see TheIntercept.com article by Sharon Lerner about bottled water giant BlueTriton). And yet, I believe there are also some minute grains of ‘other’ truths, above. Me, pre-breakdown days.
Also, must-see Marshall McLuhan (1911-80), Canadian media theorist and “prophet of the Information Age”. And, of course, the brilliantly prolific American academician, linguist, author, and all-around genius and cultural impactor, Noam Chomsky.
Marrying corporate efficiency and its results-oriented and performance-dependent survival with left-wing activism and values, is something I tried to advocate for in 2000 onward (although the seeds of it began in 1993; and in 1997, I left my corporate job to pursue my socio-environmental ideals). In 1998, I decided that fostering more (democratic-style) cooperatives would be an ideal counterbalance to unchecked global capitalism. Social enterprise and beyond.
I also was studying Organizational Change and Action Learning, and I pointed out that the government is an organization like any other, which needs to be made efficient and effective. No surprise there. But it’s the How. And, unfortunately, the conservative Right have indeed closed that gap between business and government — but not by promoting smaller government, as they once claimed, but rather, an ultra-powerful one that serves their cronyism, and business + political objectives. Bending all laws and rules, as it suits their interests. (I used to have an apt quote about how sometimes Big Business feels government regulations simply get in their way.)
**NOTE 5: The persecution and exile of Jews, and in more recent times, systemic discrimination and attempts at extermination (ie, the Holocaust of World War II, 1939-45), has actually been going on for 2.5 millennia. There are many examples, but I remember being surprised as a young person at quite a few. And later, a Yahoo news article on that subject, which I attempted to post to an older, activist blog, got pulled the next day. So much for freedom of the press. Anyway, here’s one very brief summary of Jewish oppression, and the Wikipedia page on the Persecution of Jews.
How government should work?
“Basing politics on the consent of the governed, limiting government power, respecting the rights of citizens…”
MY PERSONAL DEVOLUTION: 1997 – 2022 (aka Breakdown Bitch)
Not sure if one is able to fully grasp from the post above, but my life has been a tumultuous and wild journey, at times, during the past 25 years. I have been much persecuted and profoundly misunderstood for my outspokenness, at times — hence, the hacking and GASLIGHTING.
Well, actually all that would’ve happened eventually, anyway. (Some people don’t believe in ‘destiny’ or ‘fate’; and yet, my personal story is such a crazy one, it could only be best understood in a fictional film or book, lol.) It’s all about how we are convenient lab rats in an at-times ‘survival of the fittest’ world (see Note 6)**. For a variety of reasons — including having my life and mental state (and overall psyche) hugely exacerbated; plus, often working at jobs that I wasn’t necessarily well-suited to — I have devolved in significant ways, over the course of 20 or so years. I also had chaotic relationships, plus many other challenges to deal with. Long story.
One rare time, I had a conversation with a man — with no BS or social politics — just an openness, which reminded me of the person I used to be. Just the freeflow of both mind and heart was refreshing.
Just posing in front of murals done up by students I believe in the Unionville Main St. area.
This year my Christmas gifts are simple — colour a picture!
These are the ones I’ve done so far…
J. and I attended ‘These Are Their Stories’. Grammy-award winning singer/guitarist Dan Hill was one of the speakers and performers for mental health. Dan spoke about his mother and siblings, who struggle(d) with Bipolar Disorder. One in five are affected by mental health issues.
Collaborative mural we women did in Women’s Wellness Arts Therapy group. Profound comment by one participant, Lisa: “Science makes living possible; the arts makes living worthwhile.”
These two pieces were done by Lisa in about an hour. It’s hard to see all the elements, but I believe the first one speaks to her passion for music and guitar-playing; and the second one is a powerful piece about time and being ‘good enough’, and it includes a fire-breathing dragon.
And each of us made a mask of how we see ourselves, and how others see us.
My beautiful friend Kusum Bhatia passed away in a tragic house fire on Tuesday, November 20th, 2018. She is survived be her dear husband Ravi and her loving son Roche.
Kusum has been a wonderful friend these past 6 years, after we first met as roommates for 2 weeks in 2013. She, Susan, and I were the ‘Three Musketeers’ – Kusum called us that. Sadly, we were supposed to meet for coffee the very week she passed so unexpectedly. I was just thinking of calling her when her husband notified me of the news. Synchronicity.
Kusum has been a true friend of the heart and an unforgettable companion, with all her funny stories about family and life. She is the only person in my contact list with a special symbol next to her name that always brightens my day whenever she calls – it’s a flower, like her name, which means Blossom (and Fire) in Hindi. May her bright spark rest in peace. (K’s Eulogy)
I am including just one pic of her here; the rest are sprinkled throughout this blog.
(NOTE: Whenever you reach the bottom of the screen, please wait for the rest of the pictures to load. You will note that I’ve given up photography as a hobby, as years have passed between posts!)