She Made Me A Believer, Almost

Erica Lee has made me a believer that America is a racist nation. I see her point from two different view points: 1. Americans still tend to dislike people they don’t identify with, and 2. There are a whole lot of different people in our country than we know about. We are a catch basin for all races.

When people associate racism in a hateful way I believe it is because the people we pick on don’t fit into our metric of people we admire and relate to. Another reason might be that we can’t relate to people who look radically different from us, namely blacks and Asians. They are so easy to pick out of a crowd and so easy to pick on that we tend to do it, i.e. pick on them. Ms Lee presented some interesting facts in her book “The Making of Asian America” that we should all become aware of. For instance the segregation of Japanese during WW II. I, for one, feel that the government made a wise decision to separate people who look so different from the general population during time of war with their country. I believe we saved these Japanese from a severe backlash of hatred by our white population. Ms Lee points out that the Japanese kept in the camps felt very different about their treatment. They felt that we should have treated them as loyal citizens which most of them were. What we didn’t learn from our history lessons was that the government deliberately treated them harshly. Never the less that period of history is over now and we must move forward. She wrote that after 9/11 a similar backlash against Pakistanis occurred against Sikh followers who could be easily picked out of a crowd. What surprised me about her timeline is how the United States created racial problems with our wars and then willingly took in refugees from those countries. I have not seen huge numbers of these ethnic groups in and around Chicago, but the numbers she gives are very large. Her description of the fall of Saigon at the end of the war cites hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese coming into the country, most of them undocumented. It didn’t end with Vietnamese because thousands of people from surrounding countries helped. Cambodians, Laotians, and Hmongs came as well. Recently, we experienced the need to do the same with Afghanis. With all of these people coming in from so many different places the cultural mix of the country is changing. The assimilation of so many different cultures, and languages will be difficult at best, perhaps impossible. Now, we also see an influx from South and Central America with additional cultures, customs, and languages. We also need a way to give these people work so they can feed and house themselves. There are just so many cleaners, dish washers, and grass cutters that we can occupy. One problem Ms Lee points out is that many of the people coming in are educated, but because of language differences they cannot find work that they are trained for. The result is that Phd level teachers, doctors, and nurses are finding work as truck drivers to provide for their families. It is sad, and the result is we have taken in too many people without any plan for providing meaningful work.

The assimilation of the millions of immigrants we’ve taken in since the seventies will take several generations to happen. As these new people change so will we. Together we will learn to love and help and integrate our new neighbors into a melting pot society. Perhaps by 2121 we will no longer be writing books about systemic racism. Or maybe the opposite, we will be writing more books about how bad it has become since the great influx of the twenty-first century.

211031-Book Report

I don’t always write book reports, but today I feel that I must. I just finished John Grisham’s novel titled “Sooley.” It has been one of the most enjoyable reads of the year. Grisham does such a good job on this one I kept thinking it was a true story, and a biography at that. Sooley is a fictitious basketball player from Sudan, Africa. In the beginning he is a simple high school kid that is six foot two and growing. He lives a happy life with his father, mother and three siblings. He is noticed by a fellow Sudanese basketball scout and convinced to join a special team headed to a special tournament in the U.S.A. He is pushed by his family to go for it. Then the real story begins. This is a feel good story with a surprise ending that turns into more good feelings. I recommend all to read it.

I thought Grisham was over doing it by describing too many basketball games, but it was necessary to tell the story of a developing player who very much reminded me of Michael Jordan. I’m almost positive that Grisham used Jordan as the model for his character.

I couldn’t tell what the scout Ecko Lam saw in Sooley, but he believed in the kid’s potential and pushed hard to get him a break. It wasn’t long before the seventeen year old kid from a mud floored hut in Sudan was in an airplane on his way to America. The story will keep you reading to the very last sentence.

Bathtub Gin

The hot humid days of August are in thier final throes, and I am enjoying it as much as I can. Although I stay out of direct sunlight which makes me feel like I am standing in an oven. The dichotomy of loving heat but hating the direct intense heat of sunshine makes me wonder what it is that I really do like. I know I like hot days spent in shade with a wisp of breeze. That is what I just experienced as I sat next to Joe’s lake reading a mystery novel. Do successful fiction writers ever write about anything that does not involve murder, mystery, love at the beach etc? Each time I stare at the large print editions on the shelf at my library it is loaded with murder mystery and love stories. Mostly they are by lady authors. I opt for male writers if I can find one. My latest ploy has been to select two books at one time; one will be fiction, the other non-fiction. Although I read the non-fiction books I don’t find them as enjoyable as I do the fantasy of fiction. My last fiction read was Blind Tiger by Sandra Brown. I couldn’t put it down. The story tells of bootlegging during Prohibition in Texas.

To my knowledge there isn’t a single male employee working in the Frankfort Public Library unless you want to call the contractor who cleans an employee. I truly believe that is the reason I see so many titles by women authors.

While reading Blind Tiger I recalled a story told to me by my father when I was still a boy. Dad needed to be a little drunk before he could relate stories from his past. One Sunday after a few highballs he opened up. It seems that he and Mom had a little moonshine operation going on as a way to make some extra income. It was during the Depression and Prohibition and before I was born. He never did describe the still, only that they had it in operation in the bathroom in the bath tub. Whalla the term bath-tub gin becomes a reality.

The tiny house we lived in had one bathroom on the second floor, and that is where he and Mom set up shop. One day in the bathroom as they were pouring booze into bottles they were startled by a heavy knock on the door down stairs. Dad snuck down the steps to see who it was. The stair case was immediately next to the front door and it was easy to remain unseen coming down. He saw a man standing at the door through the curtained window as he quietly descended. It took him a few moments to recognize that the man was wearing a uniform, a police uniform. He ran back upstairs to tell mom they were busted, and she hurriedly began to hide evidence. He snuck downstairs again and this time opened the door a crack and asked what he could do for the cop. Dad was worried that the cop would detect the aroma of fresh alcohol inside so he kept the door cracked. The policeman introduced himself and announced that he was selling tickets to the annual Policeman’s ball. Dad almost burst out laughing, but remained cool and asked how much they were. “Five dollars apiece,” said the cop. “I’ll take two” was Dad’s reply. Dad paid the man and he left. At that point in his story, Dad did burst out laughing as he told me how sweaty he got talking to the police knowing Mom was just a few feet away with a fresh batch of booze. Maybe that is why I enjoyed reading a story about bootleggers.

The Movie Will Be Even Better

Wow! I just finished reading a lovely story based in Venice, Italy.The author Rhys Bowen held me spell bound throughout. Her story titled, The Venice Sketchbook spans several generations of family in England and Italy and begins just before World War Two. Lately I have been enamored by tales that involve the Big One. Ms Bowen’s characters are real and believable. The heroine is someone I wouldn’t mind dating myself. The theme of using artists, art, and Venice together kept my interest in this page turner. The plot of young love between a middle class English girl and a very rich and titled Italian boy stretches into middle age love. Life in Venice seemingly was untouched by war, that is until the Germans invaded Poland, France, Belgium, and began bombing England. That is when the real story begins, life suddenly became different.

I am an amateur artist and I studied art appreciation in my early college years. I still have a bent for the medium and more than ever frequent showings, and galleries and appreciate good artistic ability. To me this plot to put the central character into an art school in Venice filled a void in my mind.

I also love knowing about Italy. Another favorite story of mine is Under the Tuscan Sun by author Frances Mayes. The bucolic scenes painted of the in Tuscan countryside make me want to live there or at least visit. When combined with my recollections of twenty-four hours in Italy back in the nineties these stories are fueling my desire to travel and roam the countryside on a bicycle, or at least a Maserati, Ferrari, or Fiat.

The Venice Sketchbook is filled with complex plots told using a time traveler theme. An modern day English niece inherits her great aunt’s estate, and begins a quest to learn of her aunt’s mysterious past as a covert intelligence agent in WWII while trapped in Venice. Intertwined in both the past and present stories are love interests keeping the aunt’s and her niece’s lives interesting and alive.

I give this story five stars. * * * * *

I can’t wait to see the movie version.

Zero-day Hacked Bugs

Every once in awhile I read a non-fiction book that challenges my intellect. The most recent is called “This Is How They tell Me The World Ends,” by Nicole Perlroth. This account on cyber security scared me to death about the internet and computers in general. It is my conclusion that the only way one is safe from being hacked on the internet is to shut off the computer and pull the plug, and never plug it back in. If you are using a laptop the only way I can think of is to disconnect from the web, and pull the battery.

Cyber security is something that bugs the crap out of me. I have written just recently about my hatred for using passwords. Companies like Google, and Apple are password paranoid. I always tell people that the only one being protected from getting into my programs and sites is me. I don’t remember passwords at all, and these companies are forcing users to input passwords for every segment of their business. Take Google for instance, I am now familiar with Google, but I wasn’t really interested in Google Drive, Google Photos, or Google anything. They now require user names and passwords for each individual segment of their business. Apple has iPhone, Icloud, and Ipie all demanding user names and passwords. I confess that I don’t get into these segments very often so I don’t remember those details. I keep a 3 x 5 card file with the information as my password manager. The trouble with my system is that it is antiquated and cannot keep up with the digital world. In the case of Apple, I have a stack of 3×5’s stapled together that are 1/4 inch thick with information. Usually, by the time I need to use one of these passwords Apple has deemed it too old and requires a new one. That blows the hell out of my system to make all passwords the same. Recently, by the recommendation of my friends, I am searching for a digital password manager that will replace my card file. I am convinced that it might be easier to give in and use the suggested long complicated passwords generated for me and to forget about keeping track of anything. Except, now that I have read this book I cannot knowingly give in to the hacking world by allowing easy access into my world. It is bad enough that every professional program that I use is froth with hacker entry points that would easily circumvent my passwords.

Let me digress for a moment from the general theme of this post. I like to read news, that is genuine news, and not all the political clap-trap being put before us as news. Over the last few years there have been some notable stories I have followed and forgotten. One of them was a story about a mysterious bug that took over Iran’s computers and disabled (destroyed) several thousand computers they used to control their centrifuges to enrich Uranium. At the time, there was no proof, but the speculation was that the United States and Israel were responsible. Another story, more recent, involved a complete power blackout in Ukraine that crippled the country for days that was attributed to Russia.

As it turns out, both of these stories are accurate and both hacks caused extensive and expensive damage to the countries they were perpetrated on. STUXNET was the invention of the U.S. Our government genii invented this mechanism by sewing several known software-bugs together and also invented a way to sneak it onto an Iranian computer. It took a while for this new bug to work it’s way through the Iranian network, but eventually, it infected a lot of machines, which in turn infected the devices controlling the centrifuges. I give our government an “A” plus, plus, plus for committing an act of war upon Iran without hurting people.

According to author Perlroth, the United States unleashed a weapon that other countries either never thought of, or were afraid to undertake. The end result was a string of cyber attacks by Iran on the U.S. and also from other countries all using “zero-day” openings in software that allowed hacks to occur(a zero-day opening is a hole in software that allows another hacker to enter and infect the program). For years Hackers have been finding these openings in programs and a market for them has developed. At first they were being sold for a few dollars each. As brokers began to understand the value of the bugs the prices shot up. The hope was always that the company whose software the bug was found in would buy it and fix it. Instead, the bugs were sold to the highest bidders which were often countries that could benefit by using these bugs in cyber warfare. The STUXNET was developed using several zero-day bugs. The prices on the market shot up to $250,000 and higher. The U.S. with its deep pockets bought many at millions of dollars a bug. They didn’t use them but rather stored them for future use. After STUXNET, the cyber world got the idea to do the same and wage war the same way.

On the Ukrainian front a special task force of Russian hackers was assigned the task of developing cyber war. They began by developing small discreet components which caused trouble in the Ukraine but because of the size of each they were not considered dangerous. What the world cyber experts did not figure out was that Russia was testing the Ukrainian systems with their hacking bugs. Eventually, the world found out that Russia’s goal was to shut off the lights of a country, and this was probably a test to determine how to shut off the lights in America.

This book is loaded with story after story of hacks that were publicized, but the public didn’t think much of them or was too dense to accept the fact that these wars were taking place on a regular basis. When we think of countries going to war against one another we think of planes bombing sites, tanks shooting buildings to pieces and soldiers shooting each other in the field. We don’t think of war being computers in banks and hospitals being crippled with millions of dollars of damage, or you and me having a bank account hacked and drained of our savings. Luckily, so far that is because the damage is restricted to the computers whose programs had the zero-day bug in them.

Another example is Russia’s attempt to influence the election in this country. I truly believed the crap that Hillary was the one trying to cause our problem, but she was accurate in blaming the Russians. Trump (my hero) on the other hand sided with the Russians to aid him in his quest for the presidency. All I can think of in his defense is the story about Senator Harry Reid from Nevada claiming that Mitt Romney didn’t pay his taxes. After Romney lost to Obama and everyone was asking Harry how he could tell such a blatant lie is “that Obama won the election didn’t he?” This has truly soured me on the election process and politics in general. All of the lies that were told about Russia trying to affect the election were not lies, they were true, but Trump took advantage to use the Russian influence against Biden.

I wrote several times advising not to trust any election in any state that uses computers in the process. there is only one thing worse than using a computer and that is using a computer that is connected to the internet. Author Perlroth used several more examples in her book like the Russian hacking of the DNC. She also explained that hacking into a state’s voter database invites the opportunity to change a voter’s party or to change his vote, and a number of other egregious offenses.

Finally, I am getting back to the point where I broke off above. What can be done about all this shit happening worldwide against us? First, we can regulate the entire software industry and require that they have controls in place to monitor their products. Except, regulation stifles corporations from creativity in favor of safety. Congress won’t buy it. Why don’t we require software companies to ask the public to find these zero-day bugs and pay for them, so they can fix their products? Again, it requires a Congress that is not in the pocket of lobbyists. Why don’t we offer tax incentives for companies who will comply with hack free software? Again, the answer is lobbyists.

There is no easy fix for this problem, but I would certainly be in favor of government regulation of the software industry to produce programs that would offer us some degree of protection from cyber warfare. Our Constitution dictates that the government protect the people. Just as banks are regulated to protect us why not software? Especially software that can be used to harm both the people and the country.

There is a lot more in this book that I have not tried to cover such as China’s role in the world. It is a huge subject, and Nicole Perlroth spent many years researching for her book. Once you read the story, the title will make perfect sense.

Nutsrok

The humor and humanity of storytelling.

Tracey J Boothe Publishing Blog

Nature, books, exploring, publishing, photography, video, short films, lifestyle

Jim Campbell's

"Inside Every Progressive Is A Totalitarian Screaming To Get Out"

Wavy and Anchored

The waves may come crashing down, but they will not break me.

Journeyman's Journal

This is a journal of the art of woodworking by hand

KetoJENic Vibe

🥓🥑🍳 Health and Wellness based, Easy Recipes, and Keto Product Reviews

The Lockdown Chef

A cooking survival guide for those who don't know how

My Serene Words

Seeking Solace in the horizon of life & beyond

MRS. T’S CORNER

https://www.tangietwoods

ESL Ventures

Teach ESL and Travel the World

Heart Felt

This platform is for the people who likes to talk straight from the heart🤩

Suzette B's Blog

Inspiration and Spirituality **Award Free**

Bhutadarma

Nothing is impossible (at least that does not violate the laws of physics). When you can..violate the laws of physics!

I Know I Made You Smile

cartoons/humor/fiction/nonfiction

galesmind

Come take a journey through my mind

summershaffer

A topnotch WordPress.com site