The two main cities of Portugal are Lisbon, the capital, in the south, and Porto, which is “the capital of the north.” The distance between them is three hours by car. Portugal looks like a small country on maps, especially when it is side by side with Spain. And yet, it is the eleventh country in its size in Europe, 4.5 times bigger than Israel. Its geographical landscape is mostly mountainous, except for the coastal strip. The Azores and the Madeira Islands are part of Portugal. However, we did not try to catch as much as we could. We preferred a slow hike that leaves a taste of more.
The epigraph at the beginning of my book, Literary Hypertext, is that of the Canadian researcher Marshall McLuhan, “We look at the present through the rear-view mirror. We march backward into the future.” McLuhan was referring to the quick technological developments, of which we are continually trying to catch up with. That is precisely how I’m feeling about life in general — the feeling that every progress that has been made suddenly goes backward. Continue reading How fear, racism and violence rule the world, again!
Vietnam is imprinted in many minds as a war zone. Pictures of frightened Vietnamese fleeing bombed houses and villages, the jungles in which the Vietcong hid (the guerillas,) the images of the American captured pilots, the story of John McCain. Thus, the idea of visiting Vietnam seemed odd to me. Who would want to visit such a place? But as I began looking into the matter in-depth, I recognized that today’s Vietnam is different from the image left by the prolonged war (16 years long, Darling). Even Senator McCain came back to Vietnam, not to mention the things you only see in Vietnam and which are worth the visit.
New York is not my most preferred city. You might say that I have a cognitive bias against it, a well-known phenomenon in psychology and behavioral sciences. It is human tendencies to think in specific ways, that causes false judgments and perceptions. Even intelligent people are biased and tend to create conclusions suiting their preferences rather than objective thinking. I discovered that prices are skyrocketing in New York in September and keep rising as the time approached. Why didn’t I check what events are scheduled in New York in September, as I did when we planned to visit Key West? I know how to deduce: I drew the right conclusion in the episode of the knocks in the middle of the night and changed hotels?
Once upon a time, nutrition used to be just food – an energy provider for our body. Food was a non-issue. You ate what your parents cooked or what you could afford to purchase. Lately, nutrition and food have become one of the most exciting and controversial issues of our lifestyle. We have become curious about new dishes, old and unique ingredients, modern cooking options, and new chefs. Thus, the food that was a daily necessity became, with time, an issue by itself. From being almost transparent it turned to be the most easily photographed and published object (Instagram, Darling?) Continue reading What kind of nutrition is the best for us?
The digital age carried on its wings the “wealth” of information. In the past, data was available only to professionals, and we, simpletons, would listen and abide by their instructions without objections or a second opinion. If the Doctor said that the child’s sores were mosquito bites, we would accept the verdict lovingly or sometimes, grudgingly. The skeptics will ask what could be done so that it would not be so itching. The hysterical ones would update the Doctor and tell him that there’s a child in the kindergarten who had these sores and is now hospitalized. The Doctor would patiently answer the questions, reassure the parents, and they will leave happy. As the Internet came to be, parents became Doctors. They visit the doctor to confirm their diagnosis and receive some treatment for it. Continue reading How did the “wealth” of information become a load?
October 2019 marks the 100th Anniversary of Louisa May Alcott’s book publication “Little Women.” The “#me too” campaign, which set out a year ago and is yet very much alive today, raises many gender-related questions despite the counter-reactions from both males and women. The primary question is, are we still the same “little women” that the book refers to? Or maybe they were not so “little”?
“There are things you only see in Vietnam,” told me our guide as he saw my eyes widen in surprise as we emerged from the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and I saw the museum shop. In place of the stylish shops that we are used to, we saw a large market stall caring the inscription “Museum shop.” The “shop” is an example of the uniqueness of Vietnam. Ho Chi Minh, Uncle Ho by the locals, is considered the father of the nation. His big dream was to attain independence. He succeeded in ousting the French and establishing the Democratic Republic in the northern region of the state. Though he was a modest man, the Mausoleum, about twenty feet high is huge and luxurious. He asked that his body will be burned and the ashes will be scattered upon three hills: in the north, in the center, and the south. And yet, in the mausoleum, the embalmed figure of Ho Chi Minh is displayed. There is no telling whether this is a wax figure, or the human being himself. At the exit of the site is the “museum shop,” a typical Vietnamese store!
In past years, “reading comprehension” used to be the essential skill that children were taught among all other skills, and it was much needed in the workplace. Nowadays, writing has taken its place and became the most significant expertise that children have to master. Writing turned into the commonest skill of life’s two facets: professional and personal. Today the debate shifted, and it focuses on the medium, the way of writing: by handwriting or by typing; should we forsake teaching children handwriting in favor of typing? Continue reading The shift of skills or the uncertain future of handwriting
Sometimes we feel without energy. We do not want to talk to anyone, we do not want to hear anything, and we do not desire to watch or read anything. The general feeling is that we have become a shell. No one is inside. As if we had posted a sign: “Out on vacation.” Who cannot recall coming out of bed after a good illness and feeling she had no strength to deal with anything, leave her alone. Usually, the lack of energy comes after dealing with difficult issues or diseases. But recently, I feel that way at the close of every day. Not to mention how fast the days fly! Continue reading Why are we pressed for time and energy?