Tuesday, December 29, 2009

I Love Podcasts

One item I brought back from the US was an Ipod my son bought for me. I had the idea that I would like to listen to music while gardening and other chores. And I read a little about podcasts and audio books. The surprise was that I just love the podcasts. And I am sometimes obsessed with finding the best ones. I download some and can decide whether to continue or not, and newbie that I am, I have found many that have become my favorites. And what a joy when I find an especially good one. I will list my favorites here and add to it as I go along. But I have a few worth mentioning right away.

The odd thing, I think, is that ipods and mp3 players are mostly geared to music listening. While that is pleasant, I really enjoy listening to the podcasts while doing daily chores, weeding or washing dishes, laundry etc.. I have a variety to listen to, depending on my mood. There is a lot on the internet about audio books but I especially enjoy podcasts of 30 minutes to 1 1/2 hours so far so I haven't tried the books but I really enjoy the audio short stories. There are classic short stories and new short stories and old Bela Lugosi style horror stories. I like to listen to the news and there is a variety to listen to-many sources have posted their own podcasts. I enjoy politics and there are many choices there as well. And comedy-this is more difficult to find but some of the more amusing ones are also surprising. New podcasts are discovered all the time, and some were started with the podcaster simply stopping. Podcasts are mostly free. All of the ones I listen to are free and I use itunes to keep organized, adding and dropping podcasts. Podcasts are simply a version of radio(especially public radio) and tv shows for the most part (although some are people making their own podcasts) but you can transfer them to your mp3 player to listen to whenever you like.

So, here are some that I enjoy, in no particular order.

The Moth Podcast. I just love this one. The first story I listened to, for some reason, was not memorable but I listened to another later and was so impressed that I listened to some more and now I can't wait for another. These are stories told live in front of an audience, and told by all sorts of people from all walks of life about all kinds of things.

Democracy Now. What can I say? I love Amy Goodman and her crew and can always look forward to interesting, mostly political news and discussion.

New Yorker Fiction. This is only monthly(darn it) and is writers reading other writer's short stories along with some discussion. Very nice.

"Horror stories". No link because I don't know the website-I use Itunes for all my downloads. These are old time Bela Lugosi style-you probably won't die of fright but I think it's fun to listen to.

Wait wait, don't Tell me A fun show. A new radio show as good as an old one.

PRI selected Shorts. Short stories

Wiretap. I can not explain why but this one really makes me laugh.

This American Life I also love and look forward to each new episode. Real stories about real life.

Bill Maher has a great podcast, also 60 Minutes and Frontline but I believe all are on break.

Fareed Zacharia has a great podcast, also in video. I think he is one of the smartest men on the planet.

Many more at itunes which is free to download and they will save what you want there so it's not necessary to keep everything on your mp3. It takes a little time but you can peruse the podcasts and decide what you like from day to day. There are reviews and suggestions but Isuggest picking a few and trying them. Then adjust them to suit you as time goes by.

And yes, I have music on there too!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Back to Chile

So, back to Chile. Six weeks in the states flew by. And it's summer here. I've been baking some Christmas cookies and now I remember-chill the dough overnight or the cutout cookies will dissolve in the heat. I have some fairly misshapen gingerbread men-and women-but you can't tell the difference.

And I weed. Everything grows so well here, including the weeds that threaten to take over my prized flowers and choke the life from them. The trick is get outside as early as possible, water the appropriate area(earth dries hard like rock) and weed until you are too exhausted to continue. Summers are dry and nearly rain free. More humidity on cloudy days but rain, nada. So, I keep busy.

Everything looks terrific but past experience now tells me there will be days with no water in the canal(ditch) and we won't understand why. And flowers will die. And I will mourn them and keep plugging away trying to save others.

But I brought computer games so we have entertainment at night when we've tired of our truly awful(but at least we have it) internet. In the states, I surfed merrily on my son's wireless network. A world away where you never get kicked off and everything is fast. But I do have internet though the usb variety where I get disconnected every 10 minutes at peak times and more often now at non'peak times. I'm guessing servers are completely overloaded here. Anyway, the computer games consist of the Agatha Christie type mystery. And a few board games made for computer play. And many paperback books. The books are exciting to have-why was I not excited to have many books before-when I still lived in the US? That's another post but really, I appreciate a lot of stateside stuff more than before.

I like both countries. Really. I don't like some stuff about both countries. There is no better or worse except in specific areas like healthcare, for instance. Both countries now have cheap crap made in China. But the US has better cheap Chinese crap. Really. And it costs less, mostly. Chile has a better healthcare system(and that will be true if they pass the most current legislation).
Chile has a true government option and no one in the system pays more that a certain percentage of their paycheck. They also have a healthy private system. But I digress.

I do love Chile. I love gardening and siestas. I love the adventure. Perhaps I enjoy both countries more now that I've had time to define the differences more clearly. The most wonderful thing would be to spend the warm months here and then the warm months in the US.

And it's December(and it's cold in the US)

I last posted in September. And it's December-how can that be? The photo is in the US, not Chile-it is summer here!

The end of September, I flew back to the US to visit my son and his wife and their adorable and intelligent little girl-my granddaughter. It was unbelievably nice. There was an October wedding(that was everything a wedding should be) and early snow. Followed by a later October storm and a huge snowstorm. I was snowed in with my granddaughter and we had such a good time watching Elmo and sesame street and Disney classic movies. We ate grapes and cookies.

Not long before the storm, we swept leaves off the back deck and examined them and when the breeze made the leaves rustle on the trees, I said "listen to the leaves" and cupped my ear. And she did too. After that, she was the one to look at me and say "leaves." And she cupped her ear.

We played Hide and Seek although she is not quite two. I would count so she could hide and I'd look down to see this little person counting below me, face and arms against the wall, copying me! Eventually, we learned the basic game and she would run to find me and I would look for her. I always hid behind one of three doors and she soon learned the three places to look. At one one point, I decided to make it more difficult and hid on the other side of a door. She walked up and down the hallway, calling "grandma, where are you?" in her little voice and my heart melted-again.

I felt a little like chocolate chip cookies are contraband as my son and his wife are very health conscious(a good thing). But really, there is nothing that replaces a cookie! I gave JJ a cookie once while they were out and forgot to scrub the chocolate evidence from her face(uh oh!) They laughed and I bought chocolate covered grahams which are even worse(chocolate face wise).

We ate lunch and dinner together many times and I, in an effort to encourage her intake of food other than grapes(which she loves) did the airplane game-the age old practice of moving the forkful of food around and around while making "airplane sounds". She thought it a wonderful game and did it herself with motions and sounds and a big smile, at which time I had to convince her to eat one herself, followed by feeding Grandma. That seemed fair to her.

After the snowstorm, a trip to the zoo followed as the nice weather returned. Of course, there is nothing like a trip to the zoo with a little person. JJ says "look at that", "right there"(or here) and "wait, wait' on a regular basis and her voice is like a song to me.

We became such friends and playmates and I carried her as we walked in the airport, holding her as she looked at me as though it were any other day. Just as I entered the maze of security, I heard her say "wait, wait" as though she had realized it was different after all. And that is the voice I hear over and over. "Wait, wait". And I couldn't.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Spring in Chile (September)

Spring is coming-I see evidence on the sunnier days, although we still have many overcast and cloudy ones. I found this queltehue nest recently. Mom sits on it most of the time but if you walk near, she walks off, shrieking noisily as if to say "follow me! Nothing to see there!' If you follow her, she attempts to lead farther and farther from the nest. Papa queltehue generally stays nearby to help ward off danger.

A few fruit trees are starting to bloom. Almond and Cherry seem to be the earliest. Keep in mind that it's a bit colder, closer to the mountains in our area. A few miles away, lemon and oranges have ripened on the trees but I will never be able to grow here! But lovely seasons.

This flower stays alive all winter and blooms a little. I've seen the heavy winter frost crystallize the flower that simply perks up in the sun. But spring brings a new resurgence of growth and blooms in very early spring. There are many colors and they seed freely. Somehow, each flower looks slightly different than the parent.

This photo may not look "spring-like" but this is a sight I often see and love. This was taken just after dusk showing the moon rising over the Andes. The peaks are still snow-covered and the trees are mostly bare. The pink on the mountains is a reflection of the setting sun.

Chile Election Update

Here's a newer poll on the Chile presidential election.

(Angus Reid Global Monitor) - This year’s presidential election in Chile may not be as safe for the opposition candidate as thought until now, according to a poll by CEP. 35 per cent of respondents would vote for Sebastián Piñera of the opposition centre-right Alliance for Chile (AC) in the December ballot, up one point since June.

Former president Eduardo Frei of the centre-left Agreement of Parties for Democracy (CPD) is a close second with 30 per cent, followed by independent, left-wing candidate Marco Enríquez-Ominami with 16 per cent. Support is much lower for left-wing candidate Jorge Arrate, former Senate president Adolfo Zaldívar, and independent, left-wing candidate Alejandro Navarro.

In a prospective run-off scenario, Piñera holds a three-point lead over Frei.

If the presidential election took place this Sunday, who would you vote for?

Jun. 2009

Dec. 2008

Sebastián Piñera



Eduardo Frei



Marco Enríquez-Ominami



Alejandro Navarro



Adolfo Zaldívar



Jorge Arrate



Would not vote



Not sure



Pinera is the only candidate on the right.

Enríquez-Ominami is shaking things up, accusing Pinera of lying as Frei has but the newcomer has a whole new audience of younger people. The first round of Chile’s presidential election is scheduled for Dec. 11.

An earlier June poll gave Pinera 41%, 42% in August but now just 35%.

Suppose these two candidates reach the second round of the presidential election. If this were the case, who would you vote for?

Aug. 2009

Jun. 2009

Sebastián Piñera



Eduardo Frei



Not sure / Would not vote



President Michelle Bachelet(who can't run again consecutively) enjoys 73% popularity which has not yet translated to Frei. There will certainly be a runoff between two candidates-the question is "who will get the votes from which candidate?"

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Senator Edward Kennedy, A Good Friend to Chile

From the Daily Beast(Teddy's Idealism):

A 1973 military coup overthrew the popularly elected left-wing government of Salvador Allende, whom the United States worked against. Admiral Augusto Pinochet’s new regime shot hundreds of Allende’s supporters in the National Stadium, although the United States Embassy whitewashed the new regime. By 1973, Kennedy had assembled enough support in the Senate to enact a ban on all arms sales to Chile, and in 1981 secured a ban on all aid to that nation until it provided basic human rights. In 1986, he visited Chile, and despite government-run demonstrations against him, met with and encouraged opposition politicians and mothers who came with pictures of children who had been “disappeared” by the military.

In 2008, President Michelle Bachelet of Chile, herself tortured and exiled by the Pinochet regime, presented Kennedy with the Order of the Merit of Chile, saying “you were there for us when human rights were being massively and systematically violated, when crime and death was around our country. You are one of the great, good, and true friends of Chile.”

September 23, 2008


BOSTONSenator Edward M. Kennedy today received the highest award bestowed to a civilian by the government of Chile, the Order to the Merit of Chile Award, for his decades-long commitment to the struggle of human rights and democracy in the country. Her Excellency Michelle Bachelet, the President of Chile, traveled to the Senator’s home in Hyannis Port this afternoon to present the award. President Bachelet is in the United States for an annual visit with heads of state at the United Nations.

Kennedy has been a leading voice in the struggle for human rights and democracy in Chile for three decades. Following the 1973 coup against democratically elected president Salvador Allende, he worked tirelessly on behalf of the tortured and disappeared. In 1974, Kennedy led the fight in Congress to cut off military aid for the Pinochet regime. This was the first time Congress directed an end to military aid to another nation without waivers, conditions and delays.

In 1986, Senator Kennedy traveled to Chile to observe human rights conditions. The Pinochet government refused to meet with him and actively tried to obstruct his meetings with human rights and religious leaders. Four years later, Senator Kennedy returned to witness the swearing-in of Chile's democratically-elected President and has continued working closely with Chile, and President Bachelet, as they have become a thriving democratic ally of the United States.

From the Huffington Post:

John McCain, who has harshly criticized the idea of sitting down with dictators without pre-conditions, appears to have done just that. In 1985, McCain traveled to Chile for a friendly meeting with Chile's military ruler, General Augusto Pinochet, one of the world's most notorious violators of human rights credited with killing more than 3,000 civilians and jailing tens of thousands of others.

The private meeting between McCain and dictator Pinochet has gone previously un-reported anywhere.

According to a declassified U.S. Embassy cable secured by The Huffington Post, McCain described the meeting with Pinochet "as friendly and at times warm, but noted that Pinochet does seem obsessed with the threat of communism." McCain, a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee at the time, made no public or private statements critical of the dictatorship, nor did he meet with members of the democratic opposition in Chile, as far as could be determined from a thorough check of U.S. and Chilean newspaper records and interviews with top opposition leaders.....

At the time of McCain's meeting with Pinochet, Chile's democratic opposition was desperately seeking support from democratic leaders around the world in an attempt to pressure Pinochet to allow a return to democracy and force a peaceful end to the dictatorship, already in its 12th year. Other U.S. congressional leaders who visited Chile made public statements against the dictatorship and in support of a return to democracy, at times becoming the target of violent pro-Pinochet demonstrations.

Senator Edward Kennedy arrived only 12 days after McCain in a highly public show of support for democracy. Demonstrators pelted his entourage with eggs and blocked the road from the airport, so that the Senator had to be transported by helicopter to the city, where he met with Catholic church and human rights leaders and large groups of opposition activists.

Mark Schneider, a foreign policy aide and former State Department human rights official who organized Kennedy's trip, said he had no idea McCain had been there only days before. "It would be very surprising and disappointing if Senator McCain went to Chile to meet with a dictator and did not forcefully demand a return to democracy and then to publicly call for a return to democracy," Schneider said.

Surprising? I'm not surprised at much anymore.

The links between Chile and the USA are endless-I can really only write about a few each time. I believe Chile under Pinochet was an immense planned experiment of privatization under Friedman 'free market" economics and the tactics practiced to get the Chilean people to behave-a combination of starving the people under Allende(military kept the food on the docks and out of the stores) and feeding them under the Pinochet dictatorship. A Chilean friend told me that on the day of the coup, four hours later, food was in all the stores. "FOUR HOURS!" she said. It all worked very nicely. Behave and you get to eat. If you still won't behave, you'll disappear. Thanks to Friedman's "miracle", corporations have control of utilities, education, and even rivers. And there was no economic miracle.

“You, Senator Kennedy, were such a friend to Chile in our hour of need,” said Bachelet as she delivered the award. "You were there for us when human rights were being massively and systematically violated … You understood what was happening from the very beginning ... and you acted accordingly."

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Chuck Norris and sections 440 and 1904

Every day, there is a new conspiracy theory about US healthcare bills. Now, remember, there are several in Congress and NONE are a finished bill. They are being discussed and debated. Chuck Norris made some commentary which has spread like wildfire, repeated on blog after blog with absolutely no research, no reading-simply repeated over and over.

Chuck says

"It's outlined in sections 440 and 1904 of the House bill (Page 838), under the heading "home visitation programs for families with young children and families expecting children." The programs (provided via grants to states) would educate parents on child behavior and parenting skills.

The bill says that the government agents, "well-trained and competent staff," would "provide parents with knowledge of age-appropriate child development in cognitive, language, social, emotional, and motor domains ... modeling, consulting, and coaching on parenting practices," and "skills to interact with their child to enhance age-appropriate development."

Are you kidding me?! With whose parental principles and values? Their own? Certain experts'? From what field and theory of childhood development?

Government agents??? Like nurses ???

I have to start by saying Chuck runs a program called Kickstart and is paid by the Dept of Education for these services. Sure, it's "non-profit" but don't believe for a minute that means Chuck and everyone else doesn't get paid. Non-profit means you want to make sure you spend everything you make. On salaries, etc., just spend it, so you don't lose that valuable tax-free status.

KICKSTART is a Middle/Junior High school program that creates strong moral character in teens through martial arts. Founded in 1990 by Chuck Norris with the help of former President George H.W. Bush, KICKSTART provides a positive alternative to drug and gang-related peer pressure for at-risk youth. KICKSTART is the only prevention program in Dallas offered as part of the daily public school curriculum.

Well, how nice-DAILY part of the curriculum. Chuck has done very well...

So, from the Kickstart Myspace page....

"My KICKSTART Program is actively working in 43 schools in the Texas public schools. We have over 6,000 TEAM members learning the philosophies of the martial arts in order to live a more productive life and make healthy choices for themselves. Please browse through these pages to see why I am so proud as well as devoted to my Foundation.Someday, it is my vision to have this prevention program in every school in America! I want to make the nearly 7,000 students we now have develop into 24,000,000 students and beyond."

"I desperately need your help today. You can join this fight against drugs and gangs and make this happen for America and for the youth of our blessed country. Please send your tax deductible donation to the Houston address or conveniently charge to your Master Card or Visa today and let's give our children strong, healthy philosophies and hope for a productive future. We can achieve these goals together!"

During President Bush’s 1988 campaign, Chuck Norris spent several weeks traveling nationwide appearing at fundraising events. It was during these trips that Chuck had the opportunity to discuss his idea of creating a Foundation that targets and instills protective factors which are known to enhance resiliency.* Originally, the Foundation would target drug abuse prevention. President Bush was very encouraging and set up meetings for Chuck Norris with various government entities including the U.S. Department of Education, and the Office of National Service (Thousand Points of Light).

I see, Chuck spent a lot of money on campaign donations in order to get close to Bush I(that takes really big money folks). Lo and behold, daddy Bush was "very encouraging."

On August 16, 1990, the Kick Drugs Out of America Foundation was formed in Washington, D.C. The Foundation received its 501(C)(3) status on March 1, 1991. The headquarters for the Foundation is located in Houston, Texas and also maintains an office in Dallas. Currently, the Foundation has a national board with Chuck Norris serving as Chairman, Houston and Dallas Advisory Boards, an Executive Director, a Director of Operations, a Community and School Relations Director, a Business Manager and over forty Black Belt instructors. Funding permitting, the Foundation will be expanding on a continual basis.

And Chuck serving in all these capacities-how many do you think are paid positions?

From Wikipedia..

501(c)(3) exemptions apply to corporations, and any community chest, fund, or foundation, organized and operated exclusively for religious, charitable, scientific, testing for public safety, literary, educational purposes, to foster national or international amateur sports competition, or for the prevention of cruelty to children or animals. [7][8]

Another provision, 26 U.S.C. § 170, provides a deduction, for federal income tax purposes, for some donors who make charitable contributions to most types of 501(c)(3) organizations, among others.

And if you google 501(c)(3), you will find lots of advice on how to set up your very own. Of course, you'll need a lot of money...but it's big business.

Chuck Norris’ KICKSTART Foundation needs full-time, committed Black Belt Instructors of the Martial Arts to reach at-risk youth on a daily basis as part of the school curriculum. The Foundation has an opportunity for possible expansion in Texas and needs qualified instructors who are willing to relocate and undergo a background check.


Instructors teach approximately 150 students in a public elementary, middle or high school. Beyond teaching kicks and punches, instructors are required to instill positive life skills to all students. Instructors are required to organize special activities such as belt presentation ceremonies, after school classes and a summer program for their school. They will also assist and participate in tournaments, fundraisers and other events for the Foundation.

Wait a second here-you mean make healthy choices as those home visit folks want too? Oh, I see, Chuck thinks he would make better choices that say, a health professional. And these black bely instructors have the training to teach "positive life skills"???? So, Chuck is fine with positve life skills-he just likes his own values better. I see. "At risk youth" on a daily basis? You mean "invading their home"? I think I would choose a nurse home invasion over a Chuck Norris home invasion....

Here's a link from Alternet:

It was only a matter of time. Chuck Norris has weighed in on the health care debate.

In an op-ed for the conservative outlet TownHall.com, the former kung-fu action hero says that he was thumbing through the health care bill and found a disturbing section that "is about the government's coming into homes and usurping parental rights over child care and development."

The idea that health care reform will lead to government agents raising your children has been floating around right-wing blogs for the last several weeks. Norris' op-ed quickly got a link on the Drudge Report.

But it has no basis in reality. Norris is referring to section 1904 of the House bill, which "provides grants to States to support voluntary, evidence-based home visitation programs for pregnant women and for families with pre-school age children in order to improve the well-being, health and development of children."

The programs would be voluntary, a number of states already have such programs, and this sort of legislation is introduced almost every year.

Last Congress it was H.R.2343, which sought to "expand quality programs of early childhood home visitation that increase school readiness, child abuse and neglect prevention, and early identification of developmental and health delays, including potential mental health concerns, and for other purposes."

What kind of radical government-takeover advocates cosponsored such treachery? Thaddeus McCotter (R-Mich.), a member of House GOP leadership, for one. And Republicans Mark Souder (Ind.), Zach Wamp (Tenn.), and Rick Renzi (Ariz.).

The Senate version was introduced by that well-known communist Kit Bond, a Republican from Missouri. Former Republican Rep. Kenny Hulshof of Missouri backed the House measure before he left Congress to run for governor. Republican Senators Pat Roberts (Kan.) and Olympia Snowe (Maine) cosponsored Bond's bill.

Rep. Todd Platts (R-Penn.) sponsored a similar measure this year, H.R. 2667, the Early Support for Families Act. H.R. 2205, the Education Begins at Home Act of 2009, is cosponsored by Republicans Mike Castle (Del.), John McHugh (N.Y.), Vernon Ehlers (Mich.), and Thomas Petri (R-Wisc.).

The bill passed committee unanimously by a voice vote. Republicans spoke highly of home visits at the hearing.

And here's another.

By the way, Chuck, people who follow these things refer to "House bills" by their H.R. number. The one you are trying to roundhouse is H.R. 3200.

Anyway, you seem to have forgotten to include this next part. I thought it was perhaps one of the more, um, important passages:

‘‘(a) PURPOSE.—The purpose of this section is to improve the well-being, health, and development of children by enabling the establishment and expansion of high quality programs providing voluntary home visitation for families with young children and families expecting children.

That's right, Chuck; it's voluntary.

At ease, Texas Ranger.

Here's the whole bill.

I noticed that you didn't provide a link to it on Townhall.com, Chuck, but you did link to your non-profit's website. But, hey--maybe it was an oversight.

What does this have to do with Chile? I just cannot believe the US won't have healthcare as good as in Chile. It is too crazy and beyond comprehension.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Healthcare in Chile and the USA

In Chile, you have nearly Universal healthcare including a thriving private sector-ISAPRE-and FONASA-the public plan. Chileans pay 7% of their income and then make a choice to enter the FONASA or ISAPRE system-and have further choice to elect greater coverage in private plans.

I'm not saying Chile has the best system in the world but it does seem odd and a bit sad that I am less likely to die here because of a needed operation. A friend of mine recently had an operation, a much needed femoral bypass. It cost about $12,000 usd cash, no insurance-that includes everything and a 5 star room to boot.. The average "list price" in the US is $50,900 according to this website. Apparently it can be done as cheaply as $18,900(huh?). Perhaps that's a good place to check before your next operation in the USA folks.

What I know is that the US is falling in status from a number of lists.

The World Health Organization's ranking
of the world's health systems
(Top 50)
In 2000, The US was still barely ahead of...Cuba. Chile beat the US by 4 places(and has improved its system under Bachelet while the US has deteriorated. The US also beat Slovenia by one place.
The U.S. spends 16 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) on health care, compared with 8 to 10 percent in most major industrialized nations. According to the World Factbook
(which is suspiciously updated only to 2005) The US was #2 in healthcare spending by GDP so i would guess it's now easily in 1st place(yay!!!)

The saddest statistic must be infant mortality. Nationmasters, I see, no longer lists the US there but there are other sources like here. And now I see, Nationmasters sources from the CIA Factbook-better you don't see that I guess. Anyway,

Since ranking a fairly respectable 12th in 1960, the U.S. fell to an all-time low 29th in the world in infant mortality in 2004, according to the report Recent Trends in Infant Mortality in the United States from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The U.S. infant mortality ranking has been falling steadily, from 23rd in 1990, to 27th in 2000. The U.S. infant mortality rate of 6.78 infant deaths per 1,000 live births in 2004, compared unfavorably with the lowest rates of 3.5 per 1,000 reported in Scandinavian and East Asian countries. Overall, 22 countries had infant mortality rates below 5.0 in 2004.

But wait, this is 2009 and those are statistics from 2000-but according to our new link here, the US is now #37!
37. United States 6.37 deaths/1,000 live births

Uh oh, Cuba is #35 on that list, no wonder the US government no longer reports it. But we're still a place ahead of Croatia, by god. Wait, this is bad-South Korea has less babies die at birth than the USA????

Well, how how about life expectancy-surely a great country like the US places well there.

172. United States 78.00 years

There are 37 countries with better life expectancies out of the total 208 listed, including Bosnia and Puerto Rico... interesting as well is that many countries are improving while US stats get worse.

160. Chile 76.96 years
161. Cuba 77.08 years

The point was never that Cuba-or Chile-has better healthcare but that those countries improve while the US continues to fall.

Continuing on, I looked for other categories but saw this:

Healthy Life Expectancy (UN 1997/1999)
Health Performance Rank By Country(UN 1997/1999)
WHO ranking of the world's health systems (2000)
Total Health Expenditure as % of GDP (2000-2005)
Global Hunger Index by country 1990-2008
HDI - Human Development Index 1975-2005
Refugees, asylees, internally displaced persons, by country - 2007

See the pattern? Old statistics on what I've just discussed but new, bright shiny statistics where the US "shines".

I meant to write more but this is an exhausting subject. The US healthcare "plan" every day seems to need a motto like If you're wealthy and 84, we would rather you live in a coma and have a heart transplant than save the lives of babies. If you're 50 and healthy, you will be charged an unbelievable amount-the price of a current mortgage so although your mortgage payment may be low, that extra money will be replaced by an inadequate insurance policy-which, of course, if you ever actually have to use it-you'll be cancelled.

Although they say 46 million Americans are uninsured(I would guess it's much higher-people don't know their insurance is inadequate until they need it), the United States spends more on health care than other industrialized nations, and those countries provide health insurance to all their citizens. Here's a lot of scary facts here.

And here's a story about a 35 year old and his 35 year old wife. The story is a good one but here's an excerpt:

She told me that she had just opened a letter from our health insurance that informed us that our monthly premium was increasing from $534 to $738 next month.

A $204 increase per month? $2448 more per year? A 38% increase in one month?

.....They came back again and explained that it was 38%. 17% was an annual increase. The rest was due to my wife and I both turning 35 this year.

A 21% increase for turning the ripe old age of 35.

A 38% increase in on month. From $534 per month to $738. $204 more per month. $2448 more per year.

That's $8,856 a year for two 35 year olds-how much for two 50 year olds? Here's the problem-the money spent on health insurance or healthcare is not being spent other places. This is a serious problem for the economy and the USA. Forget that new house or new car, buy health insurance. The best way to get healthcare if you're middle class is now to become poor so you can get medicaid. I have never in my life used any type of government assistance. I went to college, got my degree, raised my son, paid my taxes, bought a small house(before I cancelled my insurance, it was more than my mortgage payment so I sold my house), bought cars and generally helped the GDP like all good Americans. So I'm very sad. If I ever return to the US, my choice is to divest myself of all assets(I saved for retirement, silly me) and try to hop on the government 'dole' for the first time in my life or just hope I never get sick(I'm healthy but that seems unlikely) or I have the "freedom" to die-even if diagnosed with an easily curable form of breast cancer.

A few thoughts in answer to what I hear from the opposition to healthcare reform in the US. I know they're scaring you but they're not telling you the truth.

1.I hear this "in Canada, my friend's grandmother died because of the lines"

A. This is not Canada. None of the plans proposed look anything like Canada's. In Canada, they do have healthcare priorities. The 5 year old will be in line ahead of the great-grandmother. A 5 year's life is more important to me than my own at 54 and I would hope 84. In the US, the middle class child is more likely to die than a well to do 84 year old. So I believe Canada is correct. But please stop comparing US healthcare to any portion of any healthcare plan around the world that has nothing to do with the US. The rich and privileged in the USA will always have the best healthcare. Always.

2. But I don't want rationed healthcare, I want to keep my doctor!

A. You can keep your doctor under ALL plans proposed. Younger, healthy people here in Chile are mostly in the ISAPRE private sector. Those that are older or not healthy use the public FONASA option. I want a choice too. The choice not to die because of non-invasive breast cancer.

3. But America is about Freedom!

A. The freedom to live if you have the money and the freedom to die if you don't. The freedom to pay more for healthcare. Health care spending is 4.3 times the amount spent on national defense. Except suicide is illegal. Yet suicide rates are increasing

October 21, 2008

U.S. Suicide Rate Increases

Largest Increase Seen in Middle-Aged White Women

The rate of suicide in the United States is increased for the first time in a decade, according to a new report from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Center for Injury Research and Policy. The increase in the overall suicide rate between 1999 and 2005 was due primarily to an increase in suicides among whites aged 40-64, with white middle-aged women experiencing the largest annual increase. Whereas the overall suicide rate rose 0.7 percent during this time period, the rate among middle-aged white men rose 2.7 percent annually and 3.9 percent among middle-aged women. By contrast, suicide in blacks decreased significantly over the study’s time period, and remained stable among Asian and Native Americans. The results are published online at the website of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine and will be published in the December print edition of the journal.

Imagine that-I wonder if that has anything to do with increasing medical problems and healthcare costs in middle age.

4. There won't be any doctors!

A. Yes, there will. I know many doctors here in Chile. A personal friend is a cardiologist. And here's a website from US doctors for US healthcare reform. And let me direct you to their list of questions and answers. Granted, they would like a single system which the US is unlikely to get.

And it looks more likely by the day, that there will be any real reform passed. I am sad. sad for me but sadder still for all the young people that have no idea how bad things can get.

5. I don't want socialized medicine!

A. The most unbelievable really. In answer, I saw President Obama read a letter from an older woman which read in part "I don't want socialized health care and hands off my Medicare!" Really?

Medicare is socialized healthcare, by most definitions. So this woman is saying "I want it for me but no one else!" She made it to 65, the hell with the rest of you.

If you are against "socialized" , you must be against Medicare and fireman. Against a police force, against street cleaners and snow plows. Against the post office(it takes 3 weeks here to send a letter from one end of the country to the other-the miracle of privatization), against the dog pound(don't get me started on the stray dog problem here). The list is endless.

Yes, the US is spoiled in many ways but healthcare here is better.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Pinochet went to England for healthcare?

I was reading today a number of different accounts of chronologies of Pinochet and came across this in a Washington Post story:

In October 1998, the 83-year-old Pinochet traveled to England for back surgery. He was arrested on a warrant issued by Spanish prosecutors...

This England?

The National Health Service (NHS) is the publicly funded healthcare system in England. The NHS provides healthcare to anyone normally resident in the UK with most services free at the point of use for the patient though there are charges associated with eye tests, dental care, prescriptions, and many aspects of personal care. The NHS provides the majority of healthcare in England, including primary care, in-patient care, long-term healthcare, ophthalmology and dentistry. The National Health Service Act 1946 came into effect on 5 July 1948. (Wikipedia)

Mr. Jose Pinera, architect of Chile's healthcare system under Pinochet, please tell me why that would be when Chile has a simply wonderful privatized system that you yourself helped to spawn? Did he believe the "socialized" healthcare was better?

And don't we hear it said that in the USA, maybe the system has problems but without a doubt, they have the top specialists anywhere? If you can afford it, that's where you want to go to get treated...yet, Pinochet(who could afford it ) went to England where you have one of the largest and oldest "socialized" systems. Oh, I see, that "socialized" tag not completely correct. Though the public system dominates healthcare provision in England, private health care and a wide variety of alternative and complementary treatments are available for those willing to pay.

But why England and not the say, the USA? Oh, here it is

Even before the former Chilean dictator offered his country's tacit support to the UK during the 1982 Falklands War, Margaret Thatcher had long been an admirer of his radical free market economic policies.

General Pinochet was detained in London on 17 October following a request for his arrest and extradition by two Spanish judges investigating some of the 4,000-plus political murders believed to have been committed during his 1973-1990 rule.

Well, all those atrocities under Pinochet but the economy-he and Milton Friedman saved it right? Given that we are talking about the price of lives and freedom now by exchanging a "good" economy for a "bad" one(which I find horrifying), I contend those policies didn't give Chile a good economy. Here's one take on it(a portion follows):

Cinderella's Fairy Godmother, Tinker Bell and General Augusto Pinochet had much in common.

All three performed magical good deeds. In the case of Pinochet, he was universally credited with the Miracle of Chile, the wildly successful experiment in free markets, privatization, de-regulation and union-free economic expansion whose laissez-faire seeds spread from Valparaiso to Virginia.

But Cinderella's pumpkin did not really turn into a coach. The Miracle of Chile, too, was just another fairy tale. The claim that General Pinochet begat an economic powerhouse was one of those utterances whose truth rested entirely on its repetition.

Chile could boast some economic success. But that was the work of Salvador Allende - who saved his nation, miraculously, a decade after his death.

For nearly a century, copper has meant Chile and Chile copper. University of Montana metals expert Dr. Janet Finn notes, 'Its absurd to describe a nation as a miracle of free enterprise when the engine of the economy remains in government hands.' Copper has provided 30% to 70% of the nation's export earnings. This is the hard currency which has built today's Chile, the proceeds from the mines seized from Anaconda and Kennecott in 1973 - Allende's posthumous gift to his nation.

So, why is Chile in great shape economically? Copper revenues of course-Allende nationalized and Pinochet didn't privatize(mainly because the military was guaranteed a percentage) and the Concertation rule has meant every President has saved money, lots of it. When the bad times came, they were able to spend quite easily. Save in the good times and spend in the bad times-John Maynard Keynes must be smiling in his grave.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Sebastian Pinera, Chile and the US

I never realized before I moved from the US to Chile that there are many links between the two countries. These days I seem to run across stories that contain the links on a daily basis.

First, a little background. Sebastian Pinera (Miguel Juan Sebastián Piñera Echenique) was a Presidential candidate running against current President Michelle Bachelet but lost in 2005/2006. A new election is coming soon (there is currently a 4-year limit for presidents here). Pinera is the perennial candidate of the right-wing National Renewal Party(part of the "Alliance for Chile" coalition) and Michelle Bachelet of the Concertación-affiliated Socialist Party, has won record high approval ratings (74 percent) for her handling of Chile’s economic crisis. Candidates of the Concertación – formally known as the Agreement of Parties for Democracy – have won every presidential election since 1989, the return of democracy after the Pinochet dictatorship.

There are many parties here but they have become part of "coalitions", the Concertacion specifically to combat the Pinochet years. I hear the screaming all the way from the USA that you need more than a two-part system. And I understand. But the parties here(here's a list )
simply group into coalitions-and parties join and leave at will(not so different than Republicans becoming Democrats and vice-versa).

Back to Pinera. His brother Jose Pinera works at the Cato Institute in the US now and
was responsible for promoting a plan of "free market reforms" that he considered could double Chile's annual rate of growth to 7%, he became, first, Secretary of Labor and Social Security (1978–1980), and then, Secretary of Mining (1980–1981), in the cabinet of General Augusto Pinochet. As such, he was responsible for four structural reforms: the creation of a retirement system based on private personal accounts (the AFP system), the opening of the private health insurance system (the ISAPRE system), the redesign of the labor code changing the terms of trade union elections, and the constitutional law on mining. Never mind that the pension system here is a mess(especially after the economic mess), never mind that fees charged for pension account eat most of the returns(link here) with portion below.

There are prohibitively high expenses and fees. Voracious commissions and other administrative costs have swallowed up large shares of personal accounts. It is estimated that roughly 28 to 33 percent one-quarter to one-third of contributions made by employees retiring in 2000 went toward fees.
  • The brokerage firm CB Capitales calculated (see English language discussion by Stephen Kay of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta here) that when commission charges are taken into consideration in Chile, the total average return on worker contributions between 1982 and 1999 was 5.1 percent-not 11 percent as calculated by the superintendency of pension funds. That report found that the average worker would have done better simply by placing their pension fund contributions in a passbook savings account.
That was written with 1999 figures-imagine people with pensions here now with the stock market crash. They were still paying those high "fees" even though their pension funds suffered tremendously.

...Are you listening up there in the USA? Look no further than Chile and its "free market reforms" of privatization to see how they don't work. More about those another time...these "reforms" were instituted under a dictatorship(often undisclosed in glowing accounts of Friedman and Pinochet "saved" Chile). Make no mistake, Chile's strong economic position today is the result of Concertacion policies. But, know that Jose(I see he has a Youtube entitled "José Piñera - The Man Who Fought for Prosperity and Democracy"....yeah he improved "prosperity" alright for the insurance companies, the corporations. The people?

Jose was by GW Bush's side, back in the social security privatization discussions in the US. Ans although you'll see recent rants by Jose about how wonderful privatization is, the other side has moved on-but don't think privatization won't continue to rear its' ugly head in the US. And if you don't think the US health plan won't look similar to Chile's ISAPRE, I know some swampland for sale...

So, Sebastian Pinera, perennial candidate, is running again. I saw a poll showing he and Frei (concertacion candidate) were within a few points but another independent and former socialist party candidate has entered the race. He is somewhat left of Frei and appears to be taking votes-Pinera is now far ahead with the other two splitting the rest of the vote. Pinera has carefully distanced himself from the Pinochet legacy.

So today I saw an article that, if true, is pretty shocking.

Santiago - Documents revealed by the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), published on Friday in this capital, relate presidential candidate Sebastian Pinera to ex dictator Augusto Pinochet and several actions for illegal enrichment.

El Siglo weekly highlighted today several CIA documents, one of which said Pinera's father had collaborated with that spy agency since 1965, and his brother Jose, Pinochet's Labor and Mining minister, was its direct collaborator and financial analyst.

Pinera told Spanish El Mundo daily in early July that he had always been opposed to Pinochet's government.

The weekly, which entitled its front page headline as Dossier Pinera: secret CIA documents, devoted several pages to demonstrate Pinera's closeness to Pinochet's environment, as well as data about the origin
of his fortune.

The reports conclusions emphasized "the inconvenience that a man about whom the intelligence services of the largest power in the world have so much information assumes the Republic's presidency."

Quoting the documents, El Siglo journalist Francisco Herreros revealed a 1982 operation, ordered by the then US ambassador, to take Pinera out of the country because he had been accused of several crimes related to fraudulent placing in administration and liquidation of the Talca Bank.

A list of around 80 false companies were created to receive credit from the Talca Bank and then "to buy its shares," is among the crimes attributed to Pinera and his brother Jose, together with Carlos Massad, El Siglo

The link here:

And I went to the original story which is here and in Spanish at La Nacion, a small Chilean paper. I did a google translate and it is passable. There are several other stories there that link as well and tell a tawdry tale of high finance, corruption and politics. Chilean banks were mainly nationalized before Pinochet, then sold(privatized) under Pinochet-another "miracle", Allende paid money out of the treasury to nationalize and Pinochet sold the banks, thereby receiving money.

The first document is a collection of background and analysis on Juan Miguel Sebastian Piñera Echenique, ordered by the Communications Department of the United States Embassy in Santiago, which is numbered WSA/Was/3215B records the data entry 1975, 1984 and 1990 and relates to the laundering of assets, creation of shell companies, bribery and conspiracy, all acts related to the intervention and liquidation of the Bank of Talca in 1982.

Below is a list of shell companies set up to receive credits from the Bank of Talca and buy shares of the bank. " El documento atribuye la autoría intelectual de esa asociación ilícita a José Piñera Echeñique, Carlos Massad y Sebastián Piñera Echeñique. The paper attributes the intellectual authorship of that conspiracy to Jose Pinera Echenique, Carlos Massad and Sebastian Pinera Echenique.

A link here.

I have to see if I can find the so-called CIA documents...but another day. I have to say it seems suspicious as it's a little unclear how Sebastian Pinera attained his billionaire status, although he is widely know as the "father of credit" in Chile. Hmmm.

Update: The Santiago Times has a story here in English.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

August in Chile(It's still winter)

Frosty mornings here but the sun soon warms and melts it. You can actually see the frost melt as the sunlight creeps across the grass.

And the rainy days here in the valley translate to lots of snow on top. Yes, they ski up there.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

My Invented Country By Isabelle Allende

My sister sent me a small box of books(I am so grateful!) and this one was included. Knowing Allende was a writer I would like(thanks Vicki!), I immediately started to read.

Isabelle Allende is related to the famous ex-president but not so directly. I believe her father(who left when she was very young-as she says "went to buy a pack of cigarettes and never returned" ) was a cousin. The book is really not very political. She speaks of the horror and it's interesting that she experienced Sept 11th 1973 in Chile and then Sept 11th 2001 in the US. And some reference to the coup as it relates to her state of mind. She left Chile after the coup(not wanting to raise her children under a dictatorship) and didn't return for many years.

But mostly the book is the thoughts of a woman who loves and understands Chile and her people and many of the customs. I laughed many times and agreed "yes, that is Chile". This is a book for anyone that wants to understand Chile or already does...or simply enjoys a nice story. I should have read it long ago and perhaps would have understood Chile better in the beginning.

The title, My Invented Country, comes from the stories she tells her grandchildren about Chile-and the children think perhaps she invented these stories for them. But I wondered later on-she "invented" a new life in a new country. She currently lives in California and perhaps she is speaking about the U.S. as well.

It is a book of nostalgia, as she freely says is the reason she writes the book but also that our memories are always colored by so many things that the book is her truth but maybe not everyone's.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

July Weather in Chile

Everything you read might make you think there is perfect weather in Chile. And it's nice but not perfect. First of all it's just WRONG that July is winter. The seasons are nearly exactly opposite. Mid-summer in the US is mid-winter in Chile. There are four distinct seasons here, unlike some tropical areas in South America. It is a Mediterranean climate here in the central area (and the climate in Chile can vary within mere miles) and the summers are very hot and nearly without rain. It's humid so it feels even hotter. After 1 pm in the summer, no more yard work but time to move inside to read or take a nap. As the evening gets cool, outside we go again. Lunch here is the big meal of the day, eaten at around 2 pm. Clever Chileans. It used to be(and still is in smaller towns) that everything closed at lunchtime for hours, perhaps the entire afternoon. or maybe until the next day. But even on the hottest summer days, the evenings are cool. We live in a classically built Chilean house-the structure is of massive brick and cement walls. The reason is clear now-the humidity rots and molds any wood structure. And the house is nice and cool in summer. The walls take in the cool of the nights and keep it cool all day-no air conditioning needed. Unfortunately, this same structure means it's darn cold in the winter.

Fall here is gorgeous. There are maple trees everywhere turning red and the days are warm and sunny. My biggest problem with fall is what it's always been-it is is clear that winter is coming! But fall is the time to plant many things-before the rains. You can't plant much in the heat of summer for the plants will wilt and die even with heavy watering. But plant just before the rains and watch things thrive!

Plants and flowers seed themselves freely here. The snapdragons(perritos) went to seed in mid summer and came back and then repeated the feat again. Many become a brand new variety of different colors-a miracle of cross pollination I suppose. My small Chilena friend's latest English phrase is "look at that!" and that's what I want to say-"Look at that! That flower is yellow and the others are pink!" Ah, the geraniums are still alive on the patio. In the Spring, Summer and Fall, there are many gardening miracles. And many grow in the winter-the palm trees set against the snow topped Andes. The ganzania daisies(at least cousins) continue to bloom on sunny days. And there are sunny days. Sunshine follows rain.

But now it is winter. Winters are damp and cold for the most part. Reading by the wood stove is highly recommended. I don't know anyone with central heating. Perhaps a gas heater in the central part of the house but really...we have a wood stove in the main living area and a portable propane heater in the bedroom. Many don't bother, many places are hardly heated. It is the "norm" to wear three or four layers of clothes. It is common for people to wear coats in the house. Soles on shoes are thick for good reason. People walk a lot and tile floors are cold! I was so cold the first winter-and then I learned. On cold days, I wear long underwear. The more stylish women wear pantyhose but...as a gringa, I'm forgiven for my strange ways. Two pair of socks always. And I'm not cold. Here's the funny thing, many Chilean women dress surprisely sexy(well, that is pretty latin) even in winter. I'm glad to be old enough to prefer comfort over level of sexiness!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Why I don't Blog More

I saw the other day a friend wrote "I bought a new ceiling fan, exciting huh?" Hehehe-it's exciting here!

Shopping here is not so easy or boring. When we shopped for a ceiling fan here, there was only the model on the ceiling. Every time after that when we shopped there, I would run down the aisle to see if they had one in a box yet. You should have seen my face when they finally did,(after 7-8 tries) beaming like I won a marathon or something. The most boring tasks are quite an adventure.

I think about writing about some of these-and did more in the beginning. But I know few people will be fascinated by my mundane shopping adventures.

I can't help it-I was so excited the day I found that the Chilean chancaca substitutes perfectly for molasses! How do I explain that you people in the USA have EVERYTHING...more items appear here all the time and every one is really exciting. Michael found safeway pancake mix and showed me and we were thrilled. And blue cheese dressing-OMG!

It's been great for me to learn to cook and bake from "scratch". Definitely healthier. And it adds to the adventure. But I miss those 4 for $1 frozen burritos(you can't buy them here) that you pop in the microwave, add some cheddar cheese(nope, haven't seen it) and some nice salsa(I saw some once) from the jar you have in the fridge. And no dishes(no dishwasher either).

And Walmart has come to Chile. There was a time when I wouldn't shop at walmart. But I'm a little excited that Walmart will bring products to Lider(they bought a controlling interest) that I see more shopping adventures in store for me....maybe they'll ship some peanut butter!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Mountain Parakeet

These little green parrots are noisy in a group and are always in a group although not generally this large. They found a nice perch for everyone on the fence and are all singing in celebration of the sunny spot they found I think.

I still am unsure what they are called but I read the most common parrots are only found far south. So far, I believe it is the Austral parrot. We are central, not south at all. I'm told they go to Argentina and back. More research...

Update...they are the Mountain parakeet, which is a parrot. Link to more information and their song here. The audio was a dead giveaway.

Edit: I did find that it's the Mountain parakeet(a type of parrot) not the austral...

Saturday, May 30, 2009

And soon it will be June( winter is here)

How time flies-I haven't posted in a while. It is cloudy and cold today. That is relatively speaking because it rarely gets to freezing even in the night.

In the picture is a pear tree which yielded one pear which looked beautiful but tasted terrible. it seems sad trees lose their "clothes' when it gets cold-no wonder we feel a little sad. The roses in the background are really just cuttings that were planted that should grow roots and be "real" roses next year.

I'll miss seeing the birds as much. the little parrot on the right is normally seen in flocks flying fast but disappear in winter, flying North I suppose. The bird on the left has a very bright red breast and sings like a meadowlark(as a matter fact, it is a type of meadowlark). There's a legend about him and a hunter and the blood makes his breast red. There's almost always a story here....

These guys on the left perched on the house for a moment. They are large and honk something like geese. These are the Buff Necked Ibis or Bandurria as they're called locally. Listen to them here

And the Queltehue(pronounced Ka-TELL-way) is very common. We see many every day, all winter long. From the front, they look like they have a tuxedo when they march. Females and males look nearly the same. The hawks that I love to watch are their greatest enemy although Mom and Dad stay together and defend their young with courage and vigor (note the sharp "claw" protruding from the wings). If you get too near the nest, they will dive bomb you while calling loudly to others. They sound much like gulls and actually the southern lapwing. When they fly, they spread huge wings and a black and white underbelly is seen-making them look like an entirely different bird.
They are actually the Southern Lapwing. They have loud alarm calls whenever someone walks nearby-our own "watch birds". And another call while flying which is much like the chittering of seagulls.

And even now, at 7:45 pm, I hear them call in the pitch dark.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

English in Chile- A Story

The neighbor has been insisting she would like her kids to learn English. I decide I would try to help. These are the neighbors who have been wonderful to us. They have 5 children but the 11 year twin girls seemed like likely subjects. English is taught in all the schools in Chile yet none(or few) of the young people speak or seem to understand English. I found this hard to believe-surely they are just shy or reticent to act or sound foolish, I thought.

The twins came over with their English school books-both adorable with their long, dark hair and big brown eyes. But when I spoke any English, their eyes clouded and I could tell they understood nothing at all. I looked at their books. Written in English at about a "Tom Sawyer" level, I asked if they could read it. They nod and read-correctly-a paragraph. But they understood nothing of what they read. Nothing. They recited English like a memorized poem in another language. And understood nothing.

We went on to their English lesson they had done in class. There was a paragraph and the typical "who, what, when, where" questions for comprehension. Because they were done in class, they had the answers, they were done with the lesson. But they didn't know what "swim" or "boat" or "run" meant. They could easily "read" the paragraph but with no meaning.

I don't know if they'll come back for help. I speak little Spanish and explained meanings through mostly pictures and pantomimes. They did understand the paragraph when we were done-you could see it in their eyes. They would say the word in Spanish(I understand more than I can speak) "Correr" after I said the English "Run"so I knew they understood. But they have good grades in English, why would 11 yr olds waste their Saturday morning? Unbelievable to me.

And how can I explain it's good to be bilingual when this is my first experience in learning another language?

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Travel quotes

Nice quotes that bear repeating...From here-they make a lot of sense!

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” - St. Augustine

“To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.” - Bill Bryson

“When you travel, you experience, in a very practical way, the act of rebirth. You confront completely new situations, the day passes more slowly, and on most journeys you don’t even understand the language the people speak. So you are like a child just out of the womb. You begin to attach much more importance to the things around you because your survival depends upon them. You begin to be more accessible to others because they may be able to help you in different situations. -Paul Coehlo

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.” - Mark Twain

“For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.” - Robert Louis Stevenson

“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” - Henry Miller

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” - Mark Twain

“Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.” - Miriam Beard

“All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.” - Martin Buber

“We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.” - Jawaharial Nehru

“A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.” - Lao Tzu

“There is no moment of delight in any pilgrimage like the beginning of it.” - Charles Dudley Warner

“If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay at home.” - James Michener

“I have found out that there ain’t no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them than to travel with them.” - Mark Twain

“Not all those who wander are lost.” - J. R. R. Tolkien

“Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen.” - Benjamin Disraeli

“Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends.” - Maya Angelou

“Wandering re-establishes the original harmony which once existed between man and the universe” - Anatole France

“Travel and change of place impart new vigor to the mind.” - Seneca

“What you’ve done becomes the judge of what you’re going to do - especially in other people’s minds. When you’re traveling, you are what you are right there and then. People don’t have your past to hold against you. No yesterdays on the road.” - William Least Heat Moon

“To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries.” - Aldous Huxley

“Travel does what good novelists also do to the life of everyday, placing it like a picture in a frame or a gem in its setting, so that the intrinsic qualities are made more clear. Travel does this with the very stuff that everyday life is made of, giving to it the sharp contour and meaning of art.” - Freya Stark

“The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” - G. K. Chesterton

“When you travel, remember that a foreign country is not designed to make you comfortable. It is designed to make its own people comfortable.” - Clifton Fadiman