Politics is a Blood Sport; and Words can Kill

Standard

022

Dolls are fast becoming a leading seller in art galleries and shows around the world. The latest additions are spunky, funny, and like mini-sculptures with attitude.

Collectors of these dolls are growing in number, and the artists are being propelled into notoriety. But It was a recent article in the newspaper that got me thinking about dolls; especially my own as a child.

015

(Here I am taking a photo through the glass. A mirror is on the other side)

Her name was Shirley, and I carried her around by the arm because she was fairly large for my toddler body. Made out of a celluloid material that looked like a cross between wood and papier-mâché’ her toes and fingers wore down into white scuffs and eventually holes.

The article in the paper told about a Jewish woman’s doll and the travels it made during World War II. She and her doll were separated many times, but they always managed with the help of others to be re-united. The dolls of these children were especially important to Holocaust victims and survivors.

images-4

Sometimes mothers made simple dolls and toys for their children in the camps. Often a family would say that their daughters or sons were twins so they wouldn’t be separated. Unfortunately, these children were selected for tortuous medical experiments by Dr. Mengele and his staff.

Today, some of these dolls reside in Holocaust museums:

Two dolls taken away from Jewish sisters during the Holocaust found a home with a French family — for three generations.

108897244_doll2-large_transqvzuuqpflyliwib6ntmjwyb__zzaz_qwh9f_qm1myjc

Denise and Micheline Levy, 10 and 9 at the time, were being lined up in the French village of Gemeaux, when a gendarme grabbed the dolls and threw them on the ground.  (The complete story and two endearing photos are on the reports. link.) A family in the village took the two dolls home, one in a pink dress, another in a blue.

“None of us ever played with the dolls. We knew the story,” Frederique Gilles, whose grandmother first found the dolls, said. “Our family tried to find out what happened to the two girls, but they never came back. We were unable to trace any relatives.”

dolls-1474384129

Gilles decided to turn the dolls over to the Shoah Memorial in Paris last week, saying she felt wrong passing them down to her four-year-old daughter. “It wasn’t easy to give them up but it was the best thing we could do for the memory of those little girls,” she said.

1649453240

The Holocaust was the systematic annihilation of six million Jews by Adolf Hitler and the Nazis during World War II. In 1933 approximately nine million Jews lived in the 21 countries of Europe that would be militarily occupied by Germany during the war. By 1945 two out of every three European Jews had been killed by the Nazis.

1.5 million children were murdered. This figure includes more than 1.2 million Jewish children, tens of thousands of Gypsy children and thousands of handicapped children.

The Holocaust is a history of enduring horror and sorrow. It seems as though there is no spark of human concern, no act of humanity, to lighten that dark history.

– Louis Bülow
www.auschwitz.dkdownload-2

There is a new book out that I want to read called “Mischling” a German word that means half-breed. The author, Affinity Konar, bases her book on actual Auschwitz survivors Eva and Miriam Mozes and the details they shared of infamous Nazi Dr. Josef Mengele.

The haunting words of George Santayana remind us that the lessons of history are invaluable in determining the course of the future: “Those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it.

Sadly many Millennial’s and college students stick today’s politicians with the “Hitler” label without even studying the history and the horrors of what Hitler and his cohorts actually did. Politics is, indeed, a blood sport; and words can kill! Please be informed before you speak!

images-9images-10

https://youtu.be/saZcy4RAXIY   Dolls in Orlando’s Holocaust Museum.

https://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10005142 link for more info on children

Tides by Any Other Name Would Smell as Stinky

Standard
"Seashells by the Seashore" on the Gulf

“Seashells by the Seashore” on the Gulf

What is coarse, toxic, sweeps up marine life in its wake and kills? If you guessed a broom, we’re done here. If you answered pollution, you’re close. If you said red tides, you’re dead on. Never heard of these menacing algae? Let me introduce you.

Every summer at the height of tourist season, a tangle of brownish algae and dead fish cascades onto the Gulf Coast’s pristine beaches and the stink is overwhelming; as my mother used to say, “Enough to gag a maggot.” What makes these algae such a menace? They produce one of the deadliest toxins known to man.

These harmful algal blooms or HABS wreak havoc on local fishing industries to the tune of $82 million each year. The toxins affect the central nervous system of fish, killing them in vast numbers; limiting the quantities of fresh fish that fisheries depend on. Toxins also may poison shellfish like clams, oysters, and mussels, and make the humans who eat them sick.

"Pelican at Rest" Gulf Waters

“Pelican at Rest” Gulf Waters

These red tide masses affect marine ecosystems in a number of ways. Dense blooms can block sunlight that benefit good algae and sea grasses needed for food. Wildlife and marine mammals like seabirds, manatees, turtles and dolphins may get sick or even die. Humans may suffer severe respiratory or skin ailments. In addition to that, red tides are downright unsightly.

My first reaction to walking on the beach after a red tide wash up was repulsion. Hundreds of putrid dead fish trapped in strange-looking seaweed covered the white sand driving me and many other tourists back to our hotels. Like them, I wanted to know what this stuff was, what it did, and how we could stop it.

Red tides are composed of microscopic algae known as dinoflagellates; their scientific name: karenia brevis. The algal cells are asexual. They produce simply by dividing. To complicate matters, each cell is capable of movement via two flagella that propels them through the water. There is no brainwork involved in this confluence or joining of forces. They drift with the water’s ebb and flow, bumping together to form large clumps or “blooms” as their numbers increase.

What makes dinoflagellates different from other microscopic algae? At least two things: their rapid growth and their toxicity both of which raise more questions than answers. Why do these organisms suddenly explode into a massive growing binge? What triggers this growth and why does it produce toxins in some algae and not in others?

Biologists and scientists believe pollution of our waterways may be the leading factor. Pesticides, fertilizers and chemicals are washed into surrounding rivers and lakes and eventually find their way into the sea. At the mouth of these inlets and tributaries, red tides get their first burst of growth which certainly points to pollution as the cause.

But there’s a catch: red tides are not a new phenomenon. Fish kills from deadly algae were recorded in 1840 and as long ago as the Spanish explorers who wrote about them in their logs. After years of red tides research, there is still no conclusive evidence or link to pollution. Like many quirks of nature, the trigger may be from natural causes or a series of events that are little understood.

"The Perfect Ending" acrylic on canvas

“The Perfect Ending” acrylic on canvas

The Fish and Wildlife Research Institute (FWRI) in Florida conducts Red Tide Reports on a regular basis during critical growing periods. Using satellite imagery, high levels of chlorophyll are monitored for possible resurgence of red tides. With the help of modern technology, experts record the size, rate of growth, and location of these HABS.

FWRI works in partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) under the supervision of the U.S. Department of Commerce. NOAA’s goal is to “provide the tools to prevent, control, or mitigate the occurrence of HABS.” Because red algae can be found in almost any waterway, research labs are positioned worldwide.
If you would like information about red tides in your own locale, go to http://www.noaa.gov.

What is the missing component that explains why red tides grow faster and wilder during certain times of the year? Is pollution the cause as some suggest? Or is it increased water temperature that naturally encourages the growth of most algae? Until the mystery is solved, Gulf residents and vacationers around the globe must continue to endure the irritation, the blight and the stink of red tides.

Do you have a “stinky” problem in your neck of the woods? Please share it with us.