Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The Day After the Election... for us anyway! Talking of Cats! Making life better!

"Good Morning America, how are Ya?"
I am writing most of this the day after your Presidential election, by New Zealand time, so it may reassure you to know that there is life after election day.

 Like many other people around the world, I have been following the American election quite closely. I hope that I have not been too much like a rubbernecking bystander at a crash site, even though much of the coverage of the last few weeks has painted a troubling picture of things.

I watched two of the presidential candidate debates, and was lulled into a deep sleep (or coma) by the Third Debate. This was welcome at the time as the aches and pains I have had after the shoulder operation has made sleep a difficult state to achieve most nights, so I am thankful to the candidates for their assistance with this!

Like a Possum caught in the headlights of an approaching vehicle, I am fascinated by Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, they both amaze and frighten me for a number of reasons. Is it possible to judge anyone from their media image? I don't know, but it is what we do! Like it or not, most people collectively sway this way and that like a cornfield troubled by a fickle breeze, and our response is probably largely emotional. I am sure this is part of the human condition. Most people are driven by their "gut", that is why sport is so popular, and mathematics is not!

I am sorry, truly I am, but I cannot help but think of animal associations when I see The Donald in a debate. Mostly I see a very large old bull with steam rising from its back, snorting and pacing with pendulous scrotum swinging and mud squirting from under heavy hoofs. When the "locker room talk" scandal was lobbed like globs of smelly manure onto the campaign trail, the old bull image seemed most apt indeed, but sober reflection over a few days has replaced that with the bleaker image of an old bull pacing a ring taunted by a matador.

This may be a cultural or a generational thing, but I am not accustomed to people claiming to be clever even when they are. To do so at a public meeting would appear boastful or pretentious.. to have to do so may also make the person seem stupid! New Zealand has a reputation for cutting down "tall poppies", and maybe, after living here for 40 years, some of that has rubbed off on me.

At a campaign rally at Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, Donald Trump said, "I went to an Ivy League School, I am very well educated, I know words, I have the best words..." Trump said "I know words"... in the way that someone else might boast that they understand quantum mechanics or string theory!

I realise that Trump may well be a very high achiever in the world of deal making and finance (I am not, so I couldn't possibly judge!), but he just does not come across in the media as being particularly "bright" or capable of heading up the management of a country so large, complex, and with so many overseas interests and involvements as the United States of America. He would argue that he was the victim of media bias. I wonder... is there really a substantial intelligence under the snorting and bluster? There may be? I don't know!

Screenshot taken at 9.46am NZ time from

From watching the heaving lines of the polls, I suspect that Hillary Clinton will win. There is a significant peristaltic twitch at the election day end of the lines which maybe show a last minute nervousness about Trump, and a wish to plump for someone with a greater appearance of being able to debate, listen, negotiate, and express a coherent point of view.

It may also be a case of "Better the Devil that you know", but Clinton does come with sulphurous baggage. I am a bit simple when it comes to politics and people, but something that I don't like about that "locker room talk" scandal, and it is that someone recorded that stuff, was it 8 or 10 years ago, then kept it hidden away to use for leverage, advantage, blackmail, or what ever. I don't much care for people who talk and joke in the way that Trump appears to have done, but I despise schemers and blackmailers and people who profit from them!

Much is made of the Hillary Clinton email scandal, but emails seem a bit techie and cerebral somehow. Emails are not "sexy" and attention grabbing even when there are thousands of them. In the light of the recent brief resurfacing of this scandal, I found it interesting to find on YouTube a clip that was uploaded on 7 July of this year of FBI Director James Comey being questioned by Trey Gowdy at a hearing on the FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of private email servers while serving as Secretary of State, as well as the decision to not recommend criminal charges against her.

We are too close to see and evaluate the legacy of our our present day politicians, and how they will be judged by historians 100 or 200 years in the future, but can Hillary Clinton really be seen as a Peace Maker, when so many have died on her watch?

I really don't envy Americans having to choose between Clinton and Trump. What ever is decided may also have a profound effect on the rest of us around the world. I guess I will be checking the news every hour or so this afternoon as the results start to trickle in. I might even manage some more sleep!

Talking of Cats!
With that off my chest...., I'm ready to talk about cats! One in particular!

There was a time when the sight of a large black and white cat threading her way through a display of my pots would quicken the pulse, and generate a jolt of panic. As a younger, and much smaller, version of herself Nigella Stopit was clumsy and heavy footed. She would walk through, rather than step around bowls, jugs, or mugs. She would wear mugs like gumboots, before scattering them on their sides, or knock them onto the floor!

By some miracle, perhaps by some weird quirk in the Inverse Law of Physics, she has become more sure footed as her bulk has increased, so breakages are now rare. I still don't encourage her to climb up amongst my pots, but I can now find some humour when she does!

Nigella Stopit discovered this large footed bowl in the gallery the other day, and realised that its generous proportions would fit her own beautifully and trap the morning sun!

Oh to be a cat! In uploading these photos I realise that I have just fulfilled the blogging stereotype of a reclusive person posting photos of their cat, but... who cares!

Making Life Better!
I haven't posted for a while, because I did not want to make this blog a list of aches and pains, and medical stuff. I also have only recently had the energy or mental stamina to feel like spending much time in front of the computer doing anything creative or requiring much input from me. 

It is 4 and a half weeks after my shoulder operation and I was delighted this morning to be able to carefully play my ukulele for 4 or 5 minutes for the first time since the operation. At last the range of movement of my left arm has got to the stage where I can bend my elbow up and hold the neck of the instrument and push down with my fingers on the strings. This makes me feel much better, I was really missing my daily dose of music!

The other good thing today was that I was able to use the camera to take photos of Laura in the garden.

I found using both hands to work the camera really difficult before, but managed a short session of photo taking today.

The last 4 weeks has been rather an up and down ride and I couldn't have got through it without Laura helping and encouraging. We also have had family and friends drop in, ring up, email, and help with fetching groceries from town, or taking me to the doctor for appointments, and all this has kept us going and made life much better! 


smartcat said...

I'm so very happy to see that your mobility is improving. It must be a great relief to feel the progress.
I think my country just elected Cthulu!
Love seeing that Nigella Stopit is becoming more agile as she matures. I need to see cool animals and beautiful things today!

Arkansas Patti said...

Very thoughtful and astute post Peter. My heart is very heavy this morning over the surprise results but it is interesting to see how others across the globe viewed our bizarre election process this year. I hope we don't feel like the UK in the coming days and regret the results. I did what I could and now can only pray our country survives this unpredictable leader.
I am so sorry you are still struggling with that shoulder but am pleased you are showing progress. It is so hard being restricted like that. When I hurt mine, I was amazed how we adjust and that you really can get dressed and function a bit with just one arm. It does get much better Peter, I promise. Today, nothing hurts except my heart over the election.

gz said...

A good post, and glad to hear your good news as well

Peter said...

Hi Smartcat,
I often learn something new from comments, and I was unfamiliar with "Cthulu" that you mentioned... so, I had a fascinating start to the day reading all about this terrifying mythological creature of the deep, really the stuff of nightmares. I really hope that Trump doesn't turn out that way. I guess that most leaders are empowered by the people they have around them, and the environment in which they exist... If looked at from a medical point of view, the rise of Trump could be described as the eruption of a large, angry boil on the skin. It is there because the patient is unwell, and the blood is poisoned. Somehow the patient needs to be cared for and nursed to health again, and made to feel happy and well, then it will no longer suffer from skin eruptions and boils! I'll do my best to post some happy photos of beautiful things in the very near future. On the lagoon near us are lots of baby swans, ducklings and other such fluffy and adorable bundles of life, I'll see if I can take some photos of them!
Kind Thoughts from us, Px

Hi Patti,
Lovely to hear from you. I always think of you when there is news from your part of the world, and I realise that this election will be weighing heavily upon you. "Unpredictable" is a very apt word for your new leader, and we can only sincerely hope and pray that his time at the White House does unexpected good rather than the anticipated harm. Certainly his abrupt arrival into this place of power does indicate a level of hurt and dis-empowerment that many have experienced, and somehow this does need to be addressed and solutions found. We too have suffered from economic reforms and poor leadership in this part of the world, and there is a troubling divide between the few that have a great deal, and the many who do not!
The shoulder will be quite a long process, but I really feel like things are making progress this week and things are healing.
Kind Thoughts from all of us and purrs from Nigella Stopit!

Good Morning Gwynneth,
Thank you for that, we certainly live "in interesting times"! You will have the realities of Brexit in your part of the world. It must be challenging living through times of such change and tough on minorities. There is no "road map" for this, so it seems that much of the world is bewildered!

srgb said...

Good post Peter.
My mother used to talk about people having the D Ts but that was long ago, you know how fashion has a way of repeating its self, I think we have another case of the D Ts (delirium tremens)Google it it won't mention Donald Trumps name but you will get my drift and then there is the morning after effect, seems like we have seen it all before according to my Mum.

Peter said...

Hello Bob,
Good to hear from you, thank you for your amusing comment! The election of Donald Trump, a case of the DTs, yes it certainly seems that way, and the morning after effect is particularly disabling at the moment! I'm not sure what the political equivalent of "the hair of the dog" would be to relieve the hangover!. In all seriousness, the turmoil and hurt in the USA must be very distressing to those caught up in it all. It is deeply worrying to see the violence that is bubbling up, and I hope that all sides decide to simmer down and make things work for the good.

Robert Harris said...

I have followed your blog irregularly but consistently.
I woke up this morning to hear of yet another earthquake (and even worse tsunami) near Christchurch, and I wondered how you were doing this morning.

I know that you are on the North Island, but I hope you and yours are all well. It seems Christchurch was only just getting over the big one in 2011.

Linda Starr said...

Laura in the flowers, was a beautiful and welcoming sign to my eyes. I just heard about the earthquake and tsunami, hope you both are ok and your friends and relatives are ok and hope no pottery fell off the shelves. I was for trump judging from my gut on what is best for us here in the long run in our country. Hope your shoulder is improving day by day.

Peter said...

Thank you Robert and Linda for getting in touch, it was kind of you to be thinking of us. Your comments were the first I knew of it as we somehow slept through it. I will ask around in the village where we are and see if anyone noticed it here. I am only just starting to gather some information about the quake from the media, but it looks like it tended to affect those most badly from Christchurch right through to Wellington in the North Island. Sadly, it appears that someone in a town North of Christchurch lost their life as a result of the quake. Robert, regarding where we live, I must have mislead you somewhere in the blog, because we are located in the South Island just North of Dunedin!

I'd love to chat more with you Linda about Trump, it seems that a true picture of him was very hard to get from the heavy negative stuff in the media. It may surprise people to know that I feel like there is slightly more chance of waking up to find a world out there with Trump in the Whitehouse than I did at the prospect of Hillary Clinton! I'm glad I wasn't in the position of having to vote, I think the choice was extremely hard to make!

Armelle Léon said...

Ouffff !!! both Laura and you are safe :-) and the pots too ;-) well I shouldn't post about Trump, coz I am French, though everybody in the world is affected by this election, in France we will have a presidential election soon (By universal suffrage, that is to say there are no great voters).... And do you know ? Since Trump is elected, politics are speaking a new voice, much more agressive. I am sorry ... Well I really love your pots and the delicates of Nigella Stopit, Laura is great in the garden :-)

Armelle Léon said...

Oh yes and I hope you will get better soon, I imagine you climbing in the mountains with your shoulder in a sharp !!!

Robert Harris said...

Sorry about my mistaking where you were. For some reason I thought you were closer to Auckland than Christchurch. Shows how much I've been paying attention!

Glad you didn't even wake up!

And yes, the Clinton-Trump vote was very hard to make. While my position was that Trump's anti-Mexican, mysogynistic rants were impossible to overlook, Clinton was exactly the sort of career (ambitious) politician that I'd prefer not to vote for.
I've got a number of very left-wing friends who are being optimists and hoping to take the opportunity that Trump represents to "break the system". At least it looks like he's seriously back-peddling on some of his more worrying position (healthcare for a start!).

On a more positive note, I have loved watching your explorations into earthenware. There is something rather enjoyable about the watercoloriness (is that a word?) of them that makes a nice change from stoneware. And yet they're also nicely muted. The trend in the States seems to be hugely bright bold majolica. Not to my taste I have to admit.
Oh and the Owls were supercool. I thought all these things at the time, but am terrible at pushing the "Comment" button!

Peter said...

Bonjour Armelle,
Very nice to hear from you all the way from the Beautiful Island! I was amazed at how quickly news had travelled about earthquake, I often read Al Jazeera for world news and found a good summary of the NZ quake there first thing this morning! There is so much written about Trump and Clinton that it is extremely difficult to determine what is true, and what is not. I was frightened by Clinton's confrontational attitude with Russia and thought it dangerous. Of course I do not admire what we have seen of Trump in the media and on campaign one bit! I wish that Bernie Saunders had won the Democrats nomination, I think we would have all been better with him.
I am so glad that we have a garden with flowers, and a cat! Both bring joy!
Kind thoughts from us all, Pxx

Hi Robert,
How nice to hear from you again! On reflection I think I probably was groggily aware of the earthquake, but failed to understand what it was at the time. I was doped up with painkillers for the shoulder, and not at my best and brightest at 2 minutes past midnight!

It is fascinating to read around the Clinton-Trump thing. I watched a piece by journalist John Pilger yesterday, entitled, "the truth is... there was no one to vote for"
I'm not sure what an American audience would make of it, but it was quite disturbing and thought provoking. Laura and I have also "time travelled" by having look at one or two episodes of the first series of "The Apprentice", where we see Trump back in 2003-4. Quite interesting seeing a younger Trump in action.

Thank you for your kind words regarding the earthenware and owls! I like the "watercoloriness", it does deserve to be a word, and it does express something that I have been enjoying about working with earthenware. I also like the "muted" palette, it seems to me to be more in harmony with the "earthy" red-brown tones of the clay itself. Sadly, I think we are in a minority in that it is probably not so easy to sell here as bright things would be... In my grumpy and moments, when the shoulder is acting up, I have been known to mutter, "people who want bright things can buy plastic cups!" Unfair of me I know!
Thank you for pushing the comment button!