Monthly Archives: July 2014

A Twinge of Conscience – Israel and Palestine

Palestine over time -map

Sometimes I find that my prejudices inform my interpretations of history more than they should, along with the fact that I am often not fully informed about world events. In the case of Israel and Palestine I am guilty of a prejudice towards the Jewish people as a result of what was done to them in Europe. I picture the events in Israel as some variation on musical chairs, in which two groups of people circled the same country and when they sat down they sat on top of each other. But it appears that what actually happened between Israel and Palestine is more similar to the childhood game King of the Mountain (although weaponizing it has made it anything but childish). King of the Mountain is a game in which one of two teams tries to occupy the high ground by pushing the other team off the top of the hill and conquering that strategic vantage point.

It turns out that when Israelis, who were only persecuted and hunted Jews at the time, found themselves without a homeland, without a country, without a refuge, and with nowhere to run, a movement began which led the Jewish people back to the land they occupied before the Diaspora. But that land was not empty. It was the nation of Palestine and was home to the Palestinian people. Israelis fought a war with the Palestinians (have you read the novel Exodus) and pushed them aside to make room for an Israeli nation. They became King of the Mountain. The Palestinians, however, never gave up their claim to their previous nation and the Israelis were in no mood to share.

The situation that has evolved between Israel and Palestine troubles our sense of what is just because we sympathize with both groups. We believe that, after all their horrors, Israel deserves their own spot on the earth and we believe that to be really fair that spot should be free from strife. We do not usually support a country that wrests land away from another country though. What Israel has been forced to do to establish a secure nation does not completely sit well with us as Americans. They stole a country, kicked out the people who were living there, and these people, the Palestinians, did not gladly move aside. They have been pushed into smaller and smaller areas but they continue to fight to regain a nation that they feel is theirs. The Jews believe that they were actually earlier inhabitants of Palestine than the people who call themselves Palestinians today and they feel totally justified in pushing the Palestinians aside.

There is much talk about peaceful coexistence, about sharing Palestine/Israel but the history of these two groups is anything but peaceful and neither party trusts such an arrangement. So where are the Palestinians to go? There are no empty nations nearby and those other nations would not be “home”.

We are left with uneasy contradictions to our sense of justice and fairness. We would not normally condone what Israel has done, but, given the Holocaust and the genocide we cannot condemn it either. The Palestinians are Arabs, surely they can find a place in another Arabic nation. The Jewish people have no other Jewish country to go to and they are our allies so we side with them against that slight twinge to our conscience that says that the Palestinians got shafted. The twinge to our conscience will hardly change our alliance though; we will just have to put up with an imperfect justice for now. (Except real people are dying and they are also on our conscience.) No wonder we wish for an acceptable solution. We need to work much, much harder to find an acceptable solution.

By Nancy Brisson

<a href=https://plus.google.com/10640005355488737390?=author>Nancy Brisson</a>

Israel and Gaza

nprgazatunneltoisrael

Israel is our “forever” ally with a place near and dear to our hearts. It is perhaps partly due to guilt about the Holocaust – not believing it was true, not stopping it sooner by entering the war earlier (after all, news was leaking out, or at least rumors), not being able to imagine that one set of human beings would treat another set of human beings like the Nazi’s did, not letting boats of escaping Jewish refugees come ashore in America. We have a lot of guilt and that is probably a factor in our feelings about Israel.

When no one would take in Jewish refugees they decided to fulfill an ancient prophecy and return to “Zion” to form their own nation where they could fiercely defend themselves from enemies and where they would never, ever allow themselves to be considered too smart and too tricky and too exclusionary and too inferior (I know these things are contradictory but the critics of the Jews did not put too fine a point on consistency). The Jews decided they would not again be used as a lever for power, gained by exploiting racist animosity, based on envy and “different-ness”. They decided they would never again be sitting ducks or helpless victims. Israel was to be their rebirth as a people and a faith. Jews finally, and once again, had a homeland.

America is home also to many, many people of the Jewish faith and they are great Americans. They have made enormous positive contributions to every aspect of American life. They often have their own neighborhoods and temples (churches) but we all tend to do that here in America, hang out with people of similar heritage, so this behavior does not stand out as it did in a country made up basically only of Germans (which does not mean that Jews didn’t consider themselves Germans, but seems to suggest that some other Germans really never accepted their Jewish neighbors as Germans).

For all of these reasons and because Israel is basically a strong democracy surrounded by nations where democracy is not the chosen form of government and also because Israel is a strong contender among nations with a powerful army and powerful defenses (which we have helped them accumulate as our ally and as they sit surrounded by potential enemies), for all these reasons and more we stand with Israel.

mapofisraelandgaza

However, we are a nation that also roots for the underdog. We may not think of Hamas as an underdog, but we feel for the Palestinians, underdogs if we ever saw them. The Palestinians are sandwiched on that strip of land in Gaza – that so small slice of desert between Israel and the sea. This gives Palestinians a sea coast but their land is still small and cramped, although there are Palestinians elsewhere as you can see from the map that follows, and Palestinians, or at least Palestinian activist groups like Hamas, want more; more land, more power, more recognition. It looks like they are using their citizens as pawns to make us think of Israelis as homicidal monsters. Well, we all hate to see innocent adults and children slaughtered or even wounded, but those 150 tunnels made of steel and concrete, lit and designed with side tunnels full of ammo do not exactly fit that underdog image that gets our little hearts exercised with the sympathies that are so easy to indulge in at the remove of thousands of miles.

mapofisraelandgaza2

If I lived in Israel and I learned about those tunnels, I would not feel safe for a second until they were gone. It looks like Hamas began this war and it looks like they will never rest while Israel is sitting on land they claim is theirs.

It is certainly a messy, prickly political dilemma. Will there ever be any configuration that will please both Israelis and Palestinians? If we all knew the answer to that brainteaser we could end this war right now. Buffer zones have worked pretty well in some places (notably Korea), but I don’t think there is enough actual geographical room for a buffer zone between these two and missiles would still cross such a narrow zone with ease. A two-state solution still does not explain what the exact borders of each state would be or how the Israelis could ever trust the Palestinians as neighbors.

I know that there are wall and fences, however, obviously walls can be breached by tunnels, as we well understand. It hurts our hearts to watch too many people war over too little land, but it hurts our brains even more because we, and we includes far better brains than mine, have not been able to devise or suggest a solution acceptable to both sides; a solution that would bring long-term peace and coexistence.

A part of us fears that there is no solution to this one except maybe time and vigilance; lots of time and vigilance, and many more senseless battles and deaths. A two state solution has been proposed but is not acceptable to Israel as it would put a hostile state right in the middle of Israeli territory, and Israel would have to give up some land and plenty of security.

By Nancy Brisson

<a href=https://plus.google.com/10640005355488737390?=author>Nancy Brisson</a>

Secure the Border?

greatwall4

There is no way to “secure the border”. No matter how often Republicans call on Obama to “secure the border” (not Obama’s sole responsibility anyway) these Republicans and Senators know that it would be prohibitively expensive to actually “secure the border”; it would necessitate massive around-the-clock surveillance and giving guards permission to kill or imprison implacable offenders. If would require deciding to figure out a way to either steal the Rio Grande River or give it up to Mexico – sharing the river would never guarantee absolute security.

greatwall5

If we could decide how to hash out control of the river with Mexico, then we could perhaps build a wall much like the Great Wall of China – a wall that could be seen from space and inside the wall we could have a continuous bunker with digital sensors. We could electrify the whole thing to shock anyone who touched the wall. The shock could be made strong enough to kill if we so desired. Add drones zigzagging above the wall and satellites in low earth orbit trained 24/7 on the wall and National Guard troops permanently stationed at any gates between the two nations and then ask if this would be secure enough?

Although employing all of this paraphernalia would obviously be a bit pricey (you think?) there would still remain that doubt that someone was still getting through that “secure border” just to prove that s/he could.

Republicans raise the specter of “insecure borders” because for some reason it stops in its tracks any discussion about a policy for dealing with undocumented people who came from south of our border and are already living in the U.S. Why do those words, demanding something as impossible as “securing the border”, have such power over us? Because Republicans control the House of Representatives, that’s why, and because they have learned this tactic and have seen how effective it can be from watching those rabid gun nuts in the NRA. When the opposition wants to do anything you don’t like ratchet up your demands to even more unacceptable levels or make you demands impossible to comply with and you will stymie the opposition and they will not know how to proceed. It’s working in the case of immigration and its working in the case of gun regulations.

By Nancy Brisson

<a href=https://plus.google.com/10640005355488737390?=author>Nancy Brisson</a>

 

Impeach Congress

impeachrepublicans3

The Republicans are suing Obama. The Republicans want to impeach Obama. The hatred directed at Obama and the kinds of policies Democrats want to enact is pulling America apart even as American governance has been brought to a standstill. We have been standing still a long time now. I guess it is a tribute to past legislation and good political bones that our government keeps on ticking and our economy very slowly improves in times like these. It’s like the alignment in a car. You can test it if you remove your hands from the steering wheel while the car continues moving. You will soon know if the car is pulling to the right or to the left or if it stays on the center path. If this analogy has any significance then perhaps we are better off riding hands free for a while because someone (a lot of someones) would like to pull the wheels strongly to the right.

But we cannot stay true to this very simplistic analogy because governance is a complicated thing. We are left with so many questions. The Republicans answer every question with the same answer – Obama. Obama is weak. Obama is a dictator. Obama ruined the economy. If we enact Democratic policies they will ruin the economy. The Affordable Care Act ruined the economy – and the Stimulus – and TARP – and bailouts and on and on ad infinitum. You might notice perhaps that most of the awful things that Obama did are certainly not things he did recently. After 2010 Obama was placed on a very short leash with all the other Democrats and we have never gotten free of it except perhaps when Harry Reid got rid of a small part of the filibuster blockade in the Senate by exercising that nuclear option, which was hardly nuclear since Harry didn’t go all the way.

I heard Republicans complaining on Meet the Press this morning about all the bills and amendments they have brought up for votes in the Senate that have been blocked by Democrats. However, Republicans knew those bills and amendments were unacceptable to Democrats before they ever introduced them. They only introduced them so they could complain about Democrats being obstructionist. Democrats are not, no matter how often Republicans say so in their talking points, the ones doing the obstructing in either the House or the Senate. If they proposed some reasonable bills that were not composed to appeal to the far right on purpose, then Democrats would vote. Democrats also know that if they vote yes on any one of these Republican bills that propose laws Democrats would hate, then the House of Representatives, controlled by the Republicans, would be glad to pass these bills into law, in which case they would end up on the President’s desk and then Republicans could blame Obama some more when he had to veto.

Democrats have wanted to do many things but all of the answers have been no, so we have no idea if these things would have quickened the growth of the American economy, worked on simplifying our tax code or showed that it would be possible to use the tax code as a tool to halt and reverse the extreme income inequality we have now in America.

Democrats want to do things that would help the middle class and that would help grow the middle class such as raising the minimum wage, improving family leave and support options for working single moms and working families, defusing the drag that undocumented people make on our legal system and giving immigrants already in America the option to become legal workers who pay taxes. Policies like these should also discourage people from the need for false identities and identity theft.

We, the American people, have either cheated ourselves by giving Obama power with one hand and then taking it away with the other, or the Republicans have cheated us by engineering an election based on detailed knowledge of the electorate in order to cheat, get Republicans elected, and obstruct the Democratic agenda, which in almost every aspect is different from theirs.

If we could we should:

IMPEACH REPUBLICANS IN CONGRESS!

Except we can’t, so let’s make sure we pass some laws in Congress (when we can) to make it possible for the American people to reboot a bad Congress when necessary. We get to do just such a reboot in November. Elect Democrats in 2014! We can at least do that.

impeachrepublicans2

 

 

Article by Nancy Brisson

<a href=https://plus.google.com/10640005355488737390?=author>Nancy Brisson</a>

Paul Ryan, Ayn Rand, and Poverty

aynrandpolitics3

This week Paul Ryan trotted out his new, old ideas about what to do about poverty in America. If you want details you can listen to any long cycle news channel, but just be sure that you don’t just listen to Fox News. Get more balanced coverage by also listening to either CNN or MSNBC. I’m just going to discuss the pros and cons as I see them, so perhaps I can provide another voice to help you form an opinion about his plan.

Pros:

Paul Ryan did speak with actual poor people (economically challenged).

Paul Ryan did visit actual poor neighborhoods.

He did describe his plan for “lifting” people out of poverty in much greater detail than ever before.

Cons:

Mr. Ryan has not backed off one bit from his belief that helping the unfortunate dooms them to a state of perpetual poverty by making them feel “entitled”.

He still believes that state block grants work, although there is lots of proof that they don’t. Handing 50 disparate states a large chunk of taxpayers’ cash begins well and ends with those dollars being diverted to “more deserving” or “more pressing” state programs.

Paul Ryan designs a support system of counselors and of benchmarks to be met as people (Americans) move through the process. Rewards and punishments are built in for people who meet or do not meet their benchmarks. This sounds like a neat and tidy system but this is a complicated construct that relies on hiring well-trained and effective counselors. It is unlikely, based on prior experience with such programs, that all counselors will be equally competent in every case. It is also unlikely that small towns, villages, and rural areas will be able to offer the same quality and extent of services as larger urban areas, which means that equal opportunities cannot be guaranteed.

Ryan’s ideas show more specific recommendations than previously but they do not postulate a system that has ever actually been shown to work.

I do not necessarily have a problem with benchmarks and counseling or with accountability. However, I have no faith whatsoever in block grants to the states.

I do not see any contingency plans to help those who are unable to succeed in this system. It is not exactly “throw them in the deep end and see if they can swim”; it is more like “give them lessons with water wings on, take the water wings off and throw them in the deep end where they will either swim or drown”. His structures still require a safety net.

I don’t like the idea of treating people like experimental animals forced into a praise/blame framework with their family’s sustenance or lack thereof on the line when the fault for failure could just as easily lie with the program as with those the program is supposed to be assisting.

We have never been able to adopt a program that relies solely on encouragement and positive reinforcement, with plenty of options for personal development; options that work. Conservatives and people who begrudge the use of tax monies paid by people-who-have for people-who-don’t-have, always insist that shaming be part of any social welfare system. Surely by now we must have determined that shaming doesn’t work to stimulate anything but resentment and stubborn refusal to “cooperate”.

I believe that the cons to the Paul Ryan plan far outweigh the pros but he does deserve some praise for digging deeper, even if he did his research with his end conclusions already in place. According to the scientific method, if you already have settled on unshakable assumptions it will be impossible to conduct a truly objective study. Of course we also know how Conservatives feel about science.

I believe that Paul Ryan is unable to be objective about solutions that will work for the least fortunate Americans and that he needs to turn these budget proposals over to someone who is not starting from Ayn Rand (whose ideas are still forming the base of his construct). He is biased and therefore not the person we should look to for restructuring our social safety net and helping Americans rise from poverty.

By Nancy Brisson

<a href=https://plus.google.com/10640005355488737390?=author>Nancy Brisson</a>

 

All Soul’s Trilogy and Book 3, The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness – Book

The Book of Life2

Deborah Harkness’s All Soul’s Trilogy, which I just finished, will, I believe, become a classic of the fantasy/romance genre. Readers start with A Discovery of Witches, travel back in time with Shadow of Night and end up, very satisfactorily, with The Book of Life. In Book 1, A Discovery of Witches we meet Diana Bishop and Matthew de Clermont, as they fall in love at first sight in the Bodleian Library at Oxford University in London. Once Diana fills out that call slip which brings forth a mysterious and unreadable book, Ashmole 782, every single “person” sitting anywhere in that library starts creeping closer to Diana. When she can’t decipher the book she sends it back, but not without riling more than a few library patrons. Matthew rescues her.

Diana is a witch, but she has been spellbound and doesn’t know it. Matthew is a vampire, but he is totally unlike any vampire we have ever met so far in literature or on either the big or small screen and he is so much more. I doubt there is a single female reader who would not wish that she was the one that Matthew assisted in the library that fateful day. There may even be more than a few men who feel that same way.

Diana knows how to be a professor but she has no idea how to be a witch. In Book 2, Shadow of Night, she travels back in time to find great teachers who will call forth her talents. She is more talented than anyone imagined. While in the past Diana marries her vampire (well who wouldn’t) in spite of the Congregation, which rules vampires, witches, and daemons (“creatures”), and which has made cross-creature marriage illegal. Diana arrives back in the present in Book 3, The Book of Life pregnant with Matthew’s babies, absolutely a taboo according to the Congregation (and thought to be impossible).

In The Book of Life Diana and Matthew must deal with Matthew’s family, Matthew’s evil son, Benjamin (possessed of the “blood rage” from which Matthew and his other children also suffer), the birth of the twins, the shock felt by the entire community of “creatures” and the censure of the Congregation. In order to deal with all of this Diana and Matthew must find the two pages that are still missing from Ashmole 782, which they know as The Book of Life, and then Diana must go back to the Bodleian and call back Ashmole 782 to make the book whole. She is sure it contains lost knowledge about witches, vampires and daemons, knowledge which will make the Congregation change the Covenant, will make her marriage to Matthew legal, and will keep her new babies from being assassinated.

Yale University, the college where Diana Bishop teaches plays a key role in Book 3. Matthew’s blood rage has long driven him to study vampire genealogy and DNA. Others believed that witches and vampires, being separate species could not procreate and yet here is Diana pregnant and eventually presenting the de Clermont family with the twins conceived of Matthew, Rebecca and Philip. What the very tolerant, congenial, and scientific colleagues at Diana’s campus find out about “creature” DNA and what Diana eventually learns from The Book of Life is surprising and makes an important plea for tolerance that resounds in the real world occupied by us as humans. (You can form your own judgment about whether “creatures” are real or not.)

I love the academic settings for these books which form a sort of library sandwich. Harkness’s vampires will have you clamoring for someone to take a bite of you. The skills that Diana finds that belong to her, the most talented in a long line of witches, are also enviable and very effectively written, full of symbolism and connections with antiquity, but I must not describe them in detail. There are no daemons among the true main characters in this book but we see several examples, both good and evil, of this class of creature.

I was very happy with Book 3 which answers our questions, contains the penultimate battle, and gives us some of the happy endings that bring equal happiness to our reader’s hearts. All this, and those connections that can be drawn with our human perceptions of race and DNA, make this an excellent trilogy indeed. I am sad that it is done, as I always am whenever I finish a very enjoyable and engrossing novel or series of novels. We look forward to whatever else you may write; Deborah Harkness, but these books will stand the test of time.

See my blog post about A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness from 4/15/2011 (Book 1)

See my blog post about Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness from 8/1/2012 (Book 2)

By Nancy Brisson

<a href=https://plus.google.com/10640005355488737390?=author>Nancy Brisson</a>

 

 

How Canada Geese Became Pests

canada geese7

I drove near a mini-gaggle of Canada geese today. They live on a very small pond next to a very busy highway. I was reminded of how rare and wonderful it used to be to see Canada geese. I drove miles to see them at the wildlife sanctuary. I turned my eyes skyward whenever I heard that honking sound and watched the V’s streaming sometimes north and sometimes south depending on the season.

canada geese3

That was before we covered all the wetlands in the area with parking lots, grocery stores, malls, banks and phone stores. Now Canada geese are seen as pests who live on any tiny pond left after the wetlands were filled in. Car dealers like to put ponds on their peripheries because ponds make their businesses look less businesslike. Canada geese collect near these small, but permanent bodies of water. They collect in our parks if these parks are near water.

It seemed lovely at first to share nature with these large wild birds but then they started to have lots of babies and to take over our public spaces and to leave green piles of smelly waste everywhere.

It reminds me of when we turn farmland into suburban neighborhoods and then berate the farmers if their houses have a bit of peeling paint or their lawns are not manicured to perfection or if they keep odorous animals or if they try to hang out and schmooze in nearby Seven-Elevens.

We feel the same way now about those once rare and beautiful Canada geese. People buy cutouts of coyotes and stake them in the ground to chase the geese away. We are irritated when traffic has to stop on our busy streets in order to avoid making baby birds orphans or massacring them. I was horrified when I saw a goose family crossing a six lane highway. I covered my eyes. But people stayed put until they made it to the other side. People barely stop at red lights. How long will human patience stay on the side of the geese?

canada geese

It is sad that we have lost our wetlands, and perhaps environmentally harmful, and it is even sadder that one of the few signs of this loss is the nuisance that Canada geese have become. I still look skyward though to watch the skeins of honking geese as they fly over in the spring and fall. Will geese and man learn to accept each other or will we eventually lose these lovely creatures by deciding they are annoying us and thus dooming them to extinction. We don’t have a good track record.

canada geese5

 

By Nancy Brisson

<a href=https://plus.google.com/10640005355488737390?=author>Nancy Brisson</a>

When You Can, Enjoy Your Life

Life is often a serious business but I don’t spend all of my time sad or depressed or lost in philosophical considerations. Life requires balance, supposedly, so my life does include lighter moments such as time with family and friends, simple entertainments, and shopping. Last weekend I went shopping at a local antique show. I was keeping an eye open for shutters for my newly painted house, but I did not intend to spend a lot of money. This particular sale used to be a very good antique sale but this year it was smaller than usual.

Here’s what I bought (none of these items are actually antiques) and I did not actually need any of these things, but I enjoyed browsing through other people’s treasures. It’s summer. We must play outside before the long, cold winter returns.

 

GE DIGITAL CAMERA

 

 

GE DIGITAL CAMERA

 

 

GE DIGITAL CAMERA

 

It’s a hummingbird!

By Nancy Brisson

 

 

 

 

Trashing Justice in NYC

unevenjustice3

It never stops. No matter how often we all say enough, the world never stops presenting ugliness. It doesn’t only present ugliness of course, but sometimes the beauty it presents seems far more fleeting, and moments of happiness seem far briefer, and then there they are again, the sour notes that frequently punctuate our lives. Today a NYC policeman killed a man that he was attempting to arrest; a man who was accused of selling cigarettes on the street illegally. The man was African American. He was probably, if guilty, a petty criminal because what he was accused of doing seems rather minor. This man certainly should not have ended up dead. Once we get past our visceral reactions to this event, one of many similar events that we see from time to time I start thinking that it might help to try to parse it, separate out the various tracks of our feelings and reactions.

Video suggests that the policeman used an illegal choke hold and we hear the man telling the police that he can’t breathe. First we must consider if the force used was necessary and proportional to the crime this man is accused of committing. The police have obviously encountered this man before without finding any proof of his alleged activities, but they feel fairly certain that he is selling cigarettes illegally.

Another thing we believe is that it is not up to the perpetrator to decide whether or not s/he will allow the police to arrest him/her, or in other words, we should not resist arrest. This guy does object to being arrested. He argues with the police. He complains that he has been harassed. However, although he keeps backing away from the police, I did not see him raise a hand against them. His objections were delivered verbally as opposed to physically. The policeman waited until he had “backup” and then they try to arrest the man who does then resist arrest. We understand that if everyone is able to resist arrest that way lays chaos. We will have no law and order in our land. But, when you are placed in an illegal and fatal choke hold, can’t you try to save your own life? We can also draw the conclusion that if a choke hold is illegal then there should be punishment for the policeman who used it, otherwise what is to stop this from being once again a common weapon in a policeman’s arsenal?

Taking a totally different tack, we have heard lots of talk in the media lately about the unfair targeting of minorities by the police. As we continue parsing today’s badly handled and possibly homicidal arrest, this discussion of bias emerges as both a good and a bad thing. Without exposing the racism rampant in our criminal justice system we cannot correct that injustice.

Does exposing this criminal injustice unintentionally function to turn minorities, who find themselves unfairly harassed, into activists, which will work in the short term against their interests? Will this activism then escalate levels of anxiety and violence in our police force ever higher, causing police officers to continue to overreact? Minorities confronted with the injustices in the system should perhaps be warned not to try to fight this injustice on their own, but to wait until they have some “backup”. In other words, is the cure, for the moment, worse than the disease?

If this is the time to stop the injustice of perceiving minority crime as more serious than the exact same crime when committed by white people, and we know it is, then we must ask ourselves what set of factors will bring us all the best results? The Justice Department is working on this (not fast enough) but I sure don’t want to see the arrest scene we saw today (and on other recent days) continue to play out over and over. It appears that those arrested at street level should not try to be reformers. This must be left to the lawmakers, but the justice system should not drag its feet on this. Now that we are aware and are admitting this bias, perhaps Eric Holder will convene a group of people who really will find ways to make justice in America more color blind; more fair.

By Nancy Brisson

<a href=https://plus.google.com/10640005355488737390?=author>Nancy Brisson</a>

 

 

Netflix: I Couldn’t Resist

netflix

I joined Netflix last weekend. I have putting this off because it is a bookkeeping nightmare to have so many people making authorized automatic debits from my bank account. Keeping track of all the dates is complicated by the fact that my deposits don’t arrive on the same day every month and my bank keeps getting hacked and changing my credit and debit card numbers.

But there are many things I want to catch up on; things I missed on TV because they are on premium channels, or because I don’t have a DVR and they are on TV opposite another show I follow, or because I missed them at the movies. So I joined Netflix. This was also necessary because TV is always lacking in content, but in summer it becomes a true wasteland. All the good old movies that used to play over and over now seem to all be owned by premium channels. It you would like a bit of light but well-written entertainment occasionally, you are out of luck.

I have wanted to see House of Cards anyway for some time but it was produced by Netflix and Netflix is the only place (as far as I know) you can get it. Orange is the New Black is nominated for almost every Emmy and is rumored to be quite original and engrossing and, oddly enough, funny, so I have that on my wish list. I get one free month, but I had to give a credit card number so I’m not sure how that works. I guess Netflix uses the number next month if I forget to cancel.

My Netflix Wish List so far includes:

House of Cards (BBC) (TV)

Orange is the New Black (TV)

House of Cards (American) (TV)

Lilyhammer (TV) This one got pushed on me; we’ll see.

The American (Thriller)

Frozen Ground (Thriller)

Upside-Down (Sci-Fi/Fantasy)

Jane Eyre (Romantic)

Unfinished Song (Indie Movie)

Last Move (Romantic)

Jobs (Drama)

Our Idiot Brother (Indie Movie)

On Saturday I started on the British version of House of Cards which someone (at The Daily Beast, I think) wished they had watched before the American version. The political sides even in England are the right and the left and the political shenanigans and trumped up scandals are delicious, especially since they are fictional and they mimic real-life politics so well.

I don’t think that I will be able to cancel this membership in a month’s time. There is next to nothing on TV in the summer and I am hooked already. House of Cards is the perfect show for a political junkie, even one who may be only temporarily addicted (or not). I hope I don’t forget to wash my hair or clean up or shop or visit people, like those people who can’t break away from the hypno-gourds in the Piers Anthony books. However, forgetting to eat (for a while) probably wouldn’t be totally without some merits.

By Nancy Brisson

<a href=https://plus.google.com/10640005355488737390?=author>Nancy Brisson</a>