For Chip: He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart. You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion. —Unknown

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Motherless Daughter

No one can duplicate it.
No one can replay it
No one can feel it.
She looked at me as if a glaze was coming over her face.
She held my hand so tight that I could not getaway.
Little did I know what was transpiring.
So exhausted I passed her hand to my son knowing it all seemed strange.
It was the last time she was physically present.
It was the veil......the veil of death.
Nothing would ever be the same.


History Revisited

Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev said: "We cannot expect the Americans to jump from capitalism to communism, but we can assist their elected leaders in giving Americans small doses of socialism, until they suddenly awake to find they have communism.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly dismissed the allegations that Russia-backed hackers interfered in the U.S. presidential election, dubbing such claims "hysteria" meant "only to distract the attention of the American people." But if Putin did attempt to meddle in the race, he apparently wouldn't be the first Russian head of state to do so.
At least one other Kremlin leader has suggested he successfully influenced a U.S. election. That happened at the height of the Cold War, in 1961, when Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev met the then-recently elected John F. Kennedy in Vienna.
According to Khrushchev's memoirs, he told the U.S. president: "You know, Mr. Kennedy, we voted for you." The comment (which was also published in a slightly different wording in a later version of the memoirs) was described as a joke. But beneath that humor lay a serious point.
Khrushchev, the son of rural peasants, had ended up leading the Soviet Union after Joseph Stalin's death in 1953. By the late 1950s, he had made some limited internal reforms and was attempting to find a more stable relationship with the West. He famously allowed then-Vice President Richard Nixon to visit the Soviet Union in 1959, and later that year he became the first Soviet leader to visit the United States.
Khrushchev apparently did not take to Nixon. In Moscow, the pair attended the opening of an exhibition devoted to the United States, then launched into a public argument of the merits of capitalism vs. communism — while standing inside a model kitchen. "You don’t know anything about communism – except fear of it," Khrushchev told Nixon.
In his memoir, published as "Khrushchev Remembers" in 1970, Khrushchev said he told other members of the Soviet leadership: "If Nixon becomes President, I don't believe he will contribute to an improvement of relations between our two countries."
And conveniently for them, the Soviets had a hand to play in the election. On May 1, 1960, a U-2 surveillance plane operated by the CIA was shot down by the Soviet air force while flying near the city of Yekaterinburg. The U.S. initially said the plane had been studying weather patterns for NASA and had simply strayed off course. Information recovered from the plane's wreckage quickly proved otherwise.
The U-2's pilot, Francis Gary Powers, was taken prisoner and put on trial for espionage, eventually being sentenced to a decade in a Soviet prison. Powers's fate became a point of tension in the Cold War, ruining a planned summit in Paris between the superpowers. Making matters worse, an American RB-47H reconnaissance bomber was shot down by Soviet forces in July and the Soviets took the two survivors captive.
As tense as things were, Khrushchev believed those events also gave the Soviets a small amount of influence over that year's presidential race between Nixon and Kennedy.
"I expressed my opinion to the leadership: The United States government has asked us to release Powers," Khrushchev wrote in his memoir. "Now is not the time to do it."
Noting that the two candidates were at a "stalemate," Khrushchev recalled saying that if Powers or the other Americans were released before the election, it could give Nixon a boost. It would be better to wait until after the election, the Soviet premier thought.
"My comrades agreed, and we did not release Powers," he wrote. "As it turned out, we'd done the right thing. Kennedy won the election by a majority of only 200,000 or so votes, a negligible margin if you consider the huge population of the United States. The slightest nudge either way would have been decisive."
The two Americans on the RB-47H were released just days after Kennedy's inauguration. Powers was eventually released in 1962, swapped for a Soviet intelligence officer, Vilyam Fisher, who was serving a prison sentence in the United States for espionage (that exchange was later portrayed in the Stephen Spielberg film "Bridge of Spies"). The American pilot spent the rest of his life tainted by accusations that he had been too weak-willed in the face of Soviet interrogation, though the CIA's own report found he had acted honorably. He died in 1977.
According to Khrushchev's account, Kennedy laughed when he brought up his role in the 1960 election. "You're right. I admit you played a role in the election and cast your vote for me," Khrushchev's memoir has Kennedy saying. Another account, however, from former Soviet ambassador Oleg Troyanovsky, suggested Kennedy wasn't so sure about the idea that Moscow had helped him win the election.
Despite the seeming politeness of the conversation — Khrushchev's memoir describes Kennedy in Vienna as "pleasant and reasonable" — Kennedy didn't feel the meeting went well. The president told the New York Times' James Reston that Khrushchev "just beat the hell out of me" and that it was the "roughest thing in my life." Soon, Khrushchev and Kennedy were at loggerheads over Berlin and Cuba.
Nixon finally won the Oval Office in 1968 and implemented a policy of "detente" with the Soviet Union, visiting the country again in 1972. By then, Khrushchev had been retired for eight years. He had been removed from office in 1964, but he was allowed to live in relative comfort in a guarded compound outside Moscow. He is said to have began recording his memories on tape in 1968 at the urging of his family.
The tapes and a transcript were smuggled out to the West, where they were soon published by Little, Brown & Co. in 1970. Khrushchev died the following year.
Ironically, given the Soviet tactic of "misinformation" at the time (a tactic that many see echoed in modern Russia's alleged support of "fake news") there was widespread suspicion that the book was a KGB forgery — a somehow shrewd attempt to influence the United States under Nixon. However, the tapes were later released, convincing the naysayers.

Monday, January 28, 2019

"Monday, Tuesday, THURSDAY, Wednesday, Friday, Sunday, Saturday" (The Go...

The stylist called and asked that I come early.  “Great". Get it over with and enjoy the rest of Sunday.  I rushed over and do the usual which is “overall color”.  The stylist is gone for quite some time before she retrieves two bowls of color.  I knew something was wrong because she was gone a long time. 

She starts to apply the color.  I politely ask about her recent vacation and she explains that the airline tried to detain her in Mexico, and prevent her from boarding the plane.  Before boarding she had one bottle of champagne and that was not enough to have any affect on her.  However, after chatting with the airline personnel they suggested that she wait to board for an hour because they determined she was intoxicated.  She explained all was well because she made such a scene that they reluctantly let her pass and board the plane.  She did them a favor by drinking champagne instead of having a glass of whiskey and Xanax. 

Color is applied, and I go to a rather stark room to wait.  I am alone in the room because it is Sunday and the salon was closed.  Before you know it the thirty-minute wait has turned into over an hour.  Hoping that my slightly blonde locks do not fall out I wait for her to return.  I wait and wait and wait.  By now I am searching hair dye and side effects processing.  Is it a phone call or what is going on?  

I finally hear the clip clop of shoes coming my way and I am quite excited.  She appears but looks angry.  I need to get out as quickly as possible.  I assume that she is having boyfriend issues and that assumption was correct.  The boyfriend dropped her off and she did not have a car. He had gone off with some other men and was drinking.  That sounded lovely.  I could offer to give her a ride, but considering all the crazy incidents in the world and that she is packing sharp scissors I decided to stay out of it.

She points to a basin to rinse my hair.  At this point I feel like she could be my mother and I just broke her best china. “God Knows” what she might do.  As she rinses my hair with the hottest water tolerable I almost scream out, but decide to let her enjoy her technique.  As she is washing my hair it feels like water is dripping down my back and I wonder how that is possible.  When she is finally done I reach under the smock and not only is the whole back of my shirt wet but also the front.  How could that be?  She is a professional and there was a towel behind, but I will be home soon and just change my shirt.

It is time for my haircut that she suggested earlier.  She grabs her phone and says she hopes I do not mind her calling her friend while cutting my hair.  I suggest that I really do not need a haircut and we can do it later.  However, that would mean less money for her. Good Grief!  There are ear buds that make multi- tasking easy, but she prefers snapping her scissors a few strokes while she asks her friend for a ride.  The suggested drop off is not at her residence, but at a club.  My expensive haircut resulted in about four cuts….but at this point I don’t care.  I just want to change shirt sand get out of this place  and away from the heated lover.  She dries my hair and I am  hoping that my hair does not fall out while she is styling.  I am relieved that another client walks in.  I feel comfort in numbers. 

It is time to pay but, her attachment for paying from her iPhone is broken and she disappears again.  As I bend over to get my purse the salon chair goes forward in slow motion.  I can feel I am falling towards the mirror.  Aren’t these heavy chairs stabilized with screws or some reinforcement?  Miraculously, I manage not to fall and bring the chair back up. 

All the way home I debate whether I will ever return to this salon.  At work this morning I greet my co-worker who had Lasik over the weekend and is in pain.  Her eyes haven’t healed, but she energetically proclaimed that my hair dresser must be wonderful because my hair is beautiful.

 “That is amazing!”.  I explain that the stylist was having boyfriend issues, left color on my hair for over an hour, cut my hair while on the phone begging for a ride, and my blouse was drenched front and back which I cannot explain.  My co-worker laughs, and I am concerned about her vision after Lasik.  Maybe my hair is fabulous. 

Did I give 20% tip for outstanding service? Of course, I did.  Just another expensive day at the salon and what if I go back? 

Dallas to Manhattan