mochi ice cream!

When I visited with daughter E in Honolulu for five weeks last year, one of our favorite treats was mochi ice cream, a Japanese-style bon bon made of pounded sticky rice wrapped around ice cream. The shops in Honolulu had many different flavors, a number of them tropical fruits.

When I returned home, I tried to find mochi ice cream. I finally found some green tea ones at Wegman’s, but my body doesn’t react well to tea, so I did’t buy them.

Yesterday, I happened to walk by the case and there were vanilla and strawberry mochi ice cream available.

I bought a box of strawberry and ate one after dinner last night.

It was delicious, but the memories of eating them with E made it all the sweeter.
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This post is part of Linda’s Just Jot It January. Join us! First here first:  http://lindaghill.com/2016/01/25/just-jot-it-january-25th-prestidigitation/

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Just when you thought things were as complicated as possible…

Last week, there was “breaking news” that former vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin was endorsing Donald Trump for the Republican presidential nomination. She has been campaigning with him this week in her own inscrutable style.

I thought things were about as complicated as they could be with Clinton and Sanders close in the polls in Iowa and New Hampshire and Trump still leading the giant Republican field with Cruz in second place.

And then billionaire and former mayor of New York City Michael Bloomberg, upset that it might turn into either Trump or Cruz versus Sanders in the general election, announced that he was considering running as an independent candidate, which he would finance on his own up to one-billion dollars. He will decide by early March after he sees the outcome of the first few state contests.

Bloomberg has been a Democrat, a Republican, and an independent. I am uneasy at the prospect of him running in the general election totally on the basis of having enough money to fund a campaign, without any participation of the voters.

If Trump gets the Republican nomination, Bloomberg enters as an independent, and either Sanders or Clinton get the Democratic nomination, we would have all the major candidates with ties to New York, which is a little strange.  (Although Bernie Sanders has spent most of his adult life in Vermont, you can still here the accent of his native Brooklyn when he speaks.)

I had already felt that this political cycle was chaotic.

I can’t come up with a word to adequately describe it now.
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This post is part of Linda’s Just Jot It January. Join us! Start here:  http://lindaghill.com/2016/01/24/just-jot-it-january-24th-compelled/

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SoCS: an even keel

It’s hard to be on an even keel when the water is choppy and there are rocks and storms and all manner of unexpected happenings.

There is an old saying/blessing/curse, “May you live in interesting times.”

Times in both the public and private sphere are definitely interesting.

Is it odd to wish that, at least once in a while, things were on an even keel instead?
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Join us for Linda’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday! This week’s prompt was odd and/or even. Find out more here: http://lindaghill.com/2016/01/22/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-jan-2316/

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Stay safe!

This morning, I am thinking about all those facing severe weather. There is a blizzard approaching the mid-Atlantic region of the US. Seventy-five million people will be affected, including my sisters and their families and B’s brother and his family. The forecast calls for a large swath of 2-3 feet (0.75-0.95 meters) of snow coupled with strong winds.

I live further north where we will only catch a few inches, if anything at all.

I am also thinking of others in the United States and around the world who are suffering from floods, droughts, tornadoes, cyclones, mudslides, avalanches, dust storms, and all other weather disasters.

I wish everyone safety and and the swift arrival of whatever aid they need.
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Hate to say they told you so, but…

So the US stock market – and most of the other major world stock indices – have been tanking lately. Part of the reason given is the low price of crude oil, at a time of oversupply  and the added stress of Iranian oil entering the market.

Middle Eastern oil is cheap to produce and can still make money at $27/barrel.

US oil, especially shale oil, can not. Production costs can be double that amount, so, as one would expect, there has been a huge drop in the number of new wells being drilled.

To make matters worse, the companies were borrowing the money to drill wells, betting they could make enough profit to pay make loan payments and keep drilling.

Some economists and fossil fuel sector experts, such as Art Berman and Deborah Lawrence, had warned of a “shale bubble” which could burst, causing a wave of bankruptcies in the drilling sector and massive troubles for the banks loaning to them.

Their predictions are coming true.

We can’t say we weren’t warned.
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One-Liner(ish) Wednesday: Mary Oliver on poetry

“Poetry is a life-cherishing force, for poems are not words, after all, but fires for the coal, ropes let down to the lost, something as necessary as bread for the hungry.”
— Mary Oliver

I love this quote on poetry. One of the greatest compliments I have received as a poet was being told that one of my poems reminded someone of Mary Oliver.

Join us for Linda’s One-Liner Wednesdays! Find out how here:  http://lindaghill.com/2016/01/20/one-liner-wednesday-its-not-what-you-think-2/

I am double-dipping this week with Linda’s Just Jot It January, hence, the uncharacteristic commentary on the one-liner quote. Find out more here:  http://lindaghill.com/2016/01/20/just-jot-it-january-20th-surreptitiously/

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The dangers of methane emissions

I contributed the prompt “climate” for Linda’s Just Jot It January today. I actually haven’t been using the prompts other than as usual for Stream of Consciousness Saturdays, but figured I should use the one I suggested. 😉

I have written often about climate change, growing out of my commenting on the fracking battle. I have done some posts on these topics here on Top of JC’s Mind, although most of my writing has been in comment sections on articles on environmental topics.

As you may know, while we hear the most about atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, atmospheric methane has also been rising to record levels. This is especially worrisome because, over a twenty year timeframe, methane is about 86 times as potent in heat trapping potential as carbon dioxide. Given that humanity is facing a critical window to lower greenhouse gas levels to keep global warming under 2 degrees Celsius, with a goal of 1.5 degrees, methane emissions are very dangerous as they could push the earth into some tipping points, such as permafrost melting and the release of methane hydrates from cold water seas, that would accelerate rather than slow global warming.

Enter the terrible problem of the Porter Ranch methane storage well leak. Not only is this leak causing evacuations, illness, a no-fly zone, and explosion risk, but also a 21% increase in the state of California’s methane emissions. This one leak amounts to 2.3% of the total carbon footprint of the state.

I want to share a Living on Earth interview with Dr. Anthony Ingraffea which aired recently. Tony Ingraffea was one of the heroes of the battle against fracking here in New York State and helped to raise the alarm, nationally and internationally, on the dangers of methane emissions from shale oil/gas development, processing, transport, and use. He has recently retired from Cornell University. I was fortunate to have heard him speak on a number of occasions during the fracking fight in New York. Ithaca is only about an hour’s drive from here.

I hope that the enormity of the Porter Ranch leak and the damage it is causing will mobilize people, especially policymakers, in the United States to accelerate the transition away from fossil fuels and toward renewable energy.
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One extreme to the other

Since December 17, I haven’t been at home alone. The combination of different family members on vacation from work, on semester break, and visiting from afar has meant that my usual pattern of spending most of the day Monday through Friday alone has not been in evidence.

I don’t want people to think that I am a hermit. I am often out on errands, visiting people, or volunteering, but I am able to have solitude and time to read, correspond, and write on my own schedule.

Yesterday, B headed out on a business trip. Today, I brought T back to Syracuse. The new semester begins tomorrow.

I am home alone.

I do have commitments on my calendar, but I hope to spend a lot of time catching up on writing, both for my blog and my poetry projects. I’m also hoping to get at least one poetry submission sent this week. While I am waiting for a response on a few submissions, all of my acceptances have now been published, so it would be helpful to get some more work in the pipeline.

I am hoping to minimize time spent on cooking and other chores. Tonight, I had avocado sushi for supper and I already have heat and eat food ready for tomorrow.

I wish I could say that I would be productive in the evening, but it is unlikely to be the case. I don’t tend to sleep well even when someone is in the house; being here alone is likely to mean even less sleep.

I do hope to get enough sleep to have energy to accomplish things during the day.

Will I succeed?

Stay tuned.
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another debate

Tonight, there will be a debate among the candidates for the Democratic nomination for the US presidency.

Martin O’Malley, former governor of Maryland, has failed to gain traction with voters, so most eyes will be fixed on Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and former Secretary of State, New York Senator, and First Lady Hillary Clinton.

Sanders and Clinton are close in the public opinion polls in both Iowa and New Hampshire, the first two states to award delegates for the nominating convention.

There is one aspect of the race for the nomination and the general election that I feel is important but that isn’t being discussed much in the press. While Sen. Sanders is running for the Democratic nomination, he is not a Democrat himself. While in Congress, he has caucused with the Democrats, while retaining his status as an Independent.

Among the US electorate, there are more voters who are independent, that is, not registered with any political party, than there are voters who are registered Democrats or Republicans.

In some states, such as my native Massachusetts, independents can decide on the day of the primary which party ballot to vote; in others, such as my current home state New York, only registered members of the party are allowed to vote in that party’s primary.

I am an independent, so ineligible to vote in the primary, which is especially vexing this year as I am a supporter of Senator Sanders, but will not be able to vote for him in the New York primary.

The story that many in the media are missing is the possible impact of independent voters in the race.  In states with open primaries, Senator Sanders may draw significant support from progressive independents, while he may poll more poorly in states with closed primaries where only registered Democrats are allowed to vote.

The interesting thing to study is whether how well Sanders polls versus potential Republican rivals is due to his increased appeal to Independent voters. If so, it is something for the Democrats to keep in mind in choosing a candidate who can appeal to and energize the most voters in the general election.

In the United States, turnout is the most important factor in elections. A candidate who can marshal not only the party that nominated him/her but also the independents is the one who will win the election.
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SoCS: What?

What might I be doing later today?

Attending a singalong of the Vivaldi Gloria with the Binghamton Madrigal Choir.

I have sung it before, although it has been many years. Fortunately, perfection will not be expected, as some people will be sightreading. Fortunately, the Madrigal Choir will lead and their director, Bruce Borton, who is also the longtime director of the Binghamton University Chorus, with whom I have sung for decades, will be conducting.

The best part is that my younger daughter T is still at home on break from her master’s program and she will be able to come and sing with me. I love the opportunity to sing with my daughters whenever it presents itself. T currently sings with the Hendricks Chapel Choir of Syracuse University, even though she is a student of SUNY-ESF. It’s been a great benefit to her that the two campuses share classes and activities, so that she has a great place to sing. I think it’s neat that she made one of the auditioned choirs, which are mostly filled with music majors from Syracuse.

It would be fun if my older daughter E and her husband L were still here because they also love to sing and are also people who have formal training and multiple degrees in the music field. But Honolulu is a bit too far away to come join us!

Here is a link to Vivaldi Gloria.  Enjoy!

You’re welcome.
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This post is part of Linda’s Stream of Consciousness Saturdays. This week’s prompt is to begin with the word “what.” Join us! Find out how here:  http://lindaghill.com/2016/01/15/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-jan-1616/

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