Still broken. I have an appointment with a Neurologist tomorrow afternoon to see what's going on. No real change - dull ache during the day, and sharp stabbing pain at oh-dark-hundred in the morning. I'm pretty much guessing a pinched nerve and that I manage to twist it around while I'm sleeping. Maybe one of those pillows that keeps one's head straight would be in order.
Mom is still sick. She's been coughing and coughing (and coughing) since they got back from Disney World. She said Aunt Anita gave her a homemade cough syrup recipe: equal parts honey and lemon, with some brandy. I said it sounded like Maura's cough/cold remedy:
Warm Bourbon and Honey
Take some bourbon and some honey and mix together in an old-fashioned glass. Heat gently in microwave, just enough to feel toasty, but not hot. Add a little lemon juice (to taste) and drink.
If coughing continues, repeat, increasing amount of bourbon until coughing stops or you don't care.
Mom said she had three doses of Maura's remedy last night. Can't figure out why she has a bit of a headache.
[Hmmm . . . ]
Last week I talked to Diane and Eva about possibly scheduling our Africa trips together next April. Unfortunately, they were not able to get air miles for next April or May, so it doesn't look like they'll be able to go until next fall. I have to get my miles in order and call Virgin to make sure I can swing it as well.
I saw a story today that reminded me of my last trip, and not in a good way. When I visited Africa in 1999, I spent two days at Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. It was an amazing place - the magnificent old colonial Victoria Falls Hotel felt as though one had been sent back into time, and the Falls themselves were absolutely amazing.
A few years ago, Robert Mugabe came into power in Zimbabwe and has proceeded to flush the country down the toilet. He chased all of the white farmers out, and gave their land and homes to his cronies, none of whom have been able to actually grow any food. The population is starving to death, inflation is at 1000% and the UN is now supporting at least one quarter of the people.
Now Mugabe is taking the land away from any successful black farmers as well and putting the army in charge.
ZHAMPALI, ZIMBABWE - The soldiers rolled past Lot Dube's land, and set up camp nearby. They stopped just long enough to give him a blunt message: Your fields are ours.
"They told us, 'We are taking away your fields from you'," says Mr. Dube, who farms a 10-acre plot south of Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second biggest city. The soldiers, who arrived last November, proceeded to plow under his tomatoes, onions, and sweet potatoes. Since 1982, these were the crops Dube had grown to pay for his children's food and school fees. Now, for the good of the nation, he was ordered to plant maize.
(Mugabe) has ordered Zimbabwe's military to fan out across several rural areas to ensure that the government's grain silos are full.
That move has been mirrored in the cities by the appointment of military commanders to top slots at the Reserve Bank, the Electoral Commission, Zimbabwe Railroads, the Ministry of Energy, the Public Service Commission, the National Parks, and other key institutions.
But putting agricultural decisions in the hands of the military is troubling to locals. "They don't know anything about farming," says Dube. "They say they want to end hunger in Zimbabwe. But I think they want to take the fields for their own use."
Ephraim Masawi, Zimbabwe's deputy secretary for information, says that reports of soldiers destroying farmers' vegetables has "never come to my ears." He adds: "These people have invited the army to try to help them because some have no collateral to go to the bank for loans."
Having just finished re-reading "Atlas Shrugged", I was saddened, but not surprised to see this. Eventually, all those that are able to produce something will leave, and Mugabe and his people will find themselves in control of all the resources, but unable to use them. Unfortunately, institutions like the UN will continue to support this dictator and to ignore the plight of the people of Zimbabwe until they take the matter into their own hands. It will not be a happy ending for anyone.
The end of the article notes, with unintended irony:
Earlier this month, the pro-government Herald newspaper announced a possible constitutional amendment for Mugabe to remain in power until 2010, two years past the next scheduled presidential election.
None of this is helping the economy, critics say. "The economy will only turn around when you get competent and experienced people running it, not the military," says Mr. Coltart. "The appointment of military people to run things like the railroads will only speed up the demise of the regime."
[Sometimes life mirrors art.]
SAVE YOUR CORKS!!
[Only 7,205 more needed for our wine cellar wall.]
Quote du jour:
"The evil of the world is made possible by nothing but the sanction you give it."
Ayn Rand (1905 - 1982) John Galt in "Atlas Shrugged"
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