About Me

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A man of many words. Profane, profound, loyal to a fault and a right rat bastard. I love the finer things in life: expensive cigars, cheap women and all the salted, cured meats I can eat. A friend to dogs, lover of humanity and despiser of people. If I were King the world would be a better place, because, well...I would be King! Oh, and I like ice cream.

Monday, September 23, 2013

September 23

I'll forget birthdays. I'll forget anniversaries. But this day is etched in my DNA. For me every orbit of the sun begins and ends with this worst bad day.

I have a good, even great life. Much to look back on and much to look forward to. But. But. But.

Yeah, I know. And you know.

Nine years.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

I find it unbelievable...

Humans are more than willing to suspend belief in the believable in order to believe in the unbelievable.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Bradley/Chelsea Manning

I'm not saying the kid is a traitor. I'm not saying he's a hero. It's just a gut feeling, but I have a sense some Machiavellian SOB (or more than one) played this poor bastard.

Rightly or wrongly he pays the bill. But I can't help feeling there's a rat loose in the house.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Back to B.C.

Just finished a week up in British Columbia aboard the Columbia III. Second trip with them, last time in 2007 before Peace Corps. Great time! Old and new friends, fabulous scenery and just unbelievable food! I wonder why it is I haven't moved to Canada yet. Oh yeah, its colder than monkey balls in January. But for July it ain't bad!
Rough life...

Friday, June 14, 2013

Words of Wisdom from Chief Tecumseh

So live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart.
Trouble no one about their religion; respect others in their view, and demand they respect yours.
Love your life, perfect your life, beautify all things in your life.

Seek to make your life long and it's purpose in the service of your people.
Prepare a noble death song for the day when you go over the great divide.
Always give a word or sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend, even a stranger, when in a lonely place.
Show respect to all people and grovel to none.

When you arise in the morning give thanks for the food and for the joy of living.
If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies only in yourself.

Abuse no one and no thing, for abuse turns the wise ones to fools and robs the spirit of its vision.

When it comes your time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with the fear of death,
So that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way.
Sing your death song and die like a hero going home.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

In-Intelligent Design

I'm reading Neil DeGrasse Tyson, the eminent astrophysicist. He has supplied the perfect response to the so-called Intelligent Design. He calls it Stupid Design.

For example: "your appendix. It's much better at killing you than it is at anything else. That's definitely a stupid design. What about your pinky toenail? You can barely put nail polish on it; there's no real estate there. How about bad breath, or the fact you breathe and drink through the same hole in your body, causing some fraction of us to choke to death every year? And here's my last one. Ready? Down there between our legs, it's like an entertainment complex in the middle of a sewage system. Who designed that?"

The men's a genius.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Yasser Arafat's Tomb

Ramallah, Palestine

Jerusalem

The city where all the sects, spin-offs, re-interpretations, mutations and permutations of the Abrahamic faiths get together and urinate on each other's shoes.



Monday, April 08, 2013

My Palestinian Haircut

Stopped into a barber shop on the streets of Ramallah. A half hour and 20 shekels ($4) later I looked like the well tonsured gentleman of leisure I aspire to be.



Amman, Jordan to Tel Aviv, Israel

Total distance: maybe 60 miles
Ticket cost, Air Jordanian Airlines: $350
Dollars per mile the most expensive flight I've ever taken.

Despite all the rumors and horror stories about Israeli customs it was a walk. US Customs took longer back before I had Global Entry status.

Saturday, April 06, 2013

Airport Run

This is what it looks like when the USEG Tour rolls into town. While everyone is queued up getting their passports stamped the first ones through start snagging bags off the carousel. After two weeks together we know what each other's bags look like. It's how you move 30+ people as quickly as possible.

The next hurdle is hoping the pre-arranged transport is waiting and they have a trolley for all the luggage.

Friday, April 05, 2013

Dead Sea. Jordan

Kempinski Ishtar hotel. A fella could get used to this.

Tomorrow we go into Amman where finally I'll have some excellent shawarma. Not as good as my friend Fatima's, but it'll do.





Thursday, April 04, 2013

Dylan Thomas

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

- See more at: http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/15377#sthash.SiPifPZT.dpuf

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Good Morning Doha!

View from my room in the Sheraton here in Qatar. Too bad all we'll be doing here is work.

Monday, April 01, 2013

Sunday, March 31, 2013

They Put the "Wait" in Kuwait

Landed in Kuwait City yesterday around 1:35pm local time. Due to the highly officious, incomprehensible, full-lifetime-employment "system" of acquiring a visa and getting one's passport stamped I didn't get out of the airport for nearly three hours. This is a process that typically takes no more than ten minutes in practically every country on the face of the planet.

We INVADED the place in less time than that in '92 for crying out loud! As seen below they offer "Fast Service." Fast it turns out is a relative term.

This is what happens when the twelfth century is superimposed on the twenty-first. It's not a very good fit.

At least the hotel is nice.





Saturday, March 30, 2013

Friday, March 29, 2013

Menus

I'm thinking of using this space to show selections from various menus encountered around the world. The first two examples are shown below. First is from a restaurant in Baku, Azerbaijan.Gotta love lamb guts and chicken offal. The second in Baku, Azerbaijan. And yes, horse is good eatin'.

Third photo: OK, not a menu. But I saw this in a local grocery in Dubai. My only question is...placenta of what?





Around Almaty

Several of our US Education Group people booked a tour bus for a little sight-seeing around Almaty today. It's a decent sized 'burgh, well developed.

First stop was at some kind of memorial across from the former Soviet KGB Headquarters. The apple in front represents one of the things for which Kazakhstan is known for (haven't tried one yet). At a memorial across the street was a statue to the Golden Man of Kazakhstan. Tradition has that you must kiss the book at the base of the statue. I faked it. Also included are various scenes from Kazakhstan's history. Then we visited a Russian Orthodox Church, St. George. Or maybe is was St. Stefan. Or St. Cloud. I really have no idea. It's supposedly the largest building in the world build without the use of nails. Only wooden pegs. Photos were forbidden inside, but I snapped off a shot of their vision of hell (My vision would be to sit through one of the services). Say what you will about hell at least we'll be surrounded by naked women. Of course they won't be in the best frames of mind, but how is that different from now?

Finally we drove about ten miles outside Almaty to the Medeu Arena, highest elevation speed skating rink in the world (1691 meters) and site of the 1980 Olympics. Medeu Dam located up the canyon protects from devastating mudslide which occur periodically. Various sources state the number of steps up the dam as 830/831/842/950/1000, take your pick. Of course I climbed them.









































Baku, Azerbaijan

I first came here in 2005. Eight years on I barely recognize the place. Oil money from the Caspian Sea fields has made itself felt in a huge way. Back then Baku had a very old world, post-Soviet feel to it. Now it is ubër modern, high end shopping, foo foo Euro-chic clothing styles.

If you look closely at the last photo you can still see a hammer and sickle from the Soviet times on the front of the building. Otherwise you'd never know about it.