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.

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.











Sunday, March 24, 2013

To the Untrained Eye...

This would appear to be the result of a couple sloppy guys just throwing their clothes all over a room with no regard for cleanliness or order. In fact nothing could be further from the truth.

Having finished a daily workout Mark and Mike dutifully washed their exercise togs and just as dutifully laid them out on the HEATED FLOOR to dry. Why has this concept not reached American shores? I'd MUCH rather have a heated bathroom floor than a dishwasher or garbage disposal or lights.

And for a guy with a tendency to have cold feet this is pure joy.

This is an actual place.

I'm pretty sure it's abandoned and rightfully so. But this pile is next door to my hotel in Almaty. The world can be divided into two kinds of people, those who think clowns are funny, great and entertaining and those who are sane.

All it needs now is a film crew to start making a horror movie.

Mr. Ed is Dead

And he was delicious! Horse steak is popular here in Kazakhstan. I had imagined a T-bone looking chunk of meat, but in the event they turned out to be medallions. Still it was quite a tasty sandwich.

Not sure why our cultural aversion to dining on My Little Pony exists. In my mind the equine is about the equivalent.

Room Service!

Our room in Almaty, Kazakhstan had no mini-bar. This is a problem. Hotel asked us if we wanted to change rooms. No, that's not necessary. Could you bring us some sodas and a couple bottles of water? No problem.

They were luke cold, but will do. Small problem.

Hotel offered to let us use THEIR fridge in the kitchen.

Problem solved.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Ahh, FashionTV!

One of many little known joys of international travel is FashionTV. This channel is seen from Middle East to South Asia to Central Asia (where I am now) to China and points beyond.

There is no plot to any of it except for airing videos of various fashion shows throughout the world. I've never seen a video with actual dialogue. Just model after endless, long-legged model parading one after another to a background of bland music.

But in its own way it's an awesome phenomenon. I submit Exhibits A and B (seen below) Your Honor. No false modesty. No attempt at informing the public. Just good wholesome viewing.

This was taken from the TV in my room moments after arriving in Almaty, Kazakhstan at 4:15AM.






Friday, March 22, 2013

In honor of World Water Day...

I'm following the example of noted philosopher, philanthropist and philander W. C. Fields who famously stated of the life-giving liquid, "Ah yes, water. I never drink anything fish (fornicate) in."

And the world is a better place for it.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Not to Beat a Dead Horse but...

On this observance of the 10th anniversary of the start of the Iraq War may I continue to ask what statement by then Vice-President Darth Cheney ever turned out to be true?

"We will be greeted as liberators." "We know Saddam has weapons of mass destruction." "We know there are ties between Saddam and al Qaeda." "Oil revenues will fund the costs of the war."

These are just a few of his more notable burblings.

He along with his puppet George Bush should be charged with war crimes. The damage they have done to the US and the world will not be undone for generations.

I try not to have bad feeling toward anyone. But these two, along with Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Rove and host of others turn my stomach.

Spring Comes to Seattle

Took this outside my apartment. It's still cool. Highs in the upper 40s, lower 50s. But nice weather isn't far off.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Here's a Job You Couldn't Pay Me Enough to Do!

Saw this fella washing windows at my apartment today. Wonder how much an hour he makes? Here's the thing, while there isn't enough money in the world to get me to clean windows hanging from that line, I'd probably pay good money to slide over the edge down to the street. Although, at 25 stories I believe that would be my longest rappel ever. Less than my bungee though.

Good luck to him I say!



Saturday, March 16, 2013

Saturday Morning Kicking Around Seattle

So this morning I decided to finally ride the Seattle Great Wheel. If you look in the upper left-hand corner of the building in the lower right of the photo, my apartment can be seen. I put a sheet of paper, which you can barely see, in my window. I want to ride the Wheel on some clear warm summer night.

The umbrella I saw when I was walking around downtown.







Friday, March 15, 2013

Back to MEF

The few readers I have left on this blog may recognize the folks in this picture. In 2006 I volunteered at Millennium Elephant Foundation (MEF) in Kegalle, Sri Lanka for one month. It was one of the coolest experiences I ever had. The lady in the photo is Rani, whom I worked with back then. The mahout (caretaker) with me is Chandana. He still has the photo I sent him after my stint. A couple weeks ago, after seven long years away, I was able to return to MEF. Happy to report both are doing well. She took me down to the river where we gave each other baths. I'll be sending these pix onwards to Chandana too. I shouldn't wait seven years to go back again.

Second Flight Test of Boeing 787

OK, I didn't actually see this. "Borrowed" it from the Flight Aware web site. But these planes pass by my place on their way to Boeing Field all the time. Mt. Rainier is a stretch to see from my apartment (I'd probably fall to my death if I leaned out far enough to get a look).

Just a cool photo.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

My digs

I saw this shot on Pinterest and just loved it. Haven't ridden the "Great Wheel" yet, but plan to on Saturday. I'll take more photos then. You can see my apartment in this picture. It's the one with the bicycle on the porch. Ha! Ha!