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.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Ferguson, MO

I don't know what happened there.

And neither do you.

Friday, November 21, 2014


If you are willing to cross the desert southwest, risking armed confrontation, untrustworthy guides, thirst, starvation and death to work in the fields for two bucks an hour, while living in a filthy, shot-out tin trailer just so your family back home can have a bit more food (and we 'Murikans can have cheaper food) then I say welcome. 

These are not criminals. They are the poorest people in the Western Hemisphere. They've earned the right to stay here more than many natural born Americans.

Some say they are law breakers. But they aren't breaking any natural laws. They are obeying the laws of economics. 

In Hitler's Germany it was breaking the law to aid or assist Jews. The motivation there was in my mind similar to the workings of those who wish to drive "the other" out of the US. Prejudice and racism.

Funny thing is, the growers and producers who hire these folks are by and large huge contributors to Republican Party causes. You can't have it both ways.

But here is my burning question: Why is the Christian Right not outraged and parting ways with the GOP on this? 

To quote their guidebook: 
"And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it unto one of these my brethren, `even' these leastye did it unto me." Matthew 25:40

Sunday, November 02, 2014

The Swing Through Medina

On our way back from Mada'in Saleh to Jeddah we stopped in Madinah.
Visited a couple mosques which are famous in Islam. Both places we were welcomed in and treated with utmost kindness. 
This is Masjid Qublitain. In the old days the early Muslims always prayed facing Jerusalem (Al-Quds). It was while in this mosque Mohammed received the command to face Mecca. 
This is Masjid al-Nabawi. Mohammed is buried here. It's the second most holy site in Islam. We were told the place can hold half a million people! As it was we were going in as prayer time was ending. It was like trying to enter Ohio State's stadium after an OSU-Michigan game.
People come here just to hang out. Some were napping. Some eating. One man came by and gave me some dates. They were delicious.
People from all over the world come here.

Next time I'm going to Mecca. Followers of my blog may wonder why I'm going to these religious sites given my theological proclivities. It's historical and you can't deny the cultural significance. Plus since Americans are so afraid of everything that isn't Wal-Mart it's important for me to explore the so-called "other."

I was made to feel very welcome. More so than in Israel. But that's a blog for another day.

Mada'in Saleh

UNESCO World Heritage site #110 for me.

Like Petra, a much more famous site in Jordan, Mada'in Saleh features many funuraria carved into solid rock. Their civilization existed a couple thousand years ago, dying out I think around the tenth century CE.
Where Petra is more or less confined to a narrow valley, Mada'in Saleh is spread out over a much larger area. 
This is al-Fareed. The Unique. It is the only tomb carved out of a single free-standing rock.

Had to do a bit of climbing to get to this one.
All in all a stunningly beautiful place. Worth the thousand miles of driving, two nights stay to gain three hour's access (Friday is prayer day, so it was only open from 3 to 6 PM).

Al 'Ulá, Saudi Arabia

Mark Schroeder and I, having finished our latest recruitment trek of the Middle East, drove north of Jeddah to visit the UNESCO World Heritage site of Mada'in Saleh. We were knocking around the town of Al 'Ulá when we spied these petroglyphs on a cliff near our hotel. I'm guessing they are 2 to 3 thousand years old based on my experience in Botswana. The lettering is clearly not Arabic. I'm guessing Nabatean or Hyanese in origin. Interestingly the style of some of these carvings is quite similar to those I saw in Africa. Either humans developed these kinds of ideas at roughly the same time serendipitously or there was trading amongst them. 

General scenery.
How much do you figure this rock weighs?