Sunday, October 22, 2017

You Can't Have Nice Things Because You Just Break Them....

Things Donald Trump has ruined by politicizing - in just the last few weeks.

The NFL... Can't just "watch" anymore you have to be pro or anti-knee
Military Families that lost loved ones - why didn't Obama or Bush call?
Military - If you weren't in the Military you can't question Trumps Chief of Staff, because he is a General.
Ex-wives... I thought we all agreed on these?

Irony... Because the above shot is real and it makes the joke below superfluous....

Gloria Grahame has an amazing back story

A story I didn't know and couldn't imagine...

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Poker Tells of Socipathic Liars

Most liars have a "tell". The basics are known to all and sundry. Shifting eyes, drop in voice, upper lip sweat.  But serious Sociopathic liars - their tells are harder to see and define.  You have to be around them all the time.

With my father,  it was quoting the exact date of something he read. You would question a comment he made (like "California makes so much cheese, they have to send it to refrigerators in Wisconsin.") and he would say, "No, I read it in an article in Time Magazine."

But then came the tell, if you said something like, "really?"

"Yes," he would say, "March 17th's issue."

That was his tell. The more exact his lie was, the bigger the lie.
- - - - - - -

Trump's tell used to be quoting his "friend" John - who never existed.

Now it is the comment "I have proof". That is his tell that he is lying.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

While Trump Plays Wack a Mole, Our (lack of) Iraq Policiy Drives a New War AND Iran Gains

While Trump is busy saying Obama never called any soldiers' survivors, Iraq is heading down the toilet.

As you all know, the Kurdish fighters were our front line in the ISIS fight. Well, about a week ago, they voted for independence from Iraq. We first spoke out against this, then Trump said we didn't care. (link)

 The Kurds had expanded into Kirkuk during the ISIS wars.  They drove ISIS out of Kirkuk and Mosul. Well, last week, Iranian forces (with Shiite Iraqis) pushed the Kurds out of Mosul, setting up the revolutionary guards there.

Again - our President - who committed troops to this fight - said .. well I'll just quote the article.

Trump not interested. President Trump appeared to wash his hands of the matter on Monday. “We never should have been there,” Trump said Monday, referring to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, “but we’re not taking sides.”

Hallstat: Picturesque Austria

Hallstat is a super picturesque town in Austria.  It hugs a lake with it's back to a mountain. We were there ion September on a drizzly day, so the locals v. townsfolk ratio was okay, but apparently

"Other Presidents Didn't Call Families Killed in War, I do."

Welcome to Trump's USA; where the gutter is the new normal.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Wurzburg Rococo

Eddie and I went to Wurzburg on our trip to Germany last month. We had been to Wurzburg before, but this time we stopped at the "Residence" - kind of the unofficial palace. It was occupied during the Holy Roman Empire (which was neither Holy, nor Roman nor an Empire) but the Prince Bishop, who ruled the city.

These semi-independent cities would elect a local to run the city, then send his name to Rome and he would be made a Bishop, and then he ruled the city.

Anyway, the Residence is gorgeous - AND I found the difference between Baroque Rococo and German Rococo, see the detail on the picture of the roof.

The Front and Forecourt

 The fountain above shows the Goddess giving the crown to the Price Bishop. Below her are figures should philosophy, art (and behind - science), which Wurzburg was known for (or the P-B wanted to be known for).
 Above the entrance is the Royal Seal with lions holding up the crest, a crown on top and angels heralding the P-B.
Most (not all) of the front. You can see the fountain in the left - middle and the Royal Seal above the 3 arch entrance.

The roof inside (before I was told not to take pictures).
 Here the Gods (Greek) are celebrating the new Prince Bishop. You can tell it is German Rococo because the way the tapestry actual exits the picture into the third dimensional space.

 Another shot of the Garden room .
The ceiling of the Grand Entrance hall.  AMAZING.  Again, on the lower left of the ceiling, you can see the figures break out of the mural to the third dimension.

And the outdoor gardens - where you could take pictures.
 Off balance, artsy no?
 My honey had me at "Scooter pose"
Me and the back of the building.

knock knock

- he sneaks back onto the stage

Saturday, September 09, 2017

Watched Men's Semifinals last night at the US Open

Our friends Barbara and Gareth arrived yesterday on their way to a concert in Pittsburgh.

Now I was watching Rafa Nadal at the US Open (ps - love his night outfit).

So I wasn't here when they showed up. They got the key and took Trevor for a quick walk.

The funny thing is that they said they walked Trevor, who was asleep when the arrived. Then they came back and sat down to watch TV and it was like Trevor suddenly realized he didn't know them. He started barking and hid under the table until they gave him a treat and played with him.

I think Trevor was working them.

Thursday, September 07, 2017


This picture of St. Martin (or Sint Maarten) freaks me out. Not just because of the destruction - although that is bad enough, but because Ed and I were there after a category 2 and were amazed at the destruction then - now it looks quaint by comparison.

Driving through St. martin after a Cat 2 hit.
The picture above was from when we were there. There are 2 airports (the big one of the Dutch side and a small one on the French side), because we couldn't get into the Dutch one we caught the last 2 seats to the French airport and drove to the Dutch side to fly home.

Driving across the island, there was only 1 road that was still open, the road above. And we had to stop and wait every now and then as the trash and power lines were moved so we could get through. We took pictures of a few boats over turned and houses damaged and we felt awful. People stood outside there homes with damage to roofs and walls - particularly along the ocean.

You just knew it was going to take weeks to get back to normal.

On St. Barts when we were there after a Cat 2
That hurricane freaked us out. Sitting in the dark, no eletricty, no air with storm bashing at doors and windows we were never particularly afraid for our lives, but we were afraid.

I literally cannot imagine how scary it must be to sit in a Hurricane Cat 5. Look at the picture below of Barbuda.  It's like a bomb.
And these are places that are, at least somewhat, used to hurricanes!

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

The Squirrel and the Chipmunk: A Fable

Once Upon a Time…
.. in Central Park, on a sunny day, groups of children played, lovers strolled, flowers bloomed and – for that day – all seemed right in the world. And, on this day, a bag of peanuts fell out of a stroller as a mother hurried a child home. (Just by the by, the child never missed the nuts, as she was being rushed home to see Pippa Pig, her favorite show, and she was very busy exploring how to place cheerios up her nostrils. So, it was a perfect day even for that little girl.)
With the bag of peanuts on the ground there was a race to get to them. Tentative squirrels crawled down the trees in increments, searching for safety before proceeding again a few feet at a time. Chipmunks crawled in confusing formations towards bag, helter skelter, but proceeding always closer. Pigeons, the worst of all Central Park creatures sent out a call that brought others fleetly on the wing.
But first to the bag were a squirrel and chipmunk, both thought reckless by their families. The squirrel and the chipmunk were conditioned by years of history and tried to ignore each other, but finally one spoke. You could ask them later who spoke first and what they said, but neither really remembered. Instead they remembered looking at each other and freezing on the spot.
The other animals froze in place thinking that, perhaps from their vantage points, the squirrel and the chipmunk saw something they did not. The pigeons flew, ungainly as pigeons are apt to be, just far enough away to be safe, but not so far as to lose sight of the tasty morsels. 
But the squirrel and the chipmunk did not freeze out of fear. Or, at least, not fear of a predator, but fear of scaring the other.
The squirrel looked at the chipmunk, saw its refined coloring, whip fast reflexes and soulful eyes. The chipmunk saw the squirrel’s busy tail, which swished in excitement despite the squirrel’s best efforts to control it, and the bright energetic face. And, without saying a word, they both turned together and ran into the underbrush.
And there, the squirrel and the chipmunk played and laughed and fell in love.
Now, Central Park is a pretty easy place to find food; humans are messy spoiled creatures who leave extra bits around all the time. Plenty of food for a squirrel and a chipmunk, in love, to forage without having to commit to tree or burrow. And they had a wonderful full life. They visited the zoo after it was closed and watched the animals from far away – grizzly bears from Montana, penguins from South Africa, cheetahs from the Himalayas. They even made a quick trip or two to the hot baths on monkey island.
Sometimes they slept in the trees, towering far above the park, looking out at the sparkling lights of the city just beyond. And sometimes they slept in a burrow, listening to the quiet of the park and the smells and sounds that come out if you just wait long enough.
They were happy. Until.
One day, one fateful day – as it turned out, the squirrel and the chipmunk were running through the park when they came upon a Volkswagen display of the new Tourag. Squirrels in the trees called down to the pair and said, “Imagine how many nuts you could store in that for the winter.”
Chipmunks called out from the hiding places and holes called out to the pair, “Think how safe we would be in that, safe and watching the world!”
And the squirrel and the chipmunk stopped for a moment and thought how happy they could be together in the Tourag, full of nuts and safe from the monsters outside. And they lingered holding little paws. But they lingered too long. And in a swipe before they even noticed, a dog (unleashed!) came barreling out and grabbed the squirrel. The poor chipmunk let out a yell, which brought it to the attention of a hawk, circling far above which swooped down and grabbed the chipmunk.
And the squirrel mother said to the young squirrels, “That is why we stay here, safe in the trees.”
And the chipmunk mother said to the young chipmunks, “That is why we stay here, safe in hiding.”
And the pigeon said (hard to believe - but this pigeon was quite an ethicist), “This is all the fault of the engineers at Volkswagen who cheated on the emissions test, so that in order to sell new cars they have to take a non-traditional sales route. Without that shiny nut holder here, these two would still be happy.”
But I say that the moral of the story is that for a moment, for a day, or a month, or a lifetime, two souls fell in love and enjoyed a world neither had ever known before. Enjoy every day you have together. Be careful, but not too cautious. The world is wider and more beautiful that you can imagine alone. You need someone to imagine it with.