Sunday, June 26, 2016


Last time I checked, the UK has a Queen. Have we heard anything out of the Royalty about the Brexit, and if the United Kingdom has to leave the EU? What sayeth the Queen on such matters, and can she stay a departure?

I am not usually a fan of Royalty, but in this case Her Subjects are not exactly showing that they are capable of governing themselves nicely.

Republican-Libertarian Merger

Here's a thought: rather than let the Republican Party be subject to a hostile takeover by Donald Trump, the GOP should merge with the Libertarian Party and let the two moderate, sane former Republican governors (former New Mexico Republican Governor Gary Johnson and his running mate former Massachusetts Governor William Weld) run at the top of the ticket.

Friday, June 24, 2016

With a single vote, England just screwed us all

"The result is that we are now entering a world in retreat from progress, a world of atavistic nationalisms and mutual distrust, a world in which we demonize foreigners and prefer walls to bridges.

 In November, the U.S. will have its own plebiscite, and will likely vote along similar lines to Britain. The cities, and the young, will vote for progress, inclusion, and unity. Meanwhile, the white, rural areas and the old will vote for a sepia-tinged dream of a past in which equality was something only straight white men really qualified for.

 Before the Brexit vote, I didn’t believe it could happen here. But Britain is significantly more cosmopolitan than America, and we managed to shoot ourselves (and all of Europe) straight through the heart.

 So, be afraid. The arc of the moral universe might bend towards justice, but it gets there in a very, very messy way. And after taking many steps forward, the world has now taken a giant step back."
-Felix Salmon, "With a single vote, England just screwed us all."


Nearly a decade-and-a-half prior, I found myself in Paris on the eve of the New Year's 2002.  Shortly after the stroke of midnight, I went over to the ATM and withdrew the first Euros as the currency became available.  No more Francs.  No more Marks.  No more Guilders.

The next day, New Year's Day, my family and I took the Chunnel train from Paris to London.  On the train, I went to buy some coffee.  I watched the steward exchanging various European currencies with each order.  I ordered my coffee and paid with a 5 euro note.  The gentleman smiled at me and said, "No more Francs.  No more Marks.  No more Guilders.  My job just got easier."

We arrived in London later that afternoon, and switched to Pounds since the British had kept their currency.

I spent the next two weeks traveling around Ireland (and Northern), Scotland and England.  While on a train from Edinburgh to Newcastle, I got chatting with some Scots in the train coach as the train hugged the North Sea coast with green fields in the distance.  They were curious about the Euros I had.  A couple joked, "we'd rather have Euros with William Wallace on the coin than the Pound." We laughed and chatted about the prospect of Scotland joining the EU more fully than the rest of Britain.
Now in wake of the referendum, such a reality might come to pass.  It looks quite possible that in the wake of the Brexit vote, Scotland and Northern Ireland might create their own Brexit from Britain since they voted so overwhelmingly to stay in the EU while England voted to remain.

We shall see.  The whole thing is properly mucked up.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

The revolution will not be on C-Span

The Dems occupied Congress over gun control legislation reform, and the Republicans turned off the cameras. See what the Republican congress didn't want you to see: Rep. John Lewis, the last of the Civil Rights generation, raining down.


Learn something interesting and new about Yanga and the first free African settlement in the Americas.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Happy Father's Day

In what is becoming a sad annual tradition, I am honoring my father on Father's Day with a contribution in his honor to organizations fighting to make change.

Last year, Father's day came in the wake of the Charleston Church shooting, so I honored my father with a donation to the NAACP.

I do something similar for Mother's Day.

This year, Father's Day comes in the wake of the Pulse massacre, so I am honoring him with a donation in his honor to the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence.  I know he would approve--I can remember him teaching me from a young age the absurdities of gun violence in America.  He kept this poster below in our kitchen from when I was 4 years old.

I am also honoring him with a donation to GLAAD, because I know he would support the fight against violence towards the Gay community, or any community targeted in America.

Happy Father's Day, Abba!  Thanks for always being there to teach me what was right, and what was just.

PS: Being the mensch that he is, he matched all of my donations and exceeded them in contributions!

Friday, June 17, 2016

Release the measurements!

"When he decides to launch his nuclear war, will his stubby fingers even be able to push his button all the way down?"
Release the measurements! 

Thursday, June 16, 2016

On books cont.

"Among the many worlds that man did not receive as a gift from nature but created out of his own mind, the world of books is the greatest… Without the word, without the writing of books, there is no history, there is no concept of humanity. And if anyone wants to try to enclose in a small space, in a single house or a single room, the history of the human spirit and to make it his own, he can only do this in the form of a collection of books."
-Herman Hesse

Wednesday, June 15, 2016


I was downtown, looking for a Colombian coffee shop called Juan Valdez where I had a meeting.  I was a little lost trying to find the spot, but knew the general area.

I was on the block where I thought it was located, but there was some construction where it might be, so I took my earphones out of my ears, put them into my shirt and walked over to a booth with two police officers to ask if they knew where it was.

They didn't know of the place, so I thought perhaps I had sent the person to a place that didn't exist anymore (wouldn't be the first time...).  As I was walking away, one of the cops said to me:

"Can I give you some advice?" the police officer said.

Sure, I replied.

"In this current climate, you shouldn't walk up to a police booth with wires sticking out of your shirt."

Fair enough, I replied.  Then I said: "Can I give you some advice?"

Sure, he said.

"You shouldn't have such an itchy trigger finger," I replied.

Welcome to the United States of Fear.

Kafka on Books

"A book must be the axe for the frozen sea inside us."
-Franz Kafka

Sunday, June 12, 2016


Guns and roses

Another day, another senseless shooting in America. I posted this two years ago today--probably in the wake of some senseless shooting. And nothing has changed. Nothing at all. It's an epidemic, and we do nothing to stop it.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

GOT Thoughts

For what it's worth, I consider the last episode (Season 6 Episode 7) one of the best ever. Random thoughts on the show vs. the book, and how sometimes the show is better:

-the show does more with the Queen of Thorns. She is stellar in ways that she is not in the books. Her diatribe against Cersei was one of the finest monologues of the story. -the show offers a better Jaime Lannister, and his friends and foils: the show has Bronn, who is missing really from the book, and the parley with the Blackfish is better in the show than book.

 -the Yara/Asha figure is a bit more prominent. She has a better monologue about pinecones in the Kingsmoot in the book, but plays a larger figure in the show.

 -The Septon Maribauld (Ian McShane) figure was phenomenal. There was apparently some controversy because the show is called "The Broken Man" but Septon Maribauld did not deliver the full broken man speech. Apparently Ian McShane taped the full thing but it got cut. Too bad, since he is such a fine actor.

Monday, June 06, 2016

hormigas culonas

I ate big butt (ants), and I cannot lie... 
You other brothers can't deny....they were pretty gross. 

Yes, I ate hormigas culonas, the Colombian delicacy known as "big booty ants."

 Surprisingly meaty, with an earthy taste and an ungodly aftertaste.

 Survey says: no bueno.

 Oh, the lengths I go in the name of gastrodiplomacy....

Saturday, June 04, 2016

And he was pretty...

Greatest of all time.

“I’ve wrestled with alligators,
I’ve tussled with a whale.
I done handcuffed lightning
And throw thunder in jail.
You know I’m bad.
just last week, I murdered a rock,
Injured a stone, Hospitalized a brick.
I’m so mean, I make medicine sick."

Greatest of all time.  Muhammad Ali, you're too pretty to be forgotten.

Thursday, June 02, 2016

On Journalism in the age of Trump

"I felt a shudder down my spine yesterday watching Donald Trump's fusilade against the press. This is not a moment to be trifled with. It wasn't his first tirade and it won't be his last.

I was reminded of my college journalism professor, the late Hugh Cunningham, who would exhort his young charges in a thundering voice to "never let them scare you." It was his most important lesson. One of Edward R. Murrow's favorite words was "steady." That also bears repeating today.

This is a dirty, nasty election. And it is only going to get worse. The reporters in the trenches need no lecture from me. They are walking through daily minefields, bracing themselves against winds of discontent whose effects no one can predict.

I know what it is like to sit in those seats and feel the scorn and even wrath of politicians of all political persuasions. Attacking the press for unfair coverage has long been a bipartisan pursuit. Sometimes it works. I am happy to say that more often it doesn't. But Trump's brand of vituperation is particularly personal and vicious. It carries with it the drumbeats of threatening violence. It cannot be left unanswered.

This is not about politics or policy. It's about protecting our most cherished principles. The relationship between the press and the powerful they cover is by its very definition confrontational. That is how the Founding Fathers envisioned it, with noble clauses of protection enshrined in our Constitution.

Good journalism--the kind that matters--requires reporters who won't back up, back down, back away or turn around when faced with efforts to intimidate them. It also requires owners and other bosses with guts, who stand by and for their reporters when the heat is on.

I still believe the pen is mightier than the sword. And in these conflicted and troubled times, we should reward the bravery of the men and women not afraid to ask the hard questions of everyone in power. Our nation's future depends on it."
-Dan Rather