Aug 24 2016

Riga

Published by under Travel

Finally getting around to bookkeeping from the cruise. Below are some pictures from the massively awesome city of Riga. A great place to have visited and I would love to go back.

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Riga is the city of cats/ Not sure of the reason why:

The weather had not been so great up till this day-but it turned really nice when in Riga. Click on the remaining pictures to see them properly

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IMG_6468  IMG_6496 IMG_6487 IMG_6489 IMG_6455 IMG_6478

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Aug 18 2016

Whenever I think of Trump-I think of this song

Published by under Trump is evil

Donald Trump has proven himself to be completely worthless in the past two weeks. And dangerous. I always think of this song from the musical Jesus Christ Superstar when I see him on TV. Presented here are the altered lyrics reflecting the reality of , He, Trump.

HUGH HEWITT

Good Reince Preibus,  the RNC waits for you. 
The talk show hosts and religious right are here for you.

PREIBUS

Ah gentlemen, you know why we are here. 
We've not much time, and quite a problem here

MOB (outside) 

Hosanna! Superstar! 
Hosanna! Superstar! 
Hosanna! Superstar! 
Hosanna! Superstar!

TED CRUZ

Listen to that howling mob of blockheads in the street! 
A trick or two with casinos and the whole town's on its feet.

ALL (inside) 

He is dangerous!

MOB (outside)

Make America Great Again!

ALL (inside)

He is dangerous!

MOB (outside)

Tell us that you're who they say you are.

ERIC ERIKSON

The man is in town right now to whip up some support.

JOHN KASICH

A rabble rousing mission that I think we must abort.

ALL (inside) 

He is dangerous!

MOB (outside)

Make America Great Again!

ALL (inside)

He is dangerous!

ERIC ERIKSON

Look Reince Preibus they're right outside our yard.

TED CRUZ

Quick Reince Preibus, go call the cops to come.

PREIBUS

No, wait! 
We need a more permanent solution to our problem.

ERIC ERIKSON

What then to do about Trump of New York? 
Miracle wonderman, hero of fools.

TED CRUZ

Riots, An army,  FIghting, Lots of slogans.

PREIBUS

One thing I'll say for him — TRUMP is NOT cool.

TED CRUZ

We dare not leave him to his own devices. 
His half-witted fans will get out of control.

ERIC ERIKSON

But how can we stop him? 
His glamour increases 
By leaps every moment; he's top of the poll.

PREIBUS

I see bad things arising. 
The crowd vote him in, which the Supreme Court would ban. 
I see blood and destruction, 
Our elimination because of one man.
Blood and destruction because of one man.

ALL (inside) 

Because, because, because of one man.

PREIBUS

Our elimination because of one man.

ALL (inside) 

Because, because, because of one, 'cause of one, 'cause of one man.

TED CRUZ

What then to do about this Trump-mania?

TED CRUZ

How do we deal with a reality star king?

RELIGIOUS RIGHT

Where do we start with a man who is bigger 
Than Gingrich was when Gingrich did his contract on America thing?

PREIBUS

Fools, you have no perception! 
The stakes we are gambling are frighteningly high! 
We must crush him completely, 
So like Breitbart before him, this Trump must die. 
For the sake of the nation, this Trump must die.

ALL (inside)

Must die, must die, this Trump must die.

PREIBUS

So like Breitbart before him, this Trump must die.

ALL (inside) 

Must die, must die, this Trump must, Trump must, Trump must die!

Written by Andrew Lloyd Webber, Tim Rice • Copyright © Universal Music Publishing Group

Adapted by me.

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Aug 08 2016

Speaking of ships

Published by under Travel

The S.O. and I made our first cruise ever on the Splendour of the Seas last year. It was her last year sailing for Royal Caribbean, as it had been announced she was being sold to TUI Cruises. We thought the crew did a good job seeing the ship out in style and we loved our cruise. But in assembling videos for our last cruise, I found this view The Splendour's transformation to TUI livery.

 

Guess you have to be something of a nautical geek. But please remember, even with the new coat of paint-the ship is over 20 years old.

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Aug 08 2016

In and out…

Published by under Uncategorized

It's been an insane tempo for the last three weeks-and something had to give. Blogging was it. Plus, if anyone could pick three weeks to be out of the grid, the last three weeks were it. During the DNC I was in Israel-and getting up early to drive 60 miles a day just takes it out of you. Then I came back to Germany to watch the Trump implosion and all the attendant stupidity. Since I despise Trump and his legions of followers, I think it just shows what a truly worthless man he is and has been. He's done nothing to change my mind on that subject.

Plus, the Olympics started with this:

 

And an Opening Ceremony that went on far too long.

On the plus side-being over here and watching the Olympics on a British Satellite system means: 1) No Bob Costas and 2) NO commercials plus the ability to pick among the events going on live.

So there is that.

What with going on the cruise and then traveling for business for two weeks, I've been busy.

So, I'll get to Trump and his worthless stupidity in good time. But today I'd like to pass along the first of neat things I found on You Tube made by a fellow passenger, who I never met, on the very same cruise we were on. Here then, is a quick view of the Serenade of the Seas:

 

 

We had a great time and I don't want to spoil the memory just yet. Enjoy. More to follow. This video was of the sail away from Stockholm which is pretty nice.

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Jul 21 2016

The triumph of the will.

I have had to spend the week back in Shopping Mall USA this week. As a result I have gotten to watch the royal mess that is the Republican national convention. It's been a very graphic display of how far America has fallen, and how ludicrous the GOP has become. Tonight was supposed to be a well oiled machine- but then Ted Cruz stopped by.

 

I've got to hand it to Cruz, he could have taken the expedient path and sold his soul to the devil that is Donald Trump. But he refused to endorse him. He appears to understand what Rubio, Walker , and the Zombie Eyed Granny Starver do not-that Trump is dangerous. I am no fan of Cruz whatsoever- but to take the path he took tonight was pretty bold, IMHO. Without naming the vulgar talking yam by name-he showed him to be the truly worthless soul that he is. As one analyst said, "He chose to short Trump stock big time". Its a risky position-but far more principled than anything Trump has ever done. I will reiterate that Trump is truly dangerous-a threat to the heart of the Republic.

So here we go. You have just seen another sign of the apocalypse, wherein I write kind words about Ted Cruz. It appears the GOP is lifting it's convention script directly from the book of Revelation.

Damn them all now.

Damn the delegates who will vote for this man. Damn the professional politicians who will fall in line behind him or, worse, will sit back and hope this all blows over so the Republican Party once again will be able to relegate the poison this man has unleashed to the backwaters of the modern conservative intellectual mainstream, which is where it has been useful for over four decades. Damn the four hopeless sycophants who want to share a stage with him for four months. Damn all the people who will come here and speak on his behalf. Damn all the thoughtful folk who plumb his natural appeal for anything deeper than pure hatred.

 

Damn all the people who will vote for him, and damn any progressives who sit this one out because Hillary Rodham Clinton is wrong on this issue or that one. Damn all the people who are suggesting they do that. And damn all members of the media who treat this dangerous fluke of a campaign as being in any way business as usual. Any support for He, Trump is, at this point, an act of moral cowardice. Anyone who supports him, or runs with him, or enables his victory, or even speaks well of him, is a traitor to the American idea.

Damn, to name one, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, the zombie-eyed granny-starver from the state of Wisconsin, now exposed as the feckless political weakling he's always been. On Wednesday, during an inexcusable CNN-sponsored informercial for himself, Ryan was asked the only question that mattered:

But the challenge facing Ryan was clear when he was asked a question by Zachary Marcone, a Republican who said he couldn't support Trump because he is "openly racist." "Can you tell me, how can you morally justify your support for this kind of candidate?" Marcone asked.

Ryan responded like the spineless careerist tool he's always been.

"You're going to help elect Hillary Clinton and I don't think Hillary Clinton is supporting any of the things you stand for if you're a Republican."

In other words, if we don't elect this authoritarian wild man, I won't get to gut Medicare the way I've always wanted to.

If I were Ryan, I'd put that on a bumper sticker.

 

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Jul 14 2016

And we are back. Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue.

If ever there was a good two weeks to be disconnected from the world-I think the last two weeks might have been it. Portugal beat France. The whole Dallas mess. The FBI director and his press conference, and of course, the vulgar talking yam saying the normally stupid things he says.

And of course there is this:

169

Not to mention having to go to work and read about this:

 

 

Altogether, I think it is time to:

keep-calm-and-drink-heavily-5

 

For what it's worth, however, the cruise was great.  Pix to follow.

 

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Jul 02 2016

The call of the sea….

Published by under Travel

Because saving money in the wake of the Brexit disaster is for pussies, right?

Actually, I paid for this 6 months ago, long before I knew that 37.5% of the British people were going to fuck over the world.

And since they did, I thought I would go to the home of government provided services and take a cruise. Greetings from Stockholm.

M&O Serenade of the seas 01

That will be me on the fantail, debating whether to throw my self or my drink overboard. Either way, I'll be off the grid for a bit.

Have a great holiday weekend.

 

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Jun 28 2016

The first draft of history…

Yes the markets went back up today. I did my bit to help and bought stock in Match.Com. ( Because you never know when you'll need to fire up that Tinder App).

But Britain kept taking one hit after another. A labor No Confidence vote that Jeremy Corbyn lost, and additional credit downgrades. These are lighting the fuse for the recession of 2017.

So is there time to point out how utterly stupid Brexit was? There is always time to point out how fucked in the head the Brexit vote was.

Assuming I'm not dead from alcohol poisoning on November 9th, which is a very real possibility if Trump wins, Laurie Penny at The New Statesman has written the first draft of what will be many posts calling the American people stupid. Just take the British names and substitute American ones-and you feel her (and my) pain:

I want my country back

This was never a referendum on the EU. It was a referendum on the modern world.

There’s not enough tea in the entire nation to help us Keep Calm and Carry On today. Not on a day when prejudice, propaganda, naked xenophobia and callous fear-mongering have won out over the common sense we British like to pride ourselves on. Not on a day when we’re being congratulated by Donald Trump, Marine Le Pen, and nobody else. Well done, turkeys. Santa’s on his way.

Nigel Farage, the rich, racist cartoon demagogue, boasts that this victory was won “without a single shot being fired”. Tell that to the grieving family of Jo Cox, the campaigning Labour MP gunned down last week. Farage promised that unless something was done to halt immigration, “violence will be the next step”. It looks like we’ve got a two-for-one deal on that one.

So, here’s the thing. This was never a referendum on the EU. It was a referendum on the modern world, and yesterday the frightened, parochial lizard-brain of Britain voted out, out, out, and today we've all woken up still strapped onto this ghost-train as it hurtles off the tracks. Leave voters are finding they care less about immigration now that their pension pots are under threat. Maybe one of the gurning pundits promising them pride and sovereignty should have mentioned that, but they were too busy lying about the NHS. The curtain has been torn away and now we all have to look at the men behind it. They are not good men.

Anyone feel like they’ve got their country back yet? No? That, after all, was the rallying cry of the Leave campaign – the transatlantic echo of "Make America Great Again". There’s a precedent for what happens when svengalis with aggressively terrible haircuts are allowed to appeal to parochialism and fear in the teeth of a global recession, and it isn’t pretty.

 

Read the rest of the article here. It speaks to me-and should to you, Because I guarantee, whatever your political beef is with the USA today, I can assure you Donald Trump is not the answer to it. He will kill you and your country in your sleep.

I now yield the floor to Mr. Oliver again:

 

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Jun 27 2016

New Words for the dictionary

Watching markets tank again, makes me want to keep beating the Brexit horse. Once again, thank you voters of the UK for giving me an opportunity to keep working well into my 60's. That night job as an Uber driver in a couple of years will be a hell of lot of fun.

Meanwhile, as the United Kingdom's corpse is being embalmed, a new word has joined the English language:

 

Meanwhile down under, there is a revision being considered to the Australian flag:

 

In more good news, it appears one's Brexit vote comes with a money back guarantee.

 

George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer, in words that were eerily reminiscent of Hank Paulson's in 2008, reassured British citizens that the "fundamentals of the economy are sound".

Pro-tip. It didn't work for Paulson back then either.

Meanwhile, there are those who cling to the rather vain hope that this nightmare can all be undone:

 

While other people are realizing just how bad things are:

 

David Cameron, realizing his days as a government employee are limited, begins working on his resume:

Seriously though, this referendum proves H.L. Menken's old quote and one I have used before, "Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard."

Of course, we Americans should not get complacent. Especially the peculiar species of American voter that spouts the same old tired lines about " sticking it to the elites", "throwing of totalitarianism" and "sticking it to unelected policy makers"   Here is a serious point, if you, as an American, support Brexit-besides being wrong you may be just one of these people:

 

 

That's my best summation of the why, of American conservatives who support either / or Trump or Brexit.

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And this is only Monday. Tip your waitress well, I may be bashing this insanity all week.

 

 

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Jun 26 2016

Now it’s time to pay the piper.

This weekend has been one of the most interesting in recent history. Watching the post mortem on the Brexit referendum on British TV has been an education to say the least. When you walk off of a cliff, there is that interval of time while you fall, wondering how bad the impact is going to hurt.

That is what I would say this weekend has been like. Britain and the rest of the world have been going through the five stages of death: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Based on the news this weekend I'd say that we are just clearing stage 3. Stage 4 will come tomorrow when world markets drop yet again. (I don't think the markets have hit a definitive benchmark yet, the Dow for Example has about 400 more points to go, before it settles in for up and down cycles of about a 100 points or so for weeks).

When last we left the story, the Down Jones had wiped out ALL of its 2016 gains and had suffered its biggest single day drop in 1.5 years. Over the weekend the hits just kept on coming.

The credit rating agencies cut Britain's credit rating. Moved it from AAA to AA+.Following the Brexit vote, it said Britain's economic growth will be weaker and warned the public finances will be weaker than previously forecast, meaning it will be harder to cut the deficit. 

Meanwhile up in Scotland, 

EDINBURGH — Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister, said Friday that a new referendum on independence in Scotland was “highly likely” now that Britain had voted to leave the European Union.

Voters rejected an effort to break free from the United Kingdom in a 2014 referendum, but Ms. Sturgeon said Scotland would take measures to protect its place in Europe and maintain access to the single market.

Ms. Sturgeon cited her party’s election manifesto, which calls for another ballot if there is a “significant and material change in circumstances” from the 2014 vote, such as Scotland’s being taken out of the European Union against its will.

Not to be outdone, the folks in Northern Ireland, have their own issues to think about:

No sooner was the Brexit out of the bag than Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness, deputy first minister for Northern Ireland, declared the need for a poll on Irish reunification. Northern Ireland voted decisively to remain in the EU. By McGuinness’s logic, this means that the “British government has forfeited any mandate to represent the economic or political interests of the people”.

Opportunistic? Of course. Disingenuous? Maybe. The Good Friday agreement, which created peace in the north, allows the secretary of state to call a border poll when there’s clear indication that public opinion has swung towards a united Ireland. Currently, there’s no such indication – the people of Northern Ireland voted against leaving the EU, which is markedly different from voting to leave the UK.

A border poll at this juncture would be dangerous. Think the build-up to Brexit was polarising and scary? Add a few centuries of colonial history, a partition, 30 years of sectarianism and violence, a fragile peace of less than two decades, a severe terror threat, a quarter tonne of semtex, a wee dash of Brexit-induced socio-economic insecurity, and the frustration caused by one’s English compatriots voting to pull the rug out from under a painstakingly crafted peace process, then tell me about polarising and scary.

So it is probably best that we chill on the reunification rhetoric for the minute. That said, I do think the aftermath of Brexit has the potential to strengthen Northern Ireland’s connection to the Irish Republic. If and when that happens, we’ll talk border polls.

 

Meanwhile back in London, Jeremy Corbyn, Labor Party Leader ,had his hands full dealing with a revolt inside his own party.

The U.K.'s dramatic decision to leave the European Union has set off an open mutiny within the opposition Labour Party against the party's leader, Jeremy Corbyn

The BBC reports that at least eleven ministers have resigned from their positions on the shadow cabinet; in the British system, that's the government body that criticizes the ruling party's government and presents alternatives.

This started when Corbyn sacked his shadow foreign secretary, party veteran Hilary Benn, as NPR's Peter Kenyon tells our Newscast unit.

"Within hours more shadow cabinet ministers announced their resignations amid concern that Corbyn is not the leader the party needs to see it through the upheaval caused by the Brexit vote," Peter says. He adds that Corbyn has "vowed to fight any challenge."

Under the category of, you want it bad you get it bad, The other EU nations are insisting that Britain should withdraw from the EU as soon as possible and not slow roll the process. Angela Merkel said she agreed with that logic, but would not "fight for it".  

Nonetheless there are important reasons why the continental nations of Europe will need to take a hard line in negotiations for Britain's exit from the block. Number one will be to drive home the point to other exit wanna be's that you pay a price for not playing ball. European leaders will desperately want to stop the contagion represented by Brexit. There is not a Norway or Swiss deal in Britain's future.

This isn’t just economic; it has implications for global security. The EU and the US have depended on a united front on a score of global challenges, most notably with Russia. Russia will exploit any division they can.

Now at the same time-things could turn around if a few things happened. Like oil prices go up dramatically.

Of course if this November the US elected Donald Trump to be President, things could get a lot worse. As Larry Summers pointed out, Brexit could just be the opening act if Trump gets elected:

Well, I think the same kind of sense that this couldn't possibly happen, that surrounds the Trump candidacy also surrounded the Brexit referendum. And I think whatever damage Brexit may do to the global economy, is small compared to the uncertainties that would be unleashed if Donald Trump became President of the United States. That's because the policies that Trump has advocated could hardly be better calculated to create uncertainty and economic instability.

So there is that to look forward to.

 

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