The Senate on Thursday rejected a proposal to move sexual assault cases outside the military chain of command, instead backing simpler reforms to the military justice system.
Victim advocates lamented the vote, which fell five senators short of advancing past a procedural hurdle, as a lost opportunity and a potentially discouraging message to female service members who face harassment and intimidation.
But opponents of the proposal — among them, Pentagon leaders — called it a well-intentioned overreach that would handicap military efforts to crack down on sexual assaults.
Contrary to what LTC Bateman has to say, there is no "epidemic" of sexual assault in the military. There is a "buyer's remorse" problem and a false accusations problem-as well as problems of "overhead" that are the result of short sighted implementation decisions in bringing on the brave new world every one said they wanted. But as ROK Drop as pointed out, and I have quoted on these pages, the "problem" is way overhyped by those who have a much more sinister agenda in mind.
So its refreshing to see, a majority of our Senators actually recognize, that, if you want to hold commanders accountable-you have to give them ALL the tools to do their job.
Sorry for the lack of postings of late. I am going through a triple whammy of trying to get ready for a trip, dealing with the day to day fun at work, and also starting an online class, which is going to cut into my time even more.
However it is this last item I thought I would pass on. If you are a post 9-11 Veteran, the Syracuse University is running a program paid for by JP Morgan Chase that allows one to get certifications and training-WITHOUT having to use your GI Bill. It is called the Syracuse Veterans Career Transition Program. And what it offers is:
The Veterans Career Transition Program, operated by the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University, is delivered at no cost to post-9/11 veterans, their spouses, and spouses of active duty military. Paid for in entirety by a grant from JPMorgan Chase & Co, VCTP offers solutions to the above challenges, as well as connections to specific education and training programs, business/industry coalitions focused on veteran employment and information about national and state-level opportunities and benefits for veterans and their families. The Professional Skills Track and the Tech Track are offered through an advisor-led group admitted quarterly, and the Independent Study Track is available for start at any time. Each track is described below.
Through online courses—accessible from any location, at any time–participants have the opportunity to gain an understanding and insight into the corporate culture of civilian business/industry, government and other civilian sector employment opportunities.
The program has three tracks. A professional skills track, a tech track and an independent study track. The Professional skills track helps you burnish your resume, the Tech track offers IT certifications and the independent study track offers veterans and spouses who are currently employed and need to achieve industry certifications in order to advance or maintain their current employment. That is the one I am pursuing-in the hopes of getting a PMP certification.
So it may bring a hiatus to my blogging-although I hope not-but it will hopefully give me some way to overcome the deficit of attract ability to new employers.
Check out the details here: http://vets.syr.edu/education/employment-programs/
A couple of weekends ago we went to Dresden. I found the trip remarkable for a couple of reasons. 1) I never imagined in my youth, that I would ever be in what was once "East" Germany, and 2) I was surprised at how charming and well developed the city was. They put a lot of thought into rebuilding the center of the city.
And an simple examination of the history shows that Communists did not do very much to fix it up after the war. But man o man-look at the place now:
This is the Frauekirche- which was utterly destroyed during the bombing. The Russians left it in ruins as a way to rub the German's noses in the fact that they lost the war. After reunification, plans were made to rebuild it. It opened again in 2005. If you look to the left you can still see some of the bricks that were "smoke checked".
There is a lot of beauty in the city however:
This the Semperoper, the Dresden state opera house. It was destroyed during the bombing, and was rebuilt in 1985. It opened exactly 40 years after the bombing on 13 February with the same opera that was last performed before its destruction.
We spent the first day just exploring the city. Once you get out of the center of the town-it becomes like many former Soviet territories, row upon row of blocks of apartments. But the river Elbe is glorious:
And so the "Parade of Heroes" , which somehow miraculously survived the bombing:
The mural is made entirely of Meissen porcelain. How the S.O. knows that is beyond me………..
And of course there was a Winter Market:
There is also the Zwinger Palace
The next day the S.O. dragged me over to Bolesweicz Poland for her real objective-shopping for Polish Pottery. We had lunch at a bit of a tourist trap restaurant -but still fun, nonetheless:
Yes it was a tourist place-but Poles gotta make money too, don't they. And besides the food was pretty good. Being from Pittsburgh, there was only one right thing to order-The Pierogi Sampler! Quite tasty!
I was surprised at the big difference in the way Poland looked and Germany did. It was quickly evident when you crossed the border. I did not expect that-especially since Bolesweicz was in what used to be German territory.
All in all though, if you come to Germany-Dresden is worth your time to visit. In the downtown they have put a lot of new and trendy restaurants with all kinds of cuisine. We discovered a really great Vietnamese restaurant. Possibly the best one we have eaten in Germany. Now that's a plus.
This business of firing CO's at a drop of a hat is getting out of control. Not every mistake needs to be published by public execution. It might be-that given the chance-he might learn a good deal and be a better commander and officer in the long run.
But we will never know will we?
The commanding officer of the frigate Taylor was fired Tuesday two weeks after his ship ran aground in the Black Sea, where it was standing by in case it was needed to support security at the Winter Olympics.
Cmdr. Dennis Volpe was removed from command of the Mayport, Fla.-based frigate by Capt. Jim Aiken, the head of Task Force 65, “due to loss of confidence in Volpe’s ability to command,” 6th Fleet said in a Tuesday news release.
Taylor ran aground Feb. 12 while preparing to moor in Samsun, Turkey, with no reported injuries. The Navy publicized the incident a week later, during the investigation.
The investigation hasn’t turned up anything egregious, said Navy spokeswoman Lt. Cmdr. Sarah Flaherty, who characterized the incident as a “standard grounding.”
I shudder to think what hell it must be to be in command in today's Navy. If you are male-you start with one strike against you. If you life to have fun and are a liberty hound in port-the count automatically becomes 3-2. Of course if you are female………..
“When I was a child,” Diana Adams began, “I had a doll house and a rich fantasy life. I imagined that I was a cancer-curing surgeon, a world-class ballerina, and a TV show host all at the same time. I was also an amazing mom to all my dolls, but it was always a little mysterious about where they had come from and whether they all had the same father. A little neighbor boy once said to me, ‘I’ll be the daddy.’ I thought about that for a moment. I said, ‘No, you can be my gay lounge singer friend. That’s much more fun.’ I’ve always liked boys. I just like them better in groups.”
Over the years, the aspiring ballerina/surgeon/TV host shifted her focus to law. As a lawyer, Adams now runs a Brooklyn-based legal firm oriented toward providing traditional marriage rights to non-traditional families like the one she imagined as a kid. As an openly polyamorous woman, Diana lives inside a version of that doll house today. Along with her primary partner Ed, she is currently romantically involved with several other men and women.
As I have repeatedly stated here-marriage is indeed an outmoded institution that needs to go away. And more importantly-the nuclear family construct is about 30 years behind the times:
Our laws are about 20 years behind what families actually look like. I'm working to create alternatives to marriage, because I think that if we could choose marriage affirmatively instead of it being a default, it would make relationships stronger. Marriage is an incredibly intense contract. It's a legal-financial contract that you're making, declaring that you're going to be the other person's social welfare state and safety net if they screw up. I mean, you’re signing the most important document you’ll sign in your life and people read it less carefully than a cell phone contract. People have no idea what they’re actually committing to and are horrified a lot of times when they find out.
Yup! Been there-got the T-shirt.
But there are alternatives:
What kinds of alternatives to marriage are available?
There are different options. Domestic partnership, for example, has tremendous possibility to create a more expansive version of what a relationship can look like. Domestic partnership was originally created as an alternative for gay couples who couldn’t legally get married. But then, all these surprising things started happening where these other kinds of people started using it for their own purposes. For instance, many elderly widow friends have entered into platonic domestic partnerships. It’s a situation like the Golden Girls. These are friends saying, “I live with her, and we watch out for each other, and I want her to be the person I can share my health insurance with.”
We should talk about what should be the most important part of the holiday. The post dinner/flowers/movie/carriage ride in the park/romantic walk in the park sex. Sex is always, ALWAYS, the perfect ending to any holiday.
Laci Green grabs a thin sheet of latex, stretches it over the end of an empty toilet paper tube, and starts cutting away with a pair of scissors. "I'm makin' a hymennn," she sings before holding up the finished product to the camera, where, on the other side, more than 700,000 subscribers now await her every upload. "Ta-da!"
Since 2008, the 24-year-old YouTube sex educator has been making informational videos about everything from slut shaming and body image to genital hygiene and finding the G-spot. This particular scene comes from a clip called "You Can't POP Your Cherry (HYMEN 101)" which explains, with the kind of bubbly, web-savvy humor that makes her a popular vlogger, that the hymen isn't a membrane that needs to bleed or be broken during intercourse—it's actually just small, usually elastic folds of mucous tissue that only partially cover the vaginal opening and can, but don’t always, tear if stretched. A year and a half after it premiered, with well more than one million views, Green's video debunking one of the most enduring misconceptions about virginity is also one of the most popular segment she's ever recorded.
So maybe the ex was not really lying to me that it was her first time-right?
Actually I have been with two women who said it was their first time, this was a long time ago-and I was quite ignorant on a lot of things, and furthermore I was trapped as a slave to a lot of really, REALLY , screwed up ideas about what was "moral" when it came to sexual activity. Now some 30 years later, my thinking has radically changed. All sex is good, and people deserve to have as much guilt and consequence free sex as they can get. ( With, of course, the usual caveats about consent, incest, age of consent etc…..).
So it was kind of interesting to read about the actual let down the "first time was for a lot of people". My first time was great-except for the naggging voice screaming "SIN" in the back of my head. This voice was competing with the one going, "pussy feels great, don't you want to know for yourself?". The latter voice won out-and for what its worth, 30+years of experience have proven him right and the first voice wrong.
So anyway, I found the article interesting as it told the women's point of view:
When Therese Shechter lost her virginity at age 23, it wasn’t the firework-spouting, momentous occasion she had come to expect. On the contrary, it was kind of unremarkable given the hype. Now a filmmaker, Shechter spent much of the past six years working on her new documentary How to Lose Your Virginity, which revisits her experience—including the basement apartment where it happened, now, funnily enough, a flower shop called Bloom—and explores the "myths and misogyny" behind one of society's most institutionalized rites of passage.
Through interviews with historians, abstinence advocates, sex educators, and self-described virgins and non-virgins alike, Shechter learned she's not the only one who had certain ideas about what sex is supposed to be like. There are a number of pervasive and loaded myths about virginity: That having sex for the first time will be an irreversible transformation that changes your body and mind; that there’s a “right” way to lose your virginity, and how you lose it will affect the rest of your life; that it's going to be the most pleasurable, magical feeling; that it's going to be the most painful experience of their lives. These myths persist in part because of a lack of information about what happens to the human body, specifically the hymen, during sex—information that's often not taught in schools, that's not always found online, and that's not always available from medical providers.
“I’ve spoken to lots of women who are just terrified of having sex because they think it’s going to be this horrible pain and [they’ll] bleed gallons of blood,” says Shechter, whose documentary makes its broadcast premiere on February 8 on the Fusion Network and is airing in cities across the U.S. and internationally in coming months.
After spending a good deal of time overseas, its clear Americans and others have some really screwed up ideas about sex. Muslims of course have the worst ideas about the doing the deed, many that have been passed down to them through their history. Asia, in my experience was so refreshing because of the matter of fact attitude I found in so many women about sex. ( The S.O. used to have a very matter of fact attitude about sex-she liked it. Until she stopped liking it or worrying about her hormone levels. That it might leave me more than a little frustrated never enters into her equation. But she knows when to use it to get what she wants still. )
For evidence of just how strongly these ideas about virginity and sex are rooted in popular culture, Shechter points to the number of businesses that profit off them. Genres of pornography fetishize virginity and frequently depict the moment innocent school girls are "corrupted.” Hymenoplasties, or controversial surgeries that "reconstruct" the hymen to induce bleeding during sex as proof of virginity, have become an established practice around the world (stories about the trend have appeared in Time magazine and The New York Times, which, it’s worth noting, called the hymen "the vaginal membrane that normally breaks in the first act of intercourse" in its reporting). In her film, Shechter meets with a wedding dress vendor who markets a dress's virginal qualities as a selling point.
As Susan Sarandon said in the movie Bull Durham, women all deserve to wear white-and as I get more mature-I have come to agree with her fully.
Seriously though-these time worn and completely silly ideas about sex have bad ramifications. They keep both men and women from seeking out needed counseling and contraception. Everyone, yes I said everyone ( even the fat chick) is entitled to lots of completely wild and orgasmic sex. Anything that stands in the way is just plain wrong.
Because hymens vary greatly from person to person, they’re not reliable indicators of virginity—How to Lose Your Virginity even features a film clip from the 1940s saying as much—but the myth that looking at a hymen can reveal whether a woman has had sex can still discourage women from seeking medical care. "The biggest question we're asked is, 'Can a doctor or a boyfriend tell if I've had sex before?' Zeldes says. "Many people think they can, so they're scared to go to a gynecologist or a GYN exam because they're scared, one, that it could make them not a virgin, and, two, someone would be able to tell."
But what Blank and Zeldes say is one of the most widespread consequences—and the one Green says convinced her to make her video in the first place—is simply fear. Myths about virginity cast a shadow of negativity over young people’s attitudes toward sex. They keep can people from taking ownership of their sexualities and bodies through informed decision-making. They can turn what could be a pleasurable and fun experience into an event that’s scary, stressful, and needlessly traumatic.
So hump away boys and girls-its the greatest sensation there is and you don't get near enough of it, and life is short. Here is to hoping your Valentines Day is a good and erotic one.
Over at Esquire's political blog, LTC Robert Bateman has been buying into the entire-"all military men are rapists" theme. Now, I, for one, am sick of hearing it. A) Because its not true and B) its disguising yet another hidden feminist agenda. Fortunately for us all- ROK Drop is still on the case.
This just confirms to me how these AP writers are interested in sensationalism and not journalism. Each case stands on its own facts which leads to its own outcome. Just because a person is accused of sexual assault does not mean that they should automatically be convicted and receive the same sentence as someone else who was convicted. You have to look at the facts of each case that was presented at trial which the AP writers did not provide. Did the first case come down to just a he said said case where the accuser was drunk and changed her story multiple times? While the second case the accuser never changed his story and maybe even had a witness to help confirm the crime? I don’t know, but it is facts like this that help the legal system get convictions while other cases do not lead to convictions.
The AP writers also suggest in the article that the fact that accusers are not cooperating with authorities shows that they do not have confidence in the system. They make this statement with no evidence of course. I could just as easily make the claim that these were false rape accusations that were made with no evidence. And if anyone thinks that servicemembers do not make false rape accusations think again:
After which, in his usual thorough style-he proceeds to debunk the AP myths.
Additionally the AP writers make a big deal about how few cases in Japan are tried by court martials and instead handled with non-judicial punishment. Could that be because of the heavy alcohol consumption and people piled together in the barracks on Okinawa leads to a lot of the drunken he said, she said cases that are notoriously difficult to prosecute? So instead of going to court martial with little chance to convict due to lack of evidence are the commanders offering the non-judicial punishment route to convict them on something? Could that be why a high number of people are supposedly convicted of sex in the barracks and adultery? Once again I do not know and the AP writers do not provide evidence otherwise. However, McClatchy already looked into this issue and found that the military if anything is over prosecuting service members for sexual assault.
Follow the links and read the rest for yourself. I stand by the statement I made a long time ago. THE MILITARY DOES NOT HAVE A SEXUAL ASSAULT epidemic. It has a rate that is probably lower than that of a comparably sized and aged segment of the civilian population. It has a buyer's remorse problem and a political correctness problem-by not sticking to its standards and demanding that everyone live by them, male or female. And it has a huge problem with creating policies that place men and women together, encouraging service members to date each other-with the usual hilarity that subsequently ensues. This is the world you said you wanted when began the great experiment-well, welcome to it.
Unfortunately however, we here at Far East Cynic HQ have been notified that we are required, because of failure to understand the gravity of the problem, to take some required training-and they are taking attendance. This has been de riguer since that fun little party at the Vegas Hilton some 20+ years ago. So sit down and make sure you get your name on the sign in sheet.
This has always been a stupid idea on the part of the US Navy. I experienced it in 1975-when-in order to win a scholarship I had to Major in Mathematics, a field of study I hated, so as to become a Naval Officer. The only benefit therein to doing so was that, it allowed me to study History and Political Science; then my true love-as a Minor. Thus I was allowed to experience Liberal Larry's Constitutional Law class-one of the highlights of my educational career.
At the Naval Academy, the academic program is focused especially on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), in order to meet the current and future highly technical needs of the Navy. Graduates who are proficient in scientific inquiry, logical reasoning and problem solving will provide an officer corps ready to lead in each warfare community of the Navy and Marine Corps.
F*cking blow me! As a future Naval Officer, STEM classes were required. I had to take Physics, Chemistry, E&M Theory ( and no, that does not mean erotic and masturbation theory). All of those classes sucked and I exited with the requisite "C" and or "B" in these courses. I did however enjoy the wonders of History of Western Civilization, Major British Writers and as I mentioned before Constitutional Law. Not to mention learning the basics of a language now that I use ever day going to work. ( God rest your soul, Col Gundel).
The Navy does a fine job teaching the technical details. They were able to teach me radar, were they not? So much so that I could teach to other people? But it did a lousy job of helping me to understand why I was being asked to risk getting killed off the catapult at night in the North Atlantic. Or in the Persian Gulf. Or any one of a 100 other places.
They certainly did not teach me about the "why's" o being asked to make such a sacrifice-all they were concerned about was how to actually do it. And nothing in their educational program prepared me for the idea of having to be shoved off to nothing at all of value, solely to fill an Army requirement in such hell holes as Iraq and Afghanistan.
So here is a little reminder of what it is really all about. Fans of Ross Douthat should take note.
The purpose of life is not to work till you die-it is to savor the adventure of being in a sensual, physical, beautiful world.
Time for this one to go home! Sitting here in the lounge-having visited my father for the last few days, and headed back across the Atlantic and , sadly, back to work. Which I am confident will be unappreciated by our new Zombie masters.
The lounge here is packed, which is more than a little frustrating. Could not get a seat with a view to a TV so I could watch the Olympics.So I am drinking a beer ( or 2) and making up for my feeble lack of posting this week.
One thing about airline lounges in the US is that they highlight well, how shitty service on US air carriers is. Consider:
Lufthansa lounge Z-terminal Frankfurt:
No bar, not required. All the fixings are right there on a long countertop that has been thoughtfully engineered to provide a quick flow through the drinks which you can pour for yourself. Food, readily available and actually of some substance. Soft drinks easily obtainable-and there are plenty of business desks for those who need to work and or print.
United Airlines lounge IAD: One of two lounges in the C&D terminal is closed for some indeterminate reason. Thus EVERYONE is here-making it an ordeal to crawl to the bar and fight your way through to flag down the bar tender for a drink that may or may not cost you money.
Food? What's that? Except for carrots and nuts-there is not a bit of substantial eats. Desks and power outlets to charge phones? Not near enough.
What the US air carriers keep failing to realize is that these perks are part of building customer loyalty. Like also enabling courtesy upgrades and other things. A plane flying with an empty first or business class seat is a crime.
Fortunately I was able to get upgraded-but I had to laugh when I checked in on line. It offered me an upgrade to first class-on an airplane that did not have a First Class, just Business and Cattle Car. All for a mere 1000 dollars.
This reinforces for me why, if I have to be in Economy, it will not be on an American flag carrier.
I still maintain my theory that US air carriers could compete-if they would just bother to try. But, sadly, they don't.
On the road again-had a challenging journey yesterday to the other side of the Atlantic. To start with my ICE train to the Frankfurt Airport was going to be delayed by 90 minutes. That was a non starter as it was going to make me late for check in-and my requisite need to "pre-charge" in the lounge. ( The new Lufthansa lounges in the Z terminal of FRA are pretty sweet). Went to the Deutsche Bahn office and got re-routed to an IC train which was taking me to the Frankfurt Main station.
I made it in a ok amount of time-but then using LH's check in kiosks caused a bit of problem when it refused to read my passport. The newest EU immigrant manning the kiosk line-seemed not to grasp the fact that I need to go to a counter where a human could check my passport. Finally got that worked out-and by the grace of God the security line was very short. Landed safely in the lounge.
Then after boarding the plane-saw the change to get an open aisle seat with out someone next to me. Snagged it and figured things were looking up! But I spoke too soon.
The plane required maintenance that delayed us by almost an hour. Now this was a problem because I was hoping to make it time to get in a combat nap at the hotel prior to Super Bowl kickoff. Now I would be lucky to make the kickoff-much less the first quarter.
It turned out ok-made it to my room just as national anthem was being sung. Turns out, of course, I need not have bothered-the game was a Seahawk blowout. They slaughtered the Bronco's, who appeared to have left any offense they had back in Denver.
On a serious note, James Fallows has been running an excellent series of articles about the use of Sergeant First Class Cory Remsburg. "About the service and sacrifice of this brave man and other men and women like him, we cannot say enough." But as Fallows points out-ALL of us should be outraged that he had to make TEN deployments to the various hellholes America has chosen to fight its war without end in. Furhtermore, there is a dichotomy of purpose when you have the architects of a failed policy somehow applauding him-while failing to do the things that might have prevented his suffering in the first place.
The vast majority of us play no part whatsoever in these prolonged overseas campaigns; people like Sgt. Remsburg go out on 10 deployments; we rousingly cheer their courage and will; and then we move on. Last month I mentioned that the most memorable book I read in 2013 was Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk, by Ben Fountain. It's about a group of U.S. soldiers who barely survive a terrible encounter in Iraq, and then are paraded around in a halftime tribute at a big Dallas Cowboys game. The crowd at Cowboys Stadium cheers in very much the way the Capitol audience did last night—then they get back to watching the game.
There was another moment in the speech that I think will look worse in the long view. It was the emotionally charged ending, the tribute to the obviously courageous and grievously wounded Sergeant Cory Remsburg.
The moment was powerful human and political drama; it reflected deserved credit and gratitude on Remsburg and his family; and as I wrote earlier today, I think it was entirely sincere on the president's part, as a similar tribute would have been from his predecessor George W. Bush. With the significant difference that Bush initiated the wars these men and women have fought in, and Obama has been winding them down. And so the most favorable reading of the moment, as John Cassidy has argued, is that the president was trying to dramatize to the rest of the government the human cost of the open-ended wars many of them have egged on.
But I don't think that's how it came across to most of the Congress, or was processed by the commentariat. This was not presented as a "never again" moment; it was a "this is America's finest!" moment—which Cory Remsburg himself, and with his family, certainly is. (Also see Peter Beinart on this point.) For America as a whole, the episode did not show us at our finest. In the earlier item, I tried to explain why these few minutes will reflect badly on us and our times when our children's children view them years from now. Since the explanation was buried at the end of a long post, I repeat it at the end of this one.
A Congress that by default is pressuring the country toward war, most recently with Iran, and that would not dream of enacting either a special tax or any kind of enforced or shared service to sustain these wars, gives a prolonged, deserved ovation for a person who has dedicated his all to the country. Tears well up in many eyes; the cheering persists; the admiration for this young man is profound. Then everyone moves right on.
Years from now, people can play this clip and see something about the culture of our times. It's a moment of which only the Remsburg family will be proud.
The most screwed up reorganization since AT&T split up, continues.
The thought police have come home to roost and provide counseling. Guess who was one of the first ones called into see them?
This hits pretty close to home-since the personal dynamics of my workplace have changed dramatically-and not for the better. Before, we used to talk, share stories and ask about people's lives and needs. Now with the new office mates-its all business and no fun. And the megalomaniac behind the merger, has pretty clearly shown the only thing he cares about.
Today in 1914 and this week in 1914 the following things happened:
Jan 22nd – Paul Claudel's "L'échange," premieres in Paris
Jan 24th – Opera "Madeleine," premieres in NYC
Jan 26th – 600 Dutch textile workers go on strike
Jan 26th – Vatican puts Belgian Nobel winner Maeterlinck's works in their index
Jan 28th – 1st Millrose Games (athletics) held (NYC)
Author and Nobel Laureate Gerhart Hauptmann ‘s Der Bogen des Odysseus was on premere in Berlin.
Jan 28th – Beverly Hills, Ca, is incorporated. ( Much to the rest of the country’s regret.
In Austria-Hungary , the country was geographically the second largest country in Europe after the Russian Empire, and the third most populous (after Russia and the German Empire). The Austro-Hungarian Empire consisted of two monarchies (Austria and Hungary), and two autonomous countries: Polish Galicia within the Austrian Empire (from 1867) and Croatia within the Kingdom of Hungary (from 1868). Bosnia and Herzegovina and Sandžak-Raška were under Austro-Hungarian military occupation between 1878 and 1908, when the former was fully annexed and the latter was ceded to the Ottoman Empire. The Emperor of Austria and King of Hungary was Franz Josef, who had been on the throne since 1867. Carl Bechtold was the Minister President of Austria. The deaths of Franz Joseph's brother, Maximilian (1867), and his only son, Rudolf made the Emperor's nephew, Franz Ferdinand, heir to the throne. ( You will hear that name again. :-) ).
We got back in the middle of last week, but it's been a busy week at work and other items. Preparing to crank up my 2014 travel program next week with a trip back to the land of my birth. So posting has been abysmal and for that, my apologies.
After our two rain soaked days in Venice, which were compensated by the fact we had great dinners each and every night, we got back on the road and headed up to Innsbruck. Along the way we stopped for lunch in Verona ( click to embiggen):
That's the arena the Romans built. It dates from 45 BC as does this gate:
Yesterday we drove down through Austria into Italy and into Vicenza. We are staying here while we visit Venice for a couple of days. There is just one problem ( well two actually). Today it rain all damn day. Not just a sprinkle, but the kind of steady, get on your nerves rain that just makes being out and about as a tourist, not nearly as much fun as it should be.
When got up and saw the rain coming down-we thought we would beat it by driving out to the town of Nove, where the S.O. could do some ceramic shopping. Which was all well and good-and we got out relatively unscathed.
But the rain had not stopped. So by the time we got out to the bus stop-to catch the train to the Stazione, the umbrellas were getting a good work out. And while we dried out some on the train, we got right back into it as we walked from the station to San Marco square.
And the rain just kept on coming as we walked towards San Marco square:
By the time we got to San Marco plaza-it was pouring.
It really did rain:
More to follow in a later post. Hopefully tomorrow will be better.
Middle of the road kind of guy. Love living in Asia and will be back there as soon as I can. I lived 8 and a half grand and glorious years in Asia traveling from one end to the other and generally having a really good time. Despite my best efforts to stay, I was "Quantum Leaped" to a 3 and 1/2 year exile in the USA to pay for my sins - suffering through the lunacy that is life in the American South. I am now back overseas, living the expat life again, working my way around the world- taking the long way home to Asia via the path of living in Germany. Like Dr. Samuel Beckett, I am hoping my next leap will be the leap that brings me home to Asia. Always on the lookout for my next ex-wife.