Tag Archives: news

National Parks trip – Grand Tetons

 

I know, I know.  I have been absent and have failed to fulfill my complement of bitching and grousing.

I will return to that subject but first – another trip, this time to three US National Parks; the Grand Tetons, Yellowstone and Glacier.  My wife and I took this trip in May, starting at the Grand Tetons then moving north first through Yellowstone and then Glacier.  Taking the trip early in the season meant some chanciness in the weather.  The Grand Tetons had some rainy weather but we got an improvement in Yellowstone and Glacier.  We also got a look at a number of critters including black bears and a grizzly.  More on that later.

First up, the Grand Tetons.

The first four pictures are the classic one (though a bit cloudy) of the Snake River in the foreground and the Tetons in the background.  The Tetons are unusual in that, unlike most mountain ranges (the Rockies, the Appalachians, the Cascades and Sierra Nevada’s), they rise directly from a flat valley without any foothills.  It’s all due to tectonic activity and the fact that one tectonic plate is moving directly under another and, as one plate rises, erosion levels the valley floor.  At times, it is as though there is a flat valley floor and the Tetons are huge fake drapery to convince you that there are mountains.

During our visit, we took the boat ride across Jenny Lake and the next picture shows the approach to the landing dock.  A hike with a 600 foot in elevation change took us to hidden falls (next picture).

A Mormon community attempted to establish a farming community in the latter part of the nineteenth century and this barn is often captured in photographs of the now abandoned buildings of that community.

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Next is a picture taken from our bedroom balcony at the Jackson Lake Lodge and the last is one on our departure to Yellowstone as the weather cleared.

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[Next up is Yellowstone.]

China 2019

My wife and I recently returned from a trip to China.  We flew out on Saturday morning January 19th non-stop to Shanghai and returned on Saturday, February 2nd after a non-stop flight from Beijing.  We were part of the Worldwide Explorers’ photography tour (https://www.worldwide-explorers.com/ ; https://www.worldwide-explorers.com/blog ) – a very small group, only six of us plus three guides, one of whom was our Chinese interpreter.

We went from Shanghai to three “water towns,” old villages east of Shanghai unchanged for a thousand years.  Then we went east to Zhangjiajie, China’s first national park, a UNESCO heritage site and the location for the movie Avatar.  When we returned to Shanghai, the photo tour was over but we had hired the Chinese interpreter as our guide for Beijing.  We took a bullet train from Shanghai to Beijing and then got to see the Forbidden City, the Beijing Zoo and the Great Wall before heading back.

China is a fascinating country; it should have a sign when entering that says “country under construction.” Everywhere we went, even in the rural areas, buildings were either being built or torn down.  Sometimes it was hard to tell which one it was.  Shanghai is a city of contrasts – the very modern skyscraper city, the elegant old Bund and, just a few blocks away, the old, old back streets of an earlier Shanghai.  The water towns were very interesting.  I expected to arrive at them in a rural setting.  Instead, we drove and stopped in a city, walked to an entrance beyond which was this older, hidden village – canals and all – surrounded by a modern city.  Very strange.

I could have spent days at the Forbidden City.  Supposedly, it has buildings whose rooms total 9,999.  Even during the off-season (January), it was very crowded.  By contrast, we went to a sparsely visited section of the Great Wall.  Most of the pictures you see of the Great Wall are probably taken around Badaling.  This section has been completely restored and is only a short hike (5 minutes) from taxi to wall.  We went to Simitai which is much less traveled and also not restored.  We had an hour hike to get to the wall but we were the only ones there.

A few pictures of Shanghai at night; more photos of the trip will follow.

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What is truth?

Pontius Pilate, 21st century version:

What is truth

“What is truth?” said jesting Donaldus Pilate.

“’Truth isn’t truth’1 because ‘over time, truth develops’2 and results in ‘alternative facts.’3

  1. Rudy Giuliani, Donald Trump’s TV lawyer
  2. Jay Sekulow, Donald Trump’s personal lawyer
  3. Kellyanne Conway, Counselor to the President

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XVSRm80WzZk

Donorrhea

CNN Style recently posted an article entitled “What North Korea propaganda posters reveal.”

“To the outside world, North Korean propaganda posters are notorious for their militaristic and anti-American messages.  But one former Pyongyang resident is hoping that her sizable Korean poster collection can present a more nuanced picture of art in the reclusive state.  Stanford fellow Katharina Zellweger — who lived in Pyongyang for five years while working for a Swiss government agency — has collected over 100 examples from inside the country.”

These posters are on exhibit as “Korea’s Public Face: Twentieth-century Propaganda Posters from the Zellweger Collection” at The University Museum and Art Gallery (UMAG) at the University of Hong Kong until Jan. 28, 2018.

Being the kind-hearted soul I am, I thought that it would be amusing to see what nuanced themes Team Trump would construct for propaganda art in the coming year using these same posters.

Hence, Donald Trump North Korea posters become Donorrhea posters.

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North Korea:  “Spinning tops is fun!”

Donorrhea:  “Whipping people is fun!”

 

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North Korea:  “Agriculture is the first priority.”

Donorrhea:  “Sucking up to me is the first priority.”

 

 

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North Korea:  “Let us provide more electricity to the battlefields where we are breaking new ground!”

Donorrhea:   “Let me use my small hands to shut down science and environmental protection before they can break new ground!”

 

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North Korea:  “Let us raise more grass-eating animals.”

Donorrhea:  “Let us raise more grass-eating loyal followers. (But only white sheep.)”

 

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North Korea: “Let us further encourage our nation’s excellent sports activities and folk games!”

Donorrhea:  “Always grab them by the ass or the p***y!”

 

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North Korea:  “Let us achieve the party’s agriculture revolution policy thoroughly and brighten the year with increased grain production.”

Donorrhea:  “Let us brighten the year by stomping out fake news with fire and fury!”

 

As the old Chinese proverb states:  “May you live in interesting times.”

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Cue the theme from The Twilight Zone.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-b5aW08ivHU

 

For this election, I’ve got a little list.

With apologies to Gilbert & Sullivan.  To the tune of I’ve Got a Little List from The Mikado.  Chorus is in Bold Italics.

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Martyn Green as Ko-Ko, 1930s

As someday it may happen that a victim must be found, I’ve got a little list — I’ve got a little list.

Of society offenders who might well be underground, and who never would be missed — who never would be missed!

The lady whose email servers have problems of their own

Thirty-three thousand disappear like a stone.

There’s the party outsider who praises in raucous tones

Every party but his and every country but his own.

And the election outcome denialists,

They’d none of ’em be missed — they’d none of ’em be missed!

 

He’s got ’em on the list — he’s got ’em on the list;

And they’ll none of ’em be missed — they’ll none of ’em be missed.

 

Apologists, deniers, spin room activists,

Irrational supporters who get me really pissed.

All TV journalists who speaks as though listeners care

And the other ones who claim to be balanced and fair.

The dead who vote Democrat but that theory is not sound,

For you see, Mayor Giuliani, they are already underground.

WikiLeaks, tax returns, foundation donations and grants

And all those fanatics who substitute enthusiasm for facts.

And that singular anomaly, the lady plagiarist — I don’t think she’d be missed — I’m sure she’d not he missed!

 

He’s got her on the list — he’s got her on the list;

And I don’t think she’ll be missed — I’m sure she’ll not be missed!

 

There’s the pestilential congressmen who give democracy a pass.

The judicial obstructionists who are running out of gas.

And apologetic statesmen of a compromising kind,

Who defend outrageous statements by saying – “Oh, never mind.”

Third party candidates without a world view

The little, lyin’, disgusting, crooked, low-energy crew

Bad hombres, nasty women and also you-know-who

The task of filling up the blanks I’d rather leave to you.

But it really doesn’t matter whom you put upon the list,

For they’d none of ’em be missed — they’d none of ’em be missed!

 

You may put ’em on the list — you may put ’em on the list;

And they’ll none of ’em be missed — they’ll none of ’em be missed!