Monday, December 30, 2013

Our last full day "Tour Tropical"

It all sounded so peachy.  A full day on a schooner, two trips to swim with dolphins and sea turtles.  Home lunch on an island.
No sea turtles.
No dolphins.
Instead we swam with tubby Texans, drunk Caricoas and noodles.
Home made lunch was a buffet for an overloaded schooner of big eaters with no drinks.  Although the fish fry was yummy.
It was however, beautiful.

Last Night in Rio

So Sunday was our last night in Rio.  Because we had an apartment for a week we had to move.  Well New Year's Eve is huge here, so no good hotels.
I got one night at the Mango Mango (a held step up from youth hostel).
Well... Ed and walked in and bopped up to the fabulous Santa Teressa Hotel.  Which was booked before we left but, yes, did have a cancellation for the night.
So rather than the beach we spent Sunday in the pool overlooking the city.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Parque Henrique Lara

Today we visited this park and manor house.  It was freakin' beautiful.
The house was (duh) right below Corcavado and Christo.
The courtyard.  Ed said he would be okay with this one.
The entrance to the aquarium.  Look at the piranhas in the tank in the next picture.

The Beach was soooo busy.

We went to the beach today.  It was fun and very busy.
The water was great.  So many people were out and having fun.

This is a picture of a  sea of umbrellas look at them all.  The guy in the foreground is a nice Brazilian guy who lives in holland now.

Friday, December 27, 2013

The National Theater

So, befor Brasilia, the capital of Brasil was Rio de Janerio.  Here are some pictures of the truly magnificentNational Theater.

Beautiful Day up at Sugar Loaf

We had a great day today.  This morning was up at Sugar Loaf and this afternoon I had a great phone interview with Citibank.
This was the gorgeous view from the top.
This is Copacabana.  Our apartment is basically behind the hill in the mid-distance right between Copacabana (on left) and Ipanema (far beach).
The upper right is Cristo (statue of Christ the redeemer).

This is the view taking the second cable car from the lower mountain to Sugar Loaf.

Up to Sugar Loaf

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Museum National de Belas Artes

So the Portuguese royal family fled to Rio when Napoleon invaded.  They brought their real (and faux) art. Work.  There is now a Belle Epoce Museum.  It was very coll.
This is me (obviously) in the statuary hall.  They are 1860s-ish faximiles of original statues.
They also had a lot of original Brazilian pieces.  This is "Night" coming with literature and Eros.
It was a great palace and cool architecture

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Sucks to be boss..

Tough to be owner on Christmas Day when the chef doesn't show up.

I don't want to be a dick, but Christmas in Rio is nice!

They hang with family and Mass on Christmas Eve.  Christmas Day is at the beach or eating/drinking with friends.
It is very much less commercial than ours at home.  And not as big a deal as our Christmas Season from end of November to New Years Eve.

Looking west (and a girl in the foreground!, - the guys were a little hesitant until the girls said they felt more comfortable on the gay beach and those three guys had the girls to themselves)
Looking east before it got busy.

And one just for me and Eddie.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

This is our living room here.

It is a beautiful place for the week.

Beach Day Today plus the tower

This is from dinner last night.  The food was pretty good.  No one is in the restaurant because everyone was sitting outside, it was a great night.

This is interesting.  The tower is built above the Ipanema subway stop.  Just behind the big building on the right is a cliff and a favela - king of a squatter's city.  It is very very steep and when they built the subway, they made an elevator to make the walk easier.

The favelas are the product of history and a old Brazilian government promise of land use. For years they have been sel governed by various mafia type families.  And the police have kind of just let it happen, but now, before the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics the police have moved in.  Suddenly the entrances ( and there is usually only 1 or 2 ways in and out) are now police checkpoints.  Odd 

Today was overcast but we had a nice beach day anyway.  Got a little sun and just relaxed.  Our friend Sam just landed and we ran into him at the market!  Having fun.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Some Rio pics

This is one of the side chapels of Sao Bento (Saint Bento).  I really like the chapels.  This one was built in 1590!  1590! And they built this.  Very cool.

This is a famous church at the intersection of President Vargas and San Marcos.

This is the new foutain right in the front of the church.  It is not really that appropriate for the church, but it is appropriate for Ave Vargas (just not Pres. Vargas.)

This is a temporary exhibit in the entry way of the Art Museum of Rio.  

And yes, I have the wrong filter on my iPhone.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Trevor's Present from Angie

Well, while we are gone, Trevor is being house sitted by Angie and Kev (from England).  Angie brought us some cute little presents and one present for Trevor.

How annoyed does he look?
If you know T-Bone you know that he hates this and is "frozen" by anything.  But we put down the window shade and low and below, he can move.
Like a fluffy cross of mountain goat and leopard.

Ho Ho Ho Merry Christmas...

It's Christmas time in the city...  so we are on our way to Rio tonight.
But Merry Christmas...
To All....

Friday, December 20, 2013

Well - that is just a lie Mr. President

Yeah - and next I will fart rainbows and unicorns...
Apparently President Obama doesn't consider capturing every phone call, every internet search and then lying to Congress about it as "domestic surveillance or snooping around".  Now, I haven't watched the entire news conference yet, but I am hard pressed to believe there is a context in which I would believe.

I Blow Hot and Cold on Rand Paul, but...

I blow Hot and Cold on Senator Rand Paul.  One day he derides the unlimited spying of the NSA, the next he things we should torture the Boston Bombers.  And you know, I am not a fan of USA torture.
However, his recent remarks about our Lying Ass NSA Chief, see, Senator Rand gets on my good side again...
Senator Rand - grandstander on the left    |   NSA Chief Clapper - Lying Sack of Dog Poop on the right

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on Wednesday said that Director of National Intelligence James Clapper has been as harmful to American intelligence gather capabilities as leaker Edward Snowden.
“That Clapper is lying to Congress is probably more injurious to our intelligent capabilities than anything Snowden did,” Paul told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. “Clapper has damaged the credibility of the entire intelligence apparatus and I’m not sure what to believe anymore when they come to Congress.”

Read more:

Argh! So much for an intelligent arguement

This is an odd story from Foreign Policy.
In fact so odd, I wonder if the writer - a Swedish resident of the United States - is bucking for that new "ex-liberal turned darling of the right" background that gets FOX News assignments.  He is from Sweden, went to Harvard - where he wrote about the European Radical Right, then worked for Politico and the Orange County Register (the reliably Republican paper of the Los Angeles suburbs for the last 50 years).
But I digress, for young Mr. Groll to blame Snowden for Boeing's lose is asinine.
First, the article itself is a sensationalistic rehash from a Reuters article that was much more balanced.
Second, Brazil has no enemies, per say, and doesn't really need fighter jets, except that the Mirage ones they have now are a zillion years old.  So buying a much cheaper plane, that is still better than all its neighbors seems fine.  Particularly since they haven't been at war since the 1940s.
Third, SAAB has agreed to transfer technology and build parts in Brazil.  Anyone that knows Brazil knows this is critical to their purchase decision.
Fourth, Snowden didn't spy on Brazil.  The United States, who was unConstitutionally spying on Americans (LINK to that recent decision) and foreign heads of state "without the President's knowledge", that pissed everyone off.  Snowden was a whistle blower, not the taker of the illegal action.  Given Mr. Groll's logic the Guardian and the New York Times newspapers caused this (by publishing Snowden's revelations).
Maybe this crap journalism flies at Politico, the Orange County Register and the Harvard Crimson, but it is still crap journalism.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Today's Posts Removed

... Today's post removed. I forgot lesson #1...

Trevor the Reindeer says "Merry Christmas"

He's a Reindeer.. (not a particularly happy one, but a reindeer none the less)
He was going to be Santa, but... well... Santa's White.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Mosques of Bosnia Herzegovina

So this is a story about some of the major mosques in Bosnia Herzegovina (BiH).  It is mainly for me, but you know me – I’m a giver.  All the pictures can be selected to increase in size – or display as a set.
The mosques really fascinated me because of my (and my guess is most American’s) expectations of Islam.  I expect an unwelcoming, dour place, full of “Death to Americans” posters on the wall – and it isn’t like that at all.  My visiting of mosques is limited to primarily tourist-ish areas like BiH or Istanbul, Turkey, so perhaps they are just used to visitors, but I don’t think that is it.  Coming from a Protestant background, mosques feel spiritual, but not religious.  There are no pews; there isn’t the ‘hushed awe’ that normally fills a large church or cathedral.  Mosques, even large historical ones, are much more like local churches, used every day.  Much of this is because most mosques host prayers five times a day.  Usually not a “sermon” from an imam, but just personal prayer directed towards Mecca.
As an American, I also have a knee jerk reaction that Muslims are a violent people, not just intolerant, but hateful or non-Muslims.  I “know” this is wrong, but I still have there is gut reaction, so visiting the Mosques of Bosnia Herzegovina is important to me so see Muslims as just people.


The main mosque in Sarajevo has the most beautiful interior of any I visited in BiH.  It was built by the man who basically set up Sarajevo as the capital of the Ottoman province of Bosnia, Gazi Husrev Bey and is, therefore, called the Gazi Husrev Bey Mosque.  He was born of a Bosnian father (convert to Islam) and a Turkish mother, who was the daughter of the Sultan. Since Gazi Husrev Bey moved the capital and businesses to Sarajevo, he needed a major mosque.
Even foot washing fountain is historically important.  The fountain was built in the 1500s with marble from Turkey and water was piped (clay piped) in from a spring a few kilometers away.  In the olden days, people had to wash their feet before entering a mosque.  Nowadays, people just removed their shoes – either way it is respectful to the mosque, but the fountain is ornate and beautiful.


We have an internal intercom/ phone system the front desk uses.  Trevor knows that normally means someone is coming up (occasionally it means they want me to go downstairs).
So after it rings - Trevor sits at the door.  If it takes too long, he goes to his couch spot and watches... and waits... and waits...  Because sooner or later, someone is coming in that door!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

No Room For Old Men

The Ice Hotel is very very cool - in both a temperature and hipster way.  I can see wanting to stay there.
Except, can you imagine walking to the toilet in the middle of the night?  And I am 54, I walk to the toilet a lot!

I once believed this was just exaggeration... but now, not so much

This was in NBC News site today - and if you haven't lived it, you don't know.  Imagine cars just all of a sudden stopping on the freeway (okay busy street) and you get the idea.
We get sidewalk rage here... (I particularly like the 'walking dead' line)

Monday, December 16, 2013

Affluenza: One Set of Rules for the Rich, and One for everyone else

So, a rich white kid, 16 years old, 3 times the legal limit for drunk driving, killed 4 people who were walking on the side of the road (a mother and child, along with 2 good neighbors who were helping when her car broke down).  He crippled two friends riding in the truck (illegally in California, but who the hell knows in Texas - maybe you can ride tied the freaking roof rack there).
He admits to doing it, but it is mitigated because his family is SOO rich, they never taught him right from wrong.  Affluenza (A moral flu from being too rich.)  10 years probation.
Let's say, just for shits and giggles, a poor white kid does the same thing, three times over the legal limit, driving to illegally buy more beer in a pickup, he would be called poor white trash - and sent to jail.
No one cares if a poor person (of whatever color) is sent to jail, because it is assumed that their life is worthless anyway. They will grow up to be part of the 47%.
There is a rule for rich people, and a rule for poor people - regardless of color.
And, of course a rule for very rich people (like Banker's) who aren't even charged until after their very important people meetings.
This isn't what the founding fathers intended.