Friday, November 30, 2018

Panama Some Random Pictures and Thoughs

The city from old town Hemmed in by the Pacific and the Canal, Panama City grows up.
Panama is a odd little country. For those of you that don't know ... the untied States was instrumental in the creation of Panama. BECAUSE.... we wanted to build the Panama Canal, but Colombia - which controlled the area, would agree. So when the French couldn't build the canal, we asked Colombia for the rights in 1903. Colombia said no, so the US helped declare Panama a sovereign nation with our military backing. And we got access to build the canal.

After Reagan's fight Noriega, we "helped" them draft a new constitutional updates including the removal of a military - so as not to rise up like Noriega. (This makes Panama and their neighbor, Costa Rica, tow nations without a military).

That's my Eddie
Now lots and lots of US retirees live in Panama, given the country a bizarre Latin / Middle America vibe with Long John Silvers, Burger King and Pinkberry next to the local markets and foods.

We saw lots of 2 and 3 toed sloths a lot on our tour.

We also crossed over the old locks (the ferries weren't running. Those lock gates were built before 1914!

One thing we did that most people don't ever get to.. we walked on the little siding to the right of the photo.
The photo above doesn't look to thrilling, but we walked along the roadway below the 100 year old lock. We had to not take pictures and pretend to be cool (this picture is from the second time we passed inside a van). It was a blast. It only happened that we drove over both gates because the ferry wasn't working and hte new bridge isn't open yet.

We also visited an old Spanish fort that was used to protect the gold from Peru. It was captured and rebuilt about 6 times before the Spanish finally stopped using Panama to ship gold from.
Us all at the fort...

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Tense is Wrong In This Article

Time HAS RUN out. I am not being alarmist or anything, but climate change has happened and will continue to impact us all very negatively for the foreseeable future (say 100 -400 years).  All that is now left is increasing drought, hurricanes and fires.

We should prepare for the internal and international displacements that are coming. And decide what we are going to do about it.

Russia Ramps Up Pressure bu Blockading Ukraine (Yup - that is war)

So kids, this is actually an act of war. I mean this is now beyond "illegal international indecent" to an act of war.

Russia is blockaded, that is no longer allowed Ukrainian access to the sea, form their largest seaport in terms of goods.

Odessa is a bigger city on the sea, but Mariupol, which is being blockaded, handles more goods and is their access point to eastern Ukraine.

Which is the point. Russia has annexed Ukraine with no problem, and is now trying to do the same with regards to Eastern Ukraine.

Ukraine never should have given up it's nuclear weapons - that is the lesson hear that both North Korea and Iran are learning.

Link to Reuters

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Trip to Panama 2

Panama City was the second part of our visit this Thanksgiving. Above is the four of us at a restaurant in old town. The gentlemen on the lower left is Pierre the restaurant owner. He is... (deep breath)... the cousin of my cousin's brother-in-law's wife. Which makes him a second cousin once removed, in-law.

Anyway, my friend Talia (my cousin's sister-in-law) is on Instagram and saw we were in Panama. She and her husband had stayed with us once and she wanted to make sure I saw her city well and visited her cousins' restaurant.

It was rocket! They had a lunch menu out, but after we spoke to him he brought out the Tapas menu and it was amazing. Our best food by far.

The other shots are of various parts of the old town. You can see how sunny it was, but it was suppose to rain all day We got lucky.

Why the Asinine Russia / Ukraine Issue is Important to America

In a blink-and-you-might-have-missed-it moment, Russia broke international law in the black sea.

The US administration has ignored it, preferring to focus on 2 year olds "storming" the border. But this is, for the US, a big fucking deal. Here's why.

Russia is claiming right of refusal on an international waterway. Even if you hold Russia's defacto control of Crimea as valid (it is real, but illegal), the Kerch Straight to the Sea of Azmov is still an international waterway. It has been designated so by an international body, per agreement signed by Russia.

Their show of force and flaunting of international law, if we do nothing, provides a precedent for this.

Now we may ignore this, like we are ignoring the murder of a US resident by Saudi Arabia based on the administration's value judgement of life versus money. The right of Ukraine of safe passage to their ports may not be worth it versus the future benefit of Trump Tower Moscow.

But it is a precedent that brings up 1 step closer to war with China. You see China claims a large part of the South China Sea. The "9 dash line". The same international treaty that promised free passage through the Kerch Straight ruled against Chinese claims. Despite that, China has set up a number of bases on unoccupied land. And, they have claimed the right to close international shipping lanes - or maybe charge people, or maybe stop some shipping here.

Th United States regular send war-ships through the area to preserve and demonstrate full open rights for all nations to use this major international waterway. But if we agree that Russia can ignore international agreements and close the Kerch Straight, we are inherently agreeing that China can do the same thing. And that is something which, to date, we have promised to stop.

The administration is a transactional actor, which means we don't care about international law, but only what benefits us. Applying that to everyone will bring us to war.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Trip to Panama: 1 - The Monkeys in the Canal Zone

So, even though we turned the canal back over to Panama on schedule in 1999 (per the original 1914 contract) there is still a "canal zone". It is a place of great biodiversity - and is a national preserve.

We met and fed some monkeys. Now I know you should not feed wild animals, but these monkeys were marooned on these minor and too little islands when the canal was made by creating a lake. So they are dependent on food from people (before tourists it was the US military).

Geoffrey's Tamarind

Capuchin (like Ross' Monkey from Friends)

Todd and Alex up top. We spent our time with them. Eddie and I down on the bottom.

We also saw the canal. It was crazy how close they let you to giant boats, include Liquid Natural Gas boats!!

Going into the New Panama X Pacific locks.

The view from driving over the lock gate to the other side!

Tear Gas on These People Make No Sense

There was no reason to use tear gas on these people. In fact there is no reason they are still in Mexico. They are at the San Ysidro border crossing, which handles 110,000 crossing per day. It is the busiest policed border crossing in the world.

So, it would be no problem (or very little problem) in processing the 3,000 - 5,000 people in a day or 2 days or a week. But our current administration has chosen to 1) Illegally end "asylum claims" - against both international and US Law and 2) Chosen to artificially slow down asylum processing to create a crisis.

The administration wanted these pictures and specially drove actions to create them. Because it drives their voters. The actual change in immigration is a reduction in the last 10 years.

Makes Sense if You've Seen 12 Monkeys on SyFy

So, the SyFy show 12 Monkeys expands on the movie (in a so-so fashion). But one of their enduring images is the idea of a "red forest". This is where all time stops and therefore humanity ends. The images are seen often in a dreamlike state.

Now imagine that imagery in the White House. No wait, you don't have to imagine...

Monday, November 26, 2018

We Will Be Doing Our Level Best To Ignore Him...

Watching our president rapidly vacillate between topics, opinions, reality, raking, justifying murder and running rallies for racists, I believe we have found his Kryptonite. And, I feel bad for not deploying it previously.

The man is addicted to attention. You see, I thought he was addicted to praise or at least acknowledgement he was a great fighter. But I was wrong. He wants, nay must have, attention. When the spotlight is on anyone else he demands it back with more and more outrageous pronouncements.

Will I still refer to him when it is on topic - like the current illegal international incident wherein Russia has acted against International Law by trying to start a new war with Ukraine - sure. He's President - coherent discussion must include his sociopathic babble.  But his daily - sometimes hourly - twitter tirades can be ignored.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Need a good laugh - View This

In a desperate attempt to restore peace and order to her farm, Du Preez listed the problem birds on a local buy-and-sell group on Facebook earlier this month: 

Crimes of Grindelwald (and our vacation)

We are heading off to Panama this week-end with another couple. None of us have been, so it should be fun. But before I go I want to mention The Crimes of Grindelwald....

For reasons too confusing to explain, I have seen this twice. A reasonable assumption then is, I must have liked it.

Well....  I found it very entertaining and enjoyable to watch. However, as a "film" I didn't think it was particular good.

It was all over the map thematically. And for every great over the top performance (Zoe Kravitz in red above, as well as the other two women in the front) there were other only okay performances from the famous actors (Jude Law, Johnny Depp and Eddie (can I have another Xanex) Redmanye) and a really stinker from that woman with the black bowl cut in the back. She should never be given a job again.

The man/boy at the center of this - played for a fool by both Johnny Depp and Jude Law - is Ezra Miller as Credence Barebone. A stunned man-child trying to find his mummy. Where to begin... Hard to root for a whiner with those cheekbones. In terms of "horrible backstory", he was given up for adoption to a good family. That he doesn't know his mum is marginally sad, but not rend your clothes, kill the world awful. Hard to invest too much into him.

The computer graphics were great, but very computery.

The clothes were fantastic.

I guess the big problem is that you know how it is all going to end. This is a fight between Dumbledore and Grindelwald (which goes on for 3 more movies!). Well, in the Harry Potter movies, there is plenty of Dumbledore and no Grindelwald, so I wonder who wins?

And Johnny Depp is suppose to the equivalent of a Wizard Hitler, yet he is specifically fighting to avoid Hitler. Now it is true he wants to rule the world. But his reasoning is that without him - there will be a second world war, concentration camps and atomic bombs. A world under a crazy ass wizard doesn't sounds all that much worse than the one under Hitler and then Trump.

And yet, it is a fun movie to watch... There are a few scenes of slapstick with an ancient Alchemist which are hilarious. The scenes with the snake woman are magical.

PS - Ezra showed up at the premieres in London and Paris in full what-the-fuck outfits:
รก Paris

and London

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Bosnia Makes the NY Times Front Page as A Bad Example of What Happens...

As most of you know, I work in Bosnia with youth of genocide and civil war. Well now, 23 years after the war ended, things are still divided in Bosnia. I know it sounds like it couldn't happen here. But remember before the war, they were all Yugoslavs united under a single country with Bosnia just one of 7 states where people got along. For LINK use this or select the image (LINK)

If you read this, you'll read about how schools are segregated. Our ex-students worked to desegregate 4 of the 14 High Schools. It hasn't reached Mostar yet...

Monday, November 19, 2018

I Don't Think That Words Means What You Think It Means


12. "There was no collusion whatsoever, and the whole thing is a scam."

Wombat Poop and Scott's First Dirty Joke

I believe I have said this before, but it bears repeating here. When I was quite young I was annoyed my parents and their friends (yes this was before they divorced) had adult jokes I wasn't allowed to hear. I remember begging my parents to tell me a dirty joke on our way home one night. This was on the Harbor freeway (the 11 at the time) right where you say the giant Felix the Car from Felix Chevrolet. And I was told the following joke (which I have regaled many a young person with, because it is a relatively clean dirty joke).

"Why is poop tapered at the end?"
--beat --
"Because if it were square your butt would snap shut."

Here it doesn't look so funny, but you tell a child from 6 - 11 that joke and it is hilarious.

But now... this...
OMG - Wombats have square poops!!!

(you can read the LINK for an answer - or just believe me when I say it is all in the intestines).

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Raking the Forest Floor

Oh my god he is a fucking idiot.

Even if the Fins DID say that they "rake the forest" one might note the difference in weather between Finland and California.

One might also note that the fires in California canyons are very very different than a fire in the tundra and northern boreal forests of Finland.  California is made up of chaparral, which is designed to burn when it grows too much. And canyons and 60 - 80 mph winds make it hard to find.

Lets look at the difference between Paradise CA (reduced to nothing with over 60 dead so far) and one of the warmest spots in Finland.

In case you think I made up what our Very Special Genius President said...

Monday, November 12, 2018

Trump Cancles US Veteran's Day Visit to National Cemetary Due to Drizzle

... in France it was rain that 'grounded his helicopter'. Today it is a drizzle that apparently stops the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces to drive less than 2 miles to Arlington National Cemetery were Presidents go to honor our Veterans every year.

(cartoon tip twitter: politicalsculptor..)

Trigger Warning!!!

Well this hits damn close to one of my trigger warnings should he actually vacate the Florida election.

Now the actually trigger was "2. Serious talk of "postponing the next election" occurs and / or legislation is introduced (my guess is this would occur - IF it occurs - due to a terrorist attack and we should "all come together)." But calling off a completed election falls within the general guidelines.

So 1 of the 2 reasons I would leave is close to being hit. The Republicans in Florida are pushing back against this (yes, the Republican Party in Florida is telling our President to butt the fuck out).

Of the 3 secondary items 1 is already done (1. Right to discriminate laws are passed and upheld by the Supreme Court), but not nationwide yet - only in a few southern states.

Of the secondary items, #3 edges closer daily... (3. Newspapers are successfully shut down for negative press coverage). He hasn't shut any down yet, but has banned CNN reports repeatedly, threatened to close down the Washington Post and consistently calls the press the enemy of the people ("Except Fox News, they are very good to me.")

In other news, an old friend from  he UK was here and came over lat night. It was great to see John.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

100 Years Ago Today

On the 11th day of the 11th Month in 1918 - 100 years ago today - came the end to the Great War. The War to end all Wars...

Turns out, that it didn't end all wars, but it did signify the end of the Age of Empires and the beginning of self-determination. The lessons of the Great War were not learned for many many years, but hopefully we can remember them now and try to live more in peace - but to stand up for right when we have to...