Thursday, September 04, 2008



Reminds me of a store I saw in Quetta, Pakistan, years ago, advertising "Arms, Ammunition, and TV Sets".


Tuesday, September 02, 2008

London, the Cotswolds, and Market Bosworth

There are some problems with having a camera memory capable of holding over 1300 pictures: the result is a bit daunting. Herewith though are a few photos from our trip to England this summer.

In the courtyard of the Victoria & Albert Museum:


Here is a small part of one of the cast rooms at the V&A. The big cylinders are a cast of the Emperor Trajan's Column in Rome, side by side rather than one upon the other as the ceiling is too low for that. Still, it is very handy for those who can't make it there for the original, which in any case is now the worse for wear from acid rain. American universities once had cast collections, but the German architecture profs who fled the Nazis took over the architecture departments and, having decided that the past was worthless, threw them all in dumpsters. This collection managed to survive the Blitz, despite bomb damage to the outside of the building.


On the walk from St Paul's Cathedral to the Millenium Bridge we chanced on this memorial to the firefighters, both men and women, who lost their lives trying to save London from the Nazis.


Here a mudlark prospects for treasure along the muddy banks of the Thames in front of Tate Modern:


Appropriately dressed to check out a Pollock at Tate Modern:

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Admiral Lord Neslon atop his column at Trafalgar Square. It seems a shame there isn't something to Lady Emma Hamilton for keeping his morale up along the way. She had a hard beginning and a hard end, but Nelson must have seen something in her. And, yes, I am a flaming liberal, but she played the hand she was dealt, which wasn't much, and did rather well with it.


One must pay attention to one's foundations:


The interior of the church of St Martin-in-the-Fields, so named because it was, when built, indeed in the fields. Now the National Gallery and Trafalgar Square are across the street.

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A few yards from St Martin stands one of the memorials to Nurse Edith Cavell, shot by the Germans on October 12th, 1915 for helping soldiers escape from occupied Belgium. Putting a nurse in front of a firing squad proved to be one of the larger German PR debacles of the war. Posters, postcards, and little china statuettes of Cavell sold by the thousands, helped fuel British rage against the barbaric Huns, and made a negotiated peace all the less likely.


These are some Victorian era chimneys along Charing Cross Road, across the street from the London Silver Vaults. Unfortunately, the later do not allow photography. They are pretty neat tho, if you like tons of second hand sterling silver.


Here's Valerie at the British Museum, checking out the Rosetta Stone:


Still at the British Museum, with a granite statue of Ramesses II from 1270 BCE. It was a present in 1818. Must have been a great time to be a collector, altho even then one had to accept the odd nick or scratch.

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One day while driving through the Cotswolds we came across an old manor called Stanton House (that's the gate in the background, not the house itself) with a church next to it. The church was being re-roofed for the first time since 1856, and there were a lot of discarded old stone shingles which the roofers said we could take. My sister Judy snapped this one of us dumpster diving in the Cotswolds. The shingles are now here, in the side garden. Nothing like going to England and bringing back used shingles.

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Here are a couple shots in the churchyard at Guiting Power, which we checked out during the music festival Judy treated us to:

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More pics later.

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"...stop making such a fuss about it."

Traditional family values trump murder laws, right? Or maybe the latter just don't apply.
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - A Pakistani lawmaker defended a decision by northwestern tribesmen to bury five women alive because they wanted to choose their own husbands, telling stunned members of Parliament to spare him their outrage.

"These are centuries-old traditions, and I will continue to defend them," Israr Ullah Zehri, who represents Baluchistan province, told The Associated Press Saturday.

"Only those who indulge in immoral acts should be afraid."

The women, three of whom were teenagers, were first shot and then thrown into a ditch.

They were still breathing as mud was shoveled over their bodies, according to media reports, which said their only "crime" was that they wished to marry men of their own choosing.

Zehri told a packed and stunned Parliament on Friday that Baluch tribal traditions helped stop obscenity and then asked fellow lawmakers to stop making such a fuss about it.
I guess choosing your own husband is an obscene and immoral act in some neighborhoods. And nontraditional. And, of course, a woman defying her parents brings shame upon the family, and the family in some Muslim countries does have the legal right to kill such a daughter, so we shouldn't call it murder: it isn't illegal. Right? I'd be interested to know if the Baluch justify this tradition as specifically Islamic, or just tradition.

At least some of the Parliament members were upset about it, and they are Muslim, too, so they seem not to consider it a Muslim must-do. How about the Taliban and Wahabis? Anybody know?

The AP had the story in the Saturday New York Daily News.

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Monday, September 01, 2008

Sarah Palin and her advisors

Picture here.

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Up the beach without a camera

Yesterday mine spouse and I puttputted off to the North Shore for a little rest and relaxation, taking swimsuits and towels, soft drinks and hats, but no camera.

Naturally enuf, at our first beach stop we got out of the car and noticed a number of tourist types ("Salt Lake Fire Department" t-shirt) industriously photographing the surge nearly at their feet. Tourists are weird sometimes. Valerie says I am too. Anyway, we eventually noticed that there were in fact objects in the water. Self propelled objects. In fact, there were four sea turtles moseying along in the surf, occasionally flapping a flipper out of the water, or poking a head out for a languid breath of fresh air. Looked like green turtles, but I'm no expert on chelonia, or whatever they are called. Very neat tho, and I doubt that I could have gotten a decent picture even with the best of cameras, unless underwater.

On we motored, finding no place to park at beach after beach until we got to Pipeline, which had several. So, again we perambulated wai-ward, only to find a long strip of yellow barrier tape and three signs warning of seriously bad shore break, but rather small surf. Finally realized that the signs were just there to hold up the tape, and the tape was cordoning off a snoozing monk seal, so we walked on down and invaded it's privacy from an officially sanctioned distance.

We set up our seats and Valerie was off to sit in the sun and swim a bit while I sat in the shade, read the latest American Rifleman and scoped out the native fauna.

Eventually the rains hit, so we moved on to Fumi's Lunch Wagon to visit Fumi, our favorite Black Crowned Night Heron and eat plates of garlic shrimp. The shrimp were excellent as always, but Fumi seems to have been in the midst of a family reunion as there were Fumis I thru X ringing the little pond. Mostly snoozing, but now and then one would wade slowly into the shallows and snap at a minnow. Mostly they snoozed tho, so perhaps the reunion partying got a bit hearty the night before.

Good for them.