A Devonshire Trip

Wendy and I visited Devonshire over the past weekend, both for me to meet her sister and brother-in-law for the first time, and to have a look at the outstanding natural beauty of that region.  It was quite a trip!

England is a wonder in and of itself, of course.  We spent some of the time driving on highways, of course, but also traveled through the countryside on less-frequented roads.  I do have to say that there are picturesque little villages everywhere one turns.  And every single one of them are hundreds, if not thousands of years old!

We stayed in a nice hotel in Kingsteignton, Devonshire, the Best Western Passage House Hotel.  It is a very comfy facility with an excellent breakfast!  From there we visited Wendy’s sister and brother-in-law, Sally and Ken, and also Dartmoor!  But both the trip to Devon as well as the trip back home were full of adventure!

The Jurassic Coast

On the way to Kingsteignton we stopped in a few picturesque towns on the Jurassic Coast, namely Lyme Regis, Seaton, and Sidmouth.  Sidmouth was particularly impressive due to the red cliffs to its northeast!

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The Teign Estuary

The name of the city of Kingsteignton is a compound name (commonly-seen in England) that consists of the words King, Teign and the word-ending -ton, meaning “town”.  Teign is the name of the river the runs through the town, making this place Teign Town or Teignton, and apparently the town was a regional King’s vill, which would be visited by the King and his court back in the days of the Saxons in the kingdom of Wessex — thus King’s-Teign-ton.

Our hotel-room overlooked the Teign estuary (near the mouth of the Teign), which fills with water periodically as the tide comes in and recedes.  It was really quite lovely having this in our backyard, so to speak.  During the day we could see swans, ducks, and other waterfowl swimming in it.  And from time to time in the hotel’s actual backyard we could see a number of wild rabbits enjoying themselves!

TeignEstuary.JPG

Dartmoor and Hound Tor!

On the second day we drove out to the edge of Dartmoor and visited Hound Tor.  In aid of understanding, a “tor” is a is a large, free-standing rock outcrop that rises abruptly from the surrounding smooth and gentle slopes of a rounded hill summit or ridge crest.  Dartmoor has a lot of them.

Wendy’s favorite tor out on Dartmoor is Hound Tor.  Apparently, Hound Tor helped inspire Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes novel, The Hound of the Baskervilles.  Wendy has visited this tor a number of times, and it is her favorite.  So we climbed it of course!

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On the way to this tor, we passed by a larger, somewhat more famous tor, Hay Tor:

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Hay Tor has its own visitor center, which was closed by the time we arrived there, since it was nearing dusk.

Wareham and Corfe Castle

We returned home on the third day of the trip, and on the way we passed through the Isle of Purbeck, visiting the ancient Saxon city of Wareham and Corfe Castle.  I should point out that the Isle of Purbeck is not a true island but a peninsula. It is bordered by the English Channel to the south and east, where steep cliffs fall to the sea; and by the marshy lands of the River Frome and Poole Harbour to the north.

Wareham

Wareham is of course still inhabited, and has been for well over a thousand years.  It was a walled town in ancient Saxon times, and a large part of its old protective wall still exists.  It isn’t a stone wall, but is an earthen barrow-type wall that probably sprouted either a stone or wooden palisade on its top.  Wendy and I mounted the wall at the point where the main road enters the city:

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The wall actually still goes all the way around central old Wareham.  On the only side of Wareham not surrounded by the wall, there is the River Frome protecting the eastern side of the town from its enemies!

Another point of interest in Wareham is an old cinema which dates from the 1920’s, and is still in operation!  It has retained some old features in its décor, and Wendy says that the old interior gas lighting is still working!  It’s the Rex Cinema:

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Corfe Castle

Corfe Castle is an old ruined castle standing above a village, likewise named Corfe Castle.  It was the scene of a dastardly murder back in 978 AD, when the English King Edward the Martyr was murdered, possibly at the behest of his step-mother, who wanted to see her own son, Æthelred, take the throne.

The castle itself was built many years after the events of 978, and later destroyed by the Parliamentarians during the English Civil War.  It’s quite a sight!  Unfortunately, the hour was late and we didn’t have time to explore it.  We briefly visited the city of Swanage, but our intention to cross the bar of Poole Harbour on the ferry was frustrated by the ferry being out of service due to refitting.  Maybe next time!

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A Worthwhile Trip

This was a very pleasurable trip, and I got to see a lot of Olde England!

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Trump is Triumphant

I am so very glad this is over.  I am so very glad that Hillary Clinton’s political career is over.  On the other hand, I am so very disappointed that a more reasonable candidate did not make the cut to be the Republican front-runner and ultimate victor.  But give Trump his due!  Despite all the naysayers he persevered, and is now the 45th President of the United States.  Congratulations, Mr. Trump!

Looking for the positive in this outcome, among the things that I find quite delicious are the dismayed outcries from the Hollywood elites (may those who promised to leave the USA if Trump won soon fulfill their vows!), and the mainstream media.  I am so happy that George Soros, even with all his money given to leftist political causes, failed to buy the election for Hillary. The Washington Post’s headline particularly gives me a jolt of schadenfreude:

The Impossible Has Happened

“Well, water is flowing uphill, pigs are flying and snowballs are accumulating in hell. In other words, it looks like Donald J. Trump is going to be president of the United States.”

…and…

“The left clearly needs to rethink the death of the Republican Party. “

Actually, they were whistling past the graveyard on the subject of the GOP’s death.  And didn’t notice the gravestone labelled RIP Dems.

What is the election doing internationally?

The Economic Times of India lays out a mostly positive outlook on what Trump’s election will mean for that country.  Significantly, they write:

Although Trump wants to put stricter immigration rules, he also says he wants to woo Indian entrepreneurs and students to the US.
Trump criticised China throughout his campaign, described it as one of the US’s top adversaries. That could make for an advantage to India.
He said he would label China a currency manipulator and impose heavy tariffs if China didn’t agree to rewrite trade agreements.
He labelled Pakistan as semi-stable and a safe haven f ..

Reuter’s has posted the article, “World in shock as Trump surges to victory in the US“.  Germany’s Defense Minister is dismayed and thinks that the Pax Americana is over.  Many international leaders are apparently completely flummoxed over what Trump might do.  I will confess, I have no clue, either.

Suffice it to say, we definitely live in interesting times!
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A Time for Remembrance

It was one year ago today that the life of my beloved Waltraut (known to most of her U.S. friends as “Val”) was celebrated and commemorated at her funeral.  The anniversary of her passing was just a few days prior, on 21 September, and I would have written about that, too, except for the fact that I was feverishly preparing for my trip to England to be with Wendy, who became my wife on 3 March 2016.

One of the significant facts in my new wife’s family history was that this day marks the second anniversary of her late husband Roger’s passing in 2014.

A Time For Love

These two events in our lives have turned into formative events, and connect us in ways that I would have been amazed at, had I looked at it from a mere outsider’s point of view.  One thing that has proven to be of great comfort to me (and I believe to her as well) is the openness with which we talk to each other about our late spouses.  Through this I have grown to appreciate her Roger and to love him as a brother, as I believe she appreciates and loves my Waltraut as a sister.

As Latter-day Saints (members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or “Mormons”), we believe in the possibility of being sealed for time and all eternity to our spouses.  And although I have grown to love Wendy deeply, I know that her eternal companion is her beloved Roger Edmund Knight, as she knows that my eternal companion remains Waltraut Clark.  Together we recognize that we are each earthly caretakers for each other’s departed spouse.

Yesterday, because it occurred to me that Roger’s headstone had probably been finally installed, I asked Wendy to take me to the little graveyard which has become her family’s place of last rest.  And there it was: Roger’s monument – with a space reserved for Wendy when her time comes!  The parallelism gives me great comfort, since my place with Waltraut is already prepared at the Tahoma National Cemetery in Kent, Washington.  Now, not to dwell too much upon death, I make it clear that we have decided to avoid arriving at that state for as long as possible!  But it is good know that if we should indeed suffer the fate of all humanity, a resting place awaits — one that will serve us until we rise again in the Resurrection – and that it will be a place shared with our beloveds.

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I am so very grateful to the Lord Jesus Christ for the promise of that Resurrection, a promise which He wrested for us by His own hand from the clutches of Death itself!

Wendy and I like to imagine that Roger and Waltraut have become great friends in the Spirit World, as they wait for us to join them, and although there is no religious doctrine to support the notion, we like to imagine also that together they arranged for us to meet and marry.  Whether or not this is true (why shouldn’t it be?), before she died my Waltraut gave me to understand that she expected me to remarry (and as a good husband I tried to accede to her desire, albeit reluctantly at first).  In parallel to this, Wendy and Roger each agreed that should one precede the other in death, that the other should seek to find comfort in a second companion.

Promises to Keep

Standing in front of Roger’s grave yesterday, I gave a promise to him that I would take care of his Wendy to the best of my ability as long as I live – something that I have promised the Lord already.  It’s a promise I look forward to keeping.

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No, Those Weren’t Nuclear Bombers

In response to North Korea’s recent test of a nuclear weapon, according to most news outlets, “the United States reportedly planned to send two nuclear-capable supersonic bombers to the South in a show of force against Pyongyang”.  (USA Today)

Well, no.

With the removal of nuclear arming and fusing hardware on all B-1s in 1995, the aircraft is no longer capable of delivering nuclear munitions.  I suppose that they could be re-equipped to do so, but this is unlikely.

It’s more impressive to refer to them as “nuclear bombers”, but surely the North Koreans are aware that they aren’t nuclear capable — it is public information, after all, and presumably Pyongyang has spies out there who can read.

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Nerd Reviews: Star Trek I & II

I’m going to start reviewing the movies I see, just for the fun of it.  I’m calling these my “Nerd Reviews”, and I’m going to start out critiquing based on two characteristics:
  • Plot Holes
  • Suspension of Disbelief Killers – these are the elements in a science fiction film (or, for that matter, any film) that jar the viewer out of the “willing suspension of disbelief” you need to enjoy a film.
To start with, although I saw Star Trek Beyond a couple of days ago, it is still in theaters, so I shan’t Nerd Review it at this time, but shall back-review its two predecessors.
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So, here my picks for the biggest plot holes and suspension of disbelief killers in the previous two films:

Star Trek I (the Reboot)

    • Overall Impression
      • I totally loved this film!  I loved that Spock Prime was a big character in it, the writing was excellent, and the backstory elements were much appreciated — specifically, Kirk and Spock’s backstories.
    • Plot Holes
      • So, the Romulan mining ship (the Narada) just floated around for 25 years after George Kirk damaged it while covering the escape of his crew? Where was it hiding?  What were they doing the entire time?
      • They were apparently waiting for Spock to show up for those 25 years, but
        • how did they know that Spock had even gone into the black hole?  They apparently went first
        • even knowing that he went into it, how did they know to the day the exact time he would show up in their time line, or even that he would show up at all?
      • Nero tortures Captain Pike to obtain codes to bypass Earth’s defensive energy shields, but he apparently had no need to bypass Vulcan’s shields, and just started drilling.  What?  One of the most advanced and important planets in the Federation doesn’t have defenses?  Of any kind?
      • The Vulcan Science Institute created Red Matter, which only requires a drop in order to create a black hole.  And so the VSI sends Spock out to Romulus with the entire supply of Red Matter on board?  There was enough Red Matter aboard that ship to create several hundred black holes.
    • Suspension of Disbelief
      • Falling into a black hole
        • The process of falling into a black hole includes being torn into tiny pieces by tidal forces.  Time travel might occur (who knows?), but it would only be little pieces that made the trip.
      • Red Matter
        • What the heck is it?  In the film, one drop of the stuff is enough to turn a planet into a black hole.  This is so ridiculously hard to believe that it almost ruins the entire film. The plot turns on this piece of idiocy, which means that Red Matter is a Deus ex Machina.
        • Even assuming a drop of Red Matter could create a black hole in the first place, the resulting black hole would be of such low mass that:
          • it would evaporate within nanoseconds through Hawking radiation, leaving nothing at all behind
          • or, even disregarding Hawking radiation, it’s event horizon would be mere nanometers in size and it would take literally years and probably centuries to grow large enough to destroy the planet.
      • Spock tries to use Red Matter to stop a supernova from engulfing Romulus. 
        • If there were a star near Romulus that was large enough to explode into a supernova that would endanger Romulus immediately upon its exploding, then it would have made Romulus uninhabitable long before it ever exploded. Supernova candidates are incredibly active and violent stars, and they emit enormous quantities of radiation and superheated gas for millions of years.
        • Dropping a black hole of about a milliliter in size into a supernova would have all the effect of farting into a hurricane.  If that.
        • If the star that turns into a supernova is large enough, its explosion will create a black hole whose mass is many times greater than our sun’s.  But even such a black hole could not stop the radiation and gases emitted by the supernova from moving outward at light-speed or near light-speed and destroying Romulus.
      • Nero leaves Spock on the ice planet so he can watch Vulcan implode
        • What kind of solar system is Vulcan part of, anyway?  Major planets in any reasonable solar system are not close enough to each other to allow an observer on one to see in detail what is happening to a neighboring one without artificial aid, such as a telescope, which Spock is not shown to have, and in fact it is strongly implied that he sees it with his naked eyes.
        • Enterprise has departed Vulcan (now a black hole) and is under way under warp for long enough for it to have arrived back at Earth — yet when Spock ejects Kirk for mutiny, he ejects him onto the planet where Spock Prime is marooned, which is in the Vulcan system!  Did Spock swing back to do the ejection, or did that little lifeboat have warp capability?
      • Half the Federation fleet has just been destroyed in Vulcan space
        • The Enterprise does not check for survivors, of which there ought to be at least a few, including those who were able reach a lifeboat, and those surviving in the wreckage of all those starships.
      • Giant predators on an ice planet
        • Kirk has to run to escape two huge predators, neither of which are covered in insulating blubber or fur on an ice planet.  These huge animals would have frozen.
        • The larger predator continues to run after Kirk, a tiny morsel, when it has just killed another predator that represents a substantial meal. With instincts this poorly developed, the larger predator would have starved to death.
      • The Narada’s drill platform and the operation of its drill
        • The drill appears to be able to burn a cylindrical hole a hundred meters across, through solid rock, to the planetary core.  Assuming Vulcan to be earth-sized, this means that the drill must vaporize 64 cubic kilometers of rock in a shaft that, as it grows deeper, would be subject to enormous pressures trying to close it.  The amount of energy required to do this vaporization is so large, that even if the mass of the Narada itself were to be converted to energy at 100% efficiency it still would be insufficient for the task.
        • Even if the Narada were capable of drawing enough energy for the task of vaporizing the rock (from where?), the heat emitted by the drill platform would be so large that mere spillover would have instantly vaporized anyone coming anywhere near it.
      • Saturn’s rings
        • In order to explain why the Narada doesn’t detect the Enterprise’s arrival in the Sol system, it is explained that Saturn’s rings provide electromagnetic interference that masks the Enterprise’s presence
        • In reality, Saturn’s rings generate no such thing.  This is glaring.  At least to someone who knows something about astronomy.
      • Nero tortures Captain Pike in order to obtain the codes that will permit him to bypass Earth’s planetary shields.
        • If his drill platform can vaporize 64 cubic kilometers of rock, a mere energy shield is no protection. He has already demonstrated that he can tear through Federation energy shields like they were made of wet tissue paper; torturing Pike is completely pointless. But it does give an excuse for sending an away team to try to rescue Pike.

Star Trek II – Into Darkness

    • Overall Impression
      • Enjoyable, yet problematic.  Not as many annoying plot holes and suspension of belief problems, but what holes I found were rather egregious. Benedict Cumberbatch was an excellent Khan, and the reversal of roles between Spock and Kirk with respect to the Original Series “The Wrath of Khan” was intriguing.
    • Plot Holes
      • Khan can activate a wearable transporter device that can instantly send him all the way from Earth to Chronos, the Klingon home world, but Kirk and crew have to ride the starship Enterprise all the way there?
      • Khan’s blood can even cure death, but knowing this, Bones still has a job in the new film Star Trek Beyond?
      • The Enterprise is under water on the primitive planet while Spock is setting up to activate the cold fusion device.  If they’re trying to avoid being seen (Prime Directive), why is there an away team where the primitive people can discover them?  If the away team wasn’t screwing around near the natives, they wouldn’t have been chased, and no native would have been able to see the rising of the Enterprise from the sea.
    • Suspension of Disbelief
      • Spock uses a “Cold Fusion” device to freeze a supervolcano’s eruption in order to save an intelligent species from extinction.
        • In the real world, cold fusion is a theoretical energy source, not a freezer capable of instantly turning several cubic kilometers of magma into cool, solid rock.
        • Even allowing that the writers just misnamed a technology able to suck trillions of kilocalories of heat out of a huge volume of molten rock and superheated gas, where did the heat go?
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Fifteen Years Later

My US flag flies today in front of my house.

In the early morning fifteen years ago today, I was sleeping peacefully in my bed when, suddenly, one of my sons shook me awake and delivered a most bewildering bit of news: “One of the twin towers has collapsed!”  Twin towers?  What twin towers?  I remember thinking.

It took me a number of seconds to get into my head what he was talking about, but despite the dead urgency in his voice I still couldn’t credit the information with any comprehension until I had thrown on some clothes and gone downstairs to watch what was happening on live television.  Yes, one of the towers had collapsed alright, and while I watched they showed a replay of that event.

And then, while I stood there dumbfounded, I watched the other one fall.

By this point you might be wondering why I was sleeping so late, but no, we lived on the West Coast, and it was just turning into time for breakfast.  When I went to work that day everyone was trying to do things that needed done, but all of us were operating in a kind of bubble — yes, let’s do what we’re being paid to do, but oh, my gosh, what is happening? Someone had gotten out a television set and tuned it to the news so we could follow along with what was going on.  Many of us also resorted frequently to internet news sites to stay abreast of events.

One of my coworkers, a young woman I frequently worked with, seemed a lot more distraught than anyone else.  Since she was normally quite sunny in outlook, I asked her how she was feeling.  Her answer stunned me, and brought home the immediacy of this event.

“My brother works for a company headquartered in one of those towers, and even though he normally works in San Diego, California, he’s in New York for a conference!”  She said.

And no, she hadn’t heard anything from him, or about him, yet.

Being much too rattled myself to give her much comfort, I located our section supervisor, Dennis, and told him about her situation.  Dennis was able to do what I wasn’t prepared to do, and she thanked me later for telling him about it.  Later it turned out that he had been in one of the towers at the time an airliner hit it, but even though their conference had been on a floor above the ones that were directly affected by the strike, he had volunteered to go down to the level where they had shops, to buy some pastries for the meeting.  He was there when the airplane hit, and he was able to get out before his tower fell.

A few thousand others weren’t so lucky, including a large number of firefighters and police who had rushed in to help evacuate people and fight the fire.

A few weeks later, after at least some of the dust had settled, one of the members of my LDS congregation was asked to give a talk at church, and to touch upon 9-11 in his message.  Given that he is a firefighter himself, he would have identified with his fellow firefighters who lost their lives trying to save others, and so one might have expected a bit of anger to show through.  But no, this brother’s message was of love and caring, and of joining together in compassion for those who had lost friends and loved ones.

Which is what all of us should remember each year on this day.

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Kaepernick & Rapinoe: Behind the Times

This week we are treated to another Johnny-come-lately, or in this case, Jane-come-lately, in the person of Megan Rapinoe, giving the nod to Colin Kaepernick’s “protest” , “displaying discontent with the current state of affairs in the U.S.”  What state of affairs is this now, you might ask?  Well, I shall tell you:

“Being a gay American, I know what it means to look at the flag and not have it protect all of your liberties. It was something small that I could do and something that I plan to keep doing in the future and hopefully spark some meaningful conversation around it.”

Yes, it was something small, all right.  Downright miniscule.  Pointless in fact.

Allow me to be blunt about this.  Both of these individuals are full of it.  Both of these individuals are cowardly.  Why are they cowardly?  Why are they full of it?  I shall tell you.

They are full of it because there used to be laws in this country that criminalized certain of her behaviors, and downright oppressed anyone of his race.  No more.  Not only is the President of the United States someone who, 100 years ago, couldn’t have been elected dogcatcher anywhere in the country, it is now the law of the land that any two people at all can get married, regardless of sex or sexual orientation.  Hey, Colin!  Hey, Megan!  Wake up, wouldja?  The battle has been fought and the war is OVER!  All that’s left is the mopping up, and what you’re doing doesn’t help.

You know what this reminds me of?  Those Japanese soldiers from World War II who hid out in the jungles and forests for decades after the war was over, fighting a war that, in their case at least, had long been won — by the other side.

But in Colin’s and Megan’s case, the war was WON!  Yet still they protest.  The only thing left to do, and it’s quite important, is to help with the task of smoothing over the raw spots caused by the process of achieving the ends that now benefit both of them.  There are bigots yet to be won over, but the biggest problem of all has been overcome: the laws which have oppressed for so long have been repealed or overturned.

Why did I say they were cowardly?  And note carefully that I didn’t say they were cowards. It takes genuine courage to go physically up against opponents, even in a game, because the potential for injury is not trivial.  You can get really hurt in both American football and soccer!

The cowardliness is in this: long after the war is won, now suddenly it’s SAFE to protest. They are both standing up to be counted after everyone else has put their lives on the line and achieved the long-sought-after goal.  When the only calumny they can trigger is laughter at being fashionably late, or anger at protesting the country that has finally given up its official oppressions, this is the time to help heal the wounds caused by the conflict of reaching the state the country now finds itself in.  Not the time to open those wounds further in a pathetic attempt to gain some last-minute fame and ride the coat-tails of those who really put themselves on the firing line.

What Kaepernick and Rapinoe should be doing now is to provide an example of respect and gratitude so that everyone, even those who opposed the reforms that benefit these two, can say of the oppressed: they fought a valiant fight against oppression, but now that that fight is won, they have united behind the country.

Instead, they spit in all of our faces, including all those who fought and sometimes bled and died to achieve the benefits they now thoughtlessly enjoy.

I was going to let that last sentence conclude this message, but just in time I thought of another person who exemplifies the attitude that Kaepernick and Rapinoe ought to have expressed but have not: that person is George Takei, who is most famous for portraying Hikaru Sulu, helmsman of the starship USS Enterprise in the original Star Trek television series.

George Takei is a gay Asian man, who as an American citizen of Japanese descent spent World War II locked up in what amounted to a concentration camp.  He was oppressed both for his race and later for his sexual orientation, and like Kaepernick and Rapinoe he achieved fame and fortune in show business (yes, I know K&R are athletes, but at its heart, athletics is a spectator sport, or in other words, a form of show business).  Yet Mr. Takei has a different take on the United States.  I’ve posted this video before, but it seems appropriate to post it again.  I shall let this video be the coda for this post.

The title of the video is: “Why I love a country that once betrayed me.

A relevant point made by George Takei is what his father told him, when young George complained about the treatment his people had experienced:

“Our democracy is a people’s democracy, and it can be as great as the people can be, but it is also as fallible as people are.” He told me that “American democracy is vitally dependent on good people who cherish the ideals of our system and actively engage in the process of making our democracy work.”

Would that Kaepernick and Rapinoe have chosen that path, instead of the disrespectful path they have chosen.

 

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Well, It’s No Trump For Me

NoTrumpDonald J. Trump is officially persona non grata for me. I will not be voting for him come November. And I absolutely cannot vote for Hillary Clinton either.

Don’t talk to me about the Greens.

Why won’t I support Trump? First of all, he is an egocentric blowhard and buffoon. He doesn’t know when he is wrong, has no idea of what the hell he is going to do to accomplish the grandiose goals he keeps talking about. Walls, Muslim bans, Lyin’ Ted, Loser McCain, and a seemingly never-ending list of insults, provocations, and self-promotion. And there’s no second of all.

The closest any candidate comes to my ideals is the Libertarian Party candidate for President of the United States, Gary Johnson, and his running mate William Weld, and they are both former Republican state governors.  Successful ones.

I am convinced that the only way to save the country from Trump and Hillary is to vote for Gary Johnson. Someone is going to tell me that Gary can’t win enough Electoral College votes to win the race, but all he needs to do is take enough votes from Trump and Hillary to prevent either one from winning the 270 votes required to win, throwing the election into the US House of Representatives. All he needs is one Electoral College vote to be eligible for consideration by the House. I am reasonably certain the Republican-dominated House would not select either Trump, Hillary or Jill Stein (Greens) for President.

I do not agree with every position that Johnson/Weld are in favor of. But I agree with most of them.

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Miracles

I haven’t posted anything here for quite a while! At first, I was still in mourning after the passing of my dear wife, and then three months later things started happening in my life that I hadn’t expected. I found new love and a renewed desire to live! I got quite busy making it real!

Waltraut had told me that she expected me to re-marry after she was gone, that she was worried about me remaining single. I had kind of thought I would just stay single for the rest of my life — and I really hoped that the rest of my life would be a rather short time. For those first few months, every little twinge my body gave me made me momentarily hopeful that maybe I was going to get my “call home”, as it were. But no such luck!

Rather hesitantly I had signed up on a dating website that I felt comfortable with, one specifically for members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS or Mormons), and did a little desultory looking around at the possibilities. Of course there were some interesting women to be found, but I didn’t really want anything more than friendship or penpalship! I did initiate a few correspondances with some nice ladies, but I made sure that they lived a longish way away so that there would be little chance of actually getting to meet them in person. Smart plan, right?

Well, it didn’t work out like I thought it would. Around Christmas time I got a “Smile” from a nice lady who lives in England, and since I had lived there once myself many many years ago, I jumped at the chance to email someone from a country that I had grown to love.

To make a long story short, we fell in love with each other over the Internet, and when she came to visit me in March we got married! Quick work, but I believe I made the biggest score of my life in convincing her to marry me! I consider it a miracle to have found such a woman.

Love is grand, especially after living through such sadness.

Oh, yes, and her name is Wendy, and she has a great package: beauty and brains!

WendyTheFascinator

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Royals (Lorde): an a capella cover by Alaa Wardi

Alaa Wardi is an excellent musician, especially when he uses his body as the musical instruments!  Check out his channel.

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