Monthly Archives: October 2016

One Last Hurrah

 

One Last Hurrah (Randyjw; October 30, 2016)

 

One last hurrah

You’re moving on

One final bow

before you’re gone

 

You’ve done it well

There’s more in store

It’s sure been swell

I’ll miss you more

 

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Dark Side Of The Cacamun

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Dark Side Of The Cacamun (Randyjw; October 29, 2016)

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UN News – General Assembly elects 14 members to UN Human Rights Council

From: October 28, 2016

The General Assembly today elected, by secret ballot, 14 States to serve on the Human Rights Council, the United Nations body responsible for the promotion and protection of all human rights around the globe.

Source: UN News – General Assembly elects 14 members to UN Human Rights Council

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The Shallow Shallot

 

The Shallow Shallot (Randyjw; October 27, 2016)

 

What is discovered in meaning

bespeaks the mode and manner revealing

Its filtered nuances in the peeling

It had through various layers been concealing

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In My (E-Mail) Inbox 4

 

In My (E-Mail) Inbox 4 (Randyjw; October 27, 2016)

 

Wine and China

 

Two good deals have popped up in my email inbox, listed from the Travelzoo Top 20 deals for the week beginning October 26, 2016: Wine and China.

 

National Geographic presents its world wines for its subscription wine service, sending out a crated box, direct to consumer, once every three months — cancellable or skipable at any time, per instructions.

 

This great deal from NatGeo includes a crate of twelve wines based on your choice of all red, all white, or a combination of both, plus three bonus bottles in this shipment. The promotional rate for the first crate at $89.00 includes free shipping, valued around $19.99, and must be booked/reserved online using your Travelzoo promotional code (which you can receive free once signed-up at their site: travelzoo.com) by January 24, 2017. Thereafter, you’ll be sent additional crates every three months, unless you alert them, otherwise.

 

Selections for the first shipment include for the:

Red:

Saracosa 2014 (2); Château Roc de Pellebouc 2015; Stones and Bones 2013 (2); Raymond ‘The Inaugural’ 2015; The Black Stump 2016 (2); Pescadero Rock 2013; La Cantera Reserva 2012 (2) – 20th anniversary; a wine by ex-bull-fighter, Xavier Domecq; Fortazzo 2014; Schroeder Estate 2015 (3 bonus bottles) – a Patagonian Malbec from Argentina.

 

White:

Tikohi 2015; Paolo Valle 2015 (2); A Tavola 2015 – Chardonnay from film director Francis Ford Coppola; Sendero des Santos 2015 (2); Lobo e Falcao Branco 2013 (2); Alto Sentiero dei Pini 2014; Alma Andina 2015 (2); The Rustler 2015; Abbesse de Loire 2015 (3 bonus bottles).

 

6 gift wine bags are included, along with tasting notes, serving and pairing advice, plus the convenience of to-your-door delivery make this a great gift for yourself or someone special. At less than six dollars per bottle in this introductory offer, a little goodwill and cheer for the holidays will go a long way.

 

Drygulski, Jennie. “$89 – National Geographic: 15 Wines of the World, Reg. 290”. Travelzoo.com; October 26, 2016:

https://www.travelzoo.com/entertainment/more/-89-National-Geographic-15-Wines-of-the-World-Reg-290-2375485/

 

 

China 15 Days 2017: $1399 – $1599*

Book with Travelzoo promotional code by November 2, 2016.

(*certain dates add $100 or $200; certain departure cities add $100 or $200. Does not include visa to China of approximately $190.00; Certain dates apply. Does not include price of three additional and optional tours, which seem commended. Must book online in same first visit, or pricing changes may apply. See tour operator website for full details and updates).

 

Sinorama Holidays, via Travelzoo, is offering a great price on this Asian vacation. Visit at least five UNESCO sites, including the Forbidden City of the Emperor’s Palace, the Terra Cotta Army and the Great Wall. See the Temple of Heaven, the Summer Palace, and Tianenmen Square. Experience the iconic Yangtze River and a Captain’s Welcoming dinner during your included four-night riverboat cruise viewing the Three Gorges along the Yangtze River. Cruise the byways and take in an on-board show – a saturation of the senses!

 

You’ll be navigating with just about every mode of transport on this trip — which, just for that alone, these experiences and prices are worth it! From the fast-moving panorama from the high-speed bullet train, as well as savoring the slow-motion man-power of the rickshaw, you’ll shop the famed Nanjing Road and take in the sights from your guided and escorted motorcoach tours.

 

Two in-country flights, as well as small boat transfers, will get you up-close to nature to experience the gorges, and in reaching your other additional destinations. Additional excursions, which are optional, but look highly recommended, include the following three, and relatively cheap (one for $50; two others for $30 apiece) add-ons. With the exception of your arrival and departure from China, eight other days include 3 meals, but five days only offer two meals.

 

Instead, for the most part, you’ll find that the missed meal is occasionally made-up during the optional excursions. These include: a “Tang Dynasty Dancing Show” in Xi’an, along with a Xi’an Dumpling Banquet. A dumpling banquet? Are you sure that isn’t actually part and parcel of the offerings you’d find in a Temple of Heaven? An entire banquet of dumplings? Oh, please send me some! This is the $50.00 side-trip. And dumplings!!!

 

How about a Shanghai acrobat show, and dinner (just $30.00), following your included tours at the Shanghai Museum or walking the streets in the tony boutiques of Nanjing Road? Yes, please! If you’ve never seen the acrobatic gymnastics teams from China, then you’ll be enthralled and amazed at their maneuvers and tumbling.

 

There’s also a five-hour Beijing at Night tour with included dinner for $30.00. Why not? Bright lights and city vibes, for sure.

 

Visit the iconic panda bear, symbol of good luck and good fortune, at the zoo. Chongqing, Shanghai, Beijing, Xi’an, Wuhan, and Jingzhou, are just some of the vicinities you’ll be nearby to when exploring the myriad locations which China has to offer.

 

This sounds like a rare opportunity to enjoy the area of China at a low price and while we’re able. I hope you’ll get to do so.

 

Please make sure to finalize your plans and decisions before visiting the website, in order to get the special pricing and to confirm all information, updates and changes, as I do not warrant and do not represent the entities originally presenting the information.

 

Biondolillo, Rachel. “1399 – $1599 – China 2-Week Adventure w/Air from 44 Cities”. Travelzoo.com; October 26, 2016:

https://www.travelzoo.com/vacations/asia/-1399-1599-China-2-Week-Adventure-w-Air-from-44-Cities-2369819/

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Defy the Bicycle Ban in Iran

 

Defy the Bicycle Ban in Iran (Randyjw; October 26, 2016)

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Iran: What’s wrong with this picture?

 

1. Jewish woman

2. Woman wearing pants

3. Woman on a bicycle

 

Jewish woman wearing pants on a bicycle!!!

No, No, No!

 

 

 

America: What’s right with this picture?

 

1. Jewish woman

2. Woman wearing pants

3. Woman on a bicycle

 

Jewish woman wearing pants on a bicycle!!!

Yes, yes, yes!!!

 

Iran has issued a fatwa (ruling based on religious factors) against women riding bicycles!

 

Show your solidarity for the rights of Iranian women to secure their mobility and freedom. Post a picture of yourself on your bicycle and defy this chauvinist policy limiting the choices of Iranian women.

 

#DefytheFatwa

#BreaktheBan

#DefyIran

#NoBikeBan

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Endearing Indira, Enduring Indira

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Endearing Indira, Enduring Indira

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Randy’s Reviews – Randy’s Record Reviews: Putumayo Presents… African Odyssey

 

Randy’s Reviews – Randy’s Record Reviews: Putumayo Presents… African Odyssey (Randyjw; October 22, 2016)

 

Putumayo Presents… African Odyssey. (p) and © 2001 Putumayo World Music: 411 Lafayette, 4th Fl., New York, New York 10003 ph: (212) 625-1400; (www.putumayo.com). Barcode Reader: 790248019123; ISBN: 1587590476.

 

Another compilation disc of African music from around the region presented on an acoustic level with profundity and sophistication.

 

1. Manecas Costa – Fundu Di Matu  – Guinea-Bissau (5:30)

Portuguese-influenced song.

 

*2. Seydu – The Well – Sierra Leone (4:22)

Interesting; hard to peg; really nice. Soft, rambling xylophone and percussion, in a ’70’s, jazzy-ish style with scary punches of accent on the highs.

 

3. Les Go – Sou – Ivory Coast (3:12)

Plucky and monochromatic. Complex arrangements of overlaid vocals to simple music in offbeat rhythm.

 

*4. Oliver Mtukudzi – Raki – Zimbabwe (7:05)

Slow-moving reggae-ish sound. I like it; it grows on you, throughout, ’til you’re slo-mo bopping.

 

5. Augusto Cego – Mar – Cape Verde (5:15)

Ocean tide and Portuguese guitar in a ballad style.

 

*6. Bidinte – Kecu Minino Na Tchora – Guinea-Bissau (3:14)

I love this happy, little song with its bluesy start and scale-runs and “Junior” -like backup.

 

*7. Aura Msimang – Kulala – South Africa (4:34)

This is a really neat one with multiple influences presented in such a cool-sounding mix.

 

8. Adama Yalomba – Miri Yoro – Mali (8:24)

Steely strings and wah-wah synth combined with a low voice makes for some really weird and great stuff.

 

9. Doctor King’esi – Nipelaki Kwa Baba – Kenya (2:54)

Reminds me of some old, Israeli music.

 

10. Habib Koite’ – Sinama Denw – Mali (3:25)

Interesting notes put together in a unique minor-major way (puns always intended).

 

Starred standouts on this album include tracks: 2, 4, 6 and 7.

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Job Opp: Calling All Foodies

 

Job Opp: Calling All Foodies (Randyjw; October 22, 2016)

 

Foodies, foodistas, and foodettes…

 

Want to write about your passion, your love, your reduction glace’? Enjoy discussing a proper beurre blanc, as opposed to blank stares over French terminology from culinarily-impaired folks committing food faux-pas?

 

Fret no longer! The perfect-sounding job opp has just opened up with Chef’d, in El Segundo, California. This town of 149 Trip Advisor-listed restaurants includes several of Middle Eastern and Japanese influence, along with the ubiquitous American burger bistro.

 

Touted by indeed.com (Friday, October 21, 2016) as an innovative start-up company, this position gets you in on the ground floor with an exciting opportunity to work with celebrity food bloggers, chefs, and others, translating food-talk into recipe form. If you have a way with words, in both written and verbal form; if you have a background in writing, and instructional communication is your forte, then this job might just be for you.

 

See new dishes come to fruit-ion as you eyeball a pinch of this and a dash of that. Was that 1/4-teaspoon, or 1/2? Are you able to convert gallons to litres, in the shake of a lamb’s leg (with rosemary and mint jelly)? Know the difference between dry measures and liquid? More importantly, would you like to see more people eat well, due to your initiative?

 

This company delivers its results to end-users — and, hopefully, you can deliver yours! Become a content writer of chef- and cook-created recipes, sent out with all the fixin’s, to Chef’d clientele, and you’ll be helping to develop literal home-made cuisine gourmands.

 

Good luck, and a chef’s hat off to you!

 

For further information and details, please see entries for Chef’d at indeed.com (and as a disclaimer, please be advised that I cannot warrant the information provided, being a non-participatory and non-involved entity for any of these agencies/entities, and, so, positions may/may not be available and may/may not be as described; and no liability should be proclaimed as a result, etc.)

 

Company: Chef’d

See the positions which have been listed previously on indeed.com with this company, including the recent one, “Content Writer – Writing Recipes!”, described, here:

 

http://www.indeed.com/cmp/Chef’d/jobs

 

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Little Kitten Lullaby

 

Little Kitten Lullaby (Randyjw; October 12, 2016)

 

Little baby kitty

You’re my little sweet pea

Now you’re going sleepy

Little baby kitty

 

Little baby sweet pea

You’re my baby kitty

Now you’re going sleepy

Little baby sweet pea

 

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Manna, Manna Mighty!!! 8-Day Israel $999 – $1099

 

Manna, Manna Mighty!: 8-Day Israel $999 – $1099 (Randyjw; October 7, 2016)

 

Although Travelzoo continually challenges themselves to find/create the best deals, they keep extending their benchmark standards and, again, have managed to outdo their last promotion to Israel, with an even greater offer, this time around!

 

It seems that travel just keeps getting cheaper and cheaper. I guess the industry is making up, in volume, what losses they’d garner in higher pricing schemes. And that benefits the traveller. With competitive capitalism driving consumer costs down, it benefits the end-user, in the long-run, with better options, better luxuries and amenities, better services.

 

While still not entirely inexpensive, altogether, travel might still be an attainable luxury if you can plan and save for it. I still remember the days of considering an overseas trip abroad as being a once-in-a-lifetime, hoped-for possibility, with a kind of a stars-in-the-eyes gleam. Air travel became easier and cheaper, incomes rose, and some were able to plan a trip on more regular bases. I still think it incredible that some can even fly-off on yearly trips — but they do.

 

The hospitality industry has become loaded with great new hotels, ever-expanding and renovating to be the best on-offer, in order to capture the all-waving consumer dollar. Hooray, hooray, we now can play!

 

So, there in my email inbox, like a shiny little candy in glittery wrap this morning was a Travelzoo deal, singularly offered, to Israel! This is the best price I’ve seen yet — at any time — which includes air, hotels, and travel on-land: eight days for just $999.00* (*and up, depending on departure city and length of travel, etc.)! Wow! The only things it doesn’t include is tips (of course!) and any optional side tours, which I would absolutely recommend (at least for two or three, out of the five offered with this package). This practically beats the price of air travel to Israel, alone — a decade ago! It’s like getting the tours, accommodations, and meals, all for free, and then-some! Manna, manna mighty!

 

The only down-sides of this offering are that it is not long enough, and that the time-offering means that it falls during possible cold weather. They do offer tours of longer days, also with discounts (discounts don’t appear until almost finished processing and must include Travelzoo’s promotional code, which you can access after signing up for a free Travelzoo.com account and inputting the code at the tour operator’s site). But, then, of course, the rates must increase — as so it goes.

 

What I really do love about this offering, first-off, is the consideration of choice of tour operators. While I’ve never toured with this particular company, and I’m not a spokesperson for any of these agencies, I was a candidate as an Israeli guide operator at one time (remaining incomplete), and the tour guide company president began in earlier days as a licensed Israeli guide, as well. All tour operators in Israel must receive their license from the state, which is a course of study of at least eighteen months, or longer, involving classroom and field studies.

 

More importantly, though, the tour company has a personal commitment to philanthropy in funding its charitable branch, which focuses on building onto or aiding existing school buildings and infrastructure of more-impoverished areas around the world, such as it has done in Peru and Costa Rica. Their website relays their deeds in providing water tanks, painting buildings, and other deeds via its education and enlightenment programs where people can sign-on to assist this tour/cultural exchange opportunity, if desired. There are plans to expand to other areas, also. So, your tour dollars go around and indirectly help the agency to help schoolchildren — and that, to me, is definitely a win-win!

 

I have to say that that impresses me, that Travelzoo has chosen such a tour operator to promote. I have always loved Travelzoo, though I’ve never yet utilized any of their great deals. Finding this out makes me love them, even more.

 

Well, now on to the deal!  The offer of the eight-day tour includes 1 night in Tel Aviv, 2 nights in Tiveria (Tiberius), and 3 nights in Jerusalem (the other two days listed include your travel time, etc.). This is listed as a minimally active tour, meaning that most time is yours to do with as you please, unless you will be selecting the excellent, optional add-in tours, which are very cheap, and cover quite a bit: physical participation, involving stairs and a good deal of walking, will be anticipated.

 

Some listings of these featured areas highlighted are: the ancient port of Jaffa, with its artist colony; the ruins of Caesarea; the Church of the Holy Sepulchre; Mt. Zion; Beit She’an; Tiveria/Tiberius on the Sea of Galilee (the Kinneret), and Jerusalem. The optional add-ons include: a trip to Tsfat/Safed and the Golan; a trip to Yad Vashem and the vicinity; a trip to the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem; a combined trip to Masada, and the Dead Sea; and the light show at the Tower of David with dinner out.

 

Definitely cram in as much as you can while you’re here. No trip to Israel would be complete without a visit to Masada and a swim in the Dead Sea (the health benefits are amazing!). Bring some extra money for this trip, take your towel and pack your swim clothes, and get thee to both these sites! I would also recommend the additional tour to Yad Vashem.

 

Instead of visiting Bethlehem, I would pass on that in favor of doing other things. If you had a longer, extended visit in Israel, I would say to go to Bethlehem, but since I recommend one of the “Jerusalem” days be taken for Masada/Dead Sea, and one day in Jerusalem already includes the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, then I don’t think you’ll want to miss visiting the Kotel HaMa’ariv (The Western Wall/The Wailing Wall), if you don’t get to it on the escorted tour (I don’t know if you do, or not) — and there are other things you can do in the vicinity of the Old City, as well.

 

For one, the Wailing Wall, mentioned above. Also, there is a small, tiny museum (make sure it’s open that day) dedicated to the Holocaust called the Chamber of the Holocaust. It is located just outside the walls of the Old City near the (Mt.) Zion gate entrance (it’s a little hard to find, so make sure to get a map; you can pick up some great maps at the tourism office just past the gate of the Jaffa gate entryway on the left-hand side, where there will be numerous Arab hangers-on vying for your financial attention and patronage. Make sure to get the Jewish tour map, and any others which may interest you). The Chamber of the Holocaust had more of an impact on me than Yad Vashem, but in a totally different way. I would say to take in both, really. And make sure to look up as you exit the (Mt.) Zion gate from the Old City, and take a moment to reflect on the meaning of the cratered wall above the entryway, pockmarked by Jordanian artillery fire in their attack(s) on Israel.

 

I would have loved to have seen the Wohl Archaeological Museum, but somehow missed that opportunity to go with a German tourist I befriended during her brief visit to Israel. Perhaps you might visit in my stead and let me know how you enjoyed it.

 

You could also visit the archaeological park at the wall, or you could also walk around the City of David and see the really old walls there, located outside the Old City walls closest to the bus entrance roundabout by the Kotel HaMa’ariv.

 

I loved the Tower of David. I spent a long time just sitting. I went during the daytime, and watched the little video display (definitely do this) and walked around. Then I sat on a bench with the rifle-slotted windows with a vague view to the outside, feeling like King David peeking out to the outside world. I don’t recall there being anybody there during that whole time, and I could just sit, and be. It was great. I really recommend this. I know the evening option for another tour is the light show here, plus dinner out — and I’d probably say that you should do that, too. It would be different in the day, and you can really see and get a chance to explore it in natural sunlight. Nighttime would be a completely different story.

 

When you arrive to Tel Aviv, make sure to take a beachside stroll along the promenade, the “Tayelet”, and I recommend a sorbet (mango is yummy) at the Yotvata restaurant. If timing or itinerary allows, I’d also try to see if you can squeeze in a visit to the Palmach museum, that black, hulking building on the sands of the beach at Tel Aviv, near the Yafo end. Pick up a couple of my favorite drinks from the convenience stores: PriGat plum juice, and Anavim grape drink; as well as a Magnum ice cream bar — you’re on vacation! If you get a chance to go by Independence Hall, where David Ben-Gurion read out the Proclamation of Independence on May 14, 1948 — that’s cool! And don’t forget to squeeze in a good falafel, somewhere; preferably with amba.

 

As far as the Galilee goes, it’s hard to know what the side trip includes. If you can get out to Kfar Nachum (Capernaum), I think that’s a good tourist site to see. There’s a synagogue there made out of the stone common to that area, which is black basalt. There is the open-sided synagogue in the round, and there are the ruins of a temple, with Jewish symbols carved into the fallen capitals from atop the columns. It’s worth a trip, and I feel it should be seen.

 

The Kinneret, or “Sea of Galilee”, is a really beautiful area. Not to be missed is the view from inside the Church at the Mount of Beatitudes — it’s stunning. Lots of stairs down, but stunning. If the trip includes this, then go, by all means. Not necessary, although nice, if you have the time for it, is to see the “Jesus boat”, and listen to the guided background on how they figured out a way to preserve the approximately two-thousand year-old wooden boat.

 

I must say that the hotels they’ve chosen for these excursions all look wonderful. I especially love the way the seaside resort overlooking the Galilee appears, and the holiday village looks really nice, too. I particularly think I like the itineraries including the kibbutz Lavi, but the other ones all look good, as well, too. They do change, as does pricing, depending on your departure date (and therefore, your arrival date), and these particularities are well-listed at the website.

 

Pricing changes, based on departure date and location, and is a per-person rate, based on twin occupancy. Six breakfasts and two group dinners are included, as are fuel surcharges, hotel porterage, airport taxes and fees (baggage fees may be extra), transfers, and entrance fees (per itinerary). Deal must be purchased by October 12, 2016, and prepaid at least sixty days prior to departure. Pursuant to this promotion, travel is on certain dates and is valid for departures from January – March, 2017 (or perhaps end of February?) (January 22 and 29 are an additional $200.00): please check operator website for final details, changes, or updates, as well as additional requirements, pursuant to your selections. Don’t forget to enter the Travelzoo promocode to receive the unlisted discount.

 

Please check the sites, in case I’ve forgotten something or other things change; and have a great trip!

 

Here’s the Gate 1 Travel Home page website. Once there, select the destination pull-down menu, and then select “Mediterranean”; once there, then select “Israel” and you will see different pages and boxes for your needs:

https://www.gate1travel.com/

 

Salmonese, Olivia. “$999 – $1099 — Israel Escorted Vacation w/Tours & Air”: Source: Gate 1 Travel; Travelzoo.com (email: October 7, 2016):

http://travelzoo.com/vacations/africa/-999-1099-Israel-Escorted-Vacation-w-Tours-Air-2351802/

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In My (E-Mail) Inbox 3

 

In My (E-Mail) Inbox 3 (Randyjw; October 5, 2016)

 

The United States of America is a vast land, with a changing topography and individualistic beauty across all of its ranges. From the red desertland of a New Mexico sunset, to the soft hues of a risen sun striking the red clays of Georgia, America presents a tapestry as vivid and cacophonous as the multitudes of its cultures.

 

From the Hawai’ian Islands, apart from the mainland, to the stretch of the Big Sur coastline drive, the West Coast contains some of the most beautiful scenery in America. Have you ever seen the Sequoia forests? The trees are a majesty to behold! It is here where the land is fertile, producing much of our organic produce and foodstuffs. Almonds, olives, grapes (raisins, wine, etc.) and so much more are coaxed with much care and artisanry by the small-batch growers, who make up the forefront of our proactive laws across our lands in the back-to-nature movements. I don’t think a trip to the U.S. would be complete without a trip spending some good, quality time in California.

 

The Northwest ranges along our border contain much of our hidden wildlife, deep snows, bubbling brooks, and some of our most glorious national parks.

 

Western inland includes some of the deserts and the drylands that are Utah, Arizona and New Mexico, with fantastic views of gorges, such as the Grand Canyon, and buttes of red rock, as in Zion National Park and Bryce’s Canyon.

 

There is the open plains of the Central regions, which make up the heartland of America. Fields of wheat, corn, dairies, livestock and more produce a plethora of food in the basic heart of the “bread basket” of our land. If you appreciate a cyclic approach to life, you will appreciate the country farming life of preserving the national heritage with its pioneering lifestyles involving homesteading and sustenance of the community.

 

The Central-Southern lands border the ocean, which plays a part of it, but not all of it. Texas has a great basis in its land, though it deals in oil rigs and cattle. Louisiana encompasses both the bay, in its bayou culture, and the interior swamplands of alligators. Its mixed cultures have integrated wholeheartedly into its particular people, and the foods and celebrations of the area showcase this with its crayfish/crawdaddy jumbalayas, beignets, and Mardi Gras parades — none for the faint of heart!

 

The northeast region encompasses the original settler colonies, where the landing took place. The states here still embody a hardy lot of plucky people, with skills from the Old World, and a freedom quest which can never be quenched. Here are the lands of Paul Revere, the soldiers against the redcoats, the Union Army against the Confederate Army of the south in the Civil War, and the assisters in the “Underground Railroad” aiding enslaved men to reach freedom, all of which was won by these northerners. The lands of these states exhibit perfectly all four of the seasons; they are small, but effective and diverse, with unique pockets of the cultures which came to its shores.

 

The South is a nod back to the days of manse houses, plantations (with its former sharecropping and slavemaster history), and the new paradigms embracing its former victims into the whole of its society, at times imperfectly. There is the warmth of Florida, and the hospitality and charm of the Georgian manner. Close-knit societies grew around faith and practices, establishing many different religious denominations in its midst. There is a vibrant Carolinas crafting society, a lively bluegrass community stemming from the Appalachias, and a “down-home” atmosphere all-around.

 

In my email inbox today was the Travelzoo Top 20 picks for the week of October 5, 2016. Here was a great deal for a walking tour of downtown Nashville! The area of Tennessee seems to be experiencing a sudden focus of activity lately, as well! Just the other night I watched a televised segment about the area of Dayton, where the Scopes Monkey Trial took place. The resultant verdicts and trial brought light to what would become a landmark, historical ruling on the teaching of evolution versus creationism in the public education system. If you are interested in seeing a piece of history with regard to replacing religion in the classroom with the theory of evolution, you may wish to explore the actual location of this momentuous event. Located in the Rhea County Courthouse, the second-floor restored courtoom is where the trial of John T. Scopes, a 24-year-old science teacher convicted for advancing Darwinian ideas of evolution in the classroom, took place. Also in the basement of the courthouse, an additional museum with artifacts has been set up to commemorate this event. The address is: 1475 Market Street; Dayton, TN 37321; (423) 775-7801. Monday – Friday: 9am – 5pm. Check before you go. Closed weekends and holidays.

Sources:

Wikipedia.org:

(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhea_County_Courthouse)

Tennessee Department of Tourist Development:

(https://www.tnvacation.com/vendors/the_scopes_trial_museum_rhea_county_courthouse)

 

More fun things to do in Tennessee include:

“Going to Graceland!”, Elvis Presley’s home in Memphis;

A visit to the beautiful, haunting, G-dly Smoky Mountain Range;

Visiting Sun Studio, the recording studio where many famous musicians got their start;

Dollywood! Dolly Parton’s amusement park in Pigeon Forge (I just love Dolly Parton!)

Grand Ole Opry! iconic bastion of country music;

More!

 

Here’s a link to a site with some more ideas:

(http://www.planetware.com/tourist-attractions/tennessee-ustn.htm)

 

Downtown Nashville Walking Tour:

Pricing:

Two People: $19.00 (Regularly $40.00)

Single: $12.00 (Regularly $20.00)

Meet-up in front of the Music City Visitor Center, downtown — and meet other nice folks who like to travel and enjoy the richness found in visiting the sites!

 

The Travelzoo deal includes discounted pricing on a guided, 90-minute walking tour, departing twice daily from the front of the Music City Visitor Center at 501 Broadway Avenue (at 5th and Broadway); Nashville, TN 37203 at 10:30am and 1:00pm. Reservations and pre-purchase of vouchers, available through tour operator, Really Entertaining Tours, required. Subject to availability and not valid on holidays or holiday weekends. Tips and taxes not included. Limit one purchase per person; gift purchases allowed. 24-hour cancellation policy. Presented by Really Entertaining Tours through Travelzoo.com. Valid through November 30, 2016. Call the tour operator or visit their website:

(615) 589-0238

(http://www.reallyentertainingtours.com/walking-tours)

 

Hope you enjoy your visit to the United States, in general, and to Tennessee and its environs, in particular!

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Kaine, and Able

 

Kaine, and Able (Randyjw; October 4, 2016)

 

Tonight’s vice presidential debate on television introduced me, for the first time, to both candidates. I’ve been a Trump supporter for at least four years prior to his decision to even run in this election. I’ve explained that I’ve heard Trump’s positions and opinions in interviews with conservative radio talk show hosts over the years, and I’ve agreed with mostly everything he’s had to say.

 

I’ve felt nervous about the man who would be second-in-command of the most powerful nation on the earth. Who is Mike Pence? And who is Tim Kaine, Hillary’s running mate? Tonight, I found out.

 

Tim Kaine continually interjected himself by trying to talk over Mike Pence, as Mr. Pence was trying to answer the moderator’s questions. I learned nothing new, yet I learned everything I needed to know — there’s Kaine, on the one hand.

 

And on the other, is a very Able candidate, by the name of Mike Pence (Republican).

 

Please read Donald Trump’s policies, at his website, here:

https://www.donaldjtrump.com/policies/

 

And his press releases, here:

https://www.donaldjtrump.com/press-releases

 

 

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Acid Attack Awareness

 

Acid Attack Awareness (Randyjw; October 4, 2016)

 

The subject deserves more than the passing mention I’m affording it here. Perhaps that’s a by-product of my own dichotic nature of being too wishy-washy and not crystal clear on morality; too forgiving of the nature of humanity, including its evils.

 

Perhaps it’s my fears of giving impetus to the power of ideas, where bestowing acknowledgment to an accursed evil only expands its energy and gives heft to its existence. Such is what happened in giving weight to the idea that the former Arab terrorist leader of the PLO, Yasser Arafat, was a “peaceful” person, and that giving credence to a false narrative of a “Palestinian” people as indigenous to Israel, while they yet kill Jewish people and squat on Jewish sovereign land (not being “Canaanite”), made a reality out of propaganda-based lies.

 

Perhaps it’s also my fears of the desensitization of society — creating normative ideals of a debauched and debased society, where destructive thoughts and actions become the typical standards: the S’dom and Gomorrah of the popular culture of the day. I’m not really impressed by the trends of our youth flocking to such dark pop heroes as vampires, zombies, horror movies, and the genre of all “dark matters”. This fascination with necromancy and the macabre I find rather chilling.

 

When we have such obsession, we find individuals practicing their own warped realizations of their personal interpretations of these ideas carried forth into reality. The state of Ohio, for some strange reason, always seems to breed these satanic cult worshippers who actually perform sacrificial offerings of real human people on their death-cult altars. Copycat crimes are an additional worrying concern. My writing about this even shows my unformed ability to either acquiesce to its revealment, or to bury it where it should belong.

 

Perhaps this is as a result of being raised in the Puritanical holdover of cities and the town where I was raised, in the environment of a liberal framework I desired to adopt in my nature. The precepts of a Judaism which contains laws which are supposed to be followed, versus the Reform Judaism outlook of my synagogue, which jettisoned the rules, unbeknownst to me, until I really stopped to think and learn about the history and practices of this strain of beliefs I was inculcated with during my childhood.

 

Acid attacks are one form of wielding dominance over other people. It is usually carried out by an individual who sees their own outlook on societal mores as superior to those of others and who wishes to control others by dominating them. Behind it lies a very insecure individual who feels threatened by the “other”-ness of another person’s differences; stereotypically, they extend their generalizations to include whole groups of individuals for whom they’ve linked identifying characteristics.

 

The Muslim society is still often portrayed by itself as one which is a patriarchical society, assigning dominance of thought and action to those individuals born male. Behaviors and roles in society are ascribed to each gender, and any deviance from the proscribed sets of actions will result in swift chastisement, punishment, and even at pain of death. This could be applied to both males and females, as it relates to apostasy beyond religious edicts, or behavioral aberrations which contradict expected behaviors of the so-distinguished classes.

 

Blood feuds between clans and tribes often rely on upholding one’s perceived standing within the society. To let an insult stand would bring mockery and shame to the family. “Honor” killings are the so-called rebalancing of the aggrieved parties’ status within the neighborhood and to their neighbors. The practice is, very marginally, beginning to be brought to bear as murder, for taking another’s life.

 

Sometimes an individual, or even a regime or government, will take up the task to injure another party in an egregious fashion by maiming the individual to make them “pay” for their “crime”, real or imaginary. This is our form of punishment and deterrance. In free countries, this is upheld by the courts of laws, to the extent that such fairness and laws are upheld. Other regimes uphold their laws, but their laws are faultily with already pre-biased judgment, not fairly distributed across the axial divide separating classes, religion, gender, and other such groups that we would consider, in the U.S., as protected individuals/groups.

 

People commit their own vigilante justice and juridical judgments when they undertake their own measures against others, when such decisions would be relegated to the courts of law to which they most normally subscribe. Bernhard Goetz was one such man familiar to us in the United States, when he attacked thugs in the railway station. Defense or Assault?

 

Well, moral equivalency is an issue, often. It apparently is that way in Pakistan, particularly, and regions in that area, as a fairly commonplace practice for the perpetrators of acid attacks, a horrifically hate-filled method of disfiguring another individual with long-lasting and, often, permanent effects — physically and emotionally.

 

Such attacks are carried out in measures which are more than noticeable by the men in this region against the women within it. Although there has been listed a case of a man suffering this incidence by the hand of a female, it is most often identified with a high rate of perpetration, seen as dominance, by men.

 

It is a socially-scarring stigma for those of its victims to bear, and to have to live with the consequences of its visible transformation as bearance of proof to the outside world of their so-called “sins”. But, women are erasing that and showing that they are strong, beautiful people that have only been the recipients of attacks by someone else, who themselves are the bearers of brutally-scarred souls.

 

BBCAmerica yesterday aired a segment on American television introducing a comic that has been created to contend with acid attacks by bringing its issue and its victims into the open. The superhero, a fighting female with magical powers, brings the mirror of self-recognition to light. It reflects what we see inside: a beautiful person, or a villainous evildoer.

 

The artwork by Dan Goldman for these endeavors has been awesome. This particular installment, created with Ram Devineni, is part of the “Priya” series. The original, or first, is known as “Priya’s Shakthi”. This second one, dealing with the subject of acid attacks, is called “Priya’s Mirror”. Using augmented reality technology to bring its scenes to life, the brief excerpts I saw of its airing on BBCAmerica was unbelievably incredible. Through October 16th, 2016, it will be shown in the Walter Reade Theater’s Furman Gallery, presented in conjunction with the 54th New York Film Festival at the Lincoln Theater.

 

54th New York Film Festival. “Priya’s Mirror”. 2016: https://www.filmlinc.org/nyff2016/films/priyas-mirror/

 

Pandey, Geeta. “India’s Raped Comic ‘Super Hero’ Returns to Fight Acid Attacks”. BBC News, Delhi/BBC.com; September 26, 2016:

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-37287071

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Insane Iran

 

Insane Iran (Randyjw; October 4, 2016)

 

As if jailing religious minorities just because of their differences were not crime enough, Iran is banning women from riding bicycles.

 

Yes. Do you remember those happy Iranian millenials breaking out with happy feet and hearts, singing along to Pharrell Williams’s song, “Happy” two years ago? It was the start of a newfound sense of optimism in the Middle Eastern region. The Arab Spring had sprung, and it was a time of potential to create new and modern democracies in the region.

 

But, the time passed and the enthusiasm was tamped back down in crackdowns of authoritative oppressiveness, and things went back to normal. More wars, more casualties, more drudgery, more backwardness, and more bloodshed. Seems they just can’t help themselves.

 

The participants of that video that went viral on the internet were tracked down by the Iranian government, which imposed suspended jail sentences of up to one year and a whipping of 91 lashes upon each of the “Happy” Iranian celebrants. Gee; in America, we’ve done away with whippings — oh, back in the slavery era. Yeah, that’s really showing your forward-thinking spirit, Iran.

 

And to further stall modernization efforts, the government has banned the riding of bicycles in Iran by women. So, you see — the latest offense to the Iranian government is the potential liberation of women. If women were to be able to ride a bike, it would mean the need to rid themselves of the ladylike dresses or full-length coverings worn, lest a peep of forbidden skin be shown. Worse yet, women would then have a better method of mobility, and they’d be able to move about more freely than if just relegated to walking. And, that would be something the government and Iranian society seem to say that they just aren’t emotionally secure enough to handle.

 

Okay; well go back to your cave-fighting, then, you advanced society, you. And I won’t be holding my breath for any of the human rights groups to say a word, since they’re all run by seeming terrorist sympathizers, anyways.

 

BBC Staff. “Iran: Happy Video Dancers Sentenced to 91 Lashes and Jail”. BBC.com; September 19, 2014: (http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-29272732)

 

JPost.com Staff. “Biking Against the Ban: Iranian Women Defy Female Cycling Fatwa”. The Jerusalem Post/JPost.com; September 22, 2016: (http://jpost.com/Middle-East/Biking-against-the-ban-Iranian-women-defy-female-cycling-fatwa-468381)

 

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Happy New Year 5777

 

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Happy New Year 5777 (Randyjw; October 1, 2016)

 

 

L’Shanah Tovah Tikatevu u’Metukah!

 

Happy Rosh HaShanah 5777!

 

 

 

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Not Without My Anisa

 

Not Without My Anisa (Randyjw; October 1, 2016)

 

There was a poem flowing through my mind

a few short minutes ago

And now that it’s fallen behind

I’m extracting it quite as I go

 

It was about the affairs of our lives

the gifts we’ve been blessed to receive

the ones attributed to G-d

that we never knew we’d need

 

For we never realized its worth

Nor that even it came with a bow

For did anyone else here on earth

wonder how it could even be so

 

My gifts were useful and plenty

In your face wore your family’s descent

I could distinguish a Jew from a Bedouin

And this gift worked with rightful intent

 

Being far from the Source in my exile

I needed this gift to stay safe

In the midst of the whole, mixed-up pile

I could no longer tell Adam and Saint

 

Removed from the close-up perspective

small bits of this gift were returned

And due to their hateful invective

G-d knew that they must be removed

 

But what of the ones who continue?

And why does their hate still persist?

They never received of G-d’s blessings

the gifts they could never regift

 


 

Dedicated to the persecuted; those under oppression; those jailed for their religious beliefs.

 

This is a poem for our beloved WordPress blogger, especially mine and who will always hold a place in my heart, Anisa Kazemi. Her cousin in Iran has been jailed, apparently not for the first time, for his religious beliefs. He is Baha’i, as is Anisa, in a country where the majority are Shi’a Muslim.

 

Since 1979, when the Shah of Iran was overthrown, the Islamic regimes which have replaced it have shown less tolerance to Western ideals of freedoms, and a more close adherence to strict fundamentalist Sharia law. Moral and religious police wander in plainclothes to “catch” people committing public displays of affection, co-mingling of the sexes who are not married, inappropriate display of arm or leg skin by women, etc. — things which Western culture pooh-pooh as being overtly prudish and of no-one else’s concern; yet, here, they are.

 

Anisa’s cousin just happens to be of the wrong religious persuasion in a country that only values the viewpoints from a Shi’ite vantage. He was brought into custody, along with 12 other souls, and that is all that can be known at this time.

 

Anisa’s cousin is a married father with two children. His seven-year-old daughter wrote a letter to Iran’s High Court to petition for the release of her father. I have also written a multitude of letters, in the hope that a connection to someone, or with someone, somewhere, will have an effect upon somebody else’s will and make them have compassion to release these individuals. I’ve written to: a middle-eastern monitoring agency; a rights advocacy group for Iranian dissidents; a Jewish man who founded a group to utilize his Middle-Eastern contacts to rescue Yazidi and Christian minorities from the war-torn areas of Iraq/Kurdistan/Syria; a newspaper; individuals; and others.

 

You, too, can get involved by raising awareness of this issue, educating others, and taking action. Write to your senators, congressmen, and lawmakers to redress this grievance. Use your business and personal contacts to inform friends — someone might just be able to help. Our six degrees of separation can work to bring us all together.

 

Please pray for Anisa Kazemi and her family, and offer her your support and assistance in whatever way you know how and can do.

 

Thanks. We’re counting on you, and the grace of G-d.

 

Please read Anisa’s article about this, here:

Heartbroken

 

Update: Finally, at twenty days, Anisa’s family was able to visit Vargha, Anisa’s imprisoned cousin, at his location at Adel Abaz (Shiraz). Anisa reports on October 18, 2016, that he has been placed in solitary confinement in prison. Her article on this is here:

20 Days In Hell

She gives us a good site, which has reported on the imprisonment in Iran of those of the Baha’i faith. The site is in English and it is stated to not be affiliated with the Baha’i faith, itself. You can read her selection, here:

Nine Baha’i Children and Pre-Teens Deprived of Parents’ Embrace

 

Update: I just found this great article by United with Israel on this subject, complete with some statistics and a little background on the overall phenomenon of Baha’i persecution in Iran. Please read about it, here:

https://unitedwithisrael.org/iran-trying-to-crush-its-bahai-minority-israel-safeguards-them/

 

Update: Anisa’s cousin is now released, with four others (nine still detained; I guess this is a total of fourteen, altogether, then), as per a further report written by Anisa, here:

Good News

 

Update: Here is another great article from the staff at World Israel News, with contributions from Associated Press (AP):

https://worldisraelnews.com/un-cites-iran-human-rights-violations/

 

And these:

https://worldisraelnews.com/11-arab-countries-accuse-iran-sponsoring-terrorism/

 

https://worldisraelnews.com/iran-arming-hezbollah-with-missiles-made-in-syria/

 

And this:

https://www.clarionproject.org/news/iran-denies-existence-7-its-population

 

Additional Reading:

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/aug/03/iran-executes-sunni-prisoners-torture-unfair-trial-claims-human-rights

 

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