Thursday, July 24, 2014

Watkins Glen State Park

After driving north through Pennsylvania, I continued into New York and eventually found my way to Watkins Glen, at the south end of Seneca Lake, which is one of the Finger Lakes.  Watkins Glen is known for its international race track and the Summer Jam music festival, which took place in 1973.  My intended destination was Watkins Glen State Park, whose main entrance is just west of the village itself.  I remember one other visit to this park, during my childhood in western New York.

The park consists of a gorge cut by Glen Creek, which flows roughly west to east, some camping areas, mostly south of the gorge, and some land extending along the north side the gorge.  From the main entrance, the Gorge Trail takes hikers inside the gorge, leading generally westward and uphill.  Visitors enter the lit tunnel toward the right of this picture, proceed up some stairs and then turn left to go across the first bridge.

Mariam Ibrahim Arrives In Italy, Bound For The U.S.

Mariam Ibrahim, the Sudanese woman who recently escaped a death sentence for allegedly converting from Islam (which she has never practiced) to Christianity, has left Sudan and arrived in Italy.  She traveled with her two children on an Italian government plane, accompanied by Italian Deputy Foreign Minister Lapo Pistelli, and was greeted on her arrival by Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.  How long she will remain in Italy is unclear, but her plans are to continue on to the United States, of which her husband is a citizen.

Read more at The Sydney Morning Herald, Yahoo News, ABC News and CNN.

UPDATE:  From AOL, Ibrahim and her family meet Pope Francis.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Baretta Decides To Leave Maryland

The American arm of the Italian gun manufacturer Baretta has decided to leave Maryland for Tennessee, in response to Maryland's recently passed gun control law.  The company intends to complete the transfer by the end of 2015.  However, about 95 administrative jobs will stay at their current facility in Accokeek, Maryland.  The new manufacturing location will be in Gallatin, Tennessee.

Read more at The Baltimore Sun, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, NBC Washington and Fox News.

A Swing Into Pennsylvania

A few years back, while travelling north from Maryland into Pennsylvania, I ran across a rest area along the combined US Routes 11 and 15 called McKee's Half Falls, named for a set of rapids in the nearby Susquehanna River, along which the combined highway runs.  Although I've stopped there several times over the past few years, the river conditions have not always favorable for a photograph.  Sometimes the river is too high, thus hiding the two transverse lines of rocks that produce the rapids.  But this time, the river level appeared to be more favorable.  Here is the lower (southern) of the two rock formations, which has captured an uprooted tree.

Monday, July 21, 2014

IRS Sought Help To Destroy 3,200 Hard Drives

From The Washington Times:
Days after IRS officials said in a sworn statement that former top agency employee Lois G. Lerner’s computer memory had been wiped clean, the agency put out word to contractors Monday that it needs help to destroy at least another 3,200 hard drives.
The Internal Revenue Service solicitation for “media destruction” services reflects an otherwise routine job to protect sensitive taxpayer information, but it was made while the agency’s record destruction practices remain under a sharp congressional spotlight.
I know that there are legitimate reasons for destroying a hard drive, such as when a government employee leaves his position, but somehow, I don't think that 3,200 of them all left the IRS at around the same some.  I'll concede that there can be times when information gets old and thus becomes disposable.  But imagine the uproar from the left if a private business that's under investigation or a government agency during a Republican presidency had done this.

Read the full story.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

James Garner 1928-2014

James Garner, known for his leading roles on the TV shows Maverick and The Rockford Files, and for making a series of Polaroid Camera commercials with Mariette Hartley (this one, for example), has died in his home in Los Angeles of natural causes.   He had been in poor health for some time.

James Scott Bumgarner was born on April 7, 1928 in Norman Oklahoma.  His mother died when he was young, after which his father remarried.  He and his brothers Charles and Jack did not get along with their stepmother, who according to Garner, would beat them "with anything she could get hold of."  Garner dropped out of high school, briefly joined the Merchant Marine, moved to Los Angeles where his father lived, went back to school, worked in Texas and Oklahoma oil fields, and was drafted into the Army during the Korean War, during which he was wounded twice.  After his discharge, he attended the University of Oklahoma, returned to California, worked for his father as a carpet layer, and got into acting.  His survivors include his wife, his daughter and a stepdaughter.

Read more at the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, ABC News, People and KTLA.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Former Hokie RB Sails Away

Back in 2001, Kevin Jones was a true freshman running back on Virginia Tech's football team.  In Philadelphia, I got to watch him score two touchdowns against Temple, including one on an 87-yard run.  After the 2003 season, he left college and was drafted by the Detroit Lions, but his pro football career was fairly short.  He later returned to Virginia Tech to get his bachelor's degree.  Most recently, he was hired as a special assistant to Tech's new athletic director Whit Babcock.  Last summer, however, while in Switzerland, he was invited to do something very different from football.  From the Richmond Times-Dispatch:
Near the end of his design internship with a furniture manufacturer in Switzerland last summer, Kevin Jones’ boss asked him if he wanted to go sailing. So Jones, a former Virginia Tech and NFL running back, politely accepted.
To find out what Kevin Jones got himself into, read the full story.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Friday Links

As the weekend approaches, here are a few things going on:

From The Blaze, eight State Constitutions still ban a certain type of person from holding office.

From Illinois Review, the Illinois Supreme Court rejects a ban on term limits.

From National Journal, Senator Elizabeth Warren's (D-Mass) 11 commandments of progressivism.

From Breitbart TV, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power says that assistance from Russia cannot be ruled out in determining the cause of the downing of Flight MH17.

From the New York Post, a flight attendant who swapped himself onto Flight MH17 was the husband of a flight attendant who swapped out of Flight MH370.

From Fox News, President Obama says that at least one American was on board Flight MH17.

From Liberty News, was a missile that brought down Flight MH17 actually intended for Russia's Presidential Plane?

From Watchdog.org, how Organizing for Action is cracking the President's image of being transparent.

From Rare, the woman who thought Obama was going to pay for her gas has changed her tune.

From ABC News, Swedish appliance maker Electrolux posts a second-quarter loss.

From Life News, police do nothing as an abortion support steals pro-life signs.

From Bluegrass Pundit, a video of Israel thwarting a tunnel attack by Hamas. (via Liberty Unyielding)

From The Right Scoop, a video of what ranchers on the border have to deal with.

And from Duh Progressive, the White House appoints the new Border Security Czar.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Johnny Winter 1944-2014

Blues-rock guitarist/singer Johnny Winter, who had been on tour in Europe, has died in hotel room near Zurich, Switzerland.  He had performed in Wiesen, Austria just four days earlier. There is no word yet on the cause of death.

John Dawson Winter III was born in Mississippi, but raised Beaumont, Texas along with his younger brother Edgar, himself a highly successful musician.  Johnny Winter debuted as a solo artist in 1969 and continued as such for most of his career, but also formed a band called Johnny Winter And during the early 1970's, which included guitarist/singer Rick Derringer, drummer Randy Zehringer (known as Randy Z) and bassist Randy Jo Hobbs, all of whom had been in the pop-rock group The McCoys. (Derringer and Zehringer are brothers, Zehringer being their real last name.)  Winter grew up idolizing legendary blues guitarist Muddy Waters, and later performed with him.  In turn, he inspired other white blues guitarists such as the late Stevie Ray Vaughn.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Texas Rancher Finds Urdu Book

Via Liberty Unyielding:

A rancher in southern Texas, whose ranch is a few miles from the Falfurrias Border Patrol station (mentioned in my second post yesterday), made an interesting discovery on his property - an Urdu/English dictionary and phrasebook.  If anyone is wondering where in Texas, Mexico or Central America Urdu is spoken, it isn't.  It's the official language of Pakistan.

Read the story at The Blaze.