Friday, July 29, 2016

Turkish Cleric's Birthplace To Become Restroom

Fethullah Gulen is a Turkish cleric currently living in Pennsylvania.  Called an "arch-nemesis" of President Erdogan, he has been accused of being involved in the failed coup attempt on July 15.  While Gulen does not yet face extradition, some people back in Turkey have found a way to torment him.  From Russia Today:
The birthplace of Gulen in the village of Korucuk is going to be turned into a public toilet, according to a report from local outlet Beyaz Gazete. 
The lavatory is to be built from materials coming from the house Gulen was born in. The outlet claimed the villagers themselves asked authorities for the unusual construction project in the central province of Erzurum. 
If you're a Turk and you don't like Gulen, you might soon get a chance to literally dump on him.  Read the full story.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Seven Tubs

Seven Tubs Nature Area, a.k.a. Seven Tubs Recreation Area, is publicly accessible area owned by the Pennsylvania state government, which may be reached via a side road connecting to Pennsylvania highway 115 a few miles south of Wilkes Barre.  I wanted to check the place out before returning to Maryland.  I parked in a small lot along the side road, which was closed further down, and found an unmarked trail leading to a creek.  Some exploration led me to what used to be a road along the same creek.  I never found any marked trails, so I don't believe I ever saw the natural features for which the place is named.  Although I took this hike in the morning, when it was not too hot out, I still got very sweaty from the humidity, and soon decided to head homeward.

Wednesday Links

Now that I've been back in Maryland for a day, here are some things in the news:

From CBS News, one presidential candidate's daughter has a challenge for the other one's daughter.  (via The Hill)

From the Daily Mail, Donald Trump (R-NY) has some harsh words for the prosecutor of the Freddie Gray case.

From ABC News, Hillary Clinton (D-NY), who was officially nominated by her party yesterday, gets the endorsement of a former New York mayor.

From The Daily Wire,  after the Clinton nomination came the walkout.

From FrontpageMag, the Democrats put on their Mr. Bill Show.

From the Miami Herald, Trump asks Russia to find Clinton's emails.

From the New York Post, Trump criticizes Clinton's running mate, but gets confused.

From World Net Daily, a black man is shot for supporting Trump.  He is now recovering in a hospital.

From Middle East Eye, over 3,000 migrants have died crossing the Mediterranean this year.  (via Zero Hedge)

From the Express, in Germany, a refugee from Eritrea allegedly rapes a 79-year-old woman in a cemetery.

From the Evening Standard, the two Muslims who killed a French priest used nuns as human shields.

From Russia Today, the French are upset that the authorities missed the two.

From the Mirror, a children's TV show generates outrage by showing a fireman tripping over a page from the Koran.

From the Richmond Times-Dispatch, a Richmond man who started out delivering milk in a horse-drawn wagon dies at age 103.

From USA Today, the man who shot President Ronald Reagan in 1981 will be allowed to go home to his mother.

From The Next Web, Snapchat finds an interesting way to promote itself.

From The Jerusalem Post, an editorial in favor of Kurdish statehood.

And from CNN, something that I think I'll decline.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Mark Twain's Study

The legendary American writer Samuel Clemens, known as Mark Twain, is famous for writing novels and short stories set in places along the Mississippi River, and in other parts of America.  Many of his most famous works, however, were written in a small octagonal building in Elmira, New York.  The story of its origins goes back to 1870, when Clemens married Olivia Langdon, an early graduate of Elmira College.  While the Clemens family lived in Redding, Connecticut, they would spend their summers in Elmira at the property of Olivia's sister Susan Crane and her husband Theodore, which they called Quarry Farm.  In 1874, the Cranes built the study on a hill about 100 yards from their house, in part to provide Clemens with a space in which to work, and in part to avoid his cigar smoke.  At the time, the Chemung River could be seen from the study, which reminded Clemens of his childhood in Hannibal, Missouri, which was on the Mississippi.  Today, Quarry Farm is gone and the study has been incorporated into the campus of Mrs. Clemens's alma mater.

Taughannock Falls State Park

Taughannock Falls State Park is home to its namesake waterfall, along its namesake creek.  The park is located along New York highway 89 and the west shore of Cayuga Lake, about seven miles northwest of Ithaca.  As anyone who read this blog last month might recall, I was recently in Ithaca visiting three of its waterfalls, so you could say that I was back in the area to see one more.  During that earlier trip, however, I had not yet learned about this particular waterfall.

Getting to the Ithaca area was more hazardous than I had anticipated.  Although TV reports indicated that western New York was experiencing a drought, as I got ready to check out of a hotel in Auburn, NY, a pretty intense rain was falling.  As I drove westward on U.S. highway 20, and then southward on NY-89, the rain continued, varying in intensity between light and torrential, occasionally providing some large puddles in the road.  On US-20, I passed a line of about 12 bicyclists, who were fortunately decked out in weather-appropriate outerwear.


Located within Victor, New York, Ganondagan was one place I visited in 2010 while on a historical and archaeological tour.  During my New York childhood, I had pretty much grown up learning about the Iroquois and their dealings with European colonists.  The 2010 tour was a pretty good refresher course.

I decided that Ganondagan would be a stop on my recent road trip.  As I approached the place, I noticed that there were cars parked along the nearby roads.  After I did the same with my car, I walked into the visitors center (and through its full parking lot) and learned that there was a festival going on.  I payed the admission fee and then walked around the site and learned (or maybe re-learned) that it had been inhabited by people of the Seneca tribe, the westernmost of the five founding tribes of the Iroquois Confederacy, until it was destroyed in 1687 by a French army invading from Canada.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Kinzua Bridge

The Kinzua Bridge was a railroad viaduct that spanned Kinzua Creek and its canyon, a few miles northeast of Mt. Jewett, Pennsylvania.  It was first built in 1882, taken out of service in 1959, sold to the Pennsylvania government in 1963, and used as the feature attraction of a state park.  In 2003, after restoration had begun, much of it was ripped down by a tornado.  In 2011, the remaining portion, still connecting to the south side of the canyon, was converted into a pedestrian skywalk.  Here's the south end of the skywalk.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Seldom Seen Coal Mine

Sometime last fall, I spotted Seldom Seen Coal Mine on a map, but haven't gotten around to visiting the place until today.  It's located near Patton, PA and is reached via a side road connecting to state highway 36.  Before taking the tour into the mine, I walked around the topside facilities.  We visitors rode into the mine on railcars similar to the yellow ones in this picture.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Terrorists Strike Mall In Munich, Germany

In Munich, eight people have been killed in an apparent terror attack at the Olympia shopping mall and a nearby McDonalds.  Three suspected gunmen are at large.  Authorities have locked down various transit lines, such as commuter trains and trams.  No group has yet claimed responsibility.

Read more at The TelegraphBBC News, Reuters, Deutsche Welle and Russia Today.

UPDATE:  According to BBC, DW and RT, a ninth person has been found dead.  Authorities are trying to determine if this person was one of the perpetrators.

UPDATE 2:  There is now reported to have been only one gunman, an 18-year-old Iranian who had been living in Munich for two years.  Ten people have been killed, including the gunman, who reportedly shot himself.  Read more at the Daily Mail.

Bulls Run In Baltimore

In West Baltimore, two bulls escaped from a slaughterhouse and then ran around a residential neighborhood, before being captured by police at around 10:20 a.m.  Fortunately, Baltimore's version of "The Running Of The Bulls" did not result in any injuries, either bovine or human.  I wonder, though, how much literal bull[bleep] was left behind by the two escapees.

Read more at CBS Baltimore, the North Baltimore Patch, WBAL, The Baltimore Sun and Fox45.