Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Links For The End Of May

As May draws to a close, here are some things in the news:

Move over, Kek, Kermit and Hoppity Hooper, Nature World News presents a new species of frog.


As The American Mirror points out, Griffin's stunt was too much even for Satan worshipers.

On the other hand, an opinion writer in the Washington Examiner defends Griffin's right to do what she did.

It's very hard to get to what the New York Post calls "Mexico's most Instagrammed beach".

From the Daily Record, a Muslim convert flees Scotland while wondering why Muslims should care about Manchester.

As pointed out in FrontpageMag, sometimes revolutions eat their own.

Gatestone Institute asks, "Fleeing tyranny or bringing it with them?"

As National Review reports, Hillary keeps trying to be relevant.

According to an opinion writer in The Week, if you want universal health care, first look across the Pond.

According to an opinion writer from The Heritage Foundation, the real enemy of farmers is not capitalism.

From AhlulBayt News Agency, Israel is well aware of Hezbollah's missiles.

From CNN, a truck bomb in Kabul kills 90 people.

From Reuters, China and the EU will support the Paris climate agreement.

From the Independent, President Trump reportedly won't keep the U.S.in the Paris agreement.

Despite what we may have heard, according to The Daily Caller, the German ambassador to the U.S. says that President Trump and Chancellor Merkel get along quite well.

From ABC News, at the Orlando airport, police take into custody a man who was brandishing a fake gun.  (Pop quiz:  When are cops most likely able to determine whether a gun is real or fake?  Answer:  After they arrest the person with the gun.)

And from Fox Newsplease pass the covfefe.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Links For Memorial Day

Today is Memorial Day and the 100th anniversary of the birth of President Kennedy.  Here are some things going on out there:

Memorial Day in a divided nation.



What is Kekistan?

In one writer's opinion, President Trump should say non to the Paris agreement.



A famous golfer gets arrested in Jupiter.  (Perhaps he should have turned left at the Great Red Spot.)

Arrogant illegal aliens set forth their demands.

Israel will soon have an earthquake early warning system.

Meanwhile, California gets a very mild quake.

In Kashmir, Ramadan celebrators defy curfew.

Islam was present in America at its Founding, but was not part of it.  (intermediate source)

The Portland stabbing suspect doesn't like Muslims, Christians or Jews.

I'll just recite the title: "Sharia down under".

A Jewish family on a British beach are pelted with stones.

A controversial Mosque in Switzerland will be closed down.


Egypt transfers the security chief of the area where terrorists killed 29 Christians.

And to finish, a tight end texts his quarterback.

I Am The Hippo

Via Chicks On The Right and Pirate's Cove, from The Daily Caller:
A PhD student explained his "transpecies" hippopotamus identity and why he prefers being "transpecies" to transgender in a peer-reviewed paper published in May.
Florentin Félix Morin, a French PhD student who studied at the University of Arizona in the spring 2017 semester, published a paper discovered Saturday entitled "EGO HIPPO: The subject as metaphor," in which he explained "how his metaphorical hippo-self is collectively produced and performed."
John Lennon sang I Am The Walrus, but this guy opted for another large water-loving mammal.  Thankfully, Mr. (perhaps soon-to-be-Dr.) Morin has the sense to admit that his "hippo-self" is "metaphorical".  Read the full story.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Gregg Allman 1947-2017

Gregg Allman, lead singer and keyboardist of the Allman Brothers Band, and one of the pioneers of southern rock, died earlier today at his home in Savannah, Georgia.  He was 69.  He had previously contacted Hepatitis C and had undergone a liver transplant.

Gregory LeNoir Allman was born in 1947 in Nashville, Tennessee.  Along with his guitarist brother Duane, he moved to Florida during the mid-1960's and played in a band named after themselves, the Allman Joys.  They later relocated to Los Angeles and formed a band called the Hour Glass, and still later moved to Macon, Georgia to form the Allman Brothers Band.  The original lineup also included guitarist/singer Richard Betts, bassist Berry Oakley and two drummers, Butch Trucks and Jai Johanny Johanson, known as Jaimoe.  After the band put out two successful albums, Duane Allman and Oakley were each killed in a motorcycle accident.  They regrouped with Lamar Williams on bass and Chuck Leavell on piano.  The band, in various incarnations, would continue until 2014.  Its members have included guitarists such as Dan Toler, Warren Haynes and Derek Trucks (Butch's nephew), bassists such as Allen Woody and Oteil Burbridge, drummer David Toler (Dan's brother, who briefly replaced Johanson), and percussionist Marc Quiñones.  Besides organ, Gregg Allman would occasionally play piano and guitar.  He also had a side project called the Gregg Allman Band.

Allman had five children, including singer-guitarist Elijah Blue Allman, whose mother is pop singer Cher.  Read more at Billboard, CNN, Rolling Stone, Ultimate Classic Rock and TMZ.

Jim Bunning 1931-2017

Former Senator and Major League baseball pitcher Jim Bunning died yesterday at the age of 85.  He had suffered a stroke this past October.  He was the only person ever to be elected to both the Baseball Hall of Fame and the U.S. Senate.

James Paul David Bunning was born in Southgate, Kentucky, but attended St. Xavier High School in Cincinnati.  He also graduated from Xavier University before playing minor league baseball.  He was called up to the Detroit Tigers in July, 1955.  He pitched a no-hitter in 1958 against the Boston Red Sox.  After the 1963 season, Bunning was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies.  He pitched a perfect game against the New York Mets in 1964, the first by a National League pitcher in 84 years.  He would later play for the Pittsburgh Pirates and Los Angeles Dodgers before returning to the Phillies, retiring from baseball after the 1971 season.

Bunning served as a city councilman in Fort Thomas, Kentucky, and then ran successfully for State Senator as a Republican.  In 1983, he ran for governor, but lost to Democrat Martha Layne Collins.  In 1986, he won a seat in the U.S. House of Representative, in which he served for six terms.  In 1998, he successfully ran for U.S. Senator, and was re-elected in 2004.  He declined to run again in 2010, supporting his eventual successor Rand Paul.

Bunning died in a hospital in the same town where he was born.  He is survived by his wife, the former Mary Catherine Theis, and their nine children, 35 grandchildren, and 14 great-grandchildren.

Read more at WKYT, Politico, Cincinnati(dot)com, ESPN and Sports Illustrated.  For his baseball career stats, go to Baseball Reference.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Friday Links

As Memorial Day weekend approaches, here are some things going on out there:

From The Washington Times, a woman is arrested as an alleged accessory to a triple murder.

From the Los Angeles Times, the London premiers of three movies have been cancelled.

From Fox Nation, President Trump orders an investigation into the leaking of British intelligence.

From Twitchy, Trump's rival returns to her alma mater.

From Townhall, DHS Secretary John Kelly responds to Trump's predecessor.

From Bloomberg, Trump's allies have been "convicted of high crimes without a trial".

From the Washington Examiner, Mark Levin thinks Sean Hannity "should consider suing" Media Matters.

From CNN, terrorists kill 26 Coptic Christians as they were riding a bus.

From The Telegraph, more on the Manchester bomber, from his sister.

From AhlulBayt News Agency, Iran claims that their third underground missile production site is "fully operational".  (That term sounds vaguely familiar.)

From FrontpageMag, a self-described "Jersey Girl" weighs in on Confederate statues and other matters.

From National Review, not one but two reactions to the 4th Circuit decision on Trump's 2nd EO.

From ABC News, a day after being charged with allegedly body-slamming a reporter, Greg Gianforte (R-MT) wins a special congressional election.

From Bizpac Review, when it comes to assaulting reporters, Gianforte isn't alone.

From The Daily Caller, some people demand that In-N-Out burger stop serving meat made with antibiotics.

From The Roanoke Times, my alma mater is classified as a "baron" in college football.

From The Babylon Bee, which is satirical, a bible college freshman offers his pastor some help.

And from the normally not satirical ZeroHedge, let's have some fun with Bo(eh)ner.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Seven Arrested In Connection To The Manchester Bombing

In the aftermath of the suicide bombing in Manchester, England, seven people have been arrested.  Five of them, including the attacker's older brother, have been taken into custody in England.  The other two are the attacker's father and younger brother, who were arrested in Libya.

Read more at The Telegraph, Reuters, The Guardian, The New York Times and the Metro.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

More On The Attack In Manchester

As I expected, here are some more items relating to the suicide attack in Manchester, UK:

From the Daily Mail, a woman injured in the bombing is under heavy sedation, and is thus unaware that her daughter was killed; and parents have taken to social media to find their children who have been missing since after the attack.

From the Observer, one freelance writer has a sick mind.

From The Telegraph, Manchester's city manager's wife and daughters were at the concert.  (via Russia Today)

From Breitbart, the British government thinks that another attack may be imminent.

From Breitbart Jerusalem, ISIS supporters promise more attacks.

From FrontpageMag, in one writer's opinion, British Prime Minister Theresa May should apologize and resign.

From National Review, one writer asks three questions after the attack.  (The first, "Who is the attacker?", appears to have already been answered.)

From Townhall, one Democratic candidate has her own idea of what to blame the bombing on.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Explosion Kills Concertgoers In Manchester, England

Toward the end of concert put on by American singer Ariana Grande at the Manchester (UK) Arena, an explosion went off, killing 19 people and injuring at 50 others.  Police are regarding the blast as an act of terrorism, and possibly also suicide bombing, until they learn otherwise.

As with similar incidents, the relevant details will probably take some time to be reported.  I will therefore try to pass on whatever information that I come across in the near future.

Read more at The Telegraph, The Guardian, the Independent, The Sun and BBC News.

UPDATE:  The above links now indicate that the explosion was indeed a suicide bombing, carried out by Salman Abedi, who was a native of Manchester and a university drop-out.  They now report 22 people dead and 59 injured.

Monday Links

As our president continues his trip to the Middle East, here are some things going on, there and elsewhere:

From NBC News, Donald Trump becomes the first sitting American president to visit the Western Wall.

From the Los Angeles Times, at the Western Wall, Trump was not joined by Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu.

From Haaretz, in one writer's opinion, Trump's visit will not be good for the Israeli right.

From FrontpageMag, Trump's speech in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia was a "marked improvement" over President Obama's speech in Egypt in 2009.

From National Review, Trump's speech was "statesmanlike".

From the Daily Mail, in one writer's opinion, the speech showed that Trump could be a "brilliant president".

From The Washington Free Beacon, reporters fall for a fake list of demands by Trump on his Israeli hosts.  (You'd think that inclusion of bacon, which is very non-kosher, might have been a clue.)

From PoliZette, America's first Slavic FLOTUS impresses the Saudis and Israelis.

From The Hill, America's Ambassador to the United Nations says we "absolutely" need an investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

From Twitchy, one of the Notre Dame snowflakes graduates explains why they walked out of Vice President Pence's commencement speech.

From CNN, a report from someone who attended Pence's speech.

From the Tampa Bay Times, is it neo-Nazis or Muslims?  It's both.

From The Sun, one sign that your relationship may be in trouble.  (via Fox News.  Also, note the name of the writer.)

From The Daily Caller, wind turbines are blamed for the deaths of three whales.  (TDC cites The Times, but you'll have to register to access the full article there.)

From the Express, a Swedish airport is evacuated after a "trace of explosive" was found in someone's bag, and Spain faces a possible Catalexit.

From The Old Continent, in Austria, the victim of a migrant gang rape speaks out.

From Baptist Press, four lesbian couples sue the state of Tennessee over legal definitions.

From The Express Tribune, in Pakistan, a professor and his niece are arrested for allegedly having links to ISIS.

From The Times Of India, two boys are stripped and tonsured for stealing food.

From Indonesia Expat, in Indonesia, in preparation for Ramadan, police crack down on illegal alcohol sales.

From Breitbart London, Polish party leader Jarosław Kaczyński says the migrant crisis in Europe is Germany's fault.

And from The Sacramento Bee, LeBron James is human.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Downtown Gettysburg

Since I live in Maryland, I'm pretty close to some places in southern Pennsylvania, such as Gettysburg.  I recently drove up there, not to visit the battlefield, as I have done in the past, but to check out the center of town, including this statue of Abraham Lincoln and a modern citizen.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Music Break

I'd say it's time for full-size Music Break.  Here are a few songs that I'd regard as being not all that known.  I didn't know about this first one until recently.  Tom Fogerty's Joyful Resurrection, from his 1974 album Zephyr National, includes contributions by his old Creedence Clearwater Revival bandmates Stu Cook (on bass and lead guitar) and Doug Clifford (on drums), along with his own rhythm guitar.  Depending on which source you consult, his brother John may have also contributed on guitar.


Friday, May 19, 2017

A Sasquatch's Dozen

Here are twelve stories in the news:

Ladies and gentleman, it's Chelsea Manning and the pronouns.

Meet the merman.  (HotAir listed this one in their "Headlines" section with the link title "Dude".  They like to use this one-word title to indicate stories that are a bit weird.  When things get really weird, they also append a question mark.)

Venezuelan Supreme Court judges don't like being sanctioned.

Poland's refusal to take refugees could lead to a referendum.

General Mattis does not relish a military solution on North Korea.

With ISIS no longer in town, booze is back in Mosul, Iraq.

God might be your co-pilot, but Allah is this guy's lawyer.

Cholera spreads rapidly in Yemen.


A man is subdued after allegedly trying to breach a passenger plane's cockpit.

Clock boy's case is dismissed.

And even Harvard agrees, media coverage of President Trump is as negative as ever.

Weiner Pleads Guilty

Anthony Weiner, the former congressman who couldn't keep his namesake body part private, has plead guilty to the charge of transferring obscene material to a 15-year-old girl, doing so across state lines.  He faces a sentence of 21 to 27 months, and will register as a sex offender.

Read more at The New York Times, NBC News, CNN, the Daily News and Fox News.

UPDATE:  Mrs. Weiner files for divorce, as reported by the New York Post.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Various And Sundry

Some various and sundry and sun-dried things going on out there:

Why Scotland wants a referendum on independence.

One Trumpet calls the former FBI director "weird and vindictive".

The notorious leaker gets released.

Did another leaker pay with his life?

Planned Prevention of Parenthood (their true name, if you ask me) abandons an entire state.

Erdogan's bodyguards attack Kurds - in DC.

To this title, I say "Amen".

Senator Tillis (R-NC) collapses during a race, but is reportedly OK now.  (intermediate source)

An Afghani state-run TV station is attacked.

Putin thinks America has "political schizophrenia".

Migrant boats to be banned from Sicily during the G-7 meeting.

Es gibt keine deutsche Kultur, says the Integration Commissioner.

Austria to hold a "snap election".

In the Netherlands, a would-be terrorist is foiled by his own jammed gun.

The BBC doesn't like English versions of names.

Franklin Graham:  "Churches, get out of the Boy Scouts."

I guess it takes one to know one.

A look at one of the right's favorite tin foil hatters.

Elite opposition to Trump is becoming "dangerous fantasies".

And to finish, some real quackery is going on in DC.

UPDATE:  Here's one more.  Say "hi" to the new Assistant Secretary in the Department of Homeland Security.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Two Flags

Click on this link to see the flag of Indonesia, which is the world's largest Muslim country by population.

Click on this link to see the flag of Poland, where only 0.4% of people are not Christian (although 10.8% are "unspecified").  This would mean that in Poland, Muslims constitute but a fraction of 0.4% of the overall Polish population.  Today, unlike many European countries, Poland is not welcoming migrants from Muslim countries.  Back in 1683, the Polish king Jan Sobieski defeated the (Muslim) Turks at Vienna.

If you've clicked on both links and looked at both flags, you'll see that the flag of the world's largest Muslim country, and the flag of a country that has often defended itself against Muslims, are each upside-down from the other.  Coincidence?  Sądzę że nie.  (I think not.)

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Links For Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to all you mothers out there.  Here are some things your kids have been up to lately:

From FaithZette, President Trump speaks at Liberty University.

From Breitbart's Big Government, the leftwing media gets their "lighten up, Francis" moment.

From The Daily Caller, this time, there will be nyet reset.

From Twitchy, the White House gets a lot of visitors who are (gasp!) rich GOP guys.

From ABC News, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley says that Trump can "fire anyone he wants".

From The Hill, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says he has "to earn Trump's confidence every day".

From i24 News, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu reaffirms his country's position that the American embassy should be moved to Jerusalem.

From the Los Angeles Times, "Spicy" returns.

From The Washington Times, Nevada Democrats seek to raise the state's minimum wage.

From Philly(dot)com, Philadelphia's Democrats get ready to vote in their primary for District Attorney.

From Sputnik News, Latvia plans to build a border fence.

From Sky News, a Chinese railroad worker prevents a suicide.  (via Fox News)

From Life News, according to NOW's president, a procedure that takes life saves lives.

From the Sunday Express, European commission President Juncker takes a swipe at Brexit.

From Russia Today, according to UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, his country might be getting money from the EU instead of vice versa.

From Deutsche Welle, Germany and Italy propose an EU mission to keep migrants from entering Libya, before they can cross that country to reach Italy.

From AhlulBayt News Agency, was a terror attack against Iranian border guards aided by Riyadh?

From Breitbart London, some Swedish authorities admit that mass immigration is causing economic problems.

From Leading Britain's Conversation, political correctness allows rape grooming gangs to prosper.

And from CSN Philly, former Virginia Tech quarterback Jerod Evans's time with the Eagles has been very short.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Brief Music Break

A while back, I wanted to include Sometimes by Fleetwood Mac in a Music Break post, but the YouTube video had become unavailable.  Today, I was able to find another video of that song.  The reason for my renewed interest is that today is the 67th birthday of the song's writer and singer Danny Kirwan.  The song, in my opinion, shows some country influences, especially with Kirwan's lead guitar, and the acoustic rhythm, played by Kirwan and/or Bob Welch.  Christine McVie adds a happy-sounding piano part.  Sometimes was included in the band's 1971 album Future Games.



Although he's now 67, Kirwan is still younger than all of Fleetwood Mac's current members, who achieved great success during the late 1970's.  In related stories, Ultimate Classic Rock reviews Bare Trees, their last album with Kirwan, and Observer has a story about his time with and departure from Fleetwood Mac.  Happy Birthday, Danny, wherever you are.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Return To, And From, Antwerp

The last place I visited before returning home was Antwerp, Belgium.  I had also been to Antwerp in 2005, on the same trip when I stayed in Brugge.  Across the street from where our ship was docked, but down a few blocks, was the Entrepot du Congo (Warehouse of the Congo), where goods shipped from the Belgian Congo were stored after arriving in Belgium.  (The story of this colony, the predecessor of today's Democratic Republic of the Congo, is quite ugly.)

Looking down the street just north of the Entrepot, we saw the Cathedral of Antwerp looming over several smaller buildings.

This fortress is called Het Steen ("the stone") because it was the first stone building in the city.  Today, it's besieged by tourists, although the couple on the right appear to be locals.  The statue is of the Lange Wapper, a demon found in various folk tales.  Read more here and here.

This bay window overlooks the interior courtyard of Het Steen.

The courtyard includes this crucifix.

Walking toward the center of town, we came upon the Vleeshuis ("meat house"), which is now a museum of music.  One person on the tour said that its striped exterior reminded her of bacon.

After walking around various parts of downtown Antwerp, we saw another view of the Cathedral, looming over the alley we were in.

For more on Antwerp, go to Planet Ware and Lonely Planet.  This was our last full day in Belgium.  It was soon time to have a farewell reception, pack up the suitcases, and get ready for the bus ride back to Schiphol Airport and the flight home.  Thus ends my Netherlands-Belgium travelogue.

Return To Brugge, Belgium - Part 2

After touring De Halve Maan (The Half Moon) brewery, we resumed walking northward toward the central part of Brugge.  On the way, we saw these two columns, which look like they could be the remnants of something the Romans built.  Unfortunately, I have not been able to learn anything about them or what they once might have been part of.

People waiting for a boat ride formed a very long line.  I don't think any of my tour group was willing to do likewise.

Here's part of the main square, known as Markt.  The statues are of Jan Breydel and Pieter de Coninck, who fought against the French in the 14th century.

As I had done 12 years earlier, I walked to the eastern side of the city to the Kruispoort gate.  This is the inner side thereof.

Just north of the Kruispoort were two windmills.  This one is to the north of the other, and is surrounded by a small park.  I don't know if the fence is temporary or permanent.  A little research reveals that it's called the Sint-Janshuismolen (Saint John's House Mill).

The other windmill resembles a barn rotatable on a pivot.  It's called the Bonne Chièremolen, the name appearing to have some French influence.  (The French word bonne means "good", inflected to show feminine gender.)  For more on the windmills of Bruges, go here.

This is the southern face of the Belfort (Belfry), just south of the Markt square, as seen from the building's courtyard.

We continued southward from the Belfort back toward where we had entered the city.  On the way, we saw these buildings next to yet another canal.

We got back on the buses and rode to Antwerp, where we again met our ship.  Most of the links I've been able to find about specific places in Brugge seem to come from Visit Bruges, but for more on Brugge/Bruges, you can also go to Trip Advisor, Planet Ware, Lonely Planet and UNESCO.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Return To Brugge, Belgium - Part 1

That's right, my visit to Brugge was a repeat.  I stayed there in 2005.  During that trip, Brugge was the base from which that tour group explored other parts of the country.  This time, Brugge was a full day tour, as we went between Veere, Netherlands to Antwerp.  (I visited Antwerp 12 years ago, too, but that will be another post.)  Because both French and Flemish (which is often regarded as a dialect of Dutch) are commonly spoken in Belgium, Brugge is also known by its French name Bruges.

We entered the city from the south and soon came upon Lover's Lake and its environs.

This tower was used to store gunpowder, and was located away from most other structures.  Now, it's besieged by tourists.

This is part of the Begijnhof, an enclosed area which once housed single women, many of them widows.  They often cared for the poor and the sick, but were not nuns, and took none (pardon the homonymic pun) of the vows required of actual nuns.  In other words, although living communally, they were secular.

This building sits right on one of Brugge's canals.

Brugge has more swans that you can shake a stick at.  But I wouldn't recommend shaking a stick at the swans.  It's probably illegal.

We toured the brewery known as De Halve Maan (The Half Moon), which I had also done 12 years earlier.  Here are some old kegs, bottles and machine components in one exhibition room.

We climbed a spiral staircase to a viewing area on the roof of the brewery.  Here's a view of the Sint-Salvator (Holy Savior) church and the surrounding neighborhood.

Looking in another direction, we see the church of Onze Lieve Vrouw Brugge (Our Lady Of Brugge), which is now a museum.  If my high school French is any help, it might also be called Nôtre Dame de Bruges.

We then climbed down from the roof and through several other rooms, some of the stairways being as steep as ladders, before each receiving a glass of beer which came with the tour.  If you ever visit De Halve Maan, be prepared to earn some of your calories.  Stay tuned for Part 2.

Wednesday Links

It's the middle of another week, and here's a bit of what's going on:

A Dutch politician tells the European Central bank to give the Netherlands back some money if they leave the Eurozone.

Desperately seeking Israeli apartheid.

Desperately seeking the right-wing terrorist.

Desperately seeking the new "Saturday Night Massacre".

One Senator has a possible new job for James Comey.

While other areas cut back, one part of the world wants more coal.

From the "you can't make this up" department, squirrels endure media bias.

Beware the accidental Tweet.

Microsoft present the Presentation Translator.

U.S. Representatives visit the Dalai Lama.

Here's some amazing historical ignorance.

The methane rule survives in the Senate.

What happened to Johnny Depp's millions?

Meet your Muslim neighbors in Northern Ireland.

In Indonesia, a gay couple faces the cane.

Pennsylvania has 12 of the 100 worst puppy mills in the United States.

The Rock for President.

And to finish, what makes a good grilled cheese sandwich?

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Trump Fires Comey

President Donald Trump has just told FBI director Comey, "You're fired!"  The decision was based on recommendations from Attorney General Jeff Sessions and his deputy Rod Rosenstein.

Read more at The Hill, Time, USA Today, Politico and Reuters.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Veere

Veere is a small resort town located on a peninsula in southwestern Netherlands.  The peninsula extends between the East Scheldt and West Scheldt estuaries.  The Veerse Meer (Lake of Veere) cuts into the peninsula, and contacts the northeast side of Veere.  On the southeast side is a channel called Buitenhaven (which might translate to "boat haven", if I'm permitted an educated guess), where our ship was docked.  On the northwest side is a marina.  Here is Veere's main commercial area, a street called Markt (which seems to be a common name for central squares in both the Netherlands and Belgium).

This is one view of the Grote Kerk (Great Church), which is now a museum.

Due to the small size of the town, we easily reached the marina.

This enclosure houses an old cistern.  It's located across the street from the Grote Kerk, and just a short walk from our ship.

Here's another side of the Grote Kerk.

In the church's yard was a bunch of rocks.

This clock tower is part of what might have been the city hall.

I relaxed for a while in a park which includes this statue of Adriaen Valerius, a poet and composer who died in Veere in 1625.

This street goes through the park, and has a structure common in Veere.  The central part, made of bricks, has a more even surface than the rest, apparently intended for bicycles.  There is some kind of shop behind the wall.  On the bench, those aren't real children, but dolls.

The next morning, as we waited for our buses to show up, I could have sworn that I heard someone say "What's up, Doc?"

Soon afterwards, the buses arrived, ready to take us to Belgium.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

The Hague

The Hague is a city in southwestern Netherlands, situated on the North Sea coast.  It is the seat of the Dutch government and the provincial capital of South Holland, and is the location of the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court.  The city was once called des Graven hage ("the Count's wood" or "the Count's hedge"), which has evolved to s'-Gravenhage.  It is also known as den Haag ("the Hedge").  We arrived via a short bus ride from Delft.  Our first stop was at the Vredespaleis ("peace palace"), where the ICJ convenes.

The World Peace Flame is housed in this small monument near the Vredespaleis.  The stones around its base have been brought from many countries.

A peace dove was the motif for this bench.

This area is the Binnenhof ("inner court"), around which the city was built.  The main building once housed the Dutch parliament.  According to our guide, the ice cream man was always on friendly terms with the Prime Minister, and sometimes knew who the Prime Minister was going to be, even before he was elected.

Here's a bit of the Hague's skyline.

Our visit to the Hague concluded with a tour of the Mauritshuis, a museum of Dutch painting.  This is the facade.  To enter, we had to go down a stairway to the left.

There's more on the Hague at Wiki, Lonely Planet and Netherlands Tourism.  We eventually left the Hague and went to Schoonhoven, where we were reunited with our ship.

Sunday Links

It's Sunday morning, and the stories are coming out:

From Politico, it's time for the French to vote.

From Gatestone Institute, candidate Emmanuel Macron is called a "useful infidel".

From Breitbart London, it's the French presidential election livewire.

From the Sunday Express, gamblers favor Le Pen.

From Fox News, 82 freed Nigerian girls will meet with their president.

From the Los Angeles Times, Iranian coal miners besiege their president.

From The New York Times, tempers flare as New Orleans prepares to remove Confederate statues.

From NBC News, it's time to say, "Lighten up, Francis!"

From AhlulBayt News Agency, the invaders refugees keep coming to Italy.

From National Review, there is no "right" to health care.

From Townhall, "a free speech tipping point".

From Turkish Minute, Turkish journalists critical of President Erdogan are harassed by his media supporters - in the United States.

From the New York Post, President Trump says that the media should investigate Democrats' dealings with Russia.

From ABC News, a Packard car plant in Detroit, sold three years ago, is still in ruins.

And from The Washington Post, bring on the kimchi, sauerkraut and yogurt.

UPDATE:  From The Guardian, Macron wins.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Delft

Delft is a fairly small city in southwestern Netherlands, known for Delft Blue pottery, for Delft University of Technology, and for being the seat of the first William of Orange.  According to our tour guides, a large fraction of the city's population are students.  We walked from our buses to the Markt square, which includes the city hall.  Workers were taking down various things which had been set up a day earlier for King's Day, but had not yet gotten to the band shell.  (I saw a forklift lift several outhouses onto a truck, making me realize that I didn't want to use any of them.)

Like Amsterdam and Giethoorn, Delft has its share of canals.  Bicycles are parked on either side of this one.

Here's one view of the Oude Kerk (Old Church).

Not far from the Old Church is the former home of William of Orange (also called William the Silent), which is now a museum known as the Prinsenhof (Prince's Court).  This is also where he was fatally shot, becoming one of the earliest political figures to suffer this fate.  During his lifetime, after being appointed stadtholder (governor) of Holland, Zeeland and Utrecht by the Spanish king, he eventually turned against the Spanish and joined the revolt that would eventually lead to the Netherlands becoming independent.  This tower is part of the Prinsenhof.

In a courtyard adjacent the Prinsenhof is a statue of William.  He would become the great-grandfather of another William of Orange, who ruled England with his wife Mary.

From another canal, here's another view of the Oude Kerk.  The lean is not the result of camera perspective.  The church tower really is leaning.

This metal plaque commemorates Delft native Antony van Leeuwenhoek, who invented the compound microscope.  (Whether his first name was Anton, Antonie or Antony seems to depend on which source you read.)

I eventually found my way back to the stadhuis (city hall).  From this angle, it's not obscured by the band shell, but by a truck and numerous bicycles.

Speaking of bicycles, one of our guides told us that the canals in Amsterdam are three meters deep - one meter of water, one meter of mud, and one meter of bicycles.

Kampen

After visiting Giethoorn, we returned to our ship, which was docked in Kampen.  We then got to walk around some of Kampen's streets, where the King's Day celebration was still going on.  This is one of the city's gates.  I took a picture of this side because it was sunlit.  The other side faces the IJssel river and our ship.  (Again, for reasons of which I am ignorant, both the "I" and "J" are capitalized.)

This tower with a clock is called the New Tower (Nieuwe Toren in Dutch), but was built in the 1600's.  One thing about Europe is that something called "new" might have been built before the Americas were colonized by Europeans.

This drawbridge goes over the IJssel.  The inclined structures to the right remind me of ramps used by waterskiers, but I don't think that's their purpose.

This is the old synagogue, which is no longer in use.  Even so, the circular plaque commemorates the Jewish citizens of Kampen who were taken to the concentration camps.  Read more here.

That evening, our ship sailed from Kampen back to Amsterdam, but our trip would continue, not in Amsterdam, but farther south.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Giethoorn

After being docked in Amsterdam for several days, our ship sailed on the Ijsselmeer to the smaller city of Kampen.  We then boarded buses to travel most of the way to Giethoorn, a small town in which the main thoroughfares are canals.  The name translates to "goat horn".  When the canals were dug, goat horns were found in the soil.  To actually reach the place, we had to get on canal boats.

One reason we left Amsterdam is that this particular day was the 50th birthday of the Dutch king William Alexander, which was declared a national holiday.  We would spend the day away from the even-greater-than-usual urban hustle and bustle.  The Dutch people and visitors like ourselves were encouraged to wear orange, since Orange (Oranje in Dutch) is the name of his royal house.  In a happy coincidence, I brought my orange toboggan hat, since I had expected the Netherlands to be relatively cool.  I thus came prepared to salute His Majesty without even realizing it.  Here's one of the houses we saw in central Giethoorn.  Thatched roofs were pretty much in style.



A footpath ran along one side of the main canal, while several rentable boats were tied to the opposite side.

Several small statues, such as these, were scattered around the town.  I think that the buildings behind them were businesses.

There were many bridges spanning the main canal.  On the right, we see another statue, a bench (partially obscured by a tree) and two ducks.

This building, which resembled Darth Vader's helmet, included a boathouse.

Another house along the main canal included red shutters.

In front of another house, this old tree was painted red and decorated with several objects including a goat's head, which considering the town's name, would be quite appropriate.

To learn more about Giethoorn, go to Giethoorn Tourism, Holland(dot)com, Your Amazing Places and Country Living.

A Bit More Of Amsterdam

After returning to Amsterdam, but before our ship sailed to its next port, I took a few pictures of the area where it was docked.  The Mövenpick Hotel and Muziekgebouw aan't IJ were just down the street.  Our ship wasn't too different in structure from the Scenic Jasper docked nearby.  The large ship in the distance was a Viking Cruise ship, but I don't know her specific name.

Amsterdam's main railroad station was also not too far away, but in the opposite direction from the buildings and ships shown in the first picture.

These buildings were across the IJ.  (For some reason, both letters of "IJ" are capitalized.)

This is the view across the street from the docks.  The railing in the foreground is on the top of a ship docked between us and the street.

I would like to add one thing to what I said a few posts ago regarding Schiphol Airport, my experience with which was not very good.  Planes that go on long international flights, such as those crossing the Atlantic, are often equipped with small video screens for the entertainment of the passengers.  One thing these screens can show is a map indicating the plane's location, along with information such as altitude.  After landing at Schiphol, which is below sea level, the altitude reading included a minus sign.  I had never seen that sort of thing before.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Links For Star Wars Day

Now that I've been back for a few days, let's see if I can find a few stories to pass along.  Today has been called "Star Wars Day", as in "May the Fourth be with you".  With that, here are a few things in today's news:

The House narrowly passes the AHCA, which still faces the Senate.

One high school student took "May the Fourth" a bit too seriously.

I've heard of the dead voting, but now apparently they can also get a college degree.

On the other hand, one student gets her college degree before graduating high school.

"It's not my fault!", she cried.

How wrong were last year's election polls?

Visa overstays are rarely caught.

ISIS is making its own answer to Facebook.

Be careful about what you put on YouTube.

Feeling down?  Try this.

A former Virginia Tech football player gets an award as a coach.

And finally, I hope Mick and Keef let this show use their song with the same name.

Keukenhof, Part 2

As promised in Part 1, I have some more pictures from Keukenhof.  After visiting the park's windmill, I found this water course, with flowers and walkways on either side.

An archway led to another section of the park.

Here are some more walkways and more tulips.

These rows of tulips on a hill produce a reflection in the adjacent pond.

On another part of the pond near a fountain, you can walk on water, sort of.

And finally, more tulips of different colors grow on another hill.

So ends my visit to Keukenhof.  We went by bus back to the ship, which that evening would sail away from Amsterdam.

Keukenhof, Part 1

Keukenhof is a privately owned park which includes numerous flower gardens, consisting mostly of tulips, located near the town of Lisse.  Just after entering, we came upon this area, in which various types of tulips grow to different heights, resulting in a multilayered formation called a "lasagna" planting.  You can see the overcast gray sky in the background.

This row of daffodils ran alongside a walkway, with hedges, trees, a wall, and more daffodils behind them.

Here are some reddish orange (or maybe orange-ish red) tulips, and a multicolored arrangement.

In this area, tulips of different colors and heights were arranged in parallel rows.

Of course, Keukenhof has its own windmill.  Visitors may walk up to the mid-level platform.  By this time, the clouds had partially dissipated.

Here's the view looking from the windmill platform back into the park.  The large wooden shoe could be rocked slightly from side to side, to the delight of younger visitors.

Looking the other way, we see the tulip fields outside the park.  The cable in the foreground is uppermost part of the perimeter of the platform.

I took enough pictures in this place to spread them out between two posts.  Flowers, after all, can be very photogenic.  To learn more about Keukenhof, go to their website, or to Tulips In Holland.