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Friday, February 12 2016 @ 06:16 PM CST

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The 2012 Grand Asia & Australia Voyage, Part 5

The 2012 Grand Asia & Australia Voyage, Holland America ms Amsterdam

Text and pictures by Snookums, webification by Filbert

Part Five

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October 10 (Wednesday, Day 20, Jeju City, South Korea; 100 KRW = $0.09; $1.00 = 1,111 KRW) -

It's NOT called Jeju City because . . .

Snookums got up when her alarm went off and although she was pretty tired from yesterday’s activities, she went to the fitness class. She swore off the ship’s desserts as of Sunday, October 7 in order to lose some of the weight that she already gained on the cruise.

Jeju City, with a population of around 300,000, is the capital of Jeju Island, which is a resort island roughly 45 miles by 26 miles. It was partly cloudy with a forecast of a high of 72. We took the free shuttle to the Ramada Plaza Jeju Hotel. We walked around and stopped at E-Mart right away since the travel planning information that Snookums brought on the trip talked about a basement grocery store and a fifth floor food court. It took us several tries to find the various escalators, elevators and moving walkways that were needed to get to each floor, but we did it and scouted out our shopping plan for our return walk back to the Ramada. Then we continued our Jeju City exploring and stopped at the tourist information kiosk and Snookums asked where she could get a postcard and the woman gave her a pack of five. What luck, considering the two souvenir places in E-Mart didn’t have any.

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The 2012 Grand Asia & Australia Voyage, Part 4

The 2012 Grand Asia & Australia Voyage, Holland America ms Amsterdam

Text and pictures by Snookums, webification by Filbert

Part Four

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October 8 (Monday, Day 18, At Sea) -

Kunchi Festival, Nagasaki

Snookums woke up in time to do 25 minutes on the elliptical prior to going to the fitness class. She got a trophy on her watch, too, for meeting her calories burned goal the prior week. She made it by 1%! It will be hard for her to get a trophy for this week’s efforts since there won’t be any workouts the two Beijing days.

Snookums went to the 11 AM “Things to See & Do in Xingang and Beijing”. We are doing a two-day overnight tour to Beijing so she doesn’t need to learn about Xingang or Beijing (and she’s been to Beijing two other times), but she wants to hear about Xingang in case another cruise stops at this isolated port.

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The 2012 Grand Asia & Australia Voyage, Part 3

The 2012 Grand Asia & Australia Voyage, Holland America ms Amsterdam

Text and pictures by Snookums, webification by Filbert

Part Three

(Remember to click "read more" if you're looking at this from the main page to get the whole article!)

October 6 (Saturday, Day 16, Kobe, Japan; 100 JPY = $1.28, $1.00 = 78 JPY) -


Snookums went to the fitness class and then Brooke, a woman traveling alone for the first time, joined us for our trip to Kyoto which is about an hour away via train. Kobe is the sixth largest city in Japan and has a population of about 1.5 million. In 1995 a 7.2 magnitude earthquake hit Kobe and 6,400 people died and 100,000 hones were destroyed. Kobe made a quick recovery and it is now a modern, industrialized city. Our $15.90 train took us from Kobe to Kyoto via Osaka. The entire hour-long trip was through a city and the Kobe-Osaka-Kyoto boundaries were not obvious. For some reason, Snookums thought that Kyoto was a town, but it’s a large, bustling city just like Yokohama, Kobe, Osaka and Tokyo.

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The 2012 Grand Asia & Australia Voyage, Part 2

The 2012 Grand Asia & Australia Voyage, Holland America ms Amsterdam

Text and pictures by Snookums, webification by Filbert

Part Two

(Remember to click "read more" if you're looking at this from the main page to get the whole article!)

October 3 (Wednesday, Day 13, At Sea) -

Snookums went to the fitness class and then Snookums and Filbert ate breakfast in Neptune. It was rainy but around 68° outside. After that Filbert and Snookums went to the “Things to See & Do in Jeju” travel lecture and then stayed for “The Aleutian Islands” lecture. Then Snookums picked up her prize of a deck of Holland America playing cards for winning Monday’s daily quiz. It’s the same prize every time so she won’t bother with the daily quiz again.

Snookums went to the crafts class and made a beaded keycard lanyard although she doesn’t have a need for a lanyard. Later on she went to the “Fab Abs” class.

Tonight was formal “Kimono Night” and Snookums looked elegant in her men’s kimono that she bought at a thrift store when she worked in Tokyo and Filbert looked dashing in his Indian outfit that he purchased to wear at a wedding in India. We went to the Ocean Bar before dinner and saw the five gentlemen hosts onboard dancing with single women. We also noticed that not many men wore any kind of ethnic attire. Filbert was unique, and comfortable, in his!

Kimono Night

At dinner we saw that Sharie wore a beautiful Korean kimono – solid black heavy damask with a starched white collar and a bow tied off to one side under her chest. She bought hers at a Vancouver thrift store for $20 and definitely got her money’s worth. There were three Japanese dinner selections – yakitori chicken appetizer, sukiyaki soup and tempura entrée – and all were enjoyed although the tempura was rather greasy and heavy. Even the dessert menu had two Japanese choices – green tea ice cream and green tea cheesecake with adzuki bean sauce. Filbert was the only brave person at the table to order them. He didn’t care for the cheesecake and said the bright green ice cream did taste a little bit like green tea.

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The 2012 Grand Asia & Australia Voyage, Part 1

The 2012 Grand Asia & Australia Voyage, Holland America ms Amsterdam

Text and pictures by Snookums, webification by Filbert

Part One

(Remember to click "read more" if you're looking at this from the main page to get the whole article!)

September 20, 2012 (Thursday, Day 1, Flying to Seattle) -

The Itinerary

Our Alaska Airlines non-stop flight to Seattle left five minutes early and landed 30 minutes early. The trip got off to a great start. We took the $2.75 Link Light Rail to the Hyatt at Olive 8 and were upgraded to a corner room suite and were also given a bottle of red wine and a 7.5 oz. bag of chocolate covered dried cherries for our anniversary. The trip is off to a really great start and it’s only 8 PM! After waiting 90 minutes for our Hyatt Diamond amenity to be delivered and making two phone calls, the bottle of wine and cheese and crackers were finally delivered. A slice of chocolate cake was also delivered as an apology.

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A Hooley! I wants a hooley!

(cross-posted from Medary's kinder, gentler twin blog site, gemütlich blog)

"Anger is uneasiness or discomposure of the mind upon the receipt of any injury, with a present purpose of revenge."  -- John Locke, "An Essay Concerning Human Understanding"

"The insolence and brutality of anger, in the same manner, when we indulge its fury without check or restraint, is, of all objects, the most detestable. But we admire that noble and generous resentment which governs its pursuit of the greatest injuries, not by the rage which they are apt to excite in the breast of the sufferer, but by the indignation which they naturally call forth in that of the impartial spectator; which allows no word, no gesture, to escape it beyond what this more equitable sentiment would dictate; which never, even in thought, attempts any greater vengeance, nor desires to inflict any greater punishment, than what every indifferent person would rejoice to see executed." -- Adam Smith, "The Theory of Moral Sentiments"

Listening to Mr. Locke and Mr. Smith, and observing the theory that "living well is the best revenge," I dispense with my anger regarding the 2015 Hugo debacle.  (wipes hands, makes throwing-away motion a la countless people in the Honor Harrington novels.)

The Puppies have kicked off Sad Puppies 4:  The Embiggening (The Bitches Are Back).  It's fascinating, isn't it, how a movement with the basic tenet of "read what you like, nominate what you really, really like" draws so much vitriol and spittle-flecked hatred, isn't it?

Well, you just can't please some people.  But like they say, haters gotta hate.

Anyway, I'm taking the sour grapes of the haters and making lemonade and other fruit-based drinks, and beginning to organize a get-together of like-minded Huns and Morons, somewhere in or around Kansas City, somewhen in the August 16-21 time frame.

This hooley is tentatively known as the KCHunMoMee:  The Kansas City Hun/Moron Meetup.

It'll likely be in a restaurant, tavern, or public house, somewhere in the KC metro area, details to be worked out.  Who knows, we might wind up in or near a gun range.

Specifically invited are Huns from Sarah Hoyt's According to Hoyt site and SF-tolerant Morons from Ace of Spades HQ.  Others of like Oddness or moronity (and if so, why aren't you on AtH or the HQ already?) will likewise be welcome.

Bring your own carp.  Crossbow and longbow enthusiasts will be asked to unstring their weapons before entering.

I have set up an electronic messaging thingie for communicating about this festive event.  It is: Huns and Morons at-sign gmail.

Oh.  Yeah.

Put that address together, discard extraneous spaces, punctuation and obfuscating wordage, and pop me a note if you are interested.

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Five Thoughts

1: If an opinion is not fearlessly discussed, it will be held as a dead dogma -- John Stuart Mill.

2: If we don't believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don't believe in it at all -- Noam Chomsky.

3: Not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character -- Martin Luther King.

4: It is anti-feminist to ask for special treatment for women -- Camille Paglia.

5. True ignorance is not the absence of knowledge, but the refusal to acquire it -- Karl Popper.

From the evil website of WrongThink,

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Some Things

The eeeeevil Koch Brothers are supporting . . . the United Negro College Fund. Well, the organization uses the word "negro" in its name, so the Kochs are obviously racists, right? Right?

If you want to see the end game of where the Democratic Party wants to take the United States, just look at Venezuela right now. Public hospitals going unfunded. Food riots. A worthless national currency. All in a nation rich in oil wealth. This is what you're voting for when you vote for a Democrat.

Two churches were bombed in New Mexico. But somebody killed a lion!!!

People are unhappy with how much Obamacare costs and what it covers. It's almost as if the Democrats lied when they passed it in the dead of night without a single supporting vote from the opposition party.

Now, every politician lies, that's been known since there has been politicians--it's pretty much the job description. But the difference today is that the lies that the Democrats tell are propped up and reinforced by the full weight of the mass media, academia, and the government. You can still work your way towards something like the truth, but you have to work hard to do it, reading the tea leaves like the Soviet people used to read Pravda, and sifting through the further tea leaves and coffee grounds of the new media on the Internet.

But most people don't have the time or energy to do that sifting, so they just absorb whatever bullshit lie the Democrats and their media sycophants choose to spout that day. The result has a name: the low information voter. Democrats want low information voters. That's why they want immigration. That's why they want to, essentially, abolish any law restricting access to voting. It's not about rights. It's about grabbing, and holding power.

In the end, it's about turning the United States into Venezuela, although they are not clever enough to realize that. They think that they are smarter than all the other socialists who have come before. But they're not. It's just the same old socialist song and dance, and it always ends the same way.
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Life Lessons from the Kansas City Royals

"You either give or you suck. There is no in between." -- Kansas City Royals' first-base coach Rusty Kuntz, quoted by Sam Mellinger in this Kansas City Star story.

Do you give, or do you suck?

If your "giving" consists of sucking from others rather than generating your own energy, power, resources, money, and life, I have news for you. That is not giving. That is sucking.

If you spend all of your time and resources donating to "social justice," "equality," "human rights," "racial reparations," "green environment," or other, similar movements designed to take from Peter to pay Paul, then I have news for you. You are not giving. You are sucking. You are sucking time, energy, and resources from your fellow human beings to feed your own sense of self-importance and self-worth. You are a vampire, not a social justice crusader.

It is not a virtue to be generous with other people's money.

America today is filled with suckers, and the givers are starting to get really, really tired of the games the suckers play.

There is only one way to true success: hard work, personal commitment, personal integrity, perseverance, all combined with a true respect for all others.

A common feature of so many of the "social justice" causes infesting our culture today is their very lack of respect for a certain, identified person or group which must be separated out from society, isolated, shamed, demeaned, or destroyed. The person or group to be vilified varies somewhat, but we see a particularly virulent strain of this in the "Black Lives Matter" movement. To these people, the mere suggestion that perhaps all lives matter, not just black lives, brings a visceral, vicious response.

Even something as trivial as a science fiction writing award has come to represent this same pattern. The group in power, when challenged to open up the selection process, responded with some of the most vicious, slanderous rhetoric you can imagine towards the reformers.

Power corrupts, Lord Acton wrote, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Today, the "social justice" campaigners are in power in almost every segment of our society: government, education, media. Represented best by their elder states-woman, Hillary Clinton, they have discovered the profitability of corruption when in power. We don't even blink any more when Obama shovels billions of dollars of other people's money to political cronies while calling it "green energy" or "health care." This is the "power of suck" in full operation.

Our society is corrupt. From top to bottom. Too many ordinary people today only care about "giving" as a way to suck the lifeblood out of their neighbors.

The good news is that this can't last forever. At some point, the suckers will have taken all that the givers have to give. The bad news is that at that point, civilization will likely collapse. There is time to avoid that, but in order to do so, people have to fight the urge to take. History indicates that this is rare, and usually a result of some catastrophe. Something to look forward to, isn't it?

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"Gun-Free Zones"

"Gun-Free Zones" kill people.

This is because criminals and psychopaths don't give a damn about some sign on a door or a lawn proclaiming an office, a building, a park, or a campus to be "gun-free."

Because criminals and psychopaths don't give a damn about laws and rules, just generally.

What does get their attention is the capability of their prospective victims to return fire, to put the criminals' and psychopaths' own safety at serious, imminent, and immediate risk. Criminals and psychopaths may be evil, but they are not that stupid.

On the other hand, a sign proclaiming a "gun-free zone" is nothing more than a big, flashing neon sign saying to those who are so inclined to "come victimize us, we won't fight back." Almost all of the mass shootings which have occurred in the developed world over the past couple of decades have occurred in areas which have been decreed to be "gun-free." Somehow, the perpetrators of the shootings missed the memo saying that they have to obey the "gun-free zone" sign.

Because criminals don't give a damn about rules and laws, and because they prevent otherwise law-abiding people from a crucial self-defense tool (i.e. a firearm), "Gun-free zones" are deeply, profoundly immoral. They are the moral equivalent of telling people that they can not wear coats and warm shoes on a cold winter day. Mass shootings result from firearm bans as surely as frostbite results from prolonged exposure of human skin to sub-freezing temperatures.

The only move for a prudent society is to protect its members from the effects of predictable phenomena.

Freezing temperatures happen. So do criminals and psychopaths. Wishing either of them away is equally delusional.

It is not guns which should be banned. It is "gun-free zones," and the mentality of wishing away the most unpleasant aspects of predictable human nature.