2010 Panama Canal Cruise, part 6

The Panama Canal-Ft. Lauderdale to San Francisco-20-night Voyage, May 6-26, Regent Seven Seas Navigator

Text by Snookums, Pictures by Filbert

Part Six

May 12 (Wednesday, Day 8, Puerto Limon, Costa Rica, continued) –

Butterfly in the hand . . .

More after the jump . . .

Is worth at least one on the knee . . .
This butterfly had blue on top of its wings. It refused to have that photographed, however.
Butterflys feeding
A collage of butterfly wings
Mounted bugs
More mounted bugs

Next: Bugs, sloths, parents with machetes, and prison!

2010 Panama Canal Cruise, part 5

The Panama Canal-Ft. Lauderdale to San Francisco-20-night Voyage, May 6-26, Regent Seven Seas Navigator

Text by Snookums, Pictures by Filbert

Part Five

May 11 (Tuesday, Day 7, At sea) –

Today was a slow day. Not much interested us on the schedule of activities. Filbert and Snookums were invited to the “Titanium, Platinum and Gold Members” Seven Seas Society gathering at 11:15 since we sailed at least 75 days and are Gold. 80 people were there and the ship has 500 guests on it. That’s a pretty high ratio of very frequent cruisers. We hobnobbed with various officers and Paul, the Cruise Director. Randy Cabral, the master of juggling and comedy, also gave a 5-minute performance for us so that was neat.. Snookums was hoping for some good food, like a light lunch, but had to settle for a dessert waffle bar with various sweet toppings. She actually didn’t have any but instead waited for lunch. Bill was part of the party, too, since he turned Gold on this cruise and was able to finagle an invitation to this event.

Snookums went to “Cardio Circuit” and managed to raise her heart rate a lot for 45 minutes and didn’t pass out. In the meantime, Filbert ate some bad seafood salad and paid the price later. (He didn’t go to dinner since he was sick but felt better immediately after ridding his body of the bad seafood salad.)

Mom, Dad and Snookums went to Randy Cabral’s juggling/comedy show after dinner and once again Mom had to use her inhaler since she laughed so much. Randy does some really stupid tricks and says some really stupid things but he’s hilarious.

May 12 (Wednesday, Day 8, Puerto Limon, Costa Rica; 510 Costa Rican colon to the dollar) –

A dreary start

We had an early shore excursion today. We met at 8 AM for a trip to Veragua Rainforest.

More after the jump . . . Although it was only about 20 miles away, it took about a 1-hour to get there since the last 7.5 miles were on an unpaved road. After we got there, we were split in two groups. Our group was to walk to the waterfall and the other group was going to do an easier walk. The tour guide said that after we went to the waterfall we would join up with Mom, Dad and Judy for the rest of the tour. Wrong! Filbert and Snookums spent 4 hours with a tour guide that wanted to teach us everything he learned in his ecology classes. And we got to listen to his lectures while in buildings looking at cartoons of frogs.

Meanwhile, Mom, Dad and Judy were with a tour guide that felt that the best way to understand the rainforest was to actually walk around in it. They saw bright red frogs in the wild and other things like that. Mom even saw a translucent pink stink bug on a railing that the guide had only seen in a book. We saw spiders and ants when we walked from the restaurant to the bus at the very end of the tour. Other than that, we were mostly inside looking at pictures, glass cages of snakes and exhibits of mounted butterflies.

You want pictures? Oh yeah, we got pictures. Bug and flower pictures, mostly, but you get what you pay for (unlike some of the rest of us . . .)

Bird on a wire, on the way to the rain forest
Cat and house
This used to be rain forest. Then we invented machetes. Part of that is a joke. Punch line later.
A little horse in a little country
Big dragonfly
Grasshopper orgy–the plain green one in center right is–we think–a female, the others are male suitors
Little purple flowers
Little purple berries
Yellow grasshopperish bug, with blue-tipped wings

Next: More bugs! And butterflies! (Which, yes, are bugs, but pretty ones . . . )

Noonish Whip, May 14, 2010

Things have piled up over the past couple of days while we’ve been out playing. Here’s some of the stuff:

Morning Bell: Can We Avoid Becoming Europe?[*1] — You really need to read and understand the following paragraph before you continue to support Obama and the Democrat’s century-old progressive New Deal agenda:

The Washington Post reported on its front page that the bailout of Greece was forcing “European governments [to] rewrite a post-World War II social contract that has been generous to workers and retirees but has become increasingly unaffordable for an aging population.” And a New York Times headline blared In Greek Debt Crisis, Some See Parallels to U.S. with David Leonhardt reporting: “The numbers on our federal debt are becoming frighteningly familiar. The debt is projected to equal 140 percent of gross domestic product within two decades. Add in the budget troubles of state governments, and the true shortfall grows even larger. Greece’s debt, by comparison, equals about 115 percent of its G.D.P. today.”

The New Deal never made economic sense. It was a huge, elaborate, complicated Ponzi scheme. The Great Society just added another layer to it. Now, all the Democrats in Washington are really doing is just putting a new coat of paint over the same wrong-headed, failed policies that they’ve been pushing since before the Woodrow Wilson Presidency. That’s why Biden called it a “Big *censored*ing Deal” — his words, not mine. It is an apt name for this final chapter in the “New Deal.” The end is near for collectivist “progressivism.” The question is: what will come next? Freedom? Or fascism with a “caring face?”

Pattern of Death [*2] — . . . is what happens when you “empower individuals” and “promote tolerance of diversity” but simultaneously remove the individual’s right and ability for self-defense, while at the same time encouraging—no—demanding that certain groups engage in protected outrageous behavior to address some hypothetical past grievance. That is a bad foundation for a civil society. You can be for tolerance, OR you can be for leveling the playing field/evening the score/redressing past wrongs/making things come out fairly for everyone/equality of outcome. You can’t do both. Not possible. Human nature won’t permit it. The two are utterly incompatible moral goals. Advocating “fairness” is the polar opposite of advocating “tolerance” because what you are tolerating is precisely the unfair distribution of human knowledge, ideas, ability, industry, and property.

“An armed society is a polite society” is a much firmer foundation for a civil and stable society. There is little terrorism in Switzerland, home of one of the most heavily armed populaces on Earth.

Time Is Not On ObamaCare’s Side [*3] — It won’t get better. It will only get worse. More onerous. More expensive. More oppressive. Enjoy your dwindling freedom while it lasts. The 2010 election is your last chance to avoid the European Disease of “progressivism.” If the Democrats are not decisively turned back in November, we will continue our descent from the extraordinary American Experiment with individual freedom and liberty into the cold, gray, drab world of common, stifling social democracy. Or worse.

Half of Russians believe bribery solves “problems” [*4] — Watch for similar headlines in the next year or two from America, if the 2010 elections go badly for lovers of freedom. When power and money flow into the state, corruption is the natural and inevitable result. Corruption is why the third world remains The Third World. Corruption is why Russia will always be Russia. When bribery becomes commonplace, freedom cannot survive. From the Lone Star to Wasilla, With Love: The Eyes of Texas Are Upon You! [*5] — You’ll just have to click on the link to find out what this one’s about . . .

Breaking: Gordon Brown Resigns [*6]

Mohammad Cartoonist Lars Vilks Headbutted During Lecture [*7] — Which, if you think about it, really isn’t terribly polite. Or, dare I say . . . tolerant. Or culturally sensitive. Or engendering the paramount value of DIVERSITY. Don’t you think so?

Conservative Cameron becomes British prime minister [*8]

Cruise Ship Delayed in U.K.: What Was Found During Inspection? [*9]

Millenials Not Yet Old Enough to Know Not to Trust Their Creepy Uncle [*10] — Especially creepy uncles named Sam, who promise to take care of all of your problems–all you have to do is drink that nice tasty fruity glass of rufies-laden Red Bull . . . oh, and go ahead and hand over all of your clothes and lay down on that nice comfortable bed there, and slip on those silk and velvet restraints on your ankles and wrists . . . no, it’s all right, Uncle Sam would never, ever hurt you–that is, unless it was for your own good . . .

Governor Palin’s New Book, “America By Heart: Reflections on Family, Faith and Flag” Out November 23rd [*11]

Regaining My Religion: The Rise of the Cult of Obama[*12] — And, weirdly, somehow related:

How Science Fiction Found Religion [*13]

Rasmussen: Palin’s favorable rating now negative in … Alaska [*14]

Wedding Bells For Limbaugh [*15]

Diversity, Liberal style, Part Two [*16] — “Yesterday, I noted that If Elena Kagan is confirmed, all three of the Supreme Court’s female Justices will be from New York city. A reader adds that all three will also be former summer associates at the New York city law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison.”

Small world, ain’t it?

A.D. Currie says K-State ready for whatever happens with conference realignment [*17]

Tone deaf or just plain stupid? You decide. Church installs registered sex offender to oversee youth and children [*18]

Kos: money doesn’t matter anymore [*19]

America by Heart at #12,400 on Amazon bestsellers list within 12 hours of being announced – UPDATE: make that #1,319 UPDATE 2: #244 and rising – fast[*20]

New interchange could drive growth: Work under way on I-90’s Marion Road exit [*21] — Sioux Falls, still growing . . .

Approval for arena to house Cornhusker basketball [*22]

Microsoft updates Office, vies online with Google [*23]

Don’t leave it to Cleaver, part 17 [*24] — “I’m out mowing my lawn” is the male equivalent of the female “I’m washing my hair.” It means “I don’t want to talk to you but am too pathetically passive-aggressive to actually come out and say so.” McClatchy Newspapers would not be able to recover from this reporting debacle, if there was any justice in this ol’ world.

Project to demolish 450 houses starts in Detroit [*25] — And so, the New Deal and the Great Society enters their final phase–the Big F’ing Deal, where we start tearing down all of the good things that America has built.

Doing The Conservative Thing [*26] — Prohibition didn’t work in the 1920’s. What makes us think it will work any better now?

Why Hollywood Will Lose the Culture War [*27]

Help Wanted! Reader Advice For Luxury Family Cruiser [*28]

Now It Can Be Told: CBO Says Health Care Will Cost $115 Billion More Than They Originally Estimated [*29]

Senate unanimously passes Fed audit bill [*30]

The Evil of Economic Nationalism [*31]

This Is Your Country on Drugs [*32]

Rant: Science Fiction isn’t just dying it has crumbled to dust. Where is the new blood? [*33]

Kevin Drum’s Strangely Incomplete List [*34] — “Kevin Drum wonders:[*35] why has the media has been kinder to Obama than to Reagan in covering unemployment? Really, I think he is serious . . .”

Just remember, there is no media bias. You must believe the mass media. The mass media is your friend. They will tell you everything you need to know, and will not tell you things that you do not need to know. There Is No Bias.

By no means unlikely: C.J. Cherryh’s Inheritor [*36]

What’s with all the depressing stories? [*37] — Personally, I blame Bush . . .

Now We Know… Obamacare Includes 3.8% Tax On Home Sales For All Americans …Update: Maybe Not [*38] — Well, it’s not ALL home sales. That’s OK, then . . .

How To Be Poor [*39] — Thanks to our beneficient Government, we’re all well on the road to poverty. Thanks, Barry, Nancy, Harry, and all of you who voted Democrat in 2008! See you in the soup kitchen lines, the clinic lines, the bank lines, the . . .

Making the improbably seem familiar — a system of points [*40] — Credibility points . . . in writing speculative fiction . . .

Reality Check [*41] — “Dr. Housing Bubble[*42] is looking at the state of the real estate market. It is not good. Not good at all.”

Governor Palin in Chicago: “You Win By Letting the Middle Move to You” [*43]

Barack Obama Says that Europe Is a Country [*44] — Our President may be clever and glib, but he is not particularly intelligent, I’m afraid . . .

His Dark Materials & The Assault on Sociopathic Organizations [*45]

Eric Cantor Announces “You Cut” Website… Now You Can Choose What Programs to Cut [*46]

Original Content: World-Building in a Hot Climate, by Anil Menon [*47]

Sure, It’s Among The More Primitive Large-scale Bonding Events [*48]

Turning Voter Anger into a Republican Mandate [*49] — “Anger does not equal a mandate.”

How To Access Hidden Firefox Preferences [MacRx] [*50]

Governor Palin Takes on Highland Park High School’s Arizona Boycott [*51] — School teachers or administrators who play politics with kids’ educations (or extracurricular activities) should be forever barred from any contact with the education industry. Period.

Iowa gaming panel OKs Lyon County casino [*52] — Larchwood, Iowa. Basically, suburban Sioux Falls, SD.

It Was Brawn Over Beauty in Human Mating Competition, Anthropologist Says [*53] — From the article: “”Other animals have antlers or long canines and claws,” said Puts. “Why don’t we have them?”” A question that all of us have pondered at one time or another, I’d wager . . .

Pest munches up China fields after GM crop sprays halt [*54] — Unintended consequences. You never can change just one thing.

First birds were poor flyers [*55]

How Donald Berwick Will Run Your Health Care [*56] — A direct quote from Mr. Berwick: “Any health care funding plan that is just equitable civilized and humane must, must redistribute wealth from the richer among us to the poorer and the less fortunate. Excellent health care is by definition redistributional.”

Oh, yawn. Another Obama neo-socialist, seeking to assuage his own feelings of guilt and inadequacy by being generous with other people’s money. Yawn.

Congress Deserves Better from the CBO [*57]

Kagan’s Sexuality, the Prisoner’s Dilemma, and the Politics of Personal Destruction [*58] — I couldn’t care less who (or to some extent, what) Kagan’s personal carnal pleasures run towards. I do care that I’m afraid she doesn’t think that the Constitution means exactly what it says–no more and no less.

A Most Disturbing Moment of Clarity [*59] — “Following David Horowitz’s talk earlier this month at the University of California, San Diego, was one of the most chilling brief conversations I’ve heard in a while.”

This is what happens when people don’t even understand that what they’re asking for is genocide. Very, very disturbing, as Totten notes.

“We talked about the Citizens United case and she said she thought the court was not sufficiently deferential to Congress.” [*60]

Genes explain why Tibetans thrive in high places [*61]

New way found to boost good cholesterol in mice [*62]

Can We Quit the UN Yet? [*63] — The United Nations has long since ceased to be a force for good in this world . . .

Facebook calls all hands privacy meeting: Competition gets launched/funded quickly [*64] — “The fundamental problem Facebook, and any similar “free” service schemes have, has always been their business model.”

If you really want your privacy, be prepared to pay for it. There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.

Kagan’s thesis on socialism suddenly hot news again [*65] — OMG! The racist homophobic bitter clinging teabaggers are using the “S” word again! Aieeee!!! Of course she was a socialist in college. All Democrats were. Some of them wised up over the years. The rest of us were libertarians in college. We didn’t get invited to their parties then, and we don’t get invited to the developmentally-disabled Democrats’ parties now. We don’t miss it.

Another Libertarian Arrested, Released For Bogus Crime of Filming a Protest [*66] — Oh, yeah, libertarians also get arrested when they photograph Socialists/Authoritarians Behaving Badly–which they do with depressing regularity . . .

Video: Chris Christie destroys reporter for calling him confrontational [*67]

Behind The Scenes: Three Dog Bakery [*68]

Holder admits: No, I haven’t read the Arizona law I’ve been dumping on [*69] — Oh. My. God. This man is Attorney General?

Study: Churchill to be forgotten within 80 years; Update: Video added [*70]

Who’s Cool? [*71]

Players take the blame for Hillman’s fate [*72]

Yost has through the end of the year to make an impression [*73]

The Firing of Trey Hillman [*74]

Why science fiction matters for people who don’t read science fiction [*75]

State universities target $4.4M in program cuts [*76] — South Dakota, again staying ahead of the fiscal curve. Yes, South Dakota. Yes, ahead of the curve.

Jackrabbits catcher ‘doesn’t take days off’ [*77]

SF moribund, my arse. [*78]

Doctor Who : The Comparative Lives of the Doctor [*79]

Responding to Various Outrages [*80]

Voice Of The Fans: Which Book Series Do You Want To End? [*81]

Shuttle Atlantis fueled for its last planned launch [*82]

Wrestling the TMP [*83] — “Too Much Power,” an occupational hazard for characters created by writers and prospective writers of speculative fiction . . .

Lloyd Marcus: Media Demands, ‘Take Us To Your Leader, Sarah Palin!’ [*84]

The Nation: “Elena Kagan should be borked.” [*85]

Kagan Opposes Second Amendment Gun Rights [*86] — Any person who seeks to put restrictions on the rights retained by the people–whether or not those rights are guaranteed by the Constitution and Bill of Rights or otherwise, is not qualified to serve in any capacity in any government in the United States of America. They certainly should not hold a seat on the federal Supreme Court.

Eric Holder Is Irresponsible & Dangerous – Eric Holder Must Step Down [*87]

Soros Funded Think Progress Cries Astroturfing Wolf [*88] — Soros is the master astroturfer . . . creating dozens of phony “grass-roots” organizations, all funded with his borderline-ill-gotten fortune to promote his neo-socialist, “communitarian” ideals.

Going to the Dogs: What Can Shy Dogs Teach Us About Longevity? [*89] — “Through domestication, humans unwittingly initiated an artificial selection experiment on personality. We know that breeders selected individual dogs for reproduction based not only on physical appearance but also on specific behavioral traits — such as activity, aggressiveness, and docility — to shape each breed to a specific task.”

Eurozone Breakup Talk Increases [*90]

Climate Craziness of the Week – New Scientist: The Denial Depot Edition [*91] — Perhaps they should re-name their magazine “The New Pedant.” They’ve certainly left the scientific method (specifically, the requirement to actually test hypotheses against actual observed data) far, far behind . . .

Business prices [*92]

Cap-and-tax: The game plan to make it a reality [*93]

I love this guy [*94] — Another out-of-the-closet man-crush on New Jersey governor Christie . . .

Royals’ Moore says losses required change at manager [*95]

Kansas City Police Pick-Up Bad Drivers at License Check Point [*96] — Because, you know, it’s just too much trouble to actually identify people driving badly and stopping just them . . .

R.I.P. El Niño [*97]

What ‘Structural’ Unemployment Means [*98]

More Militarized Than the Military [*99] — “Most American police SWAT teams probably have fewer restrictions on conducting forced entry raids than do US forces in Afghanistan.”

Ladies and Gentlemen, the unintended consequences of the War on Drugs. Still think prohibition is a good idea? Ask the people who live on Arizona’s border with Mexico about drug prohibition. Much of the illegal immigration pressure is by drug cartels, using illegals as drug-carrying mules. Still think prohibition is a good idea? Legalize and regulate is a better strategy than prohibit and oppress.

Governor Palin’s SBA Speech [*100]

October Through March Was the Snowiest On Record In The Northern Hemisphere [*101] — When all possible evidence, no matter what that evidence may be, “proves” global warming–that is an enormous, flashing neon sign for objective people that the fundamental theory is wrong–or at least inadequate to describe the observed data.

2010 Panama Canal Cruise, part 4

The Panama Canal-Ft. Lauderdale to San Francisco-20-night Voyage, May 6-26, Regent Seven Seas Navigator

Text by Snookums, Pictures by Filbert

Part Four

May 10 (Monday, Day 6, Cartagena, Colombia, continued) –

The galleon

We had a second shore excursion booked for today so everyone rested up for it. Around 4:00 we boarded a Spanish galleon for a 2-hour cruise of the Bay of Cartagena.

More after the jump . . . The tour guide spoke excellent English and gave a running commentary most of the time about Colombia. When he wasn’t talking, the dancers were performing folkloric dances. And, everyone was given a free beer (or water) and a bag of chips so we were all happy. It was a very nice boat ride. As soon as it was done we headed back to the Navigator and to the dining room. We were stinky and dirty from our full day, but it was okay. After dinner Mom, Dad and Judy went to the production show, “On Broadway” and they said that they enjoyed it.

We got to turn our clocks back an hour and Filbert and Snookums turned out their lights before 9 PM!

Pictures from the galleon excursion:

Dancing on the galleon
Conga line, and those who are oblivious to same
On board the galleon
The happy family
The reason we’re happy–beer (We’re not sure why Snookums is happy, of course . . . )
The fortress . . . more imposing from the water?
The Navigator and the Virgin Mary statue in the harbor
The Old Town from the water
The statue and new high-rise apartment buildings in the setting sun
Pelicans in the reflected sunlight
The happy family, after talking somebody else into taking a picture at the end of the harbor cruise

Next: Rain forest! Did you know that bugs live there?

2010 Panama Canal Cruise, part 3

The Panama Canal-Ft. Lauderdale to San Francisco-20-night Voyage, May 6-26, Regent Seven Seas Navigator

Text by Snookums, Pictures by Filbert

Part Three

May 9 (Sunday, Day 5, At sea) –

Aerobics room

Snookums attended “Body Sculpt” which consisted of 8 different stations where you lifted free weights or did push-ups or crunches for 3 minutes at a time. Amazingly enough, a 5-pound weight in each hand gets very heavy after you do a million reps of one exercise for 3 minutes! Filbert walked around the deck for 45 minutes and had a great workout fighting the wind for half of every lap.

More after the jump . . . Mom and Dad enjoyed the caviar and champagne breakfast which is a Regent tradition every Sunday.

We ate lunch in La Veranda since it was rather hot and humid outside. The headwaiter made sure everything was okay (and it was). We saw one guest walk at full speed smack dab into the automatic glass door. He thought it was open and it wasn’t. Snookums saw the whole thing since her chair faced that way and Filbert heard the loud “smack”. A waiter immediately gave him a cloth napkin full of ice and he appeared to be okay after a few minutes, but it had been a very hard collision into the clear glass automatic door, which failed to open–probably because the man was walking so fast. He drew a lot of attention and even the ship’s doctor came to see him. Strangely enough, the door does NOT have any kind of decal on it (like an “R” that is on the sliding glass door to the balcony in every cabin) and other guests have probably done the same thing since the glass is always spotless.

Filbert and Snookums took naps this afternoon and then attended the 30-minute “Core Conditioning” class. It consisted of 8 stations that we had to do for 1 minute each. 1 minute is a lot shorter than the 3 minutes that Snookums had to do in this morning’s “Body Sculpt” class. However, “Core Conditioning” was still a good workout and we both needed our second shower of the day.

Regent’s “Block Party” occurred at 6. This is where all the guests meet in the hallways and the stewardesses pour wine and serve hors d’oeuvres and the captain, cruise director and other muckety-mucks dash around the decks to meet everyone. We met our neighbors from Montreal, Quebec. Then we went to dinner at Prime 7. Prime 7 is Regent’s reservation-only steakhouse and Bill joined us so we had a table for six. At the end of dinner Mom was given a gift bag by the maitre’ d that contained a Mother’s Day present from Judy and greeting cards. (We gave the gift bag to the maitre’ d prior to dinner.) It was a surprise to her, that’s for sure. On the way out every woman was given a long stemmed red rose for Mother’s Day and Judy and Snookums gave their roses to Mom so that she has three in her cabin to enjoy. (Snookums and Filbert already gave Mom their stem of orchids from their cabin so that she has two stems of orchids in her vase in her cabin.) Now she has their vase with three red roses in it.

May 10 (Monday, Day 6, Cartagena, Colombia; 1,953 Colombian pesos to the dollar) –

Filbert stayed behind to make a phone call for a trust issue from his aunt’s estate while Snookums, Judy, Mom and Dad went on the shopping and historical highlights tour. We got on a little bus and stopped a couple of places for photo stops. Then we went to the newer part of Cartagena and were let out at a strip of emerald stores for 40 minutes. Rather than go into the emerald stores, we walked a few blocks down the street and back. The sidewalks aren’t really conducive to wheelchairs, but we managed. Then it was back on the bus and we went to the Old City for another 30 minute shopping stop. Snookums got out and took some photos of the Old City and climbed up the wall of the Old City. Judy got out and bought a $10 reversible leather belt for Dad since his had just split while on the cruise. After this short little shopping stop, the walking tour of the Old City started. It was not a place for wheelchairs at all so Dad, Mom and Judy stayed on the bus while Snookums walked around. It reminded Snookums a lot of old San Juan but much nicer and much bigger. Most of the old little houses are now bed and breakfasts and it didn’t really look like any of the old houses had tourist stores in them which made it nice and not so tacky. We got back to the ship in one piece. Snookums was very happy that Filbert didn’t come since it was around 85 degrees with very high humidity. He would have been miserable.Photos from the Cartagena historical highlights tour:

City walls
Another view of the walls
Row houses/i>
Cartagena bustle
Banyan tree
Neat yellow building
Blue-shuttered house
Statue of Jose Fernandez, who was important enough to have a statue of him erected
Some Cartagena doors
Cartagena Toucan says toodle-oo!

Next: Board a Spanish galleon, maties! Hoist the mainsail!

2010 Panama Canal Cruise, part 2

The Panama Canal-Ft. Lauderdale to San Francisco-20-night Voyage, May 6-26, Regent Seven Seas Navigator

Text by Snookums, Pictures by Filbert

Part Two

May 8 (Saturday, Day 4, George Town, Cayman Islands) –

Snookums, Bill, Judy

Judy, Snookums, Filbert and Bill went on the snorkel excursion this morning. This was Bill’s first snorkel experience ever and the water could not have been any better. It was very smooth, very clear and very warm.

More after the jump . . . And the fish were good, too! Our first stop was at Cheeseburger Reef (named for the Burger King on shore) and we saw a variety of fish and coral and even a sea turtle.

Fish, possibly happy
Snookums making sure Bill doesn’t drown or something
Judy swimming with the fishes
Filbert, doing “superman stretches” underwater (actually, just trying to stay beneath the surface for the photo)

The second stop was at the wreck of the Cali which was a cargo ship that got grounded in the 1960s and was ultimately blown up by the British Navy in order to sink it. It didn’t have many fish swimming around it, but it was neat to see the steel hull and other pieces in 15 feet of crystal clear water.

Snookums always looks just a bit more intimidating under water
Stripey fish, and wreck
Bluish fish, and wreck
Fish swimming around in circles

After we snorkeled we walked around town for a few minutes in order to buy a hat for Dad since his was left at home. Bill found the perfect one and for $15.99 it was a bargain, to boot.

Bill, playing tourist
Bill, wooden friend, flags, and Navigator, with world currently listing slightly to starboard.

Judy, Snookums, Filbert, and Bill ate lunch outside on LaVeranda. Snookums was enjoying her glass of Caffeine Free Diet Coke (with a straw) and noticed a huge chip on the top of the glass. It was the size of a pinky fingernail. She pointed this out to the waiter so that the glass could be thrown away when she was done with it and she didn’t think anything else about it.

We had a nice dinner in Compass Rose and the wait staff was very attentive. The headwaiter came up and apologized for the chip in the lunch glass and so did the maitre d’. Towards the end of dinner the headwaiter asked if the head sommelier had spoken to us yet since glassware was her responsibility. We said “no”. Snookums doesn’t care about the chip in the glass. She just didn’t want someone to drink out of it. At this point, it appears that everyone in any kind of “power” position in the Food and Beverage Department knows who we are. That’s okay with us since it might get us an additional reservation at Prime 7 or something like that.

After dinner Mom, Filbert and Snookums went to Randy Cabal’s show. It was billed as “juggling, comedy and other useless skills”. We all laughed a lot and Mom even had to use her inhaler since she was laughing so much. Randy kind of did “stupid human tricks” and said silly things. His three-paddle-ball act is . . . well . . . hard to describe in strictly polite terms. It did nearly cause Mom to die of asthmatic asphyxiation complicated by uncontrollable laughter, however. He’s going to do one more show before he leaves the ship and we’ll go to that one, too. We’ll put the ship’s medical staff on stand-by.

Afternoon Whip, May 11, 2010

NYT Tells Greece to Abandon Socialized Medicine? [*1]

Obama Works the Refs [*2]

The GOP’s poor understanding of blogs [*3]

The Dark Side of Engagement with Governments [*4]

Halliburton: work on oil rig finished before blast[*5]

Federalization of Disasters Bankrupting FEMA [*6]

Animals Talk, Sing and Act Like Humans? Young Children’s Reasoning About Biological World Is Influenced by Cultural Beliefs [*7] — Personally, I think we think more like animals (well, mammals, anyway) than most scientists want to admit . . . of course, that’s not what this article is about. Oh well . . .

while young urban children revealed a human-centered pattern of reasoning, the rural European-American and Native American children did not. Children’s experience, including the extent of their day-to-day interactions with the natural world and their sensitivity to the belief systems of their communities, influences their reasoning about the natural world.

NYT: Greece’s Economic Salvation Can Only Come By Privatizing Health Care and Laying Off Thousands Of Unneeded Government Workers [*8]

Rater Haters Finally Find a Reason to Turn On Moody’s, and It’s a Bad Reason [*9]

Report: Big Ten Extends Offer to Missouri, Nebraska [*10]

Arutz Sheva: Obama has Lost Almost Half of his US Jewish Support and Palin Wooing Them to Her Camp [*11]

Rasmussen: Sestak Tops Specter, 47-42 [*12]

MU Reaffirms Big 12 Relationship [*13]

Side Effects: Get Ready to Lose Your Doctor[*14] — “CNN reports that AT&T, Verizon, John Deere and others may well drop the health care coverage they now offer their employees. Obamacare makes it much cheaper for these companies to dump their workers into the government-controlled health exchanges and pay a penalty for NOT insuring them.”

Nuts’ anti-cholesterol effects stronger for some [*15] — “. . .the benefits seem to be greatest for thinner people, those eating less healthy diets, and people with higher levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, according to a new analysis. . .”

Guess Who ‘Sploded Your Ship? [*16] — I’ll take “North Korea” for $200, Alex . . .

When Did the American Flag Become Disrespectful to (Some) Americans? [*17]

Going Postal [*18] — I think eventually we’re going to have to go back to a system where each person who wants to vote has to appear, in person, with valid identification at a polling place. Anything less is an invitation to corruption.

Watching the Storm Roll In [*19]

as we’ve said many times here, this is about us ordinary barbarians vs. the elite—and I don’t think the GOP establishment (or at least most of them) get this. I don’t think they get it because I don’t think they want to. Let’s be blunt here: the Republican Party absolutely deserved the electoral repudiation it got in 2006 and 2008, and maybe even worse than it got. It deserved it because it had abandoned its principles, its philosophy, its ethics, and its commitments, in favor of enjoying power and the fruits that attend thereunto; the hard slap in the face from the voters was well-earned, and should have come as a real wakeup call. I’m not at all convinced it has.

MU officials discuss Big Ten, but no offers have been made [*20]

Mellinger | Hillman is failing [*21] — “The calls for Hillman’s job as Royals manager are building steam, a justifiably frustrated fan base wanting something — anything — to save what looks like another lost season.”

Royals head into a stretch that could revive the team — or bury it [*22]

Lufthansa’s Beer Garden Should Inspire Others [*23]

How to Craft a Great Voice [*24] — “You could drop randomly into a David Sedaris story or an Ernest Hemingway novel and probably guess the author within a few paragraphs because they have strong, unique voices. ”

The Future of Genre Fiction (an interview by Marc Marion) Part 1 [*25]

Libertarians Respond to the Elena Kagan Nomination [*26]

The Flight of the Intellectuals [*27] — “(Quote from Paul Berman:) I think a lot of people without Muslim backgrounds have a hard time imagining how vast and complex and huge and finally ordinary the Muslim world is. There are a billion and a half Muslims, and they do have more than one opinion.”

Eugene Volokh on Elena Kagan’s First Amendment Academic Articles: “I think they’re excellent. I disagree with them in significant ways….But I like them a lot.” [*28] — I’d personally be a lot happier of Eugene Volokh was the nominee to the Supreme Court, given what I’ve read from him . . .

You’ve Got Mail: America’s Broken Immigration Agency at Work [*29] — Read it, and weep . . .

The Fiercely Independent Partisan Hackmanship of Ezra Klein [*30] –“At some point, “progressive” becomes just another synonym for “whatever Democrats want”” — and that point seems to me be about when thoughts get transformed into words by a Democrat’s mouth . . .

Morning Whip, May 11, 2010

Cancer report energizes activists, not policy [*1] — “But the report from the President’s Cancer Panel on Thursday has underwhelmed most mainstream cancer experts and drawn only a puzzled response from the White House. Even members of Congress who usually are eager to show they are fighting to protect the public have been mostly silent.”

Obama: Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength [*2] — “”With iPods and iPads and Xboxes and PlayStations, — none of which I know how to work — information becomes a distraction, a diversion, a form of entertainment, rather than a tool of empowerment, rather than the means of emancipation,” Obama said.”

Worst President Ever? Or just the most ignorant[*3] ?

Skepticism and Independence: Bad! [*4] — “Why should a mother with an Ivy League MBA suppose that she is less capable of teaching her children arithmetic than a state-school graduate with a BS Ed.? (As a proud alumnus of Jacksonville State University, I don’t intend this as a put-down of state-school graduates.)”

And, oh, by the way, Jax State stole the 1985 Division II National Basketball Championship Game from South Dakota State. So, take that, McCain! Cheater! Governor Palin Questions the Credibility of the United Nations [*5] — The real question is: who with two or more working brain cells doesn’t question the credibility of the UN?

The American ‘Watershed’ — “The government declares that it knows best, it will take care of all our problems, and we should cease worrying. Trust us, it says, and most of all, please stop thinking so much: we are the experts who can do your thinking for you.”

Iron Man 2: Monsters of Metal [*6]

Jacks drop series finale to ORU [*7]

Second Half of a ‘W’-Shaped Recession? [*8] — “The extreme neo-Keynesian interventions of the past two years were the exact opposite of sound policy, and I repeatedly predicted in 2009 that the bond market would eventually bring about a reckoning. Investors now sense that this reckoning is much closer, and the latest attempt to prop up the Eurozone won’t change the underlying gloomy prospect.”

Are the Feds Trying to Nationalize Your Retirement Savings? [*9]

At this point, I think the best we can say is this: the federal government is desperate for cash, and the biggest untapped source of wealth is the hundreds of billions or trillions of dollars that Americans who are now nearing retirement age have saved over their lifetimes. I don’t doubt for an instant that the Obama administration would like to get its hands on this money, which would go a long way toward resolving the current government debt crisis. An obvious way of doing so is to take the money now, in exchange for a promise to pay an “annuity” later. The bottom line is that, given what we know about the Obama administration’s rapacious appetite for swallowing up private wealth, anyone who has savings should be vigilant.

The AP Whitewashes Its Favorite President [*10]

Two things about the AP story immediately jump out at the reader. First, it is based on interviews with administration sources. It accepts their narrative and repeats it uncritically. Second, despite describing the Obama administration’s response as “aggressive,” the AP does not detail a single action taken by the administration that did anything to effectively combat the spill. Yet this doesn’t seem to bother the AP; its analysis takes place entirely on a symbolic level.

California: The American Greece [*11] — “In what is undoubtedly a coincidence noticed only by free-market fundamentalists, it turns out that Greece, that sun-drenched paradise on the Aegean, and California, that sun-warmed El Dorado on the Pacific, are the worst places to do business in their respective economic zones.”

Obama: All this darned media is putting “pressure” on our democracy [*12] — “All he’s saying, really, is that as media multiplies, it becomes easier to spread disinformation. Which may be so — but of course, it becomes easier to challenge disinformation too. The One neglects to mention that last part; I wonder why.”

Federal Reserve opens credit line to Europe [*13] — Spending, and lending, like drunken sailors–except that even drunken sailors eventually have to pay their bills, one way or another . . .

Perfection [*14] — “Maybe the most important thing to know about our perfect game pitcher Dallas Braden is this: He was never a prospect. Not ever. …”

Royals’ missed chance on appeal not known until after game[*15] — The Kansas City Royals’ ingenuity at losing games is perhaps unmatched in all of sports history . . .

The Supreme Court nominee [*16] — “Full disclosure up front: Elena Kagan was a college classmate . . .”

Five Airline CEOs on New Aircraft and Regulation [*17]

“She is certainly a fan of presidential power.” [*18]

It’s also not surprising to hear that Kagan and Obama “think alike.” Obama’s rhetoric on civil liberties shifted nearly the day he took office. When it comes to fulfilling campaign promises, Obama has been bold and fearless in pursuing policies and initiatives that expand the size and power of government (and, consequently, his own power), and somewhere between compromising and submissive on promises that would limit the power of government and protect our rights and freedoms.

Writing Your Book, part VIII: Story Arc and Your Ending [*19]

Constitutional Infidelity: Progressive Judicial Philosophy [*20]

The authors’ misunderstanding of baseball and its criticism of Judge John Roberts – then nominee for Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court – is most indicative of its own infidelity. While now Chief Justice Roberts stated correctly that judges are like umpires whose job is simply to call balls and strikes, constitutional fidelity asserts that baseball fans know that umpires over time have “interpreted the strike zone differently in response to changing aspects and contemporary understandings of the game.” This is absurd. Analogous to amending the constitution, Major League Baseball can change the rules of the strike zone at its leisure. I would pay a high price, however, to see one of the authors of constitutional fidelity serve as an umpire in a baseball game and explain to New York Yankee fans, after losing to the Boston Red Sox, that the last called strike was based not upon MLB’s rules, but the umpire’s evolving understanding of the game. While the fact that it might happen is inevitable, this is not argument, as constitutional fidelity analogously asserts, that it is acceptable.

The other shoe drops – Fannie Mae asks for $8.4 billion [*21] — “Don’t forget, this is off budget money – even though it adds to the deficit, its not counted – yeah, you figure it out.”

Why is Janet Napalitano still Secretary of DHS? [*22] — This is what is known as a “good question.”

Rule change favors unions at airlines, railroads [*23] — Because unions have been such positive forces for the survival of airlines and railroad companies, don’t cha know . . .

Obama administration reverses itself on Times Square bombing conspiracy [*24] — The Country Is In The Very Best Of Hands . . .

Ryan: EU contagion will spread to the US [*25] — Not “will,” Representative Ryan . . . “has.”