Alum Cave Bluffs Trail- 5 Things To Know Before You Go

I just hiked the Alum Cave Bluffs Trail in the Great Smokey Mountains National Park, and it was a real joy.  The Fall weather was perfect, the trail was perfectly clean, and the scenery was as magnificent as any on God’s canvas.  Here I’m hoping to provide you with some quick tips if you decide to take the same hike…things that they won’t tell you at the Ranger Station (or anywhere else, so far as I know):

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St. Petersburg, Russia-Still Great After All These Years

Saint Petersburg doesn’t reveal her beauty to you all at once.  To discover her secrets, you must work at it patiently, like a sculptor who reveals the appeal of a cold slab of stone by chipping away at it gently until the statue beneath is revealed in all its glory.  So to appreciate this city properly, you must be prepared to spend a few weeks (or months)…impossible for a mere tourist, of course…but there you have it.


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Helsinki, Finland- Why Is This The Happiest Place on Earth?

 

OK, to be honest, visiting this capital was never on my bucket list, but it was part of a Baltic cruise I went on recently, and I’m glad it was.  To my surprise, Helsinki is worth a day trip at least, offering up a blend of cool Nordic design and neoclassical architecture set against a baby-blue sky dotted with scudding wisps of cirrus clouds.  But besides being a nice place to visit, it’s an even better place to live, at least according to the latest survey from the World Happiness Index (yes, that’s a thing), which indicates that Finland is the happiest country on earth.

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Costa Cruising-5 things you should know

Most people choose Costa as their cruise line of choice because the itinerary and timing is appealing or because the price is right.  And Costa does provide lively entertainment, good food, and a convivial atmosphere on newer ships with an Italian flair for style and design.  It’s for those who like a youthful international mix of families, couples, and mostly non-English speaking passengers.

If you’ve already made up your mind to cruise Costa (or if you’re on the fence), here are 5 tips that should help:

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Why go on a cruise? 7 good reasons

 

I just finished a Costa cruise, which is where I took these photos.  I love to travel, and so naturally I get a chance to talk to others like me who enjoy seeing the world.  Among those, there is a certain type that will tell you with snobbish disdain that they would never consider a cruise, as if ships (and, it goes without saying, the low-brows and deplorables like me who are passengers on them) are somehow beneath them.  Well, I usually prefer land travel myself, but I’ve been on plenty of cruises, and I can say that I’ve enjoyed every one.  In fact, I’d say that there are times when cruising is not only the preferred way to travel, it’s virtually the only way unless you’re prepared to mount your own personal expedition.  

With that in mind, here are the 7 best reasons you should take a cruise: Continue reading

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Gay “Pride” in Stockholm

You’d think, walking around Stockholm (as I recently did), that Sweden’s national flag is rainbow gay.  After all, it’s more ubiquitous here right now than the Scandinavian nation’s own beautiful emblem (a bold yellow cross on a royal blue field).  Everywhere you look you see the queer colors: as a pennant on top of a hotel, a sign in front of a restaurant, and even flapping as ensigns from the ships in the harbor.  The waitresses are sporting the colors on their suspenders, and the waiters have rainbow ties.  Rainbow sunglasses, socks, and decals abound.  Why, you ask, is Stockholm afflicted with such a bad case of homophilia these days?

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Belvedere Palace

Prince Eugene of Savoy was a scrawny, innocuous little runt who nonetheless became a mighty warrior and helped defeat the Ottomans decisively, once at the Siege of Vienna in 1683, and more famously at the Battle of Zenta in 1697. He was thus instrumental in keeping all of Europe from becoming a Muslim caliphate, at least until today, and the riches that came his way as a result were poured into the Baroque masterpiece of Belvedere, his summer palace in Vienna, Austria. Continue reading

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The United States of Empire

We’re getting close to the end now. Can you feel it?  I do.  It’s in the news, on the streets, and in your face every day. You can’t tune it out anymore, even if you wanted to.

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Letter to Senator Nelson

This is a letter I wrote in response to a communication from Senator Bill Nelson in which he voiced his opposition to President Trump’s tariff policies.  The Senator cited a single industry spokesperson who claimed that there would be a catastrophic loss of jobs due to those trade measures.  I felt the need to rebut his false premises and statements.  Enjoy!  (Senator Nelson’s letter to constituents is at the bottom of the page)

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Russia Never Threatened Me

I don’t get it.  I’ve been watching the hysteric reaction of the news media, the MIC, the Deep State, the Zionist neocons and politicians on both sides of the aisle to President Trump’s new detente with Russia, and I’m left wondering why the prospect of peaceful coexistence with a nuclear-armed superpower is seen as a bad thing.  After listening to the usual drivel on TV, which includes accusations of treason in the executive office, you’d think they actually want an adversarial relationship with a country that our own generals acknowledge could annihilate us just as surely as we could them, and end the world as we know it in the process. 

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