Tuesday, December 12, 2017

the real Donald Trump

Lightweight Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a total flunky for Chuck Schumer and someone who would come to my office “begging” for campaign contributions not so long ago (and would do anything for them), is now in the ring fighting against Trump. Very disloyal to Bill & Crooked-USED!

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Amtrak Trip to Leavenworth, Washington

I left the house about 6:15AM on Wednesday, November 29 via Uber for Marshall Center.  I read "The Columbian" newspaper in Marshall Center lobby.  I checked in with the trip leaders at Leupke Center about 7:00.  We boarded two vans about 7:30 for the short trip to the Amtrak Station.  The 8:35 train did not arrive until 9:35! 

I had a window seat on the water side.  It was a very enjoyable trip to Seattle.  I walked a few blocks to Starbucks at 400 Occidental Ave S where I had the crackers, cheese, and fruit protein box, shortbread cookies and Earl Grey tea.  Nancy came in while I was eating and joined me for an interesting conversation.  We walked back to the King Street Amtrak Station.  The renovation is complete.  Stunning!

The train left for Leavenworth about 4:40PM.  It was soon dark.  Great view of the Christmas lights along the way.  Some snow at the 2,000+ ft. level crossing the Cascades at Stevens Pass.

We arrived at Icicle Station in Leavenworth about 8:00PM.  A bus shuttle took us to the Bavarian Lodge.  We each got a small sack with two chocolate chip cookies.  There was hot cider also.  I got my room key to 320.  It was on the back side of the Lodge.  I would not be able to enjoy the Christmas lights in the park from my room window.  Instead I overlooked the parking lot and houses.  Much quieter though.

I rose early for 7:00 AM breakfast Thursday morning.  We went on a wagon ride at Red Tail Canyon Ranch.  We had cookies and hot drink.  Back at Leavenworth I took an IPhone photo of the webcam photo of me at the park, wandered through many of the stores as snow fell and then looked for a warm place to eat lunch.  I had a roasted tomato, mozzarella cheese and basil pesto toasted focaccia, shortbread cookies and Earl Grey tea at Starbucks.  Most enjoyable.  I had chocolate ice cream mixed with toasted, chopped almonds in a cup at a nearby ice cream parlor.  I enjoyed the colorful Christmas lights in the park from the ice cream parlor window.

Back at the Bavarian Lodge I sat in front of the fire in the fireplace in the lobby.  I had planned to hear Bluegrass music at the Icicle Pub this evening but they had to run a Sounder game on television so the Bluegrass music was canceled.  Sad.  Later I had a glass of Riesling wine at the Lodge Pub.  We sat on comfy chairs in front of the fireplace.  I shared a bit of Nancy's bruschetta.  I watched some television in my room, packed, showered and fell instantly asleep.

I woke at 4:00AM on Friday morning, dressed and headed downstairs with my backpack and tote bag.  We boarded the van for the short ride to Icicle Station.  A few of us wandered over to one of the heated shelters.  The train was about 17 minutes late.  We got into Seattle about 11:00. 

I headed east to Starbucks at 505 5th Ave S. where I had the crackers, cheese and fruit protein box, shortbread cookies and two cups of Earl Grey tea.  I sat at a table with two very well dressed business people.  The woman, Laine, and the man, David, are writers/producers.  Big Story Productions.  Fascinating conversation.  They are currently working on presenting the story of the Panama Hotel.  I read the novel "The Hotel at the Corner of Bitter and Sweet" and have actually eaten lunch at the Panama Hotel where I saw through a glass floor panel the luggage that was left by the Japanese when they were interred during WWII.   I told David about Dave Ulmer; Jeremy, Brian and Elias at Groundspeak; and Geocaching. 

We caught the train about 2:15 for Vancouver, WA.  I once again had a view of the water as we headed south.  This will be the last time that I will have this view as the train will henceforth travel inland.  So sad.  We arrived in Vancouver at 5:30 about 17 minutes late. We took the vans to Marshall Center.  Carol gave me a ride home. 

Lessons from the Watergate Scandal

It has been 45 years since the bungled 1972 break-in at the Watergate offices of the Democratic National Committee headquarters by burglars tied to the president's re-election committee set off the Watergate scandal.  The burglars were there to repair electronic eavesdropping bugs they had installed the previous month.

The resulting attempted cover-up, abuse of power, perjury, news of the existence of a clandestine group called the Plumbers operating from within the White House, discovery of other crimes (break-ins, kidnapping, etc.) and the eventual resignation of the sitting president in 1974.

The free press especially The Washington Post played its fundamental role in bringing the scandal to light.  The Senate Select Committee Watergate hearings exposed the depth of the scandal.

Nearly half a century later, as another American president finds himself engulfed in scandal over claims of election misconduct, he and his staff may well want to read up on the Watergate scandal in the bestselling book All the President’s Men.  There are lessons to be learned!

Watergate was basically decent men who went astray.  It was a failure of decent men to follow their conscience.  They made tragically destructive errors and many even criminal conduct.

In the end, the lessons of Watergate contain both an assurance and a warning.

The assurance is that the American system works. The warning is that, no matter how high or important the post, if one betrays a public trust, the system will be brought into play.  Watergate shows that the odds of beating the system are strongly against a guilty person.

After what happened to Richard Nixon, only a fool would take the chance.  

The Spy Who Came In From The Cold

In 1973, thousands of people watched the seemingly endless testimony of Watergate figures - McCloud, Halderman, Strachan, Chapin, Magruder, and others - on television.  But the actual hearings were attended by only a few hundred people.  On Monday, September 24, I attended both the morning and afternoon sessions when the hearings resumed after a brief late summer recess.

After long hours of waiting, I and several other spectators solemnly filed past the blue uniformed guards who carefully checked each one for weapons, up the long, winding gray marble stairs, and into the spacious Senate Caucus Room, still 15 minutes before the Senate Select Watergate Committee resumed its hearings, taking seats in the last row or leaning against the back wall and large pillars.

Convicted Watergate conspirator, E. Howard Hunt Jr., 54, an ex-CIA agent, looking pale, thin and physically weak, was present to testify as to how he had become involved in the bugging and break-in of Democratic National Committee's Watergate Headquarters.  Hunt spoke for the first time publically about "the events which have befallen me."  

Hunt and his lawyer faced the solemn Senate Select Watergate Committee: Senator Lowell Wicker (R-CT), Senator Edward J. Gurney (R-FL), Senator Howard H. Baker, Jr. (R-TN), Senator Sam J. Erwin, Jr., chairman, Sam Dash, Chief Council, Senator Herman Talmadge (D-GA), Senator Daniel Inoyue (D-HI), and Senator Joseph M. Montoya (D-NM).

I heard recently that as a young lawyer Hillary Rodham (later Clinton) helped investigate Watergate.  She likely attended the hearing that day but I would not have known who she was.

To Hunt's left, a row of television cameras, lights powerful, glaring; photographers bobbing in and out, flashbulbs flashing until Hunt strongly protested; to his right sitting at long tables or leaning against the walls and pillars were reporters, news analysts - Sam Donaldson, Sally Quinn, Carl Stern, Daniel Shore, and others members of the press. 

Hunt read aloud a brief opening statement, his voice dry and lifeless, making it clear that he felt betrayed by his government.  He testified about his part in Watergate.  After the hearing was over for the day, Hunt rose slowly, warmly embraced his grown children, and was led away to spend the night at a Federal Bureau of Prisons "safe house".  Hunt would serve 33 months in prison for the crime and emerge a broken man.

Leaving the Senate Caucus Room, I paused briefly in the crowded rotunda for a last look back, turned and walked slowly down the winding gray marble stairs.  Behind me was almost a year of Watergate - "a third-rate burglary" as the White House once described it; the Senate Watergate Hearings - a "three ring circus" as its detractors referred to it; and E. Howard Hunt, Jr., - the spy who came in from the cold and did not like it.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Ignorance is bliss

I was driving Saturday afternoon southbound on I-5 Freeway from Portland.  I noticed briefly across the divider shrubs several fire trucks stopped with lights flashing. I assumed there was a traffic accident involving one or more vehicles. It created a backup for several miles. 

Since I stopped reading and listening to the news regarding Trump some news unfortunately still filters in like a bad vehicle accident noticed briefly from afar.  But I am spared the gory details.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

So long Donald Trump

A couple weeks ago I quit googling "Donald Trump Today" several times a day and listening to the Evening news.

The last straw was a reporter asking Trump about something.  Donald answered with a smirk on his face "I'll let you know in a couple days".  I don't want to know in a couple days or ever what new damage Donald Trump has done or is going to do to the country or the world. 

The rich are going to get richer, the poor are going to get poorer and the middle class are going to get screwed.  I have a lot more time to read books and nap in peace without worrying about what Donald Trump is saying or doing.  

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Santa Fe and Taos, September 11 - 17, 2017

Monday, Sept. 11 - I caught a cab from Vancouver Cab Company at 5:30am to Portland International Airport.  I was pleased to be leaving the hot, smoky weather behind.  I boarded Alaska Airlines for a 8:00-11:45am flight to Albuquerque, New Mexico.  I changed my watch during the flight to Mountain time.  I collected my suitcase and walked to the Scandia Shuttle desk.  I didn't have long to wait.  However it seemed like we walked forever to board the shuttle! 

I arrived at the Hilton Santa Fe Historic Plaza Hotel, 100 Sandoval Street about 2:15pm.  I was given two bottles of water at check-in as I am a Hilton Honors member.  I waited about an hour in the lounge area to check into my room but it was worth it.  Great location on the top (3rd) floor overlooking the pool.  Spacious and beautifully decorated.  I purchased a sandwich and bottle of apple juice from the hotel shop for late lunch in my room.  My television did not work so I told the front desk the times I would not be in my hotel room the next day so they could fix it.  I was given a complimentary coupon for two glasses of wine and a cheese, fruit and crackers plate for the inconvenience which I used later in the week.

I checked in with the Road Scholar Group leader, Elizabeth Schroder, and received my folder with the updated schedule.  We had orientation and introductions in the meeting room from 5:00-6:00.  Buffet dinner in the meeting room at 6:30.  Interesting group.  I was not doing well at 7,200 ft. above sea level.  I went to bed early and slept soundly until time to wake up at 6:30am.

Tuesday, Sept. 12 - We had a breakfast buffet at 7:30am at the hotel.  The instructor, Elizabeth Schroder, gave a lecture at 8:30 on the History of New Mexico from its earliest Paleo-Indian inhabitants to the Spanish settlers and American merchants who followed.  We also heard about Santa Fe which is the oldest state capital in the country.  At 10:15 we departed for a guided walking exploration of the Santa Fe Plaza area including the St. Francis Cathedral/Basilica, Loretto Chapel (Chapel of Our Lady of Light) with its amazing spiral choir loft staircase, and a few other sites.  Santa Fe has three main styles of architecture: Pueblo, Territorial and Northern New Mexico.

We had lunch at Blue Corn Cafe, a local favorite.  I got a large wrap with slaw.  I saved half of the wrap and the slaw in my room refrigerator for a light dinner.  We departed via coach from the hotel for the Indian Arts Research Center at the School for Advanced Research.  We were allowed to see the Pottery collection: Acoma, Laguna, Santa Ana, Zia, Santa Domingo, Cochiti, Dine and apache, Taos and Picuris, Tesuque, Santa Clara, Ohkay Owingeh, San Ildefonso, Mojave, Zuni, and Hopi.  My favorite is the Black pottery from the San Ildefonso and Santa Clara Pueblos.

I went for a walk in downtown Santa Fe to find a couple geocaches: Santa Fe River Park and SFGT: La Fonda Hotel.  I ate the half wrap and cole slaw left over from lunch and the rest of the apple juice from the day before for a light dinner.  I went to bed early.  I fell asleep watching a television show "America's Got Talent". 

Wednesday, Sept. 13 - We had a breakfast buffet at 7:30am at the hotel.  Jerry Rightman, instructor, gave a talk and showed slides on Georgia O'Keeffe.  We walked a few blocks north through Burro Alley to the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum which holds the largest collection of O'Keeffe works in the world.

After the instructor led a short tour through the museum I left to have lunch at nearby cafe, Sweet Lily.  I discovered that the owner had done some geocaching.  I had Quiche Lorraine with a green salad.  I sat at a table on the front porch.  It was quite lovely.  I visited the O'Keeffe Museum for a couple more hours.  My favorites were Bella Donna, 1939 and Black Hollyhock Blue Larkspur, 1930.  I own three large Georgia O'Keeffe prints.

I walked the few blocks back to the Hilton.  We departed from the hotel at 4:30 for Red Mesa Cuisine in Eldorado.  We had a presentation on Southwest Cuisine led by Chef Dr. Lois Ellen Frank, author of "Foods of the Southwest Indian Nations" and Chef Walter Whitewater of Diné (Navajo) Nation,  followed by a four-course dinner.  The dessert was Organic Mixed Berry Crisp with whipped cream, and Chocolate Pinon Torte with Fresh Berries.

Thursday, Sept. 14 - We had an early breakfast buffet at 7:00am at the hotel.   I requested that they unlock the doors to our breakfast room.  The Coach departed for Taos at 8:00am.  We visited Taos Pueblo for an hour and half.  Taos Pueblo has a certain mystic from afar that it does not have up close. 

We had lunch at Gutiz restaurant in Taos.  I had a Bacon, lettuce & tomato on a fresh baguette with a side of homemade mayonnaise. Served with a side of Gutiz potatoes.  Very disappointing. 

We visited the Millicent Rogers Museum.  In 1956, the youngest son Paul Peralta - Ramos founded the Millicent Rogers Museum in Taos. The museum houses a large collection of Native American, Hispanic, and Euro-American art, with a specific emphasis on northern New Mexico and Taos pieces. It first opened in a temporary location in the mid-1950s, later moving to its permanent location in the late 1960s, a home built by Claude J. K. and Elizabeth Anderson, close friends of Millicent Rogers. Fascinating place.  Rogers initials are carved into the door frame of the original entrance, which is located in Gallery 11.

Afterwards we had independent exploration of the historic district near Taos Plaza.  I got a cup of ice cream and sat on the bench in front of the store talking to two men.  I walked quite a ways to the Kit Carson Memorial Cemetery where I found a geocache: The New Mexico Challenge - Taos Country.  I photographed Kit Carson's headstone.    
  
About 4:00 we departed for Santa Fe, stopping for a brief photo opportunity at San Francisco de Asis Mission Church on the way. This Spanish Colonial adobe building is one of the best known and most photographed churches in New Mexico. We had dinner at Santa Fe Bar and Grill in Santa Fe.  I had the Vegetarian Baked Lasagna (I prefer ground beef) and Mexican Flan for dessert.  Dinner was followed by a return to the hotel.

Friday,  Sept. 15 - We had a breakfast buffet at 7:30am at the hotel.  We had presentation by Ronald Roybal of flute music.  I was disappointed that he did not play the Spanish Classical guitar.  We departed for the Meow Wolf Arts Complex at 10:00.  The place is a real hoot! 

We boarded the bus at 11:30 to depart for lunch destination at Maria's New Mexican Kitchen.  The service and meal was a disaster. The only thing I loved was the complimentary sopapilla which was incredible. Thick but billowy, sprinkled inside with honey it made my lunch enjoyable after all.

After lunch we departed for Museum Hill for a visit to the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture.  We departed for the hotel about 4:00.   I went for a long walk to find some geocaches: Guadalupe Shrine, Zandi 5 (a Virtual) and Veterans' Services Memorial.  I photographed San Miguel Mission.  Back at the Hilton I used my complimentary coupon for cheese, crackers and fruit with Chardonnay wine for dinner. 

Saturday, Sept. 16 - We had a breakfast buffet at 7:30am at the hotel.  We took a field trip to parts of the High Road to Taos.  We visited Chimayo. The Chimayó valley is a verdant oasis extending from the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo mountains to the expanse of the Rio Grande valley. The name Chimayó itself is from the Tewá Indian language meaning superior red flaking stone. 

We visited El Santuario de Chimayo, a Roman Catholic church.  We visited Centinela Traditional Arts weaving gallery.  Years ago I had purchased a stunning rug but ended up backing out of the deal.  We had lunch at Rancho de Chimayo, a charming restaurant housed in an old hacienda.  After lunch we traveled to Pojoaque where we visited the Poeh Cultural Center.  I saw a plethora of pots!  I purchased a small clay cat (Musa).  Afterwards we departed for the hotel.  Buffet dinner and closing comments.  I am just getting over Altitude problems and now it is about time to head home.

Sunday, Sept. 17 - We had a breakfast buffet at 7:30am at the hotel.  This was the last meal included in the Road Scholar program.  I was picked up at 8:00 by Al and Nola Funk (ACFunk).  I hosted an Event at Tribes Coffee House, 3470 Zafarano Drive.  Great turnout!  Afterwards the Funks took me to a Virtual and then back to the Hilton.  I stopped at the Lensic Performing Arts Center to get Symphony tickets for the afternoon concert.  I walked to the Plaza where I had lunch at the Plaza Cafe.  There was a Santa Fe Vintage Car Club Rally on the Plaza.  I attended the pre-concert talk at 3:00 at the Lensic Auditorium. 

The Santa Fe Symphony's 34th season kicked off with Van Cliburn gold medalist, Yekwon Sunwoo, performing with the full orchestra. Sunwoo, who has shared stages with Perlman and Marin Alsop, came to Santa Fe fresh from his Van Cliburn competition victory to perform Brahms’s four-movement epic, the Piano Concerto No. 2. The afternoon’s performance concluded with Elgar’s intimate and complex Enigma Variations, a Romanticist tribute to the composer’s friends and family.

I had an Almond Croissant and Earl Grey tea at 6:00 at Starbucks near Santa Fe Plaza.  I sat at the front window watching street life.

Monday, Sept 18 - I was given a complimentary full breakfast at the hotel.  I wandered over to the Plaza where I looked at Native jewelry under the portal at the Palace of Governors.  Back at the hotel I checked out of my room.  I contacted a Lyft driver.  He took me to the Capital Station.  I rode the Rail Runner to Albuquerque.  I took the bus shuttle to the airport.  I had a light meal of Granola and Yogurt with a Brownie for dessert at Black Mesa Coffee Co. cafe before going through security.  My flight arrived in Portland about 8:00.  I took MAX light rail and C-Tran home.  Long day.  Even though it was cold and rainy it was so good to get home!