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Good Mountain Press Monthly Digest #071
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
~~~~~~~~ In Memoriam: Mike P. Nuccio (1932-2006) ~~~~
~~~~~~~~ Owner and Chief Barber of VIP Hair Salon in Metairie ~~~~~~~~
Mike, you have been my friend, barber, and fishing buddy for almost thirty years. Mike, you are a gentle spirit and you were a great hair stylist. You spirit will always be with me, but I will miss your hands and scissors as they sculpted my hair for me. Our prayers are with your wife of many years, Linda, and all your many friends and customers in this time of sorrow. I rest assured knowing that you, Mike, have found new fishing grounds where the motor on your boat will never fail and the fish will always be biting on your hook. Mike, I pray that your namesake, Michael the Archangel, will lead you safely onward till we meet again.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Last Minute Note: Casey O'Rorke (1974 - 2006) A good friend whose smiling face greeted me every morning across the counter at my local PJ's Coffeeshop. We lost him to leukemia and the spiritual world gained a good soul.
During 2006 the spiritual world also gained these beloved personalities: Lou Rawls (1933-2006), Singer; Jack Kilby (1924-2005), Innovator of Integrated Circuits; Shelley Winters (1920-2006), Actress; Mickey Spillane (1918-2006), Writer; and Jack Palance (1918-2006), Actor
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~~~ GOOD MOUNTAIN PRESS DIGEST #071 Published January 1, 2007 ~~~
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Quote for the Winter Month of January:

Here is the Golden Rule of sound citizenship, the first and greatest lesson in the study of politics: You get the same order of criminality from any State to which you give power to exercise it; and whatever power you give the State to do things for you carries with it the equivalent power to do things to you.
Albert Jay Nock

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~~ Click on Heading to go to that Section (Allow Page First To Fully Load). ~~
THE GOOD MOUNTAIN PRESS DIGEST #071, January 2007
Archived Digests
Table of Contents

1. January's Violet-n-Joey Cartoon
2. Honored Readers for January
3. On a Personal Note
4. Cajun Story
5. Recipe of the Month from Bobby Jeaux’s Kitchen
6. Poem from October 14, 1987: "Super-Conductor"
7. Reviews and Articles Added for January:

8. Commentary on the World
9. Closing Notes - our mailing list, locating books, unsubscribing to Digest
10. Gratitude

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THE GOOD MOUNTAIN PRESS DIGEST #071
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ARCHIVED DIGESTWORLD ISSUES ON THE WEB
 
~ ARCHIVED DIGESTWORLD ISSUES ~
2000: INAUGURAL YEAR: Jun  
#1 Jul  #2, Aug  #3, Sept  #4, Oct  #5, Nov  #6, Dec  #7
2001: Jan  #8,  Feb  #9,  Mar #10, Apr #11, May #12, Jun #13, Jul #14, Aug #15, Sep #16, Oct #17, Nov #18, Dec #19
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2006: Jan#061,Feb#062,Mar#063,Apr#064,May#065,Jun#066,Jul#067,Aug#068,Sep#069,Oct#06a,Nov#06b,Dec#06c
2007: Jan#071,Feb#072,Mar#073,Apr#074,May#075,Jun#076,Jul#077,Aug#078,Sep#079,Oct#07a,Nov#07b,Dec#07c
2008: Jan#081,Feb#082,Mar#083,Apr#084,May#085,Jun#086,Jul#087,Aug#088,Sep#089,Oct#08a,Nov#08b,Dec#08c
2009: Jan#091,Feb#092,Mar#093,Apr#094,May#095,Jun#096,Jul#097,Aug#098,Sep#099,Oct#09a,Nov#09b,Dec#09c
2010: Jan#101,Feb#102,Mar#103,Apr#104,May#105,Jun#106,Jul#107,Aug#108,Sep#109,Oct#10a,Nov#10b,Dec#10c
2011: Jan#111,Feb#112,Mar#113,Apr#114,May#115,Jun#116,Jul#117,Aug#118,Sep#119,Oct#11a,Nov#11b,Dec#11c
2012: Jan#121,Feb#122,Mar#123,Apr#124,May#125,Jun#126,Jul#127,Aug#128,Sep#129,Oct#12a,Nov#12b,Dec#12c
2013: Jan#131,Feb#132,Mar#133,Apr#134,May#135,Jun#136,Jul#137,Aug#138,Sep#139,Oct#13a,Nov#13b,Dec#13c
2014: Jan#141,Feb#142,Mar#143,Apr#144,May#145,Jun#146,Jul#147,Aug#148,Sep#149,Oct#14a,Nov#14b,Dec#14c
2015: Jan#151,Feb#152,Mar#153,Apr#154,May#155,Jun#156,Jul#157,Aug#158,Sep#159,Oct#15a,Nov#15b,Dec#15c
2016: Jan#161,Feb#162,Mar#163,Apr#164,May#165,Jun#166,Jul#167,Aug#168,Sep#169,Oct#16a,Nov#16b,Dec#16c
2017: Jan#171,Feb#172,Mar#173

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1. January Violet-n-Joey CARTOON:
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For newcomers to the Digest, we have created a webpage of all the Violet-n-Joey cartoons! Check it out at: http://www.doyletics.com/vjtoons.htm Also note the rotating calendar and clock that follows just to the right of your mouse pointer as you scroll down the page. You'll also see the clock on the 404 Error page if you make a mistake typing a URL while on the doyletics.com website.

The Violet-n-Joey Cartoon page is been divided into two pages: one low-speed and one high-speed access. If you have Do NOT Have High-Speed Access, you may try this Link which will load much faster and will allow you to load one cartoon at a time. Use this one for High-Speed Access.

This month Violet and Joey talk about Money.

#1 "One for the Money" at http://www.doyletics.com/images/12180601.gif

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2. HONORED READERS FOR January:
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Each month we take time to thank two of our good readers of Good Mountain Press Digest, books and reviews. Here's our two worthy Honored Readers for this month. One of their names will be in the TO: address line of your email Digest notification. Our Honored Readers for January are:

Seth Nehrbass in New Orleans

Kim Gralapp in Alexandria, Louisiana

Congratulations, Seth and Kim!


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3. ON A PERSONAL NOTE:


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Out Our Way:

SALZBURG TOUR
We arrived in Munich, Germany about 7 in the morning and got some coffee in the airport. I also bought a couple of comic books, one of Uncle Scrooge (Dagobert) and another of Olympia. We got into the Höller Bus (Name roughly translates as: the Hell Bus or Infernal Bus) and began our tour with a description of the country side we were driving through. This was cruel and unusual punishment for a bus load of people suffering from jet lag. The worst part was he loudness of the guide’s speakers which blared out above every seat, plus no mute button! Even after I asked the volume be turned down, it was still so loud that my Bose Sound-Deadening Earphones kept whispering “Uncle” in my ear. I felt like I was in Hatlo’s Inferno. Hatlo drew a Sunday one-panel strip which showed the infinite varieties of torture in Hell in the Times-Picayune when I was growing up. In this one, a cartoonist is being forced to look at his own cartoons for a million years as penance for what he foists on his innocent readers.

I picture a Hatlo Inferno for the managers at Collette Travel, Sabine, and all the female tour guides they hired. I envision them each chained to a wall in Hell, while a NASCAR Race Announcer blares out a description of every person who enters Hell for a million years over cheap, noisy loudspeakers stuck only a foot over their heads! Since the trip into the Inferno will be a short trip, they will have an advantage our tour group didn’t have: Jet Lag. And when they are unchained for a walking tour around their new environs from time to time, Torquemada the Spanish Inquisitor will show up carrying a portable amplifier turned up full volume to ensure they can hear all his descriptions of the cells occupied by every tour guide who abused their customers throughout all the ages.

The “short ride to Salzburg” became a two-hour hellish torture for me in my jetlag state in an uncomfortable bus with a blaring loudspeaker constantly pouring out our guide’s hard-consonant pronunciation of English and her twisted attempts at humors replete with gallows laughter. Ha-ha yourself! The weather was cloudy and the drizzle kept me from making any photos through the drop bespeckled windows of the bus. We arrived at the Castellani Hotel on the edge of the old town of Salzburg. The hotel was an Italian-run and Italian-architecture of recent vintage. Clean, sparse, straight lines everywhere. Our room looked out over the entrance. When we got into the room, it was freezing cold, about 50 or so. In groggy jet lag state, here I was immediately forced to figure out the heating system which was steam heat through modern radiators whose only blessing was they were silent. Open loop control, which meant I had to be part of the feedback system to keep the temperature from getting too hot or too cold. Thankfully the radiators were quiet and soon heated the room and the bath. The coverlets for the entire trip were single bed coverlets folded over each side of king-sized bed made by moving two single beds together. Another thing to figure out before I could just take a long nap.

That night we drove to the restaurant in a monastery from the 7th century which served dinner to visiting Charlemagne in 806 and stayed open afterward as a restaurant until the present day. It was warm and cozy once we got inside out of the drizzling rain. We had a banquet room for ourselves, and were served dinner. We walked into the large dining/music hall at the end of the corridor where they hold dinner concerts. Huge baroque hall. Found out baroque architecture came as a result of the Counter-Reformation when the rebirth of the Catholic Church from its lugubrious mediaeval period happened.

We were visited by the Krampus, devilish creatures with scary faces and fearful costumes, usually with two large spherical bells over their rears which signaled their arrival on the scene. Their job was to scare people. They came through our dining room followed by St. Nicholas and his good elves who greeted us.

Mannfred was our Arnoldish tour guide of the Old Town of Salzburg on for our full day in Salzburg. He was the best of all the tour guides we had, and the only male. Spoke better English than his Austrian compatriot Schwarznegger. I tested him and he pronounced “California” with the silent “F”, which Arnold still hasn’t figured out. He took us through the Mirabell Gardens, Mozart’s birth house (on the very date of his death, Dec. 5, 250 years ago!) and the Cathedral. We walked past some cases of Stiegel Bier, a beer that has been brewed in Salzburg since 1492! He pointed out the funicular train which climbs to the Festum Salzburg, the old fort atop Salzburg which guarded the city. Mozart’s statue, his pen ever in his right hand, graced the square outside the Demel coffeeshop where we rested our tootsies and enjoyed some coffee and a pastry.

Newly refreshed, we took the funicular to the Höhen Salzburg Festung (High Fortress) which overlooks the city. The weather had cleared up for the first time, the sun was out, and we could see the mountains in 360 degrees around us. Took a lot of photos from the Festung from the parapets surrounding it. We did a tour of the insides of the fortress as well, stopping to view the Puppet Museum and buying Salzburg souvenirs in the Gift Shop. The one bag limit per person due to the size of the Tour Bus made the acquisition of lots of gifts problematic. But we bought a miniature Mozart violin and a couple of beautiful quartz crystals which seemed to be from the region. We walked through the military museum and saw one soldier with a handlebar mustache who looked ever so much like Lee Marvin in Cat Ballou. This was an amazing tour for us because we could go where we wanted, stay in each room as little or much as we wished, and guess what? No choppy English guide blasting out description of what we looked at! We bought some Glühwein (hot, mulled wine) in the open-air kiosk. We were told that this was the warmest weather in 1300 years in Salzburg and yet it was still brisk enough to warm up with some of this “glowing wine” in the open patios of the fortress.

We came down to Mozart Square again and walked through the Christmas markets. Took photos of the kids ice-skating under Mozart's gaze. We tried to change money at American Express, but it was closed for lunch till 2, so we walked the half mile back to Castellani and rested for a while till we went back to Old Town. We ate at the Café Mozart off one of the small streets packed with people. Met Kirsten, our waitress. Asked her how she learned to speak such good idiomatic English and she said she lived in Ireland for 3 years and then worked in an Irish pub where a lot of Brits from all over came in Salzburg. As she talked about living in Ireland, the Irish accent was clearly discernible, when she talked about her pub work, the other British accents bloomed. She said that she “drives the Brits crazy” because invariably they try to pick out her accent as to what part of Britain she’s from. Actually she’s from East Berlin. Was only 13 when the Wall came down. Asked her about “Goodbye, Lenin” and she said it is a movie loved by East Berliners because it recalls the pre-1989 era, and even though it’s not totally accurate in many ways, it gets close to the truth of those days. We invited her to visit us when she comes to USA to visit an uncle in Houston.

After dinner we were a bit tired, but stumbled into the square to look around. We looked through the lit-up Christmas Markets. I found some fuzzy red heart-shaped pillow with "I Love You" in German, which reads "Ich Liebe Dich" and the script "h" looked like a "k" which made Dich look like Dick, which was Del's father, Dick Richards, among other things. People were jammed to the walls like Mardi Gras day. The PA speaker was talking about something going on, but the only decipherable word was “Krampus”. I sidled over to a poster of events for December and there on the Eve of St. Nicholas Day (Dec 6), this very night!, was to be a Krampus Laufen or Krampus Run! Those beasties from the night before were going to be out in force and roaming the streets of Old Town scaring women and children!

This was amazing since I had just completed reading in “The Sun Mystery” (See Review Below) about how being scared helps one’s “I” to hold onto and revive the physical body (keep it from returning to the Earth), and how feeling compassion helps one’s astral body to hold onto the etheric body and keep it from spreading out into cosmic spaces. Here was an annual event to scare people and help them in the darkest time of the year to hold onto their physical bodies!

We walked to the Cathedral where St. Nick was talking over PA system now from the steps of the church as the dozen or so Krampus creatures assembled and listened. Some may have honored for their costume designs. Then the Krampus were released into the crowd. We walked behind a Christmas kiosk area to get away from the crowd and watch the Krampus and we were not disappointed.

A Krampus with fearful face came up to a young woman with dark hair near us, grabbed her, and she screamed and strove to get away from him, they wrestled and fell to the ground with the Krampus on top of her! No doubt she is now tightly bound to her physical body again! Here's a photo of the two of them on the ground right in front of us. She quickly got away and ran quickly to the side of the street. Apparently this kind of behavior is an accepted part of the Krampuslaufen each St. Nicholas Eve, Dec. 5, in old town Salzburg.

We were exhausted and began to make our way out of Old Salzburg for our twenty minute stroll back to the Castellani Hotel. On the pavement alongside a building was a strip of snow about two feet wide and twenty feet long piled about a foot or so high. Great! If anyone asks we can truthfully we saw the snow piled a foot and a half high on the ground in Salzburg.

LINZ TOUR
We were up early to check out of the Castellani, but first breakfast or rather Frühstück which translates from the German into “early piece” — well, we didn’t know what to do with all these early pieces of unknown foods. No labels on any of them, just dishes of various color pudding or yogurty things. I tried the pink pudding one because in a Thursday Next novel I read recently her time-traveling father changed the entire world into a pink pudding. It was as good as Thursday described it. Fortunately it didn’t change me into a pink pudding. But there was enough recognizable breads, juices, and coffee to get us going. The sky outside was clearing but as soon as we headed out of Salzburg, it got foggy especially in the mountains. Christian, our bus driver, managed to get us safely to Linz around midday and our first stop was in downtown Linz to pick up our Tour Shouter. You can tell from her face immediately that she didn't need a loudspeaker to speak to an enclosed bus of 31 people, but this easy logic seemed to have escaped the bus driver, the Collette Tour Manager, and the Linz Tour Guide, so we suffered through it. Take a moment to inspect the mouth of the Linz Guide — can you imagine any normal English sound made with one’s mouth wide open and one’s tongue at the top of the hard palette? No, not unless you were punching out a teutonic consonant full blast. Which is what she did, over and over again, first in the bus, then in the church. I listened to her and heard my mellifluous English transformed into the chugging locomotive of a teutonic martinet!

Our next stop was at Martinkirche, a very old church named after St. Martin. It was built over an even older Roman temple whose foundations are still visible on the outside of the church. There was even a portion of the original Roman wall in which you could see Greek letters engraved it, all upside-down. Noula Rodakis, one of our tour members noticed it and wondered why it was turned over. The guide said the Romans often re-used stones from earlier buildings and sometimes the workers being illiterate in Greek, would turn the stones over.

We were given free time in Linz to rest from the guide’s portable amplifier and loudspeaker and get some lunch. Del and I chose a restaurant right off the square and found a large portion of our tour group there, among them were Kiki Burgereit and Marilyn, Billy and Cornelia Weldon, Jane and Kris Kirkpatrick, Carole Ducote, Michaela York, Becky Pennington, Mary Vedros, and Barbara McCormick. Del and I ordered some Knoblauchsuppe, which I translated as some kind of soup, so I asked our waitress what kind? She said “onion soup”, but with a telltale hesitation. We ordered it anyway and found it absolutely delicious. Lucky for us we found out later that we had eaten “garlic soup”! Lucky, because we would have never ordered something called garlic soup.

We wandered around the Linz Christmas markets after lunch. I was impressed by the solid wooden carved creche sets of all sizes. One could outfit a mantelpiece or a church altar at one kiosk in the market. The monument in the center of the Linz square was about four stories high and was crowned with two golden figures on either side of a beaming Sun, looking ever so much like a monstrance in a Catholic Church.

VIENNA TOUR
Then we got back on the infernal bus for the afternoon leg of our trip to Vienna. More mountains and fog and not much to shoot photos of but the inside of the bus. We motored into downtown Vienna to the Hotel de France which was to be our haven for the next two days. We had just enough time to unpack and get dressed for our Vienna dinner followed by concert at the Schönbrunn Palace. It was a cozy little summer palace of 2100 rooms designed after Versailles, but I daresay the French palace could easily fit inside the backyard of this monstrous palace. The dinner was very nice, but nothing memorable except the lovely ladies in the photo above.

We left for the long drive to the Schönbrunn Palace and we got there, on time. After a walk through a drizzly, cold Vienna night for a block, we waited and observed a first-class SNAFU (Situation Normal All Fouled Up) in operation: the concert was not scheduled for the palace but for one of its “satellite” concert halls. So we reluctantly walked back out into the cold, wet air, climbed on the bus, drove back into Vienna proper where we had left some time earlier, and attended our Vienna Concert-Lite. Few people other than us in attendance, as you can tell from the photo at the left: only a small nonet of classical instruments and three or four young singers. This concert would be impressive in Peoria, Illinois, but in Vienna, Austria, it sucked big-time and smacked of a Collette fumble or a backfield in motion foul.

Woke up from a good night’s sleep at the Hotel de France and wandered downstairs to find the breakfast. It was up a half-flight of stairs and the fare was more recognizable than the Italian-German fare from the Castellani. We boarded the infernal bus for our tour from Hell of Vienna. Vienna is a great city, full of great architecture, but trying to photograph them from a moving bus through a window full of raindrops is no fun at all. Every other building had something famous of note and our teutonic drill sergeant du jour made sure the volume was cranked up so we would not miss one single over-articulated English consonant of her spiel. I felt like jet lag all over again by the time we arrived at the Schönbrunn Palace for the second time in two days. Hopefully they’ll actually let us in this time instead of dispatching to parts unknown again.

First, a few words about the Palace’s origin. When King Charles the Great or Charlemagne was hunting in the region outside of Vienna’s walled city, he discovered a spring with great-tasting water. He called it his “marvelous spring” or “schön brunn” and decided to build a hunting lodge there. Years later the Ottomans lay siege to Vienna and while they left without breeching the walled city, they burnt down the hunting lodge. After their major enemy had given up on seizing their country, Charlemagne decided to built a palace on the site of his wonderful spring and gave it the name Schönbrunn Palace. It was this huge palace that we were to tour today and stop in every room to hear English butchered over a loudspeaker in front 20 foot-high stoves, marbled bathrooms, parqueted floors, and gold-leafed scrollwork everywhere. I coped with the Tour Shouter by walking a room ahead so that only a drone of syncopation reached me around the corner and I could simply gaze on the marvelous handiwork which went into this incredible palace. No photos were allowed, so I was able to focus on the chambers where the royalty of Vienna hung out.

At the end of the tour and my wits, we were released into the grounds in front of the Schönbrunn Palace where the Christmas Markets were now open and doing business. Del and I enjoyed some Hot Chocolate in Schönbrunn Palace mugs. In America if you buy something in a keepsake mug, you get to keep the mug dirty and clean it later, but here in Austria we found a quaint custom: you return the dirty mug, they clean it and re-use and give you an unused mug! The grounds behind the palace were huge and beautiful and they missed our attention. Would require another day to enjoy the landscaped grounds which go some 300 meters back to an Arche de Triomphe worthy of Paris itself. I took a photo of the Arche through the window and let that suffice for this trip.

We then proceeded to St. Stephan's Cathedral in downtown Vienna, and having heard enough chopped up English for one day, we abandoned the tour and promptly got lost in old Vienna, a very nice city to get lost in. I took photos of the buildings on foot and enjoyed our walk right up until it became obvious we were lost and the map we had was absolutely designed to be interpreted only by a native of Vienna. We found a delightful café and had some delicious potato soup which tasted a lot like what my mother called potato stew. It would last us till supper in the Grinzing region outside Vienna. With the aid of our non-brusque and very helpful waitress, I figured out where on the map we were situated and what direction we needed to walk to get back to the Hotel de France. We finally arrived there and decided to take a simpler tour on our own of the ring. Having heard about the ring around Vienna, I wanted me and Del to take the streetcar and make the ring. It follows the path of the old wall of Vienna and would give me a chance to take better photos than the hurried and harried bus tour earlier in the day. Well, that ring tour will have to wait for another day. We bought the ticket at the Tobacco Shop as directed. We walked across the median and asked for help as to where to board the bus as the signs were not visible to us. Once we had successfully cleared all these hurdles and found a seat on the streetcar, a horrible thought entered my head, “We didn’t get on Line 1!” A young man across the car from us helped us to get out of the car before it headed off into the far reaches of suburban Vienna, and then showed us what streetcar to take to get back where we started from. Instead of a ring around Vienna, we did an out and back in. When we arrived back, I figured that was adventure enough for the afternoon and decided to get a snack.
We walked over the Café Maximilian which was catacorner to our Hotel. It was the café that Sigmund Freud frequented because it was a couple blocks from his office, and he could often be seen in the afternoon sipping his coffee at a table there. As we walked in, we spied a creamy white centered strudel called a Topfen Strudel in a display case. We decided to get some coffee and one of those strudels. By this time, my non-German speaking wife, Del, knew just enough German to be dangerous, and as the waitress approached us, Del blurted out that we wanted a “topfen” strudel. But, alas, even though to my ear she seemed to say the word correctly, the waitress brought us a different strudel which clearly had apples in the middle. Since the waitress was very kurt and abrupt and the display case was well on the other side of the café, we were at a loss as to what went wrong and more importantly how to get what we really wanted without dragging the busy waitress to the case or pulling one out ourselves and carrying to our table. Our problem-solving reverie came to a quick and propitious end when the couple at the table across from us materialized a Topfen Strudel in front of each of them. When Miss Too-Busy-To-Chat came by again, I pointed to the other table and said, “Ein”. It turned out to be a delicious cheese strudel, unlike anything I’d ever tasted before. The filling was a bit like cheesecake, but smooth as silk and just as light on the palate. The light, crisp crust was dusted with a puff of powdered sugar and we would have licked the plate if we’d been at home or Siggie’s ghost were not watching us.

Where did we go wrong? I believe when Del ordered a topfen strudel, she used the English “o” sound which is exactly equivalent to German “a” sound in their word for apple, which is “apfel”. So, the waitress heard an American voice ordering an apfel strudel and that’s what we got. If Del, my dearest Aries, who rushes into any breech with her Ram’s horns lowered, had simply paused for a half second, I would have ordered a Topfen Strudel in my best German voice, and we would have received the white cheese strudel. You never know until you find out.

When we walked out of the Café it was night-time and the huge twin-spired cathedral which towers over the park outside the café was lit up and looked like a fairy castle looming in the night sky. There were several posters and bronze monuments to Sigmund Freud in the park. One was a stark monolith of granite with the words, “Die Stimme des Intellekts ist Leise”, roughly translated by me as “The Voice of the Intellect is Silent” carved into its smooth surface. At the bottom was this inscription: Sigmund Freud (1856-1939).

We arrived back at our Hotel de France in time to rest a bit before we board the bus for a ride to Grinzing, a quaint neighborhood on the outside of Vienna in the wine producing area. Our destination for dinner was a restaurant in an old wine pressing house of the Krischke family that was built in 1527, rather new compared to the 803 Stiftkeller we ate at in Salzburg, but ancient by American standards. When we returned home, I told our friend Rosie that we had eaten in a restaurant that was built in 803 and she said, “Wasn’t that the year of the Louisiana Purchase?” No, Rosie, that was about one thousand years before the Lousiana Purchase in 1803. This brought home to me the newness of the New World compared to the Old World.

We ate in the ground level restaurant, and our tour of 33 folks comprised the majority of the guests there that evening. We were serenaded by a trio of musicians with Christmas carols and other American favorites on the violin, bass fiddle, and the piano/accordian. During their break, the only blind member of our tour, Carole Ducote took over the keyboard and led us in a rousing rendition of “When the Saints Go Marching In.” Our table mates for dinner were Curtis and Diane Turner from Shreveport, and nearby is a photo of the two of them in the booth after the meal was over.

One more note about the restaurant: there were signs on the walls showing a young boy and his WC potty. (WC is short for Water Closet, the Continental euphemistic equivalent of our Rest Room.) In one he is standing and peeing in the potty, in two he is pointing to the Potty Rooms, and in the third he is drinking a bottle of wine while resting on his potty (See Photo).
That sign reminded me a Christmas story about our grandson Gabriel when he was about the age of the toddler in the WC sign. They were singing Christmas carols in his nursery school class late one afternoon, and when his mom, our daughter Maureen, arrived, the teacher came to the door laughing so much she could barely speak.
“Is it my son again?” Maureen asked.
“Yes,” the teacher struggled to get the words out.
“What did he do now?”
“We were singing carols a few minutes ago and he asked to be excused to go to the potty. Through the closed door we could hear him singing Jingle Bells. Like this: ‘Jingle Bells, unh! unh! Jingle Bells unh! unh! Jingle all the way unh! unh! . . .' and we've been laughing since.”
A week later back home at my club's Christmas party I told this story to our friend Jenny and she said that when she was having her first child, in Lebanon, using the Lamaze method, the teacher suggested that she choose a song to help her get through birth pangs and she chose Jingle Bells! It was Unh! Unh! Unh! all over again for her.

I told that story to Hoye and Jane Grafton and they laughed so hard. I told them several other funny stories and we all had a good time. I seem to recall a rousing Greek song with a circle dance Hoye, Noula, and myself near the end of the evening as well.

Notice I have not said much about the food except for the desserts. The Alte Presshaus was another forgettable feast of sauerkraut, sausages, and potatoes. The dessert was good. The wine flowed. The music wafted. The spirits rose. The ghosts of the old presshouse were no doubt pleased with our company before we shuffled off our mortal coils back to the modern conveniences of the Hotel de France in our diesel-snorting conveyance. The food may have been forgettable, but our evening in Grinzing at the Alte Presshouse was definitely unforgettable.

Del went to bed and I joined some of our group in the hotel lounge area drinking wine, listening to the piano player, and telling stories for a couple of more hours heading upstairs to join Del in a good night’s sleep. Tomorrow we will be off to Prague and switching our Euros into Korunas. The Czech Republic has been accepted into the European Union, but are on hold switching to Euros until their monetary system stabilizes. Conversion rate was twenty korunas for one US dollar or 27 for one Euro. I thought of a koruna as a nickel and it worked for me.

PRAGUE TOUR

Our second breakfast at the Hotel de France was a little easier to figure out. So many choices. Granolas, oatmeal, juices, eggs, croissants, scrambled eggs, and the ever-present server to remove your dishes as soon as they were empty. Breakfast was often the main meal of the day for me on the trip because it was the only pre-planned one where I got a large selection of things to eat. After the garlic soup adventure, we were more careful about what we ordered during our off-tour restaurant stops. I recall now that on the bus trip into Vienna, we stopped at Rosenberg Inn along the way and bought the Kaiser-Melange, a wonderful hot chocolate drink in a souvenir cup, and a delicious croissant.

We were back on the infernal bus heading into Praha, Czeche or Prague, Czech Republic. The “h” sound in Czech must sound like the English “g” because Praha in Czech sounds to the English ear very much like Prague. Also the large castle there is called the Hrad which sounds like our Grad. The countryside was certainly picturesque as the brochure promised. Lots of quaint villas atop small hills, monasteries on large hills, lakes full of ducks and other waterfowl, brilliantly colored structures of homes and industrial buildings. We stopped at an inn just inside the Czech border and got some great hot chocolate. The hot chocolate was always more tasty than the too-strong Turkish coffee that was served everywhere in Austria and Czeche.

The Golden City, the City of a Thousand Spires, Prague, unfolded before us, one beautiful church tower or spire at a time. We were informed that the Hilton Hotel was overbooked and we had to move to another hotel. This snafu was a boon, however, as we passed the Hilton about a mile before we reached downtown old Prague and our replacement hotel, the InterContinental Hotel alongside the river and a short walk to downtown. Much shorter than from the Hilton. We even received a bottle of wine as a condolence from the Hilton, but it was an unwelcome gift because we couldn’t take it back, we didn’t drink wine, and we finally decided to chance leaving it with a note and our tip for the hotel cleaning staff. The ICH was the best hotel of the three we stayed in. First class everything. A combo and singer in the lounge at night. Great breakfast buffet with omelette chef on duty. A large area for boarding and unboarding the bus out front. A Casino across the street. A few blocks walk either to the old square and Christmas market area along the elegant shopping area with Hermes, clothiers, and Bohemian Crystal shops. We bought some Bohemian Crystal at one of the shops and were very pleased at the service the proprietor provided us. He calculated all the VAT and exclusions, filled out all the paperwork for the shipping for the two cut-glass vases which will be shipped directly to our home. The VAT we avoided by doing that paid for half of the shipping.

One word on the word Bohemia. Del asked me where was Bohemia. Turns out the original name of this area was something like “Boha’s Heimat” (Boha’s Home) and that gave rise to the name of the land as Bohemia, which later was renamed Czeche, but the original name has also stuck. So Bohemian crystal is simply crystal manufactured in Czeche. It is for sale everywhere from the exclusive shops along the street from the ICH to the Square, to discount shops off the square where the tour guides urged so strongly to go to that I wondered about money changing hands behind the scenes, and kiosks in the Christmas markets.

Our guided tour the first day was a walk into the Square to get familiar with the area. Words fail me to describe the lush and varied architecture of the buildings in the old Square. Multi-storied buildings with carvings and paintings telling a story on each level — which is where we get our word “story” from in referring to the floors of a building. The famous astronomical clock was amazing. And the huge church which towers over the square seemed out-sized for the Square. It was enormously high with two huge square steeple resembling ever so much a fairy tale castle.

Our time in Prague was chilly and rainy, but it never seemed to rain except when we left our umbrellas behind expecting clear weather. The tour was a walking tour, so we were able to avoid the blast of the teutonic barker by lagging behind or wandering away from the group and enjoying the sights with a minimal amount of express train verbiage to assimilate. We finally left the tour group and found a kiosk making fried bread dough. The dough was spread out by this woman on her hands and placed into a deep fryer, and then into a cooling rack from where she extracted one and covered it with ketchup, Nutella, garlic, and an assortment of mysterious stuff in large mugs. When covered with ketchup, it looked like a pizza and many locals ordered it that way. All I wanted on it was butter and the opaque mug whose contents I couldn’t see fully on my tiptoes resembled melted butter. I asked her what it was and she pulled up a container labeled “Maez” or something like that, so I chanced it and said yes. It was butter and the fried bread dough was a delicious treat in chilly mist we were in. Del got herself a Czeche hot dog which one is expected to use the bread (not a bun) to hold the sausage while one dips it into mustard and eats a bite at a time directly off the sausage.

We went inside of St. Peters Cathedral which had a beautiful altar, very high muraled dome, and an incredible chandelier. A truly awesome church in every respect. We walked back to the ICH by nightfall and ate dinner in the hotel where the band was setting up. Del went to bed early and I stayed to listen to the band’s first set.

I was up first and took a walk over the bridge directly behind the ICH. Took some photos of a fisherman in a boat in the middle of the river and some swans swimming in it. When I got back Del and I had breakfast in the dining area and prepared to load the bus for a trip to the Hradcany Castle, the huge structure which towers over Prague and can be seen from anywhere it seems. We walked up the roadway past the deer moat which is a steep gully which surrounds and protects the castle. The size of the Hradcany is amazing. It seems as large as a small city within a city. St. Vitus’ Cathedral with its Rose Window, amazing arched interior, stained glass windows and impressive statue-laden front entrance rivaling or exceeding Notre Dame in Paris, St. George’s Church and statue, the Golden Lane, and the fourteenth century Charles Bridge with its 16 arches and 30 statues. We saw graffiti tiles on the outside of buildings, each tile with a similar scrolled pattern. We walked though an ancient hall raised from the ground level with a very worn wooden floor that was used for indoor jousting tournaments. We walked along Golden Lane filled with tiny cottages built into the wall which were formerly used to house soldiers on duty protecting the wall. Franz Kafka’s apartment was in one of those small apartments. There were amazing views of Prague from every window in the high rooms of the palace. One picture window was composed of hexagonal segments of glass, most of which were old glass, but I found one clear segment and shot a photo through it. As we walked through the area approaching the Charles Bridge, I took a photo of an artist's rendition of Prague and you can see that photo in Commentary 3 in this Digest or simply Click Here.

Walking back through the Charles Bridge was an amazing adventure. We walked through a canaled section that resembled Venice with houses built right against the canals. We saw the water mark of the August 14, 2002 flood which reached above the lintels on doorways. It was a day of walking well away from the tour guide so we could focus on what we wanted to see and that made it a very enjoyable day. On the Charles Bridge Del and I took our turns placing our hands in the five stars, one finger on each, where the martyred saint went into the river.

This weekend was the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, a Catholic Holy Day, and this meant a long weekend for the Italian tourists who were flooding the city to buy things at the Christmas Markets. They also filled the Charles Bridge and made keeping in a group very difficult. It was the most crowded area we had encountered during our whole trip, but of course it was a Saturday. The day of the week kinda gets forgotten when you’re on a tour.

We were aware that this was our last full day in Europe, and when we arrived back at the ICH, we rested a bit till it was time to head out to our final dinner together at the U Vladare Restaurant. It required us switching to two smaller buses to maneuver the side streets. Don’t recall the exact fare, some kind of stuffed chicken and a delicious dessert, of course.

We got our marching orders for heading for the airport for the next day and headed back to the hotel for the last night before we sleep in our own beds at home again.

Sunday December 10, 2006: Returning from Europe!

We got to the Prague airport and through customs in quick order, but nothing prepared us for the three hours we were going to spend simply getting from one terminal to another in Paris at the DeGaulle airport. But we finally made it onto the Airbus 340-300 which was a rather comfortable Air France liner with good service and good food. I awoke from a nap to find frost patterns forming on the outside of my window and shot some photos of it. When we landed in Atlanta we had to go through customs again, with our own bags, and then to return them to be loaded onto our flight to New Orleans. We had a long wait, but the time was made shorter by the Saints-Cowboys NFL football game which was telecast on the waiting area monitors. The Saints jumped out to a 21-7 lead at half-time as we boarded the plane and the captain kept us posted on the score as the Saints won going away. This assured them a playoff berth. They now have a chance to play in the Super Bowl. It would be amazing if the Saints were to play in the Super Bowl, something they have never done in their forty year history.

We found our bags, our Maxima in the long-term parking, and drove home, getting there about 11 pm local time, no telling time it was on our body’s confused clock. But we went to bed and slept soundly knowing tomorrow we had no more tour to go on, no guide yelling over loudspeakers, just me and Del and Steiner our Schnauzer. And just four days to get ready for our family Christmas present sharing with five of our eight kids coming to Timberlane for the occasion. Little details like putting up a Christmas tree and last minute wrapping of presents. With those thoughts in our heads we went off to sleep.

Woke up at home Monday morning and went through all the Times-Picayune newspapers that accumulated while we were gone. I had visited my friend of thirty years, Mike Nuccio, in the Canon Hospice in Elmwood the Saturday before we left. I suspected he might not last till I returned and I was right. He died on Dec. 5 and the memorial service would be the morning of the 16th, the day of our family Christmas gathering which began at noon. Del agreed we could make it happen if she stayed home and did the preps till I arrived. This was a busy week, too busy to have jet lag, but we both managed to get up together each morning at 2 AM and then go back to sleep — this lasted for about four days. My major activity was unloading the 800+ photos from my Sony P200 camera. Used two full 1 Gbyte memory sticks and part of a third. Unloading meant copying to hard drive, backing up to USB outboard hard drive, then individually enhancing for gamma correction (lightening), contrast, sizing, cropping, sharpening, red-eye correction, and saving each photo with the date taken, a code for the city, and a description of the contents. Sometimes I get a bit gitty and use facetious titles like for a large baroque dining and concert hall, I wrote, “If it’s not baroque, don’t fix it,” but mostly I add information not obvious to later viewers of the photos, like who is in the photos. We had 33 folks on our tour and getting the names correctly attached to the group photo was a challenge. Also their email addresses so I could send a link to view all the photos later in a slide show on Shutterfly.com.

On Thursday our friend Rosie had a dentist colleague of her husband die and I offered to take her to the funeral in Metairie. We had a good talk both ways. She asked me how Del and I met. When I dropped her off she gave me some cookies and date bars she had made earlier. Rosie is a great baker and we love all of the cakes and cookies she bakes. That night was my club’s Christmas Party and we had a great time there. For the first time, Del was so busy talking and having fun, she wasn’t ready to go home when I was, so I sat patiently and waited for her.

On Friday we went to a couple more Christmas parties. One at our investment broker, Mike Brown’s place. Was surprised to find my brother Paul and his wife, Joyce, there. They used live a few blocks away from Mike’s but now live several hours away in Opelousas. Stopped by Dad’s to give him his presents and the largest navel orange I could find to pick out of my Timberlane citrus orchard. It’s been a bumper crop after the loss of all the citrus the previous year to Katrina. I squeezed about 3 quarts each of navel orange juice and grapefruit with Del’s help one day. By Friday night I had completed processing all the Christmas Tour photos! I’ve found that from long trips like this one and the Alaskan Cruise it almost takes me as many days to process the photos as the lapsed time of the trip itself! It is an essential task, but without doing that they would become like prints of photos dumped into shoe boxes which is what we did before PC’s came along with their amazing ability to sort and store digital records such as photos. And the photo studio operations which can be done digitally are down right amazing to me.

Saturday came and I went to Mike Nuccio’s memorial service. It warmed my heart to see that the table in front of the service had four of the photos I had taken of Mike and gave to him in the hospice. I had compiled all the photos I had of him over the years and had prints made for his wife Linda to have. The only photo other than mine was the one taken of him with Paul Newman, the actor, many years ago when Mike cut his hair for a movie made in New Orleans. When Paul was working on “Absence of Malice” in Miami, he paid Mike to fly himself to Miami to do his hair. As I think of it, there was no man I have ever known that was more “absent malice” than Mike Nuccio. I met a tall black man named Walter who had gone fishing with Mike every Tuesday for the past two years. Walter was Mike’s yard man and one day Mike asked him if he liked to fish, and when he said, “Yes,” they became great fishing buddies. From what I had observed over the past thirty years, Mike had few friends other than his customers. I went fishing with Mike once or twice a year, usually out of Hopedale, but once or twice out of Myrtle Grove. It was always a great trip whether we caught fish or not, whether the motor broke down or not.

I was back home before our children arrived: John and his two sons, Jim and Gina, Kim and Wes, Stoney and Sue, and Maureen and Steve. They brought their twelve children and two grandchildren and they filled Timberlane and its grounds with lively activity, conversation, and joy. Our two teenage grandsons, Weslee and Sam, were fitted with Santa hats and make quick work of handing out everyone’s gifts. The food went quickly, especially my specially prepared eggnog. And the afternoon went all too quickly and soon everyone was dispersed and Del and I had some quiet time to ourselves to rest up for the Saints game in the Superdome the next day.

Del took Steiner, our Schnauzer on Monday to get a fatty lump removed from his right shoulder. John Wayne Melancon, his vet, had suggested it when we got his shots back in October, and this was a good time to have it done. She returned just a hour or so later to say that John Wayne was going into the hospital for possible open heart surgery the next day and couldn’t do the surgery today. This made me think of going to Mike for my haircut in Metairie a month or so earlier and he had collapsed cutting the hair of his appointment before mine. When I arrived he was waiting for the EMT’s to come take him to East Jefferson Hospital. Both Mike and John Wayne were long time friends, a barber and a vet, for whose services we willing drove across the bridge to Metairie, chancing the heavy traffic which sometimes backs up on the bridges. We had lost Mike and now in a similar quirk, John Wayne was unavailable because of ill health when we went to use his services. As of New Year’s Eve, as I write these notes, I do not know if John Wayne has had surgery or how it came out, but I would have heard if it weren’t successful, so he must be okay.

On Tuesday night, John Rankin was playing at the Columns Hotel on St. Charles Avenue — it’s his annual Christmas carol sing-a-long. Called our friend Carol Fleischman and offered to pick her up and take her back home. She lives at 1119 Dauphine and has trouble driving in dark and finding a parking place afterward. I can solve all those problems for her. She at first declined until I posed my offer as a Christmas present. She had already said she loved John Rankin, so I knew she wanted to go. We had a great time singing along with John and his combo, a violin, a bass fiddle, and Debbie Nice on the piano.

Received a book on physics, my academic field of study, to review. It is titled, “Mind, Matter, and the Implicate Order,” and was written by Swedish physicist, Paavo Pylkänen. He had written me earlier for some information on a book review I had written and knew of my interest in the subject matter his book covered and gave my name to Springer the publisher to receive a copy of the book as a potential reviewer. I hope to get to reading it shortly after this madhouse of a month is over. It’s 8 PM New Year’s Eve as I type up these notes and Del has just left to go play Rummy Cube with Rosie because I’m working instead of joining her in the Screening Room to watch our movies and monitor the incoming New Year of 2007. She promised to be back before 11:30 and I promised to join her at that time.

In the middle of this busy month, I managed to complete reading two books and write reviews of them. But I was hit with a serious glitch in my computer system: my HP Scanner would not scan Editable Text ( a euphemism for doing OCR or Optical Character Reading). Something had broken and I could not possibly finish my reviews this month with this function unavailable. It was the HP Director software not coming up. Rebooted several times and no help. Wrote email to HP. Told them I suspected it was due to my upgrading to Internet Explorer 7 since the last time I scanned anything. They got back to me within an hour with an answer. Problem is an interaction between IE7 and the HP Software for HP Director. Simply need to Click ALT + Spacebar and a dialogue box comes up in the middle of the desktop by itself, but it’s really for HPD, Minimize (may need to do it twice) and then it will appear on the task bar and can be Restored. Anybody got HP Scanner and does OCR, you will need to do this each time you need to open HP Director, otherwise you can double-click till your mouse squeaks and nothing will happen visibly on your desktop, even though it’s ready to work if you will follow HP’s workaround instructions.

My daughter Maureen asked if I’d go Christmas shopping with her this year. We chose the first day she was off school (Asst. Principal at High School). I chose Canal Place. It has a Saks Store there and is an elegant shopping center full of stores. We spent most of the time in Sak’s where I bought two Christmas pins for Del. I was still looking around for some jewelry pins when Mo asked a couple of sales clerks and they pointed them out to her. Two pins: a Christmas Bell and a Partridge in a Pear Tree. One was $30 and the other $35. I bought them both and then puzzled over how to present them to Del: wrap one present or two? Give one to Del for Christmas Party on Saturday night or let her open one up. If so, which one? I left that an unanswered question, then on the way home, it occurred to me: Give her the Christmas Bell unwrapped, and then wrap the other pin so that on Christmas morning after she unwraps it she can say, “On the First Day of Christmas, my True Love gave to me, A Partridge in a Pear Tree.” With a little prompting on my part, that is exactly the way it went down. I mention the unanswered question delay because if you learn to hold an unanswered question, you’ll find often that your unconscious will develop some plan while holding the question, that you would have never thought of on the spot if you had simply decided immediately. Just the amount of time it took me to drive home from Saks was enough to come up with the plan. After our shopping was done, we ate an elegant lunch at the new Lowe’s Hotel in the Adelaide Café.

More bad news arrived near the end of the month. Casey O’Rorke who served me at PJ’s Coffee Shop for several years had died of leukemia at age 28. He had developed it shortly before Katrina and when I last him, he was looking great and I thought he had successfully overcome it. Apparently he developed an infection because of his lower resistance after his latest treatment and died from complications from that.

Christmas Eve we exchanged presents with Doris Richards in her apartment on Behrman Place in New Orleans. Then we went back home and got ready for Mass. Del and I went to Midnight Mass at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Gretna and right as Communion was being served the smoke detectors alarms went off. Apparently due to the incense burners used to consecrate the Church and the altar during the High Mass. The priests were unable to turn off the pesky alarms and distributed Communion anyway. As soon as we made it back to our seats, I suggested to Del and that we leave for home. When we tried to leave in our car, we found our way blocked by two fire engines that had arrived. I managed to back up and find another way home. Still haven’t heard if that was a real fire or just due to the heavy incense burning or over-active smoke detectors.

Christmas morning Del and I opened our presents together and then went to Le Pavillon Hotel’s Christmas Luncheon. Doris was scheduled to join us, but she does get started well in the morning and opted not to come along. We enjoyed an elegant meal with live music in posh surroundings and came home to a quiet afternoon of relaxation watching the Eagles to beat the Cowboys to give our Saints a lock on a Bye Week for the first playoff game. Unfortunately it went so well that we got the Bye locked in and didn’t need to beat the Panthers in the last game. The coach decided to rest his starters and give the second and third string players the challenge of their lives. Fast Freddie McAfee scored a touchdown the first time he’s had his hands on the football except as a special teams player in several years. He wasn’t even sure where to line up on offense at first. So the Panthers won, and the Saints first-team stayed healthy and rested for the first play-off in two weeks. This the first time the Saints have been on the fast-track to the Super Bowl. They have the NFL’s best overall offense, Rookie of the Year Candidate Reggie Bush, Coach of the Year Candidate Sean Payton, and Most Valuable Player Candidate QB Drew Brees.

It’s been one heckuva year for New Orleans and the Best is Yet to Come. The Saints will be in Seventh Heaven in 2007! GO SAINTS ! ! !

And HAPPY NEW YEAR to all my Good Readers out there. May the Good Lord Bless and Keep you safe throughout the new year and multiply your blessings a hundredfold.

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  • New Quotations on Bobby's Famous and Interesting Quotes Webpage:
  • A person with half volition goes backwards and forwards, but makes no progress on even the smoothest of roads.
    Thomas Carlyle [British Author]

  • New Stuff about Website:
  • The five most popular Digests in 2006:
          1. DIGEST #054 April 2005
          2. DIGEST #053 March 2005
          3. DIGEST #49 June 2004
          4. DIGEST #43 December 2003
          5. DIGEST #42 November 2003
  • Movies we watched this past month:

    Notes about our movies: Many of the movies we watch are foreign movies with subtitles. After years of watching movies in foreign languages, Arabic, French, Swedish, German, British English, Russian, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Chinese, and many other languages, sometimes two or three languages in the same movie, the subtitles have disappeared for us. If the movie is dubbed in English we go for the subtitles instead because we enjoy the live action and sounds of the real voices so much more than the dubbed. If you wonder where we get all these foreign movies from, the answer is simple: NetFlix. For a fixed price a month they mail us DVD movies from our on-line Queue, we watch them, pop them into a pre-paid mailer, and the postman effectively replaces all our gas-consuming and time-consuming trips to Blockbuster. To sign up for NetFlix, simply go to http://www.netflix.com/ and start adding all your requests for movies into your personal queue. If you've seen some in these movie blurbs, simply copy the name, click open your queue, and paste the name in the Search box on NetFlix and Select Add. Buy some popcorn and you're ready to Go to the Movies, 21st Century Style. You get to see your movies as the Director created them — NOT-edited for TV, in full-screen width, your own choice of subtitles, and all of the original dialogue.
    P. S. Any rumors that Netflix doesn't deliver DVD's promptly is hogwash so far as I am concerned. Our new DVD's are delivered with a couple of days of the old ones being put out on my mailbox.
    Hits (Watch as soon as you can. A Don't Miss Hit is one you might otherwise ignore.):
    “Mrs. Henderson Presents” (2005) with amazing performances by Judi Dench and Bob Hoskins in depiction of The Windmill, a famous theatre in London showing live nude women on stage which stayed open during the bombing raids! Marvelous story of a widow who refused to go silently into that long night. On advice from her girl friend to go out and “buy things”, she bought a large theatre! Great songs, dances, and girls, girls, girls. (See also digest067) A DON’T MISS HIT! “Bossa Nova” (2000) Why not fly down to Rio for the night? Watch this movie and leave your shoes on. Could be titled “Under the Rio Moon”. A psychic convergence of you, an Internet Lover, a Law Internist, an English as second language teacher, a family of Tailors, a Soccer Super Star, and a Corporate Lawyer. And love is in bloom.
    “Brazil” (1985) with Robert Deniro, Bob Hoskins, etal, in a prophetic movie about a bureaucracy run wild which is beset by terrorists’ acts. This is a great movie which bears re-watching as I missed most of the meanings back in the 80s when I first watched it. Qualifies in some ways as a Christmas movie. A Don’t Miss Hit.
    “Nowhere in Africa” (2001) could you find a more desolate neighborhood to build a home, but where these refugees from Hitler’s Germany landed. The daughter had only natives to play with and soon learned their language from Ouwer their cook. The mother kept using her Dresden china and refused to acclimate to Africa, at least at first. Interment in a prison camp by the British began to turn her life around when she saw the emptiness of society and lavish spreads of food once more in Nairobi. Will their marriage last? Will Ouwer find them in their relocated home after prison? Will the husband go back to being a judge in Wiesbaden after the war is over? Well, curious, aren’t you?
    “Stay” (2005) Watched this psychological thriller earlier ( See digest067). Worth second look due to convoluted plot which keeps you on your toes. This time we saw sets of threes: bridge pillars, people dressed alike, and the refrain “we got three days” till the world ends. Watch for a segue from a chess game with three fingers on a rook which looks like the GW Bridge pier to a view from a car looking up at the bridge pier with huge fingers on the pier! A DON'T MISS HIT!
    “Accepted” (2006) A classic about a kid who can’t accepted to college, so he used his tuition money to start his own college, South Harmon Institute of Technology, . . . , yes, no kidding. S. H. I. T. Happens! Get ready to take a Laugh Break to rest your gut muscles after the school mascot walks past. A truly funny and insightful movie. The “Ferris Bueller” of the new generation.

    Misses (Avoid At All Costs): We attempted to watch these this month, but didn't make it all the way through on most of them. Awhile back when three AAAC horrors hit us in one night, I decided to add a sub-category to "Avoid at All Costs", namely, A DVD STOMPER. These are movies so bad, you don't want anyone else to get stuck watching them, so you want to stomp on the disks. That way, if everyone else who gets burnt by the movie does the same, soon no copies of the awful movie will be extant and the world will be better off.
    “The Chase” (1966) stars a young Robert Redford, Jane Fonda, and a slightly older Marlon Brando. This was the movie which is probably known for bringing together Redford and Fonda in “Barefoot in the Park” because it can’t be known for anything else, it was so bad! Actresses can no longer do the long sighs as one of them does during this turkey. Marlon, just off the “Waterfront” gets beat to a pulp, which is damned funny when you realize that he was the sheriff of the townspeople laying the beating on him. After this movie, Hollywood had used up all the cliches of the 1960s and had to begin making real movies again! Stomp first and ask questions later: A A DVD STOMPER! ! !

    Your call on these — your taste in movies may differ, but I liked them:

    “Happy Times” (2002) won’t seem like happy times for Little Wu, a blind Chinese girl of 18, whose stepmother hates her and dumps on her suitor then dumps the suitor, Zhao. He is a perpetual optimist sans funds and yet to make Wu happy he lines up his friends and gives them money to pay for a massage since Wu loves to do massages. Will Wu see through the facade and resent it or consider it the happiest times of her life? That would be telling, when watching is more fun.
    “In the Cut” (2003) Movie Critic Joe Bob Briggs would have had a field day with this one describing the “dis-articulated” body parts the cops find in lavatories and laundromats. At least two heads-in-a-bag. A blow-job, a 3-of-Spades tattoo, a suggestive Red Lighthouse which shows up first on Frannie’s wall as an artwork, then on a detective’s desk as a sculpture, then in real life. The sex scenes leave no body parts unfilmed. Oh, plot? Er, yeah, something about a serial killer and Frannie (Meg Ryan) who seems to be seeking an invitation to the hop-and-chop ball. A dark cinematography with bloody scenes and seamy interiors.
    “The Break-Up” (2006) The hero should have broken up with his bartender pal first and perhaps his girl friend and he would have stayed together. Shows close friends cause real love affairs to end in acrimony instead of matrimony! Del would like people with such close friends to see this movie, so it clears the “Your Call” bar just barely.


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    4. CAJUN STORY:
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    This story might not be suitable for mixed company, but since I was in a car full of ladies when one of them told the story, it should be suitable for all my readers, both male and female. It tells the story about how Boudreaux first met the love of his life, Marie.

    It began simple enough as a dance at a Fais-Do-Do. Boudreaux asked Marie to dance to "Jolie Blonde", a nice slow dance, and he felt his heart getting warm all over. He talked to her just enough to find out that she would be there the next week.

    He decided to wanted to make a big impression on Marie, so he drove to the big city of Lafayette and went to a haberdashery to buy some new clothes. When the salesman was wrapping up the new dress clothes he looked down at Boudreaux's scuffed up old brogans and said, "Boudreaux, I gots just de shoes for yo', Cher!" He went into the back and came out with some bright shiny black dress shoes. "Dese here are what you call 'patent leather' shoes." Raising the toe of one shoe to Boudreaux's face, he exclaimed, "Can you see yo'self in dat shoe?"

    "Mais oui," Boudreaux said.

    "Dat's 'cause dey's 'patent leather' shoes! Dey always stay shiny like dat!" Boudreaux's eyes lit up and he told the salesman to wrap up the shoes for him.

    The next Friday night he got all dressed in his new clothes and patent leather shoes and went the Fais-Do-Do. There was Marie and Boudreaux danced with her every dance, the slow ones and the fast ones. While they were dancing to Jolie Blonde, Boudreaux leaned over and whispered in Marie's ear, "I see you got yo' red drawers on tonight."

    Marie blushed a bit and replied, "Mais, you right, Boudreaux. Told me somet'ing. How you know dat?"

    Boudreaux proudly stuck out his foot and said, "It's my new 'patent leather' shoes."

    "Mais, dey are really shiny, huh?" Marie said.

    The next week Boudreaux is dancing the Jolie Blonde with Marie and he leaned over and said, "Ah see you got yo' blue drawers on tonight."

    Once more Marie blushed, but with a secret smile. She had developed a plan for the next week: she would wear no drawers at all.

    Next week Boudreaux came to the Fais-Do-Do in his new clothes and 'patent leather' shoes. While they were dancing the Jolie Blonde Marie was agog with anticipation about what Boudreaux would say. But he said nothing at all. They danced every dance and no word came from Marie's beau. Finally in the middle of the last dance, Marie could keep quiet no longer. She leaned over and whispered into his ear, "Boudreaux, you never commented on what I'm wearing under my dress tonight, Cher." Boudreaux pulled back and he seemed flustered.

    "Uh . . . uh . . . " he said, unable to get the words out.

    Marie tried to help him out and said, "Well, I didn't wear any drawers tonight to surprise you."

    A huge look of relief flooded Boudreaux's face. "Bon Dieu! I'm so glad you done told me dat! I thought I had a crack in my new 'patent leather' shoes!"

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    5. RECIPE of the MONTH for January, 2007 from Bobby Jeaux’s Kitchen:
    (click links to see photo of ingredients, preparation steps)
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    Shrimp-Crabmeat Stuffed Eggplants

    Ingredients (Serves Eight)

    4 yellow onions, chopped
    1 bell pepper, chopped
    3 stalks celery
    1 lb small shrimp
    1 lb large shrimp
    1 lb lump crabmeat
    4 large eggplants
    8 green onions
    1/4 bunch parsley
    1 tbsp chopped garlic
    1 tbsp shrimp powder
    ½ capful Zatarain’s Liquid
    Shrimp Boil when called for
    Tony Chachere’s Seasoning
    Salt and Pepper
    Progresso Italian Bread Crumbs [in blue can]
    Bertolli’s Extra Lite Olive Oil

    Eggplant Preparation

    Slice in half longways. Scoop out the insides and place shells in stock pot, cover with water, add 1 Tbsp of salt, bring to boil and turn heat off after boiling for five minutes. (Add shrimp boil and large shrimp to boiling water if shrimp are uncooked. Cook shrimp only five minutes.) Immediately drain liquid away. Save shrimp. Carefully place shells in Pyrex dishes or metal pans for baking.

    Shrimp Preparation

    Defrost shrimp in water with shrimp boil added.

    Cooking Instructions

    Chop onions, bellpepper, celery, and parsley. Pour olive oil to cover large frying pan bottom, put heat on high. Add sprinkle of onions to tell you when the oil is ready for rest of onions – you’ll hear a noise. Add rest of onions, greens, garlic, and shrimp powder. Sauté till translucent. Add eggplant and decant enough liquid to barely cover eggplants in pan. Cook uncovered until eggplant mixture is soft and mushy. About one hour on medium heat is enough. If any chunks don’t mash down, cook longer. Add uncooked shrimp and cook for 10 minutes. REDUCE to simmer and add large shrimp and crabmeat. Stir ingredients and add Progresso Italian Bread Crumbs until any pooling of liquid disappears. Don’t over add past this point or it’ll be too dry when crumbs finally absorb all the moisture – there’s a time delay. HEAT OFF Scoop the seafood-eggplant cooked mixture into the eggplant shells. [Can be sprinkled with bread crumbs, wrapped, and frozen at this time for later baking.]

    Baking:

    Cover with bread crumbs. (If previously frozen, add a pat of butter over each eggplant half.) Place in 350 degF oven for about 20 minutes or until top is browned. Served while still warm.

    Makes an excellent entree.


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    6. POETRY by BOBBY from October 14, 1987:
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    Super-Conductor

    The train needs a conductor,
    Half a conductor is a semi-conductor.
    A semi-tractor is a truck.
    A half-track can be a bulldozer.
    A bulldozer is a sleeping politician.
    Half a politician is better than one.

    Half-cocked means a mis-fire,
    A miss fire is an arsonist’s mistake,
    Half a mistake is better than one.

    One conductor on a train
    Half-trained is better than none.
    No one is better than God,
    God is a super-conductor.

    “Have your tickets ready!”

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    7. REVIEWS and ARTICLES for January:
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    And for my Good Readers, here’s the new reviews and articles for this month. The ARJ2 ones are new additions to the top of A Reader’s Journal, Volume 2, Chronological List, and the ART ones to A Reader’s Treasury.

    1.) ARJ2: The Sun Mystery by Rudolf Steiner

    While reading this book my wife and I took a trip to Salzburg and I found a direct application of Steiner's words about the nature of the physical body and etheric bodies. He said in one of the lectures in this book that our physical body strives ever to return to the Earth and our etheric body strives ever to spread out into the cosmos. How do we hold onto our physical body and etheric body? The answer may surprise you as it did me. Fear causes our Ego (our "I am") to hold tightly on to our physical body and compassion causes our astral body to hold tightly onto our etheric body. Fear and compassion play an integral role in keeping us whole by activating the processes of the Ego and astral body to stay the physical body from its eventual goal of returning to the ground and to keep the etheric body from straying outside our body into the cosmos.

    On the eve of St. Nicholas Day is the traditional Krampus Laufen and we stumbled onto it because we ate dinner at the Café Mozart downtown and heard an announcement over the loudspeaker in the square about Krampus and found this scheduled item on a poster there. Loosely translated, it says the Traditional Krampus Run for Large and Small: It's Gonna be Wild! We had seen the Krampus the night before because three of them preceded St. Nicholas into our tour's dining room in the Stiftkeller. They were hideous horned creatures with ape-like hairy costumes and two large noisy bells tied across their lower backs. They were scary enough walking among our tables in a lit-up dining hall, but imagine what it would be like on the dark streets of Old Salzburg with two dozen of these running wild! The square was jam-packed with people, large and small, to listen to St. Nicholas's proclamation and to be scared by the Krampus. Fathers had small boys on their shoulders who begged their dads to get closer to the Krampus.

    We walked off the main square to a side street and witnessed three Krampus coming towards us. One came up to a young woman only a few feet away from us, threw his arms around her, and as she struggled to escape, they both fell onto the ground, the Krampus on top of her. She pulled away, got to her feet, and escaped unharmed, but she had received the scare of her lifetime. With scenes of scaring like this all through the square for a couple of hours, the people of Salzburg could return home with their physical bodies secured from descent into the ground by their Ego bodies for another year. The compassion we felt for the frightened young woman no doubt allowed our astral bodies to secure our etheric bodies.

    This book and the Krampuslaufen seemed to converge as if orchestrated in a movie to illustrated one of Steiner's themes in this book. I walked away with a new appreciation for the movies that people watch. Especially the ultra-scary horror movies which our teenagers seem so fond of. In America, we may lack a Krampuslaufen, but we have Halloween and Hollywood to provide us with ample doses of fear to secure our physical bodies and compassion to secure our etheric bodies.

    And yet, do not the movies we watch each night, in the theater or at home on television, bring us various combinations of fear and compassion, which create in us passions similar to what the tragedies of Greece created in the population? Attending the yearly tragedies were a rite of Spring for the Greek people and every one was expected to be in attendance. This annual rite helped them to hold onto their physical and etheric bodies for another year. In every culture, yet today, one can find annual celebrations which arise fear and compassion such as the Mardi Gras in New Orleans, Halloween all across the USA, and the Krampus Run in Salzburg. Add to these the many Hollywood movies made to frighten us all year long or the documentary movies of those who overcame great odds to succeed which arouse compassion in us.

    Do you know anyone who has been sick? If so, it would help you and them to know that pain means that their "I" and their astral body have lost their strong connection to the physical body and the etheric body. When one stubs one's toe, e. g., the pain indicates that the etheric body has temporarily left the hurt toe. The pain eases when the etheric body returns. The healing by laying on of hands can be understood in a new way when one sees that the healer has a strong etheric body which soothes the pain by entering slightly into the hurt place until one's own etheric body can return. The compassion shown by a mother who kisses a skint knee of her son helps the boy's astral body to grab hold of his etheric body and fill back in the place it had vacated, thus relieving the pain instantly in many cases.

    [page 56] When the interior of the body becomes sick or diseased, pain appears. This pain would not be present otherwise. People who are ill begin to sense their bodies in a way that does not happen in a body that is normal or healthy. When nothing hurts, we think we are healthy. When we are ill, something begins to hurt, to cause us pain. This pain simply means that the "I" and astral body are not hooked into the physical and etheric bodies in the right way. When healing sets in, the "I" and the astral body again gain the strength to hook themselves in the right way. They have more power over the physical body than they did before healing began.
           Suppose someone has a respiratory disease. That person's "I" and astral body are not properly engaged in the etheric and physical parts of the lungs. When the illness is cured, they are again properly engaged. During the "crisis," the "I" and the astral body, though not properly engaged, acquire the strength they need to shift into position properly when the crisis is past. What the Greeks saw in tragedy was the inner counterpart of this outward sequence of events.

    This next passage inspired me to write a poem which follows immediately thereafter. I did not understand the lifeless nature of the intellect consciously while I was studying physics in college and for some time afterward. But I do recall the difficulty I had with expressing what I was studying and learning to some non-scientific persons who seemed to form the question Why? in a balloon over their head as I explained it to them.

    [page Our intellect paralyzes us. When we develop the intellect we are not actually living. We must learn to sense that when we think we pour our life out into dead, rational images. We need to be intensely alive to sense creative life in the cultivation of dead rationality and to enter the domain where moral impulses derive from the power of pure thinking — where we learn to understand human freedom on the basis of impulses of pure thinking.

    In Physics
          I experienced the intellect
          As I learned to build lifeless
                rational images of
                Atoms, Quarks, and Mesons.

    In Computers
          I experienced the intellect
          As I learned to build lifeless
                rational images of
           Logic Gates, CPUs, Subroutines,
                and Operating Systems.

    In Psychotherapy
           I experienced the intellect
          As I learned how I had built lifeless
                rational images of
          Feelings, Relationships, and Love.

    In Anthroposophy
          I learned to resurrect my lifeless
                rational images, my dead thoughts
                with Christ's help,
          And shape them into moral impulses.

    What about those people on Earth today who have never heard about Christ or choose not to believe in the reality of the Mystery of Golgotha? Those who ask such a question presuppose that the Mystery of Golgotha is a belief and they miss the essential point: it is an actual event which took place in the divine worlds and on Earth. It is not a matter of belief, but rather one of understanding.

    [page 96] Perhaps it will occur to some of you to wonder, what about those who cannot believe in the Christ? Let me concluded with a few reassuring words: The Christ died for all, including those who cannot yet unite with him. The Mystery of Golgotha is an objective, accomplished fact that is not affected by what people know or do not know about it. Nonetheless, knowing about it strengthens the inner forces of the human soul. We must apply all means available to us — our human cognition, feeling, and willing — to ensure that as the Earth's evolution continues, human beings will also know subjectively, through direct experience, of the Christ's presence within them.

    Christ, Steiner tells us, taught his disciples to "see death from the perspective of the divine world." We humans are also in need to learn this. From this perspective we can see Ahriman (aka Satan) as a Sales Agent that a large corporation sent to a foreign country and who was headed towards taking over the entire country, so the corporation had to send a representative (Christ) to fully experience the foreign country and make them aware that Ahriman was only an agent, not the corporation himself.

    Steiner wished to immerse the entire Earth in the waters of his spiritual science and thereby baptize them as new Christians all. From an endnote for page 37, the editor writes, "One of Rudolf Steiner's chief themes is that human beings must cease to be "cosmic hermits" and become "cosmic citizens." This can only happen if we humans raise ourselves during Earth evolution to becoming spiritual beings before the planet on which we live dissolves together all left behind hermits upon it. This, rightly understood, is the true meaning of the Last Judgment.

    What is evil? Steiner tells us evil is a good out of its time. It is good for us to have an intellect, but not to exclusion of our spirituality from this time forward. Humans who do not recognize this stand on the verge of a great tragedy. What makes it difficult for some to recognize this is that materialistic science is forever plumping its great achievements and progress for humanity while blithely ignoring the materialistic sinkhole which such progress is placing in the middle of the road of spiritual progress. It is a sinkhole into which the bus of progress upon which we are all passengers will have to negotiate some day and unless the bus driver is Christ instead of Ahriman (Satan) we will all perish down that sinkhole.

    This synopsis of my review will give you an idea whether it would be worth your while to read the entire review to flesh out the details of what I have sketched out for you here.

    http://www.doyletics.com/arj/sunmyste.htm

    2.) ARJ2: The Journal of Thoreau, Vol. 9 by Henry David Thoreau

    This next short passage was a bit of a puzzlement for me. How could "stock in trade" for a tinker be solder? A tinker uses solder to mend tin pots such as teapots, but doesn't sell solder or trade it. It turns out that the items a business trades in are its "stock in trade", metaphorically, the stuff needed by the business to carry on its activities can also be called their stock in trade. Thoreau thinks himself a tinker of society and his solder the pencil lead he uses when he writes.

    [page 37] Aug. 30. Our employment generally is tinkering, mending the old worn-out teapot of society. Our stock in trade is solder.

    But the next passage sets us aright — it was men in general he referred to as tinkers on the old teapot of society — he has other plans which involve a sauce no money can buy. This seemed ever the goal of Thoreau's life: to enjoy endeavors which no amount wealth could buy. Such as freedom from importunate people, fresh air, long walks in the woods, and fresh-picked berries and wild apples, each one with its unique taste and savor. His genius was literally a spiritual being who directed his "hundred little purposes" and he thanked his genius by sharing those endeavors with us in the pages of his journal. To taste a cranberry is to taste the flavor of your life.

    [page 37] Aug. 30. Better for me, says my genius, to go cranberrying this afternoon for the Vaccinium Oxycoccus in Gowing's Swamp, to get but a pocketful and learn its peculiar flavor, aye, and the flavor of Gowing's Swamp and of life in New England, than to go consul to Liverpool and get I don't know how many thousand dollars for it, with no such flavor. Many of our days should be spent, not in vain expectations and lying on our oars, but in carrying out deliberately and faithfully the hundred little purposes which every man's genius must have suggested to him. Let not your life be wholly without an object, though it be only to ascertain the flavor of a cranberry, for it will not be only the quality of an insignificant berry that you will have tasted, but the flavor of your life to that extent, and it will be such a sauce as no wealth can buy.

    For a sauce no wealth can buy, dip your chips into Thoreau's Journals. There are 14 of them to enjoy and each one can take you a year to complete, if you wish to enjoy a leisurely adventure in the woods with Henry each night before falling asleep. Not all of us can be as fortunate as Henry to be born and reared in the most "esteem-able" place on Earth, Concord, but we can all enjoy 14 years of his company in the Concord woods without ever disturbing his equanimity or our own.

    http://www.doyletics.com/arj/tjr09rvw.htm

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    I hear often from my Good Readers that they have bought books after reading my book reviews. Keep reading, folks! As I like to remind you, to obtain more information on what's in these books, buy and read the books — for less information, read the reviews.


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    8. COMMENTARY:
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    In this section I like to comment on events in the world, in my life, and in my readings which have come up during the month. These are things I might have shared with you in person, if we had had the opportunity to coverse during the month. If we did, then you may recognize my words. If I say some things here which upset you, rest assured that you may skip over these for the very reason that I would likely have not brought up the subject to spoil our time together in person. 1. Padre Filius Reads the London Times this Month:

    Padre Filius, the cartoon character created by your intrepid editor and would-be cartoonist, will appear from time to time in this Section of the Digest to share us on some amusing, enlightening, or paradoxical aspect of the world he observes during his peregrinations.

    This month the good Padre is in London and reads a Headline about the Publication of a New Bi-weekly News Magazine soon to appear in the News Stalls — or is it?



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    2.Comments from Readers:

    • EMAIL from Mozart Tour member:
      Hi Bobby,
      Your pictures are spectacular. You captured lots of scenes that I didn't have. I love your commentary also ie, "if it's not baroque don't fix it."
      Thanks again for your hard work. I will go throught them again and again I am sure
      Joy
    • EMAIL from Mozart Tour members:
      Bobby,
      Thanks for the pictures. We enjoyed being with you on the trip. Loved your jokes.
      Happy New Year to both of you.
      Jane & Hoye
    • EMAIL from Mozart Tour member:
      Thank you for all the beautiful pictures. Have a Merry Christmas and hope we celebrate the holidays next year with another tour with Bethoven.
      Noula
    • EMAIL, etc., Title
      Bobby,
      Thanks for the photos. I look forward to browsing.
      James
    • EMAIL from Mozart Tour member:
      These pictures are fabulous!!! Thank you so much for sharing them with me. I never could get my camera to work and I was so glad that these pictures helped to refresh my memory!!! Have a Merry Christmas and here's to more fun trips in 2007.
      Kittie
    • EMAIL from Mozart Tour member:
      Your pix are really good. Thanks so much. I will make sure that Marilyn sees them.
      Kiki

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    3. Thoughts about Money Exchange, Prose and Cons:

    During our trip to Europe this past month, I listened to many people complaining about the exchange rate of the US dollar vis-á-vis the Euro or the Czech koruna.

    People who complain about the exchange rate between the USA and Europe miss one big point: Right now Europe is more expensive than the USA! If something costs less in X than in Y, then why not live in X? Why complain if things cost more during a week or two vacation in Europe? Would you rather that things cost less two weeks out of the year than they do the other fifty weeks?

    People who complain about the exchange rate of the USA versus Europe are like the people who are likely to support bumper stickers reading, “I’d Rather Be Skiing”, or “Fishing” or “Golfing” or doing anything other than they are doing at the time which is riding in their car, living the life that allows them time off to ski, fish, or golf. Why do I say these two types of people are similar? They are both people who are always dissatisfied with the status quo. They always want their current situation to be different. If it’s hot, they complain about the heat. If it’s cold, they complain about the cold. If the temperature doesn’t change, they complain about the monotony. If they’re on vacation, they want their money to be worth more than when they are at home — they’re dissatisfied. If the exchange rate is such that things seem to cost less than back in the USA, then they say, “Why can’t our country make goods this cheaply?” But if the exchange rate is such that things seem to cost more than back in the USA, they say, “Why can’t our country have a better exchange rate?” It should be obvious to analysis that they can’t have it both ways, but since life is lived sequentially, one can only be in either state and not both states at the same! Lacking the ability or propensity to use logical analysis, they simply sequentially complain, no matter is the exchange rate is high or low compared to the US dollar.

    Where do we spend more money? In the fifty weeks of year we are at home or during the two weeks vacation? Obviously for most people, it’s at home for the majority of the year. Now, ask your self this question: Where would you like prices to be cheaper: at home or on vacation? In other words would you prefer to complain fifty weeks of the year about high prices or only in two weeks of the year?

    Or would you prefer to complain for fifty-two weeks of the year, switching the subjects of your complaint to suit the temperature, the activity, or the exchange rate of your current sequential activity? The exchange rate is reality, deal with it. Take it into your planning for a vacation, and then forget about it. It is what it is. Enjoy yourself whichever way the money exchange goes.

    Please, if this analysis gets through to you and you find yourself enjoying yourself more in whatever activity you’re doing, don’t complain to me if you have nothing to complain about.
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    4. Congress Someone sent me this quotation from the Men's Room (W.C.) of Congress which I have added to my Famous and Interesting Quotes webpage this month:

    If pro is opposite of con,then what is the opposite of progress?

    Congress!
    — Written in the Men's restroom in the Representatives House of Congress, Washington, DC

    For those who have been indoctrinated into believing that Congress is an agent of Progress, this piece of graffiti may help set them straight. If Congress passes a law that requires people to do things for their own good that they would already do on their own, the law is useless and took up expensive debating time and materials to publish the law. If Congress passes a law which requires people to do things that go against their own good, then that law is detrimental and harmful, which makes the expense involved twice as onerous. And both types of laws are paid for by both types of people. The logical conclusion to me is that Congress is a waste of time and money and that its activities go against Progress, and therefore they are appropriately named. Useless or harmful is anti-Progress or Con-gress.

    All of you who disagree with my conclusion may continue to push buttons, punch chads, lift levers, make checkmarks on ballots in polling booths, and wonder why we never seem to make Progress.
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    5. Discovering New Lands
    The ancient Japanese sailors always sailed with the coastline in view. They were great sailors, but no navigators. They never lost sight of the shore. As a result they never discovered new lands. The Norsemen sailors left sight of land and discovered the North American continent, and much later, Christopher Columbus sailed directly out into the middle of the Atlantic Ocean and re-discovered America in more recent times. What new countries did Japanese sailors in the same time period? None, they always kept the coastline in their sights. As Andre Gide so aptly put it, "In order to discover new lands, one must be willing to lose sight of the shore for a very long time."

    What does one's colleagues and peers say when one is sailing out of sight of land into uncharted waters? "Crazy Chris" they called Columbus. All the time Crazy Chris was out of sight of land, people back home railed at his behavior and that of Queen Isabella who had hocked her jewels to support him. "Where was the evidence that this expedition will meet success?" they shouted derisively. Columbus was a failure in their eyes. A miserable failure — until he returned to Spain with bundles of tobacco and reports of a new passage to India. Which proved to be new lands, a New World of lands in fact.

    Meantime a war on terrorism is underway in the Middle East and the president of the United States is sailing out of sight of land. His stated goal, like Columbus’s goal, is to discover a new country, a democratic country of Iraq. And he is being berated for his gall at attempting to discover a new country by sailing out of sight of land. Perhaps we should not criticize too soon the efforts of his journey lest we be found at fault as those who criticized Columbus. Perhaps we should be thankful that he did not tuck his head under his wing and attempt to coast for eight years of self-indulgement pleasure as president as his predecessor did. Unlike a Japanese sailor of old but more like an American turtle, he stuck his neck out, preferring to chance getting his neck cut off if necessary rather that be stabbed in the back while resting at home. Some call that his fault, but I prefer to think of that as his destiny. His destiny to help bring about a New World of lands in the Middle East. Lands which will live in peace and prosperity with their neighbors, not because anyone forces them to, but because it will be in their own best interests.
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    9. CLOSING NOTES:
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