Wednesday, February 24, 2021

BIG news from a SMALL country

This is Bhutan … a small and isolated Himalayan country. In 1979 it's teenage King famously said, “we do not believe in Gross National Product. Gross National Happiness is more important”… a philosophy that remains to this day and could be why Bhutan is often said to be the world's “last Shangri-la”.

A picturesque country to be sure, but why is it, all of a sudden, BIG NEWS?

According to the latest statistics BHUTAN IS LEADING THE WORLD IN THE FIGHT AGAINST COVID 19 ! They have had a total of 866 covid patients since the pandemic started and, as of today, 4 are still hospitalized and only ONE has died.

I find it ironic that their first Covid case was a 76 year old male tourist from the United States. He was very sick and besides hospitalizing and caring for him the government immediately closed their borders. They also traced the man's contacts in the country and those deemed high risk were quarantined for 14 days. Then they issued clear and concise daily requirements that they continue to this day. They barred tourists (despite the fact that tourism is Bhutan's main income), closed schools and public institutions, shut gyms and movie theaters and relentlessly called for face masks, hand hygiene and physical distancing.

Thankfully the American did recover. Had he been here in the U.S. (under Trumps' watch at that time) he could easily have ended up being part of the 500,000+ that we've lost. 

Friday, February 19, 2021

I subscribe to a good decision …

As most of you know I have a daily practice of searching the web for interesting anomalies of nature and historical events that I can pass on to my family with the hope that it will help us get through this isolation that comes with the Covid pandemic. It is working well and has actually brought an unexpected benefit to me.

For years I have been amazed by all the information that can be found in the National Geographic magazines. (The have been in publication since 1888). It was part of my childhood and all 7 of us in my family would look forward to each issue. However, I had forgotten that for years until my recent searches so often took me to their websight that I decided to subscribe to their digital magazine.

I wish I had done it years ago. Almost daily they share exciting and little known facts. This National Geographic photo by Karine Aigner is a perfect example.

Karine describes it like this, “The waters of the Amazon rainforest are filled with wonder and magic, and the longer you take to explore the environment, the more you begin to see. Alongside my boat in the backwaters of Yasuni National Park in Ecuador, this black caiman quietly watched and we watched it. The two horseshoe flies seemed to pose as blue mascara.”

(PS … As I'm sure you know, this is strictly my experience and not a paid commercial.)


Monday, February 15, 2021

President Biden's statement


"This sad chapter in our history has reminded us that democracy is fragile. That it must always be defended. That we must be ever vigilant. That violence and extremism has no place in America. And that each of us has a duty and responsibility as Americans, and especially as leaders, to defend the truth and to defeat the lies,"

I think that says it all and I look forward to actually hearing the truth for a change.  We have a long way to go to turn back the past 4 years but at least we are on the path forward. 

What a nice relief to be able to breathe again. 

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

A majority of senators say Trump’s impeachment trial is constitutional …

The 56-to-44 vote paved the way for the House Democrats trying the case to formally open their arguments at noon today. Sadly I think the despicable, 44 Republicans who voted otherwise are sure to make this an almost impossible task

Here are the original Republicans who joined Democrats to vote in support of the constitutional merit of an Impeachment against Donald J Trump. They are Sens. Mitt Romney (UT),Susan Collins (ME), Lisa Murkowski (AK), Ben Sasse (NE),Pat Toomey (PA) and the one lone Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) who was persuaded by the facts he heard yesterday.

Given this dynamic, and Tuesday’s vote, the Senate is expected to fall far short of the 67-member threshold needed to convict Trump of impeachment since 17 Republicans would have to join Democrats to do so.

WHAT IS WRONG WITH THESE LILY-LIVERED REPUBLICANS? They are certainly not looking out for our country as they have sworn to do. Are they so afraid of not being re-elected that nothing else matters? The “real” Republicans must be incredibly sad because the way this is going they will be without a party soon and, to be honest, I could care less. They've had their chance and to choose to stay Trumpian says it all.

Friday, February 05, 2021


 Recently I was doing a bit of researching about ornate chimney stacks and it led me to Hampton Court Palace, on the outskirts of London.

It was built in 1525 and is one of the best preserved royal palaces in Britain. Today it is best known for it's stylized chimneys such as these.

They were an integral part of the original design for Thomas Wolsey's palace and Henry VIII added even more to make it an impressive roof-line of 241 decorative chimneys, the largest collection in England. Red brick, rather than stone, were the most fashionable building material of that time. They could be easily molded and shaped as raw clay and then were easier to carve than stone.

However, the more I read the more I was fascinated with what went on below those ornate chimneys. I was in awe of the elaborate gardens and this is a wonderful video that shows it all:

Hampton Court Palace Gardens: A Year in the Life – YouTube

But my favorite take away was the fact that they actually had a room called the Chocolate Kitchen. It was for the one and only purpose of grinding cacao beans and other spices to exact specifications used to brew a frothy cup of hot chocolate every morning for George II's breakfast.