The Best of Times

These days are just that, even if feelings and reports deny.You’re here. Alive. Free. Take a breath of free possibility…

Search across space and time, you simply will not find better.

Great challenges lie between this moment and our personal never mores, some seen and daunting, others not and potentially more scary for their stealth.

It has always been so. Overcoming these is our purpose. Otherwise, how would our lives be marked?

Your choice?

Echo and amplify falsehoods conceived to invoke fear, and shouted for petty advantage, or look with clarity at what is, help others to do the same, and persevere with courage where others cower.

Descend into gloom, or lead on a continuing quest into tomorrows you shape for your children and theirs.

Your choice.

An Idea

Let’s decide all future presidential contests via the World Series. Every fourth year, the winning manager gets the keys to the White House. The entire campaign is condensed to two weeks or less. We get a proven leader of men as President. Less money. Better outcome.

Make America proud again. (It’s already great.)

View to the southeast...

Morning Reflections

It was pleasant to be up well before today’s dawn, and to enjoy the very analog experience of watching clouds gather definition, as the sky turned slowly from black to a putty grey. A time of reflections, and of calm.

From the Mount of Olives

Fault Lines in the Old City

Jerusalem reads like a jigsaw puzzle frozen in mid-assembly, comprising pieces that don’t quite match up. Both because, and in spite of this, it’s a place of deep fascination.

It’s a city divided by fault lines across dimensions of scale, culture, and religion. Some are marked by roads or walls, old and new, others by attitudes, hardened and overt, or repressed just below the surface of everyday life and polite conversation. But they are everywhere, and they shape most everything about life here.

The Latest Wall...

The Latest Wall…

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"Muslim Village" off of Phuket

Cranky? Paranoid? You be the Judge.

I’ve kept a journal, more or less faithfully, for years now. Here are my entries for the past two days. First…

Tuesday, 17 March
George Town, Malaysia
Ellie tried her best to kill me this day, arranging a walking tour, led by an unknown distant Malay relative of the Marquis de Sade. Tiny little thing. Seemed friendly enough. Wrong. Vicious to the core.

Is she into leather?

The day started with a breathless, interminable, climb of at least 900 feet vertical (seemed double that) in 90 degree, 90% humidity to a temple, Kek Lok Si (which, I think, translates to “house of the smiling new widow”), in the central highlands of George Town…

… then proceeded to two museums, each converted from the homes of their last residents, both Chinese, both owing their wealth to an admixture of speakable and unspeakable ventures in the last century.

Both patriarchs are certainly smiling now, each enjoying their respective glorious and final rewards, at the sight of busloads of tourists sweating in the unrelenting tropical climate, as tales of their business acumen and spectacular accomplishments are related… at… great… never ending… length.

Then…

Wednesday,18 March
Phuket, Thailand
Having been unsuccessful in arranging for my demise yesterday in George Town Malaysia, Ellie redoubled her efforts today.

Response to a weather report, optimistically pegged at 94 degrees, 90% relative humidity?

Says Ellie, “Great, let’s take an open-to-the-elements boat trip, bound for sights that would have been spectacular, but for the unfavorable tides… and then go walkabout” on a couple of islands whose most memorable features may just have been the souvenir vendors, all in row (at “James Bond Island”) or in a rabbit warren of stalls (in the floating “Muslim Village”), who, in their torpor, did not even mount an honest effort at peddling their wares.

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Next most memorable thing? The tour director emphasizing each opportunity to use a toilet.

A closing observation: it’s interesting how, as one advances beyond the flowering of youth, just how much effort you expend, given hours on a small craft crammed with near contemporaries clad in shorts and tees, trying to find favorable points of comparison between one’s physique and those of shipmates.

Post Post Confession: the history was actually rather interesting on day one, and the scenery spectacular on day two, and I enjoyed both in the end, (much as aficionados of S&M must enjoy their special pleasures).

Finally, I was able to confirm to my great relief that, despite suspicions to the contrary, Ellie has NOT taken out a large life insurance policy on me.