USS Constitution Is Staying In Port

USS Constitution Is Staying In Port

Yes, yes, everyone knows France signed an alliance in 1778 with the new U.S. to aid (for a variety of reasons: from some there truly supporting the idea of "liberty" to others who merely saw a great opportunity to stick it to France's long-time adversary, Great Britain) the country in its war for independence. But much less known today...

A Small, Distant, Weak, Fascinating Land

A Small, Distant, Weak, Fascinating Land

I find that early period in our history to be truly remarkable. I think it also makes for some pretty good romance/historical novel material, too...

When “The Future” Is Over

When “The Future” Is Over

Sadly, it appears that "the future" we had hoped for two decades ago, is over.

A “Relation Spéciale”?

A “Relation Spéciale”?

It is no secret that this US president evokes wildly negative feelings in many. [Full disclosure: I did not vote for him.]

Departures And Arrivals

Departures And Arrivals

Travel has become so commonplace an activity. We tend to forget that, as we know it, it is a relatively new thing. We live in a time in which humanity is moving around as never before. Prior to about sixty years ago, most people did not travel for work, leisure, and resettlement, as we do [...]

NYT And US Officialdom: Making A Horrible Situation Even Worse

NYT And US Officialdom: Making A Horrible Situation Even Worse

You may know by now that leaked photos of evidence gathered at the mass murder scene outside Manchester Arena were published in the New York Times on Wednesday. The source that provided the paper with the photographs was evidently within U.S. law enforcement. This is apparently the NYT's core justification and rationale for publishing them: [...]

In Our Times

In Our Times

Since about 1750 (after the Reformation, the Civil War, Cromwell, and battles over the succession to the throne), other than during WWII, Great Britain has generally been a pretty safe place. It had some "highwaymen" and street thuggery, but even that was patchy. (In 1800, it also had several dozen offenses for which hanging was [...]

That Wide Ocean

That Wide Ocean

America's top official in France from 1785-1789, forty-something Thomas Jefferson, came to believe U.S. diplomats should not be overseas more than about eight years at a stretch. He felt if they (and they were then only men) were, they would lose touch with events and opinions at home. As a result, they would eventually be [...]

“Land of lovely dames”

“Land of lovely dames”

A bit more "history." Please don't run for cover. I think you'll find this amusing - especially given this is 4th of July weekend in the U.S.: That excerpt is from a recent biography. The first part is from a 1782 letter written by the subject while he was traveling; the second half is from [...]

How “Powerful” Is Your Passport?

How “Powerful” Is Your Passport?

This is an interesting web site, and it got me thinking. It's called the "Passport Index." It ranks the world's passports by "power": The "most powerful" are not too surprising. That ranking is due to how many countries you can visit as a tourist on that passport without needing to obtain a visa. In the [...]

In Your U.S. Passport: Place Of Birth

In Your U.S. Passport: Place Of Birth

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a 2002 law compelling the Department of State to allow U.S. citizens born in Jerusalem to have their passport note their place of birth as Israel. Although President Bush had signed that bill into law, he refused to carry it out. President Obama continued that refusal. The [...]

A Cutting Experience

A Cutting Experience

Needing a haircut, I decided to take an hour or two away from the computer yesterday morning. We're still new in the area, and I ventured into a barber shop I'd been to once before. My cutter this time was not who'd cut my hair previously, but I recalled he had been there trimming someone [...]

No Hugging, Please, We’re French

It has become the hug cringed at around the world. The Lebanese news site Naharnet has a nice summation of what went, uh, wrong: ....The towering John Kerry was meters from Hollande, striding fast, when he first opened his arms. In turn, the French leader stretched out his, clasping Kerry's hands. Kerry pulled him into [...]

Always Be “Cautious” Worldwide

In the wake of the terror in Paris, unsurprisingly the U.S. State Department has issued a "Worldwide Caution" for U.S. citizens: Naturally it is very difficult to "watch everything." But you aren't being urged to hide under a bed and stay home and away from every pub. The gist of a "caution" like this is [...]

Santa’s Political Leanings

Always politics. Everything's political. Now, there's evidently a debate in the U.S. over whether Santa Claus is a Republican or a Democrat: Hold on. Actually, that question is immaterial until we ascertain his citizenship. Is he even a U.S. citizen? If he is, he may be registered to vote in his last state of residency, [...]