Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Help me Mr. Wizard!

Anyone remember that nutty lizard on the Bullwinkle show that would always get himself in trouble and be spinning around in a comic cosmic swirl yelling, "Help me Mr. Wizard, help me!"?

OK, I'm old, I know it. Anyway,I found his cousins. They live on Iguana Cay in Turks & Caicos.

This is an uninhabited islet which has been populated by thousands of Iguanas and the occasional Labrador Retriever. Seems the little green guys decided that there were just too many tourists on Provodenciales so they took off for a better way of life, more rustic and primitive, sort of like what hippies do. The Labs go just because it is a nice swim from Provo.

We took the official government tour and it was actually really a neat day out. the weather was awesome and the water was crystal clear that day. Of course the next day a Nor' Eastern blew in and wiped out all visibility in the water.

The tour takes you along a boardwalk so the wanna be Ninja Turtles can scurry about without you accidentally treading on them and without certain little 5 year old boys chasing them. I grabbed these shots at the beach on the way out. The government tour guide has some of them named and this big guy is named Rocky. He is sort of the official greeter. He is an alpha male and has quite the harem.

They look scary but are pretty much harmless and offer no fight. They are just curious about all these big pasty white folks who wander along these boards all the time.

After the Iguana tour we went to a beach to hunt for Conch shells. On the way we saw this Stingray swimming in the shallows. I thought this was a good shot considering all the sun glare off of the water.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Atlas Shrugged - In London

I spent a few days in London doing what I love to do while I am there. I walk, ride the buses, visit "off the beaten path" places, drink cider, eat pub food. It helps me wind down before heading back into the breech and also gets my body clock attuned to the different time zones. I live in GMT +3 so London has a 3 hour time change from here. It is much easier to adjust to a 3 hour change than a 9 hour change. Actually for me the easiest is a full 12 hour change but I don't do those since we moved our home away from California.

Walking in London is like walking in a time machine. You will be looking in the window of a shop that sells state of the art electronics and it is next door to a pub which has been there for 400 years. Across the street is a wall built by Romans and has a 2006 Jaguar parked next to a 1963 MG.

I took one of the walking tours run by London Walks. I had many to choose from and chose the Charles Dickens Old London Tour, What I love about these is that the guides are really good, keep you moving and enthralled, and take the time to show you lots of little tidbits that other guides might not show you. They take an artifact and blend it into history to give you a sense of place and time and use that wry British sense of humor to deliver it.

Our guide was taking us past row houses built back in the late 1700s and showed us this plaque with Atlas holding up the world. She explained that it was from an insurance and fire company called Atlas which provided not only insurnace but fire fighting response. Back then there was no municipal fire department so insurance agencies took this on. If you did not have a plaque you would not get fire fighting response from them. There were a number of competeing companies and for superior protection many people took out numerous policies so that no matter which company responded, they were covered.

During this time England was ruled by Mad King George III. This is the dummy who lost America to the revolution. It has been proved that he was indeed mad (nutty as a loon) and that this might be part of the reason why he made so many decisions which led England to lose her colonies. He loved to make up new awards and then present them to himself. At one pont he wore so many that his son, The Prince of Wales, told him, "Father, you look like an overinsured house."

I also went to see a couple of stage shows while I was there. I bought the tickets on line and managed to land one to see the Blue Man Group and a new theater but the real treat was being able to see Monty Python's Spamalot at the Palace Theater in Covent Garden. This was a Friday night show and the streets were just bristling with people of all types. It was a funny, funny show and they sing all all the songs you remember plus some other bits tossed in such as "Look on the Bright Side of Life" from The Life of Brian. The star is Tim Curry as King Arthur and his charisma just exudes from the stage all throughout the show. The Palace is famous but it was not made for American butts. The seat was more cramped than the middle seat on Southwest Airlines. After the 1st act I didn't even go for a beer, I just walked the halls trying to get some circulation going again.
All in all I enjoyed my time there and look forward to my next visit this spring. More to come....

Friday, November 24, 2006

Dear John Kerry

Dear John Kerry,

As a former Naval Officer you should be ashamed of yourself. You have done everything you can to discredit your country, your military, and your sense of honor for your own selfish political aspirations. You took an oath of your own free will and then have attempted to trash the dignity and honor of every person who has ever served their country except yourself. By your standards you are a hero but anyone else who serves is some sort of dummy.

I resent your allegations and so do a lot of other people both in and out of uniform. Some of the most educated and dedicated people I have ever know are part of OIF/OEF. At present I work with a group who hold degrees from varying institutions of higher learning such as USC, Texas A&M, Notre Dame, King's Collge London, West Point, Annapolis, Cornell, Oregon, and MIT. That's right John Kerry, MIT. I myself have a long track record and have even had continuing education at Harvard. Yep John that's right; Harvard. I may not be the sharpest tool in the shed but I think that both MIT and Harvard are located in your home state of Massachusetts.

We are not dummies. We are bright, educated, experienced, and driven. We believe in our sense of honor, self worth, and duty. We don't look down on those with less education or denigrate their service, we applaud it. I have seen some very, very intelligent enlisted personnel who are here by choice because they wanted to give something back to their country before continuing on with their life.

Next time you decide to change the foot in your mouth try and do it when you are talking about some one other than people in uniform.


Someone stuck in Iraq

P.S. Happy Thanksgiving (I think that started in Massachusetts also)

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Back in the Saddle

I have been remiss in posting. My bad. I went on R&R with the family and friends and have been swamped with work since I got back. We did our usual Caribbean fall holiday except that instead of Jamaica we tried Turks & Caicos this time.

The TCI is part of the British West Indies and is a UK Dependant territory. While close in proximity to the Bahamas they were considered part of Jamaica. When Jamaica went independant they wisely chose to reamin British and this is reflected in their safety, stability, way of life, and economic development.

I don't have time to write much today but I am posting a picture of one of the small Cays (Keys) which is populated by about 3000 Iguanas. It is considered a national park and when you walk around you are not allowed off the boardwalk they have erected.

The colors really are this vibrant. White sands, green grasses, blue sky, and turquoise water. There is a buttload of green iguanas too but this pic shows the place at its unspoiled best. You can also see some of the other Cays out there too. None are inhabited by people; just Iguanas, Flamingos, Pelicans, and other types of shorebirds.
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