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Month: March 2014

Aunt Jenny sends a posthumous warning

The ever-fiery Mike Vanderboegh sends a warning to anti-gun state legislators via the tale of “Aunt Jenny.” Maybe if you’re in Alabama (as Mike is), Jenny lore is in your blood. Dunno. I’d never heard of her. When I looked her up, I discovered that no two accounts agree. They’re so far apart that even her name is disputed. So are the political sympathies (or apathies) of Jenny and her vengeful brood — even though those views played a huge role in triggering the bloody doings. I’m taking this version of the story as definitive, mostly because it doesn’t claim…


Going to the dogs

I was planning on slowly working my way back to reality after the trip to Nicaragua. But no sooner had I returned than a client emergency (or several) came up. Reality caught me and wrestled me to the ground. Those of you I owe emails may have to wait a while. (But then, knowing me and my bad email habits, you’re used to that, aren’t you?) Meanwhile, have some dogs. And a cat or two. Beloved stray gets a home after being hit by a car. Dog saves her human after a snowmobile accident. And while we’re still in this…


A different country

I have a friend who’s lived offshore for … I don’t know how long. Long time. Decades, maybe. He believes that any USSA freedomista who doesn’t quickly move off to furrin parts is doooooooomed and he plans to be shouting, “I told you so!” as various vast edifi of a collapsing state crush us into pulp.

Could be, could be.

Freedomistas who stay in the U.S. could be in as much denial as those German Jews who are cited so often today. Part of being in denial is not knowing that you are.

That’s one reason I went to Panama four years ago and Nicaragua this month. Perspective. Checking things out. (Getting to be warm in winter didn’t hurt, either.)

But I’m probably not going back. Unless something big comes along (e.g. a millionaire sweeping me off my feet and urging me to live with him forever in his seaside villa in Costa Rica — an event as likely as winning the lottery then being abducted by aliens on the way home with my multi-million dollar check) — it just ain’t happening. Reasons? Many and various.


Where I went on my winter vacation, part 1

Where? Granada, Nicaragua (as Shel guessed first, with a couple others close behind).

Nicaragua??? Yep. I was amused, and not at all surprised, that nobody even mentioned Nicaragua as a possibility until I gave those hints. After all, isn’t Nicaragua the land of Sandinistas and Contras? Isn’t it a socialist country? Isn’t it the place where former revolutionary Daniel Ortega has more recently done what all former revolutionaries do when they gain political power — declare the official language of the country to be Swedish declare himself presidente for life. (Well, effectively so) and plaster the country with his own “heroic” face?

(I didn’t get a chance to photograph the 2014 version of this billboard. Had to copy this one online, but rest assured the current ones are similar and even more grandiose.)


Yes, it’s all that. But …


So where was I? Hints 1 and 2

I’m not there any more. If all’s gone well, I’m on my way home as you read this. So it’s time to reveal the Secret Location. Or rather, it’s time to start by giving some better hints than I’ve offered so far. A prize will be offered to the first person who names both the country and the city where I stayed. Hint 1 is a photo you’ve already seen. It was the first photo I posted on my travels, in fact. I didn’t realize it at the time, but to anybody who knows this part of the world, that…


Three-hour tour

Well, my three-hour tour turned out less eventful than Gilligan’s. Some pix for ya. Eat your heart out, girls That’s David (Da-VEED), my tour guide. I had him all to myself, since I was the only passenger on the boat. Sort of a waste for the tour company, but good for me. He was a really good kid, and ambitious enough to end up owning the tour company (if not a whole string of them) someday. He was the middle child of a farm family who learned English by taking lessons from a neighbor (over the objections of his father…


Can you imagine …?

… the challenge of translating Dr. Suess into Spanish? —– I just got taken by a street vendor. Totally my own fault. I bargained him down. Then (because I didn’t properly calculate the local currency in my head, gave him the amount he originally asked for). Only a couple of bucks, but it’s the principle of the thing. He’s probably chortling right now about the gringa estupida. —– Tomorrow I go on a boat tour. Feeding monkeys is involved. The tour guide recommended Oreos, but that sounds like simian abuse to me. It is, BTW, a “three-hour tour.” Does that…



Not up for a big post today. Just thought I’d introduce you to my neighbors here at the B&B: They’re from New Orleans. They flew down here one day after being part of the Skull & Bones Gang that wakes people up early for Mardi Gras. Um … that’s when the photo was taken. They’re dressing considerably more casually here. 🙂 This was what we all did together yesterday.


Suicide showers and other things that aren’t like we do it at home

“Your bathroom has an electric shower head,” my host explained.

“Huh?” I observed wittily.

“They’re very big down here. Don’t touch it.”

I took one look and knew I’d be taking that advice very, very seriously. Yes, that’s an electrical outlet — a non-GFI electrical outlet — there above the shower head, poised to commit shocking mayhem to the unwary. (I don’t know what that sticky-outy thing is on the right. Don’t ask me; all I know is I’m not touching it, either.)


Furrydoc emailed after reading yesterday’s post and asked if the B&B where I’m staying has a “suicide shower.” I’d never heard the term, but I knew instantly that, yes, that’s exactly what it has. It’s a small, wildly unsafe, on-demand water heater.

Besides being a threat to life, it heats water only to the temperature of tepid tea.


This post is titled in honor of LarryA’s observation that one thing worse than a rambunctious toddler is a “grownup” tourist who goes to furrin parts, then grouses the whole time that, “This isn’t the way we do things back home.”

I’m not grousing. What, me grouse? But one of the things you certainly notice in furrin parts is that they do things in furrin ways.

Yes, Americans are famously and notoriously surprised at this. One reason I travel even though (have I mentioned?) that I hate traveling is to reality-check myself on how the other — and really much larger — half lives.

Anyhow, since the U.S. is slowly headed for third-world-dom, the knowledge might come in handy at home someday.