Posts Tagged ‘website

06
Nov
11

11.6.2011… Please come to Boston …

Boston, travel, Mandarin Oriental, Max Brenner:   After a morning flight, we arrived at the  Mandarin Oriental Hotel Boston – A Back Bay Luxury 5 Star Hotel Accommodation. … very nice.  And after John went to the AFP, we blew off Bill and went to Max Brenner … very interesting food and story … and you could definitely smell the chocolate at the door!

Untitled Page.

 

Boston: 10 Things to Do — Introduction – TIME

 

There are a few prerequisites when considering a trip to Boston. First, don’t go in February. This may seem obvious, but it bears repeating, not only because the winters are indeed so miserable, but because the other seasons are so immensely enjoyable. Spring and Fall are gloriously verdant and the summers are breezy and temperate.

 

Second, plan to visit at least some of the same sites you would if you were chaperoning an 8th-grade civics class. You are, after all, in Boston, the City on the Hill, the Cradle of Liberty, and so on and so forth, thus there’s no point or pride in avoiding historic landmarks. Conveniently, many are nestled among the city’s most beautiful neighborhoods, areas with cobblestone streets and colonial-era architecture that you would want to wander even if you didn’t feel obligated to do so.

 

And third, don’t compare it to New York City, at least not unfavorably. Bostonians spend considerable energy trying to prove their city is not inferior to Manhattan, whether in national influence, cultural offerings or American League baseball franchises. The truth is, Boston is not at all like New York, and that’s a good thing. The largest city in New England is compact, clean and easily navigable. With a population of only 600,000, Boston is best appreciated as a small city with a hyper-educated populace, an astonishing number of Dunkin’ Donuts, and an artistic and historical importance far surpassing its relative size. Here are some ways to weave the past with the present.

 

via Introduction — Printout — TIME.

blissmobox, marketing:  Interesting idea …

discover what’s better

exceptional organic & eco-friendly products delivered right to your door, once-a-month

via blissmobox – Discover what’s better.

Biblical blunders, White House,  President Obama:  … God Wants Jobs Bill …

It was a blunder of biblical proportions.

White House spokesman Jay Carney invoked scripture Wednesday to back up President Barack Obama’s suggestion that God wants policymakers to get busy and create more jobs.

Carney said Obama was trying to make the point that “we have it within our capacity to do the things to help the American people.”

“I believe the phrase from the Bible is, `The Lord helps those who help themselves,'” Carney said.

Well, no, not really.

A White House transcript of Carney’s briefing issued later in the day included the disclaimer: “This common phrase does not appear in the Bible.”

Obama started the debate earlier in the day when he took note of House action reaffirming “In God We Trust” as the country’s motto.

“I trust in God, but God wants to see us help ourselves by putting people back to work,” the president said.

via Biblical Blunder At White House After Obama Said God Wants Jobs Bill.

kith/kin:  We had such a great time … love my wasabies.

 

FEMA Infographic,  U.S. natural disasters:  Sometimes seeing things in a graphic can really make an impression.

 

FEMA Infographic on U.S. Natural Disasters spending #sorrymothernature – DigitalSurgeons.com.

China, bicycles, bike share:

Last month, southern China’s Zhongshan city for the first time filled its streets with 4,000 public bicycles, which citizens can ride free of charge for up to an hour. To further fuel the sharing, the city also built an online platform that gives citizens real-time information on where the closest docking station is and how many bicycles are available.

This is one of numerous bike-sharing programs that are quickly growing in an attempt to unsnarl China’s traffic problems. Program promoters are also having to wrestle with financial barriers as well as a hostile environment that has developed for bikers in cities that used to have millions of them. The goal is to try to get back to days when the streets weren’t gridlocked and when the majority of vehicles didn’t create emissions.

Bike sharing started in Amsterdam as early as 1965. The concept then spread around the globe in cities including London and Washington. But Chinese cities, which joined this trend only a few years ago, are installing their networks at an unprecedented speed.

via Car-Clogged Chinese Cities Encourage a Return to Bicycles: Scientific American.

The Ancient Book of Myth and War, books:  Another interesting book …

Now, The Ancient Book of Myth and War has magically reappeared on Amazon, where we were able to snag a copy for under $75. Needless to say, the book is an absolute gem worth every penny — a collection of stunning experiments in shape and color exploring the strange and wonderful world of mythology and legend throughout the history of the world. (As Amazon reviewer J. Brodsky eloquently puts it, “The only point to be made here, is that you simply must do yourself a favor and buy this art gallery they call a book.”)

via The Ancient Book of Myth and War | Brain Pickings.

 The Influencing Machine, books, history, media:

One of the coolest and most charming book releases of this year, The Influencing Machine is a graphic novel about the media, its history, and its many maladies — think The Information meets The Medium is the Massage meets Everything Explained Through Flowcharts. Written by Brooke Gladstone, longtime host of NPR’s excellent On the Media, and illustrated by cartoonist Josh Neufeld, The Influencing Machine takes a refreshingly alternative approach to the age-old issue of why we disparage and distrust the news. And as the book quickly makes clear, it has always been thus.

Tracing the origins of modern journalism back about 2,000 years to the Mayans — “publicists” generating “some primordial P.R.” — Gladstone and Neufeld walk through our journalistic roots in the cultures of ancient Rome, Britain, and Revolutionary and early America. With this as background, the book then dives into our contemporary media condition, tracing how we got from Caesar’s Acta Diurna to CNN’s Anderson Cooper.

via The Influencing Machine: A Brief Visual History of the Media | Brain Pickings.

 SO & SO, journal:  So what is a “wandering interneteer?”

A short-form journal for the wandering interneteer Issue 1

via SO & SO Issue 1 – A short-form journal for the wandering interneteer.

Twitter Stories, website:  Worth checking out …

Twitter has launched an innovative new website called “Twitter Stories” that showcases stories of tweets that have powerfully affected someone or something.

Though Twitter has become knowing for playing an integral role in world-changing events including this year’s Egyptian uprising and the Japanese earthquake, the site typically focuses more on personal stories from individuals, both famous and not.

The new site is designed to showcase these stories.

“Read about a single Tweet that helped save a bookstore from going out of business; an athlete who took a hundred of his followers out to a crab dinner; and, Japanese fishermen who use Twitter to sell their catch before returning to shore,” Twitter wrote as an introduction to the blog. “Each story reminds us of the humanity behind Tweets that make the world smaller.”

via Twitter Stories: New Site Highlights Action-Inspiring Tweets – ABC News.

2012 Presidential Election, Condoleezza Rice, Herman Cain, “race card” :  Good advice, Condi!

Rice: Cain shouldn’t play the “race card”

November 1, 2011 12:47 PM

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice tells CBS News that Herman Cain should not play the “race card,” during an interview with Chief White House Correspondent Norah O’Donnell on “The Early Show.”

via Rice: Cain shouldn’t play the “race card” – CBS News Video.

 Fort Monroe National Monument, Civil War, history:

One night 150 years ago, in May 1861, three Virginia slaves crept away from their master under cover of darkness, stole a boat and escaped across the James River to a Union-held fortress. By the laws of both the United States and the new Confederacy, these men were not people but property: without rights, without citizenship, without even legal names.

This afternoon at the White House, the fugitives and their exploit were honored in a setting they could never have dreamt of: The Oval Office. There, President Obama signed an executive order declaring Fort Monroe, Va., the site of their escape, a national monument, placing it alongside such icons as the Grand Canyon and the Statue of Liberty. I was present for the signing, and as I stood behind the president watching him set his pen to paper, I couldn’t help thinking that the three men — Shepard Mallory, Frank Baker and James Townsend — had just completed a journey that carried them across a far greater distance than those few miles across a river.

But today, for the first time during his presidency, Mr. Obama used his executive power to create a new national park. Fort Monroe National Monument, as it is called, will commemorate both the end of slavery and its beginning — since, by an eerie coincidence, the first slave ship to arrive in the 13 colonies landed at that spot in 1619. A grassroots effort by local and state officials and citizen activists overcame the reluctance of some critics to add a new unit to the underfinanced National Park Service at a moment of economic austerity.

Fort Monroe, the president said as he prepared to sign the order, “was the site of the first slave ships to land in the New World. But then in the Civil War, almost 250 years later, Fort Monroe also became a refuge for slaves that were escaping from the South, and helped to create the environment in which Abraham Lincoln was able to sign that document up there.” Mr. Obama pointed to a framed, autographed copy of the Emancipation Proclamation hanging opposite his desk, not far from a portrait of Lincoln.

via In the Oval Office, a Passage to Freedom – NYTimes.com.

hunger, global problems, global solutions:

On Friday, I wrote about how people in Dhobley, Somalia, are getting emergency food despite a guerrilla war that is keeping out aid workers ― and food.  Instead of trucking in sacks of food, World Concern and its partner, the African Rescue Committee, distribute  vouchers that people in Dhobley use to buy what they need from local merchants.

The vast majority of food aid still comes in the form of sacks of grain ― a policy protected by entrenched interests.

Many countries that donate emergency food aid are moving away from shipping bags of food and toward using vouchers or other methods for local purchase.  (The World Concern program is financed by Canada Foodgrains Bank and the Canadian government.)   The United Nations World Food Program is also using cash, vouchers and electronic transfers ― often by cell phone ― when circumstances allow.   Vouchers solve many of the serious problems that have always plagued in-kind food aid:  food can get to the hungry quickly; there are no transport or storage costs; it works in dangerous situations; it allows recipients to buy the food they want and increases the welcome for refugees and contributes to the local economy.  Aid is multiplied as it helps not only recipients, but merchants.  For example, Catholic Relief Services responded to floods in Benin with a program that gives villagers vouchers they can use to buy grains, legumes and oil from local small vendors ― usually women who sell tiny quantities of goods in outdoor markets.  Without the voucher business, these women would be almost as poor as their new customers.

via How to Feed the Hungry, Faster – NYTimes.com.

Monty Python, philosophy:  I love really intellectual humor … but only if I get it.

From dead parrots to The Meaning of Life, Monty Python covered a lot of territory. Educated at Oxford and Cambridge, the Pythons made a habit of weaving arcane intellectual references into the silliest of sketches. A classic example is “Mrs. Premise and Mrs. Conclusion Visit Jean-Paul Sartre,” (above) from episode 27 of Monty Python’s Flying Circus.

via Monty Python’s Flying Philosophy | Open Culture.

The Hobbit, art, J.R.R. Tolkien:  I love Tolkien’s art!  His illustrated Letters from Father Christmas are on of my favorites!

In October of 1936, J.R.R. Tolkien delivered to his publisher the manuscript of what would become one of the most celebrated fantasy books of all time. In September of the following year, The Hobbit made its debut, with 20 or so original drawings, two maps, and a cover painting by Tolkien himself. But it turns out the author created more than 100 illustrations, recently uncovered amidst Tolkien’s papers, digitized by Oxford’s Bodleian Library, and freshly released in Art of the Hobbit — a magnificent volume celebrating the 75th anniversary of The Hobbit with 110 beautiful, many never-before-seen illustrations by Tolkien, ranging from pencil sketches to ink line drawings to watercolors. It’s a fine addition to our favorite peeks inside the sketchbooks of great creators and digitization projects in the humanities, and a priceless piece of literary history.

via Art of the Hobbit: Never-Before-Seen Drawings by J.R.R. Tolkien | Brain Pickings.

macarons, food – desserts:  Now if John reads this, he would know to bring me macarons!

 

THE macaron is the anti-cupcake.

A cupcake comforts. A macaron teases. Dainty, nearly weightless, it leaves you hungrier than you were before. It is but a prelude to other pleasures. Your slacker boyfriend gives you a cupcake; your lover gives you macarons.

via Airy Macarons — NYC — Review – NYTimes.com.

 

 

16
Sep
11

9.16.2011 … tgif …

fracking:  Just sounds bad doesn’t it?

The state could soon be entering a new era in energy if state legislators override Gov. Bev Perdue’s veto of a bill that would open the state to hydraulic fracturing, also known as “fracking.”

Fracking releases natural gas trapped in rock deep beneath the ground by pumping a highly pressurized water mixture up to thousands of feet beneath the soil to break up the rock and allows natural gas to escape to the surface.

Sen. Tommy Tucker, R-Mecklenburg, sponsored the bill, the Energy Jobs Act, that would open up the state to fracking.

“It is going to create high paying jobs in parts of the state that desperately need it,” Tucker said.

But the bill was vetoed by Perdue in June. The Senate has already overridden the veto, but the House has not.

Tucker said it might take another election cycle before the House can find the votes to overcome the veto.

“I just don’t understand why anyone would want to depend on the Middle East for energy,” he said.

The Senate recently commissioned the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources to conduct a study to examine the potential effects of fracking in the state. The study is expected to be completed in April 2012.

The technology for fracking is not new. The state is following in the footsteps of others that are already open to fracking, said Rick Bolich, a hydrogeologist with the department.

However, North Carolina is geologically different than other states, he said.

“We can see what’s been done in other parts of the country,” Bolich said. “Certainly there have been mistakes made, and we can try and keep those mistakes from happening here.”

But those mistakes are a big concern for local environmentalists, who said the costs of fracking far outweigh its possible benefits.

The amount of water used in fracking is a cause for alarm, said Katie Hicks, assistant director of Clean Water for North Carolina.

“At drought time, it can be devastating, since the process uses such huge amounts of water,” she said. “Anything that we can do to conserve the water for people is really going to be more and more essential.”

via The Daily Tar Heel :: North Carolina legislature considers hydraulic fracturing.

Westminster’s 1:1 Laptop Program, The Westminster Schools, Atlanta, education,  technology: In some ways this sounds absolutely phenomenal, but in other ways I wonder what if there isn’t something lost in learning … lost in translation.

The 561 students in the Junior High School have enthusiastically embraced their new MacBooks! The introduction of this technology has enhanced our students’ sense of responsibility – even as it puts the world at their fingertips.

With the embedded calculator, a planning calendar program that features helpful alerts and reminders and countless digital tools, the introduction of this technology has enhanced our students’ sense of responsibility – even as it puts the world at their fingertips. Each student tucks his or her computer in a special tote to carry home at night, where they can review a lesson via podcast, create a movie on an assigned report topic or chill a moment or two while they strum along to Garage Band.

In the Elementary School, 4th and 5th graders have adapted quickly to the NetBooks now provided for many of their lessons. The faculty is also introducing iPads across the curriculum in the younger grades. By the 2012-13 school year, the implementation of Westminster’s 1:1 Laptop Program across all grades will be complete.

via The Westminster Schools: News » Detail.

post-it wars, le guerre des post-it, website, favorites:  This is still the #1 search term used to find my blog!  🙂 My favorite for the day … Happy Friday.

Post-it® War.

Google Doodles,  Albert Szent-Györgyi:  Guess who Albert  Szent-Györgyi is?

Szent-Györgyi de Nagyrápolt,

Google Doodle Honors Albert Szent-Györgyi, Father of Vitamin C

via Google Doodle Honors Albert Szent-Györgyi, Father of Vitamin C | News & Opinion | PCMag.com.

Sarah Bode, high school cross country, high school sports, kith/kin, Louisville KY, Davidson friends, kudos:  Kudos to Sarah (and Tim and Rufus).  Great job at XC!

Sarah Bode has won the past three regional cross country and past two regional 3,200-meter titles.

Sarah Bode is ranked No. 4 statewide among Class A cross country runners. She has been a standout in Region Three the past four seasons. She finished second in the regional as an eighth-grader, then won the 5,000-meter race the next three years, running the McNeely Lake course in 20 minutes, 27.02 seconds in 2010. At the 2010 State, she placed fifth after a 10th the year before. She placed fourth in the Class A 3,200 meters at the state track meet in 2009 and 2010 after placing eighth as a freshman in 2008. She has won the regional 3,200 race the past two years.

via Q & A | Collegiate’s Sarah Bode – The Courier-Journal & HighSchoolSports.net.

Steve Jobs, Apple, Stevie Wonder, kudos:  ditto

And I want you all to give a hand to someone that you know whose health is very bad at this time. … His company took the challenge in making his technology accessible to everyone. In the spirit of caring and moving the world forward: Steve Jobs. Because there’s nothing on the iPhone or the iPad that you can do that I can’t do.

— Stevie Wonder, at a recent performance, thanks Steve Jobs for Apple’s work in making technology accessible to people with disabilities.

via QOTD: Stevie Wonder’s Shout-Out to Steve Jobs – Voices – News – AllThingsD.

26
Jun
11

6.26.2011 … somewhere over the rainbow …

music, gay marriage:  See the reference below … I am so behind or don’t attend enough gay rights parades that I just chuckled when I was reminded that this is their theme song.  YouTube – Judy Garland – Somewhere Over The Rainbow – HIGHEST QUALITY Music Video – The Wizard Of Oz, 1939.

Paris, food, events:  Too early for the Teagues, but sounds fun.  Bazarette/bodega = convenience store … Why does it always sound so much nicer in French?

On July 1, the French gastronomic group Le Fooding will be celebrating summer with a butcher, a baker and a macaron maker at their annual Bazarette du Fooding, a collection of food and drink purveyors.

The Paris Bazarette — events in Arles and Biarritz will follow — takes place in conjunction with the Days Off festival, at Cité de la Musique (221 avenue Jean Jaurès) in the 19th Arrondissement.

“Bazarette” loosely translates as “convenience store,” but this is no typical bodega. There will be a D.J., drinks and star purveyors from Paris and farther afield on hand to dish up samples to the crowd.

Breads will be provided by Gontran Cherrier, known for his good and good-looking multi-grain loaves, as well as buns made colorful by squid ink and paprika. Local growers Terroirs d’Avenir will be bringing in organic produce and the Italian grocery Mmmozza! will take care of the cheese. The “Bohemian butcher” Yves-Marie Le Bourdonnec (who did a guest stint at the Meat Hook in Brooklyn last fall) will be serving his own house-cured beef.

Sweets will be handled by Maison Charaix from Joyeuse, who craft their macarons according to a 400-year-old recipe. The chef Magnus Nilsson will visit from the Swedish countryside to mix a special barley and almond aperitif.

Advanced reservations are required. They are available starting Tuesday on the Le Fooding Web site; the 15-euro fee (about $22) goes to charity.

via In Paris, a Festival for Food Lovers – NYTimes.com.

apps, journalists, lists:  From  a twitterer that I like …

Holly Tucker (@history_geek)
6/26/11 3:23 AM
Great apps for journalists from @nancyshute iReporter,Fire,Report-it lite, Skype, 1st video,Monle,Hindenberg,Camera+. #wcsj2011

economics, US, managrialist economy:  Actually makes some sense to me …

MARK ROE, a professor at Harvard Law School, asks how capitalist America really is in a stimulating Project Syndicate piece. Mr Roe suggests that the level of state ownership of capital, or the level of government intervention in the economy, may offer a misleading picture of America’s political economy. By these measures, one might infer that America is very capitalist, in the sense that capital largely controls the economy. However, as Mr Roe points out, ownership of capital is often extremely diffuse, spread over many thousands of shareholders. While a scattered body of shareholders collectively own much or most of public corporations, they generally have little control over the firms in which they have a stake. The people with real power are are the class of managers and executives. Mr Roe writes:

American law gives more authority to managers and corporate directors than to shareholders. If shareholders want to tell directors what to do – say, borrow more money and expand the business, or close off the money-losing factory – well, they just can’t. The law is clear: the corporation’s board of directors, not its shareholders, runs the business.

via Corporate power: Managerialist America | The Economist.

website, data base, writers, reading, history:  Now I thought this was fun!

RED is a collection of databases whose aim is to accumulate as much evidence as possible about reading experiences across the world. The search and browse facilities enable you to chart the reading tastes of individual readers as they travel to other countries, and consider how different environments may have affected their reading. You can track the readership of books issued in new editions for new audiences in different countries. Search results are displayed on an interactive map and linked to relevant records in national REDs.

Each national RED offers a range of services to users, including profiles of readers, authors, and titles; tutorials on accessing and analysing evidence; and examples of how scholars have used the database to uncover patterns of reading.

via Reading Experience Database – Home.

travel, tours, DC, green, electric bikes, bike tours:  I would have done this in a heartbeat.  Electric bike tours of DC!

The Monumental Tour starts and ends at the U.S. Marine Memorial, better known as the Iwo Jima Monument. From there, we follow the bike trail along Marshall Drive toArlingtonNational Cemetery, across Memorial Bridge toLincoln Memorial, past the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, around the Constitutional Garden and Lagoon, past National Mall andWorld War II Memorial, in the shadow of Washington Monument.

From there, we cross Independence Avenue under the world-famous cherry blossoms, past the paddle boat dock, towards Jefferson Memorial. We dip south toward East Potomac Park, then return past FDRMemorial and the future site of Martin Luther King Memorial, back past Lincoln Memorial, across Memorial Bridge toward the Women In Military Museum, back on the Marshall Drive trail, up the final hill of Marine Corps Marathon, and back to the U.S. Marine Memorial.

via Pedego DC Tours.

gay marriage, New York, faith and spirituality:  Again, a very complex issue …

The gathering at that apartment was slightly surreal. It appeared to be familiar: handsome young men flirting with each other over sweets and alcohol. But now they had a complex new dimension to navigate through — albeit the kind of calculus that heterosexuals can do in their sleep. Or when they sleep with each other. Or when they wake up and discover who they have slept with. It’s the possibility of marriage, lurking subtly somewhere in one’s head. Imagine all the psycho-sexual-financial-commercial-legal dramas that will emerge as that little formula weaves itself into the lives of gay New Yorkers. Soon, we can have the kind of domestic life straight people have. One day, we may no longer even be gay. Just the people next door. No more parades.

But in one very important way, marriage will not quite be marriage even in New York, even 30 days from now when the law goes into effect. That is because the psycho-sexual-financial-commercial-legal dramas that entangle the domestic lives of straight people often have another component — religion. And religious institutions have an exemption in the new law from accommodating gay people. It was key to the passage of the legislation.

,,,

I write this as a deeply religious Christian who is pained that the church that otherwise provides me with so much spiritual comfort and joy will never allow me to marry within its walls. Some clerics may be “liberal” enough to turn a blind eye to gay relationships so long as they do not have to recognize them, much less grant them any kind of imprimatur. And, as of now, even in New York, religious institutions cannot be compelled to perform such a simple act of charity.

The state cannot force a church to change its beliefs. Even gay people realize that is wrong. And so, just to remind folks that we’re here we will have to continue to march in our parades and to sing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” Nonetheless, waking up this morning, I was very happy not to be in Kansas anymore.

via Gay Marriage: A Bittersweet Victory? – TIME.

tweet of the day, gay marriage, New York, LOL:  I just had to laugh …

“Alec! Now we can get married!” – Steve Martin to Alec Baldwin, on Twitter.

via Celebrities tweet on N.Y. gay marriage law

Machu Picchu, Peru, history, travel, adventure travel, bucket list:  We went to Peru 25 years ago and chose to visit the Amazon over Machu Picchu … I have always wanted to go back … I want to go back via this route.  Love the comparison of seeing Machu Picchu to seeing the Mona Lisa (in bold)!

The first known American to see Choquequirao was the young Yale history lecturer Hiram Bingham III, in 1909. He was researching a biography of the South American liberator Simón Bolívar when a local prefect he met near Cuzco persuaded him to visit the site. Many believed that the ruins of Choquequirao had once been Vilcabamba, the legendary lost city of the Incas. Bingham didn’t agree, and was mesmerized by the idea of lost cities waiting to be found. Two years later, he returned to Peru in search of Vilcabamba. On July 24, 1911, just days into his expedition, Bingham climbed a 2,000-foot-tall slope and encountered an abandoned stone city of which no record existed. It was Machu Picchu.

This year, which marks the 100th anniversary of Bingham’s achievement, up to a million visitors are expected to visit those ancient ruins — a sharp rise from last year’s roughly 700,000, one of the highest attendance figures ever. Most of those pilgrims will hear the tale of Bingham’s 1911 trip. But few of them will know that the explorer also located several other major sets of Incan ruins, all of which approach his most famous finds in historic significance. After Machu Picchu — where he lingered for only a few hours, convinced that more important discoveries lay ahead — Bingham continued his hunt for vanished Incan sites. His 1911 expedition turned out to be one of the most successful in history. Within a few hundred square miles, he found Vitcos, once an Incan capital, and Espiritu Pampa, the jungle city where the last Incan king is thought to have made his final stand against the Spanish invaders. A year later he returned, and came upon Llactapata, a mysterious satellite town just two miles west of Machu Picchu whose importance is still being decoded.

Today Machu Picchu is a beehive of ongoing archaeological work while elsewhere in the area restoration efforts have progressed slowly, allowing visitors a chance to see ancient history in a form that closely resembles what Bingham encountered.

I wondered if it was still possible to detour from the modern, tourist path and arrive in the same way Bingham had — by taking the scenic route. Aided by John, a 58-year-old Australian expatriate who works with the Cuzco-based adventure outfitter Amazonas Explorer, I assembled a trip to do just that. Rather than start with the most famous ruins, our route began in Cuzco and looped counterclockwise around them, stopping first at the other extraordinary sites. You might call it a backdoor to Machu Picchu.

One’s first view of Machu Picchu is a bit like seeing the Mona Lisa after staring for years at a da Vinci refrigerator magnet. You know exactly what to expect, and at the same time, can’t quite believe that the real thing exceeds the hype. Also like the Mona Lisa, Machu Picchu is more compact than it appears in photos. In less than an hour John and I were able to visit most of the ruins that Bingham saw 100 years ago, in the same order he had encountered them: the cave of the Royal Mausoleum, with its interior walls that seemed to have melted; the perfect curve of the Sun Temple; the titanic structures of the Sacred Plaza, assembled from what Bingham called “blocks of Cyclopean size, higher than a man”; and, at the very top of the main ruins, the enigmatic Intihuatana stone, around which a throng of mystically inclined visitors stood with their hands extended, hoping to absorb any good vibrations radiating from the granite. At noon, when trainloads of day-trippers arrived, John and I took a long walk out to the Sun Gate. We munched on quinoa energy bars and watched tour groups endure stop-and-go traffic up and down Machu Picchu’s ancient stone stairways. At 3 p.m., the Cuzco-bound crowds drained through the exit like water from a tub, and we wandered the main ruins for another two hours before catching the day’s last bus down at 5:30.

On the last morning of our trip, still feeling crowd-shy, I asked John if he knew of any place at Machu Picchu that Bingham had seen but that most people never bothered to visit.

“I know just the spot,” he said without hesitating. “Mount Machu Picchu.”

Climbing a 1,640-foot-tall staircase isn’t something I normally do on vacation. But the condor’s-eye view from the top of Mount Machu Picchu, a verdant peak that looms above the ruins, was the sort of thing that compels a man to quote Kipling. Once at its summit, we had views of sacred apus unfolding in all directions; the Urubamba River snaking its way around Machu Picchu, on its way to the Amazon; and even the busy Inca Trail. We were inside the confines of Machu Picchu, and yet, like Bingham a hundred years before, we could appreciate it in peace.

via In Peru, Machu Picchu and Its Sibling Incan Ruins Along the Way – NYTimes.com.

US flag, trivia, history:  So no Betsy Ross, no real meaning to colors (other than same as Union Jack), no daily Pledge of Allegiance in Congress until recently, yes to burning, yes to t-shirts and beach towels …

In other words, when you wear a flag T-shirt or hat while reclining on an American flag beach towel near your American flag camping chair, you are violating the Flag Code. The code, which was drawn up at the first National Flag Conference in Washington in 1923, is part of the law of the land. But it is not enforced, nor is it enforceable. It is merely a set of guidelines, letting Americans know what to do — and what not to do — with our red, white and blue national emblem.

There is no Flag Police. You will not be arrested for wearing a flag-embossed T-shirt on Flag Day — or any other day of the year.

via Five myths about the American flag – The Washington Post.




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