Sunday, August 31, 2014


We have never had a trip that went as well as this sojourn to Ireleand, Scotland and Norway.  Everything was about as perfect as it could have been.  One of those confluence of good things that occasionally happen in the universe.

Lots of talk in Europe about Russia and the Ukraine.  One night the Rotterdams theater show featured Scorpion's song called 'Wind of Change', which was written about 15 years ago about the then positive changes in Russia.  Every Russian should listen to this again.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Out of Flam

We sailed out of Flam in early evening through a 100 mile long Fjord.  Pictures say it all.  Back on Saturday.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014


We are at Sea fpr two days now before board a flight to arrive back in ABQ Saturday night..

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Alesund, Norway

Alesund is a pretty city.  It is clean and planned following a fire that destroyed in in 1904.  It was rebuilt in modern architectural styles of that era.  

We have had incredible luck with weather having sunshine everyday and very little rain.  

Great weather again today after a shower just prior to our going off for a three hour walk in the city.

Monday, August 25, 2014


We sailed into Norway today.  Certainly it is a rugged, but beautiful landscape.

The fish market has some really ugly fish hanging up.

We heard this was an expensive place.  It is.  I got out 600 Kroner from an ATM.  That was over $100,  We went to coffee and one cup plus a really good cinnamon roll cost $14.

Sweaters cost 300.   Lunch on a BLT for $20.  We ate on the ship.  On to Alesund, Norway tomorrow.

But is was a nice visit where we were joined by Rotterdam’s sister ship, the Ryndam.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Orkney Islands

The Orkney Islands are a New Mexico Cowboy’s dream.  Nothing but knee high grazing lands, heathers and agriculture.

We visited the Ring of Brodgar, which the History Channel would call a UFO landing site.  But really no one knows exactly why these structures were built.

Skara Brae is a ruin that was inhabited 5000 years ago.  It was uncovered in a fierce storm.

All around a beautiful place on a blustery day.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Isle of Sky

The Isle of Sky is beautiful.  

Especially on a somewhat sunny day.

We visited Dunvegan Castle, home of the Macleod clan for 800 years.

Everything here looks like a landscape painting.  

Thursday, August 21, 2014


We left the ship for a trip across Scotland to Edinburgh.  The City is in the midst of its annual festival and has doubled in population for this big party.

The rain came through for five minutes at a time as we walked the streets.

The Castle was interesting.  A real engineering marvel made possible by backbreaking work of the people.

Another pub lunch.  I would show more pics but they won't publish for some reason.  We have a day at sea tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014


Another great day of weather in Northern Ireland.  Our Taxi driver said it had rained badly all summer except for the last two days. 

We spent the morning touring the Titanic Museum.  It is first rate and Bobbi and me were really happy we went to it.  We have always like the story.  I read my first book on Titanic in high school.

This is a photo of Bobbi and on the site of the original construction site of the ship.  In the background across the quay is our MS Rotterdam.

We messed around in Belfast City Centre and of course ended up at the historic Crown Bar. 

 It sits across the street from the Europa Hotel, which was bombed over thirty times by the Irish Republican Army.

We had a great meal of fish and chips made with wild Atlantic Cod.   Yummy

Tuesday, August 19, 2014


We spent a long day in Dublin.  

We visited St. Patrick’s Cathedral.  Another dark place made seeable by a fast lens.

We visited some castles and Landscapes along Dublin Bay.

We partook of Irish Coffee in a pub.

It was actually a very beautiful day.  Wish the internet on the ship was decent.  So can't load many photos.

Monday, August 18, 2014


We spent the day touring in Kilkenny, Ireland.  We visited the Kilkenny Castle.

We visited a foreboding medieval church known as  Saint Canice. 

All the gravestones are leaning and the older they are the less you can read about the departed.  Soon they will fall over and the lettering will completely erode, as if the deceased never existed.

It really is green here.
Lots of pubs!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Amsterdam Morning

The buildings lean over the streets so stuff can be hauled to the top from the lifting beams on top.

Bikes Rule in Amsterdam.  550,000 of them and parking is anywhere you can chain your bike.

Water everywhere in the low countries.

Friday, August 15, 2014


Checked out the Van Gogh Museum.  Saw a multi level parking lot for 3000 bicycles.  Ate at an Argentinian Steak House.  The whole city smells like cannabis.  But in a good way.  Pictures later.

Thursday, August 14, 2014


We leave ABQ today for Amsterdam.  A surprisingly quick trip of 12 hours once we board in Albuquerque, if schedules are to be believed.  We have had pretty good luck with Delta Airlines in the last few years.  So we are somewhat confident we will get there.

It will be interesting to see if the airport in Amsterdam is taking special precautions on the Ebola issue.  That is the airport that sends a lot of traffic to and from Africa.  We will try and not bring it back to New Mexico.  If on returning we are bleeding from our eyeballs, stay away.

We are excited about visiting the Van Gogh Museum.  Bobbi is looking forward to the Titanic museum and shipyards in Belfast.  We will partake of pub food in Scotland and Ireland whenever possible.  Not sure what we will sample in Norway.

Sign in for photos once in a while.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014


There is an art to it!
Never overpack, especially when there is laundry service on the ship.  This will take care of us for all kinds of weather in the UK and Norway for sixteen days.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Worse and Worser?

Worser probably isn't a real word.  But it describes the news from Intel Corp. today.  The company who has been whittling down their Rio Rancho operations which were once touted as their most productive, has announced $100 billion dollars for investment over thirty years in Oregon's Intel facilities.  That kind of begs the question of 'what happens next in New Mexico?'

Now, one would wonder if any political leader in New Mexico was even aware of this development.  I am betting they were not.  They are still hunkered down in their neo con fourth floor at the state capitol where their efforts are centered on drivers licenses for illegals, vilifying food stamp recipients, and generally bitching about taxes for their fossil fuel masters.

We are so screwed.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Missing Nothing

Bobbi and I have started our packing ritual.  We have our checklists and bags laid out in various places.  We try to specialize in not over packing for our sojourns.  This trip will be a sixteen day jaunt to Ireland, Scotland and Norway.

We will spend a couple of days in Amsterdam before boarding the MS Rotterdam for the cruise.  We have tickets for the Van Gogh museum this Friday evening.  It should be fun.  Who can not love 'Starry Night.'

One of the things we enjoy on the ships are dinner with the other nationalities.  It is always good to hear their take on the politics in the USA.  They are very knowledgable about our system and can usually give an independent view of our state of affairs.

One of the things I won't be trying to instruct them on is the state of politics in New Mexico.  After being gone for a couple of weeks I am sure we will have missed nothing.  Our Governor's race is going as predicted.  Nothing is happening, even in the presence of the largest economic meltdown in our state's history.  Gary King and Susanna Martinez talk about everything but that.  In fairness to Gary, he may be talking about it but no one is taking notice since he has no money for TV ads.  And that means the media has little to do because all they cover in politics anymore are the TV ads.  I will try to explain that, however, to out international table mates.

Friday, August 08, 2014

The Golden Age of the Newman Center

A friend sent me this vintage photo from April of 1965.  You will see me in there as a participant in a religious retreat held by the Dominican Priests from the Newman Center at UNM.  The retreat was held at the Benedictine Monastery in Pecos, NM.  Benedictines and Dominicans getting along.  Not so much like what has happened recently to the Newman center which was smacked down by the dogma of Archbishop Sheehan.  Right wing dogma that is.  Notice the dog in the picture.  I guess his going to the left wasn't good in the long run for the community that loved the Newman Center of old.


The remarks of Albuquerque City Attorney's office on a federal lawsuit involving Mary Han's death are appalling.  They called the lawsuit frivolous, and that the dead have no constitutional rights.  All after the death scene of Han was overrun by city officials including former Mayor Berry Public Safety head Darren White.  Evidence was trampled.  All because attorney Mary Han was a repeat winner against the rogue APD officers who have made our city look like a violent place.

This callousness towards the Han family on the part of the Mayor's city legal team is unprecedented in my view.  One more reason for the Mayor to kick out his hapless APD Chief,  along with his Chief Administrative Officer and City Attorney.

I am convinced that Mayor Berry would rather just amble off into anonymity right now.  He is not having any fun at all.

Thursday, August 07, 2014

The Campaign of Hate

You see the ads everywhere and they have been placed by Governor Susana Martinez and her minions.  They don't talk about a better economy, or a clean environment, or compassion.  No, they talk about a certain group of people who you should hate.

I see these ads on Facebook.  Sign a pledge or petition if you hate drivers licenses for immigrants.  Also, beat up on people who receive food stamps because they are all lazy bastards. (Even though most of them work at minimum wage jobs already.)  Sign a petition to protect rights to own assault rifles from those who think that is not such a great idea.

You can see the messages here.  These are people to be hated because they disagree with you.  That is the kind of Governor we have.  How can we possibly succeed in this multicultural state with that kind of rhetoric going around?

How can we unite in the Land of Enchantment when we have a leader whose only road to staying in office is to splinter our state's populations based on nationality and political persuasions?

Will we get to the point that Texas finds itself now, where Governor Perry is sending machine guns to the border?

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Where's Waldo

This is a picture of Mayor Richard Berry of Albuquerque.  Has anyone seen him?  I thought sure he would be on TV defending his city after that awful oped in the New York Times on Sunday.  It did us a lot of harm even though its main premise was questionable.  I don't think those young hoodlums killed those homeless men because they saw the police doing the same thing.

But, I digress.  Will anyone on the city council throw a message over their new security wall that might say something nice about our city?   Maybe they could even write a letter to the Editor at the Times saying most people here are good folks.  Because they are.

No, instead of responding to the PR disaster they just disappear into the ether.  What else can be said?  

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Working for Food

I really don't have a problem requiring able bodied and mentally fit people to work some hours in order to receive food stamps.  It is fair for them to provide at least some community services in return for sustenance.  Of course, many working people get food stamps too because of American Corporate powers keeping wages so low that the employees would starve if denied food aid.

Governor Martinez is showing everyone how tough she is in making people work for food stamps.  The problem is she has utterly failed in her responsibilities in making sure that New Mexico has a strong economy that will generate jobs.  But it isn't just her fault.  The legislature, Mayors, City Councils and County Commissions all have a role in this sad state of affairs.

One really has to wonder if there are any real leaders left in New Mexico.  Or is every politico now mostly interested in not upsetting anyone so they can hang on to their positions?  I actually can not think of one really great leader in state and local government that is saying what needs to be said.  Our representation in Washington is only brightened by Senator Heinrich and sometimes Senator Udall.  Representatives Michelle Grisham Lujan and Ben Lujan Jr. just  have to stay afloat in the bizarre House of Representatives.  Steve Pearce is just one of the nut cases that comprises the GOP.

Meanwhile, New Mexico is in the most serious economic crisis in decades as it lags behind every other state in the region.  What we need now is someone with the smarts of Franklin Delano Roosevelt who provided real leadership in a time of crisis.  Does such a person exist within or borders?

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Picture This

Imagine Elon Musk, head of Tesla, sitting down at breakfast this morning and picking up the New York Times to see a prominently placed OP-ED entitled "Good Bye Albuquerque, Land of Violence."  It is a blistering account of the violent ends of homeless people at the hands of the Albuquerque Police Department and young thrill killers.  It is devastating for our city's image.

If Elon Musk reads this, would it be a positive bit of news for us, as he makes up his mind where to locate his new battery factory that will provide 6000 jobs?  Even if he didn't take great notice at the article itself, the headline was a killer for sure.

Now think of Mayor Richard Berry and the Albuquerque City Council hunkered down in their bunkers over the last couple of years thinking this would all blow over.  And sit and wonder why the Council has decided to build a wall between themselves and the public sitting area in the Chambers.  That may send one of the biggest messages about how all is not well in the Duke City.

And think of the costs of poor leadership in our city.   Leadership that has no energy and satisfies itself with 'being there.'  It has all come home to roost.

Friday, August 01, 2014

So Long Dick Knipfing

My old friend and coworker Dick Knipfing presented his final newscast at Channel 13 on Wednesday night.  Over the last 51 years he probably did from 20 to 30 thousand of them.  Quite a record.

I did a small interview with Kim Holland about Dick.  She did a great job recalling his career by rounding up past colleagues to talk about him.  It was all pretty positive.

Except for the fact that on his final newscast this experienced journalist was forced to lead with a story about an injured cat.  What a crude and ignorant thing to do to Dick.  I was outraged.  But when you think about it, Dick is leaving a great journalism career at the right time.  Just before journalism's final meltdown into the Twitter Universe and cat video mania.  All you aspiring journalists should read this.

And then corporate America, which pretty much already controls information we get, will have their own way with our citizens by convincing them that black is white.