It’s a bit hairy, but it is a sport, or competition and it’s all about beards…

I warned you last post that we’d get back to Erwin Butsch, this years World Champion in the partial beard category in the World Beard and Mustache Championships! Thinking, more specifically, he won the Musketeer Partial Beard Category, 2017.

There really is such a thing-A world Beard and Mustache Championship. Erwin travels around the world every two years to participate and had previously won the 2013 competition as well. There’s a panel of judges for each category and margins of victory can be as slim as hair, like .03 points can make the difference between Champ and considering shaving.

I believe this is Erwin’s 2013 championship picture.

I thought he had a special look the moment he stepped up to us to help guide our tour around some of our ancestor’s castles. This encounter really started when a Eberhard Schauer, (a man who has studied the life of our ancestor, Karl Eugen, for over twenty years now), needed more car seats than his had to run us around Germany. Erwin-Eberhard’s long time friend- offered to help out so we met.

Before we get to more castle stuff, let’s step back and appreciate that Erwin is a normal guy who supervises many for a firm that develops  better glass to use in car wind shields-see,? A normal sort.  Thing is, I can’t imagine the upkeep involved in the look but other’s in different beard categories do more.

Some looks seem so dignified.

A bit long with a sense of formality

Here is this, the 2017 World Champ of freestyle beard category…warm and snugly, right?

buddies

Why are people staring at me?

This guy knows why…..

Here’s our friend, Erwin Butsch, laughing it up behind stage during the 2017 competition…

It’s all a good time, and I bet by the contest’s end more than one ear gets poked by a beard.

Not sure about the middle guy, but this is all hair-really. I guess he just got a wild hair and went for it.

Oh there’s so much more to see….

In the end, these guys love what they grow and work hard at it. Athletes of a different sort. Some will say they are hair brains…Me? This is fun.

And thanks to Erwin Busch for helping to show us around our ancestor’s castles….

Dave Berry*, me and Erwin Butsch at Karl Eugen’s hunting lodge-all for one and one for all.

Cheers…..and Happy Thanksgiving!

Franque23

 

 

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(Click the pic for a larger view.)

I’ve seen London and I’ve seen France, plus a whole bunch of ladies underpants-in store windows that is. Thing is, oddly, the most risqué undies I’ve seen while traveling London, Paris-should I mention Ireland- has been right here in Ludwigsburg, Germany, but I’m not gonna split hairs over the matter.

Once I tore my vision away from the panties it became apparent that a city lined by low buildings with low profiles of less than six or so stories high gives light to the people who live there. I’ve no good answer, not for now, for those who protest about the agonizing cost of transport should cities sprawl beyond reason via low profiles not to mention the pollution caused by the added miles of commute.  Example: how could New York City be spread out? The countryside would morph into houses, roads and gas stations? How could any low city profiles work? This is the question mankind must answer if you ask me.  Why, you might ask? I’ve seen the light after visiting London, Ireland, Paris and now Ludwigsburg, Germany: that’s the answer.

 

This is Dublin, Ireland.

A low profile is key for any city. The trick to a happy populace is to not have high-rise buildings blocking the sunlight, flat-out period, end of story. It’s an abstract concept but real. Urban streets  lined by four to six-story high buildings allow the sun in, the trees to grow and the people to breathe easy. Many consider themselves ‘Urbanity,’ but I say most of those who do have truly forgotten or never experience the freedom vast open skies and spaces can give to the human spirit.

In honor of my cousin, Jed Franquemont, who says I take 1/2 of the globs to get to my point, I will now.*

Think I’ll get off this horse and ride another: my family’s castle. We went to Germany to see it.

It’s a bit large…160 rooms, and kept up by Germany as a come look-see attraction.

Thing is, every man needed a hunting camp so this Duke, Karl Eugen of Wurttemberg, my ancestor, built one. We toured this place of opulence and splendid countryside view.

How is this related to me? Quick and dirty, around 1750 Karl Eugen (1728-1793) became king of the Baden-Ludwigsburg-Wurttemberg region at age 16. This region included much of what is today Germany as well as a small section of France(Alsace). Karl Eugen’s arranged married worked for 3 years before this couple in power decided to part ways forever though not divorced. Karl’s wife moved out of the country. This left Karl Eugen immensely powerful, rich and, well, young for what turned out to be his next ten years of  foot-loose and fancy-free life. This sort of perfect storm that ensued entailed Karl’s money, his power, his love for Italian Opera singers and dancers and the lack of condemns…all this participated the birth of many illegitimate children-sometimes as many as 3 children by one woman- and all of them lacked the real title of heir. Karl looked throughout his kingdom and found a vacant royal title(one whose heirs had died leaving the title and name open.) In 1660 the Von Franquemont castle still stood in Baden but by the mid 1750 it was in ruins and the Von Franquemont’s deceased. Karl Eugen as Duke of the land bought this vacant title and gave the name and title, Von Franquemont, to all of his illegitimate children along with the proclamation of Nobility.

Many statesmen back then thought Karl Eugen, Duke of the Wurttemberg region, was young, wild and crazy, inappropriate, wasteful, a womanizer and fan of radical dance and music.

 

Me? I think it was sorta like the old calling the up and coming(no pun) youth names…Like producers did to Elvis. Did you know cameras were forced to not show Elvis move-wiggle- his legs on TV in fear  that impressionable young ladies might go mad?

anyway…….

Boom! Those with my family name, sans the ‘Von,’ are, in fact, nobility. All by proclamation. How cool is that? But I don’t let it go to my head….

I hardly even think about it….

….unless my toes haven’t been washed or the service is slow. Only the little things get to me.

And my children don’t harp on about being the off-spring of a great-grandson so many times over of a German Duke.

e

My daughter wearing her every day ol’ crown.

The entire extended family rarely lets people know unless they don’t ask that we’re Nobility-it’s all kept on the down low.

This is why the next post will be more shots of our ancestor’s castle(s)—as in five— it’s all hush-hush. However, touring one of them with Eberhard, his wife, and with this man was quite unique….

This man! You’ll never guess his claim to fame. All of this and that soon…

Cheers, your humble servant and Great, Great, waaaay Great Grandson of a Duke-

Currently, I have a three book series, The avatar Magic series, published on kindle.

  • This is Jed Franquemont’s review of book one—-
    Everybody knows that I spend inordinate amount of time reading fiction. What I like best is scifi, spies, and sex. My cousin, Gerald Franquemont, has written a novel with me in mind. Avatar Magic is a wonderful read and is available on Kindle for $4.95. Cuz

    has really amazed me with his first novel. I can’t wait for the next one.”  2013

Bk 1-https://www.amazon.com/AVATAR-MAGIC-Avatar-Magic-Book-ebook/dp/B00B0NYO80/

Book one-

Bk 2-https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00KXMIIOK/ref=series_rw_dp_sw

Book two develops the characters, defines their motives and worth, and moves the plot onward to Book three-the final book.

Bk 3-https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B018RX67BW/ref=series_rw_dp_sw

The trilogy makes great holiday reading-a nice Romance and Sci-Fi jaunt around the world

 

Cheers from my bulletin board to you!

Franque23

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


(Click the pic for a larger view.)

To begin with, as an America, once you’ve been to Europe it’s easy to want to go back. There’s a breeze blowing in the minds of Europeans that escapes most Americans.

Almost all visits to Europe will start off, go through or lead to Paris. There’s the Louvre, the ever present Eiffel Tower, the Seine, the food, the wine, women’s underwear-art nouveau, Notre Dame and more.

The light of Paris is The Tower, the fancy pants the Louvre and Notre Dame the ‘rock’.

Notre Dame: a world of History to browse.

 

We entered Notre Dame just when a singing mass began…that gal’s voice was shipped from heaven.*

My thoughts drifted back to this historical shrine many times during our visit to Paris while my eyes fell upon the Eiffel Tower as often. This massive structure is taller than you think.

Here’s a shot of construction.

 

(May, 1888.)

The Tower looms over the city’s skyline and by night it beams lights for five minutes upon the hour to demonstrate Parisian’s will to survive any test.

Thanks to my wife for catching this unforgettable moment.

Napoleon’s Tomb was a shocker; a golden dome repeats the sun outside and inside floors of intricately cut marble boggle the mind. Napoleon’s tomb is no less astonishing to see and informative as well.**

These columns, everything, is different colored marble or gold gilt.

 

The marble floors are seamlessly joined as if they were interwoven threads of a Peruvian rug.  

And the inside ceiling dome is no less enthralling.

Paris is art to the heart. A never-ending display of what might be done if only mankind would.

Who wouldn’t want to live in a doll house? Streets are lined with bigly baskets of floral arrangements as though a wedding was taking place on each one.

If your hustle causes you to miss a statue you’re sure to catch the ones on the next corner. And about those fountains…there are one million of them, all enhanced, again by more statues.

The Eiffel Tower looms over your wanderings as they take you to the Louvre.  (Hot tip: First-go to Paris in September; second-go to the Louvre when it’s closed so your completely bummed like us…then, be nearby on the next night when it’s open and go! No one is there to speak of, and you can walk right up to the Lady.) The Mona Lisa is more than you will expect. I promise.

 The entrance to the Louvre is a grand, striking glass pyramid that provides the correct ambiance and protection its holdings deserve.

We meandered around and past ancient Roman and Greek statues, even those that predate the periods,  ones we could walk up to as though a conversation might ensue. Soon, we came to a wide stairway blessed by The  Winged Victory of Samothrace masterpiece.

The absence of people contrasted the magnitude of people who flock to this same spot everyday of the summer. I don’t know how a marble statue can appear to have flight, but this one does. I longed to see the missing head and arms–sigh.

Steps by works I can’t describe with any astute justice frame the route to the room where the Mona Lisa waits. Truly, I’d expected the work to be small, and that only an inquisitive adherence of my attention would bang against this canvass. Oh, how wrong…

We entered a room almost void of tourists and took our place centered before the Mona Lisa only three rows deep. I’d cleared to the front of the line within minutes and stood but fifteen feet from the herald painting. I stared at this painting and within one minute it felt as though I was communicating with the portrait. The brow was different from so many others I’d seen in paintings just prior in our walk-a-bout, a bit shaded upon the upper right from my view, a touch that gave a cerebral hue to the work. The background to each side held a stream to the left and a montage of floating sky and movement to the right. The smile, as so well drummed, had an inescapable ambivalence that lay open to so many interpretations.

It seemed I could talk with the Mona Lisa.

It caught me that my lips were moving with my silent thoughts and in a glance I saw the guard, a women in her younger years who sat by the painting, was watching me with some concern, or was it interest. I retreated back though those who waited to be first in the line but then stopped. I eagerly returned to the crowd and ventured off to the left side of the painting, the guard aware of my every foot step. I once again stood in front of the line but far off to the left of the painting. Mona Lisa’s eyes were staring at me  with the exact intensity I’d experienced while standing in front of the portrait!

Mona Lisa’s eyes remained on me from all viewing angles and this sighting etched my head forever.

I ventured into a street shop selling wine: “I’ve no idea about wine, but I want a red that isn’t’ too expensive, and I’m only here for three nights.” The shop owner showed me a 5 dollar bottle of wine that turned out to be excellent, even by my world-traveled sister’s standards. So get a hunk of cheese, crackers, wine and grapes for breakfast while there-it’s great fun.

We stayed in an Airbnb centrally located within the city. The back featured a two level outside porch surrounded by plantings and fresh air, the perfect place for us to enjoy along with my sister, my wife’s cousin, Anne Claude, her husband Noah, and my brother-in-law and his wife.

Ahhh, Parie…..La Ville des lumieres…

Go to Paris; chomp on a baguette. See the Mona Lisa and, if you’re like me, Life may never exactly seem the same after you do. How odd, the force of art and love!

Franque23

*Thanks to my wife for most of the pictures.

** I’d no idea how important Napoleon had been to the development of almost every aspect of  the Paris we now know. The street lay outs, the government, the law, and so much more is attributed to the work of this man done over a span of a few short years. So, the magnificent tomb makes perfect sense.


(Of course, click on the pic for a larger view.)

I’d be cutting zzz’s right now instead of writing this glob if hair-head Shadow paws hadn’t decided my two-hour nap as planned was too long. But no, one hour pushed hocker I’ve-been-eating-grass face over the edge and illegally onto my bed. This found me clutching three pillows to my face as four paws  clomped all over my body. This criminal activity happens every morning and once my eyes open I see this:

Ol’ tail-cut-like-a-knife butt-head doing the two socks are stuffed in my face shuffle.

Morning, afternoon, evening, heck anytime at all finds Shadow with one sock in his face( only my socks are allowed-he knows.) He holds it there to protect us from his happy snapping jaws. But two socks in those jaws means we’re about to have extra fun throwing the ball or, as in the case of the picture above, that he’s been secretly foraging for treats in the laundry room….

This is Shadow under his mother—he’s that little black smidgen of a puppy on the right. Surprise! He’s eating!!(Shadow as pup, some weeks after this shot, was found inside the dog food bag.)

Shadow’s an all around I’m-here-for-you-pet-me great dog; he knows all the rules by heart and only breaks them as necessary: “there’s a squirrel on the feeder so I gotta bark and stretch way up high on the window,” is one of Shadow’s favorite moments of freedom from the rules.

Shadow is watching his “TV”…and for a ‘hint’ of a squirrel.

Of course, there’s more. That neighbor in our doorway has no idea how many times we’ve said, “No jumping…” because Shadow is not technically jumping with his paws on the new victim, but only springing up three feet high in every direction as if he were on a Pogo stick.

“I wasn’t really jumping.”

“Consider that I can fly before passing judgement.”

“Really.”

It’s amazing that Shadow never begs, not technically. He has unearthly powers of knowing when we have finished eating and it’s time to come over to us; that’s nice. No, Shadow does remain away from us while we eat but for one glitch in his near perfect manners. We about need to mop the floor after we eat anything Shadow loves-“I’ll stay in place with my jaws droolin’ like a turned on faucet as you eat; no problem.”

“Promise.”

Dogs live in a contagious zone of happiness unless they are abused, sick or hurt. To be clear, dog abusers-whether they can play football of not- should be hung-up to dry for several weeks while random passer’s by get to whop the criminals with sticks. The only question is how long?

  “About twelve years.”

When you get down to it, dogs know right from wrong better than most people.

Toby toes knew not to open a present until he got the green light.

Sometimes dogs just can’t help themselves when it comes to smelly garbage cans, open refrigerators, a left cookie, a neat stuffed pillow to rip apart or other tantalizing components to life. Dogs will even try to steer their companion dog away from trouble, but often to no avail.

 

 

Right from the get-go they know right from wrong.

“Well, that might have been a bad idea…..”

“Okay, it was a bad idea….”

But who can say…

 

If shadow does make a mistake, chasing a squirrel that looks like our mailman’s truck,  he might try to ‘offset’ his slippin’ paws with humor…

and see if he can’t dig himself out…

Relentless Digging….puppy’s new American Native name.

In the end, it’s all about a dog’s tail.

You’re about to feed me, right?

The tail wagging give-away speaks volumes to those who care to listen. Seize  the day! It’s time to play! Thank goodness you’re up; it’s time to pee! How can you sit there on a day like this? These are the question that face dog owners everyday, question too hard to brush aside. If you try to ignore a dog’s truth then the ears get involved, the cocked head turns as an exclamation point and the, “I’ll sit and shake,” comes into play.

Dog is God spelled backward but in essence they are both about goodness. Go snuggle that here’s-my-tummy-to-rub  doggie face of yours…These are the great times.

A dog is Man’s best friend, and maybe teacher, too.

Franque23.

 

See ya…

 

 


(Thanks to Tom Morgan, Greg and others who try to keep me up to speed…..)

That’s right. This article re-post is from the BrietBart as sent to me from a ‘Right’ leaning cousin of mine who  I have quoted in globs before. I remain firm: each issue has more than two sides. This is why inquiring minds should be aware of as much information as possible when trying to pick a position to embrace-fact check, double-check, maybe wait a few days for ‘things’ to fall out before going whole hog one way or another.

Note- Me? I don’t get into debating if Climate Change is real or not; let the Eons decide. The governmental issue we should be debating is whether or not we want to pollute our environment or not?!?!? Do we as a people think it wise to pour tons of pollutants into the air we breath and poison or lakes, rivers, streams, our drinking water or not?  Do we want EPA regulation or not? This should be our political debate today.

Thing is people get bogged down in something that can never be proven-Climate Change; this is my opinion on the matter. Still, I don’t want to pollute our environment; this is my passion.

Here’s the article from the ‘Right’, as promised when I posted the last glob, an article from the ,’Left.’ *

When I reported earlier this year on the 58 scientific papers published in 2017 that say global warming is a myth the greenies’ heads exploded.

Since then, that figure has risen to 400 scientific papers.

Can you imagine the misery and consternation and horror this is going to cause in the corrupt, rancid, rent-seeking world of the Climate Industrial Complex?

I can. It will look something like this.

Just to be clear, so the greenies can’t bleat about being misrepresented, here is what these various papers say:

Modern temperatures, sea levels, and extreme weather events are neither unusual nor unprecedented.  Many regions of the Earth are cooler now than they have been for most of the last 10,000 years.

Natural factors such as the Sun (106 papers), multi-decadal oceanic-atmospheric oscillations such as the NAO, AMO/PDO, ENSO (37 papers), decadal-scale cloud cover variations, and internal variability in general have exerted a significant influence on weather and climate changes during both the past and present.  Detecting a clear anthropogenic forcing signal amidst the noise of unforced natural variability may therefore be difficult.

And current emissions-mitigation policies, especially related to the advocacy for renewables, are often costly, ineffective, and perhaps even harmful to the environment.  On the other hand, elevated CO2 and a warmer climate provide unheralded benefits to the biosphere (i.e., a greener planet and enhanced crop yields).

In other words, nobody is denying that climate changes, nobody is denying that the planet has warmed by 0.8 degrees C in the last 150 years, while only a handful deny that carbon dioxide (and other greenhouse gases) has the power to influence temperatures.

What they are saying in their different ways is that “global warming” – as in the big scare story that the planet is heating up at a catastrophic unprecedented rate because of man-made CO2 emissions – is bunk; or that the methods being used to combat the problem are bunk.

Here – courtesy of Kenneth Richard, who has waded through them all – are some examples of what they say.

It’s the sun, stupid! (106 papers stress solar influence on climate)

Li et al., 2017 

It has been widely suggested from both climate modeling and observation data that solar activity plays a key role in driving late Holocene climatic fluctuations by triggering global temperature variability and atmospheric dynamical circulation

Yndestad and Solheim, 2017

Periods with few sunspots are associated with low solar activity and cold climate periods. Periods with many sunspots are associated with high solar activity and warm climate periods.

Tejedor et al., 2017

The main driver of the large-scale character of the warm and cold episodes may be changes in the solar activity

 

Climate influenced by natural oscillation (eg El Nino; La Nina)

Belohpetsky et al., 2017 

 It is well known that most short term global temperature variability is due to the well-defined ENSO natural oscillation

Park et al., 2017

According to our results, the central Mexican climate has been predominantly controlled by the combined influence of the 20-year Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) and the 70-year Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO).

Lim et al., 2017

Our study demonstrated that floodfrequency and climate changes at centennial-to-millennial time scales in South Korea have been coupled mainly with ENSO activity

Modern climate in phase with natural variability

Conroy et al., 2017 

20th century precipitation variability in southern Tibet falls within the range of natural variability in the last 4100 yr, and does not show a clear trend of increasing precipitation as projected by models

Verdon-Kidd et al., 2017 

Overall, the inter-annual and inter-decadal variability of rainfall and runoff observed in the modern record (Coefficient of Variation (CV) of 22% for rainfall, 42% for runoff) is similar to the variability experienced over the last 500 years (CV of 21% for rainfall and 36% for runoff)

Volcano/Tectonic Influence on Climate

Viterito, 2017 

This yields a coefficient of determination of .662, indicating that HGFA [high geothermal flux area] seismicity accounts for roughly two-thirds of the variation in global temperatures since 1979.

Huhtemaa and Helama, 2017 

[M]ore than half of the agricultural crises in the study region can be associated with cooling caused by volcanism.

Greenhouse Effect Not the Main Driver of Climate

Blaauw, 2017 

This paper demonstrates that globalwarming can be explained without recourse to the greenhouse theory

Munshi, 2017

…No evidence is found that changes in atmospheric CO2 are related to fossil fuel emissions at an annual time scale.

Reinhart, 2017  

 Our results permit to conclude that CO2 is a very weak greenhouse gas and cannot be accepted as the main driver of climate change

Climate Models are Unreliable/The Pause is Real

Blackall, 2017 

The science publication Nature Climate Change this year published a study demonstrating Earth this century warmed substantially less than computer-generated climate models predict. Unfortunately for public knowledge, such findings don’t appear in the news.

Rosenblum and Eisenman, 2017 

Observations indicate that the Arctic sea ice cover is rapidly retreating while the Antarctic sea ice cover is steadily expanding. State-of-the-art climate models, by contrast, typically simulate a moderate decrease in both the Arctic and Antarctic sea ice covers.

Ahlström et al., 2017

 We conclude that climate bias-induced uncertainties must be decreased to make accurate coupled atmosphere-carbon cycle projections.

Zhou and Wang, 2017

Despite the ongoing increase in atmospheric greenhouse gases, the global mean surface temperature (GMST) has remained rather steady and has even decreased in the central and eastern Pacific since 1998. This cooling trend is referred to as the global “warming hiatus”

Renewable Energy/Climate Policies are Failing

Janković and Shultz, 2017  

 [A] preindustrial climate may remain a policy goal, but it is unachievable in reality

Heard et al., 2017 

While many modelled scenarios have been published claiming to show that a 100% renewable electricity system is achievable, there is no empirical or historical evidence that demonstrates that such systems are in fact feasible.

Emery et al., 2017

The total social costs of ethanol blends are higher than that of gasoline, due in part to higher life-cycle emissions of non-GHG pollutants and higher health and mortality costs per unit.

Qiao et al., 2017

BEVs [Battery Electric Vehicles] are designed to obtain more environmental benefits, but the energy consumption and GHG emissions of BEV production are much larger than those of ICEV [Internal Combustion Engine Vehicles] production in China.

Wind Power Harming the Environment

Frick et al., 2017

Our resultssuggest that wind energy development may pose a substantial threat to migratory bats in North America.

Liu and Barlow, 2017

The research indicates that there will be 43 million tonnes of blade waste worldwide by 2050 with China possessing 40% of the waste, Europe 25%, the United States 16% and the rest of the world 19%.

Vasilakis et al., 2017  

Numerous wind farms are planned in a region hosting the only cinereous vulture population in south-eastern Europe […]

[…] Even under the most optimistic scenario whereby authorized proposals will not collectively exceed the national target for wind harnessing in the study area (960 MW), cumulative collision mortality would still be high (17% of current population) and likely lead to population extinction.

In 2016 there were 500 peer-reviewed scientific papers published in scholarly journals (Part 1Part 2Part 3) challenging “consensus” climate science.

Together with these 400 new papers, that makes 900 science papers in the last two years casting doubt on global warming.”

That’s it for now…

Cheers.

Franque23

*     http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2017/10/24/delingpole-now-400-scientific-papers-in-2017-say-global-warming-is-a-myth/


I do wonder. So much has happened in the past-the Tea Pot Dome scandal really happened and much more. Still, I’ve this bad headache screaming between my ears that America’s open political arena is being continually hemmed into secrecy while the Media is being pushed further away when it attempts to tell the American People what the truth is about our Government.*

There are several ways to go with this political circus taking place in Washington that many American’s can’t bear to watch.  And a further posting soon from the ‘Right’ media is called for since the Guardian, cited here, is considered by most to be a liberal, left-wing informational source. Thing is, this article doesn’t deal in opinions, just the facts, and those facts are alarming for America.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/oct/22/trumps-secretive-voter-panel-is-keeping-own-members-in-the

“Trump administration
Trump’s secretive voter fraud panel is keeping own members in the dark

Commission member ‘completely uninformed’ of its activities
Requests from senators and others for information ignored

Associated Press in Washington

Monday 23 October 2017 01.51 AEDT

Donald Trump’s advisory commission on election integrity has integrity questions of its own – with some of its own members raising concerns about its secretive operations.

Democrats in the Senate are requesting a government investigation of the commission for ignoring formal requests from Congress. This week, two members sent letters to commission staff complaining about a lack of information about the panel’s agenda and demanding answers about its activities.

In a letter sent on 17 October, Maine’s secretary of state, Matthew Dunlap, said he was not being made aware of information pertaining to the commission and requested copies of all correspondence between its members since Trump signed the executive order creating it in May.

“I am in a position where I feel compelled to inquire after the work of the commission upon which I am sworn to serve, and am yet completely uninformed as to its activities,” Dunlap wrote in his letter to Andrew Kossack, the commission’s executive director.

Dunlap said he had received no information about research or activities since the last commission meeting, on 12 September. He continued to receive media inquiries about commission developments, he said, “that I as a commissioner am blind to”.

A commissioner from Alabama, Jefferson County probate judge Alan L King, said he sent a similar letter late last week. He said the only information he had received since the September meeting was an email informing him of the death of another commissioner, former Arkansas state lawmaker David Dunn.

“Here I am on this high-level government committee and I don’t know when the next meetings are or how many meetings there will be,” he said. “I am in the dark on what will happen from this point on, to tell you the truth.”

King and Dunlap are two of four Democrats on the 11-member commission. J Christian Adams, a commission member who was a justice department attorney under George W Bush, said in an email all commissioners received the same information.

“Once upon a time election integrity was bipartisan,” Adams wrote. “Apparently not all agree. That’s a shame.”

Requests for comment sent to Kossack and the commission’s vice-chairman, the Kansas secretary of state, Kris Kobach, were not returned. The commission is chaired by Vice-President Mike Pence.

Critics say Trump is using the commission to find support for his unsubstantiated claims that widespread voter fraud cost him the popular vote in the 2016 election. Hillary Clinton received 2.8 million more votes nationwide than Trump, who won the presidency in the electoral college.

While there have been isolated cases of voter fraud in the US, there is no evidence of it being a widespread problem.

Critics argue Trump’s commission is stacked with people who favor voting restrictions rather than those who want to expand access, and that the commission has a predetermined agenda that will result in recommendations making it more difficult for people to register to vote, stay registered and cast ballots.

Its first significant action was to request information about all registered voters in every state, including partial social security numbers, dates of birth, addresses and voting history. The commission scaled back its request after stinging criticism. A tally by Associated Press reporters shows that 15 states denied the request.

In August, the AP filed a records request with the commission under the federal Freedom of Information Act, which specifies that agencies including presidential commissions have 20 business days to respond or 10 calendar days if the request was filed on an expedited basis, as the AP’s was. The AP has received no response.

The commission’s secrecy prompted a lawsuit by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, which alleges it is violating federal open meetings and disclosure laws. The group’s executive director, Kristen Clarke, said she was hard-pressed to think of another commission that had acted in such secrecy.

“We have found that in every respect this commission has been carrying out its activities in an almost covert fashion,” she said.
States fight Trump commission’s effort to gather voters’ personal data

The lack of openness even applies to members of Congress. Democratic senators have filed at least five requests for information with the commission since June. A 12 September follow-up letter noted that none of those had received a response.

“The commission has not responded to a single letter from senators with oversight jurisdiction over the commission and continues to be rebuked for its questionable activities,” said the letter, written by Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island.

Last week, three Democrats wrote to the Government Accountability Office seeking an investigation into the commission. The letter signed by Klobuchar, Michael Bennet of Colorado and Cory Booker of New Jersey cited a lack of transparency on the commission and concern that its conclusions would diminish confidence in the democratic process.

“It is incredible that they are not responding to any of this stuff, and that’s why it’s appropriate for GAO to take a look,” Bennet said.”

So our election process is under review by a board cloaked beneath secrecy even between its own members? We don’t have America without free and open election period.

If you are concerned about this matter contact your representative and then the ones mentioned below who are working for all of us.

Please tell other people who you think would be interested.

Contact Mathew Dunlap Maine sec of state for pursuing  this matter,. He is a member of the voting fraud committee and is not getting info.

A commissioner from Alabama, Jefferson County probate judge Alan L King, said he sent a similar letter late last week.

(Here is his statement earlier on  that got him on the committee from a bio  on google….

“But King, the chief election officer and probate judge for Jefferson County, let the commission know how he felt about what he sees as an effort to keep people from voting rather than expanding the right to vote.”

“It is my sincere hope and prayer that this Commission will focus on the real election issues facing the United States of America, including alleged ‘hacking’ by the Russians, instead of spending precious time focusing on non-issues to deprive American citizens from voting,” King, a Democrat, stated in a recent 5-page report to the panel.”

and….

“The lack of openness even applies to members of Congress. Democratic senators have filed at least five requests for information with the commission since June. A 12 September follow-up letter noted that none of those had received a response.”

“The commission has not responded to a single letter from senators with oversight jurisdiction over the commission and continues to be rebuked for its questionable activities,” said the letter, written by Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island. ”

It seems this committee gathers information on voters, and we’ve no idea why or what they intend to do with our names, addresses, voter affiliation, social security numbers, income and workplace. Does that sound above board to you? American’s from all sides need to join in this struggle to free up our election process, and keep the Sunshine in Washington…

Politics as usual? I don’t think so.

Your Thoughts?

Franque23

  • Thanks to reader, Mary, for forwarding most of this information to me from other postings…..

London is where bustle got put into hustle.

Let’s start with the Crown Jewels( so easy to fancy) but, then again, don’t let the elevator doors hit you on the way to see them. Yes, it’s hard to imagine those jewels on anyone’s head but my own!( I claimed to be , Gerald the Great, as a kid, like two years ago.)

This is worth a few pounds that are  upgraded by 20% more in American dollars.

The crowns at Buckingham dazzle the eye. You pass a row of crowns thirty feet long as you stand on a conveyor belt. I went back three times.

Is it a perfect fit?

Trust me,,, you can’t imagine the size of this diamond and more. It is a minted life for sure.

The barney ace diamonds set between emeralds and ruby’s, crown after crown, but about those elevator doors.

No automatic door is going to retreat if you’re too slow shufflin’ in for the ride in London. There’s no safety bumper mechanics working in England; it’s either get in the elevator, stay out or get chopped in half by the closing door. Really, I saw my brother-in-law(a six-foot four guy) get body slammed by a closing elevator door so from then on it was run for your lives into the booth.  Tell ya, if you survive the weird wrong way traffic while crossing the streets as a pedestrian then the elevators are waiting to pounce.

About those elevator booths, they have phone booths too!

But this post isn’t only about London jewels, the everyday rain, the brown tones of London or the old tradition that stands so firm it has a grip on every angle of the city.

On the bright side of the rain, the daily washing brought rainbows.

No, I’m not even gonna blather on about staying in Chelsea,  a quaint part of London offering everything you could want via location, low, cute building structures, convenient nearby shopping in local markets, wine, cheese, bakeries and more. And why mention the Airbnb we stayed in with the naked woman crucified upon a cross that hung over the master bedroom, or the  avant-garde plaster naked torso of a woman hanging by the only flight(s) of stairs or the Queen’s hologram portrait with eyes that followed you as you passed by. It would be stupid, the eclectic array of art in this walk up flat worked in an imaginative why to keep your mind wandering as you ate breakfast to start the new day or sipped wine at  night to end it.

 

RANDOM PHOTO alert

Here’s John and Robert Kennedy flippin’ thru law books with Marilyn Monroe. What else did they end up having in common?!?!?

This whole mess with Marilyn Monroe and the Kennedy’s may be a load of cobbler-not sure anyone knows and I suspect it will be a donkey’s ear before anyone does..

London is a peddle to the metal. Unless, of course, you’re buried at Westminster Abbey. Then things slow down.

West Minister Abby is waiting to amaze you.

I’ve got to say, the cast of humanity buried in Westminster Abbey is a ton to take in: you could spend more than a life time researching the history of those buried in West Minister Abby, some in magnificent tombs while others are beneath your feet as you walk.

The most splendid experience is to the see the ceiling, Mary, Queen of Scots, beholds from her resting place. You can’t imagine the beauty of this architecture.  The burial room for Mary seems to scream, Queen Elizabeth 1, how could you? (She was  imprisoned by Queen Elizabeth 1 for twenty odd years before being decapitated for plotting against the queens life.)*

Mary, Queen of Scots has a beautiful view.

The ceiling speaks volumes about her rank with the society. Take a closer look:

Even closer…..

But this sordid part of history isn’t the first or last we’d come upon during our London visit. Who  could forget the Shakespearean-type guide telling us how Anne Boleyn had her head cut off at the Tower of London-that was all the rage back then- and how she  kept praying with her lips moving as her executioner held her head in the air for all those gathered to see. There was no TV back then so public executions got excellent ratings, still it wouldn’t be my cuppa tea.

In the end, London has its place. Kensington Palace is a bit dark even with the special celebration of Princess Diana taking place while we visited; Buckingham palace was certainly more,’Royal’. Big Ben was silent for our visit but the under current of London’s history still rings a bell even without its chime.

You can’t help but notice you’re standing in London, England, the very seat of power that once ruled so much of the world-America, too. The pavement here feels like accomplishment under the soles of you feet. And even today, the city seems to hum, We Have to Hurry.

One more thing, I’m from just outside the Big Apple, New York- I had the subway down pat when I was in high school. I knew the rush of New York City streets like the back of my hand and I’m telling you: Londoner’s will make the train. On guard; on time.

Here’s to knees up then in London. Cheerio.

Franque23

 

*Not to throw a spanner in the works,, but Mary’s first husband died a few days after her marriage, the next was found either strangled or buried-not sure- after several years of unhappy marriage…Then Queen Elizabeth thought Mary, Queen of Scots, might be plotting against her?-go figure Mate.

 

 

 

 


The Crown Jewels stay in Buckingham Palace in England, but the Irish have the Emerald Isle. Forgotten by modern convenience, this diamond in the rough answers to no one’s price but stands apart as a land unto its truth. That truth grows from three million year old Cliffs of Moher to the west, a well seasoned Guinness to the east, the snows of the north and the continual blow of the south.  Within it all, Ireland remains on jealous guard of its secret, one you will come to know should you go.

3 million years old, the Cliffs of Moher are larger than you can imagine, but picturing the Grand Canyon, if you’ve seen that, helps.

Two views of part of the cliffs-one side wind swept clean for millions of years, the other grown over in moss.

There’s a stone tower on top of a high peak at the cliffs,,,,Dale and I got to go up.

Up to the top; wind or crowds of summer sometimes makes this impossible.

But we made it for this shot…. America lies 4 thousand miles away.

Ireland’s earth-bound honesty whispers as the morning dew drops sparkle upon the long bladed grass, races between the hedgerows and stony rock walls, up the hillsides and down into the valley of your heart. The truth cannot be denied: by taking on less, Ireland is so much more.

Of course, the matter is Ireland and there is so much to consider. But, diddly diddly this or diddleydee that, Ireland is waiting to collect your spirit, to open your heart so your eyes can see the beauty of Life once more. It’s up to you whether or not you answer the call, and it’s why I think those who can should visit Ireland while young enough to still have stars in their eyes, no matter how old.

Dublin is bubbling until late at night.

While traversing this Emerald we saw two hundred miles of land all dotted by small farms, no large factories, or conglomerate farming enterprises, no GMO fields and, btw, nary a stop light. In fact, the major crop of Ireland is grass-not the kind smoked- but green, flowing grass, field after field, and all raised to feed the sheep, cattle and pigs through the winter months. It’s a wonder to know that through Ireland, the country, the winter months dip about ten degrees below the summer temperatures which are mild.

Picture this: in most restaurants in Ireland the distance the food you order was grown, raised or harvested is listed next to the menu item. Imagine. Most often the food I ordered had come from less than fifty miles from my very seat! The greatest distance I remember food coming from the restaurant I was sitting in is one hundred and fifty miles. See? Ireland gives a whole new meaning to, ‘Fresh Market.’

Fresh food and space to dream

Yes, the men seem to drink a tad much very often but the women we spoke to mostly said, “I don’t drink at all.” It makes sense: someone in the household has to know what day it is right? Nah, really, there seemed no regret on either of the part of the Irish men or women when it came to drinking—the Isle is too beautiful for regrets. There’s too little space between the sunshine and the shadows of the hardworking people to waste time on fantasy.

One Barmaid, so kind to give me a free Guinness since she had the best in all of Ireland, told us, ” No, if you get drunk in our village there’s no taxi so a friend has to drive you home or I will. Oh, we have a taxi stand down the road, but good luck ever finding one there-it never happens.” Curious, my wife asked her what there was for us to see or do in the quaint little town. She thought in earnest and then answered with a broad smile, “Honest, I can’t think of a thing.”

If ever it’s been a struggle to live the salty life here you’d never know. The green fields, abundant sky and whipping wind weave together a different tune, the diddly diddly of Life. No wonder people have fought to preserve this land; it holds the touch that kisses back privately to any heart that will listen.

Go hear the music.

Franque23


Basically, keep it in mind when you sign-up for jet lag that Europe’s a spider’s web of death traps for Americans. Flat out simple, if you do survive being squashed alive in your seat or poisoned by the-this is not food- on your plane, London is waiting for you. There you’ll encounter a million cars ready to run you over as you step off the curb and look left for on-coming traffic as you might in America*…..Thing is, somehow, someway, the English still insist on driving on the wrong side of the road. It all makes sense if you accept that this wrong-side-of-the-road custom dates back to the 1700’s and therefore should be continued. It seems horsemen busy dueling for any reason they might conjure up were mostly right-handed so they needed to pass their foe with swords drawn and their enemies on the right side of their horse for better body piercing.  Today, the English continue to charge ahead the wrong way.

Another warm greeting awaiting you in London is the plethora of pelting rain drops that will anoint your sun-searching eyes should you look up from the puddled streets.

In truth, it doesn’t rain everyday in England once, but many, many times per day. But don’t worry if you leave your umbrella in that last cab you took-you’ll find someone else’s umbrella in about the exact same location on the back seat of the next cab you get.

Be forewarned: those four dollar umbrellas offered for sale in London last about as long as it takes to buy them…

Moving on, bypassing the flood gates of England, you may find yourself swilling in Ireland, Dublin, to be exact. This country has a completely different slant on how to undo the American. It’s called Guinness. You may have tried what you thought was Guinness here in the States and that would be all wrong. No, in Dublin where Guinness has submerged an entire country it’d be wrong to think of the drink as anything but a prelude to another and then ten more. Not that I had so many-I don’t think, maybe.

Typical roadside stop in Ireland**.

So, you missed Ireland completely but for unloading a bunch of money between random trips to the loo. Now it’s on to France with low expectations of seeing lots of underpants. The Follies were not showing during my visit and it was Fall so the sexy part of France was underwhelming- a minimalist’s expose’ of very little, a slip-up with regard to this undertaking. And if you’re hoping to make friends in any of these countries or amends for two hundred years of American warfare forget it. The fact is most people I almost saw as we passed one another along the street had their faces glued to whatever electronic device they held in hand. Those sparkling eyes of all those I’d hoped to meet in foreign countries had converted to bent down heads…

France, or what I imagined to be the land of lingerie, turns out to have its own angle on killing Americans that doesn’t involve deploying undergarments. Yep, it’s the French in Paris with the baguettes-mystery solved. You can’t imagine unless you’ve been, but there’s a quality to French pastries, breads, heck even hamburger buns that will drive even the most savvy American palate crazy. Figure on gaining weight and ordering a larger coffin as you decide what desert to devour next while in France.

I’d once heard the Eiffel tower was erected to reflect the state of most men while in Paris, and that it was fittingly a temporary construction to boot. Now, I don’t know.

History records that the Mongols invaded Paris and ate the baguettes which caused them to run to Ireland and jump off the Cliffs of Moher.*** Those Cliffs are renowned to this day for this reason-I heard this while in Ireland but only truly understood the history once I’d eaten various breads in Paris. I didn’t even care about the missing underwear after that.

Random idea:

The Cliffs of Moher have very little in common with the sunflower fields of Tuscany

Mind you, I loved Ireland so much there’s at least an entire glob coming on that country-and London and Paris and Germany as well.

It’s time to move on to Germany but first I have to end this glob….see you next time through a vat of beer and what about those Oktoberfest outfits!?!?!? New Orleans’s Mardi  Gras has nothing on German’s celebration– honest.

I found the size of the Oktoberfest beers distracting.

cheers

Franque23

  • Sadly, this has happened.
  • A cab driver explained that ten was the magic number of Guinness-just enough to make you forget the night before as you awake the next morning so you have to investigate Guinness all over again the following night. See? It’s the circle of life.
  • This matter is still debated in pubs.

My friend and first reader, Barbara, sent me this a few days ago. This week with so many extremely bad things happening around the globe I think it’s best to step back and see who’s on second, or what might have come next if Abbott and Costello were alive today!

You have to be old enough to remember Abbott and Costello, and too old to REALLY understand computers, to fully appreciate this. For those of us who sometimes get flustered by our computers, please read on…

If Bud Abbott and Lou Costello were alive today, their infamous sketch, ‘Who’s on First?’ might have turned out something like this:

COSTELLO CALLS TO BUY A COMPUTER FROM ABBOTT
ABBOTT: Super Duper computer store. Can I help you?

COSTELLO: Thanks I’m setting up an office in my den and I’m thinking about buying a computer.

ABBOTT: Mac?

COSTELLO: No, the name’s Lou.

ABBOTT: Your computer?

COSTELLO: I don’t own a computer. I want to buy one.

ABBOTT: Mac?

COSTELLO: I told you, my name’s Lou.

ABBOTT: What about Windows?

COSTELLO: Why? Will it get stuffy in here?

ABBOTT: Do you want a computer with Windows?

COSTELLO: I don’t know.. What will I see when I look at the windows?

ABBOTT: Wallpaper.

COSTELLO: Never mind the windows. I need a computer and software.

ABBOTT: Software for Windows?

COSTELLO: No. On the computer! I need something I can use to write proposals, track expenses and run my business. What do you have?

ABBOTT: Office.

COSTELLO: Yeah, for my office. Can you recommend anything?

ABBOTT: I just did.

COSTELLO: You just did what?

ABBOTT: Recommend something.

COSTELLO: You recommended something?

ABBOTT: Yes.

COSTELLO: For my office?

ABBOTT: Yes.

COSTELLO: OK, what did you recommend for my office?

ABBOTT: Office.

COSTELLO: Yes, for my office!

ABBOTT: I recommend Office with Windows.

COSTELLO: I already have an office with windows! OK, let’s just say I’m sitting at my computer and I want to type a proposal. What do I need?

ABBOTT: Word.

COSTELLO: What word?

ABBOTT: Word in Office.

COSTELLO: The only word in office is office.

ABBOTT: The Word in Office for Windows.

COSTELLO: Which word in office for windows?

ABBOTT: The Word you get when you click the blue ‘W’.

COSTELLO: I’m going to click your blue ‘w’ if you don’t start with some straight answers. What about financial bookkeeping? You have anything I can track my money with?

ABBOTT: Money.

COSTELLO: That’s right. What do you have?

ABBOTT: Money.

COSTELLO: I need money to track my money?

ABBOTT: It comes bundled with your computer.

COSTELLO: What’s bundled with my computer?

ABBOTT: Money.

COSTELLO: Money comes with my computer?

ABBOTT: Yes. No extra charge.

COSTELLO: I get a bundle of money with my computer? How much?

ABBOTT: One copy.

COSTELLO: Isn’t it illegal to copy money?

ABBOTT: Microsoft gave us a license to copy Money.

COSTELLO: They can give you a license to copy money?

ABBOTT: Why not? THEY OWN IT!

(A few days later)

ABBOTT: Super Duper computer store. Can I help you?

COSTELLO: How do I turn my computer off?

ABBOTT: Click on ‘START’….. ……..

Thanks again to Barbara for this. laughter can help.

Here’s to all of us.

Franque23

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