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Gerald, the farmer. That’s not a title I ever thought I might stand by but, in some respects, it’s here now with me.

No, from the get go I announced as a small boy of four and then for some years after that I was, in fact, Gerald the Great! I’d march around our house with my wooden sword held high while my friends herded behind me proclaiming that, “I am Gerald the Great!”

There could be no doubt about my title. It was so well forecast by my mom’s natural golden shining hair and red lipped sweet smiles. My dad’s ever present smooth countenance, a demeanor so calm he could part the red sea with a single whisper, this man, too, had such a force his words gave swords to my armies.

I paraded armies of plastic men about the house for years, moving huge numbers of troops from room to room seeking the high ‘couch’ ground to gain advantage over an invisible foe. In fact, I directed and starred in these plastic men battles for so long I’m sure my mom must have wondered if, “The Nut case!”, should be added to the title, “Gerald the Great!”

I could never know the joy my first baby girl would give me.

Back then, I had to listen to the birds; the wind. I’d run across fields of dandelion knowing my song was in the air, that the sparkle in the dew upon the grass called. It was never hard to climb our apple trees highest limbs, catch, hit or throw the ball or balance precariously to walk across a 2X4 beam laid upon the ground. Life came easy..

Most mornings, the house rang of piano music played by my beautiful red-haired sister or mother whose apple pies usually scented the air by 10 AM. Perhaps, this is why when it came time for me to go to school I confidently announced that I wasn’t going to go. Of course, this is the first time I had to realize being, Gerald the Great, had its kinks.

I was the daydreamer in school; the birds were still singing. The white clouds seemed so much more appealing to see than the chalk streaks upon the black board. Schools friends were like brothers and the girls, so much smarter and with long hair, were fascinating.

 Sixth grade graduation…I’m in the back row, 6th from the right.

I drafted behind my brother’s spotless lead and fell into sports, wrestling from 3rd grade on, jostling lacrosse sticks on the field and running the football behind great blockers.

Ed placed third in the Nationals while wrestling for Harvard.

.

Music gave me a push, too. Wait!!! Whahaha, this is a very old photo and worn around the top left but if you click on it the picture seems to show my head smoking!!!!

It was my freshmen year of high school when my best friend, Bob Russo, and I attended a camp in Marlboro, Vermont, as counselors. One night, he slipped beneath the lake waters and never came back up. I’d been there, on the shore, but in the full moon light I was unable to locate his call for help. As daunting as that moment was to carry from then on, Gerald the Great, didn’t exactly go to the bottom of that lake with my friend that night, not entirely.  It’s  true, a part of me never left that shore line, but the burning embers of new love kept my glow alive through most of my remaining High School years. Thing is, Gerald the Great, did lose that night and I may have never found my way back.

Death has a nasty habit of sticking around, forever.

Life has a great way of moving on whether you’re ready to or not.

It seems we run to our shadows as we live.*

It’s years later, now, after the death of my friend. Of course, like most of us who live to my age, I’ve seen quite a few loved ones pass. I’m not sure if I see them best in the sunrise now or find them coming back most often during the sunset hours.  It’s all a wonder.

I had a renter, Ralph, a Vietnam combat vet who struggled with chemical poisoning. I liked, Ralph, and visited him often for no reason but friendship. One day like any other, he sat me down in his living room and told me this.

“Gerry, I appreciate your help here with the trailer; living here has been great. I’ve been going to the VA for several years now and they say my time is up. This is why I moved up here; to go to the VA.  Why I watch these damn combat dramas I don’t know.” Ralph turned off his TV set off. “Thing is, I was  in Sunrise , Florida, before I came here and one morning I decided to walk from my place all the way over a long bridge and make my way to the ocean. I saw a beautiful sunrise and heard a voice tell me that I’d make something out of my life yet. Now, I’m just dying; I’ve done nothing.”

I liked, Ralph. I hated to see his sunken shoulders, to hear his words. During my 14 years in retail I’d had complete strangers come up to my leather stands and announce they were dying, but this was Ralph, my friend. That I never knew his situation hit me like a dagger.

“Listen, Ralph, none of us can say what we have done when it comes to other lives. It’s that old image of a pebble being thrown into a pond; we ripple our lives through others in ways we don’t know.” We talked for hours.

 I found myself hoping I’d created waves with my life.

Funny, but I never went on to tell him how he’d rippled through me, and most of that I didn’t even hold at the time. Ralph passed two weeks later.

So, the point for, Gerald the Great, as the throes of life and death have surrounded me, is it came as no surprise to learn later on that I’d actually come from a long line of famous soldier regiments that fought around the world back in the 1750’s.

 

This is the palace where Von Franquemont’s were trained in math and warfare.

No, for me, I guess this time called life has always been a battle to win. Maybe, did I win? I have to think.

The rain came lightly down today as I picked our garden with the company of Shadow, my ever-loving dog.

I thought about a great friend, Anne, who just this past month told me the doctors had said she’d be dead by then. Her smile was no less bright; the warmth and compassion from her is no less spectacular than anything that ever was. Sometimes, this battle called life seems too much.

Anne is so much to so many. It feels as though she could never leave. She’s a tsunami of joy for the living spirit world.

I came in to leave this storm of thought carrying my produce to wipe the rain off my brow, pat down my dog and have some tea. It was time to regroup; time to kindle flames. It’s time to find the high ground, hit the couch, maybe read. I still hear the birds.

The young give me hope.

One day, Gerald the Great, may march around this house once more and if I do I’ll have to proclaim, “I never saw so much coming.”

Warm cheers for May

Franque23

 

 

*This is my son-in-law and our grandson.

 

 

 

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It’s happening today all over America and it happened in Gainesville, Florida, too. Crowds of people got out to say enough is enough! We want to ban large magazines, assault type weapons used most often in mass shooting, demand background checks for all gun purchases at any venue of sale-retail, guns shows and online sales.

We want the mass shooting to stop; thoughts and prayers are not enough!image

The message once was, Peace. Today it’s, Stop Killing Us!

Bands played throughout the first 3 hour session of speeches and I couldn’t help but think of two guys that had a lot to do with my awakening—if not the World’s—to the idea of peace.

88164ecb2198992016fedeadee431b28 Waaay  young John Lennon and George Harrison…

By 1:30 the number pushed well over one thousand and all the time the messages that belong to this movement were heard loud and clear.

The crowd grew and the chanting became louder.

Then it was time to march but first we gathered all the students together in the center to applaud their work on this issue.

I think it’s of historical significance to note that the Nam war protests were led by students mostly college age. It was the young that led the way then as our younger students are leading the way now.* Politicians who scoff at the age of those leading this gun reform movement have failed to pay attention to history.  This group right here, the ones attacking the NRA led agendas in our country, are going to win. The politicians who put their chips down on the NRA are done, over-finished.

So how big was the Gainesville crowd…well, the line stretched nearly 1/2 mile long, and many deep. Old folks, father’s, mother’s, adults of every age, families, people pushing babies, skipping children, a huge amount of school age people and people pushing wheelchairs made the numbers bigly.

The chants continued:

March for Life!

Say No to NRA! Vote them out!29512883_10213899868544779_2253486432933025462_n

It was great to see friends there…**29498062_10213901109895812_8206434635422649271_n

 

The line of marching people felt endless, and my heart hopes so.

29511797_10213901479065041_2842824743314048217_n

As some of the speakers today knew one, two or all of the dead from the Parkland shooting personally, some signs also had a personal touch.

No, today didn’t feel like ,’another,’ event. The words, the feelings expressed, the messages and energy collectively gathered today represent a nation-wide movement that will continue. This time  America’s guns laws and the meaning of  the Right to Bear Arms will change. It’s the Nam protest day’s force all over again and these younger folks will not let go.

But what messages today let’s me know the time’s are a changin’?

We are in this together. And we will vote. Politicians who have so far refused to heed the call to disarm our society are already scurrying for a way to hide or re-invent their position.29541571_10213899931186345_2538367165260030756_n

A huge movement is coming around to think the NRA as it stands today is a real threat to American society.

Sending thoughts and prayers to the parents and loved ones over the death of their loved ones won’t work again, never again. All the so-called kids here today had this on their minds,

and they won’t forget.

Today we had an elegant speaking 11-year-old ask our Representatives one question? “Do you think we are stupid?”

Some Representatives do, and some have belittled the age of these protestors…. Trust me, the time is coming to end the office of those who do.

Power to the People no matter their age is alive and well-

Cheers 

Franque23

*Thanks to dale for this connection and for all of the pictures…

** Thanks to Joey and Debbie for their pictures as well.

 


These women, and children, that’s who!

So here’s my point. The children today who are working to not be shot dead in schools since this is a bad end to education are about to pick up the women movement and their vote. Once this happens the NRA and stupid blind politicians who can’t see the tsunami coming are going to be swept overboard, away and gone forever.

Yes, it’s true, once women get ‘on board’ with any movement that movement is bound to succeed even though it might take 100 years! Any married man can tell you: women don’t give up.

Case it point: the women’s suffrage movement took activists nearly 100 years to win the right to vote, but they never gave up. It all started as long ago as 1820 and the 19th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified on August 1920.

Most men, all along, thought it ridiculous that women should have the right to vote.

Did you know that The 14th Amendment, ratified in 1868, extends the Constitution’s protection to all citizens—and defines “citizens” as “male”; the 15th, ratified in 1870, guarantees black men the right to vote-but not women. It’s mind-boggling, right?

It was a keen switch of logic that Susan B. Anthony pounced on to insist women should have equal rights not because they were equal to Men, but because they were different! This defeated the idea that women were not equal to men so they shouldn’t vote. Really a beautiful move by Susan.

Women can show us the way…

this shot is close to my home in Micanopy…We always called this the , River Sticks,’ which is odd because from studying Latin that river leads to Hell, The name by the state is some sort of canal. Me=River Sticks.

By the way, I have worked primarily with women for the last 24 years* of my professional life in Libraries. I have seen first hand the magic of women, their force, and unending capacity to care. But mind you, as a retail shop(s) owner in the 1980 and 1990’s, the power of the pocket-book was never lost to me…Ladies were a huge market for goods, more so than men.

One of us is not the others?

World War I  finally proved the worth of women to their worse half. Finally, on August 26, 1920, the 19th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified. And on November 2 of that year, more than 8 million women across the United States voted in elections for the first time.

About the first thing women did with the power to vote was to enforce prohibition. 1920 started off with women winning the vote to end/stop most men ( age 15 ) from drinking an average of seven gallons of pure alcohol per year. Whew, that’d be hard to keep up!

Anyway, what’s important to note is that it was also women who brought prohibition to an end. Pauline Sabin was the one to argue that prohibition was forcing men to drink out of the home, wrecking family time and in 1933 prohibition ended…

And what about the , ‘Tree Huggers?’ Yep,  women were involved….sadly. Long ago, a group of men and women in Europe chained themselves to trees to stop deforestation in their area. Loggers, cut all of them in half while cutting the trees. But, do you see the guts of women?

 

This is the naked truth: we kill ourselves when we kill trees, our environment, our wildlife.

 

If you’d like to read a great book about a strong mother written by an appreciative son, read,

Rick Bragg’s…All over but the Shoutin’..there’s a great story here.

Did you know that more women have voted in National elections than men since 1964!?!?

So here’s my point once again, so late in this post. The children today who are working to not be shot dead in schools since this is a bad end to education are about to pick up the women and their vote. Once this happens the NRA and stupid blind politicians who can’t see the tsunami coming are going to be swept overboard, away and gone forever.

Forgive me if I repeat the obvious. Throwback men are doomed. If I can do anything to facilitate this process , I will. The NRA is over in this country and I’m glad to write it. We have been held hostage by the NRA worse than by any so-called ‘evil’ society from the middle East.

“More than 1.5 million US citizens have died as a result of guns in the last 49 years, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. … The Las Vegas shooting has once against renewed the debate over gun control in the US, where the right to bear arms is constitutionally protected and the …” **

This is not talking about the dead from World Wars of any kind.

Just make one of these 1.5 million deaths your child…how does that feel? I’m not shooting smoke, ‘up your butt,’ as the saying goes in bars. No, I’m trying to clear the air here…to make the deaths real, and to let you know the truth.

If you were a high School student with your entire life now realized ahead of you, would you like to be shot dead in school? Just asking.

Franque23 hates guns and killing of wild animals, of all things.

 

*I’ve been lucky enough to be married to one woman for over 37 years…

**http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/guns-killed-more-americans-firearms-deaths-us-wars-iraq-afghanistan-vietnam-vegas-mass-shooting-a7984421.html

 

 

 

 


Jed’s still a child in my mind’s eye. We’re running across the bluff by Lake Bonaparte where our lake house stands today; his brother Johnny is still alive. Jed’s a skinny kid who knows more than me, taller,  wise with eyes clear enough to see through. We’re laughing for good reason—we don’t know any different.

The wild outside had nothing on our childhood dreams, hopes and expectations. The cool lake water tickled our toes and pleased our fancy. Our younger days passed so quickly, days never tethered but set free by a glistening lake so perennial and steadfast as the universe.

Jed, you’re forever my cousin.

Truth: the lake bunk house rocked with laughter. Sleeping bags kept us warm on cots as nights made of stars crept overhead. Jed had then and always a special knack that makes me belly laugh. I’d roll inside bent over after hearing his pensive hilarious words so dryly spoken without a wasted syllable. Recently, there was this moment:

“Oh, being a tax collector has it’s tough moments.”—I could see the painful far away look in Jed’s eyes— “Catching people cheating on taxes, fining them more than they can afford to pay and then working them through payment negotiations; it’s all tough. But that’s not the most fun I’ve had working-other things come up, too.” It’s belly laugh roll on the grass time for me.

We stood together, grown men on the bluff as the setting sun dazzled rolling lake waves. The wind seemed at our back; Beer Island, High Rocks, Birch Island and Round Island so distant punctuated every day we’d spent in the spot as children.

A few years later we visited the lake again…

“I’m not sure about going to the castle.” Jed puffed on his cigar as he looked my way.

“Why? It’s our family’s castle; we should go to Germany.”

“We’re so different now— I don’t know how that would work.”

“Ah, that’s all just politics; this is blood; it will be good.” (Jed told me eight years ago that he had a ‘special’ circular file where he put all my blogs*, especially the political ones…)

“Well,” puff on cigar again, “let me think about it.”

I thought Jed would come.

He belongs.

As it turned, Jed never did make the trip to Europe this past September. Opportunity, so often a doubled edged sword, has struck its blow. No, Jed was only there in spirit with me just as it is for every cousin of mine. To me, the bonds of family never break but boil in the blood and remain as resilient as images of  Lake Bonaparte appear in my head. Some cousins long dead 11 or 13 years ago, and even Johnny now 55 years gone, still linger in my heart.

Long ago, Grandma Franque smiled at our young, prancing feet at the lake in a way I can only appreciate some 60 years later. She saw what Jed and the rest of us had then; family. I feel that now.

Goodbye, Jed, my lakeside cousin.

It’s impossible to weigh a heavy heart-

Franque23

 

  • *.i.e. trash can

Yep– the loyal Republicans who have clamored for decades about States Rights verses a strong central Government of rampant legislation now approve the concealed weapon permit from one state to another no matter how any state’s populace has voted on the issue. Wow…

How’s about all the taxes ‘righties’ have clamored against for sooo long but now their guys in Congress are all ‘feel good’ about double taxation! Yes, that’s right…er it’s wrong, but whatever,…Thing is if you limit the deductions of ANY state paid states or local taxes than people’s earnings that paid those taxes will once again be taxed as income–a second time, get it? So Republicans now promote double taxation! Let’s all stand up and cheer…right? Or, should we all take a knee?

We all need to take a walk in my ancestor’s garden and talk things over….

Trump’s team of slurred meaning slips up to the idea that Trump’s Mar A Lago estate in Palm County is the so-called, “Southern White House.”  But that’s “Not true,” say every sense of reality. Trump owns this semi-palace and he has Doubled the fees paid by public users since his election!!! Gee–wait, what? Is Trump profiting from his Office?!??! Er, duh!

“Hello! Hello! Trump’s privately profiting off his office–that’s illegal…”

A zillion meme’s and posted notes have expressed despair at the over-all doings of this current administration-cutting the knees out from under the needy, undermining our healthcare system and stashing billions of tax cuts for the rich into his next run for office.  And then we have this administration increasing taxes on anyone not extremely wealthy via a misnomer-ed ‘tax cut’ that will really be a tax increase as years pass for anyone not in the top 1% of tax payers.

But I felt this reader, (okay-my wife) said a few things very well in this….

“It is a dilemma. I know that I generally do tend to think that people who don’t see things my way are wrong. But there is so much history to prove that the GOP solutions have never worked, and have been destructive, and have led to the economic disparity and shrinking of the middle class, I find it so hard to respect people who don’t look at the history,or science, or have some agenda that I find offensive. Especially where bigotry and exclusion come into play. I prefer the motto “Humanity matters”. It is hard to disagree and still maintain some semblance of a relationship. But that leads to further polarization. Arguing doesn’t work, because minds are fixed. There is a belief that Trump will turn the economy around for everyone by bringing business back.If so, I hate the cost, and have a secret hope that businesses have learned the lessons of lawsuits when their lack of regulation led to illness and death. Everyone should re-visit Erin Brockovich. Things were not working for too many, especially in the rust belt, and there is a division between the needs of urban and rural voters. Maybe the world will move ahead in energy and conservation of resources without the GOP and US government. But I sure hate that about 30% of my income goes to taxes that ultimately do not provide me with a better quality of life, but a worse one,”

My way-smart wife….

Well, like it or not, the entire American work force is about to be , “Trickled down” upon…get towels.

The environmental blood bath featured by this administration is a wretched thing to behold. Somewhere, somehow, this group of right-winged Christians in Washington have forgotten it’s our charge to care and nurture this God-given Earth…

Ireland’s earth

It’s been a great ninth year for this glob post; readers from sixty-four countries read this glob last year, a bit down from sixty-seven countries the previous year and I have to wonder: did a few countries get blown up or something? Hope not, but our ex-security head gives us a 3 in 10 chance of having a nuclear blow-out with North Korea. Who likes those odds? Not me.

Those are the odds?

I like Peace; love. How about you?

We are too perfectly normal.

Much more to come this year. I’ve an entire side of my family you don’t know much about and it’s a wonderful, American story. Plus, I’ve loads of pictures from 2017 yet to post on gardening fun and family cheer!  See you soon….

We can do this thing. We can get our country together again, strong, back on track and be World Leaders once again.

Cheers for 2018.

 

Franque23

 

 


Welcome to a worst case scenario! America has a madman for President and a Congress that’s too weak, scared or down right too bad to use their power to stop him! The checks and balances written into our constitution that are so often trumpeted as points of brilliance have failed.  The Republicans control both houses and they refuse to stop a madman President while insisting on transferring what wealth the middle class workers have left to the rich and powerful. What a crap shoot.

This is not a drill or civics test: America’s constitution is under attack and it’s losing.

Trump has spent more than 83 million dollars of our tax money playing golf since his election*

The Republicans have wanted to end Social Security since its inception(1935) and they might well do it soon. This slithering snake of a party has often used the same tactic they are about to use against Social Security: steal or undercut a program’s money and then declare that program bankrupt! Our society swirls around in the potty while Republican’s keep flushing the handle.

How easily voters forget that the reason we have the so-called Obamacare in place is because private healthcare had failed our country miserably… Now this raft of rats in congress work to under fund Obamacare in hopes of returning to private healthcare. And, of course, this same bag of liars retains their own special healthcare above and beyond what middle class Americans will be forced to live or die with as we struggle to pay the bills.

Wow…..it’s all out war with no holds barred……sorry, but for a long time I’ve felt the Republican party members, for the most part, were not concerned with the truth or the welfare of America, only money motivates their agendas. I didn’t start this way, long ago I remember thinking Wagner Jr. and John Lindsay had done some good things for New York city(republican mayors.) More recently Ed Koch racked up this…”The Koch-era legacy is substantial. Experts cite the investment of billions of dollars in rebuilding abandoned housing, which revived desolate areas of the South Bronx, Harlem and central Brooklyn; the restoration of the city’s fiscal integrity to the point where banks and government watchdogs were ready to let it manage its own finances; the rehabilitation of neglected parks; the genesis of Times Square’s transformation from a sleazy, dangerous crossroads to a family friendly entertainment and office center; the trading in of federal money designated to build a new West Side Highway for money that would buy subway trains and buses; the pressure on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to virtually eliminate subway graffiti; and the enacting of a campaign finance law in 1988 under which candidates would limit their spending in exchange for receiving public matching funds.”

...No, the Republican party hit a land slide when Reagan crushed the unions for the benefit of big business and more….the party has never come back to the people but rather it’s forged ahead with crippling deregulation, banking for one, clearly in pursuit of gaining more money and power for the rich at the cost of the middle, working class. Now, I wouldn’t give a plug nickel for these money-grubbing cowards who clutch on to Trump’s invisible coattails regardless of the fact that he’s a madman.

Trump wears no clothes but the Republican Congress refuses to address the matter. What a load of crap.

Trump was taken to court over 3,500 times before he ran for office and sued 130 times since his inauguration.  How many times can one man be, ‘Not Guilty!’

Trump is accused by 16 women of initiating unwanted sex, peeping, leering, touch, grabbing and actually raping underage girls…..it’s all about him and his crimes. Still, the low life Republican Representatives refuse to unseat the man. Trump was right; he could shoot someone and these representatives still wouldn’t have the guts or brains enough to remove him from office.

The Republican congress is Pitiful. I think at this point even sinful.

The republicans in office now are just no good. They belong in the toilet.

I never thought I’d see the day when an entire Republican party would saunter up to the money trough and wallow like pigs in mucky, one hundred percent poor policy decisions and bow to a madman…

I was so wrong.

Franque23

http://trumpgolfcount.com/


(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.


(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.

 

 

 

 

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