Rollin’ on the river… (5 bonus points if you sang that in a really low voice)…

a 1

Remember, kids, whenever you can get on a boat, get on a boat… especially when you are on vacation. It will put that smug smile on your face.

a 2

We finished off our first day in Paris by taking a cruise on the Seine. And we managed to time it just right to see the sunset, so that was awesome.

a 3

Boats, as I have said many times before, let you see things from new viewpoints.

a 5

See, isn’t that a nice view of the Museum d’Orsay? One of those big clocks is the one I posted a picture of me taking a picture through from the other side.

a 8

It is fun to use boats to cross bodies of water, but don’t forget that many cities are built around rivers for a reason. The river is a part of the history of that place. Getting to know the river helps you get to know the city and its people.

a 10

Besides, boats are just plain romantic.

a boat 15

For some strange reason, if you French-kiss someone on a boat at sunset under the Eiffel Tower, it sticks in your mind… and no… I am not posting that picture…

a boat 17

Also, river boats always seem to have knowledgeable people speaking on the loudspeakers telling you about the buildings you are looking at and the history of the city, so this helps you learn about where you are too.

a boat 18

For example, if I had just walked by that tiny building between those other two buildings without a guide, I would never have learned that it is supposedly the oldest building in Paris.

a boat 19

And you never know what will happen on a boat. We had three drunk guys on the river bank stand up and do a striptease as the boat passed them, while dancing to the Makerena… so… uh… yeah…. My wife thought it was funny, and so did my mom. Our 16-year-old, Mollie, was not as impressed.

a boat 20

Seeing things from new perspectives is just exciting.

a boat 21

Notre Dame, on its little island, is a part of the river.

a boat 22

And just look at her huge butt…resses… (Ha, oh man… I kill me)…

a boat 23I think I actually thought of that joke as we were cruising by, which explains the smirk on my face…

a boat 24So take a river cruise, people, and pass under some of the bridges you either have walked over or will be walking over. See the under side of some stuff, or the back side of some stuff. Heck, there are things on this planet that you can’t see unless you get on a boat… so get on one. Get on lots.

a boat 27

As we walked back to the hotel along the river bank the sun was still setting, and the thing is… and this is a cool thing… that once you have been on a boat on a river, you never look at that river the same way again… because you know that river better…

a boat 28

Picture yourself on a boat on a river… (10 bonus points if you sang that out loud, 50 if you know the whole first verse and kept on going)!

Posted in My travels, Pictures of me, Stories of my life, sunsets | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hey, terrorists, have you ever considered the fact that terrorism just doesn’t work?

I was thinking about it, you know, like I do about stuff, and the thing is… and this is a pretty important thing, if you happen to be a terrorist… but terrorism is not only cruel and evil, it is also completely ineffective. Don’t take my word for it. You can Google it yourself. There is not one instance in all of history where a group achieved substantial long-term goals through the use of terror.

If women had tried to get the vote and achieve equality by hijacking aircraft, they would still be barefoot, pregnant and making a sandwich for some man in a kitchen somewhere. If African-Americans in America had tried to get better treatment by planting bombs in markets, there would still be white-only drinking fountains in the South. Gay people didn’t resort to going on shooting rampages or strapping explosive vests to themselves, and now they can get married.

No, you know what did work? Social change brought about by changing people’s minds. You peacefully demonstrate. You get your message out with catchy phrases and public relations campaigns. You use the media to explain why your goal is a good one.

The really sad and ironic part of all this is that some of the original terrorist groups had perfectly valid points they were trying to make. The Palestinian people did need a homeland. They did need a voice in the politics of Israel. They were being marginalized. People would have realized that eventually. But then the PLO got frustrated and decided to try to speed up the process with horrid acts of violence.

And now, these acts of terror have become the standard method of demanding the attention of the world. And it does work for that. You do get noticed when you perform acts of terror… but not in a way that makes people want to see your point of view.

Now you are all engaged in a competition to see who can outdo the other terrorist groups in the pure scale of the terror. Sooner or later, the rest of the people on the planet are going to get sick and tired of this nonsense and come to the conclusion that the only way to end this vicious cycle is to hunt you all down in your nests and exterminate you, no matter what the cost.

So why not break the cycle? Try something new. Spread your message with flowers… maybe try staging the biggest peaceful demonstration in history. Instead of setting off bombs, try setting up giant floral arrangements. Instead of initiating a massacre, try to see if you can paint the world’s biggest mural on the side of a mountain. Instead of shooting school girl’s in the head, why not try setting up more schools for them, or soup kitchens, or what-the-hell-ever.

What do you have to lose?

Oh, and one last thing. I am fully aware of the fact that you prefer to be called ‘freedom fighters’ rather than ‘terrorists’… but I can’t help noticing that the first thing you always do when you take over any territory at all is to establish a bunch of new rules for everybody else to follow, and you kill them if they don’t… so let’s be honest, you aren’t really interested in freedom for anybody but yourselves.

Posted in thinking about stuff | Tagged , , , , , | 23 Comments

Will I ever stop messing with that Eric Idle guy?

a 1 a 1

Probably not… but you know, some days you eat the python…

a 1 a 2

…and some days the python eats you…

Posted in dogs and other animals, funny famous people pictures, My art | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

The Art of war… part two…

a 1We now continue with my little adventure to the Musée de l’Armée  in Paris. And, because of the silly way my head works, my favorite part of that side trip was the free paper Napoleon hat I got at the museum. They were really just for the kids, but I told the nice lady I was bringing it home to a little one. As soon as I got back to the hotel, I did a selfie. It doesn’t fit me very well, but I still have it… and I still love it.

a 2

But the museum was not all funny paper hats. There was a lot of interesting stuff in there. I can’t share all of it with you…

a 3

But maybe just a few random pictures will not bore you.

a 4

I must admit that the uniforms from the Napoleonic wars were one of the best parts of the museum.

a 5

They really knew how to make a uniform in those days.

a 6

It was the era of marching into battle in long, straight lines, wearing bright colors and waving flags.

a 7

These outfits would look great on a parade ground…

a 8

And all that gold braid might impress the ladies back home…

a 9

But gold braid won’t stop a bullet or a cannon ball.

a 10

And even that metal cuirass… (those small, metal breastplates gave the name to the Cuirassiers, which became the generic name for all cavalry from that era that wore them)… did not stop bullets either. Windsor Castle in England is full of those breastplates, taken from the dead cavalry troopers after their fateful charge at the battle of Waterloo.

a 11

That is the uniform of Napoleon’s Old Guard… or maybe the Imperial Guard… his most fearsome infantry troops. Napoleon would send them forward at the crucial moment of battle to drive home the victory or swing the battle back in his favor. They never lost, never quit during a charge… right up until Waterloo.

a 12

There is Napoleon’s hat, coat, campaign tent, and other memorabilia. I thought that was pretty awesome.

a 13

But not as awesome as making my mom put on the paper hat…

a 14

Oh, yeah!

Posted in My travels, Pictures of me, Stories of my life | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

The Art of war… part 1…

See, it’s a clever title, because I went to a military museum in Paris… and my name is Arthur, so you could conceivably call me Art… although I wish you wouldn’t… and also there was a book called ‘The Art of War’ written by a Chinese guy named Sun Tzu… so… uh… yeah…

a 1

After our lovely morning at the art museum, my wife and Mollie decided to go to the Louvre. My mom decided to take a nap. I have been to the Louvre. I have seen the Mona Lisa. And we had just spent hours looking at paintings and statues… so I decided to walk over and visit L’Hôtel national des Invalides (literally; the National residence of the invalids, because it began as a home for old and unwell veterans) which now contains the  Musée de l’Armée or; the museum of the army.

a 2

I suppose most of you know I study history in general and military history in particular as a hobby. I did a post about why it interests me, and it isn’t a fascination with violence, just so you know.

a 3

I really had a good time.

a 4

And even the walk over there was an adventure.

a 5

The museum contains a lot of stuff, like these Napoleonic guns.

a 6

Did you know that Napoleon started off as an officer in the artillery branch of the French army? He knew how to use his big guns.

a 7

They also had some World War One era trench mortars.

a 8

And there were some tanks parked right outside the back door.

a 9You know…

a 10In case you are interested in that kind of thing.

Posted in My travels, Stories of my life | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 24 Comments

Paris… part 4… (or); Art on art…

a 1

You might remember from the last post that I mentioned our hotel was just yards away from a big art museum.

a 2

Well, it was full of famous works of art by famous artists…

a 3

But this isn’t a blog about them… it is a blog about me… and my art… and my life… and my adventures…

a 4

So you get to see a picture of me with my mom looking all happy after taking her son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter to a museum.

a 5

For some reason, the big metal rhino in front of the museum was her favorite part.

a 6

On the top floor, I found the place behind the giant clock that you could look through, and stopped to take a picture… which my daughter took a picture of me doing.

a 7

I then went out on the balcony and took that picture of the Sacre Coeur in the distance… we will be seeing it closer later on…

a 8

While out on the balcony I also took that picture of the Seine and the Louvre in the background.

a 9

One cool thing in the Musée d’Orsay was this glass floor under which was a model of the streets of Paris. If you like glass floors, wait until you see the posts about the Eiffel Tower coming up.

a 10

I must admit that the museum was something of a work of art in and of itself.

a 11

That is just the central gallery. There are halls and rooms opening off both sides and you could spend a long time wandering in there.

a 12

And you would always know how long you had been wandering… because that clock is like 30 feet across.

a 13

In a way, the highlight of that museum was the restaurant inside where we had lunch.

a 14The ceiling was quite remarkable.

a 15

And this just takes us up to lunch time on our first full day in Paris… so…

Posted in My travels, Stories of my life | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Have you ever considered…?

Have you ever considered the fact that if we cured all diseases, then the larger population would cause food shortages that would lead untold numbers of people to die of starvation? If we stopped all kinds of violence against one another, more people would starve or die of diseases. I have a sneaking suspicion that if we cured all diseases and ended all violence and solved the food problem, an asteroid would hit us. Or we would ruin the planet as a place to live… which we are already doing, but we could do it faster with more people.

I am not trying to depress you. And I don’t have any answers as to what all this means. I just wonder if anybody else ever thought about this stuff? Just like I sometimes wonder if vegetarians ever really thought through the ramifications of what would happen if they converted everyone on the planet and we stopped eating meat. I mean, people don’t raise cows for fun. They sell them. For meat. If people stop eating meat, those millions of cows aren’t going to be put in retirement homes.

Well, now I am not sure exactly where I am going with all this, so I think I will stop going there now.

Posted in thinking about stuff | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 52 Comments