London.town (and other European Adventures, Video & Pics)

...as a continuing Project, to be added to from time to time...in Comments...as may you comment...lol

 

April 29, 2014

 

I am in London and there is an Underground Transportation Strike when I arrive at London Heathrow Airport...madness everywhere...see attached link with pictures.

 

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/subway-strike-brings-london-to...

 

The would take you two stations and then you'd have to transfer by foot to a different station...up and down...

 

It was just like being in the Nam...carrying 70 lbs of weight up and down huge series of steps in and out of this Underground Station or that...transferring to this station or that....trying to get myself down to Tottingham Court Road or better yet, Goodge Street Station. It was a miserable hike, floods of people parting to pass me as I heft my heavy load up even ever more flights of stairs.

 

Michael, my brother is so on my side always, that I think this gives me the opportunity to think critically of myself, and I thank for giving me this, really. But that being said, I still think this trip is about regaining my strength, I know I'll never be strong-strong again, but I can become less of a whiny priss, and disproving my rehab doctors wrong is a significant motivator...I will get better.

 

Michael's argument is that I wouldn't be almost seventy lugging 70 pounds of luggage up and down an endless series of steps amid a surging throng of people unless I was already strong. Michael has a point.

 

The problem with the transportation strike is that you never know which stations will be open, or even which lines. So when I went out yesterday after dropping off my luggage at my mini-apartment and cooking up a 3 egg ham and cheese omelette in my kitchen...it was all serrendipity....Embankment Station was closed, so get off at Charring Cross, (so named because it was the last of 12 crosses erected by Edward after the death of his wife in 1290AD in her honor...who couldn't love London with names like this?)...wander Trafalgar Square down to St. James Park, sit down and then like in a Disney movie, a squirrel is sitting on my ankle, I'm listening to wild song birds sing in a setting sun when Michael calls my new European number...it startles me.

 

I tell him that with the strike on, I have no idea how I'll get back to my apartment, maybe London buses...but, he laughs when I say:

For all my troubles, life is good...how can you not be happy in London?

 

6:00am  April 30

I had a delightful 2 hour breakfast with a London Solicitor (lawyer) turned Japanese fusion chef. His father was very disappointed in him;I do not normally do a 2 hour breakfast, but since we were in a communal kitchen with our apartments surrounding this living area atop this townhouse...it was hard to avoid this longish conversation and he seemed to need validation for this choice of his....it is like the Australian people I met yesterday at the British Supreme Court down across Parliament Square & Westminster Abby...it is your life lad and law can be a terrible profession...or a loving comfort.

 

I have never been to Buckingham Palace for all my time in London...I'm off to see the Queen's Gallery today, then coffee at the Tate Modern Museum, thrid floor balcony facing the Thames, if I can get there with the strike and all.

 

Tomorrow of course I have tickets for Shakespeare's Globe Theater on Bankside.

 

Last night, as with most nights, I woke up with a fire burning from within me...like a hotplate glowing; for most people, burning is experienced from the outside...for me it is from the inside out and the burning is the worst of my pain. This is my permanent nerve damage, permanent being permanent.  I sit groggy on the side of my bed and reach for my brain meds, realizing that my real problem is that I have a very bad sunburn across my forehead...somewhere today I must find some SPF 50 Sun Screen and I laugh...

 

Hey, I'm in London

 

Best Wishes, Traveller

 

 

 

 

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How Other People Live/Breakfast With the Ex-Wife, Logorno, Spain

(#319279)

 

...this is neither with the camcorder or the 4Ti1 with the special Video lens, but rather with my cell phone and so is a little shaky....but is illustrative...of something...;>}}}

Best Wishes, Traveller

You seem to be getting on

(#319288)

like a house on fire.

Cheeky! nt

(#319281)
mmghosh's picture

-

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

The Basilica of Saint-Nazaire (XI-XIV Century) Carcassonne, Fr

(#318975)

 

A Sunday musical Choir and tour of an 11th Century Church....if you are so inclined. Maybe turn down the volume a little, the baritone can be strong off these stone walls.

 

Best Wishes, Nick....sitting at the Barcelona Airport for my Return...Gads, but I do this Travel Stuff well.

 

 

They let you record?

(#318978)
mmghosh's picture

Is it a Catholic church?  The walls seem pretty bare.  Nice recording!

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

Odd as it Might Sound...I attended two Christenings Yesterday...

(#318979)

...Sunday, just oddly there and recorded them...I also recorded a mass in Barcelona Cathedral...everywhere.

 

Hummmm....why not?....lol

 

Bare walls? An old church....not baroque or rocco, the way it was in the Eleventh Century I would suppose.

 

Airplane is waiting....I'm off.

 

Traveller

Safe flight,

(#318981)

and congratulations on the trip. I enjoyed all your videos.

Terragona, 68 km South of Barcelona...

(#318949)

 

...this is the city to be in. Large but not crushing as Barcelona is now...Tarragona founded in 213 BC as a roman outpost, became eventually the capital of all of Roman Spain with a population of more than 200 thousand....

 

A great city...though I spent the day in Mountblanc ,a fine fortified city, about 30 miles inland but across the costal mountains, having a fiesta and where, at the Porta de St. Jeorgi, St. George slayed the Dragon...(true!....lol...but not a joke either)

 

Need my spf 30 sunscreen badly; left for the grand Roman Viaduct without it...which I walked across, under and around.

 

I have less than 30 hours left to beat this fine city into a happy submission.

 

Working it....

 

^^^^^later

 

The weather is both hot and cold by turns...I was in the Roman ruins Museum today...free Saturday....but the actual archological museum was...very friendly at first and then a curator actually hostile wanting to close....you never know. I will note that being in gladiator cells, under the Circus, made me very weirdly unhappy....later there was a paid gladiator show in the amphitheater, this also made me unhappy, like Dachau for me.

 

I went into the Med Sea today....frosty cold, I was the only person in and I almost died....my Hostel is unhappy I have sand on my feet.

 

Ahhhhh

 

Best Wishes, Traveller....packing to come home.

A Gentle Wind Blows Across the Top of the Kingdom of Aragon

(#318899)

 

I am in the low Pyrenees, just below the Castillo de Loarre, the beginning of the Kingdom of Aragon, (in a North-South sense), and protecting the fruitful plain below as well as passage through the Pyrenees.

 

https://www.google.com/search?q=Castillo+de+Loarre&es_sm=93&tbm=isch&img...

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loarre_Castle

 

It was a long and difficult drive up the mountain, difficult to find even, and yet, once here, with the sun setting, I decided to stay and head out for the Mediterranean Sea tomorrow. There is a small campgrounds, with cabins also, one of which I have rented. I will have no wi-fi tonight, but maybe that will be good for me; also I think that I am about the only person staying atop the mountain, but the view, from sunset and now the evening lights beginning to glow out in the pitch darkness of the plain below...is just lovely.

 

My real passionada however is the Kingdom of Navarre to the West, but especially twenty or so miles further west and maybe 20 miles North of Pampalona (where they run the bulls). Now that is some spectacular countryside, forested mountains rolling also out of the Pyrenees.

 

Sleep well gentle friends, I will also.

 

Best Wishes, Traveller

 

Navarra?

(#318902)

that's my neck of the woods, in spain anyways.... spent many a summer there growing up. it is indeed some of the most beautiful land there is.

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” -George Bernard Shaw

Three Lessons and a Bonus (after a very good week with a lovely

(#318898)

 

...former wife)\

 

1. Being old is a useful excuse, a hook to swing one into doing things...that maybe need to be done in human terms, or simply as an expression of being alive.

 

2. When you think you are doing therapy on someone else, you are probably doing it on yourself...and work that needs doing...the walls torn down here were as much my own as Dana's.

 

3. While I am a piece of work myself, (see Hamlet), truthfully I am in tatters, but for all my quirks and manifest real flaws, better me than no one, better ancient me than a bastard. In a lot of cases.

\

A bonus: one gains confidence in traveling, there are challenges every day and...by overcoming these obstacles, by resolving these crisis's, (my seatbelt ticket in Spanish & with Spanish Policia), by successfully moving through a complex world learning and solving, one gains confidence in one's ability to again be actively alive.

 

There is no magic, there will be backsliding, maybe even especially health-wise, (as I said to my brother Michael, after 20 months of being sick, I'm getting up off the mat, I'm going to take my life back), but maybe I'll just be fine; regardless, with a healthy respect and regard for others...let's get on with being alive.

 

(actually I am a little nervous about leaving Logorno, Northern Spain....I don't know where I am going but whenever I get there, I must find a hotel, I must find food....I must find something interesting to engage me, intellectually, emotionally, physically, and do the same tomorrow and tomorrow after than.)

 

Best Wishes, Traveller...accomplishing what I set out to accomplish

 

Nice comment, Trav

(#318930)

I only know the last bonus by experience myself, we'll see about the others!

London, the apex kleptopolis.

(#318659)
mmghosh's picture

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/may/12/salute-super-rich-u...

 

It is first and foremost a big vote of confidence in Britain. We moan about our public institutions, but the problems pale beside those facing most countries. Those super-rich Russians and Chinese – the biggest buyers of investor visas for people committing at least £1m – see a stable political system, an open economy, honest courts and incorruptible officials. For all its faults, Britain remains a beacon of democracy, freedom and tolerance.

---

It also reflects the astonishing transformation of London, which in my lifetime has gone from being a dirty, dreary and declining place with rapidly falling population to one of the world's most diverse, vibrant and successful cities. Much of this is attributable to immigrants, attracted to the UK for many of the same reasons as those billionaires and multimillionaires. They are not all fleeing repressive regimes; there are an estimated 350,000 French residents, many escaping higher taxes and restrictive regulations found in their homeland.

 

I love the fact that corrupt businessmen, mafiosi and oligarchs prefer incorruptibility where they park their assets.

 

 

 

 

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

*smirks*

(#318661)
M Scott Eiland's picture

The last paragraph is a nice slap in the face for the Grabbety groupies elsewhere in the blogosphere:

Public services may be stretched and resentment growing at the super-rich. Yet there is one thing that's far worse than Britain being a haven for the world's richest people – and that is when they move to more successful and welcoming destinations.

And I'll add another one--they probably wouldn't be as likely to hav emigrated to the UK before the late Baroness Thatcher spent a decade or so undoing the worst of Labour's excesses. You're welcome. :-P

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

Hey Scott:

(#319112)

ever hear that the military is looking for some good men?

 

Ever hear that?

 

Huh?

Comment, Not The Commenter

(#319115)
M Scott Eiland's picture

It's been a while since we've had a reminder regarding throwing chickenhawk innuendo around, so I'll leave it at that.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

Res ipsa loquitur -nt-

(#319117)

nt

The last para is silly cowardice

(#318672)

Oh noes! We'll lose some billionaires!

 

If being a haven for billionaires is so crucial to UK prosperity, then how come the country's economy has been an unmitigated disaster area for years?

 

I'm not sure why your comment is endorsing such silly cowardice, unless it's because conservatism is inherently about favoring the powerful over the non-powerful.

"unmitigated disaster area"

(#318683)
mmghosh's picture

hyperbole doesn't help here, really.

 

The UK is pretty successful.   

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

Suppose your country's economy is smaller than it was 6 yrs ago

(#318685)

and that its recent growth, such as it is, has been mainly fueled by re-inflating the bubble that crashed it in the first place.

 

"disaster area for years" would sound pretty accurate, wouldn't it?

A smaller economy

(#318759)
mmghosh's picture

can be a problem without being a disaster.

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

Whether that's an interesting theoretical point,

(#318851)

I'm not making a theoretical point. 

 

I'm referring to the 2.2 million unemployed in the UK -- 600,000 more than 6 yrs. ago, with recent progress being largely driven by a re-invigorated housing bubble, centered in London, and setting up the UK economy for a triple dip recession.

In other words, fat lot of good having a high concentration of super wealthy is doing London and the UK.

 

If anything it appears the high concentration of wealthy might be doing harm -- driving speculative bubbles, hoovering up money from poorer people who would spend at higher rates, supporting Tory governments that destroy demand via gov. cutbacks and that will purchase re-election at the cost of another housing bubble, etc.

 

No one expects American conservatives to be able to work their way through the thick propaganda portraying the super rich as "job creators," but I don't see that you have to pay it any mind.

Somtimes you HAVE to pay it mind....

(#318874)
Jay C's picture

...especially when it impacts one's (or one's nation's) economy to a significant degree. We went through this in our last mayoral election here in NYC: Former Mayor Bloomberg, in a sort of magazine "exit interview", said he would love to have NY chock-full of foreign billionaires; the more the better! An unusually foolish statement, even for Mayor Mike; but one that went fairly unexamined by most of the media; since the basic issue of the wisdom/folly of wanting  to  turn a big city like New York into a safe-haven asset park for überrich foreigners isn't one that lends itself to simpleminded sound-bite analysis. 

 

Though it might be flattering to a city/country to be a "preferred destination" for overseas plutocrats (who, presumably, will bring at least some of their assets with them) you really have to wonder exactly HOW much of an economic benefit is generated: I'm sure it's not a negative; but how much of a positive it is is a question I've seen little real analysis of.

"I'm sure it's not a negative"

(#318892)

This is a scientific question that requires data and analysis, not a priori mathematical intuition.

 

It's an entirely open question and I gave plausible reasons above that having a concentration of super rich could be a net negative. 

 

I really don't know which way I'd bet for economic measures like growing median incomes or job creation.

Isn't the second generation the more interesting one?

(#318880)
mmghosh's picture

The ones who spend the original plutocrats wealth, I mean, on music, and art and so forth.

 

But to return to topic, although I do agree with catchy that the strong stable middle class in the UK is declining, and that is not a good thing, the UK is very far from being a disaster area.

Britain's jobs boom accelerated in the first three months of the year as unemployment reached a five-year low, fuelled by a surge in self-employed workers.

Employment accelerated at the fastest pace in 43 years to reach 30.4 million people, after the number of those in work jumped by 283,000 over the last three months.

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

I've been saying the recent economic uptick in the UK

(#318891)

is mostly due to re-inflating its housing bubble (coincidentally in the run-up to an election, I'm sure). See above.

 

When you have to inflate a bubble that's going to burst relatively soon to even get your economy back to where it was six years prior, that's pretty bad. 

Speaking Of Shady Billionaires. . .

(#318875)
M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .Mr. (and Mrs.) Sterling might want to reconsider plans to use threatened civil discovery as a means of fending off the NBA kicking them out as owners--at least one of those guys
has a reputation of going beyond lawyers as a means of dispute resolution. Not to mention that the hitman for this particular target would probably get a ticker tape parade rather than a prison sentence if the trial was held anywhere with an online connection.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

Everyone competes for the whales, except the USA.

(#318674)

Hong Kong and Dubai are in the running, too.  UK does have some real advantages over the USA.  The UK legal system is so borked-up, it's very hard to seize assets of any sort.  Barristers and especially the QCs are a great impediment to progress.  The Inns of Court have kept UK jurisprudence in the Dark Ages. 

 

That's the great thing - or terrible thing - about bringing money into the UK.  It's all fine, if you can afford good counsel - you will need it.  It's a cost of business.  By contrast, decent corporate legal talent in the USA, expensive as they are, is a bargain.  The USA has numerous advantages over the UK.  If the Rooskie oligarkhi are moving to London, that's because they don't understand New York City or can't afford it. 

Idiotic for two reasons

(#318671)
HankP's picture

first because the rich move to high service countries, not Somalia. Thatcher merely cut taxes on the rich and beat up on the poor but left most of the services in place and untouched. I can understand why that's appealing to conservatives (they're a$$holes), but it doesn't make it any less repugnant.

 

second because attracting criminals indicates that there's something wrong with ones priorities

 

I blame it all on the Internet

Thatcher's taxation rose sharply with the 15% VAT.

(#318673)

She only reduced the top rate to 60%.  Can you imagine that rate in the USA today?  The lowest rate in the UK was 30%.  Though she sold off some publicly owned industries, she actually strengthened the National Health Service. 

In other words, London offers just enough stability

(#318668)

and justice so that some of the world's most corrupt politicians and organized crime bosses feel safe leaving their money there, but not nearly enough stability and justice to take their ill-gotten gains away from them. What a paradise!

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

It's far simpler. UK is a street whore, selling her favours

(#318670)

for assuming UK debt.  It's just this simple:  buy 1 million pounds of UK bonds, hold them for two years, buy another 10 million pounds of UK debt - and you're a resident of the UK.  There's also access through the servant's entrance if the sources of your dosh are a bit dodgy, the Very Brrrritish Virgin Islands.

Ian Birrell is David Cameron's b*tch.

(#318664)

A particularly tragic instance of a soi-disant Foreign Correspondent whose reporting is mostly done from the hotel bar. 

Loudres, France, at the foot of the Pyrenees-May 8, 2014

(#318608)

Note to a Friend:

 

LOL...weirdly, here in Lourdes I participated in a procession of thousands of people in wheel chairs, on crutches, holding candles, (I mean thousands, a very moving experience)...the church is bigger than the Vatican....this is all by accident, I just wandered in, but Loudres is an amazing place, an amazing spiritual place....I was fed by a Morroccan tonight, I said you would approve...they are still skiing here in the Pyrenees...an amazing trip of re-birth....a different human being is my goal.

 

It was a long wonderful sunny drive today across Southern France with many odd adventures, but I didn't arrive her until 7:30pm....Luck seems to be following me everywhere.

 

Tomorrow across the Pyrenee's into Spain might be difficult....we will see.

 

I couldn't be happier...honestly.

 

Except for the damned toll roads...lol

 

Best Wishes, Travelller

 

Note to Self:

 

There is much criticism of the Church, but then I don't see anyone sacrificing their so precious time to give Community to the Sick; I don't see people all a rushing to give Comfort to the Halt; I don't see anyone going out of their way to lend Meaning to the lives of the Lame.

 

Until society, or us, is willing to sacrifice and provide these very, very essentials to human existence to the Sick and the Halt and the Lame...

 

Maybe we should give the Church a little slack.

 

For now, see this amazing, to me at least, video:

 

 

 

Isn't this milking the sick and lame for the benefit

(#318616)
mmghosh's picture

of religious orders?

 

I'll put it down to European working class solidarity.

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

The sick and the lame

(#318641)
Jay C's picture

In this case, Manish, whatever "milking" of the sick and the lame is being done, it's being done with the consent and cooperation of said sufferers. Pilgrimages to Lourdes (or anywhere else) are, AFAICT, pretty voluntary.

 

I mean, for myself, I view "faith healing", like most religious doctrine in general, as just so much superstitious folderol; but (with the single exception, below), it is generally usually (physically) harmless, and shouldn't, IMO, be either encouraged or discouraged. Outside of blog-commentary, that is.

 

My "exception" would be a case where a "sufferer" from whatever would seek out a supernatural cure, in preference to recognized/effective scientific/medical treatment; in which case reliance on "religion" could indeed, be harmful to one's health.

 

And Scott: before you rush off to find Supreme Court caselaw to cite, yes: I'm aware of the transfusions-for-Christian-Scientists controversy, and its similar issues. I think it's a different situation than whether or not pilgrimages have therapeutic value....

Nothing To Object To

(#318645)
M Scott Eiland's picture

Unless you're suggesting that the fact that someone makes an irrational choice that harms them is necessarily cause for punitive action against those who offer the choice, which was not how I read your argument. If I abandon the somewhat more friendly to my health (but far from draconian) diet that I've been on for eight months and switch to the "all 64 oz sodas and Twinkies" diet because someone was promoting it online, that's my own damned fault and not that of the guy on Facebook.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

Let me rephrase the "argument", counselor

(#318649)
Jay C's picture

... which in fact, is more of just a general question: since, come to think of it, I really have no idea how the law (today) deals with those cases where (for lack of a specific term) "faith healing" conflicts with legal liabilities regarding provision of medical care.

 

The classic "case" which comes to mind, is (as so often with medical issues nowadays), is the TV-drama Emergency Room situation: the victim of a traffic accident needs a transfusion, his/her decision-maker refuses on "religious" grounds; doctors/lawyers/cops/paramedics (depending on the script) have an ethical quandary: Drama Ensues...

 

As I understand it, barring specific authority from the victim/patient, healthcare providers are not legally liable for any violations of "religious beliefs" if, in their professional opinion, said violation avoids a worse problem (i.e. the patient dying on them): but then, as I said, IANAL and don't know how the law works in this case.  

 

It's a tangential question, anyway, in No. 318641, I was referring to individual choice, not where the choice-of-treatment had any outside agents.

It's a legal no-man's-land. Brain death as a case in point.

(#318651)

No uniform standards for brain death exist.  Hospitals often have trained ethicists on staff to interpret and communicate.  Goes two ways on brain death: many medical personnel refuse to work on brain dead people except for organ harvesting, where they've been declared.  You've got morbid families who deny the patient is brain dead, the hospital declares, health insurance stops at the moment the hospital declares.  Thoughtful people have Do Not Resuscitate orders up front.  It gets tricky.  New brain tests are coming along, peering into the comatose mind, working out if there's any consciousness still at work.

 

One thing is clear: legislatures doesn't want to touch brain death issues with a ten foot pole.  Oh, they'll get all hot 'n bothered about 'Bortion, but that's the beginning of life.  End of life issues?  America lives in denial, a very expensive form of denial. 

 

And that's just the tip of the iceberg.  Stage 4 cancers, long term respirator intervention, it's sickening how America turns its face away from responsible handling of end of life issues. 

So #%!(**%$!>{)%^ True.../nt

(#318653)

Traveller

Not An Expert On Law In That Area. . .

(#318650)
M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .but I certainly recall instances where a parent denied permission for treatment, and that treatment ended up not being given as a result, resulting in harm or death to the child and the parents being prosecuted. The specific scenario would probably depend on state law:

--state law requires treatment in such cases, parents' beliefs be damned: the child gets treated, authorities possibly use the fact that the parents forced the treatment to be involuntary to review custody. Not fun for anyone involved;

--state law provides some sort of shield against lawsuits if a provider forces treatment in spite of refusal by parents: result much the same as above, except that some carriers would possibly choose to respect the parents' wishes unless the shield law made it clear they would suffer consequences for not doing so.

--state law allows parents to refuse (and provides no shield for the provider, so they don't), but holds them accountable for the results of their refusal: kid is harmed or dies, parents possibly facing child endangerment and/or manslaughter charges. Even less pleasant for all involved.

--state law allows parents to refuse, carrier not protected against the legal (including possibly criminal) consequences of defying the parents, and does not allow the parents to be held criminally liable for the results: would be the most "pure" Free Exercise interpretation, would probably p*** off most of the country every time it happens these days due to the (probable) dead kid factor involved and the existence of pervasive social media. Not sure any states operate under this particular legal environment today.

IIRC, the Supremes have never made an all-encompassing ruling on this particular topic and Congress has not passed legislation that would cover the area thoroughly, which is why state law is still king here.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

Re Laudres...No One is Healed, No One Expects to be Healed...

(#318652)

...what they are receiving is a visible sign that some part of the world cares about them, that their existence and human worth is acknowledged, that there suffering for a little space of time is comforted.

 

They will not be healed, they will not throw away their crutches, the lame will not walk, the mentally defective will not become smart...but there is a place where the world in some very demonstrable way validates their condition.

 

This is rarer than one might think or hope for.

 

Best Wishes, Traveller 

And there is, of course, the psychological "validation"

(#318654)
Jay C's picture

..of adding a "spiritual" dimension to one's attempts at healing: however that may be expressed. I'm guessing that a fairly non-trivial percentage of those seeking healing, or even just solace, at places like Lourdes might relate a story something like:

 

"I made a pilgrimage to the Shrine at Lourdes to pray to the Blessed Virgin that my chemotherapy treatments might be successful"

That's a very insightful comment.

(#318658)
mmghosh's picture

Also, long term care for invalids is extremely hard on family members, and certainly religion provides validation for carers, as well as the cared.

 

In my experience, though, carers look after invalids and disabled out of common humanity.  I agree that religion provides a space for the expression of this humanity - maybe that is what religion is anyway.  In Tibet I certainly felt that.

 

I have no problem with private and personal religion btw.  But why must we add the superstition and miracle stuff?

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

I'd argue religion is more a burden than a help to the carer.

(#318660)

I'm currently involved in a situation where we're caring for an elderly woman with a brain tumour.  It can be trying.  Any observant person who contemplates cancer is awestruck by its power.  Cancer cells, uniquely, are immortal:  they just go on dividing.   The HeLa cervical cancer tumour has been kept alive since 1951.  

 

As for the miracles and superstition stuff - I'm not sure it's "added".  It came along for the ride.  Consider how science advances, how what seemed so obvious has given way to truths which can only be expressed mathematically.  The science of one generation and the spirit of inquiry which gave rise to that science, only becomes the tradition of the next.

 

The Greek scientists said the world could be explained without direct intervention from the gods.  Bertrand Russell once said:

There is a possibility in human minds of something mysterious as the night-wind, deep as the sea, calm as the stars, and strong as Death, a mystic contemplation, the "intellectual love of God." Those who have known it cannot believe in wars any longer, or in any kind of hot struggle. If I could give to others what has come to me in this way, I could make them too feel the futility of fighting. But I do not know how to communicate it: when I speak, they stare, applaud, or smile, but do not understand.

Science has advanced, with Mathematics and Physics dragging it along by the ear, away from its pleasant little gear trains and ramps and levers, into merciless corners of the universe, where dark energy pulls all things apart from each other.  Religion evolves, too, though it never willingly admits to it.  The fusty old traditions of the previous generation are replaced in the same spirit of inquiry which casts aside outmoded science.  Why shouldn't a man of faith also be a man of reason?  In like manner, the critics of religion really ought to stay current:  a good deal of these criticisms against religion were once appropriate to the faith of my great-grandfather.  They aren't appropriate to my faith, today.

I Suppose The Sick And The Lame. . .

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M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .could be consider just offing themselves rather than participate in the great crime of being the occasion for religious charity that delays the blessed coming of the overall welfare state? People can be *so* selfish about not going along with the program.*

*--"Scott's Sarcastic Voice, (TM) 2014 by M. Scott Eiland."

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

So you believe that the Blessed Virgin is healing the sick

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mmghosh's picture

in Lourdes?

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

Me Personally? No

(#318646)
M Scott Eiland's picture

But the placebo effect exists, and my remarks were also based on prior comments I remember seeing here that were hostile to the very existence of religious charity as bad for the support of the welfare state. We're all going to die someday--from proton decay and/or the progress of entropy if from no other cause--and if some people believe that going to location X will help them, then who am I to question it? The Welfare State will just have to continue trying to suck us into a cradle to grave continuum while tolerating the existence of religion, sadly.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

Isn't Lourdes smack in the middle

(#318642)

of a godforsaken Eurosocialist state? I should warn the faithful that they may want to avert their eyes from that state's financial costs and health treatment outcomes lest they fall into temptation. A temptation made all the more terrible by the fact that Lourdes still continues to thrive as a private charity powerhouse notwithstanding the jackboots of public welfare.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

For Now, At Least

(#318647)
M Scott Eiland's picture

But I made the above comment while recalling others that were hostile to the very existence of religious charities, and answered in accordance to my views on such hostility.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

Religion...What is it and a quick Defense of BD's Diaries

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...I see Laudres differently....I see Christianity differently after this journey...to see the artifacts from the 3rd century, to see 9th century painted icons, early Romanesque church construction to a modern construction marking the boundary of the ancient kingdom of Navarre...

 

I think people are missing what is being accomplished. What is going on? In Islam, in Buddahism, in Hinduism...why, what needs are being fullfilled over eons of time...

 

Islam is having its religious wars....why? I once thought scarce resources...now not so much.

 

And the sick and the lame and the halt and dementia is very often ugly...combative, sexually promosceous...difficult.

 

Traveller

Ugly is ugly. nt

(#318621)
mmghosh's picture

-

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

Wife and I got back from

(#318601)

Wife and I got back from London and Edinburgh a month or so ago -- loved it.  I hadn't been to London in maybe 10 years and she'd never been.  We had a blast but man, so may tourists!  

 

Two things that struck me --

 

Selfridges shoppers were 90% Middle Easterners despite the fact that all the adverts and other marketing signage had white folks on them.  The cosmetics stands were manned with MEs and had color palettes for them as well (according to my SO).  London has become the go-to destination for oil princelings and other spoiled brats from the region.

 

The legendary politeness of the English wasn't on full display.  I guess the rigors of a giant city hardens a person.  Or drunk idiots are the same the world over.

 

Enjoy yourself!

London has more expat billionaires than any other city

(#318615)
mmghosh's picture

and this must be reflected in the people and their culture and attitudes.

There are now 104 billionaires based in the UK with a combined wealth of more than £301bn.

That means the UK has more billionaires per head of population than any other country.

London has more billionaires than any other city in the world with 72 - far ahead of nearest rival Moscow with 48.

---

Philip Beresford, who compiles the list, told the BBC "culture, financial services, nice tax regime, good education for their kids and a nice lifestyle where they meet their friends" were among the reasons billionaires were attracted to the UK.

BBC financial correspondent Andrew Verity said the increase in the number of billionaires on the list undermined the argument that making them pay more tax would drive them away.

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

A Drive Throught the Pyrenees

(#318596)

Wonderful!

(#318619)

Thanks for taking us along Trav. If you were on this side of the country I'd invite you over for a tipple or a meal. But I can see that you'll do just fine over there - an experienced traveller. Plus, they're a little closer to summer at theat corner of the country.

Lunch in the Pyrenees-May 9, 2014

(#318595)

Maybe better seen full screen at Youtube, here: http://youtu.be/5Il_Z21pOW0 I'm learning .

.

I'm glad you're having a good time

(#318570)
HankP's picture

with any luck my family and I will visit London late summer.

 

I blame it all on the Internet

The river sweats

(#318552)

Oil and tar 
The barges drift 
With the turning tide 
Red sails 
Wide 
To leeward, swing on the heavy spar. 
The barges wash 
Drifting logs 
Down Greenwich reach 
Past the Isle of Dogs. 
            Weialala leia 
            Wallala leialala 
Elizabeth and Leicester 
Beating oars 
The stern was formed 
A gilded shell 
Red and gold 
The brisk swell 
Rippled both shores 
South-west wind 
Carried down stream 
The peal of bells 
White towers 
            Weialala leia 
            Wallala leialala 

“Trams and dusty trees. 
Highbury bore me. Richmond and Kew 
Undid me. By Richmond I raised my knees 
Supine on the floor of a narrow canoe.“ 

“My feet are at Moorgate, and my heart 
Under my feet. After the event 
He wept. He promised ‘a new start.’ 
I made no comment. What should I resent?” 

“On Margate Sands.
I can connect 
Nothing with nothing. 
The broken finger-nails of dirty hands. 
My people humble people who expect 
Nothing.”

A Correspondent Asks, Why London?

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Why London?

I love Los Angeles and big cities, there is always something to do, the same for Bangkok, Hong Kong, Paris, New York and Rome. Plus, there is the everywhere history.

 

Tonight, after the 3.74 Pounds fun grocery shopping, and great food it was, and because I had to walk past all the great pubs and bars in Fitzrovia to grocery shop, I wanted a beer. I don't drink, but this is London and so I must.

 

But I have very little time before my day pass on London Transport runs out...so I throw myself out in the London night and I'm in Charring Cross Station trying to find the bridge from there across the River Thames AND shooting what will be I hope a fun little video, when I'm giving directions on how to catch cabs and buses to everyone...lol

 

The pubs are actually closing early and I meet up with 5 falling down drunk London Lasses. Someone Has to get them home safely. They live by Warren Street Station, which is in fact closed, but I take them to Goodge, my stop, and walk them home. Great fun. If you see me in several of their selfies from them as a group and wonder why my picture is on Instagram....it is because I was being chivalrous, and they all thought I was Canadian...the chivalrous Canadian, that's me, (Eh?)...and that's why London.

 

And because they speak English...!

I love London, too, having been fortunate to work there

(#318546)
mmghosh's picture

about 20 years ago.   Absolutely fizzing place, although many more tourists than really necessary.

 

You can get (what I consider) the best salt beef sandwiches at Gaby's.

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency