goingplaceslivinglife

Travel, Food, and Slices of Life


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Maybe a Teenager

Imagine you have a plumbing problem and since you’re the kind of person who can fix that kind of thing, you remove the toilet and then the floor in the hope of getting to the pipe and replacing it. That was Lucciano Faggiano’s goal when he had a toilet problem holding up his dream of opening a trattoria. What happened next was amazing..castle keep interior

When I read this story this morning it reminded me how young the United States is, how short our history, how immature our culture. Maybe a teenager when compared to most other parts of the world civilization.

Who are we to tell people what to do? How can we go into a nation whose culture is so very different from ours that it is almost incomprehensible, and expect to fix it? And when that hasn’t worked numerous times before, why do we keep trying in other places?US-war-graph

Like a teenager with limited experience we keep butting our head against the wall.

Or maybe the people pulling the strings, the power players, want it that way. Whenever the sabers rattle, look at who has to gain. Wars almost always are about expanding markets. Using our young people as fodder, the rich old men get richer. puppet-master

It has always been this way. Pretty sad to think we are in a rut, banging our head against the wall.Again and again and again.

Pretty sad we race around the world to help others when there are people here at home that also are wanting freedom, education, medical help and food. think globally


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I Hate You I Want You Dead

This morning, as I scan my Facebook feed I see so much hate.

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Watching the news videos of the situation in Ferguson, Missouri reminded me of the riots following Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination in 1968. Not much has seemed to change for people who feel powerless. And now the police are armed with military surplus, the better to control this kind of protest. Has there been unlawful behavior? Yes. Has there been inappropriate response by the police for peaceful activity? Yes. Is there something very fishy about the the issue that caused all this protest? Oh yes. And until the police come forward with the truth, there will be continued anger that will be displayed in a way that will cause additional turmoil.

Posted_Japanese_American_Exclusion_OrderThen I read an essay declaring that all Islam is evil and the writer will be boycotting all businesses owned by any Muslim and will be encouraging all others to do the same. While I am horrified by the ISIS activity and am angry about the way Islamic street protests in Europe and the US have targeted synagogues and churches, I am also deeply concerned by this kind of one-size-fits-all declaration of hate. It is the same emotion that hated all Native Americans and worked to kill them and then drive them to reservations, the same emotion that rounded up American-born citizens of Japanese heritage and put them in detention centers during WWII, it is the same emotion that restricted Jews from admission to universities and country clubs, it is the same emotion that holds Latinos and African Americans and all poor people as undeserving of equal opportunity.

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While Robin Williams’ death caused most people to realize we just can’t really understand the depth of despair that drives someone to suicide and we need to help people with emotional illness more, some people have attacked his daughter’s Twitter account with hateful words. While I personally, even in very stressful times, seem to be able to believe in my pathway through it all into a calmer place, I understand not everyone has that level of certainty. Why add to the turmoil?  What gives you the right to make someone who is already in pain feel worse? 

So much hate. So much “mine is the only right way” attitude. That is not be a way to healing. That is the way to more divisiveness.

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I have a COEXIST bumper sticker….have had it for years. While not all people are deserving of a hand in friendship, most people respond well to an attitude of acceptance and tolerance. I welcome hearing your views, but can really only listen best if the strong emotions you may feel are explained calmly. If you feel strongly that your way of thinking about something is correct and want to convince others, present it in logical steps so others can understand your rationale. You may not get any more believers but you will have communicated, not just ranted.

And stop choosing to hate…..we all have much more in common than the minor differences that seem to be more apparent. Look for those commonalities to rediscover your own humanity. And, really, in a world where so much is beyond our individual control, the ONLY thing you have 100% control over is your attitude.  And realize, if you choose the path of hate and support restricting civil rights to others here in the US, you are on the pathway to a kind of right wing totalitarian society, similar to what allowed Hitler to grow in power. Is that what you truly want? your ACTIONS show YOUR choice.attitude wordle


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Opening of the West

One of my favorite classes in college, Locational Geography, explained why cities are where they are. For example, when the European explorers came to North America by ship, they established their trading posts and colonies along rivers which were the highways of their day.  Looking at a map you can see major east coast cities in harbors and then upstream a bit to what is called the fall line, the place where there the tides end at a waterfall. The town where I grew up in New Jersey, New Brunswick, is located just downstream of a small waterfall.fall line cities

Roads followed animal tracks and the first National  Highway, now U.S. Route 40, extended into Ohio and then into Illinois. This was the first roads project approved by Congress and it was funded to help provide an easier pathway to the West.nrmap

Westward expansion continued into Texas in the early 1800s and the rivers were used by people who could afford the fare. The rest of the pioneers walked.  And so it continued. The Santa Fe Trail, the Oregon Trail and many parallel routes lead people west.  Most people walked the thousands of miles and it took months and months to cover the distance we have just driven in a few days. No air conditioning and no 3G networks to ease travel in that time.western_trails

In the 1830s, however, transportation systems began to change with the development of the railroad.  Huntington, West Virginia, where I have lived the past 6 years, was founded by Collis P. Huntington, the owner of the C&O Railroad.  The railroad’s terminus on the Ohio River provided a short cut to the West and goods could be shipped faster than relying on the roads through the Appalachian Mountains and then to the rivers and then on to Chicago and the Great Lakes.C&O RR early

Chinese RRIn the early 1860s Collis P. Huntington served as second fiddle to Leland Stamford and disagreed with his boss when the Central Pacific started its race east to join the Union Pacific’s race west. Huntington looked at the Sierra Nevada and said the mountains were too big an obstacle to construct a rail line. But Stamford made the decision and Chinese crews were brought in.  Tunnels were dug by hand, often inching no more than a few feet through the rock each day.

Meanwhile, the Union Pacific’s construction teams were laying up to 10 miles of track a day across the prairie. The race was on. The first company to get to Ogden, Utah would own the right to the lucrative Salt Lake basin traffic. Finally, as the right-of-way crews worked on parallel lines for miles while the bigwigs bickered, the decision to have the lines meet was made.

DSC_0213The Golden Spike National Monument at Promontory, Utah memorializes not only that single last spike but a massive change in the transportation system of the United States and the world. DSC_0233This huge project, delayed during the years of the Civil War, finally climaxed May10, 1869. From that point on settlers to the West could opt to ride the train. From that point on goods could travel coast to coast in a matter of days instead of months by ship around South America. The transcontinental rail connection in the 19th Century was what the Internet has been to the 20th Century: the world became a smaller place.RRs

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