Wednesday, December 31, 2014

AirAsia Flight QZ 8501 Wreckage Discovered - The Atlantic

American Pathology!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

American Pathology!

Monday, December 29, 2014

American Pathology!

The Tragedy of the American Military - The Atlantic

Sunday, December 28, 2014

American Pathology!

The banks are scared to death of Bitcoins!

American Pathology!

‘How to Be a Victorian,’ by Ruth Goodman - NYTimes.com

Saturday, December 27, 2014

"Today, I weep for my country"

After Scrutiny, C.I.A. Mandate Is Untouched - NYTimes.com

BBC News - Indigenous Bolivia begins to shine under Morales regime

The Year (2014) In Latino Books: Here's 10 Great Picks - NBC News.com

151214 BLOK THE TRIP, THE CYCLING TRIP ('ROAD WARRIORS TOUR, 2014' --

151214 BLOK
THE TRIP, THE CYCLING TRIP ('ROAD WARRIORS TOUR, 2014' -- The Great Quest for Sopa and Quality Food!), Cochabamba to Copacabana via La Paz and Sorata.  There's much to write about, now one month later, on the edge of Christmas and the New Year (2015).
But here goes, an attempt in English words, remembering…

Day One (061114)

Sebastian and Catalina invited me (back in September), or I wouldn't have thought of it, cycling all the way to La Paz.  We managed to attract others, Silvina, Coca, and ultimately Edgar (who surprised us at the last minute).  It became as named above.
I made much preparation, as I'd taken the bus back from La Paz, and knew what I was getting into (mucho arriba). From Cochabamba, you climb something like 2,000mts. / over 6K ft. in elevation (to La Cumbre), and in something like 130KM distance.  I wonder what the average grade is…?  But, it's not the grade, but the traffic that's a concern (major highway west-east).
My new cassette and chain came (from Rajesh in the U.S.), these in time (we had planned to depart early November).  I took that was a good sign (to go).  Note, I wasn't sure I could do this with weight, camping every night -- takes immense energy.  And on the eve of my 75th birthday, I hadn't done this kind of tour cycling in two years, almost two years to the day!
Before departing, Sebastian, Catalina and I hiked up into Tunari Parque where we made an offering to Viracocha, Tunari, Panchamama, Inti, and my own Vajrachod (fotos. available at www.cyclingpeace.org/gallery/)
The BIG day came, November 6th (a Jueves), and we were off on a clear and sunny day to meet Edgar at La Bicicleta Adventura.  He had some kind of mechanical problem.  I think we were there maybe one hour, and then off to meet Coco at the toll gate south of Sipe Sipe (where he lives).
From this point down to the River (name?) it's basically downhill and a good way the first day (with weight).  Unfortunately, Edgar had a spill and bare flesh scrapping the asphalt no fun.  We stopped at (name?) to rehydrate, as hot in the sun. Here Edgar was able to take care of his flesh wounds.
Then arriba, which never stopped for four days.
We made it up another 8KM, for a total of something like 48.  Here's Sebastian's official statistics:

Day 1: Cochabamba- k.48
T: 3:24
K: 48
S: 14
Sh: 10:09
Ah: 15:45
Note:  Symbols mean:
T: time riding
K: kilometres
S: average speed
Sh: start hour
Ah: arriving hour

I had suggested we try to get up a little (in elevation) the first day, cooler higher, plus feeling like some progress.  Cochabamba's 'tentacles' lengthy.
At this point I was struggling, bringing up the rear.  I hadn't drank enough water and was getting dehydrated.  But, we let nothing stop us.
One possibility for camping turned out no good, so we went on, arriba!  But, I knew I had better stop soon or fall over. I finally found a place for the group to camp, although not the best right next to the highway (the sound of traffic all night). 
Exhausted, I tried to 'inject' water into my systems.
I set up my tent, then fell inside and asleep.
Later, Silvina had made a fire and was dispensing 'Mate' (Yerba Mate, the drink of lower S.A.).  Catalina cooked their dinner.  I wasn't hungry.
Low on water, and not knowing where we might find next, both Coco and Sebastian (Edgar later) begged from passing motor vehicles.  Enough was donated (surprise), so we felt safer, one man contributing more than once.  I gave him 20bs. for his efforts. 
The luna llene blasted us just over the hills to the east.  So bright we didn't need our torches to move around.  Catalina took many fotos.
I 'turn in,' early.  Before departing we do 'Hands Around South America,' where we stand, grab hands in a particular way Catalina teaches us, have a moment of silence, and then each expressing something verbally.  We pledge each other's support, basically.  We are bonding as a group (important). 
The noise from passing vehicles never slows until 0300.  I'm up at 0545.  
The sun comes over the hills at 0600.
Another day, another challenge, but now some serious arriba!

Day #2, (071114)

I make my usual coffee and porridge on my little camp stove.  This is part of the reason I'm so slow getting ready, as I have to cook breakfast, and then let it digest.  Young people and eat and go!  I have to wait.  Thus, from the time I wake up, to departure something like three hours.  I had tried to warn them about my older eccentricities.
Packing I discovered my rear tire flat.  Edgar and Sebastian came immediately, and we changed the tube.  Note, way later, in La Paz, I looked for the puncture, but never found.  Sometimes tubes/tires go flat for inexplicable reasons. And this one is still good. 
We're off at 0820.
The first part is easy (lucky, as to warm up), but in the hot sun and low on water (as have to drink) we start looking.
Finally, at a village we're able to replenish.
Then it's brutally up all the way to Bombeos at 3800mts (over 12,000ft.). ASL. For some reason I had energy and was one of the first to arrive.  Note, normally last on this trip. 
We immediately ordered food, drank water, Coco had cervesa.  It was a celebration of sorts getting to Bombeos in two days.
We camped on a vast green, and right in the village.
Soon after two young children showed up, curious.  Within one hour two turned into thirty, and Sebastian took over explaining about us.  I'm sure we were like Martians to these local children, having never seen people traveling on bicycles.  Even with it getting dark they wouldn't go home, so Coco came to the rescue and literally had to drive them away.  Sad.
I was in my tent ('carpa' in Spanish) by 1945hrs.  This after mate (courtesy of Silvina), and our 'Hands Around South America.'  It was/is a good group; three older males, one younger couple, and a solo young woman -- four different countries represented (U.S., Bolivia, Chile and Uruguay)!
Again, the motor traffic incessant, as we're too close to the highway. 
I had a good night, however, and up at 0545.
Sebastian's official statistics.:

Day 2: k46- Bombeo
T: 3:30
K: 28
S: 8
Sh: 8:35
Ah: 15:40

Day #3 (081114)

I'm up at 0545m and the usual 'drill.'  Turns out I'm the first ready and have to wait.  Usually, I'm the one they wait for…
Edgar needs somethings so we stop in a local restaurant to have what turns out to be desayuno (breakfast). 
We finally depart at 0920, our first goal Pongo in something like 20KM.  It's up and down to Pongo, first up to 4100mts. ASL (foto.)
Since it's Sabado (Saturday) it's market-madness day in Pongo (I love the name, Pongo.).
We find a restaurant that has Sopa, take refuge from the crowds, and eat Almuerzo (lunch).  
I'm lucky as Catalina and Sebastian have a power-plug adaptor and I'm able to charge one of my camera batteries.  I agree to wait and watch, while the group goes shopping. 
Coco teaches Sebastian how to chew 'ojas de coca' (coca leaves).  Catalina, using my camera, videotaped. 
We're off again, and down.  I'm last.
It isn't long until I come across Edgar, stopped and obviously with some mechanical problem.  Turns out to be a flat tube-tire.  I stop to help.  Well, it takes something like an hour, as the tire wheel (rim) had the smaller hole, and his good tube had the larger valve.  So, he had to make the hole larger.  But, Edgar a professional when it comes to fixing things.
Finally off, we discover the group waiting a few kilometers up ahead.  They had flagged down a vehicle and asked if they knew about us.  They had, so our group wasn't concerned.
Late afternoon, I start looking for a place to camp, but no village immediately on our way. 
I finally, with light fading and the wind building, opt for a large flat place next to the highway.  Obviously, this was a manmade 'parking lot' for construction vehicles.
But, the wind…  Everyone had to have help putting up their carpa, as the wind strong.  Silvina, needing tent repairs did the sewing right then.  We helped with tent stakes.
When the sun went down it got cold, and we all retreated into our tents, that is the older guys did, the younger three sat outside, made dinner, sipped mate, and let nothing bother them.  They had no fire (no wood in the area). 
Note, I was never cold sleeping at night (on this trip), as I have a down (goose feathers) sleeping bag.  The bag rated comfortable down to -10C.  In fact, what I do, is use it as a blanket.  I don't get inside unless the temperature warrants it. 
Sebastian's statistics:

Day 3: Bombeo- Challa
(Lunch in Pongo)
T: 3:10
K: 37,5
S: 11,5
Sh: 9:30
Ah: 16:45

Day 4:

Up at 0530.
All night the sound of traffic.
I got dressed (don't sleep in the same clothes that I cycle in).  Made coffee, avena porridge, the usual drill.
I made Edgar a cup of coffee.
We're off at 0900, having to let our tents dry.
From there it's up and down.
We arrive in the tollgate village looking for water, always more water!  But, here no water for sale.
We go down to another village, the one before the BIG UP to La Cumbre.  Sebastian, always the teacher, engages two interested local boys.  Here we're able to replenish our water supply.
Then up, and up, and up!  It takes two hours to get to La Cumbre (fotograph).  We make an offering to the Catholic Shrine.  The sky (to the east) acknowledges with 'tormenta!'  I noticed Edgar breaking off a branch from a bush, then using this to sweep out the Shrine! 
We take off in a hail storm, but at least we're going down!
And down, and down, and down we go, and finally into a pueblo (name?).  The elevation here is 3900mts. ASL, so we descended 600mts. or over 2,000ft.
On our third try we find a restaurant open.  The sopa is good, and I celebrate with an El Inca cervesa.  Of course, Coco joins me.
We search for a campsite near an historic church.  But, we're warned that the 'Devil is up there,' (in the direction we were heading).
We end up camping on the old football field (building new one next door).
Edgar happily announces that he's found 'wall to wall carpeting' (grass) on which to pitch his tent.
But, the wind… It drives me into my tent by 6P.M.
It's a triumphant day, however, getting over La Cumbre, up 2K mts. / over 6K ft., from our starting point, Cochabamba.
Sebastian's statistics:

Day 4: Challa-Lequepalca
T: 3:31
K: 51
S: 14,2
Sh: 9:00
Ah: 15:40

Day 5:

I'm up at 0600, and notice both Edgar and Coco up as well.
We prepare as usual.
One of the workers in the construction crew on the adjacent football field offers Edgar food.  I thought to myself, how nice!  It's always those who have little that offer the most.
We look for bottled water to purchase.  Finally, Edgar snags some, one store open.  Seems like we're always looking to purchase agua!
We're finally organized and off, following the river to our right, down and down, easy and feeling strong.  And then out onto the Alti Plano, the wide open spaces.  The cycling easy at this point. 
We're at the bus restaurante (where El Dorado buses stop for break) on the 'outskirts' of Caracollo and by 1100.
We have a leisurely lunch, then off again by 1P.M. 
In 'centro,' Carocollo we stopped for water and fruita, Silvina needed some special things (looking for tent stakes).  Coco ran into an old friend who helped her find what she needed (what are the odds?)
We head north out of Caracollo on the newly constructed cartera (divided highway, La Paz - Oruro).  For kilometers we have one side of the highway exclusively to ourselves.  But, every once in a while we have to negotiate some construction, some times easily circumvented, then other times having to cross to the other side the highway.  Seems like we went back and forth into La Paz.
Then we came upon a French couple resting by the side of the highway.  They had the most unusual tandem (HASE) bicycle I've ever seen.  'Fanny,' sat in a comfortable sling chair in the front, cranking when necessary, male partner, Vincent behind, doing most of the work from a regular saddle.  Additionally, a friend had made an aerodynamic trailer they were pulling.  I was glad the South Americans could see this exotic $7KU.S. rig.  And fast this French couple was, something like 100KM every day -- having cycled around the world.  Their contact information, if interested: letandaimerlemonde@gmail.com (Franny and Vincent).
Actually, we met many touring cyclists on this stretch of highway, I was surprised.
In Conani we met up again with the French couple, but they opted for a hostal.  Edgar found out that their football stadium was open to camping.  With the sun fading, and the wind building we headed for the stadium.
Every village, town, city, Capitol in S.A. has a futbol field, some grandiose.  This one in Conani had artificial turf. We considered pitching our tents on the field, but the cold wind drove us into little 'rooms,' under the concrete bleachers.  But, the 'floors,' bum kinda garbage dirt, whatever had fallen during construction.  We needed tools.
I had Sebastian purchase a shovel, and Coco ended up with a hoe.  We prepared the ground with these, passing them around to all in the group.  With the tools came curious children (like in Bombeo).  They stayed and watched, sometimes in our way, sometimes watching from the stadium benches above us (Sebastian has fotos.).
Edgar and Coco went off to find a restaurant and have dinner.  I'm sure sopa for Edgar, and cervesa for Coco.
In their 'room' under the bleachers I shared some Mate with Sebastian, Catalina, and Silvina.
Later in my tent I made coffee (something warm) and ate one-half of an orange.
Down at 1930 hours.
P.S.  I had a significant dream during that night (who would have ever thought).  It had to do with the ultimate battle, good versus evil and good won! 

Day 5: Lequepalca- Conani
(Lunch in Caracollo)
T: 4:33
K: 74
S: 16,2
Sh: 9:30
Ah: 16:30

Day 6

I'm up at 0600, after a surprising good night and significant dream (under concrete bleachers).
Then came the usual:  coffee, porridge, dressing, packing up.  
This is the challenge, with tour cycling, that young people never think about.  It isn't just the cycling that wears you out, but living on the road (unpacking-packing, cooking, and other daily maintenance tasks).. 
I moved all of my items out on the east side of the stadium bleachers INTO THE SUN!  Everyone does the same.
Edgar had made a soccer ball out of whatever he could find, and we had a little game on the artificial turf, Chile versus Bolivia.  Watch the video.
We're off at 0900, but stop in the commercial area (main highway) to purchase agua.  Always agua (you never seem to have enough). 
On the highway heading north by 0920.  I had 'mojo!'  and lead.
In front of me, I reached for my camera when a group of llamas were crossing the road right in front of me.  Then the male 'herder' (Aymara) behind noticed what I was doing and started toward me yelling, he was going to smash my camera (or some such).  Coco swooped in to save me.  I put the camera away and we went on…  I find the Aymara campesinos not very friendly (not open to foreigners).
The catera cut through rolling hills, and up and down we went.  There was no traffico on 'our side' (no motor traffic allowed), which made it especially enjoyable.  Yet, from time to time we had to detour around construction, sometimes having to cross the highway, us and motor vehicles switching. 
What I noticed was how cooperative and encouraging the construction workers were!
We made Paracama, the a larger town, in 4 hours (44KM).  This city is where the highway to Chile joins the La Paz-Oruro Highway.  
We (Edgar) shopped for 'sopa' (soup), and finally found a restaurante that had.  Thus, I've named our trip THE GREAT QUEST FOR SOPA AND QUALITY FOOD!  Note, Catalina, a purist, won't eat anything less!  While we gulp down sopa spiced with meat, she ate a piece of fruit.
Everyone shopped for what they need, agua again, fruit, while I wait sitting in the sun.  There are two old Bolivianos sitting at a table on the porch of the restaurante, and I pass out my card with 'sticker' (QUEMA GRASA!  NO PETROLEO!).  They laugh. 
Coco arrives with an idea to stay at a resort hotel he knows about with hot-mineral-water pool.  Something like only 13KM up the highway.  We follow.
Off the highway it's the old classic Bolivian rock road, that vibrates the nuts right off the screws  on a 'hard-tail' bicycle like mine.  Luckily this was downhill.  But, my chain comes off the chain-wheel in the front, so I have stop to thread it back onto.  Then a little later, I slip on gravel, the bike falls, but I scoot off, walking away.  Note, Edgar had a spill the first day out of Cochabamba, but these were the only mishaps (of the entire 500KM trip).
We check out the rooms, but too expensive (suite something like 300bs. / $40U.S.) We end up camping in one of their grassed enclosures (patio?), this where the 'pozos' (private tubs/rooms) are located.  I pay the tab for all of us, 100bs.
We set up our tents, and then move to the pozos, all looking forward to getting clean (no shower for four days).
The pozo, is typical of Boldivia, I suppose, no extras, just a concrete-tiled room, the 'tub,' so deep, stairs lead down and into (slippery, of course no thought of safety strips).  One water pipe with value juts out into the pool.  I turn it on, and the pool begins to fill.  But, I don't wait, and sit in the flow, just inches of warm water… Ahhhhhhhhhh… Feels so good!
Outside I sit in the sun!  This is the best it gets!
We look for a hot electrical outlet to recharge batteries, but none.
We had planned to eat dinner in their restaurante, but turns out there is none (there's rarely good information in Bolivia).  But, you can order egg+tomato sandwiches, for something like 12bs. each / $1.50U.S.  Even simply on white bread, they taste wonderful. 
I make coffee, and mate (tea) is passed around by Silvina.
I'm in my tent by 1930 hours (7:30P.M.).
Sebastian's official statistics:

Day 6: Conani- Viscachani
T: 4:00
K: 58,7
S: 14,5
Sh: 9:30
Ah: 15:45

Day 7

It's only 90KM / 53 miles to El Alto/La Paz, but we don't want to arrive in El Alto after dark (challenging enough during the day).  Plus, Cristian is supposed to meet us and guide to his relative's house in Sopochachi (upscale district in La Paz). 
It's up and down all the way to the outskirts of El Alto.  
Climbing more hills than I want we arrive in Calamarca, a town with a statue for revolutionary workers.
We discover touring bicycles parked out in front of a restaurant, so of course, we stop to inquire.  Turns out to be three young French cyclists heading south for the Salar.  We end up joining them for lunch.
While waiting outside, I'm visited by a little girl (Tarita, name I think?), maybe 7 or 8 years old.  She's the daughter of the restaurant operator.  She's so cute and friendly I take a foto. of her with her pink backpack.   She turns out to be an angel in disguise, her demeanor/smile unusual for her age. At lunch she passes out oranges.  I'm enamored.  After lunch she wants me to take fotos. of her with her friends -- I didn't notice the hair in her face.
Later we stop and organize a foto. with Illiamani (6.5K mt. peak southeast of La Paz) in the background.
Then a dilemma, as where to camp now back in 'civilization.' 
We stop and survey one situation, but not good.
We debate cycling into El Alto at night (Coco's idea), but nobody wants to do this, as risky.  Plus, we have Cristian tomorrow.
We go ahead slowly looking for any possible camping spot, Coco and I leading the way. 
I finally spot a farm, some distance off the highway, but looks promising.  I suggest to Coco to go ask the Chalita woman/owner if possible, that we'll happily pay.  She approves, and we are directed to some flat ground, actually ideal for tents.  Note, I think we only paid 20bs. / $3U.S. for all of us. 
We had done 70KM / 42 miles, in 7 hours.
We set up our tents, fighting a stiff south wind, but we're all pleased to be situated for the night (even amongst children, dogs, chickens, and one turkey).  Note, it can get unpleasant with the sun going down (darkness approaching) and no place to camp.  
Sebastian purchased some fire wood (for the owner), and Silvina built a nice fire, perfectly placed nearby my tent door.  From within, drinking coffee, I watch the western sky as the sun sets.  Tomorrow, La Paz…
Later, we do our HANDS AROUND SOUTH AMERICA (standing around the fire) and then me into my tent.

Sebastian's official statistics:
Day 7: Viscachani- almost La Paz
(Lunch in Calamarca)
T:4:13
K: 68,5
S: 16,3 (fast average)
Sh: 9:30
Ah: 4:30

Day 8 (La Paz)

It's cold in the morning when I awaken.  Plus, the rain fly (the water-proof 'roof' on the top) is wet and stuck to the tent wall near my head.  This is not good as the water will seep through and likely on my head.  Note, this tent, too short for me, and I'm only a middle-height guy.  Sleeping, my head is too close to the tent wall.
We're in no hurry this morning as supposed to meet Cristian to ride with us, guiding us to where we'll be staying.   We try calling, but no signal.
We're off at 1000, and soon into the outskirts of El Alto, the city above La Paz on the Alti Plano (where the La Paz Aero Puerto is located).
We keep trying Cristian, but with no success.
The traffic insanity builds adding to our tension, and suddenly I'm in conflict with Coco who's leading.  He wants to go one way, and I another. 
Finally Cristian calls to inform us he can't make it, but gives Coco and Sebastian an address in Sopocachi (where we'll be staying).  A guy named Pablo will meet us. 
Onward...
I finally realize Coco is leading us through El Alto centro, and down the old highway into La Paz.  There is another more efficient way, avoiding much of El Alto and La Paz centro, but, the route Coco leads us is more historic (for the newcomers). 
After pausing at a viewing spot (La Paz spectacular below), we start down the highway I've seen only from the inside of a motor vehicle.  Riding it on a bicycle, of course, different (the noise of the incessant traffic, for one).  The 'shoulder' is ample but it's very bumpy as unmaintained. (Note, I'm trying to 'shoot' video.)  
Coco stops at a place where offerings are made to 'the Devil!'  I should have made an offering…  I run out of both batteries and can't 'shoot' our arrival into La Paz.
When I see both Silvina and Coco speeding ahead of us, the concern for what has been building begins.  La Paz is probably the most dangerously impossible city to cycle in in the world. 
Finally Coco and Silvina stop to wait for us.  By now, I'm pissed!
When I stop, and without getting off the bicycle, I explode yelling (above the din) and throw both Coco and Silvina out of the group (to make a dramatic point -- safety first, guys!)!  I'm tired of telling people to slow down.  After some consternation, we continue on, however, Coco leading us to Sopocachi.  Now, however, we're in the heart of it, the Prado and the honking madness of La Paz!
I'm almost hit by a Trufi mini-bus.  I think I'm yelling and screaming at this point.
We finally get there to our meeting point in Sopocachi, and uninjured!  I'm amazed!
Here we call and wait for Pablo.
Pablo finally comes and leads us to the house, actually blocks away.
We're all tired, upset, and wanting to call it a day!
We meet Mabel, Cristian's relative (?) who owns the house (Pablo her son.).  We divide up the rooms, and agree on a daily rate (200bs. per for all five of us).  Note, I ask for a special deal, to turn an empty room that they have into my room.  But they have to clean and furnish first.  Note, I'm not much for sharing sleeping space.  Men snore, I'm a light sleeper.  I end up tipping the man who cleans, and brings the furniture.
First, however, I wanted to have a meeting with the cyclists, and we do in the la cocina.  I apologize to the group for getting angry.  I try to explain that as the oldest and titular leader I feel responsible for everyone's lives.  I know that if Silvina, the youngest, were injured or killed, her parents would come to me, and ask, 'Why did you let our daughter get killed?).  The meeting ends amicably, although Coco opts to stay with family (he's from La Paz).  Outside, Silvina bursts into tears, happily back in the group (I was only dramatic for emphasis.).   
Young people, they think they're 'bullet proof.'  I know differently.  Sometimes you have to scare them, to get their attention.  SLOW DOWN!
Actually, I'm impressed with young Silvina (25), who cycled all the way from Uruguay, ALONE!
Later, Coco returns and introduces us to his best friend to the group, Mabel, Pablo, everyone. 
Coco, wise enough at 56 and I shakes hands, as we say, no big deal!  Just trying to save your life, Coco.
The rest of us, me, Sebastian, Catalina, Silvina, and Edgar decide to walk and check out Sopocachi looking for a restaurante.
We walk and walk, finally ending up in a Chinese restaurante. 
We take a taxi back, have coffee in the kitchen and discuss a plan (for La Paz).
Sebastian, Catalina, and Silvina hope to have Cristian take them down the infamous DEATH ROAD. 
First, however, Bolivian Imagracion in the A.M., as they have to extend their tourist visas.
My room ready, I long to be alone!  It's been a trying last day of our trip, Cochabamba to La Paz.
I make my bed on the floor, and fall on it, into it!  8.5 days, 400KM, not bad, Cochabamba to La Paz!  But, the most important thing, we're all healthy, no one was injured!  This a major accomplishment to me!

Sebastian's official statistics:
Day 8: La Paz, through El Alto
T: 2:43
K: 35,5
S: 13KMPH
Sh: 9:00
Ah: 13:00

Note, this ends 'Part I,' or 'Cochabamba to La Paz.'  At this point we lost both Coco and Edgar back to Cochabamba.  The remaining four, me, Sebastian, Catalina, and Silvina plan for Sorata and Copacabana:  'Part Two.'





Friday, December 26, 2014

"Fixing What’s Wrong With America." Notice how all the responders (to this article), projected the problem away from themselves. WE HAVE MET THE ENEMY AND HE IS US!

Fixing What’s Wrong With America - NYTimes.com: "Fixing What’s Wrong With America
DEC. 25, 2014
Photo

Credit Johnny Selman
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Continue reading the main story
To the Editor:

Re “Is It Bad Enough Yet?,” by Mark Bittman (column, Dec. 14):

I have been telling university students the same thing for years. America needs to wake up and acknowledge that this is a class war, and that the middle class is losing to the superwealthy. The question is whether any change can occur with such a bought-and-paid-for, dysfunctional Congress and president. The special interests own our government. The new budget bill proves again that Wall Street banking has more power than hundreds of millions of people.

 The next two years are critical. Does America rise up and fix things? The so-called race riots of the 1960s, and today, are more about income and opportunity inequality than race.

For instance, by my calculation, taking away just 10 percent of the Defense Department budget could cover tuition at a public university for all American students, yet we do not do this.

It would be nice to have elected officials rise to the occasion, and this could happen if the far left sees its common interests with the far-right Tea Party. This odd-couple combination could save America for the majority.

ED LYELL
Alamosa, Colo., Dec. 14, 2014

The writer is a business and economics professor at Adams State University.



To the Editor:

Mr. Bittman, you’re being overly optimistic. A recent New York Times poll suggests that conservative messaging is carrying the day, with a majority of respondents more worried about government intervention in the economy than inequality.

Sure, there is plenty of discontent — but there is no coherent opposition to the oligarchic manipulation in just about every aspect of American life. President Obama has the bully pulpit at his disposal, but remains inclined not to use it — and frankly, he is a bit too beholden to neoliberal ideas for both his and our own good.

This movement needs leaders, and it needs messages capable of cutting through the misinformation campaign of the Koch brothers, Fox News and conservative shock jock radio. Honestly, there are stronger, more compelling political statements in the comments section of The Times than from our elected Democratic officials, including the president.

We are engaged not merely in a fight for the future of America, but also for the future of the planet.

But where are our leaders? Truthfully, too busy chasing their next campaign contribution or positioning themselves for their next political campaign.

MATTHEW CARNICELLI
Brooklyn, Dec. 16, 2014



To the Editor:

The headline of Mark Bittman’s column, “Is It Bad Enough Yet?,” really grabbed my attention, but he didn’t mention one crucial aspect. Continuing protests are needed, but protests fall on deaf ears among those politicians who have created safe districts for themselves by drawing gerrymandered borders.

Protest fervor also needs to be directed toward encouraging legislators to reform state redistricting systems that currently work to the advantage of so many officeholders of both parties. More people will vote and protest unfair policies if they believe their representatives have any need to listen to them.

Continue reading the main storyContinue reading the main storyContinue reading the main story
KITSY McNULTY
Pittsburgh, Dec. 16, 2014



To the Editor:

Mark Bittman is right to suggest that there are no easy solutions to police brutality. However, he is too dismissive of police body cameras.

Videos of the victimization of Rodney King and Eric Garner did not result in state criminal convictions (though the videotape of the King beating helped prosecutors convict two officers on federal civil rights charges). But, as The Times has reported, there is evidence that police use of body cameras may reduce complaints against the police and police use of force.

Moreover, activists can mobilize around videos of police brutality to challenge the systems of inequality that Mr. Bittman rails against.

The #BlackLivesMatter movement has used the video of the killing of Eric Garner to help place police brutality in the center of public discussions about race and crime.

The grand jury’s failure to indict proves that videos aren’t enough to secure justice, not that they cannot be an important tool in the struggle.

JONATHAN MARKOVITZ
Seattle, Dec. 16, 2014"



'via Blog this'

Decline of a Political Family Opens the Way for a Shift in Brazil - NYTimes.com

American Pathology!

Bolivia's Second Largest Lake Declared Disaster Zone | News | teleSUR

A New Way to Reach Mars Safely, Anytime and on the Cheap - Scientific American

Thursday, December 25, 2014

How you could become a victim of cybercrime in 2015 | Technology | The Guardian

Affects humans as well!

American Pathology!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Letter details ‘extraordinary sights’ of Christmas Day first world war truce | World news | The Guardian

Bolivia: Border Dispute Arguments With Chile Will be Heard in May | InSerbia News

'Religion, the opiate of the masses!'

American Pathology!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

From, FOREST OF THE PYGMIES, by Isabel Allende

FROM, FOREST OF THE PYGMIES, by Isabel Allende
pp. 210:
"They were in the heart of the spirit forest surrounded by thousands and thousands of plant and animal souls.
Alexander and Nadia's minds expanded still further, and they perceived the connections among creatures, a universe interlaced with currents of energy, an exquisite network as fine as silk and as strong as steel.
They perceived that nothing exists in isolation, everything that happens, from a thought to a hurricane is cosmic effect.  They sensed the palpitating, living earth, a great organism generating flora and fauna, mountains, rivers, the wind, the lava of volcanoes, the eternal snows.  That mother planet, they intuited, is a part of other greater organisms, and is joined  to the myriad of stars in unbounded existence!
They saw the inevitable cycles of life and death (Note, 'Duality'), transformation and rebirth as a marvelous design in which all things occur simultaneously, without past, present or future, now, forever been and forever being!  (Note, this is a great description of Singularity/Tao.)
And finally, in the last phase of their fantastic odyssey, they understood that the hosts of earthly souls, along with all things in the Universe are particles of a single spirit like drops of water in an ocean (Buddhist idea.).  One spiritual essence animates all existence!  There is no separation among beings, no frontier between life and death!"
MS. ALLENDE UNDERSTANDS!

H. 

American Pathology!

Monday, December 22, 2014

South American tour tests Grand Marais cyclist | Duluth News Tribune

Singer Joe Cocker dead at 70; Hear some of his best songs - Times Record News

American Pathology!

American Pathology!

Western civilization is in trouble!

FROM, FOREST OF THE PYGMIES, by Isabel Allende

FROM, FOREST OF THE PYGMIES, by Isabel Allende
pp. 210:
"They were in the heart of the spirit forest surrounded by thousands and thousands of plant and animal souls.
Alexander and Nadia's minds expanded still further, and they perceived the connections among creatures, a universe interlaced with currents of energy, an exquisite network as fine as silk and as strong as steel.
They perceived that nothing exists in isolation, everything that happens, from a thought to a hurricane is cosmic effect.  They sensed the palpitating, living earth, a great organism generating flora and fauna, mountains, rivers, the wind, the lava of volcanoes, the eternal snows.  That mother planet, they intuited, is a part of other greater organisms, and is joined  to the myriad of stars in unbounded existence!
They saw the inevitable cycles of life and death (Note, 'Duality'), transformation and rebirth as a marvelous design in which all things occur simultaneously, without past, present or future, now, forever been and forever being!  (Note, this is a great description of Singularity/Tao.)
And finally, in the last phase of their fantastic odyssey, they understood that the hosts of earthly souls, along with all things in the Universe are particles of a single spirit like drops of water in an ocean (Buddhist idea.).  One spiritual essence animates all existence!  There is no separation among beings, no frontier between life and death!"
MS. ALLENDE UNDERSTANDS!

H. 

Sunday, December 21, 2014

How Exercise Changes Our DNA - NYTimes.com

American Pathology!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

151214 BLOK: THE TRIP, THE CYCLING TRIP ('ROAD WARRIORS TOUR, 2014'

151214 BLOK
THE TRIP, THE CYCLING TRIP ('ROAD WARRIORS TOUR, 2014' -- The Great Quest for Sopa and quality food!), Cochabamba to Copacabana via La Paz and Sorata.  There's much to write about, now one month later, on the edge of Christmas and the New Year (2015).
But here goes, an attempt in English words, remembering…

Day One (061114)

Sebastian and Catalina invited me (back in September), or I wouldn't have thought of it.  We managed to attract others, Silvina, Coca, Manuel, and ultimately Edgar (who surprised us at the last minute).  It became as named above.
I made much preparation, as I'd taken the bus back from La Paz, and knew what I was getting into (mucho arriba). From Cochabamba, you climb something like 2,000mts. / over 6K ft. in elevation (to La Cumbre), and in something like 130KM distance.  I wonder what the average grade is…?  But, it's not the grade, but the traffic that's a concern (major highway west-east).
My new cassette and chain came (from Rajesh in the U.S.), these in time (we had planned to depart early November).  I took that was a good sign (to go).  Note, I wasn't sure I could do this with weight, camping every night -- takes immense energy.  And on the eve of my 75th birthday, I hadn't done this kind of tour cycling in two years, almost two years to the day!
Before departing, Sebastian, Catalina and I hiked up into Tunari Parque where we made an offering to Viracocha, Tunari, Panchamama, Inti, and my own Vajrachod (fotos. available at www.cyclingpeace.org/gallery/)
The BIG day came, November 6th (a Jueves), and we were off on a clear and sunny day to meet Edgar at La Bicicleta Adventura.  He had some kind of mechanical problem.  I think we were there maybe one hour, and then off to meet Coco at the toll gate south of Sipe Sipe (where he lives).
From this point down to the River (name?) it's basically downhill and a good way the first day (with weight).  Unfortunately, Edgar had a spill and bare flesh scrapping the asphalt no fun.  We stopped at (name?) to rehydrate, as hot in the sun. Here Edgar was able to take care of his flesh wounds.
Then arriba, which never stopped for four days.
We made it up another 8KM, for a total of something like 48.  Here's Sebastian's official statistics:

Day 1: Cochabamba- k.48
T: 3:24
K: 48
S: 14
Sh: 10:09
Ah: 15:45
Note:  Symbols mean:
T: time riding
K: kilometres
S: average speed
Sh: start hour
Ah: arriving hour

I had suggested we try to get up a little (in elevation) the first day, cooler higher, plus feeling like some progress.  Cochabamba's 'tentacles' lengthy.
At this point I was struggling, bringing up the rear.  I hadn't drank enough water and was getting dehydrated.  But, we let nothing stop us.
One possibility turned out no good, so we went on, arriba!  But, I knew I had better stop soon or fall over. I finally found a place for the group to camp, although not the best right next to the highway (the sound of traffic all night). 
Exhausted, I tried to 'inject' water into my systems.
I set up my tent, then fell inside and asleep.
Later, Silvina had made a fire and was dispensing 'Mate' (Yerba Mate, the drink of lower S.A.).  Catalina cooked their dinner.  I wasn't hungry.
Low on water, and not knowing where we might find next, both Coco and Sebastian (Edgar later) begged from passing motor vehicles.  Enough was donated (surprise), so we felt safer, one man contributing more than once.  I gave him 20bs. for his efforts. 
The luna llene blasted us just over the hills to the east.  So bright we didn't need our torches to move around.  Catalina took many fotos.
I 'turn in,' early.  Before departing we do 'Hands Around South America,' where we stand, grab hands in a particular way Catalina teaches us, have a moment of silence, and then each expressing something verbally.  We pledge each other's support, basically.  We are bonding as a group (important). 
The noise from passing vehicles never slows until 0300.  I'm up at 0545.  
The sun comes over the hills at 0600.
Another day, another challenge, but now some serious arriba!

Day #2, (071114)

I make my usual coffee and porridge on my little camp stove.  This is part of the reason I'm so slow getting ready, as I have to cook breakfast, and then let it digest.  Young people and eat and go!  I have to wait.  Thus, from the time I wake up, to departure something like three hours.  I had tried to warn them about my older eccentricities.
Packing I discovered my rear tire flat.  Edgar and Sebastian came immediately, and we changed the tube.  Note, way later, in La Paz, I looked for the puncture, but never found.  Sometimes tubes/tires go flat for inexplicable reasons. And this one is still good. 
We're off at 0820.
The first part is easy (lucky, as to warm up), but in the hot sun and low on water (as have to drink) we start looking.
Finally, at a village we're able to replenish.
Then it's brutally up all the way to Bombeos at 3800mts (over 12,000ft.). ASL. For some reason I had energy and was one of the first to arrive.  Note, normally last on this trip. 
We immediately ordered food, drank water, Coco had cervesa.  It was a celebration of sorts getting to Bombeos in two days.
We camped on a vast green, and right in the village.
Soon after two young children showed up, curious.  Within one hour two turned into thirty, and Sebastian took over explaining about us.  I'm sure we were like Martians to these local children, having never seen people traveling on bicycles.  Even with it getting dark they wouldn't go home, so Coco came to the rescue and literally had to drive them away.  Sad.
I was in my tent ('carpa' in Spanish) by 1945hrs.  This after mate (courtesy of Silvina), and our 'Hands Around South America.'  It was/is a good group; three older males, one younger couple, and a solo young woman -- four different countries represented (U.S., Bolivia, Chile and Uruguay)!
Again, the motor traffic incessant, as we're too close to the highway. 
I had a good night, however, and up at 0545.
Sebastian's official statistics.:

Day 2: k46- Bombeo
T: 3:30
K: 28
S: 8
Sh: 8:35
Ah: 15:40

Day #3 (081114)

I'm up at 0545m and the usual 'drill.'  Turns out I'm the first ready and have to wait.  Usually, I'm the one they wait for…
Edgar needs somethings so we stop in a local restaurant to have what turns out to be desayuno (breakfast). 
We finally depart at 0920, our first goal Pongo in something like 20KM.  It's up and down to Pongo, first up to 4100mts. ASL (foto.)
Since it's Sabado (Saturday) it's market-madness day in Pongo (I love the name, Pongo.).
We find a restaurant that has Sopa, take refuge from the crowds, and eat Almuerzo (lunch).  
I'm lucky as Catalina and Sebastian have a power-plug adaptor and I'm able to charge one of my camera batteries.  I agree to wait and watch, while the group goes shopping. 
Coco teaches Sebastian how to chew 'ojas de coca' (coca leaves).  Catalina, using my camera, videotaped. 
We're off again, and down.  I'm last.
It isn't long until I come across Edgar, stopped and obviously with some mechanical problem.  Turns out to be a flat tube-tire.  I stop to help.  Well, it takes something like an hour, as the tire wheel (rim) had the smaller hole, and his good tube had the larger valve.  So, he had to make the hole larger.  But, Edgar a professional when it comes to fixing things.
Finally off, we discover the group waiting a few kilometers up ahead.  They had flagged down a vehicle and asked if they knew about us.  They had, so our group wasn't concerned.
Late afternoon, I start looking for a place to camp, but no village immediately on our way. 
I finally, with light fading and the wind building, opt for a large flat place next to the highway.  Obviously, this was a manmade 'parking lot' for construction vehicles.
But, the wind…  Everyone had to have help putting up their carpa, as the wind strong.  Silvina, needing tent repairs did the sewing right then.  We helped with tent stakes.
When the sun went down it got cold, and we all retreated into our tents, that is the older guys did, the younger three sat outside, made dinner, sipped mate, and let nothing bother them.  They had no fire (no wood in the area). 
Note, I was never cold sleeping at night (on this trip), as I have a down (goose feathers) sleeping bag.  The bag rated comfortable down to -10C.  In fact, what I do, is use it as a blanket.  I don't get inside unless the temperature warrants it. 
Sebastian's statistics:

Day 3: Bombeo- Challa
(Lunch in Pongo)
T: 3:10
K: 37,5
S: 11,5
Sh: 9:30
Ah: 16:45

Day 4:

Up at 0530.
All night the sound of traffic.
I got dressed (don't sleep in the same clothes that I cycle in).  Made coffee, avena porridge, the usual drill.
I made Edgar a cup of coffee.
We're off at 0900, having to let our tents dry.
From there it's up and down.
We arrive in the tollgate village looking for water, always more water!  But, here no water for sale.
We go down to another village, the one before the BIG UP to La Cumbre.  Sebastian, always the teacher, engages two interested local boys.  Here we're able to replenish our water supply.
Then up, and up, and up!  It takes two hours to get to La Cumbre (fotograph).  We make an offering to the Catholic Shrine.  The sky (to the east) acknowledges with 'tormenta!'  I noticed Edgar breaking off a branch from a bush, then using this to sweep out the Shrine! 
We take off in a hail storm, but at least we're going down!
And down, and down, and down we go, and finally into a pueblo (name?).  The elevation here is 3900mts. ASL, so we descended 600mts. or over 2,000ft.
On our third try we find a restaurant open.  The sopa is good, and I celebrate with an El Inca cervesa.  Of course, Coco joins me.
We search for a campsite near an historic church.  But, we're warned that the 'Devil is up there,' (in the direction we were heading).
We end up camping on the old football field (building new one next door).
Edgar happily announces that he's found 'wall to wall carpeting' (grass) on which to pitch his tent.
But, the wind… It drives me into my tent by 6P.M.
It's a triumphant day, however, getting over La Cumbre, up 2K mts. / over 6K ft., from our starting point, Cochabamba.
Sebastian's statistics:
Day 4: Challa-Lequepalca
T: 3:31
K: 51
S: 14,2
Sh: 9:00
Ah: 15:40

Day 5:
I'm up at 0600, and notice both Edgar and Coco up as well.
We prepare as usual.
One of the workers in the construction crew on the adjacent new football field offers Edgar food.  I thought to myself, how nice!  It's always those who have little that offer the most.
We look for bottled water to purchase.  Finally, Edgar snags some, one store open.  Seems like we're always looking to purchase agua!
We're finally organized and off, following the river to our right, down and down, easy and feeling strong.  And then out onto the Alti Plano, the wide open spaces.  The cycling easy at this point. 
We're at the bus restaurante (where El Dorado buses stop for break) on the 'outskirts' of Caracollo and by 1100.
We have a leisurely lunch, then off again by 1P.M. 
In 'centro,' Carocollo we stopped for water and fruita, Silvina needed some special things (looking for tent stakes).  Coco ran into an old friend who helped her find what she needed (what are the odds?)
We head north out of Caracollo on the newly constructed cartera (divided highway, La Paz - Oruro).  For kilometers we have one side of the highway exclusively to ourselves.  But, every once in a while we have to negotiate some construction, some times easily circumvented, then other times having to cross to the other side the highway.  Seems like we went back and forth into La Paz.
Then we came upon a French couple resting by the side of the highway.  They had the most unusual tandem (HASE) bicycle I've ever seen.  'Fanny,' sat in a comfortable sling chair in the front, cranking when necessary, male partner, Vincent behind, doing most of the work from a regular saddle.  Additionally, a friend had made an aerodynamic trailer they were pulling.  I was glad the South Americans could see this exotic $7KU.S. rig.  And fast this French couple was, something like 100KM every day -- having cycled around the world.  Their contact information, if interested: letandaimerlemonde@gmail.com (Franny and Vincent).
Actually, we met many touring cyclists on this stretch of highway, I was surprised.
In Conani we met up again with the French couple, but they opted for a hostal.  Edgar found out that their football stadium was open to camping.  With the sun fading, and the wind building we headed for the stadium.
Every village, town, city, Capitol in S.A. has a futbol field, some grandiose.  This one in Conani had artificial turf. We considered pitching our tents on the field, but the cold wind drove us into little 'rooms,' under the concrete bleachers.  But, the 'floors,' bum kinda garbage dirt, whatever had fallen during construction.  We needed tools.
I had Sebastian purchase a shovel, and Coco ended up with a hoe.  We prepared the ground with these, passing them around to all in the group.  With the tools came curious children (like in Bombeo).  They stayed and watched, sometimes in our way, sometimes watching from the stadium benches above us (Sebastian has fotos.).
Edgar and Coco went off to find a restaurant and have dinner.  I'm sure sopa for Edgar, and cervesa for Coco.
In their 'room' under the bleachers I shared some Mate with Sebastian, Catalina, and Silvina.
Later in my tent I made coffee (something warm) and ate one-half of an orange.
Down at 1930 hours.
P.S.  I had a significant dream during that night (who would have ever thought).  It had to do with the ultimate battle, good versus evil and good won! 



How Reading Transforms Us - NYTimes.com

Derek Jacobi: 'Hamlet? You can never get a handle on him' – video | Stage | The Guardian

Friday, December 19, 2014

Stonehenge road tunnel could wreck archaeological site, warn experts | UK news | The Guardian

Clooney should realize, it's all about $!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

American Pathology!

American Pathology!

American Pathology!

BBC News - Myanmar trial begins over 'Buddha insult'

The year of outrage 2014: Everything you were angry about on social media this year.

Filmmakers say the cancellation of "The Interview" is a turning point for the film business - newsnet5.com Cleveland

U.S. police out of control!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Ecuador Family Wins Favors After Donations to Democrats - NYTimes.com

Japanese lingerie group recalls 20,000 bras | World news | The Guardian

Roman Polanski mounts legal bid to overturn 1977 US sex charge | Film | The Guardian

The 'Ticking Time-Bomb' Defense of Torture Is Evasive and Irrelevant - The Atlantic

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

151214 BLOK THE TRIP, THE CYCLING TRIP ('ROAD WARRIORS TOUR, 2014' -- The Great Quest for Sopa and quality food!), Cochabamba to Copacabana via La Paz and Sorata.

151214 BLOK
THE TRIP, THE CYCLING TRIP ('ROAD WARRIORS TOUR, 2014' -- The Great Quest for Sopa and quality food!), Cochabamba to Copacabana via La Paz and Sorata.  There's much to write about, now one month later, on the edge of Christmas and the New Year (2015).
But here goes, an attempt in English words, remembering our cycling adventure…

Day One (061114)

Sebastian and Catalina had invited me (back in September), or I wouldn't have thought of it.  We managed to attract others, Silvina, Coca, Manuel, and ultimately Edgar (who surprised us at the last minute).  It became as named above.
I made much preparation, as I'd taken the bus back from La Paz, and knew what I was getting into (mucho arriba). From Cochabamba, you climb something like 2,000mts. / over 6K ft. in elevation (to La Cumbre), and in something like 130KM distance.  I wonder what the average grade is…?  But, it's not the grade, but the traffic that's a concern (major highway west-east).
My new cassette and chain came (from Rajesh in the U.S.), these in time (we had planned to depart early November).  I took that was a good sign (to go).  Note, I wasn't sure I could do this with weight, camping every night -- takes immense energy.  And on the eve of my 75th birthday, I hadn't done this kind of tour cycling in two years, almost two years to the day!
Before departing, Sebastian, Catalina and I hiked up into Tunari Parque where we made an offering to Viracocha, Tunari, Panchamama, Inti, and my own Vajrachod (fotos. available at www.cyclingpeace.org/gallery/)
The BIG day came, November 6th (a Jueves), and we were off on a clear and sunny day to meet Edgar at La Bicicleta Adventura.  He had some kind of mechanical problem.  I think we were there maybe one hour, and then off to meet Coco at the toll gate south of Sipe Sipe (where he lives).
From this point down to the River (name?) it's basically downhill and a good way the first day (with weight).  Unfortunately, Edgar had a spill and bare flesh scrapping the asphalt no fun.  We stopped at (name?) to rehydrate, as hot in the sun. Here Edgar was able to take care of his flesh wounds.
Then arriba, which never stopped for four days.
We made it up another 8KM, for a total of something like 48.  Here's Sebastian's official statistics:

Day 1: Cochabamba- k.48
T: 3:24
K: 48
S: 14
Sh: 10:09
Ah: 15:45
Note:  Symbols mean:
T: time riding
K: kilometres
S: average speed
Sh: start hour
Ah: arriving hour

I had suggested we try to get up a little (in elevation) the first day, cooler higher, plus feeling like some progress.  Cochabamba's 'tentacles' lengthy.
At this point I was struggling, bringing up the rear.  I hadn't drank enough water and was getting dehydrated.  But, we let nothing stop us.
One possibility turned out no good, so we went on, arriba!  But, I knew I had better stop soon or fall over. I finally found a place for the group to camp, although not the best right next to the highway (the sound of traffic all night). 
Exhausted, I tried to 'inject' water into my systems.
I set up my tent, then fell inside and asleep.
Later, Silvina had made a fire and was dispensing 'Mate' (Yerba Mate, the drink of lower S.A.).  Catalina cooked their dinner.  I wasn't hungry.
Low on water, and not knowing where we might find next, both Coco and Sebastian (Edgar later) begged from passing motor vehicles.  Enough was donated (surprise), so we felt safer, one man contributing more than once.  I gave him 20bs. for his efforts. 
The luna llene blasted us just over the hills to the east.  So bright we didn't need our torches to move around.  Catalina took many fotos.
I 'turn in,' early.  Before departing we do 'Hands Around South America,' where we stand, grab hands in a particular way Catalina teaches us, have a moment of silence, and then each expressing something verbally.  We pledge each other's support, basically.  We are bonding as a group (important). 
The noise from passing vehicles never slows until 0300.  I'm up at 0545.  
The sun comes over the hills at 0600.
Another day, another challenge, but now some serious arriba!

Day #2, (071114)

I make my usual coffee and porridge on my little camp stove.  This is part of the reason I'm so slow getting ready, as I have to cook breakfast, and then let it digest.  Young people and eat and go!  I have to wait.  Thus, from the time I wake up, to departure something like three hours.  I had tried to warn them about my older eccentricities.
Packing I discovered my rear tire flat.  Edgar and Sebastian came immediately, and we changed the tube.  Note, way later, in La Paz, I looked for the puncture, but never found.  Sometimes tubes/tires go flat for inexplicable reasons. And this one is still good. 
We're off at 0820.
The first part is easy (lucky, as to warm up), but in the hot sun and low on water (as have to drink) we start looking.
Finally, at a village we're able to replenish.
Then it's brutally up all the way to Bombeos at 3800mts (over 12,000ft.). ASL. For some reason I had energy and was one of the first to arrive.  Note, normally last on this trip. 
We immediately ordered food, drank water, Coco had cervesa.  It was a celebration of sorts getting to Bombeos in two days.
We camped on a vast green, and right in the village.
Soon after two young children showed up, curious.  Within one hour two turned into thirty, and Sebastian took over explaining about us.  I'm sure we were like Martians to these local children, having never seen people traveling on bicycles.  Even with it getting dark they wouldn't go home, so Coco came to the rescue and literally had to drive them away.  Sad.
I was in my tent ('carpa' in Spanish) by 1945hrs.  This after mate (courtesy of Silvina), and our 'Hands Around South America.'  It was/is a good group; three older males, one younger couple, and a solo young woman -- four different countries represented (U.S., Bolivia, Chile and Uruguay)!
Again, the motor traffic incessant, as we're too close to the highway. 
I had a good night, however, and up at 0545.
Sebastian's official statistics.:

Day 2: k46- Bombeo
T: 3:30
K: 28
S: 8
Sh: 8:35
Ah: 15:40

Day #3 (081114)

I'm up at 0545m and the usual 'drill.'  Turns out I'm the first ready and have to wait.  Usually, I'm the one they wait for…
Edgar needs somethings so we stop in a local restaurant to have what turns out to be desayuno (breakfast). 
We finally depart at 0920, our first goal Pongo in something like 20KM.  It's up and down to Pongo, first up to 4100mts. ASL (foto.)
Since it's Sabado (Saturday) it's market-madness day in Pongo (I love the name, Pongo.).
We find a restaurant that has Sopa, take refuge from the crowds, and eat Almuerzo (lunch).  
I'm lucky as Catalina and Sebastian have a power-plug adaptor and I'm able to charge one of my camera batteries.  I agree to wait and watch, while the group goes shopping. 
Coco teaches Sebastian how to chew 'ojas de coca' (coca leaves).  Catalina, using my camera, videotaped. 
We're off again, and down.  I'm last.
It isn't long until I come across Edgar, stopped and obviously with some mechanical problem.  Turns out to be a flat tube-tire.  I stop to help.  Well, it takes something like an hour, as the tire wheel (rim) had the smaller hole, and his good tube had the larger valve.  So, he had to make the hole larger.  But, Edgar a professional when it comes to fixing things.
Finally off, we discover the group waiting a few kilometers up ahead.  They had flagged down a vehicle and asked if they knew about us.  They had, so our group wasn't concerned.
Late afternoon, I start looking for a place to camp, but no village immediately on our way. 
I finally, with light fading and the wind building, opt for a large flat place next to the highway.  Obviously, this was a manmade 'parking lot' for construction vehicles.
But, the wind…  Everyone had to have help putting up their carpa, as the wind strong.  Silvina, needing tent repairs did the sewing right then.  We helped with tent stakes.
When the sun went down it got cold, and we all retreated into our tents, than is the older guys did, the younger three sat outside, made dinner, sipped mate, and let nothing bother them.  But, there was no fire. 
Note, I was never cold sleeping at night (on this trip), as I have a down (goose feathers) sleeping bag.  The bag rated comfortable down to -10C.  In fact, what I do, is use it as a blanket.  I don't get inside unless the temperature warrants it. 
Sebastian's statistics:

Day 3: Bombeo- Challa
(Lunch in Pongo)
T: 3:10
K: 37,5
S: 11,5
Sh: 9:30
Ah: 16:45



American Pathology!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Angela Davis: ‘unbroken line of police violence in US back to slavery’ | US news | The Guardian

American Pathology!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Is It Bad Enough Yet? - NYTimes.com

Cromnibus pot laws: Washington has quietly become much more pro-pot that it appears.

Cromnibus pot laws: Washington has quietly become much more pro-pot that it appears.: "publicized D.C. ban, even assuming the latter survives a potential legal challenge. The"



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241114, Copacabana, Bolivia

241114, Copacabana, Bolivia
Oh wow, I have found what I've been looking for!  A place where there are no Starbucks, nor golf courses!   Above the clamor of the Tourist street ('6 de Augusto'), in Copacabana, tucked against the Catholic hill (honoring Virgins), sits La Cupulo Hostel. 
This is Martin's La Cupulo Hostel, overlooking the harbor, and Lake Titicaca (What is always the claim? 'The Highest…").  He also hand-built the cabins next door.
If you've ever wanted to take a relaxing vacation, this is it!  Although, at such high elevation, something around 4K mts. / 13,000ft. ASL, you must be cautious.  But, once aclimatized (adjusted to this elevation), this locale is the place to relax, chill out, and just be!  And all for bargain rates/prices.
I had a wonderful room with private bath for all of $13U.S per night.  But, I suppose the cupulo suites are more expensive.  
We're talking German style, not Bolivian:  Everything works, Martin having thought of everything down to the pet llamas in the front yard, to the cock crowing in the b.g.  The hot shower alone is worth the price of admission!  Best of all, no TV in the rooms!
Martin Strather, the proprietor, born in Germany, has been in South America for twenty years.  He first went to Chile to work, then discovered Bolivia -- been here ever since!
Thank you Martin!  Thank you for surviving all the 'slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,' as I know what it must have been like to accomplish what you have here in Copacabana.  I'm amazed actually.
How to get there, Copacabana, Bolivia?  Flying, of course, either via La Paz/El Alto, then four-hour bus ride, or via Lima, and Cusco (Machu Picchu), Peru.
We came by bicycle from Cochabamba, some 500KM distance (two weeks).
For me, being the oldest (75-years of age) in the group, it was the most arduous of any of the last 100,000KM I've cranked in the last 15 years!  
I was mentally prepared for going over La Cumbre/Andes, some 4500mts. ASL, just 150KM out of Cochabamba.  But, the 80KM trip from the Huarina junction to Copacabana, fooled me completely.  I had ASSUMED that it was flat, but it turned out to be anything but.  We got rained on twice, and 'hailed' once.  The wind wasn't much help either, as out of the north. By the time we got to Copacabana, we were wet, cold and near exhaustion (at least me).  
It's a mental exercise, this kind of tour cycling (at my age).  But, as our motto goes:  WE LET NOTHING STOP US!
Martin told me I wasn't the first to cycle to La Cupulo Hostel.  But, Martin… Maybe the oldest?
F.A. Hutchison
'Hache' in Bolivia
www.youbetravel.com

P.S.  A great place for an early breakfast in Copacabana, Don's EL CONDOR AND EAGLE CAFE (0700, except Jueves).  How did I know I would discover the best oatmeal porridge in the world, in Copacabana, Bolivia?  Their coffee good too.  Books… A very enlightened place, environmentally hip, etc.  Don, from Ireland, married a Bolivian woman (she prepares the oatmeal porridge). 

Friday, December 12, 2014

American Pathology!

American Pathology!

Congress’s Double-Edged Marijuana Stance - NYTimes.com

This reminds me of the U.S.

Welcome to Modern Life!

Same old 'shit!' How to make $ faster!

American Pathology!

Democratic Party’s losses at the state level are extraordinary: The party will be at a disadvantage with Republicans for a long time.

The end of nuclear deterrence - The Week

Thursday, December 11, 2014

'Hollywood' shit city!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

New Research Quantifies the Oceans’ Plastic Problem - NYTimes.com

The Year in Drone Videos - The Atlantic

The Year in Drone Videos - The Atlantic: "
For the Love of Stuff
By Julie Beck

The Results of Rage and Retribution
By Jeffrey Goldberg

The New Republic: An Appreciation
By Ta-Nehisi Coates

How Sexism Stifles Creativity
By Olga Khazan
"



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BBC News - Malala and Kailash Satyarthi receive joint Nobel award

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

​Be bowled over by Bolivia | Cambridge News

Horrific details from the torture report

The Sexodus, Part 1: The Men Giving Up On Women And Checking Out Of Society

GO BERZHERKLY! Bring back the Sixties!

Monday, December 08, 2014

Guantanamo prisoners start new lives in Uruguay - Houston Chronicle