Thursday, August 27, 2015




Swing Bridge, manual
Met our friends the Dodsons, who picked us up in a Hertz car, Bill drove out of Paris (An insane thing to do!) To a small town, Bains-le-Baines, a couple of hundred kilometers away  to prep for our week long boat cruise on the Canal d’Est:

On the way , we stopped off To check out Corbu’s iconic chapel,  at Ronchamp, built after the original church was destroyed during WW2.  I could never reconcile Corbu’s change of style but it seemed to be well wrought. There was a Sunday service going on so we went in and pretended to be Catholics for a few minutes. More surprisingly, a small school that was attached to it was really interesting;  rough concrete, sod roof and a few bright painted surfaces around. I don’t remember ever seeing any photos of it.

Notice the scale!

After that, we stopped at Belfort to see the giant stone sculpture by the artist, Bertoldi, who designed and built the Statue of Liberty. A couple of years later, we saw his fountain in Lyon depicting Madame France (Bare breasts, of course) reining in four  horses, representing the great rivers of France.

  We stayed overnight at the Hotel de la Poste,  Next day Bill & I went foraging for supplies for a our upcoming  week on the boat. Contrary to all rumors about Europe, we found the biggest super market we’ve ever been in. It even took us a while to figure out how to get in the damn place. There was nothing more we could have desired, even large selections of sliced bacons. We then returned the car to Hertz, got a taxi back to the boat to unload our stash.  We set off for our adventure (Our fourth) down the canal on our $100,000  42' cruiser, three staterooms and a bow thruster, (this little gismo makes boat handling really simple).

Fromagerie near canal
 Joy is a genius at scheduling, she had all our lunch & evening stops already planned. The canal maps we get are extremely well documented, showing where boulangeries, wine shops, etc. are located. Even notes what day the town markets take place. When we got to the end of our trip a week later, we met  Emma, CEO of the company (Hotels Afloat) we deal with to rent the boats. She’s a Brit expatriate  we have been dealing with for several years. She brought over a bottle of wine and we learned a lot about the French method of taxation and deprivation of small companies. She and Joy worked out a deal for Joy to make up schedules for various canals that boat renters could buy from her.  These boats cost about 180 Euros per couple per day, about the same as a hotel room, but you have to drive them.


I give thanks to  AMERICA , USA  (Researched thanks to Jon Stewarts’ ‘America’)

There’s a lot of noise regarding the next election in about a year, so let’s take a look at our mysterious Political System;
The House has two chambers, called  Congress   (Bi-cameral, which means two rooms)

House of Representatives    
   “Lower House” (The Rif-Raf)   Based on population , I think about one rep per 30,000 citizens,(Does this mean voters or plan citizens? men, women, kids, blacks)  Re-elected usually every two years.
Senate  or  Upper House  , two reps per State,  get re-elected every  six years.

Since the Lobbyists actually run this country, let’s see where the money comes from.

Lobbyists   $$ in 2004 (In millions)
Greenpeace              2 (These are the Tree Huggers)
NRA guns                   4  (This must be a phoney figure)
NAACP                      ? (I don’t know why we can’t find out this )
Labor Unions             90 !
Merck/Lilly                  26 !! (This is the Drug Cartel)
Christians                   ? ( May be irrelevant as all Republicans are rabid Christians)
Planned Parents       2.6 (Is this for or against abortion?)
Hollywood                  37 (We just think these celebrities are so wise & beautiful)
AARP                         102 ! (Let’s go, old folks!)
Legal ABA                 112 !! Wow!

ELECTORIAL COLLEGE Does anyone really understand how this works?  I keep trying to make sense of it, but just don’t get it.
435 reps? Based on population? Plus   100 for Senators?  For instance, California has about 55 Electorial College people. Who are they? Who picks them?  Sometimes they elect a Prez over the Popular Voters. (Like Busch?). It has happened a few times. If you have a even small idea of how this works, please let me know.
     So, unless you’ve got a million or so to buy your favorite Politian, you might as well vote just for the fun of it so we can say we are governed by a Republic.

The Ugly American with Marlin Brando.
About America’s medling in unstable countries. Kind of a Pre-Iraq story.

Troilus & Cressida by Geoffrey Chaucer.
Since it was written in the 1380’s it needed translated to our current English. I’m re-visiting Chaucer since High School and am enjoying him immensely.  Shake sphere probably got the story of Romeo & Juliet from this and Chaucer had gotten it from someone previous to him. It’s the old story of a young couple of Troy who were desperately in love, the ultimate betrayal and all that. This was probably about the first great English novel (in kind of poem form) it is a joy to find  phrases that Chaucer invented that are common usage today, as well as his use of talking about himself (The author) during some chapters.

The Graton Post Office is kind of a library as we all use it for a book exchange. Joy & I were married in Greece (See my essay” Getting married the hard way”) and have trod the very stones that Socrates & Plato trod.  Therefore I picked up a small tome describing all the Greek Gods and brushed up on my crazy story syndrome. Who thunk this stuff up? These Gods where a bunch of rollicking, adultery minded group, always sloshed on wine and killing and lusting around.  My first daughter was named after Io, supposedly the mother of most of the rest of that crew.  But what was most fun, was finding stories that were the basis for many of the Christian bible stories (Old & New). The difference may be the early Greeks & Romans didn’t really believe all that stuff.  The old Gods didn’t have to perform miracles, as they could change you into a cow or anything for fun.