Thursday, August 31, 2006

Bajan Art

Stopped in a potters shop's an example of his work. This sculpture was the most beautiful thing in the shop. Wonder what it costs? Approx $300.00 US.

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The Hell of Flying

Saw this article this morning on MSN, and since I'm flying, its apropo - so I figured I'd share.


Flying Blind
Airline security needs to be based on common sense, not policies that will turn citizens into inmates of their own countries
By Christopher Dickey

Updated: 10:44 a.m. ET Aug 29, 2006
Aug. 29, 2006 - Flying used to be about freedom. No matter where you intended to land, there was something magical about escaping to the heavens. Now, as we know, flying is more like going to prison, if not, indeed, to hell.

As it happens, I once spent a week interviewing inmates and staff at what was then the main “super-max” federal penitentiary in Marion, Illinois. It was the successor to Alcatraz, and the predecessor of the facility that opened in Florence, Colorado, in 1994. “Security” was its aim, its ethos, its excuse for everything. Life in Marion had so many grim limitations and restrictions that the worst of the worst criminals convicted in federal courts—spies, drug lords, racist murderers, gang leaders—actually would try to behave themselves in hopes they might someday get out of its peculiar purgatory, even though the greatest escape they could achieve was transfer to another federal pen.

The operative principle for prison security was that anything one inmate managed to make into a weapon would be taken away from everyone. Saran Wrap was a case in point. Sandwiches had come in it. But one of the inmates discovered a way to burn an aspirin tablet, generating enough heat to melt the wrap, harden it, and make a dagger, so no more cellophane on the sandwiches. Ditto bed springs. They could be cut, twisted and sharpened into weapons, so the beds were concrete slabs.

The cardboard backing on every legal pad at Marion was torn off because one prisoner managed to fashion it into a crude bomb filled with match heads, using bits of metal zipper as shrapnel. The most benign objects were, in the imagination of the inmates and the guards, potential deadly weapons. One by one, they were taken away until each convict’s life was made as barren as it could possibly be made.

"Big Brother is always watching," the warden at Marion told me. The basic goal was to keep prisoners safe from each other and alive: “pure security,” he called it. "Every day that goes by and no inmate or staff member is seriously hurt, we've accomplished our mission."

Doubtless those responsible for airline safety have a similarly fatalist, minimalist view, and not without cause. It’s been five years since September 11, 2001, when 19 men using box cutters on commercial flights changed the world forever. No one would ever want to see that again. But the draconian security measures taken after an alleged airline terror plot was revealed in Britain earlier this month have exposed the reductio ad absurdum of current thinking about what makes us safe, or not.

The last few days have seen a stunning series of exaggerated reactions to minor incidents. On Friday alone, half a dozen little security breaches or anonymous threats suddenly escalated into significant aircraft diversions or delays around the United States. Earlier last week, a United Airlines flight from London to Washington D.C. landed in Boston—accompanied by fighter jets—when a 59-year-old American woman named Catherine Mayo acted like a nut. She reportedly urinated outside the plane’s galley and allegedly mumbled something about Al Qaeda.

(Afterwards, it turned out Mayo has spent a lot of time traveling in Pakistan, ostensibly as a journalist. She wrote an article in 2003 for the English-language Daily Times there that blamed American psychiatrists for what she called the “manic depression” of the United States after 9/11. “This is a woman with very serious mental health issues,” Mayo’s public defender told the court in Boston during her initial hearing on Friday.)

And then there was Northwest Flight 042. When a dozen young Indian businessmen returning from a wedding boarded it in Amsterdam for the last leg of their flight home to Mumbai last week, they were in a decidedly rambunctious mood. (Although all were Muslim, it’s not clear how observant or abstemious they were.) They were trading seats, playing with their cell phones, allegedly refusing to turn them off, and some reportedly taunted the cabin crew by tossing the phones to each other.

American sky marshals on board got involved. About 10 minutes out from Amsterdam, the pilot wheeled around, escorted back to the ground by fighter jets (which seems to be standard operating procedure). The alleged troublemakers were hauled off, but Dutch officials then cleared them to fly home the next day.

The Indian press quickly declared the real “crime” of the businessmen was the color of their skin. "If brown equals terrorist, doesn't white equal racist?" suggested an editorial in the Hindustan Times. And knee-jerk prejudice might have played a role, but the essence of the problem lies in the fact that so much has come to seem sinister that overwhelmed security staff and paranoid passengers see threats everywhere they look: in a beard or a prayer, a cell phone or a soft drink.

By coincidence, a NEWSWEEK reporter was on the previous leg of Northwest Flight 042, which went from Minneapolis to Amsterdam that same day. Barbie Nadeau was returning home to Rome from vacation in the States with her husband and two little boys, ages 6 and 4. In Minnesota, the security obsession was less with skin tones and Motorolas than with run-of-the-mill liquids. Parents of little kids were watched especially closely, it seemed, because the screeners suspected they might be smuggling boxes of juice on board.

As Nadeau points out in an e-mail, her family’s two carry-on bags had enough electronics in them to wire a missile: “a laptop, a portable DVD player, a sound-blaster adapter and headphones, two cell phones, four MP3 players with headphones, a BlackBerry, a brick of AA batteries and two hand-held video games.” The security woman paid them no attention. “She dug around the electronics, searching for juice. About three other moms nearby were going through the same harassment…”

Nadeau concedes that the screeners and airline staff were just doing their job, “but it struck me that the security was so focused on finding and confiscating any liquid item, they were actually not focusing on any other potentially suspicious things anyone might be carrying. Case in point: nail clippers. I didn't realize they were in my bag, but they got by in Minneapolis, only to be confiscated in Amsterdam.”

Ah, yes, nail clippers. I have searched in vain for the example of nail clippers being used to hijack an airplane—on the face of it a pretty ludicrous proposition—but I guess someone could imagine they might be. Just as Saran Wrap can become a dagger. Or the cardboard back of a legal pad can be made into a bomb with zipper shrapnel.

We are walking in our socks through security checks, you realize, not because anybody ever succeeded in blowing up a plane with explosive shoes, but because one man tried and failed. Moms are surreptitiously smuggling juice boxes for their kids because the alleged plotters in Britain reportedly wanted to mix up explosives on board planes using different liquid components. But recent reporting on that case suggests they may not have known what they were doing, or how to do it.

Should we be concerned and careful? Yes. And we shouldn’t think there are easy answers. The much-vaunted Israeli model for airline security works at one single airport, Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion, and with one small airline overseas, El Al, using highly educated screeners, many of whom are performing their national military service. Can the U.S. use the same psychological profiling techniques at hundreds of airports with screeners paid a little over the minimum wage and, perhaps, a high school diploma? Doubtful. Is better physical screening the answer? Bernard E. Harcourt, a professor at the University of Chicago who has written extensively on these issues suggested in an International Herald Tribune op-ed last week that the best approach would be “to eliminate most carry-ons and emulate high-security prisons…”

In fact, security systems will continue evolving, as will terrorist efforts to get around them. But the policies that develop in that process have to be based on a cool, common sense assessment of the real threats, not sensationalism and cover-your-ass bureaucracy. The failed dreams of would-be terrorists cannot be the measure of the threat against us. To achieve “pure security,” in the end, Americans would have to become inmates of their own country.



© 2006

Wednesday, August 30, 2006


Ever seen a Frangipani tree? Not to be missed. The flowers are beautiful!

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Just another view

From my beach chair......Divi southwinds at it's best. Good water, beautiful weather.
Today, we did the jet ski thing for about 30 minutes each. I took mine out and opened it up to full speed across a sea that was as calm as a sheet of glass. Went around the coastline to the lighthouse and the harbor..then brought it back up to Divi. Now again, that's livin. The salt spray in your face, the machine bucking against the's like riding a galloping horse - but very wet. Then just to sit still in the ocean by yourself and look around - just glad for the peace that this kind of place brings.....

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Best Friends

Couldn't get a better friend on earth than this. I wish everyone had as much fun with their mom as I do!

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Chillin on the beach

Here's mom on the beach...and just think, she didn't really want to come! I think she's glad she did.

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Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The sound of relaxation

Ahhhhhhhh....wouldnt you like to be here?

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More Divi

Scharon has evidently seen the second coming.

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Beach @ Divi

Awww, just go on and hate me now.....

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Monday, August 28, 2006

Bimshire - Day 2

Today, it was beach..then business, business and more business. First we did our morning seabath - then after a visit from a friend, we got dressed and went to Bridgetown. I am definately NOT a city girl. Bridgetown is JAM PACKED with wall to wall people. You dodge folks at ever corner, on every sidewalk and in every store. Conducting business is still an antiquated process at best. It takes a long time to get anything done, and there are usually multiple steps to any one process. Its not like they don't have technology, it's just not used to its full potential.

After business, we did a bit of shopping at Cave Shepard - all the duty free stuff is on board and ready for pickup at the airport.

Dinner was at the "Flying Fish". It's a small cafe with a nice view of the ocean in the "gap". I had cou-cou and flying fish with a rockin hot (with pepper) cucumber salad. Limped home with a very full tummy and fell into the bed.

Oh...and before I forget, let me pay homage to the BEST BAKERY IN BARBADOS. If you ever here - do not miss a trip to Flindt (
THE most wonderful bakery here. Today, we picked up a Chocolate Colenso Cake - layers of chocolate and vanilla sponge cake brought together with a wonderful chocolate mousse. Now folks, THAT is livin! Flindt has a few locations in Barbados - the two I know and can definately vouch for are Hastings (right next to Wine World) and Holetown (near sunset crest).

Just starting to relax. Why the hell didnt I decide to stay for 10 days instead of 7........

Oh and btw...Scharon and Mom are waving hello to anyone who's checking this out. I have yet to take out my camera. Maybe that will happen tommorow. If so, I just may upload a few shots of paradise.

Peace out folks....

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Blogging Bimshire


Here in Barbados. FINALLY. A vacation. Yesterday was a long day. Flew in, got settled, and in the evening went down to the Oistins Fish Fry. If you are in Barbados, on a Friday or Saturday night - its a great place to be. Stalls of cooks, just frying up the catch of the day. Fish dinners come with a variety of side orders - french fries, macaroni salad, etc. That day, there was Marlin (yum), Tuna, Flying fish, and "Mahi-Mahi" - the bajans call it "dolphin".

Let's just say that it was an opportunity to make new friends. There was Noel - a fellow who was born and raised in Oistins with his family - quite drunk - and very friendly. He would not stop talking. There was jesse - with whom we listened to and joked about the bad kareoke (sp?). And Neil....we'll call him "smooth and shiny" and leave it at that. We made it home with no regrets ;-)

Today, it was all about the wonderful seabath in the morning and good food and family in the afternoon. All the folks got together kids and all for a wonderful lunch. Flying fish, chicken, salads, bread pudding and ice cream, and veggies.

Its good to be here. Sorry I cannot stay longer. Divi Southwinds is certainly not Seasymphony - but it will do for a week. ;-)

Friday, August 25, 2006

A Girl Like Me


I saw this today.

Check it out.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Phoenix, Arizona

Just got back from a week in Phoenix at the Westin Kierland Resort. I know, it was a resort, but I was there for a week of work. Forget the work, here are the high points...


The Scottsdale/Phoenix area has a ton of really great restaurants with exceptional service and not too high prices. Okay, a few were kinda pricey, but totally worth it. We did cerviche and dinner one night at the Westins "Deseo". - We had the filet mignon - and a dulce de leche fondue with cake squares and fruit for desert. HEAVEN!
Another evening, we did Z Tejas. Be sure to have the fried catfish beignets when you are there. They were light, crispy and absolutely fabulous!
Our other fav's were "North" (modern italian cuisine), and Bobby's (a mancuso restaurant) and for lunch "Zinc Bistro" - a twist on french food. Really cool place for lunch.

The Westin has GREAT beds. If a good nights sleep is important to you, that's your place. The service was impeccable. If you go in the middle of the summer, the rates are also great (but it's hot as hell). The lazy river looked like a lot of fun, but we really never had time to ride it. Every evening, as the sun set the bagpiper stood near an outdoor firepit and played the most beautiful evensong I've ever heard. Out on the deck, watching the sunset, listening to bagpipes with a cold drink was a great way to end every day.
More African Photo's

Maasai Warrior Posted by Picasa

This guy was a trip. He's the one you see when you want to go into the village. Kind of like the head man, you know. He negotiates for prices and entry fees. They charged us $10 US a head. This village is in the middle of what seems to be nowhere. Wondered what they did with all the cash until I saw the hundreds and hundreds of cattle they owned. Quite an enterprising people.

Ahhhh Africa! Posted by Picasa

This photo was taken somewhere on the road to the Ngorongoro Crater - after leaving Arusha.

Maasai Child Posted by Picasa

This little guy is looking around wondering..."WHO are these people anyway?
Recent Photo's from Africa

This lion was about 5 feet from the Land Rover. Posted by Picasa

On our one safari day, we saw more lions that we could believe. Entire prides, with cubs no less! The funniest thing was that they would walk amongst the landrovers, then just lay down in the midst and roll over as if expecting you to rub their tummies!

Elephant in Ngorongoro Crater Posted by Picasa

Havilah - the first orphanage home Posted by Picasa

Ngorongoro, Tanzania Posted by Picasa

Havilah - Tanzania, East Africa 2006

Went back to Tanzania in July. This year was different. There was no earth-shaking, life changing moment or experience on this run. Just a deeper understanding of the Tanzanian people, language and culture. For anyone who doesn't know, I'm part of an organization called Global Vessels ( - that is building an orphange village Havilah in the USA river area. USA river(prounouced "ooosah river") is near the town of Arusha which is at the foot of Mt. Meru. You can also see Mt Kilimanjaro when the weather allows.

This year, I got to touch the building that we started on our last trip. It's beauty brought me to tears. Even the work was different this time. Still the brickmaking, but for me much more photography that global vessels could use. You'll find a few of my favorite photos from this trip above - if anyone wants to know more, give me a holler and I'll be happy to share.

Here's the presentation that I did this year to showcase our non profit work.


It's been a totally busy summer. Seems as if I havent been home much at all. Did a business trip to Nashville for a little more than a week in May. Stayed at the Gaylord Opryland. For me, the beds sucked and the property turned out to be one big biodome - with great restaurants I might add. Its funny, you'd be in there for several days and be around plants and get sunlight thru the ceiling, but never actually any FRESH air. When I left, I felt like I'd been freed from prison. Such is the work of a techie on a convention. All work, very little play -and way too much food.