Friday, May 31, 2013

Friday Humor

''I went to the zoo the other day, there was only one dog in it, it was a shitzu.''

''Dyslexic man walks into a bra''

A young blonde woman is distraught because she fears her husband is having an affair, so she goes to a gun shop and buys a handgun. The next day she comes home to find her husband in bed with a beautiful redhead. She grabs the gun and holds it to her own head. The husband jumps out of bed, begging and pleading with her not to shoot herself. Hysterically the blonde responds to the husband, ''Shut're next!''

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Valpariso and Vine del Mar: Opposites Attract

From the 16th deck of our docked ship we could see the hills surrounding Valparaiso. Our first view was before daylight, and the city sparkled with its salmon-colored street lights that twinkle, glimmer, and glitter from the hills. Then, as the sun rose and bathed the hills in a warm glow, we spotted the Esmeralda, a replica of a Chilean battleship used in the War of the Pacific, when Chile fought and defeated Peru and Bolivia.

Near the Esmeralda was a replica of the Santiaguillo, the tiny Spanish bark which was the first ship to anchor in Valparaiso Bay.

The view from our ship gave us a great look at Muelle Prat (where the Santiaguillo is located), a pier from which launch tours of the harbor depart.

Hugging the shore are numerous fishing boats (50 to 100 at least) whose activity support the Chileans vast consumption of seafood.

Valparaiso, Chile, is Chile’s second-largest city, and it is known locally as Valpo. It is a busy port, and the ship comes into a container area, and we were shuttled to the passenger terminal—a ten-minute ride. Once in the terminal, we easily located our checked baggage—two large bags set off by the colored straps wrapped around them.

For Valparaiso and Santiago we have booked a six-hour private tour that emanates from the terminal area. We did this for several reasons. First, we have had two sensational private tours previously, one in Beijing, China, and one in Rio de Janeiro, so we have a positive precedent.

Our second reason for booking a private tour is a simple one as well. In general, we don’t like the scheduled excursions because there are too many people involved. It complicates sightseeing, often prevents you from hearing essential information, and makes taking pictures whenever you want to, difficult or impossible.

The third reason is that on scheduled excursions, the availability of bathrooms can present problems. Then, when they occur, often the lines are long and valuable tour-time is jeopardized.

Our private tour began at the passenger terminal with Sebastian Parada H. As our guide, and we began where the ship came in—in Valparaiso, the most important port on the west coast of South America. Founded in 1536, it has a population of 340,000 with a high population of young people because the universities in Valparaiso are cheaper than in other places. What truly distinguishes the city are the 52 hills that surround the bay where 90% of the population lives.

Because the hills are high and steep, the Chilean government provided easy access to them via ascensores—a series of elevvators, cable cars, and funicular railways. These, too (along with the hills) are another of the city’s distinguishing features.

In the 1940s there were 40 ascensores; today, there are 15. We drove to the high point of Concepcion—the first ascensor constructed in Valparaiso (1883) and which is still powered by a steam engine.

We drove around the entire city of Valparaiso, thus, we saw the Anibal Pinto Plaza and its Neptune Fountain—a war trophy stolen from the Peruvians in the wake of the War of the Pacific. We saw Plaza Sotomayor—Valparaiso’s most impressive square where the main headquarters of the navy is located with its neo-classical style.

We toured the old government part of the city where we saw the Turri Clock— Valparaiso’s version of Big Ben—El Congreso, the Congressional Building, to where Chile moved Congress from its quarters in Santiago and stirred up a hornet’s nest of complaints.

Other sights we were fortunate to see were the Plaza O’Higgins, Lat Matriz—the oldest church in Valparaiso (built in 1559 and reconstructed in 1837) which sits at the foot of Santo Domingo Hill, the Naval Museum, and La Sabastiana.

We stopped at 692 Ferrari Street on Bellavista Hill and had the opportunity to walk to the concrete espalanade in front of La Sabastina. There, we could look back on this jumbled, five-story house, with outstanding views of the entire bay—and which helped to inspire the work of Chilean poet Pablo Neruda. Neruda won the Nobel Prize in 1971.

From La Sabastiana we virtually drove around the bay on a crowded (we had to ppull over and slow way down each time we met an oncoming car or bus) street until we came to the boulevard (Avda. España or Avd. Errázuriz—it changes its name) that leads from Valparaiso to Viña del Mar.

As Valparaiso is to the class of poor working men Viña del Mar (which every Chlean calls Viña) is to the rich and wealthy. Although they share the same bay and are a mere 6 miles apart, they are as different as night and day. Viña has a municipal casino, elegant hotels and restaurants, flower-bedecked condos, homes and villas, wide beaches along a scenic, rocky coastline, grand avenues, and chic boutiques.

Before our tour we provided our driver and guide with things we wanted to see in each of the three cities we would be visiting. For Viña we wrote down only two things: 1) the central square, and 2) some of the city’s stately mansions. For a city that is Chile’s main tourist attraction, that isn’t much, however, once on the tour of Viña, you quickly realize what a jewel Viña truly is.

One thing that strikes you immediately is all the greenery. Yes, there are carefully landscaped, wide esplanades, well-groomed parks, gardens, and lawns, but one of Viña’s best-known landmarks, the Flower Clock (in the Plaza del Reloi), which we saw as we entered, reinforces the popular designation of Viña as "the Garden City"—a well-earned, well-deserved title.

The famous Flower Clock has brilliant, multi-colored floral decorations. It is centered around a huge time-piece donated by Switzerland in 1962 during the world cup of soccer held in Chile that year. It was designed by Oscar Martinez Amaro, and the arms of the clock are over 9 feet long.

Flower clocks aren’t unique to Chile or Viña del Mar. In fact, the idea for the flower clock was brought over from Europe. However, the temperate Mediterranean climate means something is almost always in bloom in this coastal city.

I will continue this Valparaiso-Viña essay in a second installment.

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The description and pictures of Valpariso, Chile, at this website are excellent:

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Copyright May, 2013, by And Then Some Publishing LLC

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Quotations by Richard L. Weaver II

Think not that you may look a fool. Think, rather, what this situation teaches.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

And Then Some News

The first paragraph of Thursday's essay, "Valparaiso and Viña del Mar I: Opposites attract," reads as follows:

From the 16th deck of our docked ship we could see the hills surrounding Valparaiso. Our first view was before daylight, and the city sparkled with its salmon-colored street lights that twinkle, glimmer, and glitter from the hills. Then, as the sun rose and bathed the hills in a warm glow, we spotted the Esmeralda, a replica of a Chilean battleship used in the War of the Pacific, when Chile fought and defeated Peru and Bolivia.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work

By Chip Heath & Dan Heath

Book review by Richard L. Weaver II, Ph.D.

The first thing that catches your attention in this new book by the Heath brothers is their writing. It captures your attention from the outset, and it holds it throughout the book. They are—flat out—terrific writers.

But it isn’t just the writing, to be sure, it is their use of examples to make their points. The examples are engaging and not only are they interesting in and of themselves, they very effectively make the points the Heaths are trying to make. In other words, the examples are sales tools for their ideas.

In addition to the examples is the research. They weave research results into the narrative throughout the book so effectively, so judiciously, and so effortlessly that it is hardly noticeable. Incidentally, if you check out the resources published in their 26 pages of "Endnotes" you will discover a wide range of sources from Psychological Science to Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, from the Journal of the American Medical Association to the Academy of Management Journal, from the Quarterly Journal of Economics to Basic and Applied Social Psychology, and from USA Today to numerous online sources. The range is as broad as it is deep—and always impressive.

Let me mention, too, an outstanding addition to this book that I have not seen previously. The Heaths include a one-page summary of each chapter in the page immediately following the end of the chapter. Not only does this offer a great summary and reminder, but it clearly demonstrates how beautifully organized each chapter is.

As an aside, I reviewed their book, Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die—which Time said was "A how-to for anyone with good ideas who wants to captivate an audience—and that excellent book was the inspiration for my speech, "Sticky Ideas: Low-Tech Solutions to a High-Tech Problem" which was published in Vital Speeches of the Day (August 1, 2007, pp. 73-78), and then, with my permission, became one of the "Speeches for Analysis and Discussion" (along with Martin Luther King’s "I Have a Dream" speech) in one of the best-selling public-speaking textbooks, Public Speaking: An Audience-Centered Approach, 8th ed., by Steven A. and Susan J. Beebe. I mention this as an indication of the power and effectiveness of the Heath’s ideas. Decisive is no exception.

There are a number of new and excellent ideas in this book. Some are captured in this summary paragraph:

"Throughout the book, we’ve discussed ways of nudging, prodding, and inspiring groups to make better decisions. Seeking out one more option. Finding someone else who’s solved our problem. Asking, ‘What would have to be true for you to be right?’ Ooching [I love that word!] as a way to dampen politics. Making big decisions based on core priorities. Running premortems and preparades. Laying down tripwires. Using these techniques will improve the results of your group decisions" (p. 239).

This is an outstanding book for many reasons, and having written about small-group problem solving for close to forty years, it makes a substantial contribution to the body of knowledge that supports the process, offers specific methods for improving efficiency, and suggests a number of steps—with excellent supporting examples—of ways to increase decision-making effectiveness.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Friday Humor

Two nuns are ordered to paint a room in the convent, with a warning from the Mother Superior not to get even a drop of paint on their habits. After conferring about this, the two nuns decide to lock the door of the room, strip off their habits, and paint naked...

In the middle of the project, there's a knock at the door."Who is it?" calls one of the nuns. "Blind man," replies a voice from the other side of the door. The two nuns look at each other and shrug, both deciding that no harm can come from letting a blind man into the room.

They open the door. "Nice boobs," says the man. "Where do you want the blinds?"

A woman gets on a bus with her baby. The bus driver says: ''Ugh, that's the ugliest baby I've ever seen!'' The woman walks to the rear of the bus and sits down, fuming. She says to a man next to her: ''The driver just insulted me!'' The man says: ''You go up there and tell him off. Go on, I'll hold your monkey for you.''

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Cruise #11 - Some Random Observations

We have just one "At Sea" day remaining before we dock in Valparaiso, Chile, and take a private tour of Valparaiso, Viña del Mar, and Santiago. I plan to write my final South American essay only after taking the final tour—probably (and, as I type this essay into the computer—definitely) after I get home. Here, however, I will make some random observations as this eleventh cruise winds down—observations that must be made before the cruise ends (or I’ll forget them!)

Cruising from Rio de Janeiro Brazil, to Valparaiso, Chile (5,295.75 statute miles), is truly an exotic trip, and considering how far we have traveled and how much we have seen, we have had remarkably good weather. Right now (3:00 p.m., March 1, 2012), the sun is out, the sky is blue, and the ship is rocking and rolling over the Pacific Ocean swells. With the exception of precipitation and fog around Cape Horn, we have enjoyed terrific weather throughout.

It is really hard to imagine what a cruise like this is going to entail before taking it. Our cruise director just informed us that the "Destination Anywhere" show (put on by the Princess singers and dancers) scheduled for the Princess Theater tonight is being moved to tomorrow night. Why? The extensive movement of the ship makes that show too dangerous for the singers and dancers in the show. I find this occurrence symbolic of what can take place on a cruise—like missing Ushuaia and yet seeing some outstanding glaciers. Cruising, like almost any traveling one does, is not totally predictable..

When I came to sit down at the table where I am currently writing, I asked the couple moving from this table, if they were leaving. They had no idea what I was saying and said to me in hesitant, barely understandable, broken English, that they knew no English. We have met a large number of people on this cruise who speak a foreign language (mostly Spanish or Portuguese). All ship announcements are made first in English, then they are repeated in Spanish. They understood what I was saying when I used nonverbal communication instead.

It is quiet in Skywalker’s Nightclub. (I have found my sanctuary!), but I have to admit, I do not miss all the activities that take place onboard (are arranged to entertain passengers), such as pilates, trivia contests, whist, "burn fat faster" seminars, golf tournaments, bingo, aroma therapy, spa activities, bridge, learn a new language (Spanish), blackjack, dodge ball, lousy movies (most of them are designed for kids!), line dancing, art auctions, posture analysis, flower making, ceramics, fun in the swimming pool, and tours of the ship. My wife and I stick to the port and other educational lectures. Our only complaint is that the cruise entertainment director, Sammi, often schedules activities my wife and I might enjoy attending—like learning certain ballroom dancing steps (like the tango)—at exactly the same time as the lectures.

Two options have occurred to us on this cruise that we can contemplate the future. The first has to do with giving lectures onboard. My experiences in lecturing could be tailored to fit most any audience, and the lectures on many of our cruises leave something to be desired! Second, we have heard of people who cruise the rest of their lives. That is, cruising may be cheaper than a "retirement home," and all your medical expenses, food, laundry and dry cleaning expenses are fully covered. You could see the world (several times), and travel forever!

We wondered as we began this cruise (and as we planned for it as well), if it might be a bit boring, or, if there might be too many sea days. We are currently on the middle one of 3 between Punta Arenas and Valparaiso—the end of our cruise. I can see how some people could be bored. Most on this cruise are readers. Whether they are up here, sitting somewhere between, or on decks 5, 6, or 7 in the Atrium, sitting in the open hallways outside Explorer’s Lounge, or sitting in the Vista Lounge or the Princess Theater waiting for a show to start, many are reading. We always come prepared and equipped—as most do—and what a relaxing, enjoyable, and encouraging atmosphere in which to read and, in my case, write. The additional feature I have noticed is how many are now using iPads, iPods, Kindles (or other technological equipment) for their reading.

We have tried not to repeat any travel destinations, and this one is especially noteworthy. I wouldn’t even kiss the shiny toe of Calafate, one of the Fuegian statues at the base of Hernando de Magallanes monument in the Central Plaza at Punta Arenas, because if you plant a kiss on the toe, it will one day bring you back to Punta Areas! Why take a chance

Seeing Rio de Janeiro, Montevideo, Buenos Aires, Stanley (Falkland Islands), Punta Arenas, Valparaiso, Viña del Mar, and Santiago were worth visiting. Even rounding Cape Horn was a unique adventure, and my wife and I each have a certificate to prove we "rounded the Horn" —but to come back? To do it again? I don’t think so! Our goal has always been to see as much as we can in the time that we have (and considering the finances we have!) then move on.

On all our past large-ship-cruise experiences, we have found a venue onboard where we can dance. It has even led to us identifying with a couple of bands, duos, trios, and one Italian singer. This cruise has been an exception. We hound one band—the Vintage Band—that can and occasionally has played rock n’ roll, but, for the most part, the band has catered to our Latin American passengers. On a couple of evenings we listened for over a half-hour and all the band played were rhumbas, mambos, cha-chas, sambas, and tangoes. There were, at times, many dancers, but those who do not dance to the Latin rhythms, were left out.

One other band, the B’Aires Quartet, plays in the Wheelhouse Bar, but it is a small venue with a small dance floor, and by the time we get there, the chairs are occupied and the floor is full of dancers. Perhaps, we are too picky, but we’ve not had this problem previously.

We are not complainers! We have had great meals—it has been absolutely outstanding every night—and we have access to MSNBC Live on the television in our cabin—usually we get FOX along with CNN, but this time it is FOX (unfortunately!) along with our favorite station—and we have been to extraordinary places—including rounding Cape Horn—so, as this cruise winds down, we can truly say that, once again, we have had an exceptional, and truly memorable, cruise.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Quotations by Richard L. Weaver II

You need a break. The pace and chaos of daily life exerts stresses and pressures too much for the average human being to bear. A vacation offers time to reorient your senses, to rethink your priorities, and to straighten out your thinking.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

And Then Some News

The first paragraph of Thursday's essay, "Cruise #11 - II - Some reactions as our cruise ends," reads as follows:

We have just one "At Sea" day remaining before we dock in Valparaiso, Chile, and take a private tour of Valparaiso, Viña del Mar, and Santiago. I plan to write my final South American essay only after taking the final tour—probably (and, as I type this essay into the computer—definitely) after I get home. Here, however, I will make some random observations as this eleventh cruise winds down—observations that must be made before the cruise ends (or I’ll forget them!)

Monday, May 20, 2013

If You Want to Write: A Book about Art, Independence and Spirit: A Book about Art, Independence and Spirit

By Brenda Ueland

Book review by Richard L. Weaver II, Ph.D.

I had no knowledge of Brenda Ueland and knew nothing about this book when I picked it up. What caught my attention was the title, If You Want to Write, simply because my son Anthony and I were involved in a writing project, and I was looking for additional insights and suggestions. Honestly, I didn’t even know the author was dead and that the book had been written in 1938—seventy-five years ago at this writing. What a surprise!

It was indeed a pleasant surprise since it is a terrific book, and Ueland’s philosophy as both teacher and writer is spot on. Look at the following two paragraphs first as an example of her straightforward writing and, second, as an illustration of the philosophy by which she stands and promotes throughout her book:

"But I do not mean to tell you: ‘Look at this. Do like this. This is good, the other is bad.’ Not at all! I am saying that all people have this power in them to write greatly and well when they express freely and carelessly what is true to THEM.

"If like most teachers and critics I just said: ‘Now this is really good! Study this!’ and praised it to the limit, then you would try to write like it, and then it would not be any good at all. No, write from yourself" (p. 77).

Now, that is excellent teaching, and one of the first things you will notice in this book is how many examples of great writing Ueland offers readers. It is clear—just from the examples she chooses—that she truly does have an eye for scintillating prose.

In my book, Public Speaking Rules—All You Need for a GREAT speech! I offer readers the fundamentals—the nuts-and-bolts rules necessary for giving a great speech—but then (unlike many rule books!), I offer readers Chapter 12, "Break the Rules!" I’m certain Ueland would agree that "Rules give beginners guidance; exceptions to the rules make ‘greatness."—the quotation used to begin my Chapter 12. Just as Ueland’s delightful book, Public Speaking Rules is designed to motivate, encourage, and inspire. That is why I found her book so engaging: We are both operating from exactly the same base.

One of the reasons why Ueland’s book has been so successful and why so many love it so much, is captured in the final paragraph in chapter 9 (and underscored throughout the book, to be sure), "But thousands and thousands of people, all people, have the same light in them, have their own creative power within, if they would only come to see it, respect it, and let it out" (p. 79). That is not only a powerful incentive for any reader, it is motivational, encouraging, enlightening, and, too, inspirational. Look at the last word of the subtitle to the book: Spirit. This is a book about freeing your spirit.

What is not thought about nor captured in most of the reviews of this book, is how it pushes readers to sit down and write. Ueland is so convinced we all have the creative ability to do it, and her instructions are so down-to-earth and specific, and her examples are so within the reach of each of her readers, it just makes you WANT TO write. It emboldens you to put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard simply because she assures you that the tools are there waiting for use. Not only are they within reach, but they are ready to be used as well. Useland writes, as her final sentence of the book, "And if it [this book] has given you the impulse to write one small story, then I am pleased" (p. 156).

You would think, as a writer for over forty years, that I would find little here that is new—that there would be little here for experienced writers. And you would be wrong! Writers—any writer, just ask one—are always looking to grow, develop, and change within or as a result of their craft. Just look at the amount of time any athlete spends in practicing. Tiger Woods, the world’s number-one golfer at this writing (March 29, 2013), talks about how he improves his swing, or perfects his putting, and he always has coaches alongside to give him advice and counsel—and tweak his already well-honed skills. Learning is an on-going process that is fueled by awareness, perception, openness, investigation, research, intuition, scrutiny, meticulous dissection, and good judgment. Ueland is the coach I want on MY sidelines! She is gentle not brutal, understanding yet challenging, sensitive although demanding, and tough yet inspiring.

The following passage, among many to be sure, is what makes this book great:

"But always remember that the true self is never a fixed thing. You can never say: ‘Good. Today I find at last what I am really like: splendid type!’ You cannot say that because the true self is always in motion—like music, a river of life, changing , moving, failing, suffering, learning, shining. That is why you must freely and recklessly make new mistakes—in writing or in life—and do not dwell on them but move on and write more. . ." (p. 99).

The dozen ideas (pp. 154-155) Ueland offers readers "if you want to write" are worth the price of the book alone because they contain the kernels of greatness, but not only that, "Because," in Ueland’s words, "there is nothing that makes people so generous, joyful, lively, bold, and compassionate, so indifferent to fighting and the accumulation of objects and money" (p. 155). This book is a precious jewel which, like any priceless gem, can be treasured over and over, not just for the wonderful advice, the excellent examples, but for the inspiration to write.


Saturday, May 18, 2013

LAUGH . . . And Then Some!

Clancy goes up to Father O'Grady after his Sunday morning service, and she's in tears. He says, "So what's bothering you, dear?"

She says, "Oh, Father, I've got terrible news. My husband passed away last night."

The priest says, "Oh, Mary, that's terrible! Tell me, Mary, did he have any last requests?"

She says, "That he did, Father..."

The priest says, "What did he ask, Mary?"

She says, "He said, "Please, Mary, put down that damn gun...""

Laugh Like There's No Tomorrow: Over 2,000 jokes from the Internet, Volume 2

From Day #45 in a second complete manuscript compiled by Richard L. Weaver II

Friday, May 17, 2013

Friday Humor

Morris, an 82 year-old man, went to the doctor to get a physical. A few days later, the doctor saw Morris walking down the street with a gorgeous young woman on his arm. A couple of days later, the doctor spoke to Morris and said, 'You're really doing great, aren't you?' Morris replied, 'Just doing what you said, Doc: 'Get a hot mamma and be cheerful.''
The doctor said, 'I didn't say that.. I said, 'You've got a heart murmur; be careful.'

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Berth Control: Denial of Docking Privleges in Ushuaia, Argentina

On page 6 in the March 12, 2012, issue of Newsweek magazine, the small item under the heading "NewsBeast: International" and subtitled, "Berth Control," reads as follows: "The rapidly capsizing relations between Argentina and Britain plumbed new depths when two British-flagged cruise liners were refused docking at the Argentine port city of Ushuaia. The behemoths had visited Port Stanley, in the disputed Falkland Islands, on their way to Argentina. Irate business owners in Ushuaia, denied an invasion of 3,250 free-spending vacationers, accused authorities of ‘economic suicide.’"

Having seen this note in Newsweek, I decided to Google this issue, and the Internet is full of responses. Sue Bryant, Cruise Critic contributing editor, in an online article, "Argentina turns away two cruise ships in Falkland Islands dispute," writes, "A spokeswoman for P&O Cruises said the official reason given for Adonia being denied entry to the port was ‘due to the ship having been in the Falkland Islands on Saturday.’ Adonia is on an 87-night round South American cruise."

"The port from which a ship has just departed is usually not a point of contention," writes Bryant, "But 30 years after the Falklands War [war was never declared; it is called a "conflict"], the dispute between Britain and Argentina over sovereignty of the islands is threatening to boil over again. To that end, the Argentine government has recently issued a decree that all ships traveling between Argentina and the Falklands now need its permission to do so."

"The antagonism works both ways," Bryant continues, "In January, Star Princess was refused entry to Port Stanley, ostensibly because it had a small outbreak of norovirus onboard, but suspicions arose that the ship was turned away because it was carrying some Argentine passengers."

In an online article (February 27, 2012), "Argentina turns away UK cruise ships," by James Meikle and Uki Goni in Buenos Aires, writing for The Guardian, add another dimension to this story. "The incidents came as Britain’s formal announcement of a huge marine protection area around South Georgia and the South Sandwhich Islands threatened to further ratchet up ill-feeling in Buenos Aires."

Meikle and Goni continue, "Arturo Puricelli, the Argentine defense minister, said in December when the plans first became clear that it was ‘nothing more and nothing less than an attempt under the cover of protecting the environment to usurp a larger area.’

And they mention, too, the Prince William situation: "His government [the Argentine government] also regards the deployment of Prince William to the Falklands with the 30th anniversary of the war approaching as provocative."

There is more, too: "The ships were turned away," these two writers claim, "by application of a Tierra del Fuego law passed six months ago which bans the docking of British miliary ships or ships involved in ‘the exploration or exploitation of natural resources’ in the South Atlantic area."

At the BBC News web site , it was stated, "Argentinian press reported the incident marked the first time the authorities had enforced a law passed last August that prohibited British ships or vessels partly belonging to British companies docking in Argentina."

How did all of this come about? Meikle and Goni seem to have at least one answer: "Tierra de Fuego governor Fabiana Rios is said to have applied a wide interpretation of the new law at the request of 1982 war veterans." At least we now have someone to blame!

In the same article, the concluding paragraph raises the same issue I raised (and will cite in the conclusion to this essay even though it is redundant), "‘If we mean to cause some damage to the British, we have actually damaged all those who would have worked with that ship today,’ complained Marcelo Lieti, head of the Ushuaia Tourism Chamber."

This is the entry I wrote in my notes on February 26, 2012: "As we cruise now for three days prior to reaching Valparaiso, I have only one more brief observation. By denying our ship and the Adonis entry into Argentina, the government has denied its merchants, vendors, and tour operators a significant amount of income. We think it may be a ‘tit for tat’ reaction to the fact that Prince William is now in the Falklands for helicopter training and the ‘strike’ by the container-ship personnel may have been a ruse to keep all these passengers from revolting!! We don’t know why the government made this decision, but it goes back 30 years to the conflict between Britain and Argentina in the Falklands in 1982. Argentina, to this day believes that the Falkland Islands (they call them the Malvinas) belong to them.

This is truly an example of hypocrisy. We traveled from Montevideo, Uruguay, across the Rio de la Plate River to Buneos Aires, Argentina, and had no trouble getting permission to enter or dock there—with a well-known, well-advertised, and well-traveled agenda of heading to the Falkland Islands as our next stop. Why deny Ushuaia its due economic gains while granting Buenos Aires theirs?

It’s too bad that the government can’t bifurcate this issue. That is, if they separate politics from economics, the situation can be easily defined and resolved. It is truly a political decision, but why deny your own people their rightful economic rewards?

The BBC News web site cited earlier reported: "The Foreign Office said it was very concerned to hear the two ships had been refused access to Ushuaia.

"A spokesman said: ‘There can be no justification for interference in free and legitimate commerce. British diplomats in Argentina are urgently seeking to clarify the circumstances surrounding this incident.’

"The FO's travel advice at present reads: ‘We are currently not advising against travel to Argentine ports, but strongly advise operators to check with local agents before traveling.’"

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Wikipedia has one of the best explanations and descriptions of the Falklands War at its website:

On June 14, 2012, the article headline reads, "Argentina President Renews Claim to Falkland Islands," and the article appears at The Guardian website:

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Copyright May, 2013, by And Then Some Publishing LLC

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Quotations by Richard L. Weaver II

You know character from conversation.

Your features, qualities, properties, and traits, lays a path so clear, well-defined, and unmistakable, that your character is revealed whether you say a word or not.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

And Then Some News

The first paragraph of Thursday's essay, "Berth control: Denial of docking privileges in Ushuaia," reads as follows:

On page 6 in the March 12, 2012, issue of Newsweek magazine, the small item under the heading "NewsBeast: International" and subtitled, "Berth Control," reads as follows: "The rapidly capsizing relations between Argentina and Britain plumbed new depths when two British-flagged cruise liners were refused docking at the Argentine port city of Ushuaia. The behemoths had visited Port Stanley, in the disputed Falkland Islands, on their way to Argentina. Irate business owners in Ushuaia, denied an invasion of 3,250 free-spending vacationers, accused authorities of ‘economic suicide.’"

Monday, May 13, 2013

Vex, Hex, Smash, Smooch: Let Verbs Power Your Writing

By Constance Hale

Book review by Richard L. Weaver II, Ph.D.

A smooch for Hale. She defined her "Smooch"—a section she uses to end each chapter—as an opportunity for "showcasing writing that is so good you’ll want to kiss its creator" (p. 18). Her book features "juicy words, sentences that rock, and subjects that startle" (. 18).

Hear ye, hear ye, hear ye! Calling all readers, writers, and connoisseurs of the English language—don’t overlook this book. It is one of the richest, most edifying, thought provoking, thoroughly engrossing, sumptuously satisfying, and completely entertaining books I have read.

With 17 pages of splendid notes, a fabulous "Selected Bibliography" (10 pages), and 36 pages of appendices, Hale offers readers all they need (and more!) of resources. In books of this nature, one thrill comes from the tremendous depth of understanding Hale reveals and another from the breadth of knowledge displayed. I am immediately reminded of Roy Peter Clark’s, The Glamour of grammar: A guide to the magic and mystery of practical English (another 5-star book that I previously reviewed for Amazon). In my mind, both books are "must reads"—and for many of the same reasons.

Hale’s language is delightful and her instructions specific and to the point. Here is but one morsel as an example: "Are we splitting hairs? No. Graceful style requires graceful words. Precision requires nuance. Take utilize, a distinct word having a distinct sense: ‘to turn to practical use or account.’ It suggests a deliberate decision or an effort to employ something or someone for a practical purpose. If what you mean to say is "use," utilize is a pretentious substitute" (p. 97). Valuable for her directness; invaluable for her insight.

Hale’s previous book, Sin and Syntax, has received 57 reviews (02-17-13) at Amazon and has received a 4.5 star (out of 5) rating. In addition, Hale has excellent credentials with which to write these books, but you don’t need me to tell you that since any single page in this 296-page (of text material) book fully reveals her qualifications. Her articles and essays have appeared in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Examiner, The Atlantic, Smithsonian, Wired, and Health. But, the fact that she has taught at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University and at UC Berkeley Extension (all from the back flyleaf), is especially relevant because so much of the book reveals her deep interest in educating readers—just as she instructed her students. Her "Try, Do, Write, Play" sections scattered throughout each chapter are so practical and valuable. They will challenge serious readers—those interested in developing their writing skills as well as those who seek to polish, hone, and perfect already present abilities—to pursue writing through well-thought-out projects and activities. There is no question that Hale envisioned the use of her book in writing classes; however, allow yourself to be your own instructor, and let Hale be your teacher. The guidance she offers is outstanding.

So many captivating examples, such a wonderful narrative, so much high-quality writing, this should become part of your library, a reference book that will help you every time you open it. There are new insights on every page, and Hale makes learning English a joy. She takes readers by the hand and gently—with great understanding, respect, and care—leads them toward crafting their own style. "A stylish writer," Hale says, "has a command of language, literary devises, supple sentences, and tone—as well as a distinctive voice" (p. 293).

What Hale does, however, is to take readers beyond the parts of a sentence—beyond the proper use of verbs, for example—and, in the end, helps them develop their writing style, a style that underscores and complements the subject at hand. (p. 294) After all, that’s what it’s all about—making our words "dance in our every sentence" (p. 296).

Anyone interested in words will benefit from her language lessons. She truly lives up to her promise: "You’ll have a chance to understand how a particular verb can bend your writing in a new way, or how a particular aspect of syntax can allow you to write sad, write sexy, write mad, write funny, write brave, write eloquent" (p. 18).

Hale deserves not just a smooch, but a magnificent, awe-inspiring, one-of-a-kind, monumental kiss that possesses some enduring, immutable, and everlasting significance. Can anyone really measure-up to that standard? Hale does.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Friday Humor

Hospital regulations require a wheel chair for patients being discharged. However, while working as a student nurse, I found one elderly gentleman already dressed and sitting on the bed with a suitcase at his feet, who insisted he didn't need my help to leave the hospital.
After a chat about rules being rules, he reluctantly let me wheel him to the elevator. On the way down I asked him if his wife was meeting him.
'I don't know,' he said. 'She's still upstairs in the bathroom changing out of her hospital gown.'

Thursday, May 9, 2013

A virtual tour of Ushua, Argentina

(Please be aware as you read this essay that we were neither allowed into the country of Argentina nor allowed to dock in Ushuaia on this cruise---because we had previously visited the Falkland Islands (and Argentina is still fighting their war against the Islands).  What you will read here is a virtual tour of the city—as if we had visited it, but we did not!)

Ushuaia (pronounced oo-shoo-AYE-ah) is an Italian word meaning "a bay penetrating westward."—the port we missed—is a city of 80,000 people and is the southernmost city on earth and forms the end of the Panamerican Highway. I have written this "virtual tour" of the city as if we had visited it.

We docked at the Puerto Ushuaia and rightly chose to take a self-guided walking tour of the downtown area, however, the location of the port (Ushuaia overlooks the Beagle Channel) is truly picturesque. The city is set against a backdrop of snow-capped, densely forested peaks, the Martial Mountains, and the view you get is spectacular with glittering seas, glacier-clad mountains, and the last islands of the continent.

The city has long been described as the southernmost city in the world. According to

Wikipedia, "While there are settlements farther south, the only one of any notable size is Puerto Williams, a Chilean settlement of some 2000 residents (mostly families of the nearby military bases). As a center of population, commerce, and culture, and as a town of significant size and importance, Ushuaia however clearly qualifies as a city."

Tourist attractions in the area include the Tierra del Fuego National Park and Lapataia Bay. The park can be reached by highway, or via the End of the World Train (Tren del Fin del Mundo) from Ushuaia. The city has a museum of Yámana, English, and Argentine settlements, including its years as a prison colony. Wildlife attractions include local birds, penguins, seals, and orcas, many of these species colonizing islands in the Beagle Channel.

There are daily bus and boat tours to Estancia Harberton, the Bridges family compound. One reviewer at Trip , had this to say about their visit to Estancia Harberton:
"...Exploring its buildings and hiking trails, seeing its involvement in marine research, the many wildlife sightings, including a beaver, sleeping in the shepherds’ house, and absorbing the family’s inspiring past – far exceeded our high expectations. Every aspect of the adventure was unique from the moment that we arrived by boat and were met by Gaston, our personal concierge, to our departure two days later. The food is plentiful and delicious, and the service outstanding. The scenery is pristine and stunning. We came to hike, and weren’t disappointed. We spent one wonderful day hiking with Gaston to an enchanting river gorge, where we enjoyed a picnic and sat mesmerized by the rushing water – with no one within miles of us. Our last day, we took a boat to penguin island and had a marvelous time watching the penguins up close. Most special of all though was spending time talking to the owners, Natalie and Thomas Goodall about Natalie’s research and Thomas’ ancestors. Wow! We came away truly touched by the whole special experience."

There are also tours that visit the Les Eclaireurs Lighthouse. Les Eclaireurs is sometimes confused with the "Lighthouse at the End of the World" (Faro del fin del mundo) made famous by Jules Verne in the novel of the same name; but the latter lies some 200 miles east of Ushuaia on Isla de los Estados (Staten Island).

We chose to stroll about town and spent time browsing through the shops on the main street (Avenida San Martin). We did not sample steaks, fresh seafood, or pizza (we can get pizza onboard our ship!), at one of the many downtown restaurants, and we did not sip a beer at a confiteria while sitting and watching the action of the street.

There are a number of museums in Ushuaia. Some of the passengers roamed through the Territorial Museum, sometimes called Museum at the End of the World (Museo del Fin del Mundo) at the corner of Maipu and Rivadavia Streets. There, we were told, were relics from missionary and early settler days as well as Indian artifacts, and photos of Usuaia and its history.

At there is a complete description of the museum. The site explains what can be found in each of the halls and display cases—along with pictures, I might add—and when you enter one of the rooms, you find yourself in a general store "highlighting the importance of these venues in those days when everything could be bought there, from food to musical instruments, books and clothing."

According to the information on the museum:
"The most impressive exhibit is the famous prison. Located in present Ushuaia Naval Base, the construction of the prisons for first-timers and recidivists began in 1902. The uniforms worn by the wardens and prisoners, as well as other objects are on display.
The remaining halls hold a vast collection of native fauna. The most complete exhibition in Tierra del Fuego comprises one hundred and eighty bird species with specimens from sea, shore and forest ecosystems."

Many of those who visit Ushuaia come for the wildlife. There were tours to Hidden Lake (Lago Escondido), which lies about 30 miles north of Ushuaia and is reached by an unpaved road that crosses the Alvear Mountains.

There are tours, too, of the Beagle Channel or to Tierra del Fuego National Park. The tour of the Beagle Channel is taken aboard a large catamaran that makes stops at the Isla de los Lobos to see sea-lions and fur seals. It stops, too at Bird Island (Isla de los Pajaros) which is a nesting site for marine birds such as grebes, giant fulmars, oystercatchers, as well as cormorants, terns, and gulls. The third stop is at a series of rocks where cormorants have made a home.

Tierra del Fuego is the southernmost national park on earth—240 square miles of very rugged country. This is an area where the timberline is low, glaciers are common, fjords are deep, long, and spectacular, streams and rivers flow year-round, and rugged mountains jut up several thousand feet directly from the ea. Tierra del Fuego is home to several of the world's largest birds, including the rhea, the condor and the albatross. Large animals include guanacos, otters, seals and sea lions.

We enjoyed our brief stay in Ushuaia, but we found the city fairly lacking in distinctiveness. Since we did not take a tour, saw little of nature, and stayed close to the port, we did not get the same feel for the place those who came just for the wildlife might have. None-the-less, we enjoyed the picturesque nature of the city with Mount Olivia as part of the mountainous backdrop of the city.

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Images for Ushuaia, Argentina, are at the website:

Wikipedia offers all the regular entries for different places and spends most of its time on the history of Ushuaia:

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Copyright May, 2013, by And Then Some Publishing LLC

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Quotations by Richard L. Weaver ii

Ahhh, the things of youth, I often revisit, but only in my memories.

By thinking young, you add more years to your life, and, thus, more life to your years.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

And Then Some News

The first paragraph of Thursday's essay, "Ushuaia (a virtual tour), Argentina," reads as follows:

(Please be aware as you read this essay that we were neither allowed into the country of Argentina nor allowed to dock in Ushuaia on this cruise. What you will read here is a virtual tour of the city—as if we had visited it, but we did not!)

Ushuaia (pronounced oo-shoo-AYE-ah) is an Italian word meaning "a bay penetrating westward."—the port we missed—is a city of 80,000 people and is the southernmost city on earth and forms the end of the Panamerican Highway. I have written this "virtual tour" of the city as if we had visited it.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Bitter Brew: The Rise and Fall of anheuser-Busch and America's King of Beer

By William Knoedelseder

Book review by Richard L. Weaver II, Ph.D.

Two impressions came to mind as I was reading this book. The first impression was about the book, Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson—a book I truly enjoyed (and reviewed for Amazon). I was fascinated first by the amazing life of Jobs and, second, by the story-telling ability of Isaacson. The same was true for Bitter Brew. I was totally captivated by the Busch family—all the characters and their idiosyncrasies. In the same way, too, I found the story-telling ability of Knoedelseder truly engrossing. From reading all 366 pages of text, you become totally immersed—delighted, spellbound, almost hypnotized—by the narrative. That is what makes this book so entrancing. Sure, the characters are "one-of-a-kind," but the way Knoedelseder brings them to life charms, bewitches, and beguiles. You just can’t put it down, and when you’re finished with it, you crave more.

The second impression you may find difficult to understand.or appreciate unless you have experienced it for yourself. I have watched the entire "Showcase" presentation of "The Tudors," and I have seen some amazing parallels between the story of the Busch family and that of the Tudor family. It is almost as if the Busches were royalty—and in St. Louis they were certainly treated as such—as well as in many other places, too, I might add. But the partying, drinking, and womanizing that went on in the Tudor family resembles some of what went on in the Busch family, too. And, of course, there is much of the same result from the comment, "power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely." Yes, of course, it is sad to see it happen to anyone, much less families of people, but it is a real adrenaline rush, I have to admit, to have an opportunity to witness it (through a book). It is living vicariously, of course, but what an absolute, totally engrossing, throughly entertaining, opportunity.

Incidentally, I will not be at all surprised that a movie isn’t made of this book (perhaps, along with the book Dethroning the King—which I have not read). It would make a fabulous series for "Showcase," much as "The Tudors" was. It has all the elements: drugs, guns, sex, power, money, cops, murder, sports, mansions, private jets and helicopters, cover-ups, media reporters, and mis-behavior. How entertaining would that be?

Friday, May 3, 2013

Friday Humor

An elderly couple had dinner at another couple's house, and after eating, the wives left the table and went into the kitchen. The two gentlemen were talking, and one said, 'Last night we went out to a new restaurant and it was really great. I would recommend it very highly.'
The other man said, 'What is the name of the restaurant?' The first man thought and thought and finally said, 'What’s the name of that flower you give to someone you love? You know, the one that's red and has thorns.'
'Do you mean a rose?'
'Yes, that's the one,' replied the man. He then turned towards the kitchen and yelled, 'Rose, what's the name of that restaurant we went to last night?'

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Cape Horn and the Glaciers

The waters around Cape Horn are particularly hazardous, and we saw on YouTube photos, pictures of ships traversing these waters. Then for 10-15 minutes prior to a lecture on Cape Horn, by Professor Karl Fox on the Star Princess, he showed slides of large ships rounding Cape Horn in rough weather. It can be treacherous, to say the least.

Why are the waters around Cape Horn hazardous? There are strong winds. Winds get funneled—intensified—as they get wedged in the 400 mile area between the land masses of Antarctica and South America (Tierra del Fuego). Also, there are large waves (this is where the waters of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans meet), strong currents, and icebergs. Because of these dangers, the area has become notorious as a sailor’s graveyard.

In two separate lectures, Professor Fox reassured us that we would be safe, and he gave us four reasons to reassure us. First, it is the right season. There are four months (November through February) that, in general, are safe (the summer months). No passenger ships go through the region (Cape Horn) during the winter months.

The second reason why we would be especially safe is that our ship is large. Fox said that our ship was larger than World War II aircraft carriers. Closely related to the second reason is the third: Our ship is equipped with powerful engines that can face down the wind and currents.

The fourth reason we did not need to worry had to do with the stability of our ship. Large gyroscopes maintain its stability—a system not even available on most of the early ships.

Cape Horn (Cabo de Hornos) is named after the city of Hoorn in the Netherlands and is the southernmost headland of the Tierra del Fuego archipelago of southern Chile. It marks the northern boundary of the Drake Passage.

The Drake Passage was a major milestone on the clipper route by which sailing ships carried trade (e.g., wool, grain, and gold) around the world. It was the opening of the Panama Canal in 1914 that reduced the importance of and need for the Drake Passage.

Looking up the Drake Passage on Wikipedia, I found this interesting piece of trivia: "There is no significant land anywhere around the world at the latitudes of the Drake Passage, which is important to the unimpeded flow of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current which carries a huge volume of water (about 600 times the flow of the Amazon River) through the Passage and around Antarctica."

Cape Horn is actually a small island (Hornos Island), and it was only in 1624 that it was discovered to be an island. Despite the fact that the Drake Passage was used as a major shipping route for 200 years, Antarctica was discovered only as recently as 1820.

On the day we rounded Cape Horn (Sunday, February 26, 2012), cruising west and south from the Falkland Islands on a direct course towards the Tierra del Fuego region of Argentina, we experienced fog, rain, hail, then snow, but only a two-force wind (out of 8). To cruise around the island we first passed on the northerly side in the Atlantic Ocean, turned south along the spires of rock that reminded us of the twelve apostles in southern Australia and into the Pacific Ocean. Those spires are the most northwesterly extremity, which ends in twin peaks which resemble towers or horns. Our final turn was east along in front of the horn itself as we cruised back into the Atlantic from the Pacific. The area known as Cape Horn is a pointed, granite mountain that is bare of trees or foliage and, honestly, is more symbolic than impressive.

At Cape Horn, we were at a south latitude of 56-degrees, which is the equivalent, at a northern latitude, of being in Edinburgh, Scotland, or in Ketchican, Alaska. At Cape Horn, too, our ship had traveled 2,661 nautical miles since Rio de Janeiro.

Once clear of Cape Horn, we were to head on to Port William for Argentinean immigration clearance and then on to the next port of call, Ushuaia, but an interesting thing happened in the evening of February 26, 2012.

Normally, the captain of our ship does not broadcast his messages directly into passenger cabins; however, for this announcement, he made an exception.

The captain came on the loudspeaker and told us that a container ship was occupying our dock space in Ushuaia, and the ship’s workers were on strike. The captain said he hoped that the conflict would be resolved during the night and that the container ship will have moved from its dock position by 8:00 a.m. when we were scheduled to dock.

It was 7:30 a.m., again in our cabin, that the captain came on the loudspeaker. First, he apologized for the in-cabin intrusion. Then, he said, "Unfortunately, things have taken a turn for the worse." The captain said, "because our ship visited the Falkland Islands prior to coming to Argentina, we would not be allowed to dock, or even gain entry into Argentina." He added that the Adonia, a ship that had followed the same route as our own (coming from the Falklands), would also be denied—as if that would make us feel better!

At the time we heard this second announcement, we were unaware of the tradeoff that had
taken place (albeit a forced tradeoff). Because we would be unable to take a walk around Ushuaia and spend a full day there, leaving at dusk, we would instead cruise slowly along the Beagle Channel (named for the ship that carried Charles Darwin on his voyage of discovery in 1831-1836), during daylight hours and, thus, be able to see the five glaciers along the Channel.

Traveling directly west on the Northeast Arm of the Beagle Channel, we saw the Holanda,
Italia, Francia, Alemania, Romanche, and España glaciers—each one distinctive and each one impressive as well.

Although the personnel (staff) on the ship had been traveling from Santiago/Valparaison to Rio de Janeiro and back for the past three or four months, none had seen the glaciers along the Beagle Channel because it was normally traversed at dusk or night and at great speed. They travel along the Channel quickly to get through as much of it as possible with some (even minimal daylight). It is narrow and unmarked.

At two of the glaciers along Beagle Channel, our 950 foot long, 118 foot wide, with a draught of 27.7 feet, and weighing 73,347 ton ship, made a 360-degree turn so both sides of the ship could have a full view. One thing the captain told us in one of his announcements was that the Channel itself is as deep as the mountains on either side (especially the eastern side) were tall.

Speaking of the glaciers we saw, as the final entry for this essay, let me quote from the "Log of the Cruise" regarding what we did on February 29, 2012, our first day "At Sea" from Punta Arenas to Valparaiso:
"At 05:20 Star Princess exited the Magellan Strait and proceeded out into the Pacific Ocean and at 06:52 altered course to the north. At 08:49 we altered course to the east heading for Nelson Channel then the Canal Garcia Dominquez and shortly after we altered our course towards Amalia Glacier. At 15:00 (3 p.m.) we were in front of the Glacier, at 15:09 we swung our bow to starboard and at 1542 the ship was leaving the glacier area. At 21:40 (9:40 p.m.—well after dark) Star Princess exited the Canal Trinidad into the Pacific Ocean. At 23:26 we altered course to the North following the coast of Chile."
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There are a large number of Cape Horn images at:


Wikipedia has an excellent article on Cape Horn ( ), and the section I found most interesting is that on "Shipping Hazards." Once you read it you will know why passenger ships do not round the Horn during all seasons. Our ship was the last to go around for the season (late February—remember that seasons are reversed in South America).

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Copyright May, 2013, by And Then Some Publishing LLC


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Quotations by Richard L. Weaver II

When I compiled my book SMOERs---Self-Motivation, Optimism, Encouragement Rules: Daily Reminders for Outstanding Living, I wanted quotations that would drive, activate, and stimulate readers every day of the year.  In the book I included some of my own quotations as well. This book---with a picture of a s'more on the cover---is available at Amazon.

Just as words themselves, pictures, photographs, and other images can deceive.

To admire reveals approval but does not require obedience.

A mature and thoughtful disposition reveals cautious judgment. When you reveal prudence and sagacity, you demonstrate discreet behavior.