Friday, June 28, 2013

Friday Humor

'My therapist says I have a preoccupation with vengeance. We'll see about that.''

Slept like a log last night........ Woke up in the fireplace.

A priest, a rabbi and a vicar walk into a bar. The barman says, ''Is this some kind of joke?''

A sandwich walks into a bar. The same barman says ''Sorry we don't serve food in here''

The other day I sent my girlfriend a huge pile of snow. I rang her up, I said ''Did you get my drift?''.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

EXOTIC DESTINATIONS: Stories of Adventures from Around the World

When I lived in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), I mentioned to a friend my plan to travel south to Chittagong, Bangladesh, and the woman to whom I was speaking said, "I would never go there, it’s too dirty." (Many cities in that part of the world are notorious for sacred cows walking free through the streets, pickpockets and beggars, trash and litter.)

When I showed a department-store clerk a 20-yuan note, (worth $3.05 U.S.) and told her I had just returned from Beijing, Southeast Asia, she said, "You know, I’ve never had any desire to leave this country." I responded saying, "It is a positive experience, and it makes you proud to be an American." (It is Essay #39, "Proud to be an American" (pp. 246-251), in the book Exotic Destinations.)

The department-store clerk continued by saying, "Oh, I would never want to go there! . . . But I’m not much of a traveler anyway." This same trip came up in a discussion with close friends, and they said, "We would never do something so risky."

I have never been averse to new experiences, unique opportunities, and potentially exciting encounters.

It needs to be said here that at no point in our many travels (and excursions), have we ever encountered problems, troubles, difficulties or any kind of risk. Our traveling—in all cases—has been smooth, trouble-free, and easy. "Easy," of course, is a relative word. (When I showed my sister, who was visiting us at the time, my essay entitled, "Cruise Number Ten: Bangkok to Beijing," —published on my blog while she was visiting — she said she would never want to do all the planning necessary to take such a trip. She did not think what we went through could ever be called "easy." The essay, "Cruise Number Ten . . .," discusses the detailed planning we engaged in planning for our Southeast Asia trip. It is essay #18 in the Exotic Destinations book (pp. 108-114).

Our family (the family I grew up in and the family I am now part of), has been around the world, and we have lived in exotic places (i.e., Pakistan, Hawaii, and Australia). There are separate essays on the exotic places we have lived in Part 10 of the Exotic Destinations book, pages 364-383.

I know how unique we are (speaking of both families) with respect to most other people in the world. It is precisely for this reason that some years ago I began
writing about the places we visited and the cruises and trips we took.

When my wife heard I was planning to write a book that chronicled our travels, she did not hesitate to say, "Who would be interested in reading about your experiences?" It is an excellent question, and it needs to be addressed. (The easy answer would have been to say, "I would." But, then, I have a slight bias.)

There are a number of reasons why others might want to read about my experiences. First, many people want to travel and, for a variety of reasons (e.g., time, money, or fear) cannot or do not. They get their satisfaction vicariously, and these essays provide such experiences.

The second reason others may be interested in reading my insights is that when people travel— especially regular travelers—they love to compare their experiences with those of others. Did they feel the same way we did? Did they do something we should have done? Did they get out of this experience just what we did? How did they like it?

A third, more obvious, reason why others might want to read about my travel experiences is to see if any of these places—exotic destinations and more—might be of interest to them. The questions I would be asking would be, Would I want to go there? Would I make these same choices? How might I want to build on what this traveler did or experienced—or repeat his experiences? (Others’ experiences often provide us guidance, suggestions, and opportunities—and that is, certainly, one of the purposes of the collection of essays in the book Exotic Destinations.)

A fourth reason why others might want to read about my experiences is because everything I write about —all of the experiences discussed in the book—are accessible destinations. If others have the time, money, and interest, these are places they can go and, for the same reasons we were lured there, might even want to go. Why not find out about these places before they go?

There is a fifth reason, too. It is a major one in prompting me to put together the collection of essays. Most of the essays have previously been posted on my blog, and the responses to them have been overwhelmingly positive. It was one of my regular readers of my blog who asked the question, "Have you ever thought of putting your travel essays together in a single volume?"

A reason for collecting travel essays which has nothing to do with the question of why others might want to read them, and which is, admittedly, a selfish one is this: To write about our travel experiences becomes a memory aid. Simply put, I remember the experiences better because I have researched and written about them. It is as if the experiences become etched into the marble walls of my brain.

When that question was asked ("Have you ever thought of putting your travel essays together in a single volume?") I didn’t have enough travel essays to fill a book, but that has changed dramatically. Now, the problem has become: Which essays should I not include in the collection. But, I found, that is a nice problem to have. (If Exotic Destinations proves popular, the essays not included there might find their way into a second book of essays on travel.)

One thing that made putting this book together a thrill for me is simply having an opportunity to relive the experiences. That, too, has been one of the great joys of trying to capture all the experiences in writing. At times it has been a bit awkward to find the time to do the writing, but it has always paid off, and I have never regretted it, and now I insist on the time and place to do it. (This is not always easy when traveling, especially when you have many destinations to see and a limited time to do it.)

My notes about my travels have become far more specific and detailed than when I first began writing about them. Also, I have become more focused. For example, many of the details I first wrote about when we began cruising, no longer seem as important—e.g., crew-passenger ratios, the countries from where crew come, and various cabin adornments—all interesting and new at one time but now commonplace.

When I take an excursion in a foreign country now, I am much more aware (than when I first began) of the culture, the people, the various local traditions, unique artifacts, and subtle cultural nuances. These are the very things that bring a foreign culture alive and make the encounter enriching and worth writing about. They, too, are what make each culture or country distinctive. I tried to capture some of that distinctiveness in the essay, "If you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all," which is Essay 24 in Exotic Destinations (pages 148-153).

Perhaps it is just traveling maturity, the accumulation of additional experiences, or simply my observational skills (improved through polishing and honing)—it could be, too, the continued improvement in my ability to take notes on and write about these experiences—but I think I am continuing to improve, learn, and grow.

Having left my formal education behind many, many years ago, I think I am capitalizing on the very things I was so fond of teaching my students. It is not the education, per se, it is what you do later with all of your education that counts. It is the process of learning to learn. All these experiences serve as my own personal educational laboratory and have, thus, helped me add to my knowledge and education.

Another factor that has contributed significantly to my growth is that I am now more relaxed than ever. Previously, I was teaching and writing textbooks. Now, with a single textbook in perpetual revision (Communicating Effectively, 10e (McGraw-Hill, 2012), when I complete work on a new edition, I am through (with the exception of collecting more information) for another couple of years (on a three-year-turn-around time frame), and can truly turn my attention to other things — including relaxation, travel, and writing.

What this has meant for me personally is simple. My attention is no longer divided. I can spend more time writing, give more time to it, and strive at all points, to make it better. Notable improvements have taken place.

One thing that traveling does (until you can’t do it anymore) is whet your appetite for more travel. It’s is almost like trying to eat one potato chip. You just can’t

travel to one destination without wanting to see more and more diverse places! It affects all parts of your body—your thoughts, emotions, and spirit. It permeates your entire system until you once again satisfy the need.

Exotic Destinations represents years and years of traveling. Nobody could accomplish what is represented in this book in just one or two years. We try now to make two major trips each year—one in the spring and one in the fall. Because we have now seen so much and so many places, we have decided (at least in part) to try to be more selective in the choices we make. That is, we are now going to visit those places we have enjoyed and would like to either see again or see more of.

There will be more essays, no doubt about that—since I have a blog that like an appetite, needs fuel. I have a mind, too, that needs to be continually stimulated, and travel experiences are one type of fuel I seek and enjoy. I hope you derive the same pleasure from these travel experiences as I did, and if you do, contact me at and let me know. I would love to hear from you.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Quotations by Richard L. Weaver II

There is a sun. Just a reminder to those who think the world revolves around them.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

And Then Some News

The first paragraph of Thursday's essay, "Exotic Destinations: Stories of Adventures from Around the World," reads as follows:

When I lived in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), I mentioned to a friend my plan to travel south to Chittagong, Bangladesh, and the woman to whom I was speaking said, "I would never go there, it’s too dirty." (Many cities in that part of the world are notorious for sacred cows walking free through the streets, pickpockets and beggars, trash and litter.)

Monday, June 24, 2013

Doctor, Your Patient Will See You Now: Gaining the Upper Hand in Your Medical Care

By Steven Z. Kussin

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

This is a great book full of great advice. Liked other readers, too, I enjoyed Kussin’s sense of humor. It made the reading even more delightful. In addition, his use of examples brilliantly buttresses his ideas, and his exhortations to readers in how to better care for themselves are exemplary — desperately needed.

I loved Kussin’s thesis: Patients need to take responsibility for their doctor’s care by questioning a doctor’s advice, seeking out additional information, and deciding the best approach regarding their care.

Any book designed to empower citizens/patients should be commended. This is an especially good one because Kussin combines his own experience (more than 30 years in practice) with excellent research (20 pages of notes, 2 pages of bibliography, and 9 pages of an appendix, "Best Medical Websites.").

I have three suggestions that will make this book more accessible for members of the general public: 1) Right now, paragraphs are long, and pages are dense and un-inviting. I would suggest making the paragraphs shorter so that when you turn to a page, it is not so daunting and intimidating.

The second suggestion follows directly from the first: 2) Divide the chapters into short sections and add section titles so that material can be read more quickly, and readers can stop reading at any point and take up where they left off in an easy manner. So often, reading is accomplished only in short spurts. Long sections tend to make short spurts difficult.

The third suggestion will also make the book more accessible and readable: 3) Add sections at the end of each chapter that summarize the major findings. Maybe an additional section, too, that would offer readers important points that they can learn or take away from chapters like: "Practical applications" or "Useful Tips."

The first section’s title, "War: The Battle of Medical Epistemologies," is an accurate title; however, it might tend to put off the average reader. The word "epistemology" could be replaced, for example, with the word "approaches" or "methods" even though, of course, these two words are not as accurate or specific (but more understandable) than the word they would replace.

The information in this book is superb and necessary, important and relevant, practical and specific. There is so much in this book, and if you have recently visited a doctor or hospital, you will immediately identify with Kussin’s material. Part V on "Hospital Dangers and How to Prevent Them" is a section that is not only valuable, it could even be life saving. This book should be put on your "MUST BUY" list: Read it and learn!


Friday, June 21, 2013

Friday Humor

A woman has twins, and gives them up for adoption. One of them goes to a family in Egypt and is named 'Amal.' The other goes to a family in Spain, they name him Juan'. Years later; Juan sends a picture of himself to his mum. Upon receiving the picture, she tells her husband that she wished she also had a picture of Amal. Her husband responds, ''But they are twins. If you've seen Juan, you've seen Amal.''

There's two fish in a tank, and one says ''How do you drive this thing?''

I went to buy some camouflage trousers the other day but I couldn't find any.

When Susan's boyfriend proposed marriage to her she said: ''I love the simple things in life, but I don't want one of them for my husband''.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Santiago: A lot to take in in a very short time

We are on a private tour that began in Valparaiso and Viña del Mar and then moved across two valleys into the Santiago Basin, and we’ve already seen about half the sites we will see on this tour in Santiago. We have just seen La Moneda (The Mint) and the Catedral that borders the Plaza de Armas as well as the other buildings that surround the Plaza.

We then entered Parque Metropolitano (Metropolitan Park) following Pedrode Valvido Street through the park. At the website, YahooTravel , there is a great description of the Park:

Santiago, Chile has one of the largest urban parks in the world (722 hectareas or 1785 acres), just located in the downtown of this cosmopolitan 6-million people metropolis. It's called "San Cristobal Hill" ("Cerro San Cristobal") . This lush park includes a 4.5 hectareas zoo (Jardin Zoologico), a cable car, international gardens and restaurants. Ideal for tourists, outdoors sports, trecking, hiking, mountain biking, panoramic swimming pool (Chilean summer, seasons are reversed). At the top of San Cristobal Hill, there are spectacular panoramic views of the city. Crowning the hilltop are beautiful tiered gardens and an impressive 45ft statue of the Virgin of the Immaculate Conception that can be seen from most points in the city.

It is the most visited park by residents because it is ideal for jogging, mountain biking, bird watching, or just enjoying the panoramic views. The park was teeming with activity when we visited.

The funicular railway that brings people up to the park was opened in 1925, and it is still being used today. At , the funicular railroad is described in some detail:
To visit this beautiful urban site, tourists must pay a rate to take the historical funicular railway of two cars capable of carrying a maximum of 50 passengers, for a ride of 485 meters on an inclined plane of 48 degrees as far as the first station, standing at 860 meters from the base of the hill. This is an amazing experience and we could say that this tour takes tourists a step back in time, until the year 1925, when this funicular railway was opened to the public.

We parked near the top of Metropolitan Park so my wife could take pictures of all parts of the city—all directions. There are small souvenir shops and a little restaurant at the top, as well as many couples expressing their affections for each other.

One perspective of Santiago that served as a comprehensive (yet superficial, to be sure) overview, was our drive along Av. Providencia (Because it changes names, it was Av. Apoquindo when we got on it, and it was Av. Liberta dor Bernardo O’Higgins when we left it.) We began in the Alonso de Cordova area, the most exclusive shopping street in all of Santiago, and we drove to the Museo de Artes Visuales, where they have a collection of modern and contemporary art from Chilean artists. Next were the Catholic University, the Cerro Santa Lucia—a hill where Pedro de Valdia (Santiago’s conqueror) founded the city on February 12, 1554. The hill was used as a fortified lookout post by the early conquistadores.

As an aside, in 1872, Benjamin Vicuña Mackenna, the Mayor of Santiago, developed Cerro Santa Lucia (the hill) into a park which now includes Castle Hidalgo (completed in 1817), and a statue of Caupolicán (standing on a rock). Caupolicán was a Toqui, the famous Mapuche leader (the Mapuches are an indigenous group that make up about 4% of the Chilean population). Wikipedia says this about Caupolicán:
Caupolicán as an Ulmen of Pilmayquen won the position of Toqui by demonstrating his superior strength by holding up a tree trunk for three days and three nights. In addition to proving his physical power, he also had to improvise a poetical speech to inspire the people to valor and unity.Caupolicán's death came in 1558, at the hands of colonizing.  Spaniards as their prisoner.  He was impaled by making him sit on a stake while his wife was forced to watch.  After his death he was relaced by his son Caupolican the younger. 
Also in Cerro Santa Lucia (the hill) park can be found the fountains of Terazza Neptuno and the chapel where Benjamin Vicuña Mackenna (1831-1886)—a Chilean writer, journalist, and historian, as well as the former mayor of Santiago—is buried.

In addition to all these sights, we saw the National Public Library (Biblioteca Nacional)—built to celebrate the Santiago centennial in 1910—the Intel Communications Tower (980 feet tall), and Santiago’s tallest building (completed in 2012), the Costanera Center Hotel, at 344 feet tall.

We saw the Chilean University—the number one state university—the University of Santiago, the pedestrian-only streets in central Santiago, the Estacion Central (Centrall Railway Station), and the very large hospital as we were leaving Santiago’s central area bound for the airport.

One of the goals of my chronicle of sights seen in Valparaiso, Viña del Mar, and Santiago, is to support the value of a private tour. It can be argued, of course, that such a cursory look at any city—especially by a person who is neither a resident nor even a person who speaks the local language—does not (cannot!) capture the true culture, history, or background of a community; however, we received a "feeling"—as we have for the previous places we have visited on this cruise—for these 3 areas, and our intent has always been—in all our travels—if we like a place enough, we can someday return. (But I repeat here, and for the record, that when we were in Punta Arenas, I did not kiss the shiny, brass toe of Calafate, one of the Fuegian statues at the base of the Hernando de Magallanes monument, which would, if kissed, bring me back one day to Punta Arenas!)

I realize that it isn’t terribly realistic to think that if we like a place enough that we can someday return because we have so many places left in the world we want to see. How would we even have the time to return to certain places if we wanted to?

We have now taken private tours (all arranged by Princess Cruise Lines) in Beijing China, in Rio de Janeiro, and now in Santiago. Admittedly, they are not cheap; however, we have taken enough bus tours (excursions) to know what we like and why we like them. We saw so many sights in Valparaiso, Viña del Mar, and Santiago, and I was able not just to take an enormous number of notes, but I had the opportunity, as well, to ask questions, assist in the development of an itinerary, and stop at many points to take photographs. We have been lucky to have highly educated, knowledgeable, intelligent, and passionate guides who wanted us to know more about their countries and to learn more about their culture. Would we take a private tour again? For us, it’s a no brainer!

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The Wikipedia website on "Santiago" is informative and useful:

Wikitravel is an excellent website for information on Santiago, Chile, too:

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Copyright June 20, 2013, by And Then Some Publishing LLC

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Quotations by Richard L. Weaver II

You don’t have to be hired or designated as ‘a teacher’ to be a teacher.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

And Then Some News

The first paragraph of Thursday's essay, "Santiago, Chile II:
A lot to take in, in a very short time," reads as follows:

We are on a private tour that began in Valparaiso and Viña del Mar and then moved across two valleys into the Santiago Basin, and we’ve already seen about half the sites we will see on this tour in Santiago. We have just seen La Moneda (The Mint) and the Cathedral that borders the Plaza de Armas as well as the other buildings that surround the Plaza.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Now You See It: How the Brain Science of Attention Will Transorm the Way We Live, Work, and Learn

By Cathy N. Davidson

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

Twenty-nine pages of outstanding notes (pp. 301-330), an appendix of 17 "Twenty-first Century Literacies—a Checklist" (pp. 297-298), and an accessible, readable narrative full of interesting, engaging, and appropriate examples/illustrations, made this book, for me, a delight.

Of course some of the information on neurogenesis, language acquisition, multitasking, and memory can be found elsewhere, but I found Davidson’s ability to draw together a great deal of divergent research (from the fields of brain science, psychology, education, management science, information technology, and more) into a coherent set of ideas both fascinating and illuminating. You would expect this from a person with an English background as well as backgrounds in both interdisciplinary studies and the information sciences. Her eclecticism is well demonstrated and appreciated throughout the book.

Davidson’s discussion of the history of "attention blindness" is interesting, but how she draws conclusions from that discussion to its effect on us in an environment in which blogging, tweeting, and texting is predominant, is instructive and important.

When I discussed the topic of listening with my students, I would remind them that "only one thing can be predominant in your attention span at any one moment." Attention to one thing is likely to last a mere 7-10 seconds, so attention is constantly shifting from one predominant thing to another. This, of course, not only affects one’s ability to listen to another person, it also affects one’s ability to concentrate. With so many distractions available, it is difficult to focus solely on what one are working on at the moment. Even when concentrating, the longest average time we can focus on a single object without diverting our attention is about 30 seconds. Multitasking, then, is more about our ability to shift our focus of attention (often rapidly) then actually concentrating on several things at the same time — which is really impossible. That’s why texting and driving is so dangerous!

I think her primary question, how can we change our schools and workplace situations so that they not just better accommodate modern technological advances, but make them better at facing future challenges and the ongoing changes that are occurring rapidly, is a proper question to be asking. Changes must take place now, and they need to be more than merely cosmetic, they need to be dramatic.

Davidson is a fine writer, and in this book she communicates directly with readers, and she includes readers in her thinking with questions and comments that make them feel part of the process of discovery.

I liked her discussion about "The Map is Not the Territory," from Alford Korzybski’s work (although unidentified) in general semantics as well as her views on perception and its limits. I discuss these, as well, in my book on Communicating Effectively, 10/e (McGraw-Hill, 2012), but Davidson’s emphasis on how we get stuck in our patterns is especially important and relevant to her information on "attention blindness" — and how important (especially for a broad public readership) learning is — as well as the lack of importance (or relevance) of instincts. Great information.

Her information (statistics) on games and gaming should be alarming: "Games are unquestionably the single most important cultural form of the digital age. The average gamer in America now spends about ten thousand hours online by the age of twenty-one—about the same amount of time he might spend in school from fifth grade to high school graduation" (p. 146). The use of the male pronoun is important here, for gamers are more likely to be male than female, and the predominance and importance of games is having a direct, negative effect on the development/education of young men who then lack the education, skills, and ability to go on to college, compete satisfactorily for jobs, and obtain the prosperity and riches of the American dream or even a life well lived.

The book is for serious readers, and although, as I mentioned previously, her writing is accessible, the book tends to be full, heavy, and dense at times. This is simply the result of having so much information to share, not that her writing style bogs down at all. (Paragraphs tend to be a bit long, and many words appear on each page.) I think her information, since it is aimed at both schools and the workplace, may be more relevant (of great concern) to school administrators as well as employers, business presidents and CEOs for they tend to be the movers and shakers in our society.

One of the things I like about any book that I favor is how effectively it makes you think. Even if you do not agree with some of her conclusions or with some of the research, there is important information here nonetheless. And her emphasis on "we’re never too old to learn" is encouraging — even motivating. The book is a delight, and I recommend it without hesitation or reservation.





Friday, June 14, 2013

Friday Humor

On a bitterly cold winters morning a husband and wife in Dublin were listening to the radio during breakfast. They heard the announcer say, "We are going to have 8 to 10 inches of snow today. You must park your car on the even-numbered side of the street, so the Snow ploughs can get through.

"So the good wife went out and moved her car.

A week later while they are eating breakfast again, the radio announcer said, "We are expecting 10 to 12 inches of snow today. You must park your car on the odd-numbered side of the street, so the snow ploughs can get through.

"The good wife went out and moved her car again.

The next week they are again having breakfast, when the radio announcer says, "We are expecting 12 to 14 inches of snow today. You must park...."
Then the electric power went out. The good wife was very upset, and with a worried look on her face she said, "I don't know what to do. Which side of the street do I need to park on so the snow ploughs can get through?"

Then with the love and understanding in his voice that all men who are married to blondes exhibit, the husband replied,

"Why don't you just leave the bloody car in the garage this time."

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Santiago: Nothing That Could be Predicted

We are on a private tour traveling from Valparaiso and Viña del Mar to Santiago, and about 30 minutes southeast of Valparaiso and 50 minutes northwest of Santiago, we crossed a valley known as Casablanca (a valley of about 368 square miles). The valley was first planted to wine in the mid-1980s, and it is now known for white wine grapes, especially Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay.

Why is this valley so effective in producing wine? It is Chile’s first cool-climate coastal region, and it quickly turned a page in Chile’s winemaking history. Wikipedia discusses winemaking in Chile:

Chile is now the fifth largest exporter of wines in the world, and the ninth largest producer. The climate has been described as midway between that of California and France. The most common grapes are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Carmenère. So far Chile has remained free of phylloxera louse which means that the country's grapevines do not need to be grafted..

Following the Casablanca Valley, we crossed the Curadabi Valley with an entirely different climate. Chile produces fruits for the world—one billion pounds are annually shipped to North America alone, and they include apples, blueberries, cherries, table grapes, kiwifruit, peaches, nectarines, pears, plums, avocados, clementines, and respberries.

Chile’s unique geography gives fruits natural barriers to insects and disease because they are protected to the east by the Andes Mountains, to the west by the Pacific Ocean, to the north by the Atacama Desert (where no measurable precipitation has ever occurred), and to the south by the Antarctic ice cap.

Santiago lies at the center of Santiago Basin (50 miles long by 22 miles wide), a large bowl-shaped valley consisting of broad and fertile lands surrounded by mountains. Notice that we have traveled through two other very distinct valleys to get to the Santiago Basin. And immediately when you enter this Basin, the first thing you notice is the main chain of the Andes Mountains to the east because they are enormous (dominating the horizon) and snow capped.

To the west, the way we entered Santiago Basin, is the Chilean Coastal Range. And to the north, the Basin is bounded by the Cordón de Chacabuco Range, a mountain range of the Andes. And Santiago is bounded on the south by Angostura de Paine, an elongated spur of the Andes that almost reaches the coast.

As noted above, the first thing that strikes you as you drive into Santiago Basin, is how tall the mountains are. The tallest is Tupungato, a volcano that is 21,555 feet high.

There are approximately 16 million people in Chile; six-and-one-half million live in Santiago—Chile’s largest city. When the populations of Valparaiso and Viña del Mar are added to that of Santiago, it makes up half the population of Chile. With six-and-one-half million people, the literacy rate is 95.7%—a truly astounding figure!

As we entered the city, our attention was drawn to the lofty wrought-iron ceiling—reminiscent of a Victorian train station—of the Mercado Central (Central Market), which was prefabricated in England (designed by Fermin Vivaceta) and erected in Santiago between 1868 and 1872. Tjhe first section of the market is crafts and souvenir stalls; the second is fresh produce, meat, and fish. Within its corridors are more than 70 restaurants made famous by their fish and seafood plates. We were there early on Saturday afternoon, and the place was bustling with activity.

From the Central Market, we drove into the heart of the city and to the Plaza de la Constitucion because facing it is the beautiful El Ralacio La Moneda, built in 1784 and designed by Joaquín Toesca, the Italian architect who had worked on Catedral Metropolitania. The building’s original purpose was to be the country’s official mint (hence, the name La Moneda (The Mint). It became the presidential palace in 1845.

As an aside, in 1973, during the military coup, led by Augustin Pinochet, La Moneda was bombed to ruins in air attacks, and then-President Salvado Allende committed suicide in his office at La Moneda, rather than surrender. There is a statue on the Plaza de la Constitucion that honors Allende’s memory. Today, La Moneda still houses presidential offices. La Moneda has a pristine facade (an elegant white palace) that belies its history.

At YahooTravel: Santiago Attractions , there is an explanation of the importance of the Plaza de la Constitucion:
"Large, panoramic plaza located in front of the Palacio de la Moneda, home of the Chilean government, right in the heart of the city. Along with the monument to Diego Portales, an important statesman in the history of the early Chilean republic, there are also statues of presidents Jorge Alessandri Rodriguez and Eduardo Frei Montalva, who were joined in the year 2000 by Salvador Allende Gossens. The Plaza de la Constituci till strikes an emotional cord in the hearts of many Chileans, especially after the events of September 1973, when it was witness to the ferocious attack of the military on the presidential palace, in the US backed coup d'etat. The changing of the police guard takes place punctually every morning at ten o'clock, and you can now stroll through the courtyards of the Moneda Palace itself, but only in a one-way direction, entering from the Plaza and leaving from the Alameda side."

In addition to La Moneda, we saw the Catedra (65% of the population is Catholic) that borders the Plaza de Armas on the western side, the Palaceo de los Gobernadores, the Palacio de la Real Auduncia, and the Municipalidad de Santiago, all on the northern edge of the Plaza de Armas, and the Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino—just a block away.

Everywhere we looked in Santiago, there was history—old buildings, memorable sights, and interesting things to see. I continue to discuss other things that we saw in Santiago, and I conclude our private tour in Santiago II as well as our entire Cruise.

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Santiago, Chile, is covered well at tripadvisor:

Images for Santiago reveal the differences between old and new, and they give you, too, the amazing breadth of the city:

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Copyright June, 2013, by And Then Some Publishing LLC

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Quotations by Richard L. Weaver II

The bitter dislike, anger, hostility, rancor, and malevolence you harbor, when continued, will grow in its intensity often with a disposition to injure. The sooner you can overcome such aversion and animosity, the sooner you can return your focus to healthy and fruitful pursuits like friendship and love.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

And Then Some News

The first paragraph of Thursday's essay, "Santiago: Nothing that could be predicted," reads as follows:

We are on a private tour traveling from Valparaiso and Viña del Mar to Santiago, and about 30 minutes southeast of Valparaiso and 50 minutes northwest of Santiago, we crossed a valley known as Casablanca (a valley of about 368 square miles). The valley was first planted to wine in the mid-1980s, and it is now known for white wine grapes, especially Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Ascent of the A-Word: Assholism, the First Sixty Years

By Geoffrey Nunberg

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

What fascinates me is how the mind of a linguist functions. Nunberg is a professor at the University of California, Berkeley School of Information. Why is this important? It gives you some foundation for understanding how and why he would go about collecting, collating, and codifying this large body of research related to his topic.

If you are interested in the various nuances (subtle shadings) of words—not just vulgar, insensitive, or uncivil ones—this is an excellent and entertaining exploration. I am amazed, as anyone with any interest in language usage would be, at both the depth and breadth of this investigation. It could be revealed in the nearly 20 pages of "Notes" at the end of the book, but readers only have to see it revealed on every page of this 213- page (of text) book.

It is truly a delight and pleasure to find someone as deeply immersed in literature, conscious of the various effects and influences of history, not only familiar with and responsive to popular culture, but sensitized to technology and how it is changing the face of language usage, and affected by current language manifestations, who can blend and synthesize these various elements and effects into a comfortable, easy-going, understandable, and engaging narrative. Impressive, to say the least. Nunberg’s linguistic analysis is a joy to experience.

I was especially pleased with Nunberg’s inclusion of the effects of technology: "Technology," he writes, "has played a big role here, as it always has in the past. Since the nineteenth century, every new form of communication has multiplied the opportunities for unwelcomed intrusions on our persons and privacy" (p. 158).

Incidentally, in addition to the "Notes" at the back of the book (referred to above), I loved Nunberg’s footnotes, set off by an asterisk at the bottom of pages throughout the book. They were often personal insights, interesting additional knowledge, a study, statistic, or poll, further explanation or clarification, or a definition. They were always informative, and I appreciated having them located right in front of readers (at the bottom of pages), not hidden, not located at the back of the book, and not "available online."

Nunberg tells great stories, offers interesting anecdotes, cites wonderful examples, provides great statistics, and supplies readers with such a large offering of varied and engaging supporting material, that it makes this book one you’ll have a hard time putting down once you start reading it. (I loved the examples he used as you begin reading the book. Absolutely perfect!)

Readers, too, will love Nunberg’s final two pages in which he offers readers a roadmap for respect for each other, restraint in the use of public discourse (especially in response to the public discourse of others who have chosen to take the low road), "forbearance in the face of other people’s assholism in public life," and "the predilection for provocative rhetoric."

This truly is an outstanding book that readers will appreciate on many different levels. It is challenging and yet informative, entertaining and yet comprehensive, and erudite and yet accessible. Read it for the history, read it for the numerous examples, read it for the excellent narrative, or just read it for the titillation. It satisfies on all levels.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Friday Humor

Police arrested two kids yesterday, one was drinking battery acid, the other was eating fireworks. They charged one - and let the other one off.

Two aerials meet on a roof - fall in love - get married. The ceremony was rubbish - but the reception was brilliant.

Another one was: Doc, I can't stop singing the 'Green Green Grass of Home'. He said: 'That sounds like Tom Jones syndrome'. 'Is it common?'I asked. 'It's not unusual' he replied.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Valparaiso and Vina del Mar II: Opposites Attract

I ended the first essay on Valparaiso and Viña with our visit to the Flower Clock, the attractive entrance to Viña.

With its population close to 300,000, Viña is Chile’s fourth largest city (after Valparaiso at 3rd, and Santiago, and Concepcion). As of 2010, Concepcion is the second largest city of Chile. The Universidad de Concepcion, founded in 1919, became the first private university in Chile. Also, the neighboring harbor of Talcaluano is the site of the largest naval base in Chile.

Viña was founded on December 29th, 1974, by engineer Jose Francisco Vergara Echevers, Viña is Chile’s most luxurious beach resort town and attracts visitors from all over the world.

We drove the entire length of Reñaca Beach, which, we were told by Sabastian (our guide), is divided into 6 areas: 1) for families, 2) old people,3) children, 4) gentlemen, 5) surfers, and the sixty area is for watching and being seen.

The beach ends at Michael Jackson Rock, which Sabastian (our tour guide) said is because "it used to be black but now is white." What turned the rock white? Bird droppings. Ordinarily, the rock is covered in sea lions and different kinds of birds. You can see a picture of it covered in sea lions at the web site:

This rock at the end of Reñaca Beach is very picturesque, and we parked there briefly to have a good view and to take pictures.

We were at Viña on a Saturday around noon, and the entire beach area was parked full. Just in front of the cars, all parked perpendicular to the beach and close together, were joggers, people walking, bicycling, pushing baby carts, and carrying surf boards. When we were there, the sun was out, the sky was blue, there was a slight breeze, but we were told the water was icy cold—as always.

Following our ride along the beach on Avenida Peru, lined with restaurants, shops, hotels, condominiums, apartments, and some expensive homes on the side away from the beach (and some just above us with a beautiful view of the bay area), we drove to the Municipal Casino, founded in 1930—one of the oldest gambling establishments in South America. Carlos Ibáñez del Campo authorized the creation of a casino, and it has secured the future and touristic character of the city.

At , I found this review of the Municipal Casino:

Casino Municipal has a classical facade, with remodeled interior and an adjacent hotel complex. It may be located on the beach, however, you can't plod in wearing a bathing suit, and even wearing jeans won't give you access to all of the interior spaces. There are some low bid tables and slot machines for the budget traveler looking for some action. There are art exhibits on the second floor as well as bars for nightlife entertainment.

Just one month after the Casino opened, the Presidential Palace was inaugurated in Cerro Castillo (Castle Hill) as a summer residence for the Chilean President.

From where we were along the main thorofare next to the Casino, along the Pacific Ocean, at the mouth of the Marga Marga river, we had a great view of the castle called Castillo Wulff, built in Gothic style in 1906 by a wealthy mining magnate.

Wikipedia describes Castillo Wulff:

Castillo Wulff, iconic building of the commune, of neo-Tudor style, built in
1906. Strategically located in the coastal border between the mouth of Marga Marga and Caleta Abarca (Avenida Marina N° 37). Was built by Don Gustavo Wulff Mowle (1862–1946) businessman and philanthropist of Valparaíso. The building was designed in two floors connected to a torreón through a medieval-style bridge. In 1995 it was declared a national monument, but today houses the offices of the headquarters of the Heritage Unit of the Municipality of Viña del Mar.

In addition to Cerro Castillo, and Castillo Wulff, the third castle we saw, overlooking the Playa de los Enamorados (Lower Beach), is now the Arabian Club—a military officer’s club.

While discussing castles, I should mention Palacio Vergara (the neo-Gothic Palacio, erected after the 1906 earthquake) which is a mansion that was home to the city’s founding family—the wealthy Vergaras. It is now an art museum (Museo de Bellas Artes)—housing a the family’s collection of baroque European paintings as well as oil paintings of Chilean VIPs during the 19th and early 20th century.

Before leaving Viña, we visited the central square—Plaza José Francisco Vergara. The square is lined with palms. At one end of the Plaza is the 80-year-old Hotel O’Higgins that has 250 rooms. Opposite the hotel is the neo-classical Teatro Municipal de Viña del Mar, where ballet, theater, and music performances take place.

When passing the square, we looked down Avenida Valparaiso, the city’s main shopping strip—a one-lane, seven-block stretch where extra-wide sidewalks provide easy access to numerous stores and sidewalk cafés.

At the Central Square—Plaza José Francisco Vergara—we saw something we saw in no other South American city: horse-drawn carriages. At (Chile’s official website) , the carriages are described:
The horses and buggies waiting at Viña del Mar’s Plaza Colombia is a likewise [in addition to the ascensores] anachronistic transport for such a modern city, but the sight of the gray horses and black carriages outside the ultra-modern Enjoi casino is somehow pleasing to the eye. Carriage rides take you along the waterfront and generally last an hour.

It was at 1:00 p.m. (After about 3 hours of our 6-hour tour), we left Viña heading directly east toward Santiago. In a mere 12 minutes, we were on the Pan American Highway.

There are a number of dramatic transitions that take place when leaving the Valparaiso-Viña area heading for Santiago. These transitions make traveling along the Pan American Highway interesting (and because of our guides) informative. One other thing that is dramatic is the change in climate, too, as you head inland—away from the Ocean.

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The area guide to Valparaiso and Vina del Mar ( has a delightful number of links to everything in the area.

The images for Valparaiso and Vina del Mar are remarkable:

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Copyright June 13, 2013, by And Then Some Publishing LLC

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Quotations by Richard L. Weaver II

Everything in your life depends—and always will—on your individual responsibility, on your individual integrity, on your individual effort, and on your individuial courage. When you take charge of your life, you are not only the one who will make things happen, but you are the one who will be able to celebrate your success as well.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

And Then Some News

The first two paragraphs of Thursday's essay, "Valparaiso and Viña del Mar II: Opposites Attract," read as follows:

I ended the first essay on Valparaiso and Viña with our visit to the Flower Clock, the attractive entrance to Viña.

With its population close to 300,000, Viña is Chile’s fourth largest city (after Valparaiso at 3rd, and Santiago, and Concepcion). As of 2010, Concepcion is the second largest city of Chile. The Universidad de Concepcion, founded in 1919, became the first private university in Chile. Also, the neighboring harbor of Talcaluano is the site of the largest naval base in Chile.

Monday, June 3, 2013

What Makes Love Last? How to Build Trust and Avoid Betrayal

By John Gottman and Nan Silver

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

In Chapter 6, "Interpersonal Relationships," of my book, COMMUNICATING EFFECTIVELY, 10th ed. (McGraw-Hill, 2012), under the heading, "Bids and the Bidding Process," I ask the question, "If you knew specifically what it was that holds relationships together, and you knew that it was within your control, would you change the way you conducted yourself in your interpersonal relationships" (p. 162)? "What holds relationships together are bids and the bidding process," according to John Gottman, and this quotation, although NOT taken from this book by Gottman, reveals two things: 1) That Gottman and his team are high-quality relationship researchers, and 2) how much I depend on his research results in my college-textbook writing. My dependence on his work goes back many, many years—including my textbook, UNDERSTANDING INTERPERSONAL COMMUNICATION (HarperCollins), which went through seven editions. (Bids are discussed at five points in The Gottman and Silver book.)

John Gottman has published over 190 academic articles, is the author or coauthor of 40 books, including THE SEVEN PRINCIPLES FOR MAKING MARRIAGE WORK, THE RELATIONSHIP CURE, WHY MARRIAGES SUCCEED OR FAIL, and RAISING AN EMOTIONALLY INTELLIGENT CHILD, and established The Gottman Institute which "provides practical tools to strengthen and restore relationships through couples workshops, webcasts, books, DVDs, and Gottman therapists" (from the back inside flyleaf). I say all this to acknowledge his expertise and credibility (and the fact that his advice can be depended upon) , but even more so, to advertise the special quality of his books—offering well-grounded, relevant, and solid advice for couples.

The reasons why this book is especially valuable are numerous. First, Gottman and Silver’s writing style is immediately accessible—easy to understand and follow. This is by no means, an academic textbook. Second, it is full of specific and well-explained examples drawn from his "Love Lab." The following paragraph from The Gottman Relationship Institute website explains the Lab:

The Family Research Laboratory received funding from the National Institute of Mental Health throughout its operation. The physiology laboratory, often referred to as the "Love Lab," was where couples were screened, interviewed, and observed. The Lab used video, heart rate monitors, and measures of pulse amplitude, jitteriness and skin conductivity. This information was coded using the Specific Affect Coding System (SPAFF) and techniques of math modeling to assess relationships and predict their trajectories. The Lab amassed a video data bank of hundreds of couples interacting at different time points in their relationship.

Results from the "Love Lab" including specific (quoted) dialogue is included to make the authors’ points throughout this book. The dialogue is spirited, engaging, practical, and worthwhile.

A third factor that makes this book valuable is the large number of self-test questionnaires scattered throughout the chapters. They give readers an opportunity to score themselves on items such as trust, negative sentiments, risk of unfaithfulness, assessment of sex, romance, and passion in your relationship, making the decision to leave a relationship, and testing whether or not a relationship is "the real thing." A couple of other self-test questionnaires I would have liked to see are "willingness to communicate," and "listening skills." I realize both of these are readily available in the literature; however, an emphasis on communication and listening skills in a book such as this might serve as both reminders and directives.

The fourth reason for the value of this book is its substance. There is a significant emphasis on cheating and how to recover from its discovery. I especially enjoyed Chapter 5, "Ten Other Ways to Betray a Lover" and Chapter 7, "Attunement Made Easy: The Art of Intimate Conversation." It is in this latter chapter where a "willingness to communicate" questionnaire might work since men’s unwillingness to communicate—especially about feelings—is troublesome (rightly so!) for women.

This is a great book for those heading into relationships, already heavily involved in a relationship, or those who have exited a relationship and are seeking a new one. It is instructive and challenging, interesting and entertaining, but always educational.