Year in Review 2010
2010 was the year of the Tea Party. I attended a Tea Party rally in Chicago on April 15, 2010 and found a good-natured crowd with many signs, mostly hand-lettered, expressing sincere concerns. The painting of Washington captured the essence of the Tea Party movement -- a common-sense disbelief that our political class could have squandered so much money and could be so far out of touch with basic American principles.
The fundamental principle that forms the bed-rock of our political arrangement is consent of the governed. The political leaders, Pelosi, Reid and Obama, who were determined to pass a stimulus bill of almost a trillion dollars and undermine our medical care did so even though they did not get a single vote of the other party. They didn't care about public opinion either. Well, as predicted, by the hand lettered signs at the tea party, there was a political tsunami that had not been seen in America in 3 generations.
The Tea Party and the general public punished liberal Republicans in the primaries and devastated the Democrats in November. Here are the net losses for Democrats in November 2010:
The Federal spending disaster continues with the fiscal year ending in September 2011 estimated at $1.65 TRILLION, a new record. More ominous is that 40% (forty percent) of Federal spending is borrowed money. Yes, I'm sure that historians would agree that George Washington could not believe that things could have gotten this much out of control.
Here is a sampling of the signs and the people who made April 15, 2010 an enjoyable Tea Party in Chicago:
I became a Top Ten member of MostTraveledPeople.com (MTP), and was ranked # 5 in the world at the end of 2010. This means that my name and travel statistics appear on the home page of MTP.
I have visited all UN member countries except Mongolia. On top of those 191 UN member countries, I have visited over 500 de facto countries, political subdivisions of major countries or important islands. So in all of history, only a handful of men, and no women, have seen more of planet Earth than I have - as measured by the MTP list.
Qualitatively, I feel like the astronauts who, observing the Earth from space, have some kind of transcendent experience, except I have seen our planet up close. I have also meet many very interesting people along the way.
See my summary of 2010 travel for some travel highlights and color-coded data of patterns of living standards. While visiting 12 UN member states, 29 TCC countries and a staggering 156 MTP locations in 2010, I took over 12,000 photos. Planning my 10 trips was a complex, time consuming process. These trips took almost 7 months of intense travel.
Travel of this scope and intensity is educational in the profoundest sense. My mind is filled with discoveries, surprising connections and indelible impressions. It is very difficult to explain the experience.
In St. Thomas, we took a seaplane to St. Croix to see the historical parts of the U.S. Virgin Islands, like the Christiansted National Historic Site, where Alexander Hamilton worked as a young man emigrating to the American colonies in 1749. St. Croix is a great place to explore on foot.
In Barbados, we had a zip lining adventure at Aerial Trek. (See their web site for some video clips.) Located in a rain forest, there were platforms built in huge trees about 100 feet (30 meters) in the air. There were 7 runs, the longest was almost 300 feet (90 meters). It was exciting zipping thru the air.
In Curacao, I had one of those life experiences that I have looked forward to for years: swimming with the dolphins. This took place at the Dolphin Academy which has a huge ocean pool adjacent to the ocean. I was one of 4 people who signed up and who could tread water for 40 minutes using fins. The dolphins are very intelligent animals that can be trained to do a number of tricks. The guide, who was on the land would teach us the commands to give the two dolphins. Then, one by one we had our personal time with the dolphins for that trick. I can report that dolphins did not really understand the concept of a kiss, but otherwise, they are impressive. Being hauled thru the water at high speed by 2 dolphins was the highlight. This dolphin experience exceeded my expectations!!
In India, I visited the states of Madhra Pradesh, Meghalaya and Mizoram - completing all 28 Indian states. In the Northeast, I was recognized and heartily greeted by security men at the airport where I had been in November 2009. This is when you know you are a famous world traveler because I remembered them too.
In India, I also visited Hyderabad, which may become the capital of a new 29th state of Telangana. India has created 3 new states since 2000 as part of a democratic process that sometimes finds it better to group people into states based on a complex mixture of factors that is often difficult for American people to grasp fully.
These photos capture a bit of the incredible mixture in India of the magnificent and the dirty, the order and the chaos, the crude and the sophisticated that is unique to this special country. There is much more to see in Hyderabad than show here: Charminar (built 1591), the nearby Mecca Mosque (built 1694), and the Chowmahalla Palace Complex.
China - Kunming. Kunming is the capital and largest city of Yunnan province in southwest China. It has many new buildings, roads, cars, etc. I found many attractive new buildings. There are so many new cars that minor accidents are a common sight. Kunming is a major tourist attraction for Chinese people.
In addition to touring the city, I visited the famous Golden Temple park, and took an aerial tram ride that gave me some good views on the edges of the city.
Because of China's one child policy in urban areas, it means that four grandparents share one grandchild. Surely these children are being spoiled with that much attention. China's one child policy and historic desires for a male child have resulted in 30 million more marriageable men than women. I asked a couple of young Chinese men I met on a plane flight what their strategy was to get a bride. One explained you need 3 things in this order: a house, a car and personality.
China - Hainan Island. Hainan Island is the southern most part of China, and is south, for example, of Hanoi. Hainan Island is considered the Hawaii of China, and is one of the top relaxation spots in China. It has scores if not a couple of hundred new buildings in the 10 to 15 story size. Like many boom areas, some of the construction is stopped, and has been for some time. One low rise building across from my hotel was in limbo with its construction stopped. It was ironic to see a large red sign on it in Chinese and English proclaiming: "God creates the City". There were many more photos of attractive buildings I could have included, but the people shots are more interesting.
China - Kashi. Kashi (Kashgar in Uyghur) is the western most city in China. It is adjacent to the "stans" of Central Asia, and like them is Muslim. You see Chinese characters and Arabic letters on signs. Flying from Urumqi, the capital and largest city of the Xianjiang autonomous regions, you are treated to a wondrous view of the Tien Shan mountains.
Xinjiang is a vast, arid region, the largest political subdivision in China. In Kashi, I visited the Abakh Hoja tomb, the old city of Kashi, some street markets and modern Kashi. This is a very different part of China populated mainly by the Uyghurs, and very interesting for the few tourists that venture this far. China has been investing to raise living standards.
China - Lanzhou. Driving into Lanzhou at night there were enormous numbers of "Christmas type" lights along the road. There must have been lights for 20 or 25 kilometers. The largest display I have every seen. Inside Lanzhou itself were also an impressive number of lights for Chinese New Year, but most of the photos were too blurry and unusable.
Watching a chef make noodles was fun although the photos are marginal. You are always learning when you travel!
The next morning there were many fine, new buildings. I took photos of a complex where cactus was used in the landscaping. Then we continued on the road on to see more of the country including Kongtong Mountain, one of the holy shrines of Taoism. (Photos not shown.) Finally, we headed toward Xian, and saw many snow-covered rice terraces.
China - Xian. Xian is the ancient capital of China. I came here to see one of the wonders of the world, the life-size army of Terra cotta warriors who guarded the tomb of the first emperor of a unified China, Qin Shi Huangdi. He unified China in 221 BC and died in 210 BC at age 49.
The photos below do not capture the impact of visiting this site which remains a work in progress. Only a fraction of the estimated 8,000 warrior statues have been restored. If you study the faces of the Chinese visitors, you will appreciate the special emotion they have seeing this monumental work of art and history. To think what Chinese people had accomplished over 2,000 year ago is to feel a pride in their ancestors and their heritage.
This site was discovered in 1974 by a farmer who realized that it was extremely significant and he was successful in getting the authorities to take action. At the end of my visit, I bought a photo book and I was asked if I wanted the old farmer to autograph it since he was in that day. Of course, I did!!! I have a deep respect for founders and inventors.
With the photo book in hand, I approached the old farmer some 10 meters away. He saw me coming, caught my eye and realized that it a great honor for me to meet him. However, a young Chinese man rushed ahead of me. The old farmer signed his book in a flash. For me, he took his time to sign with great care. It was a special moment, and I have no photo to record it. I was so taken by meeting this discoverer of this wonder of the world that I forgot to get a photo!
With another extreme traveler and a driver who spoke 4 languages, I made a memorable road trip thru Switzerland, France, Spain and Italy visiting the remaining cantons or regions of these countries. Western Europe has good highways, convenient places for toilet or food stops and much to see. With no driving responsibility, I could focus on watching.
One new experience was driving thru the various long Alpine tunnels in Switzerland, France and Italy. These are of different styles and vintages and are impressive engineering achievements that represent huge investments.
I've selected just a few photos to share.
I had visited Switzerland 6 or 7 times before, so it was fun to drive thru the remaining cantons of this unique country. I was taken by the very Swiss nature of this painting on a Rathaus (city hall) depicting the transfer of legal authority in 1797. William Tell's story is one that liberty-loving people can identify with. It was a delight to see the monument to him. Einstein lived for 2 years in Bern and his home has been turned into a museum. The International Telecommunications Union's statue reminded me of my career in world-wide telecommunications helping many countries improve their telephone networks and services.
I had visited France 6 or 7 times before. It was enjoyable to drive thru the remaining regions of this number one tourist destination. I was touched to see that the Citizens of New Orleans had donated the money in 1950 to pay for the restoration of the statue to Joan of Arc which had been gravely damaged in WWII. The Chartres Cathedral, started over 800 years ago, is famous for its exceptional state of preservation.
Since I was 10 years old, I had wanted to see Pompeii. When I did, my reaction was not what I expected. Instead of focusing on the famous disaster of 24 August 79 a.d. when the city was destroyed by the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius and buried in 4 to 6 meters (13 to 20 feet) of ash and pumice, I was struck by what a wonderful place it was to live. Pompeii is well laid out and it has a livable scale. Everything is within walking distance. The quality of the construction and of the frescos and mosaics showed what a high standard of living people enjoyed in ancient Pompeii.
Each year some 2.5 million tourists come to see Pompeii.
This was my eighth major visit to Russia. Open this map for orientation. This report plus my one from last year may change your perspective on Russia.
I started in the far south of Russia in Sochi, site of the 2014 Winter Olympics. Then visited the de facto country of Abkhazia. See my report. Its capital, Sokumi, is shown on the map in Georgia. I visited many places in the Caucasus and the southern tier of Russia into Siberia - mainly by car. Then by train from Chelyabinsk to St. Petersburg. From there to Murmansk and Naryan Mar above the Arctic Circle by plane. Here are some of the cities I visited shown on the above map: Krasnodar, Makhachkala, Astrakhan, Volgograd, Orenburg, Ufa, Chelyabinsk, St. Petersburg, Novgorod, Arkhangelsk, Naryan Mar, Moscow, etc.
This is a long report, and I was sad to leave many things out, but it was already too long. For example, I do not have photos here of new car dealers which are now all over Russia. There are so many more beautiful Art Deco Buildings, Flowers, Art, People, etc.
Sochi is busy with construction on its infrastructure. It is surprising to see palm trees in Russia, but Russia has many delightful surprises for tourists. It is one of my favorite countries to visit. People are friendly, and like Americans. If you have studied any Russian, you get full credit for it.
Adygeya. This was a day trip to the Adygeya Republic and the hot springs of Goryachy Klyuch. Good weather and good hiking in the park by the hot springs.
Krasnodar. This is the sister city of Tallahassee, Florida. It is tree lined with a spacious park. It was founded by Catherine the Great for the Cossacks.
Rostov Oblast I was driven on the smaller highways thru the Karsnodar Krai, the Rostov Oblast to Stavropol. Most of the gas stations were build in the past 5 or 6 years. The level of service is much better than in the USA. The American approach of having a mini market in a gas station has been enthusiastically adopted all over Russia.
Stavropol is the sister city of Des Moines, Iowa. Unlike Des Moines, it is hilly. There is a number of new building downtown, an impressive park, and a large plaza, where in-line skaters enjoy themselves. You will see many eternal flames to WWII in my photos because WWII is still a fresh memory in Russia. The suffering during WWII in Russia is greater than Americans can imagine. Now the official number of dead in WWII in Russia is 27 million. Every family lost someone, and some families were wiped out.
Caucasus. I was driven thru more of the North Caucasus seeing various ethnic groups, mosques, wonderful scenery and making some small discoveries.
Dagestan. I was driven from my hotel in Pyatigorsk with my guide, Natasha to the train station in Mineralnye Vody. We spent the entire day on the train visiting North Osetia, Chechnya and finally arrived in Makhachkala, the capital of Dagestan, where our hotel was. There are small informal markets at every station so you can get something to eat or drink as well as people watch.
Astrakhan does not have a sister city in the United States. (I hope this is rectified in the near future.) This is a surprise because it was a delightful place with a newly rebuilt granite walkway along the Volga river that shows a lot of pride and taste. It was a wonderful spot to watch people of all ages. The museum and church inside the Kremlin were real treats.
Volgograd. The drive to Volgograd was educational because the Volga river north of Astrakhan has intertwined branches creating a unique geographical topography. It is another interesting surprise in Russia.
In WWII, Volgograd was known as Stalingrad and it was named a hero city for its heroic battle and defeat of the Germany Army. This was the turning point of WWII.
The statue The Motherland Calls is the type of monumental work for which Russia is famous. It is impressive and powerful as are various other works near it.
The huge (120 x 16 meters) panoramic painting of the battle is another monumental work not to be missed.
Orenburg is the sister city of Orlando, Florida. This is another nice city with a large pedestrian walkway thru downtown. There is good art museum, and a large outdoor WWII park.
Ufa has over a million people. I enjoyed the wide-ranging local history museum. It has a new, attractive Social Security building. In Russia, people have individual retirement accounts managed by the government, and get quarterly reports. Ufa is last large city in Europe, and I was driven from here across the Urals into Asia.
Chelyabinsk is a city in Siberia of a million people. It is just east of the Ural mountains. It is a good example of an interesting Russian city not familiar to many because it was closed to foreigners until 1992. There was a display of about 40,000 photos of those killed in WWII - soldiers and civilians. There was also a memorial park to the victims of Stalin's purges in a forest on the edge of the city. It is a lively city with a Dolphin show and a huge recreation park.
Train to St. Petersburg I spent 2 nights on the train journeying from Chelyabinsk to St. Petersburg. From St. Petersburg, I was driven on trips to Pskov, Novgorod and Maly Vysotsky. I ran out of space to show 10 photos of Maly Vysotsky. This is an island in Russia that Finland "owns" using a long-term lease. It is one of the geographical curiosities on http://www.mosttraveledpeople.com/.
A few photos from St Petersburg and Moscow. As I was leaving Russia, I heard my name called in the Lufthansa lounge. There was Jim Bay, a friend of 30 years, that I had not seen in 15 years. He and his wife were visiting with a tour from the Chicago Art Institute.
In May, I took a circular railroad trip thru Germany to see 2 old friends, to visit some remaining German states, and explore some tourist sites.
My friend Jan Eilers picked me up at the Frankfurt International airport and we caught up as we drove to the Messel Fossil Pit, a UN world heritage site. We saw the pit and studied the well preserved fossils in the museum.
We toured some of the sites in Darmstadt. Waldspirale is an unusual building. All 1,000 windows are different from each other. It is a popular place to live. The Russian chapel was a surprise. It was build for Alexandra, the last Tsarina in Russia, by her husband, Nicolas. Alexandra was born in Darmstadt and was killed with the rest of her family after the Russian Revolution by the Communists. She was canonized as a saint by the Russian Orthodox Church in 2000.
In Bremen, I toured the UN World Heritage Town Hall and wandered around the old town finding interesting things. One famous statue, the Bremen Town Musicians, is a popular symbol to be photographed with.
I had an adventure visiting Helgoland, a German island in the North Sea. To get there I took the high speed catamaran, the Halunder Jet. It takes 3 hours 45 minutes each way between Hamburg and Helgoland. Their web site in German.
On Helgoland in full sunshine and with a brisk wind, I hiked the circular trail around the island admiring the bird life and the distinctive cliffs. I make it a practice to read all monuments -- after all someone went to a lot of trouble to preserve a name, a date or a story. On Helgoland, I discovered the spot where 23 year old Werner Heisenberg had the conceptual break thru for Quantum Mechanics. He received the Nobel Prize in Physics for this in 1932.
The UN made the Hanseatic city of Lübeck a World Heritage Site in 1987. Lübeck was the major trading city of northern Europe in the Middle Ages. The map below shows that the old city is surrounded by water.
Its remaining gate the Holstentor is the iconic symbol of the city. In 1925, the German Association of Cities made the Holstentor its symbol as well. There is much to see here. I enjoyed seeing historical objects like a copy of the Gutenberg's printing press in one of the churches as well as sights on the streets.
I journeyed to Berlin to visit my old pen pal, Herbert Pietsch. We exchanged letters over 50 years ago in English. Later I studied German at the University of Texas and used only German when I met him the first time in 1965. My last visit to Berlin was in 1995, and it was a delight to see him in good health. We always have some good political discussions -- now back to English with occasional words in German.
I continued by train to Dresden, which was destroyed in WWII in the famous firebombing raid. There has been a lot of new building in the central part of the city in the past few years, and one landmark, the Frauenkirche, Dresden's iconic church was rebuilt from the original plans and reopened in 2006.
My final visit was to one of the best cities to visit in Germany, idyllic Weimar. This is a place that has everything for the culture-seeking tourist. It is walkable. It has 40 museums. It has the homes of Schiller, Goethe and Liszt. It was a leader in the bauhaus movement. It has wonderful parks. It is filled with art in the various palaces and museums. The Weimar Republic is infamous for the hyperinflation that destroyed the German mark and helped lead to the Nazi takeover.
These photos just give a hint of the delights that await discovery in lovely Weimar. Photo titles have key info.
I made my first of many visits to Canada in 1967. The purpose of this trip was to visit the 3 Federal territories that comprise the northern top of Canada. I visited Whitehorse and Kluane National Park, a UN World Heritage Site in the Yukon; Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories; and Rankin Inlet in Nunuvut. These are all sparsely populated places with a grand sense of space.
I drove from Whitehorse a couple of hours to get to Kluane. A wonderful drive with wild flowers and few people. There is only 1 photo of the snow covered mountains, cold & clear rivers, forest paths, wild flowers, etc.
First, there is a map to show that I was almost in Alaska. Since this is northern Canada, not only are there bears, but the warning signs are bilingual. Now shown were a German couple that I talked to for 10 minutes in German on the hiking train. On the way back to Whitehorse, a mother Moose and her baby scampered across the highway. Then there was a wild stud horse with strange light blue eyes accompanied by 3 females.
Whitehorse is a frontier town. It has about 22,000 people, 75% of the population of the Yukon. Image an area almost twice the size of Texas with 30,000 people.
Whitehorse is situated on the Yukon river. I enjoyed walking around town seeing many public murals, the headquarters of the famous Mounted Police, and the museum with its stuffed animals and other artifacts.
I had a fun conversation with 2 men who grew up together in rural Norway. They were on an adventure trip to the Yukon. They brought a special folding canoe from Norway along with their rifles and some of their favorite snuff. They were going to travel the Yukon river for 2 weeks feeding themselves by hunting and fishing. When the trip was over, the taller one was getting married so this was a kind of final bachelor trip. I found it refreshing to meet people so self sufficient, and I thought about Leif Ericson, who visited Newfoundland in Canada 500 years before Columbus.
Yellowknife is a modern town with a lot of new, attractive buildings. At the airport, there is a clever sculpture of a stuffed polar bear on ice chasing two seals. There is also a polar map that gives you a different perspective on the earth. It shows the 3 areas of my visit to Canada: the Yukon, the Northwest Territories and Nunuvut -- the top row of Canada.
Yellowknife has a wonderful hiking trail around the lake from the hospital to the City Hall. Lovely granite outcroppings, trees, ground squirrels, wild flowers, a children's playground, people throwing sticks for their dog to retrieve in the lake, bear warning signs, views of new building, statues, etc., keep your attention as you walk.
Rankin Inlet has 2,400 people and is the second largest town in the Federal Territory of Nunuvut. Nunuvut is three times the area of Texas, yet it has only 30,000 people.
Rankin Inlet is a barren place. There are no trees, nor bushes. The streets are unpaved, but the houses seem in good shape, and the town is economically successful. Typical transportation is a 4 wheeler.
I met the doctor and nurse at the airport. They make periodic visits to Rankin Inlet. The most famous hometown boy is Jordin Tootoo of the National Hockey League.
I visited a 15 places on the mosttraveledpeople.com list and 6 UN World Heritage Sites in Central America and the Caribbean in August. I am reporting on only a subset of these visits. The places chosen are mainly those with a tie to Christopher Columbus or United States history.
Dominican Republic. Santo Domingo is the first European city in the New World. It was founded by Christopher Columbus' younger brother in 1498. (Columbus in Spanish is Colón.) Christopher's first-born son, Diego Columbus was the Governor of the Indies. He built the first palace in the New World, Alcázar de Colón in 1511. It is in the Colonial Zone, a UN World Heritage Site. Every famous Spanish explorer of the New World visited this place.
Santo Domingo has many of the firsts in the New World: first university, first hospital, first cathedral, first monastery, first customs house, etc. It was also the city where Columbus was buried for two centuries. Where was Columbus buried? and what do DNA tests show? Both Seville and Santo Domingo continue to claim that they have the bones of Columbus.
Redonda was discovered and named by Christopher Columbus, but he never set foot on the island. The walls are very steep. The island is uninhabited except by seabirds and some feral goats. Redonda is part of Antigua and Barbuda.
It requires special permission to visit. The Environmental Awareness Group (EAG) helped me get permission and I flew three of their members via chartered helicopter to Redonda. We spend over 2 hours climbing/hiking up the hill to near the top of the island. The vegetation was fairly high so it was a fun adventure to explore the place while EAG members were counting birds and making other observations. We all had a good time and got some good exercise in this special place.
Christopher Columbus named Montserrat on his second voyage in 1493. I took a chartered helicopter to see the damaged caused by the active volcano which started erupting July 18, 1995. The capital city of Plymouth was destroyed and two-thirds of the island's population fled.
The non-damaged parts of the island are green and lush, following Montserrat's nickname of the Emerald Isle. The volcano continues erupt at a low level and smoke often obscures the volcano itself. This is an amazing sight to behold, and gave me ideas about what Pompeii might have looked like except it was buried in even more ash than Plymouth.
Although Montserrat is the island closest to Redonda and you can see it easily from Redonda, there are customs restrictions so one cannot visit Montserrat directly from Redonda. I saw them 3 days apart.
St Kitts has a tie to American History because Captain Samuell Jefferson was the great great great grandfather of President Thomas Jefferson. Samuell immigrated to St Kitts and bought a plantation, Romney Manor. I visited the quiet park-like place dominated by a 350 year old tree. I also visited the grave of Samuell Jefferson.
Nevis is the birthplace of Alexander Hamilton, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. You may want to take the link to the Wikipedia article to review this pivotal figure in the history of the United States. You will be amazed.
In the election of 1800, there was a tie for President. Hamilton was instrumental in getting Jefferson elected. Hamilton wrote most of the Federalist Papers and was the key figure in the adoption of the U.S. Constitution. Yes, he is on the US ten dollar bill and he was the first Secretary of the Treasury, but there are even more accomplishments.
In the museum, located in his birthplace, were two quotes that showed that he was a controversial figure. During the Revolution, Hamilton was the aide-de-camp to General George Washington. On September 25, 1798, Washington gave his evaluation of Hamilton to John Adams: "He is enterprising, quick in his perceptions and his judgment is intuitively great." Later in 1815, John Adams described Hamilton as ". . . the most restless, impatient, artful, indefatigable, and unprincipled intriguer in the United States, if not the world."
I have visited Panama several times over the years. This time I went to see Porto Bello Fortress and learned the story of how Mount Vernon was named. I also visited the old Customs House, where for over a century one third of all of the gold mined in the world passed thru this building on the way to Spain.
I also visited the Panama Canal for the third time. This time I saw the old French cemetery. Over 22,000 people died of malaria and yellow fever during the failed French attempt to construct the Panama Canal. In the end, the French sold everything to the United States government. The American effort was largest construction project in US history up to that time, and was completed under budget and ahead of schedule. Read the article on the History of the Panama Canal to appreciate all of the attempts to build a canal.
Panama City is a modern city full of new skyscrapers.
There were many miscellaneous photos in Central America and the Caribbean. Here are a few.
The first photo is at the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Airport in St. Eustatius. Here on November 16, 1776, the Dutch Commander gave a gun salute to the U.S. brig Andrew Doria. Thus the Dutch became the first country in the world to recognize the fledgling United States, just at the beginning of its struggle against the number one military power in the world. Historian Barbara Tuchman named her 1998 book The First Salute: a View of the American Revolution.
You have seen deer crossing signs. Crab crossing signs are common in the Corn Islands.
In Japan and in Asia, this type of backward swastika is used to mark Buddhist temples on maps. It is also an ancient symbol of the Kuna Indians on the San Blas Islands. Actually many cultures have used the swastika symbol.
The wire sculpture was a fun discovery as I walked along the beach at sunset on Beef Island in the British Virgin Islands. These elegant carvings turned out to be comfortable chairs at a new hotel in Anguilla, the Viceroy.
I spent October in Tahiti on a Zegrahm Expedition to Easter Island via various Tuamoto Islands, the Gambier Islands, all 4 of the Pitcairn Group (Oeno, Pitcairn, Henderson and Ducie) to Easter Island. Then I flew to South America visiting Chile, Robinson Crusoe Island, the Falklands, Argentina, Bolivia, Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana.
The Quest for Paradise Cruise from Tahiti to Easter Island was my first experience with Zegrahm Expeditions. I was impressed. They are first class in every respect. One of the owners is part of every cruise. We had several on this cruise. They have experts on fish, birds, plants, and local culture. Every night is a debriefing with photos and explanations of what was seen that day. This is an educational experience and the fellow travelers are all accomplished people. Our expedition leader, Little John, was super. The whole staff was a professional team that made everything run smoothly.
In the Tuamoto Islands in French Polynesia, we stopped at 5 islands, here are photos from two, Rangiroa and Nukutavake. Rangiroa is famous for its Black Pearls and we visited a farm learning the process of producing them.
In Nukutavake, our visit was a really big deal. The local women presented us with shell leis. All of the children got out of school for the day and were there to sing to us. In return, they got some excellent ice cream and some rides on the zodiacs, our way of getting to and from our ship, the Clipper Odyssey, to the various islands.
Pitcairn is a word that evokes the memory of the Mutiny on the Bounty instigated by Fletcher Christian. I met at least 3 of his descendants. It was a tremendous advantage to visit there with the Zegrahm staff who have been there 11 times before and who have many friends on Pitcairn. It was like a homecoming. We were greeted with open arms.
Pitcairn is a remote place roughly half way between Tahiti and Easter Island. Four supply ships a year visit Pitcairn, and they must be off loaded at sea onto the two longboats owned by Pitcairn because there is no dock. It is difficult to make a landing on Pitcairn. Some people come all the way to Pitcairn, but are unable to land because of the rough waves.
Pitcairn is a volcanic high island with a maximum altitude of 347 meters (1,138). I hiked over 16 kilometers (10 miles) the day I was there. It is steep with wonderful views as you hike.
There are only 60 people on Pitcairn. There are 7 students in the school and the teacher is rotated in from New Zealand for a 1 or 2 year assignment. The one policeman is also on a rotational assignment from New Zealand.
Near the end of the day, 12 or 13 of the Pitcairn Islanders joined us on the Clipper Odyssey for snacks, discussion and a circumnavigation of Pitcairn. When it was time for these hardy, self-sufficient people to leave us, they signaled for their longboat to come for them. Then they made a complete circumnavigation of the Clipper Odyssey; everyone on both ships were waving to each other. This was the emotional highlight of our visit watching them go back thru crashing waves as the sun was setting to their small island braving the elements yet again to make the difficult landing at Bounty Bay. There they are all alone in the middle of nowhere.
There are 3 other islands in the Pitcairn group. They are uninhabited. Oeno is rarely visited. In fact, this was the first time for Zegrahm to make a landing, and they believe that this is the first time for an expedition-sized ship to have landed passengers on Oeno. If so, then it would be the largest number (73) of people ever on Oeno at one time. The weather cleared at the last possible moment which allowed us to land. It was the first visit for everyone, and many of us were jumping for joy. Oeno was a thrill for everyone, and we have our expedition leader, Little John, to thank for this surprise visit announced only the night before. (I had asked John about the possibility of adding this visit early in the voyage and was sworn to secrecy because he had not yet finalized his plan to add it.)
Henderson is an uplifted Coral atoll. It has a distinctive look -- a flat island raised 15 to 30 meters out of the ocean. It is the largest of the Pitcairn Group. We climbed up to get a good view lead by Jack Grove, a published fish expert and Zegrahm owner.
Easter Island is a true wonder of the world. This was my second visit. My first visit in 1994 was 3 intensive days. A Swiss guide married to a local woman led myself and a couple from South America on hikes all over the island. There were no restrictions as now. He told us at the conclusion that we had seen more of the island than most natives.
In 2010, my Guides on different days were archaeologists Claudio Cristino and Patricia Vargas, they were the leaders of the restoration of Ahu Tongariki. Claudio studied under the famous William Mulloy, and is pictured below at the memorial to Mulloy. Patricia and Claudio told thrilling stories of the first encounter between the natives and the Dutch in 1722. It is always a treat to have the top guides. They are pictured below with their son, who is also a guide.
I visited Chile the first time in 1994. I was impressed with the progress. Santiago is a lovely clean city with many new buildings. This visit I could sense the pride that people felt being Chilean because of the rescue of the miners. The people seemed to be standing taller. The El Fenix capsule that was used to rescue the miners was on display in front of the Presidential Palace. There was a line around the park of several hundred waiting for individual photos with the Capsule.
About ten years ago, I met José Pińera and listened to his thrilling story of privatizing Social Security in Chile in 1980s. Currently, his brother is the President of Chile. So I can see that good political thinking has led to a successful economy and an improving country.
Robinson Crusoe Island was re-named in 1966 for the famous novel because the historical events occurred here. I took the 2 hour Lassa flight over to see the Island. En route I talked to 2 members of the City Council who had been in Santiago discussing budget matters with the National government.
I had about an hour on the island. I hiked down to the bay where passengers take a boat from the airport to the main town admiring the stark landscape. The weather was windy with a bit of rain. The bay had over a hundred seals. The pilot sent a car to retrieve me, and he had me sit in the co-pilot's seat. After take off, he made an unscheduled loop around the island to show it to me. I was grateful for his hospitality. It added to my wonderful visit to Chile.
This was my first visit to Bolivia.
La Paz is an incredible sight, a massive city that covers a valley so completely that there are few trees. The rocky landscape has a rugged beauty, and I visited the famous Valley of the Moon (no photos shown).
Lake Titicaca is the highest commercially navigable lake in the world. It is 35 meters higher than the top of Mount Fuji in Japan. My guide and I took a bus from La Paz, then spent the day on a hydrofoil visiting various sites on the huge lake.
One highlight was meeting the man who built many of the famous reed boats including Ra II for Thor Heyerdahl.
I flew into Georgetown in a small plane from Brazil. As a former British colony, they drive on the left. Georgetown the capital has a low skyline. There are a few things to see and even learn from. The was the first time I have seen the concept of allowing private companies to put up the street signs in return for a bit of advertising on them. Seems like a good deal for a developing country.
In Suriname, the former Dutch colony, they also drive on the left. The historic portion of it's capital, Paramaribo, is a UN World Heritage Site. The photos don't do justice to Paramaribo. There are many old wooden buildings that are interesting or quaint. There are many Hindu immigrants and some Hindu temples in Paramaribo. It is the only place I have visited where there is a Synagogue next to a Mosque.
Juba is the capital of Southern Sudan, which voted 99% in favor of independence from Sudan in January 2011. Southern Sudan is Black and Christian while Sudan is Arab and Muslim. Most of the oil is in the South so it is not 100% clear that Sudan will allow Southern Sudan to become independent as scheduled on July 9, 2011 as the Republic of South Sudan. In the past 25 years over 2,000,000 have died fighting for independence.
Even by African standards, South Sudan is a very poor country. However, living conditions have been improving for the past 5 or 6 years since the UN mandated cease-fire and the agreement to have the referendum in January 2011. One American missionary couple reported that after waiting 5 years they got electricity 4 months and were able to buy a refrigerator, but cannot keep food in it since the electricity fails at least once a day. In general, people are optimistic and look forward to using the oil wealth to build their country.
The White Nile flows thru Juba, and I stayed at the Juba Bridge Hotel which is located right on the bank of the Nile and 300 meters from the only bridge over the Nile in the whole region.
I have visited the sources of both the White and Blue Niles, so it was a special thrill to see the confluence of these rivers in Khartoum, Sudan where the Nile proper is born.
At my hotel, I met an NPR reporter who discovered that I was a major world traveler. He wanted to interview me and my fellow extreme traveler. The next day he spent a couple of hours recording an interview while we were touring the many sights in Khartoum. The fun interview was published in both a text and audio form.
The National Museum is a treasure trove. I had never seen an execution by lion before. The statue shows a lion behind the victim resting his paws on the victim's shoulders in order to crush the skull.
The All Saints Cathedral was a winning design by Robert Weir Schulz (or Schultz), completed a hundred years ago. It is a superb building, now a museum filling with historical items from the period of British rule, like a painting of the defeated General, Charles Gordon.
A fascinating part of Sudanese history concerns the Mahdi. He changed the requirement that Sudanese Muslims must visit Mecca into a requirement that they would visit his tomb instead. This lasted for many decades, but has not reverted to standard Muslim practice of a Hajj to Mecca.
Finally, we visited a Sufi Muslim gathering an hour before sundown, where one aspect of the ceremony are the whirling dervishes. This is amazing to experience.
I visited Somalia the first time in 2007. This was my first visit to the autonomous region of Puntland. It is not easy to visit for many reasons. One, learning how to get a travel permit is not known even by top travel agents. Two, it may be a dangerous place to visit. To be safe another extreme traveler and myself arranged to have 4 armed guards at all times during our very interesting visit. There are no pirates in Bosaso. The pirates are on the other side of the Horn of Africa.
We stayed at the International Village which has a compound and there are 6 or 7 Thomson's gazelles which part of the day are allowed to roam freely. They are very cute and semi-tame.
The airport in Bosaso does not have paved runways and we flew on old Russian planes using Jubba Airways which has an unique, but effective mini-hubbing arrangement where passengers are reassigned to airplanes as traffic demands. The flight numbers on your ticket may not match the flights you take.
Bosaso is a rapidly growing city that is lead by business people. Although poor with a 60% illiteracy rate, there is a can-do spirit and I left thinking there is hope for Bosaso and Puntland. I was fortunate to have some in-depth conversations with 2 separate Somali Americans and learned more than travelers usually do.
We visited the East African University and the Port. At the University, I studied the white boards in many classrooms to get a sense of the educational approach and topics. At the port, we watched cattle caught one by one and loaded 2 at a time onto a wooden ship.
The standard approach the merchants use is to have murals painted on their stores depicting the types of products sold so that customers who cannot read have no trouble find the right store.
We were treated well by everyone we met in Bosaso. It was interesting to meet a dwarf at the airport as we were leaving.
There has been an wonderful progress in Jordan since my last visit in 1978. There are many new, attractive buildings, the streets are clean, and things seem efficient.
At Um er-Rasas, a UN World Heritage site, the perfectly preserved and large mosaic floor of the Church of St. Stephen made in 785 AD was impressive. It was a shock to see that all the Greek place names of the major cities can be read. The names are still the same. There is a photo of Gaza to make the point.
Mount Nebo is where Moses ascended to gaze on the Promised Land one more time before he died. He is buried in an unknown grave near Mt. Nebo. On a clear day, both the Jordan River and Jerusalem are visible. Once I did an analysis of the Bible and the Koran to determine which person is the most commonly mentioned in both books. He is third in the Bible and first in the Koran. He is also the most important prophet in Judaism. His name is Moses. I included a close-up of his name, Musa, written in Arabic.
There was an education display of how Roman legions marched, some of their various configurations, and typical fighting techniques. This is how the Romans assembled an empire.
The Roman city of Jerash, is for some reason not on the UN World Heritage Sites, but it should be. It's size, quality of construction and state of preservation make it a tourist favorite.
I visited Israel in 1971. The was my second visit, and, of course, I was deeply impressed with all of the progress.
I took a bus from Jordan to Israel. The bus stopped multiple times. While waiting at a stop, I saw a toilet by the road, quickly took advantage of the convenience, came out to discover the bus had left me in some no-mans-land between borders. All my stuff was on the bus!!! An Israel soldier directed me to another bus This bus got me to the Israeli side before my original bus!! I experienced bus security checks during the time Muslims are returning from Mecca with large jugs of holy water. Fun to match wits with the professional Israelis, who ask a lot of questions.
As soon as I got thru the bus station, there was a Mercedes car with a top notch driver and we set out on my 2 day trip to see all of the UN World Heritage Sites I had not seen before. I had him stop at things of interest. For example, I checked out skiing on carpets. This looks like something that would be popular in the desert southwest in the US.
At Tel Megiddo, which all Americans will recognize by its ancient Greek name, Armageddon I examined how the ancients defended their city on a hill. The key was water and they dug a shaft 35 meters deep and a tunnel 80 meters long to supply them water during a siege. I took the steps down and walked the length of the tunnel.
We headed to the Golan Heights. I can see why both Israel and Syria want this land. It is fertile and, of course, it has a masterful view of Israel. Navigating by general experience, I found the spot with the best view. You could see the whole of the Sea of Galilee - just a taste of the view in my tiny photo.
Perhaps the highlight of my trip was seeing the Bahai terraced gardens on the hillside in Haifa. These are magnificent, and maintained to a level of perfection one rarely sees anywhere.
At the other end of Israel in the Negev desert, I visited Avdat one of the famed ancient cities built by the Nabataeans on the incense (like, e.g., frankincense and myrrh) route from Arabia to the Mediterranean. The most famous city of the Nabataeans is Petra, which I saw in 1971 and 1978.
I left before Christmas and was in Norfolk Island on Christmas Day. Most of this trip occurred in January 2011. I will only include Norfolk Island in my 2010 Year in Review because of the ties to Pitcairn Island (I visited in October).
In 1856, the British Government moved people from Pitcairn to Norfolk Island. It is larger than Picairn and closer to civilization. However, after a few years many of the Picairn people wanted to go back to Pitcairn. Why? After visiting both islands, I was surprised by their decision until I learn that the British Government had promised people title to land on Norfolk, but changed its mind. This turned a good deal into a bad deal.
The people returning to Pitcairn brought back Norfolk Island Pine trees which are endemic to Norfolk Island, and still on its flag. Today of the 1500 people who live on Norfolk, half are descendants from Pitcairn who in turn are all descendants of the sailors who staged the Mutiny on the Bounty. For comparison, there are only 60 people living on Pitcairn.
This year has been dominated by international travel. I made trips in the continental United States to Texas, Kansas, Missouri, downstate Illinois, and Virginia.
My favorite place to visit in the United States is my home! I was gone almost two thirds of the year. Here is a photo from early in the year of a hawk waiting at the bird feeder for an unwary bird. I saw hawks several times this year. They are large birds compared to their prey.
My major accomplishment at home in 2010 was getting the outside of the house painted. As homeowners know, a complete house painting forces you to deal with many action items to get ready for the painters.
Once again I was a delegate to a Libertarian Party convention. I am now the only person who has attended all of the Presidential nominating conventions of the LP. This was an off year convention, but it was effective and elected strong, new leadership. It is always fun to be around LP members. They are a lively group with a good sense of humor.
Ken worked for me years ago on Japan and I normally see him every few years. This time I arrived with only a few hours warning, but got I got lucky. Ken, Marianne and their 3 daughters were at home. In fact, my timing was perfect in a sense. Many years ago, I suggested to Ken and Marianne that they should take their daughters to see all 50 states. They have been working on this goal, and the day after I arrived they were off to visit Alaska, their 50th state. Congratulations to the Paker Family on seeing the whole of the United States!
What fun to visit the Latimers to celebrate Lynn's 70th birthday. All 4 children, their spouses and all 7 grandchildren plus many old friends were there to celebrate Lynn's 70th birthday. Lynn is a very special person to many people! And it was the first time for many in Illinois to see the new Latimer home in Wisconsin.
There is always a lot of energy around a Latimer event. This year there was a blow-up castle to allow kids to jump up and down. Adults were busy swapping stories. Jason and Henry showed off their musical skills. Natalia arranged some make-up lessons for the girls - never too early to learn some of the basics.
Lynn got a lot of gifts -- including an iPad and a unique sculpture of her birthday number.
The Free Minds Seminar is the Objectivist Summer Seminar that I have attended for many years. It is always a stimulating intellectual week in a supportive environment. This year there was a lot of excitement on the plan for the movie of of Atlas Shrugged. The movie will open in the United States on April 15, 2011.
Marsha Enright, a dear friend, runs the monthly Objectivist discussion group in Chicago. She is also developing a new college, the College of the United States sponsored by Reason Individualism Freedom Institute. This Institute also sponsors the highly regarded "The Great Connections" Seminar each summer for high school and college students.
I like to see things first hand and my approach is to take advantage of opportunities when traveling. This Masonic Temple, mentioned in Dan Brown's novel The Lost Symbol that I recommend in my Year in Review for 2009, was across the street from the Free Minds Seminar. Naturally, I took the tour.
I recommend the tour and seeing this unique building. It has a large wall mural of Washington laying the cornerstone of the Capitol, and many Washington related heirlooms. One is the clock that stood next to his bed that was stopped by his doctor when he passed away. There are great views from the top of the building.
I hiked the Great Falls National Park with David Saum in perfect weather. This hike gives you a very different view of the Potomac river. One discovery was that there was a canal with locks to bypass the Great Falls. This Patowmack Canal company was organized by George Washington.
I have lunch with Eleanor Moore and other people associated with the Parrish Computer Science Scholarship every year. I always look forward to this long luncheon.
Eleanor was the key person in helping me set up this Scholarship and getting it on a successful path. She has that classic blend of Texas charm and rock-solid judgment that makes her so effective. Eleanor decided that 2010 was the natural time to retire, and that has been a shock to her co-workers and friends. She has helped countless students and donors over the years. Watching her work and listening to the comments of others, I realize this woman has never lost a friend.
Here is a photo of Jim McAndrew with his first dove. His wife, Ashley, is my first cousin (one time removed), and she and Jim invited me to experience the great outdoors of the Hill Country at the home of a friend of theirs. That couple built a home and a power plant to provide electricity for it in the Hill Country. I'm not a hunter, but enjoyed some static target practice. It was a delight to see this rustic home in such a natural setting, and to learn about how to produce your own power.
Although President Kennedy was assassinated in 1963, the public still has a deep interest in the event. The School Book Depository in Dallas has been turned into a museum. Tourists roam over the area including Dealey Plaza. I have visited the site many times over the years. This time I noticed an "X" to mark the spot of JFK's assassination. Tourists risk their life by waiting for the traffic light to stop 3 lanes of traffic, running out on the spot to be photographed, and running back to safety. Yep, that's me in the photograph.
President Eisenhower was a widely respected man. He was straight-forward and honest. His 1952 campaign slogan I like Ike remains one of the best known and most apt political slogans in American history. Many life-long Democratic voters cast their very first Republican vote for Ike. Under Ike's leadership, America had peace and prosperity, in fact, this was his 1956 campaign slogan. Many remember the Fabulous Fifties.
Eisenhower's stature among professional historians continues to grow. He is usually ranked among the top 10 presidents.
The Libertarian Party of Illinois Convention was a fun convention with good speakers including David Nolan, the Founder of the Libertarian Party. See the Departed Friends section at the bottom.
The photo captures the work of Fran Holt (who is happens to be my 11th cousin, our common ancestor is Richard Warren on the Mayflower) to record the early days of the party in Illinois back in the 1970s.
In September, I made my annual visit to Texas. I always look forward to seeing my nephew PJ aka Philip Charles Parrish, Jr, his wife Amy and son, Cortlan, who was almost 11 this visit. This is a high tech family. Each has a Mac and an iPhone. Now PJ has an iPad. They were the first people that I knew with AT&T Uverse.
I met Linda Hubalek via email and on the phone ten years ago after I read her historical novel, Butter in the Well, that mentioned my Great Grandparents from Sweden, Otto and Clara Peterson.
Linda mentioned to me that I should contact her if I ever made a genealogical visit to Kansas. Well I did and she was very gracious with her time and expertise. She took me on a 2 hour tour of the area showing me where various things had happened in her novel. She also gave me guidance where to do research.
My key goal was to discover the house where my grandmother, Clara Victoria Peterson Anderson, was born.
I researched land records and records in the library. I put all of the clues together and I discovered and photographed the foundation of the house where my grandmother was born. There is a special pleasure to this type of discovery. The house was next to the church property were Otto worked as a Swedish teacher and janitor. He was also the Postmaster. I also stopped at the National Archives in Kansas City and obtained a copy of his Citizenship papers.
I've collected my results with photos in a new web page dedicated to Otto and Clara Peterson.
I have permanently endowed 3 scholarships. The Anderson Scholarship, awarded initially in 1998, honors my mother, Herdis Anderson Parrish. The Parrish Electrical Engineering Scholarship, awarded initially in 2008, honors my father, Donald M. Parrish. The Parrish Computer Science Scholarship, awarded initially in 2001, was established in my name. Each of these scholarships is awarded to a college freshman each year. I have no control over the selection of these excellent students, but I hope, that these scholarships in some small way, help them launch their careers.
Establishing a scholarship to honor a loved one, preserves their memory in a way that does some good every year for a deserving young person. This year, for example, Alfonso Raymundo was the first in his family to go to college.
Here are the 2010 winners. Click on their name to get more information about them. Click on their photo to enlarge.
The Circumnavigators Club is an organization for people who have made a trip around the world. I'm a life member and remain active in our local Circumnavigators chapter. I have served on the Board for over 11 years, and am the Webmaster. I also serve on the subcommittee that selects our Foundation Scholar each year. We send a Junior from Northwestern University on a 3 month round the world trip to pursue research of their choosing.
Here I'm with a new member
Virginia Mullin at our dinner with speaker event on April 22, 2010 at St. Ignatius, a historic church
and college prep school which
survived the great fire of 1871.
The Sons of the American Revolution, one of our oldest patriotic organizations, requires proof that an ancestor fought in the American Revolution for membership. I continue as the Webmaster of the Fox Valley chapter of the SAR. After leading the chapter for 5 years until April 2008, it was a delight to see that it continues to thrive under new leadership.
Our SAR chapter has two dinner meeting each year with a speaker. In addition, we are involved with many activities involving honoring Eagle Scouts, ROTC students, winners of Outstanding Citizenship in high schools, awards to outstanding Police officers and Firefighters, helping veterans, etc.
I was an invited speaker to the Eagle Scout Court of Honor for David C Bailey Jr on January 9, 2010. I also presented him with an SAR certificate. Dave was very active in sports in high school. His coach, another invited speaker, explained that he had never been guilty of a penalty. This was just one of Dave's impressive accomplishments.
Again this year along with Delta Greene and Don & Mary Brown, former colleagues at Bell Labs, I continued to enjoy the well staged and acted performances at the delightful Shakespeare theater in Chicago. We saw Noël Coward's play Private Lives on January 21st and two Shakespeare productions: The Taming of the Shrew on April 23rd and the immortal Romeo and Juliet on September 30th.
The Shakespeare theater on Navy Pier is a gem. This is classic theater enjoyed with super people. Before the performances, we like to have a look at the stained glass exhibit on Navy Pier. There is also a timeline of Chicago history in that section of Navy Pier which is fun and educational to read.
New Year's Resolution Idea: over 6 years ago, I got an Omron HJ-112 pedometer and my achieved goal is to average over 10,000 steps a day (almost 5 miles or 8 kilometers). In 2010, I had another perfect year averaging over 10,000 steps a day each month. Given my heavy travel schedule, it can be a challenge, but I make getting my steps a priority. You can click the spreadsheet to enlarge it to see my day by day results. I'm proud of myself for getting regular exercise. Some people have followed my example. Walking is an easy way to get more exercise.
The beauty of a pedometer is that it converts all exercise to a common unit. The Omron pedometer is a handy device that I clip on my belt in the morning and take off at night. It stores 7 days worth of step counts. You can buy it at some drugstores or from Amazon using the link above. It is an easy way to motivate yourself to exercise.
These books enriched my life in 2010. The book titles are linked to Amazon. I "read" most of the books by listening to them on my iPhone after downloading them from audible.com. You can listen while walking!
This year's non-fiction pick examines the causes of success. While it is not the whole story, it is the part of the story that you are not familiar with. A brilliant book full of insight.
The most recent spy thriller by Vince Flynn about CIA agent Mitch Rapp is recommended. These are good vs. evil page turners about Islamic terrorists with complex plots and interesting characters. Flynn has a taut writing style coupled with high-concept plots. Great adrenaline-charged reading. This book is about the young Mitch Rapp and how he got started. Flynn fans will find it provides useful background.
This documentary book reads like a thriller. It will often have you on the edge of your seat. The author, born on Lincoln's birthday, has a life-long interest in the subject of Lincoln and his assassin. His recreation of the biggest manhunt in American history is a tour de force. It will amaze you what you didn't know about this period of American history at many levels. The book covers the imponderables of history and tiny details. The moral force of Lincoln will hit you anew. This book is highly recommended.
I must like thrillers because here is another one set in the early days of the space race. It is Ken Follet at his best. It is a romantic suspense novel. Hard to put down until you have finished it.
In addition to books, I enjoy listening to Teaching Company college-level courses while I walk. It's easy to download them into iTunes, then into your iPhone or iPod. Here are two recommended ones from 2010:
There are some astonishing things most American have no idea about in the formative years of American history. Professor Allison understands and can explain how the pieces fit together. It is an exceptional story.
The complexity of China, its key cultural ideas, the rise and fall of various periods and the long continuity in spite of upheaval and turbulence -- all of this is covered in this Professor Hammond's course. A basic grasp of Chinese history is really essential to understand what is happening today.
Two strong individuals and old friends died in 2010. In addition to their love of liberty, they were both people who were remembered by all who ever knew them. They are unforgettable.
I met Vi Smith in 1966 when I came to work at Bell Labs in New Jersey. I explained this in the photo report I did on her after my visit to her home in Bakersfield, California in 2006. Vi died July 4, 2010, and it seems appropriate to me that she died on our country's birthday. She was 88. You can learn more about her in her obituary, e.g., she was the Valedictorian of her high school class.
I met David Nolan at the first Libertarian Party political convention in Denver in 1972. He was the Founder of the Libertarian Party, and a tireless advocate for our liberties. I saw him every year or two at Libertarian Party conventions, and was always impressed with his knowledge, intelligence and dedication. He received respectful obituaries from dozens of sources including the New York Times, Time magazine, Reason magazine, and the Associated Press.
Here is a photo of David and I at the Libertarian Party of Illinois state convention in September, just 2 months before his untimely death. With his passing, I am now the only person who has been a delegate to all of the Presidential nominating conventions of the Libertarian Party. See the table in my report on the 2004 LP convention.
Every time you read the word Libertarian in a newspaper or magazine, you can credit David Nolan for reviving this word and the perspective that it represents. His famous Nolan Chart has educated millions of people on where they stand politically in just 10 simple questions. Most people think this chart gives an accurate assessment of their political views. Many variations of his chart have been developed.
All the best to you in Twenty Eleven - 2011!