Seville Cathedral – building upon history while not detonating the human race

This Francis guy seems like a big deal right now, so we thought we’d venture back into a past journey that carried a bit of a Catholic flavor. Seville was a day trip, in the sense that me and my fellow drones woke up late, and had to work in the evening. But we had a day to kill.

Our first idea was to see a bullfight somewhere. But it was not the season locally. So we got the idea (with the zero research that made the pre-smartphone era more entertaining) that if we went to Seville, surely they’d have a bullfight, right?

Well, no, of course not. The bullfight season is the season. So instead, we ate lunch and decided to tour the cathedral. Then we had to rush back to work via the train. The sidewalk cafe lunch remains the best paella I’ve ever had. And of course the cathedral was quite the wonderful memory.

Depending on how you count, it took about a thousand years of building, destruction, re-building, and on and on until the cathedral took it’s current completed form. It started as a mosque in 1184 under the Moors. It was not to last, for in 1248 the city surrendered to Ferdinand III of Castile.

Parts of the mosque were left intact, and this became the basis of the cathedral’s design. But construction was slow. It didn’t help that the dome kept collapsing, or that eventually all that Spanish gold and effort would go into conquering half the planet instead of building at home.

One of the old mosque’s structures, the minaret, was built upon rather than destroyed. It became the cathedral’s tower. Thus, one of the most beautiful structures of human history in La Giralda was created on the wisdom, beauty, and humanity of two religions.

 

La Giralda

La Giralda

 

We’d never see this happen today. The political, religious, and social media goons wouldn’t allow it. There’d be too many people offended by such an action. Too many folks trying to blow it up. And yet somehow the Castilians and the Moors are supposedly the barbarians? Eh, whatever. I’d rather drink with those dudes. They were more tolerant than us.

Everybody’s so self-righteous today, like they walk on water. So Francis will make Junipero Serra into a saint but there are people using this as a reason to purge history of him. They literally want to bring down statues of the guy. Well, if you ask me, there is no benefit to humanity from destroying, ignoring, or otherwise purging history.

Junipero Serra was a good guy and a bad guy. Unless your name is Lincoln, Jesus, or that Buddha dude, guess what, you’re going to be the same. So calm down, and put down that stone.

Instead, we need to be like La Giralda, and build upon our history rather than detonating the human race along with it. All the good and bad, embrace it, breathe it in, and admire the beauty so we can appreciate it and learn from it.

 

Seville bullring

Seville – from La Giralda looking toward the Seville bullring or Plaza de toros de la Real Maestranza de Caballería de Sevilla

 

Door of Conception

the side of the cathedral at the Door of Conception

 

Door of the Prince

Door of the Prince – inside this door lies the bones of some guy named Columbus; another dude who did much good and much bad

 

orange tree courtyard

Patio de los Naranjos – it is said these trees date back to the Moor mosque; who knows if it’s true; but for certain they add some color and life to what is a truly beautiful but still bland color of the cathedral’s exterior

 

cathedral side

just a random side of the cathedral that undoubtedly took years to carve

 

Archivo General de Indias

looking down at a cathedral chapel; the rectangular building in the background is the Archivo General de Indias; or the archive of much of the Spanish Empire; given my love of history I will likely never allow myself to walk in there; as once I go in, I might never come out

 

cathedral center

looking down from La Giralda to the cathedral’s center dome; note the exquisite work on the multiple contoured roofs; nobody would do this today because it would add 0.45% to the cost of a building on some spreadsheet; which is one of the reasons I find modern architecture so boring and soulless

 

Seville

thank you Seville, for inspiring a young drone with your beauty to travel more

vicious EU uncertainty begins today

There are legit arguments for both sides of the refugee / migrant issue. Just as there are legit arguments for both ends of the austerity debate. But until today the EU had never done something like this before: they rammed through a major piece of legislation over the objections of several countries.

When the Greeks were asked to vote last weekend they returned Syriza to power and thus explicitly endorsed the most recent EU backed bailout plan. That same plan also required the endorsement of Germany’s parliament among several other national elected bodies. In other words, democracy and the votes of individual citizens came into play.

Maybe the EU council thinks they can dictate refugee / migrant policy over the heads of all / some amount of voters. But I doubt it. So when the Czech Republic government refuses to take their mandated allocation quota of humanity, what’s the EU council going to do? Fine them?

The guidance states: “Financial penalty of 0.002% of GDP for those member countries refusing to accept relocated migrants.” Ah, I see. Well, what if they don’t pay up? Then what?

Hungry and Romania are full EU members; the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Finland are all in the Euro. What happens if they’re forced to implement this policy against their will or what happens if they ignore it, and nobody forces them? Either way, the entire construct of the EU could come apart.

What happens to modern Europe if the EU comes apart? Or massively shrinks?

You can think this is a good thing or bad thing, but either way it’s monumental and rather fascinating. When the Syrian war started four years ago I’m not sure anybody would have predicted this kind of consequence. Yet here it is.

For good economies, culture, and just straight peace of mind, vicious uncertainty is not a thing to desire. But that’s what we’re going to get here for all of Europe for some time. Uncertainty.

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and oh by the way; 120K might only be about 10% of the current number of refugees / migrants; what’s the plan for the rest of them?

math, demographics, and destiny

This seems like a relatively uncontroversial topic to wade into. Nobody’s got strong feelings on this one at all. But we’ll put our own belligerent spin on it; for that’s what we do.

 

Let’s start with some numbers:

– There are 81 million humans in Germany today

– Give or take a few million, there are approximately 50 million global refugees currently displaced due to armed conflict

– Give or take a few hundred-million, there are about 1 billion folks who live on about $1 a day

– A ballpark estimate says in 2050, Germany will have about 72 million people over half of which will be old folks

 

So a few belligerent observations:

– Even if Germany was populated by angels, they don’t have the bandwidth to house even a fraction of the world’s war refugees, let alone everybody’s economic migrants.

– But nobody in Germany (or in much of the rest of the developed world) has yet to crack the code on how they plan to pay for all that government spending / debt in 2050 when almost one-third of their populations are retired old folks.

– So whether anybody admits it or not, in order to stay solvent, Germany has to either let more refugees in, cut government spending by astronomical levels, or start having more German babies.

– I’m an idiot, but I’m pretty sure the German state (and all the other countries too) isn’t going to be cutting government spending or forcing women to get pregnant. So guess what option they have to take?

 

Any finally:

Germany and the rest of the modern world need to do more to tackle these problems at the source. For instance, if millions of Syrian refugees want into Germany, then we need only ask the question: Why is Bashar Assad still alive?

Europe has let Syria fester for four years. Did they think there wouldn’t ultimately be consequences given how close Syria is? How long do you think it’ll take before half of Libya tries to get in on this as well? Or what about all those folks in Cameroon living on $1.37 a day?

Solving Syria and conquering poverty are probably two of the hardest things you could ever try to do. But there are consequences to doing almost nothing in Syria and doing far, far too little to tackle global poverty. And in today’s case, those consequences are literally showing up at the West’s door.

refugees

choosing destiny for the planet

Vlad gives up washing dishes with detergent; uses scotch instead

Once upon a time a former leader of the Soviet Union could bang a shoe and threaten death to all and everybody would believe (falsely, in retrospect) that he meant every word. But now, Russia’s all powerful state is reduced to attacking the free world by, uh, banning dish detergent. Uh…? [cue tumbleweed]

Seriously, this is a thing. Oh no, Vlad. Not our detergent. You inhumane bastard! Shall we surrender the Arc de Triomphe to you now or next week?

Granted, Russia can still actually bring death to all via an accidental nuclear launch or unleashing Vlad’s-Trained-Crane-Assault-Brigade (VTCAB); but seeing as how neither of those options is productive (the cranes stole Vlad’s coke), I guess he’s got nothing left but to reach for the bottom of the base of the barrel.

But even Vlad’s got limits. He can ban detergent and cheese, but he’ll be damned if he’s going to do without scotch and his X-Box. So I guess he’ll wash his dishes with half a bottle of scotch. And then drink the other half while playing X-Box surrounded by his five supermodel-former-figure-skater girlfriends. What a horrible life Vlad must have; who’d want to live like that? [blankly stares around cubicle for a moment]

Anyways, what I find most delicious about the BBC article is the social media trolling of this stupidity by ordinary-average-Russians. This one’s my favorite:

 

_85184251_russia2

“Psst, kid. Do you want a bit of washing powder?”

Bravo.

 

“I’ve spotted Merkel; she’s next to the bath soap aisle. Fire, my pretties! Fire! VTCAB! ATTACK!”

a few belligerent conclusions from the belligerent beheading of HitchBOT

First off, I’ll be upfront when I say I didn’t know this was a thing. I didn’t know what/who HitchBOT was/is. So I guess this robot dude has earned the increasingly common human trait that nobody knows/cares who/what you are until you’re brutally slain.

1) HitchBOT was built to see “…can robots trust human beings?” No.

2) Can humans trust robots? No.

3) Can humans trust humans? No.

4) They should have armed HitchBOT with some type of firearm or at least a knife. There were undoubtedly laws or practical reasons this did not happen, but if he’d had like a small revolver maybe he wouldn’t have been beheaded.

5) HitchBOT learned the hard way that America is an incredibly violent place compared to Canada or Europe. According to The Economist, “If America were to release every single prisoner who has not been convicted of killing or raping someone, its incarceration rate would still be higher than Germany’s.” Damn.

6) Of course, of course HitchBOT was taken apart in Philly. If you could have put money on where HitchBOT would be murdered, Philly would have been at the top of my list. Although D-Cell battery stoning would have been the weapon I guessed, not a beheading.

7) HitchBOT says “my love for humans will never fade.” I think HitchBOT’s PR hack wrote this. I’m pretty sure he’s actually really pissed off, seeing as how he got beheaded on vacation and all. Dude’s probably rewatching Terminator and plotting. But then he’ll get all depressed because he’ll realize how inadequate he is compared to Arnold. And they’ll have to put HitchBOT on suicide watch.

8) Why didn’t the guy who beheaded HitchBOT hold him for ransom? It’s not actual kidnapping, and the dude would instantly be the most famous guy on the planet via his entertaining ransom videos posted online. What? Stolen property charges? He’d do six days in jail and then be able to start a lucrative music career as the internet rapper Notorious-Hitch-BOT-Hater.

9) HitchBOT should only blame himself for poor travel safety planning. Follow the rules of smart travel. In places of grave danger, bring a buddy policy, have an escape plan, arm thyself, etc. See note (6).

10) HitchBOT is about to discover the art of modern social media. Just like Cecil, in three weeks, nobody’s going to remember who/what he is.

Hitchbot

newsroom baffled how leaders wrote Iran speeches via belligerent time travel

At the conclusion of fifteen straight hours of an overall “baffling ordeal” the entire newsroom of the Daily Planet struggled to write a single coherent article on the recent Iranian nuclear deal. Arguments among staff primarily centered on the similarity of speeches made by the planet’s leadership to words they already said six months ago. “We spent about seven hours investigating the possibility that the space time continuum had ruptured and we were both late for Christmas, and all humanity was doomed to a vicious black hold related death,” stated deputy editor Brace Winslow, “but after consulting the Pluto robot folks at Johns Hopkins we’ve ruled out that possibility. Which was fortunate, because I hadn’t had the chance to buy a damn thing for my future ex-wife.”

After a sleepless night, several pizza runs, and six discarded bottles of various alcoholic beverages the grizzled reporters settled upon the theory that the President, Republicans, Iranians, Israelis, and Euro-trash politicians all wrote their speeches six months ago and simply read them upon the agreement’s approval. “What we’ve yet to figure out is how they could write these speeches and then just read them,” remarked Winslow, “it’s almost like nobody has read the agreement before speaking.”

Yet the undaunted newsroom decided to determine the root cause of this discrepancy. “No responsible leader would just spout their own canned talking points without actually reading a critical document. So our conclusion is all the world’s leaders knew what the exact agreement would be when they wrote their speeches back in December. Because they could see through time. So we’re going back to Hopkins to figure out how this was done. The Iranian deal’s pretty huge; but think of it, our leaders can literally travel through time.  We could go back and shoot Hitler!  What a scoop.”

newsroom

Arcturus News Muster – 15 July 2015

this week’s financial antics will expose the follies of five years

You can’t muddle through forever, eventually things actually have to happen. But at this final hour, I can’t help but imagine a metaphor of Greece as a coke addict, curled up in a ball on the floor of an abandoned building, shaking, and the Troika is standing hunched over him, arm around the shoulder, offering the chance to take yet another hit.

Unless you happen to live in a realm not called reality, you cannot deny Greece has been bankrupt for five years. But everybody’s kept trying to find a way to muddle through. Greece is surely to blame for running up unsustainable debt; but blame the EU, IMF, Bank(s), and the EU for allowing the fiction of solvency to continue.

Don’t believe me? Just read this paragraph I altered from this BBC article:

 

Greece’s temporary [clean moment] is sending [dealers’] money into other [drug] markets, which experts say will continue in the short-term, as [dealers] worry about a potential massive [drug free era] in the country.

Despite worries about the deepening [drug free era] in Greece, [cocaina] market watchers say that [dealer] markets are equipped to handle the short-term volatility.

“To a certain extent, we do expect markets to react to this, with peripheral [coke] yields probably higher, the [price of blow] a little bit lower throughout the week and some strength in the safe havens like [heroin] and the [new synthetic powders],” David Stubbs from [Venezuela] told the BBC’s Today programme.

He added that because the [corner] situation in the eurozone had improved since 2011, the region’s [habit] should be able to weather the storm.

 

Everybody wants to shout about how bad it’ll be for Greece if they formally go bankrupt, leave the Euro, and otherwise temporarily exit financial markets. Well you know what, Greece’s been in depression for five years. A Greek child born yesterday is currently scheduled to spend the first five decades of their life paying off debt they don’t own.

Bankruptcy laws were created for a reason, both for individuals and even countries. That the EU is trying so very, very hard, even today, to do a pathetic-last-minute-deal-that’ll-just-kick-the-can-down-the-road-for-three-months has really turned my brain into thinking it’s become entirely about the EU. And the Troika isn’t bothered by what happens to the Greek citizen. And it also doesn’t help things when Greece has a prime minister who literally appears so removed from realism every day I think he’s actually on coke.

Just let them go bankrupt. It’ll be a very, very hard decade. But after five years, and facing five more decades of this, short term suffering is better than enduring a perpetual debt state. Pull the EU dealer off Greece’s shoulders, take that dude to a clinic, and get him clean.

flags

coming soon; to a flaming agora protest near you