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Traveling through Walt’s World, then the real World

Posted by Bruce Carroll at 6:24 pm - September 26, 2012.
Filed under: Blogging,Travel,Vacation Blogging

It’s Bruce checking in from Orlando, FL, where PatriotPartner (John) and I are celebrating a good friends birthday at Disney World.

Then on Saturday night, we head out for a more ambitious trip: Sydney, Australia next week!

On Oct 3., John and I are lucky enough to see Lady Antebellum perform at the Sydney Opera House!

All this to say that my blogging will be slow. And I’m actually trying to ignore the day-to-day political stuff until Oct 8! Wish me luck. LOL.

I will probably have some pics during the Sydney trip on my Twitter account. So follow me there for sure!

-Bruce (GayPatriot)

A Reflection on the Liberals in My Family & the Critics of our Blog

I am just now returning from the second gathering of my immediate family, immediate to me at least, my siblings and their offspring (as well as at least one of our parents) in seven weeks.  In May, we gathered in New York for my third eldest niece’s Bat Mitzvah.   This past weekend, we celebrated my Mom’s 75th birthday in San Diego.

What distinguished these two weekends from past such gatherings was the near absence of political (for lack of better word) confrontations.  In our family, the partisan divide falls neatly along gender lines, with the men Republicans, the women Democrats (but the sisters-in-law tend to vote Republican while the brothers-in-law lean left, but not dogmatically so).

(The absence of political disagreements made these weekends more enjoyable, far more enjoyable, than the typical family get-together.)

Anyway, it reminded me how well we can all get along if we refrain from discussing politics.  I love my Mom and both my sisters and share much in common with all three.  My Mom and I both love art and had a wonderful day on Saturday with my third eldest nephew (her grandson) at the San Diego Museum of Art where we saw an amazing exhibit, Mortals and Myths in Ancient Greece. (I could see it again, even found material for the current chapter of my dissertation in the depictions on the various vases.)

My more liberal (and politically active) sister shares my passion; she is a first-rate mother.  And then there’s my San Francisco sister to whom I’ve become particularly close since I joined her in the Golden State.  She has become a good listener (and a good friend), sympathetic to my “plight” as a single man.  And her first-born is helping her learn the maternal skills her elder sister enjoys.

I say all this because I wonder if some of our critics, who often show the same passion for politics as does the elder (of my) sister(s), also have some of the qualities my liberal siblings possess, that they too are good brothers, sisters, devoted children or loving parents or like yours truly a doting uncle (or aunt).  I try sometimes to see through their harsh commentary to imagine the person beneath and hope sometimes that through posts like this one they can see the humanity behind my on-line political persona. (more…)

The right place to eat in Kingston, PA

Thanks to Facebook, I reconnected yesterday with a friend I knew from my days in College Republicans, back in the Abramoff era.  I believe the last time we saw each other was at the Gipper’s second inaugural.

We met at a delightful diner in Kingston, PA, immediately adjacent to Wilkes-Barre.  At Tony’s, the welcome was warm and the food tasty.  And, well, the politics was largely to my liking.  Take a gander at the fridge:

So, the next time you’re in the Wilkes-Barre area, make sure to stop by. The food is good–and by LA standards, really quite inexpensive and the politics are just right.

Thank You Los Angeles

John and I had a great time on our whirlwind trip to LA this weekend. Thanks to Leah, Western Princess of the Homocons for her hospitality!! Karl Rove and Dick Cheney’s speeches were challenging but inspirational. We were thrilled that they appreciated our blog and went out of their way to acknowledge our prescence.

More travel for me this week: Atlanta, including the BlogTalkRadio shoe on Wed night at 10pm Eastern.

And now, I plan to snooze across the fruited planes….

GayPatriot Denver Brunch, Saturday (Sept. 5)

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 12:40 pm - September 2, 2009.
Filed under: Blogging,Travel,Vacation Blogging

Just another reminder about brunch this Saturday, September 5, in Denver, most likely downtown.   E-mail me for details as I expect to fix a location by tomorrow (Thursday morning).

The Genuine Outrage of Obamacare Opponents

There are days when I really miss reading a “dead-tree” newspaper, sipping coffee as I read the news.  Yesterday, after an early morning hike with my Dad and his friends to celebrate his birthday, I did just that, alternating between the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times.

The former had a number of interesting columns and informative articles, notably Gerald Seib’s piece on how the President has hurt himself by his “Hands Off Strategy“* on health care and a news article on the increasingly vocal opposition to the Democrats’ proposed health-care overhaul.

That latter had two paragraphs which get at the nub of the grassroots opposition to the President’s various policies through out the year:

Recent town-hall uproars weren’t just about health care. They were also eruptions of concern that the government is taking on too much at once. 

. . . .

Mr. Obama also inherited a large budget deficit and expanded it further with economic-stimulus spending.

There’s more to the article than that–and I highly recommend you read the whole thing.  Like AP reporter Erica Werner,  WSJ reporters Janet Adamy  and Jonathan Weisman do take the time to understand the legitimate concerns of these outspoken opponents of big government rather than dismiss them as corporate and/or right-wing astroturfing.

The long and the short of it is:  Americans don’t like big government.

* (more…)

“I can’t blog on everything.”

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 1:18 am - August 30, 2009.
Filed under: Blogging,Random Thoughts,Travel,Vacation Blogging

If I had a moment and were not on vacation, I’d find the post I wrote recently where I noted that one of the most frequent criticisms I receive is that I don’t address issues others bloggers are addressing.

Look, there are so many things I want to blog about.  In my various notebooks, I have endless lists of ideas for potential posts.  And sometimes I need remind myself that I can’t blog on every such idea.

I do consider many of the articles you forward to me and ideas you share with me, encouraging me to blog on them.  I get no shortage of e-mail from our readers (and critics), many with articles (or links) attached.  And then there are my own ideas.

Just a thought, perhaps more to provide fodder for commentary than anything else as I’m on vacation with my family now and needing to get to bed at a reasonable hour so I can get up early to have some more time with my nieces and nephew (oh, and their mother too (my sister)).

Did Obama supporters assume that their guy’s election meant opposition would cease*?

One of the things I love about driving cross country, particularly when I traverse the beautiful empty spaces of the American West, is the opportunity let me mind wander.   I listen to books on CD, then sometimes pause the narrative to let my mind wander.  This time, I brought along a digital recorder so I don’t have to risk losing my thought or unnecessarily slow by journey by pulling aside to record the idea a piece of paper.

And pausing from listening to the conclusion of a biography of Lincoln, William F. Buckley, Jr.’s reflections on the Reagan he knew, Tolkien’s recitation of some of his work and now a history of Washington’s crossing of the Delaware, I recorded notes about things to do, ideas for my dissertation, images for my fantasy epic and thoughts about politics.

And from those thoughts I may cull a few ideas for blog posts.  One such thought (which I recall from memory not recording as my digital device is in the car) is how in various ways Obama supporters “repeat” his attempt to push one of his initiatives by waving his 2008 victory in their face by saying “I won” as if electoral victory should serve to ensure legislative victory, closing all debate.

We see this in the media incredulity at the protests against Obama’s big government initiatives and in the anger of left-wingers that conservatives refuse to let a Democratic victory silence them.  And we see it on this blog in such comments as “The ‘national consensus’ on health care reform that you claim doesn’t exist is called the 2008 Presidential Election.”  As if an election means a national consensus has been forged on all the issues the victorious candidate addressed in his campaign. (By that line of thought, there’s a national consensus for a “net spending cut”).

Do these people really assume that because Barack Obama won the presidential election he is entitled to see enacted whatever legislation he proposes?  And that conservatives should just accept it because the candidate most of us supported and the party most of us backed lost last fall?

Now, as you consider this notion, please note the opening paragraphs to this post and the way I expressed it, as a question, not a conclusion.  I put the idea out there for your consideration.  And expressly included it in this blog’s Random Thoughts category.

——-

*except when ginned up by Republicans and the evil corporate interests who back them.

Slow Blogging

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 6:38 pm - August 26, 2009.
Filed under: Blogging,Family,Travel,Vacation Blogging

As per my last post, I don’t know how much time I’ll have for blogging in the next few days.  As this goes up, I’ll be somewhere in the Beehive State, either driving to the home of a good friend and his family or hanging out with said family.

From then it’s onto Colorado to spend some time with family, relaxing with my Dad in the Rockies, then visiting my brother at his new digs in Denver–and seeing assorted cousins and friends in Mile High City.  Will try to do some vacation blogging . . . .

And with my sister visiting my Dad and my step-brother ensconced in Denver, I’ll get to see at least three nieces and four nephews, only one of whom has met her newest cousin.

Denver Brunch, Saturday September 5

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 12:48 pm - August 26, 2009.
Filed under: Blogging,Travel,Vacation Blogging

Since I’ll be in Denver for the better part of next week, would love to meet our readers who live in the Mile High City, so am planning a brunch on Saturday, September 5.

And if all goes well, ColoradoPatriot will be joining us as well.  E-mail me for more info.

(If you can’t make the brunch, but would like to meet, let me know and we’ll work something out.)

Perfect Post to Read in a San Francisco Coffee Shop

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 2:31 pm - July 6, 2009.
Filed under: Travel,Vacation Blogging

IS THERE ANYTHING IT CAN’T DO? “Coffee May Reverse Alzheimer’s.”

Guess that settles the question about getting a refill.

Oaklander Supports Free Iran

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 1:36 am - July 4, 2009.
Filed under: Green Revolution in Iran,Travel,Vacation Blogging

Guess I shouldn’t have been so surprised to see this sign as I approached the Bay Bridge, given my left-of-center friend who was wearing green for Iran.  Seems even the folks in Oakland support freedom for the Iranian people.

support-free-iran

Sorry I couldn’t get a better picture, but snapped this in very slow traffic.

Key West Scavenger Hunt Contunues

Posted by Bruce Carroll at 12:14 pm - May 12, 2009.
Filed under: Blogging,Travel,Vacation Blogging

The contest continues! Find me in Key West for $100. Details and a timely clue at GayPatriot at Twitter

Find me! Find me!!

Advance Clue: We will be watching American Idol at Bourbon St. Pub on Duval Street tonight.

GayPatriot Stimulus Contest

Posted by Bruce Carroll at 3:04 pm - May 10, 2009.
Filed under: Blogging,Dogs,Travel,Vacation Blogging

I’m spending a week in Key West on vacation. The first person who can find me in person, you get $50.00.

To see what I look like, checkout my Twitter posts today. GayPatriot at Twitter.

$100 bucks to the first person who finds me and tells me that our old dog’s name was ROMPER.

Have fun!

-Bruce (GayPatriot)

Bryce Canyon National Park

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 7:15 am - August 15, 2008.
Filed under: Travel,Vacation Blogging

Ok, I really thought this park was beautiful so decided to share some more of my pictures–and yeah, I’m having fun now that I realized how easy it is to upload pictures!


 

 

 

More below the jump: (more…)

The Beauty of the American West

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 4:38 pm - August 14, 2008.
Filed under: Photoblogging,Travel,Vacation Blogging

When I drove cross country last fall, I didn’t take enough time to do what I really enjoy doing on such journeys, stopping along the road to delight in the beauty of our great nation.  This time, when I decided to visit my family in Colorado, I elected to give myself three full days to get back to LA.  I have done the drive in one day of heavy driving, so this really gave me the chance to explore.

I did decide to stay a little longer with my family so I got to go on a great hike with my twin nieces and their little brother, along with their parents and my Dad and his wife.  That was wonderful.

Wish I could have shared the landscape I saw in the following days with them.  In Utah, I stopped at a rest are just east of Green River on I-70, followed this path up a little hill and delighted in the openness of the landscape around me, noticing the interesting contours of the barren hills around me, the contrast of this dun stone to the blue sky around me.

The real beauty of Utah (to me at least) is not just the open spaces, but those very contrasts.  Perhaps one reason, Zion National Park is one of my favorites where you see the red stone set against the pine trees and other verdant foliage and the blue skies–even the brown trunks of the trees made the vista richer.

The following day, I took more time to explore the Beehive State.

So, since I finally figured out (easier than I ever imagined) how to upload pictures from my digital camera, I thought I’d share with you a picture I took just outside Bryce Canyon National Park which shows these contrasts.  Herewith the first picture from my own camera posted to this blog:

UPDATE: It was so easy to do this, I thought I’d add in this picture of the Natural Bridge in Bryce Canyon National Park:

The Big Woods Got Smaller

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 10:51 pm - July 6, 2008.
Filed under: Family,Travel,Vacation Blogging

Today, as my Mom, now at home, has been doing much better, I decided to visit the two houses where I lived as a child. As I approached the first, up a windy lane, I observed that except for one house which I didn’t remember, the houses all seemed the same. Sure, a few, notably our one-time home, had different landscaping another was painted a darker shade, but little had changed.

The house looked different. I was spared the embarrassment of asking to see the room I shared with my brother (until I was seven) as no one answered the door when I rang.

I took the long route to my old house and was saddened to see that the Old Town Ice Cream Parlor where my Dad used to treat us on many a summer evening had disappeared as had the Daily Donoughts. I can still remember the daisy on its neon sign.

I parked just up the street from the house where I had spent the better part of my childhood. Situated next to the large wooded estate of a Midwestern mattress magnate, it had been an ideal place for a young boy to grow up. We could explore those woods as we made up stories about the old lady who lived in the castle-like stone house. If she caught us on her property, we had convinced ourselves, she’d imprison in her drafty cellar, perhaps torturing us with the old rusty farm equipment we found near a dilapidated building on the grounds.

Woods to explore! And an old house which helped activate our young imaginations. What a place for a boy to grow up.

I walked those woods today, now a local park. They no longer seemed to go on forever as they once had. If we got lost, we might never find our way home. But, just today, I followed one path to its end–on a suburban street. Those big woods had gotten a lot smaller since I last explored them.

(more…)

Will Divisive Politics Continue?

I write from Cincinnati where I am sojourning briefly before driving up to Cleveland tomorrow for the Bar Mitzvah of the fourth eldest PatriotNephewWest. In a few minutes, I’ll be driving over to my brother’s to spend some time with my new niece to help her celebrate her second birthday. That’s right, the youngest PatriotNiblingWest is two weeks old today.

As I was leaving LA and wondered at the renewed possibility of a Hillary Clinton victory this November whether or not the divisive politics which began in earnest with her husband’s 1992 bid for the White House (but had their roots at least in the opposition to Robert Bork’s Supreme Court nomination, if not in the politics of the 1960s (LBJ) and 1970s (Nixon)) would continue with the intensity they have.

I mean, one thing I like about Barack Obama is that, while a staunch liberal, he does not arouse the resentment of his adversaries as does Ms. Hillary. Nor does he seem to harbor the partisan resentments she does.

As I look at the various candidates in our party, I wonder which one of them has the potential to transcend the politics of the last sixteen years. At first blush, John McCain seems to be the man, but then, in his attempts to curry favor with the MSM on certain issues, he has lost favor with his own party. Many of my liberal friends like Rudy Giuliani and could vote for him in November, but some social conservatives don’t like him while more doctrinaire liberals despise him.

Where is the man with the presence and convictions of Ronald Reagan?

Surely, a leader secure in his political beliefs might have the power to unite the nation.

There does seem to be one such man, at least on our side. A conservative (former) governor of a major state who could unite the GOP and lead the nation without arousing the resentment of those on the left. Well, that is, if he had a different last name.

UPDATE: Reader Peter Hughes just linked me to Camille Paglia’s latest post wherein she shows why Ms. Hillary could never be a unifying figure:

The obsessive need to keep campaigning may mean a president Hillary would go right on spewing the bitterly partisan rhetoric that has already paralyzed Washington. Even if Hillary could be elected (which I’m skeptical about), how in tarnation could she ever govern?

Don’t delay, read the whole thing.

Wishing To Keep Politics out of my Vacation

Here I sit in my hotel in Miami, our departure delayed. It’s a bit cooler than yesterday, regrettably too chilly (& windy) to go out on the beach. I supposed I should use this time to say something about the campaign. I mean, it was all over FoxNews when I switched on the TV while packing. I’m sure the other news networks are similarly satured with campaign coverage.

Even though the Iowa caucus is upon us, I really don’t want to think about politics right now. A friend of mine messaged me while I was checking e-mail and asked me what I thought about the coming cauci in Iowa. I replied I was on vacation, not really thinking all that much about politics.

In a previous post, the most political thing I wrote while on vacation, I indicated I would attempt to blog on Jack Goldsmith’s book The Terror Presidency: Law and Judgment Inside the Bush Administration. I even packed the book (along with some related print-outs) so I might refer to it in my post. I barely cracked the cover.

I’m just not as focused on the topic as I normally am, more interested in spending time with my family, enjoying the sunshine and reading the pulp fantasy novel I was reading (and searching (alas unsuccesfully) for its sequel to read on my return).

Right now, it just doesn’t seem the time to focus on politics. Maybe after I get back and unpack, my mind will be there.

And here I am a blogger who writes frequently about politics. If I’m not as interested at this time of year as I normally am, what does that say about the interest level of the average voter in Iowa, New Hampshire and elsewhere?

It seems right now, even after the first of the year that most people would rather focus on family and friends than on politics. It’s too bad so many states were so eager to move up their primaries and cauci, pushing states that normally voted–or caucused–in February to the first days of the new year.

As a result, they attempted to politicize the holidays, turning off even those who, as yours truly, enjoys following the give and take of the political season, talking about it and writing about it.

- B. Daniel Blatt (GayPatriotWest@aol.com)

Of State Quarters, Nieces & Nephews

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 10:10 pm - December 31, 2007.
Filed under: Family,Travel,Vacation Blogging

While I would not have chosen Miami as the place to spend the last few days of 2007, I’m grateful that I joined my family here for this vacation. Not only did I get to spend some quality time with my Dad, walking on the beach together or just relaxing with the rest of the family, but I also got to play with my nieces nephews and one of my sisters and one of my brothers, the only ones who made it down for the holiday.

And I got to have fun with my step-sister and step-brother better while bonding with his kids.

I have to note the irony in passing the gay section of the beach while walking with my father. What in other company might have been a major distraction was, in this case, only a minor diversion, some nice ice candy, but of little sustenance compared to conversation with my Dad.

And I delighted in playing the “state quarter” game with my nieces and nephews. You see, sometime in 2000 or 2001, I decided to start collecting the state quarters for my nieces and nephews (who now number 15). At the bank, I’ve buying a roll each time the mint released the latest coin. Well, I started pulling some of the older ones out of my change (as I hadn’t yet gotten those for the kids). Soon, I found myself saving any and all state quarters I got in change.

I started accumulating quite a number of these special coins. Now, I have drawers full of them.

So, instead of just giving the kids the latest quarters, I’d realized I needed to find a means to share them with the kids without actually giving them away. Now, before each family trip, I grab a handful, pulling them out when the kids are present, offering my various niblings* (nieces and nephews) a quarter if they can spell the state correctly.

Last night, seeing my baggie full of quarters, one of my nieces offered to spell a lot of states to help me get rid of them faster. And this young lady happens to be a most gifted speller, determined to learn how to spell each state she gets wrong. (Earlier in the evening, she had refused to spell certain states, telling me they were “too easy.”)

I think now maybe I should change the game and make them learn a fact or two about the state before they can win their two bits.

Oh. One more thing. For all the trouble I take to saving these coins, I learned that once my nieces and nephews win them, they’re eager to spend them.*

This way, some other devoted uncle can collect them and save them for his niblings.

*********
*Well, at least they do keep those they put in the folders I gave them.