Atlantis Alumni

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

We Are In A National Emergency: What Is To Be Done?

We are in the midst of a national emergency. The US presidency has been corrupted by a racist bigot. Robert Reich:
It is now clear for all to see, if they hadn’t seen it before: Trump is a morally unfit to lead this nation.
What we must do: 1. We must pressure all of our elected officials of both parties to unite against bigotry, white supremacy, and racism. It is time for a bi-partisan delegation of congress to visit the White House and convince the occupant to leave for the good of the country. 2. We must continue to oppose the racists and bigots at every turn, in the streets if need be. We must not repeat the mistakes of Germans in the 1930s who stood by and did nothing. Martin Neimoller:
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Socialist. Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Trade Unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

A Personal Statement Of Principles

I did not compose the following, but I agree with all of it: This is where I stand. Period. I make no apologies to any or all of my FB friends for this. I know some are tired of political postings and rants. But apart from non-committal posts of recipes, meals, flowers, dogs, seashells, balloons, pictures, cats, drama, humor, our own art, and even beautiful expressions of spiritual beliefs, FB is (until it gets taken away) a vehicle to express our outrage at how far our country has currently fallen on the humanitarian scale. To me, FB is a useful vehicle for my passion and activism. The fevered ego currently occupying our White House, his power hungry cronies taking positions of authority in his Cabinet and administration, and the majority of Republicans in Congress are a real and active threat to me, my way of life, and all the people I love. And unless you are worth billions of dollars, they are a threat to you and your life, too. So, I will Resist and I will continue to be a part of the resistance, and proud of it. If you can join in or hang with it, fine. But, I refuse to "play nice" in the face of what these people are doing. Our country's well-being demands that we stand and resist. Some people are saying that we should give #45 a chance, that we should "work together" with him because he won the election and he is "everyone's president." This is my response: • I will not say #45's name. • I will not forget how badly he and so many others treated former President Barack Obama for EIGHT YEARS... • I will not "work together" to privatize Medicare, cut Social Security and Medicaid. • I will not "work together" to remove civil rights from ANYONE. • I will not "work together" to destroy marriage equality and make it a states right to deny love between two people. • I will not "work together" to allow men to make choices about a woman's own body, or to restrict health care for women. • I will not "work together" to deny health care to people who need it. • I will not "work together" to increase the profits of the insurance companies. • I will not "work together" to deny medical coverage to people on the basis of an alleged or actual "pre-existing condition." • I will not "work together" to build a wall. • I will not "work together" to persecute Muslims. • I will not "work together" to shut out refugees from countries where we destabilized their governments, so that we could have something more agreeable to our oligarchy. • I will not "work together" to lower taxes on the 1%. • I will not "work together" to increase taxes on the middle class and poor. • I will not "work together" to help #45 use the Presidency to line his pockets and those of his cronies. • I will not "work together" to weaken and demolish environmental protection. • I will not "work together" to sell American lands, especially National Parks, to companies which then despoil those lands. • I will not "work together" to enable the killing in any way of whole species of animals just because they are predators, or inconvenient for a few, or because some people want to get their thrills killing them. • I will not "work together" to waste trillions more on our military when we already have the strongest in the world. • I will not "work together" to alienate countries that have been our allies for as long as I have been alive. • I will not "work together" to slash funding for education. • I will not "work together" to take basic assistance from people who are at the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder. • I will not "work together" to allow torture and "black op" prison sites. • I will not "work together" to "take their oil." • I will not "work together" to get rid of common sense regulations on guns. • I will not "work together" to eliminate the minimum wage. • I will not "work together" to support so-called "Right To Work" laws, or undermine, weaken or destroy Unions in any way. • I will not "work together" to suppress scientific research, be it on climate change, fracking, or any other issue where a majority of scientists agree that #45 and his supporters are wrong on the facts. • I will not "work together" to increase the number of nations that have nuclear weapons. • I will not "work together" to put even more "big money" into politics. • I will not "work together" to violate the Geneva Convention. • I will not "work together" to give the Ku Klux Klan, the Nazi Party and white supremacists a seat at the table, or to normalize their hatred. • I will not "work together" to increase voter suppression. • I will not "work together" to normalize tyranny. • I will not “work together” to eliminate or reduce ethical oversite at any level of government. • I will not "work together" with anyone who is, or admires, tyrants and dictators who murder their opposition. • I will not "work together" with #45 because I will not allow one man to feed upon the fears of the populace, blaming minorities for their condition or their inability to thrive. This is the line, and I am drawing it. • I will stand for honesty, love, respect for all living beings, and for the compassion and humanity that is the center of Life itself. • I will use my voice and my hands, to reach out to the uninformed, and to anyone who will LISTEN for what's really so dangerous about #45, his friends and the Big Lie they spin to the world: • That "winning", "being great again", "rich" or even "beautiful" is anything more than nothing when others are sacrificed to glorify its existence.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Sunny Adventures In Stockholm

Happily, for our second day in Sweden, the last day of our trip, we had totally blue skies. In the morning we first visited the Town Hall, a wonderful building completed in 1929. It is most famous for hosting the presentation ceremony of the Nobel Prizes. When we finished that tour, we took a taxi to the nearby island of Lidingo in the archipelago to visit the beautiful "Milles Garden," house and sculpture gardens. Carl Milles made the playful angel statues that adorn Kelly Drive in Philadelphia. His house, studio and vast gardens include a great wealth of his works. His Swedish house was donated and opened to the public in the 1930s, when Milles and his wife Olga were living in the US. We also had lunch at this special museum. Then we took another taxi to the Ericsson Globe, to ascend the "Sky View" cable car that is installed on the outside of this unusual sports arena. At over 150 meters in height, views of the city and surroundings were spectacular on such a beautiful day. After we returned to our hotel, Dan walked over to visit the Royal Palace, including State Apartments, the foundations of the 13th century castle (predecessor of today's palace,) and the Royal Treasury. - Dan

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Stockholm Blue And Gray

We left the ship Sunday morning, and took a taxi into Stockholm, where we are staying at the very modern-style Sheraton Hotel. Since it was too early to check in, we stored our bags and took a tour bus around town, seeing some beautiful sights, such as the Royal Palace, opera house, and Town Hall. Sometimes the sky looked bright blue and at other moments grey clouds appeared. Since we had never before visited it, we toured the modern art museum. Artists with fine works there included Matisse, Dali, Miro, Munch, and others. After the museum we enjoyed a lavish lunch at the Grand Hotel. It features a marvelous smorgasbord. It brought back fond memories of staying there with my father, back inthe 1980s, on our first trip to Scandinavia. After a rest at the hotel, we visited the amazing "Vasa," a ship sunk in 1628 and only recovered in 1961. Then we toured more of Stockholm by bus before dinner and returning to our hotel. - Dan

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Cruise Finale: A Visit To Tallinn

Estonia, the smallest of the three Baltic states, has a unique and beautiful capital: Tallinn. This city has one of the best-preserved medieval old town sections, with a large number of 13th and 14th century Gothic houses, guildhalls and churches. Four members of our party walked the cobblestones of the old town visiting popular sites including the Lutheran cathedral, the town square, the Russian Orthodox Alexander Nevsky cathedral and the Old Town Hall, the last-surviving building of its kind in Northern Europe. After a mostly-vegan, leisurely lunch (suggested by Jim, of course,) we returned to the ship. Now it's time to repack our luggage since we will disembark the ship Sunday morning in Stockholm. - Dan

Friday, July 7, 2017

A Personal Favorite: The Malachite Room At The Hermitage (Winter Palace)

On our final day in St. Petersburg, Dan and I returned to the Hermitage in the hope of seeing art and decorative attractions that are usually not shown to tourists taking the standard quickie tour. This is easier said than done since being a tour participant is the only way to get into the museum if you have not gone through the difficult and expensive process of obtaining a Russian visa. The problem is that tour participants are discouraged from touring the museum on their own and they are required to remain with their groups some of the time. However, we were able to split free of our group for at least a short time, long enough to enjoy seeing artworks we would not have seen otherwise. We also got to visit my favorite museum room of all: the spectacular Malachite Room. here is the description of the room from Wikipedia:
The Malachite Room of the Winter Palace, St Petersburg, was designed in the late 1830s by the architect Alexander Briullov for use a formal reception room for the Empress Alexandra Fyodorovna, wife of Nicholas I. It replaced the Jasper Room, which was destroyed in the fire of 1837.[1] The room obtains its name from the use of malachite for its columns and fireplace. This large salon contains a large malachite urn as well as furniture from the workshops of Peter Gambs (1802-1871), son of the famous furniture maker Heinrich Gambs, which were rescued from the 1837 fire. During the Tsarist era, the Malachite Room, which links the state rooms to the private rooms, served as not only a state drawing room of the Tsaritsa, but also as a gathering place for the Imperial family before and during official functions.[2] It was here that Romanov brides were traditionally dressed by the Tsarina before proceeding from the adjoining Arabian Hall to their weddings in the Grand Church.[3] From June to October 1917 this room was the seat of the Russian Provisional Government. When the palace was stormed during the night of 7 November 1917, the members of the Government were arrested in the adjoining private dining room.[4] Today, as part of the State Hermitage Museum, this room retains its original decoration.