Thursday, June 30, 2011


I recall that in Monterey's salad days, the canneries were kept in business by Portuguese fishermen, who kept them supplied with sardines. 

Now, in Portugal, I'm reminded of that fact, as the sardine is king during the months without Rs (May, June, July, August).  Walk the promenade along the beach from Cascais to Oeiras, and you will smell them roasting on coals.  They smell great, but they're just too bony for me to enjoy eating them.

Painting them is a lot of fun, though.  This attempt isn't finished yet, but I think it's coming along swimmingly.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Freedom, Kim Jong-il style

So we read today that North Korea's  "Dear Leader," Kim Jong-il has decreed that university students in the Hermit Kingdom will quit their studies for the next 10 months and do something useful for a change.

Universities closed on Monday and except for foreign exchange students (Really?  Where are they from, I wonder?) and those who are about to graduate, students are being trundled off to agricultural and factory jobs.  The goal is to have the nation's nearly-dead economy back on its feet by 2012, the year of the 100th anniversary of the DPRK's founding.

Although I doubt that North Korea's universities have much to offer by way of higher education, it's hard to imagine that shutting them down will have any but short-term benefits, and may well have long-term consequences that will further damage the economy.  It's suggested that the real reason for the shut-down is that students were planning some kind of resistance movement, which the government hopes to preempt by closing the schools and dispersing the potential trouble-makers.

My suggestion would be to decrease the size of military officers' hats.  Look at the size of those things.  They could make some very stylish pirate hats with folded newspapers and save a lot of money in the process.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

US State Department Scores Major Victory

Thank goodness for this.  Just when we thought America's power was waning, just when we thought that, in a world gone mad, "smart power" no longer had a role to play, we finally have something to celebrate.

Yes, Yemen may be on the brink of disaster, Assad is still murdering civilians in the streets of Syria, and the European Union is on the verge of collapse, but the mighty Department of State can still prevail upon others to act in accord with US interests. 

We can all take heart knowing that, when push came to shove, our government managed to rustle up the leverage to get Lady Gaga to perform a gig in Italy. 

I don't know about you, but I'm feeling mighty good about my country right about now!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

White House Explains Libya Mission

Congressional leaders from both parties expressed relief today after a last-minute meeting with the President to discuss Libya.  A source who wished to remain anonymous said that the President had laid out his objectives for the North African country in a clear, concise manner and had answered legislators' questions.  Lawmakers were particularly heartened to find that they agreed with his explanation of why the operation did not require Congressional approval.  Said the source, "The President made it clear that, since our activities in Libya are classified as humanitarian aid, there is no application of the War Powers Resolution."

"Thank goodness for that," said a veteran Republican senator.  Now we can get back to the the peoples' work: growing a government that more effectively provides for peoples' needs." 

In other news, Libyan relief agencies lodged a complaint with NATO after a 2,000 pound laser-guided "humanitarian aid package" fell short of its target.  9 were killed in the resulting explosion.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Jeronimos Monastery, Lisbon

Back in May, I posted my first painting of this Lisbon landmark.  I began this painting, shortly after, but today's the first chance I've had to finish it.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Above Sintra

It seems like I've been working on this painting forever.  I think I'm finally about done.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

My blog is blocked in China.

So I must be doing something right.

Actually, I suspect most sites are blocked in China, but I like the idea that someone in the land of Pandas has taken offense at my writing in particular.

Want to see if your site is blocked by the Peoples' Republic?  Check here. (Discovered at Haemet.)