Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Return to Barcelona: Sant Cugat

I spent last week in Sant Cugat del Valles, a suburb outside of Barcelona, on business. This was my second trip to Spain and my second time staying in Sant Cugat. While Barcelona has many sights to see, I have to say I like being able to come back to a quiet little village for the evenings and see Spanish life as it is from the overwhelming crush of humanity that is Barcelona. The rail service makes it easy to get in and out of the city, so you get to see two sides of Spain on one trip. Since my business trips tend to be pretty short (no more than 6 days, usually), this arrangement works pretty well.

Now I have to say that the hotel at which I've stayed the past two times is a bit too... Eurochic for me. However, it's smack in the middle of Sant Cugat, which means you're within walking distance of shops, cafés, restaurants, and other sights. The hotel is at the bottom of a hill below the Monestir de Sant Cugat del Valles.

Regardless of how well the hotel is placed, the decor is a bit much. It truly reminds me of something out of a 1970s Bond movie. In fact, I think it's intentional. On arrival, I noticed these interesting vases at the registration desk:



Yes, semi-automatic pistols as vases. I really should've taken more photos, but you can check out the lobby here. If you like Eurochic, this place is for you. If you're more of the traditional, tea-and-crumpets Chateau Frontenac set, it might not be your thing. But the staff is friendly, and the price is pretty good if you book via the Web.

While I was still lively, I decided to walk around and reorient myself. I seem to be pretty good about remembering my way about places. That's helpful in European locations, where street layouts defy the laws of nature and human planning. First, I walked up to the monastery and took a few photos.

If you go to the Wikipedia entry, you'll see some great shots, but here's one that you will probably not see, the monastery's foodbank in action:



Surely, it's not an impressive shot, but I was heartened to see the Church doing in Spain much the same as what it does here in the US.

The art exhibits don't seem to move around as much either, and I'm not sure if it's just something about the people wo run this particular museum in Sant Cugat. I never once managed to find it open (even during posted hours), and this particular exhibit has been running since last year at this time.



Yes, that is what you think it is: hands extended and shaking from the area where the genitalia should be. Perhaps it's best that I didn't get into the museum after all.

As I walked back through the village to see wat had changed over the past year (very little), I saw this storefront and had to capture it for my daughter's sake.



While she no longer sports the Hello Kitty bedroom decor, she's still a little wistful about HK. I'm almost tempted to buy her one of these. Heck, if this young lady can learn to field strip and reassemble an AR-15 in one minute, I imagine my girl will do just fine.

What does this have to do with Sant Cugat? Uh... not a thing.

Anyway, I made my way back to the Palaçe de Potmodernisme a la Sant Cugat, had a glass of wine, and fell promptly asleep.

Next: Scenes from the Cathedral of Santa Eulalia and Various Locations

Monday, September 22, 2008

Announcements, Announcements, ANNOUNCEMENTS...

First, I just want to say to all of you who are landing here after searching "Palin evil" you are most welcome. I hope you see something here that tempers the PDS that seems so rampant in the left blogosphere of late. I might post about the whole "conservative = anti-intellectual" meme that seems to have captivated so many of a liberal mindset. But not now... no time.

I'm heading off to Barcelona tomorrow. I promise to take more pictures and post them. I even emptied my camera's memory ahead of time. If you have any special requests, please let me know. I won't be doing the Dali or Picasso meseums this time, but I'm open to any other suggestions.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

A Day Late, and a Dubloon Short. ARR!



My pirate name is:


Bloody William Kidd



Every pirate lives for something different. For some, it's the open sea. For others (the masochists), it's the food. For you, it's definitely the fighting. Even though you're not always the traditional swaggering gallant, your steadiness and planning make you a fine, reliable pirate. Arr!

Get your own pirate name from piratequiz.com.
part of the fidius.org network


I recall dressing up as Captian Kidd one Halloween (when I was 6 I think). Maybe it's time to break out the cutlass again this year.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Whose Fault is the Current Economic Meltdown?

UPDATE: Dafydd ab Hugh has more here and here.

UPDATE 2: Jawa Report has more.

UPDATE 3: Always good for a timeline, Flopping Aces doesn't disappoint.

Well, if you listen to the Obama campaign and the Left, it's all the fault of those money-grubbing Republicans who "run" Wall Street. However, when you start looking at who proposed what and when, the picture is quite different.

Ace has the scoop here.

Bush attempted to pass a bill in 2003 to provide more oversight for the two big Fs.

McCain spoke out about this in 2005.

Obama's campaign has close ties to many people involved in the subprime mortgage market, as Ace explains.

Sarah Palin: Is She Really a Hockey Mom?

Some hockey moms don't think so.

(HT Mark Shea)

I don't know if I can vote McCain/Palin now. This is just too damning.

Monday, September 15, 2008

BUMP: More Palin Evil Goofiness

UPDATE 4: Okay, I may have spoken too soon. Apparently, there is much to fear in Sarah Palin. Much.

UPDATE 3: Heh! Sen. Mike Gravel unloads on some radio talkshow hosts in defense of Gov. Palin (for whom he's not even going to vote).

UPDATE 2: The hits keep coming! See FactCheck.org's Palin page.

UPDATE: Apparently, the number one query today that results in an actual visit is "palin evil[.]" That quite frankly amazes me. It suggests only three possible ideas in the minds of those searching: 1) they're pro-McCain folks looking up the ridiculous slanders that have been leveled at Palin; 2) they're people who actually buy the ridiculous slanders; and 3) they're Obama supporters who haven't delved very deeply into their own candidates many warts. What's truly amazing is how much attention the media is paying to Palin's personal life and how little it pays to Obama's. When conservatives claim that the media is biased, this particular issue should be proof positive—no Obama vetting by the media. It seems to be off limits for him but required double-plus for others.

Anyway, for those who have come searching for dirt, welcome. Please read all links and posts before commenting.

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Explorations has a list of all of the debunked allegations that have "surfaced" as of last Friday.

I think "surfaced" is an appropriate term to use, given that most of this stuff appears to be BS anyway, so it tends to bob up and float for a while, until it breaks down and sinks to the floor.

Mark Shea has touted David Smirak's review of Gov. Palin's speech. While I love Mark's blog and I also like Zmirak's writing, I have to point out that they're expecting a bit much from a convention speech. Gov. Palin's speech wasn't intended to be an exposition on policy. Convention speeches are the political equivalent of pep rallies. They are intended to appeal to emotion. Palin hit both the tone and the audience she (and the campaign) meant to hit. They did not intend to address those outside the party but those within who were wavering. If you try to view the speech outside of those parameters, you'll miss the aim. In addition, if you automatically take a cynical position, you color yourself blind to the full implications of a speech. See the MSM for a clear example of this.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Papal Infallibility

This comment thread is open for discussions on papal infallibility in response to a post elsewhere. Feel free to comment, understanding that I will accept legitimate points and reject those that are merely attacks.

The particular comment in question was posted on the Ace of Spades. A certain DrewM wrote: "And the Pope thinks he's infallible. He's a piker compared to these f*** heads."

No, Drew, you completely misunderstand what the term "papal infallibility" means. Given that you tossed this bit into a completely unrelated topic, I have to believe that you have a particular animus for the Catholic Church. If you'd like to lay out that disagreement here, then you're invited to do so. I will accept that you might misstate some points of Catholic belief. I will censor for inappropriate comments, and I will respond to any distorations of Catholic doctrine.

For anyone else who wants to join in the fray, please regard the points above and please be charitable.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

My Reservation

So clearly, I've picked my side in this fight. However, I have to acknowledge that some of the criticisms of this ticket and of the True Conservatives® in general is the lack of consistency in the prolife ideology. Abortion and euthanasia are not the end of the story. While I personally believe that these are God-given absolutes, I don't believe one has to have a theological world view to accept these points:

* A prolife ideology should emphasize that some aspects of nature ought not to be manipulated simply to meet a market demand or to allow people to escape the consequences of their decisions. Doing so usually results in more severe and unforeseen consequences down the road.

* A prolife ideology should reserve the most severe punishments for those who commit the most severe crimes, with a bias toward mercy when it is reasonable. When we can incarcerate indefinitely without endangering other lives, it should be done. When it can't, the government has an obligation to protect its citizens—all of them, not just those walking freely.

* A prolife ideology should take a high road that determines not to treat human dignity as something that is dispensable and exchangeable for some other perceived good. Torture is simply wrong regardless of the context. I think McCain knows this but struggles with it because he truly wants to serve the country. However, serving the country also means protecting its moral stature and its principles. This is something that many conservatives seem to have forgotten.

* A prolife ideology needs to include principles of Just War theory. Pre-emptive military strikes factor in when there is an obvious immediate threat to our nation's (or another's) sovereignty, not when there is merely a perceived indirect threat to our "national interest."

I'm solidly in the McCain/Palin camp, but I know this choice is flawed. However, compared to the leftist leanings, extremely questionable associations and methods, and the overwhelmingly pro-abortion/pro-death stance of the other party, I have to work not only to avoid supporting it but to actively defeating it. I know some Catholics feel that abstaining from the two-party vote is a better choice. They must vote with their conscience. However, most of their reservations seem to be based more on a cynical view of "the way the world is" than the way God moves. McCain is imperfect, and *SHOCKER* so is Palin. However, God makes use of weakness and imperfection to do His will all the time.

*Oddly enough, sometimes a war initiated without just motives must still be completed in order to bring about justice. I believe the war in Iraq is such a war. As Gen. Colin Powell said, "We broke it; we own it." If he weren't "pro-choice," I'd vote for him as POTUS in a heartbeat.

UPDATE: Looks like this concern is in the air now. Whole life. I like the sound of that. (HT Feddie).

Thursday, September 04, 2008

All I can say is Sham WOW!

Sarah Palin kicked butt and took names last night. When even the AP acknowledges it, you know it's not just conservative wishful thinking.

Naturally we're going to hear about the McCain campaign going negative because of Palin's references to Obama's work as a "community organizer," specifically this one: "I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a 'community organizer,' except that you have actual responsibilities."

Ouch, that's gotta hurt. But I have to say, based on his refusal to acknowledge that she is a sitting governor, he deserved it.

*If you're scratching your head because of the title, go here.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

BUMP: What do YOU think of Sarah Palin?

UPDATE: Hey, I noticed that I had a pretty lengthy visit from someone in the USMC in North Carolina. Semper fi, and thanks for stopping by. Thanks, as well, for your service.

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Well, what amazes me is how liberals* are responding to McCain's pick of Gov. Sarah Palin—some of it merely demeaning, some of it just plain sexist. This is one of the reasons they seem to lose presidential elections. They think a president should represent the best of the European tradition rather than everyday Americans. They don't look at how conservatives (much less independents or working-class democrats) respond to such people. That should tell them a whole lot more about what's in the air here. I've yet to meet anyone here who thinks Palin is a bad choice. Risky, yes; bad, no.

Some other thoughts:

- Palin's political experience ranges from the lowest to highest echelons in the state government. Beginning in 1992, she served on a city council, then as mayor, then as president of the state mayors' association, and finally as chair of the state Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission prior to being elected governor. Overall, that gives her four more years of political experience than Obama, and 12 years of executive experience in four different roles.

- Palin walks the walk. He prolife stance is backed up by real-life decisions.

- As much as people are trying to make an isue of her foreign affairs credentials, they seem to forget that she governs a state bordered by two foreign countries, one of which is an economic and military rival. I recall hearing stories of how the Soviets used to do touch-and-gos on the airstrip at Elmendorf AFB. Somehow, I don't think she'd stand for it.

- BTW, she's the commander and chief of the Alaskan National Guard. She and McCain have something in common that neither of the Democratic contenders share—some actual involvement in military affairs.

Democrats can play down the seriousness of the move, but they do so at their detriment. This move has fired up the base, and there's no turning back.

UPDATE: Just saw this in The American Spectator, confirming that Gov. Palin indeed has better foreign affairs credentials then Biden, if you consider negotiating with major foreign oil companies a foreign affair. (HT to the American Princess).

*I use this term loosely because I've always considered myself a classic liberal. Most of today's liberals are actually leftists.

Troopergate: What Really Happened

Flopping Aces has the rundown of events leading up to the so-called Troopergate scandal.

From reading this timeline, one has to wonder what took them so long to go after Wooten's job. He's clearly not the kind of person you want carrying a gun and a badge.

Gov. Palin has requested the ethics board to look into the matter themselves and files this affadavit (HT to Hot Air).

The only people who think this will be damaging to Gov. Palin seem to be the people who are attempting to damage her with it and only providing a partial story.

Couldn't say it any better

This from Suann Therese Maier in First Things:

And those who think that Palin’s beliefs and family struggles are funny or worth jeering at, simply reveal the venality of their own hearts.