June 3rd, 2008


Can we just please get this over with, now?

I come back from the UK, and I find that Obama's left his church. I find that astonishing.

For comparison, look at Mitt Romney. Everybody knew going in that Romney's Mormonism was going to be off-putting to some people. So, how did he deal with it? He just said, this is who I am. He knew he'd lose some votes because of it -- quite unfairly, in most people's eyes. But that's the way it is. You don't go changing your most basic commitments in order to appeal to the voters.

But Obama, he takes twenty years of membership and dumps it, for what -- to look more moderate? All he winds up looking is opportunistic and shallow.

I don't think much of his congregation, or his pastor, but I think even less of someone whose commitment to them means so little. And I begin to see that, unless McCain runs an absolutely incompetent campaign, he will be the next President. The Democrats are about to snatch impossible defeat from the jaws of inevitable victory -- and then blame the voters for being bigots.
compass rose

Travelogue and Reflections: Missed Mountains of the UK

Well, two more of my "missed mountains" have been rounded up and properly nailed. What I discovered a couple of years ago is that in the two summers of 2004 and 2005, I had failed to reach the top of four mountains with my Venture Crew. Sick crew members or weather had kept me from my goal in each case. So, I wrote a continuing education plan that called for me to go back and climb each of the four "missed mountains." In the summer of 2007, I returned to upstate New York and climbed Mt. Marcy. With this trip to the UK in May, 2008, I have added Scafell Pike and Ben Nevis to my account. Only Wheeler Peak, New Mexico, remains; but that's for another day.

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Well, enough about the preliminaries. On to the adventures!

Peugeuot is French for Pregnant Roller Skate Peugeuot is French for Pregnant Roller Skate
All that's missing is the wind-up key
Village Pub Village Pub
Branthwaite, Cumbria
Motto of the Scots Monarchy, Edinburgh Castle Motto of the Scots Monarchy, Edinburgh Castle
Nemo me impune lacessit = Latin for "Nobody talks trash about me"


Travelogue and Reflections: Cumbria

I took an afternoon flight out of Indy, waited a few hours in Philly for my overnight flight to take off, and then found myself winging my way to Glasgow. I arrived there at 9:00 a.m. the next morning, British Summer Time. That's six hours ahead of us, so I really got there at 3:00 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time. It was a short night, and it took me a couple of days to get over my sleep deficit.
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Next: Up Against the Wall.

Scout Group #4, St. Michael's Church, Workington Scout Group #4, St. Michael's Church, Workington
Warming themselves on a chilly night at Branthwaite Scout Camp, Cumbria
We're on the upward trail We're on the upward trail
The way up Scafell Pike, England
Made it! Made it!
Yours Truly atop Scafell Pike in the Lake District
Hardknott Castle Hardknott Castle
Roman fort at the head of Eskdale
Hard Knott Pass Hard Knott Pass
Hard Knott is the loaf-shaped mountain to the left; note the windy, narrow road to the pass
Eskdale Eskdale
seen from Hardknott Castle

saxon cross

Travelogue and Reflections: The North Country

After paying our respects to God, I departed on Sunday morning from Branthwaite on the next leg of my journey. I drove across the north of England, finally getting on what is still called the Military Road. It's not called that for its use by HM troops, but for its use by the Roman legionaries. The road backing and supplying Hadrian's Wall is the basis of the modern blacktop still.
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Next: the Road to Ben Nevis!

Click on a pic to enlarge.

Vindolanda Vindolanda
Ruins of Roman army camp near Hexham
Apsidal church in Precentorium Apsidal church in Precentorium
Regimental Latrine Regimental Latrine
In its day, this would have had wooden seats over the stone trenches on three sides; note the outflow on the downhill end
Remains of Baths, Vindolanda Remains of Baths, Vindolanda
You are looking at the hypocaust, or space for heated air below the floor actually walked upon
Kirk Hammerton Kirk Hammerton
The aisle and tower on the left is Saxon stonework from c. 950
Mickleburg Gate Mickleburg Gate
Clifford's Tower Clifford's Tower
York Minster York Minster
The Emperor Constantine The Emperor Constantine
Constantine was originally proclaimed Emperor by the army at York
I have no clue I have no clue
Performance art?
Durham Cathedral Durham Cathedral
Northumberland Northumberland
Bridge over the Devil's Water Bridge over the Devil's Water
Dilston Scout Camp

lindisfarne gospels

Travelogue and Reflections: The Road to Ben Nevis

On Wednesday morning, May 28, I packed up early and left Dilston, heading for the North Sea coast. My pilgrimage following St. Cuthbert had another step or two. I hit the coast at Bamburgh, once an important stronghold but now a mere backwater. Charming village though. Bamburgh is dominated by its castle, a grand pile sitting on a massive rock, hulking over the coast.
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Next: Farewell to Scotland.

Click on a pic to enlarge.

Bamburgh Castle Bamburgh Castle
Ruins of Lindisfarne Priory Ruins of Lindisfarne Priory
Holy Island
St. Cuthbert's Retreat St. Cuthbert's Retreat
Tide ebbing
St. Giles Cathedral St. Giles Cathedral
Royal Mile, Edinburgh
Glen Nevis Glen Nevis
Looking back down the Mountain Track to my campsite
Mountain stream Mountain stream
Ben Nevis
Lochan Meall an t-Suidhe Lochan Meall an t-Suidhe
Sizable lake between Meall an t-Suidhe (prominence in distance) and shoulder of Ben Nevis
Trig Pillar Trig Pillar
Summit of Ben Nevis
Ben Nevis in sunshine Ben Nevis in sunshine