Saturday, November 28, 2015

1650 years ago.

1,650 years ago

Precisely one thousand, six hundred and fifty years ago, on July 21st (I’d have blogged about it then but I didn’t join up until the following month). The Middle East was born. Oh, the land was there, and there were people there, but everything was different, totally different.
Imagine. On July 20, 365 CE, the south shore of the Mediterranean sea was thriving. There were dozens of major cities which had populations in the hundreds of thousands. Most of these places were rich beyond anything that had been known before or long since. Then the next day….BANG!!!!
A Magnitude NINE earthquake just southeast of Crete sent a tsunami as powerful as that which wrecked the lands of the Indian Ocean in 2004 crashing into North Africa, Southern Italy, Greece and the eastern shore of the Med.
Cities were wiped off the map. Alexandria in Egypt and Lepdis Magna in Libya were devastated. The great Lighthouse managed to survive (it didn’t fall until a thousand years later), but the great palaces and downtown area of Alexandria, Queen of the Nile, fell into the sea.
The Roman government responded as one might expect. They raised taxes. This led to a massive revolt among the survivors. The Berbers fled the cities. With the huge farmlands poisoned by seawater, there was mass starvation. Then another earthquake devastated western Asia and the Huns invaded Europe, forcing the Goths onto Roman territory. Civilization crumbled. Rome itself was sacked in 410, something that hadn’t happened for centuries.
Paganism, the traditional and Greco-Roman faiths, which were already in trouble, died out rather quickly, and the many Christian sects were in open warfare with each other. Islam wouldn’t arrive for centuries, but the gangrenous rot caused by the tsunami’s damage (tens of millions of books and documents, wiped away, hundreds of thousands of artisans and skilled laborers dead), was very slow to heal. Western civilization in the area was  barely hanging on when the Muslims arrived 300 years later.
What is amazing to me is how little natural disasters are accounted for in history. While the eruption of Vesuvious in 79 AD is well known, almost nothing else was. The tsunami was for the most part forgotten until archaeologists started finding clues in in the 1970s. Historians before that had always wondered why the thriving cities of North Africa just suddenly poofed out by the time the Vandals arrived.
Ancient history is indeed ancient history. But the vibrations from such remote times still affects us today.

Monday, April 13, 2015

toronto film festival 2014

Toronto’s film festival has shrank. Not the movies, but the area. The Cineplex Scotiabank googleplex on Richmond is only two blocks away from the Lightbox on King, and with nothing but restaurants surrounding these two venues, you can’t really go anywhere., just circle the same few blocks over and over again. Which is okay, I guess. The Chapters Bookstore next to the main venue is gone, which is a bummer. It was a great place to hang out between screenings.   With Worlds Biggest Books gone as well (something I found out last July, so this is insult on top of injury), and that means there’s nowhere cheap to hang out besides waiting on line for screenings.
So with nowhere to go and nothing to do but go to movies, that’s what I did. A friend of a friend, who looks like a slightly chubby Marilyn Monroe, had to leave early for personal reasons. The publisher of this site had gotten me some tickets for me at great cost to his personal reputation, and I was only going to be up there for a couple of days. So she gave me her five hundred bucks industry pass, which had her adorable visage right there on the front of the pass. She’s 35, blonde, and weighs 138 pounds, and I’m 57, bald, have a bushy grey beard and weigh 235.   This wasn’t going to work.
But somehow it did.
The first thing I did was go down to the HQ and try to get caught. I went to the press lounge and was immediately stopped by a volunteer guard. She took one look at the badge, scanned it, and let me through.   I took a stroll and went   o find a place to sit down. There wasn’t one, so I went around walked around to see where the theaters were in the Lightbox and went back into the press lounge. They let me in for a second time and I was just about to get into the DVD room when the woman who let me in came running up to me.   The jig was up, I thought,
“Excuse me sir” she said.
“Yes,” I replied, apprehensively.
“Oh, I thought you were someone else” was her response, “Sorry.”
“Well,” I said with a smile, “I AM someone else. I’ve been someone else for years.”
She smiled back as I got the heck out of there.
A block away was the Princess of Wales theater, One can see the rush line from the Lightbox. There was a guy giving out free tickets to see James Marsh’s The Theory of Everything, a filmic biography of physicist Steven Hawking. They couldn’t throw me out; I had a real ticket!!
As to biopics, this one wasn’t that bad.   It starts at Cambridge University in England where Hawking( Eddie Redmayne) is still healthy. Here he meets Jane(Felicity Jones), and despite the fact that she is gorgeous and he’s kind of geeky, they fall madly in love.  Then he get’s sick. They get married despite of this, and then there’s the usual melodrama, as Jane meets Jonathan(Charlie Cox), a choirmaster and is smitten, surprisingly, so is Hawking, and things get kind of complicated. Then he gets famous and things get even moreso.
The acting is terrific, even though it feels like a movie-of-the-week. But then again, this is Toronto, where Oscar-bait tends to get introduced.
Next, I went up to the Scotiabank googleplex to see if I would get caught again. Nope. I didn’t have a press and industry (P&I) schedule, so I told the lady guarding the elevator I was only going to see the one up on the second floor, which was for the most part true.   I did indeed go up and look at the schedule. Didn’t find anything to my liking, and just walked into the first screening room I found.   What I found inside was a thing called the Owners, which was from one of the ‘Stans and was atrocious.
Director Adilkhan Yerzhanov is an amateur in bad sense of the word. The acting is okay, but the editing is terrible, the star has bruises that keep popping in and out of the poor lead’s face and it’s distracting. This is not a musical and yet people start dancing for no reason at all.  I almost walked out.
The next day’s goal was to recreate the glory days of the film festival by going to as many as five or six movies.  
  I managed to actually do it. It seems that this year’s festival has a theme. Horrible diseases. You will remember the Steven Hawking film. He’s got Lou Gerhig’s disease. The hero in the Owners sister has a fatal disease too.   Now the first film of the Day, Richard Glatzer, and Wash Westmoreland’s Still Alice,   in which the title character( Julianne Moore) is afflicted with early onset Alzheimer’s. To make things worse, she’s married to Alec Baldwin, and the ending sucks. They set up an excellent one, but nooooooooo…Then there’s Daniel Barnz’s Cake, which is about how Claire Simmons( Jennifer Aniston) is coping a year after her horrific car wreck. She’s become a total bitch that only her saintly maid Silvana ( Adriana Barraza) can put up with her. I call these films “gilded turds” because everything is brilliant but the script.   
Across the street from the theater, there was a place that served really great tuna melts, and  I savored one before going to see John Stewart’s Rosewater which ,despite the director’s reputation, is a physiological drama. Maziar Bahari’( Gael GarcĂ­a Bernal) is an Iranian journalist living in London who gets sent back home to cover the 2009 presidential election   He hires a driver named Davood ( Dimitri Leonidas) who shows him around Teheran and  where the opposition   hangs out. This is fascinating and is the flashback part as the film opens with our hero being taken away by the secret police.
Now why is the movie named Roswater? Well, that’s the nickname our hero gives his interrogator, played by Kim Bodnia. The final half of the film is mostly the verbal jousting between our hero and Rosewater, and Bernal and Bodina are both due for getting nominated for awards in the winter and spring.

j street part 4

On the last day of the conference, I started out with a panel on “What’s Next for the Palestinians Leadership?” Which sounded like a very interesting one, especially since I really didn’t know very much about it. Who is running the Palestinian Authority besides Abbas, and what are they going to do when the old man dies?
The answer was clear as mud. The didn’t really talk about who the major politicians or factions were, but they did mention that there were free local elections in ’12, (so much for Palestinians not being able to vote) except for, naturally, Gaza, and that the “Palestinian State” that was sitting in the UN General Assembly was NOT the Palestinian Authority, but the Palestinian Liberation Organization.  
These are important facts that aren’t known to many people. There is also a move afoot by some groups to permit political parties to exist. That would be nice. But they didn’t really say much beyond that.   I should have gone to the “Rise of   anti-Semitism in Europe” panel.
But the really big show was the morning plenum, and that was the one where Obama’s Chief of Staff, Denis McDonough, would be giving a major speech.  Everyone wanted to see that, as did I, and I was thrilled to hear they were letting the press early….only to discover that they gave us seats in the back and the side with a lousy view of the preceedings….
The opening speaker (not counting the introduction by some committee member) was Stav Shaffir, who is still the youngest member of the Knesset and the most popular member of the Zionist Union.   She repeated her CV, how she spent a couple of terms in the Army, then tried to find a decent job while living in a crappy Tel Aviv apartment and starting what was the equivalent of the “Occupy Movement” in 2011 before becoming a professional politician in ’13. She then went on saying that Israel was a great country and would be far better if Bibi was no longer there. The youth in the audience loved her, as did I. (we had had a conversation the previous day)
Then…something happened that shocked the living daylights out of me.
They announced that there would be a televised message from the President of Israel. I hadn’t expected that. Considering that Reuven Rivlin is a dyed-in-the-wool Likudnik, and considering how J-street and Likud aren’t exactly lovey-dovey with each other, I hadn’t even considered he would do that. But there he was on the big screen (which I could see), giving a platitudinous greeting and wishing everyone in the audience well. A majority was enthusiastic, but some weren’t, I wasn’t surprised more weren’t.
Then came Denis McDonough, the second most powerful person in Washington. “…an occupation that has lasted for almost 50 years must end!” Mr. McDonough thundered, “Israel cannot maintain military control of another people indefinitely,”
That got a standing ovation. It was easy to see why.
It was something EVERYONE can agree with. Not even Bennett thinks the present state of affairs is something that most Israelis want to maintain indefinitely. Everyone at the conference was unified on the basic concept of the Two-state solution, but nobody agreed on the details.
The panel discussion afterwards led by Ethan Bronner wasn’t at all edifying, although someone mentioned Abbas’ threat to dissolve the PA because they’re running out of money.  That was it.
There was going to be a gala, the press was told they would be provided pizza and seats in the back for James Baker’s speech, but that meant I’d miss my flight.
I almost did, but that’s another story….

Walking down J street, part three

"One thing you must understand is that when you support the BDS movement, you actually are helping Netanyahu, because Netanyahu is playing on that fear, that almost every Israeli Jewish citizen is feeling, that there is a possibility that the world will just turn against us,"— Stav Shaffir, ZU member of the Knesset.
That was a primary theme of the J-Street convention. I heard this over and over again.  The vast majority of the attendees weren’t anti-Israel, they were anti-Bibi, and that was the general consensus: Israel good, Bibi bad. Another consensus was the necessity of a two state solution. What wasn’t agreed to is what shape of the borders for the two (three?) states are going to be.
The first session I attended the first morning was on “Israel as a neighbor”, which was presented by the New Israel fund. The speakers all were in favor of land swaps to keep most of the settlements intact. , it was the same with the   main “plenary session”, called “The Choices Ahead, ” which had  seven members of the Knesset (by my count, nearly a fifth of the entire   Israeli   parliamentary opposition was there)   talking, and they all were very “hawkish” on security and lamented they didn’t get that message across.
Nobody was in favor of the green line as a permanent border. Not even the Palestinian negotiator, Saeb Erekat, who specifically stated that Israel needed secure borders.   However, no speaker that I heard, and I missed quite a few panels so I can’t be certain about this, came out in favor of the Hamas plan or going back to Folk Bernadotte’s   “1935 borders.”
What everyone did come out against a ONE state solution that the Arabs and the BDS crowd (and Bennett) are in favor of. Nobody came out in favor of a binational state of Palestine from the river to the sea (although Noam Sheizaf, the guy from +953, came close.)
The panels that I was most interested were the Arab-centric ones. The panel entitled “Gaza: The Human and Political Costs of Deprivation and Disunity” is a case in point. Yes, the situation in Gaza is horrific, and yes, most of the people on the panel blamed Israel (Howard Sulka, who ran an NGO there, gave the case why HAMAS started the last war but came to the conclusion that “we can’t be sure”), but nobody had a nice word to say about Hamas’ government of the area. Even Maha Mehanna, who is Gazan and has to go back, didn’t say anything good about them (She explained that Hamas was elected because the Fatah regime was so corrupt).
However, they did explain how they had to go through diplomatic hoops because Hamas is a terrorist organization that may not be talked to. The holes in the narrative were amazing to behold.
I attended the Iran panel, which was both fascinating and unedifying to the mx, before going to the next plenum: “Does Liberal Zionism Have a Future?”
This is an excellent question, DOES IT?
The panel, led by Peter Beinart, wasn’t very optimistic, and they rightly blamed Netanyahu, Leiberman and Bennet. Which brings everyone back to which two-state solution is the best one? That particular question wasn’t actually addressed, what WAS, was the status quo, which everyone considers untenable.
The villains were fingered as not just Bibi, Bennett et al, but the Republicans as well, who are working to alienate Liberals/Progressives from the entire Zionist project and declare the 69 percent of the Jewish vote that voted for Obama “self-hating Jews” and guilty of treason.  Some of the issues were clearly articulated but not all.
There was no evening session, and Elder’s request that I attend the mincha prayers that day, but I didn’t get the request until after it was over. Just for the record, It took place at the Sixth and Eye Synagogue and was reportedly packed. Also the camera on my computer doesn’t work. Sorry.

Walking Down J Street part two

Day two
With dozens of panels to choose from, it was difficult to choose which ones to go to, and as with a lot of these things, there were scheduling conflicts galore.  So I decided to go to the major ones (and those I could find).   But first, I needed a cup of coffee…
There was a buffet with bagels and cream cheese. Grabbing some of that and a cup, I went down to the lobby where they had the “huckster room” as these areas are generally known, and looked at the booths set up by various groups.
What I found was mostly innocuous, but what really piqued my interest were all the maps….
Now I love maps, I’ve got a huge collection and there in front of me was a gold mine. Most countries have at least two sets, one for the tourists and international community and one for the nationalists and internal use.   Such is the case with Israel.
J Street itself was giving out maps. These were big and were relatively detailed and had the green line easily visible in, what else?, green. Now Israeli maps don’t show the green line.  While most showed the Gaza strip and some showed “Areas A and B”, not a single one shows the Green line.   J Street was giving these out to be posted in synagogues and Hillels and the like because it’s important to understanding what the situation is.  Maps are good for things like that.
Other groups were also giving out maps. For example The New Israel fund had one showing all it’s current projects, such as promoting healthcare for the poor and the rights of Reform and Conservative Rabbis, fighting growing inequality between rich and poor in the land of the Kibbutz and the like. (On a side note, When I asked them about their participation in the lawsuit against the PLO, they said the their witness for the terrorists, Michael Sfard, was actually a ringer who’s testimony deliberately helped the plaintiff.) , and he most interesting was their blurb supporting   “the women of the wall” movement. I say it’s strange because they show the Old City in Israel and don’t mention, as the BDS movement (which NIF claims to be very much against) likes to, that the Kotel is in “illegally occupied Palestinian territory”.
“Americans for Peace Now” has a slick, two-sided map with “East Jerusalem“ on one side and the West Bank on the other, which shows the where all the “settlements” are. It also shows the Barrier wall.  The Jerusalem side attacks “Ideological tourism projects” that threaten to transform the conflict into a religious conflict where no compromise is possible” I thought that was pretty funny.
The best of the bunch (on a technical level at least) was B’Selem’s. It was detailed and easily color-coded.   You can see the facts on the ground much better than on the other maps.   They weren’t there, another group, who was more on the Kumbaya” side of the argument was. There were lots of those, lots of whom were offering trips.
There were lots of groups who like that, only the “Free Hillel” table seemed to be genuinely pro-BDS. The guy was really defensive. So was one fellow who said that Hamas was merely elected to the “municipal administration” of the district and wasn’t really the government. (You can’t really argue with these people without being tempted to punch them in the face).
The “Kumbaya” people were promoting neighborliness and understanding between Jewish and Muslim Israelis for the most part and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. However they generally make excuses for the Palestinians, such as Bikom, which does some amazing maps, who tried to explain why the Arab Jerusalemites, who can vote, don’t (they don’t want to look like they accept Israeli sovereignty).
After filling up my knapsack with give-aways and my face with food and coffee, I went to listen to the speeches….


Walking down J Street, episode one

I got an email a couple of weeks back informing me that the J Street   “Progressive Zionist” organization, sort of like AIPAC’s evil twin (or good, depending on how you view things) was having it’s annual jamboree at the Walter Washington convention center in DC, and would I like to pay a ton of money to go?
I would not.( Pay the ton of money that is.).
So, as I do on occasion, I filled out the press form and sent a bunch of digital clippings. They gave me a ticket. Even better, KAYAK was able to get me a $150 round trip flight to DC.   Another sixty bucks for two nights at the youth hostel next to the Convention center and off I went….
Day One
“Do you have a card” She said.
“No,” I replied, “why?”
“If you’re a journalist I need to see your business card in order to talk to you”
She was a student you see. She had taken a training course before she came here and was told to be suspicious of   skeevy old men with press badges and was told to get the business card and give it to the secret police (or whatever J street calls them). I said there was no reason, because I was only making conversation.
She gave me a very dirty look.   I could understand sort of.   Netanyahu had just won the election and everyone was to some extent angry and depressed. However they did try to look cheerful. The opening ceremonies were starting soon and I headed up to take my seat.
 The first two rows of seats in the grand ballroom were in fact circular tables. I searched around for a while and got a seat with a decent view. The rest of the people around my table were middle aged, behind us were the kids, allegedly there were about a thousand of them from all around the country, and Toronto, Canada, and tonight, they were the stars of the show. Lights! Music!!!!! Here we go….
Onstage comes J-Street Morton Halpburn, who gets a standing ovation. He thanks the crowd , and starts on a short and forgettable speech. He then starts talking about “J Street U”, which is their version of Hillel.   There’s a fanfare and football music, a bunch of squeaky clean college students enter stage rights looking like something out of the Bradhy Bunch, and in their peppiest voices they start the roll call of the universities. I’m not sure if it’s more of a high school pep rally or a political convention. Clearly this was latter and goes on and on and on. . Then they announce the Hillel’s who decided to come. Apparently the BDSers have somehow managed to split the movement, and the two organizations are actively feuding.. J Street, no matter what else you may have heard, is currently anti-BDS, they think it makes Bibi and his ilk look like victims and it leads to anti-Semitism., both of which are true.
There’s more football music and cheering as President Jeremy Ben Ami is introduced. He’s a thin and wiry gent, with a crooked smile and glasses, kind of nerdy. He starts thanking people lie in awards show, all the kids in general, and the senior staff in particular before shedding his kindly persona and starts tearing Bibi limb from limb before going after the rest of Likud, the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations and a whole bunch of other people and organizations. The crowd loved it.
Then there was the “Kumbaya” story of two grandmas, one Jewish and one Palestinian, and how they called each other by phone as their governments bombed each other. Very sweet.
Finally there was Rabbi Rick Jacobs, President of the Union Reform Judaism. who gave an astoundingly good speech. He hit all the right points, wasn’t radical at all, and was almost thrilling. The crowd loved that too. Then came the cake.
We’d get to the really important stuff   the following day.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

the list so far....

  1. Europe

  2. Great Britain and Ireland

  3. England

  4. Cliveden
  5. Windsor Castle
  6. Chester
  7. Penzance and Land's End
  8. St. Ives
  9. Hotel Tresanton and The Seafood Restaurant
  10. Chatsworth House
  11. Burgh Island Hotel
  12. Gidleigh Park
  13. Arundell Arms
  14. The Rising Sun
  15. Royal Pavilion
  16. Glyndebourne Festival
  17. The Cotswolds
  18. Chewton Glen
  19. Winchester Cathedral
  20. Osborne House
  21. Canterbury Cathedral
  22. Leeds Castle
  23. Sissinghurst Castle Garden
  24. The Lake District
  25. London
  26. Chelsea Flower Show
  27. The Connaught Hotel
  28. Tea at the Ritz
  29. Hadrian's Wall
  30. The Newark Antiques and Collectors Show
  31. Le Manoir Aux Quat'Saisons
  32. Oxford and Cambridge Universities
  33. Blenheim Palace
  34. Ludlow
  35. Bath and Ston Eaton Park
  36. Cathedral Church of St. Andrew
  37. Cunard's QM2 and QE2
  38. Stratford-upon-Avon
  39. Warwick Castle
  40. Salisbury Cathedral
  41. Stourhead
  42. Stonehenge
  43. Castle Howard
  44. York Minister
  45. Scotland

  46. Scottish Golf
  47. The Castle Trail
  48. The Hebrides
  49. Isle of Skye and Kinloch Lodge
  50. Scotch Whisky Trail
  51. Highland Games
  52. Skibo Castle
  53. Loch Ness
  54. Inverlochy Castle
  55. Airds Hotel
  56. Balmoral Hotel
  57. Edinburgh Castle
  58. The Festivals of Edinburgh
  59. Hogmanay
  60. The Royal Scotsman
  61. The Mackintosh Trail
  62. One Devonshire Gardens
  63. Balfour Castle
  64. Kinnaird Estate
  65. Altnaharrie Inn
  66. The Trossachs
  67. Wales

  68. Caernarfon Castle
  69. Bodnant Garden and Bodysgallen Hall
  70. Maes-Y-Neuadd
  71. Snowdonia National Park
  72. International Musical Eisteddfod
  73. Portmeirion
  74. Plas Bodegroes
  75. Hay-on-Wye Festival and Llangoed Hall
  76. Dylan Thomas's Boathouse
  77. Tintern Abbey
  78. St. David's Cathedral
  79. Ireland

  80. Dromoland Castle
  81. Blarney Castle and Bunratty Castle
  82. Cork Jazz Festival
  83. Kinsale
  84. Powerscourt House and Gardens
  85. Longueville House
  86. Ballymaloe House
  87. Glenveagh National Park
  88. Bloomsday
  89. The Book of Kells
  90. Pubs and St. Patrick's Festival
  91. Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud
  92. The Shelbourne
  93. Aran Islands
  94. Cashel House Hotel
  95. Connemara
  96. Galway
  97. Delphi Lodge
  98. Ballybunion Golf Club
  99. Dingle Peninsula
  100. The Ring of Kerry and The Park Hotel Kenmare
  101. Sheen Falls Lodge
  102. Killarney National Park
  103. Horse Country and Mount Juliet
  104. Adare Manor
  105. Ashford Castle
  106. Waterford Castle Hotel and Golf Club
  107. Wexford Opera Festival
  108. Tinakilly Country House
  109. Giant's Causeway
  110. Royal Portrush
  111. Mourne Mountains
  112. Western Europe

  113. Austria

  114. Bregenz Festival
  115. Durnstein and the Melk Abbey
  116. Old Graz
  117. Grossglockner Road
  118. Lech and Kitzbuhel
  119. Salzburg Festival
  120. Vienna
  121. The Opera Ball and Hotel Imperial
  122. Belgium

  123. Cathedral of Our Lady
  124. Bruges
  125. Comme Chez Soi
  126. La Grand Place
  127. Leon de Bruxelles
  128. Mary Chocolatier
  129. Abbaye d'Orval
  130. France

  131. Biarritz
  132. The Dordogne and the Cave of Lascaux
  133. Eugenie-les-Bains
  134. St.-Emilion
  135. Musee d'Unterlinden and the Wine Road of Alsace
  136. Cathedrale Notre-Dame de Strasbourg
  137. Burgundy
  138. Vezelay and L'Esperance
  139. Champagne and Les Crayeres
  140. Les Calanches
  141. Giverny
  142. Mont-Saint-Michel
  143. Normandy's D-Day Beaches
  144. Paris
  145. Hotel de Crillon
  146. Taillevent
  147. Cathedrale Notre Dame de Chartres
  148. Chateau de Versailles
  149. Toulouse-Lautrec Museum
  150. The Camargue and the Gypsy Pilgrimage
  151. The Walls of Carcassonne
  152. Place Stanislas
  153. Lourdes
  154. Loire Valley and Domaine des Hauts de Loire
  155. Ile de Re
  156. Aix-en-Provence
  157. Antibes and Hotel du Cap Eden-Roc
  158. Amphitheater of Arles
  159. Avignon and Hotel La Mirande
  160. Hotel Carlton Inter-Continental
  161. Hostellerie de Crillon le Brave
  162. Eze
  163. Les Baux-de-Provence
  164. Mougins
  165. Vieux Nice
  166. La Fondation Maeght
  167. St.-Tropez
  168. Vence
  169. Annecy and Talloires
  170. Chateau de Bagnols
  171. Chamoniz and Tour du Mont-Blanc
  172. Courchevel
  173. Vieux Lyons
  174. Restaurant Paul Bocuse
  175. Megeve
  176. La Maison Troisgros
  177. Pic
  178. Georges Blanc
  179. The Grand Casino
  180. Hotel de Paris
  181. Germany

  182. Baden-Baden and Brenner's Park Hotel and Spa
  183. Hotel Traube Tonbach
  184. The Bodensee (Lake Constance)
  185. The Alpine Road and Zugspitze
  186. The Romantic Road
  187. Bamberg
  188. Residenz Heinz Winkler
  189. Coaching in Bavaria and Neuschwanstein Castle
  190. Alte Pinakothek
  191. Christkindlmarkt
  192. Deutsches Museum
  193. Oktoberfest
  194. The Passion Play of Oberammergau
  195. Regensburg
  196. Berlin Philharmonic
  197. Brandenburg Gate
  198. The Museum Scene
  199. Sans Souci
  200. The Zwinger
  201. Summer Music Festivals
  202. The Rhine Valley
  203. Cologne's Cathedral Quarter
  204. Heidelberg's Schloss
  205. Quedlinburg and Hotel Theophano
  206. Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten
  207. Lubeck
  208. Sylt
  209. Weimar
  210. Greece

  211. Crete
  212. Mykonos and Delos
  213. Santorini
  214. Patmos
  215. Rhodes
  216. Symi
  217. The Acropolis
  218. National Archaeology Museum
  219. Delphi
  220. Epidaurus
  221. Monemvassia
  222. Mount Athos
  223. Hydra
  224. The Monasteries of the Meteora
  225. Italy

  226. Alberobello
  227. Capri
  228. National Archaeological Museum
  229. Spaccanapoli
  230. Pompeii
  231. The Amalfi Coast
  232. Positano's Hotels
  233. Ravello
  234. Paestum
  235. The Best of Sorrento
  236. The Quadrilatero
  237. Piazza del Duomo
  238. Ravenna
  239. La Posta Vecchia
  240. Rome
  241. The Hotel Hassler
  242. Sistine Chapel
  243. Cinqueterre
  244. Portofino
  245. Bellagio
  246. Hotel Villa d'este
  247. Palazzo Ducale
  248. The Milanese Experience
  249. Il Duomo
  250. The Last Supper
  251. La Scala Opera House (Teatro alla Scala)
  252. Rocca Scaligera
  253. Borromean Islands
  254. Rossini Opera Festival
  255. Urbino
  256. La Costa Smeralda
  257. Aeolian Islands
  258. Valley of Temples
  259. Mount Etna
  260. Two Gems of Palermo
  261. Taormina
  262. Church of San Francesco
  263. Florence
  264. The Uffizi Galleries
  265. Villa San Michele and Villa La Massa
  266. Lucca
  267. Montalcino
  268. Pienza
  269. Il Pellicano
  270. Chianti and San Gimignano
  271. Piazza del Campo and the Palio
  272. Basilica of San Francesco
  273. Palazzo Terranova
  274. Gubbio
  275. Il Duomo
  276. La Passeggiata
  277. Spoleto Festival
  278. Crossing the Mont Blanc Massif
  279. Asolo
  280. Cortina d'Ampezzo
  281. Scrovegni Chapel
  282. Venice
  283. Carnevale
  284. Cipriani Hotel
  285. Venice Simplon-Orient-Express
  286. Verona
  287. Teatro Olimpico
  288. Netherlands

  289. Anne Frank House
  290. Cafe Society
  291. Canal Cruises and Tulip Time
  292. Oude Kerk
  293. Pulitzer Hotel
  294. Red-Light District
  295. Rijksmuseum
  296. Van Gogh Museum
  297. Kroller-Muller Museum
  298. Delft
  299. Het Mauritshuis
  300. Manoir Inter Scaldes
  301. European Fine Art Fair
  302. North Sea Jazz Festival
  303. Portugal

  304. Pousada Rainha Santa Isabel
  305. Evora
  306. Marvao
  307. Bussaco Forest
  308. Obidos
  309. Museum Calouste Gulbenkian
  310. Sintra
  311. Madeira
  312. Spain

  313. Arcos de la Frontera
  314. La Mezquita
  315. The Alhambra and Parador de San Francisco
  316. Seville
  317. Guggenheim Museum Bilbao
  318. San Sebastian
  319. The Caves of Altamira and Santillana del Mar
  320. Avila
  321. Leon
  322. Salamanca's Plaza Mayor
  323. Meson de Candido
  324. La Catedral de Toledo
  325. Catalan National Art Museum
  326. La Sagrada Familia
  327. Museu Picasso
  328. Cadaques and Figueres
  329. The Way of St. James and the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela
  330. Madrid
  331. La Residencia
  332. Switzerland

  333. Restaurant Bruderholz
  334. Gstaad
  335. Jungfraujoch
  336. Kanderstag
  337. Murren
  338. St. Moritz and the Glacier Express
  339. Schlosshotel Chaste
  340. Davos-Klosters
  341. Lucerne Festival
  342. Park Hotel Vitznau
  343. Rheinhotel Fischerzunft
  344. Lugano's Splendid Villas
  345. Saas-Fee
  346. Verbier
  347. Zermatt
  348. Winter Alpine Balloon Festival
  349. Restaurant de L'Hotel de Ville
  350. Montreux Jazz Festival
  351. Petermann's Kunststuben
  352. Dolder Grand Hotel and Kronenhalle
  353. Eastern Europe

  354. Czech Republic

  355. Carlsbad
  356. Cesky Krumlov
  357. Castle District
  358. Charles Bridge
  359. Estates Theater
  360. Old Town Square
  361. U Fleku
  362. Hungary

  363. Castle Hill
  364. The Danube Bend
  365. Gerbeaud
  366. Gundel
  367. Hotel Gellert
  368. Poland

  369. Rynek Glowny
  370. Wawel Hill
  371. Chopin's Birthplace
  372. Romania

  373. The Painted Monasteries of Moldavia
  374. Count Dracula's Castle
  375. Russia

  376. The Trans-Siberian Express
  377. The Armory Museum and Red Square
  378. The Bolshoi
  379. The Moscow Underground
  380. Tretyakov Gallery
  381. Waterways of the Czars
  382. Nobleman's Nest
  383. The White Nights Festival and The Grand Hotel Europe
  384. The Hermitage
  385. Pavlovsk
  386. Petrodvorets
  387. Scandinavia

  388. Denmark

  389. Aeroskobing
  390. Hotel D'Angleterre and Kommandanten
  391. Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek
  392. Restaurant Ida Davidsen
  393. Tivoli Gardens
  394. Kronborg Slot
  395. Louisiana Museum of Modern Art
  396. Egeskov Castle and Steensgaard Herregaardspension
  397. Falsled Kro
  398. Odense
  399. Roskilde
  400. Skaged
  401. Finland

  402. Hotel Kamp
  403. The Savoy
  404. Ainola
  405. Savonlinna Opera Festival
  406. Icebreaker Cruise
  407. Santa's Village
  408. Iceland

  409. The Ring Road
  410. Norway

  411. Kvinke's Hotel
  412. Bergen and Troldhaugen
  413. Norwegian Coastal Voyage and North Cape
  414. Lofoten Islands
  415. Munch Museum and Hotel Continental
  416. Vikingskiphuset
  417. Geirangerfjord
  418. The Northern Lights
  419. Hardangerfjord
  420. The North Pole
  421. Sweden

  422. Gota Canal
  423. Visby
  424. The Ice Hotel
  425. Drottningholm Palace and Court Theater
  426. Gripsholm Castle
  427. Ulriksdals Wardshus
  428. The Grand Hotel and Operakallaren
  429. Stockholm Archipelago
  430. Vasamuseet
  431. Midsummer Eve
  432. Africa

  433. Northern Africa

  434. Egypt

  435. The Great Pyramids of Giza
  436. Islamic Cairo
  437. Khan El-Khalili
  438. Museum of Egyptian Antiquities
  439. Diving in the Red Sea
  440. The Sinai
  441. Abu Simbel
  442. Aswan and The Old Cataract Hotel
  443. A Nile Cruise
  444. Luxor and The Old Winter Palace
  445. Siwa Oasis
  446. Morocco

  447. Essaouira
  448. Fes el Bali and the Festival of World Sacred Music
  449. Imilchil Betrothal Fair
  450. Trekking the High Atlas
  451. Hotel La Mamounia
  452. Place Djemma El-Fna
  453. Yacout
  454. The Great Sahara
  455. La Gazelle D'Or
  456. Tunisia

  457. Bardo Museum
  458. Sidi Bou Said
  459. Eastern and Southern Africa

  460. Botswana

  461. Chobe National Park
  462. Jack's Camp
  463. Abu's Camp
  464. Okavango Delta
  465. Ethiopia

  466. Gonder
  467. Lalibela
  468. Kenya

  469. Ol Donyo Wuas
  470. Private Wildlife Reserve
  471. Island of Lamu and The Peponi Hotel
  472. The Masai Mara
  473. Little Governor's Camp
  474. Mount Kenya Safari Club
  475. Pemba Channel Fishing Club
  476. Madagascar

  477. Rafting the Mangoky River
  478. Malawi

  479. Horseback Safaris in Nyika National park
  480. Mali

  481. Timbuktu
  482. Mauritius

  483. Mauritius
  484. Namibia

  485. Etosha National Park
  486. Skeleton Coast
  487. Seychelles

  488. Aldabra Island
  489. Desroches Island and Lodge
  490. La Digue Island
  491. Ste. Anne Marine National Park
  492. South Africa

  493. Ellerman House and Mount Nelson Hotel
  494. Table Mountain
  495. Phinda Resource Reserve
  496. The Drakensberg Mountains
  497. Sabi Sand Game Reserve
  498. The Cape Winelands
  499. The Palace of the Lost City
  500. Rovos Rail and the Blue Train
  501. Constantia Wine Region
  502. The Garden Route
  503. Hermanus
  504. Tanzania

  505. Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro
  506. Ngorongoro Crater
  507. Sand Rivers
  508. Stone Town
  509. Uganda

  510. Murchison Falls National Park
  511. Tracking the Mountain Gorilla
  512. Zambia

  513. Tongabezi Safari Lodge
  514. Zimbabwe

  515. Hwange National Park
  516. Mana Pools National Park
  517. Matobo National Park
  518. Victoria Falls
  519. Victoria Falls Hotel and Livingstone Island
  520. The Middle East

  521. Israel

  522. The American Colony Hotel
  523. Christmas in Bethlehem
  524. The Dead Sea
  525. Israel Museum
  526. The King David Hotel
  527. Masada
  528. Museum of the Diaspora
  529. Old Akko
  530. The Old City
  531. Vered Hagalil
  532. Jordan

  533. Jerash
  534. Petra
  535. Oman

  536. Al Bustan Palace Hotel
  537. Nizwa
  538. Old Forts Route
  539. Saudi Arabia

  540. Mada'in Saleh
  541. Old Jeddah
  542. Syria

  543. The Covered Souks of Aleppo
  544. Krak des Chevaliers
  545. Omayyad Mosque
  546. Palmyra
  547. United Arab Emirates

  548. Al-Ain
  549. Burj Al Arab
  550. The Gold Souk
  551. Yemen

  552. Old Sana'a
  553. Shibam
  554. Asia

  555. East Asia

  556. China

  557. Classic Restaurants of Beijing
  558. The Forbidden City
  559. The Great Wall
  560. The Hutongs of Beijing
  561. The Li River
  562. Hotel Intercontinental
  563. Tea at the Peninsula
  564. Victoria Harbour and Victoria Peak
  565. Garden of the Humble Administrator
  566. Shanghai Museum
  567. The Terra-Cotta Warriors of Xi'an
  568. The Three Gorges
  569. Lhasa
  570. Mount Kailas
  571. Sunday Market
  572. Xishuangbanna
  573. West Lake
  574. Japan

  575. Old Kyoto
  576. Walking the Nakasendo, Visiting the Tawaraya
  577. Nara Koen
  578. Sapporo Snow Festival
  579. Climbing Mount Fuji and Restoring the Soul
  580. The Park Hyatt Tokyo
  581. Tsujiki Fish Market
  582. Cherry Blossom Viewing
  583. Mongolia

  584. The Gobi Desert
  585. Horseback Riding in Mongolia
  586. North and Central Asia

  587. Bhutan

  588. Paro Festival
  589. Chomolhari Trek and the Tiger's Nest
  590. India

  591. Palace on Wheels
  592. Top Tables
  593. Chapslee
  594. Ladakh
  595. The Backwaters of Kerala
  596. The Temples of Khajuraho
  597. The Cave Temples of Northern Maharashtra
  598. Taj Mahal Hotel
  599. Palace of Winds
  600. Jaisalmer
  601. Umaid Bhawan Palace
  602. The Pushkar Camel Fair
  603. Samode Hotels
  604. The City Palace and the Lake Palace
  605. Trekking in Sikkim
  606. The Taj Mahal
  607. The Ghats of Varanasi
  608. The Marble Palace
  609. The Darjeeling Highlands
  610. Iran

  611. The Royal Square
  612. Persepolis
  613. Nepal

  614. Jaljale Himal
  615. Durbar Square
  616. Bhaktapur
  617. Mount Everest
  618. The Kingdom of Mustang
  619. Fish Tail Lodge
  620. Royal Chitwan National Park
  621. Sri Lanka

  622. The Galle Face Hotel
  623. Esala Perahera
  624. Turkey

  625. The Roman Ruins of Ephesus
  626. The Covered Bazaar and Cagaloglu Hamam
  627. Hagia Sophia
  628. Kariye Museum
  629. Mosque of Suleiman the Magnificent
  630. The Pera Palas
  631. Topkapi Palace
  632. The Whirling Dervishes of Konya
  633. The Blue Voyage
  634. Pamukkale
  635. Cappadocia
  636. Turkmenistan

  637. Tolkuchka Bazaar
  638. Uzbekistan

  639. Old Bukhara
  640. The Registan and Shah-I-Zinda
  641. Southeast Asia

  642. Cambodia

  643. The Silver Pagoda
  644. Angkor Wat
  645. Indonesia

  646. The Heart of Bali
  647. Four Seasons Resort at Jimbaran Bay
  648. Ubud and the Amandari
  649. Baliem Valley
  650. Borobudur and the Amanjiwo
  651. Yogyakarta
  652. Lombok
  653. Amanwana
  654. Torajaland
  655. Laos

  656. Wat Phou
  657. Luang Prabang
  658. Sailing the Mekong River
  659. Malaysia

  660. Sipidan Island
  661. Headhunters' Trail
  662. The Datai
  663. Pangkor Laut Resort
  664. Penang
  665. Myanmar

  666. Inle Lake
  667. The Road to Mandalay River Cruise
  668. Shwedagon Pagoda
  669. Philippines

  670. Banaue Rice Terraces
  671. Taal Volcano
  672. Amanpulo
  673. Singapore

  674. The Eastern & Oriental Express
  675. Raffles Hotel
  676. Singapore's Street Food
  677. Thailand

  678. Ayuthaya
  679. Ancient Thai Massage
  680. Chatuchak Weekend Market
  681. The Grand Palace
  682. The Oriental
  683. The Sukhothai
  684. The Hille Tribes of Northern Thailand
  685. The Four Seasons Resort
  686. Koh Phi Phi
  687. Koh Samui
  688. Phangnga Bay
  689. Mae Hong Son
  690. Phuket
  691. Vietnam

  692. Dalat
  693. Halong Bay
  694. Cha Ca La Vong
  695. The French Quarter of Hanoi
  696. Hanoi's Old Quarter
  697. Pho Hoa
  698. The Rex Bar and the Ben Thanh Market
  699. Hoi An
  700. The Mekong Delta
  701. Sapa
  702. Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands

  703. Australia and New Zealand

  704. Australia

  705. The Blue Mountains and Lilianfels
  706. The Hunter Valley Wine Region
  707. Sydney Opera House and the Harbor
  708. Arnhem Land
  709. Ayers Rock and the Olgas
  710. Seven Spirit Bay
  711. Kakadu National Park
  712. The Tiwi Islands: Bathurst and Melville
  713. Cape Tribulation
  714. Fraser Island
  715. The Great Barrier Reef and the Coral Sea
  716. Hayman Island Resort
  717. Heron Island
  718. Lizard Island
  719. Barossa Valley
  720. Kangaroo Island
  721. Cradle Mountain National Park and the Overland Track
  722. Freycinet National Park and Freycinet Lodge
  723. The Great Ocean Road
  724. Cable Beach
  725. El Questro Station
  726. Margaret River
  727. New Zealand

  728. The Bay of Islands
  729. Lake Taupo and Huka Lodge
  730. Wharekauhau Country Estate
  731. Bubbling Rotorua
  732. Marlborough Wine Region
  733. Grasmere Lodge
  734. The Grand Traverse
  735. Milford Sound and Doubtful Sound
  736. Mount Cook National Park and the Tasman Glacier
  737. The Home of Bungee Jumping and Jet-Boating
  738. The Pacific Islands

  739. Cook Islands

  740. Aitutaki
  741. Island Dance Festival
  742. Fiji

  743. Beqa Lagoon
  744. Horseshoe Bay Beach
  745. Moody's Namena
  746. Jean-Michael Cousteau Fiji Islands Resort
  747. Taveuni Island
  748. Vatulele Island Resort
  749. The Wakaya Club
  750. The Yasawa Islands
  751. French Polynesia

  752. The Marquesas Islands
  753. Bora Bora
  754. Huahine
  755. Maupiti
  756. Moorea
  757. Heiva I Tahiti
  758. Tetiaroa Village
  759. The Coral Atolls of Rangiroa
  760. Micronesia

  761. Chuuk Lagoon's Ghost Fleet
  762. Palau
  763. Yap, the Darling of Micronesia
  764. Papua New Guinea

  765. The Highland Sing-Sing Festival
  766. Sepik River
  767. Ambua Lodge
  768. Tonga

  769. Heilala Festival
  770. Kayaking the Vava'u Islands
  771. (Western) Samoa

  772. Safua Hotel
  773. Vailima, Robert Louis Stevenson's Home
  774. The United States of America and Canada

  775. The United States of America

  776. Alaska

  777. Mount McKinley and Denali National Park
  778. Kenai Peninsula
  779. The Iditarod
  780. The Inside Passage and Glacier Bay
  781. Arizona

  782. The Boulders Resort and Golden Door Spa
  783. Canyon de Chelly National Monument
  784. The Grand Canyon
  785. Lake Powell
  786. Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa
  787. Red Rock Country
  788. Canyon Ranch Health Resort
  789. California

  790. Death Valley National Park
  791. The Golden Door
  792. The Getty Center
  793. Hollywood
  794. Monterey Peninsula
  795. The Pacific Coast Highway
  796. Hotel del Coronado
  797. A Tour of San Francisco's Cable Cars
  798. Chez Panisse
  799. California's Wine Country
  800. Yosemite National Park
  801. Colorado

  802. Aspen
  803. Home Ranch
  804. Mesa Verde National Park
  805. The Million Dollar Highway and the Durango and Silverton
  806. Rocky Mountain National Park
  807. Telluride
  808. Vail
  809. Connecticut

  810. Essex
  811. The Mark Twain House
  812. Mystic Seaport
  813. Litchfield Hills and the Mayflower Inn
  814. Delaware

  815. Winterthur Museum
  816. Florida

  817. Amelia Island
  818. Kennedy Space Center
  819. Swimming with Manatees
  820. Everglades National Park
  821. Key West
  822. Little Palm Island
  823. The Delano
  824. Joe's Stone Crab
  825. South Beach
  826. Villa Vizcaya
  827. Walt Disney World Resort
  828. The Breakers
  829. Sanibel and Captiva Islands
  830. Georgia

  831. Elizabeth on 37th
  832. Mrs. Wilkes's Boarding House
  833. Savannah's Historic District
  834. The Golden Isles
  835. Hawaii

  836. Big Island
  837. Kauai
  838. Lanai
  839. Maui
  840. Oahu
  841. Idaho

  842. Lake Coeur d'Alene
  843. Henry's Fork Lodge
  844. Middle Fork of the Salmon River
  845. Sun Valley Resort
  846. Illinois

  847. Art Institute of Chicago
  848. Arun's
  849. Charlie Trotter's
  850. Chicago's Blues Scene
  851. Frank Lloyd Wright Tour
  852. Superdawg
  853. Indiana

  854. The Great Amish Country Auction
  855. Iowa

  856. Iowa State Fair
  857. Kentucky

  858. The Bourbon Trail
  859. Bluegrass Country
  860. The Kentucky Derby
  861. Louisiana

  862. The French Quarter
  863. The New Orleans Restaurant Scene
  864. Mardi Gras
  865. New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival
  866. Preservation Hall
  867. Soniat House
  868. Maine

  869. Acadia National Park
  870. Maine Windjammer Association
  871. The White Barn Inn
  872. Maine Lobster Festival
  873. Maryland

  874. Obrycki's
  875. Chesapeake Bay
  876. Massachusetts

  877. The Freedom Trail
  878. Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
  879. Legal Sea Foods
  880. Brimfield Outdoor Antiques Show
  881. Cape Cod National Seashore
  882. Woodman's of Essex
  883. Tanglewood Music Festival
  884. Martha's Vineyard
  885. Nantucket
  886. Thanksgiving at Plymouth Plantation
  887. Michigan

  888. Mackinac Island's Grand Hotel
  889. Minnesota

  890. Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness
  891. Mississippi

  892. The Natchez Trace
  893. Missouri

  894. Arthur Bryant's Barbecue
  895. Montana

  896. Big Sky
  897. The Complete Fly Fisher
  898. Glacier National Park
  899. Triple Creek Ranch
  900. Nevada

  901. Bellagio
  902. The Las Vegas Strip
  903. New Hampshire

  904. The Balsams
  905. The Lakes Region
  906. Mount Washington
  907. New Jersey

  908. Cape May
  909. New Mexico

  910. Albuquerque's Balloon Fiesta
  911. Route 66
  912. Carlsbad Caverns National Park
  913. The Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad
  914. Roswell
  915. Inn of the Anasazi
  916. The Santa Fe Opera
  917. Ten Thousand Waves
  918. New York

  919. The Adirondacks
  920. The Catskils
  921. Cooperstown
  922. East Hampton
  923. Finger Lakes
  924. Hudson Valley
  925. New York City
  926. Historic Downtown New York
  927. Museum Mile
  928. Saratoga Springs
  929. North Carolina

  930. The Biltmore Estate
  931. Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  932. The Outer Banks
  933. Ohio

  934. Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Music
  935. Oklahoma

  936. Cattlemen's Steakhouse
  937. Oregon

  938. The Oregon Coast
  939. Oregon Shakespeare Festival
  940. The Lewis and Clark Trail
  941. Crater Lake National Park
  942. Willamette Valley
  943. Pennsylvania

  944. Gettysburg National Military Park and Cemetery
  945. Pennsylvania Dutch Country
  946. Barnes Foundation
  947. Philadelphia Flower Show
  948. Philly Food
  949. Independence National Historical Park
  950. Rhode Island

  951. Block Island
  952. Cliff Walk
  953. South Carolina

  954. Beaufort and the Low Country
  955. The Heart of Charleston
  956. Low Country Cuisine
  957. Spoleto Festival USA
  958. South Dakota

  959. The Badlands
  960. The Black Hills
  961. Sturgis Motorcycle Rally
  962. Tennessee

  963. Graceland and the Elvis Trail
  964. Memphis's Rib Joints
  965. Nashville's Music Scene
  966. Blackberry Farm
  967. Texas

  968. South by Southwest
  969. The Mansion on Turtle Creek
  970. Hill Country
  971. The Menil Collection
  972. River Walk
  973. Utah

  974. Bryce Canyon National Park
  975. Moab and Red Rock Country
  976. Monument Valley
  977. Park City and the Wasatch Range
  978. Mormon Tabernacle Choir
  979. Zion National Park
  980. Vermont

  981. Manchester Village
  982. Northeast Kingdom
  983. Shelburne Farms
  984. Stowe Mountain Resort
  985. Killington and Woodstock
  986. Virginia

  987. The Homestead
  988. Monticello
  989. Shenendoah Valley
  990. The Inn at Little Washington
  991. Colonial Williamsburg
  992. Washington

  993. San Juan Islands
  994. Pike Place Market
  995. Washington, D.C.

  996. The National Mall and Its Monuments
  997. The Smithsonian and Beyond
  998. West Virginia

  999. West Virginia's White-Water Rafting
  1000. The Greenbrier
  1001. Wisconsin

  1002. Apostle Islands
  1003. Canoe Bay
  1004. The American Club
  1005. Wyoming

  1006. Cheyenne Frontier Days
  1007. Grand Teton National Park
  1008. Amangani
  1009. Jackson Hole
  1010. Bitterroot Ranch
  1011. Yellowstone National Park
  1012. Canada

  1013. Alberta

  1014. Banff, Jasper, and Yoho National Parks
  1015. The Canadian Rockies by Train
  1016. British Columbia

  1017. The Gulf Islands and the Hastings House
  1018. Heli-Skiing and Heli-Hiking
  1019. Nimmo Bay Resort
  1020. Whistler-Blackcomb Ski Resort
  1021. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden
  1022. Tojo's and Granville Island
  1023. Pacific Rim National Park
  1024. Sooke Harbour House and the Aerie Resort
  1025. Stubbs Island Whale Watching
  1026. Royal British Columbia Museum and the Museum of Anthropology
  1027. Manitoba

  1028. Polar Bear Safari
  1029. New Brunswick

  1030. Bay of Fundy
  1031. Newfoundland

  1032. Gros Morne National Park
  1033. Nova Scotia

  1034. Cape Breton Island and the Cabot Trail
  1035. Ontario

  1036. Niagara Falls
  1037. Winterlude and Skating on the Rideau Canal
  1038. Art Gallery of Ontario
  1039. Four Seasons Toronto
  1040. Prince Edward Island

  1041. Prince Edward Island
  1042. Quebec

  1043. Charlevoix
  1044. Lake Massawippi
  1045. Montreal's Summer Festivals
  1046. Vieux Montreal
  1047. Mont Tremblant Resort
  1048. Carnaval in the Heart of New France
  1049. Latin America

  1050. Mexico and Central America

  1051. Mexico

  1052. Las Ventanas al Paraiso
  1053. Whale Watching in Baja
  1054. Na Bolom
  1055. Palenque
  1056. Copper Canyon
  1057. Cervantes Arts Festival
  1058. San Miguel de Allende
  1059. Acapulco Bay
  1060. Taxco
  1061. Zihuatanejo
  1062. Teotihuacan and the National Museum of Anthropology
  1063. Michoacan
  1064. Monarch Butterfly Migration
  1065. Las Mananitas
  1066. Oaxaca's Saturday Market and Camino Real
  1067. Chichen Itza
  1068. Maroma
  1069. Hacienda Katanchel
  1070. Cable Car Over Zacatecas
  1071. El Dia de Los Muertos
  1072. Belize

  1073. Barrier Reef
  1074. Mountain Equestrian Trails
  1075. Chan Chich Lodge
  1076. Costa Rica

  1077. Corcovado National Park
  1078. Manuel Antonio National Park
  1079. Chachagua Rain Forest Hotel
  1080. Guatemala

  1081. Antigua
  1082. Lake Atitlan
  1083. Tikal
  1084. Market at Chichicastenango
  1085. Honduras

  1086. Roatan
  1087. Panama

  1088. Panama Canal
  1089. Archipelago de San Blas
  1090. South America and Antarctica

  1091. Argentina

  1092. Alvear Palace and Recoleta Cemetery
  1093. La Cabana Las Lilas
  1094. Las Tanguerias de Buenos Aires
  1095. Teatro Colon and Gran Cafe Tortoni
  1096. Estancia La Portena
  1097. Estancia La Benquerencia
  1098. Estancia Acelain
  1099. Estancia Los Alamos
  1100. Iguaza Falls
  1101. Estancias Quemquemtreu and Huechahue
  1102. Perito Moreno and Glaciers National Park
  1103. Bariloche
  1104. El Tren a las Nubes and Estancia el Bordo de las Lanzas
  1105. Bolivia

  1106. Copacabana
  1107. Mercado de Hechiceria
  1108. Brazil

  1109. Expedition up the Amazon
  1110. Ver-o-Peso Market and La Em Casa
  1111. The Ariau Jungle Tower
  1112. Pantanal and the Caiman Ecological Refuge
  1113. Ouro Preto
  1114. Tiradentes
  1115. Fernando de Noronha
  1116. Surfing the Sand Dunes of Natal
  1117. Buzios
  1118. Parati
  1119. Carnaval
  1120. Copacabana Palace Hotel
  1121. New Year's Eve at Copacabana Beach
  1122. Corcovado
  1123. Ipanema Beach
  1124. Rodizio and Feijoada in Rio
  1125. Cidade Alta
  1126. The Festivals of Salvador
  1127. Chile

  1128. Hacienda Los Lingues
  1129. The Wine Roads of Chile
  1130. Easter Island
  1131. Portillo
  1132. Cruising the Chilean Coast
  1133. Torres del Paine National Park
  1134. Colombia

  1135. Gold Museum
  1136. Cartagena de Indias
  1137. Ecuador

  1138. Galapagos Islands
  1139. Sacha Lodge
  1140. Otavalo
  1141. The Riobamba Express
  1142. Peru

  1143. Monasterio de Santa Catalina
  1144. Cuzco
  1145. Manu National Park
  1146. The Nazca Lines
  1147. Lake Titicaca
  1148. Peruvian Amazon
  1149. Machu Picchu
  1150. Uruguay

  1151. Colonia del Sacramento
  1152. Punta del Este
  1153. Venezuela

  1154. Angel Falls
  1155. Islas los Roques
  1156. Antarctica

  1157. Antarctica
  1158. The Caribbean, Bahamas and Bermuda

  1159. Anguilla

  1160. Cap Juluca and the Malliouhana Hotel
  1161. Shoal Bay and Gorgeous Scilly Cay
  1162. Antigua

  1163. Antigua Sailing Week and Curtain Bluff
  1164. Bahamas

  1165. Andros Island
  1166. Compass Point
  1167. The Compleat Angler
  1168. Dolphin Dive
  1169. Pink Sands
  1170. Shark Rodeo at Walker's Cave
  1171. Barbados

  1172. Sandy Lane
  1173. Barbuda

  1174. K-Club
  1175. Bermuda

  1176. Golfing in Bermuda
  1177. The Southshore Beaches
  1178. Bonaire

  1179. Bonaire Marine Park
  1180. British Virgin Islands

  1181. Guana Island
  1182. Little Dix Bay and the Baths
  1183. Necker Island
  1184. Sailing the British Virgin Islands
  1185. Sandcastle
  1186. Cayman Islands

  1187. Bloody Bay Wall and Pirate's Point Resort
  1188. Cuba

  1189. Cuba's Jazz Festival
  1190. La Habana Vieja and the Hotel Nacional
  1191. Hemingway's Hangouts
  1192. Dominica

  1193. Morne Trois Pitons National Park
  1194. Dominican Republic

  1195. Casa de Campo
  1196. Grenada

  1197. St. George's Harbour and Grand Anse Beach
  1198. Grenadines

  1199. Bequia
  1200. The Cotton House and Basil's Beach Bar
  1201. Petit St. Vincent
  1202. Sailing the Grenadines
  1203. Guadeloupe

  1204. Fete des Cuisinieres and Guadeloupe's Finest Restaurants
  1205. Guadeloupe's Offshore Isles
  1206. Jamaica

  1207. Jamaica Inn
  1208. Jamaica's Reggae Festival
  1209. Pork Pit
  1210. Rock House and Rick's
  1211. Strawberry Hill
  1212. Martinique

  1213. Habitation Lagrange
  1214. Nevis

  1215. Four Seasons Resort
  1216. Puerto Rico

  1217. The Horned Dorset Primavera
  1218. Old San Juan
  1219. Vieques
  1220. Saba

  1221. Saba
  1222. St. Barthelemy

  1223. Eden Rock
  1224. Gustavia Harbour & Maya's
  1225. St. Kitts

  1226. The Golden Lemon
  1227. Rawlins Plantation
  1228. St. Lucia

  1229. Anse Chastanet
  1230. St. Martin

  1231. La Samanna
  1232. Tobago

  1233. Diving With Tobago's Manta Ray
  1234. Trinidad

  1235. Asa Wright Nature Center and Lodge
  1236. Carnival
  1237. U.S. Virgin Islands

  1238. Buck Island
  1239. Caneel Bay
  1240. Harmony Studios and the Reef Bay Trail
  1241. Magens Bay Beach

Friday, February 07, 2014

the mormon lawsuit

Nuisance lawsuits are a worldwide phenomenon. Every First World country, that is North America and the European Union, has people who would sue at the drop of a hat. Not many, but they damage the reputations of the people who really have been hurt and have no other recourse to fall back on.
For instance there are those people who have been victims of Catholic pedophile priests or a previous generation of Irish women who had been enslaved by the Magdalene nuns.. They sued. They had to sue; there was no other way  to get justice.

Those being sued would sometimes warn that if such things continued to happen, that someday, someone would sue over theology. Not the results of theology, but over the doctrine itself.
The other day, this happened. Thomas Phillips, a former Mormon Bishop, managed to get a British judge to issue a bench warrant to the President of the whole Church in Salt Lake City in order to answer to charges of fraud.  The fraud: The entire Mormon theology.

This is sort of like suing Grandma for lying about the existence of Santa Claus.

The facts in the case are this: Philips had discovered that the rumors that early Mormons, including Joseph Smith himself, were practicing polygamists were true. Shocked, he resigned his membership and started an anti-Mormon website.

Under a British law enacted in 2006 that makes false advertising illegal, Phillip managed to get Judge Elizabeth Roscoe to issue two summonses on behalf of former members who paid the church tithes, stating that if President Monson doesn’t show up on the specified date in March, a warrant will be issued for his arrest.

Few think that Monson will show up, but the judge may issue an arrest warrant. Palestinian activists had gotten a judge to issue an arrest warrant for former Israeli Minister Tzipi Livini over Operation Cast Lead in 2009, and other such actions had been taken.

But on it’s merits, the suit is based on a single accusation: Monson and the top leadership of the Mormon Church are a bunch of lying Atheists. They always knew that there were no golden plates, Jesus never came to America, and there is NO Mrs. God.

Now this actually plays into the Church’s hands. They are in a perverse way proud of the fact that they were persecuted in the early to middle 19th century, and this is just another example of what they’ve been telling their membership for nearly 180 years.

I think Monson should call Phillips’ bluff. The bench warrant names him as a representative of an organization, so on March 14th, he could legally just send a lawyer. If the judge issues an arrest warrant anyway, they could play the persecution card.
They could do it NOW. The fraud charge is CRIMINAL offense, and is technically brought on behalf of he Queen who, among other things, is the Head of the Anglican Communion.  The head of one church suing another for fraud!!! It’s a win/win situation! For the Latter Day Saints!!!!
Even if there were a trial, it would be great publicity for the LDS. I hope they let it go on.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

2013 Toronto Film Festival, part 2

With only three tickets left and hundreds of films to choose from, I was in a quandary.   What to see? Well, there was a panel discussion called “Class of 2013: New Canadians Directors to Watch, around noonish, which the home office had  sent me an invte for and  they kind of wanted me to go, so I had to work around that.
So looking at the schedule, I had to find something that wouldn’t conflict, and after discovering that 12/12/12 hade been postponed for my convenience, I found a harmless enough romantic comedy called The Right Kind of Wrong, directed by Jeremiah S. Chechik, and starring Ryan Kwanten  as Leo Palamino, who’s backstory is ripped off from Woody Allen’s Manhattan. Leo, a failed writer turned dishwasher falls in love with Colette (Sara Canningon) the day of her wedding - to another man, the seemingly perfect but demonstrably evil Danny Hart (Ryan McPartlin).
Y’all out there in Internet land know how this thing ends. This sort of thing has been done before dozens of times. However there is some snappy dialogue and the scenery (Jasper National Park in the Canadian Rockies) is totally spectacular.  It’s almost worth the price of a ticket to see that alone.
So with that bit of fluff over, I headed to the Filmmakers’ Lounge at the Hyatt Regency Hotel for that panel discussion. ..
Throwing temper tantrums usually end in one of two ways, victory or jail. I had the invite on my hard drive. I showed it to them as well as my credentials, but since my creds were of the third rate variety, they wouldn’t let me in. I argued, I cajoled, I tried to call  the people inside (damn you Virgin Mobile!)  and it looked like it was getting hairy (and late, it had started) when  divine providence intervened.. One of the people who were hosting the thing was just walking by and heard me raising my voice at the security guard.
They weren’t very happy, but I was.
I was then treated to the final fifteen minutes of how to get a grant from the Canadian Film Board. That’s socialism for you. Down here we get to go to banks and have to pay all the money back.  One of the directors was one of the most beautiful women I’ve seen all year, and the rest looked like me. Oh well…
When that was over, I found out where the free soda was before heading back to the multiplex to see the next film. A Buffy parody called All Cheerleaders Die, which wasn’t nearly as bad as it sounds. Okay, it WAS, but nearly not exactly, which is what makes the Midnight Madness section of the festival the best part.
Now comes the logistics part. The home office had sent me an invite to a regular screening of a documentary called Mission: Congo, which was one of the most important films of the entire festival, but more on that later.  First I had to sneak in.
Now you may be wondering why I had to sneak in if I already had an invitation…well, this was a regular screening, which meant that without the right creds, I couldn’t just hang around the area and tell them I was on the list. So I had to sneak around and find who and where the publicists were and get a hard ticket. This was harder than it sounded. First off, they weren’t there just yet, and when they got there, they didn’t have my ticket.  They called their people back at the office and yes, I was on the list and someone somewhere hat the ticket.  UG. Happy ending: just as the lights were going out, they found the damn thing and I got in.
Lara Zizic and David Turner's engrossing documentary lays a well-deserved sucker punch on Televangelist Pat Robertson. It seems this thieving shit conned millions of people into financing his Congo diamond mines by disguising it as aide for the victims of the Rwanda genocide back in 1994.
The film reports that Robertson’s “Operation Blessing” is still soliciting donations to operate Congo hospitals and schools never actually built, Disgusting.
Robertson threatened a lawsuit. I don’t know whether or not he will….
So there was one more ticket left. I wanted to see Gravity, but it started too late. So , instead I took in Peter Landesman’s Parkland, which played out as an episode of  Law and Order: JFK. The acting was fine. There was nothing wrong with the film per se, but this story has been done over and over and over again so much, that it feels like it’s sleepwalking. True, it’s about the ordinary people who somehow got caught up it the whole thing , like Oswald’s brother(James Badge Dale) or the doctors at the Parkland hospital emergency room. The Kennedys, LBJ and Oswald seem to be totally out of place in their own story.  I expect it’ll come and go without much of a trace.
With that over, and the Festival barely started, I went back to my hotel, got my stuff, and left Canada.  Maybe next year, I’ll get to do it right.