Is it just me…

Or does anyone else see a plan behind the situation in Ferguson MO?

Fringe groups pass out fliers advocating for various kinds of instigation if a grand jury decides not to indict a police officer who 3 1/2 months ago shot an unarmed teenager.

It’s that decision, which authorities have for days signaled was imminent but now seems slow to come, that has brought St. Louis into a bizarre holding pattern, with little agreement here about what will happen in the city after the grand jury resolution.

First there are leaks that hint the decision will come sometime during the week of November 11.

Then there are leaks that hint that the decision will be last Friday.

Now the speculation is that the decision will come on Monday.

And each time the speculation identifies a day, the “protesters” are stirred to prepare…and each time the decision doesn’t come.

I think this is a strategy…and I think it is a good one.

From the reports I’ve seen, most of the “protesters” are not from Ferguson or even St. Louis…most of them are outside agitators just taking advantage of the situation.

Ever hear the story about the boy who cried wolf?

I think the Ferguson authorities are taking advantage of that premise. At least I would if I were them: I’d continue to leak dates, and then fail to make the announcement, over and over and over again, until the protests lose steam. Wait until they get tired of getting all fired up over and over again, and start to lose interest. After it is clear that the troublemakers have, for the most part, given up and gone home…then make the announcement.

It might be next year before the grand jury “finishes its investigation” and that’s perfectly fine if that’s what needs to happen to take the air out of the blowhards threatening to instigate riots.

The only down side is that this is devastating the Ferguson economy. All of those business owners who have shuttered their businesses are not going to be able to sustain this forever. They’ll eventually go bankrupt (if they haven’t already).

For that reason, they may make the announcement sooner rather than later, but I really think it would be smart of them to keep this secret grand jury deliberations going for as long as possible. Eventually the race baiters and anarchists who are itching to burn something down will run out of steam.

Where in the world was Sailorcurt (3)

This edition of Where in the World was Sailorcurt actually takes us outside the United States (that’s a hint) and will be MUCH more challenging (and I think the next one is going to be even moreso).

Since this one is going to be more of a challenge, I’m going to double the prize. The first person to guess what city I was in will be awarded 2,000 internet points.

Here’s the hint (click to make bigger).

2014-11-18 18.57.52

[update]
OK…nobody’s gotten it yet, so let’s add another hint. This is the same building from another angle, but the added element in the foreground may help.

2014-11-18 18.57.24

The Totem Pole was actually in the first picture too, but off to the side so it may not have been noticed.

Any guesses?
[/update]

And the Winner is (2)…

RWH, who guessed:

Approximately 100 yds askew of directly down range.

Down Range of what, you ask? Well, let’s see if this jogs your memory:

2014-11-13 16.52.47

Ring any bells?

How about this one (I didn’t take this one):

moorman

Yep…that’s Dealey Plaza in Dallas, the site of the assassination of JFK. The picture in the first post is the “grassy knoll” that the conspiracy theorists believe the “real” assassin fired from, the second is the Texas Book Repository from which the actual shots were fired.

I’d actually done a research paper on the Kennedy assassination in college. I researched the Warren report and various conspiracy theories. My final conclusion at the time was that there were some oddities with the investigation and other aspects of the case, but that the odds of a cover up were very small. The theories about the shots coming from the front just didn’t hold up ballistically, either from the autopsy reports or the videos of the actual incident, additionally, there simply would have had to have been vastly too many people involved to pull something like that off and keep it quiet for decades.

One of the conspiracy theories opined that the shots were way too difficult for Oswald, a reportedly mediocre shot, to have made.

After visiting the repository and seeing the view from where he made the shots, I have to strongly disagree. The shots were taken at a range that any half-way competent marksman could have made.

Anyway, Dallas it was. I hereby award RWH 1000 internet points. Spend them wisely.

And the winner is…

Chuck, who didn’t actually name the city, but described amazingly close to the exact location the picture was taken from:

Parking lot on 2nd Ave just north of the intersection of Western Ave and West John St., behind the Hilton?

Here’s the other “dead giveaway” picture, that was taken from a location just a half a block from the first:

2014-11-01 17.37.44

I normally would have said: “you’re right, I was in Seattle”, but since he got so specific in his answer, I have to show you just how close to exact he really was:

I was staying at the Homewood Suites off Western Ave in Seattle. The Homewood Suites is one of the Hilton Chain and is near the corner described by Chuck, so I’d imagine that’s the hotel he was thinking about. He was VERY close.

The first picture was taken from the parking lot behind the Westmark Hotel a half a block from the Homewood Suites. It’s marked spot 1 in the below satellite picture. The Westmark is on the intersection of John Street and 1st Ave, just one block from the intersection Chuck described. The only reason I chose that spot is because the parking lot of the Westmark is on a hill and is a higher spot with a better view than the Homewood suites parking lot.

The picture is of the Puget Sound (complete with ferry) with the Seattle Post Intelligencer building in the foreground. If you follow that link, you’ll notice that the globe on their building is part of their trademark and is a designated Seattle landmark.

The second one of the Space needle was taken just up the street a little at spot 2 on the satellite picture.

satmap

So, Chuck is the winner of 1,000 internet points and I’m going to award a bonus of 250 internet points for being so specific about the location.

Congratulations.

That and $6.50 will buy you a cup of coffee at the original Starbucks, which is also in Seattle.

Where in the World was Sailorcurt

I think I’m going to start a new theme. I did this a while back when I was in Toronto, I posted a picture of the CN tower and asked people to identify where I was.

I travel a lot for work and I don’t like posting about it while I’m gone…don’t like announcing to the world that I’m not home, I don’t advertise my address, but it wouldn’t be that hard to figure out.

But after I get back from a trip, I can say where I just was. I may start doing this more often.

I just returned from a trip. Let’s see if you can guess where I was from this picture taken a block or so from my hotel (click to make bigger).

2014-11-01 15.07.49

One thousand internet points to whoever gets it first (assuming, of course, there are still a few people checking in here occasionally).

If no one gets it from this picture, I’ve got another that’s a dead giveaway.

I almost forgot

Here’s our “trip picture”.

IMG_0989_2I took this using the timer feature on my camera. It was taken in the Rocky Mountain National Park at about 10,000 feet. Keep in mind that I had been having problems with altitude sickness the whole time we were in Colorado so I was feeling a little woozy to begin with.

After activating the timer, I had to run the 100 feet or so back to my bike in order to pose for the picture. I barely made it in time, and after the picture snapped, I almost fell down I was so out of breath.

I survived though and have good memories as a result.

Motorcycle Trip 4

1 HPIM4966As the last leg of our trip, we left the Black Hills and took the scenic route to the Badlands.

DSC01016After visiting, I can see now why they’re called the badlands.

IMG_1716Could you imagine driving a wagon train and coming up to this? “OK…Now What?”

20140730_153418It really is beautiful, but trying to travel it back before paved roads had to have been a nightmare…especially considering that it’s basically a desert. The badlands only averages 16 inches of precipitation a year…which includes snow in the winter.

360 panoramaAt the highest point we found in the park, I climbed a little hill to the tallest spot I could find, then I used the panorama feature on my tablet to take three panorama shots, then used a piece of software called “photostitch” to piece them together. I’m pretty happy with the resulting 360 degree panoramic view of Badlands National Park (definitely click this one to make it bigger).

IMG_1724After leaving the badlands, we headed back toward Brother’s house in Omaha. We didn’t make it the whole way and stopped in a little one horse town near the Nebraska border. Across the street from the hotel was a gas station with this interesting piece of art named “scrappy”. If you can’t tell from the picture, it is completely made of scrap metal. Very creative.

The next day we completed the trip to Omaha where we dropped off Brother, then back to Indiana where I took leave of Uncle and Cousin, and then I made the final leg of the trip back home to Virginia.

Screen shot 2014-08-16 at 10.39.31 AMHere’s a map of our basic trip path (without all the side trips and sightseeing routes)

IMG_1728And here’s my final mileage.

5,126 miles total.

It was a good trip. I hope you enjoyed sharing it with me.

Motorcycle Trip 3

Over the next couple of days we wandered around the Black Hills, got in some good twisty riding, and saw the sights.

1 IMG_1393Crazy Horse

2 IMG_1422Mount Rushmore (this picture was taken from the road from a distance, we did actually go up to the monument and walk the trail to the foot of the mountain, but I liked this picture better)

3 IMG_1582Deadwood

4 DSC00965Which is the place where Wild Bill Hickock was killed and Aces and Eights became known as the infamous “Dead Man’s Hand” in poker.

5 IMG_0196Calamity Jane is also buried here. BTW, contrary to popular belief, Wild Bill swears he never had a “thing” with Calamity. “I’m a married man” he exlaimed…”besides, have you SEEN her?” he chuckled.

6 DSC00976Wild Bill flirting with the girls

7 IMG_1617Wild Bill Hickock’s been assasinated!

8 DSC01522“The Needles”

9 IMG_1527Driving the Needles Road

10 IMG_1641Devil’s Tower Wyoming (no, we didn’t see any alien spacecraft)

11 comparisonDevil’s Tower is so huge, and so isolated out there, it’s very difficult to get a feel for how big it is, even when standing right at its foot. It really is a huge natural phenomenon. Here’s a picture I created to try to show the scale a little bit.

Devil’s Tower is 1.267 feet tall from its base. The Washington Monument is 555 feet tall. The eiffel Tower is 1,063 feet tall and the Empire State Building is 1,250 feet to its roof, 1,454 feet to the top of the radio tower.

Only the world’s very largest man-made structures are taller than Devil’s Tower.

It’s really an amazing piece of God’s handiwork.

Motorcycle Trip 2

We left off in Estes Park Colorado, wandering around in the Mountains.

The next phase of our trip was in the Black Hills of South Dakota, but Uncle wanted to make a side trip on the way. Between Colorado and South Dakota we took a side trip to Chimney Rock in Nebraska.

12 HPIM4893Chimney Rock was one of the navigation points along the Oregon trail during the expansion years of the 1800’s. As they were traveling across the plains, they could see Chimney rock for days, making it a good navigation point.

13 20140727_105744The visitor’s center is very interesting with a lot of information on the Oregon trail and the settlers that traveled it.

14 HPIM4926We then continued on to the black hills, ending up in Custer South Dakota, just a few miles from the Crazy Horse monument.

Brother was feeling froggy so after we checked in to the hotel, we took an evening ride of Custer State Park, including a run around the Wildlife Loop.

15 IMG_1241We saw a bit of wildlife including wild burros

16 IMG_1264Antelope

17 20140727_200637And Buffalo who actually got a little close for comfort, but we really didn’t have anywhere to go.

18 IMG_1346They were in a field next to the road, we stopped to take pictures, but they decided they wanted to cross the road and ended up on both sides of us, so we just stayed close to the bikes and watched.