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July 01, 2006

Kentucky ramblings

With the conference over yesterday, I travelled south from Cincinnati to the Richmond home of some very good friends and am now sat in their porch enjoying the greenery, the birdsong and the gentle breeze making the warmth of the day pleasant. I had hoped to have a chance to see more of Cincinnati, but the location of the conference hotel and the schedule meant we were not able to get out much at all! And, when we could, it was too far from the bits I would have liked to see anyway!

I had hoped to catch a meeting with a couple of fellow bloggers, Laughing Wolf being one, but again, the conference schedule and the distance between Cincinnati and the Wolf's Lair, made that a non-starter, especially as I had missed a communication about going to Richmond post conference. My apologies to Laughing Wolf for the confusion I caused in having missed everything. I did at least manage to keep a date with the family of a placement student who came to stay with me in May 2004. This young man was a delight to be able to provide the opportunity for and now that I have met his family I can say that he is a credit to them and a product of their support and encouragement. It made me wish that I could do this for more young men of his calibre as I am sure there are many more out there, it was just my good fortune to have met Miles. Now he is working hard to break into the career path he would like to follow and I am sure he will succeed.

I like the US and I have always had a great respect for their belief in themselves. It is my experience that they are friendly, will go out of their way to help a stranger and are generous to a fault. Yes, there are problems with the worldview one sometimes encounters and I know that many outside the US worry about the fuel and oil consumption ascribed to a "wastefull" or "greedy" populace, but we forget that a century ago these worldviews were being expressed with a great deal less consideration by a number of European "Empires" - whose legacy has driven much of 20th Century history. On the whole the majority of Americans I have had the pleasure of meeting are sensible people, defensive of their national position and very conscious of the issues everyone faces such as global warming, wealth creation/distribution and a peaceful world society that is free and fair to all. That they do not subscribe to "quick fix" solutions like the scientifically deficient Kyoto Treaty says a great deal about their genuine desire to find real solutions to some of these issues rather than political posturing.

Yes, I can be accused of being an apologist for the US and I do have reservations about some of the things I see here - but I have similar reservations about Blair's Britain, or the Bureaucrats vision of a United States of Europe. Let's face facts, most of the critics of the US have never been here, and have not studied at first hand the problems this country faces in its own right. Their opinions are informed by the biased reporting of the Sun, Mirror and Guardian and reflect the bias of the reporters. Much of European thought on the US and its worldview is, in my opinion also a reflection of the biased vision of the "Internationalist" view of European Liberal Socialisim which detests the fact that the majority of the American population will never subscribe to their view that they and they alone are capable of providing a "free and fair" world society. Long may it continue so!

Yes, I like the US, and yes, I like a lot of what they stand for. Most particularly I like their attitude of self help and self advancement. A quality lacking in far too many populations today. That said, I note with interest that their bureaucrats are as bad as ours in dreaming up unnecessary and complex forms and procedures to hinder everything and everyone. Airport security is so complex now I wonder anyone actually gets through it and I really do wonder at the insistence that baggage - all baggage - must be collected, then is removed to be x-rayed again at the US destination and collected again after clearing customs. At what point was I supposed to have accessed it to put in some weapon of mass destruction during the flight? Or is it just a case of they don't trust the bureaucrats at the departures end to have done it properly? Whatever, its still a nice country!

I will be winging my way home again onm Saturday and hope to have some pictures to share then!

Posted by The Gray Monk at July 1, 2006 01:45 PM

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Gorse Fox has been looking after Tewkesbury this week, in your absence. He concurs with you view of America and the Americans as a whole... no need to be an apologist. GF sees them very much like the Aussies & Kiwis... a "young" nation, full of optimism, drive, and belief. That's what galls many of the "old nations", who are cynical, out of ideas, and in state of social and intellectual decay.

Posted by: Gorse Fox at July 1, 2006 07:30 AM

I found your pics what you have from the German frigate "Bremen" in helsinki.I was this time on this ship and i can tell you,220men fit in that ship ;) If you want informations or more pics,send a mail to me!

Posted by: Schulte Andreas at May 1, 2007 07:14 PM