Soldiers: Swedes, Brits, Americans, Afghans.

As a Mother of 3 sons I can understand the behavior in these videos. I just wonder whether all these soldiers returned home without suffering major harm. They all made me laugh and enjoy their theatrics. But, because of it, I remember their faces and keep wondering what happened to all of them.

The Swedes

The Brits

The Americans

The Afghans

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Karl Jenkins’ Cantilena.

Thanks to Joseph Susanka, who writes some of the best movie reviews, I discovered the Welsh composer Karl Jenkins.  I find some of his compositions lovely and soothing.

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Afghan women: “Do not forget us.”

Melissa Charbonneau reports in the Bush Center’s blog that there is a group of Afghan entrepreneurs visiting the United States.  It is encouraging to read about what these ladies are doing in Afghanistan.  See the excerpt below.

“I think about you often, and will never forget you,” Mrs. Bush told the group.  “I will always be interested in your progress.”
“I think about you often, and will never forget you,” Mrs. Bush told the group.  “I will always be interested in your progress.”

As Afghanistan prepares for this week’s historic presidential elections that could shape the future of women’s rights nationwide, a delegation of Afghan entrepreneurs is touring the the United States to advance economic empowerment for women in the workplace.

“I want the women of my country not to lose their hope, and to be brave and strong,” says Paimana Hamid, a delegate from Herat in western Afghanistan.  “We hope the international community does not leave the women of Afghanistan alone. We received lots of assistance over the past decade, and we need more help and support in the future. Do not forget us.”

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Thailand – a little bit of Paradise.

Android 196Leaving Kabul, I was able to visit a most beautiful spot in the world… Tup Kaek, Thailand, not too far from Phuket, the scene of the awful tsunami that hit Thailand 10 years ago…which was the worst natural disaster ever to hit Thailand.

From my perspective, I was in Prague in 2004, and fascinated with a morbid curiosity of what happened in a blink of an eye. But, the whole drama came close to me, because one of my children’s teachers was caught in the middle of things and clung to a tree for 8 hours.

If someone had said to me then, 10 years ago, that I would have had the chance to spend 3 days at the beach near Phuket, in Thailand, with my family,I would have laughed in disbelief!

The water is crystal clear. Amazingly (because I like warm water), I was trying to kick the cooler water up… I found the Andaman Sea to be a bit too hot!!! It is incredibly buoyant. It has a lot more salt than the Atlantic Ocean! (I need to find out more about this.) I tried to do breast stroke and crawl (free style), but I just could not!  So, I merely floated…

The scenery (limestone protrusions coming out of the sea) is spectacularly beautiful. The invisible crabs create little mounds by the millions… The sand is yellow. The palm trees are beautiful. The water is crystal clear (though a bit too warm even for me!). A little bit of Paradise, in a far away land. I thank God that I was given this chance to spend it with my family.
Android 182

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Meet Thailand’s Sand Bubbler Crab.

The first thing I found amazing visiting Tup Kaek, Thailand, was the majesty of the beautiful beaches and the protrusions emerging from the Andaman Sea.  The second thing I marveled at was the beautiful symmetrical sculptures done by a little -almost invisible- sea creature, the Sand Bubbler Crab, that, relentlessly, digs holes and molds little balls in perfect fashion.  I had no idea that these mini-crabs were called Sand Bubblers.  I just took the following pictures and video because I was enthralled by them.  I just wish I had their knack - when it comes to knitting and crocheting-  to produce even knots and stitches like they do with their little balls.

Tup Kaek (Thailand) and its sand bubbler crab creations

Tup Kaek (Thailand) and its sand bubbler crab creations

Humble, but mighty: The tiny crabs use their claws to dig into the beach, sift through the sand and toss the balls behind them

Sand Blubber Crab balls up close (Tup Kaek, Thailand).

Sand Blubber Crab balls up close (Tup Kaek, Thailand).

The little Sand Blubber Crab has found a bee or a wasp that is almost as big as he/she(?) is.  Note how quickly this almost invisible crab runs...and how another little one tries to intimidate him (or her?).

The little Sand Blubber Crab has found a bee or a wasp that is almost as big as he/she(?) is. Note how quickly this almost invisible crab runs…and how another little one tries to intimidate him (or her?).

Sand Bubbler Crabs' sculptures up-close. (Tup Kaek beach, Thailand).

Sand Bubbler Crabs’ sculptures up-close. (Tup Kaek beach, Thailand).

Sand Bubbler Crabs' mini-kingdoms as seen during low tide in Tup Kaek, Thailand.

Sand Bubbler Crabs’ mini-kingdoms as seen during low tide in Tup Kaek, Thailand.

Watch these little critters produce these perfect little spheres….

Here is an Australian perspective of these little tenacious crabs:

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After Kabul, some Thai relaxation.

Barbara Dillon Hillas's photo.

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Food shopping in Bangkok.

The savory…
Barbara Dillon Hillas's photo.
…the sweet, and, the unknown.
Barbara Dillon Hillas's photo.Barbara Dillon Hillas's photo.

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Patagonia, Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid.

Next place to visit: their old chalet!
Photo: Next place to visit:  their old chalet. http://theappendix.net/blog/2014/4/spelunking-the-murk-of-outlaw-history

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Free courses from major US Universities on line.

Here is a great resource:  875 free courses on line:

…you can also find sections covering Astronomy, Biology, Business, Chemistry, Economics, Engineering, Literature, Math, Political Science, Psychology and Religion. If you want to ballpark it, there are about 27,000 hours of free audio & video lectures here. And if you spend 8 hours per day enriching yourself, you can keep yourself busy for the next 10 years. At no cost.

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The Photographer: Into war-torn Afghanistan with Doctors Without Borders

Here is a fascinating comic book on Afghanistan that intersperses photographs of yore with the comic strips and the narrative. From Scans Daily: comic strip

Our narrator: Didier Lefèvre, a French photojournalist who goes to Afghanistan in the summer of 1986. He’s there to document a Médecins Sans Frontières (aka Doctors Without Borders, MSF for short) expedition as they travel into the country, giving aid to those affected by the war.

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Afghanistan: Save the Old City of Kabul from destruction and remind a nation of its former glory.

Restoration in Afghanistan:  The National Geographic has a fascinating article about an eccentric Scot, Rory Stewart, and his work to restore an old neighborhood in Kabul.  I no longer am surprised that, despite all the Google searches and exhaustive research, I always discover something new about Afghanistan.  I found the article and the man’s efforts intriguing.

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Of lawyers…

Returning to the mocking of lawyers… these 2 cartoons represent why lawyers are made fun of… Methinks sometimes the problem is not with the lawyers, but with ourselves! I know non-lawyers who obsess about billable time!!! Cats, lawyers, and billable timeFrom the mouth of babes...

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And the joke was on whom?

Who knows what the lyrics truly meant… All I know is that an old friend of mine loved this song, just as I did, when we were young and carefree and didn’t really truly focus on what the words meant. I -at least- did focus on the hair…the hair!!! the horror of the fashion!!!! But life is short, and my friend died a very early death. We were young then, and we were supposed to live forever… but we did not.  And I have never been able to listen to this song the same way again. I no longer care about the hair!!!!

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Rule of Law and the UN

There is an interesting article re Rule of Law (ROL) and how the UN sees its role. It is encouraging that we (the US) are already doing it in Afghanistan.

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The mocking of lawyers.

It is a sad state of affairs when lawyers are more mocked than admired for their work, by many who want to highlight the rule of law as something worth pursuing, but -somehow- have a hard time seeing lawyers in that rule of law concoction.

Sometimes I think we deserve the mocking, when you see stereotypical caricatures of lawyers as portrayed in Breaking Bad. 

On the other hand, the most influential moral individuals who made indelible marks in this world have been lawyers… So, when I feel demoralized that colleagues look down on me and my profession, I take solace in knowing that there was one Abraham Lincoln, one Thomas More, and one Daniel Webster… and what did they all have in common?  They were all lawyers.

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