Radio K.A.O.S. by Roger Waters:

It’s been 30 years since Roger Waters released “Radio K.A.O.S.” I saw him perform it live and it was an amazing and emotional experience. It’s a concert I will never forget.
Unlike “The Pros and Cons of Hitch-hiking” and “Amused To Death,” Waters’ other memorable rock operas, to understand “Radio K.A.O.S.” it’s important to read the story behind it.
So here’s the story behind “Radio K.A.O.S,” along with a link to the rock opera on YouTube:

The Story Of Radio K.A.O.S.

“Benny is a Welsh coal miner. He is a radio ham. He is 23 years old, married to Molly. They have a son, young Ben, aged 4, and a new baby. They look after Benny’s twin brother Billy, who is apparently a vegetable. The mine is closed by the market forces. The Male Voice Choir stops singing, the village is dying.

One night Benny takes Billy on a pub crawl. Drunk in a brightly-lit shopping mall, Benny vents his anger on a shop window full of multiple TV images of Margaret Thatcher’s mocking condescension. In defiance, he steals a cordless ‘phone. Later that night, Benny cavorts dangerously on the parapet of a motorway footbridge, in theatrical protest at the tabloid press. That same night, a cab driver is killed by a concrete block dropped off a similar bridge. The police come to question Benny; he hides the cordless ‘phone under the cushion of Billy’s wheelchair.

Billy is different, he can receive radio waves directly without the aid of a tuner; he explores the cordless ‘phone, recognizing its radioness. Benny is sent to prison. Billy feels as if half of him has been cut off. He misses Benny’s nightly conversations with radio hams in foreign parts. Molly, unable to cope, sends Billy to stay with his Great Uncle David, who had emigrated to the USA during the war. Much as Billy likes Uncle David and the sunshine and all the new radio in LA, he cannot adjust to the cultural upheaval and the loss of Benny, who for him is ‘home’.

Uncle David, now an old man, is haunted by having worked on the Manhattan project during World War II, designing the Atom Bomb, and seeks to atone. He also is a radio ham; he often talks to other hams about the Black Hills of his youth, the Male Voice Choir, about home. He is saddened by the use of telecommunication to trivialise important issues, the soap opera of state. However, Live Aid has decynicised him to an extent. Billy listens to David and hears the truth the old man speaks.

Billy experiments with his cordless ‘phone, he learns to make calls. He accesses computers and speech synthesizers, he learns to speak. Billy makes contact with Jim a DJ at Radio KAOS, a renegade rock station fighting a lone rear guard action against format radio. Billy and Jim become radio friends, Reagan and Thatcher bomb Lybia. Billy perceives this as an act of political “entertainment” fireworks to focus attention away from problems at “home”.

Billy has developed his expertise with the cordless ‘phone to the point where he can now control the most powerful computers in the world. He plans an “entertainment” of his own. He simulates nuclear attack everywhere, but de-activates the military capability of “the powers that be” to retaliate. In extremes perceptions change, Panic, comedy, compassion. In a SAC bunker a soldier in a white cravat turns a key to launch the counter attack. Nothing happens; impotently he kicks the console, hurting his foot. He watches the approaching blips on the radar screen. As impact approaches, he thinks of his wife and kids, he puts his fingers in his ears.

Silence. White out. Black out. Lights out. It didn’t happen, we’re still alive. Billy has drained the earth of power to create his illusion. All over the dark side of the earth, candles are lit. In the pub in Billy’s home village in Wales one man starts to sing; the other men join in. The tide is turning.

Billy is home.

What Trump and Co. really want in regards to Immigrants:

Essay by Phillip T. Alden – January 2018.

Donald Trump doesn’t really want to stop illegal immigration. Who do you think washes the dishes and cleans the rooms in his hotels and resorts? There was an employment ad that ran in a Florida newspaper last year. It was for Trump’s Mar A Lago golf resort. But any American citizen applying for the job was automatically turned away. The bogus ad ran only to conform to U.S. employment laws. If you believe that all of Trump’s south-of-the-border employees are here under a guest workers visa I have a bridge I’d like to sell you.

My point is that Trump and his cronies don’t want an end to illegal immigration. They know this country relies on the work of immigrants, especially from Mexico and points south. What they want is more akin to slavery than indentured servitude, the latter being what we have now. Most of us know but don’t like to think about who harvests our food, who works in our slaughterhouses —and more importantly —the conditions they work and live under. Out of sight out of mind. We rationalize that, even though these fellow humans work and live in often dehumanizing conditions, that it’s better than where they came from. And like most rationalizations it is flimsy and often untrue. But it makes us sleep better at night.

When I was a child farmworkers in California were living in terrible conditions and were being abused and ripped-off by the greedy grape and lettuce growers. Until an unassuming farmworker named Cesar Chavez decided he had put up with more than he and his fellow workers could stand. They started a movement and encouraged people to boycott wine, grapes and lettuce. (This was aimed at large wine producers like Gallo, not the boutique wineries we see today.) One of my proudest accomplishments was, as a child, standing outside our neighborhood grocery store with signs that read; “Don’t Buy Grapes” and “Don’t Buy Lettuce.” My parents were highly socially and politically active, and my mother enlisted us as foot soldiers in the fight for farmworker rights. I was in San Jose the night the farmworkers successfully organized as a labor union, (the AFL-CIO,) and I met Cesar Chavez and Delores Huerta. I will never forget it, nor the lessons it taught me; that each one of us can make a difference and that it’s our responsibility to stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves.

We have friends in Mexico. We have traveled there numerous times and will again soon. It is a wonderful country with equally wonderful people, although a great sadness lies over Mexico caused by endless drug wars. Mexicans are some of the hardest-working, open, and welcoming people I have ever known. My home state of California once belonged to Mexico before our ancestors took it away from them and the Native Americans through violence and genocide. Our whitewashed history, (and I specify the word “white”,) doesn’t teach our children the truth about the founding of this country or my home state. I have learned that history is often written by the victors, by people who killed and enslaved others to make their own lives better.

If you wish to put down or insult Mexicans, (or any other group of people,) you’d best not do it around me. The recent actions of ICE and our federal government in regards to the border, as documented by the guardian and the NY Times, makes it clear there’s a war being waged against people who wish to come to this country. My ancestors were part of the original Plymouth colony, and one of them was an active participant in a shameful murder that has been twisted into “the first Thanksgiving” story. The same bullshit story that was fed to me as a child. My ancestors on my mother’s side sailed into Massachusetts Bay in 1786 from Ireland, and they were laborers, soldiers, priests and cops. We are all immigrants, “illegal” or otherwise. Donald Trump and the people in his immediate circle have been in this country for less than 100 years, and we know that some of their ancestors come from highly questionable backgrounds. Their hypocrisy is as telling as it is abhorrent.

Crossing the border from Mexico into the United States, through some of the harshest desert terrain on the continent, is a dangerous and deadly business. ICE and border patrol agents routinely destroy water drops and food supplies left by compassionate Americans, causing untold deaths of men, women and children. If you have ever seen someone die from dehydration and/or freezing to death, and you have an ounce of compassion for your fellow human beings, it would sicken you. But that’s what your tax dollars and mine are paying for. Then there are the Americans who routinely hunt people in the desert with high-powered rifles, committing cold-blooded murders that rarely, if ever, are prosecuted. Coming into this country from Mexico is a horrible and deadly business. These people are just like us, coming to America in the hopes of a better life.

Those who make it are still in danger. They are torn from their families and held in ICE detention centers where medical care is sporadic at best and violent beatings from guards are routine. Even people here legally under our guest workers program often work multiple jobs just so they can live in poverty. Both groups are often victimized by law enforcement and unscrupulous profiteers who prey on immigrants from all over the world who come here, not just those from Mexico. From so-called “payday lenders” to sleazy landlords, new immigrants are treated worse than you or I could ever imagine. Who can they turn to when someone victimizes them? Certainly not the police or the courts. And the vultures who prey upon these poor people know it. They take advantage of it.

Think back to any recent violent terrorist act; Las Vegas, Sandy Hook, Orlando, Salt Lake City. These crimes were not committed by immigrants, illegal or otherwise. They were committed by Americans, mostly white American males. Immigrants are not the true criminals in this country. Immigrants, particularly but not necessarily Mexicans, are law-abiding people who do the jobs that white Americans don’t want to do. Do you think Donald Trump Jr. is going to start picking crops or cleaning hotel rooms? Not bloody likely, even if he hadn’t been born with a silver foot in his mouth.

It’s past time to abandon the “us and them” mentality, from Mexican immigrants to American foreign policy. Hundreds of billions of our tax dollars go to our giant military-industrial complex that causes untold suffering around the world. The valiant young Americans who serve in our armed forces are routinely used in wars of aggression and partisanship. Then, when they emerge scarred and broken from the trauma of war, they are cast aside like unwanted trash. Many of those valiant soldiers are immigrants. Mexicans are not the enemy. The true enemy of the American people are the greedy and hateful people who buy our politicians and use our government to enrich themselves at the expense of others, some of whom are what Bob Dylan called the “Masters Of War.” It’s time to stop blaming our immigrants and innocent people for the darkness in our country and in our world, and it’s time to start holding the Donald Trumps, the Koch brothers, and the Waltons accountable for the terrible crimes against humanity that they commit.

The Arrest of a Teacher:

By Phillip T. Alden
January 9, 2018

Teacher Arrested at School Board Meeting After Questioning Superintendent Contract.

This is how Fascism spreads. How it starts to become “normalized.” To ignore events like these takes us down the path of Germany in the 1930s-40s. These events are not isolated, nor are they diminishing. They are becoming increasingly common. Just like the devaluing of knowledge and fact. This is how a country slides into Fascism.

And we stand by and do nothing. The uber-wealthy openly steal from the rest of us, including our so-called “representatives.” And we do nothing. We place all our hopes in one man to makes things right, but Robert Mueller is not a miracle worker. He is trying to work within a system that is hopelessly poisoned. And we stand by and do nothing. We cower in our relative comfort, (for the moment,) and hope the lions won’t devour us as they pass by this time.

“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out- Because I was not a Socialist..” The words of Martin Niemöller ring hauntingly in the minds of those who remember the last time this happened. Can anyone honestly say that we are not headed down the path that led to the extermination of over six million people? I don’t think that Mr. Niemöller would disagree with me. Only those who are ignorant of history and slow of mind have the foolishness to spout – “it couldn’t happen here!” – “it couldn’t happen again.”

Guess what, my friends. It IS happening here. It IS happening again. The venerable New York Times did not publish the account of a school teacher’s arrest in Louisiana because it’s a slow news day.

How much longer will we have a free press? How much longer will the New York Times be allowed to print such stories?

Dismiss me if you like. Dismiss the manipulation of our voting system by a hostile foreign power with the help of the self-serving sniveling weasels of Silicon Valley. They were arrogant little bastards in the 1970s and they’re arrogant little bastards today. Even Mr. Zuckerberg was forced to admit that his social media platform was used by hostile foreign actors to manipulate the last Presidential election, as were his counterparts at Twitter. This past year the guardian published an article entitled, “Silicon Valley Is Not Your Friend.” It was just one of a series of stories this past year that pointed out, and rightly so, that not all of this technology is benign.

I am not condemning the technology. I am condemning the way we have been using it. The internet is a tool like any other, and the tool is used for business, not for clever cat pictures and food porn. Like Nero, we are fiddling when while Rome burns.

Ignore what I’m saying. Donald Trump only has three more years to rule. What could go wrong? Our system of checks and balances is working so well at the moment. I’m sure if you just keep your head down and continue to do as you’re told the lions will continue to pass you by.

White Fear:

Essay by Phillip Alden
November 2017

I’m currently reading “A Colony In A Nation,” by Chris Hayes. Hayes is a top-notch journalist who as a correspondent for MSNBC has reported on crime and policing in America for over ten years.

Some of the things in the book, particularly about the so-called War On Drugs, are things I already knew and/or read. But the concept of “white fear” that Hayes talks about struck me as something both unfamiliar and familiar at the same time. I may have heard the term mentioned at one time or another, but if I did I don’t remember it.

Reading about Hayes’ personal experience growing up in New York, I knew what he was talking about. Although we grew up in different areas and had different interactions, our experience is the same. Any white person who gives it some thought will likely identify the same experience in their lives. I grew up in Palo Alto, next to Stanford University on the San Francisco Peninsula. It’s a very nice, very white town. On the other side of the freeway is the town of East Palo Alto. When I was growing up East Palo Alto was unincorporated and predominately black. Shortly after its incorporation a guy named Joel Davis I went to high school with, a really good guy, became an East Palo Alto police officer. He was shot to death in the line of duty by a guy he was trying to talk down, a black guy high on crack cocaine. The shooter was just as much a victim as Joel was, but in a much different way. He was a product of poor education, lack of any kind of productive future, hopelessness, despair, and a ready supply of drugs and alcohol.

Am I angry at the guy for killing a guy who was trying to make things better? A guy that I liked? Of course I am. Joel and I weren’t friends, but he was a good person. Does that make the shooter an evil person? In hindsight, no. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t view him that way at the time.

The point is that East Palo Alto, like the Harlem of Chris Hayes’ youth, was a place of despair, crime, humiliation, degradation and hopelessness. I was raised with a healthy constant infusion of white fear. It permeated every aspect of living in Palo Alto. The “liberal progressive” adults around me and my peers cultivated an insidious form of racism and elitism. We ridiculed the “Southern trailer trash” for their outright racism when the fact was we were just better at camouflaging it with intellect. The racism of the South that we decried was just more honest and open than our brand of racism. Palo Alto had, and still has, a high burglary rate. We always blamed it on the people on the other side of the freeway-the black residents of East Palo Alto. I vividly remember one such spate of burgled houses that everyone blamed on the blacks in East Palo Alto. Upon police investigation it was determined that my peers were robbing their own houses, making it look like burglary to buy drugs. Those drugs were often purchased in East Palo Alto. I would occasionally buy dime bags ($10) of low-grade marijuana in EPA when all our white dealers were out of stock. Sometimes we got ripped-off. One time I got punched in the face, and the only thing that kept me from plowing through a group of young black guys was a cooler head that returned my money and told me to just back out the way I’d come in. That guy not only potentially saved the lives of his peers, but also kept me from getting into a world of serious legal trouble.

I was once robbed at gunpoint coming back on my bike from playing racquetball in a court that, geographically was EPA, although the Palo Alto Municipal Golf Course was across the street with the Palo Alto Municipal Airport next door to it. The guys who robbed me and nearly shot me were a white guy and a black guy on a motorcycle. They were probably seeking drug money. I remember the fury I felt after the incident. I wanted to hunt them down and kill them.

Like most of us in the Bay Area I knew about police brutality against black neighborhoods long before Oscar Grant got shot on a BART station platform by a transit cop. Long before the Michael Brown shooting and the police murders caught on smart phones, we knew. We knew that we were living in two separate and very unequal Americas. We white folks knew that our black brothers and sisters were living in a nightmare world not of their own choosing.

How did it start? Without looking back to the Civil War and the Jim Crow laws, it started with the Civil Rights era and Richard Nixon. (Remember him?) Much of it I already knew, but Hayes articulates it so well that I’ll let his words speak;

“..When President Nixon signed the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) in 1970, more than 200 drug laws were brought under one statute. In 1973 Nixon created, through an executive order, the Drug Enforcement Administration to enforce the CSA, which would grow from a budget of $75 million and 1,470 agents to a budget of over $2 billion and 5,000 agents. The Reagan Administration would later launch an expensive and expansive propaganda effort to curtail drug use under the slogan, “Just Say No.” Reagan’s successor, George H.W. Bush, established a White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. The number of people in state and federal prisons serving drug sentences increased nearly 1,270 percent, from 24,000 inmates in 1980 to 304,500 in 2014. Years later Nixon aide John Ehrlichman seemed to offer up a smoking gun when he told a reporter:

“The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that,
had two enemies; the antiwar left and black people. You understand
what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either
against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate
the hippies with marijuana and the blacks with heroin, and then
criminalize both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We
could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their
meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news.
Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did..”

When I first heard about Ehrlichman’s admission I was infuriated. (This was long before I read Mr. Hayes’ book.) Ehrlichman is, (or was,) the last living member of the criminal Nixon Administration, and he and several other members served long prison sentences. But not for escalating the drug war. Until the Trump Administration the Nixon Administration was (arguably) the most corrupt Presidential Administration in history. Watergate was only one of their crimes. To my older brothers and sisters the perpetuation and cancer-like growth of the Vietnam War was the worst of their crimes. Fifty years gives one an incredible amount of hindsight.

But although my peers and I were vehemently opposed to the drug war, we turned a blind eye to its victims. Through apathy, indifference, and white fear, we allowed our local, state, and federal governments to turn American black neighborhoods into war zones. We turned our backs on our black brothers and sisters. Our fellow Americans. We allowed our government to turn black neighborhoods into colonies through our actions and our inactions.

“For evil to flourish, it only requires good men to do nothing.”
(Simon Wiesenthal)

Black lives matter. All lives matter. The essence of man’s inhumanity to man lies in a simple concept; making another human being the Other. Us and Them. As soon as we make someone the Other we can begin to dehumanize them, to make them less than. Hitler did it with the Jews in Germany and Nixon (and the men who followed in his wake) did it to the blacks. In the case of the blacks they’re still doing it. Even after all the press coverage and excellent books like A Colony In A Nation, the oppressive systems remain in place, and a black American is in danger of losing their life every time they are stopped by the police. Imagine the stress of trying to live your life under that constant and very real threat. Black Americans don’t need to imagine it. They live with it every day. When an unarmed man standing on his own property can be hassled, arrested and even killed for doing nothing more than standing there, there is something terribly wrong.

The Department Of Justice (DOJ) report on the “criminal justice system” in Ferguson, a suburb of St. Louis, is damming. The report was the result of an investigation into the police and the court system of Ferguson following the murder of Michael Brown by a white policeman. It found that a system of rigid enforcement and inescapable monitory penalties created a police state that criminalized everyone, even for a parking ticket. But Ferguson is far from alone. Baltimore, Oakland, Houston-pick a city with a large concentrated black population. The police and the courts end up functioning like organized crime, with ever escalating violence and subjugation. This article from the guardian explains how the system works.

We like to shake our fists with righteous indignation when we see these events on the news yet we do nothing to change the system. It doesn’t affect us. It effects them. As long as we continue to view our fellow Americans as the Other we help to perpetuate the very systems we decry. We have the power to end the drug war and to stop the wholesale subjugation of our fellow Americans. To do that we have to discard a belief that is buried in the very marrow of our bones – that there is such a thing as the Other. We have discard the notion of us and them. Then we have to start talking with our black and brown brothers and sisters about how we collectively take action to change things. On a grander but no less important scale we have to discard the notion of the Other in America and around the world. But it starts in our own backyard.

“no one cares about crazy people”

I’m just finishing Ron Powers’ amazing book – “no one cares about crazy people.” I highly recommend it. The statistics alone are an eye-opener, but the book goes much deeper than that.

As a person who suffers from mental illness, (a depression/anxiety disorder,) I have experienced first-hand the stigma attached to mental illness. Many of my relatives and friends also suffer from mental illness, and if you don’t, you likely have a family member or friend who does.

Read “no one cares about crazy people.” Check out the other link I’m posting this morning. Talk about mental illness in any forum you find appropriate. Mental illness costs the U.S. (you and me) nearly $50 billion dollars a year. Much of this is spent on prisons, the place where poor people with mental illness go to get worse and die.

Military veterans, people who serve our country (again you and I) are treated appallingly by all of us. According to Powers’ book; “The suicide rate among Army personnel, on a steady rise since 2000, reached a record in 2012 and exceeded the number of Army deaths in Afghanistan. In 2009, almost 76,000 veterans were homeless for at least a night, and 136,000 spent at least one night in a shelter.”

We can change the way our country treats its mentally ill citizens. More importantly, it’s our responsibility to do so.

Another Important website that Powers recommends is Pete Earley’s website.

Spain and the Italian Coast:


Part two can be found here.

Part one can be found here.

Cagliari is a charming Italian port town, pretty with many beautiful old buildings, as evidenced in the first set of photographs below. I’m sure there are many important and historic aspects of the city and the surrounding area, but for our purposes it seemed mainly as a launching point to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Barumini. Nonetheless, here are some images from the lovely port city:


The following is from Wikipedia:

Su Nuraxi is a nuragic archaeological site in Barumini, Sardinia, Italy. It was included in the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites in 1997 as Su Nuraxi di Barumini.

Su Nuraxi simply means “The Nuraghe” in Campidanese, the southern variant of the Sardinian language.

Su Nuraxi is a settlement consisting of a seventeenth century BCE Nuraghe, a bastion of four corner towers plus a central one, and a village inhabited from the thirteenth to the sixth century BCE, developed around the Nuraghe. They are considered by scholars the most impressive expression of the Nuragic civilization and were included in the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites in 1997.

Barumini World Heritage Site – photo by Phillip Alden, 2016

The oldest part of the Nuraghe consists of a central tower with three superposed chambers (18.6m high). It was built in blocks of basalt between the seventeenth and thirteenth centuries BCE. Later, during the Late Bronze Age, four towers joined by a curtain wall with an upper balcony (no longer extant) were built around the central tower, all communicating with an inner courtyard served by a well. During the Iron Age, the complex was surrounded by a curtain wall with seven lobes (heptalobate)

The real function of the nuraghe is still debated. The discoverer of Su Nuraxi, the archaeologist Giovanni Lilliu, confirmed the traditional interpretation of fortress-site. Other archaeologists believe that the oldest part of the dolmen was destined for a religious purpose, refuge, civil or even parliament or registered the village chief, while the towers were added perhaps intended for military purposes and stock.

The following photographs are from inside the central tower, or “nuraghe.” The pictures above of rings of stone quite clearly reveal themselves as rudimentary live/work spaces. It’s easy to imagine the continuation of the rock walls and stone (or wood) ceilings. Inside the central tower there are two water wells, and spaces that appear designed to hold people and possibly animals. The top of the tower looked like a place where soldiers (villagers) could defend against attackers.

Click here to see the rough images from this post.

A personal update:

October 18, 2017

N.B. This update/essay/journal entry/whatever – was originally posted to my FaceBook group, and is cross-posted here:

I decided to ignore the news for a while, except for fire-related and air quality-related news. This includes my FaceBook feed because folks tend to post news articles, especially articles about Washington and politics, which is exactly the type of news I’m trying to avoid.

It’s not that I don’t care. But after Houston, Florida, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the other Caribbean islands damaged by hurricanes; and after Las Vegas and the Wine Country fires; I’m a little burned out with the news.

So if I miss some important event in your life over the next (?) days/weeks, I apologize in advance. I know that if something truly momentous happens I will hear about it.

I’m going to focus on our home, my local community, my AA program, and my emotional and physical health. That’s quite enough to keep both mind and body occupied.

I’m also going to keep working on my Barcelona & the Italian Coast PhotoPost, my London PhotoPost, and essays for my website. I’ve been much more active there recently and I like it. My website is now more dynamic of late. Last night I just posted part two of Barcelona, and at this rate I’ll catch up to present day, although I still have a lot to finish with just those two, not counting the Redwoods Road Trip I took with my friend, Kevin. I’d like to finish and publish all three before we leave for Mexico in January, and I think I can get it done. (Along with essays I’m currently working on and ones I’ll write down the road. I may not be able to work on my books, but I can still get some writing done.) I also really enjoy making the PhotoPosts, and I hope the two or three of you who actually click on the links when I post them, enjoy the pictures and the narratives.

Part of the reason for making these temporary and ongoing changes is that I haven’t been sleeping very well, due to the poor air quality. My friend, Kevin, reports the same thing for him and his co-workers. Erik has also mentioned poor sleep for the same reason. It’s gotten colder today and it’s supposed to rain a bit tomorrow. The fires are largely contained, but it’s going to take a little while for the air quality to return to its normal state. I can only imagine what life must be like for the poor citizens of Beijing, and other cities around the world where the air quality is unhealthy 24/7/365.

I have learned that poor sleep affects my emotional/mental health, and anything that does that has to be addressed immediately. I cannot afford to take my emotional health lightly, so when things like this happen, I have to take action. That means focusing on positive things, working my spiritual program, and talking with my therapist if I need to. I don’t have the luxury of ignoring that aspect of my health. None of us do, really, but for some of us staying centered is essential for everything else to keep running smoothly.

In addition, the winter holidays loom like an expected but unwanted visitor. Not being a Christian, I don’t give a shit about Christmas from a spiritual angle. As a Taoist, every day is equally important. The main thing I like about Thanksgiving and Christmas is the opportunity to break bread with family and friends. Christmas trees and decorations sometimes remind me of my childhood, as I was raised by Irish Catholic parents, and those memories carry some sweet feelings with them. What I dislike is the materialism and hollow platitudes that drip from the mouths of insincere people. (Thankfully, my family and friends aren’t like that.)

As a man I respect has said; “Life is Gratitude.” Gratitude is a keystone of the spiritual path we share, and it’s a 24/7/365 thing. But the winter holidays are also about gratitude, being thankful for the life we are blessed with. So as they approach, like a runaway freight train, Love and Gratitude will be my focus. (As best I can.)

I hope that those of you who read my posts are well and happy. For the immediate future I will likely be posting links to my website as I publish updates. Of course, I can always be reached my IM, email, and phone. Until I see you again, may the Universe love, protect, and guide us all.

Spain and the Italian Coast:


Part one can be found here.

This part attempts to convey the artistry of the buildings in the city, the public artwork and fountains, and Gaudi’s personal apartments. I also included some panorama shots taken from the roof of our hotel, and a few pictures of the waterfront.

This post contains a fair number of images, (sixty to be exact,) as well as short descriptions of the images along the way. That two picture-heavy parts of this PhotoPost speak to the stunning beauty of Barcelona and the region. There are more UNESCO World Heritage Sites in this region than anywhere else on earth, a fact that helps convey the rich history of this area. It’s an amazing place!

Aside from The Sagrada Familia Cathedral, Antoni Gaudi designed four other buildings in the city of Barcelona. The apartments for himself and his family were designed and constructed by his assistant, Francesc Berenguer. The apartments occupy the top floor and a rooftop garden of an entire building, and some of the apartments are still rented out today. It was raining the day we were there, so the rooftop was closed. We hope to get a look at them if we are ever in Barcelona again.

Now on to the photos!

These next two images are of a public water fountain. Despite its age it still works and you can drink from it or fill your water bottle:

A statue dedicated to the book lovers among us!

These next two images are of an apartment building designed by Antoni Gaudi:

And now we come to the home of Antoni Gaudi and his family. This next image is the facade of the building, which houses the Gaudi Museum as well as the apartments where he lived, and where people still live:

This next image is the inner courtyard:

The following is a scale model of the building:

The next two images are of a hallway that was part of Gaudi’s personal apartments, and now also part of the museum:

The following set of pictures are of the apartments themselves. What may look “primitive” to us was, at the time, the hight of luxury and technical innovation.

A view of the city from the apartments:

And now we leave Gaudi’s apartments and return to the architecture and beauty of the city:

Our hotel was a cylindrical building, and it’s rooftop bar/small swimming pool, afforded amazing 360 degree views:

Barcelona has a vibrant waterfront, including a shopping mall and marina. It’s also where we boarded our ship:

Here is a link to the rough images from this post.

Part three coming soon!