Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Do We Really Need A Federal Department of Education?

I'm not convinced that the Office of Education we had pre-Carter couldn't do everything we need done at the federal level, but without a Cabinet-level department, what would we need such junkets for?
Federal education officials spend more than $1.5 million every year on a gathering of college financial aid administrators held at high-end vacation destinations.

Last year's four-day conference, which opened in late November, was hosted by the U.S. Department of Education at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. The year before that, the event was at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort in Orlando.

The MGM event was the federal government's most expensive conference held at a casino hotel last year, according to the Federal Procurement Data System.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Shoring Up The Base

I'm beginning to believe the reports of terror within the Democratic Party, especially after reading this:
The Democratic Party has added new language endorsing gay marriage in its platform draft, the Washington Blade reports. Sen. Harry Reid said in May that he believed the party would alter its platform in favor of gay marriage, after President Obama spoke out that month in favor of same-sex couples' right to marry.
I don't see that this gets them any more votes than they already had and it could lose them some votes, especially among older "John Kennedy" Democrats.  So why put this in their platform now?  Maybe because they know their prospects truly are so bad that they need to shore up their base.

California Teachers Sure Don't Like NCLB

I laugh, or perhaps sneer at the intellect of the whiner, every time I hear about how the No Child Left Behind Act has ruined education here in California.  The point I usually bring up is, our state testing regime pre-dates, and is more stringent than, NCLB!

Now there's another point to mention.  If that Republican law (written by right-winger Ted Kennedy) is so bad, why has California not asked for any waivers?  I mean, the governor is a Democrat and both houses of the legislature are run by Democrats, which means they're run by the CTA.  Why has California not asked for any waivers from the law's supposedly onerous requirements?  (note that the link is from an organization that describes itself as "progressive")

Is Algebra Necessary?

Every few years, some writer somewhere thinks he (or she) is going to set the world on fire by suggesting that we should stop trying to teach all our students algebra:
A TYPICAL American school day finds some six million high school students and two million college freshmen struggling with algebra. In both high school and college, all too many students are expected to fail. Why do we subject American students to this ordeal? I’ve found myself moving toward the strong view that we shouldn’t. 
I've decided not to get upset by such articles anymore.  I addressed the topic over 6 years ago, and I don't see that my points are any less valid in the face of the above-linked article than they were in 2006, when I said:
A well-rounded, liberally-educated person needs to be able to do more than just write, more than just calculate, more than just know geography. A well-rounded person needs to know all of the above. And can we not accomplish that minimum after 13 years of school...?

Mr. Cohen, in his disgust for an entire academic field, wants to close doors for students before those students even get to those doors. How many times must we hear--by the same people who don't think students should be taught algebra--about how all our low-skill jobs are being sent overseas? Or how many times do those who denigrate algebra refer to it as "college track" or "higher" math, notwithstanding the fact that it's taught to 13-year-olds all over the world? 
Our problem is not that we're trying to teach too much math to our students.

Why I Support The Electoral College

In sum, the nation conducts democratic, popular elections -- but they are conducted at the state level, rather than the national level. Professor Charles R. Kesler of Claremont McKenna College explains: "In truth, the issue is democracy with federalism (the Electoral College) versus democracy without federalism (a national popular vote). Either is democratic. Only the Electoral College preserves federalism, moderates ideological differences, and promotes national consensus in our choice of a chief executive."  link
There are many other well-thought-out points in the linked commentary.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

No, This Is Not Las Vegas

This is the real thing, not the Venetian :-)

But as in Las Vegas, in the real Venice only tourists ride in the gondolas.

The Cost of Higher Education

I've mentioned a zillion times that I'm starting a master's program in a couple of weeks.  Tuition for the two courses I'm taking was over $3700, and two used textbooks were an additional $250, bringing the semester total up to $4000.

My program will take 5 semesters, and I'm sure tuition will be going up each time.  And this for a program delivered mostly online.


When Will This End?

A couple months ago I posted about a teacher at my school who, after hearing about forthcoming furlough days and dire budget cuts, cried out in exasperation, "When will this end?"  This teacher is a flaming lib, and in my mind I replied to her that it will end when she stops voting for Democrats for every single statewide office and for the legislature.  One-party rule never works, even when it's your party that rules.

The dominoes are falling in California.  First Vallejo filed for bankruptcy.  Then Stockton, Mammoth Lakes, San Bernardino, and coming soon, potentially Compton and Fresno.

These cities, like the state itself, spent lavishly when times were good, making no provisions whatsoever for the "back side of the hill", which inevitably comes.  Who, in Democratically-controlled California, could possibly say no to a public employee union, especially when the coffers are flush?

So when will this end?  When we elect adults to office, people who have at least vestiges of a backbone and can exercise at least a modicum of fiscal reason. 

Usually I Don't Feel Old, But...

My son turned 16 a couple weeks ago, but that didn't make me feel old.  You know what makes me feel old?  Finding out on Facebook that Wil "Wesley Crusher" Wheaton just turned forty.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Teacher Education Without Certification

In any number of areas, Hillsdale College is a place with its head screwed on straight--and teacher education is no exception:
In 2007, Michigan’s Department of Education changed its policy to require national accreditation for all teacher certification programs in the state. Hillsdale’s program had been certified by the state for decades, but administrators concluded that it would be wasteful to dedicate precious resources to an accreditation process that lacked both value and credibility.

Instead of closing the school’s Education Department, Hillsdale’s administration recognized that teacher certification is not the same as teacher education. The college could still produce smart, dedicated teachers for America’s classrooms, even if the students wouldn’t have an immediate path to certification. Hillsdale decided to continue its program and invite schools unrestricted by the burden of certification requirements to hire its graduates.

The professors in the Education Department embraced this new freedom and began to think about what teacher education could be without the ideological straightjacket (i.e., “standards”) from the state. We began our revision by identifying what kind of preparation was truly important for future teachers. 
Read the full article for yourself, but it sounds to me like they're on the right path.

Race-based School Discipline

This, ladies and gentlemen, is what we get from a so-called post-racial president--the same old race-based crap we always get from the left:
President Barack Obama is backing a controversial campaign by progressives to regulate schools’ disciplinary actions so that members of major racial and ethnic groups are penalized at equal rates, regardless of individuals’ behavior.

His July 26 executive order established a government panel to promote “a positive school climate that does not rely on methods that result in disparate use of disciplinary tools.”
I guess I need to point out yet again that it's culture that causes these problems, not racism.

Update:  But wait, the president has more:
Locked in a tough re-election battle with Mitt Romney, President Barack Obama aimed to energize his core supporters – African American voters – by delivering a rousing speech and unveiling a new executive order at the Urban League’s annual convention in New Orleans Wednesday night...

An administration official tells NBC News the order will create a new White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African-Americans that will “work across Federal agencies and with partners and communities nationwide to produce a more effective continuum of education programs for African American students.”

The official added that the initiative would be housed in the Education Department, which will work with the Executive Office and other Cabinet agencies to identify practices that will improve African Americans’ achievement in schools and colleges. The administration official did not yet know how much funding the program would receive but said more information would be released Thursday when the president signs the executive order...

When asked if this latest executive order is timed to mobilize African American voters ahead of the election, one White House official said it is “one more step along a path that the president has been walking.” The official cited the fact that the president enacted the Race to the Top initiative and new flexibility on No Child Left Behind, actions aimed at improving educational opportunities for all students including minorities, according to the Official.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Sad Face

I received the dreaded letter today--the one from the principal telling us when to report back to work.  I have less than 3 weeks of vacation left :(  On the other hand, we'll finish the first semester before Christmas break, 2 weeks earlier than usual, so that's a bonus.

We also have two furlough days built into the schedule, one a 4-day weekend and since the other's in June I haven't looked.  If the tax increases don't pass on November's ballot, education funding will be cut such that up to 11 more furlough days can be added some time throughout the year.  It's my hope that they'll just lop off those days at the end of the year and not try to intersperse them--interspersing them would *totally* mess up my lesson plans!

Less than 3 weeks left.  I need to go camping one more time.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Chick-fil-A Thing

Sarah pretty much sums it up for me:
As I tell my teen and early twenties sons, you act like two year olds, you get treated like two year olds – I have TONS of friends who don’t agree with me on gay marriage.  I have tons of friends who don’t agree with me on much of anything.  Hell, I have friends who are communist.  I think they need to learn history, but that doesn’t mean I think they’re bad people AS PEOPLE.

On gay marriage, some of my more violently opposed friends ARE gay.  Some oppose it because they think it will up the ante on getting in other people’s face in a vain attempt at getting the approval mommy and daddy denied.  Some oppose it because they think it will destroy the bohemian aspects of gay life.  And some oppose it because given our common law marriage laws and alimony suits, no gay guy will ever feel comfortable letting an unemployed friend crash on his sofa for a few months.

And yeah, I have a bunch of friends who oppose gay marriage for religious reasons.  It is not my business to get between my friends and their G-d and tell them what they can and can’t believe.  As PEOPLE they’re not bad, and they wouldn’t mistreat a gay person for being gay.  (THOSE people are bad as people.)

I even have friends who believe in gay conversion therapy.  Look – I have friends who believe in crystals, auras and that they’re aliens in human bodies too.  Other than the fact that these quirks have enormous entertainment value (sue me, I’m a writer) they are otherwise sensible people, if you ignore the blind spot.

Do I picket their houses?  Write endlessly about how evil they are?  Tell them they’re not allowed to believe what they do?  WHY?  WHY IN HELL WOULD I?  WHAT WOULD IT GET ME?

So, yeah, you knew it was coming, guys, what the hell is this thing with Chick-a-fil-a?  No, seriously.  Have you gone off your collective minds?
At least Boston's mayor is coming to his senses, if ever so little:
Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino repeated today that he doesn’t want Chick-fil-A in Boston, but he backed away from a threat to actively block the fast-food chain from setting up shop in the city.

“I can’t do that. That would be interference to his rights to go there,” Menino said, referring to company president Dan Cathy, who drew the mayor’s wrath by going public with his views against same-sex marriage.

The mayor added: “I make mistakes all the time. That’s a Menino-ism.”

The Herald first reported last week that Menino warned “it will be very difficult” for Chick-fil-A to obtain licenses for a restaurant in Boston.
That the threat was made in the first place, though, and that so many people applauded it, gives me great pause.

Update:  Clarity from Instapundit:
More thoughts over at Gay Patriot, plus a recognition that Republican politicians didn’t try to keep gay-friendly enterprises Disney and Home Depot out of their jurisdictions. No, but Republican politics isn’t based around always having someone to hate. For the left, it’s always Sarah Palin, the Tea Party, the Kochs. It doesn’t matter who the bogeyman is, but it’s essential that there be a bogeyman in order to ensure solidarity.
Update #2, 8/1/12:
TODAY’S UNBIASED JOURNALISM. Meanwhile, some firsthand reporting by nonjournalists here. And I should note that when I passed the Chick-Fil-A near my house, the line wound out onto Kingston Pike and took up a hundred yards or so of street, after 8 p.m.

I don’t think this can be interpreted as opposition to gay marriage, so much as a response to bullying. But I do think that the bullying has probably tainted the gay-marriage brand, which is too bad. The gay-marriage argument is already winning — there’s no need to engage in Rahm Emanuel-style attacks, and doing so merely invites pushback. And, frankly, I’m happy to live in a country where people’s response to bullying is to push back.  link
Hear hear.

Random Trip Picture

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Taxpayers Lose $35 billion on GM

General Motors stock isn't doing so well:
General Motors (GM) shares closed down 1.5% to 19.02 on Monday, hitting 18.85 intraday. That's the lowest since the U.S. auto giant came public again in November 2010 at 33 a share. Update: GM shares early Tuesday fell 1.4% to 18.76, hitting a new low.)

That raises the taxpayer loss on the GM bailout to just shy of $35 billion. Here's the math:

GM doesn't have to pay back anything else, but taxpayers are still out $26.4 billion in direct aid. The Treasury still owns 26.5% of GM — 500 million shares. The stock would have to rise to about 53 to break-even on that direct aid. At the current price, the Treasury's stake is worth just $9.51 billion. (Taxpayers lose $5 million for each penny that GM stock falls).
Heckuva job.

Do we really want government picking winners and losers in the market, a la Solyndra?  What evidence is there that government is any good at this?

Update, 8/13/12:  How much are we taxpayers losing on the auto bailouts?  This much:
The Treasury Department says in a new report the government expects to lose more than $25 billion on the $85 billion auto bailout. That's 15 percent higher than its previous forecast.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

But, But, But, We CARE About Students!

We don't care for them if they don't pay union dues, do we?
California's ongoing state budget crisis has claimed another victim: student state workers. In a few weeks the state will ax hundreds of their jobs – just as the school year gets under way.

Meanwhile, the state's university systems have hiked tuition and will probably do it again if voters reject Gov. Jerry Brown's tax proposal on November's ballot.

And with job prospects for young adults more scarce than for other age groups, students such as Sacramento State junior Amber Amey aren't sure what they'll do.

"I don't really have a plan yet, because we were just informed about this," Amey said last week during a break from her job in California State Teachers' Retirement System's call center. "It stinks."

Amey's post and those of about 1,600 state student assistants will soon be the collateral damage of a labor deal struck last month to help close a $15.7 billion budget deficit.

Brown and the state's largest public employees union, Service Employees International Union Local 1000, agreed the 95,000 state workers it represents would take 12 unpaid days off through next June 30 in exchange for, among other things, purging the state payroll of student assistants as of Sept. 1.

Student assistants generally work part-time schedules, make less than permanent workers and get no benefits. They perform a range of duties, from answering phones to gathering scientific samples in the field.

The state paid them a total of $13.4 million last year, or about 9 cents of every $1,000 spent on employee wages, according to a Bee review of payroll data from the state controller's office. Their average annual pay: $8,500.

Still, state student-assistant jobs are an easy target in tight budget times. They're not covered by union agreements, receive no benefits and have no protections.
I'm not saying these kids' jobs shouldn't be axed. I just want you to remember this story the next time the lefties talk about how important higher education is, and how important it is to create jobs, especially government jobs, so people can afford higher education, or speak in similar platitudes.

Fist-Icon-Sporting Lefties

Do you ever see conservatives marching with signs with fists on them?  No?  Me either, but I do see that icon on leftie signs (even have one linked on this blog, but I won't link to it right now because I know the fellow who was sporting it).  So when I read the following, it definitely struck a cord with me--and of course, I like the main point of this article :-)

Wisconsin State Senate Majority is...

Democratic no more.

16-16-1 now, thanks to Senator Jim Cullen bailing out of the Democratic party.

Democrat John Lehman just barely defeated Republican Van Wanggaard in the June Mega-Recall, with results certified earlier this month and flipping control of the state senate to the Democrats.

After months of screaming, millions blown on recalls up and down the state, and boasting and yelling by every fist-icon-sporting lefty out there, the Democratic victory that was recalling Walker barely flipping the senate (when it isn't in session again until after the November elections which are likely to restore at least two seats to the Republicans) hit an iceberg today.

When the party regained control, Cullen, who had fled with the rest of the Democrats but was willing to work with Walker on reforms after returning to the state, was denied chairman status on any committee. He felt insulted, has walked, and the three-week-long Democratic majority is over.
So what did all that crying by the lefties and unions accomplish? Exactly nothing. Even worse (for them), they drew attention to the fact that the new collective bargaining laws are actually helping school districts save money--which also saves teacher jobs!

So, tell me again, why exactly should I be happy to be compelled to give money to a union?

Update, 7/31/12:  Cullen is back in the fold with his own version of the Cornhusker Kickback.

Grand Canal Ride

In Venice, there are only two ways to get around--by foot, or by boat.  No bikes, no skateboards, no scooters, no cars, nothing else.

They have a well-developed vaporetto (water bus) system, complete with identified stops, routes, and schedules.  The yellow and white docks you'll see in the video are the vaporetto stops. 

I got on vaporetto route 2 at St. Mark's Square, sat in the front seat, and turned on the video camera, turning it off when we got to the other end of the Grand Canal at the Piazzale Roma.  The video I've loaded here shows that entire ride at 5 times normal speed, so you don't have to sit through the entire 30 minutes....

Update:  For those of you who prefer YouTube over Vimeo, I've uploaded it there, too.  Actually, I think it looks somewhat clearer on YouTube.


click to enlarge




Ostia Antica

Media Bias

Say it isn't so!

Go read the list, and then argue (if you can) with the conclusion:
Is it just me, or is it odd that the media's go-to suspect in these things is always, always on the conservative side of the political spectrum. It's almost like they have an agenda or something.

Monday, July 23, 2012


click to enlarge
On the balcony of St. Mark's Basilica, Venice

On the Grand Canal

In the Capitoline Museum, Rome

a close-up

At the Baths of Caracalla

This establishment in Ostia Antica sold ivory


This shop sold fish

This shop sold grain, or was perhaps a bakery

Not just sidewalks, but even the floors were decorated

Sunday, July 22, 2012

CTA Protects Teacher-Perverts

If you're surprised, raise your hand.  Not seeing any hands, let's quote from the story:
State Sen. Alex Padilla of Los Angeles had every reason to hope that the 11 members of the obscure but powerful state Assembly Education Committee in Sacramento would back his new legislation, Senate Bill 1530, designed to let public schools more easily fire teachers who commit sexual, physically abusive or drug-related acts with their students...

But in late June, Democratic legislators from six Southern and Northern California communities killed Padilla's bill. Two Democrats voted no on SB 1530 — Tom Ammiano of San Francisco and Joan Buchanan of Alamo. And four Democrats, including Betsy Butler of Los Angeles and Mike Eng of Monterey Park, refused to vote at all, knowing their abstentions would assure that SB 1530 failed by a single vote — and that their non-votes would go largely under the radar. (The other two abstaining Democrats were Wilmer Amina Carter of Rialto and Das Williams of Santa Barbara)...

Education reformers say that Butler, Eng and the other abstainers were motivated by their fear of the California Teachers Association, an extremely wealthy, aggressive union that has launched — and ruined — numerous Democrats' careers in California.

CTA president Dean Vogel insisted to L.A. Weekly that SB 1530 wasn't about keeping children safe but was merely a "highly charged political reaction" to the Berndt scandal — and nothing less than a "recipe for disaster" for the due-process rights of teachers.

"The bill changed the way we go about teacher dismissal, and it takes away an independent panel," Vogel insists, referring to the controversial Commission on Professional Competence. He repeated CTA's decades-long view that existing law is sufficient to remove a sexually or physically abusive teacher.

Echoing Vogel, Butler said Padilla's bill made the teacher-firing process "more political" and "jeopardized due process."

But ex-state Sen. Gloria Romero, a Democrat who was the Legislature's expert on education during her years in Sacramento and now is state director of Democrats for Education Reform in California, says the Berndt scandal "should have been the final wake-up call" for Democratic legislators to support Padilla's bill, which she describes as "very moderate."

Explains Romero, "It was a narrowly crafted bill. There's always a concern about due process, but those things could have been worked out."
Sick and disgusting--brought to you by the special interest that holds the California legislature in its fist.

CTA always likes to say that "children are our special interest"--which I've always thought was wrong on several levels, but it's what they say.  So I ask you CTA u-bots out there:  how are children served by killing this bill?  I await your pretzel-twisting.

Get Rid of Summer Vacation?

I agree with this author:
Did anybody else read this anti-summer break piece by Peter Orszag and feel the urge to give the author a tremendous wedgie...

Recall that Orszag was director of President Obama’s Office of Management and Budget who touted the long-term effects of the government taking control of even more of America’s healthcare system. He argued that Obamacare could “bend the cost curve” of health care down...

The problem with American healthcare, from my point of view, was not a lack of government meddling but a surplus of it. About half of all funds spent on healthcare in this country come from federal, state and local governments and those funds come with some pretty crazy strings attached.

U.S. governments arguably underpay for medical services and so those people with private and employer provided insurance have to make up the difference through increased premiums and fees and — let’s not forget — lower wages...

Orszag took in this true cornucopia of problems and said, You know, the real issue is that there is not enough government control. All of the parties should be forced to behave in certain ways and voila! the costs will come down.

So now Orszag turns to K-12 education, a field much more thoroughly dominated by government than even healthcare. He finds that the kids are getting “dumber and fatter during the vacation.” Though he says he has no intention to “declare war on summer,” he really would like to extend the school year and all but eliminate summer breaks.

Let’s grant that there is some evidence of summer slippage. But to look at the vast wasteland that is American public education — the poor teaching, the awful curriculum, the low standards, the anemic achievement, the institutional resistance to needed reform — and say that the real problem is summer vacation takes a special sort of mind.
Yeah, what he said. Those who look for a silver bullet are like the blind man looking for a black cat in a dark alley.

Gen X "Unconcerned" About Climate Change

The author of this article seems so disappointed that this would be so:
As the nation suffers through a summer of record-shattering heat, a University of Michigan report finds that Generation X is lukewarm about climate change—uninformed about the causes and unconcerned about the potential dangers.
Is the author perhaps implying that weather=climate?  The zealots always argue against that belief in the cold, snowy winters, but let's continue:
"Most Generation Xers are surprisingly disengaged, dismissive or doubtful about whether global climate change is happening and they don't spend much time worrying about it," said Jon D. Miller, author of "The Generation X Report."

The new report, the fourth in a continuing series, compares Gen X attitudes about climate change in 2009 and 2011, and describes the levels of concern Gen Xers have about different aspects of climate change, as well as their sources of information on the subject.

"We found a small but statistically significant decline between 2009 and 2011 in the level of attention and concern Generation X adults expressed about climate change," Miller said. "In 2009, about 22 percent said they followed the issue of climate change very or moderately closely. In 2011, only 16 percent said they did so."

Miller directs the Longitudinal Study of American Youth at the U-M Institute for Social Research. The study, funded by the National Science Foundation since 1986, now includes responses from approximately 4,000 Gen Xers—those born between 1961 and 1981, and now between 32 and 52 years of age.

Only about 5 percent of those surveyed in 2011 were alarmed about climate change, and another 18 percent said they were concerned about it. But 66 percent said they aren't sure that global warming is happening, and about 10 percent said they don't believe global warming is actually happening.

"This is an interesting and unexpected profile," Miller said. "Few issues engage a solid majority of adults in our busy and pluralistic society, but the climate issue appears to attract fewer committed activists—on either side—than I would have expected."
Maybe it's because people like you, Mr. Author, have lied about, exaggerated about, and politicized this issue so much that people can't take you seriously anymore.  Just a thought.

Finding a Husband at College

I've been focusing on travel-related posts for quite some time now, but when I saw this article on how to snag a husband at college I just had to comment:

On your first date, STAY CLASSY. A man won’t get down on one knee for a woman who is overly willing to get down on both of hers.

I think the "a man won't buy the milk if the cow is giving it away" canard to be *way* overhyped, but that's just my opinion.  I don't think women understand how much guys think about things besides sex when choosing a mate, and that ignorance is part of the problem.

And that goes whether this article was meant to be serious, humorous, or something else entirely.

A Letter from Titus to the Jews

Dear Jews:

It's not enough that we sacked your city.  It's not enough that we destroyed your temple.  It's not enough that we carted off your riches to Rome as spoils.  It's not enough that we brought thousands of you back to Rome as slaves.  It's not enough that we built a triumphal arch celebrating all this.

No, it's enough that we had you Jewish slaves build the triumphal arch that celebrates the fact that we sacked your city, destroyed your temple, carted off your riches to Rome as spoils, and brought thousands of you back to Rome as slaves.

Love, Titus

Those Romans really knew how to rub salt into wounds.  Today it's traditional that Jews refuse to walk under the Arch of Titus in the Forum, of which this picture shows a small part:
click to enlarge

A Day at the Capitoline Museum

There was a special exhibit at the Capitoline the day we went--documents from the Vatican Secret Archives.  So in addition to seeing the statue of Venus, and the remains of the statue of Constantine, and the equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius, and the bronze of the she-wolf nursing Romulus and Remus, and Dying Gaul, and Boy Removing A Thorn, I saw the following documents from the Vatican in the Lux in Arcana exhibit:
  • the order for Galileo's interrogation
  • Edict of Worms by Charles V, banning Luther
  • a letter written and signed by Michelangelo
  • letters to the pope from both Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis
  • Alexander VI's Inter Cetera bull concerning the New World
  • request from Parliament to Clement VII to annul Henry VIII's marriage to Catherine of Aragon, 1530
  • Concordat of Worms, 1122
  • Napoleon's signature on a concordat recognizing Catholic freedom of worship
  • a note from Marie Antoinette
  • Leo X's bull excommunicating Luther
  • letter to the pope written and signed by Voltaire
  • letter from Erasmus
  • John XXII's bull recognizing Cambridge University, 1318
  • the 1582 Lunario Novo eliminating October 5-14 from the calendar to create the Gregorian calendar (printed copy)


As usual, click to enlarge:

A public phone in Venice

Tourists and pigeons in St. Mark's Square


The pool deck of Norwegian Jade

Public phone in Athens

Scooters in Rome

"Seafood" on my pizza

The flags of Rome, Italy, and the European Union

A small dome in St. Peter's Basilica

Swiss Guard at the Vatican

Wisteria on the Palatine Hill

Subway in Rome

Old blends with new at the Theater of Marcellus