Tag: Travel

Welcome to the Harvard Lunch Club Political Podcast for February 7, 2017 it’s the Belichick, Brady and Trump edition of the podcast. We are brought to you this week by our newest sponsor (we are excited) The Great Courses Plus. They have over 8,000 video lectures on a wide assortment of topics. Learn something new today! And we are brought to you by ZipRecruiter.com. Find the right candidates for the jobs you have to offer, fast!

Well, sorry to the rest of the country, but up here in Boston there is one thing on our minds. The Pats have won again! The Duck Boats will soon be rolling! It’s a victory so exciting that we can’t remember when we have…er,…felt this good…before??? Ooohhhh yeah! Last November it was! Did you watch the game? Any Patriots haters out there?

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Does anyone have any suggestions for enjoying Paris solo? I’m going to be there next week on business, and thought I would visit Versailles on Sunday (I arrive on a Saturday), because that’s the one major sight around Paris I haven’t visited on my previous two trips. I have corporate training from nine to five during the […]

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Many of us dream of being world travelers, and some of us truly are! Rather than share our travel experiences, though, I thought it would be fascinating to find out which Ricochettis have lived in countries other than their home country. The country I lived in for one year was Israel, 47 years ago. I […]

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We departed Rapid City on Saturday morning, heading due south on the Heartland Expressway, a road running between the Black Hills and the Badlands. We planned this as a brief travel day, just a 4 or 5 hour push to get to the middle of Nebraska along US 20 for one last easy camp. My […]

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In Praise of the Several States

 

shutterstock_216956542I grew up in northern New Jersey, not far from where Tony Soprano and the gang plied their crooked trade. When my family took vacations, it was to the Jersey Shore. Once or twice a year we’d pile into the station wagon to visit my mother’s parents and their extended clan in Westchester County, New York. We called it “upstate.” It seemed to me and my siblings – some of whom were sitting in the rear-facing backseat – as if we’d crossed over into another country. I don’t know why; only the license plates were different.

With age, I’ve come to realize that our family vacations were essentially local getaways. We weren’t wealthy enough to go on far distant excursions. I went to the Poconos once in high school with some friends to ski. I thought I’d need a passport. When I got older, I spread my wings. My adult years have taken me from sea to shining sea. I lived for a few years in Southern California. I’ve been all across the South, the Midwest, the Great Plains, the Mountain states, and to the Pacific Northwest. I know how unique the regions and cities of this country are. Chicago is dissimilar from New York, which is different than Los Angeles, which is unlike Austin, which makes Boston look like the moon.

I know how special every state is, too, with its own unique character and distinct personality—sometimes more than one. Iced tea tastes different in Georgia than it does in Maine. Snow causes rejoicing in the resort towns of New England; it causes panic in Arkansas. From the redwood forests, to the Gulf Stream waters, this land is as wide and varied as a diner menu. We are a pizza with everything. A person looking for the heart of America could do worse than a grand tour of its state fairs.

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After our treks to the mountain carvings we planned to spend the next day making short trips.  It did not work out.  Early that morning I received a call from work with some irritating news.  I ended up spending the entire day at the camp fighting the dodgy wifi and the sporadic cell service, just […]

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It was our 7th day out as dawn broke on the westernmost camp we would make on this trip.  Rapid City may be South Dakota’s 2nd largest city, but with under 80,000 people it seems hardly to qualify as a city by the standards of anything east of the Mississippi.  Yet it showed something I […]

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Considering that it’s a Sunday evening in the summer, I’m guessing there are some Ricochet members who are up to discuss something besides politics. I’ve been thinking of writing a travel guide for the part of the world I call home for a while now, and this seemed like a good opportunity. The Maritimes comprises […]

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The thunderstorm came on slowly from the north.  We watched the clouds flash and pulse and felt the distant rumbles of the storm.  As it neared the wind picked up, first to a warm breeze, then to a cooler insistent push.  It was time to go in.  We kept the windows open for the time, […]

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When I last left off we were on our way to our next encampment (nights 3 and 4) at Minneopa State Park, in southern Minnesota.  We had forewarned the kiddos: “We will be boondocking for the next 2 nights.  The sites do not have water or sewer hookups so bathroom and shower usage should be […]

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This year’s trailer adventure – our first long haul in 2 years – had a definite theme planned in advance:  we were going to follow the trail of Laura Ingles Wilder, the author of the Little House series of autobiographical novels of a pioneer family in 1870s and 80s.  My wife and daughters all loved […]

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With the coming arrival of Titus to our shores (and hearty thanks to Larry for arranging it all), I thought it appropriate that Ricochet craft a suggested travel guide for Titus.  Culture shock can be a jarring thing, even when one has spent years studying the country one intends to visit, so it is important […]

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In my post about Estonia I said that, so strong is my childhood desire to see that country again, that I once got arrested trying to sneak across the border from the Russian side. What happened was this. After my second year in law school I got myself a summer clerkship with a fancy New […]

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Celebrating This Amazing Country

 
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Photo Credit: Flickr user Wally Gobetz.

What a remarkable country we have! It is filled with sites of natural beauty, monuments to heroes, paintings, sculptures, museums to honor our past, and institutions that are a tribute to our heritage and unique experiment in government.

Each of us has our favorites, those encounters that have touched us profoundly, changed our outlooks, and expanded our knowledge and appreciation of this country. One place that comes to my mind is the Korean War Veterans Memorial, pictured above (close-ups from the same photographer here and here). Out of all the war memorials in Washington, DC, it’s penetrated my soul with the tragedy of warfare and death like no other. Its grittiness still fills me with sadness and reminds me how fragile life can be.

The Blue Menace

 

Pasted image at 2016_01_06 12_47 PMThe passengers on United 93 removed a major threat to our national security: The potential for commercial aircraft to be transformed into missiles against specific targets. The remaining threat — largely from explosives — is real, but basically limited to the crew, passengers, and people immediately below them. Though nothing to scoff at, the risk to airplanes is no more grave than the risk to other potential targets.

Which rather makes one wonder why we continue to tolerate the existence of the Transportation Security Administration, especially given the risks to liberty it poses. As the Cato Daily Podcast notes, the TSA is now contemplating turning away passengers from states that don’t comply with the Real ID Act,* making it harder to opt out of body scanners. The agency is increasingly the spearhead of the movement to make domestic travel a privilege that can be granted and revoked at the whim of the federal government.

Of course, one could argue that the same is true of our highways, the use of which is conditional upon our education, licensing, and registration. But the analogy breaks down quickly. At least until recently, if you displayed a valid license plate and stayed within the confines of your lane and the law, that was generally enough for you to go about your business at liberty. In other words, travel by automobile still functions largely under a presumption of innocence, and most of the reasons you’d come to the attention of law enforcement relate directly to concern for others’ safety. The contrast to airline security in this regard could hardly be more pronounced.

Tourists of Our Own Planet

 

IMG_0725Having now added the Villa Borghese Gardens, Castel Sant’Angelo, and the Pantheon to the list of sights I’ve seen in Rome, I can now reasonably claim as to have visited the main highlights within Italy’s capital city (the sights without await my third visit).

In reality, that means I’ve barely scratched its surface, something my parents — who’ve got months of experience in Rome — proved repeatedly by suggesting we visit what was ostensibly “some random church” that turned out to house a masterwork. Informed Romans could doubtless run circles around them, and people with genuine expertise in the subject could — on a good day — credibly say they “know” the city. But me? I’m just a tourist.

In an age when Google Earth covers the entire globe — and when we spend billions imaging our solar system’s smaller, more distant bodies — it’s easy to think that we’ve already learned most of Earth’s secrets. But as The Economist suggests, it’s likely more true that we’ve just noticed the most obvious, exceptional points on our planet, and that there’s a great deal left to explore — both things we’ve heard about but haven’t truly studied, as well as countless mysteries and discoveries of which we’re completely ignorant:

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I’m rarely the person who posts political commentary, but I love to read it and occasionally comment. What fills my bucket are the opportunities to know others, and be known. I’ve learned a lot about many of you through the content and tone of your posts. But I’m insatiable. I would love to know more. And […]

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