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Tuesday, November 15, 2016


America, America - The 2016 Presidential Election

We had blinders on

Thought that Trump would be defeated; and completely out of touch when it came to number, passion, and impact of Donald Trump's supporters. 


History books contain many instances of victorious armies on pillaging sprees. In today's world it takes a different form. There are clear signals about the goals and plans that Trump administration would take. 

List of  of likely Cabinet appointees reflects Trump is wasting no time in in rewarding those whose support made him the winner.   The list includes the usual suspects, extremists salivating at the prospect of beimg empowered to follow their agenda. 

With both Houses of Congress under Republican control, Trump administration would be in strong position to weaken or rescind legislations passed under previous administrations.  And new legislations would be pushed to enable special interest groups to achieve their goals. There is nothing to stop them. The Supreme Court's 5-4 ruling in 2010 lifted restrictions on financing of political campaigns.  

We can only wait for actions of the Trump administration. At the end of 4 years, if the voters remain supportive then we must face the fact that the 2016 election was not an aberration.  

"The will of the mass of the people must prevail."
----Alcuin (735-804),in a letter to Charlemagne

 It was a fair election. Trump won under existing rules for Electoral College although he failed to secure majority in popular vote count.   



Friday, September 18, 2015


Corte Madera, CA, - Budget Inn

A Motel Infested with Bed Bugs

Truly, a motel from hell.

On Friday (September 11, 2015), a friend and I decided on booking a room at Budget Inn because of the location -- nearness to Muir Woods where we wanted to hike the next day.

As the saying goes: Caveat Emptor

The fact that Budget Inn is not listed in CSAA Tour Book should have triggered an alarm. To our regret, we ignored the fact;  Thought that all we needed was a clean room for one night.

It was a mistake for which we have badly suffered.
  • The room (No.114) had broken furniture, and not very clean. 
  • Bed bug bites began to manifest themselves next morning. 
  • Itchy, red spots became noticeable and became progressively worse. 
  • After returning home, a google search revealed many previous reports about this particular establishment. 
Budget Inn, Corte Madera, California 

Check the comments.

What is surprising is that despite the reports, no action is taken by the local authorities. Surely, they are not
unaware of the situation.

Marin County Health and Human Services Department. 
Is responsible for enforcing health codes.

One gets the impression that the Marin County authorities are either:

1) Incompetent

2) Understaffed; do not have time to deal with such situations

3) Are aware but do not take any action.  Influenced by other factors.  

Something is wrong and owners  of Budget Inn continue to operate the bed-bug infested, dirty motel with impunity because they are protected from enforcement of health code. 

What is the secret ?

What protects them ?  


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Thursday, August 06, 2015


America, America - A Country Awash in Guns

Sorrowing Lies My Land

Headlines about gun violence -- deaths and injuries from gunshots -- have become regular features.  Inescapable.

In US, 204 mass shootings in 203 days 

  • NEWSER) – It's the worst kind of synchronicity: A websitethat tracks mass shootings in the US had logged 203 through Wednesday. It hasn't caught up with last night's rampage in a Louisiana theater, but when it does, that will be No. 204—and yesterday was the 204th day of the year, notes the Washington Post. The Mass Shooting Tracker is a crowd-sourced tool from an anti-gun forum at Reddit calledGuns Are Cool, and it defines "mass shooting" as incident in which at least four people were shot. Not all of the incidents resulted in deaths.

DC's Summer of Gun Violence


What they do in the name of Second Amendment !

NRA: "Guns don't kill people, People Do".


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Tuesday, January 13, 2015


Go Charlie, Go

Vive la France !

The news that Charlie Hebdo has decided to publish a cartoon of Prophet Muhammad on the cover  of its first issue after the attack and killings by lunatic followers of Islam is to be applauded.  A right decision; a bold decision. 

charlie hebdo cover

   © National Post.com

"Bigotry is the sacred disease" - Heraclitus

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Sunday, July 20, 2014


To The North - Oregon, Washington, Victoria BC

Despite the somewhat long and bleak winters in coastal areas, Oregon continues to appeal. 

So, it was a pleasure to visit friends who offered their hospitality in Oregon and, when opportunity came up for a road trip from Hillsboro OR  to Victoria BC, with car ferry across the Strait of Juan de Fuca from Port Angeles to Victoria, that was the icing on the cake.  My previous visit to Victoria was in 1994.

Found the weather in Oregon surprisingly different from my previous visits. Except for the day I arrived, sunny days and high temperatures (above 90 degrees) were the norm. In fact, I missed cool and breezy west San Mateo.  

Also noticeable were the prices for gasoline and foodstuff.  Gas prices were not far behind what we pay here in the Bay area. Prices of fruits and vegetables were somewhat higher. 

The Oregon micro-breweries doing very well.  Excellent beers and pleasant outlets where one can enjoy them.  Far from inexpensive but worth it. On this trip, we didn't go to wineries in the Willamette Valley.  Local stores, including Trader Joe's and Safeway carry decent stocks of Oregon wines and beers.

Photographs below cover three weeks of random shots; not of high quality, nor of interest to those who were not part of the group.

Portland OR - Brew Pubs

At The Storm Breaker, 832 N. Beech St © Musafir

The Sampler - Photo, Courtesy of Yelp, Portland

At The Bridgeport, Pearl District

The mussels were great, as were the beers  © Musafir

.Cascade Brewing, Belmont Street 
Another pub with ambience   © Musafir

Friday evening, friends, good beer and food. Life is sweet © Musafir

McMenamins, Kennedy School, 5736 N.E. 33rd Ave

Glass of hard cider in The Courtyard, ahh!   © Musafir


And the Sampler  © Musafir

Ken's Artisan Pizza, 304 28th Ave

Portland is a haven for foodies.  Good eateries abound in all areas of the town. Ken's Artisan Pizza is certainly worth a visit.

BG and Niklu   © Musafir

Niklu and Brinda  © Musafir

Scrumptious !  © Musafir

LaTourelle Falls

About 50 miles from Hillsboro, LaTourelle Falls is accessible from the Columbia Gorge scenic highway.

First view from the trail © Musafir

View from further up © Musafir

RS, Niklu, Brinda © BG 

Wild Berries © Musafir

White Globe Lily ? © Musafir

More Wild Flowers © Musafir

Met, Sarah,  a hiker from Portland when we took a wrong turn
going back to the trailhead © Musafir

We hiked down together the rest of the way © Musafir

At the end of the downhill leg © Musafir
To Victoria BC 

The drive from Hillsboro to Port Angeles (just under 250 miles) was estimated to take 4.5 hours.  On July 3rd afternoon we encountered unusually heavy traffic due to the long weekend ahead.  Took us an hour and a half to go past Portland, a distance of 15 miles. We needed to board the ferry by 8:30 PM and began to worry whether we would be able to make it. But once past Portland the traffic became lighter.

Driving through Washington,when we stopped for gas,  I asked about marijuana.  I was under the impression that the legalization of marijuana in Washington meant that one could walk into a store and buy it. Not so.  I was told that it would be necessary to have a prescription to buy for medical purposes. Duh !  Our country and its hypocrisy about pot is astounding. The politicians are either in the pockets of special interest groups who are opposed to easy availability of marijuana or they are gutless to take a position to lift the restrictions.  Alcohol is OK, lighting up a joint is not ! Kick them in their goolies.  

However, a few days later there were reports about opening of the first outlet in Seattle to sell marijuana to consumers without medical needs. Let's hope that the barriers continue to fold. 

We boarded the MV COHO for Canada.  A very pleasant 90-minute ride to downtown Victoria. In the past  a valid driving license was enough to travel between Canada and the USA.  After 9/11, the formalities tightened up but it is still a fairly painless process.

Before driving on to the MV COHO - © Musafir

  In the hold of the MV COHO © Musafir

Evening sky, from the MV COHO - © Musafir

With friends, Saanich, Victoria BC © Musafir

The Garden, I - © Musafir

 The Garden, II - © Musafir

The Garden, III - © Musafir

Jam session © Musafir

View from Mount Doug © Musafir

On Mount Doug, I © Musafir

On Mount Doug, II © Musafir

On Mount Doug, III © Musafir
On Mount Doug, IV © Musafir

Strutting peacock at a park © Musafir

The Trip back - All Good things come to an end 

Back on the MV COHO for Port Angeles © Musafir

Receding Victoria skyline - © Musafir

Back in the USA - Olympic National Forest © Musafir

View from US 101 South © Musafir

Wild Flowers © Musafir

How Green is the Valley © Musafir

A stop to admire the view © Musafir

Back in Portland - Dinner at Por Que No?  © Musafir


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Friday, July 18, 2014


Young Men With Horns and Guitar

Victoria BC - July 3-6, 2014

Highlight of the trip to Victoria BC was to listen to music being made by a group of talented budding artists. 

Nikhil Ghosh, Palo Alto, CA, trombone, tenor 
Cyrus Bhiladvala, Victoria BC, alto sax
Simon Farintosh, Victoria BC, guitar
Rowan Farintosh, Victoria BC, tenor sax

We were fortunate to stay with Rustom and Kamal Bhiladvala, parents of Cyrus. 

On July 4th we drove to Bastion Square, downtown Victoria.  The boys took out their instruments and began busking to the pleasure of passers by.  It was a bright afternoon, full of shoppers and sightseers. 

Jazz on July 4th at Bastion Square, Victoria BC © Musafir

Buskers warming up  © Musafir
“One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.” 
― Bob Marley  

From the left: Nikhil Ghosh, Cyrus Bhiladvala, Simon Farintosh, Rowan Farintosh  
                                                                                                      © Musafir
Admiring dad Rustom Bhiladvala  © Musafir
Beaming Bhaskar Ghosh, a mean tabla player himself  © Musafir

Across from Empress Hotel © Musafir

We were not far from the venerable Empress Hotel, now a part of the Fairmont Group.

The afternoon tea at the Empress Hotel continues to be popular with visitors. Not many locals go to have tea at close to $60.00 (Canadian) per person. 

Meantime, the young musicians had warmed up and the sound of jazz filled the air.  They were rewarded fairly well.  But more than the collection it was the pleasure of performing in public that energized them.  Good vibrations. More power to them.

Simon Farintosh, who graduated from high school, is going to pursue musical studies in college.

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