A visit to China just has to include the Great Wall. It’s part of the reason I went, and I wasn’t disappointed. To see it meandering off along the mountaintops was mind-boggling. George and I thought we’d walk quite a long ways, but it was all uphill, and we were surprised at how steep some sections are. We huffed and puffed the distance between four guardhouses before we turned back. More
Author Archives: Cathy Stripe Lester
I was impressed by the locks at the Three Gorges Dam on the Shanghai River, though I hadn’t expected to be. After all, I’ve seen the Soo locks, haven’t I? Plus innumerable canal locks in England, and the Welland Canal that stair-steps ocean ships past Niagara Falls. But like so much in China, there’s a difference in the sheer scale: The gigantic problems of controlling floods and seeking gigantic amounts of electricity have brought forth a gigantic solution. More
As a lifelong independent traveler with a yen to see China, I overcame my resistance to group tours and signed up for a 14-day China Tour and Yangtze River Cruise, with Gate 1 Travel. My travel buddy George came with me and we had a wonderful time even if it wasn’t always what we expected. More
Not for nothing did Theodore Roosevelt say, “Speak softly and carry a big stick.” Unfortunately, if you look at some of our politicians, they seem to only remember the big stick biz.
At a time when Iran’s leaders are sending messages that indicate they’re ready to negotiate on their nuclear enrichment program, Americans are reacting as if we were Cleopatra being offered a basket of figs. What about “new leader, different mindset” do we not understand? More
Some years ago, Zbigniew Brzezinski commented that reckless sabre-rattling and warlike rhetoric could get us into a war by accident. Obama is just now proving him right.
A year ago, Obama made a “red-line” statement about unacceptable use of chemical weapons and how we wouldn’t allow it. Now Assad has used poison gas, and the president and his administration seem to think we have an “obligation” to retaliate somehow or other. More
Last week someone shot my cat Kato with a pellet gun. When we couldn’t figure out why he seemed half-dead, the vet did an X-ray which revealed a gun pellet lodged deep in his chest wall. He had been shot at point-blank range, right between the shoulder blades, so the shooter had to be standing directly over him, probably when Kato was trustfully rubbing against their leg. More
International diplomacy is a dance that requires light, nimble footwork. Unfortunately when it comes to Iran, the USA stuck its own foot into a bear trap, and we don’t know how to get it out.
Why does it matter? I hear people asking. Here’s a rundown: More
A poorly-written law can cause more problems than it solves. Having found that Michigan has a Self-Defense Law, I was naturally curious to see how it compares with Florida. Congratulations, Michigan! Our law is short and to the point. The core of it reads, “An individual who … is not engaged in the commission of a crime … may use deadly force… if the individual honestly and reasonably believes that the use of deadly force is necessary to prevent the imminent death or of imminent great bodily harm …” Obviously, this means that a crook who bursts in waving a gun cannot claim “self-defense.” More
On the 4th of July I had a facebook conversation with a young man I’ve “known” for some years but never met in the flesh. As far as I can tell, he’s a likable sort of person, hard-working and law-abiding.
I mentioned the 4th celebrations, and asked how his life was going. He confessed he was afraid he’d be killed or imprisoned. More
On June 14, Iranians will go to the polls to elect a president who will replace President Ahmadinejad – or, as some Iranians call him, President Idiotson (AhmaGH-inejad).
That’s the good news. The so-so news is that there isn’t an awfully diverse field running this time, unlike last time. And no moderates, who have all been disqualified or harassed into not putting their name in. More