Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

NearlyNormal Reducere

by NearlyNormal Wed May 11th, 2011 at 04:50:49 PM EST

I awoke in the hospital feeling rested and out of place.  My nurse came in and, though she apologized for her command of English, we talked about how I was feeling and she said that I'd likely be discharged in a while after I saw the Doctor.  My roomies wife or girlfriend came in and we passed the time going over phrases.  She particularly liked "See ya later, alligator", then we moved on the "after while crocodile" and a good time was had by all.

I was out by noon and off we went.  We went to a castle near Nordlingen, and walked through it.  Then had lunch and scooted back home.  We stayed in Nordlingen for another couple of days and wandered around the town-one day they had a festival and that was fun, and I very much enjoyed the city.  We were still somewhat under the weather, though I felt increasingly good.  After a couple of days it was time to move on and not overstay our welcome.

We had planned to go to Lyons and rent a car and head off into the South of France for a week, but didn't have the energy to keep moving.  We decided instead to go back to Baden-Baden.  A quick train ride later we were there and ended up in a search for a room as there was a convention in town.  The nice fellow at Hotel Om Markt, called around and found us a place, he said he couldn't speak to its modernity but it would be clean.  He loaded us into his old VW and took us up behind the Opera house and ushered us into this old mansion.  It was the perfect place for us.  It was old, but it had been very nice.  It was a little overgrown, but had cats wandering around outside, and they fed a fox, and various other critters.  It was quiet and restful.  We stayed there a couple of days and walked around the town and out along the promenade to the old nunnery.  After a couple of days we were feeling better (again) and took off into the forest.

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ICE and ICU, and ICE again

by NearlyNormal Tue May 10th, 2011 at 07:58:18 PM EST

The morning to leave Paris dawned as we left the hotel and headed for the Metro.  We scouted the route the day before and had no real problems getting to Gare De L'Est, but due to some mistake we'd (I'd) made on timing we just a couple of minutes ahead of departure time so we hustled on board our train. We were in car 2, so we walked right up and there was car 2......no, that was 2nd class and so we ended up walking the whole damned train inside instead of going along the outside but we found our correct seats and headed out about the time we sat down.

It was an enjoyable ride to Strasbourg, and I really enjoyed the comforts of the train and the views of the countryside and then the wooded hills.  Pretty soon we were at Strasbourg and were picked up by a fellow Californian that used to be my wife's boss when she worked at the psychiatric crisis unit.  He now works with the US Army with PTSD soldiers coming from the war zones.  We had a nice drive over to Baden Baden and talked some about the dismal work he had to do, and the trying experience it always is to deal with the army, even when you are a civilian.  On the bright side, he is a very smart guy and probably is good at what he does and heavens knows the people from a war zone need it.  Now, if we could get the hell out of the war zone....but thats a different diary.

We got to Baden-Baden at mid-day and found a little hotel and then went to lunch down along the stream.  It was a nice sunny afternoon and the white asparagus was in season so we had that.  We went for a nice little promenade down the path along the creek for a kilometer or so, then returned.  Bill headed out to go for a long bike ride around lake Bodensee, and we headed to the hotel room and unpacked and took a long rest.

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The Plane, The Train, The Metro

by NearlyNormal Fri May 6th, 2011 at 05:14:30 PM EST

Well, that was an interesting vacation.  I enjoyed parts of it, and endured parts of it and was in a sort of daze for a good portion of it.  My wife Nita and I and my old traveling buddy Mike and his wife Nancy were headed back to Europe together for the first time in nearly a decade.

The plane was filled with sneezers and coughers and nowhere to run to.  But, after about 11 hours on board we were touched down at Schipol and off to find our bags and the appropriate train.  We found the bags easy enough and after one wrong way trip, we got back on track and made it out to Haarlem where we stayed right on the square.  Nice people and the place was okay.  We planned to try to beat the jet lag and stay active that day, probably a mistake.  By the time evening came we had been up nearly two days and by the next morning my wife and I had sore throats and plugged noses.  Things would get worse (and better).  The next day we walked around Haarlem for a while and took the train into Amsterdam and meandered around for the rest of the day.  Went to the Rijksmuseum a smoke shop and a canal ride.

By the next morning the flu had set in.  A smarter person would have settled back and got some rest and tried to beat it, but we didn't.  We walked all round again and generally did the touristo thing.  One interesting thing was to go through the church right on the Market Square.  The other thing-which I wish I'd felt better for, was the War Child gathering on the square.  That was cool, but I was beat.

Next morning Nita and I  were off for Paris on the train and Mike and Nancy went to pick up their rental car and head off to Belgium.  The train ride was good, but we were a bit stupid by then and when we arrived in Paris it was rush hour.  We got our Metro passes after waiting in a looonnnngggg line, and headed out.  Unfortunately, the transfer station we needed was closed and we had to work our way around that.  Should have been simple but it was not simple for me that day.  Eventually we got their, aided by the kindness of strangers and got our hotel room.  Not so good.  Out into the street looking for supper, way too early, but we knew we wouldn't last till later.  We found a really nice little Italian restaurant and had a fine meal and straggled back to the hotel and went to bed.

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On the Road...and the plane and the train

by NearlyNormal Fri Mar 4th, 2011 at 04:38:01 PM EST

My wife and I are coming to a continent near you!  At the end of the month we will be landing in Amsterdam and then in Paris on the 1st of April.  This will be our 2nd trip, the first was in 2002, and it was wonderful and we are looking forward to being in "old Europe" again.

We have some existing time commitments, but if anyone is available I would love to get together with any of my ET correspondents in Paris sometime on the first couple of days of April.  I don't know where would be a good, low-key and comfortable place to meet, but I'm sure there are plenty of great spots.

I know people have lots of things to do in their lives and don't want to inconvenience anyone, but if you are in the neighborhood then, I would certainly enjoy seeing you.


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On the Road Again...Again

by NearlyNormal Tue May 26th, 2009 at 06:03:00 PM EST

Yippee, I'm getting ready to hit the road again...Is Willie Nelson popular in Europe, do you know his song, On The Road Again.  It always goes through my head since my Dad always sings it when we're heading out.  I think I left some pictures of him and his motorcycle "Ol Blue" in an earlier essay, but its a catchy tune and its been going through my head with increasing frequency.

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Good news on the Constitutional front

by NearlyNormal Tue Apr 21st, 2009 at 01:52:03 PM EST

In the US system, the 4th amendment is the core protection against unreasonable search and seizure, like all constitutional law it is very dependent upon interpretations.  Over the course of the last 40 years, the law has swung away from protecting individual freedoms from unreasonable searches toward giving the officials license to introduce evidence that has been gained from those unreasonable searches.


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Life.....Without Parole w/ 2nd update

by NearlyNormal Thu Feb 26th, 2009 at 03:27:36 PM EST

Its an odd job being a criminal defense attorney.  In the State of California those of us employed by the state to provide indigent defense on a regular basis generally work in Public Defender offices.  I have worked in my county's Public Defender office for over 20 years.  It can be a brutal job, and one that forces you to confront the very worst in people, politics, and law.  Some cases are worse than others, of course, in some there is nothing but tragedy all round.  I currently-and I earnestly hope, permenantly, work with kids at the Juvenile Justice level, but there was a time when I was involved in Capital (death penalty) cases.  This is a tangent of the story of one of them.I have edited this to try to remove identifying characteristics for the client's privacy.

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Dow in the Tank-Pump in more $ fast

by NearlyNormal Wed Oct 15th, 2008 at 04:55:23 PM EST

What could we do with the money we are wasting by throwing it into the financial sector of the economy?  With these many billions, we could rebuild the rail system, we could retool Detroit, and the hundreds of towns that have manufacturing plants that feed Detroit.  We could end the necessity for taking out loans for going to college and just make it free, we could repair every damned bridge that needs it in the whole country.  Instead we are pouring into a rathole.  The executives of the financial firms don't plan on losing much.

From MSNBC business section

"Even though the banking sector may be returning to normal, the economy still isn't. The economy continues to face a host of other problems," said Doug Roberts, chief investment strategist at ChannelCapitalResearch.com. "We're in for a tough ride."

.  Well, we are in for something that goes beyond a "tough ride".  We are going to be losing our houses, our insurance, our savings, our retirements and we are going to be in hock up to our elbows-but the banking sector will be back to normal.

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On the Back of Old Blue Pt 2 On Being in Emptiness (PIX)

by NearlyNormal Tue Aug 21st, 2007 at 09:47:41 PM EST

 In Part 1 we went from Calistoga (just north of San Francisco) across the Central Valley, up the Sierra Nevada range via Hwy 50 and descended the dry side into Nevada and The Desert.

We are riding a big blue Harley-Davidson Electra Glide Classic.  Blue is a 1987 model with the 88 cubic inch evolution motor, a 5 speed transmission and very comfortable seats for a motorcycle.  Blue has pretty good luggage space, footboards instead of pegs and has always been well taken care of by its two owners, Jimmie Lee, long since gone, and my Dad who first rode a motorcycle at the age of 52 and two weeks later started his first trip across country from Indiana to Santa Rosa California.  This is the iconic bike for the trip across the thin ribbons of road that connect the far-flung towns of the SouthWest.

I have struggled in vain for a way to convey the immensity of this area, it is one of the great Places on the Earth and we will go over a pretty small piece of it and cover nearly 1700 miles doing it.  The empty lands defy easy depiction or description, and one experiment I made here is to take pictures of the same emptiness from vantage points miles apart but still of the same emptiness.  Sometimes one composes pictures to emphasize a point or to leave out what is non-harmonious, but in looking at these pictures I ask you to remember that in nearly every picture you could stop, turn 360 degrees and see the same thing.  We are not taking careful shots, we are grabbing nearly random hunks of 20 or 30 or more miles at a stretch and at the end of that stretch the same thing awaits and again after that and it would be the same if we took off at right angles and tried that, of course we would die, if we took off at right angles from the road and went any distance, the heat and the aridity would kill us within the day.  So we won't do that.

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On the Back of Old Blue- Pt. 1, To the Desert (PIX)

by NearlyNormal Mon Aug 20th, 2007 at 08:33:43 AM EST

Howdy You All, I been in the sticks (backcountry)the last couple of days on a little bit of a whirlwind tour of Nevada with a little Arizona-very little-and some Utah for some needed seasoning.  The truth is that there is general similarities throughout the region I covered once I slipped over the Sierra Nevada Mountains at Lake Tahoe and headed east into the classic west.

The grand departure.
Word to the prospective shopper-2 piece zip together leathers are much more convenient than a 1 piece suit.  The one piece suit is very comfortable while on the bike but a pain off it.

From the diaries with minor pic edit - afew

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An attempt at diary w/ pix

by NearlyNormal Sat Aug 4th, 2007 at 09:31:34 AM EST

I've long promised a diary about traveling the Western US on motorcycle.  I've had the lame excuse that I don't know how to post pix inside, so I'm trying to drop the excuse and try some pix.  Wish I had a grandkid around to help.  Colman to the Rescue.  Thanks.

The following photos were taken on a couple of different trips across the Desert Southwest and the classic "old west" of the US.  That is why some of the dates don't match up.  On these motorcycle trips I was primarily accompanied by my Dad, My brother Chip, and my long time friend Mike Springer.  

This is the field down the road from my house, I always go by it leaving, it doesn't always have a rainbow, Mayacamas mountains in the background:

From the diaries with an edit - afew

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