Saw that coming . . .

Readers will recall the murder of Whitey Bulger a few weeks ago.  As I predicted, this is going to end up in the courts – as it probably should. Mr. Brennan says he is preparing to sue the government on behalf of Bulger’s estate for wrongful death and negligence to find out why authorities sent the frail, notorious gangster to the U.S. Penitentiary Hazelton in West Virginia, and put him in with the general population.“It’s important for the family and the public to know why the prisons decided to wheel an 89-year-old man with a history of heart attacks into one of the most dangerous

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Not a bad likeness

Stemming from the gilets jaunes protests in France, someone drew this portrait of President Trump.  I received it via e-mail, so I don’t know who the artist is.  French, perhaps?  Click the image for a larger view. Yellow?  Well, sacred blue and all that sort of thing! Peter

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(Departed) soul mates???

This is one of the more unusual relationship breakup stories to pop up. An Irish Jack Sparrow impersonator who married the ghost of a pirate has revealed she has split from her 300-year-old hubby.Earlier this year Amanda Sparrow Large, 46, said she’d found her “soulmate” in a Haitian pirate from the 1700s who was executed for thieving on the high seas.The loved-up couple were legally married by a shaman priest in a boat off the Irish coast in international waters.But now the mum from Drogheda, Co Louth, has revealed the unlikely union is over.Posting on social media she said: “So I

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Venezuela: where life is a burden to be endured

It’s truly astonishing to see how run-down, degraded and desperate life in Venezuela has become.  Two decades ago it was a cosmopolitan, wealthy society by Latin American standards, relatively carefree and prosperous.  Today, it’s a dystopian nightmare. Bloomberg has published a series of reports on life in Caracas, the country’s capital city.  All of them are worth reading, if only to illustrate how so much that we take for granted can be lost in a short time through mismanagement, envy and fear.  The latest looks at the street children of Caracas. Andrea is 9. Her father is dead. Her mother is pregnant,

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The Philippines’ conundrum over China – and the USA’s, too

Bullying tactics often work if the one being bullied doesn’t have the muscle, strength or willpower to stand up to the bully.  That pretty much sums up what seems to be happening between China and the Philippines right now. Strategy Page reports: President Duterte is trying to be realistic in his policy towards China but that seems to be making the situation worse. Duterte points out that China is already occupying the disputed territory in the South China Sea and no one is willing or able to push them out. China has hired several hundred Chinese fishing boats and their crews as

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Sunday morning music

With Christmas drawing nearer, I’d like to cut through the horrible holiday muzak that’s inflicted upon us at every turn, and bring you a few selections that are far more musical, meditative and in the true spirit of the season. To begin with, here’s one of my favorite carols, “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel“, the origins of which are lost in the mists of time.  Elements date back to the first millennium and the great so-called “O Antiphons“. Our first sample is an instrumental recording by The Piano Guys from their 2013 album, “A Family Christmas“. Here’s a magnificent solo performance by

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Improving your online privacy

I’ve written several times in the past about the threat to privacy and private information posed by the Internet and social media companies who see us as the product they sell to others, to be exploited for their greatest advantage.  That’s why I’m still not active on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, or any of the other big names in social media.  The only one I use is Gab, and they guarantee the privacy of their members, making it a much safer environment. If you’ve wondered how to improve or safeguard your online privacy, there are ways.  Many of them have been

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The Costa Concordia disaster spawns something new

I’m sure readers recall the grounding, refloating and salvage of the cruise liner Costa Concordia a few years ago.  It was one of the most complex and difficult marine salvage jobs in history, and success was far from a foregone conclusion. Whilst the ship is no more, the technologies developed and used to salvage her wreck are now being applied in a new and innovative way. Scottish marine salvage group Ardent is adapting the tanks it used to refloat the Costa Concordia, the cruise ship wrecked off the Italian coast in 2012, to decommission North Sea oil platforms.It is one of several companies trying new ideas to win

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You want me to take WHAT???

From the Adventurous Telephone Calls department: I’ve been prescribed a medication that isn’t covered (at all) by my medical insurance.  Since it costs close to $1,500 per month at normal retail prices, there’s no way I can afford it;  so the doctor who prescribed it signed me up with a specialty pharmacy, to see whether I qualified for a reduced price. A few minutes ago I received a phone call from the pharmacy to confirm the information the doctor’s office had provided to them.  All went well until, at the end of the call, the nice lady on the other

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Ebola: OK, it’s crunch time

This morning’s headlines about the latest Ebola outbreak in the Congo make grim reading. Butembo, with more than 1 million residents, is now reporting cases of the deadly hemorrhagic fever. That complicates Ebola containment work already challenged by rebel attacks elsewhere that have made tracking the virus almost impossible in some isolated villages.“We are very concerned by the epidemiological situation in the Butembo area,” said John Johnson, project coordinator with Medecins Sans Frontieres in the city. New cases are increasing quickly in the eastern suburbs and outlying, isolated districts, the medical charity said.. . .This is by far the largest deployment

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