Dateline: Maputo, Mozambique (aside: a country where you can go from wheels down to hotel room in under 30 minutes and be greeted with smiles and no hassle along the way wins a place in my travel heart, all the more remarkable for the hard modern journey Mozambique has made.)
Mini-editorial: ‘Stuff happens,” indeed. America’s 3 original sins: (1) treatment and near annihilation of Native Americans, (2) slavery, and (3) gun culture. The last should be solvable, after all, we even (temporarily) made alcohol unconstitutional. I refer to UK commentator Dan Hodges’ remark in June:
In retrospect Sandy Hook marked the end of the US gun control debate. Once America decided killing children was bearable, it was over.
— Dan Hodges (@DPJHodges) June 19, 2015
We are collectively resigned to a perceived impossibility to no way out, when so many countries live without anywhere approaching this level of civilian violence. We are not quite at the every man an AK-47 of Afghanistan, and boy did that make restaurant meals unnerving when each new diner entered, but then we don’t limit to just one per person.
I have just been in Angola, now in Mozambique, countries recently clawing to stability after decades of civil war that left the lands covered in land mines. Those mines silently wait, unexpectedly destroying innocent lives. I am glad the Founding Fathers didn’t know to include those, or walking a dog in a US neighborhood would be quite risky when they pop on a lawn to do their business. The analogy is as deliberately absurd as the situation would be if not so tragic. We do everything to arm every possible mine and then blame them when there is an explosion. We hold the Framers ensconced in amber on an alter of frozen text to cover our own failing to strive in their spirit, not giving them the credit that people of such wisdom would have evolved with a changing world.
For those who routinely pop up to tell me this is a travel blog and I should stick to that, I am also a citizen and take that responsibility seriously, however imperfect I am as one. I don’t have The Answer. There is no perfect answer to this tangled issue embedded deep in our culture, manifesting in ways worthy and ways despicable. What I won’t do is give up and say we are living a fait accompli. America has every advantage and no excuse to abandon our founding purpose:
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
- First woman in space recalls mission’s teething troubles (The Guardian). I always pack a space toothbrush!
- Big Tech Has Become Way Too Powerful (NYT). Living in the reality distortion valley with money that enables all manner of folly.
- Apps installed by Samsung can be removed (Shanghai Daily). So we have to have Chinese courts fight consumer privacy battles? To not neglect rampant piracy and its ripple effects, Dozens of apps including WeChat, Didi Kuaidi infected with malware (China Economic Review).
- On Leaving China (podcast with Bill Bishop of Sinocism). I remember the time I had terrible coughing. Matter of fact Shanghainese doctor asked how much I smoke. Not a once, just breathing China air.
- 5 Clever Hacks for Buying Life Insurance (NerdWallet). Not an area I know beyond my employer benefit option.
- The king demanded vengeance and ‘Zarqawi’s woman’ was sent to the gallows (The Washington Post). Riveting tale from forthcoming book.
- Who Was Thurgood Marshall Before He Became a Judge? (The Atlantic).
- King Features, home of many long-running comic strips from Amazing Spider-Man to Zits has turned 100.
- Google Project Fi Review: Cheap International Data & Cell Service (Running with Miles). If I were living abroad again I would consider this.
- Travelogue: Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina (Livemint). Complex land, just leaving Sarajevo Airport you can inadvertently and unaware cross between republics several times.
- The Travel Jacket Geeks Adore (NYT). Looks like a hoodie, no?
- Concorde Will Fly Again, Says Group With Massive War Chest (FlightClub). I saw the elegant bird for the first time at the museum adjacent to the Barbados Airport. I heard it much earlier when little and sleeping over at my aunt’s place in Canarsie.
- Where to Go on Jersey City’s Grove Street (NYT). Photos do wonders to a place.
- René Redzepi Plans to Close Noma and Reopen It as an Urban Farm (NYT). I walked by Noma and popped my head in, not planning to eat, though feeling obligated to eat if they did have a spot. They did not, and true to reputation, they were friendly to even such a far-fetched request.
- Delta’s Early Valet Service (allenontravel). I have not been flying Delta much and not experienced it.
- Deutsche Welle’s Inside Europe podcast on the dying breed of European overnight trains.
- Inskip sinkhole: Geotechnical engineers to use radar to assess camping area stability (ABC). Here’s my post and videos on Fraser Island.