The wave of nationwide strikes, protests and uprisings in the cities of Iran — Freedom Star


This article is based on reports and videos sent by PMOI/MEK activists inside Iran Iran, July 31, 2018 – Tuesday has been the scene of numerous protests and demonstrations in cities across Iran. Strike, Protest in Isfahan: Beginning this morning, Tuesday, July 31, truck drivers and owners as well as large group of people and youth in […]

via The wave of nationwide strikes, protests and uprisings in the cities of Iran — Freedom Star

The 2018 Road, Day 21: In the Streets of Brotherly Love


June 15, 2018, Philadelphia-

Once upon a time, a teenaged girl looked at her uncle, and wondered aloud whether anyone would care to attend her wedding, when the time came.  Uncle said, unequivocally, that he would be there and that anyone who called themselves his family would be there, too.

In reality, there was never any question. Everyone from her youngest cousin (my son) to the family matriarch (Mother) made the wedding, that will take place tomorrow, a top priority.  It’s been a few years since B was a teenager, but there has been no break, whatsoever, in the love I feel for that compassionate and powerful young lady.  She has made a solid life for herself, following her father’s example of being largely self-reliant and choosing the field of education-which probably had little or nothing to do with her uncle and aunt, on the other side of the country, being educators. I’m glad she chose teaching, anyway.  She’s darn good at it.

I arrived in Philadelphia, around 2, by way of Camden.  This was a simple matter of not getting good directions from Google Maps, finding myself on the bridge to New Jersey and turning around to get cash from a bodega, near the Camden side of the bridge.  Once that was done, I picked up my pre-ordered wedding gift and headed to the Alexander Inn, my residence for the next 2 days.

With time to spend, until the Rehearsal Dinner, at 6 p.m., I ventured to check out Philly’s street art.

Here are  a few of those scenes, from the west side of the Independence Historic District.


Here, a father is showing his little girl the power that comes with community working together.  I found this appropriate to the present situation.  My brother has been a guiding light to all three of his children.




The above long mural has a caption that speaks of the eternal juxtaposition of right and wrong.  The young man in the foreground is giving this matter a lot of thought. From the look in his eyes, I would say he will choose right, more often.

Well, the dinner was second to none.  The Panorama Restaurant, right on Front Street, did it up fabulous.  I am admittedly an hors d’oeuvres hound, anyway, and the grilled ahi tuna did not fail to satisfy, either.

Tomorrow, greeting Aram and meeting his sweetheart, then attending the wedding of the year (sorry, Harry and Meghan), will be a most assuredly full day.  Good night, all.


The 2018 Road, Day 20: A Place of Resilience, Part 3- Washington Slept Here


June 14, 2018, Valley Forge-

The area on the west side of Valley Forge National Historical Park lies between the village of Valley Forge and the Schuylkill River, with General Washington’s Headquarters and its support buildings dominating the area, during the period of regrouping.

This residence was used by the Quartermaster for the Continental Army at Valley Forge, General Nathaniel Greene.


About a half-mile east, Washington’s main encampment was established, after he moved the Marquee away from the Artillery Park. His personal guardsmen were housed in these cabins, with a spring house immediately below.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

The building below was a bakery for the Continental Army.


Here is the house that served as General Washington’s Headquarters. The downstairs was office space and a kitchen. All officers, including George Washington, slept on the second floor.


Here is a glimpse of Washington’s office.


Washington slept here.


I grabbed a late lunch and gassed up in Valley Forge Village, with Freedom Deli and Catering being right next to a Sunoco station.  I took a brief look at Freedom’s Foundation’s grounds, which I remember from Frankie Laine’s pitch on the radio, in the late 1950’s.  Funny, what sticks in your head. I didn’t get photos, as the place was closed and I would like to do it justice, on another visit.  Valley Forge left me with a deeper appreciation for the truth of all those stories of hardship and endurance, we heard in my school days.

Back to Oley, I’m headed, and thankfully there is no rain in the forecast.

NEXT:  Brotherly Love and The Wedding of the Year

The 2018 Road, Day 20: A Place of Resilience, Part 2- The Commander’s Chapel


June 14, 2018, Valley Forge-

Coming around the bend,as it were, from Varnum’s headquarters, I saw a tall castle-like structure, fronting a sizable cemetery.  This is the first section of Washington Memorial Chapel that greets the visitor, from the north.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

The Chapel is not part of Valley Forge National Historic Park, but being surrounded by the park, it is well-visited by thousands, in the course of a year.   It was constructed from 1904-1917, at the behest of Dr. W. Herbert Burk, a local Anglican minister, with the blessing of President Theodore Roosevelt.


The design and materials evoke the sturdiness and timeless aura of the enduring stone churches of Europe.




Homages to the power and endurance of history are contained, in the commemorative discs, embedded in both the outside patios and the interior floors.


In the foyer of the chapel, there is this memorial tribute to Dr. Bodo Otto, and his sons, who staffed a combat hospital in nearby Yellow Springs. The Ottos had come to Philadelphia, from Gottingen, in what is now Germany, in the 1750’s.


These views are of the north side of the structure.  Note the Carillon and Bell Tower, in the background.



This is a statue of Rev. William White, Chaplain to the Continental Congress and first Episcopal Bishop of Philadelphia.  It is located in the Chapel’s courtyard.


This Justice Bell hangs in the foyer of the Chapel.


These arches lie on the east entrance to the Chapel.


This Wall of Honor has names of many veterans, from the Revolutionary War to the present day.


Here is  a view of the Chapel’s interior.


This memorial, erected by the Valley Forge Alumnae Chapter, in 1993, represents a concerted national effort to recognize the diversity of our nation’s builders, from the beginning of America’s story.


A small Gift Shop and Cafe is operated by parish volunteers.  The cafe was welcomed by me, after a day of exploration in the heat.


The only identified grave at Valley Forge is that of Lieutenant John Waterman, of Rhode Island, d. April 23, 1778.  This obelisk was erected at his gravesite, in 1901, by the Daughters of the American Revolution, in honour of all those who died at Valley Forge, during the American encampment.


Both the Chapel and the obelisk overlook the Grand Parade, where the Continental Army trained, whilst at Valley Forge.


So, it was with humility that I stood and gave thanks for their long ago sacrifice, which started the process, far from perfect and far from finished, of building our nation.

NEXT:  General Washington’s Headquarters and the western sector of Valley Forge




The 2018 Road, Day 9, Part 2: Tenkswatewa’s Bequest


June 4-5, 2018, Prophetstown State Park, IN-

I spent the day and night here at this underrated, but magnificent little Indiana state park.  The weather was just right, and I actually avoided the storm system which passed to the north of us, then, unfortunately, went southeast and wreaked havoc on eastern Kentucky and West Virginia.

Prophetstown was a settlement of Wea people, who were part of the Miami Nation, with several French and British traders living among them, in the period immediately following the end of the American Revolution.  The Europeans exercised some influence over Tenkswatewa (popularly known as The Prophet), the spiritual leader of the Wea, and his brother Tecumseh, who was the Wea’s military and political leader.

The settlement was closely monitored by American forces, led by General William Henry Harrison, a native of Virginia, who had interests in American expansion into Indiana and Illinois.  In 1811, tensions were again mounting between the United States and the United Kingdom, basically over the rights to these very territories. The British, in what is now Michigan-and Canada-, were feeling boxed in, by the fact of the Louisiana Purchase.  American fur, and other agricultural, interests were pushing hard for a westward land link to Louisiana Territory.  As always, the indigenous people were caught in the middle.  Tecumseh and Tenkswatewa thought their lot lie with the British, so they held firm against any American approaches.  The upshot was that, on November 7, 1811, Harrison’s troops retaliated for what turned out to be a contrived, British-led attack on American settlers and attacked Prophetstown.  They found one old Wea woman there, and after moving her to a safe location, the American troops burned Prophetstown.  This was one precursor to the War of 1812.

Without further ado, some photos of the park, as it exists today.  Both Wea and more contemporary American buildings are preserved here.  The Wea structures shown are the chief’s house and the Longhouse, or Council House.






Those who have followed this blog, for several years, may recognize a resemblance between this longhouse and that at Mission San Luis, in Tallahassee.  There was, in fact, much communication and trade between the nations of the Southeast and those of the Midwest, as well as with other regions.

Below, is a model of the village of Prophetstown, in miniature.


Below, is one of several units for fur traders.


Between the indigenous and white settlements, a section of short grass prairie is preserved.


The next few scenes are those of the familiar Midwest farm settlement.




Below, is a mound, possibly a burial mound similar to those found across the Midwest-such as the ones found near Chillicothe, Ohio and Cahokia, Illinois.


Western Indiana is one of the areas where tall forest meets prairie.


So, there is the background for tomorrow’s post:  The Battle of Tippecanoe, whose site I will visit, then.

The 2018 Road, Day 4: Not So Lonely Highway


May 30, 2018, Salina, UT-


She was not happy that I left, before she got out of school.  I sent a message that I would try to return, weather-permitting, during the winter holidays.   There are souls who I have known forever and souls with whom I have found a bond, almost instantaneously, in this lifetime.  B is of the latter category.

Some could say it is tricky, for a man in late middle age and a child, especially a girl, to be thus bonded.  There is no skeevy factor, no EEEEWW.  I am here strictly to foster a very keen mind, to stoke dreams that will someday raise at least one person’s section of the world to a whole new level.  My friend J.R. Cline knows of what I speak.

I made the drive east, along U.S. Highway 50, whose Nevada portion is billed as “The Loneliest Highway in America.  It was too soon after breakfast to stop at Susie’s, so I went past Fallon.  Lake Lahontan also seemed to be at or near the same level as last year, so no stop there, either.  In the usual spot at the base of the mountain leading up to Pony Canyon, and Austin, there was another stranded vehicle, as was the case last year.  This time, the couple were headed west and had already called a tow truck.  I continued on, and enjoyed a simple, but satisfying burger and cup of soup at Toiyabe Cafe.

Through the Toiyabe, past Eureka, through Ely, I went.  Silver State Restaurant, which I patronized two years ago, has gone belly-up.  That’s a big hole, on Ely’s west side.  I wasn’t ready for dinner, though, and I was planning on enjoying my salad greens, anyway.

After briefly checking out the nearby town of McGill, I headed south and east.  That brought me here, to the veteran-owned Ranch Motel.


So, here will begin Day 5, and I will get at least as far as the Front Range, on the never-lonely I-70.

The 2018 Road, Days 2-3: Pre-conceived notions, Heart Pancakes and A Warrior Princess


May 27-28, 2018, Carson City- I got into Carson City, and a long-time friend’s house, around 10:15, on Sunday night.  I’ve been here, each year since 2012, on either Memorial Day or Independence Day. The members of Family S have been like biological family to me, for far longer-since the early 1990’s.

So, a stop up here has been a precursor to my summer time excursions, whether I’m headed northwestward or am eastbound.  I’ve known some family members since they were tweens and now am honoured by the presence of Princess B.  She will remain off-screen here, per my own policy when it comes to children, but B. is a highly intelligent and imaginative young lady and nobody will lay a hand on her, by my lights- or those of her grandmother, let alone on her parents’ watch.

Monday was spent in study of a Baha’i text that deals with consultation.  This is a practice that is sorely needed, not just in this country, but across the globe.  How many times have I found friends, even from other parts of the world, not opening their minds and hearts to other points of view?    The text I studied yesterday reminds us that no one person has all the answers, nor does any one group.  We watched a PBS documentary on the many aspects of warfare, after the study session.  Failure to view people outside one’s group, community or nation as human, or worthy of respect, has been the single greatest underlying cause of warfare, throughout history.  This is true, regardless of the cause of record.

All day today, Tuesday, I have thought of the world being left to B and her contemporaries, and to my grandchildren, yet unconceived, unborn.  She, her grandmother and I enjoyed a lovely Chinese buffet, shopped for things we needed at Target and Best Buy and came back for a “group project”, involving a streaming device and antennas.  Then, we enjoyed pancakes, including  two heart-shaped gems.

Those of you who have followed me , for the past several years, know that I have regularly come across heart-shaped items, both in natural and urban settings.  Here is a view of one heart-shaped pancake, before it was claimed by its rightful owner, our indomitable warrior princess.



This visit was way too short, we all agreed, before B left with her father.  Tomorrow, I may connect for a bit with another WP reader, not far from here, before heading across Nevada and Utah.  Hopefully, I will also connect with extended family in Colorado and friends along the eastward route.   The centerpiece of this trip, my youngest niece’s wedding, looms three short week from now.

Not Throwing In The Towel


Towel-Dog-760x500May 25, 2018, Prescott-

An erstwhile friend has decreed today as Towel Day.  I will stay on the fringes of these festivities, as that’s how she and her significant other seem to want things.  Besides, my schedule, these next two days, is packed- as I will be, by Sunday morning.

School ended yesterday, and for me, it was as successful as 2015-16, and a far cry from last year.  I did not limp to the finish line this time.  The kids, and my co-workers, will reconvene in a week’s time, for Extended School Year.   I will sit that one out, having a major family event in mid-June. The wedding of my youngest niece will bring us all together, and will be one for the books.

As always, I have taken the steps to certify that both my car and I are ready for this year’s long road trip.  Vehicle has taken its lumps, but I have repaired most of what’s gone wrong and will tend to the cosmetics over the next day or so.  Ditto for yours truly, and while my cosmetics are showing their age, my health care providers aren’t putting me anywhere near the scrap heap.  I’m content with what I see in the mirror.

After two, and maybe three, important events here in town, today and tomorrow, I will head northwards, to Carson City, for an annual reconnect with one or more members of my extended spiritual family.  From there, the route looks like Utah, Colorado, Kansas, central Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ontario, Montreal, Plattsburgh, NY, Vermont,Massachusetts, Connecticut, West Point, eastern Pennsylvania (especially Philadelphia), Baltimore, Delmarva, Hampton Roads, across Virginia, the Carolinas, Tennessee, southern Missouri, Oklahoma, Amarillo and Albuquerque’s Old Town, before getting back to Home Base-somewhere around July 4.

In spite of all this seems to entail, I have built in a goodly number of daily rest stops, visits with friends and family and good clean fun.  My main mode, rain or shine, will be camping along the way and relying more on picnicking, than the heavy restaurant visits of past adventures.  There will be a few of those last, though, when I can at least treat those who have been so caring to me, over so many years- and special places in my heart, like Artful Dodger, Cupcakes & Cravings, et al.  Porthole Pub, in Lynn, MA., is slated to close soon, making way for some sorely needed luxury condos. (Wonder how we’ve gotten along without them, all these years!)  I ought to prevail on a few family members to pay a last visit to Porthole.

Whether here or there, my Faith is essential to keeping me going, on a daily basis.  So, one of the events this evening is faith-based, several of the people with whom I will visit, in the coming weeks, are my fellows in faith and the Baha’i House of Worship, in Wilmette, IL falls into the middle of my outbound itinerary, as is only proper.

One way or another, I will maintain a daily presence here- letting all my peeps in on what’s going down, as in the past.  After all, there are plenty of coffee houses and such, along the way- and Good Sam Parks are reliable with WiFi, to boot. Instagram, a gift of the above-mentioned erstwhile correspondent, remains on my network.  One keeps the baby, while waving farewell to the bath water.




May 11, 2018, Prescott-

Answers are trickling in.

I am a “go”,

in this pos,

next academic year.

My presence is needed,

at Saturday’s Prescott Valley Days,

in two different booths.

What was supposed to go

to a friend here,

was sent to a family member,

in another state.

This will delay things,

by three days.

Life goes on.

People who express

terms of endearment

to me, do the same

for many others,

and why not?

We all need it.

Life is awesome.

My itinerary for

the first leg of

this summer’s journey

remains up in the air.

No worries,

my concern is

with this weekend

and the next two weeks.

Life needs presence

and a sense of urgency.


I Know…


May 9, 2018, Prescott-

I know that I made the best decision of my life,

when I married her

and stayed faithful.

I know that I could have done better,

dealing with the winsome faces,

especially once she left.

I know that

I never cheated.

I know that now,

as I blaze my own trail onward,

there are she and other spirits,

telling me  that it’s okay

to really love another.

I know that one will come to me,

as a dear sister told me,

a few days ago.

I know that time is

never rushed,

that people need

to figure it out,

for themselves.

I know that I am

essentially good,

that dwelling on flaws

is a chimera.

I know that life

could turn on

a dime,

and probably will.

I know that the

best job I’ve had,

since the mid-1990’s,

may last three more years,

or it may only last

two more weeks.

I know that

I will land on my feet.

I know that I am loved.