Argentina, Buenos Aires & The Falkland Islands Talk

Buenos Aires is one of my favorite cities and here’s a talk from the final cruise on OCEAN PRINCESS going around South America just before she ship was sold by Princess.

Argentina

More talks available on YouTube Channnel – These were filmed by cruise ships onboard for rebroadcast on stateroom TV. Production quality varies greatly.

“W T F?”

I’m about a third of the way through a massive make over of this site, getting rid of literally hundreds of posts I’ve made over the past eight years, and attempting to organize those that remain into a few categories … Panama Real Estate, my Speaking & Destination Lecture information, Living in Panama, and The Panama Canal.  But, I’m still me … and there are some of these old blogs that I really like, that don’t fit any category, but IMHO deserve repeating.  So … here goes!

“WTF?”

There is an old hymn that we used to sing in Sunday school, “Onward Christian soldiers, marching as to war” … really quite interesting.

A bit of history from Wikipedia …
“Onward, Christian Soldiers” is a 19th-century English hymn. The words were written by Sabine Baring-Gould in 1865, and the music was composed by Arthur Sullivan in 1871 … The Salvation Army adopted the hymn as its favored processional … The hymn’s theme is taken from references in the New Testament to the Christian being a soldier for Christ, for example II Timothy 2:3 (KJV): “Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.”

When Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt met in August 1941 on the battleship HMS Prince of Wales to agree the Atlantic Charter, a church service was held for which Prime Minister Churchill chose the hymns. He chose “Onward, Christian Soldiers” and afterwards made a radio broadcast explaining this choice:

We sang “Onward, Christian Soldiers” indeed, and I felt that this was no vain presumption, but that we had the right to feel that we serving a cause for the sake of which a trumpet has sounded from on high. When I looked upon that densely packed congregation of fighting men of the same language, of the same faith, of the same fundamental laws, of the same ideals … it swept across me that here was the only hope, but also the sure hope, of saving the world from measureless degradation. —Winston Churchill

The song has been sung at many funerals, including at the funeral of American president Dwight D. Eisenhower at the National Cathedral, Washington, D.C., March 1969. Apart from its obvious martial associations, the song has been associated with protest against the established order, particularly in the case of the civil rights movement.

An attempt was made in the 1980s to strip “Onward, Christian Soldiers” from the United Methodist Hymnal and the Episcopal Hymnal 1982 due to perceived militarism. Outrage among church-goers caused both committees to back down. However, the hymn was omitted from both the 1990 and 2013 hymnals of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the Australian Hymn Book, published in 1977, and its successor, Together in Song, published in 1999. The Spiritualists’ National Union hymnbook has a variation on the hymn, entitled “Onward, Comrades, Onward”. In some modern Anglican hymn books, it is replaced with Onward, Christian Pilgrims set to the same tune.

Here’s the hymn at its traditional best with fantastic organ accompaniment at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Ft Lauderdale. [Appologies for D. James Kennedy who was pastor when this was filmed. While I found his use of Elizabethan “thees and thous” out-of-touch and pretentious, Kennedy did a lot of good things. Unfortunately, toward the end of his life Kennedy became consumed with conservative right-wing causes including an organization known as the Moral Majority, and was vitriolically anti-gay. It’s also interesting, and a bit depressing from a church growth standpoint, to look at the age mix of the congregation. To replace Kennedy they hired a young “different” and more contemporary guy who happened to be the grandson of Billy Graham. He didn’t keep his fly zipped up tight and was forced out of the church in a major scandal of sexual impropriety. Sometimes you just need to feel sorry for Jesus with all the crap that goes on in his name.]

Unfortunately the unabashed military tone of the hymn reflects much of the problem that has existed through the ages as people have gone to war, killed, plundered, and tortured in the name of religions supposedly faith-based.

Here is the hymn at its militaristic best, or worst, with an appropos ending …

Because I liked the tune, I took a page from Arvella Schuller’s Hour of Power playbook [Yet another sad, sad story!] and simply rewrote the words with the revised chorus for “Onward Then Ye People” being …

Onward then, ye people, join our happy throng,
Blend with ours your voices in the triumph song.
Glory, laud and honor unto Christ the King,
This through countless ages men and angels sing.

It seems to me the attitude of making war over your religion [or chopping off heads as in the days of the Crusades, the time of the Spanish Inquisition, or the gruesome antics of blood-thirsty ISIS members] is one of the great plaques of pseudo religious faith. It seems to me if it’s something to go to war over, you miss the entire point.

Because on cruises, particularly the world cruise and cruises stopping in African ports, we end up going to a lot of places that are mostly Islamic, and passengers on board are heavily agnostic, Christian and Jewish, I end up in my lectures as being somewhat of a apologist [an apologist is not someone who apologizes for a belief system, but one who attempts to explain it], for Islam. A frequent question, “Why are there so many mosques?”

Aside from the correct answer that their should be a mosque within walking distance, I will add, “Wy are there so many churches in the US or England?” I usually point out that most folks follow their religion according to what is convenient for them, picking and choosing, like folks who celebrate the traditional Jewish holidays only when the parents are in town, or Christians who make it to church only on Christmas Eve and Easter.

In explaining these differences in the Abrahamic religions, one of my favorite lines . . . “If Moses, Jesus, and the Prophet Muhammad, blessed be all their names, we sitting together at Starbucks having a coffee, they would collectively ask, ‘WTF?’” I watch as the younger folks in the audience smile, smirk, or just hold their breath, and then quickly add for the rest of the audience, “which in theological terms means, ‘Where’s The Faith?'”

Which is a really good question.

Back Home!

After 3 months away at sea … fantastic ports and places to be sure! … I’m happy to be back home in my beautiful paradise.  Yes, we’re in the rainy season, which frankly I love more than the dry (or “less rainy”) season.  There seem to be more butterflies than ever, probably because I planted my garden to attract butterflies and hummingbirds.  Yes, there is catching up … pruning and “honey do” items … but to sit on the porch and watch the sun rise in the morning with my own home-grown coffee … man, did I miss my own good coffee on the ship! … or sit in my own, private spa and sip a drink and watch the sun set … nothing against cramming into a ship spa with 6 other passengers, BUT at home I don’t need a bathing suit!  Well, it IS paradise!  What can I say?

Sometimes I just need to relax … stop running ….and enjoy the moment and the process!

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February was on one of my new favorite ships … PEARL MIST.  I love the idea of a stateroom with private veranda, under 200 guests who are interesting and fun to get to know, where everything is included … nice!  And the perfect ship to visit Cuba.  We loved Cuba!  Yes, it is somewhat a work in progress, but the people are warm and welcoming, and the architecture, although sometimes needing renovation, which is happening, is fantastic.

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I got off PEARL MIST and literally walked down the terminals in Fort Lauderdale to board CORAL PRINCESS.  CORAL was built especially to be the largest cruise ship at the time that could fit through the historic Panama Canal.  The godmother was Mireya Moscoso, then the President of Panama and President when the Canal was turned back to Panama.  CORAL with about 2,000 passengers is actually a “smaller” cruise ship by today’s standards.  The great thing for me is that the reason WHY people book a Panama Canal cruise IS the Panama Canal.  It’s fun to have a big theater filled with folks who are eager to learn about the Canal, sometimes even sitting in the aisles!  And the most fun thing for me is to get up at 4 am, walk out on deck and see folks already out and waiting for the transit to begin.  On complete transits I start the narration at 5:15 am and go on … and off … telling folks what’s happening until late afternoon.  I love it, and the guests do too!

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So Cuba, Panama Canal, Aruba, Cartagena, both sides of Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Mexico … t really is a fun retirement.

So … back home.

Folks are always surprised when they see the skyline of Panama City and all the construction going on.  Many aren’t used to a vibrant economy like Panama.  And the future … looks great.  I found this news article this morning, which I can’t resist repeating.  If you are looking for a place to retire or looking for an expat lifestyle the state of the local economy is important.

Government revenues forecast to grow 42.5% in 5 years

PANAMA GOVERNMENT revenues will grow 42.5% over the next five years according to estimates endorsed by the Cabinet Council and published in the official Gazette.

The publication indicates that for this year, the current income of the Central Government will be $8.443 billion and in the year 2022 it will reach e $12. 34 billion.

The Gross Domestic Product (GDP is currently estimated at $5.9 billion, and by 2022 will reach $8.9 billion (+ 50.8%).

The document containing the figures also states that by 2017 the Social Security Fund is expected to have income of $3. 545 billion, a figure that would grow 39% to $4.930 billion by 2022.

The estimates were published in the Official Gazette because Law 34 of June 5, 2008 rules that during the first four months of each year, the Ministry of Economy and Finance should make public the Macroeconomic projections for the next five years. [Newsroom Panama]

One of my big projects is to redo both of my Web sites … this one and PanamaforSalebyOwner.INFO.  Thanks for your patience while I remodel the sites.  I’ve been blogging now for over 8 years, so it is time for a major renovation.