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Friday, June 30, 2023




Gustav Klimt’s ‘Lady with a Fan,’ a late-life masterpiece by the late Austrian artist Gustav Klimt, has sold to an anonymous Hong Kong collector for 85.3 million pounds ($108.4 million), at Sotheby’s in London, making it the most expensive artwork ever auctioned in Europe. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, File) 


Dame mit Fächer (Lady with a Fan) was the final portrait painted by Gustav Klimt between 1917-18 and was found on an easel in his studio when he died. It was acquired shortly after Klimt’s death [Feb. 8, 1918] by Erwin Böhler, an industrialist in Vienna. Böhler’s family were close friends and patrons of both Klimt and the painter Egon Schiele. The family even vacationed with Klimt at a lake near Salzburg that served as the inspiration for many of the artist’s landscape works and were photographed there together. 


Painter Gustav Klimt and cat

The painting was eventually passed to Erwin’s brother Heinrich, a close friend of Klimt, and then to Heinrich’s wife Mabel in 1940 after his death. 

 The next owner was Rudolf Leopold, the Viennese art collector and museum director, who also bought many Schiele works from Mabel Böhler in 1952. The family of the current owner acquired Dame mit Fächer (Lady with a Fan) through a Sotheby’s auction in New York in 1994. Sotheby’s did not to reveal the family’s identity or the reason for its current sale. 

 Most recently, Dame mit Fächer (Lady with a Fan) was part of the 2021–22 exhibition “Gustav Klimt’s Last Works” at the Belvedere Museum in Vienna, marking the first time it had been on public display since its acquisition from the Sotheby’s auction in 1994. 

Emilie & Gustav
 Helena Newman, Sotheby’s Europe chairman, told the Art Newspaper she expected to see strong Asian interest in this portrait, due to Klimt’s portrayal of artist’s portrayal of lotus blossoms, phoenixes, and dragons in the background, and due to the motifs on the unnamed woman’s robe. 

 “Klimt is in that rare category of artists—including Modigliani, Picasso and Giacometti—whose work has achieved over $100 million at auction,” Newman said. 

 While the model holding the fan in the painting is not specifically identified, the facial image is similar to Emilie Floge, a Vienna fashion designer, who has been linked with Klimt as a friend, business colleague, muse, and lover. Her life story, albeit not as well known as Klimt’s, nevertheless, is remarkable in its own as a groundbreaking fashionista.

Thursday, June 29, 2023



 last known images depict the deadliness of the ocean combined with the unforeseen and mankind’s folly to tame the untamable. 


Photo: Fr. Francis Browne, an Irish Jesuit priest


Wednesday, June 28, 2023


Bo Shepherd, left, & Kyle Dubay 

Woodward Throwbacks, owned by a young Detroit couple is a thriving décor warehouse business creating utilitarian (residential & commercial) interior design items from recycled materials. 

The mainstream media has caught up with the talented couple as they are topics of conversation nationwide. Pure Americana. More recently on NBC. Click here. 

Product lines are quickly evolving in sophistication but for now, remain a bit pricey for a DIY look, but someone has to pay the PR pipers.  See for yourself.

Website: Click here. 

Tuesday, June 27, 2023


GUEST BLOG / By Joe Yogerst, CNN Reporter.

 Little Palm Beach, Waiheke Island, New Zealand: Although nude bathing is technically allowed on any beach, there are some designated clothing-optional locations. Reaching Little Palm Beach entails a 40--60-minute ferry ride from Auckland, a taxi or rideshare to the island's north shore, and then a short downhill hike. 

 Nida Nude Beach, Lithuania: The chilly Baltic Sea may not seem like the most obvious place to skinny dip. But this gorgeous strand on the long, sandy Curonian Spit offers one of Europe’s most picturesque spots to take it all off. With its wildflower-covered dunes (among the highest in Europe) and shoreline forest, the beach was the focus of a 19th-century artists’ colony that attracted many of the leading painters, poets and writers of the time. Walk far enough south along the strand and you eventually come to a fence that marks the Lithuania-Russia border. 

 Lady Bay Beach, Sydney, Australia: Perched inside the South Head of Sydney Harbour, this small and narrow beach, which was first granted legal status in 1976, is incredibly secluded considering its city location. 


Black's Beach, La Jolla, California:
Located beneath the 100-meter-high cliffs of Torrey Pines, above, this secluded section of beach was the first legal nude beach in the United States. Long, wide and blessed with great surf, the beach is reached via the zig-zag Ho Chi Minh Trail from the cliff-top Torrey Pines Gliderport near the University of California, San Diego. 

 Buhne 16, Sylt, Germany: “Grin and bare it” might well be the motto for nudists on this North Sea island, where the average water temperature in summer is a chilly 17 C (63 F). Technically all of the beaches on Sylt are clothing optional, but Buhne 16 was the first and is still the foremost location for nude sunbathing along the German shore. It’s a place where beachgoers can chill in the famous blue and white striped wicker beach chairs or let it all hang out at summer beach parties. While all of the beaches on Sylt are technically clothing-optional, Buhne 16 was the first and is still the best place to cast your clothes aside along the German shore. 

 Moshup Beach, Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts: Located right below an ancient lighthouse, Moshup lies beneath rust-colored sandstone cliffs that were declared a National Natural Monument in 1966. It's free of charge to anyone who wants to take their clothes off. 

 Wreck Beach, Vancouver: One of the world's longest nude beaches at 7.8 kilometers long, Wreck Beach is located near the University of British Columbia, meaning a steady stream of students and teachers have shed their clothes here since the early 1970s. 

 Red Beach, Crete, Greece: Named due to its ocher-colored sand and cliffs, Red Beach (or Kokkini Ammos) can be accessed via a 20-minute hike from Matala or a very short boat ride from the village waterfront. 

 Anse de Grande Saline, St. Barts: While nudity is prohibited in St. Barts, nude sunbathing is tolerated on this secluded stretch of sand that takes it name from the nearby large salt pond. 

 Platja des Cavallet, Ibiza, Spain: Located a short drive from Ibiza Town, this official nudist beach has several areas including a beach club party section and a more secluded section where the clothing-free crowd can be found. 

 Little Beach, Maui, Hawaii: Part of Makena State Park on the island's southeast coast, this clothing-optional beach overlooks a national marine sanctuary famed for its sea turtles, dolphins, whales and tropical fish. 


Uplifting at most likely the Middle East's only nude optional beach

Metsoke Dragot, Israel
: Float nude in the warm, ultra-buoyant salty water and smear your entire naked body with soothing, mineral-infused black mud at this rocky beach on the western shore of the Dead Sea. Perhaps the only place in the Middle East where any kind of public nudity is tolerated, Metsoke Dragot is located about an hour’s drive from Jerusalem and requires a short but rough drive along an unpaved road to reach the shoreline. Primitive camping is aloud along the shore. The only nearby hotel and bar is the cliff top Metzoke Dragot Travelers Village. Perhaps the only place in the Middle East where any kind of public nudity is tolerated, Metsoke Dragot is located about an hour's drive from Jerusalem and requires a short but rough drive along an unpaved road to reach the shoreline. 

 Cap d'Agde Beach, Agde, France: Sometimes called the “Naked City,” Cap d’Agde Naturist Village is the world’s largest clothing-optional beach resort, attracting as many as 40,000 guests on any given day during high season. Visitors are free to be naked wherever they want – restaurants and stores, post offices or banks, sailing their boat or lounging on the long public beach (where nudity is obligatory, even for those not staying at the resort). Nonresidents can stay overnight at the naturist hotel, camp ground or rental units. 

 Mpenjati Beach, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa: South Africa's only official nude beach, positioned in the Mpenjati Nature Reserve south of Durban, was awarded official nudist beach status in 2014. 

 Playa Zipolite, Oaxaca, Mexico: Featured in the 2001 Mexican movie "Y Tu Mamá También," Playa Zipolite stretches across two kilometers and is accepted as a clothing-optional beach (though it isn't legal here.) 


Praia Massarandupió, Bahia, Brazil:
Situated a two-hour drive north of Salvador, this beautiful Brazilian naturist beach (above) flanked by coconut palms, rolling dunes and perfect waves. 

 Spiaggia de Guvano, Vernazza, Italy: Located on the Cinque Terre, this primo Italian nude beach can only be reached via an abandoned railway tunnel on a path from Corniglia village and has no facilities at all. 

 Haulover Beach, Miami, Florida: The most popular public nude beach in the United States, Haulover attracts more than 1.3 million bare bottomed people to its white sands and warm water each year. The clothing-optional portion, marked at either end by picket fences, offers rental beach chairs and umbrellas, as well as lifeguards. Given the stellar weather in south Florida, there’s usually someone in the buff on any given day. But the biggest crowds gather during National Nude Recreation Week in July and whenever Haulover is trying to set a new Guinness World Record for skinny dipping. 

 Playa Naturista Chihuahua, Uruguay: Located about a 30-minute drive from Punta del Este, Uruguay’s best-known nude beach overlooks Portezuelo Bay on the Atlantic coast. Photogenic dunes and water temperatures that reach 25 Celsius (77 F) and higher even in the southern hemisphere winter add to the strand’s allure. After decades as an unofficial naked getaway, Chihuahua finally achieved legal status in 2000. 

 Nugal Beach, Croatia: Flanked by sheer cliffs and shades by pine trees, this remote beach on the mainland opposite Brač island is reached via a narrow path that seems ready made for goats rather than people seeking an apparel-free escape on the Adriatic. Be sure to bring a thick towel or even a beach chair — like many Croatian beaches the surface is pebbles rather than sand. Nugal is about a half-an-hour walk from the nearest town, although it can also be reached by boat or sea kayak from Makarska or Tučepi. 



It’s been a banner year for nudity around the globe. “Soft, smooth sand, warm ocean breeze, gentle ocean waves and lots of other naturists makes for a great clothing-optional beach,” says Nicky Hoffman of The Naturist Society, who’s also the managing editor of Nude & Natural magazine and co-author of “The World’s Best Nude Beaches & Resorts.” 

 Berlin recently announced that women can now go topless at the German capital’s public swimming pools while Nantucket Island went topless last December after locals voted in favor of “gender equality on beaches.” 

 After a multi-year Covid hiatus, the Free the Nipple campaign was back with topless parades in New York City, Vancouver, Paris and elsewhere. 

And the barely veiled female figure was the fashion statement du jour at the Met Gala, Milan Fashion Week, the BRIT Awards in London and other top-shelf events. 

 Meanwhile, there are more places than ever to sun, swim or build sandcastles au naturel at clothing-optional beaches on every continent. From rocky coastlines to talcum-powder fine sands, and big city bays to secluded shores, there are now hundreds of beaches where it’s perfectly legal (or at least de facto legal) to frolic beside the sea in nothing more than your birthday suit. 

 While clothing-optional beach destinations may seem like a modern invention, it’s actually quite an old idea, a product of the otherwise prudish Victorian era. During the 1880s, American poet Walt Whitman extolled the virtues of the “Adamic air bath” – his nude walkabouts and swims along Timber Creek in New Jersey, writing of “The free exhilarating ecstasy of nakedness in Nature.” 

 Channeling that same vibe, the naturist movement took off in Europe and North America during the first half of the 20th century, with city parks, camp grounds and eventually beaches established for those who wanted to experience nature nude in their most natural state. One of the spin-offs of the socially and sexually liberal 1960s was a “free beach” movement that saw a proliferation of nude beaches around the world. And their popularity continues today, with more and more popping up each year.  

Monday, June 26, 2023


Why did Putin pick a fight with one of the most powerful members of the
SILOVIKI: "Chef" Prigozhin? (left).


Remarkable Coverage/Analysis from USA TODAY

GUEST BLOG / By Josh Meyer, a veteran USA TODAY correspondent focusing on domestic, national and global security issues, including terrorism, cybersecurity and transnational criminal organizations 

A mutiny against Russian President Vladimir Putin came to a swift end Saturday, but it raised new questions about his grip on power and is expected to intensify pressure within Russia over the unpopular Ukraine war. 

 "I think you've seen cracks emerge that weren't there before," Secretary of State Antony Blinken told CNN's "State of the Union" program Sunday. 

Blinken noted that 16 months ago, at the start of the Ukraine war, Russian forces appeared poised to take Ukraine's capital, Kyiv, but were pushed back. "Now they're defending Moscow against mercenaries of Putin's own making," Blinken said. 

Most recently, as the Wagner group mercenaries advanced toward Moscow, Putin had vowed a harsh penalty for Yevgeniy Prigozhin, head of the paramilitary force that has been fighting alongside Russia's regular army in Ukraine. 

But after Prigozhin abruptly ended the rebellion, the Kremlin said he would not be prosecuted and would instead leave for Belarus. 

Not yet answered is who proposed the deal?

Prigozhin, once known as "Putin's chef," is a former restaurant owner who accumulated power and influence as a friend and close ally of the Russian president. 

But Prigozhin has been increasingly critical of Russia's military, accusing its leadership of incompetence and suggesting that too many young Russian soldiers had become cannon fodder in the war in Ukraine. 

 “There are a lot of people in Russia who are unhappy with Putin and agree with Prigozhin,” said Evelyn Farkas, a former top Russia official at the Department of Defense. 

Russia's real powerbrokers

 Although Putin's authority has not been challenged during his more than two decades as Russia's president, a shadowy group known as the siloviki – Russia’s version of the so-called Deep State security power brokers – wields substantial power behind the scenes in Russia, said Steven Hall, a former Moscow chief of station and head of Russia operations for the CIA. 

If Putin loses the group's support, he could be forced out almost immediately, he said. "Putin and the Kremlin haven't played the last card yet," Hall said. "Neither have any of the other players here, including Prigozhin, who probably has got other arrows in the quiver. 

 “There are still some outlying questions, I think, with regard to the Russian population and the Russian military and other ministries and power centers. But it's definitely very, very, very bad for Putin," Hall said. "In my view, if the siloviki – the senior intelligence, security and military folks – make the assessment that OK, this has gotten too crazy, then Putin's done. And that's very hard to predict, as to where they are on this and how long that might happen." 

 'The end of Putinism?' 

Kurt Volker, the former U.S. ambassador to NATO, agreed Putin is facing a crisis exponentially more serious than anything he has seen while in power. And much of that, he said, is of his own making. 

 First, Putin chose to launch, and continue, a war against Ukraine that was extremely unpopular with the Russian people and, more importantly, the siloviki security power brokers who can remove him from power. 

Then he picked a fight with one of the most powerful members of the siloviki: Prigozhin. 

 “Bottom line: Putin has left himself no way out. As long as he is in power, he will fight. And that will kill the Russian state. So this means his removal from power becomes inescapable if Russia is to survive as a state,” said Volker, the U.S. special representative for Ukraine negotiations from 2017 to 2019. 

 Wagner chief Prigozhin, once a close Putin ally, said earlier last week his troops had taken control of the military command centre and bases in the southern city of Rostov-on-Don, the nerve centre of Russia's offensive in Ukraine, and vowed to topple Moscow's top military leaders.

 “We still don’t know what mechanisms may arise, but the writing is on the wall,” Volker told USA TODAY. “Going after Prigozhin is a finger in the dike. The bigger picture is the end of Putinism.” 

 Behind-the-scenes dealmaking? 

Not everyone agrees that the end is near for Putin, at least politically. Farkas said Prigozhin’s about-face on the insurrection probably came from his realization that Putin had successfully marshalled Russian forces against him. That includes the military, the National Guard and internal security forces, she said, as well as other proxy fighting forces like the Chechens under leader Ramzan Kadyrov, who on Saturday publicly offered to help Putin put down the mutiny. 

 But Farkas said Putin made the serious mistake over the years of allowing Prigozhin to become not only a public face of the war in Ukraine but an extremely wealthy and politically powerful man, far more so than most other siloviki. 

 A wily and powerful Putin adversary Prigozhin said publicly that the war was a mistake that is undermining Russia economically, politically and militarily on the global stage. 

Those comments have resonated with influence groups in Russia like the mothers of fallen soldiers, who Farkas said helped bring an end to another unpopular conflict: the war in Chechnya many years ago. 

 What kind of support Prigozhin enjoys among the Russian population, and the siloviki power brokers, “is the million-dollar question,” said Farkas, the former deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia, Ukraine and Asia. 

“Even if Putin has solidified his support, obviously this is a sign of weakness. It shows that Putin is on the decline in terms of his political power.” 

 Prigozhin’s relationship with Putin dates back to his running a catering company and operating disinformation campaigns against the U.S. including during the 2016 election, through his Internet Research Agency. But most of his wealth and power comes from running the Wagner Group, and using it as a Russian proxy fighting force in Ukraine, wide swaths of Africa and elsewhere. 

 By being Putin’s close ally and proxy, Prigozhin has forged alliances with many other power brokers whom he could be using now to build an alliance against Putin. 

Hall, in fact, said it’s likely that the Wagner group chief began having those conversations weeks, if not months, ago. “He knows how the game has played. He has been in the Kremlin and has been a power player for a while. So I would be shocked if he hasn't already reached out to some of the siloviki and cut some deals,” Hall said. “This is not something that he's going to do cold and then see what happens.” 

 Daniel Fried, the former assistant secretary of state for Europe and ambassador to Poland, said the circumstances around Prigozhin’s assault, his discussions with the Belarus president and his sudden retreat suggest that something might be in the works. 

 “There seems to have been a deal. With whom? And for what?” said Fried, who has helped shaped the U.S. response to Russia for decades. 

“Did Prigozhin demand the replacement of Shoigu and Gerasimov,” the two Russian defense officials heading the war in Ukraine? “And did Putin accept? How does Putin survive such a sign of weakness?” Fried asked then produced the following masterpiece of understatement: “There is probably more to this strange story.” 

Sunday, June 25, 2023


South Montana's Last Stand Hill is where the Battle of the Little Big Horn ended for Gen. George Armstrong Custer and his 210 Seventh Cavalry soldiers.


 GUEST BLOG / By the Battle of the Little Bighorn was fought along the ridges, steep bluffs, and ravines of the Little Bighorn River, in south-central Montana on June 25-26, 1876. 

 The combatants were warriors of the Lakota Sioux, Northern Cheyenne, and Arapaho tribes, battling men of the 7th Regiment of the US Cavalry, along with their Crow, and Arikara scouts. 

 The Battle of the Little Bighorn has come to symbolize the clash of two vastly dissimilar cultures: the buffalo/horse culture of the northern plains tribes, and the highly industrial based culture of the United States. 

 This battle was not an isolated confrontation, but part of a much larger strategic campaign designed to force the capitulation of the nonreservation Lakota and Cheyenne. 

 In 1868, after fierce fighting from 1865-1867 between U.S. Army personnel and Lakota and Cheyenne warriors, several Lakota leaders agreed to sign the Treaty of Fort Laramie. 

 This treaty created a large reservation for the Lakota in the western half of present-day South Dakota; the Lakota's beloved Black Hills area. The United States wanted tribes to give up their nomadic life which brought them into conflict with other Indians, white settlers and railroads. Agreeing to the treaty meant accepting a more stationary life and relying on government-supplied subsidies. 

Sitting Bull
 However, Lakota leaders such as Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse rejected the reservation system. Likewise, many roving bands of hunters and warriors did not sign the 1868 treaty. They felt no obligation to conform to its restrictions, or to limit their hunting to the unceded hunting land assigned by the treaty. Their forays off the set aside lands brought them into conflict with settlers and enemy tribes outside the treaty boundaries. 

 The Stage is Set 

Tension between the United States and the Lakota escalated in 1874, when Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer was ordered to make an exploration of the Black Hills inside the boundary of the Great Sioux Reservation. Custer was to map the area, locate a suitable site for a future military post, and to make note of the natural resources. 

 During the expedition, professional geologists discovered deposits of gold. Word of its discovery caused an invasion of miners and entrepreneurs to the Black Hills in direct violation of the 1868 Treaty of Fort Laramie. 


Crazy Horse

The United States negotiated with the Lakota to purchase the Black Hills, but the offered price was rejected by the Lakota. The climax came in the winter of 1875, when the Commissioner of Indian Affairs issued an ultimatum requiring all Lakota to report to a reservation by January 31, 1876, or be labeled as "hostiles." The deadline came with virtually no response from the Indians, and matters were handed to the military. 

 General Philip Sheridan, commander of the Military Division of the Missouri, devised a strategy that committed several thousand troops to find and to engage the "hostile" Lakota and Cheyenne, with the goal of forcing their return to the Great Sioux Reservation. 

 The campaign was set in motion in March of 1876, when a 450-man force of combined cavalry and infantry commanded by Colonel John Gibbon, marched out of Fort Ellis near Bozeman, Montana. 

 General George Crook set out from Fort Fetterman in central Wyoming Territory with around 1,000 cavalry and infantry in late May. 

A few weeks before that, General Alfred Terry left from Fort Abraham Lincoln in Bismarck (Dakota Territory) with 879 men. The bulk of this force was the 7th Cavalry, commanded by Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer. 

 It was expected that any one of these three forces would be able to deal with the 800-1,500 warriors they likely were to encounter. 

The three commands of Gibbon, Crook, and Terry were not expected to launch a coordinated attack on a specific Indian village at a known location. Inadequate, slow, and often unpredictable communications hampered the army's coordination of its expeditionary forces. 

Furthermore, the nomadic lifestyle of the Lakota and Cheyenne people meant they were constantly on the move. No officer or scout could be certain how long a village might remain stationary, or which direction the tribe might choose to go in search of food, water, and grazing areas for their horses. 

 A Prophetic Vision 

The region containing the Powder, Rosebud, Bighorn, and Yellowstone rivers was a productive hunting ground and the tribes regularly gathered in large numbers during early summer to celebrate their annual sun dance ceremony. 

This ceremony had occurred about two weeks earlier near present-day Lame Deer, Montana. During the ceremony, Sitting Bull received a vision of soldiers falling upside down into his village. He prophesized there soon would be a great victory for his people. 

 On the morning of June 25, the camp was ripe with rumors about soldiers on the other side of the Wolf Mountains, 15 miles to the east, yet few people paid any attention. 

In the words of Low Dog, an Oglala Lakota: "I did not think anyone would come and attack us so strong as we were." 

 On June 22, General Terry decided to detach Custer and his 7th Cavalry to make a wide flanking march and approach the Indians from the east and south. Custer was to act as the hammer, and prevent the Lakota and their Cheyenne and Arapaho allies from slipping away and scattering, a common fear expressed by government and military authorities. 

 General Terry and Colonel Gibbon, with infantry and cavalry, would approach from the north to act as a blocking force or anvil in support of Custer's far ranging movements toward the headwaters of the Tongue and Little Bighorn Rivers. 

The Indians, who were thought to be camped somewhere along the Little Bighorn River, "would be so completely enclosed as to make their escape virtually impossible." 

George A. Custer
Custer Takes Position 

On the evening of June 24, Custer established a night camp twenty-five miles east of where the fateful battle would take place on June 25-26. The Crow and Arikara scouts were sent ahead, seeking actionable intelligence about the Lakota and Cheyenne. 

The returning scouts reported that the trail indicated the village turned west toward the Little Bighorn River and was encamped close by. Custer ordered a night march that followed the route that the village took as it crossed to the Little Bighorn River valley. 

Early on the morning of June 25, the 7th Cavalry Regiment was positioned near the Wolf Mountains, about twelve miles distant from the Lakota/Cheyenne encampment along the Little Bighorn River. 

 Modern historians estimate the village numbered around 8,000, with a warrior force of 1,500-1,800 men. 

Custer's initial plan had been to conceal his regiment in the Wolf Mountains through June 25, which would allow his Crow and Arikara scouts time to locate the Indian village. 

 Custer then planned to make a night march, and launch an attack at dawn on June 26; however, the scouts reported the regiment's presence had been detected by Lakota or Cheyenne warriors. 

Custer, judging the element of surprise to have been lost, feared the inhabitants would attack or scatter into the rugged landscape, causing the failure of the Army's campaign. 

Capt. F. W. Benteen
Custer ordered an immediate advance to engage the village and its warrior force. At the Wolf Mountain location, Custer ordered a division of the regiment into four segments: the pack train with ammunition and supplies (125 men), three companies (125 men) commanded by Captain Frederick Benteen, three companies (140 men) commanded by Major Marcus Reno and five companies (210 men) commanded by Custer. 

 Benteen was ordered to march southwest with the objective of locating any Indians, "pitch into anything" he found, and send word to Custer. Custer and Reno's advance placed them in proximity to the village, but still out of view. When it was reported that the village was scattering, 

Custer ordered Reno to lead his 140-man battalion, plus the Arikara scouts, and to "pitch into what was ahead" with the assurance that he would "be supported by the whole outfit". 

 Reno's Command 

The Lakota and Cheyenne village lay in the broad river valley bottom, just west of the Little Bighorn River. As instructed by Custer, Major Reno crossed the river about two miles south of the village and began advancing downstream toward its southern end. Though initially surprised, the warriors quickly rushed to fend off Reno's assault. 

Major Marcus Reno
Reno halted his command, dismounted his troops and formed them into a skirmish line, which began firing at the warriors who were advancing from the village. Mounted warriors pressed their attack against Reno's skirmish line and soon endangered his left flank. 

Reno withdrew to a stand of timber beside the river, which offered better protection. Eventually, Reno ordered a second retreat, this time to the bluffs east of the river. 

The Lakota and Cheyenne, likening the pursuit of retreating troops to a buffalo hunt, rode down the troopers. 

Soldiers at the rear of Reno's fleeing command incurred heavy casualties as warriors galloped alongside the fleeing troops and shot them at close range, or pulled them out of their saddles onto the ground. 

Reno's now shattered command recrossed the Little Bighorn River and struggled up steep bluffs to regroup atop high ground to the east of the valley fight. 

Meanwhile, Captain Benteen had returned after finding no evidence of Indians or their movement to the south. He arrived on the bluffs in time to meet Reno's demoralized survivors. 

A messenger from Custer previously had delivered a written communication to Benteen that stated, "Come on. Big Village. Be Quick. Bring Packs. P.S. Bring Packs." An effort was made to locate Custer after heavy gunfire was heard downstream. 

Led by Captain Weir's D Company, troops moved north in an attempt establish communication with Custer. Assembling on a high promontory (Weir Point) a mile and a half north of Reno's position, the troops could see clouds of dust and gun smoke covering the battlefield.

 Large numbers of warriors approaching from that direction forced the cavalry to withdraw to Reno Hill where the Indians held them under siege from the afternoon of June 25, until dusk on June 26. 

On the evening of June 26, the entire village began to move to the south. 

 Custer's Fate 

The next day the combined forces of Terry and Gibbon arrived in the valley where the village had been encamped. The badly battered and defeated remnant of the 7th Cavalry under Reno and Benteen was now relieved. 

Scouting parties discovered the dead, naked, and mutilated bodies of Custer's command on the ridges east of the river. Exactly what happened to Custer's command never will be fully known. 

From Indian accounts, archeological finds, and positions of bodies, historians can piece together the Custer portion of the battle, although many answers remain elusive. 

 It is known that after ordering Reno to charge the village, Custer rode northward along the bluffs until he reached a broad drainage known as Medicine Tail Coulee, a natural route leading down to the river and the village. 

Archeologial finds indicate some skirmishing occurred at Medicine Tail ford. For reasons not fully understood, the troops fell back and assembled on Calhoun Hill. The warriors, after forcing Major Reno to retreat, now began to converge on Custer's maneuvering command as it forged north along what today is called Custer or Battle Ridge. 

 Dismounting at the southern end of the ridge, companies C and L appear to have put up stiff resistance before being overwhelmed. Company I perished on the east side of the ridge. The survivors rushed toward the hill at the northwest end of the long ridge. 

Company E may have attempted to drive warriors from the deep ravines on the west side of the ridge, before being consumed in fire and smoke in one of the very ravines they were trying to clear. 

Company F may have tried to fire at warriors on the flats below the National Cemetery before being driven to the Last Stand Site. 

 About 40 men of the original 210 were cornered on the hill where the stone monument now stands. Hundreds of Lakota and Cheyenne warriors surrounded them. 

Toward the end of the fight, soldiers, some on foot, others on horseback, broke out in a desperate attempt to get away. All were pulled down and killed in a matter of minutes. The warriors quickly rushed to the top of the hill, dispatching the last of the wounded. 

Superior numbers and overwhelming firepower brought the Custer portion of the Battle of the Little Bighorn to a close. 


The battle was a momentary victory for the Lakota and Cheyenne. The death of Custer and his troops became a rallying point for the United States to increase their efforts to force native peoples onto reservation lands. 

With more troops in the field, Lakota hunting grounds were invaded by powerful Army expeditionary forces determined to conquer the Northern Plains Indians. Most of the declared "hostiles" surrendered within one year of the fight, and the Black Hills were taken by the US government without compensation to the Lakota. 


Saturday, June 24, 2023



Every cafe has ‘that guy or gal’—who spreads out gadgets, bellows into a phone and buys just one small black coffee all day. 

Here’s a field guide to what normal folks are thinking about such clueless pinheads: 

 1. Shouts Into His Phone “Bob! Can you hear me, Bob?! Sorry, but the jerks in this cafe are so noisy and rude I can barely concentrate. Bob?!” 

 2. Asks for Free Refills “Mind giving me a warm up, kid? I’ve been here so long that my $1.50 drip coffee is practically ice cold. A croissant? Oh no, I ate before I came.” 

 3. Leaves a Mess “Why should I have to clean all this up? It’s not like I work at this coffee shop. I’m a paying customer!” 

 4. Takes Every Outlet “Yes I do need all these plugs. Isn’t that self-evident? No, I can’t briefly unplug my printer. Maybe you should’ve arrived a tad earlier.” 

 5. Builds a Workstation “How can I manage all my super-important spreadsheets with one puny laptop? I need a full-size keyboard to type, and a 22-inch screen to see all my tabs.” 

 6. World’s worst customer on YouTube. Click here. 

SOURCE: The satire above (except #6) came from the Wall Street Journal. Click here to read it in full. 

Friday, June 23, 2023



GUEST BLOG / By Sandra Herera, CBS Sports
--The 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup kicks off in July and what a tournament it will be. The entire globe will be tuned into soccer's biggest stage as 32 nations battle it out for a chance to raise the cup. 

It's the first time the women's tournament will feature 32 teams, and each country has been split into eight groups of four teams, just like the format of the men's edition. 

The U.S. women's national team have been drawn into Group E and they will kick off their World Cup title defense on July 21 against Vietnam. 


“The task of selecting a World Cup Team is never easy, but I’m proud of the players for their work ethic and focus during the process and of our coaching staff for doing the work to put together the best team possible,” said head coach Vlatko Andonovski. “It’s the players that make the biggest impact on our environment, they push each other to be better and I know as a group they are extremely motivated to make our country proud at the World Cup. Every player has a different journey to get to this point so our roster has some amazing stories and we have a really good mix of veterans and younger players.” 

The Women’s World Cup roster will make up the squad for the USA’s final match before departing for New Zealand. The USA’s Women’s World Cup Send-Off Match presented by Visa will take place on July 9 at PayPal Park in San Jose, Calif. (4 p.m. ET on TNT, Telemundo, Universo and Peacock) and the World Cup Team will depart for New Zealand from the Bay Area. 

 This summer (which will be winter in New Zealand and Australia) the USA will face World Cup debutantes Vietnam and Portugal in the group stage, along with 2019 Women’s World Cup runners-up Netherlands. 

The USA will play the entirety of the group stage in New Zealand. 

The U.S. will open Group E play against Vietnam on July 22 at Eden Park in Auckland/Tāmaki Makaurau (1 p.m. local / 9 p.m. ET on July 21 on FOX, Telemundo and Peacock), which will also serve as the host venue for the Opening Ceremony of the 2023 World Cup on July 20 when New Zealand plays Norway. 

The USA then faces Netherlands on July 27 at Wellington Regional Stadium in Wellington/Te Whanganui-a-Tara (1 p.m. local / 9 p.m. ET on July 26 on FOX, Telemundo and Peacock), followed by Portugal on Aug. 1 at Eden Park in Auckland/Tāmaki Makaurau (7 p.m. local / 3 a.m. ET on FOX, Telemundo and Peacock). 

USA Coach Vlatko Andonovski

"We are proud to have been one of the teams leading the way for women’s international soccer and I know the tournament will once again show the world how great these players are across all 32 teams. Our players understand the challenges and the competitive environment we are heading into, and they love it. We have a roster with depth and versatility and that will help us take on all the challenges that will be coming our way.” “We are expecting the level of play at this World Cup to be the best it’s ever been, and all the teams must keep up with that growth,” said Andonovski “For years, we’ve been able to see first-hand where the game is going and that’s exciting. 



The 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup runs from July 20-Aug. 20 in 10 stadiums and nine host cities, five in Australia and four in New Zealand. 

This will be the first Women’s World Cup featuring 32 nations, up from 24 in the previous two tournaments, and all 64 games will be broadcast across the U.S. live in English on FOX (29 matches) and FOX Sports 1 (35 matches) and on tablets and mobile devices through the FOX Sports App. 

All games will also be broadcast in Spanish on Telemundo (33 matches) and the Universo cable network (31 matches). All matches will also be streamed in Spanish 

Thursday, June 22, 2023



Here’s a backyard steak grillers compendium for newbies on the best ways to cook a steak without a grill. The scoop comes from Heath Goldman of Food Network Kitchen via CNN. 

 The list includes tips on: 

 --Always pat your steak dry. Why? Moisture is the enemy of crispness. Bone up on your Maillard reactions here. 

 --Season the steak with smoky flavor. Ever think of smoked paprika? 

 --Let the dry steak come to room temperature. (Not advised for winter grilling in Nome, Alaska). But when in Nome use a cast iron skillet because a hot, hot, skillet is just as good as an outdoor grill in the Bahamas. 

 --And, how to faux grill steak under the broiler. Preheating is the secret. 

 --How long do you cook steak? Move up with the big boys and girls use an instant read thermometer. 

 --How to rest a steak? Steak will continue to cook after you moved it off the heat. So let it snooze for 5 minutes in a jacket of loose foil.

For the complete article click here.

Wednesday, June 21, 2023


Painted in 1930, American Gothic, left, exemplifies what artist Grant Wood is perhaps best known for: depicting the rural American Midwest. Located in Eldon, Iowa, a town roughly 100 miles southeast of Des Moines, the painting shows a farmer standing next to his daughter.  

In the background is the Dibble House, a small white house with a Gothic-style upper window that Wood visited and wanted to paint.  The home has been restored and is now a National Landmark.  The models for Grant Wood’s epic, however, weren’t farmhands. Rather, far from it. The woman was actually Wood’s younger sister Nan Wood Graham, while the man was the Wood family dentist Dr. B.H. McKeeby. 

Grant Wood (1891-1942)


Tuesday, June 20, 2023


Clamming is a long-time tradition spanning generations in NW Spain. 

For Associated Press article CLICK HERE.

From Spain, Mari Carmen Vazquez holds a sack of clams that were harvested along the Lourizan coast. AP photos/Alvaro Barrientos.


Monday, June 19, 2023


 Putin Laments Weapons Shortage Amid Ukrainian Counteroffensive 

 GUEST BLOG / By the Council on Foreign Relations--Russian President Vladimir Putin told pro-war bloggers at the Kremlin late last week that Russian forces in Ukraine lacked weapons (Politico), including precision-guided munitions, aircraft, and tanks. 

Russia’s weapon production capabilities have been hampered by Western sanctions. As Ukraine continues its counteroffensive against Russian troops, the United States announced last week it will commit fifteen additional fighting vehicles (CBS) and ten more armed personnel carriers in a $325 million weapons package to support Ukraine’s war effort. 

 Putin also discussed divisions between the Russian paramilitary Wagner Group and the Russian defense ministry in yesterday’s meeting, saying that he backed a Russian military effort (Fin.Times) to bring Wagner under control of the defense ministry. 

Separately, Wagner’s founder Yevgeny Prigozhin said yesterday that his fighters had been taking a break since June 5 and would return to the battlefield in early August, but expressed doubts over going back to Ukraine specifically. 

 Analysis “The Ukrainians will be attacking elaborate fortifications, and the Russians are likely to be better at defense than offense. But this offensive should nevertheless make major gains and continue Ukraine’s track record of changing outsiders’ views about what outcomes are ultimately possible,” CFR expert Gideon Rose writes for
Foreign Affairs

 “While the quality of the military equipment used by the Ukrainian army continues to improve thanks to the Western aid, the quality of Russia’s weapons continues to degrade. At the same time, the Kremlin still possesses a significant degree of adaptability to Western sanctions,” says the Center for Strategic and International Studies’ Max Bergmann. 

Sunday, June 18, 2023



GUEST BLOG /By Joe Yamulla via about one of your favorite books or films. What was the catalyst that thrust its plot into action? What was the moment that propelled the protagonist to begin their journey or quest? 

 Whatever it may be — this is the inciting incident. 

What is an inciting incident? 

The inciting incident of a story is the thing that sets everything into motion. It is a rather simple concept with complex implications. An inciting incident sparks a fundamental change in the protagonist’s life, bringing forth a sense of newfound clarity that often allows them to pursue their purpose. 

After an inciting incident occurs, everything changes for the main character and supporting characters. This fundamental plot point shakes up the fictional world and causes a ripple effect that spreads throughout the narrative. This is the moment that captures readers’ attention and allows them to fully grasp where the story is headed. Without an effective inciting incident, readers are left in limbo — and can become disinterested in the story. 

Joe Yamulla
As a writer, you must be strategic and thoughtful about constructing a good inciting incident within the context of the larger tale. It may seem straightforward — but it’s far more involved than simply dropping a match on a bonfire. 3 types of inciting incidents Because of an inciting incident, life as your character knows it changes forever. 

Thanks to this event, a whole new journey unfolds. Although each inciting incident serves the same fundamental purpose, there are generally three different types and categories. he Causal Inciting Event The causal inciting incident involves a direct choice made by the protagonist or on behalf of the protagonist. This decision not only changes the protagonist’s life, but it sets the entire plot into motion. 

 I’m a big Star Wars fan. So, let’s head to a galaxy far, far away for an example of a causal inciting incident. In the 1977 film A New Hope, there is a deliberate choice to recruit Luke Skywalker on a call to adventure. R2-D2 crash lands on Tatooine and is purchased by Skywalker’s uncle. 

Soon after, R2 displays a message for Luke in which Princess Leia begs, “Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi, you’re my only hope.” A choice was made to pull Luke into the action. Already a young man, Luke grew up unaware of his Jedi family history, the Empire, or the Rebellion. 

If you’ve seen the films, you understand that Skywalker’s recruitment changes everything — both for him and the entire galaxy. 

He discovers a newfound purpose and path as a Jedi. Thanks to a causal inciting incident, we get the timeless action and adventure that follows. The Coincidental Inciting Event There is a significant amount of randomness driving the coincidental inciting incident. 

This coincidence is a significant moment that turns the protagonist’s life upside down. I find coincidental events particularly interesting because, in most cases, the main character is completely thrown off guard. Because the occurrence is unexpected or accidental, the character must grow and adapt to a new reality. 

Consider my favorite example of being in the right place at the right time — Roald Dahl’s best-selling young adult novel, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The protagonist, Charlie Bucket, lives in a poverty-stricken section of town with his entire family. On his daily walk home from school, he passes the largest and most mysterious chocolate factory in the world. 

For some reason, the secretive chocolate factory owner Willy Wonka announces that he’s hidden five golden tickets to tour his factory in chocolate bars all over the world. Charlie just so happens to stumble across some money sticking out of a snowbank. He uses it to buy a Wonka Bar, uncovers a golden ticket, and his entire life changes. 

Charlie finding money and receiving the unfathomably rare golden ticket is completely unexpected. But this key event sparks an extraordinary chain of events that alters his life forever. 

 The Ambiguous Inciting Event 

This inciting incident is open to interpretation. Actions occur that are not fully explained — and pressing questions often remain at the conclusion, too. Essentially, the reader and/or audience is tasked with determining whether the protagonist is thrust into a situation by choice or coincidence. 

This method is oftentimes implemented when writing mysteries or thrillers so readers and the audience remain “on edge” throughout the entirety of the book or film. In M. Night Shyamalan’s brilliant 1999 thriller, The Sixth Sense, the inciting incident comes in the form of an early bang — literally. Child psychologist Dr. Malcolm Crowe is celebrating an evening with his wife Anna when a former patient breaks into their home. 

He shoots Malcolm in the stomach. Then throughout the film, Malcolm is tasked with helping a young boy who can see dead people — but they do not know they are dead and only see what they want to see. 


In the end, Malcolm realizes he’s been dead the entire time. The gunshot was the early inciting incident — but you can see the ambiguity as the truth is not revealed until the stunning conclusion. 

What’s the difference between an inciting incident vs. first turning point? 

The inciting incident and first turning point of a story are connected, but there are distinctions between them. To break it down, it’s as simple as understanding a cause-and-effect relationship. the inciting incident is the initial action that sets everything into motion. 

It is an event that causes a massive disturbance — like a crack in glass that progressively expands in size. Because of an inciting incident, the foundation of a fictional world changes entirely. The glass has been cracked and the protagonist seeks balance in an altered existence. 

The first turning point is the sequence of events in which the main character responds to this new, unexpected challenge. He/she realizes that life is now different and embarks on a quest to restore balance. Because an inciting incident forces a character to rethink their goals and aspirations, the stakes get higher in the first turning point. 

 Let’s turn to Harry Potter to compare these two concepts. In the first book, the inciting incident is Harry discovering that he is a wizard. This moment sets the plot into motion and changes his life. 

The first turning point of the story is when Harry leaves the “muggle” (non-magic) world and sets forth on his adventure to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Hagrid walks him through Diagon Alley where he can gather his wizarding supplies before boarding the Hogwarts Express. 

As you can see, the first turning point of Harry Potter demonstrates Harry seeking to find balance in his new magical life. He starts learning secrets of his past and takes the first steps on his quest as the stakes rise. 

 5 tips for using an inciting incident (with examples) 

Now that you know how inciting incidents fit within the context of a story, let’s dive into some tips to help you craft your own. 

 1. Use subtle foreshadowing before the inciting incident For an inciting incident to pack a punch, some anticipatory build-up should occur throughout the story’s early phases. Although an inciting incident occurs early, foreshadowing is a beneficial technique to keep readers engaged before takeoff. You can foreshadow while introducing the backstory. F. Scott Fitzgerald does this quite beautifully in The Great Gatsby. Because the inciting incident (Nick meeting Gatsby) does not occur for roughly 50 pages, Fitzgerald keeps readers interested with mysterious and compelling foreshadowing. As soon as the book begins, readers encounter hints of Gatsby’s life ending tragically. There is an early and mysterious reference to the “foul dust that floated in the wake of Gatsby’s dreams.” Beyond that, the “green light” is always far off in the distance and never quite can be reached. Thanks to creative foreshadowing, readers are cognizant of impending tragedy and death before the plot is fully in motion. With this successful literary strategy, readers remain intrigued well before the inciting incident occurs. 

 2. Incorporate your inciting incident early in the story Inciting incidents should occur relatively early on in a narrative. If you wait too long to drop the hammer, you risk readers becoming bored or disinterested in the story. Remember, this action is what propels the plot, character arcs, and the coming conflict. Prior to the inciting incident, you’re doing the necessary work to establish the backstory. But it’s important to light the flame early enough so that your readers/audience remain invested. There are some books and films that even place the inciting incident at the very beginning. In The Sixth Sense example, Malcolm is shot in the opening scene. There is no black-and-white answer, and so much of the inciting incident placement depends on your story. But, as a rule of thumb, it should come early. If you decide to push the incident later in your text, it’s paramount to preface it with an adequate backstory and foreshadowing. 

 3. Make your inciting incident transformative An effective inciting incident changes everything. Life as your protagonist once knew it is over — and now it’s time to embark on an entirely new journey. Because of this massive shift, it opens many opportunities for great character development. There should be noticeable changes in who your main character is and how they live their life. These changes can even be reflected in their physical appearance. This can involve growth, or maybe it’s detrimental. Whatever it may be, your protagonist must undergo some form of change within their character arc. You see this clearly in J.R.R. Tolkien’s epic fantasy novel, The Hobbit. The inciting incident is Gandalf’s arrival which triggers sudden and drastic changes in Bilbo Baggins’ life. He is introduced to an entirely new world, his normal life is disrupted, and he embarks on a quest beyond his wildest imagination. Before the inciting incident, Bilbo never even knew dwarves existed. But he undergoes a fascinating and powerful evolution to become the leader of the dwarves. He once lived an ordinary, uneventful life. But after Gandalf’s action, we slowly see Bilbo grow and discover his courage and purpose. 

 4. Use the inciting incident to build tension The inciting incident affects everything — not just the main character. This action ignites a fire of tension that is integral to any good story. Now that the proverbial snowball is rolling down the mountain, let it grow with an antagonist who is threatening your protagonist’s quest. After Harry learns he is a wizard in The Sorcerer’s Stone, he is not the only one seeking to find balance in a changed world. His enemies (particularly, the dark lord Voldemort) are also confronting a fundamental change. The inciting incident is the moment that both sparks a hero’s journey and awakens those who threaten it. 

 5. Make it grand In this moment, you’re fully immersing readers into your plot, so don’t skimp on the details. Use symbolism to build an unforgettable moment in the story. Look to C.S. Lewis for inspiration here. In The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, Lucy walks through a wardrobe and finds herself “standing in the middle of a wood at night-time, with snow under her feet and snowflakes falling through the air.” Read through this entire chapter because Lewis does a remarkable job including vivid imagery throughout the paragraphs that launch the characters into Narnia. 

Thanks to strategic literary devices, readers are fully aware that something extraordinary has happened, and the characters’ lives are changed forever. 

 There can be only one 

A great story needs a great inciting incident. When you look back at all the best books and films, you can clearly point to the one moment when everything changed. This event should be clear and obvious. There are benefits to ambiguity in writing, but this is not a moment that warrants that. 

Remember, this crucial action propels your narrative arc and spurs your main character into action. As an author, you need to nail this moment. It’s what pulls readers into the story and gets them invested into what will happen next. 

Saturday, June 17, 2023


Starbucks celebrates the opening of its 25th store in Italy, the first within the city of Rome, three decades after founder Howard Schultz was inspired by his visit to Italy to create the Starbucks we know today. 

The store is located in the heart of Rome and just steps from the Palazzo Montecitorio, the historic and political heart of the ‘Eternal City’. “We are humbled by the warm welcome by the Italian consumer and more optimistic than ever about the future of the brand in Italy,” said Vincenzo Catrambone, general manager, Starbucks Italy. 

“Coffee culture is very deep-rooted in Rome, with espresso being the most popular beverage. Even in Starbucks stores in Italy, the most popular drink is espresso, while younger generations love Starbucks cold beverages and iced coffee. We are always working to create unique food & beverage proposals for our Italian customers so that we can continue to meet their needs and amaze them.” 

The store interior is designed around the historical elements and material of the piazza, using travertine marble, engraved artworks, and tuff stone, typical of the Roman building tradition.