“I feel like I’m living through the seven plagues”….

Checking in is always interesting, particularly if one arrives at off hours or during inclement weather.

We arrived at the Grande Denali Lodge with anticipation. The inn occupies a ledge with a beautiful view of Alaska’s Denali National Park and the surrounding area.

While parking and preparing to check in, I noticed an abundance of yellow hazard tape around the inn’s entrance.

A fire – quickly extinguished inside and through the roof – started in their beautiful stone fireplace. The interior was soaked.

However, the staff were very well organized and quickly checked us in. They further provided complimentary breakfast coupons for our family at a nearby resort.

While checking out, I complemented a manager on the professionalism and courtesy we experienced during our brief stay. He responded “the fire and several power failures all at once; I feel like I’m living through the seven plagues. People have been complaining”.

The Grande Denali Lodge features wonderful views, a quiet setting and great people. I highly recommend it.

The Seven Plagues”.

The short road to the Lodge is rather eclectic:

Resurrection Bay Sunrise

A rather eclectic selection of campers and “recreational vehicles” or RV’s. I admired the VW Van (“T2″), soldiering on from Montana. A rare T3 Syncro makes an appearance as well.

The term “resurrection” appears frequently in the Seward area, from churches (above) to the river and bay.


Resurrection Bay is a bay on the Kenai Peninsula of Alaska, United States. Its main settlement is Seward, located at the head of the bay. It received its name from Alexandr Baranov, who was forced to retreat into the bay during a bad storm in the Gulf of Alaska. When the storm settled it was Easter Sunday, so the bay and nearby Resurrection River were named in honor of it.

An Homage to “Cecil”

Chicago – New Orleans – Madrid – Seville – Barcelona – Madison – Denver – Hong Kong – Shanghai

The opportunity to “love one’s neighbor” [1] pops up constantly.

Recently, while flying west, a very tall young man, with rather elaborate hair sat in the exit row window seat, just a short distance from my small abode.

We began chatting and I learned that he – I’ll call him “Cecil” – has been playing basketball abroad for several years. This trip – flying west – would end up in Hong Kong, his next sports port of call.

I found the conversation fascinating. Cecil had a wonderful opportunity to see the world via a sport he loved. I asked how he compared the States to his various temporary homes?

“Well, the biggest difference I’ve seen is that people in Europe always greet strangers. I can’t count the times that someone has said “buenos dias” to me, a complete stranger. That does not happen in the USA.”

Subsequently, I have tried – tried to greet everyone.

Oh, he was reading this book.

[1] The greatest commandment.

“Let the peace of Christ rule your hearts”. The My Verse app delivers a daily verse to your Watch, iPhone or iPad.

Fashion Elitism and the Zoolander-ization of Lands’ End

Kyle Smith

The friendly catalog-based clothing retailer known for unimaginative (I say classic), rarely updated (I say tradition-minded), boxy (I say unconstraining) apparel is these days in the grip of a fashion-forward Italian CEO named Federica Marchionni, and here the error of Lands’ End’s current path becomes apparent. Lands’ End is based in Dodgeville, Wisconsin, and should not be run by an Italian, someone who is fashion-forward or, especially, someone named Federica. Lands’ End is as unpretentious as a Ford-150. It should be run by someone named Mitch or Phil, and, no, I do not mean Mitchell and especially not Phillippe. Marchionni is given to describing the company’s proudly fashion-backward line as “ugly” and asks in meetings, “Who would wear that?” Dark rumors abound that Lands’ End will be buying ads in the September issue of Vogue, that celebrity photographer Bruce Weber will be doing shoots for its products, that weird-looking asymmetrical dresses that appear to have been splattered with blood by abstract expressionists will be the new focus of the company’s line.

This is as dire a situation as Budweiser being bought by Belgians. Indeed, it’s far worse; it’s as though Budweiser stopped making beer and reintroduced itself as an appletini manufacturer. Marchionni, whose previous bonehead attempt to inject sophistication was to ally the brand with leftist politics, must be fired immediately before Lands’ End turns into some sort of hideous would-be Pucci of Wisconsin.

Change is hard. I know nothing about fashion…