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The Magic of Disney

There has probably been no person who has brought so much happiness to so many people as Walt Disney.  When you hear his name, you automatically think of Mickey Mouse and Disneyland.  We remember him for his award winning cartoons and keeping the inner child alive with his amazing theme parks.  While volumes have been written about the man, his dreams, and his realizations, we've limited this presentation to but a few dozen paragraphs; enough to wade into the ocean of adventure and fun that all came about with the creation of a cartoon mouse.

The Tower of London

Best known as a prison, and place of torture and execution, England's Tower of London has gained a reputation of infamy that overshadows its original intended function - as the residence of royalty.  It has also served as an armory, zoo, and military prison as recently as World War II.  Still, the morbidity of its past is what brings the tourist to this site.  Now it is also home to the Crown Jewels and houses a collection of ancient armor and weapons and a history that is brought alive with the narration of the Yoeman Wardens - the Beefeaters.

Venice - City on the Water

While Paris may be known as the most romantic city in the world, there can be no doubt that Venice takes a close second.  Its meandering canals, scenic churches and squares, quaint bridges and serenading gondoliers gives it the charm and old-worldliness that make it a destination many plan to see in their lifetime. First settled in the fifth century by refugees from the Italian mainland fleeing waves of Germanic invaders, these exiles would turn the marshlands of the lagoon into the site of one of the wealthiest renaissance cities.  Supported on a foundation of millions of wood pilings driven deep into the sandy loam, the populace produced an aqueous city of great churches, palaces and lavish homes.  A city which, over the centuries, has changed so little that Marco Polo would recognize many of its features.  Venice today is a World Heritage City and is found on many a bucket list as a “must see” destination.

Out of the Ashes — Pompeii

The city of Pompeii, located in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius, was a rich and thriving seaside resort.  In its time it was the Malibu Beach of the Roman world.  It's markets were rich with the trade from all over the know world, which made a number of its citizens wealthy. All that ended on a summers day in 79 AD when Mount Vesuvisu, after remaining dormant for a thousand years, suddenly erupted, sending tons of pumic and ash to cover the city and the surrounding countryside.  Today, walking the streets and plazas of these ancient ruins, we can only imagine the terror when the thick air choked man and beast alike, and wiped the city off the Roman maps.

Concentration Camp Dachau

The first concentration camp of the Nazi state opened its doors in 1936.  Housing mostly political prisoners and Jews, it soon became the death camp for Russian POW's, homosexuals, gypsies, non-conformists, and even the homeless.  It was the camp that all other German concentration camps of World War II were modeled after and was the birthplace of the brutal and inhumane treatment that many concentration camp survivors tell us.  We should never forget the depth which mans inhumanity to his fellow man can reach.

The Bucket List

Just about everyone has a "bucket list"; that is, a list of things they would like to see or do within their lifetime.  The problem is that most of us don't write it down.  So if an opportunity presents itself to fulfill a bucket list desire, for many of us it simply passes us by because we don't realize it.  By writing down our desires and dreams, we can plan for them, and when we plan for them they are more likely to happen.  Otherwise, it's only serendipidy.  Here are some thing that you might inculde on your bucket list. While some are more easily achievable than others, they are all achievalbe.  So dust off your sense of adventure and go live your life.


     On December 7, 1941, the placid and tranquil Hawaiian island of Oahu was turned into the first battle ground of the war against Japan.  From six aircraft carriers that stealthily approached the islands, over three hundred fighters, bombers and torpedo planes were launched against the American forces at Pearl Harbor.  Additionally, the military airfields of the island were bombed and strafed. The attack would catapult the United States into the last global conflict of the 20th century with the President’s address to the Congress and would forever make that date "a date that will live in infamy."

Arlington National Cemetery

Across the river from Washington D.C., in the neighboring state of Virginia, lies the most famous cemetery in the United States.  One of many burial grounds for the military service men and women, Arlington is the resting place of many American heroes, as well as two Presidents; John F. Kennedy and William Howard Taft.  It is also the location of the Tomb of the Unknowns, servicemen who died during World War I, World War II and the Korean Conflict whose bodies remained unidentified.  A tour of this historic site should be on everyone’s bucket list to remind them of our history and freedom, and the costs to keep it.

Murano and Burano - Islands of Glass and Lace

While a trip to Venice may be on many a presons list of dreams yet to be fulfilled, few of us think about including the desitinations of the islands of Murano and Burano in their itenerary.  But a trip to Venice without seeing these artistic destinations is a lost opportunity.  These two islands should certainly be on everyones list of things to see and do when visiting that Renaissance city

Over Africa in a Balloon

In 1863 French author Jules Verne wrote what would be the first of many successful novels - Five Weeks in a Balloon.  The story, a fictional account of three adventurers exploration of the Dark Continent from the air, became an instant success.  While Africa is no longer an unknown land, as it was nearly two centuries ago, the spectacle and awe of the Verne story can still be had by the adventurer that wants a new perspective on exploring a strange land.

Here you will find the ten previous N.E.W.S. articles. 
Click on the title to access the past topics.