Wednesday, April 27, 2016
Summertime is fast approaching, and folks are busy booking their holidays. To assist them, Reddit issued a list of the most overrated tourist attractions worldwide. We here at the DUNER BLOG sorted through the all 27 entries. Some are silly...but necessary...tourist 'traps' like Times Square or Fisherman's Wharf. Others are objectionable because they are too crazy, like Bourbon Street or Oktoberfest. To simplify, we trimmed the list down to eight truly overrated tourist attractions:
Hollywood Walk of Fame. Although the Los Angeles neighborhood has gone through an amazing tourist-friendly revival recently, some aspects remain blah. Enter the Stars of 'famous' celebs on the sidewalk. There are currently 2,578 individual stars on the ground. Unfortunely, 98% of these are unheard-of screenwriters and unregocnizable vaudeville stars. The marble stars are also very dirty. See, they are always being stepped on!
Rocky Statue, Philadelphia. This is another statue whose popularity puzzles locals. It honors Rocky Balboa, the boxing character and was initially commissioned by the actor who played him, Slyvester Stallone. In a city with some many 'real' sights, like Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell, it's funny that one honoring a fictional character gets the most selfies.
Blarney Stone, Ireland. An enduring Irish legend states: Anyone who journeys to distant Cork to kiss this block of carboniferous limestone will be blessed forever with the gift of eloquence. However, in order to accomplish this task, you must scale the castle walls, then lean over a crevice to smooch. We here at the DUNER BLOG suggest arriving first thing in the morning, so you don't interact with other people's eloquent saliva.
Friday, April 22, 2016
The US Treasury Department made worldwide headlines on Wednesday when they announced HARRIET TUBMAN would be replacing ANDREW JACKSON on the $20 bill. Readers outside of the USA are likely wondering why this is such a BIG DEAL. Well...It's not so much that Miss Tubman is the first woman on an American currency note...but more about which currency note. No one knows why, but the TWENTY is the most important bill for Americans. For example, if you withdraw $100 from the ATM, you don't receive a hundred dollar bill. Nope, it's five twenties. Statistics show we only use disgustingly worn $1 bills more.
To celebrate this achievement, and to welcome the USA into the Currency Note Gender Equity Club, here are ten nations who already have portraits of women on their dollar bills:
AUSTRALIA. The folks Down Under have the most gender neutral currency notes in the world. In addition to Queen Elizabeth II (more on her later...) there are ladies on every single Aussie banknote. The $10 has social reformer Dame Mary Gilmore, $20 is philanthropist Mary Reibly. The $50 shows the first woman MP, Edith Cowen while the $100 is Opera Singer Dame Nellie Melba.
PHILIPPINES. Catholic countries are easier places for women to succeed, so they appear more often on their corresponding banknotes. The island nation of the Philippines features two women on their money. Josefa Llanes Escoda was a lot like Harriet Tubman: She smuggled medicine, food and messages to POWs in Japanese occupation camps. Corozan Aquino appears with her husband on a rare two person obverse.
SWEDEN. A couple of Scandinavian nations feature ladies on their bills, but Sweden's Selma Lagerlœf takes the cake. She is the first woman EVER to win the Nobel Prize for Literature. Side Note: Sweden is atop the World Economic Forum's Gender Gap Report again this year. Congrats to the men there for allowing this to happen!
U.K. & COMMONWEALTH. All Hail Queen Elizabeth II! No other person...male or female...has been one more currency notes ever. More than Washington, Lenin and Mao combined. She first appeared on a Canadian bill in 1935 at age eight. Nowadays, twenty nations around the world show her face at different ages. The superlatives just don't end. Antarctica is only continent NOT to have QE2 on their money...
Wednesday, April 13, 2016
Protesters filled Cairo's famed Tahir Square again this week. Only this time, they were NOT celebrating an Arab Spring. Nope...THIS April...Egyptians are furious about the recent actions of their "President" Abdel el-Sisi. For the last four days, he hosted a summit with newly crowned King Salman from Saudi Arabia. Both heads of state are relative newcomers and wanted to show their collective constituencies they are competent leaders. At the end of the day, Egypt got what it wanted (Money & oil) and The Kingdom got what it wanted (Two tiny islands in the Red Sea).
But are the isles of Tiran and Sanafir even Egyptian to begin with? Further historical examination reveals a long list of previous owners. Ottoman Turks held sway for 500 years, followed by an English Queen and a Saudi King. However, from 1918 to the present, they have been clearly in Egypt's borders...apart from the Israeli occupation 1967 - 1982. So...in reality...any of five states could make a solid case for ownership. Unfortunately, the average Egyptian knows he/she will never see any of the $22 billion in oil deals. For Cairenes, the summit proves what they already know: Saudi Arabia has taken their crown as the leader of the Sunni Arab world.
Thursday, April 7, 2016
Big news from Madrid the week! Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy unveiled a highly controversial plan to legally eliminate the beloved SIESTA. To do so, he proposes trimming the work day by two hours. For those of us who stay awake all day, here are some key points to clarifying this confusing tradition:
ORIGIN OF THE SIESTA. Not surprisingly, folks in sunny Spain have taken a midday snooze since antiquity. Back in the day, the Roman province of Lusitania was always a hubbub of activity. After a long morning of constructing aqueducts, slaves were allowed a break at the 'Sexta hora' and everyone slept. (Roman clocks start at sunrise, so the sixth hour is noon.) Over time, the term evolved into 'Siesta.'
IMPACT OF THE SIESTA. OK.. Let's fast forward to present times. To formally include a siesta in a modern society, you need a standardized schedule. In Spain, work begins at 9:00 and stops at 1:30. Banks, stores and businesses then re-open at 4:00 and stay open until 8:00. Things like La Liga matches and Prime-time novellas generally start at 9:00 or 10:00 and often run until 2:00 am! Siestas also impact the cuisine of Spain. Lunch is the largest meal, while dinner consists of tiny tapas.