Southern Oregon Tweetup at the Craterian Theater … rocked!

Here in lovely Southern Oregon we enjoy a very high standard of living but – at least in my experience – really cool parties are few and far between.    However last night at the Craterian Ginger Rogers Theater in Medford a distinguished group of news, tech, and twitter folks and twitter-friendly sponsors came together to enjoy fine wine, great food, great coffee, sparkling conversation and music, and more.    I kept thinking I was at one of the neat tech blogger parties they throw at the Computer Electronics Show “CES” in Las Vegas every January.

In my opinion it’s very important to the social media environment to create online thanks to both the promoters and the sponsors of great events and I’m sure I’ll miss some of them, but here’s a shot:

Craterian Ginger Rogers Theater – home to fabulous performances all year long.

Brad Nelson is the Craterian’s Production Manager and most excellent social media mad man.

Jerilyn Hassell Pool is an amazing Twitter evangelist, webmaster, and has a knack for organizing parties, especially when they involve twitter.  Tweet Aunt Marvel

Fresco Food put out a fine spread of healthy finger foods.    Owner Alyssa Warner doesn’t just use mobile twitter technology, she’s created mobile edibles served all over the region from the Fresco Food Mobile.     Ricotta Gnochi delivered to your door?    Call Fresco!, or better yet, Tweet them.

Bad Ass Coffee of Medford was serving up several of their fine brews.    Follow them on Twitter for specials.

DJGemineye was picking and spinning some great songs.    Tweet him to make your party much cooler than it would otherwise be.

Wine Tasting was a highlight of the party, and here in Southern Oregon we’ve got some of the best appelations found in the USA.   If you’ve seen the movies “Bottle Shock” and “Sideways” you know how California Wines lept from relative obscurity in the 1960’s to become a dominant force in the global wine scene.   In my opinion Southern Oregon, with rich soil and excellent grape growing weather – is poised to become recognized very soon as one of the world’s great wine regions.

Valley View Winery  | Valley View on Twitter

Abacela Winery      |    Abacela on Twitter

Windridge Winery

Serra Vinyard       |      Serra Vineyard on Twitter

Del Rio Vineyards   |    Del Rio on Twitter

Rulers of England

Rulers of England

In honor of the upcoming English Royal Wedding and the fact I’m watching “The Tudors” on Netflix right now, I thought it would be fun to post a list of the rulers of England.

This is a list of the generally recognized kings and queens of England from 1066 to the present day.

Norman Kings:

William I  (1066-1087)
William II  (1087-1100)
Henry I    (1100-1135)
Stephen   (1135-1154)


Henry II (1154-1189)
Richard I (Richard the Lion-Hearted) (1189-1199)
John (1199-1216)
Henry III (1216-1272)
Edward I (1272-1307)
Edward II (1307-1327)
Edward III (1327-1377)
Richard II (1377-1399)

House of Lancaster

Henry IV (1399-1413)
Henry V (1413-1422)
Henry VI (1422-1461)

House of York

Edward IV (1461-1483)
Edward V (April-June 1483)
Richard III (1483-1485)


Henry VII (1485-1509)
Henry VIII (1509-1547)
Edward VI (1547-1553)
Mary (1553-1558)
Elizabeth (1558-1603)


James I (1603-1625)
Charles I (1625-1649)

1649-1660 – Commonwelath Interregnum: England is briefly ruled by Parliament.  Oliver Cromwell and son Richard Cromwell  are the “Lord Protectors of the Commonwealth”.  This time is often referred to as “the Protectorate”

Stuarts Restored to the Crown in 1660

Charles II (1660-1685)
James II (1685-1688)

The Bloodless Revolution  1688.  Also known as “The Glorious Revolution”.

William (of Orange) and Mary (1689-1702)
Anne (1702-1714)


George I (1714-1727)
George II (1727-1760)
George III (1760-1820)
George IV (1820-1830)
William IV (1830-1837)
Victoria (1837-1901)


Edward VII (1901-1910)

Windsors (George V-Elizabeth II)
(George V changed family name Wettin to Windsor)

George V (1910-1936)
Edward VIII (1936)
George VI (1936-1952)
Elizabeth II (1952- )

Yes, of course there is a fancy website for the upcoming Royal Wedding between Prince William and Catherine Middleton.  It is the Royal Wedding website.

Oregon Coast … Mobile

Good time to review a few projects I’m associated with or working on now, and thank folks (esp. FoolsGold) for the many excellent suggestions provided over the years to improve the websites.

Over at the Online Highways empire we’re working on a mobile application for travel along the Oregon Coast that will be located at  and will feature a very simple mobile optimized architecture that branches out to Coastal Cites, Coastal Lodging, Coastal Attractions, and more.     I’m still not convinced that .mobi websites will take off as much as many believe they will because I think smartphones will get better fast and we’ll see a lot more optimization on the fly for regular websites, but it’s a good base to cover.     I’ll be trying out the dot mobi “mobi translation” routine soon which will allow me to create some .mobi sites from my Airports and Airlines information at Airport Directory and and the Airport City Codes site.

Meanwhile, after failing for a very long time to find a good and inexpensive Drupal developer to finish  Retire USA, a Retirement Information Database, website, blog, and  more including the most followed Retirement related account on Twitter. I’m taking it on myself as an HTML project.    I’ll be extracting the Drupal data to a regular database we can enhance over time, and then use HTML templates and a merge routine to get a site that will look a lot like the Drupal site we had planned.     I could be wrong but I think I’ll have a simpler and faster site with almost the same functionality as Drupal. is another new blog that will have a database of high quality hospitals around the world that do procedures, operations, exams, etc for lower costs than here in the great old USA.      Medical Travel and Medical Tourism articles and news will also be featured.

But wait…… there’s MORE!

Medical Traveling and other sites back up and on better server

Drama here at the mini web empire over the past few days.   I was critical of Godaddy for taking down several of my sites after an advertising traffic surge of about 9800 unique visits to the new medical tourism blog put a strain on the shared server.    After the blog post / tweet and intervention by CEO Bob Parsons my issues were very quickly resolved and now I’m on a much better server setup that should be able to better handle the high traffic I expect at that blog.

Still trying to figure out why it took Dr. Bob’s clout to resolve this.  The tech folks I talk with at Godaddy are usually very capable and attentive, yet two of them had insisted to me there was no way to expedite things after what they seemed to believe was a  “network violation” caused by the traffic surge to the new blog.   Uptime was particularly important to me on my new Medical Tourism blog because it’s being reviewed by Thai tourism as my entry in their Medical Tourism blogging contest where finalists will be flown to Thailand for an introduction to the country and to their very advanced medical tourism infrastructure.

So … we’ll see if there is a happy ending to another installment in the great lifetime blogging adventure, and I do want to thank Godaddy for coming through with a fast fix after the initial frustrations of having sites taken down.

Got Travel? Travel Blogs and Travel Bloggers, Unite!

For some time  (100,000 years  in internet dog years), I’ve wanted to collect *all* the travel blogs in one spot and organize them by destination.    That’s not happening … yet …  but I’m very happy to see so many great folks online blogging travel now as well as many  lists of bloggers popping up.

An interesting issue in finding the holy grail of travel information is whether people would rather hear from *travelers* or from *locals*.      I used to lean to the former – ie I wanted to hear from other folks who had visited a place to get the best information, but it’s become clear to me now that the best source for travel information are well informed local folks – ideally those who are in the travel industry and therefore familiar with a lot of attractions, hotels, restaurants, history, customs, etc.     An example for Oregon is … me.

I worked in the travel industry for many years and I know a *lot* about Oregon, especially Southern Oregon.    Unfortunately there are not very many people blogging “local travel” from a local perspective.  Ironically pretty much all the travel writing blog folks  (including me) are so busy talking about their own trips out and about, they are not writing much about their local places – the kind of information that would be simply wonderful if you were to visit a place.

So … my challenge to travel bloggers is to write a few posts about things to see and do in your own neck of the woods.   Let me know if you do and I’ll be happy to feature it prominently at our heavy traffic site  “Travel and History”.  Please include a bit of history in the travelogue if you can.

Here are some from some cool traveling folks:

Blogs/ Travelers list from Traveling Teri:

  1. 1step2theleft
  2. 20sTravel
  3. 501 Places
  4. Abigail King
  5. Adventure Girl
  6. Adventure Living
  7. Agent Cikay
  8. Alex Berger
  9. Almost Fearless
  10. Andi Perullo
  11. Andrew G. Hayes
  12. Andy Murdock
  13. Around the World “L”
  14. As We Travel
  15. Aussie Nomad
  16. Bairds Travel
  17. Beth Arnold
  18. Bike Raft
  19. Boots n All
  20. Border Jumpers
  21. Brendan von Son
  22. Brian Swan
  23. Brooke Schoenman
  24. Budget Travel Sacramento
  25. Cailin O’Neil
  26. Cal Bosch
  27. Candice Walsh
  28. Cara Lopez Lee
  29. CC Burns
  30. CG Travels
  31. Christine Amorose
  32. Couch Surfing Ori
  33. Dave’s Travel Corner
  34. David Lytle (davitydave)
  35. Diana Ellefson
  36. Docudramaqueen
  37. Don Nadeau
  38. Donna L. Hull
  39. Drifting Focus
  40. Dustin Main
  41. Earth Explorer
  42. Eat Live Travel Write
  43. Elite Travel Gal
  44. ELoren
  45. Erica Kuschel
  46. Everywhere Trip
  47. Fodor’s Travel Guides
  48. Fox Nomad
  49. Gadling
  50. Gerard Ward
  51. Girls Getaway
  52. GloboTreks
  53. Got Passport
  54. Got Saga Latino
  55. Got Saga
  56. Grumpy Traveller
  57. Happy Go Lucky
  58. Harriett Baskas
  59. Holiday Greece
  60. I Live to Travel
  61. Isabelle’s Travel Guide
  62. Janelle Norman
  63. Jason’sTravels
  64. Jeff Titelius
  65. JoAnna Haugen
  66. Jason’sTravels
  67. Joe Hunkins
  68. Johnny Vagabond
  69. Journeywoman
  70. Kevin May
  71. Kim Mance
  72. LandLopers
  73. Larry Blanken
  74. Legal Nomads
  75. LJ Rose Expeditions
  76. Lonely Planet
  77. Malaysia-Asia
  78. Margaret Kinney
  79. Monica Wong
  80. My Journey of a Lifetime
  81. My Melange
  82. National Geographic
  83. Neverending Voyage
  84. New York Times Travel
  85. Nomadic Chick
  86. Nomadic Matt
  87. Ottsworld
  88. ParisBuff
  89. PatriciaVance, GotSaga
  90. Pauline Frommer’s Travel
  91. Perrin Post
  92. Peter Greenberg
  93. Richard Escobar
  94. Rick Steves
  95. RTWDave
  96. Runaway Juno
  97. Sam Daams
  98. SaraKateTravel
  99. Secured Traveler
  100. Serendipity Traveler
  101. Shawnosaurus
  102. Smart Women Travelers
  103. Solo Friendly
  104. Solo Traveler
  105. Sosauce
  106. Soultravelers3
  107. Spencer Spellman
  108. Spunky Girl Monologues
  109. Stay Adventurous
  110. Stay Bank
  111. Sumit Gupta
  112. Susan Farlow
  113. Suzy Guese
  114. Technomadia
  115. Thank God I Surf
  116. The Jungle Princess
  117. The Longest Way Home
  118. The Mad Traveler Online
  119. The Planetd
  120. The Roaming Boomers
  121. The Tashinga Initiative
  122. The Travel Tart
  123. The Travel Tweeter
  124. The Trip Chicks
  125. Tiffany Travels
  126. Timesonline Travel
  127. Travel Answerman
  128. Travel Blogger
  129. Travel Bully
  130. Trailer Campers
  131. Travel Cuts
  132. Travel Designed
  133. Travel Dudes
  134. Travel Girl (smultronställen)
  135. Travel Happy
  136. Traveling Anna
  137. Traveling Perly
  138. Traveling Savage
  139. Traveling Ted
  140. Traveling Teri
  141. Travels of Adam
  142. Travelocity
  143. Travel Off the Cuff
  144. Travel Optimist
  145. Travel Maus
  146. Travel Muse
  147. Travel Savvy Mom
  148. Travel Squire
  149. Travel Susan
  150. Travelwriticus
  151. Trey Ratcliff
  152. Tuscan Blog
  153. Unbrave Girl
  154. Uncornered Market
  155. Vagabond3Italian Notes
  156. Vagabondish
  157. Velvetescape
  158. Wandering-off
  159. Wanderings of a Travelbug
  160. Wandering Trader
  161. Want to Go Travel
  162. Welcome Tuscany
  163. Wend Magazine
  164. Where I’ve Been
  165. Wild Junket
  166. World Nomads

Blogroll from Travel Answer Man John Van Kirk:


Alaska TravelGram
Almost Fearless
Anders Meanders
Arthur Frommer
Brave New Traveler
Evan Sparks
Everett Potter
Flight Wisdom
Hidden Travel Gems
Hotel Blogs by Guillaume Thevenot
Intelligent Travel
Jeanne Leblanc
Marriott on the Move
Online Travel Review
Peter Greenberg
Rick Seaney
Roads Less Traveled
Safe Cruise
Ship Critic blog
Southwest Airlines
The Cruise Log
The Daily Traveler
The Practical Nomad
This Just In…..
Tim Leffel’s Cheapest Destinations
Towers and Tarmacs
Travel Babel
Travel Gear Blog
Travel Log
Travel Maven blog
Travel Post
Travel Rants
Traveler 2.0
Traveler’s Check
Tripinator – Travel 2.0
Upgrade: travel better
USA Today’s Hotel Hotsheet
World Hum The Middle Seat Terminal

Medford Pear Blossom Spring Fair is April 10th and April 11th, 2010

Press Release from the Medford Pear Blossom Spring Fair:
Everything Old is New Again!
The old Pear Blossom Street Fair is now renamed the new Pear Blossom Spring
Fair and is celebrating its 30th year. In addition to the new name is a new venue at
Hawthorne Park.
The event, as always, follows the Pear Blossom Parade on Saturday, April 10th from 10
AM to 7 PM and has the largest potential crowd of any Southern Oregon event. The
event continues on Sunday, April 11, from 10 AM to 5 PM.
With crowds of 20,000 or more at this two day event (previously held on Friday and
Saturday), the Alba Park venue was outgrown. The event had been held there for the
past 29 years. The Heart of Medford Association (HMA), a nonprofit organization
( , decided to move the event to Hawthorne Park giving the
event more room for people and room to expand the features of the event.
It is a leisurely walk through downtown Medford from Alba Park, where the parade ends
on Saturday at about noon, to Hawthorne Park and shuttle service will be provided from
park to park on Saturday. The new venue will also provide room for 24′ wide aisles, so
people can easily stroll down the rows of vendors.
HMA engaged an Ashland-based fundraising consulting and events management firm,
Marshall Fundraising Management,(, headed by
Managing Partners, Joy and Larry Marshall. Their challenge was to build on the
existing event of the past and to create a fresh approach, with novel and unprecedented
features. Says Joy Marshall, “Once we resolve all the logistical components, everything
should be set to make this event run very smoothly…the best ever!”. And Larry Marshall
comments, “The great challenge we have now is communicating the venue location
change from Alba Park to Hawthorne Park and the changed days of the event, Saturday
and Sunday (formerly Friday and Saturday), as well as the great fun, new attractions for
the entire family on both days. To do so, we will have a Pear costumed-figure (“Buddy”
or “Blossom”, our event mascots) and other volunteers following the Parade, and at Alba
Park, with signs directing the huge crowds to Hawthorne Park, along with sustained
radio and TV spots, posters and major print/broadcast media hype, etc., creating great
community awareness… ala P.T. Barnum, the greatest event promoter (born 200 years
ago in 1810)!”
This year, in addition to the 100+ retail, arts/crafts and other vendors along with 14
food concessions, there will be something for everyone! From medieval jousting to a
challenging rock climbing wall just waiting for energetic kids of all ages to try!
New this year in the Kids Zone will be activities for kids created especially for them by
ScienceWorks with interactive space-orientated projects and Kids Unlimited creating
“tattoos” using removable ink with glitter and sparkles. Wildlife Images will be
featuring some of their ‘traveling’ animals and teaching about exotic animals; all the old
standards will still be there, too, with cotton candy, pony rides, face painting, bounce
houses, and elephant ears to eat and alpacas to meet! The Southern Oregon Alpaca
Association (SOAA) will be introducing their unique and adorable ‘farm’ animals to
many kids for the first time.
There will be a special nonprofit section where many of the area’s organizations will
provide beneficial information of interest to the community, including area historical
societies embracing the legacy of the Rogue Valley.
For the first time, an outstanding music component is being added to the event to make
it even more enjoyable! There will be a large professional mobile stage with first-class
sound and many of the best Rogue Valley musical talent groups will perform…with the
professional entertainers generously donating their services back to the event! The
musical theme will be spirit-uplifting in keeping with the mission of HMA.
The performance roster is as follows (subject to change):
Saturday Music
• 12:00 -12:40: “Random Sound”, 13 year old kids rock & roll band, covering
Beatles songs, as well as originals;
• 1:00 -1:40: “The Relief”, a dynamic group full of energy and passion will
perform all original songs that will have everyone dancing in front of the stage;
• 2:00-2:40: “The Rogue Suspects”, playing well-known funky blues, rock and Motown;
• 3:00-3:40: “Michael Mish”, environmental-oriented musician/composer, will
hit the keyboard singing many of his Emmy-award winning children’s songs,
R&B, and covering songs from iconic legends, Elton John, Cat Stevens and The
Beach Boys;
• 4:00-4:40: “Michael ‘Hawkeye’ Herman and Friends”, acoustic blues
musician and global blues educator;
• 5:00-5:40: “Apropos Musique”, unique sounds of contemporary pop group;
• 12:00-12:40: “Siskiyou Violins”, nationally-honored, teen ensemble;
• 1:00-1:40: “The Gayle Wilson Band”, long-time favorite, performing classic
• 2:00-2:40: “4 Stories High”, recently transplanted duo from New York City,
Laura Berman and partner/husband, Craig Benelli, will perform ‘New Thought
Inspirational’ community music;
• 3:00-3:40: “The Hedgehogs”, soulful gypsy jazz and swing group with Brad
Kauder, Dan Fellman and gang;
• 4:00-4:40: “Havurah Choir” led by Allen Kenner & delivering uplifting
Background on performers and production:
Entertainment Producers are Larry & Joy Marshall, Marshall Fundraising Management;
Production Manager is Brent Waroniecki, Marshall Fundraising Management;
Stage Manager is Shawn Montgomery, Profound Entertainment.
During both days, KRWQ, KISS and KOOL radio stations will be handling the mic and
providing ‘color’ between shows. They also emcee the event. Ivan Velasquez,
Dreamweaver Productions, will volunteer additional DJ services during the weekend.
The Pear Blossom Spring Fair sponsors include: Charter Communications, Bicoastal
Media-KISS, KOOL and KRWQ, Profound Entertainment, PacificSource Health Plans,
MURA (Medford Urban Renewal Agency), PacificCorp, Umpqua Bank and many others.
HMA is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to help revitalize and build awareness
to the renewal of downtown Medford along with its retail merchants, and to renewing
foot traffic to the area and its environs. Proceeds from this event support all other yearlong
HMA events, such as Art in Bloom in May, The Taste of History in June and Winter
Light Festival in December.
Pear Blossom Spring Fair Performer Backgrounds:
“Random Sound”:
Random Sound with Nick Chouard, Cole Coster, Tejas Leir-Heyden, Spencer Tesluk .
The boys of Random Sound met on a soccer field, but soon discovered they have another
passion in common. . . Rock and Roll. Just a few years ago, they could only play three
or four chords and now they have developed into real musicians who rock their
audiences with high energy performances.
“The Relief”:
The Relief is a group of young artists and jokers who are natural-born performers. Their
all-original rock sound is influenced by many of the ‘greats’ in rock music from The
Rolling Stones and The Doors to Bob Dylan and The Who. Their history starts at the
beginning, since Chris Doran (Lead Vocalist-Rhythm guitar) and Spenser Doran
(Drums/Percussion)are brothers. Then, in early childhood they met up with
bassman/vocalist Shane Kell, and the music and the chemistry began! Rounding out the
group is lead guitar, Jesse Kennemer. Together they say, “We’d perform even if no one
listened…we can’t stop, won’t stop…until our hearts stop”.
“The Rogue Suspects:
There are so many reasons to love these Rogues, and, yes, that is with a capital “R”. The
Rogue Suspects, or Suspects for short, is one of Southern Oregon’s local bands and is a
perfect musical storm – a culmination of agonizingly amazing talent, energy, charisma
and magnanimous spirit. These Rogues are Keys Angermaestro, Soul Man Bolen, Greg
Fretless and Tex, also known as keyboardist/vocalist Dean Angermeier, drummer David
Bolen, bassist Greg Frederick and guitarist/vocalist Dirk Price.
“Michael Mish”:
Emmy-award winning environmentalist-composer of original kids songs, musician and
singer, covering Elton John, Cat Stevens and The Beach Boys, etc. The LA Times calls
him “The Pied Piper of the Environment” and he has appeared on PBS specials and
many national network TV programs. He has also created acclaimed videos for many
nonprofit organizations.
“Michael ‘Hawkeye’ Herman”:
With over 40 years of performing experience, Michael “Hawkeye” Herman exemplifies
the range of possibilities in acoustic blues, and personifies versatile musicianship,
originality, and compelling artistry as a blues storyteller. Award-winning,
internationally recognized blues performer/recording artist,educator jamming with
local musician friends, singing and playing dynamic acoustic blues and R&B. Let the
good times roll! His dynamic performances have won him a faithful following, and he
leads a very active global touring schedule of performances at festivals, concerts, school
programs, and workshops. Hawkeye performs a wide variety of traditional blues,
ballads, swing, and original tunes, on six-string and twelve-string guitar, and is an adept
and exciting practitioner of slide guitar and slide mandolin.
“Apropos Musique”:
Apropos Musique is a newly formed contemporary acoustic musical group comprised of
three talented musicians: Curt Masterson, Neil Henderson and Stephanie Oaks. The
wide backgrounds of each of these individuals lead to a very nice fusion of diverse styles.
Working hard to blend Rock, R n’ B, Country and Jazz into unique Pop music, they seem
to have immense fun singing together.
“Siskiyou Violins”:
Siskiyou Violins, led by Artistic Director Faina Podolnaya, consists of around 40 teen –
and sub-teen – violinists from the Rogue Valley. They were one of only two youth
orchestras from across the United States to be invited to the annual conference of the
American String Teachers Association in California earlier this year.
“The Gayle Wilson Band”:
This high-energy group plays hits everyone remembers. From “Mustang Sally” to
“Footloose”, you can count on this band to let the good times roll. Band members
include Dal Carver on piano & vocals, Brent Norton on guitar and vocals, Dennis Freese
on sax, flute, clarinet & vocals, Jeff Addicott on bass & vocals, Mike Fitch on drums,
Gayle Wilson on harmonica and vocals.
“4 Stories High”: Laura Berman and Craig Benelli:
“Our songs are our stories, and we have a multitude of stories to tell.” From their days
in the New York City “singer/songwriter scene,” to performing at the Agape
International Spiritual Center in Los Angeles, and alongside inspirational authors
Marianne Williamson and Neale Donald Walsch, 4 Stories High, have inspired
thousands nationwide with their songs, wit and honesty. They continue to perform at
numerous conferences, music venues and spiritual centers across the country.
“The Hedgehogs”:
The Hedgehogs play Gypsy Jazz and classic swing-era tunes. Gypsy Jazz – also known
as Gypsy Swing or Jazz manouche – combines the passion and romance of traditional
music with the uplifting bounce and swing of the WW-II Era big band music.
Spearheaded by manouche gypsy guitarist, Django Reinhardt, Italian violinist, Stephane
Grappelli and their Paris-based “Hot Club of France” – Gypsy Jazz is currently enjoying
an enthusiastic following worldwide. Come swing and sway to the jazz sound of Gypsy
Jazz at this year’s Pear Blossom Festival!
“Havurah Choir” led by Allen Kenner:
The Havurah Choir, led by Allen Kenner, featuring Paula Flowers and Yvonne Wolfman
and composed of singers of all ages from diverse faiths, celebrates the joy of singing
spiritual music together. The choir sings primarily at Jewish services at the Havurah,
but also spreads healing, understanding, and tolerance through music by performing at
other venues, including interfaith events in the Rogue Valley. The Havurah Choir sings
a wide range of spiritual music including traditional melodies, chants, modern folk-style
music, both liturgical and secular, as well as original music. Many of the pieces the
Havurah Choir sings were composed and arranged by Allen Kenner

A Great Ashland Oregon Bed and Breakfast

Ashland Oregon is a beautiful town just down the road from me, and I wanted to do a post that talked a little bit about the Lithia Springs Inn, a beautiful Bed, Breakfast and Gardens complex in Ashland, just a few minutes by car from the Shakespeare Festival at Lithia Park in Ashland.

Ashland is home to dozens of fine Bed and Breakfasts, but the Lithia Springs offers the only one I know of with natural hot springs baths located in several of the rooms.      There are four acres of gardens surrounding the inn with beautiful landscaping and koi ponds.

Other special amenities at the Lithia Springs Inn are the gourmet breakfast, afternoon tea by the fireplace, and an evening wine tasting at O’Malley’s.

I’ve known Duane the Innkeeper for a long time, and in addition to being a nice guy he’s one of the most knowledgeable people in all of Ashland about dining in the area.   The Inn offers a wonderful breakfast in the beautifully appointed dining room but you’ll want to ask Duane about where to have dinner in town.   For a small town you’d be hard pressed to find a city with more excellent places to eat than Ashland.

I hope you’ll check out the Lithia Springs Inn on your first or next visit to Ashland!

Click here for more about the Lithia Springs Inn

China shuts access to Twitter, Flickr, Bing, Live, Hotmail, Blogger via the “Great Firewall” filters

China is closing down access to various internet services as they approach they anniversary of the Tiananmen Square democracy protests in 1989.   The early report from TechCrunch  says that Twitter, Flickr, Bing, Live, Hotmail, Blogger have all been made hard to access via the “Great Firewall” filters.     I did notice when in China last year that there are various programs like ‘Great Ladder” that allow people to bypass these filters, but obviously not many are going to have the combination of nerve and savvy to do this.

I believe that China’s censorship policies are probably counterproductive *even to the Chinese Government’s goals* in the long term, and I’d sure like to find a way for the internet community to make this clear to China’s leaders.   Ironically China’s leadership has done a remarkable job transitioning away from the bulky, centralized, bureaucratic economy that had been stifling progress for decades.    China’s citizens now enjoy a higher level of prosperity and *economic* freedom than they arguably have ever had in history.  Much of this prosperity is the result of producing goods for the US market.   What exactly does the government think will happen if they allow more open dialog in China?     I’d suggest they’ll find this would tend to reduce the tensions created by unhappy citizens rather than increase them.    Suppression of dissent in Tibet routinely brings international scorn to China, where a more open dialog will bring praise, respect, and support.

China needs to realize that the world’s fascination and respect for China’s culture and international influence will be enhanced by free speech, not reduced.

TechCrunch UK is reporting on this and I’m looking for more direct information now.

More from China’s CN Reviews

Of course we are not alone in the universe, but not for the reasons suggested by most UFO enthusiasts.

I can’t tell you how much I wish the UFO stories were all true.   In fact I’d be thrilled if even *one* of them was a credible story.   But they aren’t.  It’s very, very unlikely that even a single one of the thousands of reported stories about aliens visiting earth are true, for the reasons I discuss below.

Every so often Astronaut Ed Mitchell is quoted – here at CNN – talking about the Government cover ups of Roswell and other alien incidents he is convinced prove the existence of extraterrestrials and their visits to earth.    With all due respect to Mr. Mitchell’s accomplished career this is an area where he’s by no means an expert and clearly has just been convinced by the same silly stories that have convinced thousands of other people “We are not alone”, mostly because they want to believe rather than because there is any compelling evidence.    In fact there is no compelling evidence of alien visits to earth, and the idea the Government is covering up those visits is just dumb.

Don’t get me wrong – it is in my view it is nearly *certain* that there are at least *millions* of other planets with intelligent life on them.   I’ve blogged about why I think there’s a very high likelihood that there are probably many billions of civilizations in the universe.     In short it’s because we – as little replicating macromolecular structures – are unlikely to be all that special and because the universe is so darn huge with hundreds of billions of *galaxies*, each with hundreds of billions of stars and probably billions of planets.

But unfortunately for us earth lies in the low traffic zone of our milky way galaxy.    We are so far from the center, and so far from even the closest star, that visits from aliens – especially organic ones like the dude pictured in the silly Roswell hoax – are very, very unlikely.    Even with advanced technologies it would likely take many organic being lifetimes to travel to earth.  Tommo corrects me on this – time dilation would allow organic beings to travel extensively if the ship could approach speed of light.

Why would they choose this part of the Galaxy when the center is teaming with  star systems and probably millions of times more life per sector?

Don’t flatter yourself – the idea that we have attained some special status of great interest to more advanced beings that have the technologies to travel throughout the galaxy is a weak idea.   Possible, sure, but weak.

We are NOT alone in the universe, but we won’t be visited anytime soon.


Roswell Joe

Nanumea via

My pals Keith and Anne are anthropologists who have spent considerable time in the country called Tuvalu on the island of Nanumea.     Keith’s done a great  job with a website called “” that offers Nanumeans as well as the rest of the world a lot of insight into their history, geneaology, cuture and language.   Unfortunately Nanumea is third at Google when you search for “Nanumea” when clearly this is *by far* the best resource for the island with extensive history and photos.     Part of the reason for this post here is to see how quickly Google correctly ranks and also how this blog post ranks for the term “Nanumea”.

Unlike islands that are far more familiar to most of us like Fiji or Hawaii, the Tuvalu group of islands which includes Nanumea is fairly isolated and Tuvalu has never become much of a tourism destination.    For example to get to Nanumea you need to first fly to Tuvalu (usually from Australia I think), and then ride a boat over to this island, home to about 600 people.

Yet thanks to Keith and Anne those of us who may never travel there can get a great sense of the people and culture, and language.  They are only a mouse click away at is an ambitious attempt to document the life and times of the Polynesians residents of the island, include the following:

  • Photographs (1973 to the present)
    • Nanumean families (1973-4, 1984)
    • Daily life in Nanumea
    • Ceremonies and Celebrations
    • Fishing, Gardening, Cooking
    • Making Canoes, building houses
      weaving mats, titi, fau, etc.
    • Individual people, including many
      elders who have now passed away
  • Genealogies (family lines: gafa, telega)
  • Tape recorded interviews and stories (if possible – we are looking at the technical requirements)
  • Publications about Nanumea
  • Miscellaneous other information