Friday, June 7, 2013

See Puerto Rico from New York by ship

See Puerto Rico from New York by ship

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Brennan Linsley/AP

El Morro fortress, in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
For a novel way to visit San Juan or the Dominican Republic, take a cruise from the New York area — no airfare required.
Several cruise lines have itineraries from New York that call in San Juan. Royal Caribbean has cruises from Bayonne, N.J., that also visit Samana in the D.R.
Here are some of the options:
1. Set sail on the 3,000-passenger Carnival Splendor, round-trip from New York, on an eight-day Eastern Caribbean cruise that includes calls at Grand Turk, St. Thomas, and eight hours in San Juan (3 p.m. to 11 p.m.). Through October, fares from $489.
2. Book a nine-night Caribbean cruise, round-trip from New York, on the 2,394-passenger Norwegian Gem and spend time in St. Thomas, St. Maarten and San Juan (you’re there from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m.). The cruises are October to April, fares from $649.
3. Cruise on the brand new, 4,000-passenger Norwegian Breakaway on a 12-night itinerary that sails round-trip from New York, and visit San Juan one evening, 3 p.m. to 10 p.m., as well as St. Thomas, St. Maarten, St. Lucia, Barbados and St. Kitts. Fares from $1,299.
4. Embark from Bayonne on Royal Caribbean’s 3,114-passenger Explorer of the Seas on a nine-day itinerary and combine a day in San Juan (4 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.) and Samana (9 a.m. to 4 p.m.) with visits to Labadee, Haiti and St. Thomas. Fares from $659.
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Surfing and Serenity on a Remote Philippine Island

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Jes Aznar for The New York Times
The entrance to Siargao Island's legendary Cloud 9 break.
We sat facing a weathered wood pagoda set in an emerald sea, the perfect swimming distance from a private beach lined with crooked coconut trees. Grilled mahi-mahi that arrived via a banca, a Filipino fishing boat, just an hour earlier was seasoned with calamansi (a citrus fruit native to the Philippines) and served with grilled eggplant and squash from the resort’s organic farm, accompanied by a bottle of crisp white wine. Steps from the restaurant pavilion was our villa with its huge bed swathed in a white mosquito net, an open shower surrounded by local shiny white pebbles, and swinging outdoor daybeds. The pummeling of an unforgettable surfing session hours before made the idea of crawling back to such luxurious digs even more appealing.
We were on Siargao (pronounced shar-GOW), a teardrop-shaped island that’s just one of the Philippines’s 7,000-plus, and the southernmost refuge for travelers before the less politically stable region of Mindanao. Even to Filipinos, the island, on the country’s Pacific-facing side, is not all that well known. Before the airport opened here in 2011, it was an overnight ferry ride from Cebu (which Magellan put on the map when he landed there in 1521). And it’s still not so easy to reach: the two-flight, roughly four-hour trip from Manila (including a layover in Cebu) has only the semblance of a schedule part of the year because of mercurial weather.
But the island is known to surfers, largely because of its fabled break, endearingly called Cloud 9. It stands in the firmament of the best rides on the global circuit, a fast and powerful monster because of the water that sweeps in from the Philippine Trench in the Pacific Ocean. In the fall the arrival of the habagat, a weather system fed by southwest winds and easterly currents, creates even more monumental tubes. Local lore credits a drug runner-turned-surfer with putting Cloud 9 on the radar — and in the decades since, it has drawn world pros for an international tournament hosted by companies like Billabong and Quiksilver. A small industry of hippie-style guesthouses, bars and surf schools has followed.
My interest in the island was already piqued — I have invariably found in my travels that surfers get to the best beaches first, before mass-market tourism arrives. And then came word of the opening of Dedon Island Resort, a gleaming nine-villa property. Stays there come with a full menu of adventure sports, from surfing to deep-sea fishing, and it has amenities like an outdoor cinema and a private chef using organic produce from its farm. But it also had a $1,600-a-night price tag for two attached (rates have since dropped a bit) and a Web site that used enigmatic terms like “outdoor living lab.” I wondered who was taking two small planes from the Filipino capital to spend that kind of money on an island that they most likely couldn’t place on a map.
To find out, we left from Siargao’s tiny airport and followed an international mix of young backpackers and surfer types off the prop plane to the waiting fleet of jeepneys — colorful and ubiquitous fixtures of Filipino roads that are part bus, part jalopy, part canvas of personal expression. Cobbled together from former United States army jeeps and random spare parts, they barrel along at alarming speeds with passengers hanging out the open doors and bags haphazardly perched on top.
Dedon’s, however, was unlike any jeepney I had seen. It was done up in mirror-like chrome and shining cream paint, kitted out with terry-cloth seats like beach loungers, piped-in lounge music, and snacks of dried coconut and pineapple. As we traveled, Marlo, a resident surfer who doubled as the resort greeter, pointed out huge carabao, Filipino water buffalo, plowing bright-green paddy fields on one side, and small thatched fishing huts suspended over the water’s edge on the other. School was letting out for the day and children waved to us from the back of their parents’ motorbikes as we crossed through a little village. Then, nothing but empty, white sand beaches flickering between clusters of sloping palms.
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Film Review: The Purge |

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The Purge is the kind of high-concept mumbo jumbo that most people would dismiss out of sheer absurdity but, if done right, could function in a delightfully bashit crazy topical manner to render permissible its ridiculous concepts as a legitimately scary what-if scenario. I’m in a huge Twilight Zonething lately, so I was ready for a potentially on-the-nose story about the possibility for escalating violence in America’s socio-political environment mixed with some allegorically thrilling elements, so it was a huge disappointment to me that The Purge barely delivered on anything intelligently close to that.
Through cleverly Verhoven-esque public service announcement exposition we find out the movie takes place in a future fascistic America when unemployment and crime are at an all time low due to the new US government corporatocracy’s policy of letting all crime—including murder—be legal for an annual twelve-hour period. James Sandin—played by Ethan Hawke in a role in a movie about as far away from Before Midnight as you could possibly get—is an upper class home security developer who lives in a wealthy neighborhood with his wife Mary (Queen Cers…I meant Lena Headey) and two children, Charlie and Zoey.
The family and the neighborhood ready themselves for The Purge behind their new security system, and before you know it the idiot son lets a bloody screaming stranger in the house for no good reason.  Also, the daughter’s boyfriend is in the house and masked killers who look like the Harvard rowing team and their Amish dates show up threatening the Sandins’ lives if they do not hand the stranger over to them.
Yes, the “lower class” man did call for help and claimed people were after him so the son felt the need to help him out of the goodness of his heart, but presumably The Purge has happened for some time now and it goes unsaid why the son suddenly grew a conscience. It’s a jumbled mess for the Sandins and an equally jumbled mess for the audience as well because the perspective is constantly changing about whom we should care about. People in my audience actually cheered when the 99%-ers were about to kill the homeless guy I suppose because he’s the quote-unquote “intruder,” but what does that say about the filmmaker’s dramatic intentions? This film also has absolutely no idea how to build and sustain tension. The editing in sequences where we are supposed to be on the edge of our seats either cuts away and alleviates any built up anticipation or abruptly goes into an incomprehensible shaky-cam confrontation without anyone knowing the stakes. Also, this movie has got to be the frontrunner to win the contest for the most amount of shots of people about to kill someone only to be killed by someone else off-screen.
It’s dumb, very dumb, and merely place-sets the really interesting concept that for one night the “Haves” can filter their prejudices and achieve a level of catharsis by “purging” the country of all its problems with the “Have-nots” without delving into it in a truly meaningful way. You may say that maybe the filmmakers didn’t want it to be anything more, yet the details they pepper throughout makes it seem as though they think they have gotten to some underlying truth about society. But simply mentioning the 99% versus the 1% and then letting the rich people fire guns at the poor people doesn’t really say much other than the obvious point that rich people don’t like poor people all that much, and would rather see them go away. It’s no spoiler to say that in the end they learn the moral of the story is that killing is not right, but did we have to go through all this other unintelligent bullshit just to make it to that simple truth?
Rating: D
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San Juan

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San JuanCapital city

CNN videos | Transgender ex-Navy SEAL tells Anderson Cooper...

CNN videos | Transgender ex-Navy SEAL tells Anderson Cooper, 'I want happiness'

From CNN:
imageChristopher Beck served as a U.S. Navy SEAL in some of the most dangerous battlegrounds in the world, including Iraq and Afghanistan and earned medals and commendations including the Bronze Star and a Purple Heart. 
But for 20 years while Beck was fighting for his country, he was also fighting an inner battle over his identity. He wanted to live his life as a woman. 
After retiring in 2011, Beck did just that. Chris Beck is now Kristin Beck. 
Tonight Kristen spoke with Anderson Cooper about the transition from being a masculine Navy SEAL to a feminine woman.
Videos courtesy of Anderson Cooper 360°


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Israel's Tel Aviv Holds Annual Gay Pride Parade - AP | Religious support for gay marriage...

Israel's Tel Aviv Holds Annual Gay Pride Parade

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By AMI BENTOV Associated Press
TEL AVIV, Israel June 7, 2013 (AP)
Drag queens, politicians, grandmothers and shirtless men descended on Tel Aviv in their thousands Friday to party in the annual gay pride parade, the 15th march to be held in an Israeli city that has emerged as one of the world's most gay-friendly.
Loud dance music beat along the parade's route, with rainbows painted on participants' faces, arms and bellies. Drag queens in sequins and platform heels waved to the crowd from floats as scantily-clad men bopped and bounced to the music.
Tel Aviv has become a top destination for the gay community. Tourists from Brazil, England, Russia and elsewhere partied in the Tel Aviv parade alongside Israelis on Friday.
"We love Israel. We have come four times now. The people are so nice and open minded and so lovely to us," said a tourist from Germany who gave his name as Klaus, dressed in floppy orange hat with matching high heels. "There is a lot of energy here," Klaus said. Marching with his husband, Gerhard, he noted the warm weather and the fact that Tel Aviv has a beach as attractions.
Tel Aviv is one of the few places in the Middle East where gays feel free to walk hand-in-hand and kiss in public. The municipality spends some 2 million shekels (550,000 dollars) annually on the local community and on attracting gay travelers, Tel Aviv mayor Ron Huldai told Israeli Army Radio.
The first gay couple to wed in France, Vincent Autin and Bruno Boileau, who tied the knot last week in a politically charged ceremony, are now honeymooning in Tel Aviv.
Tel Aviv's openness stands in contrast to Jerusalem, just a short drive away, dominated by strictly Orthodox Jews and with a much smaller gay scene. In 2005, an ultra-Orthodox protester there stabbed three marchers at a gay pride parade.
Despite its more open reputation, Tel Aviv has also experienced violence.
The parade came just after police announced they had arrested four suspects in connection with the killing of two people at a gay youth center in Tel Aviv four years ago, what was then seen as the most homophobic attack in Israel's history. Police said Friday they were no longer treating the killings as a hate crime, saying the motive was of a personal nature. Gay community leaders said they still believed the two victims were killed because of their sexual orientation.
While the mood was tinged by the news of the arrests, thousands still paraded through Tel Aviv. A beach party was set for post-march revelry.
Tel Aviv has led the rest of Israel to become progressively more accepting of gays, granting them some rights while the country lags in other spheres.
Officially, there is no gay marriage in Israel, primarily because there is no civil marriage of any kind. All weddings must be conducted through the Jewish rabbinate, which considers homosexuality a sin and a violation of Jewish law. But the state recognizes same-sex couples who marry abroad.
Gay adoption is officially illegal, but couples can get around the law by using surrogacy or adopting abroad. The partner of a parent can adopt the child of his or her partner. Gays have served openly in Israel's military for decades.
Community leaders say Israel still has far to go in promoting equality. Many politicians who attended Friday's parade said they would work to advance gay rights.
"I will do everything to preserve Israel's values of promoting equality and fighting discrimination against lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders," said Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni at a rally before the parade. "I love you and I am committed to you," she pledged.

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religious support for gay marriage

religious support for gay marriage

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religious support for gay marriage

Gay Rights Advocate Faces off with Michelle Obama Gay Rights Advocate Faces off... 

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Gay Rights Advocate Faces off with Michelle Obama

Gay Rights Advocate Faces off with Michelle Obama

Michelle Obama confronted a protester at a fundraiser on Tuesday, stepping away from the lectern where she was speaking to denounce the protester s …

Gay Rights Advocate Faces off with Michelle Obama

Israeli police say Tel Aviv gay killings 4 years ago were not a hate crime - Fox... 

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Israeli police say Tel Aviv gay killings 4 years ago were not a hate crime - Fox News


Israeli police say Tel Aviv gay killings 4 years ago were not a hate crime
Fox News
JERUSALEM – Israeli police say the killing of two people at a gay …

Israeli police say Tel Aviv gay killings 4 years ago were not a hate crime - Fox News

SI Gay Pride 2013 SI Gay Pride 2013 Gianni Records Performance by B.DOT & Sin... 

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SI Gay Pride 2013

SI Gay Pride 2013

Gianni Records Performance by B.DOT & Singer NY.

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SI Gay Pride 2013

Israel's Tel Aviv Holds Annual Gay Pride Parade - ABC News Haaretz Israel's T... 

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Israel's Tel Aviv Holds Annual Gay Pride Parade - ABC News


Israel's Tel Aviv Holds Annual Gay Pride Parade
ABC News
Drag queens, politicians, grandmothers and shirtless men descended on Tel Aviv in their thousands Friday to party in the …

Israel's Tel Aviv Holds Annual Gay Pride Parade - ABC News

Israel, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Gay, Urlaub, holiday, schalom, Juden, cruise - und die Männer 

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Gegensätze in Israel - ein kleiner Kurzfilm.
From: tentigo57
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