The local time is 3:22 p.m.

According to my netbook clock it is 6:22 a.m. in Ventura.

All is quiet at the moment, such that I have a little bit of time to write some more.

Went over to Grossmunster this morning for morning service at 10 a.m.

The service was similar to the one on Friday, except that it was led by the older gentleman, instead of the younger one.

The two men who we would think of as ministers or pastors or something of the sort are Herr Professors, by title, rather than minister so and so, or whatever.

Zwingli founded a university during the early 1500's which subsequently became Zurich University.

Around the Grossmunster there is still the remains of the original school, still extant, as a seminary university.

These men, I believe, are professors of that institution.

I found out while on the Regatta bound for Tahiti, while reading a very recently published Orell Fussli book on conducting business in Switzerland, that the professors in this country are considered the highest authorities in matters of law.

So, when a court is trying to decide what the law is on any particular area of controversy they call in the professor who is expert in that area to determine exactly what the law is and what options are or are not available.

It explained in the book that unlike other countries where the professor will just be one more expert witness, instead, they are considered to be the ultimate authority.

I suspect that this same kind of thinking carries over into the field of religion.

Especially given how much religion and state are bound together, like it or not, in this country.

So, it only seems natural that Herr Professor would also be the ultimate authority when it comes to matters of faith.

So, the service is led by two professors.

One is young, while the other is not so young (that is to say about my age).

The young one seems rather lukewarm (although he most definitely is not, I am sure) and very unsure of himself.

He seems to be trying to prove himself to the congregation.

The older of the two is just the opposite.

He looks as if he has been to hell and back several times or more.

He is a warrior through and through and pure pleasure to watch and to listen to.

He is commanding and reads with authority and with understanding that comes through even though he is speaking German, of which I understand very little.

The younger one I am not sure I would want covering my back, because I am afraid he would turn and run at any minute.

The older one looks like someone who will fight to the death right alongside me without ever even flinching, if even once.

The younger one seems full of fear and misgiving.

The older one has fire in his eyes, which I perceived upon first laying eyes on him.

As I see him more I realize just how much on fire he really is.

He does not look at you, but, instead looks inside you and through you.

He is sizing you up from the inside out without you even knowing it.

My kind of guy!

The tree that hangs in the air at the front was covered in tulips of all different colors.

Very striking.

Today, instead of a choir and orchestra there were trumpets and trombones.

Two of each at the front several more up in the organ loft.

The organist had composed several pieces for organ and horns.

While he is not the best organist I have ever heard (that would be E.Power Biggs, hands down, who I was privileged to meet and shake hands with on his last concert tour several years before his death), however he is not a bad composer.

The music was a rather odd mix of modern organ types of playing, mixed with some French Romantic styles, all overlaid on top of the 1500-1600 hymn style which seems to be the music which he plays the most.

A rather odd mix, but overall fairly effective.

There were points where the organ and the horns were blending together such as to fill the entire cathedral with some very beautiful and pleasing sounds.

Very effective and I believe, well received.

The service itself consisted of readings from John's gospel, chapter 20 (the empty tomb) interspersed with 16th and 17th century hymns, sung by the group with organ accompaniement.

The organist had written a little prelude for each of the hymns, with which each would be started.

Finally the older Herr Professor gave his sermon.

It is written down, and one may pick up a copy of it prior to service, in order to follow along, as he would read it verbatim, and then would extemporize for a few moments and then get back to the script again.

He was a good and fairly powerful speaker.

Then, finally, they have the breaking of bread and drinking of wine in memory of the last supper and as a spiritual communion with our maker.

I have never seen a group of so many intensely reverential persons together in one room before.

It didn't take me long before I realized that there was not going to be any nauseating so-called "altar call" (a hussle if ever there was one, in my book) and even more amazingly no shakedown for the almighty $$$.

I found this so refreshing.

Instead as people left the building an elderly woman stood on one side of the huge double doors and an elderly man stood on the other side, opposite her, each having a deep little bag with a round opening on top so that any who wanted to could give.

No dirty looks, no pressure, and most people apparently happy not to give.

But for those who would like to the opportunity was presented.

I would like to and was glad to have the opportunity.

But while remembering the admonition of not letting your right hand know what your left hand is doing when it comes to almsgiving.

As I walked out and shook hands with the two Herr Professors I norticed that the older was way bigger than he looked from a distance, as he was taller and bigger than me.

I told him that I did not understand one single word which he had said, but that I had loved every single word nevertheless, to which he replied in very broken English that "your heart understood", to which I replied "you are right".

On the way down to the Grossmunster and on the way back a very gentle and beautiful snow fell all around us.

The streets were empty, once again.

A very strange sight indeed, and especially as compared with yesterday afternoon and last night when the Bahnhoffstrasse was as busy as I have ever seen it, being packed with people throughout most of it's entire length from the train station down to the lake.

more to come.

need to take a break for a few minutes.

time is 4:20 p.m.


Well, as it turns out I should have said a few hours, as it is now 12 minutes past midnight here, and 3:12 p.m. in Ventura, according to my computer clock.

It has been snowing on and off all day long until the sky cleared up at about 5 p.m., but still very cold outside.

Cold enough that fingers begin to get numb in a matter of minutes.

After the very moving morning service at the Grossmunster I went back to hotel to get out of my suit and tie and into my street clothes (Hawaiian shirt and white levis - my signature outfit).

From there went back out onto the streets and then back to the train station.

I was a little bit nervous and watching my back closely, wondering if I had made the wrong people mad, such that they may want vengeance.

These foreigners who are bringing in all of the hard drugs and prostitution are very large and tough hardened criminals from the Middle East.

I have had dealings with them over the years and can assure you they are very scary and very nasty people and very capable of murder and worse.

In a book that I was reading last night about purchasing property in Switzerland it made an interesting comment to the effect that there is very little violent crime in this country, but that 90% of the people who are incarcerated for violent crimes are foreigners.

Hmmmm --- I wonder.

These very bad hombres are creeping all over the place during these past several months that I have seen with my own eyes.

My personal favorites are the tweakers who come out at night.

They are almost always young white boys.

And they are emaciated, with sunken eyes, and pale skin.

And they are looking all around them as if something horrible is just about to happen any second.

I avoid them like the plague, although I do feel very sorry for them.

I have had enough experience with persons addicted to these substances (as in helping them to get off of them) that I feel intense pain when I see them.

But, it is rather entertaining in a very dark humor kind of way, I have got to admit.

What a mess is going on over in the district which I have already told about by the Sorrell Rutli.

Used to be a very upscale area which is now full of bars and riff raff for days.

Very sad to see.

One can only wonder how long it will be before there is a very violent backlash on the part of the citizens of this city.

I do not want to get caught in the middle of that, if at all possible.

But considering that I am the one who can get into Geneve (Geneva) following a six hour train ride, just in time to walk right into the middle of a near riot known as Escalade, where the kids are spraying shaving cream all over everything and everybody in sight and throwing eggs all over the place while all are very drunk and rowdy, who knows what other wonders I am capable of, anyway?

Anyone who knows me knows that walking into the middle of a riot or near riot is seen as a photo op (more precisely a video op, in this case), so that I am right at home in all of the chaos, while trying to get the shots and get out alive, not always an easy thing to do.

I got some marvelous footage at that time, this last December.

The highlight was an impromptu street interview with two very drunk Canadians in the middle of all of this fracas who insisted on posing for the camera and wanted to tell me all about what was going on.

Only I am too drunk to tell you just what is going on, I was soon informed.

He looked quite a little bit more than drunk to me.

Remember, I was a paramedic in Los Angeles and Ventura for seven long and very exciting years, so that I do know such things when I see them, moreso than others.

The footage is just priceless, once you look beyond the obviously more unseemly aspects of the behavior which I am documenting.

My other favorite was several trucks with loud Middle Eastern "music" blaring out of them as a bunch of very drunk young girls were making hideous faces and looking quite scary while putting on even more of a show for the camera.

It was downright chilling.

The footage is rather scary to watch as one can only wonder.

I know I am on a tangent, but let me tell what Escalade is, as I was soon to learn from some of the local gendarmerie who spoke just enough English to tell me about it.

It seems that it is a celebration of an aborted attack on the city.

It begins with several days of wildness in celebration of the driving off of the enemy forces and ends with a huge candlelight vigil throughout the city in commemoration of those who died during the fighting.

There is more to it, but that is the gist of it.

I only mention that because I have the most peculiar ability to be where the action is just as it is starting and then deciding to stay and see just what it is all about, usually with a fair degree of danger to my bodily integrity.

Anything to get the shots, has always been my motto.

Those who know me best expect that I will die doing this, and are quite surprised that I haven't already.

So, I expect that I will come into Zurich one day, just in time to get caught in the middle of all of the chaos which will utlimately ensue.

That, entirely as an aside.

Now, back to the walk down to the train station.

As some background one will find that one can travel all over Schwyzland by train and will find that the main train stations are the center of activity for the town.

You can literally get off of the train in any of the main cities and walk everywhere in town that is worth going to, as a general rule.

The main train station in each of these cities is called the Bahnhof.

In Zurich the main street, not dissimilar to Las Ramblas in Barcelona, for example, travels from the train station through the middle of a very expensive shopping district and then down to the waterfront.

It is a very beautiful walk which I have made on numerous occasions and never tire of.

That street is the Bahnhofstrasse.

Strasse means "street" in German, so that a literal translation would be the train station street.

In Zurich everything is connected to the Bahnhoffstrasse in one way or another.

One of the most charming things about this city and Lucerne and others are the numerous little alleyways which twist and turn all oer the place.

It is an incredible maze.

Every time you think you have it figured out you will find yet another alleyway that you somehow missed, that will lead you into yet one more amazing set of adventures, sights, and experiences.

These are meant to be walkways and there are normally no motor vehicles on them.

They are all made of cobblestone from various different centuries and each is really somewhat unique.

This is where you will find the best of the antiquarian booksellers, and sellers of art and jewelry, etc.

So, you will walk along for awhile as you look in one window after another, each containing numerous fascinating objects and then suddenly come upon a window that makes you stop in your tracks and stare in amazement for the next ten to fifteen minutes before realizing that you have just become mesmerized and have completely lost touch with your surroundings.

And then you ask yourself where you are and how you are going to find your way back, only to realize that you do not know where you are, and have even less idea how to find your way back again.

It really is rather disconcerting.

Especially when you do try to find your way back and begin to wonder whether it was all just a dream.

The main thoroughfare is one of the most expensive shopping districts on the planet.

I have been to many, if not most, and can tell you that there is simply nothing like it anywhere else.

I once read that there is so much gold beneath the Bahnhoffstrasse that it is laid out in a pile two miles long.

While one may question the exact size and amounts, etc., I can tell you there is a lot of it under there.

The entire street has banks from one end to the other.

Several years ago there were probably at least one hundred of them all in a row.

Today there are more like about twenty of them, with others hidden off on side streets and other locations.

Most are Swiss banks, but there are also numerous Middle Eastern banks and far eastern banks and even several Lichtenstein branches.

It is a great place to go if you would like to speak with a lot of very knowledgeable people in a very short amount of time.

They are from all over the world and all are in the center of whatever is going on at any given moment, such that it is a great place to find out what is really going on at any given time, if you can get the people to speak with you and to tell what they know.

I can assure you that they will not talk with just anyone, and very few indeed are going to get the information which I am seeking.

That is where lots of money and the building of networks and knowing how to get people to tell all of the stuff they shouldn't be telling comes into play.

These are my specialties.

It is a gift.

Do not try this at home, kids, as you will not live long if you do.

But for the few who are able, it is a "goldmine" of information (please forgive the crude pun, which is intended, by the way).

You must know an unbelievable amount of information about world finance and trade, because the people you are talking with sure do, and will quickly size you up to decide whether they want to continue the conversation or not.

It is also good if you have information which they may like to have, so that we kind of "horse trade" info back and forth.

While it may sound like I love to do this, it is certainly not so.

In fact it is very tiring and I would almost rather do anything but.

Nevertheless, when there are fortunes and lives at stake, this is what you must do, so you just get out there and do it and hope for the best.

My "fishing" expeditions typically pay off big time as I make new friends and contacts and am introduced to others by those whom I already have business relationships with.

It is the ultimate in networking.

I always get a kick out of the people with whom I deal, because they are the real power behind the thrones.

Long after your favorite politician has fallen from grace and become good for nothing other than a laughing stock to all of those who know what is really going on, these people will be figuring out who their next sock puppet wannabe politician will or will not be.

They remain, while the sock puppets act as if they are the actual power.

The difference is this:  the sock puppets only have the power to destroy.  And they continuously revel in this childish sandbox fight type of mentality for as long as they live.  While the others are the constructive forces which are continuously trying to figure out how to keep progress moving forward and how to  make things and build things.

Yes, the one is a builder, who is here to stay, while the others are simply phoneys who are pretending to be the people who are actually in control.

Watch how fast they can fall from favor.

Overnight ring a bell?

Just ask Johathan Edwards, or Al Gore, or Christie Todd Whitman, to name but a few.

One day they are strutting around as if they are big powerful people and the next day their career has ended quickly and permanently.

These things happen for reasons which you are never going to know or be told.

As we like to say, they p***ed off the wrong people or person or persons.

Not a good thing for your resume, to be sure.

All of the real power brokers are never seen, and you do not even know they exist.

They own all of the media organs which tell stories about all of these people, such that they are not ever going to be mentioned unless they have a good reason to want to make themselves known, which would be a very rare case indeed.

Another aside?  Oh well, sorry about that.  This is what happens when you are drafting live on the internet, so please bear with me.

The amount of wealth on the Bahnhoffstrasse is simply staggering.

I am reminded of Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills writ very large.

It is simply astonishing as you look around you and begin adding up the numbers.

And there is not just a lot of wealth, but numerous very wealthy persons, from all over the world.
That is Zurich, and that is Bahnhoffstrasse, in a shortened version.

Now, back to my main story.

I went down to the Bahnhoff (now you know what that is) to see what was going on, since the rest of the town is closed down for the day.

I went into a small store that has very good take out food and was eyeballing a fine looking little bratwurst when who do you suppose I should realize is standing right behind me?

You guessed it, that poor little black girl who was being battered and falsely imprisoned by her white overlord.

She was alone.

I wondered just what was going on as I got my food and headed down into the area where the trains are continuously coming and going which is several stories underground.

Because there are few places to sit up above I decided that I would go down and sit on one of the benches alongside the tracks as I watched trains and people come and go as I munched down on my yummy snack.

And who do you suppose I see across the tracks on the next Gleis over (Gleis is the platform where you stand to catch your train, each one having a different number which identifies it so that you know where to stand to catch your train).

The very same girl.

She is heading out of town with a large purse and nothing else.

She looks rather forlorn, but at least is not being pushed around and blocked and hit by the big white guy.

She catches a train and is out of town.

I know nothing more.

But, I asked myself, what are the odds of this?

I ran into her after leaving the service on Friday and now I run into her again after leaving the service on Sunday.

And she has ditched her pimp and is leaving town.

I wish her well and will continue to keep her in my prayers, you may rest assured.

While I am left to guess at the meaning of all of this, in my own ridiculously optimistic way I hope that she has ditched those losers as I toid her to do.

It must be so scary for her that my heart just breaks from thinking about it.

I hope she does not return and moves on to better pastures.

I found it so ironic that she could get all of the help, financially, and spiritually, and emotionally, etc. from the people at the Grossmunster.

But she probably has never even thought of that.

The people whom I have met are so loving that I am sure many of them would go far out of their way to help a person like her, just for it's own sake.

But she is unable to figure that out.

The alleyway where all of the prostitutioh is taking place goes for about one mile and a half before it almost literally runs into the cathedral, which means all she ever needed to do was walk the rest of the way down the alley to get all of the help she ever needs.

But, instead, she remains trapped at the other end of the alley.

Really weird from where I sit.

While I am not one do draw a lot of conclusions from such a limited amount of information, nevertheless, one can hope for the best, which is just what I will do, although her pimp/s are going to be madder than ever at me, if I am right, such that I am watching my back even more closely than usual.

Well, I hope that this is enough for now.

I think it is time for me to go to bed.

So, goodnight, or should I say Guten Nacht? or maybe it is late enough that I should say Guten Morgen (good morning).

Well, just when you were starting to get impressed with my command of the German language, I am forced to confess that this is my entire repertoire.

I wasn't much better after three years of French in junior high school, either, although my ancient Greek is much better.

Too bad no one speaks it or cares.

Life can be so cruel sometimes.

Well, once again, I am sending all of my love to all of my loved ones.

Miss all of you and am looking forward to getting back into the USSA to continue the work which we have so earnestly begun.

And, no, that was not a typo; it was most definitely intentional.


2 a.m.
Zurich, CH

remember?  Confederation Helvetica is the actual name of this country, thanks to Napoleon, no less.