Sunday, July 26, 2015

10 Little Known Wars

For every major war that fills our history books and newspapers—the Revolutionary War of the American colonists vs. England, Civil War with the North vs. the South, World War I, World War II, what were termed police actions such as Korea and Viet Nam (war by any other name), and Desert Storm (25 years ago) leading up to the current armed conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan—there are dozens of small wars that don't receive any attention in history class.  Some of them were ludicrous and others were very serious.

Here's a list of 10 wars (in no particular order) that you probably never heard about.

1)  The Pig War
This little known conflict dates back to 1859 and had the potential to change the course of American history.  And it all started with a pig.  Both America and Britain claimed possession of and resided on San Juan Island off the coast of Washington state.  The two countries maintained an uneasy truce…until an American farmer shot a British pig he discovered tearing up his potato patch.  This action resulted in the British trying to arrest the farmer who called in the American troops in support of his position.  The two countries squared off on the tiny island.  The British Navy sent 3 warships and over 2,000 men.  No shots were fired (beyond the original shot that killed the pig).  San Juan Island was eventually ceded to the Americans as part of the San Juan Islands group.

2)  The Stray Dog War
And speaking of animals being the source of an international conflict, that's also the case with the long-running rivalry between Bulgaria and Greece.  In 1925 a Greek soldier chased his runaway dog across the border and was shot dead by a Bulgarian border guard.  That action set off an immediate retaliation with the Greek army invading the border region of Petrich and routing the Bulgarian army.  The League of Nations ordered Greece to withdraw and pay Bulgaria about $90,000 in damages.

3)  The War Of Jenkins' Ear
There are lots of reasons why wars start, but there's only one known to have started because of a severed ear.  British sea captain Robert Jenkins' boat was boarded by the Spanish in the Caribbean.  The Spanish accused him of piracy and cut off his left ear.  In 1738, Jenkins brought the ear to Parliament and it was enough for Great Britain to declare war on Spain.  After 7 years of conflict, both countries backed off with no major territory changes on either side.

4)  The Moldovan-Transdniestrian War
The breakup of the Soviet Union left several countries looking for something to do and in some cases that something ended up being war.  Moldova had a partisan faction wanting to stay allied with Romania and another wanting to align with Russia.  Nearly a thousand people were killed before hostilities ceased.  The unusual part of the war was the relationship between the soldiers of the opposing sides.  After battling each other during the day, they would socialize in the bars in the disputed zone at night, often apologizing to each other for the events of the day.

5)  The Honey War
In the early days of the United States when the federal government wasn't as strong as it is now, the individual states often became involved in ridiculous squabbles with each other that sometimes escalated into violence.  In 1839, the governor of Missouri decided to redraw his state's border with Iowa because…well, apparently because he felt like it that morning.  And then he sent in his tax collectors to pick up some extra cash from its new citizens.  Needless to say, this didn't go over very well.  The only thing the tax collectors were able to collect consisted of 3 beehives full of honey.  The Missouri militia got into an armed conflict with Iowa citizens who captured a sheriff.  Congress finally drew a permanent border line and told both states to chill out.

6)  Anglo-Zanzibar War
This conflict lasted an awesome 38 minutes making it the world record holder for the shortest war in history.  Khalid vin Bargash, the new Sultan of Zanzibar, came into power in 1896.  He didn't like having his protectorate as a British puppet so he declared war and barricaded himself in the palace.  Less than an hour later, the British had shelled him, removed him from power and installed a new Sultan in his place.

7)  The Football War
This four day war between Honduras and El Salvador was about more than a soccer game.  Hundreds of thousands Salvadorans had been moving to Honduras to find work.  By the late 1970s, tensions between the two countries had reached the breaking point.  The spark that set off the war was the FIFA World Cup qualifying matches between the two countries.  After each had won one game, the Salvadoran Air Force (passenger planes with bombs strapped to them) attacked Honduran targets.  Neither nation could support an extended war, so a cease-fire was negotiated.  They remained bitter enemies for more than a decade.

8)  The Watermelon War
Yet another war that started over a trivial matter and quickly escalated out of control.  The United States occupation of Panama to build the canal displaced much of the nation's white-collar workforce, leaving a great many natives unemployed.  A boat carrying 1,000 American workers landed in Panama City making the matter even worse.  One of those passengers, an American named Jack Oliver, took a piece of watermelon from a Panamanian vendor and refused to pay for it.  The vendor pulled a knife.  Oliver pulled a gun.  And both sides were battling it out with each sustaining casualties.  Eventually a railroad car of riflemen arrived on the scene and brokered a peace.  The brief war, however, laid the groundwork for the later American occupation of Panama.

9)  The Emu War
Unlike earlier mentioned wars started because of animals, this one was a war against animals.  In 1932 Australia found itself overrun by emus, a large flightless bird that looks like an ostrich.  More than 20,000 emus were destroying crops so the government declared all out war on the birds.  They sent soldiers armed with machine guns and orders to shoot emus on sight.  The birds proved to be tougher than estimated and after a week the commanding officer gave up.  They had killed barely 10 percent of their target.

10)  The Chaco War
This was a South American conflict that started over a postage stamp.  The Chaco region is on the border between Bolivia and Paraguay with both countries believing the region was rich in oil (which it wasn't).  Bolivia issued a postage stamp in 1932 featuring a map of their country including the Chaco region.  Not to be outdone, Paraguay struck back by issuing their own stamp with their map including the Chaco region.  Hostilities erupted in the region with both sides buying arms from the U.S. and from Europe.  When it was over, Paraguay was the winner and new owner of a completely useless piece of land.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Nude Beaches—A Vacation Destination?

Legally designated nude beaches exist all over the world.  Many travelers make vacation plans with one or more of these beaches as their specific destination.

There was a survey done recently to discover which country's residents were more likely to take a nude beach vacation.  The results indicated that Germans were the most likely to take it all off for vacation.  Of everyone surveyed, 15% said that had tanned at a nude beach.  Spain and India shared the #2 spot with 8% (only a little over half of Germany's rating).  Sweden, Denmark, Mexico and the Netherlands tied with 6%. The U.S. and U.K. occupied the #7 spot with just 2%.

Do you find the idea of a nude beach vacation intriguing but you don't know where to go?  Following is a selection from The Travel Channel showing international nude beaches that attract a faithful following.

South Beach—Miami, Florida U.S.A.:
More commonly referred to as Haulover Beach, you enter this beach near Haulover Park and are greeted by nude beach volleyball.  Gives a whole new meaning to spectator sport.

Black's Beach—San Diego, California U.S.A.:
The Black Beach Bares is a group of local nude sport enthusiasts who enjoy stripped snorkeling, birthday suit boogie, and jiggly jogging.

Praia do Pinho—Santa Catarina, Brazil:
In 1987, Pinho became the first nationally sanctioned au natural beach in Brazil. It's motto?  "Clothing is not an option."

Little Beach—Maui, Hawaii U.S.A.:
This is Maui's official unofficial clothing optional beach.

Baker Beach—San Francisco, California U.S.A.:
As part of San Francisco's Presidio, the half-mile long beach is on the San Francisco peninsula.  But be warned, clothing optional is allowed only on the northern section.

Wreck Beach—Vancouver, B.C. Canada:
Hundreds of thousands visit Canada's first and largest clothing-optional beach each year. The beach is 7.8 kilometers long and follows the coastline below the forested 200-foot high cliff at the western tip of Vancouver.

Red Beach—Matala, Greece:
Crete's Red Beach resort is remarkably picturesque.  Nudity is allowed everywhere except the dining room.

Hedonism II—Negril, Jamaica:
This all-inclusive resort is divided into nude and prude sections. There are separate facilities for nude swimming, sunbathing, and volleyball.

Sumarai Beach—Australia:
This nude beach is located approximately 2.5 hours north of Sydney.

Ocho Rios, Jamaica:
Part of the resort located 200 yards off shore is Tower Isle, a day trip nudist beach.  The rest of the complex has a dress code.

Montalivet Beach—France:
This is the birthplace of the international naturist movement, established in 1950.

Cap s'Agde—Agde, France:
From March to mid October, the city of Agde transforms into a nude city where baring it all is required.

Plakias Beach—Plakias, Greece:
Since the 1960s this beach has a reputation as a safe spot for those embracing the clothing optional lifestyle.

Club Orient—St. Martin:
One of the best family-friendly clothing optional beaches in the Caribbean.

Hidden Beach Resort—Mexico:
Located between Cancun and Tulum on the Mayan Riviera, the resort caters solely to the naturist.

Moshup Beach—Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts:
Also known as Gay Head Beach and located below the Gay Head Cliffs, it has a clothing optional section.

Have any of you ever been to a nude beach?  In which country?

Sunday, July 12, 2015


I heard about this sport on the news one morning. Footgolf? What in the world is footgolf? I felt compelled to check it out.

As the name implies…it's golf played with the feet, a combination of golf and soccer. The definition I found said, "Footgolf is a precision sport where players kick a football [for those of us in the U.S., football refers to soccer] into a cup in as few shots as possible. Its name is a combination of 'football [soccer]' and 'golf.' It is closely related to golf."

The object of the game is to play either a 9 hole course or an 18 hole course, kicking the ball into each hole in as few shots as possible and the person having the lowest score wins the game.

The origins of footgolf are unclear and have been attributed to several countries. The first 9 hole footgolf tournament played on a golf course as the sport is known today was organized in the Netherlands in 2009. The first Footgolf World Cup was held in Budapest, Hungary, in June 2012 with 8 countries participating—Argentina, Belgium, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, and the United States. About 80 players played 18 holes on the first day and another 18 holes on the second day.

Footgolf is a growing sport, due in part to the 2008-2012 world-wide recession which produced declining revenue for golf courses. With the advent of footgolf some existing traditional golf courses have been converted to footgolf in addition to new footgolf courses being built. Without the need for all those expensive golf clubs, golf bags, and other associated paraphernalia, it's a more financially feasible sport.

Sunday, July 5, 2015


I think of doing a resume when job hunting to be similar to writing a synopsis of your story before writing the manuscript…a dreaded task that no one wants to do but it's necessary.

With a synopsis you need to convey the storyline, who your main characters are, their conflict and how it's resolved, and the emotion that fits into the story—providing an editor with the feel of your story as well as the events that take place. And the catch that makes it a daunting task? Trying to fit all that into the very limited number of pages as set forth by the publisher without it reading like an impersonal listing of items.

A similar problem exists when putting together a resume. I've heard it said that a resume should never be more than one page long, therefore brevity is a must. But on the other hand, you need to provide a prospective employer with a clear picture of your qualifications and experience.

So, what do you put in and what do you leave out?

I recently came across a list of 5 things you should never put on your resume which I'd like to share with you.

Your Age:
People doing the hiring need to know what you can bring to the company rather than how many years you've been alive. I think it's actually illegal in the U.S. for a prospective employer to ask the age of anyone 18 years of age up to the retirement age. And along with listing your specific age goes the following no-no items:
          Listing professional experience more than 15 years old.
          Providing an exact number of years of professional experience in your opening summary. For example: 'senior accountant with more than 25 years of experience in...'  According to experts, this type of data invites age discrimination. And don't forget that age bias goes both ways—a resume that says you are too young for the job isn't to your advantage, either.

Listing Tasks or Duties Without Results:
Your resume needs to go beyond listing the jobs you've done: It must convey what you've accomplished on those jobs. Many applicants miss this key distinction. Saying you reorganized the filing system conveys the task but that's all. But saying that you increased office productivity 20% by reorganizing the filing system conveys both the task an positive results.

Explanations of Anything Negative
A resume needs to present a positive picture of the person applying for a job. If there's something negative that needs explaining, do it in person at your interview rather than in your resume.

A List of Every Job You've Ever Held
Prospective employers don't want to know about that summer you had—unless you're applying for a job where that specific experience is relevant. List the work you've done in the past 10 to 15 years that tells an employer you're a skilled, reliable fit for the job. However (tricky line here), employers don't want to see gaps in your employment history so you need to account for that time.

Personal Details
Employers usually don't care about your marital status, race, sexual orientation or hobbies, unless they are somehow relevant to the job. Including personal data is a novice mistake. Your resume is just the first step in securing a job. At this phase of the process, those personal details aren't necessary. Today's job seeker usually sends a resume via email and that means there's no way to know exactly who or how many people will see it. With identity theft becoming a larger and larger problem, you need to protect your personal information from anonymous eyes.

And here's a few more quick tips:
Make sure your resume is free of typos, grammar goofs and factual errors (like getting a company's name wrong).
Don't list your salary history unless the employer demands it.
Don't worry about providing references on your resume. You can do that in a separate document.

Good luck on the job hunt.