Weathering the Walk: On the Heels of a Volcano



It is difficult to walk, when instinct screams ‘flee’

Smoke stalks; poisonous gas is in pursuit.

A mountain’s eruption consumes a village in North Sumatra

Indonesia is on its knees again.

Villagers fly on their feet to safer ground,

Home and farm and friends are behind the ash veil

Levels below the fiery lava.

Rural roads, blocked arteries of this heartland,

Pound with running, escaping, burning feet.


Key words rearranged from article and source of photo:



Weathering the Walk: On Thirsty Land



It is difficult to walk the dry, barren land

Dust kicks up with every steeled toe step

The land bore fruit in better, wetter days

Now there are empty burden baskets.

Drought – land parched to the perfection of pottery.

California’s once lusty farmland is thirsty.

A dust storm is blowing hot breath on the horizon.


Key words rearranged from article and source of photo:

Weathering the Walk: After Record Rain


It is difficult to walk in the mud that covers an Oso sad town.

Glacial grief in the valley of the shadow of Slide Hill.

The search-and-rescue crew walks single file,

Mud suctions every step.

Trying as they might not to sink up to their waists,

Throwing down plywood to create walkways

Slowly moving muck, as heavy as fresh concrete,

Electronic detectors, beeping.

Hoping to find someone that found a bit of air.

But … when they discover human remains,

Working feet stop and the silence is absorbed by the mud.

Then a chorus of chainsaws resume.


Key words rearranged from article and source of photo:


Fore-and-Aft … The Shoe Sails!


Jeanne Kim recently summarized the antics of shoe-throwing replete with video re-plays.  (April 15, 2014 in GlobalPost).  You can watch these on the link below and enjoy the varied witty or not-so-witty repartees on the receiving ends.

To aid and abet your viewing of shoe launches, here is the list of twelve targets followed by an out-of-order list of twelve random details that Kim discovered.  When watching, try matching the sails.


  1.  Former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
  2.  Former US President George W. Bush
  3.  Former Chinese President Wen Jiabao
  4.  Israeli Ambassador to Sweden Benny Dagan
  5.  Former International Monetary Fund Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn
  6.  Former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
  7.  Former Australian Prime Minister John Howard
  8.  Former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf
  9.  Former Chief Minister of Pakistan, Arbab Ghulam Rahim
  10.  Home Minister of India Palaniappan Chidambaram
  11.  Former US Ambassador Paul Bremer
  12.  President of Taiwan, Ma Ying-Jeou 


  1.    His police force bought him a shoe-catching net.
  2.    His assailant asked for her shoe back.
  3.    The shoe missed the target, bouncing off another person’s head.
  4.     It was more a shoe-slap, than a shoe-throw.
  5.    The target wondered aloud if it was a bat. (Perhaps, it was a Bata.)
  6.    Two shoes were thrown: one representing the dead and the other representing the     living.
  7.    The assailant was a lawyer.
  8.    The target acknowledged the shoe-throwing as a political privilege that his          government has won for that country.
  9.     A journalist unleashed his shoe because he felt he was being muzzled.
  10.    The target guessed that it was a size ten shoe as it whizzed by.
  11.     Middle East times three: the target, the assailant’s reasoning and the location.
  12.     The target ignored the shoe and the unassailable accusations flung with it.

Photo Source:;_ylt=AwrTcXZgqlpTtoQAaduJzbkF?p=Daily+News+Deja+Shoe&fr=mcafee&fr2=sb-top&ei=utf-8&n=60&x=wrt&y=Search 

Content Source and to view the shoe-throwing incidents:



“Shoe Intifada” – On the Heels of Dissent


Muntazer al-Zaidi could hardly have anticipated the extraordinary reaction when he hurled his shoes at George Bush to protest the invasion of Iraq. His “farewell kiss” to the US President has kept the previously unknown TV journalist in the center of global attention — a hero across the Arab world and beyond.

Zaidi’s emergence as a role model for anti-American resistance was confirmed by the Iranian Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, who praised what he called the “shoe intifada (uprising)” at Tehran University.

In London, ‘Media Workers Against the War’ presented a box of shoes and a letter…to the US Embassy, stating the journalist was “guilty of nothing but expressing Iraqis’ legitimate and overwhelming opposition to the US-led occupation of their country”.

Ayatollah Jannati called for the [infamous] shoes to be deposited in a museum in Iraq. But Judge al-Kinani revealed they had been destroyed by investigators trying to determine whether they contained explosives.

Copycat footwear-hurling seems to have begun elsewhere, with a Ukrainian nationalist, as yet unnamed, throwing his boots at an Odessa speaker arguing in favor of NATO expansion.

It was also a busy week for the spin-off online game ‘Sock and Awe’, which lets players throw virtual loafers at Mr. Bush. The site says 46 million cyber-shoes had struck the presidential head as of Friday afternoon. (December 21, 2008. GUARDIAN)

Excerpts from article:

Photo shows Iraqis raising their shoes in Kufa, Iraq, on December 19, 2008, demanding the release of Muntazer al-Zaidi, who threw his shoes at the U.S. president the previous Sunday. 

Photo Source:


How to Read a Flying Shoe? Duck and Shrug.


Footwear – viewed in the Middle East as low and unclean – was hurled at his head, but a seemingly oblivious George W. Bush just ducked and shrugged.

December 14, 2008 was a memorable day in the histrionics of polished shoes and politics. But, there was one question left for journalists to ponder in this saga.

           What does it take to actually offend George W. Bush?

If not the greatest insult an Arab can muster – the hurling of footwear at a man’s head – then what?Is it that the photographic moment ricochets globally and stays, replaying in an endless loop for the ages?Or maybe that the Iraqi shoe-hurler himself is all but deified, replete with offers of marriage?

No, not even those humiliations managed to penetrate the willfully oblivious presidential bubble, after Bush so deftly ducked and just as quickly shrugged off the leather projectiles at a that Baghdad news conference.

“Whether or not Bush gets it – and he is famous for not getting international etiquette – this was a monumental offence,” says Mark McCrum, whose book ‘Going Dutch In Beijing’ chronicles faux pas in many cultures.

“The thrower didn’t just use shoes, which are the lowest, most unclean thing in his world, he called Bush a dog. The combination of the two, it just doesn’t get worse than that.”

In fairness to Bush, it is easy to miss the sheer magnitude of shoe symbolism in the Middle East. But think back and you might recall that shoes played a starring role at the beginning of the Bush’s Iraq ordeal five years ago, when, just as the old regime collapsed, Iraqis spontaneously began removing their shoes and beating them against anything bearing the likeness of Saddam Hussein.

“Whatever George Bush makes of it, the throwing of the shoes comes from a place embedded deep in the culture of the Middle East. This was a cultural message. And the worst one available.”


Excerpts from article by Mitch Potter:


Photo Source:


Shoe-Throwing in Seoul


“If the shoe hits…”

A prospective free trade pact with the U.S. drew the wrath of tens of thousands of farmers and other workers in Seoul.

The photo shows a protester targeting riot police in Seoul on November 11, 2007.  During the rally of 20,000-50,000 people, police arrested 100 saying that more than 10 officers were hurt.   

(Reported in the Toronto Star, November 12, 2007)


See also:

“U.S.-Korea free trade pact takes effect amid controversy” By Doug Palmer


Photo source:

“NOTHING Says IT Better Than Shoes”


Cold Warrior Nikita Khrushchev best captured the pugnacious power of footwear when he slapped his shoe in rage on the table at the United Nations’ New York headquarters during the politically frigid fall of 1960.

It occurred during a debate of a Russian resolution decrying colonialism. A Philippines’ representative charged the Soviets with employing a double standard, pointing to their colonial domination of Eastern Europe. In response, Khrushchev took off one of his shoes and began to furiously pound the table.

The chaotic scene finally ended when General Assembly President Frederick Boland (Ireland) broke his gavel calling the meeting to order. The image of Khrushchev as a hotheaded buffoon was indelibly etched into America’s collective memory.

Khrushchev has been imitated by boardroom bullies ever since.


Quoting sources:


For additional versions of this story, check out:


Photo source:


A Mirage of Stairs


For just over $300, you can create the illusion of a second story in a small living space. This mural may delight onlookers, but it defies any advance by would-be climbers.

The collaborative design team of a Paris-based fashion house, Maison Martin Margiela and another French company, L’Atelier d’Exercices, have produced objects for the home that mix irony, mystery and humor.

The latest, an atmospheric staircase, would add wit and misdirection to any room and would bring a new dimension to a cramped studio apartment. The mural measures 7.4 feet by 3.9 feet.


Information and photo from:

Sacred Stairs – Pilgrims Climb on Their Knees


Christians believe that Jesus climbed steps on his way to the judgement hall in Pontius Pilate’s palace. These same steps were preserved and later restored.  As a gift to the Holy See in 326 A.D. from Constantine the Great (orchestrated by his mother, St. Helena), the steps were relocated from Jerusalem to their current site at the Basilica of St. John Lateran in Rome. This artifact is among the holiest relics of the Roman Catholic Church.

The set of 28 white marble steps is encased in a protective wood covering. Worshippers believe the stairway is holy because of Jesus’ footsteps on it.  Indeed, pilgrims are only allowed to ascend on their knees. This kneeling position allows them to gaze through holes in the wood which allegedly reveal spots of Christ’s blood on the marble beneath.

Several popes have undergone the ritual of ascending these sacred steps on their knees.


Adapted from Malcolm Moore’s article.  For article and photo:

See also: