Sunday, September 29, 2019

Israel Day 5 - Masada - Part 4 - Water - The Bathhouse, The Mikvah, and The Cisterns

The Roman Bathhouse is one of the larger buildings on Masada:

The walkway outside the baths still shows its original pattern.

The changing room walls still have some of the original painting in places and some tiles remain on the floor.

Then one enters an arched corridor.

The archway leads to the hot room, complete with a heated floor:

The walls of the hot room themselves have clay pipes behind the plaster for steam to be funnelled throughout the room:

It's an impressive example of Roman engineering and bathhouse design.

In addition to the Roman bathhouse, there's also a Jewish ritual bath, a small Mikveh was located near the water cisterns as the Mikveh requires running water.

Water was brought to Masada by a clever system of hidden aqueducts and cisterns that held 40,000 cubic meters of water.

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Israel Day 5 - Masada - Part 3 - The Gatehouse, Commander's Residence, and Storerooms

Masada is a large fortress atop the mountain, featuring the remains of not one, but two palaces built by Herod, as well as storehouses, a Roman bathhouse, a complex water cistern system, and a synagogue.

Arriving at the summit, from the cable car you get out at the northeastern part of the eastern wall.

You see the Snakepath gatehouse first.

Plaster over 2,00 years old remains in quantities to make you imagine how the entire room once appeared.

The black line shows the area of the wall restored after the archeological excavations, below the black line is the structure as found. Masada is in an active earthquake zone and an ancient earthquakes damaged the walls and structures in many areas of the fortress.

There were several watchtowers along the walls.

Next we saw the commandant's residence, complete with walls still painted in their original colors as discovered in the excavation in 1963-1965 by Yigael Yadin and as recounted in his excellent book on the subject.

The residence had multiple large rooms:

An opening in the wall of the commander's residence,that could have been an ancient window, showing one of the Roman Siege Camps below.

The residence also had a small room or alcove with columns supporting the roof:

Not a bad sized residence in return for commanding a fortress in a rather desolate dessert region.

Next we visited the large storerooms

These rooms held food and supplies for the garrison and later the Zealots- Weapons, armor, grains, dates and other foodstuffs filled these rooms.

A date seed excavated from the storerooms on Masada was recently sprouted and created a date tree, of a type long thought to be extinct.

Next stop: The Roman Baths of Masada

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Ouch, That Sign Hit 'Em Right In The Intersectionality

Whoever did this is an absolute genius at heightening the contradictions inherent among the Progressive Left.

Red State: Flyers Stating “Islam Is Right About Women” Causes Media To Have A Narrative Crisis

Read the whole thing, and then sit back and admire the gumption of whoever put up these signs, and the cognitive dissonance among the leftists it has caused.

Reporters have noted that residents are confused about these flyers, not knowing whether to be offended, or if indeed it is even permissible to be offended by them:

Boston 25: 'Islam is right about women': Odd signs spark confusion in local town

After all, could you as a progressive even decide and openly proclaim what part of this poster offends you?

If it is Islam's well-known treatment of women that offends you, you're obviously a terrible Islamophobe.

But, if you're offended because you believe Islam is right in how it treats women, then your pro-feminist credentials are suspect. Very, very suspect, and you're clearly a male chauvinist pig - that's not halal either.

Genius, I tell you, sheer genius.

The only improvement one can hope for is the person(s) post it elsewhere than on public signs so they can't be so easily removed for being in an unlawful spot.

Whoever did this needs to post signs saying "Islam Is Right About LGBTQ" and watch progressive cognitive dissonance whiplash go up to 11.

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Aircraft Wash, Wax, And Some Hot Cars

Today was the club's wash and wax day.

Planes got scrubbed, rinsed, and then waxed to a shine.

Clean planes actually do fly a bit faster, plus cleaning them is a good opportunity for all the club members to come together and meet up.

Then got to see some of the cars belonging to the club members, or which were in their control.

A nice Mustang

A couple Corvettes:

And the new, literally just unwrapped from the camouflage wraps, 2020 Corvette Stingray:

To say this is a beast of a car is an understatement.

Open the hood and the lack of an engine is a bit jarring,

It's in the middle of the car, leaving some room for a trunk.

The interior is nice too, very comfy form-fitting seats, and the rear-view mirror isn't a mirror at all, rather it is a screen for a camera.

It certainly drew a lot of lookers at the airport and we all got to look it over, sit in and admire it.

The engine just purrs and it's a darn sweet automobile. I think GM has come out with one heckuva winner here.

Good to have a club member with some connections.

A fun morning getting some planes clean and admiring some nice cars.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Talk Like A Pirate Day: What's A Pirate's Favorite Letter?

I know, I know, you all immediately say Arrrr!

You're close but you'd be wrong.

A Pirate's favorite letter isn't R.








A Pirate's favorite letter be the C.

Israel Day 5 - Masada - Part 2

As the cable car began its ascent to the fortress, we had an excellent aerial view of the remains of three of the Roman army camps that were constructed around the fortress during the siege, and the remains of the wall they built surrounding the fortress.

These are the best preserved Roman siege and army camp layouts in the world.

As we ascended we could see earlier morning visitors descending via the snake path.

As you get off the cable car the view from the top is stunning.

So, we had reached the top of Masada by cable car and then began to explore this historic fortress.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Israel Day 5: Masada - Part 1

Masada: Herod's desert fortress.

The fortress, originally created by the Hasmonean kings, was completely and impressively comprehensively redone and built by Herod in 37-31 BCE, so much so that original Hasmonean remains of the fort design have not been discovered by archeologists. Located on top of a mountain dominating the terrain in the south it was only accessible via a winding snake path and was indeed a formidable fortress. It was not just a fortress but also a palace, designed as a refuge for Herod should he be subject to a coup or being replaced by the Romans, and having to flee Jerusalem for a place of safety.

Masada's fame lies during the Jewish revolt against Rome when a band of Sicarii, took over the fortress from its Roman garrison and used it as a base for guerilla warfare in the south. Then, numbering about 900, they held off the Romans in their thousands, including notably the Tenth Legion for years, finally succumbing to a prolonged siege and Roman engineering skill. The Romans built an assault ramp up the western side of the mountain so they could bring a siege tower to bear on the walls. The Romans also created a siege wall circumnavigating the mountain.

The Romans breached the walls with the siege tower late one day, and planned to storm the fortress the next morning. The Jews, knowing the end was nigh, decided to commit suicide rather than be captured and enslaved by the Romans. The Jews drew lots as to who would do the killing and the last man killed himself. Only two women and five children were found alive after the siege ended in 74 CE, long after the rest of Judea had been conquered.

At the base of the mountain is a visitors center with a good historical overview and some of the artifacts found on Masada.

Cooking pots:

Stone ware:

Oil lamps:

Bronze coins from the Herodian period:

Slingshot and Ballista balls from the siege:

It was already very hot day, so even as it was 7am, they had closed the snake path to climbers and it was only open to those who descended after going up earlier in the morning.

So, tickets in hand:

We headed up on a cable car to the summit:

Israel Day 4: The Dead Sea

We headed down the highway and on our way to the Dead Sea we passed by Masada.

More on Masada in just a bit.

We arrived at the Dead Sea, one of the lowest places on earth, and checked into our hotel and then headed to the sea.

The Dead Sea is about 30% salt and other minerals.

Looking at the bottom, you sea a layer of crystallized salt above the sandy bottom. Walking in is a bit harsh on the feet, but the water is like a very warm to almost hot bath temperature wise.

A Few Important notes on the Dead Sea:

1. It tastes awful. Really, really awful.

2. If you have any cuts or scrapes, the Dead Sea will find and remind you of each and every one.

3. If you get Dead Sea water in your eyes, you will have a burning desire to wash them out, fast.

4. You really can't swim in it. Any attempts at a front stroke will leave you looking like an off-balanced monkey having relations with a football. Paddling out on your back is the way to go.

But once you get out into the water it is magical.

You float effortlessly. You can have your hands and feet out of the water and you don't sink. Its warm, soothing and like relaxing in the finest spa. Its also a lot of fun as you can try but you can't sink even with both hands and feet out of the water and you just enjoy floating around in this amazing sea.

It's incredibly relaxing to soak in the Dead Sea.

Some people at the hotel to the spa and covered themselves in Dead Sea mud which is supposed to be great for the skin. I will say we all felt great after bathing in the Dead Sea, nice and refreshed and it was a really unique and great experience.

Then dinner at the hotel, which was excellent buffet-style and then we easily fell asleep after a big hot day.

Next stop: Masada.