We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Today is Christmas in some of the various denominations of the Eastern church.
Image is the Hagia Sophia, built in 537 - one of the architectural wonders of the world, but not a Christian basilica since 1453, when Moslem invaders conquered Constantinople and slaughtered the Christians - men, women and children.
Speaking of which, here's a great time-line of what sorts of things prompted the Crusades. The Crusades were a reaction to Moslem imperialism, and Moslem imperialism never quit. It's part of their religion. As in Europe today, they will conquer without guns - when they can get away with it...but there is always a threat in the background.
And yes, the image of Hagia Sophia has been photoshopped to reveal its original grandeur. Across the inlet lie some of the fancy Istanbul neighborhoods overlooking the Bosporus - some of the most expensive real estate in the world.
The minarets have been lowered to half mini-minaret in repect for the hanging of Saddam al Halm del Rey Halala Tikriti Hoooinsanei.
Thus it is not possible to see then since they face directly into the camera or are on the other side of the super-dome.
One of the minarets has been taken to Big Q Daddy's "Pimp my Minaret Shoppe" for a candy apple red silver'green flake paint job.xz we
Missing minarets--you can put 'em back--just scotch-tape some of your leftover Christmas Hershey's Kisses to your screen, in the appropriate places. The shape is perfect, the red and green foil is eye-appealing, and later you can eat the chocolate, and put the wrappers with the string ball in the utility room, for thrift and later use if needed.