Friday, August 13, 2010

Petite Aria

Family members assembled for the concert that was in progress. It was gentle moving but increasing in intensity. Every few minutes all music stopped except for the duet of Josh and Andrea which had a quiet encouraging theme. The patriarchs of the family retreated to the area outside the auditorium. As they talked word came that the concert had concluded with a petite Aria.

Barb and I are proud to introduce to you our sixth grandchild Aria Leryn, weighing in at 5 lbs 9 oz.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Pizza with Piazza

My friend Greg invited me to go hear Rod Piazza, a harp player. (Harp is jargon for a harmonica.) Rod Piazza plays the blues on his harmonica and is a legend among the blues community. We arrived at Midway, a little tavern in a residential section of Mishawaka, about 40 minutes prior to the music beginning. It was a $20 cover charge and by the time we arrived, it was standing room only. Already about 200 reservations for seats had been taken. Fortunately Greg and I were sitting with Johnny who had a table reserved. Johnny takes photos of the players for Midway. His fine work in black and white is displayed through out the establishment. Just before the music began we had another fellow join us. He had heard Rod Piazza & the Mighty Flyers in Kalamazoo the night before. He had driven down from Grand Rapids MI, a good three hour drive. He was so appreciative of being able to sit at our table with us that he bought us a couple of rounds throughout the night. Pretty cheap since we were all drinking pop.

The music began and the place became electric. Not only was Rod a fantastic harp player, the rest of the band was each fantastic in their own right. His wife Honey on the keyboards (I didn't know fingers could play so fast), Henri C on the guitar (I love the guitar riffs) and Dave on the drums. Not only did we get to hear Rod Piazza & The Mighty Flyers, we had the pleasure of two additional individuals who joined the band for a song or two. One was Katie Wassenhove the aspiring granddaughter of Albertina the establishments owner. The other was 'Ole Harv' the local Blues DJ and member of Elwood Splinters Band. The granddaughter played the keyboards with Honey and 'Ole Harv' did some vocals.

Well, since my drinks were covered, I decided to buy a pizza to go with them. So, after drinking a few rounds of Diet Coke and eating some pizza, the break in between sets was welcome. I needed to visit the tiny toilet facilities; one urinal and one toilet in a closet. Who did I find myself sharing this refreshing break with other than Rod Piazza himself. A little banter with the man who was behind sunglasses all evening, made the time pass quickly.

I really enjoyed the time at Midway. I'm just wondering though when my ears will stop ringing.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Just Another Day At The Beach?

It was a beautiful day today. Almost a perfect day to go to the beach. So thought hundreds of others.

As I age, that which is appropriate seems to be changing. Perhaps we are becoming more like those European beaches. As I age, I also have become more attentive to sunburn prevention. So prior to today's trip to the beach, I purchased a beach umbrella. Good purchase in my estimation. Although it took me awhile to master how to use it on a windy day. At first, I had it full up and the wind caught it and turned it inside out. I finally used only the top half tilted towards the wind utilizing with it loosely inserted in a beach umbrella anchor allowing it to adjust to the wind without any undue strain. It was pretty low to the ground though.

So, here I am sitting in the shade of the beach umbrella in my Speedo and coming toward me is a young female wearing only a floppy hat. I avert my eyes knowing that staring is not appropriate. Just as she passes with the umbrella between her and me, her hat is blown off her head and lands at my feet. Politely I pick up the hat and hold it above my head and above the horizon of the umbrella where it could be retrieved. The hat is taken and I receive a "Thank you" in return. Just another day at the beach.

I affirm that all the facts laid out above are true and I do have witnesses to back up my story.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

If Optometrists Ran The County

I was wondering this morning, "If optometrists ran the country, would it be better, worse or about the same?" I got a chuckle thinking that. Then I began to wonder about it more.

If optometrists ran the country, they would be asking us if what they showed us was better, worse or about the same before they gave it to us.

If optometrists ran the country, their goal would be for us to see it clearer and they would be doing all they could to accomplish that.

If optometrists ran the country, they would want us try on what we were going to end up with, and to be happy with what we finally ended up with.

If optometrists ran the country, they wouldn't try to give everything away. They would realize, that someone was going to have to pay for what we got.

Of course, if they were evil optometrists, they would convince us that they knew best and that the world was supposed to look fuzzy and that seeing the world clearly would cause us to go blind.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

It's Elementary

My grandson invited me to come to his school and have lunch with him. It was something like 'grandparents day' but you didn't have to be a grandparent. Combined with a book fair, I think it may have had ulterior motives to get us to purchase books, which I did.

I felt like a giant going through the lunch line and then sitting at tables and chairs that were designed for their regular occupants.

Before long it was time to bid farewell and head back to the office. First, a quick stop at the Boy's Room. This room also designed for the shorter people. What I found interesting though is that the urinals were automatic flush. And even though the urinals were lower to the ground, the automatic eye would shoot out above the heads of most of its users. So....they would apparently go for long periods of time until an adult came by. And in this school, the adult males were few.

The automatic eye was good intentioned, but maybe not thought through before implementation. I guess the only response is that...It's elementary my dear Watson.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Are We There Yet?

I remember asking this as a kid and answering it as a parent. Although kids seem to ask it more often, even we as adults want to know how much longer it will be until we reach our destination.

Not that long ago, an atlas of the country (8 x 14 with 50+ pages) was needed for long trips. That or a number of individual state maps that could be obtained ahead of time from state tourism offices, on the road from state information kiosks on major routes or purchased from gas stations. If you were fortunate enough to belong to AAA (American Automobile Association) you could get an individualized travel booklet with the sections of the roads you would be taking highlighted. That was then.

These days the GPS (Global Positioning System) (approximately 3 x 5) has the entire United States road system in it and will personalize your road trip based upon your desire for fastest, shortest, avoid tolls etc requirements. In addition, it can tell you nearby points of interest like eating establishments, gas stations, shopping and a number of other helpful locations.

In the days of maps us good drivers could answer the question "Are we there yet?" by giving you an approximate distance we still had to go and approximately how long it might take to get there. With the GPS, the answer to "Are we there yet?" is a little more precise giving you an exact time in minutes and distance in 10ths of a mile of which you have left to go. It is constantly updating these values as you travel.

One must be careful though and use some human intellect rather than accepting the automated response all the time. I think that it's always good practice to first review where it's taking you before you head off following it's voice guided directions.

Recently I pulled off of a main highway on to a dirt side road, about a cars length, to program in my destination. It politely asked if I wished to avoid dirt roads. I responded yes, to which it replied that I couldn't get there from where I was at...I was on a dirt road and in order to go anywhere, I had to be willing to take a dirt road.

Are we there yet? Well, we've certainly come a long way, but I wager that we will be making further advancements in this area. Maybe by the time my grandchildren are answering the age old question their children pose, we will have autopilot for our vehicles which will verbally respond.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Cursed Coupon

It was time for lunch. The possibilities numerous. A coupon beckoned me. The Golden Arches whispered "you'll love it". The coupon was for medium drink & fries free with a Angus 1/3 lb burger. What was I thinking? Normally I would drink water. If I had fries, they would have been small rather than medium. I would have split the 1/3 pounder with my lovely wife. I clearly didn't think through this prior to my decision to go with the cursed coupon.

There I stood, moments away from placing my order. A decision had to be made. Would it be Deluxe, Bacon & Cheese or Mushroom & Swiss. Fortunately I chose the Deluxe not realizing that the other two were the only menu items with more calories than the Deluxe which I ordered.

As I consumed the 1130 calories I realized that it would take 5 hours of walking to counter act that caloric intake and that even a Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese was less calories than the sandwich I chose. Oh cursed coupon.

It would have been better for me to have spent my money on salad and cursed the coupon.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Three Lights They're Out

I'll admit I'm a skeptic when it comes to Global Warming/Global Climate Change which ever it is you want to call it. I'm even more of a skeptic when it comes to our causing it. Nevertheless it's my position that we should do what we can and be kind to the environment.

This past summer we replaced a light fixture in our bathroom. The previous one had six incandescent bulbs. The new fixture had a place for four bulbs. So, I buy CFL mini-spiral bulbs to put into it. (This is what we are supposed to be doing...right? At the present time, they are forcing consumers in parts of Europe to use CFLs) They claim that the bulbs will last 7 years each. These bulbs cost 3-4 times more than the incandescent bulbs. Now, in my experience, the incandescent bulbs last a long time so I'm going to want the 7 years touted by the manufacturer. I figure that if the bulb lasts 7 years, then I can afford the hassle of the 'proper disposal' of the bulbs over just throwing them in the trash. Heaven forbid if you break one, you can't just sweep or vaccum it up. Broken bulb cleanup instructions.

It's been 6 months and three of the CFLs have failed. I gave it a shot. I tried to do "the right thing". I'm applying the "three strikes you're out" logic and for now, it appears that I'm going to go back to the incandescents.