Thursday, February 28, 2019


We parted with a couple of tons of books when we sold the other house, and yet I was shocked at how many books we moved.  When unpacked, the books took up more space than expected.  

In deciding what to keep and what to part with we used the following tests:
1: Does it have actual or sentimental value?  Few books are worth much of anything, but some are. 
2: Have we read, opened it, or even thought about it in the past 10 years.  If not, it was time to go. 
3: Would someone else have a good use for it?  We parted with a lot of professional reference works by giving them to others with similar interests, and a significant collection of books by LGBTQ authors to an LGBTQ community library. 
4: Did we anticipate having a use for it?  I kept the travel books, and food books - things I am likely to use in the next 10 years.  

In the end, we parted with far more books, than we kept.  

The picture above was taken out the back windows of my office.  It appears to be the contents of a law library - tossed in an industrial dumpster.  Sad, but nearly all legal research is now done online.  With office space in DC at super premium prices, books are expensive to keep. My share of the office lease, to cover my 100 square foot office (10 feet by 10 feet,) is almost $30,000 a year.  At those prices the space to house the books in the dumpster would be about $150,000 per year.  An academic friend of ours, bought the house across the street, to house her books.  A lawyer friend of mine in Oklahoma is building a 5,000 sq. ft. library-barn next to her new 1,500 house (she inherited a bit money from a family member who lived like a pauper and vowed to ENJOY IT, EVERY PENNY OF IT!)  

Are you accumulating print books, or parting with them? 

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

The Way We Were Wednesday - 4-H

4-H is a youth service organization for rural areas.  My sister joined, because friends of hers did.  I joined because she did.  I was kind of an outsider to the group, I did different things, photography, crafts and honey bees.  Bees were a sure fire win at the county fair, as there were not very many people showing bees.  The box, under the poster, has live bees in it.  I have three grand-champion ribbons, one for bees and two for crafts.  I have held onto them.  

I miss seeing the agricultural exhibits at county fairs.  

Were you in 4-H or something like it?   

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Car Colors

The Convertible, is the fourth car I  have owned with a very light colored interior and my fifth car with white paint.  The nearly white interior was not my first choice.  It will require a little extra care, to keep it looking good.  

Let see what have I owned. 

  1. Oldsmobile 88, Maroon with black interior 
  2. Oldsmobile 88, White with green interior
  3. Oldsmobile Cutlass Salon, blue with white leather interior 
  4. VW Rabbit Diesel, Lemon Yellow with black interior 
  5. Renault  LeCar, White with gray interior 
  6. Toyota Corolla, White with tan interior 
  7. Toyota Corolla, White with blue interior 
  8. Honda Civic, Charcoal Grey, with grey interior
  9. Mazda GLC Wagon, Tan with tan interior 
  10. Honda Accord, Red with light tan interior 
  11. Honda Accord, White with blue interior
  12. Honda Accord, Blue-green, with blue interior 
  13. Saturn SL2, Gold with tan interior
  14. Cadillac Eldorado, Crimson with white interior 
  15. Mazda 3 hatch, Grey with black interior 
  16. VW Eos, White with nearly white interior.  
I think I have ever only said no to a car once, because of color, when I was in the Accord phase, the dealer tried to get me to take a strange green color once.  I have never gone shopping for a car with a color in mind.  

I owned numbers 6&7 at the same time, one for me, one for the spouse.  The only one I regret parting with was the GLC Wagon.  It was a "grey market" import.  That model was not sold in the continental United States the year it was built.  It had been a rental car in Puerto Rico, shipped from PR to the states and sold as a used car. It was an older simpler design. It was so handy, I should have kept it when I bought the first Accord.  I had three new Honda Accords in 4 years, a 1990, 1992, and a 1994.  The 94 I kept a long time.  The VW Rabbit, was the correct color, it was a lemon, I only kept it a year - and it had the engine torn down and rebuilt a couple of times in that year.  LeCar was the first car I bought new, in about 30 minutes on my way to work one morning.  It had the coldest air conditioning of any car I have ever seen (ice would form on the dash vents.) It also had a canvass sunroof- great fun.  

Does color matter to you when buying a car? 

Monday, February 25, 2019

Visiting Family

It was fun to spend time with J's family in Cleveland.  Neither of us spend a lot of time with our families, generally small doses are just fine. 

I will be seeing my two brothers during a work trip to Florida.  I am going to Disney with my middle brother, he has worked for the Rodent Empire for 41 years this month.  My oldest brother has not committed to a time, but plans are to meet him for lunch or dinner.  I see them separately, they haven't  talked to one another in 18 months, they 35 miles from one another. Middle brother's house is a mess that drives older brother crazy (I have not been in Middle brother's house in 20 years - it his little world - he can live as he chooses to live)  oldest brother never invites anyone to visit.  I doubt my middle brother has my oldest brother's address.  My sister is back living in Michigan. I visited her last August, and will likely go back sometime this summer.  Her hubby has a brother who works three blocks from where I do, they have visited DC several times.  Hubby has had a series of health challenges and they have not been traveling much.  I do hope Pete is soon feeling well enough to travel again.  

Gee, that is more about my siblings in one posting, than in the past dozen years of blogging.  

Anyone still awake? 
Is your family just as dysfunctional?   

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Sunday Five - Inspiration

I know I have had few words this week, I seem to lack inspiration for great posts.  And yet, posting is a habit and I feel compelled to in the words of Spo to "put out" so as to not disappoint my loyal handful of readers.  Hence this weeks Sunday Five, What Inspires you? 

1: Given a choice of revisiting a past destination or exploring a new place, what inspires you? 
2: Have you ever traveled someplace based on something you saw on television? 
3: Given a choice, would you fly, drive or take a train? 
4: If you could spend Tuesday, anyplace in the world, where would it be? 
5: What adventure are you most looking forward to this year? 

My Answers: 
1: Given a choice of revisiting a past destination or exploring a new place, what inspires you? Someplace new, novelty inspires me. 
2: Have you ever traveled someplace based on something you saw on television?  Our entire cruise to Alaska was planned around a riding a train I saw in television. 
3: Given a choice, would you fly, drive or take a train? Under 300 miles, take the train, over 300 miles fly. 
4: If you could spend Tuesday, anyplace in the world, where would it be? Tokyo, never been there, fascinated by the place. 
5: What adventure are you most looking forward to this year?  I am hoping to get a hot air balloon ride in this year.  

Your answers in the comments, 

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Friday, February 22, 2019


Make it larger, and you will see them, the line of ants working together across this rock, horizontal, parallel and slightly below the crease in the rock on the right hand side, see them yet? There were hundreds if them, working back and forth.  

Any idea what they were doing? 

Thursday, February 21, 2019


Extinct, as is no more living animals or plants of a variety left.  I saw the last Dusky Seaside Sparrow, before it died, passing the tiny bird into extinction. The Dusky was native to the pine marshes of east central Florida, the last pair were captured and taken to Disney in Orlando who attempted, unsuccessfully a captive breeding program.  They are as gone, as good ideas for creative blog postings this morning.   

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

The Way We Were Wednesday

This was taken in about 1985, when my first spouse turned 35.  How old we thought 35 was.  How wrong we were.  

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Collection of Oddities

I enjoy seeing odd or offbeat things, and not just family.  I came across this is the Museum of Natural History in Cleveland.  What is it?  The heart of a Giraffe.  I bet you have never seen one of those before, or ever will again.  

Monday, February 18, 2019

Giving in to my desires

I set aside my stingy upbringing, and gave into my desires.  I have long wanted a Convertible, but they are terribly impractical. Convertibles don't have much room, the tops require maintenance, they just don't make sense.  But I can put the top down and let what is left of my hair blow in the wind.  When I was in my early 20's I had an affair with a woman who had an MGB.  We had so much fun driving around with the top down and the music up.  If every part of that relationship had worked as well as my relationship with Shirley's car, my life might have gone in another direction altogether.  

But I had never owned one.  And I wanted one, or as I put it when I walked into a couple of car dealers "I NEED a convertible.  

Now I am still stingy.  This is a second car, for a guy who only drives 5,000 miles a year.  I shopped around and found a used one, it is 10 years old, with a little under 44,000 miles on it.  It appears to be in solid mechanical shape, there are a couple of flaws in the finish - but who cares.  When the top down and the music is up, my desires are met.  It is a hardtop convertible, it has a metal roof, with an operable glass sunroof, that folds and fills the trunk.  The metal roof will be less maintenance than a soft top and should be less prone to leaking.  

We need to name it, your suggestions? 

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Sunday Five - Art and Artists

On my, oh my, oh my, I am almost late posting the Sunday five.  I can't let that happen, I must tap into the creative powers and put out.  Creative powers, hence art, hence this weeks sunday five. 

1: What art(s) do your practice (secretly or publicly?) 
2: I have a board meeting in Nashville the end of the month, the team building exercise is recording a song live on the stage at the Ryman Auditorium.  Are you comfortable singing in public? 
3: The image above is by Andy Warhol,  was he a great artist or a great marketer? 
4: As a child did you follow the rules and color inside the lines and use the correct colors? 
5: Is there a piece of art that you created, on display or use in your home? 

My answers: 
1: What art(s) do your practice (secretly or publicly?) Photography and painting.  I want to do jewelry making again. 
2: I have a board meeting in Nashville the end of the month, the board team building exercise is recording a song live on the stage at the Ryman Auditorium.  Are you comfortable singing in public? This will stretch me way outside of my comfort zone, I think it is meant to do that. 
3: The image above is by Andy Warhol,  was he a great artist or a great marketer? He did some neat work, but I think he is overrated. 
4: As a child did you follow the rules and color inside the lines and use the correct colors? I stayed inside the lines, but had my own sense of color. 
5: Is there a piece of art that you created, on display or use in your home? Paintings, photographs, two silver boxes and a metal inlay piece I made at University.  

Saturday, February 16, 2019


Orchids, the first big collections I saw of them, was at Leu Gardens in Orlando.  One of the gardners, sent me off to a greenhouse that supplied the gardens.  It was fascinating, the guy at the greenhouse explained how time consuming and complicated it was to capture and germinate the seeds, how long crosses and changes took.  Jump forward 30 years, and most Orchids bought today, are clones.  Cloning reduced the time and cost of reproduction dramatically.  

What changes will happen in the next 30 years? 

Friday, February 15, 2019

I don't know how to answer that?

A couple of weeks ago, we went to Cleveland for a long weekend for a mid-winter family picnic.  J's family are a fun bunch, mostly central European stock.  The hotel we selected was only a couple of miles from the Pierogi shop.  Always a fun place.  
We took J's mother out to dinner one time and I ordered Ravioli, she was curious what it was.  I showed her, she tried one, and said, "why don't they just call them Pierogi, like everyone else?"  I miss Lill.  

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Two Hot Men On Valentines Day

The thermal camera shows how hot we are, what more can I say?
May you enjoy unconditional love,

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

The Way We Were Wednesday - 1974

On Valentines day, in 1974, I bought my first 35mm SLR, a Konica T3.  A camera with shutter-speed priority automatic exposure.  I was never really happy with it.  15 months later I sold it to a classmate and moved onto much better.   This shot was taken with the Konica.  

Which is worse, the sideburns or the red pants? 

Tuesday, February 12, 2019


Looking in on the world, Hi!  
I was in a small planetarium, I rested the camera to steady it, pointing up to see if I could capture the projected stars.  

Monday, February 11, 2019


There was recently a posting about bicycles,  I still have the first one my parents bought me.  I have owned seven or eight of them over the years.  I currently have three.  

Thinking about that, triggered, a story from my father's childhood.  He was born in 1927, raised in the heart of the great depression.  His father worked for Ford and was never out of work, though at times he was down to a couple of days per week.  My father worked in the garden, and on the market and saved up and bought a bicycle.  One of the pre-war models with chrome, built in lights, he bought the top of the line, with literally all of the bells and whistles. The best of the best. He was so proud of it. One night someone stole it.  30 year later, his mother told me about it, he couldn't talk about it.  Looking back at it, he never really recovered from someone stealing his bike.  He never again splurged on the top of the line, with all of the bells and whistles.  He had some nice things, but when it came to buying a Buick or a Cadillac, he never let himself have the best.  He held back.  His fear of loss, kept him from treating himself to the finest again. 

I have to ask myself, what fears are holding me back from enjoying life?  

Are there fears holding you back? 

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Old is Relative

Having been around for six decades, some think I am old.  Old is relative.  One of the reasons we need to travel, and explore is to get perspective.  When I was a teenager one of my grandmother's cousin's visited from England for a couple of weeks.  We took him to a history museum in Detroit and he commented that things we thought of as old, were barely out of date.  25 years later when I first visited Rome I was reading the description on a sculpture in the Vatican Museum, I was stuck by the fact the sculpture had been in that spot since 1776 - as long as the USA has been a country. Looking at the dinosaur bones, I am but a blink in time.  It is all relative.  

What makes you feel young?   

Saturday, February 09, 2019

Characters - The Sunday Five

This was one of my paternal grandfather's brothers.  He was a character, he was a bartender, a gambler, a drunk, and a philanderer.  Both of his wives showed up at his funeral.  Hence this weeks Sunday Five, characters. 

1: Have you met anyone who made a living as a professional (even if illegal) gambler? 
2: Have you met a convicted murderer? 
3: Have you met anyone who remarried without divorcing the first spouse? 
4: Which side of your family, mother's or fathers, had the most interesting characters? 
5: In what way are you a character? 

My Answers: 
1: Have you met anyone who made a living as a professional (even if illegal) gambler? One of my great-uncles was the real pool hustler. 
2: Have you met a convicted murderer?  A new neighbor moved in down the road on the farm one summer, he stopped by to introduce himself and said, "before you hear it from someone else, let me tell you what happened," he was a very good neighbor as long as you didn't have an affair with his wife.   
3: Have you met anyone who remarried without divorcing the first spouse? Two people, as mentioned above both of Dutch's wives showed up at the funeral - they both understood and loved him, the other one was deeply surprised when his first wife found him, and had a big problem with his second wife.  It did not end well.  
4: Which side of your family, mother's or father's, had the most interesting characters? My paternal grandfather had a couple of brothers that were outrageous characters, my mother's family was quiet and repressed.  
5: In what way are you a character?  The first half of my life, I tried to do what others thought I should do, the second half I have made my own way in the world - in work, love, and travel - I will have much more enjoyed the second half. 

Your answers in the comments. 

King Street Metro Station

The parking lot, bus stops and drop off are at the King Street Metro station in Alexandria, VA is torn up and being rebuilt.  What a mess.  

Friday, February 08, 2019

Kennedy Center

The weather forecast was dire the day we had tickets for the Opera, then the snow was delayed in arriving.  So we went, drove into the city, parked at the Kennedy Center ($23 - but lots of space available.) By the time we left to come home the snow was starting to accumulate, but the streets were largely clear until we got near to home.  Overnight and the following day, we picked up about 10 inches of snow - and had a snow day. 

Thursday, February 07, 2019

A Night At The Opera

I like classical music, but, I generally find the forced and unnatural voices in opera unpleasant. I don't find the sound of shrieking scorched cats pleasant.  Hence, I had never been to the opera.  Until recently.  

The son, of one of Jay's college classmates, had a new American opera selected for a world premiere at the Washington National Opera American Opera Initiative Festival at the Kennedy Center here in Washington, DC.  How could I say no? 

The show was three short operas (about 20 minutes each.) The first of the three titled "75 Miles" was depressing and hard to listen to.  The second was titled "Relapse" it was well written, and had a redeeming ending - good and hope triumphed over temptation and evil. The third one titled "Pepito" was brilliant, well written, well performed.  Samuel Weiser, the artist who played the title role of Pepito - a dog, was amazing and entertaining.  If you get a chance to see Pepito or hear Sam Weiser, please do so.  

In ten years of living in the DC area, it was the first time I went to a show at the Kennedy Center.  It was fun.  The outside of the building is unusual, the theater was surprisingly nice inside.  

Have you been to an Opera?  

Wednesday, February 06, 2019

The Way We Were Wednesday - Flying

I grew up around little airplanes and little airports in Michigan and Florida.  My mother was never really fond of flying.  I was my father's flying companion in my teenage years.  I have a lot of fond memories of flying.  I look back at it, and realize how unusual my experience was.  It felt very normal to me, but few people had the experiences that I did.  

The plane in the picture, was an experimental test model for Piper.  It is no longer registered, when the testing was done, it was disassembled and scrapped.  I took this picture at the Piper factory in Vero Beach, Florida in the early 70's.   

Have you flown in private aircraft? 

Tuesday, February 05, 2019

Staying Out Of Trouble

Travel can be an adventure, at times I have gone out of my way, to stay out of the way of trouble.  I have encountered street protests, in Paris, Rome and Athens.  General or transit strikes in Athens and Rome (the one in Rome was for four hours.)  I have worked my way around political protests in London, Chicago and of course Washington DC.  There were riots in London one trip. 

I go around, stay away, don't take sides, don't voice my opinion.  It is fairly easy to do.  

There are places I have not traveled to because I am uncomfortable with security (Egypt for example.) 

Monday, February 04, 2019

The College of The Holy Cross, Woster, Massachusetts

Last fall I was invited to go to Woster, Mass to speak at a conference at the College of the Holy Cross.  It was a rare for me, one night trip, flying up the day before, spending the night, speaking, heading back to the airport in Boston and flying back that evening.  I try to avoid single night trips, I find them wearing.  I seldom sleep as well the first night in a hotel as I do the second night.  Even when we are "touring" on vacation, I try to stick to the two night rule - a minimum of two nights in any place that I stop.  

It was a great conference, very accomodating, good audience, nice meeting facilities.  I was glad I was able to do it. 

The Conference organizers arranged a local shuttle service to pick me up and drop me off at the airport in Boston.  The ride back to the airport, was interesting.  The other passengers in the van were a couple flying to London, who argued in the back seat of the van for most of the trip to the airport, and a driver who talked almost non-stop about his family.  A very strange trip.  I hope the couple in the back seat didn't keep arguing all the way across the Atlantic.  


Sunday, February 03, 2019

We Have Lift Off - Sunday Five

I was alive for the excitement of manned space flight in the 1960's and about 11 years old for the first moon landing back in 1969.  The second winter my family wintered in Florida we moved the east coast of Florida, across the Indian River from the Kennedy Space Center.  I had a front row seat for the end of the Apollo project, satellite launches, and the shuttle program.  Hence this week's Sunday Five - Space the Final Frontier. 

1: If you are old enough, do you remember where you were when Apollo 11 landed on the moon? 
2: Did you listen to or watch the first shuttle launch? 
3: Have you ever seen a live launch? 
4: Ever met an astronaut? 
5: If it were as comfortable as a ride to the mall in a Cadillac, would you take a day long orbital flight? 

My answers: 
1: If you are old enough, do you remember where you were when Apollo 11 landed on the moon?  Watching TV in the living room in the house in North Branch, Michigan, our first color TV, new that that year. 
2: Did you listen to or watch the first shuttle launch? I was standing on the banks of the Indian River in Titusville Florida, you can feel the air move. 
3: Have you ever seen a live launch?  The picture above was one of the first I saw in person, in about 1974. 
4: Ever met an astronaut? My parents told me that I met the first astronauts in the lodge at the Grand Canyon when I was 4.  I recently talked with Senator Bill Nelson in the American Airlines check in line at National Airport, he was the last Senator to ride the Shuttle. 
5: If it were as comfortable as a ride to the mall in a Cadillac, would you take a day long orbital flight? In a heartbeat! 

Your answers in the comments. 

Saturday, February 02, 2019

Reading Again

Everytime I post about how much reading I do, I get comments about how do you get so much reading done.  Here are the answers. 

  • I read fast, I always have.  I learned to read without learning to spell.  The effect, is my brain recognizes the pattern of letters, and does not spell them out, resulting in being able to read very fast. 
  • On a typical work day, I have a 45 minute commute in each direction, with a change of subway lines.  The net effect of that is 60 to 90 minutes of reading time five days a week.  I read about 50 pages an hour, hence a 200 page book, can be read in 3 to 4 days.  
  • I tend to read when I am flying.  I spent something like 100 hours in the air last year.  
  • I sometimes read on the treadmill at the gym, there are a couple more hours a week, another book a month if you will.  
I am almost exclusively an e-book reader.  My faithful Kindle is a basic black and white version, with very long battery life and a very simple design.  It is easier and faster to read on that a tablet or phone.  On phones the screen it to small.  On tablets (I have a couple of them, an I-Pad (that I love) and a Samsung Galaxy tablet, the color display bring more detail to distract me from reading, and the shorter battery life result in more time when I am unable to read.  

I occasionally read print books. Print works better for things that are illustrated or have lots of images such as cook books, some travel guides.  I also run into some books that are not available in e-edition.  I have been known to wait for the Kindle edition to be released.  I recently talked one published into sending me an electronic copy of the proofs of a soon to be released book, so I can do a review (and not have to wait six-months for that publisher to release a Kindle edition.)  

How much time are you able to read each week? 

Friday, February 01, 2019

Technology and Privacy

Nothing we do online is truly private.  I continue to be shocked at the number of people who find this surprising.  Platforms like Facebook, and Google, and Yahoo exist, because they use what they know about us, to direct paid advertising at us.  It is as simple as that.  Everytime I read a news story, a blog post, watch a Youtube video, or visit Facebook, the servers are looking at what I am looking at, and matching that to the billions of marketing options.  We use these services for free, and yet the services make billions of dollars.  

If you move your text messages to Facebook messenger, isn't it reasonable to expect messenger to scan your text messages for clues to target advertising?  When I do a google search, or go online shopping on Amazon, or a travel site, suddenly what I looked for or at, starts to show up as advertising on pages I visit that have advertising.  That is how this system works.  

I do wish they would get better.  For days after I book travel, I get advertising for travel to the place I have booked.  Amazon is forever sending me messages on things I have never and never will buy, like womens' shoes.  I can't figure out why their servers don't notice that in over a decade of using the site I have never looked for or or bought womens' shoes and not bother sending me notices of special sales. 

Every once in a while, I get a text message from my favorite government insider that will simply say, wouldn't it be fun to have lunch on Friday, usual place and time.  S/he knows someone is scanning messages in and out of the office.