Monday, December 29, 2008

A Wonderful Play

Yesterday our friends Meryl and Norman (seen here with me and my wife) treated us to the new production of West Side Story at the National Theater in Washington.

The play was fantastic, a musical of course, very well acted and directed, with a live orchestra.

The director is by Arthur Laurents, who also wrote West Side Story in 1957. H wasn't crazy about the movie version and wanted to bring the new musical back to his original vision. There were a few differences. Most interestingly, much of the dialog and the song lyrics between the Puerto Rican characters were in Spanish, which made it more authentic. For example, I Feel Pretty was sung Me Siento Hermosa. Maria was wonderfully played and sung by an Argentian actress named Josefina Scaglione. Mario was also well-played by Matt Cavenaugh though I found it hard to hear him sometimes when he sang.

The play, when it was first staged in 1957, started at National Theater before it went to Broadway. Once again during this revival, it has started at National Theater and soon will go to Broadway.

Winter in Casina

My sister outside her house in Casina, Italy, making a very bottom-heavy snowman!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Alcohol does not make you FAT

A message for the New Year.

Alcohol does not make you FAT - it makes you LEAN .... against tables, chairs, floors, walls and ugly people.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Christmas Day in America...6 hours behind Christmas Day in Italy. Here is my mom and my brother-in-law enjoying a wonderful Italian Christmas dinner prepared by my sister (in Italy). This is the first course, which will be followed by the second, then the coffee and dessert.

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas Day. Ours here in America was quite nice!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Salt and Pepper with a Smile

This salt and pepper packet was given to me with lunch on a recent flight in Europe. I guess they'll do anything to distract us from the boredom of flying!

By the way, the packets aren't really this big! I just magnified them so that you old-timers can read the words (haha).

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Wow! That was fast!

Today we had a pipe burst and flood a major road here in Maryland/DC (see my post right before this one). It only took a few hours for me to receive this email. Enterprising fellow or...? I wrote him back and asked how he got my email, as I've never done business with this insurance company before, but he hasn't yet answered.

Good afternoon.

Right here in Northern Virginia, many of my clients have been calling this morning after watching the news about the water main break. Homeowners insurance does not cover floods.

And even a small flood can cost thousands.

All flood insurance is issued through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), managed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), a component of the US Dept of Homeland Security. I am a Gold level trained agency with the NFIP, and have access to a ‘preferred risk’ flood insurance program.

You must be in a low to moderate flood risk area (which we are), and you can not have more than three water claims within the past ten years.

The cost is less than you think. Here are the different coverages available under the Preferred Risk program, all with just a $500 deductible.

Contents only coverage:

$30,000 personal property $93/yr or $130 with basement $60,000 personal property $129/yr or $181 with basement $100,000 personal property $177/yr or $221 with basement (this is the highest available under this program)

Building and Contents coverage:

$50,000 Building Coverage, $20,000 personal property $196/yr, $221 with a basement $150,000 Building Coverage, $60,000 personal property $296/yr , $326 with bsmt $250,000 Building Coverage, $100,000 personal property $348/yr, $388 with bsmt (this is the highest available under this program)

I have created a landing page within my website with additional information.

Once on this page, you can enter your contact info and property address (via ‘get a quote from Sean’ and I can get the process started. Most policies have a 30-day waiting period and is based on the application date.

The time to act is now.

Earthquakes in Italy, Floods in DC

There was another earthquake in Italy today, this one at a magnitude of 5.3. What made this one special is that it happened right where my sister lives! The epicenter is only 18 km from my sister's house, about 11 miles. The house shook, a bottle broke, my mom and sister got scared out of their wits but no major damage or injuries occurred.

Meanwhile, here in DC, at just about the same distance from my house that the earthquake happened from my sister's house, a huge underground pipe ruptured and flooded the aptly-named River Road with a four-foot wall of rushing frigid water this morning. Some people had to be lifted out by helicopter.

Mother Nature seems a tad upset today!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

My Dog Steals My Cream!

I had just gone to the Starbucks where my son works and ordered my usual no-sugar coffee-light Frappuccino. There was a new guy on duty and he forgot you're not supposed to put whipped cream on a light drink (it kind of defeats the purpose). I decided whipped cream just this once wouldn't hurt so I took it out to the car and put it in the cup holder between the two front seats. I then turned around to say hello to someone for just one second. When I turned around again, my dog was using his long tongue to get to the whipped cream at the top of the drink! So I figured he was looking out for me and I let him have it!

The little thief...

Winter Solstice - TODAY - Shortest Day of the Year!

At 7:04 am Eastern Time, the Winter Solstice arrived. One of the things that makes winter more bearable for me, living in a relatively cold climate here in Washington, D.C. (hey, it's in the teens tonight!), is the fact the first day of winter is also the day during which we get the least sunlight here in the Northern Hemisphere. That means from here on in, until the Summer Solstice in six months, the daylight will last longer and longer each day, starting a little earlier and ending a little later every single day. So, it might get even colder over the next few months, but at least we'll get a little more daylight every day!

The image here shows the path that the sun took through the sky the whole winter solstice in 2006. We are here looking down the Tyrrhenian Sea coast from Santa Severa toward Fiumicino, Italy. It was taken by Danilo Pivato. See

Friday, December 19, 2008

For Aircraft Fans...

I love aircraft. I'm no expert - I can't tell you the specs of different aircraft - but I'm a big fan nonetheless.

So I loved the highly professional videos I found of a 747 landing at San Francisco airport from inside the cockpit. There are also two videos on take off preparations. I highly recommend watching these.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

So That's What Happened to All Those Italian Lira Coins!

My wife just showed me this in the new Macy's catalog. Yes, you too can purchase jewelry made from old Italian lira coins! The Euro was officially adopted as one of the first 12 European countries to do so in 1999 though the actual currency wasn't used until January 1, 2002. So, you won't find any lira coins minted after 2001.

I have a bunch of old lira coins. Anyone want to buy them from me? Let's start the bidding at...say....$1,000. :-)