Monday, March 30, 2009

"Watch" This!

I am one of those people who is prone to lose a watch shortly after donning it, especially because I don't like wearing one when I'm typing on a keyboard. For this reason, I keep the nice watch locked up at home and use a cheap watch when traveling. While I was in Italy last time, I went to an outdoor market and found this watch (the one in the photo) for only 5 euros, about $7.50. It runs pretty well, no problems, but one look at the watch and you may see why it's so cheap. Any ideas? What do YOU think?

Saturday, March 14, 2009

One of My Favorite Bands

Several year ago I attended a conference in Nashville, Tennessee. While there, we went out one evening to Printer's Alley to a blues club. The house band playing was Stacy Mitchart and Blues You Can Use. To say that they rocked the place would be an understatement. We were all on our feet dancing. They were fantastic! Before going home, we went back. It was Halloween and the place was so much fun and once again Mitchart made it fantastic. I bought a couple of his CDs and have listened to them a lot since.

Last year I was back in Nashville and looked them up. They are now the house band at BB Kings, a step up. I got a seat near the stage and once again loved them. I got on their mailing list hoping to find that one day they would tour near DC.

While in Orlando this week, I got an email from them telling me where they were touring right now and lo and behold, they were going to be playing one night in Orlando the very next evening. I got five of my friends to join me and we went to see them at BB Kings in Pointe Orlando. All agreed that they were fantastic.

By the way, Stacy is a GUY! :-)

Here's his website:

By the way, I spoke to Stacy during a break and he said he was going to be in DC in May to perform on XM Radio. He told me there'd be room for about 50 attendees. I hope to make it.

You can see my entries from when I saw Stacy and his band in Nashville:

As Seen at the Airport...

When I arrived at my local airport the other day to go on a trip, I took this photo of a bunch of clothes piled up near a trashcan. Can you guess why?

I'm pretty sure it's because the individual's suitcase was just a little too heavy and the cost of the clothing was less than what the extra fees would have been for the overweight luggage. What do you think?

Monday, March 2, 2009

Ringing off the Hook

We still say that the phone was ringing off the hook. When's the last time you used a phone with a hook?

I remember when I was a kid we used to have a phone on the wall and that it had a hook that the receiver hung on. If you picked up the receiver, the hook would move up and would engage the dial tone. If you put the phone on the hook, it would move down and would disengage the phone.

Let's not be in a rush to change the terminology, though. I still like it. We still say we dial the phone, right? When's the last time you used a phone with a dial? :-)

What other old phone terms do we still use?

Let me think and then add your own.

1. We still talk about wiring money. While wires may be involved, most wiring is now done through the internet.
2. Phones ring but no longer contain actual bells like in the old days.
3. We hang up the phone even though we normally don't really hang it anywhere. We normally put it down somewhere, not up.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

A Visit to Pompeii, Just Inside Washington, D.C.

There is a wonderful Pompeii exhibit being shown at the National Gallery of Art right now, one of the Smithsonian museums in Washington, D.C. Its run ends on March 22, after which it will move across the country and be shown in Los Angeles starting in May before being returned later this year to its rightful place on the other side of the ocean.

My wife and I have been to the actual city of Pompeii, thankfully many years after Vesuvius got angry and spouted lava all over the place (I know you know, but just in case you've forgotten, that happened in 79 AD). But it's a different experience walking through the actual town and seeing a number of pieces artfully shown together in one place, such as was the case in this exhibit.

The first five photos are on the approach to the exhibit. No photography was allowed inside the exhibit, so I've scanned images from the brochure we were given so you can get an idea of what we saw. The pieces are so well-preserved (lava will do that).

Garden Scene, Pompeii, House of the Golden Bracelet, fresco, 1st century BC - 1st Century AD, Ufficio Scavi, Pompeii

The Forum at Pompeii with Vesuvius in the Background, Christian Kobke, 1841, oil on canvas, The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles

Two seaside villas, Pompeii, 1st century BC - 1st century AD, fresco, Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli

Kantharos entwined with olive branches, Pompeii, House of the Menander, 1st century BC, silver, Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli

Two table supports, Pompeii, House of Gaius Cornelius Rufus, 1st century AD, marble, Ufficio Scavi, Pompeii

Plato's Academy, Pompeii, Villa of T. Siminius Stephanus, 1st century BC - 1st century AD, mosaic, Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli

Apollo and the muse Clio, Moregine, Triclinium A, 1st century AD, fresco, Ufficio Scavi, Pompeii

Homer, Baiae, 1st century BC - 1st century AD, marble. On Loan from the British Museum, London

Aphrodite, Rione Terra at Puteoli, probably early 1st century AD, marble, Museo Archeologico dei Campi Flegrei, Baia

Victorius Athlete, Herculaneum, Villa dei Papiri, 1st century BC, silver, Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli

Torso from a statue of a woman, Rione Terra at Puteoli, 1st century AD, marble, Museo Archeologico dei Campi Fiegrei, Baia

Tray-bearing youth or Apollo, House of Gaius Julius Polybius, 1st century BC - 1st century AD, bronze, Ufficio Scavi, Pompeii

Girl fastening her peplos, Herculaneum, Villa dei Papiri, bronze, 1st century BC - 1st century AD, mosaic, Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli

Alexander the Great on horseback, Herculaneum, 1st century BC - 1st century AD, bronze, Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli

Bust of a youth or Apollo, 1st century BC, bronze, Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli

Vesuvius from Portici, Joseph Wright, c. 1774-1776, oil on canvas, The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.

A Sculpture Gallery, Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, 1874, oil on canvas, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire

Times Are Tough...And Junk Mail Preys on Our Fears, Part 2

Here's another one we got in the mail. On the outside, very large letters: Retirement Relinquishment. What the heck does THAT mean? I've relinquished my retirement funds? Has the economy gotten so bad that my retirement fund is completely kaput?

Well, no, of course not. Now get ready: this one is really a stretch. It's basically a going-out-of-business sale for a furniture store. They call it retiring the business and they're relinquishing their furniture. Get it? Yeah, I told you it was a stretch! I don't think I'll be shopping there anytime soon...or ever!

Times Are Tough...And Junk Mail Preys on Our Fears, Part 1

The First Notice, Customer Reference #22123 you see here was showing through a plastic window in an official-looking envelope I received. First Notice? Sounds as if I'm behind on a bill! Oh, no! I open the envelope and see at the top of the letter ATTENTION: LOAN MODIFICATION NOTICE. Oh, no again! What loan? Of course, it was all a scare tactic to make me read the letter, which was nothing more than an offer to refinance our mortgage. Why do people think that after scaring us for no good reason we'll be open to doing business with them?

Oh, and Customer #22123? I've never been a customer of theirs, so that number is totally random!