Sunday, February 26, 2017

Another coincidence ...

It's really eerie how often I seem to encounter coincidences in my daily life and the connection this time has to do with hunting whales !  (Also eerie is this bleak picture of a National Geographic ship cutting its way through ice in the Antarctic Circle.)
The ship is the Explorer and, yes, the crew is hunting whales but it is not a sight-seeing cruise or a killing expedition.  This is a serious scientific study of the health of the ecosystem and how it is affecting the whales and other animals in the area. The findings are not good. If you are interested in learning more it is on the CBS series the "Climate Diaries".
... and here's the coincidence. 

I have currently read a book entitled "The Rathbones" by Janice Clark.  Her fanciful legend is set in New England and chronicles the experiences of 15 year old Mercy, the last surviving member of the Rathbones ... a family that grew wealthy dealing in the sperm whaling business starting in 1761. Mercy's seafaring father has not been seen for many years and she and her uncle Mordecai go in search ... for him and for the killer whales.  They are convinced that if they find one they will find the other.
 The author Janice Clark has an imagination that seems boundless. She grew up in the whaling town of Mystic, Connecticut and the words that she puts to paper are filled with the mystique of that area as it must have been over 300 years ago  We meet Moses, the legendary patriarch of the Rathbone empire and husband to 17 wives whose only duty is to produce the sons that keep the whaling ships staffed ... and that is just the beginning. Mercy's quest uncovers 100 years of secrets, betrayals and half truths, but happily all the intriguing mysteries are solved in the end.    

An amazing first novel.


Tuesday, February 21, 2017

The Price Is Right ….??

Well, that's the name of the TV show but the prices never fail to boggle my mind. Recently the challenge was to guess the price for 3 pairs of Thom Browne sun glasses. Since I'd never heard the name I took a big stab on the high side and thought ...”$375”. WRONG ! The actual price was just shy of $1,600. WHAT … for 3 pairs of sunglasses? I couldn't believe it and it actually made me feel sick.

Remember the “trickle down theory? As I recall it was based on cutting back taxes on the rich so they could become even wealthier and then that wealth would trickle down to the masses. HA ! What a joke that was and look where we are today. There is an enormous amount of money floating around the globe but it's being grabbed and used by a very small percentage of the world's population and they sure aren't sharing it with us.

A rational mind would hope that our government would see our need and try to make changes that would help us. Just by deleting all the loopholes that the rich use would be a huge step forward. But, wait a minute … how does a President who surrounds himself with billionaires make this work? It's obvious that the White House is not to his liking and getting out of D. C. has become a weekly occurrence. Of course this means that the Secret Service has to cover him and his family and this flamboyant lifestyle is costing us, the taxpayers, millions . 

Although it's pretty obvious that I didn't vote for him I think I have the right, as a US citizen, to ask him to stay “home” and start governing, instead of band-standing. However, it's obvious that his cronies don't agree and his good friend Bannon really likes it this way...after all, “when the cat's away the mice can play”.


Thursday, February 16, 2017

Once in a lifetime …

Do any of you remember the 1970's song by the Creedance Clearwater Revival group with the line “Have you ever seen the rain … Comin’ down on a sunny day?” I heard it today and it brought back this amazing memory.

I was about 14 at the time and living in Wellesley Hills,  Mass., a suburb of Boston.  As I recall it some school friends and I were in the town square park sitting on the steps of the picturesque bell
tower basking in the bright sunshine and waiting for a bus carrying some friends home from Boston. The actual bus stop was across the street from where we waited but it was located on a very busy three way intersection so we felt safer where we were.

Then out of nowhere, or so it seemed, it started to rain ... but, it was no ordinary downpour.  I will never forget  how we watched in amazement as the sheets of rain pelted down ACROSS THE STREET.   The bus had arrived and our friends were running for shelter from heavy rain while WE WERE STILL IN THE BRIGHT SUNSHINE and dry as a bone.

I know that rain has to stop somewhere but it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for me and eerie to actually be able to see the break.   It makes me wonder ... have any of you seen anything like that?


Saturday, February 11, 2017

O. M. G.

I've heard it said that "one picture is worth ten thousand words" but even that many words could not express how I felt when I first looked at this "TIME" cover.  I do know that "warm" and "fuzzy" were not among them.
I guess it's true that Steve Bannon is actually "the great manipulator".  He has skillfully maneuvered himself into the #1 position of the new administration and when Trump signed the order giving Bannon a permanent seat on the Principals Committee of the National Security Council it placed him among the president's top foreign policy advisers too.
From what I've read about Bannon I can't figure how he remotely qualifies for any of this.  I also wonder how long it will take Trump to realize that the nickname "President Bannon" is being bandied about on the Web.  I doubt that Trump will be thrilled to realize that it could be Bannon's will and not his own that we will be following for the next 4 years.
Stay tuned ...

Monday, February 06, 2017


What you see here is an ARMILLARY sphere. Originally designed by the Greeks an  armillary was used as a teaching tool. The sphere is made up of rings and poles and an arrow representing the equator. The meridians and parallels and the center ball represent the earth following the sun. ...and where did this very large armillary come from?   My son-in-law Brian made it !

As some of you may recall he and my daughter have a thriving antique business in NY state and Brian often refers to his stockpile of discarded metallic pieces to produce something original to be sold in their shop. One of their regular customers is a world traveler and he became enamored with the armillary while in Europe.   He wasn't having much luck in finding one to meet his requirements until he remembered some of the amazing metallic things that Brian had produced.  He presented his idea to him and the search was over. Of course Brian jumped at the chance and what you see here is the finished product.

It is now proudly displayed in a large field on the man's property.  You get an idea of just how large the armillary is with him standing next to it ... almost as large as his grin ! 

Nothing makes a business owner happier than another satisfied customer !

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

I love this ...

Here you see Derrick Hamilton and Shabaka Shakur ... owners of the Brownstone restaurant in Brooklyn.  The interesting thing is that both men grew up in Brooklyn but didn't meet until more than 20 years ago when they were behind bars. Their bond really grew when they shared that they were both imprisoned for murders they didn't commit and, even of more interest, they also believed they were framed by the same New York City police detective: Louis Scarcella.

From the day they met and had their first conversation they vowed to strive for freedom. They became Jailhouse Lawyers. It's mind boggling to think how difficult that must have been but they persevered and over two decades later they were finally set free.   Louis Scarcella who helped imprison both men, is now retired, but allegations including “evidence manipulation” led judges to overturn 11 of his convictions and settlements have cost the city more than $30 million.

The men say the Brownstone is their way of giving back to the community.  They offer good, tasty food at a fair price (teriyaki ginger chili chicken wings ($10), to fried calamari ($12) and pan-seared salmon ($20) but it's also their way to give a hand up to others who need it.  They often hire employees who have trouble finding jobs because of past felonies and the kids in the neighborhood know they are always good for a "little cash" if they wash windows or sweep floors ... "anything to keep them off the streets" say the men.