Extraordinary Stories

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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The "Stop Lying About Your Fibbing" Story

It was an ordinary day. January is coming to an end and you know what that means? Means that is the end of Fibruary. Seems that people tell more lies in January than any other time of the year. My guess is that all the New Years' resolutions that people make never come through and therefore ending up being a lie or fib. What's the difference between the two? In your house do you call it lying or fibbing .... or both? Is there really a difference? Some people think they both are the same. If you don't tell the truth, it's a lie, fib or being dishonest. Some think there is somewhat of a difference. Fibbing is more of a joking thing that isn't doing any harm or getting anyone into trouble while lying is, well, lying. "Mommy, there is a monster in my room," would be fibbing instead of lying. In that case fibbing would be stretching the truth about trivial things while lying is more about important things. An online dictionary calls a fib a trivial and harmless lie while lying is the deliberate act of deviating from the truth. It is estimated that we tell seven lies a day in January, compared with an average of four per day the rest of the year. Hey, maybe you have, but I certainly don't tell four lies a day, on the average. Now, I haven't told a lie in a year or more! How about that!! Money is one of the top things that people lie about and when money is involved it is never a fib. Many lie about how much they spent on Christmas gifts and also about how much of a balance they have on credit cards. Other reasons for lying include protecting someone's feelings or not wanting to let people down. One in six have lied to their partners, in fact, we are more likely to lie to our partners than anyone else. Some people think they are good at detecting lies, but the truth is they tend to look in the wrong placed for those vital clues. Where should you look? I have no clue. I have a friend who was a police detective and he had classes on how to tell when people were lying. And, there are ways you can tell, but I suspect you need to take the course to be able to do that. My wife can tell when I am lying, I mean fibbing, without even going to the class. When I tell her something that is border line not the truth, just by looking at me she knows. Must have something to do with the way my lip quivers or my voice cracks, but she can tell. But, I don't think she actually got all the seven lies, or fibs, that I told each and every day in January. Geez, I hope not! I'd be lying to you if I said I didn't I worry about that some times. It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

Monday, January 30, 2012

The "Please Don't Take My Kodachrome Away - Part III" Story

It was an ordinary day. Finishing adding some pictures of the Kodak accessories that I have been collecting for years. Yesterday I published photos of some of the cameras in my collection and will finish the 3-day story with the accessories. It is very hard to place a date on many of the items pictured below. I search and search for some of the items, but yet never find something that matches what I own. The photos below represent a small part of the collection, but some of the more interesting items are featured. Hope you enjoyed my love of Kodak cameras and accessories and also my story from two days ago about my experiences teaching one of my hobbies as well as loves, photography. It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

This Kodak Film Tank consists of the light-tight wooden box for loading your film onto the spool on the right. Then, in the dark you would take the loaded film from the box and place it in the stainless tank in the rear. It is circa 1905 to 1907 and is very rare. I just saw one on Ebay going for $89.
This ad came from a magazine in 1907. It illustrates a man using the above developing tank.

This kit came in a metal light box that was meant to illuminate negatives and expose for printing. Inside was a small red safelight, graduate with stirrer, set of three plastic trays for making prints, therometer, chemicals and photo paper along with a book telling you how to use it. I can't find a date, but guess it would be from the 50s or 60s.
The D-76 Developer on the left is from the 1930s while the newer containers on the right are probably from the 1950s or 60s. This developer was used for film.
These are two safelights that are for use in a darkroom to provide light that will not affect the film and/or photo paper. The one on the left is a kerosene unit where you place the liquid in the base, light the wick, open the door that has "Kodak" on it and a colored glass plate will block harmful light for developing. My guess is it is from the early 1920s. The electric one on the right is from the 1950s.
These film tins, one for a single roll and the larger one for a 100' roll of film are circa 1950.
This cannister of film I found at an antique store in Havre deGrace, MD. In it is a 100 foot roll of film that has photos of the 87th Infantry Division in action during WWII. Taken sometime in the 40s. I paid $5 for it. The black and white film yields some war photos.
An original No. 1 Kodak Trimming Board that originally sold for $0.65. Great shape!
A few of the Kodak hats that I have collected. I usually wore the yellow racing hat on the far right when I drove my 1987 Corvette before I sold it.
A few race memorabilia that includes a 1998 Monte Carlo 1:18 scale car, a small car and truck in metal and a mug.
The Kodak tank is for heating water for coffee or tea. Still works.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

The "Favorite Beach Activities" Story

It was an ordinary day. Trying to make a ticker for my home pages on TravelTalkOnline and
SXM Travel Forum so that people who read the two websites will see when we arrive on the island and will know when they can get some updates on the island. TickerFactory.com is a great place to make a ticker. You follow the instructions and select a design, title and date and a URL address that you can copy and paste where ever you need it. Check the end of the story to see the ticker I created for our upcoming vacation. I try to give tips sometimes on places to snorkel, beaches that have the best sand, water temperature, weather conditions and so forth. I just ran into a story online about items that I usually convey to readers of other sites. Gives the best places to snorkel, surf and a variety of other beach activities. Thought I would pick out a few and let you know where you should plan your next vacation if you enjoy any of the activities that are listed. Best Wind Sports can be found in Barbados at Silver Sand. Silver Sand is home to the former Olympic windsurfer Brian Talma. He can be found at deAction Beach Shop on Silver Sand. Best Snorkeling will be at No-Name Beach, Klein Bonaire. It is an unpopulated isle that you can reach by renting a boat or taking a water taxi to it from the island of Bonaire. Here you will find rays, school of various colorful fish and beautiful coral formations. I have never been to this island, but sounds like I may want to try a visit sometime. Best Surfing is at Chatarra Beach, San Juan, Puerto Rico. I Googled the beach name and found a comment that stated: One of the best and most consistent surf areas is located on the north shore of Puerto Rico; great tubes mostly lefts, for experienced surfers only. For me, I probably will never visit the location since I'm not that good a swimmer that I can attempt to surf. Best Skinny Dippin' will be found on Orient Beach in St. Martin. This beach is the most celebrated clothing-optional beach in the Caribbean. The south end of the beach is occupied by Club Orient which is a naturist resort. People Watching is best anywhere according to me, but according to the site I was reading, Grace Bay Beach in Turks and Caicos is the place you want to go. This beach is located in Provo and the beach is the most picturesque in the Caribbean with 12 miles of pure-white sand to stroll. And ..... we tried to stroll most of the beach in one day and almost died doing it. These are the main categories that the site I read said are the reasons what people travel to the Caribbean. You may have other preferences for choosing a vacation spot such as food, drink or history, but you'll have to find those spots on your own. Good Luck! It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy. PS - if you check back to see this story any time during the next couple of weeks, you'll notice that the ticker below is updated daily. Pretty neat!


The "Please Don't Take My Kodachrome Away - Part II" Story

It was an ordinary day. Dragging photos of some of my Kodak camera collection to a story I will add to the one from yesterday that talked about the demise of the Kodak company. The following photos, with descriptions, will be the second of three stories about the photography giant. Tomorrow I will show you Kodak accessories that I have collected for many years. So, for now, here are a sampling of the many Kodak cameras that I have. It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

The camera in the middle is the Folding No. 1A Pocket Kodak with red bellows. It was made by Kodak from 1897 until 1898. It was designed by Frank Brownell. It took 2 1/4×3 1/4 exposures on Kodak 105 film rolls and had an Achromatic f/11 lens. The price was $10. The camera on the left is the Kodak No.1 Kodal Jr. which was made between 1910 and 1913. It used 116 size film. The camera on the right is the Kodo No. 0 Folding Brownie which was made between 1914 and 1935. It uses 127 film.
The Kodak No. 2 A folding pocket Brownie camera. Camera is a rectangular box with a black leather covering. Circular glass window at rear. Leather carry handle on top. Door at front folds down to reveal lens, shutter and bellows focusing mechanism. View finder is fixed. It was introduced in 1915 and used 116 size film.

The two models on the left are original models of the Brownie camera. The Brownie camera was introduced in 1900, creating a new mass market for photography. The Kodak Brownie Target Six-20 on the right didn't surface until 1946 and continued until 1952. It used 620 size film. Original price was $3.50.
These three camera are all Brownie No. 2 cameras. The one on the left is green in color and was produced from 1929 until 1933. It used 120 size roll film and sold for $2. The one on the right is the red model of the exact same Brownie. The camera came in red, grey, green blue brown as well as black. The one in the middle is the Fiftieth Anniversary of Kodak Model that was produced in 1930. To celebrate the 50th anniversary of Kodak these special camera were made to be distributed free thru Kodak dealers in North America to children who were 12 years old in 1930. This great camera was based on the No. 2 Hawk-Eye premium camera with tan leatherette covering, gift fittings and a gold foil anniversary sticker on it's side. It used 120 film with a picture of 2 1/4"x3 1/4". There were 557,000 made, and I have one!

This is an enlargement of the gold foil sticker on the side of the camera.

Camera on the left is the Kodak Bantam and appeared in 1935. It had a 1:12.5 Doublet lens and a single speed shutter. Most Bantams were strut folders, which this one is. It used 828 film and was designed by the famous Walter Dorwin Teague. The camera on the right is the Baby Brownie Special that was made of Bakelite. Produced from September 1938 and 1954. It used 127 size film and had images that were 1 5/8"x2 1/2". The body was made in two halves, held together by a sliding latch on either side.
The camera on the left is the Brownie Hawkeye which was introduced in 1949 and was sold until 1961. It used 620 roll film and gave 2 1/4" square photographs. The original price was $5. The camera in the middle is the Instamatic 104 Model which used 110 size film. It was introduced in 1972 and this camera was innovative because of its ability to rotate flashcubes. The camera on the right is the Brownie Starflash which was introduced in 1957 and was discontinued in 1965. It used 127 size film and gave a photograph that was 1 5/8" square. It originally sold for $8.50 and the color shown here was produced from 1958 until 1960. They produced 4 different colors and one that had a Coca-Cola motif.
The Duoflex IV was produced from 1947 until March of 1960. It used 620 roll film and had a 72mm, f/8 Kodar triplet lens. You could attach a flash unit to the side of it that used the large sized flash bulbs. You looked into the top viewing screen and viewed through the top lens while the photo was taken through the bottom lens. I have 2 of these, the one shown being the lesser quality of the two.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

The "Please Don't Take My Kodachrome Away - Part I" Story

It was an ordinary day. All except for the yellow and red! They happen to be the colors that identify Kodak. On January 19, 2012, Kodak filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and thus ended its reign as the giant in the photography industry; another casualty of the digital age. Kodak is synonymous with photography and has been since it was founded in 1889 by George Eastman. The name Kodak came about because the letter "K" was a favorite of Eastman's; he is quoted as saying, "it seems a strong, incisive sort of letter." He and his mother devised the name Kodak with an Anagrams set. Eastman said that there were three principal concepts he used in creating the name: it should be short; one cannot mispronounce it, and it could not resemble anything or be associated with anything but Kodak. And boy was he successful! For years and years, the brightest color in photography was yellow; the bright yellow color of a box of Kodak film.Just 20 years ago they had more than 80% of the American film market. Then came the competitors from overseas. Fuji, Sony, Illford, and so on made their impact on the film market and Kodak has never recovered its storied spot in the industry. In 1888 the first model of the Kodak camera appeared. It took round photos about 2.5" in diameter. This camera carried enough black and white film for 100 exposures. After taking your photos you would return the camera, they would make your prints, and return the prints and your camera to you. In 1892 coined the phrase, "You press the button, we do the rest." It caught on! In 1900 The Brownie camera was introduced, creating a new mass market for photography and the following year Eastman Kodak Company moved Rochester, NY where it has been ever since. And finally, in 1935, Kodak introduced Kodachrome, and color photography took off. Since that time, many "Kodak Moments" have been shared with the world through the art of Photography. Now, Kodak's is fading back to black with it's bankruptcy announcement. For me, Kodak means so much more. In 1969 I started the first photography program at Manheim Township High School in Neffsville, PA. I had only graduated from the school seven years before. The first year we had 6 students and the class was held class in the Graphic Arts room. To reach the darkroom we had to walk through the architectural drawing room. The darkroom had been a storage closet with a sink in it. The first year we had two black and white enlargers with enough space on a counter to place our developing trays. I hung a large safelight above the trays and we were in business. The students would have to buy their own black and white Kodak Plus-X or Tri-X, expose it, and develop it in the darkroom. The difference in the films was the ASA or ISO numbers (speed of the film). Darker situations required the faster Tri-X film. We had such a good time! The only problem we ever had was when a few of the teachers would open the door to our darkroom and ruin our negatives or photos with the light. The room had been used for teacher's who smoked and it took that first year for all to realize it was no longer the smoking room. As years passed, the course grew and grew. A new building was built to enlarge the high school and I got a new Graphic Arts room which had two very large darkrooms attached to it. I actually held class in the larger of the two and I had assembly tables and enough seating for a dozen students. 12 enlargers covered three walls and the final wall had a sink large enough for working stations at either end. 4 very large safelights made it seem almost like daytime. I was in heaven in that room. The class grew more and half my day was spent teaching photography. I had my classes in the darkroom while another teacher taught Graphic Arts in the attached room. And, Kodak supplies were used in my classes. By now we loaded our own canisters with bulk film. I would buy 100' rolls of Tri-X and Plus-X and hundreds of small film canisters for the students to load their own film. They still would base their choice of film on the type of project I had assigned to them. My students won many awards for their work ranging from certificates to college scholarships. Then came the advent of the digital camera. Kodak made them, but other companies grabbed the majority of the business. My black and white photography course still was popular and to this day is still being taught in the high school. At one time I had maybe 75 students a year and now there are maybe 50. The lure or the darkroom and black and whitefilm still draws the students. Kodak played a role in pretty much everyone's life in the 20th century because it was the company we entrusted our most treasured possession to -- our memories. Its yellow boxes of film, point-and-shoot Brownies and Instamatic cameras and the hand sized prints made it possible for millions to freeze-frame their world. So you see, I am saddened by the bankruptcy story coming from Kodak. To me it seems like Kodak is losing its color and is fading back to black. It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy. PS - the round print at the bottom is the front and back of one from my collection. It is from the late 1800's when the prints were made round. The rear of the print says "Hackensack River from opposite the Field Club grounds 14 Jany 1890 No.40. The next couple of days will show you some of the collection of Kodak items that I have accumulated over the years.

Friday, January 27, 2012

The "Trip of a Lifetime" Story

It was an ordinary day. And ..... getting very interesting. Just got an email from VRBO (Vacation Rentals By Owners is a very large website that helps property owners rent their places without a middle man) telling me I don't need a reason to go on vacation. Hey, I already knew that, but I thought I would read more. And so here is what they told me .....

Hi Larry,

You don't need a reason to go on a vacation! Treat yourself and take a break from the every day. Stay in a vacation rental home from VRBO and choose from over 165,000 properties around the world. It doesn't matter where you decide to take your time off, you'll find the perfect place to stay with VRBO. To help you get started, we've provided some vacation ideas we think you'll enjoy.

And then they gave me 3 choices from their featured weekly listings. Maybe if I showed you where they think I should go you'd be interested also.
Cozy Design Apartment in the City Center Close to St. Mark's

Venice Vacation Rental by Owner Listing 365026

Location: Venice, Veneto, Italy, Europe (Close to waterbus station to/from the airport + railway stat) Welcome to beautiful Venice! Open up your eyes and be enchanted! Our flat is located in the historical center of Venice, only seven minutes walk from "Salon of Europe" Mark's Square and from Rialto Bridge. The area offers a number of shops, restaurants and opportunities to explore Venice by gondola: The apartment is located behind Calle della Mandola, one of the most famous streets for shopping in Venice. Arts, culture, museums, Biennale, history, romance ... Venice has so much to offer! 700 Euros/week.

our windows seen from outside

Perfect Location at a Great Price! January Dates Available!Punta del Este Vacation Rental by Owner Listing 364687

Location: Punta del Este, Uruguay, South America (On the Punta del Este Peninsula). This apartment is located on the Punta del Este Peninsula. The Peninsula is the hub of Punta del Este with the most year-round activity. $420 US/week.
Beach service (setting up umbrellas and chairs)  is included during high season.

Charming XVII Century ApartmentAix en Provence Vacation Rental by Owner Listing 363559

Location: Aix en Provence, Aix en Provence Area, Provence, France, Europe. The apartment is located in a historic 17th century building in the heart of the city center of Aix. This part of town is a picturesque area found between the Cours Mirabeau (the main street of Aix) and the "Hotel de Ville" plaza. The charm continues with the daily (yes- 7 days a week) fruit and vegetable market located just a few foot-steps away. 490 Euros/week.

OK, now I need to decide where I will go! Kinda neat that I get emails like this all the time from VRBO, but it does get depressing, since there is absolutely no way that I can go. I could tell them that I want to unsubscribe from the emails, but I won't. I can still dream. If you're wondering what my choice would be, it definitely would be the place in Venice. After visiting there a few years ago with a group from our church, I would love to head back. And, to be able to live on the island for a week would be fantastic. One of the neatest places I have ever traveled. Oh, well! Gives me something to dream about tonight. It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

The "Sounds of the Vienna Boys' Choir" Story

It was an ordinary day. Just stopped at the Parish Resource Center to hang a poster that I had framed for my wife who works there. I entered the PRC, walked into Carol's office to find her using our iPad2 to charge things. Bad news, right? Not in this case. Seems that the PRC is bringing The Vienna Boys' Choir to Lancaster, PA for a night of music at Hempfield High School's Performing Arts Center which is located in Landisville, PA. The Vienna Boys' Choir (also The Vienna Choir Boys, German: Wiener Sängerknaben) is a choir of trebles and altos based in Vienna. It is one of the best known boys' choirs in the world. The boys are selected mainly from Austria, but also from many other countries. The choir is a private, not-for-profit organization. There are approximately 100 choristers between the ages of ten and fourteen. The boys are divided into four touring choirs, named for Bruckner, Haydn, Mozart and Schubert, which perform about 300 concerts each year before almost 500,000 people. Each group tours for about nine to eleven weeks. The choir is the modern-day descendant of the boys' choirs from the Viennese Court, dating back to the late Middle Ages. The choir was, for practical purposes, established by a letter written by Maximilian I of Habsburg on July 7, 1498. In the letter, the Emperor instructed court officials to employ a singing master, two basses and six boys. The role of the choir (now numbering between fourteen and twenty) was to provide musical accompaniment to the church mass. Carol is not sure which one of the four touring groups will arrive in Lancaster in March for the concert. The concert is to help raise money for the PRC which is a non-profit that was founded to help congregations train, coach and equip members for service and leadership. Years ago I sang in the St. James Church choir as first, a soprano or treble, and then an alto. I started when I was about 8 years old and able to read and remained in the choir until my voice became too deep to reach the alto notes which was about 13 or 14 years old. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and got to sing in quite a few large venues as well as church on Sundays and for special services such as weddings and funerals. The boys and mens' choirs were paid choirs, so I was able to earn spending money for myself, provided I behaved and didn't get fined too much by Mr. Mac, the choirmaster, by the end of each month. I also was asked to usher for organ recitals and putting the hymn numbers on the church boards, which also was a paid job. I gained many friends during these years and am sure the boys of the Vienna Choir are going through the same situations as I did. Watching this concert will bring back many pleasant memories, I'm sure. Date of the show is March 10 at 7:30 PM. If you are interested in purchasing tickets for the concert, go to www.parishresourcecenter.com or call Carol or Debbie at the center at 717-299-9932. They can help you pick out your seats as well as place the order for you. Pretty neat watching Carol slide the card through this small card reader and the info appearing on the screen. Technology at its finest! See you there. It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy. PS - Below is the PRC advertisement for the concert.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The "Who's Up First?" Story

It was an ordinary day. Just got back from a trip in town and on the way home saw the really neat statue depicting two boys with gloves, bat and ball trying to see who would be up first. Called "playing thumbs" or "getting the upper hand." Naturally had to take a few photos of it. Made me think back to when I did the same thing almost every day after school as well as all summer long. The story goes .......just got home from school, have to change my clothes, grab my bat and rubber ball and head out back to play ball with Dave G. Weather is starting to get nice and all the snow has melted off of the parking lot out back on the paved lot where we play. Ought to be able to get at least an hour or more of ball in before the sun casts dark shadows across the home plate we have painted on the parking lot. We live in the last house on North Queen Street in the north end of the city. Actually, the city's northern boundary is right up the street from us and that puts our semi-detatched home in Manheim Township. Right next to our house is Science Press. Big printing company that takes up about half of the block. Directly behind us is another press building that I have no idea who runs that. Between the two is a small alleyway that we walk through to get to the parking lot that belongs to the plant behind us. Room for maybe 30 cars, so it is big enough for our homeplate and a painted rectangle where the pitcher stands. Workers leave work at 3:00 PM, so our games can start when they have cleared the lot. On the wall, directly behind homeplate, we have white tape to mark the strike zone; same size zone for everyone. Our infield and outfield are paved, but have a narrow street called North Christian Street running between them. Have to be careful when pitching and trying to run after a pop-up that you slow for the cars that travel on the street. As you stand at home and look out over the field, to the left is Armstrong Distributors which is a beer and beverage dealership. At times the Armstrong sisters, girls about our age who live in the city and at times visit their dad's store, will lean against their wall and watch us play ball. Pretty neat! If we try hard enough, we can sometimes hit the ball into their garage and they will run in to retrieve it for us. Sometimes they even offer us something to drink, if the weather is really hot. Today's game features only two players, Dave and me. "Who's up first?" I yell when Dave shows up. Sometimes we thumb wrestle to see who gets to bat first, but never when Dave is there. He is older than the rest of us in the neighborhood and could whoop us easily in thumb wrestling. I grab the bat and toss it to him. He catches it near the fat end and I put my hand on top of his, towards the small end of the bat. He places his hand next to mine and this goes on, hand over hand, until the knob at the small end of the bat is reached. The last hand on the bat that can place his thumb on the tip of the knob wins the contest and gets to bat first, unless ........ the loser can then grasp the knob of the bat, and holding it with only a thumb and one finger, twist it over his head three times before it goes flying. Usually we don't do this, since the many windows in the buildings at times get broken and we usually get blamed and a swinging bat may cause that to happen. OK, Dave's hands are larger and he wins and I start pitching. In our game you only get 1 out. Ball hit in fair territory that doesn't make it across the street is a single. In the lot across the street we have sight lines for a double and a triple. A ball that goes in the girl's garage is foul. And ...... any ball that hits a moving car (remember we use a rubber ball about the size of a tennis ball) is a homer. At times when this happens and the car slams on the brakes, our game quickly ends and we take off for home. Three strikes is an out. No walks allowed. Back and forth we go until dark and then head our separate ways back home. Tomorrow is supposed to be sunny and Kenny and my younger brother said they can play tomorrow, so we'll have 2 on each side and have to do the "playing thumbs" again to see who bats first. Oh the memories!! It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary day.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The "LDub's Cooking Show!" Story

It was an ordinary day. Paula Deen is cooking something really fattening with her son, Bobby, on the Food Channel. Not sure what it is, but it has 3 sticks of butter in it! Her son is with her just so she has another pretty face for the TV camera. I guess you have heard about Paula and her health problems. All that butter has taken it's toll and she has Type 2 Diabetes. Well, Bobby has cooked on his own for a few shows (Not My Mother's Cooking), but I'm not sure what qualifies him to be a cook except that maybe he loves butter. I told my wife after watching one of his shows one time that I think I should have my own cooking show. "Heck, I love butter as much as them," I said. "And, just what would you cook if you had your own show," she responded. "Well I could make something that my mom used to make like her famous potato salad of her fabulous chicken pot pie and call it "Cooking Just Like My Mom," was my comeback. I've already told you about the cookbook that we printed one time that was filled with all the family recipes. Any one of those would be just as good as what Paula's sons would cook. I could do my Aunt Lillian's cherry cake, which isn't really a cake but a really delicious dessert, or I could do her great macaroni salad which has to be just as unhealthy as any of Paula's meals could be. Maybe Aunt Bea's (yep, my wife really has an Aunt Bea just like on the Andy Griffith Show) Coconut cake or Uncle Albert's ice cream recipe would work. Then there's my cousin Judy's strawberry pie or my grandpap's oyster stuffing. Boy is that good with bread squares, a few eggs, onions, garlic, celery, fresh oysters and naturally a stick of butter. Never at a loss for a great recipe. "Wonder who I have to talk to about my cooking show I want to start," I asked her. Then she said, "Maybe you should just practice some of those recipes at home until you really get good. Try making YOUR world famous dinette cake a few times with granulated sugar instead of the 10X sugar that you used the last time!" Yeah I must admit that didn't turn out too good. It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The "A Grandfather's Granddaughter" Story

It was an ordinary day. Upset that I missed the talk that was given at the Ware Center, Millersville University's Art Center in downtown Lancaster, by Andrew Wyeth's granddaughter. Many of you probably already know that Andrew Wyeth was born July 12, 1917 in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania. That's just a hop, skip and jump from my house in Lancaster. Andrew's parents home-schooled him since he was a very sickly child. N.C. Wyeth, Andrew's father was a well known illustrator and his son seemed to follow after him. His raw talent showed in his early work that depicted his family's summer home in Maine. At age 22, he married a local girl and had two boys. Nicholas became an art dealer and James became the third generation artist in the family. Andrew Wyeth died on January 16, 2009 at his home in Chadds Ford, PA. He was 91 years old. Andrew achieved international fame from his landscapes and portraits of the Brandywine Valley, notably with "Christina's World", painted in 1949, and "Master Bedroom", painted in 1965. Well, the talk that was given at the Ware Center was by Nicholas Wyeth's daughter and Andrew Wyeth's granddaughter, Victoria (Vic) Browning Wyeth. Vic is in her early 30s and for years worked in the Wyeth Galleries at the Brandywine Museum in Chadds Ford giving talks and tours of the gallery. Last year she decided to take her show on the road and tell her stories titled "Lessons I Learned at My Grandfather's Knee" to a larger audience. I am so sorry I missed it. Hope I get to see her at another location. Her stories are featured in the Lancaster newspaper and I will give you a small sampling of what she told the paper. "When you Google 'Andrew Wyeth', the person you see is very different from the person that's in my heart. You see Andrew Wyeth. I see 'Andy'. I think of him as just this adorable kind of wrinkly grandpa who's also wearing black L.L. Bean turtlenecks and always saying, 'Vic, get me some applesauce.'" Wow, could be one of my grandkids talking. She talked about "Master Bedroom", which depicts the family Labrador, Rattler, tranquilly asleep on Andy's bed. Her granddad had come home tired, wanting to take a nap, only to find Rattler got there first. Vic's grandmother said the painting didn't impress her and told Andrew to put it in the "giveaway pile." How many copies of that famous print have I framed in the last 12 years for sale to customers at Grebinger Gallery in Neffsville? Can't count them all. "Christina's World", another big seller at the Gallery shows the back view of a woman crouched in a field gazing at her farmhouse in Maine. Victoria said they told Andy it was not quite the thing, and that's his most famous painting. "When he died it just changed things for me," she says. "It's hard to put into words, but it changed the way that I look at the world. I never had lost someone that was that close to me. It was like someone took off my sunglasses. I just saw ... on a deeper level. When I give my lectures I can hear him in my head. It's not like he's telling me what to say; I can remember where I was with him when we spoke about it." And .... I feel so bad that I MISSED IT!! Have been down to Chadds Ford before, but would love to have heard the personal stories in person behind the many paintings that I am now framing. Someday. It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy. PS - photos from the top are Andrew Wyeth, Victoria Wyeth, LDub with a framed print of "Master Bedroom", and photo of painting titled "Christina's World."

Monday, January 23, 2012

The "True Nittany Lion" Story

It was an ordinary day. Made a trip out to the end of the drive for the paper. Sat down in my recliner and turned on "Meet The Press" on NBC at 10:00 AM. A few minutes later they had an urgent announcement flash on the screen. Joe Paterno had died minutes before of lung cancer. Holy Cow! It was only in mid-November that his family announced that JoePa was being treated for a curable type of lung cancer. To tell you the truth, I didn't know there was such a thing. The next day saw hundreds, maybe thousands, flock to the stadium, the stadium that JoePa built, to honor him with remembrances at the foot of the sculpture that seemed to symbolize the immovable force he had become. A candle-light vigil was also held the evening of his death. The death of the greatest football coach that ever lived! His records and achievements are documented everywhere you look and his former players heap praise and accolades on him. But, in the end, I'm sure he didn't feel like a hero. I now believe that the Board of Trustees really blew it with the way they fired him and tried to make him the scapegoat for all the bad that was happening at Penn State. I still think of JoePa as the guy who time left at the 1 yard line. The guy with the horn-rimmed glasses, khakis that he rolled up and those black cleats. He was said to hate computers and cellphones and one time said, "I couldn't download a jar of peanut butter." As the times changed, he stayed proudly behind. Too far behind, maybe. I only hope that years from now people will remember the good deeds and services that JoePa gave to Penn State and not the turmoil that was created by the one bad egg on his coaching staff. Time will heal I'm sure, but for me, I believe JoePa may have died from a broken heart. Rest in Peace, JoePa! It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy. PS - The classic photo of JoePa in the runway was taken by an Associated Photographer, while the photo of the sculpture at the stadium is one of my altered Polaroid prints.

The "Rising to New Heights" Story

It was another ordinary day. I was searching for good airfare prices for our next trip when I came across a very unusual story about elevators in some of the largest and neatest buildings in the world. I was amazed with the stories connected with the elevators and thought I would at least show you what 12 of the neatest elevators in the world look like. Just a brief summary about each one accompanies the photo. Google anyone of them to get a better idea of how they work. It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

The fish-eye mirror at the back of this elevator at the Long Island City Business Center, makes the ride even more disorienting


The Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart, Germany, contains info on 125 years of automotive history—and some really cool elevators.


Elevator's at the Luxor hotel in Las Vegas travel at a sharp 39-degree angle.


Take in views of the city's parks, temples, and skyscrapers from the 89th-floor observatory atTaipei 101 in Taiwan.


The Lloyd's building in London was designed inside out, and the 12 glass elevators travel along the exterior.


There is no better way to take in the sights of Stockholm, Sweden, than a ride on theSkyView at the Ericsson Globe.



Take in the views of Lake Lucerne and the Alps as you ride up Switzerland's Hammetschwand Lift.


The 50-minute gondola tours at Scotland's Falkirk Wheel traverse two canals and include two rides on the elevator.


The four-minute elevator ride up the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri, brings you to the top of the 630-foot-tall wonder.



The incredible Bailong Elevator in China's Zhangjiaijie National Forest Park rises 1,070 fee up a sheer cliff.


The elevator at the AquaDom in Berlin travels up the middle of the 82-foot tall aquarium.


The elevator at the Sky Tower in Auckland, New Zealand, takes just 40 seconds to reach the observation level, 610 feet in the air.