Saturday, October 21, 2017

Procrastination

Me at Pat's countertop in his fabulous new condo in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada


Folks!  

I'm here!

I really am!

Oh my, so much going on in my "retired" world. 

Just this morning I finished updating and mailing the minutes of our homeowners' association board committee meeting.  Yes, I HAVE been roped into the position as (acting) secretary. I hardly have enough time to do all my other activities and yet here I am, SECRETARY to our homeowners' association. A subject worthy of several blog posts, which you know I WILL do.

"Marie", one of my faithful blog followers left a comment about seeing enough of that Harvey Weinstein photo I left for you all to see for days on my last blog post.  For that I do apologize folks.  That wasn't my intention. With this blog post that offensive image of Harvey the Pig will go away.

Marie and others have asked for more blog posts about my Canadian vacation of which I fully intend to oblige. I have many photos and videos to share.  What's holding me back though besides procrastination is that I was going to use You Tube's Video Editor, but they discontinued it!  Now I have to use iMovie on my iMac and that's another whole time consuming activity what I have been procrastinating getting into.  But, I will.

Last Sunday Bill and I made the two and a half hour drive to Pennsylvania to attend my 58th high school class reunion.  More photos and videos taken there too folks of which I intend to share, hopefully after I make some cool video collages in iMovie.  By the way, this was my first class reunion that Bill attended with me.  For about forty years I've been asking him to go with me to my high school class reunions and he finally does when he's 89 years old.  My classmates think I took up with an OLD MAN.  Thanks Bill (smile).

Bill (center) at my class reunion with two of my classmates.

So folks, that's where I am now. Still trying to get my act together and wondering where all the hours go in a day.  And to think I used to work full-time and do so much in addition to my work and commute time.  How did I ever do that? Maybe because I didn't take daily two hour afternoon naps like I just did today.  

Have a great day!!!

Note: the header photo on this blog I took of the lobby of the Royal Connaught Hotel in downtown Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. That is Pat in the green T-shirt soaking in the luxuriousness of the lobby. Some lobby Pat!


Thursday, October 12, 2017

Harvey Weinstein

Harvey Weinstein 

Many years ago I used to always watch the Oscars Awards show. One of the reasons I stopped watching the Oscars because I was tired of hearing almost every Oscar winner thanking Harvey Weinstein. 

After multiple thanks to Harvey Weinstein, I thought "Who is this Harvey Weinstein?"  "Is he some god?"  Then I heard Meryl Streep thank Harvey Weinstein and yes, she called him a god.

Being the inquiring person that I am, I did some research on this "god."  I did a Google search and came upon an image of Harvey Weinstein. I thought to myself "Now there is a stereotypical Hollywood mogul who probably requires a casting couch approach to casting his films."  But being the thoughtful and reasonable person that I am (no laughing), I didn't want to be unfair and make a rash judgement.

Over the years the accolades continued for Harvey Weinstein. WTF?  Ron Howard is a great director and I didn't hear near the amount of accolades his way.  Why all this adulation to Harvey Weinstein?

After a while I wasn't the only on who noticed the excessive "thank you Harvey Weinstein" accolades. In even posted to my Twitter account several times about all the "thank you Harvey Weinstein"as a joke.

Now it has been revealed that Harvey Weinstein is a sexual predator. He used his position of power and influence to take advantage of women who had much less power than him. Harvey Weinstein was who I thought he was, a pig.  

Of course I am disgusted by Harvey Weinstein and his actions but I am even more disgusted by those in the entertainment industry who know about his behavior and not doing anything about it. And I'm not talking about the women he assaulted and harassed. I understand why they didn't and couldn't come forward when they were harassed and assaulted. They didn't have the power. But there are those in the entertainment industry who are in power who knowingly looked the other way. 

You can't tell me that many didn't know of Weinstein's behavior. Especially those in the Weinstein company who enabled him by settling with at least eight women who Weinstein harassed and assaulted. 

I commend the courage of the actresses Rose McGowan and Ashley Judd who were courageous and went public with their experience with Weinstein. Now that they have broken the dam, many more women went public with their encounters with Weinstein.  What is disappointing is the silence of males in the movie industry. Have you noticed that too?  

Here is my suggestion for these movie types. At the next Academy Awards ceremony, leave all those ribbons de jour that you wear on your lapel home.  Leave all that phony baloney hypocritical displays of concern home.  When you are up at the podium accepting your Academy award, congratulating yourselves, apologize to the world for enabling this pig called Harvey Weinstein.  You should all be ashamed of yourselves for permitting this behavior to continue for so many years.  Show the same outrage at Weinstein's behavior that you should towards those other pigs Roger Ailes and Bill O'Reilly.  

And thank God we won't ever have to hear another 
"I want to thank Harvey Weinstein without this award would not have been possible." 

Sunday, October 08, 2017

Canadian Holiday 2017 Part One






Me at Pat take our seats early at the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra 

Okay folks, I'm going to share some of the events I participated in during my recent Canadian holiday.  One of my blog followers reminded me that I haven't said much about my Canadian holiday. Here goes!

This is the third year I've visited my friend Pat F. in Canada. The past two years I visited Pat at his home in Toronto. However, this year I visited Pat in his new home in Hamilton. 

Pat sold his home in Toronto and purchased a sparkling, brand new condo at the renovated Royal Connaught Hotel in downtown Hamilton, Ontario. A former steel town of 500,000 or so souls that fell on hard times but is now undergoing a rebirth as a millennial destination of Canadians fed up with the congestion and expense of Toronto. 

I've already mentioned in previous blog posts of my difficulty in going through customs at the Toronto airport.  I won't belabor that extreme frustration other than to say I'll never put my body at the Toronto airport again in my lifetime.

And I've already mentioned that Pat's condo was a hotbox, with air conditioning that wasn't working properly.  I couldn't stand the heat so I got a hotel room instead at the Sheraton hotel a few blocks away from Pat's residence. That's another whole store that I haven't delved into all the way either but I might in future blog posts when I feel like venting.

Usually on our trips we don't plan anything special other than to dine at new restaurants, visit furniture stores, see some movies and play some Scrabble. However, this trip Pat planned two special events. One was to take me to a professional football game. That he did and it was fabulous!  I will post about that experience in a future post. 

The other event was a listening to a symphony orchestra in person. Something which I have never done in my 75 years of occupying space on this planet.  Pat took care of that omission by getting two tickets for us to attend the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra. 

I've always loved symphonies. Not opera but symphonies. I especially love Russian composers. And what luck that the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra was celebrating Russian composers the week I was visiting Pat. 

Rimsky-Korsakov
Stravinsky
Borodin
Tchaikovsky.  

Wow. Music just doesn't get any better than this.

So how did I like hearing this music in person?  I LOVE IT!  In fact I loved it so much I have brought two tickets for the Philadelphia Orchestra for me and Pat when he visits me next month in Philadelphia. I'm going to do it again!  

I've included a few videos of our attendance at the concert.  I didn't take any videos of the actual music playing because I wasn't sure of the protocol of videotaping the actual concert, even if it was a few seconds.  The only videos I took was of us taking out seats, the tune up and the end, when the encores took place.  I didn't want to be rude and actually take videos of the thrilling music itself. Now I wish I had.  Can't help myself.  

Thanks Pat for this new experience. 

Pat dressed for the concert - still got those sandals!

I'm so happy we found each other and can enjoy these experiences.  I've always said it's never to late to experience new joys.  


Saturday, October 07, 2017

Thoughts On A Warm Autumn Day



Another unseasonalbly warm day here in southern Delaware. 

I have bulbs to plant, debris to clean and fresh air to breath. But I cannot do it with these 80 to 90 degree temperatures. 

Fall is probably my favorite time of year. Probably because that's when my birthday falls (no pun intended).  Yes folks, I will be 76 years old in just a few short weeks.  And I ask myself, why am I still alive?

Thursday night at work I was talking to one of our regular guests about life, and death.  This is one of the many things I like about my hotel job. I meet a lot of people, some of which I have made lasting friendships. They are the guests who return year after year. And since I've been at the hotel going on eleven years now, I've made quite a few friends. 

This guest, his wife died a few years ago. I asked him how he was doing. He's a few years older than I. He said he sold his home and moved into a retirement community. I discuss these things with others who are my age and in similar circumstances. Bill just turned 89 years old. Odds are that I will survive him. What will I do?

Will I continue to live in this 5,268 square foot home with four bedrooms and four bathrooms and an acre of lawn to maintain?  Do I want to rattle around in this house . . . . alone? Yet I can't imagine living with anyone other than Bill. God, it took me so long to train him and I'm still working on it.  

While visiting Pat in Hamilton (Canada) a few weeks ago, I took in his new living arrangements.  He now lives in downtown Hamilton in a condo of a renovated luxury hotel.  His condo is small but has everything one (a single older man) could ask. I could see myself living like that.  Of course I would have to get rid of a massive amount of THINGS I have accumulated over my past seventy-five years. Hard to do but not impossible. Yes, I could see myself living that downsized lifestyle.  But could I afford the monthly maintenance charge?  That's the catch folks, when you get older there's always a catch.  I doubt if I could afford those monthly maintenance charges.

I'm used to a lifestyle now that I can afford by working part-time to supplement my income and Bill's retirement income. Once both of those sources of income are gone, my lifestyle would probably have to undergo some radical changes. 

For most of my life I've been poor. No exaggeration, I've been poor. There have been two short periods that I enjoyed a comfortable standard of living but never anything luxurious by any means. One period was when I left one bank where I worked and was collecting severance pay while working at another bank. Another period has been the past few years in which I inherited a small amount of money from my Mother's estate in which I was able to pay off our mortgage. During these periods I have often thought "So this is how the other Half lives?"  Nice!

But no complaints here, no recriminations or "what ifs?"  I've had a good life.  I've been luckier than most. I'm way past my sell by date. However, I do have to think of the next (final) chapter of this life adventure than began at 9:30 AM on a November Sunday morning in West Chester, Pennsylvania. As I discussed with the guest at our hotel, I'm not afraid of dying, just concerned (as was he) of how I'm going to get there. 

In the past few years I've seen the long, protracted and humiliating deaths of two of my very close friends.  Friends who I have discussed this very subject with.  They didn't want to go "that way" and yet they did. 

I don't know how I'm going to depart this earth but one thing I know for sure. I have another trip coming up at the end of next month. A trip to my old home town of Philadelphia.  I will be reunited with my friend Pat.  Pat has also fallen in love with Philadelphia. I've already secured the tickets to attend our first Philadelphia Orchestra Symphony. Prime seats folks. At this time of my life, it's all prime seats.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Yet Another Mass Shooting



The past week I've been resting up, recovering from my stressful ten days in Canada. From my nightmarish Toronto airport ordeal to trying to avoid the heat and humidity of late summer Canada, I'm trying to gather my good memories to post to my blog.  But first I had to return to work at the hotel which further delayed my sharing of my Canadian vacation experience. Not only did I work my regular shift on Thursday evening but I had to fill in for my co-worker on Saturday during the day shift. And just my luck, this Saturday the hotel was the site of a major wedding. And you know how I LOVE weddings at the hotel.  This was a same sex wedding (two guys), thus not as stressful as the straight weddings where the mothers of the groom and/or bride drive everyone up the wall with their demands and changes.

Just when I was getting settled down comes across the news of another mass murder shooting.  This one in Los Vegas, Nevada where a lone gunman kills 59 people and injures 527 people who innocently attending a county music event in the street outside the shooter's hotel room at the Mandalay Bay hotel. The murderer used a machine gun to kill and maim all those people. I thought machine guns were against the law. 

I have to tell you folks, I am just deflated. What kind of society do we live in? Why are we the only major industrial country that lets so many of its citizens accumulate such an arsenal of weapons? Sure, I can see hunters having weapons. I can understand individuals owning guns to protect themselves in their homes. But why in God's name (and I'm not religious) does this country not outlaw semi-automatic and automatic weapons whose only purpose is to kill people?  Are those who accumulate all these weapons in their homes really afraid that someday the government forces are going to come for them?  Where are our politicians who have their pockets stuffed with political donations from the NRA who are silent every time there is a mass murder like happen in Los Vegas with semi-automatic and automatic weapons?  Is their office worth more than all those lives that are lost and those who are wounded and have their lives changed forever?

I heard on the news last night that some of those young concert goers who were wounded are permanently paralyzed. One girl survived a bullet through her eye that is now lodged in her brain. She survived. But did she?

I am disheartened folks. I'm tired. I'm exhausted. Exhausted by the ignorant and cruel man who poses as our president. Our fake president.  

"Thoughts and prayers" are offered by many including the politicians who will do NOTHING. "Thoughts and prayers" aren't going to bring back those who died or make those who were wounded better. The time for thoughts and prayers are over. The time is to finally do something, ANYTHING, which will make the ownership of semi-automatic weapons illegal for everyone except the police and military.  

The time is NOW.


Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Back Home From Canadian Holiday


Miss me? 

Monday I arrived back home from my ten-day annual holiday in Canada. 

You're probably wondering why I haven't written.  I have a very good reason, I was EXHAUSTED.

I have so much to tell about my time in Canada but on this blog I'm going to vent about the Pearson Airport in Toronto.



In years past I have taken a flight to Buffalo, which is right over the border from Canada.  I took the flight to Buffalo because the rate was significantly less expensive than flying directly into Toronto and Pearson Airport. Pat would then pick me up at the Buffalo airport and drive me back to his then home in Toronto, a two hour drive.  I've always felt a guilty about having Pat make that two hour drive each way. So this year when I checked the flights, I found that the price for a flight to Toronto (Pearson) was significantly less than in years past. 

I made my flight reservations to go directly into Pearson Airpot in Toronto. Little did I know I made a HUGE mistake.  

First, Pat no longer lives in Toronto but now lives in his fabulous brand new condo in downtown Hamilton. Hamilton is forty miles closer to Buffalo. Toronto is almost as far the other way.  So that "advantage" was no longer applicable. I didn't shorten Pat's trip to pick me up.  

Another big problem, I would now have to go through customs in Toronto. In the past when Pat picked me up in Buffalo, all I had to do was show my passport at the border crossing guard. However, when one flies directly into Toronto, you have to fill out a customs disclosure form in Philadelphia. Then when you arrived in Toronto you have to go through the maze (three times) that is customs. And all VERY CONFUSING.  Did I say confusing?  CONFUSING!

 


Plus there was the problem of Pat getting to Pearson Airport. Buffalo is easy. Pearson is a nightmare of spaghetti roads.  CONFUSING!

Now that was just coming into Toronto. Going out on Monday was even worse if that was possible. 

Pat and I decided to take a bus to the airport. We left Hamilton in plenty of time but were still delayed because there was a motorcycle accident (which included a fatality) on the road leading to the airport. 

When we finally arrived at the airport we couldn't find the terminal where I was to get my plane. Pat asked another fellow passenger on the elevator where our terminal was.  He directed us to a terminal.  We were so appreciative until we realized it was the WRONG 
!




We asked on of those Visitor Attendants where our terminal was.  Yes, I was going to America.  He walked us for what seemed like two miles to another terminal.  Up escalators, down escalators until Pat and I were separated by security. I again had to go through the maze of security, THREE TIMES!  This time I had to take off my shoes and belt, something which I didn't have to do in Philly because I'm and Old Man (75 and over).  




I load up the bins to go through the conveyor belt and step into the X-ray machines which visually strips me naked.  

I asked to empty everything in my pockets. I thought I did. Oh, I forgot that used tissue. 




I stepped into the stripper X-ray machine again, trying to keep my shorts from falling sans belt. 

Again I was asked to empty my pockets.  Oops! I had disposable gloves from my time with Pat from our daily litter patrol in Gore Park. 

I step into the stripper X-ray machine again. 

"Step out and empty your pockets!"  

I step out and am asked if I would mind being patted down.  Why not?  They've already seen me naked.  Lower the lights and put on the soft background music and pat me down. 

I get patted down and pass . . . . finally! Of course they found nothing in my pockets. It's at this time I wonder what they do when someone is wearing a cock ring. 

Now it was time to put my passport in the automated machine to pass the next phase of security. Of course I put it in upside down. Then before I knew it my picture was already taken.  I needed this voucher with my photo on it to pass the next phase of security. 




Did I mention that going through Security at Pearson was a NIGHTMARE?  

I finally get through security, belt on, shoes on and ask where the American Airlines terminal is.  I am directed to a stairwell that descends to the ground level.  What? Americans don't get to wait in the Big Room to see the airplanes coming in and going out?  Apparently not.

As I descend the stairs I hear a man over the loudspeaker paging "Mr. Tipton and Mr. Kahn, report to the front desk."  

Oh My God!  Am I not done yet?  And what's with  this "Mr. Kahn?"  That's sounds like a terrorist to me.

I "report" to the front desk and apparently I am LATE.  The plane has already loaded and they were waiting for me!  

I rush out onto the hot tarmac.  Oh, did I mentioned the WHOLE time I was in Canada I experienced a heat wave EVERY DAY. My departure day was no different.

Picture me hobbling across the sun baked tarmac to the stairwell to the plane.  

I get on and of course my overhead bin is full.  Of course.  I load my luggage three seats down the aisle and I squeeze in my tiny window seat.  Just my luck I have a big guy on the aisle sharing my space. Not his fault but at least he didn't stink like my last time I was on this plane back to Philly.

Thank goodness the flight back to Philly was only an hour in length. Airline travel on these little planes is not comfortable folks, even though I pay extra for "extra leg room" which really isn't.

This time back to Philly my flight wasn't delayed like it was the last two times.  In fact I got back before my ride.  

What a relief to get back to a decent airport, Philadelphia International.  

As in all my trips I learn.  I learned a lot from this trip but the main thing I learned is that NEVER AGAIN will I fly directly into Toronto and Pearson.  The absolute worst nightmare I have ever had in an airport. THE WORST.  

Other than the Pearson Airport Nightmare, how was your Canadian holiday?  Fabulous, just fabulous!  It was a shame that my experience at Pearson had to happen. 

Here's a message to Toronto, if you want to establish yourself as a world class city, straighten out that airport. It is a disaster.  

Speaking of which, notice how my video sequence it confusing?  That was Pearson Airport at Toronto. Never again folks, never again.



Wednesday, September 13, 2017

On TV Again

"Josh" from the News Journal video taping me this morning on our back deck (it was raining)

Well folks, after two tries I didn't make it upstage on "The Price is Right" but for the second time in four years I've been interviewed by a TV reporter. That happened this morning at my home.  

Last week I was contacted by a reporter for the New Journal (Wilmington, DE) re neighborhood opposition to the Highway One Concerts.  

Bill and I live in a development directly across from a venue called Hudson Fields. We have lived her eleven years now.  Occasionally, mostly during the summer events are held in Hudson Fields.  Mostly soccer matches accompanied by an announcer shouting over the microphone, revving up the crowd. That never bothered me. To me that was summertime activity.  Sure, there was noise but people were enjoying themselves and it wasn't really that loud.  Hudson Fields also sponsored at times food trucks accompanied by music. Again, never bothered me.  Sure, there was music, sometimes loud but never really THAT loud. At it only lasted during a few hours in the afternoon.

Then came this summer.  The owner of Hudson Fields decided, without consultation from any of the folks living in the nearby neighborhoods, to throw a couple of rock concerts.  That's right folks, ROCK CONCERTS.  Yep, with the gigantic stage, flood lights and BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! speakers.

Highway One Concerts Hudson Fields Milton DE
(want one of these in your backyard?)

At first I thought when I heard the band start their sound checks at 2 in the afternoon "Oh, now that's different."  Again, just more activity at the venue across the street that didn't unduly concern me. However when the band started to play about four in the afternoon and continue through 10 pm at night, I thought "Well, that's a little much."  Again, I didn't do anything about it. 

Then a week or so later there was another concert. Again, the sound checks for a couple hours in the afternoon then the concert itself which continued into the summertime darkness.  And yes, traffic was tied up outside our little development because the police restricted everything to one lane for the concert goers ingress and egress.  

Then about a week later, ANOTHER concert.  Now by this time I was getting tired of hours of "BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!"  Uh, I thought I moved to southern Delaware in this nice new neighborhood for peace and quiet. Apparently the owner of Hudson Fields has decided to put his business first before the interests of the surrounding neighborhoods and book concerts. Oh for sure, some of my neighbors like the concerts, especially the ones who lived farther away from the actual concert but here in my development, we're right in the line of fire.

Others were concern and wrote about in  our local NextDoor app.  Some wrote letters to the editor of the local newspaper.  Believe it or not they stopped the concerts.  I don't know if it was the result of some of our neighbors complaining or they just didn't have enough ticket sales (as was claimed for the Christian rock concert that was cancelled).  




Two weeks ago the owner the Hudson Fields was quoted in the newspaper that he was "confused" as to why his Highway One Concerts were disturbing anyone.  He said that back in the Eighties he had a Beach Boys concert that thousands attended and no one complained.  Also that the original Punkin Chunkin was held in his venue and no one complained.  I wrote a letter to the editor to clear up his confusion. Back in the Eighties there was a horse meadow where our development is now.  


THERE WERE NO DEVELOPMENTS HERE IN THE EIGHTIES


This morning I was told there were originally TEN concerts scheduled for this summer.  I was aghast. I said "Could you imagine if I hired a band and had TEN events in my backyard during the summer? Do you think the neighbors would complain?"  Of course they would. I wouldn't get away with it.  It seems that the owner of Hudson Fields feels he is entitled to do whatever he wants for his business.  He claims he is "contributing to the local economy."  How's that? By collecting a fee from the concert goers and paying the bands and keeping the difference as a business profit for yourself and your family?  What?  At my expense of not living in a peaceful and quiet neighborhood?  Oh sure, perhaps he pays a few locals minimum wage to pass out hot dogs and may a few food vendors.  Give me a break.  He's doing this for his bottom line with a total disregard for the neighbors he is bothering.




I also heard another quote this morning from the owner of that venue.  He said "Why should a few complainers have an impact on my business?" Talk about myopic vision. Some businessman. Total disregard for his fellow citizens, it's all about him. No wonder he was always putting up those right wing signs on the billboard in front of his office that assaulted everyone with his "message."  

At the interview this morning I made the point as well as my neighbor Howard made the same point, we both like music and don't mind some events being held in that field across from us but not for nine hours straight with the "BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!"  

I have to tell you folks, I am a bit surprised that my complaints had an effect, however temporary.  I know the owner of the Hudson fields (his name is "Hudson" by the way, Christian Hudson) has was more political clout that I do but this is a free country and I can express my opinion, positive or negative.  

Tomorrow I'm off to Canada for a ten day sojourn to visit my friend Pat in his new digs in Hamilton. Guess what we're going to do almost every day, listen to street bands.  Yep, Pat plays in a band. 


Yep, that's Pat and his band back in the Eighties - Pat is in the middle with his hand to his chin (what? You didn't recognize him?)