Saturday, March 29, 2008



Is this a great picture or what. My husband collects old artifacts related to the petroleum industry and found about 100 of these old photo's at a garage sale. Eventually he sold them to a collector but this one I kept. This is the old penny candy/tiny grocery store/gas station that was just up the road (dirt path) from my grade school. We would walk up on our lunch hour and get a penny's worth of candy. Usually 2 pieces. I can still remember clearly what the interior of the store looked like. It was torn down in the 60's and replaced with a parking lot for a football stadium. Eventually I tracked down one of the owners sons and mailed he and his brothers copies of the glossy print.

Thursday, March 27, 2008


Most, O.K some, well maybe a few of us remember the 30's & 40's & early 50's movie star named Hedy Lamarr. But how many of us know that she was "more than just a pretty face."

During her marriage to Fritz Mandl, the munitions maker, Lamarr sat in on his business meetings and learned that one of the goals was to control weapons remotely by radio signals.
Lamarr's insight was to realize that continuously and randomly changing the radio frequencies would defy jamming. In early 1940, she and composer George Antheil devised a system for airplanes to direct torpedoes toward their targets.

Antheil and Lamarr patented their scheme, which they called "frequency hopping," and donated it to the government. Lamarr received no recognition, because the patent remained classified until 1985. Since then, the idea has been applied to cellphones, cordless phones and Wi-Fi Internet protocals that allow many people to share the same range of radio frequencies.
She led a reclusive life in her later years and died in 2000 with little assets. She and her partner never received a penny for their invention.


Two obituaries, same day, Saturday, March 22, 2008, same page of the New York Times.

1. Mary Meader, 91 Pioneering Aerial Photographer. She and her husband spent their honeymoon in the 1930 on a 35,000 trip taking unprecidented aerial photographs of South America and Africa. Took the first aerial photo of many geographical sites: Nazca lines in Peru, Mt. Kilimanjaro from the air, native villages, and the Pyramids among other subjects. She weighed only 95 pounds and braced the 20-pound camera on the window frame of their plane and secured it with a clothesline. She said she once nearly froze to death. Earned her pilots license while pregnant with her first child. Only one of three people invited to sign the American Geographical Society's Fliers' and Explorer's Globe twice. Had 2 children and with her second husband became major philanthropists giving away millions. In her 70's she continued to go to an elementary school to help children learn to read.

2. Vicki Van Meter, 26. Celebrated for piloting a plane cross-country at 11 and from the United States to Europe at 12 accompanied only by an instructor. Her instructor said she was at the controls the entire time. Later earned a degree in criminal justice from Ediboro University in Pennsylvania and spent two years with the Peace Corps in Moldova. Had recently begun applying to graduate schools and wanted to study psychology. Died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


Great article in yesterdays Sunday NYTimes "A Guide to the French. Handle with Care", by Elaine Sciolino who is just finishing her stint as Paris bureau chief. According to her the french are:

1. Obsessed with history, partly because of a genuine affinity for the past, part a desire to cling to lost glory, etc. No anniversary is small to celebrate. In the past 5 years France has celebrated the 20th anniversary of France's sinking of Greenpeace's Rainbow Warrior, the 200th anniversary of the high school baccalaureate diploma, the 60th anniversary of the bikini and the 100th anniversary of the brassiere.
2. The French are proficient at doctoring interviews and transcripts released to the public.

3. The Customer is always Wrong-- In arguing with a shopkeeper over an inferior product that the customer was returning, the customer was forced to remind the shopkeeper of the French saying, "The customer is king." To which the shopkeeper replied, "We no longer have a king in France."

4. Make Friends with a Good Butcher. Her butcher once cooked her Thanksgiving turkey when it was too large for her oven. Even when he delivers bad news, his explanations are delicious. Once she ordered a 16- pound turkey and got an 11-pound bird instead.
"It was the fault of the foxes," he said gravely,
"The foxes?" she asked.
Yes, the foxes." It seemed that the electric fence surrounding the turkey pen had shorted out and the foxes had a field day.
They only ate the big turkeys," he explained.

5. Dress up even when just going to the corner for butter. She dashed out one Sunday morning in her morning jogging clothes and before she got home had run into: a senior Foreign Ministry official, the Swedish ambassador and his wife and then a deputy Treasury Security all of whom
knew her well due to her position with the NYTimes.

6. French women seem naturally skilled in the art of moving, smiling and flirting. They spend 20% of their clothing budgets on lingerie.
7. Politeness Lessons: Never say "toilette" when looking for the powder room; never say "Bon appetit" at the start of a meal. Don't talk loudly. Never discuss your religion or your money at dinner. East Hamburgers, pizza, foie gras and sorbet with a fork. Always say "bonjour" to the bus driver, and to fellow passengers on elevators.

In reading this delightful article I was reminded that I broke almost all of these rules the year
Twila and I went to Paris and then on to Munich and Frankfurt. It was a great trip.

Through no expertise of our own we landed a sweet hotel just up the street directly in back of me as I took this photo.

In front of the Louvre and the line that wound around the interior of the courtyard twice. Evidently the Paris museums had been on strike for 3 weeks and this was the first day they were open. We decided life was too short and walked across the street for lunch and browse through Rick Steve's guidebook. Low and behold he tells in there how to skip the lines. Marched back over to the Louvre, found a young guide outside and ask him where we could buy "the special pass" you need to jump the line. He told us and then looked at the blank look on our face and said "I'll do it for you". Took our money and dashed across the street and down a Metro entrance. Came right back up and gave us our passes (don't ask me why the only place you can buy "the secret special passes" is in the Metro's. Anyway went down under the pyramid and right into the museum in the "special line". Cool.

Late lunch on the Champs-Elysees

Morning Outdoor Market at Versailles



This is "our" Maggie. She is so good to me and several of my friends. Maggie is our masseuse. She fixes just about everything that goes wrong with us. We all feel younger, thinner and prettier when we leave. O.K. maybe not immediately when we leave but usually sometime the next day.

Thank you Maggie for all the care you give us.
She also lets us have all the chocolate we want.
P.S. Note the camera-- she is a really good photographer.

Sunday, March 23, 2008


Just found this on New York City Daily Photo. This is why I love New York.