Sunday, September 30, 2007
Saturday, September 29, 2007
. . . they wanted to check the impact of the smoking ban on the quality of traditional Irish music played in the smoke-free pubs. They managed to contact six of the seven Irish experts who work with the instruments. All said there was a strong smell of cigarette smoke from accordions played in a smoke-filled environment when they are opened. Soot-like dirt was deposited throughout the instrument.
"One repairer commented that the deposition of dirt could be substantial enough to affect the pitch of the reed."Two others claimed that if a musician tended to play in a particular key, that this could be determined from the distribution of dirt around particular reeds."
All the repairers were categorical that these signs had definitely improved in accordions they had worked on since the introduction of the smoking ban in Ireland. The doctors concluded the smoking ban has been "music to the ears of the people of Ireland."
In March 2004, Ireland outlawed smoking in every workplace including pubs and restaurants and even on fishing boats and in company cars. Anyone found breaching it faces a fine of up to 3,000 euros (4,254 dollars) and pubs run the risk of ultimately losing their licence.
Friday, September 28, 2007
Monday, September 24, 2007
Sunday, September 23, 2007
Friday, September 21, 2007
I learned that the Iceman's own death is surrounded in mystery. He died of "natural causes" shortly before he was to give testimony that would incriminate Sammy the Bull. It is so creepy that it could be a Sopranos plot line:
The woods of Bucks County(PA) were also a good place to get rid of bodies. By profession Richard was a contract killer, and the disposal of bodies was always a concern. Sometimes it was okay to leave the victims where they dropped, in alleys, parking lots, and garages. Other times they had to disappear. That was specifically requested. One time Richard left a victim in an ice-cold well for nearly two years—preserving the corpse—purposely seeking to confuse the authorities as to the accurate time of death, thus earning his eventual moniker: "Ice Man."
From this website, which has some great background information:
... he was scheduled to testify that he had killed a New Jersey police officer in the 1980s on the orders of former Gambino crime family underboss Sammy Gravano. A few days after Kuklinksi's death, prosecutors dropped all charges against Gravano, saying that without the hit man's testimony they had insufficient evidence to continue.
Thursday, September 20, 2007
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
hypocrisy, every vicious stupidity."
- Studs Terkel (quoted in One More Time, The Best of Mike Royko)
Why doesn't anyone write a newspaper column this good anymore? Royko wasn't
quite a Twain, or a Mencken, but his writing was distinctive and memorable and
in its time the closest thing to lasting literature in a daily paper. Royko could make you laugh and make you think, stir outrage at a heartless bureaucrat, or bring a tear to the eye when he flashed a glimpse of the heart hidden beneath his hard shell.
...however, he (Royko) left the Sun-Times after it was sold to a group headed by Rupert Murdoch, for whom Royko said he would never work. He famously claimed, "No self-respecting fish would be wrapped in a Murdoch paper" and that, "His goal is not quality journalism. His goal is vast power for Rupert Murdoch, political power."
Sunday, September 16, 2007
Friday, September 14, 2007
Still trying to control the clutter. Not only in my life, but in my head. People spend too much time rushing and not "being." A friend today reminded me the importance of giving "time" instead of a present. And when you think about it, it truly is the best "gift."
As for my clutter, I pass along a motivator, forwarded to me. This guy, Chris McNaught is also out there trying to eliminate the unnecessary things in his life. If you follow the link, you can see McNaught's place. Maybe a bit too sparse for me.... but I admire the guy.
Less is more: it's a well-worn mantra, but not one that gains a lot of traction in our super-sized culture. This summer, Chris McNaught had an idea. Inspired by a woman who had winnowed her possessions to a paltry 300 items, Chris decided to make an inventory of his own stuff. He counted all the items in his house and garage, and noted them on a spreadsheet. The result: Chris owned
So he immediately decided to clean house. The process isn't over, either, and he's continuing to make some key decisions - including whether or not to keep a childhood teddy bear.
Chris says that his home these days is simple, uncluttered, and filled with only the most meaningful items from his life. Having given away more than half of his possessions, Chris is well on his way to owning no more than 500 things.
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
take stock of what really matters to us and cherish that.... it may help us find common ground.
Sunday, September 9, 2007
I got to thinking about my own teenage years. A scene from my Jr. High Lunchroom, 1978: Boy sitting very close with one arm around me, whispering, laughing...stolen kisses. The teacher coming over and shaking his head. That kind of behavior, of course, was discouraged. "Those who can, do," my sweetie spoke up. "Those who can't--- teach."
I am smiling about that all these years later.
Thursday, September 6, 2007
for my royalty check to come,
and it still hasn't come yet.
It's about a year over due.
I guess it's coming from the Big Royalty
Check in the sky.
I waited and the mailman never dropped it in my letterbox.
Oh, oh-oh, oh...I guess it's a Big Royalty Check in the sky.
baby.But you can't
beat the tax man
all at once.
Or my all time favorite:
I can see by the look on your face that you've got ringworm.
I'm very sorry but, I have to tell you that you've got ringworm.
It's a very common disease. Actually, you're very lucky to haveringworm' cause you may have had somethin' else. Oooh, aaahhh...Uuunnnhhhaaahhnnn...You've got ringworm.Oooh-oooh, oooh, oooh-oooh, oooh, oooh-oooh....
Sunday, September 2, 2007
The calendar doesn't say it yet , but it's fall. Temps in the 50s overnight.
Puffier clouds, less humidity. Here we go. Summer's over. All those things we were gonna do, and summer got away.
In another week or so I'll have completed another trip around the sun. Virgo Girl. Cutting up and freezing the last of the peppers. Putting away skimpy summer things. Looking for fall pants from last year that still fit.
Stopping at Farmer's Markets. Fall Cleaning. Rituals for the changing season.
I had coffee with a retired teacher today. Said it took a few years to get rid of that overwhelming "time to go back to work" feeling he got every September. I suppose for him it would take getting used to. When you think of 12 years of your own schooling, plus 4 years of college, plus 30 years teaching.... that's a total of 46 years of Septembers meaning "that month you go back to school."