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Thursday, February 28, 2013


Ya gotta love Paula Deen.  Sure, the food celeb's recipes have induced thousands of heart attacks but oh, that smile!  She continued to push triple-patty peanut butter burgers for years after she learned she was diabetic but who can not love her "How y'all doin?" personality?

Last year Paula Inc. took a new direction.  Ms. Deen admitted that her recipes were slowly killing us and urged her fans to eat healthier and eat less.   Her new books and TV series show us how to do this but there's an easier way.
Paula was interviewed by the Miami Herald when she visited South Florida last week. 
She says she still eats fattening food but only half of what's on her plate.  How does she pass on the remainder?  Ms. Deen confided in the article, "I spit on it". 
If that doesn't work she pours black pepper on what's left.

 Let's hope her leftovers don't make it to food banks.

 Chicago's Fountain of Spit

Thursday, February 21, 2013


   Tomorrow night the Arsht Center will present a "homecoming performance" of the acclaimed Cuban-America poet, Richard Blanco.  The free event will take place in the Knight Concert Hall at 7:30.   He'll read a collection of his works including "One Today", the poem he read at the inauguration last month.
Blanco came here as a kid from Cuba in 1961.  He now lives in Maine.  For more information go to the Center's website, .  While the event is free, they suggest you print your tickets beforehand.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


   Last weekend, we saw a peacock parade on our garden wall.  

Afterwards, went over to the University of Miami where a U.S. Congressman meditating.   Tim Ryan of Ohio gave a speech about how "mindfulness" had changed his life. He's hoping the rest of us will join in. 
  At one point he had all of us meditating, focusing on our breathing.  It was a  
 l  o  n  g   two minutes.  After his talk we hung out with him a bit.  Tim was thoughtful, funny, and articulate.  Too bad there aren't more like him in Washington.

    On Sunday after church, I was telling two older women about last month's trip to the inauguration.  Virginia McNaughton asked, "Did you see my foster son?  He was there too". 
   When I raised my eyebrows she added that her boy was Rev. Luis Leon,  the President's minister and that  had given the inaugural benediction.  
"Yes" I added, "We saw him and he was great!"
   In 1961, as a twelve-year-old, Rev. Leon left his family and Cuba in "Operation Pedro Pan".  Ms. McNaughton and her huband took in the "precious skinny boy" until he could be reunited with his family.  Now the former Miamian heads St. John's Episcopal Church, a few blocks from the White House. It is known as "The Church of the Presidents".
On Sunday afternoon, we went to the grocery store.  As I doing my usual grousing about the parked police cars and fire trucks ("Why do they food shop on our dime?") we noticed something strange. 
   The Coral Gables cop car had a huge front bumper extension.  Francesca asked, "Is that for ramming cars?"  As I assured her that cops aren't allowed to do stuff like that anymore,  a police officer approached.  

I asked him about the bumper thing, "Is that for pushing cars out of the road?".  He smiled and said, "We use it to chase cars.  If you snag the corner just right you can make them spin out!".  
So much for the wisdom of Glenn.

Saturday, February 9, 2013


  You know this by being there and last July, we were.

The dream begins when you step off the plane and on to a water bus.  You either walk or boat in this island city.  There are no cars, trucks, or bicycles.
As you might expect,  the gondoliers are everywhere. They will row you from here-to-there for a hundred bucks.  For another $200 they will throw in an accordionist and opera singer. 
As we stepped off our "bus" I was quickly impressed with the street vendors and beggars.  
Both are illegal in posh Venice.  

As a vendor, when a cop heads your way, you bundle up you tripods and run!
   I will write a whole blog about Venetian beggars later.  They are the very best of their unfortunate profession.

    Every block is an island connecting to the next one with a bridge.  All four hundred of them (as above) have stairs.  We lugged our suitcases up and down many to get to our apartment's street "Calle Vechia".

This lady hanging out her underwear told us our building was next to her's.  


It was the one with the intercom that looked like a  surprised robot.


I loved the way everyone hung out their laundry in this town.  


 The towels, tops, and sheets seemed like welcoming flags.   



There were churches all over the place.  The most popular ones had long lines and entry fees. 

 We opted for the small ones like this, places where a person could take a knee and admire the light, the quiet, and strange little dolls.


 These signs were posted on the entries of many Italian churches.  They reminded us not to go to church in our underwear.

 I used to think of myself as a mask maker.

It is such a high art form in Venice, I am now a mere creator of minor facial coverings.


Besides artful masks, I love things that float.  Imagine rounding a corner to see this,

..then glancing to your right to see the costumed boatmen sharing salami.


In the maritime museum we saw one possible reason why the Italian Navy didn't fare so well in WW II.  Their torpedoes required two frogmen to drive them into their target.

 There are boats for every purpose.  

Here is a floating produce market.

An American couple in their rent-a-kayak

 A Venetian water taxi



And a grocery deliveryman passing a garbage boat. 

We also saw floating cop cars and ambulances.


In this exciting city almost everyone seemed to be happy.  The only exception that  was this police officer but who could blame him?

His job was to keep people from touching "Naked Boy with Frog".  
  Every now and then a tourist would reach out to see of the 7-foot boy was real.  The officer would quickly respond with something that sounded vaguely like,
"No toucha bambino!".

-More on Venice later-

Thursday, February 7, 2013


    We bought a basket of tomatoes in Paris last July.  Because of their small, unique shape the French call these delicacies "Pigeon Hearts".  After we ate them a few of their seeds managed to follow us home and bury themselves in our garden.   Here's a picture our first "homegrown heart".
   It didn't last long.  While waiting for it to ripen perfectly our plumber ate it.
    Europe was much more than exotic tomatoes.  I will be writing about the second half of our trip next week.

Monday, February 4, 2013


The teaching profession is under attack by those who blame teachers for conditions beyond their control.  They want to take away their professionalism and turn them into testing technicians. 
  If they take away teachers' rights to bargain collectively, they silence their voices.  They eliminate the one force who can stop them. 
  That leaves a path clear for them to cut funding.  To turn more public schools over to non-union charter chains.  To introduce for-profit online charter schools.  To double class sizes. And to implement policies that hurt children and reduce the quality of education.  We must not let them do it!
-Diane Ravitch-  activist, professor, and former Assistant Secretary of Education.  Speaking at a teachers' union convention last year