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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Tuesday Morning We Went to See Swimming Competition



Drew - me - Lulu - Robin at Swimming Pavilion this morning.


Keith bought a bunch of tickets before he came over from the States. This morning - Lulu - Drew - Robin - and I went to the Swimming Venue - a special new arena on the Olympic Park Campus  using Keith's tickets.


We started out from our apartment using the subway to St Pancras Station - then we caught the Javelin bullet train to Olympic Park. It was orderly and not crowded.


We entered the park thru security quickly - no wait - and went to the Swimming Pavilion. Seats are ranked A - B - C - D. "A" tickets are most expensive - about 200 pounds - our tickets were "D" tickets - 40 pounds. We had a pretty high climb to our seats - like the upper deck in a baseball stadium. There are no bathrooms or concessions up there - it was a way of saving on construction since the arena will be dismantled- no plumbing needed.


Our session was from about 10 AM to Noon. It was a preliminary session - no medals awarded there.


After that we had a nice dinner at an Italian Restaurant in the Olympic Mall - Westfield.


Then I left the party and went Downtown to buy some show tickets. I landed 4 front row tickets to "Chariots of Fire." It is a great play I saw before - and wanted them the kids to see it. We go at 7 PM tonight. I bought the 4th ticket in case Keith wanted to go. He is already out and about - so I will give it to another member of our party of 15.


Robin's Mom Charlotte watched the kids while we went to swimming this morning. Lulu will watch them tonight when we go to the play.


Two big issues I noticed here -


1. Tons of the good seats given to sponsors are going unused. Brits are angry because many of them have been turned away for tickets - and they see empty seats on TV. Nothing has been done to stop that.


2. The media did not show up. We are living in "media village" and we see the media buses going from here to Olympic Park virtually empty. Not only does this leave the media seats empty at the venues - but it also ties up the bus traffic lane. Normally cabs are allowed in the bus lane - not now - and the lane is wasted. This Olympics is set up for media - sponsors - and VIP. It seems the VIP are more interested in partying in the fancy hotels downtown than going to the events. Like many of the other customs in England - the leftovers are left for the commoners.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Move Down Rule! Maybe

British Olympic Association Chairman Colin Moynihan told a briefing on Sunday one solution might be a 30-minute rule whereby fans would be allowed to take up vacant seats if spectators were late or did not arrive.


There has been a problem - sponsors have been given thousands of tickets - people hoarded them - but are not using them. This leaves embarrassing spots that look terrible on TV.


We are hoping they give them away free at game time.


Note - Later - the 30-minute move down rule never got passed.  :-(

OPENING CEREMONY - This Is What Made At Those Flashing Lights At The Olympic Stadium

Lulu and I Went to Our First Olympic Event - Beach Volleyball - Sans Tickets

 My two fingers work just as well in London as they do in Tallahassee. We got two tickets for 10 pounds each that had a face value of 40 pounds each. Buckingham Palace is behind my head. We saw a guy getting hauled away for selling bad tickets.


Beach Volleyball is played in the Horse Guards Parade Ground. It is surrounded on 3 sides by - The London Eye - Big Ben - and Buckingham Palace. It is a stunning setting. 10 Downing Street is on the left.


Lulu and I saw the Czech Republic play Spain. Next was Brazil playing Austria. The stands were about 80% full. As I get older and older - Lulu gets prettier and prettier.

I am always apprehensive on the way to an arena. Usually I do not have any tickets - and someone is depending on me to perform. 

Today at 9 AM we took the bus south from our apartment toward Big Ben. We got off and walked to the Beach Volleyball Venue. There were no tickets for sale at the box office. We saw a cop take a "Tout" away in hand cuffs. Supposedly he was selling counterfeit tickets. I asked the cop to make sure I could hold up two fingers. After about 20 minutes it looked grim. Everybody coming to the event only had the tickets for their own entrance. Most of the fans were puzzled why I was holding up two fingers. Just then I told Lulu - that a guy about 50 yards away was going to sell us tickets. Just like fishing - I felt I was reeling him in. I told Lulu to watch this - the guy offered two tickets. I told  him to keep them in his pocket. He want 30 pounds each - I said 20 pounds for two. I said I would pay him once we were inside.  The guy from Belgium understood the universal language of ticket barter. 

Inside - we had nice seats - the sun was out - and the setting had a beautiful backdrop of Big Ben and the London Eye.

The tickets allowed us to stay for 4 matches. There could be us to 3 games per match. Win 2 games and you move on - lose 2 and you go home. We saw Spain men win two games - then Brazil was playing - third was a women's match. Brazil barely beat Austria going to tiebreaker mode. Brazil is the favorite for the Gold. 

A nice feature was they had a dance team of about 10 bikini clad cheerleaders. Between the girls and the "dejay announcer" the crowd was hopping. Spain had a big collection of fans. 

We had to get back to the flat because Drew and Robin were coming home from taking the kids to Gymnastics. They were then going with Charlotte and Felipe to see basketball. We got home before them - and they hurried out to the train station to catch the bullet train to Olympic Park to see USA play France in basketball. Lulu is now putting the kids down for a nap - and I am catching up on the web page.

Olympics Opening Day - We Were Very Busy



This is my grandson Jack Everhart and his great grandfather Jack Robinson. Jack won a gold medal playing basketball in the 1948 Olympics - played in London 64 years ago. Jack is wearing the Olympic jersey that Uncle Keith gave him. The picture was taken in our backyard during the Lulu's brunch.



Do you remember when Neil Armstrong landed on the moon and he quickly picked up a scoop of moon soil and put it in his pocket? This is my safety photo - I took it as soon as we were in the gates.



I am sitting here home alone on Saturday afternoon at 3PM - watching Kate while she is napping and I am reflecting on the great time we had last night at the Olympic Opening Ceremony. I have tons of pictures and even more minutes of video that I took as I was overwhelmed by the excitement and the brilliant show. 
 
In the past I watched all of the Olympics on TV. This time since Lulu was teaching a course for FSU in London - we had the opportunity to see this festival live - and invited family to enjoy it along with us. One of our family is a former Olympian - and this made it even more special.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Olympic Opening Ceremony Was Nothing Like I Have Ever Seen - The Four Everhart "Beatles" Made A Reunion

It is 2 AM here in London. Opening Ceremony ended at 1 AM. It started at 7:30 - 5.5 hours - just better and better as it went on. Great music - great choreography - lighting like I never saw before - super fireworks. MacCartney ended it. Keith landed 4 seats together for the family. We went early. The grounds are pretty nice - lots of plantings - crowd control superb. 99% came by train or subway. Queen came by helicopter. The athletes marching in is very impressive. It took us 1 hour from our stadium seats to the sofa at home. We got on the first subway we saw - but we were really packed in. Our place is just 6 subway stops away. I have tons of pictures and stories to tell but I am burned out. They have the world's biggest MacDonalds there - and they were not gouging - prices were regular fare - menu extensive. The Brits really know how to handle crowds. Lots of volunteers working there.


Pictures and video tomorrow.

Drew and Family Flew in from Washington DC

Drew and family left Washington DC late on Wednesday night - and arrived here early at 9 AM Thursday morning. They took the subway from the airport to our apartment. Here you see Drew - Kate - Jack - Robin getting ready for liftoff. The plane had 9 seats across - they had the 3 middle seats with aisles on both sides. They also were up against the bulkhead giving them a little extra space. They will be here for 12 days. I was 26 before I had my first ride on a jet. There kids have been to England - France - Italy - and Greece. Jack is 4 and Kate is 1. The picture was taken with an iphone.

Romney Really Has Class in Foreign Relations

Just when we spent the last few weeks trying to convince the Brits that all Americans aren't fat and stupid - Romney comes over here and in a few short hours the locals are ready to have a nuclear duel with this the USA. Before the Olympics started - Romney criticized the Olympic Committee - saying they are not organized. He chided them for hiring a private company to run security (conservative idea) - then when they screwup -  the government (liberal idea) comes to the rescue with the troops. He claims that the British people do not want the Olympics here. Next thing he will be complaining about the food - and maybe even the theaters because the ticket prices are too low. Please get him out of this town already - the Brits have been so nice to us. At least Romney was able to do what the Olympic Committee was not - namely - unite everyone in a common goal of proving him wrong.


Romney goes from here to Poland then to Israel. One member of the press asked him, "Shouldn't you be back in the colonies working on your tax returns?"


Another bloke said Romney was not a Rhodes Scholar - to which Willard chuckled, "I'm a pretty good driver. I know a lot of race car owners."

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Calm Before The Storm in London - Olympics Officially Open Tomorrow

Lulu and her granddaughter Kate.

video
Grandkids playing in Russell Square. Many pictures of the Beatles were taken at this fountain.

Some of the soccer games started yesterday - there was even a "national crisis" when someone put the South Korea flag graphic on big screen monitors when they were introducing the North Korean team. But Friday night at 9 PM local time is the Official Opening Ceremony. (4 PM back home)

For us - son Keith arrived this morning - so all the family is here - and the Olympics started today for us. 

Although Keith was tired from his overnight flight to London - he wanted to go to the Olympic Park to pick up all of the tickets he purchased in advance. So after a little breakfast - Keith and I went to Olympic Park - about 8 miles away. 

Olympic Park occupies an area that was ghetto and industrial slum all in one. The ground was contaminated from centuries of manufacturing. The hope after the Olympics is that it becomes a thriving neighborhood. We had two main choices of how to get there. We could take the train or subway. The red line subway is nearby - so we hopped on the first one we could catch. The cars were pretty empty - and the train took 6 stops before it was at the Stratford Station - headquarters of the Olympic transportation. It took about 20 minutes - add 10 for the walk to the subway - 1/2 hour total. It cost $2.25 pounds - about $3.50. 

At the Olympic Park is a big mall - I mean a big mall - top drawer chains - 3 levels - plenty of places to eat. There are also a few groceries stores there - we shopped for drinks and light snacks - in many cases the prices were lower than downtown. Selection was good. The mall will stay when the Olympics is over.

We lined up at the "will call" queue - that is what they call a line of people over here - a queue. The line was wide open out in the sun - it was 80 - sunny - breezy. The line meandered until we got to the ticket window. Keith gave them his printout - and the lady printed out all the tickets he ordered and transportation passes for every ticket. She checked his passport. When you go online - ticket volume fluctuates like the stock market. Ticket volume changes depending on how well they are selling. The best tickets Keith got were 4 for the Opening Ceremony. Lulu - Harry - Drew - Keith - will all be going together to the opening Ceremony. He also got tickets for basketball - tennis - archery - gymnastics - track/field - cycling - and a few others.

After that - we decided to take the Javelin train back to San Pancras Station. The bullet train station was at the other end of the mall. Quite a walk and Keith was running out of gas because of jet lag and lack of sleep. When we got to the bullet train - we had to buy a ticket home - our subway card would not work. It was 5.7 pounds - about $8.00 to take Javelin express bullet train back to St Pancreas Station - it only took 5 minutes. With a 20 minute walk back to our apartment from the station - it took roughly the same time to get out and back to the park. Maybe that will change when the crowds get here. 

So - from our apartment - we must allow at least 1/2 hour to get out to the Olympic Park. This is ironic - because they closed our street - Bedford Place - and made it the bus depot for the Media. If you have a press pass - you can hop on the bus right outside our front door - and it takes you right to the Olympic Park press entrance. 

So for 14 days - until August 8th - we will be here - with the whole family - enjoying each other and the Olympic games. We have our FSU apartment - plenty of grocery stores nearby - and transportation wherever we want to go. Traffic is restricted in the city - there are several lanes and streets where cars cannot go - under heavy fine. Some events are held elsewhere - for example - the beach volleyball is being played at St James Place - we can walk there. I won't miss those games.

Each Olympic ticket comes with a transportation pass. It is good for traveling anywhere in the city on the day of that event - that is a pretty good deal. 

Tomorrow Lulu is preparing a brunch at 11 AM. We have invited friends and family to come. After that - we will see if all the planning works - as crowds will flock to the Opening Ceremony which plays from 9 to 12 PM - and then fireworks. We will be there.

This is grandson Jack.

 Keith bought a load of tickets.

Here are our tickets for the Opening Ceremony - Friday night - 9 to 12.

It is kinda hard to keep the page updated while watching the kids.





Wednesday, July 25, 2012

London Preps For Games - We Go to Alda (Walmart)




We have an apartment near the British Museum in London. It is like having an apartment in Time Square NYC. We have a back court yard - we plan to have parties here.


Our building is a "5 floor townhouse walk-up." We have the ground and first floors. That is our kitchen on the upper left - the glass door is our dining room - those two rooms down the steps are bedrooms. The place sleeps 8 and has 3 sofas "just in case."

We are living in London downtown on a street called Bedford Place. You can google it on a map to see where we are. You can also see our apartment video by going to youtube and searching for "harry london apartment bedford." It is 5 hours ahead over here than back home in the USA. I type this at 1 PM and it is only 8 AM back home.

The weather has really improved over the last 3 days - we have 80s and sunny now - not a hint of rain. 

It is 8 miles from our apartment to Olympic Stadium. I wish I had a press pass - because they have closed off our street to cars because that is where the media folks will be boarding for an express trip out to the action. I tried to get our local newspaper to sponsor me but no luck. All I wanted was a press pass - I would have given them all the pictures - video - copy - that they could have handled. 

We are close to the theatre district - less than 1 mile. As a result we went to several shows. We have seen - Chariots of Fire - We Will Rock You - and a few others. Last night we went to Leicester Square to see if we could pick up some discount tickets. It is like Broadway NYC back home. We walked into a movie house with about 10 little theaters in it. I do not know how it happened but we accidentally got by the ticket collector. When we went upstairs to buy a ticket - we were already in the theater. So we sat down and watched the movie. At first we thought it was free movie night :-) So far we have not paid more than 30 pounds ($45) for a play/show ticket. The theaters are small and so far we sat in the front row or close to it  - every time.

Things are picking up now. Today is the first day they are enforcing the Olympic traffic lanes. It is a stiff fine to be caught in one of the lanes. Even bikers must stay out of them.

Son Drew is here now with his family. Son Keith comes tomorrow. Keith already bought us seats for the Opening Ceremony.He bought them over some web page from America. I honestly have a feeling that there will be lots of cheap tickets for preliminary events. 

Cindy Miller - former Tamaqua High School basketball star  - is here. She is vice president of United Parcel Service - Northern Europe. She is in charge of the logistics of the Olympics. She is once busy lady.

One of my tenants from FSU is coming here with her family. Her sister Amy Tran is the goalie for the USA Field Hockey Team. Katy and her family are staying here at the FSU London Centre.

The subway workers have already threatened a strike - the immigration workers also made the threat but then relented. Eveyrbody is working hard to clean up over here - really pushing the deadines. The manager of our apartment building decided to paint the building exterior. They just put up 5 floors of scaffolding this morning - outside our bedroom windows.

Lulu decided yesterday we must go to Alda (Walmart) to stock up for the games. The Alda store is about 3 miles away by bus. I saw this deal for cell phone service - it looked pretty good. I did not buy it.

I just read the BBC web page that said they have set up a network of free wifi for everybody downtown. It will stay up even after the Olympics. FREE WIFI. 



Alda (Walmart) has a good phone deal. For 10 pounds ($15) you get unlimited texts - 100 minutes of calls - and 100MB of Internet. No need for a contract - by it month by month. I chuckled because the manager lady admonished me with "no pictures." She made me erase my picture - duh - I snapped two. Hasn't she ever seen the "things people wear to Walmart " web pages?


A free wi-fi service has been launched in central London's West End.

A free wi-fi service has been launched in central London's West End.

The deal between Westminster City Council and O2 makes the service available to all internet users, regardless of their current provider.

The network will initially cover Oxford Street, Regent Street, Trafalgar Square, Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus and Parliament Square.

Other areas of Westminster will be covered in due course, with Covent Garden next.

Targeted advertising

The project has been paid for by O2 and it hopes to use targeted advertising to recover the costs.

Users can get online after completing a single registration process.

It will remain free of charge to all users after the Olympics have ended.

Councillor Philippa Roe, leader of Westminster Council, said the free wi-fi was part of a "long term project to help make London one of the most technology-friendly cities in the world".

By the end of July, 80 London Underground stations will have wi-fi access, but this will only be free for the duration of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Why Punish Penn State Football?

My friend Gerald Ensley wrote this in the Tallahassee Democrat today.


Why punish Penn State football?

NCAA is now in the business of retribution


T
he NCAA’s swift and harsh punishment of Penn State does not speak well of us as a peo­ple.
It says the NCAA gives in to mob rule and emotion. It says the NCAA can go beyond its charge of monitoring athletics to being society’s avenger. It says the NCAA acted because it recognized that this nation, supposed­ly the greatest, most civilized country on earth, has a punitive streak.

We can’t stop crazy gunmen in Colorado. We can’t prevent our sons and daughters from dying in sense­less
 wars. We can’t fix an economy that has stolen our jobs.

But, by golly, we can make Penn State football and the dead Joe Pa­terno suffer our wrath for all the horrible things that happen in this world over which we have no con­trol.

Such as the sexual abuse of chil­dren.

So the NCAA fined Penn State $60 million. It revoked all 112 Penn State football victories since 1998. It banned Penn State from bowl games for four years and cut 20 scholar­ships a year for four years.

The punishment may fit the crime. But it doesn’t fit the victims.

Because sexual abuse of children has nothing to do with Penn State football.

Make no mistake. What Jerry Sandusky did to an untold number of boys was wrong. Our legal system confirmed that a month ago when it found him guilty of 45 counts of sexual abuse of children; he is ex­pected to be sentenced to life in
prison.

What followed at Penn State was wrong, too. If the Freeh report is accurate — and there is no reason to believe it isn’t — Penn State officials and Paterno actively par­ticipated in a coverup of Sandus­ky’s activities. They knew of San­dusky’s transgressions and made a conscious effort to keep them qui­et.

Just as distasteful was Paterno’s negotiation of a final lavish con­tract, full of post-retirement perks. That was an act of arro­gance given the time bomb he knew he was leaving behind.

But voiding the past 14 years of Penn State football history doesn’t change that. It won’t make life better for Sandusky’s victims. It won’t make pedophiles stop abus­ing children. It won’t heal the an­guish the rest of us feel.

It simply proves that, when we get mad, we’ll hurt people in the name of retribution. In this case, we are hurting all the Penn State football players who have taken part in the program since 1998. We are erasing their efforts for acts of which they had no knowledge or participation. We are hurting the current Penn State football play­ers, who now must jump ship or endure four years of scorn.

Removing Paterno’s statue was understandable. Not because we should go around taking down the statues and memorials of all peo­ple whom we later found to have sinned. But putting it in storage for now removes a flash point for raw nerves.

Fining Penn State $60 million can be justified as the university’s penalty for the egregious misbe­havior of an employee. And it can do some good, as the money will be targeted for preventing child
 abuse and assisting victims.

But what Paterno did on the field — or more accurately, what 100 young men did on the field each year for 14 seasons — had nothing to do with what happened off the field. What was done by Sandusky, who left the team 13 years ago, was not part of the pro­gram.
The coverup of those trans­gressions was not a part of theprogram.

They were personal failures that had nothing to do with the football program and should not have been used to punish the foot­ball program. It’s curious how the NCAA even claimed jurisdiction.

What happened at Penn State was a matter of morality, not athletic competitive advantage; it remains unclear what NCAA rules Penn State violated.

The NCAA often takes years to mete out punishment on minor infractions of slam dunk clarity — yet it took less than two weeks to invoke harsh punishment for a complex case in which it conduct­ed no investigation. Clearly, the NCAA felt emboldened to insert itself into the situation and gratify the communal fury.

Yes, we all feel a terrible guilt for what happened to Sandusky’s victims. Yes, it’s unfortunate we have no one left to publicly punish but the football program. Paterno is dead. The other administrators have been fired. We have no oppor­tunity
 to figuratively stone the transgressors.

But what happened at Penn State was a tragedy about people, not foot­ball.
The fact we’ve made the pun­ishment about football says nothing noble about us as people.


Contact senior writer Gerald Ensley at 850-599-2310 or.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Joe Paterno Statue on Ebay


With 5 days to go - the high bid it $1.30.

To see the auction - click on Joe in the title.

Paris - I Stole this From Chelsea DeAngelo's Page - One of Lulu's Students




"If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast." - Ernest Hemingway


Click on Paris in the title to see Chelsea's page.





Sunday, July 22, 2012

CRAIGSLIST - The Universal Language of the Future - and the Olympics

Out on a craigslist run to get a high chair.

Whether you speak British - English - American or Canadian - the universal language they all understand is "Craigslist-ese." Back home in Florida - I can't go a few hours without skimming Craigslist for bargains. You can buy and sell almost anything anywhere using this simple little web page - craigslist.org.


I have placed ads to buy and sell cars - scooters - computers - cameras - motor homes - trucks - boats - appliances - even real estate. Anytime I need anything - the first place I look is craigslist. The other day in Paris I was coveting a three wheel Piaggio MP3 scooter. I looked on craigslist back home in Tallahassee - and someone is selling one with just 50 miles on it. We made contact and they want to get rid of one as much as I want one  :-)


Lulu said she wanted a high chair and a stroller. She saw a nice high chair on craigslist. When Lulu says she "saw" something - it means "get it for me." It was only 3 miles from our apartment in St Johns Wood. You may remember the name from the Rolling Stones song - Playing With Fire. Since I am not comfortable with phones here - I emailed the person. He wanted 25 pounds - I offered 15 pounds - we settled on 20 pounds before I got there. I went on google maps - they gave me 5 options to get there. I chose two subways.


At 9:30 AM - I left the our apartment. I went to Hoborn Station - took the red line to Bond Street Station - then took the silver line to St Johns Wood. Simple enough. The subways were empty - where are all these Olympic crowds the media is hyping? I haven't found them. When I got out of the subway - I walked 3 blocks to the apartment - pressed the call button - then Saurabh buzzed me in. He is a nice young man with little kids - moving to NYC. I almost asked how much a beautiful apartment like his cost per month - but I didn't. I am guessing $3500. 


The high chair is nice - he had cleaned it all up for me. According to the ads it cost 89 pounds or about $135. He was not willing to sell me his stroller  - how about a walker - he suggested.


From the guy's apartment - you could look down into Lord's Cricket Ground where they were setting up for Olympics Archery. Boy there were tons of security around - even a tent tunnel where they sweep cars for bombs.


I retraced my steps carrying a highchair under my arm up the street - into the subway - from silver to red line - home from our subway stop. The highchair was a real icebreaker - everybody wanted to talk to me to find out the deal. One Arab asked me if I was Canadian - I had shorts and a short sleeve shirt on. It was only about 70 degrees. The total time took from 9:30 to 10:30.  

Craigslist is better than newspaper ads - better than ebay - better than TV - better than amazon - better than a farmer's market. The best part of craigslist list is you can buy something - try it - if you do not like it or tire of it - you can re-sell it. My goal is to use the chair two weeks - then sell it at a profit - heck I will even deliver it for the 2 pounds subway fee :-)

Here is my subway route to pick up the high chair.

The seller lived in the high-rise apartment overlooking the Lord's Cricket Ground.

St Johns Wood is a ritzy area with Maserati's in the driveways.

This is the cricket field where Olympics archery will be held - across from the apartment.

 Olympic archery will be held here.

This pretty hospital is next to the cricket stadium - what you you think about Obamacare now?

The subways were empty on a Sunday morning.

I had the escalators to myself and the chair.





Here is what the highchair costs on Amazon.







Saturday, July 21, 2012

Paris - Car of the Day - Vespa Piaggio MP3

Vespa Piaggio MP3

My car of the day in Paris was the Vespa Piaggio MP3. It is one of the most popular scooters in Paris. You will notice it has three wheels - not some big tripod setup - the two front wheels are just about one foot apart. It gives the scooter unbelievable  stability for turns and stopping. As you can see above - this guy in his business suit is stopped at a red light. He does not even have to put his feet on the ground. 

Because gasoline is so expensive - $9 a gallon - and parking is nearly impossible - scooters are very attractive here. Scooters take so little room that 8 of them can sit in one parking space.

When we visited Italy - we got to see Vespa making the MP3. Yes it is the same name as a computer music program. They are being made on Pontedera - a small town in Pisa.

Vespa makes a full line of MP3's - 125cc - 250cc - 300cc - 400cc - and 500cc. They also make a hybrid version. With the hybrid - you have a 3-way switch on the dashboard - electric only - gasoline only - both at once. With the third choice you actually have two engines turning the same driveshaft at once - the electric one providing an amazing boost of torque. The price of the MP3  goes from $5000 to $10,000 - the most expensive being the hybrid. The hybrid feature alone adds $3000 to the price - and let's face it - how much gasoline can you really save - certainly not $3000 worth in 10 years.

The MP3 is imported into the USA - but they are relatively rare to see on the highway. The added stability of a third wheel appeals to a senior citizen cyclist.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Paris Isn't Paris Without You

Paris isn't Paris without you.

Harry was at the Batman Grand Opening. We had no idea what was happening back at home in Denver. The opening was cancelled.

Lulu's class in front of the Eiffel Tower on the Seine River boat.

Today Lulu took her class of 12 students to Paris for the day. With a well-planned day - great weather - a beautiful surroundings - it was a day for the ages.


We woke at 4 AM London time. We had to be at the St Pancras Station at 5:00 for the 5:40 Eurostar to Paris. This train must be the smoothest in the world. In 2 hours and 35 minutes we went from downtown London to downtown Paris.


London to Paris is 280 miles. It took 2.5 hours - making that 118 miles per hour average! 


Due to a time zone change - we got into Paris at 9:15. A quick subway ride got us directly to the Arch of Triumph. We had pre-paid tickets so we went right to the top and picture taking commenced. 


Next we had time to walk the Champs Elysees - the most expensive mile of real estate in the world. After that - it was time for a 3 course lunch - pre-arranged with a view of the Eiffel Tower. After way too much food and fun - we walked to the Eiffel Tower - another picture taking session. The crowds were slight compared to the past.- with very few hucksters.


After the tower - we took a subway to the Ile de France - where we caught our boat excursion at the Notre Dame Cathedral. The best weather of the day was during the during hour cruise up and down the Seine River. It was heightened by champagne on the boat - right in front of the Eiffel Tower.


After the cruise - it was a walk to the Louvre Museum. If there was a flaw in the day -  Lulu's favorite pastry shop was closed for vacation. The students were then turned loose in this world class museum.


At 8 PM - we met up by the Pyramid in the Louvre. Only 3 of the 12 students were going back to London with us. At 9 PM - we were in the Paris North Train Station waiting for our Eurostar to embark - whisking us through the tunnel under the English Channel. At 11 PM - as everyone slept - we pulled into London. A quick cab and 15 minutes had us home. 11:30 had us showered - in bed - and typing on our computers.
Grandson Jack was in Paris and came up with this logo.

Inside the top of the Arch of Triumph is a museum.

Under the Arch of Triumph is buried the Unknown Soldier.

Harry loved the bomb proof waste cans in Paris. 

Lunch in Paris in view of the Tower.

The sun came out bright as our boat passed the Tower.

This little Citroen 2CV was giving tours. It has a 2 cylinder air cooled engine and front wheels drive - way ahead of its time.

The Eiffel Tower is over 120 years old.

These steps lead to the Notre Dame Cathedral from the Seine River. there are walkways along the Seine on both sides - both at water level - and up at street level.

Lulu's class on the gang plank leaving their boat.

Notre Dame Cathedral is covered with gargoyles. It took 200 years to build - around 1200 AD. It is on the island in the middle of the river.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

London Car of the Day - a 1952 MG-YB


0 to 71 miles per hour in infinity. A 1952 MG-YB.


This story is dedicated to my two motorhead MG freak friends - Josh Gross and JP Brown. Back in the old days - I had an Austin Healey Bugeye Sprite - an MGA Twin Cam - and an MGB. Fans know that MG stood for Morris's Garage - the place that first made them. 

After the war - in American - the MG-TC and MG-TD became very popular. GI's stationed in Britain brought them home from the war. As a matter of fact - more MG-TC's and MG-TD's were sold in American than in England. Up until 1968 - you could bring in cars from other countries without having to add any safety or smog equipment. Thanks to Ralph Nader laws were passed that killed the real foreign sports cars. So that makes horrible two things we have to thank old goofy Ralph for.

Today in the parking lot of the RAF Museum in Colindale - I met a guy driving his family in a 1952 MG-YB sedan. They only made 1300 of them - it had the new MG frame and drive train on it found in an MG-TD's - but an old body style left over from before the war. With an 1250cc engine and only 54 horsepower if was terribly underpowered. This guy was the second owner - and he has had it for 19 years. Somewhere along the line someone did a beautiful restoration job on it. The paint was impeccable - no waves - no dents - no knicks. 

It took a while to get the guy to talk about it - but once he started - when I told him I had an MGA - he couldn't tell me enough about it.

It could go 70 miles an hour - getting from 0 to 60 in 30 seconds. Even in 1952 - it got 30 miles per gallon. 


This family of 5 were enjoying a day at the RAF Museum in their 1952 MG-YB.

I love the "extra" license place.