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Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
LONDON (AP) — A London zebra-crossing made famous by a Beatles album cover has been listed as a heritage site.
Heritage minister John Penrose says Wednesday the crossing at Abbey Road in north London was listed as a testimony to the international fame of the band.
Every year the crossing draws thousands of visitors, many of whom mimic the Beatles cover photograph in which the band members were shown crossing the road.
The nearby Abbey Road studios were listed as a heritage site in February.
Sunday, December 26, 2010
Lulu and Harry in front of the Hampton Inn.
We came north for Christmas to spend time with the family and maybe see a few snowflakes. Now we are watching from our hotel suite as a blizzard is blanketing the city. The TV says we are going to have 20 inches of the white stuff.
We are on the 4th floor overlooking the city and front street. Every hour or so - a convoy of 5 plows go blasting by trying to keep the streets passable.
We spent the day playing with Jack. After bath time - we walked from the apartment to our hotel through about 6 inches of soft blowing powder. Part of the way was an overhead habitrail from the mall to the hotel. The mall was open but we only saw a handful of people there.
Things will probably be cleaned up in time to fly home on Wednesday. Delta already emailed us a free upgrade to first class. Right now all the airports in the Northeast are closed. Snow is coming down at an inch an hour blowing all over the place.
It is 10:30 now - we will go to bed with the curtains open to watch the flakes fly. 60,000 people are without electricity. I figured I would get this report our before our power failed.
Friday, December 24, 2010
Merry Christmas from the Hampton Inn Suites in downtown Providence. Lulu and I flew up today and will enjoy the next 5 days "up north" with the family. We had Christmas eve dinner with Jack - Robin - and Drew. Then we walked back to our place - I set up the tree and Lulu decorated it.
Tomorrow - Keith flies in and we will all be together to exchange presents.
Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
At 4 AM - On A Clear and Cold Night in Tallahassee - We Saw the Lunar Eclipse on the First Day of Winter
It is 4 AM - Lulu is wide awake already. So we decide to go outside to see the lunar eclipse. Our front door looks west and as soon as we got outside you could see it - like a mouse took a giant bite out of the bottom edge of the moon. Really - it is just the earth casting a shadow on the moon. 33 years of science textbooks have this cast into my memory - "a spherical object casts a conical shadow. That doesn't mean much to 7th graders. But yes - it is a simple proof that the earth is round.
We did not get up early enough - or stay up late enough - to see the shadow cover the entire moon around 2 AM. During that time - the moon turned a bright red from the light that passes through the earth's dusty atmosphere and lights the moon in a Christmasy red glow.
It is the Winter Solstice - a special time to earth scientists - it is the so called shortest day in the Northern Hemisphere. I re-call that back in Pennsylvania we had 15 hours of night and 9 hours of day. On this day people near the north pole have no "daytime." Down under in Australia - it is the first day of summer.
To me - the Solstice has an even happier meaning. Our grandson was born on the Summer Solstice - so the Winter Solstice makes him 2 and 1/2 years old. Also - everyday will now be getting 2 minutes longer from now on until June 21st. It was always hard explaining to the kids why even though the sun was getting higher and higher in the air - February would be the coldest month.
We usually have one lunar eclipse a year - this one was special because it occurred on the solstice. It is really neat that while many things change - some things stay the same. The last time both occurred on the same day was December 21st 1638. Next one comes along on December 21st 2094. They were able to predict this eclipse years before I was born - almost to the second. And to walk out on the front driveway - in the middle of the night - look up - see something this beautiful and this predictable - adds a warm comfortable feeling to the Christmas holidays.
Saturday, December 18, 2010
Jeffrey StrainMany people's financial troubles begin when they buy an expensive toy or a vacation home.
The buyers assume they'll save money because they'll own the items instead of renting them. While that might be true short-term, it rarely works out that way in the long run.
Here are five things you should never buy unless you're rich enough to stop working:
5. TimesharesIt never makes sense to buy a timeshare, even if you vacation in the same place every year. Timeshare sellers will tell you that the rooms are bigger than those in a hotel, and come with more amenities. What they don't tell you is that the glut of timeshares has made it easy to rent one at a fraction of the cost of buying one.
You could rent a timeshare every year for the next decade and spend less than you would if you had you bought it. And you wouldn't be stuck with maintenance fees.
4. BoatsThere's an old saying that the two happiest days for boat owners are when they buy the boat and when they get rid of it. Boats are a great way to throw money down the toilet because they cost so much to maintain. There are repairs, docking fees, gas and insurance. You could rent a much nicer boat on the days you want to spend at sea for much less than buying one.
3. Recreational vehiclesSome people think vacationing in an RV will be cheaper than staying in a hotel room, but that's only true if you're retired and live in the RV. If you buy a modest vehicle for $50,000 and use it 30 nights a year for 10 years, you'll have spent $167 a night. That can get you a nice room in most places in the U.S. That doesn't include the costs to fuel, store and insure it.
If you want to take a trip in a RV, rent one. You could also spend less by staying in a four-star hotel.
2. Snowmobiles, jet skis and all-terrain vehiclesYou might enjoy driving a snowmobile or jet ski so much on vacation that it seems logical to buy one. But unless you use it every weekend, it's going to cost you more to buy one than rent. There are also the maintenance and fuel costs to consider.
1. Vacation homesA second home seemed like a sound investment when property values were rising. But the collapse of the real estate market, which has hurt some resort areas more than cities, has many people regretting their purchases.
Buying a rental property to generate income is a good move, but buying a vacation home isn't. When you add up the amount you'll spend on your mortgage, taxes, upkeep and insurance, renting a house makes more sense.
Friday, December 17, 2010
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
Powertrains and Performance
Interior Design and Special Features
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Sunday, December 12, 2010
This plane was used to haul coal into Berlin during the Cold War Berlin Airlift. When the Soviet Union blocked the road to Berlin - the free world flew everything in to break the blockcade.
This is called the Boxcar - the back door opens and stuff was dumped out by parachute.
Friday, December 10, 2010
Monday, December 06, 2010
This is Lee Iaccoca's original 1963 Ford Mustang. Lee was an Allentown boy that went to Lehigh University. He was later vice president of Ford and president of Chrysler. He is credited with the Mustang and the mini-van.
England's Mini Cooper was selected as the most important car in Europe. In 1959 - it had front wheel drive - a transverse mounted front engine - little 10 inch tires - and it sat 4 people comfortably. Now BMW bought the factory and makes the Mini - completely different car. The new Mini looks like a giant next to the old Mini Cooper.
Sears sold this Cushman scooter for under $200 in the 1950s. Cushman's were American made.
This is the first GMC Suburban. Sold in 1935 - it sat 8 people.
In the 1900s - this Detroit Electric was more popular than gasoline autos. Why? Women did not like crank starting the other cars - it was dangerous. The electric started by push button.
In 1974 - Citicar was made in Sebring FL. It cost $2400. It goes 30 mph for 30 miles. It has 6 six volt batteries. Like a golf cart - you plug it into your househld outlet. they sold 3000 of these cars - my neighbor on Seminole Drive - has one.
This is the famous GM EV1. In 1995 - GM made several thousand of this car. They leased them out for customers to try. The customers loved the car - it had a 90 mile range - and could go fast 70 mph. The rumor goes that the oil companies put pressure on GM - and the cars were collected up and publicly CRUSHED. Legend has it being an impressive car - even with the old lead/acid batteries.
This is a boat/car that was made in Germany. They made under 1000 of them. My claim to fame is that I had an employer in Kutztown that owned two - and he used to allow me to use one of them at both work and for pleasure. You could drive it on the road and right into the water. Then you pulled a lever - and shifted over to propellers for in the water. I wonder if this was one of Dykes Riggs's cars. He employed me - he sold mobile homes.
This is the taxicab from the movie - "It's a Wonderful Life!" Jimmy Stewart traveled in it in the movie.
Friday, December 03, 2010
Today I Toured Asbury Park - Ocean Grove - Long Branch - Sandy Hook - Fort Hancock - Nothing is Lonelier Than the Jersey Shore in Almost Winter
This is the oldest continually operating lighthouse in the USA. It is at Fort Hancock on Sandy Hook - just across the water from New York City. It has been lighting this golden gate since 1764 - before it was the United States.
This is the largest muzzle loading gun - they shoved 20 inch cannon balls in the front end at Fort Hancock on Sandy Hook.
During the Cold War Nike Missiles were stationed here to guard the Big Apple. This is the last complete missile installation left.
This large wooden auditorium was built in 1894. It sat 10,000 people for church services. Famous ministers like Bill Graham preached there. Somehow - the Beach Boys played it one Saturday night. It was an open air tabernacle with barn door like openings. Today - there was not a soul in sight. That is our rental car with the Library Tour Sign on it.
This is the Wonder Bar along Ocean Drive in Asbury Park. This is where Bruce Springsteen started. Tonight - a tribute band was playing there called "The Rising." I vaguely remember this building being used in the movie "Eddie and the Cruisers."
Bruce Springsteen also headlined at The Stone Pony - right along the shore on Ocean Drive in Asbury Park.
Ocean Grove Casino was completely gutted. They have lined the inside with a steel pole building frame and steel roof. Ocean Grove is a town that covers one square mile. It is the country's largest collection of original Victorian homes.
This is the Asbury Park Convention Center. I remember coming here in 1955 - I was 7 years old. It was so big and so crowded. We spent a night or two is a little motel cabin out on the highway about 10 miles away in Eatontown. Today - water temp was 52 degrees and the air was 40.
The Asbury Park Convention Center was empty. I went inside - it appears it is used at night - but it was not heated. The boardwalk here still had the herringbone board pattern.