Monday, July 30, 2012

Sad News

Thought for the day:  It is a curious thing, the death of a loved one. We all know that our time in this world is limited, and that eventually all of us will end up underneath some sheet, never to wake up. And yet it is always a surprise when it happens to someone we love. It is like walking up the stairs to your bedroom in the dark, and thinking there is one more stair than there is. Your foot falls down, through the air, and there is a sickly moment of dark surprise as you try and readjust the way you thought of things.  [Lemony Snicket]

It isn't as though I expected her to live forever. We've known since the middle of June that her time was running out. Still, one can't help but hope.

Doctors don't know everything, right?

But it seems, that this time, they did. I'm sorry to say that my husband's dear mother has died.

What can I say about her? She was what she was. No airs about her. She never pretended to be anyone other than who she was, or pretended to know anything she didn't know. Salt of the earth, you might say. A loving mother, mother-in-law, grandmother, great grandmother, and friend. Generous to a fault, without expecting anything in return. Kind, but fiercely protective of the people she loved. And as she approached the end, she faced it not only with grace and good humor, but with eager anticipation. It was like she had her bags packed and was waiting on the street corner for an overdue bus. She was ready to go. Said she had a good life, and no regrets. Yes, she was ready... but we weren't. The world is a sadder place without her.

4th of July

Death is not extinguishing the light; it is only putting out the lamp because the dawn has come. [Rabindranath Tagore]

So, needless to say, I'll be away from the Blogosphere for a while. We're off to Baltimore again, but this time, the trip will be painfully bittersweet. Our loss is Heaven's gain.

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross said, I've told my children that when I die, to release balloons in the sky to celebrate that I graduated. For me, death is a graduation.

I rather like that way of thinking. Don't you?

                             Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.

For death is no more than turning of us over from time to eternity. [William Penn]

Our dead are never dead to us, until we have forgotten them. [George Eliot]

I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it.  [Mark Twain]

Friday, July 27, 2012

Where Skyscrapers Soar and Insomniacs Roam

Thought for the day:  People say New Yorkers can't get along. Not true. I saw two New Yorkers, complete strangers, sharing a cab. One guy took the tires and radio; the other guy took the engine.  [David Letterman]

New York sometimes gets a bum rap. It isn't true that the state's official bird is the Eastern Jaywalk, and though it MAY be possible to get run down on the sidewalk by a hustling bustling pedestrian, I'm sure it's rarely deliberate.

The city that never sleeps? Heck, no wonder.

Yes, I realize the state of New York is much much more than New York City, but for better or worse, when most people consider the state, NYC is what immediately pops into their heads. I mean, just consider some of the attractions that keep the fires stoked in this high-energy city: There's both  haute couture and haute cuisine to be found there, but let's not forget about the bargain shopping and the four thousand plus street food vendors vying to fill your belly, too. There's the high finance frenzy of Wall Street, and the bohemian lifestyle of  Greenwich Village. Artists and artistes, a plethora of museums and Broadway shows, carriage rides through Central Park, the giddy excitement of Times Square on New Year's Eve, honking horns and flashy neon lights, and the ethnic attractions of Chinatown, Little Italy, and Harlem. Oh, and let's not forget the beauty of Niagara Falls, the high-stakes dramas that take place in the United Nations building, and the symbol of America herself, the Statue of Liberty. With her multi-lingual, multi-cultural personality, New York City represents the essence of America's idealistic melting pot at its finest. New Yorkers may be moving too fast to smell the roses, but you're more than welcome to take the time when you visit. As long as you don't get in anybody's way. 

Ready to check out some pictures?

The Statue of Liberty, a gift to the United States from the people of France, was dedicated on October 28, 1886. Looks pretty darned good for her age, huh? Long viewed by the world as a symbol of freedom, liberty, and hope, Lady Liberty measures 305 feet from the pedestal's foundation to the torch, has a waistline of thirty-five feet, an eight-foot long index finger, and weighs 450,000 pounds. (Suddenly, I'm feeling rather svelte.)

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

[Emma Lazarus]

Notice the yellow bricks in this picture? Kinda whimsical, huh? That's because the New York town of Chittenago was the home of L. Frank Baum. DING DONG (The wicked witch is dead!) any bells? That's right. Mr. Baum wrote The Wizard of Oz. Ergo, the town paves with yellow bricks, and has numerous businesses with names harking back to the story. They even have an annual Munchkin parade.

This obelisk, known as Cleopatra's Needle, stands tall in Central Park. This 1879 gift from Egypt is approximately 3000 years old, and transporting this 220-ton, 66-feet tall monument from Egypt to New York took nearly a decade. This particular needle is one of a matched pair, and its twin can be found in London. And a third, whose twin remains in Egypt, can be found in Paris. 

New York's subway system ran its first route in 1904, and it now has 722 miles of subway tracks. (And still growing!) Unlike most subway systems in the world, New York's subway runs twenty-four hours a day. (After all, nobody SLEEPS there, right?) And the musicians you can find playing there? Would you believe they have to go through a competitive auditioning process to earn a spot. So they are GOOD. Some of them have performed at Carnegie Hall.

WOW! Niagara Falls, a achingly beautiful mecca for generations of starry-eyed honeymooners.

This is pretty neat-looking, isn't it? Called Castle Clinton, this place was originally built in the early 1800s as a fort to defend Lower Manhattan. Over the years, it also served as a city aquarium, and prior to the opening of Ellis Island, as an immigration HQ. Now, this historic site has been restored to its original appearance as a fort.

Didja know that New York City was once the capital of the United States? Only from 1789 until 1780, but New York's Federal Hall, as pictured in the etching at the left, was where George Washington took his oath of office, while standing right there on that balcony. It's also where Congress introduced the Bill of Rights. 

Unfortunately, the building was razed in 1812. A memorial building now stands in its place.

WAIT! Know what? A static picture isn't nearly good enough. Check THIS out!

Woo, HOO! How about this? Would you believe an historical restaurant? Or pizzeria, to be more precise. Gennaro Lombari opened the FIRST U.S. pizzeria at this very location in 1895. Kinda makes me think this must be THE spot to get pizza while in the Big Apple. It's still going strong. (But um, under new management...)

Lombardi's Pizzeria

The United Nations HQ

Radio City Music Hall

ticker tape parade
I wonder if New York is the only city in the world that celebrates BIG events by tossing tons of ticker tape out the windows? The picture above shows the 1960 ticker tape parade that was thrown for Richard Nixon. By the end of the '60s, ticker tape wasn't actually used much anymore, so some of the ticker tape parades since then have been mostly confetti and scrap paper. (But, scrap paper parade doesn't sound NEARLY as cool.)

No matter what anyone thinks of New York... love it or hate it ... following the attacks on the Twin Towers, the whole world identified with them. And no doubt about it, the city, the state, the people ... are resilient. And their spirit shines brightly.

Okay, so does the Big Apple have any laws languishing on the books that deserve a big raspberry? Let's see.

  • It's against the law to commit adultery. (So take that hanky panky somewhere else, buster.)
  • Women may go topless in public, providing it isn't being done as a business. (Sorry, no hiding behind a sandwich board, ladies!)
  • BUT, it's illegal for a woman to be on the street wearing "body-hugging clothes". (Gotcha. Tight shirt, bad. NO shirt, good...)
  • Citizens may not greet each other by putting a thumb to the nose and wiggling the fingers. (However, the ol' "one-fingered salute" is okeydoke.)
  • A fine of twenty-five dollars can be levied for flirting. 
  • It's against the law to throw a ball at someone's head for fun. (So only do it if you're teetotally ticked off, man. Gotta MEAN it!)
  • The penalty for jumping off a building is death. (Especially if it's a skyscraper.)
  • New Yorkers can't divorce for irreconcilable differences unless they (ready?) both agree to it. (That one cracks me up.)
  • It's illegal to walk around on Sundays with an ice cream cone in your pocket. (So get a cup.)
  • While riding in an elevator, you must talk to no one, and fold your hands while looking toward the door. (And if you must break wind, keep a straight face.)
  • It's against the law to wear slippers after 10 PM.
  • In Carmel, a man can't go outside while wearing a jacket and pants that don't match, and women can't wear high heels within city limits. (Wow, talk about fashion police...)
  • In Greene, it's illegal to eat peanuts and walk backwards on the sidewalk during a concert. (Cashews are better, anyway.)
  • In New York City, it's illegal for a man to ogle a lady. The accused are forced to wear horse blinders. (But, officer! That's no lady ... that's my WIFE!)
  • In Ocean City, it's against the law for men to go topless on the boardwalk, or in the center of town. (Women? No problem.)
  • It's also illegal to slurp soup there.
  • Or to sell raw hamburger.
  • Or to play a pinball machine on Sundays.
  • In Sag Harbor, it's illegal to disrobe in a wagon. (Get out on the street, you fool!)
  • In Staten Island, it's illegal for a father to call his son faggot or queer in an effort to curb girlie behavior. 
  • And you may only water your lawn if the hose is held in your hand. (So, what else would you hold it with? Um, never mind. Don't think I wanta know.)

Okeydoke, guys and gals. Time for (ta-DA!)

The Weirdest News Stories of the Week

I've spent a good bit of time hunting appropriate (or inappropriate, depending on one's point of view) news stories to lampoon this week, and didn't come up with anything that really floated my boat. Some stuff that broke my heart, but nothing that made me laugh out loud. I could make something up. Nah. How about a few short lines on some of the stories I did find?

**  In an Austrian castle, four 600-year-old linen bras were found. (Nope, not mine. I've never been to Austria.)

** In Pennsylvania, a mother hacked into the high school's computer system and had, shall we say, a positive impact on  her kids' grade point averages. (Maybe she should've just made her little darlings do their homework?)

** An eleven-year-old boy, with neither passport, ticket, nor boarding pass, blithely boarded a commercial airplane in Manchester and flew to Rome. (Dontcha know some heads rolled over that breach in security?)

** A 25-year-old Oregon woman, who earned fifteen thousand dollars a year in 2009 and 2010, claimed an income of three million dollars in her tax return this year, and an owed refund of 2.1 million. And got it! Not for long, of course. She only had a chance to blow 150 thousand before Uncle Sam caught up with her. Earned herself five and a half years in jail.

** A Canadian man accidentally shot himself while trying to kill a mouse with the butt of his rifle. (Bet he uses a mousetrap next time.)


                             Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Whatever the Name

Thought for the day:  Doesn't matter if ya call it a hot dog, a weiner, a frankfurter, a frank, or a tube steak, I'll have mine with mustard and onions, please.

She's hiding behind a new name.

In the last post, we kicked around the relevance of names, whether attached to a character, an object, or a book title. But when you get right down to it,  other factors matter much  more than nomenclature alone. That is, the what is more important than what ya call it. 

Likewise, the who is more important than what she calls herself. When it comes to a book, the author's byline doesn't matter nearly as much as the quality of  the writing.

Six months ago, I reviewed Anne Gallagher's novel, The Lady's Fate, an extremely well-crafted Regency romance. Since then, she's penned multiple other Regency works, and gained quite a following in the process. Admirers of this genre know they can count on Anne to deliver the goods time and time again.And now, she has a NEW NAME.

                                                               So, why the change?

                                                             To go with a new genre.
                                                             Contemporary romance.

                                                           And what's her new name?

                                             Meet Robynne Rand. (WOW! Looks just like Anne!)

And here's her new book: Remembering You.

So, how well does Anne... excuse me, Robynne... pull it off?

Like the pro that she is.

I suspect that Anne, a former chef, was adept at preparing many different kinds of dishes, and I can tell you for sure, she's adept at spinning a romance in both the modern vernacular, as well as the old-fashioned.

Let me give you a brief blurb on Remembering You:

Ten years is a long stretch of loneliness. That's how long it's been since Genna left her old hometown, how long it's been since she moved away from her aunt and uncle, and the whole big boisterous family who raised her and loved her after her parents died. After ten years of hard work and travels, she's finally landed a high-paying dream job, but before she starts, she goes home to visit her family. On her first day back, she runs into the man who broke her heart, the man who made her run from her hometown and all the people she loves. She can't possibly trust him or love him. Or can she? Is she home for a few weeks... or is she home forever?

How's about a little Q&A session? I Q'd, and Anne... Robynne... graciously A'd

1.  After writing several successful Regency romances, what made you decide to switch to a more contemporary setting for your latest novel?

It wasn’t that I switched; truthfully, it was that I had this book REMEMBERING YOU, laying around on my hard drive and I needed to do something with it. When I finished my first Regency THE LADY’S MASQUERADE (2007), we had just moved to North Carolina. I was heartbroken and I started writing RY as a cathartic exercise (Feb. ’08). As a newbie blogger, I kept hearing you needed to build a “platform” and I decided Regency was the way to go. I had more stories for that than I did with contemporary romance. And it was hard to do revisions on RY. I kept crying every time I read it. So I would stop. It’s been four years from start to publish.

2.  How difficult was it to alter your writing style from reflecting the structured pomp and decorum of yesteryear to showing today's relaxed mores and vernacular?

Not hard. I mean, I’m a contemporary person so writing in today’s vernacular isn’t difficult. It’s actually harder going from contemporary to historical. I forget about the contractions. (There were not so many of them in 1811.) Although someone *hint hint* did point out to me, I used some particular word choices in RY that really spoke of the historical era. I changed those for this latest version.

3.  Do you think romance has essentially changed from Regency times to today, or does it contain a pure essence that transcends time, place, and language?

 I think perhaps that romance has changed because human beings have all changed. For example, if we look at communication – first the letter, then the telegraph, then the telephone, now cell phones, internet, satellite. But it’s still communication.

In the lower Regency classes you were introduced, the man would ask permission to “call” on a woman. For a “date,” it was 15 minutes of sitting in the front parlour with a chaperone and not much was said. If you were lucky, you would meet after church service on Sunday and say a brief hello. Perhaps exchange a letter. There was very little emotion expressed. The man would ask for a woman’s hand, marry her and that was that.

In today’s world, you meet someone at work, or at a bar, or a friend’s party. You get to know each other a little, fall into bed, then think about long term, or not.

However, in my opinion, what I’ve found is that from Regency to present day, attraction at first sight is the key. If the woman in Regency times didn’t like the “look” of a man, she could always say no. Look at Lizzie Bennett and Mr. Collins in Pride & Prejudice. (Whether her father or guardian chose to acquiesce to her decision was something else.) The same is true today. If you don’t like the “look” of someone, you’re not going to give him a chance.

As for “love” changing, well, that’s a different animal. Don’t get me started.

4.  One of the things I found appealing about Remembering You is it's as much a love story about family as it is a boy-girl romance. To depict such realistic characters, dynamics, and traditions of an extended family, did you draw from a particular family in your life, or from somewhere else?

 Most of the family dynamics in RY were drawn from my own extended family. Write what you know, right? We’re multi-cultural and there are nuances and subtleties that are so different from the “Leave it to Beaver” “Father Knows Best” white-bread American family (if that even exists anymore). I wanted to show that even through the differences of age and ethnicity there was a strong familial bond there. I’d like to think that no matter what happens in a family, you stick by each other.

5.  Your portrayal of the long hours and backbreaking work in the restaurant business also rings very true, as well as the love your characters put into the work. Autobiographical? Does some part of you long to own and run your own restaurant?

Very autobiographical. I was a professional chef for 15 years and in the hospitality industry in one form or another for over 30 years. I was partner in two restaurants. I have thought about owning another restaurant, but it would have to be super special for me to do it. I have a daughter now, and 16-hour days are not conducive with a family. As Genna clearly states. My “big” dream is to own a small hotel – so I could host writer conferences…lol.

6.  So, what's next? Are you currently working on another project, and do you have any thoughts of expanding into other genres?

I’m always working on another project. I currently have two for the Regencies, one short story I’m going to put into a collection, and another novel I’m hoping to get out in the fall. As for the contemporary romance genre, well, I was going to finish SECRETS ON THE BEACH when I went back to Rhode Island this summer. However, that plan fell through. Not that I couldn’t finish it, but it’s just not the same as being there. I do have several other “almost-finished” mss. lying around on my hard drive, so anything is possible. But don’t look for anything contemporary from me until next spring, I think. Then again, I might just have one of those “day/weeks” where I get on a roll and don’t stop.

As for other genres – uh, no. As much as I tell myself I’d love to write a cozy mystery, it’s just not my forte. I’ll let clever people write those.

7.  Anything else you'd like to tell your readers?

Some advice – Nolite te bastardes carborundorum. Don’t let the bastards grind you down. (Margaret Atwood THE HANDMAID’S TALE.) From publishing houses, to agents who say no, to your mother-in-law who thinks it’s silly you should be writing instead of wrestling with dust bunnies, or even your own secret self who says you’ll never make it to a best-seller list. Don’t listen. Keep writing. Keep working at it. You might not get to New York, but with hard work and dedication to your craft, you can be published. And let me tell you, there’s nothing like seeing your name on the cover of a book.

Thanks so much for having me today, Susan. It’s an honor.

So there ya have it. 

Whether this talented lady writes as Anne Gallagher, A.R. Gallagher, Robynne Rand, or even under whatever name is written on her birth certificate, it doesn't matter. Not a bit. She can use a dozen different names, but she will always be ... one of a kind. A damned fine writer.

Anne Gallagher blog/website --
Anne Gallagher writer blog --
Robynne Rand author blog --

Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.

Monday, July 23, 2012

What's in a Name?

Time for a re-run. This post was first published as The Name Game in June of 2011, and I felt like being a lazy slob today think it'd be the perfect lead-in for my next planned post. Hope y'all find something here to make you smile.

Thought for the day:  It was a matter of destiny: the streaker's name was Seymour Cheeks.

Gildersleeve, Gildersleeve, wherefore art thou, Gildersleeve?

The fair Juliet declared, What's in a name? A rose by any other name would smell as sweet. Easy for her to say. Do you think she would've been half as cavalier about the irrelevance of a name if she'd been saddled with an onerous moniker like Bertha or Broomhilda? And I ask you, could even the great Shakespeare himself have waxed poetic about a damsel in distress if her name were Boobs Galore? (Sincere apologies to any readers named Bertha, Broomhilda, or Boobs.)

Gertrude Stein said, A rose is a rose is a rose, and even good ol' Popeye said, I yam what I yam. If things ARE what they ARE, does it really matter a rat's derriere what you choose to CALL them?

Well, yeah. I think so.

Would a bouquet of roses bestow the same romantic connotation if they were called ... fartflowers? Or suppose that lovely bunch of Mums your beloved gave you were called ...  Ugly Mamas?

Ahhhh ... Smell the Fartflowers!
True, the name or description of an object can't actually alter its essential substance, but it can ... and does ... alter our perception of it. Intellectually, we may adhere to the adage, "Never judge a book by its cover," but in reality, we tend to do just that.

Consider this:

You're exhausted, and judging by the crowd in the doctor's anteroom, a long wait stretches in front of you. Standing on your aching feet is not an attractive option, and there are only two empty seats in the room. One is beside a shabbily-dressed old gentleman with shaggy hair and scruffy beard, who is slumped in his chair, muttering to himself. The other is next to a clean-cut, GQ-looking young man, who looks right at you and smiles. (Or for you men, a shapely young woman with a sexy smile.) Where would you sit? Not gonna pull any made-up statistics out of my (ahem) ear, but where do you think most people would sit?

It's human nature. And understanding that tidbit of human nature puts potential power into our hot little pen-holding hands. When a writer (or speaker) understands the basic concept of perception, he can use it to his advantage and manipulate the crap out of it. 

Take the example of the waiting room. Before a writer brings that poor unsuspecting foot-sore patient into that room, suppose he fleshes out the people sitting beside those empty chairs. Suppose the shabby-looking fellow is a sweet, gentle, lonely soul who's grieving deeply for his wife, and Mr. G.Q. (or Ms. Luscious) is an evil Jeffrey Daumer wannabe. How's that going to change the reader's response when the innocent newcomer considers sitting beside the Daumer copycat?

Titles, names, and appearances DO matter. All of them evoke involuntary psychological  responses, and when we have an active awareness and anticipation of those responses, we wield some control over them through the power of our words. A great book title has the potential to attract a casual browser. Ditto a great-looking cover. Character names carry a certain weight. Names can be perceived as weak, strong, silly, or whatever. Descriptions can be used to reinforce a stereotype, or to mask something shocking and unexpected. Subtle nuances of word choice evoke a huge difference in both perception and reaction.  

Or not. On one hand, I think word choice and title choice can make a big difference. But on the other, if the following book titles have been published (and they have!) maybe titles don't matter at all. Consider:

Beats exploding, I suppose.
Okeydoke, then.

About a master debater?

The only game our cats play is hide and go sleep.

the perfect gift for the grandkids?

guess you have to be Catholic first, right?

  The author's name should be Lucy Bowels.


there's a reason it's a lost art

um, why bother?

stool softener helps

no comment

not cuddly anymore, huh?

And here's some more actual book titles to consider:
  • The Pop-Up Book of Phobias
  • Scouts in Bondage
  • Be Bold With Bananas
  • 101 Uses for Tampon Applicators
  • Suture Self   (Now, I LIKE this one!)
  • How to Make Love While Conscious
  • Up Sh*t Creek: a collection of horrifying true wilderness toilet misadventures
  • The History of Sh*t
  • First You Take a Leek
  • The Romance of Proctology
  • Heave Ho: My Little Green Book of Seasickness
  • More Balls Than Hands  (ahem ... about juggling)
  • Postmortem Collectibles
  • Knitting With Dog Hair
  • Last Chance at Love: Terminal Romances
  • The Book of Lesbian Horse Stories
  • Stop Dressing Your Six-Year-Old Like a Skank and Other Words of Delicate Southern Wisdom
And finally, my own personal favorite:
  • Get Your Tongue Out Of My Mouth, I'm Kissing You Good-Bye

How about you? Do you think titles or names matter?  Come across any doozies lately? Would you feel comfortable visiting a proctologist named Benjamin... Ben for short... Dover? 

                          Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.

Friday, July 20, 2012

A Day of Discovery

Thought for the day:  One time I went to a museum where all the work in the museum had been done by children. They had all the paintings up on refrigerators. [Stephen Wright]

I'm a huge fan of museums. All kinds of museums. In fact, in one of last year's posts, I confessed to being a bit of a Museum Slut . (Go ahead. You can go back and read about some weirdo museums. I'll wait.)

So, anyhow, it should come as no surprise that we visited another new museum while we were in Maryland. Well, not a new museum,  per se, but a new museum to us.

How cool is that picture? I've had it for a year or so, and thought of maybe using it sometime to go along with a post about how everybody needs help now and then. (Who knows? Still might, someday.) The idea of the a space shuttle hitching a ride strikes me as so totally cool. Even better, when we were in Florida a few years ago, we got to watch one of the shuttles launch. Discovery. (A perfect name, don't you think?)

Darn, the name doesn't show up very well on this closer shot of the piggyback ride, so I'll have to tell ya ... it's the (ta-DA!) Discovery.

Earlier this year, we watched the coverage on CNN of the retired Discovery being piggybacked to its new home near Washington, D.C.

And THAT'S where we went! To the Smithsonian Institute's Air & Space Museum at Dulles Airport. Discovery's new home!

Entrance to the museum

There's plenty of exciting things to see at this museum, but nothing, for me, matched the moment we caught the first dramatic sight of Discovery, and approached her, nose on.

Isn't she a beauty? We were able to get upclose and personal with her, close enough to touch, if we had reeeeeally really long arms. 

I took quite a few pics of the shuttle, but rather than show you all of them, let me show you just a few of the other neat things in that museum.

There were a BUNCH of vintage space age toys, most of them from the '50s and '60s.

How's about a flashy red plane that converts to an ugly red car?

The Spirit of Texas was the first helicopter to make an around the world flight. From September 1-30, 1982,  it covered 25 countries, 21 seas and oceans, and a total of 24,750 miles. 

I loved the eagle paint job on this plane. It's actually a Bearcat Conquest, and is the plane Darryl Greenamyer used to break a 30-year-old speed record in 1969. 

A Caudron G-4, a WWI fighter aircraft, and one of the oldest surviving bombers in the world.

This is one of my favorites, too... a circa 1912 biplane.

Know what these are?

They're examples of what's known as trench art. Art... made from munitions. The model biplane was made from an 8 mm cartridge. It would seem that, even in times of war, artistic expression demands an outlet.

So, there ya have it, just a taste of what we saw at that museum. You could say, that all in all, the day was full of...


So, what's YOUR favorite museum? Do you like aviation museums and air shows? In the near future, I'll tell you a story of the world's longest non-stop flight. (And I'm NOT talking about the time that little brat kicked the back of my seat for five hours straight. That just SEEMED like the world's longest flight.)

                              Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.