From Disorder to Order…


Well, the follow up from Naples was we went down to the waterfront for dinner last night…

Only six (three each way) OMGWAGFD times… I think I’ve STILL got some seat cushion sucked up my a**…

Anyhoo… We survived the trip down there, met up with a co-worker who is based out of Naples and had a GOOOOOOOOD meal on the waterfront.

Caprese, pasta Bolognese, prawns, and TIRAMISU 🙂 All except the Tiramisu was ‘washed down’ with a local Chianti which, for those wine snobs out there, actually complimented the meal rather than the typical clean the palate French wine. Finished the Tiramisu with a couple of expressos, and a (I swear I only had ONE) shot of Limonchello…

Back to the hotel, got hooked on what was happening (Nothing) in Egypt, so not a lot of sleep…

Up at 0400, off to the airport, and up North we came…

A couple of pics to see if anybody recognizes them…

First- A semi- famous location…
Second a snippet of a painting by a semi-famous American to tweak your interest…

Feel free to guess, and if anybody gets THIS one, well you’re truly a geek 🙂 Just sayin…
My butt is draggin, so nap time before dinner (so much for my diet, yet again)!

History Lecture…


I’m in a ‘slightly’ better mood today (amazing what some sleep does)…

We’re staying at the Caracciolo Palazzo in Naples, down in the ‘old’ section of town. Built in the late 13th, early 14th century, the palace (and nearby church) was the residence of the aristocratic Caracciolo family and of Joachim Murat, one of Napoleon’s illustrious generals back in the day…

It’s been turned into a 144 room hotel in the past few years.

This is the entry way from the street. Gotta say, it’s a ‘tad bit’ impressive…

This is the ‘side’ door, with the doors closed and locked. These are the ‘new’ doors, installed in the 17th century and are about 6 inches thick… And yes, that is sheet iron from the original13th century doors on the bottoms of the doors, on the inside, the sheet iron goes up two panels high and it takes two people to open/close them!!!
And an original (17th century) door knocker, but it’s missing the knocker ring 🙁
The ring fits in wholes on each side of the lion’s mouth and one banged on the striker below the head.
This is a close up of the “original” door locks from the 14th century (and still in use to lock the big doors). As an aside, there IS a personnel door you can seen in the side door, but it had to be opened from the inside.

And the original deadbolt, still in use on the side door! Don’t think you could pick that sucker… The bar probably weighs 50 lbs! The two ropes go up to the locks at the top of the door.

This is part of the detail from inside the Piazza, note the wear an tear on the ornamental Granite!
And your horse parking inside the Piazza, again original equipment! These are at horse head height, to allow the horse/carriage to be tied up head in to the column. All the columns were equipped with these.
And the obligatory coat of arms of the Caracciolo family, mounted up near the barrel vaulted ceiling, which would be the first thing seen on entry into the formal part of the palace! And yes, it is on the right side as one enters…
Lousy pic of some of the original stairs, and yes they ARE circular, and yes, the were chipped out of granite around a center column that looks to be about 12 or 14 inches in diameter and the stairs are maybe 28 inches wide!
And a view from my room into the piazza- Considering how noisy Naples is (they use horns for brakes, etc.) it’s amazingly quiet! The room is kinda jarring, nice, but jarring… Ultra modern furnishings, marble bath (standard in Italy after all), and flat screen TV just ‘clash’ with the true age of the building, but what the hey… everything works, and I’m not having to go to the WC outside to use the toilet!!!
As far as the rest of the day, well it IS Italy… breakfast was supposed to be at 0630, the restaurant was “open”, e.g. the door was open, but nothing else! Ended up with a quick cup of coffee at 0650, in the taxi (OMG we’re ALL gonna die trying to pull out in traffic!!!), met a truck going to wrong way on a one way street (and I use the term loosely, as it was two asses and a chariot wide); after a ‘lengthy’ discussion, much arm waving, selected gestures, the taxi driver backed up to let the truck out.

At that point, I think it’d become a personal affront to him that he had backed down and we’d witnessed it; as the rest of the drive in I don’t think he ever touched the brakes, but he abused the hell outta the horn!!!

And Naples is STILL having garbage issues, except it’s not overflowing ‘completely’ into the streets yet; it’s only out to the edge of the parking places, and about 2-3 car lengths long… Apparently the EU has once again focused on the garbage problem and is threatening to refuse to take anymore Italian garbage (in ANY form). Just glad we’re not here in the summer, it’s rather “fragrant” that time of year.

We had a pre-meeting for the meeting, which went fairly well; then had the meeting, and then had the post-meeting-meeting… so that ate up 4 1/ hours. Sigh…

As usual, questions arose, conversation sidetracked the brief, etc. etc… Are we having fun yet???

And we came away with a list of taskers, so we’ll see what happens!

Now nap time, then dinner, then back to the airport at 0500 in the morning… I hear that pillow calling my namzzzzz….

Random Travel #9872…

Today was ONE of those travel days…


Worked all day, went to Dulles flew to Munich (no sleep), two hour layover, fogged in, hour late getting out, two approaches to Naples, fogged in, back to Rome, hour wait for luggage, three hour bus ride to Naples… This has been a LONGGGG day… And in a 10 minute taxi ride to the hotel, three OMG we’re ALL gonna die moments… STILL trying to get the seat cushion outta my ass…

AND just got a call (that woke me up) that our 1500 meeting tomorrow is now 0830 in the morning… sigh…

And y’all think this is fun…

Volunteers? Anyone? Bulher??? /crickets…

Civility…

ci·vil·i·ty 
[si-vil-i-tee]
–noun, plural -ties.
1.
courtesy; politeness.
2.
a polite action or expression: an exchange of civilities.
3.
Archaic . civilization; culture; good breeding.
Origin:
1350- 1400; Middle English civilite
Middle French

Today, in my opinion, civility is a lost art…

Coming back from Japan I had an interesting conversation with the purser on the 777; she been a flight attendant for almost 30 years, lots of it on overseas routes. What started the conversation was a line for the bathroom, a young pregnant Japanese lady and a rude Chinese man.

We were calmly (well more or less) waiting our turn, the bathroom finally came open, and the young Japanese Lady went to step in, only to be rudely pushed aside by the Chinese man with a comment that none of us understood.

The purser happened by at that point and I said something to her about it, and asked that the Chinese speaking flight attendant come and say something to the Chinese man. The flight attendant (female) showed up, and was obviously nervous about confronting this guy.

We asked her to talk to him about pushing to the head of the line and what he said to the Japanese Lady and the rest of us. He finally comes out of the bathroom, she politely asked him why he pushed in ahead of the line. His comment back to her was obviously rude and crude as she blushed and started to bow.

At this point a couple of us ‘cornered’ the guy against the overwing door and he suddenly got real passive… We told the FA to tell this guy that kind of crap does NOT fly in the US, nor on a US airplane, and WE weren’t going to put up with his attitude. She did so, and this guy didn’t move from his seat for the rest of the flight.

Any Hoo… I end up standing in the galley talking to the purser, and she tells me it’s getting worse every day. Not only the Chinese, who apparently don’t believe in lines and routinely push to the front/insult anyone who blocks them; but younger people who ‘demand’ service, trash the airplane, drink everything they can get away with, play porn videos on the airplanes, etc.

She said it is almost routine to have an incident on every flight now, and said most of the flight attendants have ceded control of the cabins to unruly passengers, rather than get into a knock down drag out in the aisles.

So… this morning I have to go get food (that I forgot on the way home)… Lots of RABID football fans out, some of them either getting an early start on the boozing or just never quit from last night.

I grab what I need, I’m heading for a checkout line and I stop to let an older man with a cane go ahead of me. This punk (I’m not gonna say what I REALLY thought of him), goes around BOTH of us to jump the line.

The older man says to him, excuse me, but you cut in front of us; the punk responded that he didn’t give a s**t HE had things to do and we were too slow…

And proceeded to unload his basket, ignoring us completely. We just kind of looked and each other with a what can you do expression…

And then the punk’s buddy shows up, and goes to push around us…

I move over and tell him we are already in line and he can wait, he makes a smart ass comment to me and goes to push around me, when the older gent turns around lets loose with a string of invective like I haven’t heard in 30 years!!!

He calls both the punks everything in the book and then some, and says if punk #2 tries it, he’s gonna shove his cane so far up his ass he’s gonna be choking on the tip…

And he’s holding the cane like he’s ready to perform that act! Punk #2 wanders off to another line, we turn back around and the cashier is about to blow a gasket trying to keep from laughing…

I look down and the old gent’s sleeves are pulled up and I see tattoos on both arms, so I ask him what branch? Turns out he’s a retired USMC Gunny, retired in the early 70s and he’s NOT a fan of the younger folks either.

He also said he ‘should’ have given the first punk a piece of his mind! He told me he’s seen a real downturn in both civility and politeness in the last 20 years, and really the ONLY place it’s still in effect is on military bases, since the kids who are in the military still get civility drummed into them in boot and in dealings with others on base.

In retrospect, I can only agree with him… It seems like the gun culture IS truly the only polite culture left!

In other news, this is the 100th anniversary of Ronald W. Reagan’s birth.

We could really use somebody like him right now, and I don’t see anybody waiting in the wings that even comes close…

Sigh…

Five Lessons…

Five lessons about the way we treat people…


1 – First Important Lesson – Cleaning Lady.

During my second month of college, our professor gave us a pop quiz. I was a conscientious student and had breezed through the questions until I read


The last one:


“What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?”
Surely this was some kind of joke. I had seen the cleaning woman several times. She was tall, dark-haired and in her 50’s, but how would I know her name?
I handed in my paper, leaving the last question blank. Just before class ended, one student asked if the last question would count toward our quiz grade.
“Absolutely, ” said the professor.. “In your careers, you will meet many people. All are significant.. They deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say “hello..”
I’ve never forgotten that lesson.. I also learned her name was Dorothy.


2. – Second Important Lesson – Pickup in the Rain

One night, at 11:30 p.m., an older African American woman was standing on the side of an Alabama highway trying to endure a lashing rain storm. Her car had broken down and she desperately needed a ride.

Soaking wet, she decided to flag down the next car. A young white man stopped to help her, generally unheard of in those conflict-filled 1960’s. The man took her to safety, helped her get assistance and put her into a taxicab.
She seemed to be in a big hurry, but wrote down his address and thanked him. Seven days went by and a knock came on the man’s door. To his surprise, a giant console color TV was delivered to his home. A special note was attached..
It read:
“Thank you so much for assisting me on the highway the other night. The rain drenched not only my clothes, but also my spirits. Then you came along..
Because of you, I was able to make it to my dying husband’s’ bedside just before he passed away… God Bless you for helping me and unselfishly serving others.
Sincerely,
Mrs. Nat King Cole.



3 – Third Important Lesson – Always remember those w

ho serve.


In the days when an ice cream sundae cost much less, a 10-year-old boy entered a hotel coffee shop and sat at a table. A waitress put a glass of water in front of him.

“How much is an ice cream sundae?” he asked.
“Twenty-five cents,” replied the waitress.
The little boy pulled his hand out of his pocket and studied the coins in it.
“Well, how much is a plain dish of ice cream?” he inquired.
By now more people were waiting for a table and the waitress was growing impatient..
“Twenty cents,” she brusquely replied.
The little boy again counted his coins.
“I’ll have the plain ice cream,” he said.
The waitress brought the ice cream, put the bill on the table and walked away The boy finished the ice cream, paid the cashier and left.. When the waitress came back, she began to cry as she wiped down the table. There, placed neatly beside the empty dish, were two nickels Dimes, I meant Dimes… and five pennies.
You see, he couldn’t have the sundae, because he had to have enough left to leave her a tip.


4 – Fourth Important Lesson. – The obstacle in Our Path.

In ancient times, a King had a boulder placed on a roadway. Then he hid himself and watched to see if anyone would remove the huge rock. Some of the King’s’ wealthiest merchants and courtiers came by and simply walked around it.. Many loudly blamed the

King for not keeping the roads clear, but none did anything about getting the stone out of the way.
Then a peasant came along carrying a load of vegetables. Upon approaching the boulder, the peasant laid down his burden and tried to move the stone to the side of the road. After much pushing and straining, he finally succeeded. After the peasant picked up his load of vegetables, he noticed a purse lying in the road where the boulder had been. The purse contained many gold coins and a note from the King indicating that the gold was for the
person who removed the boulder from the roadway. The peasant learned what many of us never understand!
Every obstacle presents an opportunity to improve our condition.



5 – Fifth Important Lesson – Giving When it Counts…

Many years ago, when I worked as a volunteer at a

hospital, I got to know a little girl named Liz who

was suffering from a rare & serious disease. Her only

chance of recovery appeared to be a blood

transfusion from her 5-year old brother, who had

miraculously survived the same disease and had

developed the antibodies needed to combat the

illness. The doctor explained the situation to her

little brother, and asked the little boy if he would

be willing to give his blood to his sister.


I saw him hesitate for only a moment before taking a

deep breath and saying, “Yes I’ll do it if it will save

her.” As the transfusion progressed, he lay in bed

next to his sister and smiled, as we all did, seeing

the color returning to her cheek. Then his face

grew pale and his smile faded.


He looked up at the doctor and asked with a

trembling voice, “Will I start to die right away”?


Being young, the little boy had misunderstood the

doctor; he thought he was going to have to give his

sister all of his blood in order to save her.


We can ALL learn from these… Nuff said…

You ‘KNOW’ You’re Traveling Too Much…


When you go into a barber shop to get a hair cut and you’re asked, “Do you want your usual”?

And the barber shop is in Japan…

Just sayin…

World Cancer Day…


Friday Feb 4, 2011 is world cancer day


A small request.. Just one line.

Dear God, I pray for a cure for cancer. Amen

mailbox:///C|/Users/Kenzie/AppData/Roaming/Thunderbird/Profiles/36uajdet.default/Mail/pop-server.roadrunner.com/Inbox?number=41711394&part=1.3&filename=image002.jpg

All you are asked to do is keep this circulating, even if it’s only to one more person.
In memory of anyone you know who has been struck down by cancer or is still living with it.

A Candle Loses Nothing by Lighting Another Candle..

Please Keep This Candle Going

A Fun Time was had by ALL!!!

Attendees AD, Matt and his lovely wife, Christina, Evyl , Jenn and their son, JPG and Holly, LawDog, Chris, Farm Girl, Vine and Phlegmmy who was our gracious hostess with the mostest… There were a couple of others who floated through, and I missed their names and blogs (my apologies). Alan phoned it in, since he was tied up with work, the Nerds (in spirits) were there (and the beer was GREAT)…

People rolled in and out as time permitted, the conversation(s) were varied, the story telling hilarious, and the picture below deserves a ‘little’ more comment than Phlegmmy gave it…


It was TRULY a Squirrel moment…

When you have SEVEN dogs underfoot, in laps, running around outside and they ALL start going nuts, there has to be a reason…
Said squirrel, in fear for it’s life, jumped about 10 feet and disappeared into the eave of the house. That not being a kosher move, suitable weapons were procured; Evyl and LawDog were posted up to take the shot (as you see), Vine was dispatched to light the target, and the rest of us were dispatched into the house to ‘scare’ the squirrel back into the target zone…

Now us ‘short’ people had to make do with finding objects to beat on the ceiling with, Matt on the other hand, was able to just reach up and pound on the ceiling with his fists!!!

Unbeknowst to us, Holly was in the powder room as we started pounding on the ceiling in the adjacent room; when she appeared, there was a ‘bit’ of confusion and words to the effect of WHATINTHEHELLISGOINGONINHERE???

After we told her, she went “Oh, well y’all handle it” and went back to her chair by the fire 🙂

Sadly, the mission was a failure, and said critter never returned to the sight of his indignity…
(note- if something starts smelling in the ceiling, it just might be said critter died of a heart attack with all the pounding)

Evyl had a few of his holsters there, and many ohhs and ahhhs occured over them; and I’m sure a few orders were placed too, I know I’m ordering one!

Guns were fondled, and a “funny” thing was noted (and actually provoked some laughter as we watched others); as people were handed guns, they automatically checked them clear, even if they’d just watched someone check it clear, and if they were going to check the trigger, they checked it again! And not just one or two people, EVERY body, male, female young and old!

THIS is a safe group, because we’re all paranoid; and I’m proud to say I agree with it!

I know others are posting too, but I just want to say I really appreciated the hosting, food, beer, conversation, coffee, and the chance to meet with old and new friends! Happy Birthday LawDog!

Now back to reality… sigh…

More Later…


S**tty internet connection…

Blogmeet…

Having fun…


Posts to follow, going to the range for shooty fun…

Requiem in Pacem…


25 years ago today…
The Challenger blew up on launch at 79 seconds, 9 nm high.

We lost seven good people, trying their best to improve our lives.

Take a moment and remember please…