Wait, What?

We’re dining last night in a restaurant next to the venue where we’re about to see a ballet, where my wife is a long-time board member. As we’re about to leave, my wife spies two of her fellow board members across the way. She says to me, “You MUST go over and say hello, they see us here!” So, I turn the charm dial to maximum (“I can’t give you any more power, Captain, or the warp drive will surely …


How Do You Like These Apples?

If you’ve been reading about Apple, you’ll see that it has more cash than anyone else, including most governments: $250 billion, which is more than the cash reserves of Great Britain and Canada combined. It appears they might have to declare a very large dividend in the near future. For many years, my financial advisors, who do my taxes but also have a wealth management division which I don’t use, urged me bring my investments to them and to sell …


All Aboard

It’s 8 am and the Acela is pulling out of Penn Station in New York, silently and stealthily, passing hundreds of arriving commuters from local train mere feet away from the tracks. They are trudging, infantry-like, down the platform and up the escalators, heads down, backpacks swaying, resolute and without choices. They are marching into a never-ending battle that will always be a stalemate, because no matter what they accomplish or fail to accomplish today, they will be doing the same …


A “Typical” Day

I’ve been requested to describe a typical day. When I’m home, and not traveling, it looks like this: • Arise around 6 • Quick bowl of cereal, shared with the dogs. • If non-workout day, take the dogs for coffee and biscuits. If workout day, do some of the below before leaving at 7:45 for my 8:00 appointment at the gym with my trainer. • Review all email and respond, trash, or file. It is seldom filed, since I don’t …


Is That Dog Ignoring Me?

A German-speaking man visited us and began talking to Bentley in German. Bentley, who’s quite good with English commands, was as befuddled as I was. “Odd,” said the man, “I thought the dog was a German Shepherd.” “He was born here,” I told him, not understanding if he were serious or not. Recently, I heard someone from Spain use “leitmotif” in a sentence. “Wow,” I thought, “what a great command of English he has!” But that’s equally dumb. Leitmotif is a …


A Good Cigar

I had a gift certificate to one of my cigar clubs, and I know they carry the “cigar of the year.” (La Flor Dominicana Andalusian Bull) I walked in mid-day, when I’m never otherwise there, and I encountered the bar/cigar tender who’s on that shift, a very attractive woman I had never met. I told her what I needed and we entered the vast humidor. We found the cigars, and when I tried to leave, the door was locked. “Uh, …


Thank You Very Much

I bemoan service standards in Europe, Australia, and South America (and Canada) as being far below those of the US. But Asia is right up there, and far better on the airlines. At JAL first class, a woman escorted us to the proper area and another came out from her station and invited us to check in. This was handled within two minutes. A man appeared and removed our luggage from the cart, and a second took the checked bags …


Japanese Choo Choos

The train system here in Japan is very impressive. The efficiency makes the Germans seem like bumbling amateurs, and I was always impressed by the German excellence in engineering and precision. These trains run at about 200 MPH normally (my Bentley’s top speed is rated at 205, but I wouldn’t try that unless I was on a sand flat in Utah). Our 787 landed at about 190 MPH. They pull into the station two minutes prior to departure, and the …



The Grinder

In the early 1950s, a very old man would walk to the neighborhood ringing a large bell. He carried a heavy grindstone on his back. He’d set it down on a corner and women would come down (or send children down) with scissors and knives to sharpen. He would carefully turn the wheel and hone the blades for five cents a piece. When he was done, he’d haul the wheel onto his back again, pick up his bell, and walk …