One-Line Wednesday – Are You In or Are You En?

“Enquiring minds need to know™”

I had to look that up because I’m never sure if its “enquiring” or “inquiring” – Well, it turns out it’s Enquiring (but it probably should be inquiring) and it turns out its Trademarked. Pbbbbfffftt to you National Enquirer, and the trademark you rode in on. Your trademark has become a generally accepted, albeit grammatically incorrect, phrase like Kleenex, Aspirin and Xerox, not to mention Tupperware, Band-aid, Scotch tape, Styrofoam and Sharpie – Although, I’m holding Sharpie by its fingertips as it’s about to fall over the precipice. To me, Sharpie means “A Sharpie marker” and nothing else will do. I’m sure there was a time when people only reached for a Kleenex.

Anyway, I was looking because more than a few grammar nerds follow this blog, not to mention my lovely editor, and they all would be happy to point out an error. Thank goodness I skipped Linda’s Rain-Rein-Reign SoCS prompt last week, because I would have messed that up.

The editor would have caught any mistakes, but Linda doesn’t allow editing. Well, she let’s us correct grammatical errors, but nothing big. I’ve made big. When the editor caught those, I opted to add the first comment, absolving from responsibility – like now – she did not review this post.

It wouldn’t matter, my other word-nerd buddies, including the one who’s five hours ahead of me in England, a.k.a. Long-Haired David, would point that out as well “you know, if your wife isn’t available to edit these posts, you can always run them past me.”

Why was I inquiring about this? I was trying to comment on Janet’s lovely post. I wanted to know the name of the flowers in the last picture. If you’re a flower guru, check them out. Comment here or there, but be sure to let me know.

The verdict is: if you want to correctly quote the National Enquirer, from whom the saying flows, it’s “enquiring” just like I said – if you’d like to be grammatically correct, ask my wife, or David.

One further bit of research would indicate that it’s “inquiring”. Research, you ask? OK, Marian says so. How’s that?

This post is part of Linda G. Hill’s fun weekly series One-Liner Wednesday. You can follow this link to see the one-liners from the other participants.

Posted in Friends, Humor, One Line Wed | Tagged , , , , | 53 Comments

Let’s Enjoy Summer

It’s ready to ride

Last Wednesday, at 12:24 AM, the Summer Solstice occurred. That’s it folks, it’s a downhill slide to winter from this point on. If you are reading this post when it is published, you can expect one less minute of daylight than you had last Wednesday. If you wait until Friday to read this, you’ll have given up three minutes. By the time the Autumnal Equinox arrives at 4:02 PM on Friday, September 22, we will be losing about three minutes of daylight – every – single – day.

I don’t want to be a gloomy Gus, that Equinox is almost 90 days away, and that only brings us to the halfway point. It’s not quite time to dust off the snow shovel. I’m focused on this because our winter was mild but unpredictable, and our spring was a cold wet mess. Summer, all 90 days of it, better be better than its two sibling seasons.

90 days is plenty of time for long weekends and weeks off. Plenty of time for walks with Maddie, rides on my bike and, if things work out, new siding on my garage. There’s a Fireman’s Carnival being set-up as I write this, and I’ll have plenty of daylight to eat a sausage grinder and drink a beer before it’s torn down. There will be a dozen or so Saturdays when I can watch a little baseball with my buddy at the bar – you know, research. There’s probably over 40 hours sitting in the back yard, tethered to a 100% content Irish Setter.

In addition to the bunnies, Maddie and I will be watching a garden grow. Then, the Mrs. will be picking some veggies and preparing treats like fresh vegetables and pasta or just a sliced tomato on a buttered English muffin for breakfast. Yes, Maddie, I know, you like green beans. I’m sure you’ll get your share. There’ll be a few thunderstorms, a few gray days and at least one blistering spell of hot and humid weather – probably the week I start that siding project – if New England’s weather holds true.

There are lots of work days between now and the end of September but, at least until Labor Day, we can wear jeans in the office. Other good news is that the Eaglets that are keeping the lower half of the Windsor Locks Canal closed should fledge and no longer need the seclusion of their own private forest.

It’s a glorious time, and I think Mother Nature is going to cooperate. I’d say she owes us a good summer, but I don’t want to p*ss her off. The gallery includes some photos of the evidence I collected this weekend. Click on any photo to start a slide show. The captions tell the stories.

Posted in Animals, New England Life | Tagged , , , , , , | 71 Comments

Tall Shots and a Short Stack

For the love of beer

The perfect place and beverage to share some casual conversation.

If we were having a beer, you would be in an unusually good mood.

“Cheryl, let’s have a glass of wine, a Yuengling and a frosty glass for my dapper young friend.”

“I’m all for you opening a tab, but I’d hardly call a Pirates tee shirt and a denim overshirt, dapper.”

“You failed to notice his hair, Cheryl. Recently cut.”

“I had a haircut yesterday, but I don’t think I have enough hair for it to move me into the dapper category.”

“Did you have breakfast?”


“After your haircut. Don’t you usually have breakfast at that dive?”

“Allegro. It’s a diner, not a dive.”

“Let me guess, you had pancakes.”

“No, their pancakes are a little dry. I had a breakfast sandwich and some potatoes.”

“What kind of sandwich?”

“Egg, cheese and bacon on toasted Italian bread.”

“Oh, that sounds so good. Too bad this place isn’t open for breakfast.”

“We already spend enough time here.”

“Time, yes. Money, that remains to be seen. You boys eating anything today?”

“I’m sure we are, Cheryl, as soon as we stop talking about breakfast.”

“Breakfast? Did you see that website I mentioned? The one with the recipe for chickpea pancakes?”

“Cheryl, not only did I see that, I retweeted it with a harsh rebuttal. Chickpeas have no place at the breakfast table.”

“I have no doubt they would be tasty, but not in a breakfast sweet pancake-y way. More like a tortilla. I’m sure your wife has used chickpea flour.”

“She has. In fact, she uses it sometimes to thicken sauces. It sits better with me than cornstarch. But, she doesn’t tell me until I’ve eaten dinner.”

“Chickpeas aside, who makes the best pancakes?”

“Oh, that’s way too hard to determine. I like Maddie’s, and iHop, and Denny’s, and, ooh, . I discovered this week, that I actually like McDonalds pancakes.”

“Here’s your beer and your wine. I used to work for McDonald’s. I always wanted one of their perfect serving size pancake batter dispensers.”

“You used to work at McDonald’s? Funny, I can’t picture you behind that counter. What kind of wine do you serve with a Big Mac?”

“Cheery Coke is as close as we ever came to wine or a mixed drink for that matter. Did you guys look at the specials?”

“I did, the chicken and shrimp thing looks good.”

“Chicken? I didn’t think you ate any part of the chicken other than the wings.”

“I love Scampi, and I love Linguini.”

“You know we have to ask if you want Linguini or Garlic Mashed Potatoes, now.”

“Because of that dingbat woman?”

“Yes, she complained to the owner.”

“She should have been thrown out.”

“Wait, I don’t think I know this story.”

“A woman sitting next to me ordered a dish like this. When it arrived, she was upset that it was served over Garlic Mashed Potatoes.”

“Was that on the menu?”


“Easy Cheryl. It was listed that way, but the woman said she always made hers with Linguini.”

“So, who gives a rat’s ass? This is a restaurant.”

“Exactly, your next glass of wine is on me!”

“Thanks. But, back to the pancakes, if you like Maddie’s so much, why did you order pancakes from McDonald’s?”

“I didn’t, I ordered, and paid for an Egg McMuffin.”

“And they gave you pancakes?”

“They gave me a Big Breakfast. Pancakes, sausage, eggs and a biscuit.”

“What did you say?”

“I tried to explain, but the woman was called away from the window, so I just left.”

“Hmm, maybe I’ll try ordering a glass of wine and hope that Cheryl brings me a glass of Bourbon instead.”

“Unlikely, but we have a new Bourbon, you might like.”

“Really, what kind?”


“I’ve never heard of it.”

“I have. In fact, I’ve had that Bourbon. It’s quite good.”

“You? I’ve rarely seen you order anything other than beer.”

“I drink Bourbon after dinner, on occasion. If I have wine with dinner, I can’t go back to beer.”

“That sounds a little risky. Beers, wine and then Bourbon. That’s a tough drive home.”

“No, this would be when I’m staying in a hotel. I wouldn’t drive after that.”

“So, what’s this stuff look like? Which bottle is it?”

“It’s the one…”

“…with the horse.”

“You know what, I’m buying today. Who deserves a treat more than me?”

“One Blanton’s, and… another Yuengling?”

“Yes, pedestrian, I know, but I’m good.”

“Hey, whether it’s pancakes, beer or Bourbon, it’s nice to see a man that knows what he likes.”

Remember to do yourself a favor and check out Cheryl’s blog.

Posted in If having a beer, Opinion | Tagged , , , , , , , | 92 Comments

Thursday Doors – The Cosmos Club

The Cosmos Club

One of the meetings I attended last week in Washington, D.C. was held at The Cosmos Club. I’m not saying that attending this meeting is the only way I could get inside, but, as they say on their website:

The Cosmos Club, founded in 1878, is a private social club for men and women distinguished in science, literature and the arts or public service. Members come from virtually every profession that has anything to do with scholarship, creative genius or intellectual distinction.

Among its members have been three Presidents, two Vice Presidents, a dozen Supreme Court justices, 36 Nobel Prize winners, 61 Pulitzer Prize winners and 55 recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.”

So, as soon as some respected authority takes notice of the creative genius and intellectual distinction that is No Facilities, I’m in. Either that or maybe a friend of a friend of a friend gets married there. Who knows.

The Cosmos Club, in many ways, is like every “men’s” club in America. It’s selective, probably expensive, opulent, quiet and secluded. Surely, this was a place where influential people men met, pondered, schemed, wheeled and dealed, ate drank and were entertained.

Last week, about 40 people from various points on the Information Management and Information Services map, got together to share stories, listen to influential speakers, ask questions, discuss possibilities, make plans, eat and drink. It was a great venue for such a meeting.

Several of those people were aware of my interest in history and doors. Throughout the meeting, people were asking me “did you get a picture of…” or telling me that a door that had been open was now partially closed. At one point, a friend came up and said: “If you go to the men’s room, make sure you take your camera. There’s a curved door that you’re going to want a photo of.”

This was a place where I got a slightly funny look when I stepped out to use the men’s room without wearing my jacket and where people had been ushered out of the lobby before making a phone call. I was pretty sure taking a camera into the men’s room would be frowned upon. However, I took my phone and feigned interest in some artwork until staff members passed and I could snap a picture of that curved door,

Thursday Doors is a forward thinking social blog-hop for men and women distinguished by their love of doors, and a passionate interest in history, literature and the arts. The experience is cultivated by the foremost doorthorian, Norm Frampton, of the Montreal Framptons. All members and guests should enter through the front door and peruse the doors on display in the main gallery. Those wishing to study additional doors should search for the azure amphibian and depress the button of your pointing device in his general area. The club staff will then usher you into the main gallery, where you can observe all the doors on display.

The Cosmos Club has been located in the historic Townsend House mansion on Embassy Row, near DuPont Circle in Washington, D.C. since 1952. The house had originally been home to Mary Scott Townsend and her husband Richard (retired president of the Erie and Pittsburgh Railroad). Richard died shortly after construction on the house was completed in 1901. Mary died in 1931, and the Townsend’s daughter Mathilde Scott Townsend lived in the house, off and on, through the mid to late 1940s. The Cosmos Club purchased the property in 1950. The house is adjacent to the Indian Embassy building, a photo of which is included in the gallery, especially for my friend Sharukh Bamboat who publishes a wonderful India Travel blog.

Most of the photos were taken clandestinely, using my iPhone. I did some work in Lightroom to straighten, crop and improve the lighting. Click on any photo to begin a slide show. There is a stunning photo of the building in the National Historic Registry application, but it states that it is not to be reproduced. That photo is reproduced in the pictures accompanying this history website.

Posted in Photography, Thursday Doors, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , | 97 Comments

One-Liner Wednesday – Consideration

Last Friday, I settled into a nice comfortable seat on AMTRAK’s Vermonter, getting ready to enjoy a six-hour ride home from Washington, D.C. I take the Vermonter because it’s a through train to my destination, meaning that I don’t have to change trains in New Haven, CT. Trust me, that’s huge. That means I can plug my laptop into an AC outlet, connect to the free WiFi and work, read and write.

Until someone in front of me puts the seat back.

Actually, AMTRAK seats aren’t too bad. There’s enough legroom to adjust, if the seat comes back slowly. If the seat comes back fast and unexpected, well, the diagram says it all.

This is why I was so pleased when the guy in front of me looked over his shoulder and asked:

Would you mind if I lean my seat back?

Seriously, no one has ever asked me that question.

I said that I didn’t mind, but asked for enough time to move my laptop from the portion of the seat that would grab and crush it.

It’s absolutely amazing how good that little bit of consideration made me feel.

This post is part of Linda G. Hill’s fun weekly series One-Liner Wednesday. You can follow this link to see the one-liners from the other participants. The gallery includes a few of my favorite photos from the ride home. You can click on any one to start a show and read the captions. You know, all work and no play…

Posted in One Line Wed, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , | 66 Comments

Caring for Tools

Dad would never let this happen

As I explained yesterday, Father’s Day caught me off-guard this year. I think that’s OK. Father’s Day might be the official day that I think about my dad, but it’s far from the only day. I was thinking about my dad a few days ago when Maddie and I walked by that scene at the right. If I had left his tools outside, overnight, well, that’s just it, I wouldn’t have. If he had seen that toolbox, I would have been out there, in the dark, putting those tools away properly in the toolbox and bringing the toolbox inside. This I know – from experience.

I was planning an elaborate post around that toolbox, and the memory it evoked, but now, I realize that that isn’t necessary. The fact of the matter is, I see my father’s influence in the way I think about almost everything. I regularly encounter people, things, images and activity that remind me of my dad. I regularly find myself in situations in which my actions and reactions are the direct result of having been raised by my dad.

I think, if my dad were here right now, he might say:

Stop trying to make this more than it is. Tell them about the toolbox and let them go about their day. They have other things to do besides listening to you.”

My dad worked hard to teach my brother and I several things about tools. He established multiple rules about his tools, and he urged us to carry those rules forward when we started buying tools of our own. I haven’t always listened:

Never lend tools – My dad would drive to your house and fix something, but he would not lend you the tool needed for that repair. He wanted to be sure that his tools were being used correctly. I have broken this rule on several occasions. More than once, I paid the price by having a broken tool returned or by not having any tool returned.

Don’t borrow tools – Dad felt that if he borrowed a tool and then broke it, he would have to replace it. That was usually all the justification he needed to buy the tool he needed. I’ve broken this rule, only to find, as dad predicted, that the premium extracted upon return can be higher than the interest rate charged by Sears.

You will never break a tool by using it correctly – First heard after breaking the handle of a garden rake. Yes, I had been banging it into the ground, trying to get better leverage on a rock that needed to be dislodged. Upon fessing up to the mistake, we first dug the rock out with proper tools. Then, we fixed the rake.

Regarding the photo, I’ll share the story I was reminded of: I had ridden my bike home from a friend’s house one night. When I got to the bottom of the hill we lived on, I discovered that my back brakes were not working. Anyone who has ever gone over the handlebars of a bike when only using the front brakes knows the dilemma I faced. Fortunately, we lived at the corner of two hills and I was able to turn up the side street and let gravity bring me to a safe stop.

Not wanting to have that experience again, I used a small socket set to loosen the cable on the back caliper. I then used two pairs of Vise Grips to pull the cable forward and to hold it in place while I tightened the cable clamp.

Then I went to bed.

My father was bowling that night. He came home after midnight and saw the tools on the floor next to my bike. The next thing I knew, I was up, out of bed, moping my way downstairs, in my underwear and barefoot, to “wipe those tools off and put them away.”

This is a lesson that never stuck with me. I still tend to leave tools out, but I hear his voice every time I walk into my garage.

I know I’m sliding this in under the wire, but I hope all the fathers in your life had a Happy Father’s Day.

Posted in Family, Learning, Tools | Tagged , , , | 66 Comments

Sign Sign Everywhere a Sign

When I saw the SoCS prompt last night, I breathed a deep sigh of relief. I had just returned from a week in Washington, D.C. and the post I was planning to write kinda went off the rails. “Off the rails” is a good metaphor since I traveled to and from D.C. via AMTRAK. Well, you could have guessed that, I’ve taken you along on several train rides to D.C. Great, now this post is going off the rails.

You see, the plan for today’s post was for something wrapped around Father’s Day. I had a good plan. I was going to share a few things my father taught me. I’ve been writing them down for months. There was one problem – before leaving for Washington on Monday, I didn’t realize that this weekend is the home of Father’s Day. I thought I had another week to assemble my thoughts. I mean, I don’t pay attention to when Father’s Day happens, other people do.

The week in Washington was chock-a-block full of morning to night stuff. Not much left at the end of the day for writing a post from scratch. The stuff I published this past week had been written before I left. I just had to adjust it based on the outcome of a hockey game, or in worst case, two. I figured I’d “bang out a post about dad” last night.

There are two things you need to know at this point. One, I’m not some crazy-productive writer who can bang things out. The second thing is actually part of that post about my dad. “No half-assed attempts allowed.” So, I peeked in my inbox and Linda had saved the day.

Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: “sign.” Use it any way you’d like. Enjoy!

You’ve been saved too, from a hastily put together post about something. The best thing about Linda’s prompt is that I love signs and I have a bunch of photos of signs. I have used a couple before, but I have several that you haven’t seen. The captions tell the story that the signs don’t tell themselves and that’s it. As Linda says, enjoy!

Oh, and if that title put a song in your head, give a listen:

Posted in Humor, SoCS | Tagged , , , , | 78 Comments