Monday, August 31, 2020

Through the Keyhole - September 2020


Through the Keyhole
Take a break from your day...

Not your typical company OR newsletter
 "This location is has a very large and gentle break where people from all over learn to surf.  Home to the "house without a key", poke and amazing sights and sounds.  You also may visit the Arizona here to pay your respects." Can you guess the location?" Can you guess the location?

I wrote this 4 years ago...
From September 2016...

Fifteen years ago this month (my how time flies), we were attacked by terrorists on several fronts and the world has never been the same.  I can still remember (like all of us) where I was and what I was doing at that moment when the second plane hit the second tower at the World Trade Center.  I remember thinking that the first tower looked like a small plane had accidentally hit the tower and that it didn't look that bad.  Then the realization that this was terrorism struck as the United flight veered into the second tower.  The towers shockingly fell and we all looked on in horror.  How did that happen?

I remember how quiet the skies were in the days that followed and how you just felt violated as a nation.  Do we really remember?  Are we honoring those who died so innocently now?  I personally would like to see us recognize 9/11 as an official national Holiday and that we coincide the end of summer with that day instead of Labor Day.  Just my opinion.  Labor Day seems less important to me but that's just me.  

Usually, I like to keep these newsletters light and funny but I feel like somehow we are forgetting as a nation what happened and how so many people lost their lives that day.  I think about those children who lost parents that day and how they must feel 15 years later.  I think about the loss and how our response as a nation was unified.  So many years later and there seems to be less unity and so much more division.  We now see attacks on the police.  What is happening?

I'd like to remember this month that we are Americans and that our strength lies in being able to have differing opinions and yet peaceful discourse.  Oh how I wish we could be more unified...

Please remember the lessons we learned and continue to learn seemingly each month.  Be vigilant, be diligent, be smart and say something if you see something.  Ok. Enough.  Moving on.

Remember this meme (or rather hoax)?  I think it might have
been the first one ever and I thought it
 was real.  Did you?9 2

So back to 2020...

I happened to look back and see what I wrote 4 years ago and it's amazing to me how different the world is...but how things are really just the same.

Let's hope and pray for a bright future where the good days are still ahead and that our children will live in a better world than we grew up in.
Guess the Location Game

Last month the winner of the guess the location game was Dave McFarland
 who guessed the right answer.  I appreciate all of the participation.  THANKS FOR PLAYING!
ANSWER: Key West, FL
"This place is home to Hemingway, Sloppy Joes Bar, The Conch Train, a bazzilion T-Shirt Shops, Plantation shutters and lots of fun. Lots of cruise ships used to dock here for the day.  You'll definitely meet some interesting characters on a Tuesday or any other day for that matter. " Can you guess the location?"

The first time that I visited Key West, I did not like it as it was so full of tourists and felt a little too phony.  However, the last time we visited, I really enjoyed this laid back atmosphere and care free lifestyle.

There are plenty of places to see and enjoy.  Just this January, my family and I stopped there on a cruise where we had a great day hanging out and enjoying the food and atmosphere.

Pictured above is a place called Sloppy Joe's Bar.  This bar is a staple in the Key West community.  They have good food, music and blended drinks that are tasty and give you a healthy brain freeze...  One of my favorite things about this area is the vibe.  Key Westerners (is that what they are called?) are really friendly as they get that tourism is their source of income and it shows. Some fun facts about this place:

  • There are 42 bridges that connect Key West to the mainland of Florida.

  • The third-largest coral reef in the world is off the coast of Key West.

  • All of the sand on the beaches of Key West were shipped in from the Caribbean.

  • Because it can be accessed by land Key West is known as the Southernmost city in the country. It is closer to Cuba than it is to Miami.

  • People born in Key West are called Conchs.

  • There are three Civil War forts located on Key West.

  • Key West has the highest average temperature in the United States. It is the only city in the country that never gets frost.

  • Key West was home to the writer Ernest Hemingway, treasure hunter Mel Fisher, baseball player Boog Powell, and many other well-known figures.

  • Hemingway House was the first home in Key West to boast such luxuries as running water and a swimming pool.

  • Hemingway house is home to more than 60 six-toed cats that are direct descendants of a six-toed cat given to Hemingway by a friend.

  • The Naval Air Station in Key West takes up most of the island.  It was selected because flight conditions are better in the Florida Keys than anywhere else in the US.

  • The original name for Key West was Cayo Hueso meaning: Island of Bones.

  • Duval Street in Key West is known as the longest street in the world because it runs from coast to coast.


Duval Street ~20 minutes
  ~5 minutes
 Fantasy Fest Parade ~ 1 hour (what a spectacle)
No Left Turns...

This is a wonderful piece by Michael Gartner, editor of newspapers large and small and president of NBC News. In 1997, he won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing. It is well worth reading, and a few good chuckles are
guaranteed. Here goes...

My father never drove a car. Well, that's not quite right. I should say I never saw him drive a car.

He quit driving in 1927, when he was 25 years old, and the last car he drove was a 1926 Whippet.

"In those days," he told me when he was in his 90s, "to drive a car you had to do things with your hands, and do things with your feet, and look every which way, and I decided you could walk through life and enjoy it or drive
through life and miss it."

At which point my mother, a sometimes salty Irishwoman, chimed in: "Oh, bull shit!" she said. "He hit a horse."

"Well," my father said, "there was that, too."

So my brother and I grew up in a household without a car. The neighbors all had cars -- the Kollingses next door had a green 1941 Dodge, the VanLaninghams across the street a gray 1936 Plymouth, the Hopsons two doors down a black 1941 Ford -- but we had none.

My father, a newspaperman in Des Moines , would take the streetcar to work and, often as not, walk the 3 miles home. If he took the streetcar home, my mother and brother and I would walk the three blocks to the streetcar stop, meet him and walk home together.

My brother, David, was born in 1935, and I was born in 1938, and sometimes, at dinner, we'd ask how come all the neighbors had cars but we had none. "No one in the family drives," my mother would explain, and that was that.

But, sometimes, my father would say, "But as soon as one of you boys turns 16, we'll get one." It was as if he wasn't sure which one of us would turn 16 first.

But, sure enough, my brother turned 16 before I did, so in 1951 my parents bought a used 1950 Chevrolet from a friend who ran the parts department at a Chevy dealership downtown.

It was a four-door, white model, stick shift, fender skirts, loaded with everything, and, since my parents didn't drive, it more or less became my brother's car.

Having a car but not being able to drive didn't bother my father, but it didn't make sense to my mother.

So in 1952, when she was 43 years old, she asked a friend to teach her to drive. She learned in a nearby cemetery, the place where I learned to drive the following year and where, a generation later, I took my two sons to
practice driving. The cemetery probably was my father's idea. "Who can your mother hurt in the cemetery?" I remember him saying more than once.

For the next 45 years or so, until she was 90, my mother was the driver in the family. Neither she nor my father had any sense of direction, but he
loaded up on maps -- though they seldom left the city limits -- and appointed himself navigator. It seemed to work.

Still, they both continued to walk a lot. My mother was a devout Catholic, and my father an equally devout agnostic, an arrangement that didn't seem to bother either of them through their 75 years of marriage.

(Yes, 75 years, and they were deeply in love the entire time.)

He retired when he was 70, and nearly every morning for the next 20 years or so, he would walk with her the mile to St. Augustine's Church. She would walk down and sit in the front pew, and he would wait in the back until he saw
which of the parish's two priests was on duty that morning. If it was the pastor, my father then would go out and take a 2-mile walk, meeting my mother at the end of the service and walking her home.

If it was the assistant pastor, he'd take just a 1-mile walk and then head back to the church. He called the priests "Father Fast" and "Father Slow."

After he retired, my father almost always accompanied my mother whenever she
drove anywhere, even if he had no reason to go along. If she were going to the beauty parlor, he'd sit in the car and read, or go take a stroll or, if it was summer, have her keep the engine running so he could listen to the Cubs game on the radio. In the evening, then, when I'd stop by, he'd explain: "The Cubs lost again. The millionaire on second base made a bad
throw to the millionaire on first base, so the multimillionaire on third base scored."

If she were going to the grocery store, he would go along to carry the bags out -- and to make sure she loaded up on ice cream. As I said, he was always the navigator, and once, when he was 95 and she was 88 and still driving, he
said to me, "Do you want to know the secret of a long life?"

"I guess so," I said, knowing it probably would be something bizarre.

"No left turns," he said.

"What?" I asked

"No left turns," he repeated. "Several years ago, your mother and I read an article that said most accidents that old people are in happen when they turn left in front of oncoming traffic..

As you get older, your eyesight worsens, and you can lose your depth perception, it said. So your mother and I decided never again to make a left

"What?" I said again.

"No left turns," he said. "Think about it.. Three rights are the same as a left, and that's a lot safer.  So we always make three rights."

"You're kidding!" I said, and I turned to my mother for support."No," she said, "your father is right. We make three rights. It works."  But then she added: "Except when your father loses count."

I was driving at the time, and I almost drove off the road as I started laughing.

"Loses count?" I asked.

"Yes," my father admitted, "that sometimes happens. But it's not a problem. You just make seven rights, and you're okay again."

I couldn't resist. "Do you ever go for 11?" I asked.

"No," he said " If we miss it at seven, we just come home and call it a bad day.  Besides, nothing in life is so important it can't be put off another day or another week."
My mother was never in an accident, but one evening she handed me her car keys and said she had decided to quit driving. That was in 1999, when she was 90.

She lived four more years, until 2003.. My father died the next year, at 102.

They both died in the bungalow they had moved into in 1937 and bought a few years later for $3,000. (Sixty years later, my brother and I paid $8,000 to have a shower put in the tiny bathroom -- the house had never had one. My
father would have died then and there if he knew the shower cost nearly three times what he paid for the house.)

He continued to walk daily -- he had me get him a treadmill when he was 101 because he was afraid he'd fall on the icy sidewalks but wanted to keep exercising -- and he was of sound mind and sound body until the moment he died.

One September afternoon in 2004, he and my son went with me when I had to give a talk in a neighboring town, and it was clear to all three of us that he was wearing out, though we had the usual wide-ranging conversation about
politics and newspapers and things in the news.

A few weeks earlier, he had told my son, "You know, Mike, the first hundred years are a lot easier than the second hundred."

At one point in our drive that Saturday, he said, "You know, I'm probably not going to live much longer."

"You're probably right," I said.

"Why would you say that?" He countered, somewhat irritated.

"Because you're 102 years old," I said..

"Yes," he said, "you're right." He stayed in bed all the next day.

That night, I suggested to my son and daughter that we sit up with him through the night

He appreciated it, he said, though at one point, apparently seeing us look gloomy, he said:  "I would like to make an announcement. No one in this room is dead yet"

An hour or so later, he spoke his last words:

"I want you to know," he said, clearly and lucidly, "that I am in no pain. I am very comfortable. And I have had as happy a life as anyone on this earth could ever have."

A short time later, he died.

I miss him a lot, and I think about him a lot. I've wondered now and then how it was that my family and I were so lucky that he lived so long.

I can't figure out if it was because he walked through life, Or because he quit taking left turns. 

Life is too short to wake up with regrets.  So love the people who treat you right.  Forget about the ones who don't.  Believe everything happens for a reason.  If you get a chance, take it & if it changes your life, let it. Nobody said life would be easy, they just promised it would most likely be worth it."

Watch the rise of Chinese Auto Manufacturing
Car Production by Country since 1951.  Very interesting.
Impressive projects completed
The New Mercedes Drives Sideways
Amazing new concept from Mercedes... VIDEO ~4minutes.

Basketball Beer Challenge

Dad Jokes 
Love is...
A group of professional people
posed this question
to a group of 4 to 8 year-olds ,
'What does love mean?'
The answers they got were broader, deeper,
and more profound than anyone could have ever imagined !

'When my grandmother
got arthritis , she couldn't bend over and paint
her toenails anymore.. So my
grandfather does it for her all the time , even
when his hands got arthritis too. That's love.'

Rebecca- age 8

'When someone loves you , the
way they say your name is different.
You just know that your name
is safe in their mouth.'

Billy - age 4

'Love is when a girl puts on perfume
and a boy puts on shaving cologne
and they go out and smell each other.'

Karl - age 5

'Love is when you go out to eat
and give somebody most of your French fries
without making them give you any of theirs.'

Chrissy - age 6

'Love is what makes you smile
when you're tired.'

Terri -
age 4

'Love is when my
mommy makes coffee for my daddy and
she takes a sip before giving it to him , to
make sure the taste is OK.'

Danny - age 8

'Love is what's in the room with
you at Christmas if you stop opening presents
and just listen.'

Bobby - age 7

'If you want to learn to love better ,
you should start with a friend who you hate. '

Nikka - age 6
(we need a few million more Nikka's on
this planet)

'Love is when
you tell a guy you like his shirt,
then he wears it everyday.'

- age 7

'Love is like a little
old woman and a little old man who are still
friends even after they know each other so

Tommy - age 6

'During my piano recital , I was
on a stage and I was scared. I looked at all the
people watching me and saw my daddy waving and

He was the only one doing that.
I wasn't scared anymore.'

Cindy - age 8

'My mommy loves me
more than anybody
You don't see anyone else
kissing me to sleep at night.'

Clare - age 6

'Love is when Mommy
gives Daddy the best piece of chicken.'

Elaine-age 5

'Love is when Mommy
sees Daddy smelly and sweaty and
still says he is handsomer than Robert Redford.'

Chris - age 7

'Love is when your puppy licks
your face even after you left him
alone all day.'

Mary Ann - age 4

'I know my older sister loves me
because she gives me all her old clothes
and has to go out and buy new ones.'

Lauren - age 4

'When you love somebody , your
eyelashes go up and down and little
stars come out of you.' (what an image)

Karen - age 7

'Love is when Mommy
sees Daddy on the toilet and she doesn't think
it's gross..'

Mark - age 6

'You really shouldn't say
'I love you' unless you mean it.
But if you mean it,
you should say it a lot. People forget.'

Jessica - age 8

And the final one:

The winner was a four year old child
whose next door neighbor was an
elderly gentleman who had recently lost his

Upon seeing the man cry , the
little boy went into the old
gentleman's yard , climbed onto his
lap , and just sat there.

When his
Mother asked what he had said to the
neighbor , the little boy said ,

'Nothing , I just helped him cry'
Food Art...(too much time on your hands)
Random Film Facts...
And Finally...

Best Burritos EVER!

This recipe was given to me in Punta Mita, Mexico at a place called Cielo.  The restaurant was located at the top of a small hotel in the sleepy little surfing town.  The place which is long gone was mostly about cocktails and sunsets but they served an amazing burrito that was unconventional and lighter than what you'd normally think of.  I watched the chef prepare the burritos and have captured the recipe below.  Either way, if you want to try something new, here is your chance.  Buena Suerte y Empience una revolucion de burritos!  (Good luck and start a burrito revolution!)

Punta Mita Burritos
1)     Prepare the following sauce in a blender (you will have lots of this left over):
¾ pint Half and Half cream
10 Fresh Basil Leaves
1 ½ cup Mayo
8 oz. bar of Cream Cheese
3 - 5 canned chipotle peppers depending on your spice tolerance (drained)
1 - 2 TBSP minced garlic (to taste)
Salt and Pepper to taste
2)    Shred Iceberg Lettuce (1 head)
You will also need ketchup and mayonnaise in a bottles where you can regulate the 
                amount that is dispensed and burrito sized flour tortillas.
3)    In a skillet, place a little olive oil in the bottom and get medium hot. Saute the following ingredients:
Sliced Green Pepper
Sliced Onion
Julienned carrots
Salt and pepper
Chicken or Shrimp or Steak (added last to absorb seasoning)
Get Burrito Sized tortillas and heat up a big skillet (no oil).  Place tortilla on hot skillet for 5 seconds to warm, then place ingredients cooked above in the middle of the tortilla.  Cover with shredded Chihuahua cheese (place this right on top of hot ingredients to melt).  Place shredded iceberg lettuce on top of that and a line of mayonnaise and ketchup.  Fold the burrito like they do at Chipotle and then toast the completed item back on the hot skillet to complete.  Serve with a small dipping cup of the sauce you prepared above. 
 All rights reserved.

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