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Showing posts from June, 2012

ON BECOMING AN EXPAT: The Beginning

From infancy through young adulthood, I lived just west of the center line of the Great Northeast Corridor of the United States, that stretch of a few hundred miles along the Atlantic coast that starts in Boston, cuts through New York and Philadelphia, and terminates in northern Virginia just past Washington, DC. I LIVED there. It wasn't just my home. I never strayed. I knew nothing of the rest of the civilized world except for what I heard and read, saw on the television or in the movies.

In the first place, our family never traveled much when I was a kid. Dad's lunch counter required his attention seven days a week. When we did vacation, we went down the shore, the Jersey shore if you didn't get the idiom. I don't remember a single night in a strange bed that wasn't in a relative's house or down the shore.

And the personal histories of my family discouraged any incentive to travel in order to return to the lands of my genealogical roots. My paternal grandmot…

2004 BURGMAN 400 SPARK PLUG CHANGE

No, there won't be a video. Changing the spark plug was a relatively simple operation except for the fact that it was the first time that I took off any of my plastics. If you want a video tutorial, they're all over YouTube. I watched one before I got started AND I took my laptop into the garage and punched up the service manual. You can't be too prepared.

And being prepared meant knowing that the fasteners holding the plastics together are likely to break when you mess with them. That's why I went to a dealer and picked up six before I started. Worked out well. Four broke. While I was buying parts, I made certain that I had all that I needed for my next oil change. And of course, I bought the plug, an NGK CR7E. The manual says to replace the plug every 7,500 miles. It's been a bit over 6,500. Close enough. My intention is to change the plug at every other oil change.

The object of the exercise is to remove the left side leg shield to get at the spark plug. So, fir…

DEMISE OF THE TIMES-PICAYUNE: ADAPT OR DIE

The New Orleans Times-Picayune has ceased daily publication. It’s a sad commentary on the current state of affairs.
I know. Every major city considers its daily newspaper unique, a treasure. Rightly so. But New Orleans is a special case. Seriously. There was a time when I would have pooh-poohed the concept. No longer.
The Southern Woman That I Married (TSWTIM) is a New Orleans native, born in the Touro Infirmary. Although she was raised in Texas, her family maintained a foothold in NOLA and she was a frequent visitor throughout her youth. My first visit with her was over 40 years ago. Subsequent visits have taught me a great deal about why NOLA holds a special place in the hearts of its residents as well as people around the United States and throughout the world.
You know about the French Quarter, its clubs and its architecture and its crazies. You know about the blues and the jazz music. And then there’s the food. Oh, yes. The food. From iconic oyster bars like Casamento’s to grea…

THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL

A Passage to India it's not. And it's not meant to be. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is two hours of fluff, popcorn-munching, grinning, totally predictable fluff. It's meant to be. A director with the chops of John Madden doesn't assemble a cast of some of the most accomplished actors on the planet - Judi Dench, Bill Nighy, Maggie Smith, Tom Wilkinson - without being clear about the mission. Let's go to India, hang out together, and have some fun.


Story line? Simple. For various reasons, but mostly out of some form of desperation, a group of British retirees are tempted by the adverts to move to India to live inexpensively and...well...exotically. The Hotel is a disaster. But so what? As the young Indian co-owner of the hotel predicts, "Everything will be all right in the end. If everything is not all right, it is not yet the end." And in the end, everyone gets what they want, or at least what they need.

Predictable? You bet. But as easy-breezy as the cin…