It’s not often that I meet someone with such joie de vivre as Steve Braithwaite.
Braithwaite, the builder and operator of the Big Banana Car,
The author with the Big Banda Car.
is raising money and awareness for deep vein thrombosis. His mother died of DVT after a flight to England. Simple steps such as getting up and walking, wearing support hose or taking an aspirin can help prevent DVT.
Braithwaite will set off soon on a tour of Europe, the Middle East and Far East, with his art car. Bringing smiles to faces and hopefully preventing unnecessary deaths.
Along the way officers have stopped the vehiicle –to pose for pictures. And young women have a tendency to go wild at the site ot the unusual vehicle. Braithwaite said that his mother would have wanted him to enjoy life and he is. Toot toot.
A recent New York Times article on dog names had tongues wagging at the dog park. My pup is named Zoey and so are several of her playmates, although Chloe seems to be the most popular name for female hounds in our local dog park. Several males answer to Cooper.
The article recommends shorter names, and also names you’ll comfortable using for 10 or more years. Like human names, fashions in dog names have changed over the years. There are no longer many pooches named Fido, for example. Since dogs are now more like members of our families than mere pets, their names have taken on new weight. Yet, I doubt dogs themselves care much which appellation they’re called. As long as Milkbones are handy, they’re happy.
My father, who turns 80 this year, has enjoyed many satisfying days on the golf course, having taken up the sport as a young man. After playing these many years he shot his first hole in one in 2011 and spends two or three days a week on the links near his home in Florida. While not a golfer myself, I enjoyed immensely “The Art of Golf,” a new exhibit at The Philadelphia Museum of Art.
A bagpiper serenaded members of the press to herald the opening of show, which like golf, has roots in Scotland. The highlight of the exhibit is a large oil painting, the seven-foot wide “The Golfers” painted in 1847 by Scottish artist Charles Lees. The painting depicts a crowd of onlookers surrounding a hole during a tournament at the famous St. Andrews golf course. A quaint detail shows a young girl selling ginger beer, which was common at the fourth hole at the venerable St. Andrews.
The exhibit also features an early red coat worn by golf club members, examples of wooden golf clubs that players often made themselves and a feather ball. The feather-filled leather golf ball was also often made by golfers, said museum curator Jennifer Thompson.
Another interesting item displayed was an elaborate trophy made from a silver golf club adorned with silver balls hanging from its shank that was used at St. Andrews by the “Noblemen and Gentlemen of Fife” from 1754 to 1930.
“The Art of Golf” runs from March 16 to July 7. Giving the show more resonance with area golf aficionados, during its tenure the U.S. Open Championship centennial will be played at the Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pa. It’s likely that many avid golfers in town for the Open will trek to the museum as well to take in the lay of the land at “The Art of Golf.”
For more information: philadmuseum.org
It’s time for the Philadelphia Flower Show again. Splashes of yellow and pink and green, green, green greet winter weary eyes. It’s a taste of spring while winter still lingers.
By all means, go to the Flower Show. Energize your inner gardener. Enjoy!
Now that a large meteor has landed and gotten the attention of the global media (not to mention the residents of a small town in Siberia), perhaps people will begin to take the threat of a near earth object striking our planet seriously.
Already scientists are studying space rocks that hurdle through our solar system at high speeds, tracking the asteroids and comets and sundry smaller bits of debris.
However, with evidence abounding of prior strikes by large meteorites, including the one that caused the extinction of the dinosaurs, one would think that programs to deflect life-threatening meteors would be underway. And it appears that some progress has been made. However, more needs to be done. The space faring nations should work together on this goal. If the big one hits, we’re doomed.
What is it about the courts in New Jersey that inspires authors? I just read a fascinating account by defense lawyer John Hartmann of his years in the legal profession, “Jacket: The Trials of a New Jersey Criminal Defense Lawyer.” If you’re thinking about going into the thickets of criminal law in New Jersey, his tips and advice are on point. Some of the tales he tells about his clients sound too fanciful to be true. But, having covered the courthouse in Trenton for the Times of Trenton when a few of these cases occurred, I can say, “Yes, this really did happen.”
Meanwhile, my own stories about the courthouse in my novel ,”Trenton Dead,” are based loosely on my experience and, of course, are fiction. Why don’t you read both and judge. Is truth stranger than fiction?
It’s rare that life offers so vivid a contrast.
This past week I paid a Shivah call on a friend whose elderly mother had passed away and was a guest at the wedding of my daughter’s best friend. The strong emotions that each occasion yielded, sadness contrasting with joy, reminded me that life is there for the taking and the exhortation: “Seize the day.”
The young couple began their time together under the chupah or wedding canopy. The bride’s face shone, her new husband beamed. A glass was shattered, reminding one of the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem and how fleeting life can be. Guests congratulated the couple and their proud parents.
During Shivah, the mourning period, friends and family comfort the mourners. The familiar words of the Kaddish were read. We can take comfort in a life well lived and the love of family.
I’ll admit it. I’m hooked. I can’t wait for Downton Abbey to begin its third season tonight. I can’t remember being so excited about a television show as an adult. If you’re wondering what all the fuss is about a show that is set in England before, during and after the first World War, I can only say tune in and see. Downton is on PBS at 9 p.m. EST.
Why do we read fiction? To leave our own lives for a bit, to be transported to another place and time, or to walk in another’s shoes? These are more are the pleasures that fiction allows, one’s own imagination more vivid than a movie, television show or video game.
I’ve just finished two good books, that take place in other times: “The Dovekeepers” by Alice Hoffman and “Wolf Hall” by Hilary Mantel. While Hoffman’s story is set in ancient Israel and tells the tale of Masada from women’s viewpoints, Mantel’s book takes place during the reign of Henry VIII, and as seen through the eyes of Thomas Cromwell. Both were engrossing.
Meanwhile, writing fiction also has its pleasures. I’m working on the sequel to my first novel, “Trenton Dead.”
Happy reading to all.
The old adage is to write what you know. Mike Morsch, the editor of Montgomery Newspapers did just that when he penned a funny and poignant memoir: “Dancing in My Underwear.”
The memoir, which despite its title is G-rated, takes stories from his life as a writer, lover of music and father. Morsch uses the times when he interviewed famous musicians as a newspaper man to bring back childhood memories, engendering snapshots of his life when he first heard the Beach Boys or Olivia Newton-John, among other singers.
Perhaps the most heartfelt section of Dancing tells the tale of the birth of Mike’s oldest daughter and how the Beach Boys’ song “Surfer Girl” got him through some of the scariest times for a new dad.
Morsch, who also writes a column for the chain of weekly papers, has written a book that’s as approachable and friendly as he is himself. Enjoy.