October 25, 2016


The picture above sets the stage for this posting as our stay in Barcelona continues. I am sure that everyone takes away one or two specific imperessions of a place they visit for the first time.  For me, what has impressed me most after two days in Barcelona is the diversity of  the city’s architecture.  I know vitually nothing about architectural design other than I react to it in terms of appearance and function.

img_6385smThat’s our hotel in the picture above.  It’s very much typical of many other early 20th Century buildings that make up a good portion of the city. Window balconies adorn the facades of all of these buildings. One curiousity that cannot be missed are the trash bins.  Despite great efforts to maintain the magnificence of the buildings, their curb appeal is marred by these rather large, ugly containers.  There seems to have been no effort to hide or at least “beautify” them.  While the original appearance of the exteriors has been maticuously maintained, not so the interiors.


Many have been contemporized, such as the interior of our hotel which features elaborately tiled bathrooms and rooms accented with sculptures and wall art.

img_6439aMy extensive walking days are pretty much over when it comes to touring a new environment.  In the past I found walking the best way to really visit a city and feel its mood and culture.  For the first time ever, I joined some of the folks we are traveling with and hopped aboard a double-decker tour bus.  It was great!  It ran a path through the entire city and as best I can tell, didn’t miss any of the sites worth visiting.  It was a good way to get an overall picture of Barcelona and then cherry-pick specific items to visit the next day.

The bus also offered a good platform for picture taking, especially since I was focusing on the buildings.  That said, it is impossible to mention Barcelona without reference to Antoni Gaudi, the city’s foremost modernista architect.  His Art Nouveau/Modernisme influence, as downright weird as it appears to many, cannot be missed. Towering above the city is Sagrada Familia, Gaudi’s Gothic Cathederal, where he devoted 43 years of his life. Its construction has continued on and off since Gaudi’s death in 1926.  Completion is projected for 2026.img_6494sm

Gaudi’s work is no less eye-catching than that of many of Barcelona’s contempory architects.  The city is peppered with stuctures both unique and beautiful. I had a hard time selecting some examples to show you, so here’s a bunch…

The most spectacular building that got my biggest W O W ! was the white one above.  Unfortunately, we did  not get close enough to get a better shot or be able to identify it…but it was really pretty cool!  And, BTW, if you think Times Square in New York city is the only place known for large advertisements, Check out the sides of this building…img_6446asm



October 23, 2016


Day 1… Day of Departure.  The early morning goes smoothly; little is left to do.  I have been sufficiently compulsive and organized enough that everything that had to be done in preparation for the big trip has been completed and the little box next to each item has been checked off.  The ride to the airport is uneventful.  We book two large bags at the curbside check-in and I dutifully watch them travel down the conveyor belt until they awkwardly drop into a deep dark hole which will—if all goes well—tunnel them all the way to Barcelona, Spain…maybe.

We have two flights this morning.  One from Fort Lauderdale to Atlanta, Georgia; the other from Atlanta direct to Barcelona.  The highlight of the latter leg is focused on the contemplation of what it takes for all the kazillion parts in the engine to function in perfect order for an uninterrupted 8 hours and 37 minutes.  This is a hard concept for me since I can barely function in moderate order for 8 minutes.

The first clue that this may not be an easy trip was evident upon boarding and taking our seats on the first flight.  There is little room between rows to allow the blood in our legs to circulate. I make little of it.  It’s less than a two hour flight so I can handle it.  Besides, I reassure Rosemarie that the next flight will be an all-nighter and an international one at that. I am sure on those kinds of fights they will not cram us in like sardines.

legsWell, as it turns out, my sardine analogy is anyting but accurate.  The seats on the second plane were jammed together even closer than on the fist flight.  That’s an uncensored picture of my legs just before they went numb.  It had to be the most uncomfortable plane ride I’ve ever been on.  Delta Airlines, you should be ashamed of yourself.  It amazes me how greedy airlines have become as they talk out of both sides of their mouths saying how important customer satisfaction is while squeezing together the rows of seating in their planes until blood clots begin forming.


There were two meals served on this flight:  a dinner and a boxed breakfast of yogurt, orange juice, a cheese Roll and a few other things I’d like to forget about and did.  The other meal was described by the flight attendant as “hot chicken with vegetables.”  Yep.

A century or more passed and we eventually landed in Barcelona.  The landing, thank goodness, was scary enough to help keep our minds off the excruciating pain we had to endure while we extricatedd our mummified legs from the tiny chambers in which they had been stored for the past nine hours.

Two challenges remained that would help make our journey of misery all the more driversmemorable. After going through Customs we were channeled into a large room
where we were supposed to find a young man holding a sign with my name on it.  Said young man had been reserved and paid for weeks previously.  His assignment was to pick us up at the airport and drive us to the hotel.  There were many of his colleagues doing the same, although he was nowhere to be found. Two phone calls and several nervously muttered what-do-we-do-now’s came and went.  I spent the time thanking God for granting us repossession of our luggage, it having successfully popped out of the other end of the great black hole it had tumbled into back in Fort Lauderdale.

hotelOur man with the car finally arrived and after a reasonably normal ride we finally arrived at the hotel (see picture), exhausted with a wee bit of jet lag and looking forward to a corresponding wee bit of a nap.  It was not meant to be.  We were told our room was not ready and wouldn’t be until 3 o’clock.  It was 10am.  We had only four hours to kill.  Sure.

Just prior to leaving the airport we had met up with another couple who were part of our informal group.  Their room wasn’t ready either so the four of us walked to a small restaurant down the street and camped out there for awhile.  BTW, one quick way to confirm you are in a major city in Europe is to simply count the motor scooters.  You can’t….too many.scooters

Okay, I will admit the rest of the evening went more or less trouble free…until I began attempting to put this posting together.  For some reason, WordPress’ blog programming doesn’t like my new laptop.  Nothing was working right.  I battled it out for several hours past midnight and finally surrenderd. A battle lost, but maybe I was just having a bad day…yuh think?



October 21, 2016


Marc’s Blog is going on a road trip. Well, actually, it’s not on the road, but on the ocean.  We begin today (Friday) with a flight to Barcelona, Spain.  There, we will stay and roam the city until Tuesday.  Tuesday afternoon we board Celebrity Cruise Line’s Eqionox and there we’ll grab a deck chair for 13 days as we eat our way back home to Fort Lauderdale.  Stops along the way include Cartagena, Morocco, and two in the Canary Islands.  I will attempt a travelblog letting you know where we’ve been, what we’ve done and, of course, what and how much we have eaten!  map

I hope you will check in here several times over the next two weeks.  I’ll treat you to one of those fruity rum drinks with an umbrella and chunk of pineapple floating on top. Here’s a map so you won’t get lost.  Bon Voyage!


The Bimp on my Nose

October 19, 2016


This morning, without warning, I received a bimp on my nose.

“Oh no, not again!” is what my wife will say, I suppose.

I was having trouble sleeping so I decided I’d do some cleaning.

The bathroom was my mission; in no time I’d have it gleaming.

As usual it happened so fast I wasn’t exactly sure what hit me.

As I watched the droplets of blood dropping on the floor continuously

Most often I do things too quickly but that’s how I function day to day.

In this case it was the towel rack with which my nose got in the way.

I do things like this all the time and the result is always the same.

Some part of me winds up bleeding or bruised or broken and lame.

If I just slowed down a little and thought more clearly,

Surely I’d survive more of my antics and suffer less dearly.

But then, I know you may find this difficult to understand,

Sometimes a little injury makes the achievement all the more grand!



October 17, 2016


Have you ever seen the inside of a radio studio? Most people have at one time or another. Maybe it was on a TV show, a movie or perhaps it was the setting for a news story. There is one sure-shot you can count on almost every time you see the inside of a radio studio and that’s the close-up shot of the Vu meters. These are the meters that measure the level of sound being generated by things like the announcer speaking, the music being played or the vumetercommercials enticing you to buy.

“Vu” stands for “volume unit.” If the needle on the meter regularly crosses a specific measure of decibels that signifies the audio level is too high and someone or something should lower it.

“So wazzup with all this? you ask.   Well, one of my life-long personal failures is my inability to control my Vu meter. When I am agitated or even in a mild state of being pissed off, my output levels shoot way past the recommended high.   I’m not the only one with this problem. There must be a gazillion people who suffer likewise. One irony about this annoying trait is that one who is prone to uncontrolled levels has no problem with raising his or her voice when it’s family involved in the discussion. Nope, there is no inhibition when angry mom or dad lays into defenseless child. But change the environment to non-family participants and the levels drop dramatically…usually.

So my comfort zone for yelling uninhibitedly at those I love the most and whom I should respect the most, has little restraint. Meanwhile, co-workers or simply co-people anywhere never become the subject of, nor witness, my true wrath. Odd, huh? And every time I fall into this trap I reget it. Isn’t it much better to argue a point or express your opinion in a calm, level manner. I suspect the communications is much more effective at the lower levels despite the intimidation that yelling at someone might cause.

How often do you “lose it?” Could we all use a little anger management in our lives? Wouldn’t our world be a lot better if all our Vu meters peaked at the same tolerable increment? What makes us think that raising our voice more effectively gets our point across?

Most radio station transmitters have what is called a “limiter” installed. Its function is to automatically bring down the audio output when levels exceed the recommended boundary. I think having a limiter installed at birth might be a good idea for us humans. I shall speak to God about this and see if it’s something that might be at least considered for future generations.



October 6, 2016


March 10, 1876…despite most folks havixng no idea what happened on this day, it’s a date that has really lived in infamy.   That’s the day Alexander Graham Bell spoke into his new invention and said, “Mr. Watson, come here. I want to see you.” Today, Bell would have probably just texted his message to Mr. Watson. Or, better yet, if he actually wanted to see him, he would have “face-timed” Mr. Watson.

phone1I would guess the telephone is not only the most prevalent and relevant invention used for communication, it is likely also the one most taken for granted. This is because of its universality, its simplicity, its longevity and its capacity to constantly reinvent and renew its role in our lives, ensuring that, indeed, it is always part of our lives…even more than the computer. True the latter has revolutionized our communications culture but not in the numbers of the telephone.

phone2Think about it. There are still many people, especially the elderly, who will not touch a computer. Total immersion into computers is probably another generation off. Not so with telephones. It’s the one instrument that everyone living today is totally familiar with and totally at ease with using. Its basic function and operation have remained unchanged for the 140 years since Mr. Bell beckoned Mr. Watson. We all use it to directly communicate with others and we each have a unique number that facilitates the linkage. Nothing new there!

phone4aOh, I know, you can have a bunch of apps that allow your phone to perform a gazillion other things, but if it didn’t do the basic one-on-one you’d probably be looking for something else that did.



I admit it, a lot of the new telephone technology has passed me by. If I were still working and interacting with lots of people and doing lots of things, I suppose I would be my normal adept self at knowing how to use all my apps. I’d maybe even have those hidden needle-nose fingertips that most teens use to tap out text messages at lightening speed.

But it is the antique home phone that concerns me the most. Why? Well, if you are home during the day, it wouldn’t take long for you to realized how incredibly and abominably the industry of telemarketing has grown. The fear that what is happening at home will soon happen on my cell phone gives me the shakes.

lillyI am not exaggerating when I tell you that my home phone, on the average, rings 6 to 10 times a day with calls from telemarketers.  These calls consist of live and robotic messages that solicit my purchase, my opinion, my vote, my anything. One repeatedly warns me that the Internal Revenue Service is suing me and I should call them immediately.   Adding insult, for some bazaar reason, the majority of these calls come at times when I am least able or willing to answer them. It’s as if they know! But I have learned to handle some of this unwanted traffic. All the phones in the house have screens and voicing. When the phone rings I can look at the number calling and a nice lady will attempt to announce who the caller is. Consequently we let many calls go unanswered.

envelprivacyMeanwhile, have you noticed how obsessed the businesses we deal with, especially those linked to our money flow and internet usage, have become about the issue of privacy? There is an ongoing flow of communication from these companies explaining their respect for our privacy and how dedicated they are to making sure ours is never violated. My question is, why hasn’t this persistence for privacy been extended to the telephone? Why do so few people seem to feel about telemarketing as I do. I consider it an extreme violation of my privacy. I own my telephone. I pay for the service it facilities. It is my personal, private instrument for communication.  Practically NO ONE should have access to it without my permission.  Why is this so difficult a concept to understand and why aren’t more people outraged that nobody seems to care? Am I fighting a solo battle here people?!!

Can you imagine: The phone rings. Mr. Watson answers….


“Mr. Watson, today is your lucky day. You’ve won a complete solar energy package for your home. To claim your prize call this number now…”

“But wait, I thought you just wanted to see me.”




October 4, 2016


So I’m pushing the shopping cart around into the cereal aisle at the supermarket Friday afternoon and a strange feeling comes upon me.  Since I’ve been having a lot of joint and muscle aches lately because of my ever-blossoming arthritis, I figure it’s more of that.  The sensation begins intensifying.  I can’t quite put my figure on it. It’s almost electric.  It like bands of low wattage electrical lines are wrapping themselves around my entire chest cavity.  Wait.  Wait.  Yeah, that’s sort of like a pressure sensation I’m feeling now.  It’s like there’s a wiry belt clinging around my chest and it keeps tightening.  By now I’ve stopped pushing the half-filled cart and I am just standing still trying to define what’s happening to me.  Soon, those famous five warning signs are circling the imaginary halo I see forming around my head.  Then the clincher comes—my entire jaw begins aching like every tooth on my lower jaw has decided to throb at the same time.  I am perplexed.  I am not sure what to do.  As I read it, I’m having—or about to have—a heart attack.

I look down the cereal aisle. There are some employees chatting and pointing to some of the products on the shelves.  There are refrigerated items in my cart.  I just can’t leave it and go home—at least that’s what I am telling myself.  On the other hand, I fast-forward the scene and see myself lying in the aisle with a crowd of people around me and the ambulance on its way.  Uh-uh. That picture has a lot wrong with it and I’m not posing for it.   So I decide I will go to the checkout line, pay for what I have and then go home.  This sounds good, but I keep wondering if I’ll make it before the really big squeeze comes and takes me out.

Well, to help this story along, I’ll tell you I got home and wife Rosemarie (an RN) puts on her imaginary white uniform with the blue cape and off we go to the ER. I put up no fight. I’m kind of scared.  Heart disease runs in the family.

At the ER we go through the usual routine.  Of course, by now I have no symptoms. Both the chest pressure and the achy jaw have gone away completely.  The anxiety hasn’t.  My blood pressure is 190/92.   I’m there for the long haul. They take blood, do an x-ray and three people ask me the same 20 questions.  Meanwhile, my doctor is called and he gives the directive to have me admitted.  After camping out in the ER for 7 hours I am rolled into a room on the fifth floor at 1:05am.  The room has to be at least 50 degrees if not colder.  I hate cold. I know I will be up all night, what’s left of it.

Timing is everything when it comes to hospitals.  If you wind up being admitted on a Friday night you may very well have to lie around all weekend and wait for Monday before any tests can be run to determine why you are there in the first place.  Friday night trips to the ER are best for broken bones, cuts needing stitches or skulls fractured.  These things can usually be tended to immediately.  A pending heart attack with no current symptoms…well, that’ll need tests, the kind done during the week.

Monday at noon, after three totally sleepless nights in a igloo with a fan blowing, I am rolled into a room on the lower level.  What a gang of nice people I meet.  They have to be nice because they are about to perform a diabolical test on me.  The nice straight crease in my groin that basically separates my lower stomach from my right leg is intruded by a needle which will allow entry of a catheter that will work its way up and through various veins and vessels that funnel blood into my cardio-vascular system.  The catheter will search through the tunnels looking for ones that have become clogged.  If any are found, a “stent” or expanding piece of netted tubing will be installed at the spot, expanding the opening and providing a clear passageway for blood to flow through.

Me? I’m lucky. Only a 30% blockage is found in one area, not enough for a stent and not enough to cause me a problem, at least for now.

I am discharged from the hospital at 9pm Monday night with a pile of new pills to pop.  I am relieved that nothing serious was found.  Of course, this is a little unnerving not knowing exactly why I had the scary episode in the supermarket Friday night.  The trouble with this kind of ending is that it may influence your thinking if and when you have another similar episode.  What then?  Do you react with the same cautionary “better safe than sorry,” or do you say the heck with the ER and going through all that again.  I guess the older you are, the easier the decision. Then again, I suppose it won’t be long before the insurance companies make the decision or us.


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