Archive for the ‘People’ Category

What do Kevin Costner and the heavy metal band KISS have in common?

For starters, both Costner, who is an actor, producer, and director and now a musician, and the heavy make-up, heavy-rock band play terrible music terribly. Both demonstrated this last night on the German TV show Wetten, dass..? a reality game show extremely popular in Europe. It’s kind of a cross between Sábado Gigante and The Tonight Show, and draws ratings in German-speaking countries of 50% or more of viewers.

Both Costner and the members of KISS are, shall we say, past the green of their lives. Costner is in his mid-fifty’s, and KISS members are all on the far side of that. But they are kids compared to Sophia Loren, who was also on the show last night. Loren is supposed to be 76-years old, and is starting to look it.

Sophia didn’t sing on the show. I wish Costner, who is touring Europe with a modern country music band,  hadn’t either.  To say that Costner can’t sing would be heaping undeserved praise on him. With luck, old Kevin will get over his mid-life crisis before he brings his show stateside, potentially exposing dozens of die-hard fans to the embarrassment of it all. KISS sounded the same as always when they took the stage. Which is to say I think they were lip-syncing an old tune.

One bright spot in the show is co-host Michelle Hunziker. And before you say “just another pretty face” consider this. The admittedly easy-on-the-eyes model, actress, singer and dancer speaks Italian, French, German, English and Dutch. This came in handy when talking to Sophia, who doesn’t speak German, and Costner, who while married to a German woman, doesn’t speak much of anything.


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Getting Outside

We have time these days to get out and enjoy the weather. It doesn’t matter if it is cold and snowing like it was today. And it doesn’t matter if all we do is walk to the store and back.

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Harbor at Cape Porpoise, Maine














A small coastal village in the town of Kennebunkport, Maine, Cape Porpoise was named by explorer Captain John Smith in 1614 during his exploration of New England. Smith is most remembered for his role in establishing the first permanent English settlement in North America at Jamestown, Virginia, and his brief association with the Virginia Indian girl Pocahontas.  Less well-known is that he is reputed to have defeated, killed and beheaded Turkish commanders in three duels, for which he was knighted by the Transylvanian Prince Sigismund Báthory and given a horse and coat of Arms showing three Turks’ heads. This however, and stories of Pocahontas saving his life, may be embellishments or downright lies, as Smith was considered a trouble maker and was believed to stretch the truth from time to time.

So we should remember that when our leaders lie, they’re just carrying on a long-standing tradition in this country.

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Julia and her sisters have been visiting thier grandparent, friend of ours in the neighborhood. They came over one day and sat for my first “backyard portrait” attempt. Julia is almost five years old.


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Tomorrow, all America celebrates Günter Berthel’s birthday. Many happy returns, Herr Doktor Fuchs.


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3483994905_8e7bf13f41_mPete Souza is the chief White House photographer and the guy who takes pictures of the President when all of the other photojournalists are sent out of the room. You can see his work on the official photostream of the White House. Only a fraction of the photographs he takes will make it to this on-line album, but they show a lot more than I normally would expect to see. And all are available to the public, not just the one or two that make it into the newspapers and magazines. While this isn’t the pictorial equivalent of the Nixon tapes, it is revealing. Especially of the major and minor players surrounding the President and who aren’t paying attention when the invisible man with the camera gets busy. 

I don’t know if it was Souza who came up with idea of posting pictures to Flickr. While he is a published freelance photojournalist who has been around for a while, Flickr is the MacDonald’s of the on-line photography world. The two don’t seem all that compatible to me. 

These official White House photographs are being made available for publication by news organizations and/or for personal use printing by the subject(s) of the photographs. The photographs may not be used in materials, advertisements, products, or promotions that in any way suggest approval or endorsement of the President, the First Family, or the White House.

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Amerika, ich komme! 6000 Kilometer will Bernd Barthel bei seiner Amerika-Durchquerung mit seinem Fahrrad erfahren.

Amerika, ich komme! 6000 Kilometer will Bernd Barthel bei seiner Amerika-Durchquerung mit seinem Fahrrad "erfahren".

I’m coming, America!

Bernd Barthel is a retired school teacher from Hassfurt, Germany. Hassfurt is right next to Knetzgau, the little town where we will be retiring to soon. Mr. Barthel is planning a cross-country bicycle ride from California to New York this summer. Gerda met a young niece of his when they shared a hospital room in Hassfurt a few years back. When we read about his planned trip in the Hassfurter Tagblatt recently, we thought we might invite Mr. Barthel to stop by if he was passing through the area. So she looked up the name in the phone book and called Germany this morning. She ended up speaking with another niece, whose mother knows Gerda from the time she was in the hospital with the younger niece. This lady was probably pretty surprised to get a call from America, offering help for her uncle’s road trip before he even gets underway. But it is a small world, at least in some respects. I rode a motorcycle across the country once years ago, and that wasn’t easy. I don’t think I would make it on a bicycle, but this fellow has made other long-distance tours in Europe so he knows what it’s like. 

I don’t know yet what route Mr. Barthel is planning to take in this 6000 kilometer journey, but if he’s planning on crossing the Appalachians, Cumberland Gap is just down the road from here. Daniel Boone found this a convienient path across the mountains. Maybe is still is. We’ll see.

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Black and Blue

dsc_0008_edited-2The longest lasting effect of Gerda’s recent adventure will probably be the ugly bruising to both arms, caused by the IVs and other needles she was stuck with at the hospital. The front of her left forearm is so bruised, it looks like a farmer’s tan. But this to shall pass.

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Bristol Regional Medical Center

Bristol Regional Medical Center

Gerda’s first helicopter ride was on Easter Sunday. Unfortunately, it was to the Bristol Regional Medical Center where she was admitted to the Medical Intensive Care Unit after suffering a seizure that evening. She is home now and I expect she will fully recover.

I learned a lot during the time Gerda was in the hospital, and hope to write about some of this here. But probably the most important thing to come of all this is the realization that I am not ready, willing or able to go it alone. Thankfully, I won’t have to today.

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Originally uploaded by kilgorebrian13

I’ve been experimenting with the free trial-version of Adobe Photo Shop Elements 7, using actions and guided editing. I kind of like how easy it is to use, and will probably end up buying the update.

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