Tag Archives: shopping

When in Jerusalem…Go Shopping?


I’ve written about my “fondness” (do you detect the facetiousness in that statement???) for shopping. I’ve also written how my wife loves to shop – so we’ve come to a good accommodation when we shop – she shops and I either people watch or take photos. It works for us!

When you think of going to Jerusalem, though, you may not think that much about shopping. After all, there is so much to see there that is historical and absolutely fascinating! I think you could spend weeks there and not see all that there is to see.

Shopping in Jerusalem, you say? Yes! You can shop in the Old City in endless mazes of tiny shops and bazaars for scarves, knick-knacks, trinkets and the like….but you can also find some shops that have really high quality products, like the shop where I shot today’s photo. Did I buy anything there? No. I didn’t even go in, but shot the picture from outside. Did my wife buy anything there? No. Whew!!!!!!

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1962, the first U.S. helicopter was shot down in Vietnam. It was one of 15 helicopters ferrying South Vietnamese Army troops into battle near the village of Hong My in the Mekong Delta.

The first U.S. helicopter unit had arrived in South Vietnam aboard the ferry carrier USNS Core on December 11, 1961. This contingent included 33 Vertol H-21C Shawnee helicopters and 400 air and ground crewmen to operate and maintain them. Their assignment was to airlift South Vietnamese Army troops into combat.

If my calculations are accurate (based on a Wikipedia article) another 5497 would be destroyed/lost before the war came to an end.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: In 2008, a Canadian man was attacked by a grizzly bear. He survived the attack by playing dead, even when the bear began to gnaw on his scalp. The bear eventually lost interest and went away.

Learning to Like Fleas (or Their Markets!)

Double click to see a larger version of this image...
Double click to see a larger version of this image…

Well, let me make a confession that some guys just wouldn’t make. But first, let me say that I don’t enjoy shopping unless I’m at Fry’s Electronics or if I’m shopping for some “man stuff” like electronic gizmos. Oh, I guess there are other exceptions, too: I like to shop for something for my wife, kids or grand kids.  There you have it.

Here’s the confession: I’m learning to like flea markets!  No, not because I think that they are fun in and of themselves, but I like them because the provide some interesting photo opportunities, and sometimes, interesting people.

There is a very large flea market on the third weekend of each month.  I couldn’t BEGIN to estimate how many booths there are (some inside, some outside), but there were many!  There was even one vendor there who had artifacts from the time of the VIkings, Romans, and others.  Perhaps the neatest thing he had was a Danish stone dagger that was hand crafted that dated back to 1800 BC.  It was in great condition and someone in the UK who was a collector had built a box out of gorgeous wood that was even older than the dagger itself.  I asked about how much the dagger cost, and he said without a hint of joking: “About as much as a car.”  I told him that I just didn’t happen to have that much cash on me at the moment, and he laughed!  I think I’d have enjoyed knowing him more.

But today’s photo isn’t of the dagger (for some reason I didn’t even take a picture of it!!!), but of something that caught my eye because it was so beautiful and color full. My wife could tell you what this is called, (something Rose….), but I called it a photo opportunity.

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: on this day in 1799, during Napoleon Bonaparte’s Egyptian campaign, a French soldier discovered a black basalt slab inscribed with ancient writing near the town of Rosetta, about 35 miles north of Alexandria. The irregularly shaped stone contained fragments of passages written in three different scripts: Greek, Egyptian hieroglyphics and Egyptian demotic. The ancient Greek on the Rosetta Stone told archaeologists that it was inscribed by priests honoring the king of Egypt, Ptolemy V, in the second century B.C. More startlingly, the Greek passage announced that the three scripts were all of identical meaning. The artifact thus held the key to solving the riddle of hieroglyphics, a written language that had been “dead” for nearly 2,000 years.

When Napoleon, an emperor known for his high view of education, art and culture, invaded Egypt in 1798, he took along a group of scholars and told them to seize all important cultural artifacts for France. Pierre Bouchard, one of Napoleon’s soldiers, knew of this order when he found the stone, which was almost four feet long and two-and-a-half feet wide. When the British defeated Napoleon in 1801, they took possession of the Rosetta Stone.

Several scholars, including Englishman Thomas Young made progress with the initial hieroglyphics analysis of the Rosetta Stone. French Egyptologist Jean-Francois Champollion (1790-1832), who had taught himself ancient languages, ultimately cracked the code and deciphered the hieroglyphics using his knowledge of Greek as a guide. Hieroglyphics used pictures to represent objects, sounds and groups of sounds. Once the Rosetta Stone inscriptions were translated, the language and culture of ancient Egypt was suddenly open to scientists as never before.

The Rosetta Stone has been housed at the British Museum in London since 1802, except for a brief period during World War I. At that time, museum officials moved it to a separate underground location, along with other irreplaceable items from the museum’s collection, to protect it from the threat of bombs.

When I saw the Rosetta Stone in the British Museum, I almost passed out!

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: Enough sunlight reaches the earth’s surface each minute to satisfy the world’s energy demands—for an entire year.

A Place to Rest

I’m sure that none of the rest of my friends are like this, but now that I’m older than I used to be, I find myself getting tired more often.  I have never been a nap-taker (and I still am not a nap-taker), but I must confess that the idea of a nap sometimes sounds rather appealing.

There are times when I am out with my wife and she’s wandering through the mall or a large store and I will seek out a place to sit down and just rest while she’s perusing the displays and wares for sale.  I mean, if you can’t nap, you might as well sit, right?

There is a jewelry store in Mendocino that my wife absolutely loves.  It is on the main drag as you head toward the ocean and it is fairly well toward the end of the street.  One of the reasons she loves it so much is that they sell Holly Yashi jewelry (which, probably, is my wife’s favorite – especially when it comes to earrings).  So, that is one of two stores where we must stop every time we go.  The other one is a chocolate shop (of course, she’s a woman, what can I say?)  The good news about the chocolate shop is that once she gets there, she knows what she wants and she goes straight for the jugular and within minutes she’s walking out of the store.  The jewelry store, however, is another matter.

Fortunate for me, they have benches outside the front door when a poor soul like me can sit and bide their time until the little woman emerges from the store.  As I sat on one of the benches in the shade this last time, there was another bench diagonally across from me that was partly in shade, partly in sun.  I thought it might be interesting, so I shot it.  It is today’s photo.

For all you men out there who need to wait while your wife/girlfriend is in a store, take advantage of such seating places as often as you can.  You never know how long they may be in the store!

RestBenchON THIS DAY IN HISTORY:  in 1611, English navigator Henry Hudson, famous for attempting to find a route from Europe to Asia via the Arctic Ocean, was set adrift in Hudson Bay by mutineers, on his ship Discovery; he was never seen again. Some think he, Elvis and Jimmy Hoffa went into business together.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: In 1939, the U.S. Treasury Department reported that actor Gary Cooper was the nation’s top wage earner. That year he earned $482,819.   My, how times have changed!


Let’s Go Shopping!

OK, this one is for all you out there who love to go shopping!!!  I can, at times, count myself among your numbers depending on what I’m shopping for and what kind of store it is.  For example, if my wife wants to shop for shoes, clothes, a purse or hair products, I’d just as soon visit the dentist.  But if it comes to electronics, my favorite store in the world is the chain in California known as Frye’s Electronics…it is heaven on earth!  I must also say, though, that I don’t really get complete satisfaction from shopping anywhere for one reason: those doggone stores always want you to pay for something you want rather than just taking it out of the store!!!  I’m such a penny-pincher that I hate to pay for things that I want very badly!

I’m not sure how popular shopping would be for many Americans if you were in India.  Sure, there are rows of small stores that have attractive window displays showing their wares on some of the streets in the downtown areas, but most of the shopping that the Indian people do takes place in stores like the one in today’s photo that I took in June in Mumbai.  All along the side of the streets and roads you see “businesses” like these that sell something.  Some sell fresh(?) fruit or produce, some are little restaurants (wouldn’t pass the health inspections here, I’m sure), some may sell bottled water, or matches, or bamboo leaves or chai.  And sadly, some also serve as the homes of the proprietors.

At all hours of the day and night, you see people jammed into stores like these.  India seems to be a country that never sleeps…at least not in Hyderabad, Bangalore and Mumbai.  There are always people out and about, moving, honking horns, talking with each other.

So, how about it?  Shopping, anyone?

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: the second battle of Isanzo began on this day in 1915.  It was the first battle, and thus began the fighting, in World War 1.  A series of battles were fought on that river during the year with no gain for either site.  The cost for the battles: 280,000 men.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: from 1941 through 1950, violet was one of the colors of plain “M&M” candies.  It was then replaced by tan.  BAD decision, if you ask me…


Shopping Day in Hyderabad Slum

The slums we visited in India all had a unique sense to them, even though there were many things that they all had in common.  I don’t know if they did it on purpose or not, but the first slum we visited was probably the least difficult to see in terms of emotional impact.  Don’t get me wrong…the people were all still desperately poor and the conditions were deplorable.

I’ve mentioned before how the women always seemed to wear clean clothing and to dress their children as nicely as they possibly could.  The level of their children’s clothing, and their own, of course varied from family to family and from slum to slum.  The Mudfort Slum in Bangalore was to a large extent bereft of many colorful and clean clothes.

This is a picture I took in Hyderabad at the first slum we visited of a mother, carrying a child and returning with a bag of rice in her right hand.  She was dressed beautifully.  This woman was probably Hindu, while the girl trailing behind her was almost certainly Muslim, judging from her head covering and modest clothing.  They seemed, for the most part, to live side by side in peace.  In India, the constitution stipulates that there is freedom of religion, so Hindus, Muslims and Christians all might live next door to one another.  It made for a very interesting object lesson that much of the world could learn from.  Sadly, it’s not that way in many places.

A mother in a slum of Hyderabad, India

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1945, “Fat Boy”, the experimental plutonium bomb, was detonated in the desert.  The mushroom cloud rose to 41,000 as all life within a mile of the location of the bomb immediately ceased to exist.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: William Semple, a dentist, first added sugar to chewing gum in 1869.  Dentists ever since have been thanking him for the increase in their business!!!!

Let the Bustle Begin

Here we are on Black Friday eve.  Bellies are stuffed, families are enjoying one another’s company, the smells of Thanksgiving dinner linger.  There is SO MUCH I have to be thankful for.  In fact, I can’t think of anything that I can’t be thankful for.  I’m the luckiest, most blessed guy on earth.

But tomorrow won’t be such a calm, kick-back type of day.  Tomorrow is Black Friday…so called because it is the day that retailers hope will push them into the black for the year.  Shop, shop, shop!  Stores open at midnight and people crowd in to begin their Christmas shopping.  Tonight on the news, there were clips of people who have been camping outside of Best Buy in order to try to take advantage of the savings.

I must say, I don’t get it.  How can anyone think it is fun to sit on the cement, bundled up against the cold, just to save a tiny bit extra on some do-dad or gadget?  Wouldn’t it be much better to spend it with family…and maybe pay a bit more for the item in a day or two?  I must say, I am not a shopper by nature, so I don’t get the thrall of it anyway.

Today’s photo was taken on June 8, 2002 at New York City’s Times Square.  I just thought that the busyness of the scene was fitting for the coming day.  If you go shopping, that’s fine.  I will love you anyway….but don’t look for me.  I won’t be there!

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1961, The Lion Sleeps Tonight became the first African song to hit the top of the US music charts.  It was a version of a South African folk song called Wimoweh and was recorded by the Tokens in English.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: the National Wild Turkey Foundation says that the population of wild turkeys in the United States has grown from a low of 30,000 to over 4 million today.  There is a park in Iowa that has 100 turkeys per square mile…and that’s not counting the Iowans who are there!!!  (Since I’m from Iowa, I can make Iowa Jokes!)


A Mid-summer’s Nightmare

What inhabits your nightmares?  Some folks are terrified by dreams where they have to speak in front of a large audience.  Others have nightmares where they are out in public when they suddenly realize they aren’t clothed.  Some, myself included, have had nightmares that someone is in the house during the night and they come into your room where you’ve been peacefully sleeping and you awaken (in your dream) but you find yourself “frozen” – you can’t move or say a thing no matter how hard you try.

I’m sure that you’ve had nightmares that had nothing to do with the above things, but which were terrifyingly real.  Nightmares are no fun.

Now, I’m about to get myself in trouble.  Remember those old equations in school where A=C, B-C, and therefore, A=B?  Remember those?  Well, here I go.  Nightmares are no fun.  Shopping is no fun.  Therefore, shopping is a nightmare!  (At least to us guys, unless you’re shopping for power tools, fishing gear, high-tech stuff or camera gear!)

Here’s a photo I took of a shopping area in the nearby town of Sonoma.  We went there a while back to try to find a certain kind of plate from a Danish store.  Laurel has collected plates with the dates of the kids and their spouses births, and we knew of a little store that was down this “alley” that carried them.  Notice I put that in past tense, “carried.”  It turns out the store was no longer there – apparently forced out of business by our wonderful economy.  There must not be much demand for that particular type of Danish plate with the year engraved on it.  I’m truly sorry that store is no longer in business – it represented someone’s hopes and dreams and a lot of hard work.  I hope they are okay, somehow.

But, the scene from my nightmare: shopping!!!  I’ve found a way to make it much more palatable.  When Laurel goes shopping and I tag along, I take my camera, too.  It’s a great diversion, gives me a chance to practice, and usually nobody cares.  I say “usually” because I once was approached by the security officer in a mall and told I couldn’t shoot pictures inside the mall.  That was a bummer.

A guy's method of making shopping "ok": take a camera and take pictures!

ON THIS AY IN HISTORY: in 1963, Martin Luther King, Jr., gave his incredible “I Have a Dream” speech on the mall in Washington, DC.  It is estimated that over 250,000 were present that day to hear his powerful words that still captive hearts and minds to this day.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: the American Animal Hospital Association did a survey and found that 62 percent of of dog owners sign letters or cards from themselves with not only their own name, but their dog’s name, too.