Saturday, December 20, 2014

New Mystery/Thriller Novel

If you are a fan of the late great mystery writer, P.D. James, or the late French mystery writer. Georges Simenon or even, John Grisham, have I got a treat for you. My mystery/ thriller, "Dead in the Water," is in pre-production right now. The lead investigator, Lieutenant Morales,  is sort of a combination of James' Adam Dalgliesh and Simenon's Inspector Maigret, with a twist of Lieutenant Columbo thrown in for good measure. Partly set on a cruise ship in the Caribbean and in Miami, including Little Havana, the plot also features a trial attorney with some unusual clients.

As "Dead in the Water" comes closer to publication, I will include an excerpt in this blog. So, keep your eyes on this blog in the next few weeks. I know you will enjoy the book when it becomes available on Amazon and Kindle and in your favorite bookstore.

P.S. An excerpt is now available on this blog.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

A Swiss Colony in America

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to visit an Alpine village in Switzerland, but can't afford the trip to Europe? If so, I have the next best place for you to visit: New Glarus, Wisconsin.

New Glarus is a Swiss Colony established in 1845 by immigrants from the Swiss canton of Glarus. The original settlers left Switzerland because of a depression in the hand weaving industry that was the principal occupation of the immigrants.

Located about 40 minutes from Madison, where the University of Wisconsin is located, New Glarus is currently home to about 1700 residents. Most live on large farms in the lush, rolling hills of Wisconsin. It was those hills that apparently reminded the original Swiss immigrants of their own Swiss mountains and caused them to settle there.

There is a small town center where several restaurants and shops feature Swiss food specialties such as cheese fondues and genuine Swiss chocolates. FYI: most so-called Swiss chocolates such as Lindt are actually made in the US. A New Glarus beer is also available in the restaurants.

My wife and I recently stopped in New Glarus on our way back from visiting our daughter and her family in Minnesota. My wife's family was from that same canton in Switzerland, but they opted to stay in Pittsburgh. Certain of her distant relatives did continue on to New Glarus and we were able to find their name on a memorial in front of the town church.

So, if you are interested in Swiss life, make New Glarus a definite stop.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

CBS News: 60 Minutes Examines Mindfulness

 I have written a number of posts about the physical, mental and spiritual benefits of mindfulness. Today's "60 Mintutes" examined those benefits through a segment presented by Anderson Cooper. I highly recommend it for those interested in the way to experience mindfulness.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Lawrenceville: Hipster Heaven

 You have probably never heard of the neighborhood located in the East end of Pittsburgh known as Lawrenceville. But you will. Lawrenceville recently was named one of the top 26 neighborhoods for hipsters in the world by Business Insider. Other neighborhoods in the list included the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn and Shoreditch in London..This is quite an honor for this former blue collar neighborhood of row houses and steelworker bars where I grew up and lived for many years.

When I grew up there, Lawrenceville was basically known for two things: an explosion at the Allegheny Arsenal during the Civil War which killed almost one hundred women, men and children ; and the location of the birthplace of Stephen Foster, the 19th century composer of songs like Camptown Races ("doo dah") and My Old Kentucky Home, played before every Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky.

Located about three miles from downtown Pittsburgh, it is eminently walkable and served by excellent public transportation. The home of two large, public parks, it has always been a good place to raise a family. But a few years ago, Lawrenceville began to undergo a fundamental change in its character. Young people in particular began to recognize its potential. Houses were well-built and relatively inexpensive compared to other popular Pittsburgh neighborhoods. Millennials saw the potential in those homes and began flocking to Lawrenceville, where they plucked up those bargains and renovated and transformed them according to their taste.

At the same time, others saw the need for restaurants and other amenities to serve these new residents who had lots of available cash. What had been local dive bars were turned into gourmet restaurants. One of them, Cure, was recently named one of the best restaurants in the country by Bon Appetit magazine.

Lawrenceville had always had a thriving art scene. But with the arrival of these new hipsters, the arts flourished.  Many new galleries and studios were built in converted houses and former retail storefronts.

So, if you are a hipster (or think you are) or if you are just looking for a nice place to live and work, you might want to give Lawrenceville a look.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

MY EBook, How to Negotiate, Free on Amazon

For a limited time, my EBook, How to Negotiate, is available for free on Amazon. Follow the link below for your copy. It is a short book designed to give you the consumer in a nutshell the best way to negotiate deals every day at the supermarket, at the automobile dealer, the department store and even on the job. If you like, please write a review on Amazon to let me know what you liked
Thanks and enjoy.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Dark Chocolate Can Save Your Life

Do you crave chocolate, especially dark chocolate? If you do, you may actually be improving your health.  Recent studies show that regular consumption of dark chocolate can help lower blood pressure, lower bad cholesterol and actually improve cognitive function and memory particularly in older adults.

Considering Retrement?

If you are preparing for retirement in the next few months or years, you might want to read this article that first appeared in U.S. News and World Report and was recently republished in the Huffington Post.  I think that it provides had good blueprint for those considering retirement.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Traveling is Good for You

As anyone who reads this blog knows by now, my wife and I are frequent travelers.  While we always enjoyed traveling, now that we are retired, we have the time to travel as much as our retirement resources allow us to do.  Recently, we have been traveling a lot.  We just returned from a visit with our daughter and her family in Minnesota.

During our visit, we had a number of wonderful experiences in the Minneapolis area, which we will be writing about.  On the way back  home, we also made stops in New Glarus, Wisconsin and Springfield, Illinois.  

I will be writing about each of these adventures in the very near future. So, stay tuned.  What I wanted to share with you today is the somewhat surprising finding that traveling can be good for you, despite the perceived stresses of flying and driving.  

A study conducted by Expedia in 2013 found that 90% of vacationers experienced less stress after a day or two away from the office or factory.  Many other studies have shown that the failure to take regular vacations can both speed  up the aging process and result in a greater risk of coronary related disease and deaths. "Feeling Stressed? Hit the Road," Minnesota, Money Magazine, October 2014, p. 9.

Now, not everyone can travel or take a vacation as often as we do.  But keep in mind, if you can, give a vacation a try.  It just might save your life.

O Canada, We Stand with You

Those of you who read this blog regularly know that we frequently visit Canada, particularly, Niagara Falls and Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario.  We, like most Americans, were abhorred by the recent assassinations, apparently by self-styled terrorists, of two Canadian soldiers in Ottawa and Quebec. Our hearts and prayers go out to the families, friends and colleagues of these two brave men, who died in the line of duty.

We have always viewed Canada as a neighbor of peaceful people, who love their hockey and enjoy life.  The cowards, who took the lives of these two young men, seek by their acts to sow hatred and fear not only in Canada but throughout the civilized world.  We must not let that happen.We were heartened by the comment by Canada's Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, in an address to the Canadian Parliament yesterday morning, that "Canadians will not be intimidated." "Here, Here!"

As Pittsburgh residents, we were also touched by the gesture by the Pittsburgh Penguins hockey team,  which before Wednesday night's hockey game in Pittsburgh, asked all of the fans to sing the Canadian national anthem, "O Canada."

Let the events of these recent days be a reminder to all of us that no country, no state, no city and no neighborhood is immune to the violence and evil that today stalks the world.  I am reminded, however, of the words of John F. Kennedy in his Inaugural Address that we should all keep in mind :

  Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.
  To those old allies whose cultural and spiritual origins we share, we pledge the loyalty of faithful friends. United, there is little we cannot do in a host of cooperative ventures. Divided, there is little we can do—for we dare not meet a powerful challenge at odds and split asunder.6

Have a Drink and Improve Your Memory

If you are over sixty, you have probably experienced those dreaded "senior moments."  You know what I'm talking about: those times when you can't remember where you put your reading glasses or car keys, or maybe even where you parked your car at the mall.  If so, I have good news for you: have a glass of wine or two a day and you might actually improve your memory.

Recent studies at several universities have shown that moderate consumption of alcohol, seven to fourteen glasses of wine or beer per week, may actually improve your "episodic memory," the ability to remember events. The studies are based upon follow-up analyses of participants in the famed Framington Heart Study. The consumption of alcohol is believed to increase brain cells.

This follows several earlier studies that showed that similar consumption of wine and beer may actually prevent the onslaught of dementia or Alzheimer's  disease.  The percentage decline in those diseases in moderate drinkers compared to teetotalers was a startling 37%.

The recommened level of consumption per day is one glass of wine or beer for women and no more than two glasses for men.

So drink up and remember where you read about this important information., where you can find lots of useful information everyday.


Thursday, October 23, 2014

Partial Eclipse of the Sun Today, October 23

I have previously written about the blood moon. The Blood Moon is Back, October 8, 2014. Today it is time to give equal time to the sun.  For you astronomy buffs, today will witness a partial eclipse of the sun.  About forty percent of the sun will be covered by a shadow from the moon.  On the East Coast, the best viewing time will be about 5:45 p.m. Because it is only a partial eclipse, the sun will not go totally dark. Remember though, despite that fact, do not look directly at the sun or you might cause permanent damage to your eyes.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Blood Moon is Back

At approximately 6:25 Eastern Time this morning, we will be treated to a total eclipse of the moon.  This will result in yet another "blood moon," part of the tetra cycle of four this year and next. So, look skyward and observe this natural phenomenon once again this year. The last time the tetra cycle took place was over three hundred years ago!

For more information, visit

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Hidden Gem: The Hotel Mulberry

Located in a recently converted parking garage in the heart of New York City's Chinatown and just blocks away from Little Italy, the Hotel Mulberry offers a luxury experience at a modest price (at least by New York standards, that is). On a recent visit to New York, we stayed at the Mulberry for two nights. Our room, located on the penthouse floor, was spectacular. The room was exceptionally large for a New York hotel and like the rest of the hotel, immaculately clean. Our room boasted a king bed, lounge chair, desk, television stand (with a large smart television on top with DirecTV) that doubled as a chest of drawers and a relatively large bathroom.

But by far, the most spectacular part of the room was the bank of floor to ceiling windows that lined one side of the room. The windows offered a truly unparalled view of the new World Trade Center and the lower Manhattan skyline. Overlooking Columbus Park, we were also  able to see the Tai Chi practioners performing their exercises every morning and the soccer players playing every evening in the well-used park.

The hotel does not have a restaurant, but offers free vouchers for breakfast for two guests at a nearby restaurant. In addition, when we asked on of the desk clerks (all of whom were extremely courteous and helpful)  for a recommendation for lunch,  she suggested the Amazing66 at 66 Mott Street, two blocks from the hotel.  We lunched there on authentic Chinese food for a very modest price. Most entrees were $5.95 and included your choice of white or brown rice and soup. I opted for the walnut chicken and sweet and sour soup and was not disappointed. I should also mention that the restaurant is Zagat rated.

For those of you (like us) crazy enough to drive into New York City, two doors down from the hotel is a parking garage, offering indoor, secure parking for $35 a day. It location also offers easy access to the Holland Tunnel when entering or leaving the city.

The Hotel Mulberry is located at 52 Mulberry Street, two blocks from Canal Street, in New York City's Chinatown. We will go back the next time we are in New York and we hope you will make it your choice for lodging on your next visit as well. You will not be disappointed.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Casbah

No, not that Casbah in Algiers, Algeria. No, this post is about the Casbah restaurant in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Located at the confluence of the Shadyside and East Liberty neighborhoods in Pittsburgh's East End, it has one of the best lunch menus in the City and maybe in the country.  My wife and I had lunch there recently and came away with the feeling that we had just had lunch at some New York or Los Angeles bistro; it was that good..

The Casbah offers a new menu daily. The day we were there, the offerings included tomato and basil bisque topped with a crostini, which my wife ate as part of the restaurant's "gusto" special, which I highly recommend. The "gusto" special, for $15, offers you the opportunity to taste three of the Casbah's lunch offerings. In addition to the creamy tomato bisque (which was excellent), my wife also enjoyed a mini crab cake (all lump crab meat) and a small pasta dish. I ordered the "gusto" special as well. My trio included a mini swordfish sandwich with a delicious aioli, a small salad with pieces of grilled corn, heirloom tomatoes and radishes. The third item was a small pasta dish with cavatelli pasta noodles  and  velvety ricotta cheese in a rich tomato sauce. The servers were prompt (filling glasses of ice tea immediately as soon as the glasses ran low ) and knowledgeable about the menu..

It was a terrific meal and if you find yourself in Pittsburgh at lunch time, I would recommend you stop in the Casbah.We have not eaten dinner there, but I am sure it is equally good.

The Casbah is located at 229 S Highland Avenue. The restaurant offers indoor and outdoor seating all year long on a covered patio. Parking, which can be problematic on the street, is available in a lot  next to the restaurant.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Living the Dream

Although the name of this blog is "Not Just for Boomers," occasionally I like to write to the boomers out there like  myself.  This is one of those posts that is directed mostly at boomers.  But I do think it will resonate with just about everyone.

As I wrote in my recent post, "Hidden Gem: Cape May, New Jersey," my wife and I recently spent a wonderful two days in Cape May.  During our visit there, we ate twice at the Lobster House restaurant, where the seafood and service were both excellent.  During our second visit to the restaurant, we sat next to a couple that appeared to be a lot like us, retired boomers on vacation. During the course of our meal, I happened to overhear the following conversation between the husband and his son who was on the other end of the phone:

"Hi son, yeah we are down here in Cape May at the Lobster House having dinner. How are
we doing? Son, I can only say one thing: 'We're living the dream.'"

Of course, I could only hear one side of the conversation, but I was simply wowed by what I heard.
And, by the way, if you happen to be that couple and you read this I apologize for eavesdropping, but I just had to share your comment.

"Living the Dream, " what a great thought! Too often we get bogged down in the bad things that happen to us.  We end up complaining to our friends or spouse about those aches and  pains, physical and emotional, that we all suffer as we grow older.  Now, here is  a man who probably has had his fair   share of those trial and tribulations, but he is grateful for the life he has. That is something definitely worth remembering.  We all have things for which we should be grateful: a loving spouse, a wonderful child or grandchild,  or maybe it's just waking up in the morning with all your parts still in order.


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Hidden Gem: Cape May, New Jersey

My wife and I recently returned from a short two day trip to Cape May, New Jersey. Cape May is probably not as well-known as some of it's South Jersey neighbors such as Ocean City, Wildwood or Stone Harbor.  But it certainly offers a sensational, one of a kind, vacation experience.

Located at the very Southern tip of the Jersey peninsula, Cape May offers unparalleled charm.
Cape  May is America's oldest seaside resort, having been established in the mid 18th century. To me, it looks like an English resort town such as Brighton. It is very Victorian in its architecture with many of the houses decorated with the traditional Victorian gingerbread. Because of the  multitude of historical homes, all ofCape May has been designated as a National Historic District. One of those houses, the Emlen Physick Estate is available for touring for a modest fee.

Cape May has over 30 hotels and motels,many of which are located directly across from the beach.We stayed at the Cape May Grand Hotel.  The hotel has free parking available It also has both an indoor and outdoor pool. Our third floor room was a typical beach room with a king bed, sofa, desk and a small balcony. The bathroom appeared to have been recently renovated.   There is a restaurant located off of the main lobby, called Hemingway's.  Specials are offered daily and everyday there is a very reasonably priced breakfast buffet. Give it a try.One person we met said that she and her whole family of 9 children eat the buffet as their breakfast and lunch. almost every day.

Over 40 to 50,000 vacationers visit Cape May each year. Many of the hotels and attractions are open   year round.The beach is quite nice with long expanses of sand protected by dunes.  We rented one of the cabanas  available across form our hotel and spent the day there. Comfort stations are available all along the beach. There is also a small arcade on the beach for rainy day entertainment.

In town, off  Ocean Street is an outdoor mall consisting of a number of shops and restaurants of all varieties. There is even a Stewart restaurant where in addition to the famous Stewart sodas, a full menu is offered.

Just outside of town is the Lobster House restaurant. The restaurant is huge, serving some 500 people at a serving, so get there early. My wife and I ate there twice, once having the lobsters and the second night, the fried shrimp dinners. Both were excellent and reasonably priced.  The shrimp, mu wife and I agreed, were probably the best fried shrimp we had ever eaten.

At the very tip of the peninsula is the Cape May Light.The lighthouse was built in 1859 and continues to be in operation. Although we  did not tour it this last time, we have previously climbed  its 217 steps to the top. Whew!

Another interesting attraction is a ferry that travels to Lewes,

If you are looking for a beach town with a difference, Cape May is for you.

Monday, September 8, 2014

The "Supermoon" Returns

In case you missed it earlier this summer as I did, you are in for good news: the Supermoon is back again tonight. The supermoon is called that because it is as close as the moon gets to the earth in its full phase. As a result of its proximity to the earth, it appears larger and brighter than usual. The moon will reach its peak for viewing purposes between 9 and 10 o'clock on the East Coast.

So, step outside and see a very rare sight in the sky. The next one will not be until  September 28, 2015.

Friday, August 8, 2014

The Alexander Technique

The Alexander Technique is probably one of  the least understood but most helpful technques to gain control over your mind and bodyThe technique was developed by F.M. Alexander, an Australian actor at the early part of the 20th Century, as a means of improving the control of his own voice as a performer.  Many prominent performers up to the present are followers of the technique, including, e.g., Hugh Jackson, the Broadway and movie actor

The cornerstone of the technique is a simple exercise that isn't really an exercise at all but rather a means of slowing down your mind and at the same time, relaxing your body, removing tension and improving your posture and breathing. It is really a form of mindfulness designed to makeourselves aware of how we move and use our body.

The essential exercise is to lay on the floor with a book or several books under your head and not under your neck.  Your head should be tilted upward somewhat and your knees should be bent with your feet on the floor about six inches from your buttocks.  You should try to keep your mind free of any thoughts and I recommend just concentrating on your breathing.  No need for any particular breathing pattern, just concentrate on the movement of air in and out of your lungs through your diaphragm.

It is recommended that you do this exercise, called the semi-supine, for approximately 6 to 10 minutes at least 6 times a day.

Once you complete your semi-supine exercises, you should feel your neck and head to be more upright and your thinking a lot more clear.

I am not a teacher of the Alexander Technique,  but I do try to practice it as often as I can. If you do decide to do it yourself. let me know how it goes.

If you would like to learn more about the Alexander Technique, please go to the following website for many good;postID=917151010961604367;onPublishedMenu=posts;onClosedMenu=posts;postNum=2;src=link

Monday, June 16, 2014

Hidden Gems: Wolfgang Steakhouse

If you are looking for the best steak in New York City, look no farther than the Wolfgang Steakhouse on Park Avenue in the Flatiron  District. Located in what was once the Vanderbilt Hotel, the restaurant was established by the former head waiter at the famous Peter Luger steakhouse in Brooklyn. It offers the true steakhouse experience and traditional steakhouse menu
We dined there on a recent Saturday night. The atmosphere is unbelievable. The architecture is superb, with blue and white curved arches on the ceiling. The waiters are extremely knowledgeable and do not hesitate to make recommendations. The steaks are huge and may be shared. Two of us had the strip steak and filet combo. It was more than enough for two and came sliced for easy eating. It is expensive, but well worth the cost.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Hidden Gems: Hotel Chandler, NYC

We were recently in New York City for a long weekend visit. I was looking for a reasonably-priced hotel on the Lower East Side. I was lucky enough to stumble upon a wonderful boutique hotel, the Hotel Chandler.
Located at 12 East 31st street, between Madison and Fifth Avenues, at the intersection of the Flatiron District and Murray Hill, it offers a quiet haven from Manhattan's hustle and bustle. Yet, despite that it is close by a number of major attractions, including the Empire State Building, Madison Square Garden any Herald Square, where Macy's is located.
Our room, a deluxe queen, with a recently renovated shower averaged around $230.00 per night for a 3 night stay, including Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
The hotel boasts a fine restaurant, Juni, whose chef has been awarded two Michelin stars, and offers complimentary coffee and tea in the lobby.
I highly recommend this gem of a

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Hidden Gems: Wilkinson Razors

Beginning with this post and for the next several posts, I will be commenting on and giving my opinions on various consumer products that I think you might be interested in and which I like to refer to as "Hidden Gems".  Now what do I mean by that?  Primarily, these will be products that are probably less well-known and generally less expensive than perhaps the better known products of the same type.I will have personally tested all of the products. I will also certainly focus on those products that are "Made in America." So, let's begin and let me know what you think about this new approach and about the products I will be writing about.

The first product I would like to discuss with you is the Wilkinson Sword razor, specifically, the Triple Blade, Speed3 pivoting disposable razor.  They proudly proclaim on the package that Wilkinson has been making razors since 1875.  Before that they made swords beginning in 1772 in County Durham, England.  While those were made in England, the product package says that the current blades were made in the USA. I first came upon these razors in North Carolina almost three years ago and have been using them ever since.  I can honestly say that I have never had a better shave than with these blades.  Like most men (and women too), I have tried just about every razor imaginable: Gillette, Schick, Bic,etc.None of them give the shave that these blades do consistently and economically.  They seem to last forever even with daily use if they are properly dried after each use. (This is easy to do: just shake the excess water after rinsing the blades and either blow on the blades or use a hair dryer to dry).

The other good thing about them is that they are fairly reasonable priced in Wal-Mart at $5.98 for a pack of 8 razors. Compare this to $13.99  for 6 Gillette Mach3 disposable razors on Amazon. Although I am not a particular fan of Wal-Mart, I would definitely go out of my way to buy these razors, which are not generally  available at the large chain drugstores such as CVS or Walgreen's.

So give them a try.  I definitely think you will switch if you are using any other razors.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Dead in the Water

It has been a while since I published a new post.  Part of the reason for the gap is due to the fact that I have been working on my new mystery novel,  Dead in the Water. It is the first in a series of novels featuring Lieutenant Mario Morales, a retired LAPD homicide detective who is now the head of security aboard a Caribbean cruise ship. Lieutenant Morales is sort of an Hispanic version of Columbo. If you enjoyed watching Lieutenant Columbo  at work solving crimes in his own inimitable way, you will love Lieutenant Morales in this exciting new book, Dead in the Water.

I will keep you posted when it is available, so please check back here every once in a while. And let me know if you would like a copy once it is published.

By the way, if you are already a Columbo fan or would like to become one, the entire collection of Columbo DVDs is available on Amazon at the following link. I recently bought the set for my wife and myself and it is extraordinary to see Peter Falk in his most famous role.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Blood Moon

I don' t know about you, but early this morning, I was up and out of bed to try and see the "blood moon" that astronomers and newscasters had promised would be visible overnight. So, a little after two a.m., I opened the front door and went outside.  I scanned the sky for the moon and finally found it between my house and the next door neighbor's house. The moon was full, but partially covered on one side by a crescent-shaped shadow that looked like a chunk of the moon had been eaten by a hungry mouse, thinking the moon was a wheel of cheddar cheese.

What I was seeing was the beginning of a total lunar eclipse. That type of eclipse only occurs when the sun, the moon and the Earth line up just so.  The eclipse is caused by the shadow from the Earth. Apparently, it is called a "blood moon" because as the eclipse progresses, the moon takes on a bloody reddish brown color caused by the refraction of sunlight in the Earth's atmosphere.

Fascinating stuff and beautiful to see.  If you missed this one, rhe next one w on't occur until October 8, 2014. So, Mark your calendars!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

The Prairie Home Companion

I have been a fan of Garrison Keillor  and his public radio show, The Prairie Home Companion, for as long as I can remember. Set in the fictional Minnesota town of Lake Wobegone, it is probably the last true variety show in America. And undoubtedly the best.
The show features Keillor, who writes the scripts for the show, in just about every role. Backed by an extremely talented supporting cast, a supurb orchestra and crew, the show (which airs from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Eastern time zone on Saturdays, but not every week, so check the schedule) just flies by. It is filled with equal doses of humor, pathos and beautiful music, all orchestrated by the multi talented Keillor. Keillor sings, does a little dance shuffle, and tells a number of jokes, mostly good-natured ones about the quirks of Minnesota residents.
One recent Saturday night, my wife and I had the good fortune to have tickets to the show at the Fitzgerald Theatre in downtown St. Paul. The theatre is named after the author of The Great Gatsby,F Scott Fitzgerald, who was born in St. Paul. Our seats were on the very edge of the first balcony, where we had a birds-eye view of the show as it was broadcast live across America and the world via Armed Forces Radio. The show began with Keillor walking down the center aisle singing a welcoming song. And the show ended with Keillor  and the other performances singing This Little Light of Mine. In between were comedy skits,  including Guy Noir and Keillor's famous Lake Woebegone monologue as well as performances by the Steele sisters and Willie Watson on the banjo. All the performers received a standing ovation at the end of the show and deservedly so.
If you get the chance, but all means take in a performance.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Saving Your Money at the Grocery Store 

The link above is to a segment on the Today Show that includes an interview with a representative of Consumer Reports rating the best and worst supermarkets.  Number 5 on the list is Costco. For a discussion of how you can save money on groceries and other products at Costco and other stores, please see my new EBook, Getting the Lowest Price on Practically Everything.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Fast Exercise: The Very Latest on High Intensity Interval Training

Dr. Michael Mosley appeared today on ABC's Good Morning America to discuss his book, "Fast Exercise." He discussed and demonstrated his high intensity interval training (HIIT)program that I have written about on numerous occasions in this blog. Weight Watchers Endorses High Intensity Training for Weight Loss, October 6, 2013.
The program involves just one minute of high intensity exercise three times a week. The exercise program is said to result in weight loss as well as better overall health. Specifically, Dr. Mosley says that it can reduce the likelihood of developing diabetes.
I have followed this program on several occasions and I believe in it. If your doctor permits you, give it a try and let me know your results.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Second Generic Lipitor Recall

In case you missed it, Ranbaxy Laboratories has recalled its generic version of the Pfizer drug Lipitor.
The generic name is Atorvastatin. So please discard or return the drug to where you purchased it.
The recall was prompted by a mislabeling of the sizes of the pills. Certain bottles labeled 10 milligrams actually contained 20 milligram tablets.

Monday, March 3, 2014

New EBook on Saving Your Money

I just published my second eBook in a series designed to help you, the consumer, to get your best deal and best service wherever you shop.  My first eBook, "The Best Habits of Highly Skilled Negotiators:How to Get the Best Deal Every Time," provided both general and specific advice on negotiating the best deal. It is available on Amazon Kindle for just $.99. It is a general help book that will undoubtedly save you money whenever you shop. My latest book (entitled "Getting the Best Price on Practically Everything") in the series entitled "Saving Your Money"," while intended primarily for men, gives specific information on how you can get the lowest price on groceries, items in department stores and just about anything else. It is subtitled "The Only Buying Guide You Will Ever Need"because it so comprehensive that you will save money from just one quick read. It is a light-hearted, but very informative book that I know you will enjoy reading and profiting from.  It is available at Amazon for the Kindle for $2.99.

If you decide to purchase either book, please let me know what you think. Thanks.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Concept 10 10: The Latest High Intensity Interval Training for Strengh

Do you want to develop your strength in your body but just don't have the time to work out at the gym on the Nautilus for 1 or 2 hours a day?  I know I don't.  And I'm supposed to be retired and have all the time in the world.  Well, I have the answer:  Concept 10 10.

I have written quite a bit about the benefits of high intensity interval training or HIIT. See e.g., Most of those involve aerobic activity which is done at a very high level of exertion, followed by an even longer period at a much lower level of exertion. The entire session generally lasts only between 3 and 6 minutes.  It can involve cycling, running, walking on a treadmill or just plain old walking.

If you haven't heard of Concept 10 10, you are not alone.  I hadn't heard of it either until I read about it in the local newspaper down here in Southwest Florida.It sounded fascinating so I thought I would share it with you with a slight variation of my own that I am working on.

Basically, the concept is that you work out on the Nautilus or other strength building machines for about 20 minutes just once a week.  During that twenty minutes, you perform various of the standard strength exercises.  The difference is that you only do a limited number of those exercises at a very slow pace until muscle failure. The slower, the better. By doing the exercises slowly, you actually use more effort and therefore the muscle failure comes faster. Usually, the exercises are observed by a Concept 10 10 trainer, but once you learn the routine, I would think you should be able to perform the exercises on your own.  But I would strongly recommend consulting with a trainer and your physician before undertaking these or any other form of exercise.

Earlier, I mentioned that I developed a variation of this training method. Very simply, it involves doing the same exercises with a resistance band. I have tried it and it does seem to work. A good source of information on resistance band exercises that can be done in twenty minutes can be found at

As I said before, please consult with your physician before any exercise program. If he or she approves, give this approach a try and let me know what you think.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Mindfulness Goes Mainstream

Since I began writing this blog two years ago, I have advocated the philosophy of mindfulness as an antidote for a variety of physical, mental and spiritual ills. Now, mindfulness has gone mainstream. It was the cover story for Time Magazine. Nothing is more mainstream than Time.

The February 3 2014 Time issue contains an article explaining some of those benefits as well some of the mindfulness techniques that work. The key to mindfulness is focusing on the moment, whether that is eating a raisin (the example cited in the Time article) or simply sitting and watching your breath.

What is a little disappointing about the article is the author's admission that he has not continued with the mindfulness program he studied for the purposes of the article. Anyone serious about the idea of mindfulness should consider continuing the program  to make sure they maximize its benefits.

Monday, February 3, 2014

What the Super Bowl Taught Me

Like practically everyone else in America, last night, I watched the Super Bowl. We had some friends over for the game and munched happily on Buffalo chicken drummies. No, not chicken wings, but drumsticks prepared like wings, but better using a Sandra Lee recipe I saw on the Today Show and perfectly executed by my wife.

The game itself seemed to be almost anti-climactic after all the all day pregame hype. This morning I woke up with a start and realized that there was a valuable lesson I had learned watching the game last night. I just had to share it with you and I hope you will find it useful also.

Near the end of the game last night, they showed one of the NFL officials carrying the Vince Lombardi trophy, that Tiffany silver football on a stand that is emblematic of excellence in the game of football. I've seen the six that my favorite team, the Pittsburgh Steelers, have won and they are awesome.

But, I digress. After they showed the man carrying the trophy with white gloves, they then flashed a picture of the steely-eyed man after whom the trophy is named.,Vince Lombardi, the legendary football coach who won the first two Super Bowls.  Of course, what immediately came to mind was his famous declaration that "Winning isn't everything, it's the only thing."  Quite frankly, I used to think that his statement was an arrogant manifestation of someone with a huge ego. Today, we are prone to tell our kids and ourselves that it is okay if you lose: "It's not important if you win or lose, it's how you play the game" is the mantra we repeat often to those children and ourselves.

After the game was over, during one of the interviews with one of the Seattle players, he said something that particularly resonated with me.  When asked how he felt about winning the Super Bowl, he said  that he had watched many Super Bowls on television over the years and now thought about himself and his teammates, "Why not us?"

"Why not us."  What could he possibly mean by that.? This morning it struck me like a lightning bolt. Earlier yesterday before the game, I was doing some research for a new book on negotiations that I am in the process of writing. One of the sources I was consulting was a book by the famed trial attorney, Gerry Spence.  In his book, "How to Argue and Win Every Time", he puts forth the following thesis:  In order to win an argument, whether a court case or a negotiation over a contract, you must give yourself permission to win. And the most important corollary to that is that you must never give yourself permission to lose.

Last night, that was what drove the Seattle Seahawks, the underdogs going  into the game. They not only gave themselves permission to win, they never gave themselves permission to lose. That's what that Seattle player meant when he said, "Why not us?"

And I now understand that was also what Vince Lombardi meant all those years ago, when he made that famous statement: "Winning isn't everything, it's the only thing."  He means never give yourself permission to lose.  Oh, believe me, sometimes you will lose, whether it is a court case or some kids' soccer game. But if you have the mindset that you will not give yourself permission to lose,who knows, some day you or your kid may end up holding that Vince Lombardi trophy also.

Think about it.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

How to Get the Best Deal Every Time: A Free ebook

I am pleased to inform you that my Ebook , "How to Get the Best Deal Every Time" is now available for FREE on Amazon until February 5, 2014. I think you will find it to be an extremely useful guide if you are making a large purchase such as a house or automobile. It will also guide you through other negotiations such as getting a pay raise from your boss.

I hope you will enjoy it.  If you like it, please feel free to offer a review on Amazon.


P.S. The book i s now ranked #1 on the Amazon Kindle list of  consumerism ebooks. Thanks!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Do Stock Brokers Need Help to Advise Boomers on How to Invest their Money?

Do stock brokers and financial advisors need help in preparing to advise baby boomers how they should invest their money as they plan for retirement and retire?  Well, Bank of America Merrill Lynch apparently thinks so. According to a report on today's "onwallstreet" website, Merrill has retained a gerontologist, to assist in preparing its advisors to deal with the aging population in America, who are customers of Merrill. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, a gerontologist is a person who is trained to study the social,psychological and biological aspects of aging.  It differs from geriatrics which is the medical study of aging.

The gerontologist named by Merrill, Cynthia Hutchins, has a degree in gerontology from the University of Southern California (USC) and has worked for some 28 years in the financial industry and for 15 years with Merrill in various capacities.. She was named by Merrill  to train Merrill's 15000 advisors on how they can better assist clients with age-related issues such as planning for retirement , use of resources in retirement as well as other health and finance issues, as well as issues arising from things such as dealing with adult children who return home and grandparents raising their grandchildren

Sounds like it might be a good idea.  Let me know what you think.

A Retirement Savings Plan for the Rest of Us

President Barack Obama in his State of the Union Address on Tuesday, January 28, 2014, made a revolutionary proposal concerning your potential retirement. In case you missed it, here is a brief discussion of that proposal.

All of us are familiar with the so-called 401(k) plans that enable employees of usually larger companies and businesses a to put aside some of their compensation in certain investments which are not taxable as income when received and which are permitted to grow tax-deferred until withdrawn in retirement. The idea is that those investments will be taxed at  presumably a lower rate at retirement than  at the current rate.

Until now, if your employer did not offer such a plan, you were out of luck. President Obama's proposal would permit those employees to fund  a so-called MyRA account by having a part of each paycheck deducted and deposited in US Government Bonds, where they would be given the same treatment as traditional 401(k) plans.

According to administration officials, millions of Americans who do not have access to the automatic deposit feature of a 401(k) plan are likely to take advantage of the MyRA proposal.

Let me know what you think and whether, if you qualify, you would take advantage of such a plan.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Not Just for Boomers ---But for Everyone

The title of this blog is, of course, "Not Just for Boomers."  And that is exactly, what it is intended to be. I am a baby boomer myself, but the material in this blog is not limited to baby boomers. It is really intended for everyone who has an interest in an eclectic mix of travel suggestions, help with your finances and health and exercise issues. Over the last almost two years, I have written almost 200 posts, all original, and covering material from a Mediterranean cruise to the many benefits of meditation and mindfulness.I hope what I have written has been helpful to you.  And no, I am not shutting down the blog. On the contrary, I expect to keep on going.  I appreciate your support, but I would ask you to remind your friends and not just boomers, that this blog is "Not Just for Boomers--But for Everyone."

Sunday, January 19, 2014

The Calusa Indians of Southwest Florida

Long before Ponce De Leon and the Spanish conquisidors visited Florida in the sixteenth century, the Calusa Indians had a well-developed civilization in the coastal areas of Southwest Florida. Today, you can still visit the remnants of that civilization in Pineland, Florida, located on Pine Island.

Pine Island is the largest coastal island off the coast of Southwest Florida. For 1500 years, the Calusas occupied a site near Fort Myers on Pine Island. Today, at the Randell Research Center run by the University of Florida, just off Pine Island Road,you can see some of the huge shell mounds that they created..  The Calusa were not farmers but rather subsisted on the abundant fish and shellfish in the rich estuaries in the area.  They lacked any stone or metal and used shell and bone for tools. They did painting and sculpting which is considered to be among the most renowned created byNative Americans in North America.

The Calusa Indians died out in the late 1700s due to the diseases brought to America by the Spanish and French explorers in the area such as measles and small pox. In addition, neighboring tribes in Georgia and South Carolina invaded the Calusa villages and sold some of the Calusas they captured into slavery.

The Calusa Heritage Trail entrance is located on 13810 Waterfront Drive, Pineland, Florida 33945,and is well wroth a visit. Phone number is 239-283-2157.  There is a small gift shop and guided tours are offered.

Friday, January 17, 2014


I thought you might enjoy the following website:

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Bert's Bar and Grill on Matlacha

If you find yourself in Southwest Florida this winter, make sure you have lunch at Bert's Bar and Grill. Bert's is located on Pine Island in the fishing town of Matlacha. Pine Island is just a few miles from Cape Coral and Ft. Myers. It has been a draw for fishermen and those who love to eat fish since the 1930's, some seventy years ago.  It has had various owners during that period, including a Lee County bar owner named Bert Clubb, who gave his name to the bar. The bar is located just before the Matlacha bridge which was made famous in the Elvis Presley movie, "Follow That Dream."

Located directly on the water, you can sit out on the specious deck or dine inside.  We opted for a table outside with a view of Cape Coral  in the distance.

 The food is wonderful.  Both my wife and I had the fried oyster and chips basket for $11.99 (market price).  The oysters were perfectly fried and incredibly sweet. They were some of the best oysters I have ever eaten. I asked the waiter where they obtained them and he said they got them off of the Louisiana coast. The chips (real potato chips) were just right, not greasy and not overly salted. The meal also came with a small cup of cole slaw that was excellent.

Bert's Bar and Grill is located at 4271 Pine Island Road, Matlacha, FL. Phone number is 239-282-3232.