Before The Sun Rises

Sometimes the best views at sunrise are before the sun actually rises. This was shot right before a sunrise in Atlantic City.The beach at Atlantic City for a long time has been considered one of the best beaches on the East Coast. I remember going there as a teen and was just amazed at how wide the beach was and the fine white texture of the sand.

The city has gone through a lot of changes since my youth. However, the beach has been a constant and now thanks to conservationists will continue to be so. After Hurricane Sandy they planted all these beach grasses. These will help to hold the dunes in place and protect the beach from erosion. Way to go New Jersey!

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Before The Sun Rises

Before The Sun Rises

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Neighbors that Rock

In our life we have had some good luck with creative neighbors. In Montclair we lived next door to Janet Aldrich who was a musical comedy actress with a great voice. She actually borrowed our dog for a one month run in Anything Goes. Janet Shaw lived across the street. She was a set designer for many Woody Allen movies and when we knew her she worked on The Sopranos.

When we moved back to Pittsburgh we were excited to meet our new neighbors. We recently discovered that our neighbor across the street, Matt Aquiline was not only a musician but also a songwriter. I have always been fascinated by song writers. As a novelist I have enough problems just writing words let alone music to go with the words. To me music is a separate language and writing a song is like writing a poem in two different languages at the same time! We found out that he was performing at The Hard Rock Pittsburgh last night with his longtime singing partner Belen Pifel. It was a wonderful concert. His songs are filled with wit and passion and the harmonies were terrific. I have posted a couple of snaps from the show.

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Belen Pifel  and Matt Aquiline

Belen Pifel and Matt Aquiline

At The Hard Rock

At The Hard Rock

Matt and Company

Matt and Company

Magic Mirror

Milan is known for lots of things; fashion,parks,commerce,opera and great food. However, Milan is not known for its canals. Nor should it be. We found out that Milan had a canal only by reading the small print in a tour book. The canal is small and lined on one side with antique shops and clothing stores and on the other with restaurants and clubs.

In December of 2013 I published Canali di Milano which includes a scenic picture of the canal. This image of a mirror along the canal has long held my interest.

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Magic Mirror

Magic Mirror

A Night at The Ballpark

This year we have been to 5 Pittsburgh Pirates games and one Steelers game and the two experiences couldn’t be more different. Of course we can afford to have seats on the 100 level for the Bucs and for the Steelers we were in the 500’s near the end zone. At the Bucs game you feel you are out for a night with friends you don’t know. All age groups are represented and yes there are a few drunks and occasionally you may here a swear word.

The NFL game is totally different. People have been drinking and tailgating for hours. There are no children. There are a lot of very large men. Even the language is different. Even the restrooms are different. You feel kind of on edge at all times. Women can’t have purses or fanny packs and are forced to carry their stuff in clear plastic bags they sell outside the gates. Photographers can’t have telephoto lenses and being profane and drunk seems to be a requirement. We are going to see another Steelers game in October and we will be better prepared. My wife has her plastic bag and I will not be carrying a camera and hell yah I will swear damn it!

From last nights game at PNC Park Cubs v Pirates. Note the bartenders at McFadden’s before the game move so fast they actually blur in photos!

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Walking along the river

Walking along the river

McFaddens

McFaddens

View from Our Seats

View from Our Seats

Rainbow Optional

If I win the lottery this is where I would live. This was for sale last time I was in Maui and it is nestled directly on Kaanapali Beach on the walkway between Whalers Village and the Hilton Hotel. They were asking $1.1 million at the time and yes it did have a pool secluded in the back. Rainbow is optional but usually available.

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Rainbow Optional

Rainbow Optional

L’shanah Tovah: Portuguese Synagogue

Tonight as we celebrate one of the most sacred holidays in Judaism: Rosh Hashanah, I can’t help but wonder what services would look like in the beautiful Portuguese Synagogue in Amsterdam.

Amsterdam is known for its Red Light District, Canals, Coffee Shops and Museums. Nestled in this backdrop is one of the great Synagogues of the world. It was built by Spanish Jews escaping the Spanish Inquisition. Since Holland and Spain were at war with one another, those escaping persecution said they were Portuguese to gain entry in to the country. Many Synagogues in Europe restrict access due to persistent anti-Semitic feelings. However the Portuguese Synagogue is open for visitors for a small fee. You can also attend services on Friday or Saturday without paying a fee. The entire Synagogue is lit by candles and there is an excellent Judaica store where you can buy beautiful souvenirs and find out about the history of the building.L’shanah Tovah (Happy New Year!)

Portuguese Synagogue Amsterdam Holland

Dreamboat

I grew up in Cleveland Ohio for the first part of my childhood. We used to vacation on lakes and I would go fishing with my dad. We would see Chris Craft boats on the lake and I would ask my Dad why would couldn’t have one of those. He would laugh and say well may someday you will. I still have never ridden in one of these beauties and plan to change that soon but I will never be able to afford one without winning the lottery.

We saw this one while waiting for a steamer in Lake Como. It was privately owned and not available for hire. Who knows maybe it was George Clooney’s

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Wooden Beauty on Lake Como.

Wooden Beauty on Lake Como.