Thursday, June 21, 2018

Ups and Downs

The last place you want to see a motorcycle-buddy is in the hospital. And yet that's just where I came from. My friend Jaime got in an accident last night on his way home from dinner.

Riding his Zero (electric motorcycle), Jaime was only a block from home when a car turned suddenly, without looking, and struck his motorcycle on the left side. The impact broke Jaime's leg below the knee; fortunately his top-notch gear protected him from other injury. Due to the location of the break, the doctors aren't going to put the leg in a cast; instead, they'll do surgery to install metal equipment.

A witness told police that the motorist was 100% at fault, which is fortunate because New York's no-fault law doesn't cover motorcyclists.

This event is ironic because Jaime is the safest rider I know. In addition to being highly-skilled (qualified as an instructor), Jaime rides more miles than anyone else I know (averaging over 20,000/year). Jaime is the last person I'd expect to be in an accident but, as happened in my accident on the Goethal's Bridge a decade ago, sometimes you're simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. Nothing you can do about that.

I'm wishing him well.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

More WG Photos

I didn't want to overwhelm you Monday with Watkins Glen photos so I limited their number. Here are a few more. The pictures are beautiful to look at as they display the majesty of nature.

Monday, June 18, 2018


Watkins Glen is amazing! The gorge and waterfalls in the state park take your breath away. Natural beauty at its finest. The campsite is serene and offers peaceful bliss. Adorable little chipmunks scurried around my tent all day. Hiking in the woods was superb and I could walk from my campsite to the gorge.

Not insignificantly, you can also return to civilization. There's an excellent BBQ place in town (Nickel's Pit BBQ) with the best hot chicken wings I've ever had -- and that's saying something.

Travel feeds our soul and belly. Put Watkins Glen on your bucket list.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Watkins Glen

I'm hitting the road this morning, heading up to bucolic Watkins Glen in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York. As they say in the movies:

          Elwood: "It's 106 miles to Chicago, we got a full tank of gas,
          half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark... and we're wearing sunglasses."
          Jake: "Hit it."

Saturday, June 9, 2018

New York City

I had a nice time in NYC today. Visited a spy museum (very entertaining), savored brunch at Russ & Daughters cafe, shoe-shopped at Fluevog and ended the day with coffee and pastry in Soho. One weird thing, though; a woman next to me at the R&D counter ate her bagel and cream cheese WITH A KNIFE AND FORK. Huh? Who does that?!

P.S., I'm reading a best-selling book by an ex-CIA agent (Jason Hanson) on how to use spy techniques in normal life. The book's Acknowledgements page made me laugh out loud so I'm sharing it with you below.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Spy Stuff (Hidden Containers)

Spy gear is cool as historical fact but, even better, you can adapt it for use in life today. Two fun examples I currently use are presented below.

Spies have obvious need to conceal messages. The way they do this is by converting ordinary objects (which attract no suspicion) into secret containers. During the Cold War, for instance, spies from Russia took American coins, split them open and hollowed them out. The coins, when re-attached, were indistinguishable from others in circulation. Russian spies then put secret messages into the coins which were safe from detection and could be easily transmitted to another person. (Messages were often on "microdots," shrunken words that could be read with a magnifying glass.)

Another smart device was a smoking pipe (back when smoking was common). The pipe contained a secret chamber in which a paper message could be contained. An ingenious part of this idea was that if the spy was afraid of being caught, he could twist the handle of the pipe, opening the secret chamber to the burning bowl of tobacco and the message would be instantly destroyed. Problem solved!

Now how can this stuff help you and me? Let me show you...

I have -- and you can buy one on Amazon for $10 -- a hair-brush I carry for travel. Nobody suspects the hair-brush of being anything other than that and, yet, it is a terrific place to store money. On the road, you often want to conceal some cash in case you lose your wallet. The hair-brush has a hollow handle which can hold up to twelve bills ($1,200 if you use hundreds). This spy-idea protects your extra cash on trips because no thief who breaks into your luggage or hotel-room is going to steal a hair-brush. Here's a picture:

This model comes in black, purple and red. Only $10. And it brushes hair, too!

Another spy idea I use is what appears to be a construction bolt (large screw). The bolt is hollowed out and the inner chamber is reached by twisting the top part off (which on a normal bolt doesn't move). Again, nobody would suspect this ordinary object of having a secret compartment.

Do you know what I use this for? To carry powdered jalapeno hot sauce. I toss it in my pocket along with my keys and when a restaurant meal is bland, I pull out the bolt, unscrew it and toss some instant heat onto my dish. Yay!

As shown above, learning how to be a spy can help you live normal life better!