Monday, March 23, 2009

Re: Pisa

Duh - forgot the picture.

----- Original Message -----
From: Allen Miller
Sent: Mon Mar 23 07:13:39 2009
Subject: Pisa

Having fun in Italy.

Allen e Joyce e Susan

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

This blog is moving

Just figured it was about time to change this blog. It turns out it is VERY easy to create a blog at and then import from the Google blogs. So, unless I change my mind, this will be the last post here. Allen's Board will now be found at Update your shortcuts or reader accordingly if you want.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Night Blooming Cereus

If you don't think that mother nature is incredible you just need to look around and open your eyes a little. I'm lucky enough to have a wife that is a plant junkie (in her words) so we have some pretty incredible things in our house and our yard much of the time. Like HUMMING BIRDS that visit the backyard when we have our dinner out on the patio - the only bird that can fly backwards! Yesterday evening we observed the main event for a plant called the Night Blooming Cereus. This incrdible flower blooms from the edge of a leaf, not from the stem. It blooms at night (duh) and by the next morning it is spent. Click on this link to see a few pictures I snapped last night.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Trains always win

Today I was driving on Wyoming Avenue in Cincinnati around high noon. If you know the area, you know that there is a railroad crossing between Lockland and Wyoming.

When I was taught to drive a car by my father a long time ago - one thing he told me was to stop when I approached a railroad crossing and to look both ways. Don't trust a gate or flashing light to protect your life - they might be out of order after all.

From time to time we hear about someone killed or injured in their car at a railroad crossing. I'm sorry if this seems cold hearted but I just can't feel any sympathy for someone stupid enough to cross a train track when a train is coming. After all - this is the Darwin Theory in full operation. The truly stupid will take themselves out of the gene pool - given enough time. Trains ALWAYS WIN - and - they are not hard to see or hear. You couldn't possibly say 'I didn't know it was coming'.

Back to driving on Wyoming Avenue.

So around high noon I am about 3 vehicles back at a railroad crossing with the gates down and lights flashing. There may have been bells ringing but it was hot, I had my AC on and listening to music. Then I was SHOCKED to see a QUEEN CITY METRO bus, the first car in the ones ahead of me - GO AROUND THE GATE. While he/she was going around the gate I was hearing the horn of the train blowing!

Of course in the urban areas trains don't go real fast - but they don't have to go real fast to hurt you if your vehicle gets stuck in their path. The bus made it across the tracks and there was no collision. I hope there weren't any passengers on this bus. I did make a telephone call to the Metro's business office to let them know what I observed. They advised me that there are video cameras on the buses and they would review this video and take appropriate action. I think appropriate action in this case would be canning the driver. Who knows what a person driving a bus that knows they are being video taped might do next time.

And then there is the issue of discipline in our local employers. I read recently that about half of the police officers that have been fired for job related performance problems have been rehired because the city caved in to the unions! Maybe they can hire the bus driver?

Saturday, July 5, 2008


I know what you will be thinking - what century are you from?

After setting up iPods and helping my wife and 3 daughters for many years with these devices I finally got my first iPod - an 8gb 3g Nano. I have to say this is one piece of technology art. I bought an Archos 605 a few months ago thinking I primarily wanted to watch video and it had a bigger screen. Once I got it I found I wanted to listen to podcasts and some music but it was kind of heavy for being portable. The Nano is really small - I joke and say I need 'one for each eye' for watching videos - but it really isn't that bad. The user interface on the Nano is great - and there is just so much interesting stuff available in free podcasts. I downloaded my first audiobook today that I will probably start listening to tomorrow when I paint one of our bedrooms.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Oaxaca MX

We just returned from a five day trip to Oaxaca Mexico for the wedding of Monica and Ethan (our nephew). This was the first time in about 3 years that the five of us were able to all go away together. Oaxaca is a beautiful city. The hotel we stayed at - La Provincia - was over the top as far as service and facility. There was some issue that resulted from a language barrier. I requested one room for Joyce and me and one room with a large bed and a cot for our 3 collage age daughters. When we checked in and I asked to see the rooms, the second room had a large bed and a crib. I guess they thought we had a baby. Anyway this was easily corrected with a different room.

The wedding was fantastico. The ceremony was at the Santo Domingo de Guzmán church which was begin in 1572. The reception began at 6pm in the Ethnobotanical Garden that is part of the church complex. The reception ended at 6am - there was entertainment non-stop throughout the night. I'm a lowsy dancer and even I spent most of the evening on the dance floor. Joyce and I BOE (bugged out early) and went back to our hotel around 3am! Monica's family are just the most wonderful people and I feel honored to have been included in this celebration.