International Annapolis

I’ve been away from my blog post too long… it happens. Life happens and suddenly there just isn’t enough time in the day and when I do have time I need to take a break from the computer. (How to get rid of those tired red eyes?) But at any rate, I feel compelled to write about a few things on my mind. One is to plug What’s Up? magazines upcoming Annapolis Forum tomorrow night. Last month I listened to a fascinating presentation from the Syrian Ambassador to the U.S. and the discussion that followed was quite provocative. Tomorrow at the Loews Hotel, in the Windjammer Room, will be Photojournalist Ben Barber, editor of the United States Agency for International Development magazine Frontlines and Dr. Hayden Bellenoit, United States Naval Academy Assistant Professor of South Asian History, discussing the direction of two of the most vital allies in the war against terrorism—Afghanistan and Pakistan. Topics are likely to include who is ahead in the battle against Al Qaeda? Along with, what is going on in the border region between Afghanistan and Pakistan? To sign up go to www.
Totally unrelated to Annapolis Forum, but slightly related to international relations are the Winter Olympics which I have been sporadically viewing, mostly along with the nightly news. But I do have a weakness for figure skating, and particularly am enamoured by Ice Dancing. Ice Dancing has been a popular subject with bloggers lately because several have been writing about their distaste for some of the garish costumes while others do not think that Ice Dancing qualifies for a sport.
It certainly takes athletic prowess, skill, and yes grace to win an Olympic medal in Ice Dancing. It also requires a sense of rhythmn, focus, and timing to execute the moves to sychronize with your partner. I am captivated, even if some of the costumes are ugly. The power and beauty of movement, several of the couples were able to project to those of us in the audience viewing their moves on the television screen was inspirational. I felt uplifted, which is a positive thing so as far as I am concerned, long live Ice Dancing!


iPad a Boon for Publishing

Yes, I know I am slightly prejudiced when it comes to Apple products, being the proud owner of an iPhone, iPod, plus the iMac on my desk at home and the Apple laptop for traveling…but I feel compelled to blog briefly about the news about the newest Apple gadget, the iPad– if only to counteract the stupid remarks regarding its name. It is a pad of sorts. It is a reading and writing pad and what I’m excited about is its potential to easily publish exciting books, magazines, and newspapers that will be interactive in content.
As a published author and magazine editor I’ve seen the publishing industry go into a steady decline as fewer people read books, newspapers, and magazines. For the past five years it has been forecast that books will become extinct by the end of the 2lst century. The printing and paper costs have escalated book pricing and the overhead for publishing houses has caused many to close their doors and become much more conservative in choosing authors to publish.
I do believe there will always be a market for beautiful quality books, designed with care and printed on fine textured paper. So no, I don’t believe printed books will go completely extinct but I do think their production will become more limited and they will be considered a luxury. Ownership of books will join the league of beautiful note cards sent by the postal service. They will continued to be appreciated by a limited audience.
But when it comes to accessibility and the potential for interaction between the author and the reader, the virtual book read on the iPad will provide unlimited potential for additional photography, illustrations, and information. I’m going to use one of my own books as an example, “Antique American Lamp Buyer’s Guide” because its goal was to provide current information on approximate pricing of various antique lamps while explaining to readers how lamp styles evolved and how to identify particular models. Just imagine if the reader could press on the photo and connect to daily sales of a particular style of antique lamps around the world. With another press of their finger they could watch a video of how the wick is raised and lowered in a kerosene lamp and see the way a lamp looks when illuminated with different chimneys and shades.
The same kind of interaction could take place in magazines. What’s Up? Publications are already available online in digital format, but if readers could press on a feature article and visit with the subject of the story by watching a video or connect to additional updated content as the story evolves; what a wonderful enhancement! Unlike the Kindle and other similar devices, iPad is offering a quality of resolution that will make it an enticing alternative to paper publications. Finally, there will be an option of reading a stack of newspapers and magazines without worrying about creating a stack of papers for recycling. Less paper to recycle is a good thing.

Journalistic Standards?

It’s a regular morning ritual with me; morning coffee, breakfast, and the newspaper. This morning on the front page of the Washington Post I saw and read two articles, both of which were described by my husband as “juicy”.
The first one I read was about the shananagins of an enterprising radio host on radio channel 99.5 who arranged for an intern to stand on the side of a busy highway carrying a sign identifying himself as an adulterer who was forced to hold up the sign for all to see as his punishment.
As printed in The Post,
“Kane (who refuses to disclose his own real name) now says he hoaxed the media as an experiment in fluff tolerance and fact-checking standards. He then proceeded on his show, and via Twitter, to criticize reporters who’d tried to fact-check the story he’d concocted to check up on fact-checking.
Coverage of the ersatz adulterer made news worldwide and became a Web sensation. For many onlookers, “Taylor’s” sign-bearing served as a catalyst for musings on contrition and the messier corners of love.”
Kane berated journalists for not bothering to fact check the veracity of the story to confirm that the so-called adulterer actually cheated on his wife….
Yes that is interesting , but more horrifying to me in evaluating the present state of the media was the lead story in Reliable source about the current article running in Vanity Fair theoretically authored by ex-boyfriend of Sarah Palin’s eldest daughter, Levi Johnston. Did Johnston actually write the article? A junior editor spent three days interviewing Johnston and subsequently worked with him to “craft” the piece. Paying a source for a story that consists of telling juicy stories on his observations of the shortcomings, vices, and weaknesses of the former Vice Presidential candidate and Alaskan governor seems pretty tacky to me. Particularly when these “seamy tales” don’t really offer up any new insightful information. Yes, I already knew that Palin leaves much to be desired as a political leader–doesn’t read the newspaper, is selfish, and vain. Please tell me something I don’t know. Is this what our media needs to stoop to in order to attract readers. It’s a sad commentary on our society and much more disturbing than how the media reacts to an odd fellow holding up a sign.
I guess The Washington Post did okay because they got me thinking and blogging about their style section.
Journalistic communication can be used in many ways. Inform and teach are at the top of my list.

Annapolis Economics or Enjoy the Good Weather

Even at 7:30 in the morning, the street of downtown Annapolis are still busy on Boat Show weekend and with two shows back to back, the hustle and bustle will continue.  I don’t know how many sales are being made, but everyone still likes to look at beautiful boats.

It’s that way at the shopping malls as well. I had a few errands to run on Saturday. The parking lot of the Harbor Center was filled with cars.  There were tons of folks stocking up on vegetables and plants at the Riva Road Farmers’ Market. Life goes on, even though the stock market has crashed (it was a crash wasn’t it?) and some businesses are either closing their doors or being  bought out–life goes on. The sky is bright blue, the air temperature is perfect with just a slight nip to the air at night, just right for sleeping. There’s lots of sunshine during the day to bolster my spirits. I’m just not opening any mail related to retirement accounts. I’m focusing on the present. In fact, right now is the best time to practice the principal of living fully in the moment and in the moment all is good and fine.  Sunday, I took the time to write a few notes to myself and remind myself that Sunday was a day for spiritual growth and reflection, a day I could spend more time outside than inside. It is a time to be thankful for what I have..

Monday, it was back to the grind of many many meetings. On days with so many office meetings I wonder how anything can get done. But that makes me appreciate those times I do have to myself when I can actually do some writing. Outside my window, while clicking the keys on the computer, I hear the crickets singing. It’s ten o’clock at night. Time to end this blog.

Summer in the City

When the heat climbs up towards 100 degrees, the only time to take a walk is early in the day. At 6:30 a.m. it’s still reasonably cool enough for a light jog down to City Dock.

Oh how I wish the Farmers’ Market on Sundays would open even earlier than 8:00 a.m.. As the sun rises high in the sky I’m already starting to wilt even if the lovely produce stays fresh and fragrant under sheltering tents. Located at Fawcett’s parking lot, it remains open until noon. And then if you’re still in the mood for Farmers’ Market Shopping you can head over to the parking lot of the Annapolis Westfield Mall where the market will just be opening for the afternoon.

On my way home this Monday morning, cup of coffee in hand, I noticed a newly emptied storefront on Main Street. Comfort One Shoes is gone, kaput, vanished. Not even the remnant of the storefront sign remains. This was a place that I liked to buy shoes, so I take note of what they’re showing in the window and when they’re having a sale.  I checked the Comfort One Shoes website when I got to the office and noticed the Annapolis location is no longer listed. Wow that was fast. I called the corporate offices and talked with the vice president of sales. He preferred not to give a comment except to let customers know that if they call the Annapolis store phone number, their call will be forwarded. If they want to go shopping for shoes, they’ll have to drive to Baltimore.

Further up the street La Belle Cezanne, formerly located at 117 Main Street appears to be nicely settled into their new storefront at 184-86 Main Street, the multi-storied brick building that replaced the building devastated by fire back in 1997. They now have a multi-level space with plenty of alcoves for displaying their fine jewelry.

Closer to my home, the news is that the Starbucks at Park Place is slated for closing. Ironically they just opened, seem to be quite busy, and may have been a factor in the demise of Cafe Matisse, a locally owned coffee shop that had to close.  Evenings the outside dining areas of Fado and Carpaccios are bustling with business. The economic times may be a bit shaky, but people are still spending money.

Want to find out more on what’s up in Annapolis and through-out the Chesapeake Bay region? Visit our website at



We made a deal, my husband and I. No television, internet, email, ipod or anything electronic for an entire day—yesterday.  That was Saturday and I had a great time, I did use my car to drive to the library and the grocery story, but that enabled me to check out some books and replenish our pantry.

It was a day for reading and fussing over a home-cooked meal.

I took a walk, refusing to wear a watch because what did it matter what time it was. I had no place I had to go. No particular plans.  I sat and day dreamed planning  out some stories I’d like to write. Playing with ideas in my head of how best to create a story I’ve been thinking about.

I did work on some writing—in long hand. It was not a hardship because I always choose paper and pen when I want to deliberately be thoughtful about the words I choose.  I was working on the October Editor’s letter for What’s Up ? Annapolis and What’s Up? Eastern Shore, a challenge because I’m still in June.

How will I be feeling in October? What will be happening then and what will other people be doing and thinking about? I know what October looks like, the colors of fall, but I won’t know what will be happening in politics.  It will be after the Democratic and Republican conventions. The campaigning will be in full swing. Maybe they’ll be an outrageous scandal or a wonderful invention will hit the street – a break through fuel that liberates us from our dependence on gasoline.  How will I know about these things if I don’t listen to the radio, plug into the internet, or start text messaging my friends? It’s not practical to be unplugged for more than a day, but oh what a glorious day!