Monday, December 14, 2015

LaRosa's (again)

 Saturday (12/13) Tom and I had lunch (again) at LaRosa's on Vine Street in Cincinnati. Tom had won a gift card at work and he shared it with me.

 They had a Coca-Cola Freestyle machine - though in the kitchen, not available for patron refills - and they offered something I've never seen before: Seagram's Ginger Ale with lime. To say the least, it is excellent!

 Tom wanted a dinner salad and I wasn't sure I'd be hungry enough so we split one. The waitress delivered it divided into two bowls, Tom's with honey mustard dressing, mine with Italian. I'm happy I got it. The veggies were fresh as can be.

 We shared a 14" Vegetarian Pizza. ($16.99). They describe it this way: Family Recipe Pizza Sauce and provolone, topped with mushrooms, roasted red peppers, roasted onions, spinach and Roma tomatoes. I loved every bite. Tom and I each ate three slices and I brought two home. Miss Mary has already had one for lunch.



 I only saw one waitress (we were there about 1:30 pm) but she was keeping up with everything, though literally running at times. She refilled our drinks without being asked, brought our check and a box for the slices we couldn't eat. Great place and one we'll surely return to again and again.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Kenner Symposium

 Yesterday (12/12) Tom and I attended the Kenner Symposium at the Cincinnati Public Library. It's part of a Kenner Exhibit at the library which runs until January 16, 2016. Click here for info.

 This sign greeted visitors outside the library.

 We arrived about 11 am when Kenner history was being discussed. Corky Steiner, the son and nephew of Kenner's founders, was giving a talk when we arrived. A question and answer session followed.

 Perhaps Kenner's most famous toy line is Star Wars. Here an attendee arrives dressed as a Storm Trooper.

... and another listens to the talk dressed as one of the Ghostbusters.

 The Symposium ran from 10 am to 5:30 pm. Tom and I toured the Joseph S. Stern, Jr. Cincinnati Room at the library where various Kenner toys were displayed. The exhibit is curated by Dan Flarida and Josh Blake of

 Tom brought one of his Star Wars collectibles for Scott Simmons who Tom quickly spotted among the crowd. Scott is the son of photographer Kim David McNeill Simmons who famously photographed many of Kenner's products. He's affectionately called "the man who shot Luke Skywalker". Check out an article about him by clicking here.

 "[Scott] collects the particular figure/character I was carrying around which is why I gave it to him," Tom explained. Simmons is a Kenner employee.

Kenner Toy catalogs from 1966 to 1990 were also on display. Noted Kenner lines include toys from Star Wars, Strawberry Shortcake, Batman, Jurassic Park and Ghostbusters. Other noted items were Play-Doh, Spirograph and Easy-Bake Oven.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

McGuffey Museum - Oxford

 On Saturday (12/5) with half an hour left on the parking meter, Tom suggested we make a quick stop at the McGuffey Museum on the Miami University campus in Oxford. With little time to spend, we were cordially given a guided tour of the first floor. Considering that I went to school at Miami for four years and have returned countless times since, it's surprising that I have never before set foot in the McGuffey Museum.

William H McGuffey house - 1833

 William Holmes McGuffey built this brick home in 1833 (he lived in a fame house on site in 1828). This octagonal table is reported to be the one where McGuffey designed his "Eclectic Reader".

  McGuffey's desk

Tom and our guide in one of the rooms - dining, I believe 

McGuffey's living room 

Steps to the second floor (which we didn't have time to visit)

McGuffey's Fifth Eclectic Reader - 1896 edition
Original copy in the Pinehaven collection

Our copy has a colorized engraving - perhaps colored by a family member

 So little time and so much to see. We'll return when we have more time and can explore at length. In the meantime, more information can be found by clicking here.

Miami's Second Foucault Pendulum

 I'm a sucker for science experiments. I like them even more when they're large.Graduates of Miami  University, both Tom (1979) and myself (1971) visited our Alma-mater on Saturday (12/5) with that in mind.

 They've constructed another foucault pendulum on campus, this one housed in the new physics building, Kreger Hall. I have visited the original one in Culler a number of times. Says the Miamian Magazine, "Physic's first pendulum had to stay in Culler when the department moved as as it was too big to budge."

 Though all foucault pendulum's work the same way (click here for a description), this new version certainly is more beautiful to look at. It glows with a turquoise green and is built in layers of glass.

 The pendulum is the work of artist David Griggs. A short video is posted here.

 The pendulum is named after Leon Foucault, who first constructed in 1851(Paris) to demonstrate the rotation of the earth.

 Grigg's model is made in three layers. According to the Miamian, "The top layer is an astronomical clock, the middle is a map of Oxford from the 1800's, and the bottom represents the Northern Hemisphere's constellations."

 The pendulum's "bob" is hung from a long wire, affixed to the ceiling. Tom thought the greenish light was projected from above as well. I couldn't tell the source of the light. It's quite an ethereal-looking glow, as though it has no source at all.

Kreger Hall - Miami University

 Since it was a Saturday, the main doors of the building were locked. Tom decided there must be students studying there and that one door must surely be open. I was a bit surprised when he found it. Indeed there  were students working inside the building, books open, laptops glowing, and even a few offices were occupied.
 The trip was not wasted.