A bass guitarist in a synagogue

I spent this weekend attending a wedding in the capital of the New York state. Raise your hand if you know what “s the capital of this state. Nope. Not New York. Nope. Not Brooklyn. It “s Albany, stupid!

An easy three hour drive, and we are in Hilton Garden Inn hotel at 4PM. $109 per night is cheap. Internet is free. The morning after, I was surprised to see two taxes in my bill: a room tax and a bed tax. I wonder when they “ll introduce the shower, TV, A/C, table, chair, lamp, mirror and painting-on-the wall taxes? My advice: when you check into a hotel, ask upfront if they charge bed tax. If so, just ask them to take the bed out of the room (keep a sleeping bag in the trunk of your car ndash; it doesn “t take much space).

The wedding ceremony started at 7PM in a synagogue, which was a modern-looking airy building of unusual form with a lot of glass and light. Eventually, I found out that it was built more than 50 years ago. The mother of the groom died many years ago of heart attack, so they made a donation to the American Heart Foundation. Here “s another interesting donation: a tree will be planted in Israel in honor of every guest who attended the wedding.

After a short ceremony, we “ve proceeded to the reception (it was in the same building ). The bartender had a battery of various liquor and wine bottles, but I was trying (unsuccessfully) to spot some cognac. Here “s piece of advice ndash; never be afraid to ask. Don “t trust your eyes. After a short research and consulting with a senior bartender, the guy found a bottle of Hennessy XO, and I was sipping it till the rest of the evening. Being a nice guy, I shared this valuable info with my friend, which made him happy too. We are not drinkers, but it feels so good to have something that other people don “t.

The dinner time. We went to yet another large hall with well decorated tables, a stage and a dancing floor. I took off my tuxedo jacket ndash; it was about time to start unwinding. The joy of my little Hennessy secret was over ndash; this time it was offered to everyone. Oh, well. I need to be positive ndash; I enjoyed an hour of belonging to a privileged club of anonymous cognac drinkers. Thank you, Lord for this.

The music band was the next highlight of the evening. They “ve been playing rock, pop and folk music in English, Yiddish, Greek, Russian, Romanian, Spanish and Italian languages. The base guitarist was an overdressed fifty-year old lady. It was fun watching her. She didn “t move on stage (even while playing The Beatles cover Rock “n “Roll Music), she smiled all evening and her fingers hit the strings effortlessly or so it seemed to me. She was a great musician. Here she is:

On Sunday afternoon we went back home. During this trip, I had two ladies in the car, and to keep them quiet, I “ve downloaded from the Internet a number of short podcasts where professional authors read articles on various interesting topics and recorded them on a CD . This was a good idea. The most popular podcasts were “Can a man and a woman be friends? rdquo; and “What to do to have your wife leave yourself rdquo;. When I was trying to comment these podcasts, they were asking me to keep quiet ndash; can you believe this! If you are planning a long car trip, this little trick will make your journey more fun.

Overall, it was nice, relaxing and well organized weekend.

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