Wednesday, June 30, 2010

An Amazing, Exciting, Spine-Tingling Day Off

 Or, not.  You be the judge.

The heat wave finally ended overnight after a few severe storms moved in from the west.  It was 68'F when I headed out to run the weekly errands - a few tacked on for good measure - and to shop for the week ahead.

When this was done and the car was loaded down with essentials I tried calling the friend who has the computer desk to give me (the one he quickly outgrew) but there was no answer, I didn't let it ring more than 5 times, in case he was still asleep. Another time, perhaps.

After storing away all the groceries and everything else, I took a brief walk around the neighborhood to kind of get to know the quiet little streets here.The image above is an art piece standing on the corner by a Beauty Salon and an Art Gallery.  Don't even ask me what it's all about. (click to embiggen)  When I got back home I emptied a couple of boxes and am now doing laundry. It's taking some getting used to having a washer and dryer right downstairs, but there's a lot to be said for that convenience. And, no, I haven't worked up the confidence to install the new kitchen light fixture, in case you were wondering.

All the windows are open and the service tech arrived a while ago to change filters and do whatever they do to the heat/AC units of all apartments to make them run efficiently. He is easy on the eyes, but appears to be dumb as a box of rocks.  No offense to the box of rocks, please. Anyhoo...

This upcoming weekend we celebrate our Independence on July 4th. The holiday doesn't hold any real meaning since it's become commercialized; all about BarBQ, liquor, and fireworks (mostly illegal and many stoopid, drunk people end up in the hospital ER with burns and other injuries related to events of the day) so I am happy to be working the entire weekend.  Not having to drive on the weekend is another bonus, to be sure.

Frozen patriotic red, white, and blue margaritas will be flowing and we'll be very busy Friday and Saturday, but the Fourth itself is usually a letdown; most folks coming to town for the fireworks that evening tend to race one another out of the city as soon as the show ends to see who can be the first motorist to cause an accident. Unfortunately, this happens year after year.

From what I have been told, the restaurant usually closes early on the 4th, no matter what day it falls on. Not that is matter to me since I work lunch, not dinner.

I dreamt about an old favourite short film that I studied in film school.  The Red Balloon from around 1956 was a very well done film for kids or the kid in all of us. I was lucky enough to track it down on YouTube and plan to view the 4 parts this evening after supper. If you've never seen it, or heard of it, you can check it out for yourself. Don't mistake "The Flight of the Red Balloon" for this one. The real deal is HERE.

Go on, watch it, and feel like a kid again.

And so it goes.
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'Torchwood' Picked up by Starz

Oh sure, now that I am without TV of any kind, this comes to light.  However, since the series will not air until summer 2011, I may be able to afford some sort of service by then.  From the Hollywood Reporter:

Acclaimed British cult TV favorite "Torchwood" is getting a U.S. makeover courtesy of Starz.
The premium cable outlet will share production costs on the show's upcoming season in exchange for domestic distribution rights. The 10-episode run will debut on BBC One and Starz next summer, and take on a more international scope. The bulk of the story will shift from UK to North America and key U.S. actors will join the cast.
Once again, stars John Barrowman and Eve Myles will return.
"This gives 'Torchwood' the chance to feel like a real global drama," said BBC Worldwide Productions executive vp Jane Tranter. "The story of 'Torchwood' will impact worldwide humanity and not just a small area of the UK. This will scale it up."
Sounds interesting, or at least still on the edgy side, though They change Capt. Jack from tri-sexual to completely hetero, which to my mind, will ruin the entire concept.  
Just my two-cents.
Read the rest HERE.

More later

Monday, June 28, 2010

Monday Grab Bag: It Is What It Is!

This week got off to a good start (except for the crazies coming out for the full moon) as I walked to work this morning crossing the avenue near the library, a very handsome cop leaning against the bicycle rack smiled and said "good morning, sir" (?) as I reached the sidewalk. Since it was already 88' I asked if those polyester uniforms were uncomfortable in the heat. Still smiling he nodded, and said, " well, it is what it is and a lot of folks are more uncomfortable than I am today." Interesting answer, no?

Note: that phrase "it is what it is" has been said around, or to me a lot lately. Am I missing some cosmic message, or what?

The temperature at the restaurant was high - someone turned off the AC last night - so I was glad I arrived earlier than usual to get the place cooled down, especially the kitchen (which has a tendency to get up to 140') and to begin setting up for the lunch crew.

It wasn't a busy lunch, but a steady stream of customers grateful to enjoy lunch in a cool spot. The bar area was a lively place for World Cup fan and the setting for a special story told by two gals about what happened to them last night in the other beach town just to our south. It's a straight bar (mostly college crowd) and the owners installed one of those instant photo booths that were all the rage back in the 60s.

After knocking back 3 margaritas and several shots of Patron, they spotted the photo booth and decided it would be fun to take a few shots to send to friends.  The shooting went well as it became more risque, finally one lifted her top and flashed her boobs for last 2 shots.  They left the booth laughing and happy until they got to the "print & pay" table. They announced to the attendant that the photos were inappropriate and should not be viewed by anyone but themselves.

The attendant simply smiled and said, "well, if that's true then why did you allow the whole session to be seen on the big screen TVs positioned everywhere in the bar. It is what it is!  Though quite drunk, they went back to the bar to be greeted by hoots, cheers, and applause.

They showed me the pictures this afternoon as they sat sipping our largest margarita - the BIG girl, 42 ounce size - and becoming louder with every sip. May I say that young, straight, and horny women are exceedingly unattractive when drunk.

There was one unpleasant event today, which I will attempt to write about when I can sort out various emotions and the initial shock of the brief encounter. During that short time I felt cold and empty as never before.  It may be my next post, maybe not.

Anyway, a package was waiting on the porch when I got in. Amazon was finally able to ship the items I ordered over a week ago. The Veggie steamer was out of stock and I asked them to ship everything together. I toyed with the idea of a 3 tier bamboo steamer (lost in the settlement), but this one will do for my needs.

One day left to decide if I want to buy a microwave, or not. The sale and the coupon expire on the 30th. I'm thinking, no.

There are dark clouds outside and thunder rumbling nearby, so I'd better post this before I lose power again. I hope any storms lower the temperature and humidity for tomorrow. It's way too hot for June.

And so it goes.
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Sunday, June 27, 2010

Scissor Sisters: Dirty Fun All the Way Through

The NYT review of their new album "Night Work" and how the US might be ready for their talent, energy and weirdness after the likes of Lady Gaga and Adam Lambert.  Album to be released next Tuesday.

I find it strange that radio in this country isn't afraid to play Gaga or Lambert, but shy away from Scissor Sisters and Pet Shop Boys.  Couldn't have anything to do with their being openly gay acts, could it?  Nah! Silly me.

From the Times:
“Night Work,” due Tuesday from Downtown Records, is a return to Scissor Sisters’ dingier clubland roots, before the band became a chart topper in Europe and a cult favorite in the United States. The album is driven by dance-floor bass rhythms, a thematic through line and what Mr. Shears — born Jason Sellards — called “more brooding and upright and sinister and creepy” songs. It’s still fun, but it’s dirtier fun.
“It’s a nighttime album,” said Babydaddy, né Scott Hoffman, in a green room after the rehearsal. “We wanted to return to that feeling, what we used to do, which was perform at 2 a.m. at Luxx,” a defunct club in Williamsburg that was part of the (equally defunct) electroclash scene. It was from there that the Sisters developed their aesthetic and identity as gay-centric downtown New York performers. They’ve hardly compromised since.
But for what began as a niche act, they’ve always had a broad sound. Now, nearly a decade into the band’s career, Downtown, its new label, is hoping that “Night Work” will be an opportunity for Scissor Sisters to establish themselves for an American audience that so far has viewed them more as a novelty than a stadium filler. In a post-Lady Gaga, post-Adam Lambert era, when dance pop laced with titillation has invaded the global mainstream, “maybe the tide has shifted,” said Keith Caulfield, a senior chart manager and analyst at Billboard. But he emphasized the “maybe.”
Josh Deutsch, the chairman and chief executive of Downtown Records, said the aim was to create the kind of multiplatinum success in the United States that the band has had abroad, though he acknowledged, “That’s a very ambitious goal.” 
The piece is a bit long, but interesting, and revealing.  Read it HERE.

More later.
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Saturday, June 26, 2010

Weather, World Cup, and a short Whine

Not a bad day, actually.

I am such a wuss! I postponed my attack replacement of the shower head because I was afraid that I would need the white plumber's sealing tape and without it, the thing would leak. This morning as I enjoyed a fresh brewed iced coffee I cracked open the new shower assembly and low and behold - the package included a kit containing everything required to install the new shower head and hose.  Including a roll of that sealing tape. So, I went about installing the new device and enjoyed a relaxing shower afterward. Felt very good to accomplish this small task, since my track record has left much to be desired. There remains the replacement of the ceiling light fixture in the kitchen over the dining area. I have the fixture, though not the courage to do the deed. It must be done because the present fixture has frayed and exposed wires.  Give me time.

After a day's respite from humidity following the thunderstorms and power loss the other night, the humid air was back this morning - not a good sign.

The boss decided to only open the big doors on the bar side to keep the dining room cool, and since the World Cup fanatics fans could care less about the humidity, it was a wise choice. Most diners chose the dining room while the soccer fanatics fans cared only for the game, booze, and munchies.  Worked for me. As with every other day, I learned another few tricks, insights, and warning signs to help run the front end better.

By the end of my shift I was exhausted from going to the hot side, then cool side of the restaurant and thanks to all the cheering, whooping and hollering, began to feel a headache coming on. So, I had a very quick after-shift cocktail, and walked home.

It's quiet and peaceful here and I am about to break that quiet by viewing the end half of "The Last Waltz" now that supper and cleanup are out of the way. Then it's off to bed to get ready to do it all again tomorrow.

And so it goes.
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It's Caturday


Ain't that the truth.

More later.
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Friday, June 25, 2010

Just Because You're Paranoid, Doesn't Mean They're Not Out to Get You!

When I first looked into the idea of moving into town, one of the first bits of information that intrigued me was that everyone I talked with told me - flat out - "we never lose electric power in the city!"
So, I am in the new apartment less than a month and when a storm front passed by last evening, I lost power for about 2 and a half hours.
So, what did I do?  I sat in the dark and laughed hysterically for a few minutes, then went to bed.
Oh, what have I done to the poor people of Rehoboth Beach? Things will never be the same.

And so it goes.
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Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Gulf Disaster Cannot be "Prayed" Away.

Oh, this is rich.  Governors of TX and LA are in the pockets of big oil and they had the nerve to call for a day of prayer for the environment.

Note to Rick & Bobby: No amount of prayer is going to make this go away.  God isn't going to poke an almighty finger in that hole to stop this. Man screwed this up because of greed, and man should have the technology to fix this problem.  Yes, by all means pray, but cough up the money and talent to address the situation rather than putting out PR lies statements, killing wildlife, and banning all press coverage.

To re-write an often used phrase by the LGBT community (this is Pride Month, after all) the oil "is near or here, get used to it." From the AP:
NEW ORLEANS — Oil from the massive Gulf spill neared fertile barrier islands in Mississippi on Thursday as crude forced Florida officials to close a popular section of beach near the Alabama border.

It was yet another reminder that the oil gushing from the blown-out well on the seafloor is having a very real effect along the Gulf coast, washing up on beaches, damaging wetlands and killing animals.

The cap that has been the most effective method so far to contain some of the oil was back in place after a deep-sea blunder a day earlier forced crews to remove it for about 10 hours.

While the cap was off, clouds of black oil gushed unchecked at up to 104,000 gallons per hour, though a specialized ship at the surface managed to suck up and incinerate some.

Meanwhile, the governors of Louisiana and Texas declared Sunday a day to pray for help rebuilding communities and restoring the environment.

Darlene Kimball, owner of Kimball's Seafood on the docks in Pass Christian, Miss., has been doing that all along.
 "I kept praying and praying that we'd be protected because we've been so fortunate," Kimball said. "All I can do now is pray, pray, pray."

Mississippi so far hasn't seen much effect from the spill, but a large patch of oil has crept into the Mississippi Sound, the fertile waters between the state's barrier islands and its mainland. It was a sobering reminder that the state's luck could run out.

Florida's already has, at least in some places. Government officials closed a quarter-mile section of Casino Beach in Pensacola Beach on Thursday, a day after thick pools of oil washed ashore.
Gulf seafood has already increased in price due to availability (you know, supply and demand) and it's only a matter of time before supply dries up.  An epic FAIL if there ever was one.

And so it goes.
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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Bum Times to Good Times...

As I sat steaming (literally - it was already 78' at 7:15am and as soon as I got in the windows fogged up) in the car determined to get a few errands out of the way early, I thought about many things.  Mostly the heat and what life was like last June and what I was doing (if anything) to make changes. (click image to embiggen for an important message.)

At the time I was working two jobs - the jewelry store and, with only 2 months under my belt, the restaurant. I was working 7 days weekly and enjoyed the comfort of taking the bus into town on work days at the restaurant. Park at Park n' Ride and all is well for the day. The evening drive back to the apartment however, was often a nightmare. Last June found me commuting to both jobs 7 and 9 miles each way as I lived in Lewes. Fighting the tourists in traffic on the Coastal Highway was good for an extra daily prayer when either destination was reached safely.

As usual, money was tight and jewelry sales were few and far between. Although the restaurant was a new experience it was the best thing to happen in years. Being told in the interview that it would be seasonal position and if I fit in they would ask me back next season (this one) I prepared to be laid off after Labor day. As we all know that didn't happen, instead was asked to stay on (if I wanted to) on the part time basis to accommodate both businesses. Yes! I wanted to stay on!


Now, I'm working 6 shifts weekly  at the restaurant (the jewelry store closed after Christmas) and loving every minute of it. I have moved into an apartment in town within walking distance of the boardwalk, beach, work, and all the things that make this town what it is.

At each stop today it was interesting to remember the sometimes dire circumstances of last year - all involved money, the lack thereof - and mystified as to how I got through. When I hit the pharmacy last year it was for a prescription; this year for bath products. At the cleaners last year it was to get a suit cleaned to wear to the funeral of a friend; this year it was to drop off slacks and dress shirts covered in mildew from being it storage for 3 years. Yes, most were brand new and will probably fit better now that I've dropped a few more pounds.

No, I won't analyze all the mishugass, but, well, all I can say is WOW! I'm still here. Surviving yes, also kind of thriving and that is the key, at least for me. I have begun to care again - about myself.  I've always cared for/about others. There is a difference between caring for oneself and caring about oneself. Balance.  Thanks to co-workers and my blog buddies for their encouragement, insights, and support.  On the right track again - side-tracked no more. May it remain so.

All errands out of the way and back home by 10:45 am as the temp reached 88' (it is now 94') with the high expected to reach 96' with increasing humidity. If only it would rain.

Enjoyed a cold beer in a frosted glass with lunch that really hit the spot. Two loads of laundry are done and I'm working on a recipe for supper tonight. I think it will be something quick and easy, like a stir-fry something-or-other.  Don't want to heat up the kitchen.

Plans are to attack replace the shower head tomorrow morning before getting ready for work. Wish me luck.

Update: The garlic/roasted red pepper Hummus turned out OK, but needs a little something more to kick it up a bit.

The Van Gogh "Double Espresso" vodka was sheer heaven.  Caffeine and liquor, what more can one ask?  But, you have to love coffee to enjoy this one.

And so it goes.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Large Oyster Processing Operation Shuts Down

This is only the beginning.  From the Louisiana Seafood Newsroom:
Fourth generation Louisiana oysterman John Tesvich is ceasing operations at his Franklin, La., oyster processing company, AmeriPure Oysters, due to sharply declining supplies of fresh oysters caused by the massive BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

AmeriPure is one of America’s largest suppliers of half-shell Gulf oysters to grocery store chains and restaurants across America. But operations are stopping, and the company is laying off its 60 workers.
Tesvich and his business partner Pat Fahey hope the closure is only temporary, that oyster supplies may resume in parts of the Gulf by the fourth quarter of this year. In all reality, they really don’t have any idea what’s going to happen as oil spreads across the Gulf.

“Nothing is more insidious than this oil spill,” Tesvich says. “This thing keeps spewing oil, and nothing can be done about it.”

Oysters thrive in the brackish wetlands of the Mississippi delta in areas such as Louisiana’s Barataria Bay. The state of Louisiana leases 400,000 acres of water bottom to commercial oyster suppliers who use mainly mechanical dredging to pull up the catch. Louisiana supplies were already down as a result of low rainfall, which increased the salinity of wetland waters.

In recent weeks … as supplies of fresh oysters have dwindled … AmeriPure reduced shifts of workers from five to three days a week. Now, there are not enough oysters to keep operating.
The rest is HERE and includes video. If you like Gulf Oysters, you better get them before they disappear.

More later.
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Monday, June 21, 2010

A New Chaplin Rediscovered

 Oh, how I wish I could be there...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: SLAPSTICON 2010 TO UNVEIL LOST AND FORMERLY UNKNOWN CHAPLIN FILM: In past years, the International Film Festival Slapsticon has prided itself on recovering and presenting lost comedy treasures, even discovering previously undocumented films featuring the Great Clowns of early cinema, rewriting film history books and filmographies. (click image to embiggen)

This year, at SLAPSTICON 2010, motion picture historians will be updating the filmography of the Greatest Comic of All, Charles Chaplin, as SLAPSTICON presents for the first time since it’s original release, Chaplin’s 36th Keystone short subject, a heretofore unknown appearance Chaplin made at Mack Sennett’s legendary Fun Factory in the same year and at the same studio in which he made his film debut.Chaplin had recalled in his own autobiography that apart from his starring role Keystone Comedies, he had also played bit parts as a Keystone Kop in several pictures. Despite this information, the titles of these works remained elusive for over 90 years and no film prints have surfaced -- until now. 

SLAPSTICON 2010 proudly presents one of those previously thought lost Keystone comedies, A THIEF CATCHER, released by the Mutual Film Corporation on February 19, 1914. The short stars Ford Sterling, Mack Swain, Edgar Kennedy, and features Chaplin making an extended and very funny cameo as a policeman. The film was shot January 5th through January 26th, 1914, making it perhaps the second or third film Chaplin made at Keystone. The short was released following Chaplin’s third starring Keystone comedy MABELS STRANGE PREDICAMENT. 

Its importance as an early Chaplin appearance cannot be underestimated, and definitely adds another interesting chapter to Chaplin’s early film career.The print of A THIEF CATCHER was discovered earlier this year by Film Historian / Preservationist Paul E. Gierucki, current head of restorations for CineMuseum LLC, and one of the"Godfathers" of a group of Comedy Film Historians known as the “Silent Comedy Mafia” who help to organize the yearly Slapsticon festivals. A THIEF CATCHER will be part of a Chaplin Rarities Program at SLAPSTICON 2010 showing Saturday Evening, July 17th at 8:00 pm at the Spectrum Theater in Rosslyn, Va. Also featured in the Rarities program will be a newly recovered reel of Chaplin Outtakes from his Mutual Comedies, and a sparkling print of Chaplin’s Liberty War Loan propaganda short, THE BOND (1918) featuring outtakes from that film. 

These remarkable comedies are just a few of the rare treasures that will be screened in the four days of SLAPSTICON 2010, which runs Thursday through Sunday, July 15-18th at the Rosslyn Spectrum Theater in Arlington, VA. For more information, a complete program schedule, registration and hotel information, go to www.slapsticon.org.

My other favourite silent genius is Buster Keaton.

More later.
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Sunday, June 20, 2010

Weekend of the Stoopid

It's been like Day of the Locust, only without Karen Black or crazy-ass Donald Sutherland. And, it's been three days, not one. A very busy weekend at work...Here's a few stoopids to give you an idea:

Friday Lunch: family of 4 enter the restaurant already in a frothing dither, looking around frantically for a "good" place to sit 2 adults and 2 kids. Problem - every seat they liked was already occupied with other diners only recently seated. Other alternatives offered which they countered and it went back and forth for a few minutes.  Finally, I told them if they truly wanted any of the tables deemed "best" they would have about a half hour wait. The woman screamed to no one in particular, "I can't believe I have to sit where I don't want to sit." Then hubby pipes up with, "you know I spend about a thousand bucks a year in this place and you're making a bad call." (I have never laid eyes on these nutjobs in my life) So, I say, "sorry, but you can take one of the other tables offered, or wait for one you really want." Both let out a scream of something incoherent and the kids began to cry as they were yanked out the door. The other diners told me they were glad the nutjobs went elsewhere, that they were rude and an accident waiting to happen.  I was grateful for their support.

Saturday Lunch: Party of 6 knocking back pitchers of margaritas decide to order lunch after one pitcher. After taking their initial order each and every time the server approached the table any one of the 6 had another request. One would ask for water - the server would comply and return with a glass of water at which time another one would ask for something else and when that was delivered, another would ask for another water...you get the pattern here? They ran the poor server ragged. But the real insult was that on a $170.00 tab, they left an $8.00 tip.  Clearly, they were not a whiz at math. Should have been $34 to $40 bucks, at least.

Two women were seated in the section of one our best servers and seemed to be having a great time with their margaritas and lunch; when paying their check, however, one became indignant announcing to me that she had the worst meal of her life and the server was so rude that she was "stiffing" him and would never return to the restaurant.  Close examination of the scene of the crime revealed 3 plates completely clean - no un-eaten food. Oh, the worst meal ever, huh? We don't need your business, lady.

Sunday Lunch:Party of 8  (three in hi-chairs) clearly not ready for prime-time in public with their little darlings. As the darlings threw food everywhere from their seated positions in those chairs, the parents and grandparents laughed and clapped hands at the spectacle. Wait. The best was yet to come. The little ones realizing that showing off for grandma had its rewards, all stood up in the hi-chairs and danced to the music on the sound system, then, as their food arrived remained standing bending over to pick up a piece of (whatever), take a bite, then toss it to the floor. (At least not to other diners.) Many of those nearby diners were not pleased, so I approached the group and announced (in my big boy voice) that the kids must be seated and remain so for the rest of the meal.  Grandma was not amused and the darlings chose that moment to begin wailing in protest. I was not moved.  One by one the darlings were taken outside to be calmed down (not easy in 95' heat) but it worked. Quiet became the norm at that table.  As the offending group left the restaurant, diners in the immediate area broke into applause. Now that says a lot. And as those diners left they complemented me on the intervention.

But, I've saved the best (worst?) for last.  As regular readers know, I do not work the dinner shift and this story came to me from the owner and his front-end assistant when I arrived at work on Saturday morning. Behold!

Friday Dinner: Family right up front by the open doors to the street with many other diners next to, or near them when the mother decides to change her baby's diaper on the table.  You read that right  ON. THE. TABLE. Neighboring diners freaked (it was a poo-diaper, after all) and the boss almost went into cardiac arrest. WTF were they thinking? We have 2 changing tables - one in each restroom, so there is no excuse (aside from laziness) for that kind of behavior and disregard for the comfort of others.

You just can't make this stuff up.  Still, I love my job. There is never a dull moment.

I am smelling olives at this very moment, and just in time. Cheers!

And so it goes.
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Your Son is Gay!

From today's Delaware News Journal:
Jim Batty thought he was out for a nice dinner with his wife, Sheila, when the world as he knew it changed forever.
It was the fall of 1992 and they had a table by the window at Caffe Bellissimo. They hadn't gotten far into their meal when Sheila took a sledgehammer and hit him in the gut.
Well, not exactly. But the four words she said had a similar impact, he says now.
"Your son is gay."
This was their Jim she was talking about? Their only child? The one who would carry the Batty name to the next generation and present his parents with grandchildren?
No, that couldn't be true. They had dreams for their son and nothing about that word -- "gay" -- had ever been on the radar screen.
Jim couldn't control what happened next. He started to cry. And he couldn't stop.
"We left our table," Sheila said.
Looking back, Jim says his reaction was purely selfish. All he thought about then, he says, were the things he wanted and the way this news about his namesake made him feel.
They never considered rejecting their son. But Sheila says they both had to deal with powerful feelings. She was most concerned about her son's safety. Would he be able to get a job or find a place to live? Would somebody beat him up?
I've met the Batty's in the past and it's nice to see such a positive piece about them and our community.
Read the rest HERE.

More later.
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Saturday, June 19, 2010

Friday, June 18, 2010

DE Officials Prep for Possible Oil & Injured Animals

The Coast Press is a free, weekly news rag here published by Gannett.  That said, they sometimes write something longer than 3 or 4 paragraphs  relevant to current important issues.  This is one:
LEWES -- As oil billows outward from the Deepwater Horizon platform in the Gulf of Mexico, local officials are preparing for the possible consequences of the spill along the Delaware coast.
Suzanne Thurman, executive director of the Marine Education Research and Rehabilitation Institute, said volunteers will be undergoing training this month and assembling supplies needed to respond to wildlife that show signs of contamination.
This summer, she said she expects to see an increased number of stranded animals due to the spill and a forecasted increase in storms.
"We're trying to have everything in place, to be ready and proactive, rather than be responding in the midst of a crisis," she said.
Secretary Collin O'Mara, of the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, said he's had a team in close contact with various federal agencies while section leaders review emergency response plans and undergo refresher training.
He said the U.S. Coast Guard has told state officials there is a less than 1 percent chance of the BP spill reaching Cape Hatteras, N.C., en masse.
"It's a very remote chance, but we'd rather plan for the worst and not have to use it than be caught off guard," he said.
A series of simulations released last week by the National Center for Atmospheric Research, a climatology lab funded by the National Science Foundation, projected that oil would round the tip of Florida and shoot up the Gulf Stream as early as mid-July.
"The timing depends critically on the loop current, which no one can predict," said NCAR scientist Synte Peacock.
The loop current is a warm ocean current that could funnel the oil through the Florida Straits and out into the Atlantic Ocean.
"It's really a question of when, because eventually -- within six months (of April 20) at the upper limit -- some oil will get caught up in the loop current," she said.
Read the rest of the story HERE.

Today there was a report that oil is seeping from the sea floor and the well might collapse, which would render the secrecy on the part of BP more than a cosmic joke on us all.

Some joke.

And so it goes.
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VP Biden on Rep. Barton's (R-TX) "Shakedown" comments to BP

This is interesting in that the reporters are egging VP Joe Biden on and, as usual, Joe doesn't disappoint.  He starts off his comments quietly, voice rising about two-thirds through, then brings it back down to a soft landing at the end. Masterful in technique and profound message to us all.
Now let's see what happens.

More later.
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Thursday, June 17, 2010

Shopping Locally? Not so Much.

I have exhausted myself in search of a veggie steamer and oven thermometer locally, having been asked why the need of an oven thermometer when ovens are so accurate these days.  Well, older ovens sometimes require a recalibration to assure correct temperatures. And the veggie steamers they showed me were large electric appliances, not what I was looking for. See the image at right. No need for a microwave when this is around. Specialty appliances designed for a single purpose are a waste of money and energy.  Not to mention storage space.

I have never understood the need for an electric hot dog cooker, bun warmer, or rice cooker. What's so wrong with a pot, water, and rice - and a few minutes on the stove-top? Works for me, and no clutter on the counter-tops.

So I decided to order these items from Amazon.  They ought to arrive in a few days.  Why didn't I do this in the first place? I wanted to keep my business in the community and wasn't aware that specialty kitchen and gourmet merchants were so ill-informed. We live and learn. Unfortunately for me, it's usually the hard way. Believe me, when the package arrives I will do a little "show and tell" with local merchants to raise their awareness of such things.  It's my civic duty, after all.  If they are going to serve this diverse community, then they better get their act together and do it right.

And so it goes.
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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Great Video: Scissor Sisters: Take Your Mama Out.

I love the band and found this fancy and fanciful video of one of their great songs and just thought I'd share.  Too bad Americans can't embrace their talented gay pop stars as the rest of the world does. Jake Shears and the rest of the band are wonderful entertainers. To me, they're a little like an American version of The Pet Shop Boys. What do you say?
It was the opening act at the BRIT awards a few years ago, and they are still going strong, at least in the rest of the world.
And so it goes.
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Remembering Piaf, For Reasons Unknown

One of my all time fave songs by the most incredible voice this world has ever produced wormed it's way into my head as I was chopping garlic just now. How appropriate, don't you think?  I had to find a video and post it.  The CDs are still in boxes so this was the only way to get my Piaf on, so to speak.
Now, don't go reading anything into this revelation. Music of all kinds runs through my brain all the time and you'd be amazed at the diversity and range of songs...
Anyway, here are the lyrics in French and, such as they are, English.
-----------------------------FRANÇAIS---------------------------

Non! Rien de rien ...
Non! Je ne regrette rien
Ni le bien qu'on m'a fait
Ni le mal tout ça m'est bien égal!

Non! Rien de rien ...
Non! Je ne regrette rien
C'est payé, balayé, oublié
Je me fous du passé!

Avec mes souvenirs
J'ai allumé le feu
Mes chagrins, mes plaisirs
Je n'ai plus besoin d'eux!

Balayés les amours
Avec leurs trémolos
Balayés pour toujours
Je repars à zéro ...

Non! Rien de rien ...
Non! Je ne regrette rien
Ni le bien, qu'on m'a fait
Ni le mal, tout ça m'est bien égal!

Non! Rien de rien ...
Non! Je ne regrette rien
Car ma vie, car mes joies
Aujourd'hui, ça commence avec toi!

-----------------------------ENGLISH----------------------------
No! Absolutely nothing...
No! I regret nothing
Neither the good that I've done nor the bad
All this is much the same to me!

No! Absolutely nothing...
No! I regret nothing...
It is paid, swept away, forgotten
I don't care about the past!

With my souvenirs
I lit a fire
My sorrows, my pleasures
I need them no more!

Swept away the love affairs
With their tremors
Swept away forever
I leave with nothing ...

No! Absolutely nothing...
No! I regret nothing
Neither the good that I've done nor the bad
All this is much the same to me!

No! Absolutely nothing...
No! I regret nothing...
Because my life, because my joys
Today that begins with you!
Well, I can dream, can't I?

And so it goes,
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I Has a Happy, and a Day Off

 Don't ask. I just has a happy. So, there!

The plan to purchase a microwave was back on my gaydar after receiving a $10.00 gift card from Lowe's Home Center, and I was enticed by the deal.  Microwave prices have plummeted as their cooking capabilities have improved. As I said, I was tempted.

However, after carefully examining the gift card I found that it expires on the 24th of June - next week - and there is nothing extra in the monthly budget for that expense. It's OK, I'm used to bad timing and I can live without the oven until there is disposable income.

Then, fortunately, (or unfortunately) I balanced the checkbook and realized how close to the bone the expenses of the move have cut. That was sobering.

The original plan for this day off was to begin early with that trip to Lowe's at about 7:30 am.  Since that was off the list, I ran a load of laundry and enjoyed a nice breakfast, then hit the road (lists in hand) an hour later.

Visited all the kitchen gadget stores searching for stainless cake racks, but none were found.  Don't people bake cakes or bread anymore?

Stopped for a bottle of "martini mix" (aka Gin!) and was given a sample bottle of Van Gogh Double Espresso Flavored Vodka as a bonus. It's a Dutch product (it figures!) and it's either new, or new to me. When I crack it open I'll post a report here.

A quick stop at the hardware store yielded picture hanging hardware and the all important can of WD-40. I can get pictures off the floor and squeaky things to stop squeaking.  Heavenly Bliss!

I was careful to make a list of not only foods needed from the market, but also cleaning items not available when I moved into the new apartment. Fresh baguettes were still hot from the oven and I couldn't resist that luxury and bought 2 - one to freeze and enjoy later. Shopping once weekly is a bit more time-consuming, but saves money and time in the long run. I'm still getting used to the idea of monthly meal planning rather than weekly.

The planning is more about evening meals since breakfast (when I make it) is usually eggs in some form and toast, and lunch is a shift meal at work 6 days a week. Concentrating on that one important evening meal has the creative juices flowing again and I'm coming up with a few interesting concoctions. Usually prep is done before work and refrigerated (and marinated) for the day.  Then it's thrown together when I settle in, and cooked as I enjoy a "festive" and check email.

I may still be poor, money-wise, but I has a big happy, and life is getting better. Oh, and yes, rain was forecast again (for the 6th day!) but so far there ain't nuttin' of the sort.

And so it goes.
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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Corporate Greed May Destroy a Unique Aqua-Culture and Kill Us, but Not Them

They're "too big to fail".

Don't you just love how that phrase has slithered into every tiny corner of the corporate world? I'd like to throttle the person who first coined it.
    WASHINGTON (AP) -- BP took measures to cut costs in the weeks before the catastrophic blowout in the Gulf of Mexico as it dealt with one problem after another, prompting a BP engineer to describe the doomed rig as a "nightmare well," according to internal documents released Monday.

    The comment by BP engineer Brian Morel came in an e-mail April 14, six days before the Deepwater Horizon rig explosion that killed 11 people and has sent tens of millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf in the nation's worst environmental disaster.

    The e-mail was among dozens of internal documents released by the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which is investigating the explosion and its aftermath.

    In a letter to BP CEO Tony Hayward, Reps. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., and Bart Stupak, D-Mich., noted at least five questionable decisions BP made in the days leading up to the explosion.

    "The common feature of these five decisions is that they posed a trade-off between cost and well safety," said Waxman and Stupak. Waxman chairs the energy panel while Stupak heads a subcommittee on oversight and investigations.

    "Time after time, it appears that BP made decisions that increased the risk of a blowout to save the company time or expense," the lawmakers wrote in the 14-page letter to Hayward. "If this is what happened, BP's carelessness and complacency have inflicted a heavy toll on the Gulf, its inhabitants, and the workers on the rig."
And what about the rest of the country that longs for the plentiful shrimp, oysters, and fish that only the Gulf could produce?

{crickets!}

More later.
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Monday, June 14, 2010

Alaskan King Crab, Bills, Winsome Kitchen, and Angels.

How's that for a title?

Sorry for the long delay, but it's been a hectic week (do I say that too much?) and aside from work, there have been many lists of things that are needed and wanted for the apartment. And since I have only one day to get all that done, the planning has been extensive.

Anyway, here's the latest in a nutshell:

Found a large box delivered by Fed-Ex on the porch last weekend. It contained a small kitchen set (see the image above and click to embiggen) and though the instructions for assembly called for 2 people, I managed to assemble it myself, though it took two days. Fits in the available space, compact, and looks great. This gift-giver's generosity is beyond anything I've experienced in my life.

Enjoyed dining on Alaskan King Crab legs with Elizabeth on Friday afternoon as we sipped a "grande" margarita and caught up on the latest news regarding her move to the beach.

Following that cheery experience I arrived to find the first electric bill in the mailbox, which included a demand for an extra $180.00 deposit because I have not been a customer for 4 years. Pissed me off for a few minutes, then filed it for future communication with the company.  Nothing was going to ruin my evening.

The weather Friday, Saturday and Sunday was magnificent for beach goers although TWC and local weather forecasts called for rain - every single day.  Never happened.

I watched Angels In America - Part 1 Friday night, and part 2 on Saturday night. It had been a while and I felt the need to immerse myself in the film again.  It was cathartic, to say the least.

Two friends from the previous life paid a visit to the restaurant Sunday after church.  We shared hugs and a quick update on life, and I felt happy by their visit.  We may get together for a meal after the summer madness is over.

Being in the third week of living in town has been an eye-opening experience into what I've missed all these years and it's all good.

Enjoyed a "tropical Cosmo" with a Russian co-worker following our shifts today and learned that he and his wife have decided that I need a "companion" or "boyfriend".  (He is a friend on Face Book)  I explained that I am far too old for a boyfriend, but wouldn't mind an occasional companion to share dinners out, a cruise, and cocktails at Happy Hours around town. These two are in their 20s, btw, with one beautiful child and another on the way. He's always trying to buy me a cocktail after work, but today decided that he and I ought to share a meal at another local restaurant whose owners were customers at his previous work place and have followed him to this new place. 

The restaurant is called MIXX boasting an eclectic menu and a special burger & martini night offering 8 different burgers (the bison burger is my choice) and God knows how many martinis (I'll stick to the original, thank you) at half price. So, whenever our days off agree, he wants to treat me to the evening. I guess I'll have to give in so as not to insult him and his family.

Aside from a martini, a dinner of broiled chicken and a spinach salad there is nothing on the gay agenda tonight.

And so it goes.
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Saturday, June 12, 2010

Caturday Calm


I just love the kitty in this picture. Here's to a peace-filled weekend.

More later.
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Friday, June 11, 2010

NOLA: A Walk down Memory Lane

You don't have to be a native of New Orleans to appreciate this video. If you've visited, spent time in the city, went to college there, or just love the music, food, and overall unique attitude of the locals, this will make you feel good. The video ends at around the 8:25 mark, so you can stop it there.  Enjoy.

Embedding has been disabled by request so go HERE and enjoy the trip.

h/t to friend, Denitsa for sharing this in an email.

More later.
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Thursday, June 10, 2010

Another Leaky Rig in the Gulf, but Don't Tell Anyone

The Deepwater Horizon is not the only well spewing oil into the Gulf of Mexico for the last month.
A nearby drilling rig, the Ocean Saratoga, has been leaking since at least April 30, according to a federal document.
While the leak is decidedly smaller than the Deepwater Horizon spill, a 10-mile-long slick emanating from the Ocean Saratoga is visible from space in multiple images gathered by Skytruth.org, which monitors environmental problems using satellites.

Federal officials did not immediately respond when asked about the size of the leak, how long it had been flowing, or whether it was possible to plug it.

Skytruth first reported the leak on its website on May 15. Federal officials mentioned it in the May 1 trajectory map for the Deepwater Horizon spill, stating that oil from the Ocean Saratoga spill might also be washing ashore in Louisiana.

The only other mention the Press-Register was able to find of the spill in federal documents occurred in a May 17 transcript of a U.S. Coast Guard media conference. In that transcript, Admiral Mary Landry said that she was unaware there was another drilling rig leaking oil in the Gulf.

Officials with Diamond Offshore, which owns the drilling rig, said that they could not comment on the ongoing spill and referred the Press-Register to well owner Taylor Energy Co., which hired Diamond. Taylor Energy officials did not return calls seeking comment.
Well, of course not.  Jeez!

Outrageous, unacceptable, but not surprising. I need olives, big-time!

Read it all here.

And so it flows. (sorry.)
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Wednesday, June 9, 2010

A Tiny Celebration

This evening marks the beginning of the third week in the apartment. Nothing exciting planned to celebrate; only a martini followed by a nice dinner. I'll save the fireworks for next year.

An arrangement was made with a friend to scope out a couple of kitchen sets I've turned up nearby, but at the last minute he had to work, so that's on hold until next week. He has a large van that is recently empty following his family move to a new home, as well.

The plan to walk about town, beach, and boardwalk was canceled due to rain and wind. Not to worry, they will be there another day. So, instead of those other fun things I've been finding places for items that remain in boxes - at least those for kitchen, bath and bedroom, the living room things will have to wait for the congestion to clear - while thinking of interesting ingredient combinations and the possibility of some bulk cooking.

I'm still debating whether to buy a Microwave oven, or not. I've cooked so much in one for the past 3 years, I'm too excited about roasting and baking again.  But, I had a brain cramp of magical proportions regarding this dilemma and I may have come up with a solution. How's this?

Summer will make it uncomfortable to use the oven for baking or roasting large items that require long cooking times using high temperatures.  So, it would probably be best to use my Cuisinart counter-top Convection Oven instead, for small, one meal portions.  If I purchase the microwave I could store it until Fall then make the switch and store the convection oven til Spring. The full oven will help heat the place in winter and the bulk cooking can be frozen and reheated in the microwave for quick and easy dinners.  Ta-Dah!

Anybody?  {crickets}  Hmm.

No matter what, I cannot bring myself to think about slow-cooking any time soon. The crock pot quean has removed the crown, at least for now.

The search for cake racks, an oven thermometer, and a vegetable steamer basket has brought poor results.  Some people don't even know what these things are.  Scary, I know.

I'll have a go at finding these online, instead. Amazingly, no one around here has ever heard of the Spanek Vertical Roasters, either. Spanek used to be readily available in kitchen, gourmet and even department stores, but I found them online at their site. Their roasters are quick and healthy ways to roast everything from Cornish game hens, to turkeys and ducks - if your oven is large enough.

I found an old recipe for roasted red pepper and garlic hummus, so I'm going to make a small batch this evening. The garbanzo beans are simmering now.

And so it goes.
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Prelude to Cheney's Katrina

Don't know how I missed this.  From the Center for American Progress:

Former Vice President Dick Cheney’s National Energy Policy Task Force concluded in May 2001 that “advanced, more energy efficient drilling and production methods: reduce emissions; practically eliminate spills from offshore platforms; and enhance worker safety, lower risk of blowouts, and provide better protection of groundwater resources.” At that time, with two oilmen in the White House and two more Texans leading an emboldened Republican majority in the House of Representatives, Big Oil had an unprecedented opportunity to set U.S. energy policy.
Big Oil did not miss the opportunity. A deeper look at the energy legislation based on Cheney’s secret energy task force underscores how the unabashedly pro-oil policies and permissive regulatory environment created during the Bush administration set the stage for Cheney’s Katrina—the BP oil catastrophe.
Read the rest at the link above and be sure to read the piece published earlier in the week: BP Disaster Is Cheney's Katrina by Rebecca Lefton

Both are well worth the read.

More later.
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Observations & Stuff

On my daily walks to and from work I've noticed the diversity of trees in the single block. Pine, Oak, Maple, Red Maple, Magnolia and even Willow near the bank of the small lake Gerar. Bamboo surrounds a few homes instead of formal fencing, giving the effect of living spaces being larger and more open. The flowers are pretty much the same; roses, lillies, evening primrose, daisies, black-eyed susan, pionies, and many I do not recognise.

The neighborhood is quiet and people are friendly, always nodding or offering a sincere 'good morning' looking up from their gardening or weeding as I pass by. This license plate was on a car parked across the street; obviously some Jersey (gay) person loves it here, too.  It was parked in front of a house flying a rainbow flag.  Ahem! (click to embiggen) I also read a bumper sticker on a car driving up the street that read (paraphrasing) "Honor older gay men and lesbians. They've lived in a hostile world most of us will never see." but the car was going too fast to get a good shot. Nice thought, though.

I am doing laundry before setting about the chores around the apartment. This being my one day off, the plan is to get those things out of the way and spend some time out and about town and the boardwalk.

A co-worker may come by this afternoon with a computer desk he's already outgrown (he's a big time gamer) and it's only about 5 months old.  From his pictures, it looks like it will fit my space well.  More boxes to empty, but that can wait until this evening.

More about work later. I want to savor the peace of the morning.

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Sunday, June 6, 2010

Weekend Wrap-up

Coming down from a semi-busy (more hectic than busy) weekend here in Gayberry Beach and grateful for the down time. The weather channel has forecast rain all weekend, it never made it this far but is on the way  tonight. The system that killed a few in Ohio only hours ago is headed our way.

The fear of rain scared away people who otherwise would have come to the beach and are now probably kicking themselves for taking TWC seriously. Like a few friends, there were more than a few who decided not to listen to the 'experts' and chance it. They were in town and happy for their decision.  Besides, as the saying goes, "a bad day at the beach is better than a good day anywhere else."

Nice lunch crowds all 3 days and the time flew by - always a good thing. Margaritas and Sangria were still flowing when I logged out this evening.

I love walking to and from work. Doing so gives me a chance to visit the few shops that open early, like the bookstore, card store, coffee shop and library before logging in to get the restaurant ready for the day. It's re-discovering the town after many years. (click image to embiggen) There is even a little neighborhood grocery store a block from my place where I can pick up items in a pinch without having to drive to a supermarket.

Anyhoo, the winds increased - coming from the west - and I brought in our flag (as did all other businesses) and the sky darkened dramatically, so by the time my shift ended I chose not to hang around for a shift cocktail. Instead, decided to walk home before the storms hit. The winds have picked up yet again, and the sky is dark gray while I am safely indoors enjoying a festive martini and preparing dinner.

I'm told that the city seldom loses electric power; this is my first experience living in town, but every other place I have lived in the area was prone to outages during powerful storms, so precautions are being taken.

Is there an X-MAN whose power is to cause electrical power outages, or black-outs? If there is, it would be me!

And so it goes.
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Thursday, June 3, 2010

Dirty Cajuns: The BP Blues

I don't have to say a word. It's all in the song by a very easy-on-the-eyes cajun, if I may say so, myself. From the Dirty Cajuns at the YouTube video information:
We're praying the well will be capped in the near future. I hope this song sheds some light on the Brotherhood of people that work in the Gulf. THIS HURTS US ALL. Our fishing Industry is almost gone. There's no doubt we need better safety measures and alt sources of fuel, but please realize that shutting down offshore drilling would be a knock-out blow to our economy. Nobody is looking for a handout- just a chance to clean this mess...
This mess is coming soon to an Atlantic Beach near you.
h/t: Editilla.
And so it goes.
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LIT - Lesbian in Training

Not going so well, actually.

I can scratch "handy-man" off my list of possible vocations. Today was electrician - fail day. Need about 5 or 6 new three-prong outlets in the place but after almost 3 hours of attempting to remove old outlets was only able to replace one. Most of the screws are frozen due to rust (from the salt air?) and paint and either won't budge or the heads break off when I put pressure on the screwdriver to get them started.

With the main power off there was no moving air and the temperature shot up to 90+' and by the time I finally gave in to the inevitable I was drenched to the skin. Removed the wet clothes and took a long, hot shower. Enjoyed a Martini, and dinner, then emptied another box (herbs & spices) before calling it a day. The shorts and tee shirt are still damp this morning. Plan B; calling an electrician, will be put on hold until the $$$ are available. Or maybe I just need me the guy in the picture above, (click to embiggen.) then I can forget all about outlets!

When the temps drop a bit I may give a go at replacing the kitchen light fixture which may offer less of a struggle, but today I am too sore and achy to even consider that challenge. At this rate I may never earn my Lesbian Tool Belt!!! Maybe if I had the right tools for the job...but what ARE the right tools, I wonder.

An iced coffee while reading the morning news and another hot shower for the aching back & hands, and it's off to work.

And so it goes.
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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

"What Do You Think I Fought For At Omaha Beach"

From Good As You:
Remember Philip Spooner, the Maine veteran whose testimony in favor of marriage equality became a sort of rally cry during last fall's Question One fight? Yea? Well good, because now, a composer by the name of Melissa Dunphy has put Spooner's testimony into a choral work entitled "What do you think I fought for at Omaha Beach?" And over the weekend, a choir at Blessed Sacrament Church in Kansas City, KS, captured it on video:
Click the link above and go on over to ready Spooner's own words, or watch the original video. Powerful stuff.

And so it goes.
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Coral Reefs Threatened by Oil Plumes w/ Slideshow

Today, from the Gulf Restoration Network:
One of the most fascinating and unique features of the Gulf of Mexico is a string of thriving deepwater coral reefs which ring the Gulf.  In recent years, NOAA and others, including GRN, have been interested in designating many of these deepwater reefs as Marine Protected Areas, but most of these areas still lack such protections.
Two of these sites are directly in the path of BP’s oil drilling disaster, and many other significant deepwater corals are close to the impact zone (click for map of some of the sites). Now, the New York Times is reporting that scientists are concerned with how underwater oil plumes will affect a newly discovered deepwater reef just 20 miles from the epicenter of the disaster. Click on the picture below to see a slideshow of photos from a recent expedition to this coral reef.
So, BP's Tony Hayward wants his life back? Well, so do hundreds of thousands of businesses and residents of the Gulf states, so he can wait in line. Bastard!
 I get more furious by the hour. Yes, I know, it's not good for my blood pressure. I mean, it is what it is.  Right? OK, OK, I'll cut back on the BP crap - for a while.

More later.
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Sign of the Times


More later.
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Tuesday, June 1, 2010

France: McDonald's New Gay Ad

Cute, but a little confusing. Were gay kids ever not welcome in French McDonald's stores? Still, it is cute, and oh so French. It's a part of their new "come as you are" campaign...again, confusing.

More later.
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