Saturday, July 31, 2010

Young at Heart & Young at Any Cost

Slept well last night with the windows open as the cool night breeze rustling the bamboo sent beautiful dreams my way. I woke refreshed, cool and ready for anything the day would have in store.

Today has been another gem weather-wise and that created a relaxed environment at work. Cool breezes off the ocean  soothed luncheon diners coming off the beach and the specially priced Pitchers of Margaritas and Sangria helped enhance the mood.

Contrary to popular sentiment, we were very busy today. Plenty of families, extended families, and kids were in the mix as were many gay men and lesbians (some with their kids) in town for the weekend. All the kids - of various ages - were well behaved and quiet.  Works for me.  Even someone from my previous life walked in and was happy to see me doing well and spent some time catching up after my shift.  We hope to get together when the season ends and the kids are back in school. We'll see how that turns out.

I was confronted by the boss with a potential dilemma today.  In essence, how do you tell someone that their work attire is inappropriate for their age?  No, not my attire.  Puleeze! I cringe when I see men my age wearing Hollister tee shirts and their underwear showing above their drooping pants. What is so wrong with aging?  Gracefully? I am grateful to have lived to this age. Most of my friends did not.

In any event, this is about a woman close to my age, who doesn't want to be "that age" and shows up for work in short shorts, halter tops or frilly-lace see-through mini dresses that if they were any shorter, she'd have 2 more cheeks to powder and more hair to comb.  If you get my drift. Every time I bear witness to her thighs I think it's a reminder to put cottage cheese on my shopping list. My Bad?

Of course I am not the boss, so as a co-worker (and a gay man)  I could say, "whoa, you looked in the mirror and STILL chose to wear THAT?" Honesty of this sort could land the boss in court.

Any serious thoughts and ideas are welcome.

My shift ran late this evening so I am about to enjoy a festive cocktail as dinner broils and the salad is prepped.

And so it goes.
*

Another Caturday


More later.
*

Friday, July 30, 2010

Crab Legs, Margaritas, Endings & Beginnings

The storms last night cleared the air, lowered the humidity and temperatures as well. Left for work this morning under a blue sky and a breezy 70' temp.

The  lunch crowd was delightful and there were many Face Book  friends taking advantage of the FB-Special of the day.

Having received a message from Elizabeth on Thursday that she wanted to have dinner tonight, I made reservations and we had our usual Friday menu - Alaskan King Crab Legs and Golden Margaritas. I immediately noticed her buoyant attitude and relaxed countenance as I learned that Sunday will be her final sermon, service, and 75th Baptism at St. Paul's. She's going out on a high and positive note and wanted to dine early so she had the rest of the evening to fine tune this last sermon saying 'goodbye' to the parishioners of all stripes - those who supported her and those who made her life a living hell these past 8 years.

She's going out on her terms and as she spoke she oozed positive energy for what is to come. There is no way that energy will be lost on those in attendance on Sunday morning. The business of "the Church" can be very ugly and the past couple of years have sapped most of the boundless energy and excitement for her work. Comparisons were made between my battles with the medical establishment and her's with an un-cooperative, even hostile Vestry.  Then we laughed at it all looking to the future, relegating the past to just that - the past.

We acknowledged that over the last 3 years we have come to understand that we are stronger than we ever thought possible. We are healthier than we were three years ago; we have learned much about ourselves and how to move on without the baggage of the past weighing us down. It isn't easy, but we've done it and continue to (it's an ongoing process) make each day better as we move on.

I feel extra specially blessed tonight. I go to bed with the lightness of those blessings in my heart and an attitude of total gratitude on my soul.

May it be so for you as well.

And so it goes.
*

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Ship Lost 150+ Years is Discovered

 This is another one of those "I just love stories like this" pieces and I thought some of you would like it, too. Enjoy.
TORONTO – Canadian archeologists have found a ship abandoned more than 150 years ago in the quest for the fabled Northwest Passage and which was lost in the search for the doomed expedition of Sir John Franklin, the head of the team said Wednesday.
Marc-Andre Bernier, Parks Canada's head of underwater archaeology, said the HMS Investigator, abandoned in the ice in 1853, was found in shallow water in Mercy Bay along the northern coast of Banks Island in Canada's western Arctic.
"The ship is standing upright in very good condition. It's standing in about 11 meters (36 feet) of water," he said. "This is definitely of the utmost importance. This is the ship that sailed the last leg of the Northwest Passage."
The Investigator was one of many American and British ships sent out to search for the HMS Erebus and the Terror, vessels commanded by Franklin in his ill-fated search for the Northwest Passage in 1845.
Environment Minister Jim Prentice said the British government has been notified that one of their naval shipwrecks has been discovered, as well as the bodies of three sailors.
Captained by Robert McClure, the Investigator sailed in 1850. That year, McClure sailed the Investigator into the strait that now bears his name and realized that he was in the final leg of the Northwest Passage, the sea route across North America.
But before he could sail into the Beaufort Sea, the ship was blocked by pack ice and forced to winter-over in Prince of Wales Strait along the east coast of Banks Island.
The rest is HERE.

More later.
*

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Harassed by a Harpy & Stuff Happens

As forecast, the temps jumped up again today to the mid-nineties with the humidity rising, as well. Took off to run errands at 7:15 this morning timing every stop to coincide with their opening times.  Worked like a charm.

With the cooler filled with foodstuffs and all items, except 1 crossed off my list, I felt pretty good as I drove home to unload. I arrived to find an over-achiever's  BMW blocking the driveway. I couldn't lug everything from a parking space across the street or down the block, so I sat in the car and honked the horn.  Within a few minutes the over achieving owner materialized from a stand of bamboo looking frightfully annoyed - she is a real estate agent (figures.) showing the house next door and was not amused by the noise I was making.  She screamed an obscenity me as I rolled down the window and smiled, asking her to move her car, or would she prefer I call the city towing service? The city is very strict about these things.

She: you're not supposed to park in that driveway.
Me: You are not allowed to block driveways or any area marked and painted in yellow.
She: I have a very important client with me right now and have no time for this S**T!
Me: I suggest you make the time NOW before your client decides that you're not the person he wants to work with. Honey, your true colours (and claws) are showing big time. Just move the car and go back to your business. (There were spaces across the street where she should have parked in the first place. Lazy bitch!)
So, she fumbled for the keys, got in and drove down the street at high speed.  I was shocked.  There are kids playing on this street. WTF was she thinking? 

I drove the car into the driveway and began to bring things up to the apartment; then I hear this screech of brakes as she skids to a stop in a space across the street behind (and almost hitting) the Subaru in front of her.  The Subaru belonging to my neighbor Ryan, who you wouldn't want to have this kind of conversation with, even in one of his good moods, fortunately was untouched.

She:  There! You happy now? You've probably F**ked up my sale here.
Me:   No, I'm not happy at all.  I didn't park you car across the entrance to a driveway. YOU did that!
She: You need to explain why you harassed me instead of parking somewhere else.
Me: Honey, I live here - and I don't need to explain anything to anyone, you in particular. Just let it go and try not to make more of an ass of yourself than you have already.
She: Listen, I know your landlord and I am going to have your ass evicted by the end of the month, old man. (Old man, huh bitch? OK sweetheart, velvet gloves are off.) 
Me: In that case, please be so kind as to tell Dennard and Charlotte that the Cajun in Apartment 3 sends his best regards and looks forward to our Sunday breakfast together at the Royal Treat the weekend after Labor Day.  He'll know who you're talking about.  Do you think you can remember all that, or shall I write a note you can deliver to him?  Hm?

With that she gave me a pissy look, then swept across the street and lawn next door and disappeared into the house. I was surprised she didn't slam the door.  But then, there was the 'client' to appease and pamper - and lie to. Phony people always make my skin crawl. Today is almost walked!

Straight bitches should never attempt to compete with a Quean on his own turf. I can't wait to find out her name and what realtor she "represents" - poorly.  It's a small town, a. very. small. town.

After unloading the car I had no trouble finding another parking space across the street, this one in the shade. A good thing because the buggy will sit there for another week and the cooler, the better.

This was not the high point of the day, however.  I finally reached a live, coherent human when I called the Medical Billing Center, who was a great help in clearing up the stoopid that their office created almost 3 months ago.  This breathing humanoid said that everything was in order and I should receive a new statement shortly.  Yes, well, I will rest easy only after that revised statement arrives in the mail...still it's a positive step to ending this medical nightmare worthy of a Marx Brothers movie plot. We shall see.

I am in the middle of doing a second load of laundry and I am getting tired.  When the dryer stops for the last time I will enjoy a festive cocktail and prep dinner.  It's almost 5 o'clock now, isn't it?  Please say, YES!

I haven't enjoyed a bitch-slapping like this one today,  in a very long time. All things considered, not a bad day at all.


And so it goes.
*

RC Church Embarrassed Again!

Apparently, I forgot to post this last weekend so here it is. A little late to the party, but always good for a few laughs - Oh, those crazy queans at the Vatican. The Guardian:

The Catholic church, already reeling from a string of clerical sex abuse scandals, is facing new embarrassment after an Italian magazine published an investigation into what it termed the double life of gay priests in Rome.
Using hidden cameras, the weekly Panorama, owned by Italy's prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, captured priests visiting gay clubs and bars and having sex. The Vatican does not condemn homosexuals, but it teaches that gay sex is "intrinsically disordered". In one of his earliest moves, pope Benedict barred actively gay men from studying for the priesthood.
The diocese of Rome lashed out at the prime minister's magazine, saying its aim was "to create scandal [and] defame all priests". But it also urged gay clerics to leave both the closet and the priesthood.
Yep! Like that's suddenly going to happen after centuries of customs and abuses.  The Priesthood has always been a haven for suppressed gay men who don't want to be gay and hetero pedophiles who know the dangers they would face for their behavior in the real world. Let's not confuse the two.

In all the rants and raves from the Vatican there is never one word about following the teachings of Jesus. Rather, one must follow the "teachings of the Church".  Big difference, at least to me. Oh, the stories I could tell.  Problem is, no one would believe them - truth is stranger than fiction, and all that.

Read the rest HERE.

And so it goes.
*

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Work of Art & A Piece of Work

This big guy greets me every day on my walks to and from work.  He stands at the corner of Lake Avenue and Third Street. He always brings a smile to the faces of people he greets, or who chance upon him. (Click the image to embiggen) Isn't he festive, though?  This morning a number of small children with boogie boards in tow heading for the beach with their parents came upon him and squealed with delight. Many were asking to have pictures taken with him.  Since he is a "work of art", they knew they couldn't climb onto his back, they seemed happy enjoying his bright colours and the beret. I loved it.

I spent the early morning planning tomorrow's errand route to get the timing right for each stop so as to spend the minimum of time on the road.

Had to be at work early this morning to receive contractors working on a new water system. The bosses were involved in an ad shoot (a commercial for local TV) and wouldn't be able to greet, or watch over the workman.  So, there I was gaping at this blue-eyed, very tan, handsome man with great legs (yes, he was in shorts) and salt & pepper hair smiling at me at 9:15.  Oh, be still my heart!

Anyway, I left him to his work, which was finished way too soon, Damn! As I went about my own work he suddenly appeared and waved goodbye as he left the building.  Sigh.

The work day was interesting and fun. A couple of customers from the jewelry store showed up and were happy to know I was working at the restaurant full time. We shared stories, had a few laughs, and caught up on personal news.  It was wonderful to see them again. As they left they gave me a big hug and said they would be back to see me in the future, especially after the season.  I was thrilled to see them and even happier for the hugs.

 I learned that I have been bumped up to a higher security level in the computer system, which means more duties and previleges assigned to me - though I have no idea what they are, until I am asked to perform a specific task for a server, or cook - it's hit or miss.  Now if they would just get down to teaching me the system software, that would be a help.  Probably after the season ends in September, which is closer than I realized.  The summer is speeding by so fast it's hard to believe Labor Day is only one month and a few days away.

So close in fact, some students will return to their countries in 2 or 3 weeks.  It's going to be a tough goodbye. Still, that is weeks away so we can make the best of the time remaining.

Today was a carbon copy (does anyone remember what that phrase means, anymore?) weather-wise of yesterday.  Heavenly and a great beach day. The weekend weather isn't promising more of the same.  Rain is predicted and that means the town, restaurant, and I will be hopping.  Looking forward to it. I am so over this 110' with high humidity; we need cooler, breathing weather and if that means the badly needed rain, then so be it.

I smell olives!

And so it goes.
*

Monday, July 26, 2010

Un***k The Gulf

Hey, Tony Hayward got his life back, but what about the people and aqua-culture in the Gulf of Mexico?  Not so much.

Warning: NSFW:

Oil Spill Charity "F-Bomb-A-Thon" from UnF--kTheGulf.com on Vimeo.
So, go to their website and buy a F***ing Tee shirt and find out what more you can do to save the Gulf and its people.

And so it goes.

Google Images & Me

Yesterday, as the dinner staff arrived to relieve those who worked lunch, one of my Russian server/friends told me that my picture is one among hundreds under the Google Images banner.  Yes, it seems that if you Google "Rehoboth Beach" a list of options appears on the left side of first search page. Clicking on "Images" brings up page after page of photos of the town and surrounding area.

If you scroll down to page 11, I think, there I am somewhere in the mix in a photo taken of me with the lovely Kelly-Ann at Cloud Nine Restaurant over a year ago.  (Who'da thunk I was so famous?) Unfortunately, photo credit is given to "Trip Advisor" when the picture was actually taken by friend Ron on one of our infrequent dining out adventures. Kelly is a hostess at C9, also a customer at my previous job selling shiny baubles and, as you will see, she's lovely.

Little did I imagine when the shot was taken that a year later I would be doing the same job a few doors down from hers.

To check out the Rehoboth Beach Images, simply GO HERE and scroll down to your heart's content.

Breakfast is calling and then it's off to another day at the office er' restaurant. BTW, the storm (yes, sadly only one) didn't amount to much, but it has cooled off the area a bit.  It won't last however, forecast is back to the high 90's by Wednesday.

Summer?  Feh!

And so it goes.

*

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Picture a Brown and Dying Gardenia*

The oppressive heat continued today for the um-teenth day in a row. Heading off to work yesterday morning the outside temp was already 82' (at 9:15am) and this morning it was 88' same time. The air was thick making it hard to get a full breath and I was grateful to get into the AC at the restaurant quickly.

While we didn't reach the expected 115' this afternoon, it was awfully hot, none the less.

Making my way home, the sky was darkening and the wind speed picked up; the front from the mid-west is finally making its way to the coast. One could feel the cooler air in those winds.  I made it home about 10 minutes before the storm made its entrance. Thankfully, it has been raining for almost a half hour and (we hope) there is much more to come. The other hope is that this front lowers the temperatures by even just 10' by tomorrow.

Nothing new or earth-shattering to report; it's summer at a beach town which, pretty much speaks for itself. I'll have a few thoughts and/or insights to share, but right now the brain is roasted.

A stir-fry is on the menu tonight, don't want to heat the kitchen more than necessary.

As i write, this storm has passed.  Yes, that quickly.  I hope there are more to come.

*I love the aroma of gardenias, always have and always will. There were 3  bushes in my family garden and I used to sit in among them and just inhale their lovely scent.

More later.
*

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Cocktail Caturday




Yep, that's certainly on my Gay Agenda this evening.

More later.
*

Friday, July 23, 2010

News Legend Daniel Schorr - R.I.P.

Daniel Schorr was one of "Murrow's Boys" as in Edward R. at CBS, but his career goes back a long, long way. He was one of those reporters you instinctively knew you could believe and trust. He enjoyed a long career and even longer life. His commentaries on NPR's Weekend Edition with Scott Simon were were always honest, accurate, lively, and informed by history.  I feel blessed to have been taught, and enlightened to the workings of Washington - and the world - by him. From NPR:
Daniel Schorr, a longtime senior news analyst for NPR and a veteran Washington journalist who broke major stories at home and abroad during the Cold War and Watergate, has died. He was 93.
Schorr, who once described himself as a "living history book," passed away Friday morning at a Washington hospital. His family did not provide a cause of death.
As a journalist, Schorr was able to bring to contemporary news commentary a deep sense of how governmental institutions and players operate, as well as the perspective gained from decades of watching history upfront.
"He could compare presidents from Eisenhower on through, and that gave him historical context for things," said Donald A. Ritchie, Senate historian and author of a book about the Washington press corps. "He had lived it, he had worked it and he had absorbed it. That added a layer to his broadcasting that was hard for somebody his junior to match."
Schorr's 20-year career as a foreign correspondent began in 1946. After serving in U.S. Army intelligence during World War II, he began writing from Western Europe for the Christian Science Monitor and later The New York Times, witnessing postwar reconstruction, the Marshall Plan and the creation of the NATO alliance.
Schorr joined CBS News in 1953 as one of "Murrow's boys," the celebrated news team put together by Edward R. Murrow. He reopened the network's Moscow bureau, which had been shuttered by Joseph Stalin in 1947. Ten years later, Schorr scored an exclusive broadcast interview with Nikita Khrushchev, the U.S.S.R. Communist Party chief — the first-ever with a Soviet leader. Schorr was barred from the U.S.S.R. later that year after repeatedly defying Soviet censors.
He covered the building of the Berlin Wall as CBS bureau chief for Germany and Western Europe. In 1962, he aired a celebrated portrait of citizens living under Communist rule in East Germany.
Read the rest of this marvelous career HERE.
And so it goes.
*

23, July: A Messsage From Lolcats


Funny thing, I seem to recall others telling me this long ago. Well, maybe it's a good thing, all the way round. Compliment accepted.

More later
*

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Why You Can't Lose That Weight...

This really annoys and scares the bejeebus out of me.  During a conversation with a co-worker this morning (who happens to be working on his Masters in Chemistry) we got into the chemicals and antibiotics in our food and water supply. He pointed me to this article and while nothing in it surprises me, I was unaware of just how destructive these chemicals, pesticides, and antibiotics can be to humans, especially.
by: Stephen Perrine and Heather Hurlock

On May 11, the White House announced it was targeting a new threat to America’s health and security. It wasn’t some rogue nation or terrorist organization, or a newfound disease or environmental threat. It was a class of chemicals that are making Americans fat. They’re called endocrine disrupting chemicals, or EDCs. And chances are you’re eating or drinking them right now.

The White House Task Force on Childhood Obesity released a report called "Solving the Problem of Childhood Obesity Within a Generation." In the report they list endocrine-disrupting chemicals as a possible reason for increased obesity in the country and describe how scientists have coined a new term for these chemicals — "obesogens" — because they "may promote weight gain and obesity."

What does this mean for you? It means that weight gain is not just about calories-in versus calories-out.

No, America’s obesity crisis can’t entirely be blamed on too much fast food and too little exercise. We have to consider a third factor: the obesogens. They’re natural and synthetic compounds, and many of these chemicals work by mimicking estrogen — the very hormone that doctors DON’T want women taking anymore (as a large clinical trial linked hormone therapy to increased risk of heart disease, breast cancer, stroke, blood clots and abnormal mammograms).

Why traditional diets don’t work anymore

Because high school biology was likely a while back, here’s a quick refresher: The endocrine system is made up of all the glands and cells that produce the hormones that regulate our bodies. Growth and development, sexual function, reproductive processes, mood, sleep, hunger, stress, metabolism and the way our bodies use food — it’s all controlled by hormones. So whether you’re tall or short, lean or heavy — that’s all determined in a big way by your endocrine system.

But your endocrine system is a finely tuned instrument that can easily be thrown off-kilter. "Obesogens are thought to act by hijacking the regulatory systems that control body weight," says Frederick vom Saal, Ph.D., curators’ professor of biological sciences at the University of Missouri. That’s why endocrine disruptors are so good at making us fat — and that’s why diet advice doesn’t always work — because even strictly following the smartest traditional advice won’t lower your obesogen exposure. See, an apple a day may have kept the doctor away 250 years ago when Benjamin Franklin included the phrase in his almanac. But if that apple comes loaded with obesity-promoting chemicals — nine of the ten most commonly used pesticides are obesogens, and apples are one of the most pesticide-laden foods out there — then Ben’s advice is way out of date.
You really must read the entire article, unless of course, you already know about these things. In any event the rest is HERE.

And so it goes.
*

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Hibiscus = Rose of Sharon

There have been questions raised in the comments about this particular flower and I hope this will put those questions to rest. Thank You.

Modern usage


Hypericum calycinum

Hibiscus syriacus
Rose of Sharon is also commonly applied to two different plants, neither of which is likely to have been the plant from the Bible:
Rose of Sharon is also the name of a character in John Steinbeck's novel The Grapes of Wrath. She is the younger sister of Tom Joad. She is married to Connie, and is pregnant with his baby.
 Read the whole story here.

Fascinating, isn't it?

More Trash and Treasure

Did the shopping and other errands early so I could get back to the apartment before the heat melted the soles of my shoes. I had envisioned a nice day out and about taking pictures, but that's out of the question. It is so uncomfortable (how uncomfortable is it, Johnny?)  that I've had no appetite all morning. While grocery shopping I bought a few bottles of Tonic Water, and a couple of fresh limes, so aside from gallons of water, there'll be tonic and lime with plenty of ice as the household chores get done.

The thrift shop folks were thrilled with the boxes, especially the clothes - seems there's a shortage these days. Gee,  I wonder why? Hard times, perhaps?

Oh, and I ran into my little lady in her (VOV) van of veggies again.  No NJ tomatoes this time, but she said the Big Boys will be coming in another week or two. She did have some beautiful cucumbers and beets. Upon my return home I stored everything as quickly as possible and got down to the business of turning those cukes into a lovely salad, along with sliced onion, fresh basil and the sweet/sour dressing I used to make way back when...in NYC.  It's marinating even as I write. And the beets are in the small crock pot simmering away for a number of planned dishes this week and next.

Rummaging through another unlabeled box on this scorching, humid day off turns up coins from a visit to Europe back in 1988, belonging to the UK, Belgium, France, and The Netherlands.  (Click the image to embiggen.)

Way before the Euro.

I have 2 envelopes of coins and have no idea who would like to have them, if they are worth anything, or if I ought to keep them as memorabilia. Are there collectors of these old coins out there?  I remember having some paper money from various countries, but my fave was from Holland, 'er, the Netherlands. Small, brightly coloured, and cheery, they were.

The French 10 franc coin has always intrigued me. Two different metals fused into one coin. I used to keep one in my pocket as a good luck charm.  Don't ask why, I just liked it for some reason. It's in the pic., but upside down.  Sorry, the light isn't so good in this area of the apartment.

I also uncovered my old ID key-chain fob from The Islanders Club that used to run buses from various points in Manhattan out to the Sayville, LI ferry which takes visitors to Fire Island. Apparently, they still do.  I love it. The fob used to be on my keyring and has a "if found return to The Islanders Club, with their address - postage paid. It includes my member number 1046, which I still remembered after all these years.

Stay tuned, more surprises are likely inside other boxes yet unopened. I hope they are pleasant ones.

The image above is a scan of a few coins - some very tiny - leave it to the practical Dutch.  All input would be appreciated.

And so it goes.
*

Monday, July 19, 2010

Not Just Another Monday

In yet another effort to reveal more of the wood floor in the living room, I spent the better part of last evening opening boxes and discovering their contents.Old birthday cards, plans for the first vegetable garden in NJ from 1982 and some pictures of the finished product and the fruits of our labor. Many ancient tee-shirts from various events going back to the mid-70s, many from NY Pride parades when I used to volunteer as a marshall to keep the folks moving and away from anti-gay hate-mongering a**holes on the side lines. Sadly, some things never change.

All kind of depressing really, as most of those years were spent with the now Ex (any photos of him or us went immediately into the trash) as we spent 18 years on that hillside in the woods in what I thought was bliss.  As it turns out, it was anything but.

Then, this morning I opened another large box and was cheered up at once.  This one contained old clothes - shirts, slacks, jeans, shorts and more tee-shirts - only these were from when I was a lot heavier.  All shirts were extra large, slacks and shorts were size 36 and 38 waist. A few items were brand new, original tags still attached.  Don't know how these items got packed, I don't even remember many of them. 

As I sip my iced coffee I look at these clothes like they are from the life of someone else, someone who passed away and left them to me. For some reason, I can't stop smiling as I think of how I've changed from that "husky" (as they used to say) guy into the me of today.  A 34 waist, medium shirts, and large tee-shirts (I like them loose and comfy) suits me just fine and I've maintained these sizes for almost 5 years now.

This is just one more box for the thrift store as it joins 2 others already in the car awaiting my Wednesday errands. With every box emptied I feel as though a layer of skin is being shed and, somehow, I feel I can breathe easier.  Strange feeling, that.

To be honest, I don't miss the house on the hill, or the garden, (though I do miss the fresh produce), or the lawn mowing, or the weeding, or any of that home-owner bliss. That was then, this is now.  I am exactly where I ought to be at this moment.

Of course, a little more furniture (and some extra money) would be nice.

If the forecasters are correct (for once!) and we get heavy rains today it will be a great day at the restaurant. When it rains people tend to do other things - shop the Outlet Stores, go to the movies, and eat out. We'll be waiting for them...

And so it goes.
*

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Gulf Oyster Deaths Disturbing.

The image at left appeared in the boutique next door to the restaurant yesterday morning. I giggled at the premise and took this picture.  (click image to embiggen) Little did I know what awaited me when I returned home last night. There is nothing like Gulf Oysters and this is a sad chapter in this ongoing disaster perpetrated by greedy BP. This from nola,com.
Surveys of coastal oyster grounds have discovered extensive deaths of the shellfish, further threatening an industry already in free-fall because of BP's oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
The deaths are blamed on the opening of release valves on the Mississippi River in an attempt to use fresh water to flush oil out to sea. Giant diversion structures at Caernarvon and Davis Pond have been running since April 25 on the orders of Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and local officials with the consent of the Army Corps of Engineers.
For the past 82 days, about 30,000 cubic feet of water per second has flowed into coastal Louisiana, enough to fill the Louisiana Superdome, home to the New Orleans Saints football team, nearly once an hour.
"What I saw does not look good," Patrick Banks, oyster manager for the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, said in an e-mail. He said he found no evidence of oil on the reefs east of the Mississippi River, but he said they "looked to be fallow reef."
Banks dove onto reefs at Black Bay, Bay Crab and Telegraph Island, where the state is building public oyster grounds for farmers to collect baby oysters and transfer them to their private leases. Once there, they are raised to market size.
Public reefs account for up to half of Louisiana's oyster harvest, an industry that employs about 6,000 people and is valued at $330 million. On Thursday, Banks said oyster deaths also were found west of the Mississippi, though the surveys there are not yet complete.
Reports also are coming in about damage to private oyster grounds.
John Tesvich, chairman of the Louisiana Oyster Task Force, a state committee overseeing the industry, said the reports of oyster deaths on private leases are worrisome.
Oysters use saltwater to make their shells and need it to keep their vital membranes working properly. They can tolerate small doses of fresh water for perhaps a couple of weeks, but they will die if they suck in too much.


If you've enjoyed Gulf oysters in the past, it may be a very long time before you get to enjoy them again.

The rest is HERE featuring disturbing pictures.

And so it goes.
*

Saturday, July 17, 2010

We Are All We Have: An Update

Sergei arrived at work  this morning (he was not scheduled yesterday) with a sort of sad smile, embraced me immediately, and announced that his money had been returned Friday afternoon. There was a strange look on his face, but I didn't have to ask; he had a story to tell.

As suggested, he confronted his roommates regarding the theft, how it hurt him, and told them what he told me, "if one of you needed money I would have given it to you until you could pay it back.  Well, seems there were some guilty faces all round as Sergei went to his room to change clothes.

There was a knock on his door and three of the roomies told him to leave the apartment for 15 minutes and they would get his money back. Sergei, fearful of violence, asked them to assure him that there would be none. They did and he left; spent the time shopping at the pharmacy nearby. When he returned, there was his money - even the coins - and he was astounded. He said he almost cried.

However, they refused disclose the identity of the thief, which is not a comforting end to the situation for him.

A bit of history: One of his roommates recently suffered severe burns while cooking and Sergei missed a day of work to  escort her to the hospital ER because she speaks little English and is fearful of anything to do with Doctors (there is a long story about the profession in his country that left me speechless), another roomie speaks no English so Sergei accompanied him to interviews as translator.  The guy is always willing to give and help anyone in need.

Isn't that what we are all called to do?

I was happy to hear this news and until that moment hadn't realized how much this situation weighed on my heart. I laughed, but didn't dare cry,  then hugged him hard. I didn't meddle into whether he chose to leave most earnings secure in the safe, or with me.  My guess is that he will keep closer tabs on his wallet from now on, hoping that this episode was just a fluke and he can trust his roomies again. Yes, he's that kind of guy.

Thanks for all comments on this tale, I appreciate them and may even share them with Sergei if only to let him know that there are others in this world who get-it, and care; even people who don't know him. I'll mull this over and decide before he returns home in October.

Of course, I will post it all here.

I worked later than usual today and there is a Sazerac calling my name, so Cheers!

And so it goes.
*

Connoisseur Caturday


Me, too.

Another scorcher predicted today.

More later.
*

Thursday, July 15, 2010

We Are All We Have on This Planet. Now, Repeat.

I mean, think about it.  We ARE all we have. Period! We need to help one another, love one another, sometimes simply be there for one another, care for one another and...trust one another. Let me explain. (Deep breath.)

The day began on a high note (sunny sky, breeze off the ocean, low humidity) being satisfied with my accomplishments on the day off I was ready for another day at the restaurant.

All was going well as kitchen and wait staff arrived early, or on time. Prep chores went smoothly, stations were assigned to the servers, and we were ready to open the doors 10 minutes early.  Following an initial rush the customer numbers dwindled due to the drop dead gorgeous weather, so by mid-afternoon lunch traffic was way down.

That's when it happened. One of the servers, (a kind and gentle soul, whom I adore, btw) Sergei from Ukraine, written about previously, (more info is in the comments of that post) confided in me that one of his roommates stole all his money - "even the coins" - he said. He was close to tears, and so was I.  Without going into detail, these students live in conditions most of us wouldn't offer to our pets.  Sergei explained that he usually wears shorts to bed at night, money safely tucked inside a pocket, his laptop and cell phone next to his pillow. Due to the oppressive heat and humidity before the storms cleared the air, he chose to sleep in his underwear Monday night. When he arrived home following his shift Tuesday his money was gone. As he said to me "even the coins!" The bills had been folded around his VISA card held by a rubber-band - the card was there - the money and the rubber-band were not. He had to borrow money for bus fare to get to work today.

Mind you, this is one of the most generous, caring, and giving (asks nothing in return) persons I have had the pleasure to come to know. This broke my heart, I could see his breaking, too. He can't understand why anyone would steal from him, since all students are in the same boat financially. As he said to me, "if they needed the money I would have offered it to them, until they could afford to pay it back."  My first thought was that he was targeted because he is gay, a bit effeminate  - and someone has issues with faggots! I didn't share this with him, however. He's been traumatized enough.

The more he told me the more I seethed. I suggested he confront his roommates (he has nothing to lose) and watch for signs of discomfort or side glances on their faces.  I suggested he ask the boss to put his money in the safe, or give it to me to hold for him. 

He made some money in tips serving at lunch and is a busboy this evening, so there's that extra bit to take the pressure off and he can pay his weekly rent on Saturday.  After my post-shift cocktail, as I was leaving tonight, he came up and gave me a big hug and said, "this will not make me stop believing in the goodness of people, look, I have met you and that is enough." I hugged him hard and left quickly. I didn't cry until I was out of sight and well into the trees on my quiet street.

As I told my boss, if I had a sofa-bed, I'd offer him a place to stay for the rest of the summer where he, and his money, would be safe

If only some people would GET IT - that we are all we have on this planet. When we steal from another, we're only stealing from ourselves.  Karma is a bitch that way.

And so it goes.
*

18th Century Ship Found at WTC Site

As regular readers know, I love this kind of story.  Though it's frustrating that construction can't be stopped for a thorough excavation of the site and find, to be done. Sigh!
NYT:
In the middle of tomorrow, a great ribbed ghost has emerged from a distant yesterday.
On Tuesday morning, workers excavating the site of the underground vehicle security center for the future World Trade Center hit a row of sturdy, upright wood timbers, regularly spaced, sticking out of a briny gray muck flecked with oyster shells.
Obviously, these were more than just remnants of the wooden cribbing used in the late 18th and early 19th centuries to extend the shoreline of Manhattan Island ever farther into the Hudson River. (Lower Manhattan real estate was a precious commodity even then.)
“They were so perfectly contoured that they were clearly part of a ship,” said A. Michael Pappalardo, an archaeologist with the firm AKRF, which is working for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to document historical material uncovered during construction.
Other pics and the rest of the story is HERE.
More later

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Shocking?

I decided that since I cannot rearrange furniture I don't have, I can rearrange the look of this place. It needed a bit of a face-lift, if I may say so myself. I've got the basic look that I want, but subtle changes will be forthcoming as time goes by.

Oh, the other reason for the new look is that Blogger no longer offered advanced editing for my former template, so it was either stick with everything as it was, or update to have more control over the look of the place.  As the saying goes, "if change is all there is, choice is all you've got."

Can't say I'm sorry. I like the new template and the controls are even more advanced than the old one.

I enjoy the ability to change the header picture and the colours of the header and description text, so this template was good for my needs.

Only the template has changed, I remain the Cajun and all that comes with me. Any comments or suggestions are welcome.

And so it goes.
*

A Marketing Adventure & Other Stuff

As in Supermarket-ing.

The day off began early because I wanted to beat the heat and humidity, but that didn't work out well.  It was already 82' when I left the apartment at 7 am to run a few errands and check out a few consignment shops on the off chance I might find an affordable loveseat, or chair for the living room. The errands were all accomplished in record time, but the sofa/chair shopping didn't work out well, either. The pickings were thin and what was there was already sold and awaiting pick up by the new owners.

I decided to stop and check out a recently renovated supermarket (this is the 4th incarnation since I've lived here) to see what kind of merchandise they carry and how the prices compare with my current market of choice. Nice deli section and the bakery had some interesting hard rolls, but their French breads were soft almost like a loaf of generic white bread, (no hard crust) and not worth the price. Produce section was well stocked and much of the product was grown locally, always a good thing, but unlike my fave store, their locally grown fruits and veggies are no less expensive and, for some products cost more than the stuff shipped from thousands of miles away.

I found it odd that, here we are in a beach town on the Atlantic ocean, and their seafood section offered only prepackaged fish, shrimp, scallops and lobster tails. No fresh fish, or live lobsters in sight. 

Didn't bother too much with the frozen food aisles, since I use very little frozen anything. Only certain vegetables that may be out of season here, oh, and ice cream when I can afford it and it's on sale. Their cheeses were the same as most other stores and the dairy aisle showed nothing exciting, either.

Glad I checked out the renovation, which is lovely, but one can't eat the 'lovely', so I'll be sticking with the store where everyone knows me, I know most all employees and the manager, and has the best prices on things that I use regularly. Not to mention 2 of the nicest, hunkiest butchers around who are willing to prep a meat order just the way you want it. (Insert joke here.) Steaks, chops, roasts, or whatever.   Even so, they slice spareribs for me so I don't have to abuse my hands with that effort. I found a new way to cook them to make them fall-off-the-bone tender. Yes, one very satisfied customer, is what I am.

There was a Weber gas grill in my previous life, but no more and I can't remember the taste of butterfly leg of lamb roasted on that grill. I still have the recipe - just no grill. I will find a way to prepare this one in the broiler, if necessary. Colour me determined. I don't know where that memory came from.

On the way home, I spotted that same little lady with her van from last week, so I stopped to see if there were more NJ tomatoes to be had. There were, so I bought 3 more of these juicy giants, then noticed a case of DAWN dishwashing detergent marked 50 cents per bottle!  I cornered the market, so to speak. I now have enough DAWN to clean any oiled wildlife that may come ashore thanks to BP.

(And from new reporting, tar balls have been spotted in the Atlantic on beaches as far north as the outer banks in the Carolinas. But, that story is for another post.)

Supper tonight will be baked pork spareribs, sliced NJ tomato with fresh basil and goat cheese, and pickled cauliflower heads.

Looks like we may get another rain storm this afternoon. The sky is very dark, the winds have picked up and the air is thick with that ozone smell we all know and love...


It's almost 5 o'clock and come rain or come shine, I smell olives.  Cheers!

And so it goes.
*

Monday, July 12, 2010

Is That a Pistol in Your Pocket...

Or, Are You Just Glad I Don't Litter?  From the Latte Times:
More than a dozen people packing pistols on their hips strolled down the Hermosa Beach strand Saturday, picking up garbage and distributing fliers about the rights of gun owners.

The event was part of a burgeoning and controversial "open carry" movement nationwide promoting the right to carry guns in public. Although carrying a concealed weapon is illegal without a permit, California allows people to openly carry guns in many areas as long as they are unloaded, though they can keep ammunition with them.

Members of South Bay Open Carry, which organized the beach cleanup, said they hope such events will dispel misgivings about gun owners and make carrying a handgun in public more acceptable. Organizers said they turned the event into a cleanup to demonstrate that they are contributing to the community.

"Just because somebody is carrying a gun doesn't mean that they're a criminal," said Scott Brownlie, a 25-year-old firefighter who stood outside Peet's Coffee & Tea with an unloaded Colt M-4 Carbine slung across his back. "If a lot of people were allowed to carry more … there would be a lot less crime."
The Village People's "Macho Macho Man, I've Got To Be A Macho Man!" comes to mind, for some reason...No, really!

And so it goes.
*

Sunday, July 11, 2010

World Cup and Whirled Peas

Seems Americans have suddenly become enamored with the game of soccer (known around the world as football - but not here) and for the past two weeks (seems like months) these fans have invaded every nook and cranny of the restaurant. Sweet Christ on a cracker, today is the final game between Espana (Spain to us Muricans!) and The Netherlands.

Unlike Super Bowl fans, who are loud, obnoxious and rude, American soccer fans are just obnoxious. Oh, and demanding.  Maybe it's genetic.  Maybe because you can actually see the players, their bodies, facial expressions, and graceful moves, that the game has become more alluring.  After all, what do you see of an American football player? Part of the face, teeth guard, helmet, pads, spandex and attitude - all of which make the over-paid player look more like a tank going to war, than an athlete playing a game. And you wouldn't know who was under all that heavy drag but for their names stitched onto the back of their Jersey...what fun?

Soccer players have fine-tuned bodies and are light on their feet, while football players are clunking around, some weighing over 300 pounds. Grace and agility over dumb brute strength. I'll take the former, thank you very much.

Anyhoo.

Since the game started at 2:30 pm EDT, I had to deal with these crazies from 1 o'clock until the end of my shift at about 4:30 pm. By that time many were so drunk they had to close one eye to keep the tv screen in focus; as I left the pitchers of margaritas were still flowing...Good luck with that, OK?

I am home making supper and enjoying a festive martini as I write. It's going to be a wonderful evening. I plan to watch "An American in Paris" which I haven't seen in a few years. Truth be told: I fell in love with Gene Kelly at age 8 when I first saw this picture. But, please, PLEASE, don't tell anyone.  Let this be our little secret, OK?

Anyway, Cheers!

And so it goes.
*

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Music Video: Fire on the Water

Powerful stills and film clips, of the BP disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.  Some images are difficult to watch.
Boycott BP.

And so it goes.
*

Clueless Caturday

Instead of the usually snarky captioned photo, I happened upon this.  Please read all the way to the end.


Friday, July 9, 2010

Crab Legs, Margaritas, Old Friends & New

Received a call from Elizabeth Wednesday night warning that she was on the way down to the beach and wanted to know if I had plans for dinner after work tonight. Of course, I didn't.

She then related a story that is not uncommon among bloggers; two others would be joining us, neither of whom she had ever laid eyes on, but were adamant about buying us dinner for a chance to meet (in person) someone they had admired for sharing words, insights, and love of humanity.

I made reservations for the 4 of us, and as I ordered my post-shift cocktail was informed that there were 2 men waiting to meet me, so I knew it must be the guys. Sasha pointed them out and when I got my cocktail I went over and introduced myself. They were sincerely happy to meet me and couldn't wait to meet Elizabeth in person. Within 10 minutes she joined us and the guys went crazy. Yes, in many circles of the Church she is like a rock star. In others she is reviled - but we need not go there.

Note: For those new here, Elizabeth is an Episcopal priest, rector of a church in NJ, and a fierce outspoken advocate for equal rights. Her blog posts can thrill or cause hissy fits - depending on which side of the debate you're on - and you always know where you stand with her.  No BS here!

Seated in the dining room we ordered another round of margaritas and got down to the business of getting to know one another.  It was great fun and quite a learning experience for all.

The Alaskan King Crab Legs were a hit with the new guys and another round of margaritas bookended the meal. We returned to the bar, where the guys (and me) enjoyed one more margarita while getting caught up in the usual Friday zaniness with happy (and drunk) locals.

That's where the image above comes in. (click to embiggen) The lesbian on the far left wasn't supposed to be in the pic, but managed to put her face forward to mug for the camera.  It was all good fun.

As we parted - Elizabeth to find her car, the guys to meet up with friends at a pub nearby, and I to my walk home - there were many hugs of happiness, grace, promises to keep in touch to plan getting together again in the near future.

Experiencing a pleasant buzz at the moment, I am ready to call it a day, brush my teeth, and hit the sheets. I feel blessed in so many ways, but the best is that of friendship and love.

Can I get an Amen?

And so it goes.
*

Thursday, July 8, 2010

UK Treasure Hunter Finds Huge Cache of Roman Coins.

I just love stories like this. When oral and written history can be verified by existing evidence.  Fascinating stuff!

AP: LONDON – A treasure hunter has found about 52,500 Roman coins, one of the largest such discoveries ever in Britain, officials said Thursday.
The hoard, which was valued at 3.3 million pounds ($5 million), includes hundreds of coins bearing the image of Marcus Aurelius Carausius, who seized power in Britain and northern France in the late third century and proclaimed himself emperor.
Dave Crisp, a treasure hunter using a metal detector, located the coins in April in a field in southwestern England, according to the Somerset County Council and the Portable Antiquities Scheme.
The coins were buried in a large jar about a foot (30 centimeters) deep and weighed about 160 kilograms (350 pounds) in all.
Crisp said a "funny signal" from his metal detector prompted him to start digging.
"I put my hand in, pulled out a bit of clay and there was a little radial, a little bronze Roman coin — very, very small, about the size of my fingernail," Crisp said in an interview with the BBC.
He recovered about 20 coins before discovering that they were in a pot, and realized he needed expert help.
"Because Mr. Crisp resisted the temptation to dig up the coins it has allowed archaeologists from Somerset County Council to carefully excavate the pot and its contents, ensuring important evidence about the circumstances of its burial was preserved," said Anna Booth, of Somerset Council.
Somerset Coroner Tony Williams scheduled an inquest Thursday to formally determine whether the find is subject to the Treasure Act, a formal step toward determining a price to be paid by any institution which wishes to acquire the hoard.
The hoard is one of the largest ever found in Britain, and will reveal more about the nation's history in the third century, said Roger Bland, of the British Museum. The find includes more than 760 coins from the reign of Carausius, the Roman naval officer who seized power in 286 and ruled until he was assassinated in 293.
"The late third century A.D. was a time when Britain suffered barbarian invasions, economic crises and civil wars," Bland said.

 The rest is HERE

This made my evening...I smell olives!

And so it goes.
*

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

A Most Unusual Day

Short list and a small cooler in hand  I hit the road (gently, ever so gently) to run those errands and get back home before my shoes melted. Groceries, Cleaners, Staples, Credit Union, Liquor Store, and a call to the friend who promised me his retired PC desk.  He didn't answer.  So with the car packed to the hilt, perishables in the cooler, I drove home and unloaded, which took a toll on my legs (multiple trips up and down the steps) and back (lifting heavy bags, what can I do?) then found a parking spot in a shaded area across the street. Nice.

Ran a load of laundry while unpacking bags and storing everything. As I was running a second load the cell phone rang and it was Bahram, again sorry for sleeping in (I didn't let the phone ring long enough, which is what he was expecting) telling me he was going to deliver and set up the little station. I guided him to my place via cell phone. The desk is small but will be useful until I can afford something a little larger. For the time being, the printer will have to remain atop a folding table, which is fine. At least, everything will be out of the living room and that's a real help.

Meanwhile, my cell phone rang again. This time is was my bosses, asking if I was at home and wondering if they could stop by...they had something to deliver!?!?!  So, I guided them to the building as Bahram finished putting the PC station back together. They presented me with a gift and a card, and announcing that they had to get back to the restaurant they took off.

Bahram and I stared at one another and the card envelope for a few minutes, then he gave me a hug and he split, too.

Note: Bahram is straight, in his mid-twenties, from Turkmenistan, a good man with a huge heart, a bright man, great sense of humour, and great fun to work with. He loves high energy house music station on XM, which can sometimes drive me to distraction - playing the same 20 mixes all day long. The image above is of him on his first day tending bar at Dos Locos in April. He's a natural BS artist and perfect behind the bar.  He doesn't think so, but he has been gathering a following on his shift-days at the bar, and I think he's finally beginning to notice. (As usual, click the image to embiggen.)

But I digress...

The gift is a new Microwave Oven. Stunned doesn't cover it, but it will have to do. The card reads; 
"Thanks! For all the little extras you do, You do help make our lives much easier and efficient."

OK, now I'll admit that I do a few things that can be a real pain for the servers and the bosses, but I do them because it is such a pain for them. They are not in my job description, but doing them makes things more comfortable and efficient. I never gave them a second thought. Always being early allows for time to handle these things so I have time to get my regular chores done before the wait-staff arrive.

I just did them, didn't think anyone would notice and didn't care - as long as the tasks were completed/accomplished with as little stress as possible before we open the doors. You know, since my world fell apart 4 years ago I have learned to expect nothing, take nothing for granted. It is a better way to look at life.

 Did I ever mention how much I love my job, the people I work for, and with?  Oh, I have? Never mind.

I will now attempt to extricate the new appliance from its packaging without doing further damage to my hands and spine. Wish me luck!

And so it goes.
*

What Have We Done to Our World?

Images collected from all over the Internet come together in this amazing and moving video/slideshow about the Deep Water Horizon Oil Spill, it's impact and it's legacy. Soundtrack is Michael Jackson's "Earth Song." (If the entire film image is not viewable, click on the image to go directly to YouTube for full screen.
How do we counter this raping of our oceans? Why is BP still calling the shots and threatening arrests and law suits against news outlets? When will responsible leaders take the lead and make rational decisions, instead of financial ones?
Just rhetorical, is all.
So horrible.

More later.
*

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

July 4th - Lunch Crew

From left to right:

Ireland, Russia, Ukraine, Mexico, Russia, El Salvador, and me. The quiet before the storm. They are pretty wonderful people and it's a joy working with them - most of the time...

And so it goes.
*

Monday, July 5, 2010

July 4th and Then Some...

Sorry for not writing anything personal over this weekend, the restaurant was packed all day Saturday, Sunday, and even today. Folks were pulling on the locked doors at 9:30 am today, and when I finally opened them at 11:20 (10 minutes early)  the starving/thirsty masses swarmed like a plague of locusts. 

By 11:45 am 62 people were seated - meaning each of my 5 servers had to cope with multiple tables all at once - and there were already 8 sitting at the bar.  Not a good thing for the restaurant, or the customer.  We can't provide the level of service that we want to and that customers have come to expect.  But all got better than we hoped when the owners jumped in to help out by tending bar, clearing and setting up tables, and delivering meals. That was a huge help since I was up to my eyeballs with folks still streaming through the doors.

The bar area was full by 12:30 pm and the margaritas were flowing all afternoon. Fortunately for everyone only one crazy-ass woman caused a bit of a stir which, with the support of the boss was snuffed out before it became a real fire.

As the dust began to settle in late afternoon, in walks a family of 11 (6 adults, 4 kids and a todler) and the most obnoxious group we've experienced since last season. They were not satisfied with any of my seating suggestions (we don't have tables to seat 10 people comfortably, plus they needed a hi-chair, which further limits their seating options) until I finally laid down the law; they would be seated at two ajoining tables - - - final - - - or, leave. Done!

To amuse the toddler in the hi-chair at the adult table, several of the adults began to make jingly noises by dropping their flatware on the table to get the little slug to giggle, or scream, or whatever. Unfortunately for me, their table was the closest to my station and I was serenaded with the clinky clangy sounds of forks and knives crashing onto the tabletop...What fun. The little darling will be deaf before reaching puberty, and maybe that's a good thing.

The cavalry arrived to save the day, and none too soon. Servers jumped in to take new tables and a busboy (G*d Bless him) rushed to clean and reset tables.  What a relief that was. It was all good from then on.

I think we served over 400 meals during the lunch shift only and the place is booked to bursting for dinner tonight. 

So, now take what is written about today, multiply by 3 and you will have an idea of what things were like over the weekend.

Enjoyed a 'tropical cosmo' for my after shift cocktail and, as G*d said, "it was good!"

All in all, great fun.

Note: The image in this post was taken as I was walking to work. (click to embiggen) She is a neighbor heading off the a charity cook out decked out as (what else?) the statue of Liberty.  Funny part is that her kids were too embarrassed to be seen in the van with her, so she just had a grand time driving around, honking at friends and neighbors and wishing everyone a Happy Independence Day! Loved it.

And so it goes.
*

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Declaration of Corporate Independence

By Horatio Algernon (with help from the Founding Fathers)  who gives us this:

When in the course of oil drilling (especially blowouts), it becomes necessary for one Corporation (BP) to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with The Small People, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and fundamentally un-equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of The Small People requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all Persons (and that includes corporations, according to the US Supreme Court) are not created equal (and certainly not equal with pelicans and dolphins), that some are endowed by their Creator (corporate charter) with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life (Yachting), Liberty (to censor photographers, reporters, scientists and others at will) and the pursuit of Happiness ($$$). That to secure these rights, Corporations are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the Board of Directors, That whenever any Form of Government (eg, Plaquemines Parish of Louisiana ) becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of The Big People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government (headquartered offshore), laying its foundation on such principles (maximizing profits and minimizing losses) and organizing its powers in such form (new coastguard rules prohibiting photographers or others from coming within 65 feet of boom, beaches or response vessels under threat of fines of $40,000 and class D felony charges), as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety (minimize future court settlements) and Happiness ($$$). Prudence (The Small People and the Pentagon buy our gas), indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that Corporations are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses (from the likes of Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser, Louisiana coast resident Kindra Arnesen, Andersen Cooper and even Jimmy Buffett) and usurpations (Georgianne Nienaber and other photographers trying to get photos of oiled pelicans), pursuing invariably the same Object (information that might help mitigate the oil impacts and/or act as evidence in future liability cases) evinces a design to reduce them (The Big People) under absolute Despotism (enforcement of legal regulations that have been on the books but heretofore ignored by MMS**), it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future (financial) security.
No people have more advanced survival  skills and the sense of humor that goes with them than the people of the low country on the Gulf of Mexico. Even as their way of life and entire culture is being destroyed hour by hour, they keep their integrity, history, and humanity in mind. No easy task, to be sure. Could you or me do it? I wonder.

Read the rest here.

h/t to Editilla

1776 - An Ongoing Struggle

To put this holiday into some perspective I found this bit written about one of my fave films, "1776" having seen it on Broadway, I couldn't wait to see the film.  Which I own, adore and try to view around this time of year. Anyway, this comes from Public Affairs Television. M. Winship writes:
In some ways, this sparkly paean to patriotism is a subversive little hand grenade, its liberal politics woven into the plot at a time when Richard Nixon was still in the White House. In an exchange that stings now even more than it did then, John Hancock tells John Dickinson, "Fortunately there are not enough men of property in America to dictate policy," and Dickinson replies, "Perhaps not. But don't forget that most men without property would rather protect the possibility of becoming rich, than face the reality of being poor."
When the movie version was released its producer, Jack Warner -- allegedly at the behest of Nixon -- removed a song, "Cool, Cool Considerate Men," sung by loyalist, conservative delegates who smugly shout, "We have land, cash in hand, self-command, future planned!" According to "1776" writer Peter Stone, "The opponents of independence were very much involved in commerce and profits, so they were very much allied to modern conservatives. Nixon didn't want Americans to be reminded of this as he faced re-election in 1972, and the country was preparing to celebrate it's bicentennial. I think that's why he hated the song, and why Jack Warner took it out."
Luckily, the missing footage was found and has been restored to the version we see today on TV and DVD.
"1776" is a reminder that the embrace of the status quo in the face of revolutionary ideas is nothing new. Nor is bloody legislative compromise or our ongoing frustration over a Congress mired in petty squabbling, unable to take action.
At the beginning of the story, John Adams sings, "A second flood, a simple famine, plagues of locusts everywhere, or a cataclysmic earthquake, I'd accept with some despair. But no, You sent us Congress! Good God, Sir, was that fair?" Later he laments, "I have come to the conclusion that one useless man is called a disgrace; that two are called a law firm, and that three or more become a Congress!"
But the Tea Partiers and Glenn Becks of America who scorn government and who have tried turning the Founding Fathers into libertarian deities will find little comfort in "1776." As Franklin says in the film, "We're men, no more no less, trying to get a nation started against greater odds than a more generous God would have allowed." Rather than fall hopelessly into endless name-calling and mudslinging like today, ultimately these men engaged in forthright debate and overcame ideological differences that threatened to stop their revolution before it began. They managed to produce a nation, an experiment outlined in a Declaration of Independence that is, as the movie version's John Adams says, “a masterful expression of the American mind."
And they did so realizing, as a character in the film says -- quoting the words of conservative icon Edmund Burke, member of the British Parliament -- that a representative owes the people not only his industry, but his judgment, and he betrays them if he sacrifices it to their opinion.

If you have not seen this film (it is quite long with the restored scenes and songs) do yourself a favor and rent it. Then let me know whether I am right, or just full of it.

h/t C&L

And so it goes.
*

Saturday, July 3, 2010

July 4th Traditions and Stan Freberg

There are two annual July 4th traditions that I thoroughly enjoy year after year. They are 1.) a viewing of the film version of "1776" and 2.) listening to Stan Freberg's "The United States of America" on CD (which contains a few scenes cut from the original vinyl). An in-studio concept album spotlighting some of the best voice actors in the business, and some are still with us today. If you don't know their names you'll surely remember their voices.

Here's a small snippet from the album which is full of puns, gags, and over the top comparisons.  This one covers the sale of Manhattan Island and the Boston Tea Party.  Enjoy.  And please, no throwing of tomatoes.
More can be found at YouTube, if you're interested.

I'll have more on this holiday tomorrow, but for now, just laugh and enjoy your your evening.

And so it goes.
*
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...