Thursday, September 30, 2010

“Going to jump off the gw bridge sorry.”

Tyler Clementi posted those words on his Facebook page moments before he apparently leapt to his death on Sept. 22, according to a friend. But the message did little to hint at the crisis unfolding in the life of the Ridgewood teenager.
In the days before, the personal life of the 18-year-old Rutgers freshman had been exposed on the Internet when, authorities say, his roommate used a webcam to surreptitiously broadcast a sexual encounter involving Clementi.
The Twitter page of Clementi’s roommate, Dharun Ravi of Plainsboro, hinted that Clementi was involved sexually with another man and invited others to watch a live webcam feed from the dorm room.
“Roommate asked for the room till midnight. I went into molly’s room and turned on my webcam. I saw him making out with another dude. Yay,” a Sept. 19 tweet said.
Two days later, Ravi used Twitter to invite others to watch another encounter:
“Anyone with iChat, I dare you to video chat me between the hours of 9:30 and 12. Yes, it’s happening again.”
Ravi and another student, Molly W. Wei of Princeton, have been charged with two counts each of invasion of privacy, the Middlesex County prosecutor and Rutgers police said Wednesday. Ravi faces two additional counts for attempting to view and transmit the second encounter, authorities said.
Dharun Ravi, left, of Plainsboro and Molly W. Wei, right, of Princeton are charged with illegally taping Clementi having a sexual encounter and broadcasting the images on the Internet.
“His privacy was violated, very, very violated,” Rutgers student Daryl Chan said of Clementi. “His roommate was a very tech-savvy-type dude. He set up cameras all over the room and didn’t tell him. 
Read it all, including a timeline, HERE.

Nothing.  Just, nothing.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

It's Over

Or, Romancing 'er Passing the Stone

Without going into gory detail, I'll just say that the body has rid itself of the wretched beast. Thought I would just die at some point - nausea, chills, cold sweats, dry heaves and all - but I survived.

Before leaving work on Monday my boss insisted I take 4 packets of Crystal Lite Peach Tea guaranteed, he said, to make me pee my brains out. God-awful stuff. I was able to down 3 of the 4 but the concoction was so sickeningly artificially sweet that was remarkable, in and of itself. But, maybe it helped.

And thanks to my trusty little Melitta coffee filters (cone-shaped) I captured the little bugger. The pain truly is the closest thing to that of childbirth a man can experience, I have been told by women who have suffered with these tiny terrors.  I am always amazed that something so small can wreak such havoc on one's innards.  There is still a hint of pink in the urine and some lingering soreness, but the worst is over.

Haven't eaten much these past 3 days, so the plan is to cook light tonight then hit the sheets early to (hopefully) get a good night's rest to be ready for work tomorrow. Thanks be to G*d that I had these 2 days off. I don't know what I would have done if the stone decided to make its entrance over the weekend...better not to even think about that scenario.

I should do some grocery shopping, but too shaky to chance it this afternoon. I'll try to get the essentials in the morning before heading to work, or maybe not.  Maybe Friday.  Whatever!  For now, all is calm, quiet, and peaceful.

It is good to be back among the living, relatively pain free. Yay, me! The captured criminal will be saved and taken to my next visit to the doctor in November for analysis by the lab.

And so it goes - thankfully.

Reborn: The New Orleans Roosevelt Hotel

Cruising the Net today (having finally passed the kidney stone - more on that later) I came across this intriguing piece about the renovation and re-naming of a legendary New Orleans landmark.  And a place that holds special memories for me of going out with friends for a night of dancing and cokes at the Blue Room, or just me and a date. It was a classy place and opulent to say the least.  This tells some great stories, happy, bizarre, and sad, but all worth the read.

The Blue Room

After a lengthy restoration, The Roosevelt, among New Orleans' oldest and most storied landmarks, is set to return June 25, 2009. A look behind the gilded doors. 

The ceremony looked like the setup to any number of old jokes told in the Blue Room: a hotelier, a businessman, scores of tipplers and a priest. The giddy crowd spilled onto Baronne Street, holding up traffic, clinking plastic glasses of bubbly and dancing to the Rebirth Brass Band, performing nearby beneath a large, unlit marquee.
Amid the late-May revelry, hotelier Tod Chambers stood at a raised podium and saluted the players. "Their name is appropriate for tonight's celebration," Chambers began, alluding to the rebirth of an "era of greatness." He welcomed Kurt Weigle, president and CEO of the Downtown Development District, and Father Stephen Sauer, pastor of the neighboring Immaculate Conception Jesuit Church. (In a savvy public-relations decision, none of the drinkers were invited onstage.)
With the pomp finished, it was time for the punch line. "So, what do you think, should we test it out?" Chambers teased his audience. They whooped in approval. He walked to the edge of the stage, where a lever awaited him. "I hope this works," he muttered, only partly for effect, and pulled the switch.
It didn't. Some members of the crowd let out nervous laughter; others began to murmur. Chambers, along with the rest of the gathering, looked skyward, hopeful or perhaps saying a prayer of his own. And after a few anxious moments, for the first time in almost half a century, the sign capitulated, flashing a lone word, sacrosanct in Crescent City lore, above the heads of the hotelier, the businessman, the tipplers and the priest:
"When a priest comes to bless a hotel, we need to thank (developer) Sam (Friedman), too," Ann Tuennerman says two weeks later, ducking into one of the Roosevelt's labyrinthine, back-of-the-house hallways. She laughs, adding, "I went to an opening of a Popeyes one time, and they had a priest there. Classic New Orleans."
It's now the first day of June and Tuennerman, who is helping the hotel with its press and whose Tales of the Cocktail festival will commence here in early July, is part of an advance tour led by Chambers, a Hilton New Orleans transplant. Sales tours, like the ballyhooed sign lighting, are just another part of the process for the Roosevelt's new general manager. On June 25, 22 months after Friedman's Natchitoches-based Dimension Development Company purchased it for $17 million, the latest addition to the Hilton's Waldorf Astoria Collection will open its gilded doors to guests for the first time in nearly four years.
Some would say 44 years. The landmark property — formerly known as the Fairmont (1965-2005), the Fairmont-Roosevelt (for a brief spell in the mid-'60s) and, back when French Quarter residents actually conversed in French, the Grunewald (1893-1923) — has sat shuttered since August 2005, when floodwaters filled its basement, wrecking the 14-story building's mechanical and electrical infrastructures.
"We have the largest economic renovation in New Orleans post-Katrina," Chambers says, leading the group up a narrow stairwell. "I think it's the largest private investment in the city since Katrina — $145 million. Six-hundred-something jobs."
 Go on, read the rest HERE.  Yes, it's a year old, but I had no idea this was going on at all. 

More later.

Religion & the Stoopid

More later.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Like a Marx Brothers Movie...

All I wanted to do today was rest, drink lots of water, pee, and get rid of this effing kidney stone. It was a day off and I wanted to be as quiet and restful as possible.

The Universe had other plans.

8:15 am - the landlord's handyman arrives to replace the light fixture over the dining area in the kitchen. Nice man. Has no electrical experience, but walks himself through the process by using the instructions provided by the manufacturer of the fixture I purchased as a replacement.  Takes over an hour and a half. He finally leaves and I settle back into bed to wait out the inevitable.

10:30 am - another knock on the door. The power company is here to verify that I am "green" and using only the acceptable bulbs, etc. to qualify for their new energy efficient user status. There is also a questionnaire to be completed. Another hour of my time.

12:20 pm - yet another knock on the door from  the landlord's plumbing company, to inform me that my toilet is leaking into the pre-school space below and he is here to find the main cause of the problem.

I had visions of the bathroom floor being ripped up to replace a ruptured pipe or some other water-related issue, but that didn't happen.  Turns out when they replaced the toilet in my bathroom, someone neglected to use the wax seal - a**holes!

1:00 pm - Meanwhile an electrician showed up, joining the crowd, checking the circuit breakers for the apartment; turning each breaker off and on a few times to make sure something (?) was alright. I have no clue what that something was and he wasn't forthcoming about his findings. This took another 2 and a half hours. Of course, every clock and appliance in the apartment was blinking after his tests and had to be reset.

I was alternately grateful and pissed that all this had to happen on a day when I was off from work and desperately trying to rid my tired old body of a giant boulder working its way out of my innards. This is what today reminded me of:
 Ain't passed the monster yet, but, OH, the pain. Thanks be to G*d that I am off again tomorrow.

And so it goes...or not.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Cajun & Romanian Connection

This is my friend Ciatau Silviu Ionut, (Silviu) in Romania. (click to embiggen) He worked with me last summer and fall at the restaurant and planned to stay for a while, but his mother became ill and - the good man (and son) that he is - he returned home to care for her.

To my surprise he recently "friended" me on Face Book and I was happy to reconnect.  We commented on photos and other posts, but nothing personal.

This evening after work I came home immediately in an effort to get the kidney stone out and over with on the next 2 days off, and since I had no appetite I checked email and found a comment from Silviu on his new job in Romania. When I log in to FB to see any other comments, I receive an instant message, or 'chat message' and it's from Silviu. Seems we were both thrilled to connect again.

The time in Romania is 7 hours ahead of the US, so it is already Tuesday there. We "talked" about many things; his mother's health (which is better), the new job at a new huge hotel in his city, Rehoboth, of course, and our friendship. Seems it meant more to him than I imagined. I always believe that I receive more from those from other cultures than they do from mine. Anyway.

He has excelled in his studies of management, service, and fine dining service at university, receiving 2 diplomas in the 2 areas he wants to pursue in the future.

He wrote about missing Rehoboth and all his friends here; his summer at Dos Locos and befriending me; his desire to return and spend a year here where he felt more comfortable than in his own city.  That is saying something.

We "chatted" for almost an hour and I finally suggested he get some rest since he's been working maddening hours getting the hotel's restaurants ready for the Grand Opening, which takes place with much fanfare on Friday, October 1st. He sent a 'smiley face' and wrote, "you are always ready with a sensible suggestion - I love you for that - and you have also said things that I need to hear right now."

I didn't want to press on that one.  He doesn't know how much I appreciate his friendship and openness; his willingness to share heavy personal stuff with someone from another culture, and his longing to return to RB in the future.

Meanwhile, I am still trying to pass the little darling kidney stone. The urine turned a bit red today and the stinging reminded me that it was on the move. The pressure mounts.  Thank G*d I have the next 2 days off.

F**k the kidney stone, I am a happy man and will sleep well tonight.

And so it goes...we hope.

The Louisiana & Maryland Crab Connection

For all those who believe the propaganda from BP - that the oil is gone and all is well in the Gulf - and besides, it's their problem, not yours.  Read on. From the Times Picayune:
Bayou La Batre, Ala. -- Terry Drawdy is no stranger to trouble. In 2005, Hurricane Katrina's massive storm surge engulfed this fishing village near the Mississippi-Alabama border, destroying the offices and processing facility of Drawdy's Crab Co. But Drawdy contends that the spring and summer of 2010 were harder than the summer and fall of 2005.
Before the BP oil spill, Drawdy said nearly 100 percent of the crabs processed at his Alabama plant came from Louisiana waters.
The volume of crabs he sold in eastern Maryland's lucrative market compelled him to partner with a Baltimore area restaurateur, John Ernst, to unload excess cargo. They bought Handsome Crab & Seafood Carry Out south of Baltimore last November; they added United Crab & Seafood in Gwynn Oak, Md., in April, "just before the frickin' oil spill," as Ernst puts it.
"That's how good my business was," Drawdy said. "I opened two businesses within six months of each other, blowing and going, and we've already had to shut one of them (Handsome) down."
Drawdy was standing with Robert Sprinkler, Drawdy's Crab Co.'s manager, outside the processing facility that has been idle since late June. There hasn't been much activity at all at the plants and docks that line the harbor near Drawdy's in Bayou La Batre, which calls itself "The Seafood Capital of Alabama." The men still oversee a small seafood shipping operation, but most of the loads are disappointingly small.
"We went from running two to three trucks a day to Baltimore to running two to three trucks a week," Sprinkler said. "When you send out as much seafood as we send out, it affects people everywhere. The fingers go way up across the country."
While Drawdy still buys Louisiana crabs, these days most of his product comes from Mexico and Texas. He'll continue to send shipments to Maryland even if it means taking a loss.
"You can't keep customers if you don't have the product," he said.
And of course, no one wants to buy crabs now that come in containers labeled as 'product of Louisiana Gulf Coast' anyway. The disturbing story is HERE.

h/t Editilla

And so it goes.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Thursday, September 23, 2010

A Surprise Honor from a Friend

Can you see the egg on my face? Well it's there, believe me. On Monday I received an email (supposedly) from a Face Book friend who was stranded in London having been mugged and trying to get home.  Bad grammar and spelling set off bells and whistles in my head and eventually found out that, as suspected, it was a fraud.

The following day I received an email (supposedly) from friend and Dutch blogger, Peter (at Tippin' The Scales) with a subject line that was uncharacteristic for him, or so I thought.  It read "You've won an AWARD!" So I didn't open the message and sent Peter a note expressing concern that his account had been had not.

The message, as it turns out, was from Peter announcing that he was bestowing upon this little corner of blogtopia The Versatile Blogger Award.

Now comes the hard part. Receiving this Award means that I am to disclose 7 things about myself that are probably unknown to readers. Here goes.

  1. The victim of a hit-and-run driver at age 5 and in a coma for 4 weeks. Don't know any details.
  2. Learned to cook at the feet of my beloved grandfather who told me that "knowing how to cook will serve you well, no matter what life choices you make." And he was so right.
  3. At age 12 was a dancer on a local version of American Bandstand on New Orleans TV, performing specialty production numbers weekly.
  4. I was the youngest "dance teacher" at Fred Astaire Studios in New York to achieve the Gold level of training.  At 17 years of age.
  5. Attended NYU Film School to study the Silent films and was fortunate to meet and talk with many legends of that period. Something that gives me chills to this very day.
  6. A voice actor doing narration and voice-overs for commercials and other productions.
  7. Pilfered many 6-packs of Ensure from a nurses station refrigerators at Memorial Sloan Kettering hospital in NYC in the 1980s and distributed the products to AIDS patients on the floor.
 Now it is my turn to embarrass shine a light on other blogs that I read and like very much.

Spo Reflections: A regular read for me; a place of comfort, wisdom, shared angst, and sprinkled with just the right amount of humor.  He makes me smile and makes me wish I had brother like him.

Telling Secrets: Elizabeth, the mutual friend of Peter's other awardee, Josh of Gay Spirit Diary, and a dear friend of mine. An Episcopal Priest, mother, grandmother, and longtime activist, she is a fierce advocate for equality, a force to be reckoned with, and a ray of sunshine on an otherwise dismal day.

Most of my other regular reads have already been honored, so Cheers to all. You make every day a little happier for me, and for that I am truly grateful.
 Rules For The Versatile Blogger Award
► Acknowledge the award and thank and link back to the person bestowing it. A good way to do this is through a post such as this.
► Pass on the award to other bloggers:
►Let the new recipients know you’ve selected them. This is optional.
►Share seven things about yourself that your readers or followers might not know. (See “Seven Bits,” above.)
►Post the award to your blog.

And so it goes.


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

You've Got to be Kidney!

No, even this doesn't help.
Sorry to be missing in action these past few days. The back pain had been intense over the weekend and I was only just getting through the work days, coming home and hitting the sheets as soon as possible. Being in that kind of pain caused a drop in appetite and I had to force myself to eat something before a shower and bed.  Not that sleeping has been easy. As long as I lie on my back, things are fine, but if I roll over on my side during sleep the pain wakes me up like an electric shock.

By Monday afternoon I realized that the pain wasn't being caused by the fracture problem, but something more sinister and all too familiar.  The pain was in the mid-back in the area of the kidneys and that can only mean one thing...I am about to give birth to a new baby kidney stone. I've had 4 or 5 (can't remember anymore) in my life, the last one about 2 years ago, there is no way to explain the pain, there is nothing to do but wait it out and pray it will pass without incident.  Well, relatively, that is.

There is no blood in the urine yet, but the pain has subsided and that means the stone is on the move southward to the bladder. From there on, the excruciating pain and blood will mark its passing through the urethra and (with any luck) out of my penis in a flow of bloody urine. How's that for a vivid picture? Sorry.

I've had nothing of interest to write about, (not to say that this post is interesting, by any means) but I've checked into some fave blogs over the past 2 days off which has been a blessing; being off however, has been a blessing and a curse, if you get my drift.  A blessing that I've been able to rest quietly in bed enjoying the fall-like weather; a curse because I miss my old schedule at work that usually helped take my mind off the pain.

It's back to work tomorrow as the weather returns to August-type highs - upper 80s with equally high humidity - that are forecast to continue through the weekend.  Of course, that's probably when the stone will make its entrance to the world. The little darling.  Ouch!

I just received a letter from the DE Board of Elections informing me that I DO NOT live where I do, because all mail has been returned to their office as undeliverable. Funny thing that, because my voter's registration card resides on the refrigerator via a magnet, so I don't know what other mail I should have received from them.  Oh, and yes, the letter was sent to my current address, but never mind.  Another phone call to the stoopid is in order.

And so it goes.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Utility Company Finds 1.4 Million Year Old Fossils

As I've mentioned before, I love stories like this; history, prehistory, geological, and geographical oddities are all on my list.  And it's a long one.

So, you can imagine the thrill from this story.  There is so much unknown that is just beneath our feet. Here is Delaware there are many artifacts from the many native American tribes who populated the area, as well as more recent finds including artifacts from Pirate ships as well as those from sunken British and Dutch navy ships. But, all that is for another time.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. — A utility company preparing to build a new substation in an arid canyon southeast of Los Angeles has stumbled on a trove of animal fossils dating back 1.4 million years that researchers say will fill in blanks in Southern California's history.
The well-preserved cache contains nearly 1,500 bone fragments, including a giant cat that was the ancestor of the saber-toothed tiger, ground sloths the size of a modern-day grizzly bear, two types of camels and more than 1,200 bones from small rodents. Other finds include a new species of deer, horse and possibly llama, researchers affiliated with the project said.
Workers doing grading for the substation also uncovered signs of plant life that indicate birch, pine, sycamore, marsh reeds and oak trees once grew in the area that is now dry and sparsely vegetated.
The fossils representing 35 species have all been removed from the site and will be on display at the Western Science Center in nearby Hemet starting next year.
The bones are about 1 million years older than those found in the famous La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles, said Rick Greenwood, a microbiologist who also is director of corporate environment health and safety for the utility, Southern California Edison.
"If you step back, this is just a huge find," he said. "Everyone talks about the La Brea Tar Pits, but I think this is going to be much larger in terms of its scientific value to the research community."
Greenwood continued: "Some of the things I personally find fascinating are the prehistoric camels and llamas and horses and deer. I don't think most people even have the concept that those types of animals were roaming around here more than a million years ago."
There is more HERE.

And so it goes.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Dos Locos Guys Got Married in the Morning!

After 22 years together my two loco bosses were legally married in Washington DC on Thursday, September 16, 2010.  Yes, it's true. And here they are on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, certificate in hand, pictured with Reverend Bonnie after the ceremony. Ironically, residents of the District have no representation in Congress.  So, go fig.
Once in a lifetime event. Yes, they had it.
There was a little surprise celebration awaiting them when they returned home that evening. The staff pitched in to purchase a few gifts and decorations.  I couldn't join in the party fun later however, since my back was really giving me serious trouble. But I did take this picture of the private dining room set up in their honor before I left for the evening.
Gifts, Champagne, balloons, and more await their arrival.
I will never understand how the happiness of two people can be seen as a threat to the happiness of anyone else. And I will make no attempt to understand such warped thinking. I rejoice in this brief moment of happiness and love that my dos locos shared with the world.

And so it goes.

Alpine Caturday

Where is Julie Andrews when you really need her?

More later.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Close Encounters of the WTF Kind. Part 2.

At work today someone from the previous life (whom I had not seen in 4 years) walked into the restaurant and seemed stunned when I greeted him.

I said, "hi *****,  it's good to see you.  (And I meant it.) How many in your party?"

He: I thought you left the area years ago.  What are you doing here?

Me: Why would I leave this place?  I love it here, in fact, I live in town now. All bad things (like the good ones) must come to an end. I take it you've not been here in a while; much has happened since then.

He: well, after all the trouble you caused no one expected you to show your...

Me:  Whoa! NO ONE? Whatever you heard 4 years ago, wasn't valid then and isn't valid today.  There is no reason for me to hide or run away.   Now, how many in your party and would you like a table or booth?

He: Um, I don't think we will be eating here.  Thanks, anyway.

Me:  No problem.  It was nice to see you and I hope, clear the stale air from 4 years ago.

With that - looking puzzled and a bit disoriented - he gave me one last side glance and slithered out the door.

I have no idea what he heard and believed, and I don't care. All of that ancient history is his problem, not mine.

I can't believe this is still happening. You just can't make this stuff up.

And so it goes.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Dear World: "I Don't Want to Know"

For over a week I've awakened all hours of the night with this song playing in my head, sometimes I'm singing the intense lyrics and other times just humming the music.  I have no idea what this means or why I am being subjected to this Jerry Herman classic waltz from a Broadway flop, but I had to find some version on YouTube. I searched for the Karen Morrow version from the tribute to Herman at the Hollywood Bowl, but the sound was negligible, and then I found this.WOW!

The singer is Sam Harris. I have no idea who this guy is, but this arrangement is perfect for the melodrama; the beauty of the piece. I just cannot get this melody out of my head.  Perhaps posting this video will help purge the song from my poor, tired brain.   Paging Dr. Freud!
Comment if you like. I enjoy all thoughts and input, always.

The back is really acting up, and I am exhausted from lack of sleep last night.

And so it goes.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Lascaux: Versailles of Prehistory

 Regular readers know how I love stories like this. It's hard to believe the caves were discovered 70 years ago. Here LIFE takes us on a journey of unpublished images accompanied by updated text. There are 15 or 16 images in all.  Enjoy.
September 12, 1940. A warm afternoon in southwestern France. As two schoolboys hunt rabbits on a ridge covered with pine, oak, and blackberry brambles, their dog chases a hare down a hole beside a downed tree. Widening the hole, removing rocks, the boys follow -- and enter not merely another world, but another time. Underground, they discover "a Versailles of prehistory" -- a series of caves, today collectively known as Lascaux, boasting wall paintings up to 18,000 years old. 
The amazing images are HERE.

And so it goes.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

What I Learned This Day

Or, I would! 

The image says it all.

Well dressed and perfectly coiffed young mothers with pre-school children can park their Mercedes SUVs where ever the hell they please.

This apparently includes blocking the driveway to my apartment building.  Who knew?

I also learned that those same young moms can spew the F word (or phrase) at a tenant of the building attempting to access said driveway to unload his car of goods when he asked her to move the vehicle.  And yes, it seems she can say those things with her little one present and in tow.

Truly amazing.  What ever happened to class?

There will be a chat between the tenant and the supervisor of the pre-school early tomorrow about this incident to ensure the blocking and vulgarity never happen again.

And so it goes.

Monday, September 13, 2010

About Last Night

It wasn't my fault.  Honest!

Life was going along as usual; moderately busy day at the restaurant, my replacement was a tad late (no problem), went to the bar for the after-shift cocktail and noticed that the festive football chicken wings menu kicked off (no pun intended) during the games that afternoon. At a very low price, I might add.

OK, I was going home to leftovers and decided not to. Instead, I ordered the garlic wings and had them with the cocktail while talking with other co-workers heading home for the evening.

As I was leaving I stopped by the Host station to say goodnight only to find this head poking over the counter asking,"is he still here, is he still here?" It was friend, Ron seemingly in a bit of a panic hoping that he hadn't missed me, or something.

I said, "Ron, yes I am still here, but WTF are you doing downtown while the meters are still in operation?" He smiled and said, "Come on, we're going to have a bite to eat and then take a picture, my treat."  I told him about the wings but he was not deterred saying, "well you can have a drink and watch me eat - I haven't had a good burger in ages."  He explained that he was driving around town he remembered that I worked on Sunday and decided to be spontaneous and drag me out of my usual routine of work-cocktail-home-supper-shower-bed and repeat. I was surprised, but up for some fun.

We were seated at the Parrot. Ron asked if I was OK (having read my "911" rant, he was concerned) and I assured him I was, then as I had perhaps the worst margarita of my life (yes, I am spoiled with the best!) Ron munched on his Wimpy while we brought one another up to date on daily-life things.

As we left the Feathered One I asked where he wanted me to take his picture.  He gave one of his infamous side glances and said, "WE'RE having pictures taken - at YESTERDAYS, the olde time photo studio near the beach.!" Now, I've had pictures taken there before in larger groups, but this sounded like real fun and I was already side-tracked from my usual routine, so off we went.

I am sure the 2 young gals running the place were taken aback by these 2 older guys cavorting like young'uns, but that made it all the more fun.

Riverboat gamblers...guns, cards, and booze. Not a good mix.
We perused the image catalog of situations and settled on what to my mind was River Boat Gamblers - High Rollers in the late 1800s.  Think Howard Keel (whom I adored) in Showboat. We were costumed and the session began. It was great fun and we had both gals giggling, wondering WTF they had gotten themselves into. We. Loved. It.!!!
However, things turned ugly at one point and we almost killed each other on film - now wouldn't FOX News love that! - but my 2 bosses (the dos locos) made a surprise appearance and calmed the situation.

Ron and I left the studio as friends once again, photos in plastic bags and laughing about the experience. I have no idea what my bosses thought, or how they knew where we were, for that matter. 

It was an evening of silliness, play-acting fun, and one to remember.

And so it goes.

Before DADT

E'nuf said...

More later.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Patriot Day & 9/11? Does Anybody Care?

Did you get the memo?  This is the 9th anniversary (why is it referred to as that?) of the attacks of 9/11.  This is also Patriot Day!  What that means anymore I do not know. Maybe that's a good thing. 

We are so divided as a nation that true colors of so called "patriots" are beginning to show through their red-white-and-blue veneer revealing an ugly transparent skin. I haven't seen this much hate and intolerance since I was a kid in the late 50s and early 60s.

Of course, our mainstream media shine their lights and aim the camera and microphones at the crazies, teabaggers, and extremists of every kind to sell air time, ignoring the sane people who can see through the smoke and mirrors. Times like this are when I am grateful for 2 things; the Internet and not having TV service.

Today the networks were running the footage of the WTC collapse over and over again, I finally convinced the bartender to switch to the sports channels for the football games and tennis matches that the people really wanted to see. The 9/11 images are seared into our brains and we don't need to see them again. We have our own memories of that day and they are best kept to ourselves after almost a decade.  I cringe to think of what is being planned for the public by the media in 2011.  G*d help us all.

We decorated the restaurant in a bit of the colors today, but no one noticed and if they did, no mention was made of the effort.

We are at war, not only in the middle east, but right here at home. Not for "our freedoms" but our stupidity, and arrogance.  And it isn't only with a crazy Koran-burning "man of G*d" but with new white supremacist groups and the old, reliable KKK, which is hosting a rally this evening in a nearby town that will not be named here.

Where am I going with this?  Nowhere, really.

 I just wanted to vent about the stoopid, the uninformed, and the race-baiters at Fox who spread their BS to those anxious to hear what they want to hear so as to justify their future behavior. Not that the other networks are any better; they all seem to follow the twisted logic of FOX. 

This has been another episode of the "Dumbing of America" brought to you by me!

Stepping down from the soapbox...I can't fix or change any of it, but a rant can be good for the heart and soul.  Besides, I smell olives. 

And so it goes.

It's Caturday, again!

And it is cool here. 58' and only going up to 74' today. Obviously, the forecast changed - again. Hey, I'll take it.

More later.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

"Louis the Movie" Satchmo is the Subject of a New 'Silent' Film!

This fascinates me no end.  As many of you know I am a silent film buff and enjoyed the honor of meeting surviving stars of the silents while attending NYU Film School in the early 70s. Yes, this is one of those stories that blow me away. And the same director has another film in the works about jazz legend, Buddy Bolden.  Everything old, is new again.

I've had this for some time and simply forgot to post it - what with the busy summer and all. Enjoy.  From the Newark Star-Ledger:
Inspired by the work of early movie star Charlie Chaplin, director Dan Pritzker’s new silent film — yes, you read correctly — “Louis” offers a surprisingly fresh take on the long-obsolete tradition. Pritzker uses the unusual medium to imagine the childhood years of jazz legend Louis Armstrong.

A 21st-century silent film on early jazz might seem anachronistic — but “Louis” is not bogged down by the genre’s fuzzy black-and-white history. Vibrant, energetic and colorful, the film brings the flavor and flair of turn-of-the-century New Orleans to a new audience.

Currently on a multi-city theater tour, the film is being shown with live musical accompaniment by pianist Cecile Licad and a jazz ensemble led by trumpeter Wynton Marsalis.

On Monday, “Louis” will make its stop in New York City at the Apollo Theater. It’s an especially fitting venue for the film, which bridges past and present entertainment traditions — just as the Harlem landmark has for nearly a century.

Pritzker — heir to the Hyatt hotels fortune — produced and directed the film. “Louis” is a companion piece to another, regular feature-length film he is directing, with the same cast, about Buddy Bolden, one of Armstrong’s most legendary predecessors. As a counterpart to the more conventional “Bolden!,” this film basks in the quirks of the silent film medium.
Read the rest HERE.
And so it goes.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Cajun Red Beans, Cheap Gas & Rupert the Bear!

No, it's not what you think.  Please read on...

A very productive day off, I must say. Ran errands, including grocery shopping and discovered I had earned over 400 points, which meant I would save 40 cents per gallon of gasoline.  The car needed to be fueled up anyway (I haven't filled the tank since May!) so I took advantage of the savings. Very nice, indeed.

Picked up a new large covered skillet - 2.75" high sided -  for "smothered" cooking in the Fall and Winter.  It too, was on sale. Attempted to purchase a medium size stainless steel mixing bowl, but had no luck. I'll search online later and see what I come up with. It's not an urgent purchase, anyway. I just prefer stainless over glass because it's lighter, easier to handle with these bad hands. Stainless wont shatter if dropped, if you get my drift.

Returned home and while doing 2 loads of laundry I put away the groceries and opened another 2 boxes.  These also held a few surprises.  More clothes that are too big for me and (again) some still with tags. One box contained favorite sweaters that I had forgotten about (assumed the Ex took them as part of the settlement) which will be cleaned and made ready for the colder days ahead. Most are cotton, not wool, and are easy to wash and dry.

I even found a red one!

A Side Note: The manager at work - a wonderfully funny Irish lesbian with a caustic sensahumah - has begun calling me "Rupert" after a popular comic strip character in the UK.  Rupert the Bear has been an icon for almost a century.  What can I say?  I love her to death! She's trying to find the yellow tie/scarf to complete the image.  Maybe she's had too many margaritas lately, but I'll humour her since I have been called much worse names in the past. However, if she comes up with those yellow plaid trousers as well, I will have to rethink the entire situation. Here he is!!!
Rupert the Bear in his original color and clothing.
Being in a New Orleans state of mind, for some reason, I decided to tackle one of our staple dishes. I haven't made Red Beans and Rice since the breakup, but I had most ingredients on hand and picked up the rest while shopping this morning. I found the ham hocks, Andouille sausage and a pound of dry red kidney beans that brought the entire shopping bill a whopping $8.00 over budget.  I'll take that to enjoy at least 6 or even 8 meals.  Yes, the beans freeze well and the rice is made fresh for each meal.  Prep time followed by the long cooking period is somewhat tedious, but the smells beginning to waft through the apartment, remind me of the family kitchen when I was a kid.  Well worth the effort and time.

Looking forward to an ice cold beer in a frozen glass to wash down a warm turkey salad sandwich as lunch. It's getting hot and humid again and the temps are forecast to be in the mid-90s by the weekend. Not good news for some, but great for sunbathers coming down for the quieter times after-season and warmer waters of the Atlantic.

All in all a good day. A little more wood floor is visible. Two more boxes emptied and collapsed, ready for the recycle center, clean clothes and bed linens, found treasure for me and clothing items for the thrift store, and NOLA red beans simmering on the stove.  They will be dinner over the coming weekend - or maybe NOLA style - on the traditional week night.

And so it goes.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Freedom Pots?

This one is for my Dutch friend, Peter.

Dutch become 1st NATO ally to leave Afghanistan. GOP now calling Dutch ovens "Freedom Pots".
More here.

And so it goes.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Rehoboth Summer Season Almost Over, But with a few Surprises.

My mood this morning walking to work after a delicious breakfast of eggs, toast, and nectarines was good preparation for the day. The weather was a bit too cool (54') for some beach-goers so the arrival of diners was steady, not overwhelming, and we had enough servers to handle the flow without getting slammed.

I was given a "Thank You" gift this afternoon - a sort of bonus for surviving and enduring the season physically and emotionally intact - and was (again) surprised by the generosity of the Dos Locos.

An added high note was that all foreign staff have been invited back to work at Dos Locos next season. The boss (no fool he) figured that if they survived the rigorous demands placed on them, they have earned the privelidge to return for another season. That invitation is their additional bonus and will save them $$$ not having to register for a referral.

I was overjoyed to hear this news since I've made so many new friends, enjoyed their company, their work ethic, and their daily hugs as they arrive for their shift. They never refer to me by name, only "sir" which is strange to me, but they seem to enjoy my company and ability to detect their moods (homesickness, personal safety, trust, and needed emotional support) and empathize with their emotions.

These guys and gals - ages 19 to 26 - are brave, resourceful, hard-working, intelligent, and blessed with a sense of humour that only comes from people who have been oppressed for a very long time. Unfortunately, our American youth don't get it. Everything must be offered to them so they can accept or refuse the___________ fill in the blank.  Sad.

The seasonal stress seems to have crept into my bones this weekend.  I am very tired. Even preparing supper required great effort and the bed (nearby) is calling out to me.

*Image above of Sasha, Da Boss, and Me. All in black, or something close to it. (click image to embiggen.)

And so it goes.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Brilliant! Jimmy Breslin on Beck and Historical Events.

This needs no words from me. Classic Breslin in Harper's:

There are these sudden loud noises in the hotel kitchen, one, two, three, probably a tray falling, and then there is so much screaming and a hand holding a gun high in the air and Robert Kennedy, who had walked into the gun, is on the floor with his eyes seeing nothing. On this June night in 1968 he has just won a Presidential primary and suddenly he is fit only for a gravedigger’s dirt.

It happens this way when the claws of madness swipe through the sky. In 1919 Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes called it for all time, and crashingly so today, when he wrote, “The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man in falsely shouting fire in a theatre and causing a panic.”

And now in New York they are turning an empty lot of the old World Trade Center and a mosque that isn’t built and probably never will be, into national fear. Omaha fights the mosque in Manhattan! Some foamer named Jones says he burns the Koran, and he actually is treated as news. All day on television yesterday you had the aimless babbles of this Beck, who looks like he eats Bibles.

They all come with the double barrels of a Low IQ and High Color Fear let loose on cable stations and e-mail, of which yesterday you read in disbelief.

Let me tell you what a life spent running after news like this has left me remembering. In each case, we had chunks of our Democracy ripped up and leaders lost and the worst rising. Start with Robert Kennedy on the kitchen floor and over him, people tear the gun away from the killer and his body is thrown onto a steam table and I lose my feet and I don’t know how I am here, but I am sitting atop these thrashing legs and there is more screaming to hold his body down. Thrashing those legs won’t help. I’m too heavy to throw off. Now the football player Roosevelt Grier’s arm, bigger than a steam pipe, comes down across the guy’s chest and that is that. Grier says quietly, “He isn’t going anywhere.”
And he didn't. Please read the rest of this master of words. HERE.

Lost in the Stars Caturday

More later.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Earl Petered Out!

Following all the hype that Hurricane Earl was a killer and the sky was falling, the run on grocery (and liquor) stores by terrified tourists and locals, the filling up of bathtubs, and removing anything on a porch or deck that might become airborne...Nothing.

Nothing!  Really!  Woke this morning expecting to see a torrent of rain blown about by high winds and found nothing. Nothing. There was a light wind, but the ground was dry.

Walked to work under the cloudy sky but the rain (such as it was) didn't begin until 10:30 am and was off and on until about 2:00 pm. - mostly just annoying, really. The sun made its presence known by 3:00 pm and wasn't going anywhere.

Very busy for lunch with people who didn't buy into the BS and hysteria yesterday. Folks streamed into town to view the "high waves" breaking on shore and were disappointed.

Following my after-shift cocktail I walked home under clearing skies and dropping temperatures. It's likely to get down to the 60s overnight and up to about 80' tomorrow. Works for me.

The town is packed with folks who were warned to stay away from Ocean City, Maryland by the governor, (OC is only about 25 miles south of here, so go fig!) as well as our stalwart regulars. It's going to be an awesome weekend here and I am ready for the fun.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Earl = Hysteria & Panic

 Jeebus, one would think that living in a beach town on the Atlantic coast folks would be able to cope with the side-swipe of a now downgraded hurricane - that promises to diminish even more by the time is passes us heading north. But no!  People were rushing to the markets to stock up on whatever the newscasters told them to, and hunkering down to ride out this "monster" storm.

Even the governor of Maryland jumped the shark when he issued a statement this morning (at 10 am) advising tourists to stay away from Ocean City MD this weekend, thereby potentially destroying the economy of the resort on the busiest, most profitable weekend of the Summer.  Smart move, gov.

Oh Earl honey, I hate to be the one to tell you, but you ain't all that!

From what I gather, we're in for some heavy rain and winds of about 20 mph beginning around midnight with the rains becoming heavier and the winds increasing to about 35 - 40 mph tomorrow.  Hardly "gale force" as Earl stays well off the coast. The storm surge is expected to be between 1 & 3 feet.  Not a killer.

I live on the second floor of a building that has weathered many hurricanes and nor'easters since it was built in 1948. I feel safe and secure and yes, I have candles, batteries for the radio should power be interrupted at some point, and Gin, tonic, and lime. I'll be fine.

I plan to walk to work tomorrow, as usual, to continue prepping for the rest of the weekend (which is going to be beautiful and cooler with highs around 80'F) and the tourists who will undoubtedly "weather" the storm through tomorrow. I may get a bit wet, but that will be welcome after the high temps and humidity of this week. Besides, getting rained on, or wet at the beach is a sort of baptism this time of year.

Don't fret, people. Enjoy the ride to the end of summer 2010.

And so it goes.

Only in New York!

From HERE. (click to embiggen)
More later.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Remembering a Friend

Twenty five years ago a talented violinist (first chair AZ Symphony 2 years in a row), talk-like-a-duck, and dear friend died of AIDS. We were friends for 10 years when he died, but he disappeared after his diagnosis in 1983.  This was Reagan's time and the "A" word was not spoken until his friend Rock Hudson finally admitted his illness.

Evan wasn't yet 31 when he passed away. I can only imagine what he endured as he approached the end. There was stigma, and AZT (foul as it was) was not yet available. I am grateful that his family didn't abandon him.

I became a primary care-giver a year later and spent almost a year in nightmarish red tape tinged with hate and disgust for the one I was caring for. I learned much that I wish I didn't have to learn - about the stupidity, arrogance, and fear of medical establishment, hospital staff and the public in general - but used the knowledge I had been given to break through some of the madness and see that PWAs (people with AIDS, as they were known then) were treated with dignity and respect. My patient friend and I missed the first Quilt display in 1987 because he was preparing for his death.

I miss Evan's humor, silliness, duck talk (which he used frequently to break the tension during difficult rehearsals) and his love of musical history. Most of all, I miss his warm hugs and big smiles. I lost many pictures in the settlement 4 years ago, but I may still find a few images of Evan in the slides I have yet to view.

Above is Evan's panel in the Names Project AIDS Memorial Quilt.(Click to embiggen, it's a duck walking on the strings of a violin) I was working with set-up crew laying out the pathways to every collection of panels in the display.  Photo was taken the next day when I was part of emotional support crew stationed at the intersection of 4 panel groups.
Measuring pathways for panel group placement, DC 1989.

Seeing Evan's panel for the first time just blew me away. Here I was supposedly offering emotional support to others and I was crying like a baby.  Fortunately, others came to offer comfort to me, as well.  It was a draining weekend and I don't remember much other than the time with the quilt and visitors.

On that Sunday evening in October of 89, after the panels had been folded and stored, I walked the ellipse where only those black nylon walkways remained as witness to what had happened there for 3 days. The air was crisp and the wind seemed to bring the voices of those who had visited and of those who had passed, back to life. I sat on the ground and had another good cry - it was the only way to release the stress and move on.

Evan, you live still in my heart, and I am sure in the hearts of many others who love you. And so, as long as we live, I believe you have life.

I love you, my friend.
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