Thursday, June 30, 2011

Mad Priest: The Good Old Days

Spew Alert...Via Jim:  (click image to embiggen.)

I almost tossed a perfectly good olive on this one.

And so it goes.

Plumbing Encounters Three, Four, & Five

Two plumber's vans arrived before 8 am this morning.  Perhaps even a bus. There was much banging, clanging, rattling, and muffled voices coming from the storage rooms below the apartment. I didn't call the landlord. I figured they were on the case and doing what needed to be done.

As I left for work I hunted them down to ask if they had the key, that I had left the door unlocked,  and was told to close all the windows (open last night to enjoy the cooler air) because the new system should be operational this afternoon.  "Should" was the operative word here.

BTW, there were FIVE technicians in that room measuring metal duct work, insulation, and other things.  Not a good sign, that.

Walked home under a clear sky with a light breeze and an outdoor temp of about 78' F.  I arrived home just now to a virtual oven.  The new thermostat is in place, but the system is not working.  The temperature in the apartment is currently 83' F.  The windows have been opened and all fans are running on high speed to cool the place down. 

They could have at least opened the windows before they left, knowing that the system wasn't working and I would return home to an uncomfortable environment. 

But, they didn't Blanche, they didn't!  Five plumbers/technicians sharing a single brain isn't a good thing.  It is what it is.

I don't feel like cooking in this stuffy, heated place, so I'll probably have a martini, make a salad, and wait for the sunset to help cool off the place.  Then another long shower before turning in for the night. (sigh.)

And so it goes.


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Plumbing Encounters of the First & Second Kind

Normally I welcome new encounters. (Now stop that!)

Yes, well...Just as I'm getting out of the shower this morning, someone is pulling on my door. (Couldn't get in because I had it double locked.) The time is 8 am and I am puzzled that it's the plumbers arrived to service the heatpumps and AC units.  I was told yesterday that they would arrive between 10 am and 12 noon.

I threw on some shorts and shirt and let the guy in.  By his accent I could tell he was from the West Indies and was confused by his work order. Turns out, he was not here to service my old unit, but to replace it with a new - more efficient - one. Yay, for me!!!

I showed him where things were and said I would be leaving for work in an hour. Should he have further questions I would be glad to supply an answer if I had one, otherwise, call the landlord or the plumbing company's offices.

He banged on the door a few more times, but after that I heard only the sound of large crates being dropped to the pavement (G*d help us!) as he unloaded the new unit.  Before leaving for work I took the initiative to show him where the thermostat for the current unit was located, which he greatly appreciated. A good sign, that.

Since he had keys to the apartment I left the door unlocked as I walked down the stairs on the way to work, he was sitting cross-legged on the floor of his van reading instructions for installing the new unit.  A bad sign, that.

On the walk home after work I thought about the new, energy efficient AC/heatpump and when I arrived to find brand new TRANE in place of the old York, I was thrilled.  Once inside however, not so much.  The old thermostat was still on the wall, nothing was connected and I am without AC for the duration. No note was left; no phone call received. Fortunately, the humidity is low and the overnight temps are to be in the low 70s F. I'll survive, but I ain't none too happy with this situation.

An early call to the landlord is first on the gay agenda in the morning and I hope that by tomorrow evening I will enjoy a cocktail and supper in a cool environment.

And so it goes.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Of Sausage, Shirts, Shopping & Jazz

Another beautiful day off and all items on list were scratched off by late morning. Stopped by the thrift store on the way home in search some sort of festive lamp for atop the CD cabinet so that I can actually see the titles at night.  Nothing.

A visit to the Van Heusen store proved a good idea.  Found a few long sleeved shirts that will be perfect for the off-season.  Nice conservative plaids and stripes in toned down colors. And they were on sale at an outrageous price, so I bought 2.   But, it's summer season and I cannot find anything in colorful, festive prints to save my life, so I am making do with a few brightly colored plaids and solids in the closet already to get by. You see, I can enjoy bright colors for the day shift (and do!) but in the evening the locosguys want simple black and black.  And uh, black. I like black, I mean it goes with everything else without trying too hard, but on a bright summer day? Uh-uh. This is the kind of fabric I would like to see in a shirt.

What do you think, Dr. Spo?
The farmers market was bustling with people carrying their reusable bags scooping up early tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, and a nice variety of lettuces.  Of course I picked up a sourdough loaf, as well as a garlic/provolone loaf.  The sausage genius was there with yet another new blend - wild boar, hard salami, garlic, and Swiss chard - so you know I had to sample it. O.M.G. Unbelievable flavors.  Yes, I bought a package, which if I am not creative, will yield 3 dinners and a breakfast.

There was some interesting jazz in the air way back at the very end of the market and I made my way there to find this festive group jamming on "Summertime" which included a guy on Vibes.  Good stuff.  Their music made shoppers tap feet or attempt to sing along.  Click on the image above to embiggen.

A frequent DL customer and gin-lover (straight, damn it!) presented me with a bottle of Hendrick's Gin yesterday. He knows I love Bombay Sapphire, and though I've had Hendrick's before, he insists I didn't give it a proper tasting, And so, the cocktail of the evening will be a Hendrick's Gin Martini with  a thick  cucumber slice (instead of olives); made in my own home from a REAL unopened bottle of Hendrick's just to be sure. And, by some coincidence, it is almost 5 pm here.  Well, my stars!  However did that happen?

Meanwhile, no word on the "nothing to worry about" test results. Gee, so glad I took that advice.

And so it goes.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

A Whiz-Bang Weekend

This is going to be short, I think.  The bustling busy-ness of the weekend is subsiding this evening and, man, what a ride it's been.

Although the weather was perfect for the beach all weekend, we served over 200 lunches on Thursday and Friday; almost 400 Saturday, and about 300 today. Many large parties all four days had us scrambling to accommodate everyone.  Parties of 10, 12, 14, and even 18 had reservations on the various days, and then there were the walk-ins.  Every staff member did a great job.

A few weekend low-lights:

A little girl (around 7 yo) had a hissyfit for some unknown reason and after running around the restaurant with mother on her tail, suddenly stopped, threw herself into a booth and proceeded to bang her head - hard - screeching at the top of her lungs.    Mom was finally asked to take the darling outside and away from the open front doors, so diners wouldn't have to see or hear the fit.  Unfortunately, she could still be heard - half a block away.

At closing time on Friday night as the lights were being turned off, one of the bartenders mentioned that there were two people in the place, probably the restrooms.  The ladies room was empty, but upon inspection of the mens room there was a pair of men's legs standing in the stall and a pair of women's legs kneeling in front of him. I am told there were audible groans - both male and female - until they were told (loudly) to "get a room"!

At closing time again last night after Karaoke, two males were discovered sharing a very 'intimate exchange' in the alley between the restaurant and the store. It was broken up without incident, but they were none too happy at being caught.  Who would be?

I'm exhausted and almost fell into my AS cocktail this afternoon.  (I didn't stay around for one yesterday, just wanted to get home and be quiet.)  The Golden Margarita was delicious and smooth, but as I sipped I could feel the energy draining from my extremities. I didn't want to get up from the bar stool - standing and walking all day can do that to you - but I headed for the door and took a slow, quiet walk home.

Supper and a glass of wine will set me up for the night.  Cheers!

And so it goes.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Just a Thought: Being Accepted

We're getting there. It's a giant leap from the era depicted in Brokeback Mountain to today's military and TV shows like Dr. Who and Torchwood.

Make it a great Pride weekend all.

And so it goes.

Congratulations New York!

"I'm in a New York State of Mind" - Billy Joel

Now the Pride events of tonight and tomorrow will be extra special.

And so it goes.

Just a Thought: A Learning Experience, Yes, That Too.

Click to embiggen all images.  And Happy Pride weekend to all.

More later.


Psycho Caturday

More later.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Get Up! You're Not Getting Any Prettier Lying There...

Maybe it's the new medication I am taking for the arthritis, but not having much success with a long-term beauty-sleep these days (Lord knows I can use it) and if I continue to lie there tossing and turning I am more tired than when I went to bed the night before.

So, when I woke this morning at 3:45 am, knowing that it was the end of any real relaxing sleep I might wish for, I jumped out of bed, threw on shorts, sneakers,  tee-shirt and while a coffee was brewing went downstairs and ran laundry...THREE loads in all, before it was all over. The laundry room is at street level just below my apartment making this chore much easier than in the past - when I had to drive 12 miles (each way) to a clean laundromat to do the deed.

Had an eggs and toast breakfast, took a shower & shaved, made a sandwich for lunch and headed off to what became a busy day at the restaurant. Served well over 100 meals at lunch, then hit the bar for my AS cocktail.  This evening's treat was a silver tequila Cosmo on the rocks in a frosty glass.  Heaven!  Absolute heaven.  I was tempted to have a second, but my better self bitch-slapped reality into me.

Learned this afternoon that the beloved pet dog of friends from my previous life died last night.  Years ago I took care of him while they vacationed and he was a happy, intelligent little monster whom I adored.  And I think the feeling was mutual.  Not caring how it might be received,  I called to offer my condolences and sympathy.  They were surprised by the call, but in their grief they seemed to welcome it. It was brief with no suggestion of possible future get-togethers. And that's OK.

Though thunderstorms were forecast and threatened with intermittent dark clouds all day, nothing materialized and I walked home under a hot sun in high humidity.  I would have given anything to walk home in the middle of a heavy rain storm.

After supper, Elaine Stritch at Liberty is on the gay DVD agenda tonight. "Nothing comes from nothing, nothing ever could - so somewhere in my youth or childhood, I must have done something good"

I look forward to a pleasant, relaxing sleep tonight.  May it be so.

And so it goes.

Tiny Camera Reveals Early Mayan Tomb

Yup, another one of those historic stories I love to read and repost. Fascinating, but I wonder what new information is being discovered, but not released to the public.  As with so many of these stories, there is seldom a follow-up.

Researchers said Thursday that a tiny remote-controlled camera lowered into an early Mayan tomb in southern Mexico has helped reveal an intact funeral chamber with offerings and red-painted wall murals.
The tomb was discovered in 1999 inside a pyramid among the ruins of the Mayan city of Palenque in the hills of the southern Mexican state of Chiapas. 
The National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) said in a release on Thursday that archaeologists had not been able to access the vault believed to hold the remains of a Mayan ruler who lived between A.D. 431 and 550 until now.
Researchers were able to get the first view of the intact tomb after dropping the small camera 16 feet deep through a small hole at the top of the pyramid.
"The characteristics of the funeral site show that the bones could belong to a sacred ruler from Palenque, probably one of the founders of a dynasty," archeologist Martha Cuevas said in a statement.
The Mayans flourished between A.D. 250 through 900 and Palenque is one of the most important Mayan archaeological sites.
Cuevas said the discovery shed new light on early rulers, and its proximity to other burial sites suggested the tomb may be part of a funerary complex.
"All this leads us to consider that the Southern Acropolis was used as a royal necropolis during that period," Cuevas said.
Susan Gillespie, an associate professor of anthropology at the University of Florida who was not involved in the project, said in a statement: "This is an important find for Palenque and for understanding Early Classic Maya history and politics," partly because the later rulers who made the city-state larger built atop their predecessors' temples and tombs, making it hard to get at them.
"Palenque was a relatively important western Maya capital in the Early Classic, but with the buildup during the time of Pakal and some of his successors, those accomplishments were buried and thus difficult to assess, buried literally by Late Classic structures atop Early Classic ones," Gillespie wrote.
More later.

Just a Thought: Oh, The Irony...

Happy Pride Month.

More later.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Michelle Bachmann's Holy War

Matt Taibbi at Rolling Stone brings us this solstice gift:
The Tea Party contender may seem like a goofball, but be warned: Her presidential campaign is no laughing matter.

Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and, as you consider the career and future presidential prospects of an incredible American phenomenon named Michele Bachmann, do one more thing. Don't laugh.

It may be the hardest thing you ever do, for Michele Bachmann is almost certainly the funniest thing that has ever happened to American presidential politics. Fans of obscure 1970s television may remember a short-lived children's show called Far Out Space Nuts, in which a pair of dimwitted NASA repairmen, one of whom is played by Bob (Gilligan) Denver, accidentally send themselves into space by pressing "launch" instead of "lunch" inside a capsule they were fixing at Cape Canaveral. This plot device roughly approximates the political and cultural mechanism that is sending Michele Bachmann hurtling in the direction of the Oval Office.

Bachmann is a religious zealot whose brain is a raging electrical storm of divine visions and paranoid delusions. She believes that the Chinese are plotting to replace the dollar bill, that light bulbs are killing our dogs and cats, and that God personally chose her to become both an IRS attorney who would spend years hounding taxpayers and a raging anti-tax Tea Party crusader against big government. She kicked off her unofficial presidential campaign in New Hampshire, by mistakenly declaring it the birthplace of the American Revolution. "It's your state that fired the shot that was heard around the world!" she gushed. "You are the state of Lexington and Concord, you started the battle for liberty right here in your backyard."

I said lunch, not launch! But don't laugh. Don't do it. And don't look her in the eyes; don't let her smile at you. Michele Bachmann, when she turns her head toward the cameras and brandishes her pearls and her ageless, unblemished neckline and her perfect suburban orthodontics in an attempt to reassure the unbeliever of her non-threateningness, is one of the scariest sights in the entire American cultural tableau. She's trying to look like June Cleaver, but she actually looks like the T2 skeleton posing for a passport photo. You will want to laugh, but don't, because the secret of Bachmann's success is that every time you laugh at her, she gets stronger.

In modern American politics, being the right kind of ignorant and entertainingly crazy is like having a big right hand in boxing; you've always got a puncher's chance. And Bachmann is exactly the right kind of completely batshit crazy. Not medically crazy, not talking-to-herself-on-the-subway crazy, but grandiose crazy, late-stage Kim Jong-Il crazy — crazy in the sense that she's living completely inside her own mind, frenetically pacing the hallways of a vast sand castle she's built in there, unable to meaningfully communicate with the human beings on the other side of the moat, who are all presumed to be enemies.

Bachmann's story, to hear her tell it, is about a suburban homemaker who is chosen by God to become a politician who will restore faith and family values to public life and do battle with secular humanism. But by the time you've finished reviewing her record of lies and embellishments and contradictions, you'll have no idea if she actually believes in her own divine inspiration, or whether it's a big con job. Or maybe both are true — in which case this hard-charging challenger for the GOP nomination is a rare breed of political psychopath, equal parts crazed Divine Wind kamikaze-for-Jesus and calculating, six-faced Machiavellian prevaricator. Whatever she is, she's no joke.
It just gets better and better.  Read the whole thing HERE, and please don't laugh. You might hurt yourself.

And so it goes.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Worrying Resolves Nothing

My beloved grandmother worried about everything.  She would have died of worry if her mind hadn't gone first. From as far back as I can remember each day brought some new something that she just had to worry about. All these somethings were out of her control, but that didn't stop her.

I was raised by my grandparents and though they were poor, it was hardly noticeable.  We ate well, thanks to  my grandfather's fishing, crabbing, shrimping and craw-fishing skills, some of which he passed on to me as a boy. My grandmother was fastidious to the point of insanity.  She would starch and iron my shirts and school clothes, then go on to starch and iron all the sheets and pillow cases in the process.  Sleeping on starched sheets can be a dangerous affair, but I'll leave that to your imagination.

She worried every day of her life.  When I moved to NYC after high school at 17, she worried that I would die because she wasn't cooking my meals. She had conveniently forgotten that she and my grandfather taught me to cook at a very early age.  At one point I wouldn't even tell her if I was going away on holiday because she was sure to watch every news report to find out if my plane crashed.  I would only report back AFTER the fact.  This made her very angry...I had denied her what was obviously her one true, if misguided passion.

In all honesty I have to say that I became a worry-wart too. But, only after taking on the purchase of a new home in 1980, with my then partner of 5 years. A lot of responsibility, that.  The what ifs were everywhere and I bought into them - hook, line, and sinker. Eventually, the angst diminished and things got back to day to day living and paying bills, even some traveling.

Following the breakup 5 years ago; left with nothing; practically homeless at one point, there was another flare up of worrying. I got through those 5 years thanks in part to a few of you readers and a determination to be who I am and not what gossip told people I was.  And I made it.

Where am I going with this?

 Last month I had some routine blood work done and thought nothing more about it. Then I received a call from the Doctor's office Monday evening telling me that there were a few "elevated somethings" that required more clarification, and that I "shouldn't worry about anything."

Please tell me, WHO instructs these a**holes in conducting conversations with patients?  Or, do they learn this crap all by themselves?

Anyway, I didn't worry about it.  I did miss my visit to the Farmers Market and the drive to Assateague, instead spending hours being poked, waiting to be prodded, and waiting to be punctured.  More blood work, vitals double checked with lots of mumbling, tapping keyboards, and witch-doctor histrionics until I was cut loose to make my way home.  (Why all this now when I have no insurance and begin receiving SS and Medicare benefits in less than a month?)

A call came in late afternoon informing me that the doctor would have the results by Friday or Monday.  (No word on when (or if) the doctor would share the results.)  And, again, "nothing to worry about."  What is there to worry about?  I have no classic symptoms of any of the suspect culprits.  Aside from the hands and back, I feel fine. I enjoy a pretty healthy diet, walk quite a bit, and do anything to keep the hands and back in motion.  (Now stop that!) Today, I am black & blue from all the handling, (one of the daily meds causes easy bruising)  my arms look like those of a junkie. I wore a long sleeve shirt to work today - and it was nearly 100'F.

I am annoyed at losing my single day off for this mishugas, so the outcome had better be a blockbuster; or an apology, or I will be royally pissed.

Worry?  Feh!

And so it goes.

Just a Thought: They're Your Kids, Deal With It.

So much for fear and loathing of talking to children.  Happy Pride Month, everyone.
More later.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

BP Cares. (NOT!)

Some are finally getting it.  Just found this HERE.

More later.

Katharine Hepburn on a Skateboard

Any, and all, arguments are invalid!

She must be in her 60s in this shot.  Anyone know for sure?  Please leave a comment.

More later.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Just Because it's June. June. June!

And the kids are out of school in all surrounding states now.  This made for a heavy family oriented crowd here and at the restaurant all weekend. Surprisingly, most were well behaved and enjoyed the sun, sand, and just letting loose.

(Sorry, but I like show tunes.  Get over it.)

The threat of rain showers didn't get anyone down and the fact that the wetness held off until this morning made everyone (with the exception of home-owners with brown lawns) very happy indeed.  The storms began at dawn and it rained steadily until they passed through later this afternoon.  This made for a busy lunch of large parties who didn't want to face the Outlet Malls, or the Movie Theaters.

We remained busy through the rest of the shift because people felt their day on the beach was shot; a total washout. Nobody likes to lie on wet sand, anyway.  Customers from previous years arrived, remembered me and were happy to see me again. That always makes my day, because I love seeing them return, even if the kids are growing up too fast making me feel very old, indeed.

As my shift ended sun rays were breaking through clouds (click the image above to embiggen) and the air was dry and cooler - only about 74' F as I walked home. The neighbors were outdoors enjoying the cool air, cocktails, and their children and/or grandchildren.  A nice treat for everyone.

Have the day off tomorrow and since there is little on my gay agenda, may take a drive down to Assateague Island National Seashore for a bit of picture taking with someone from work.  We'll see how the weather turns out first.

And so it goes.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Clarence Clemons - R. I. P.

Very sad, this.
The "Big Man," saxophonist Clarence Clemons, has died in Palm Beach, Florida, from complications of a stroke he suffered last Sunday. The beloved 69-year-old musician was born in Norfolk, Virgina, in 1942 and met his most famous collaborator, Bruce Springsteen, at an Asbury Park, New Jersey bar during a lightning storm in 1971. He became a member of the group later known as the E Street Band the following year when the Boss began recording his debut album. For nearly four decades, Clemons provided the soulful blasts that helped define Springsteen's signature sound. 
More later.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Anyone Can Whistle - Except Gay People*

For some reason I have been humming (and singing, G*d Help us!) tunes from Sondheim's 1964 flop, Anyone Can Whistle since I woke up this morning.  I have no idea why.  Was it triggered by a dream?  Dunno. Dreams were very bizarre last night.

As with many Sondheim shows, this one was way ahead of its time; starring Angela Lansbury (2 years before Mame), Lee Remick (pictured above at the Opening Night Cast Party, with Sondheim) and Harry Guardino.  Herbert Ross choreographed the musical numbers and the entire production was under the direction of the brilliant Arthur Laurents. Who also wrote the book.

Anyway...From humming to singing the title tune I went right into Everybody Says Don't (which was recorded by Streisand for one of the Broadway albums) and finally crashed and burned with the finale, With So Little To Be Sure Of, as I arrived at work. That one played in my tiny brain all day.

I just arrived home and before I become combustive must play the disc as I enjoy a few olives and prepare supper.  It's a good thing I don't have a neighbor in the rear apartment.  That living room is opposite mine and I plan to sing along. I am sure the dogs in the neighborhood will be howling to my vocals, as well.

Oh well.  I'm just a Broadway Baby!

* Yes, that too is a myth.

And so it goes.

Play-time Caturday

Careful, now...

More later.

Friday, June 17, 2011

On The Air - And Then Some...

Spew Alert!!! You have been warned.

I recently found a few old photos that weren't destroyed or lost in the breakup.  (Click to embiggen.)

This was taken at a radio station where I enjoyed the position of Public Service Director writing, producing, recording, and airing public service announcements (required by the FCC to maintain a public broadcast license), mid-day on-air 'personality' 3 hours daily - 5 days weekly, and producer of the Sunday morning 'God Squad' religious programming. Interestingly, I still have my broadcaster's license issued by the FCC and it's valid in case anyone wants to hire me to do voice-overs.

Note the old reel-to-reel deck behind me, the push-button phone in the center, as well as the old boom microphone just below the phone. The ancient mixing board in front of me was one of the best ever made.

The image was taken around 1981 or 1982, approximately 30 years old. Just another snippet from my past life.

And so it goes.

Just a Thought: It Can be a Spiritual Experience

Though it doesn't have to be one.  Happy Pride Month.

More later.


Thursday, June 16, 2011

From Ho-Hum to WTF!!!

The morning was cool and cloudy with the forecast screaming of severe thunderstorms throughout the day.  Took the umbrella and walked to work.  The clouds increased and the winds became stronger, but no rain.

All staff arrived on time and opening the restaurant went smoothly. A few families with small children arrived to enjoy a leisurely luncheon as the sun made a sudden, unexpected appearance.  Then, they were gone.  A few diners trickled in once in a while, but we were almost at a dead stop.

All of a sudden, as if out of nowhere, a party of 8 arrives, followed by a party of 17, followed almost immediately by a party of 6, then another 7, and another 5.  Forty-three diners within 10 minutes. No joke!  A few minutes later a party of 9 waits to be seated, (tracking sand everywhere) having come directly from the beach.  Although I was saddled with 2 new servers-in-training, they performed beautifully and everyone eventually left full and happy. 

Of course, large parties don't simply eat and run - especially a party of 17 - so our shifts had to be extended to care for the guests and clean up afterwards. The busboys aren't scheduled until 4 pm, so the servers all helped one another and I pitched in as I could. By the time I left at 5:10, I was reeling from the somewhat controlled chaos, wondering how we got through all that without a single major issue.

Ya'know, it's the summer season and today was a reminder of what can happen, and how quickly a situation can change.

Didn't hang around for an AS cocktail (the bar was packed with Happy Hour customers) but headed home where I am now enjoying a martini with 2 festive olives.  Cheers!

BTW:  The Ladybug is the official insect of the state of Delaware. See, you visit here and learn something totally useless, unless you play Trivial Pursuit.

And so it goes.

Just a Thought: Gay Marriage = No Abortions

Family Values?  OK, how about this:

A simple truth.

Happy Pride, everyone.

More later.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Gulf Dead Zone Predicted to be Largest in History

Yeah, yeah, move along. Nothing to see here. It's all cleaned up, now go away.
NEW ORLEANS -- Scientists predict this year's "dead zone" of low-oxygen water in the northern Gulf of Mexico will be the largest in history – about the size of Lake Erie – because of more runoff from the flooded Mississippi River valley.
Each year when the nutrient-rich freshwater from the Mississippi and Atchafalaya rivers pours into the Gulf, it spawns massive algae blooms. In turn, the algae consume the oxygen in the Gulf, creating the low oxygen conditions. Fish, shrimp and many other species must escape the dead zone or face dying.
Federal and university scientists predict this year's zone will be between 8,500 square miles and about 9,400 square miles. The actual size of the dead zone will be measured over the summer.
The largest recorded dead zone was found in 2002 when 8,400 square miles of the Gulf was found to lacking sufficient oxygen for most marine life.
The forecasts on the size of the hypoxic zone are usually close to the mark, although hurricanes have chopped them up in the past.
Eugene Turner, an oceanographer at Louisiana State University, said the dead zone has continued to get larger since it was first noticed and measured in the 1970s. He said the dead zone is getting worse with time.
The biggest contributor is the amount of fertilizer – and the nitrates and phosphates in them – that wind up in the Mississippi River each spring and get flushed out to the Gulf.
Scientists said the large dead zone will complicate the Gulf's recovery from last year's massive oil spill. After the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded on April 20, 2010, an out-of-control well owned by BP PLC. spewed about 206 million gallons of oil – 19 times more than the Exxon Valdez spilled.
 For our self-imposed ignorance, we deserve whatever we get from this tragedy.

And so it goes.

Just a Thought: Children Must be Taught

See Oscar Hammerstein's lyrics for "You've Got to be Carefully Taught" from South Pacific. Happy Pride Month.

And so it goes.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A Near-Perfect Personal Day

Following the taxing 7-day stint at work it was nice to have a day off.  Crammed all errands into the early morning hours so the afternoon would be free to take a walk around town and visit the boardwalk.

Finally picked up a new prescription for the arthritis pain in my hands and neck, then stopped for a bottle of wine on the way home.  While I don't hold too much hope for the new med, it's worth a try.

Took a stroll through the Farmers Market and snagged a baguette, a loaf of sour dough, a bunch of baby beets, and more Swiss Chard.  I can't help myself.  I love the stuff.  The local tomatoes should begin arriving in a week or so. 

Ran into friend Duglas (a server at DL) while there and together we picked up some spring onions, and fresh-made crab cakes from a local seafood market. I bought 2, he bought 4 and as we parted company we shared another hug as he headed for the guy selling herb plants and I made my way home.

Shortly after my arrival, there was a knock at the door.  The plumber was checking out the old AC/Heat Pump which the landlord is planning to replace.  Every apartment has its own system,  and the existing one for my place; the oldest in the building, clearly raised red flags after the Memorial Day Weekend incident and it was determined that it was more costly to maintain than a new, energy-efficient one.  Great news for me, too.  More efficient means lower energy bills for both heat and air conditioning. 

Visited the Atlantic for a few minutes to breathe the sea air and make sure the ocean was still there.  A brisk wind, coupled with the lower temperatures (in the low 70s) made for an energy booster. Walking home I felt a little light-headed.  There was a spring in my step.  (Now, stop that!)

This was one of those perfect summer days that we all wish would be the norm rather than the exception. Sigh!

More later.

Just a Thought: Sometimes it Takes a While

Eventually, love wins out.

Happy Pride Month.

And so it goes.


Monday, June 13, 2011

Auto Insurance: Feh!

Recently, the auto insurance bill appeared in the mail and I was mystified by the jump in the cost from last December.  No claims filed, less driving than in previous years, so what gives?

Consider this: the car is parked in front of my home 6 days a week, occasionally 5 if a special errand needs to be run, so why is the new bill more than $40.00 (semi-annually) above what it was last year?

A call to the insurance office (State Farm) and a few questions garnered these results: I do not have homeowners insurance with them (I no longer own a home), I do not have multiple vehicles insured by them (there are no other vehicles, and why would I need them?), and so I am not eligible for any discounts. So, in essence I am paying more so that those discounts can be passed on to those who pay less.  Makes perfect sense to me...not!

Asked why I am being hit with a higher bill, driving less than 2K miles in the past year, it is revealed that I am in the lowest mileage category offered - 7.5K miles annually. When asked how I could bring down the cost (get this) I am told to take a "defensive driving class" which would save me a whopping $35.00 per year.  I argue that I have never received a ticket for a moving violation, but in so many words, am told, "it is what it is", they didn't even offer change-in-coverage options to reduce the cost, so I will begin looking for a new insurer.

I don't look forward to a search for a new insurer, but paying more than a thousand dollars a year for a car that's driven once weekly (if that) is just not fair.  Although I have been a State Farm customer for over 30 years, that means nothing to them anymore. Though I've followed all the rules and done everything by the book, that means nothing anymore.

Yes, the car is a 2005 Toyota driven only 23K miles and retains value, but it is not garaged and open to the salty ocean air.  All these elements must be taken into account as the shopping begins.

And so it goes.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Weekend Update With Some Trepidation.

 The weather since Thursday has been more brutal than usual for June. High humidity and temperatures drained much energy (not to mention 'precious bodily fluids'), but the visitors were in high spirits, grateful to shed winter's cold, and ready to part-ay!  They have carried me through this long stretch without a day off, bless 'em, and I have only one more day before that happens...and none too soon.

I've discovered that my strange looking not-so-little-anymore plant (Zamioculcas - thanks Stan) is sending up 2 more new shoots from other stems. I went to transplant it to give it more room, but won't do that until the new growth period is over.  It's really quite beautiful to watch the plant spring with new life.  So, I'll be watching its daily progress, maybe even take a few more pictures later on.

A co-worker gave me 2 heads of bib lettuce, a few zucchini, and fresh-cut basil from her garden today. The first 2 will be part of tonight's supper and the last will go into a fresh pasta sauce on Tuesday.

Over this weekend 4 customers wanted to buy me a drink.  How embarassing. This is very new to me. I receive a free after-shift (AS) cocktail of my choice every day, so accepting their offer I would feel like, what we used to call in New Orleans a "B Girl" a bar girl, employed by the establishment to entice drunk customers to buy them watered-down drinks at high prices.  The girls got a cut of what they sold.

To be honest, only one customer had ever offered to buy me a drink after my AS cocktail - and that was very difficult to except until I realized it would have hurt his feelings terribly. Like that guy, those who wanted to buy a drink this weekend have families that I truly love to see, enjoy schmoozing and joking with - and have the most well behaved kids I've ever experienced.  Bright, sharp, and quick witted.  They get my humor! What's not to love.

Anyway, in the end I declined the 4 offers, saying I only have one cocktail after work, especially if I am working the following day, and that I have to walk home alone...I don't want to disappoint them, but I feel guilty.  I don't want them to think they need to pay for what I offer freely.  That may sound bizarre, but that's where I am at present.

Oh, and did I forget to mention that the 4 fathers/heads of households/husbands, are the most beautiful men I've had the pleasure to know in a very long time...with eyes that could stop time and smiles that make my heart skip a beat, or two. 

But, never mind. I'm off to prepare garlic/ginger wings with a bib lettuce, artichoke, feta cheese salad, and sauteed zucchini with slivered garlic and cracked white pepper.

And so it goes.

Just a Thought: Gays in the Military?

Never happened until now, right?

Um, wrong! Think again.  Happy Pride Month.

Images from around the Internet, and HERE.

More later.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Possessive Caturday

It must be the heat! I feel the same way.

More later.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Louisiana: Oil Leaking from "Waste Pits" !

Have you ever heard of 'waste pits'?  Me neither. And it seems that many other states are just as vulnerable, and that's scary.  This is from the Gulf Restoration Network website:
A Bird's eye view By Jonathan Henderson.
Yesterday, I took another Mississippi River Flood flyover. With me on board were Anna Hrybyk, Program Manager for the Louisiana Bucket Brigade (LABB) and Robin Walker, a local photographer. Two cameras are always better than one! We embarked from Southern Seaplanes at about 8:30am and flew for about two and a half hours. You can see our flightpath here.

You may recall from a previous blog that LABB posted a map showing sensitive oil and gas infrastructure in the path of the flood. You also may have seen a recent article in the Times Picayune that discusses some of the environmental problems that have surfaced (pun intended) since the flooding began. Well, we flew over some of those sites to see if we could connect the dots and, not surprisingly, some of what we saw showed poorly stored waste that has become displaced thanks to the flood waters and poor containment efforts by irresponsible businesses. Oil sheen and other contaminants such as diesel fuel are visible emanating from subsurface structures and flooded well-heads, as well as from businesses on the river side of the flood wall in Morgan City. Check out the photos at the link below to see for yourself:

Runoff from the waste pits, which on average are about the size of a large swimming pool can contain oil, diesel, drilling mud and other chemicals. Government data compiled by LABB estimates that the flood waters in Louisiana threaten 13,000 oil and gas wells; 3,600 petroleum extraction operations; 4,000 oil waste pits; four oil storage terminals; and the Alon Refinery in Krotz Springs, La. 

Furthermore, in 1997, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) estimated that 2 million migratory birds were lost each year to oil pits throughout the United States. According to FWS, currently nearly 1 million birds are lost annually in oil field production skim pits and centralized oilfield wastewater disposal facilities. Sounds to me like these pits are not for the birds, again pun intended.

Finally, authorities in North Dakota say some oil companies may have ignored their warnings to protect oil waste pits from recent flooding and failed to take action that could have prevented spills. At least 19 companies in ND have been fined several million dollars. It will be interesting to see what LDEQ does to punish violators in Louisiana, if anything.

Jonathan Henderson is the Coastal Resiliency Organizer for GRN
Thank you to Josephine Billups of the band Sassafrass for making this flight possible.
Photo slide show and story are HERE.

And so it goes.

Just a Thought: That's So Gay!

Happy Pride Month 2011. Although Pride is celebrated in September in Delaware, my heart remains where it all began, New York City.

More later.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Iron Lady Snubs Caribou Barbie

Oh, the "Irony" of it all.  Maggie Thatcher's aides have dissed any hope of Sarah Palin enjoying a photo-op/meeting with old Iron Pants, the Iron Lady.  From today's Guardian:

A firestorm on the US right has erupted after the Guardian reported that Sarah Palin will be denied a meeting with Lady Thatcher on the grounds that it would be "belittling" for her to meet the darling of the Tea Party movement.
Rush Limbaugh, the conservative radio host, devoted the opening section of his radio show to denouncing the "preposterous" Guardian report, as Palin supporters accused Thatcher's circle of disgracing the former prime minister.
The US conservative right reacted furiously after the Guardian reported that Thatcher's aides had decided it would be inappropriate for her to meet Palin, who is planning to visit London next month en route to Sudan. Palin has been touring US historical sites (an excursion that saw her slip up this week on the subject of Paul Revere, the American patriot who made a famous "midnight ride" to warn of approaching British forces).
One Thatcher ally told the Guardian: "Lady Thatcher will not be seeing Sarah Palin. That would be belittling for Margaret. Sarah Palin is nuts." (emphasis mine.)
The former prime minister's friends say she will show the level she punches at when she marks the centenary of the birth of Ronald Reagan by attending the unveiling of a statue of the late president outside the US embassy in Grosvenor Square on independence day, 4 July. The Thatcher ally added: "Margaret is focusing on Ronald Reagan and will attend the unveiling of the statue. That is her level."
Oh, Snap!!!

The rest of the story is HERE.

And so it goes.

Wait, Wait! Too Much Too Soon!

If you see these guys on the beach today, get yourself into a cool place and drink plenty of water, you are probably suffering heat stroke.

Stepped outside to take out the trash just now and got hit in the face with stagnant hot air. Hard to take a full breath.  Couldn't believe it was so hot at this hour (6:30am) so I cranked up the computer to learn that at this hour it is already 86' F, expected to reach 100' by mid-day. The humidity is 88% and there is not even a light breeze.

Haven't reached the half way mark through June and we're coping with this?  We expect this is August, but no this early. It's going to be a scorcher, not even a good beach day.  I'll wear a tee-shirt on the walk to work and change into the dress shirt there, otherwise I will look like a wet rag to greet whatever brave souls venture out in this heat.

Oh well, it is what it is.

And so it goes.

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