Saturday, July 30, 2011

Impossible Things?

I would like to think we've all done this at some point in our lives.

And so it goes.

Tranquil Caturday

More later.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Summer, And All Things Being Equal

Summer tourist season has kicked up a notch with 1 month left, as there are more visitors than ever.  Or, at least it seems so to most of us locals and in-town businesses.

The restaurant is jumping - in many ways. The Karaoke nights are very popular; Lunch crowds have been plentiful and friendly.  Gay and Straight families with well-behaved kids (the "please and thank you" kind) abound and the entire day staff has been humming along like a well-oiled machine.  We've had one complaint per day for the last week, and those were because the customer mis-read the menu.  These were handled quickly and fixed in minutes.

The dinner crowds have been mostly large family groups which ties the place in knots and causes a back-up resulting in a wait of an hour, or more. No one seems to mind; they just want to get in and have a good time.

 I've already stopped taking reservations for the entire weekend. It's that crazy and wonderful.

It warms my heart to see the bar at Happy Hour.  It's full of gay men, lesbians, straight singles and couples sitting elbow to elbow engaged in conversations about every subject imaginable - not caring about one's sexual orientation, only intelligent conversation. Isn't this what we've been striving for all these years? Well, at least at Dos Locos, it has become a reality.

OK, that's all well and good, but the bar was so packed this evening that I didn't hang around for my AS cocktail.  Just logged out, grabbed my bag, and took the quiet walk home.

These past few days have made me feel so proud of where I am in my life today. I open the door to my little place and it smells like home.  It's true that I work with certifiable crazies and I'm happy with the association.  As long as people are glad to be around and breathing (with a sensahumah) I'm there.

Yes, I'm still looking forward to a holiday this fall, no matter where it takes me, but as the old saying goes, "if what you want isn't coming to me, it means you're not ready for it yet."  Well, I am working on it.  And I raise my martini glass to say, (in my best Elaine Stritch voice) I'll drink to that!

And so it goes.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Shop, Schlep, & Share.

Three things a gay man of a certain age ought to do every chance he gets.

The better part of today was devoted to something for which I seldom have time (or money) to enjoy.  Shop for clothes; work drag, and comfortable shoes, in particular!

Having ruined 3 pair of black and navy blue slacks at work to white salt stains from sweating in the heat while the front doors were open for "open air" dining, even in this heatwave, I decided to shop for new ones.   I found only one pair close to my size - I am shrinking and my inseam is an inch shorter than last year. I could only find a 29" in my waist size. For some reason, all 28" inseam trousers were available only in 36+" waist sizes.

Last night I noticed a large crack in the sole of a pair of work shoes, probably caused by the floor cleaning products, since the shoes are less than a year old and show little wear on soles or heels. They were the most comfortable shoes I had and cherished for those really busy weekend and holiday shifts. Sigh.

So, I took myself to the Rockport store in hope of finding another pair.  No such luck.  But I did find a very nice pair very different from anything I've ever owned and a lot of fun. Oh, and so light, snug, and comfortable.  I almost wore them out of the store.

Shopped for a new Mandolin Slicer (the one purchased last year, while compact, is now as dull as a nose-picking blind-date).  Found nothing worthy and moved on.

Stopped for necessities at the market before heading back home and was fortunate enough to find everything on the short list, which made me a very happy, if over-heated, camper.

Yes both heat and humidity are back big-time with a kind of stagnent air dangerous to the elderly and those with respiratory problems.

Back home I noticed the landlord's workmen doing their thing in the apartment behind mine and was told there was a possibility of new tenants, so they were prepping the place - painting, cleaning, and polishing floors.  There is no electricity in the place and they looked bedraggled.

 After I emptied the car and all was stored away, I took a few beers (from the 12-pack purchased last week), plastic cups, and a pitcher of iced water over to them just as they were to break for lunch. Their eyes lit up and the smiles went from ear to ear.

They were grateful for the gesture and it made me feel real good, too.

More later.

Legal On Both Sides Now.

We've all seen the Empire State Building decked out in Rainbow Colors for NY Pride, but this is something else again.  Niagara Falls! Breathtaking, just breathtaking. Sincere congratulations to all.

Then there's this:
NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (AP) — Gay-rights activists Kitty Lambert and Cheryle Rudd were legally married the very first moment they could be during a midnight ceremony at Niagara Falls that ushered in same-sex marriage in the state and marked a pivotal moment in the national drive for recognition.

With a rainbow-lit Niagara Falls as a backdrop early Sunday, Lambert, 54, and Rudd, 53, were among the first gay couples to tie the knot with the blessing of the state, which last month became the sixth and largest to sanction gay marriage. Couples in Albany, Hudson and Long Island also exchanged vows just after midnight Saturday, kicking off what was expected to be a Sunday packed with weddings.
Of course, the fake Christians at NOM are predicting blood in the streets; such Christians, they are.

More later.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

There Was This Birthday...Thingy

Name: Mr. Cellophane
Occupation: Gullible Doofus
Years of Experience: 65

It's all about life's milestones, right?
  •  I spent my 21st birthday in Boston with friends at a rock club.  Of course, one had to be 21 to drink alcohol in Boston in 1967.  Legal age was 18 in NYC at the time.
  • The 30th was spent with many friends at 2 dance clubs in NYC - 12West, and Flamingo.  No booze; just lots of weed!
  • The 40th saw a surprise party with fewer friends than the 30th. AIDS was raging at that time and too many friends were gone.
  • The 50th, and there were only memories of happy times with friends no longer living.
  • The 60th was perhaps the worst. Life as I knew it for 30 years was vanishing and there was nothing to celebrate, except that I was alive, I didn't think that was much to celebrate at the time.
Now comes the 65th and life is becoming bright again, but in a whole other way and moving in a different direction. Oh, and there was this party of sorts...

Lots of birthdays are celebrated at the restaurant throughout the year. Surprising and embarrassing to be sure, but always fun.  There is a sombrero, noisemakers, cakes, and a singing animated animal.  Don't ask.

I am always asked my opinions and personal preferences for these reservations. I am free to give away any ideas I can, especially if I know the victim birthday person. So I was not prepared, had no idea, this information would be turned against toward me yesterday afternoon.

It was a busy lunch and I was distracted caring for the diners and keeping the servers up to speed on any changes in menu options, etc.   Suddenly one of the Locosguys appears asking that I help him with a log-in problem he's having at a site we usually post special events and daily menu specials. Someone covers my station and I race back toward the office only to be stopped in my tracks by cart pushed by the other Locosguy sporting the largest Red Velvet Cake I have ever seen.  It had to be 15" round!  The entire staff - kitchen crew included - began to sing "Happy Birthday" and I was speechless...yes, ME!

Many pictures were taken, not by me. Many cards were handed to me, which I put aside as the handle of a 10" chef's knife was slapped into my hand to cut the cake. Honest to G*d, that cake served about 40 people with more to spare. It was heavy to handle, but oh so light and heavenly on the palate.

I read the cards as I sipped the AS cocktail and was overwhelmed by the many wishes and signatures. I was thrilled by 1 very special card from the kitchen staff who acknowledged my willingness to arrive extra early to let them in to prep for the day and make coffee for them each morning.  It's the little things.

There were cards from the wait staff, and a few from regular customers, and a balloon sculpture. too. I'm sharing this because I want to remember this event and need it here in case someday I require a quick pick-me-up when things are less than happy.

The original plan was to leave at shift's end, head home and do a light supper.  Well, as I sipped the AS cocktail and read the cards, another cocktail appeared before me.  As I finished that one, yet another appeared.  I knew I had to stop this flow and asked the barman to cut it off.  While I was honored, the fact remained that I had to walk home; being giddy from the surprises coupled with the booze were the determining factors.

Danced around the living room for a bit, had a salad and relaxed in the quiet of the evening. Processing what had just happened. 

Today was as if nothing had happened...except, once in a while someone would come up and hug me asking if I "enjoyed" the birthday, then smile and go back to work.  They knew I had a grand time, and they did, too.

Yep, it's the little things.

Note:  The image above is NOT the Red Velvet Cake.  Just a gay old image I found on the net. Sorry for any confusion, but I did say I didn't take any pictures of the event.

And so it goes.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Friday, July 22, 2011

Unbearable Heat – Cool Hendrick’s

A few weeks ago I wrote about being gifted with a bottle of Hendrick’s Gin and the plan was to make a martini with it that evening, using a cucumber instead of olives.  Somehow it never happened. Don’t ask me why. I don't remember.

As I trudged off to work this morning at 8:15 am, it was already 88’ F. On the way home this evening it was 99’ F – having hit 103’ F in mid-afternoon. No after-shift cocktail, I just wanted to get home.

As I was greeted by the air of a cool apartment 3 things popped into  my head; a crisp cucumber/onion salad, a Gazpacho, and a Hendrick’s Gin Martini (with cucumber, of course) because as I opened the door, the ice maker chose that moment to dump a fresh load of cubes into the freezer bin.  My one-track mind snapped to attention, noting that I had already made the cucumber/onion salad and didn't have all necessary ingredients for the gazpacho; remembered the Hendrick’s and matching it with cucumbers was a natural result.  Brilliant, yes?

No, huh?   Well, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.  So there!

Removed the sweaty work drag, took a quick shower and made the Hendrick’s Martini.  It looked so refreshing that I set up a shot to share with you all.(Click image to embiggen.)  I sip as I type, slowly feeling cooler and relaxed.  I must say, I like this concoction very much, though I doubt it will ever replace my old girl Victoria and her Bombay Sapphire in my cabinet.

It's too hot to even contemplate heating up the place by cooking supper right now, so I will sip and listen to  some music.  Perhaps the Original Cast - not the revival - of 110' In The Shade (musical version of "The Rainmaker") would be appropriate this evening. I have such a sick sensahumah!

And so it goes.  Cheers!


Care for the elderly in your area and be extra careful about your pets.  It gets worse every day throughout the weekend.  Not many folks on the beach, either.  Take care out there.

More later.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

A Supreme Ego Trip

In case you forgot who’s sandbar this is, these Google Earth images will indeed remind you that it belongs to Sheikh Hamad bin Hamdan Al Nahyan. He paid God-knows-what to dig canals spelling out his name near the Arabian Gulf. At two miles long, the letters HAMAD is visible from space, thereby assuring that when aliens finally arrive they will know which one of us is the supreme ruler they should kidnap first.

Overcompensate much???

More later.


Had To Do It

The Grifter has a scent.

More later.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Great Un-Expectations

I make every attempt to expect nothing and assume nothing.  Life seems to work out better that way.  Less disappointments in the people who commit to do something and then forget the commitment.

I prefer to give whatever I can and help when asked with no repayment expected. I learned this lesson many years ago, the hard way.  That story is for a future post - maybe.

Anyway,  I'm getting off track here.  After running the few errands and picking up 2 baguettes, I returned home.  Changed clothes again and played Diana Krall as I emptied the contents of the bags into cabinets, and freezer. Then the phone rang. 

Wait. Wait!  Let me backtrack a bit here.

Two weeks ago David, a friend and co-worker, was raving about the miraculous decorating job his girlfriend had done making a comfy outdoor seating area of their small terrace/balcony, as well as another tiny room she refitted as a guest space.  I was intrigued and as he continued talking, said girlfriend arrived to share a cocktail with us.   I could see that she was very pleased that he liked the results of a hobby she very much enjoys. She was glowing.

I said (jokingly) that if she had free time someday, maybe she could stop over to my place and give me a few ideas. [Inside humor, since free time during the season is at a premium and treasured.]  Of course, she said she "would love to stop over and see how she could help" and we all had a good laugh, shared a good-bye hug, and that was that. David and I never talked about it again and I had not seen Jessica since that afternoon. 

Now to the present...The phone rings and it's Jessica.  "I am off today and thought if you were up to it, I could stop by and see if I can be of any help with your living room." Mind you, as stated above, this is the height of the tourist season and most of us get one day off weekly, if that.  Dumbfounded.  Surprised. Thrilled.  I was all three and love being all three.

She arrived an hour later, surveyed the room, furnishings, pictures, wires, electrical outlets.  We removed the boxes of slide trays from the room.  She stood in the middle of the space, turned slowly around making a complete circle then looked at me, smiled, and asked, "do you feel up to moving a few things around?" She explained her idea and off we went. The room was completely disconnected, furnishings moved from place to place, to place, and in an hour the room was re-arranged with everything plugged in and (believe it or not) it actually looks bigger than it really is.

She was in the groove now and wanted to get the pictures and art work up on the walls until I explained that these walls have defied every tool known to me and my friends.  Holes cannot be drilled - the bits break, and those stick-on hook thingys don't work well at all. Jessica smiled and said her dad knew all wall materials of the 20th century and, if I didn't mind, she would come over with him to find out what needed to be done to get my things off the floor.  I said, OK.  She sent him a text.  We'll see.

The other side of the room will feature the TV and 2 IKEA shelf storage units (one still in the box).

It may not be much, but it's mine for now and I am dumbfounded, surprised and thrilled this evening. (Click the image above to embiggen.) Any soreness or pain will be dealt with tomorrow.  The results are well worth it...that's what he says now.

Expect nothing, assume nothing, people do come through, and one can be on the receiving end of very sweet surprises.

I think I smell olives.  That's as it should be, and just in time, too.

And so it goes.

It's Summer! Stop Complaining.

The honeymoon is over for now. It promises to be a real scorcher today and throughout the week. Just got back from the recycling center 4 blocks away and I am soaked to the skin. Checked the weather online to find the current local temp is 77' but feels more like 90'. I agree. And oh goody, the humidity is back with a vengeance. Another nice touch.

I really can't complain. We've had a week of lovely weather here with overnight temps in the 60s and 80s during the day. For that to happen in July is truly a gift. Besides, given what everyone else is dealing with this isn't so bad, I mean, being at the beach and all.

There are a couple of errands on the gay agenda today (includes purchasing some beer) after-which it will be another day off in a cool apartment trying to find some deviltry to get into. Maybe more searching online travel options for an October holiday, and perhaps a bit of shopping for a new Haversack - my very old one is about to give up the ghost, if you know what I mean. Although I have 2 backpacks I have difficulty wearing them for long periods of time because of the pressure put on my spine.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to wring out my shirt, put on a clean one, and hit the road. The sooner I get out there, the sooner I get back before the thunderstorms hit. Did I forget to mention the thunderstorms on the way? Sorry. Nothing for it but to put on the big-girl panties and cope with it. Yes that's it, just another delightful July day at the beach.

Of course, it won't be long before we're complaining about the cold and snow. Maybe that's what I'll focus on today...Jeebus, we're never satisfied!

More later

Monday, July 18, 2011

Communards: Never Can Say Good-Bye

This song was a huge hit in NY clubs sung by Gloria Gaynor in a Tom Moulton mix back in the mid 70s.  When I was in England in the late 80s I was turned on to a group called The Communards featuring the original lead singer/songwriter from Bronski Beat, Jimmy Somerville.  Whose tight falsetto is still hard to copy. This video took me back a few decades to the unleashed fun of dancing for hours at 12West, Flamingo, Truck Stop, Chameleon, and others without a care for the outside world.
We knew it was still there, but our sanctuary was the dance floor, good DJ, and a magician on lights. Turn up the volume on your speakers and enjoy. Unforgettable:
And so it goes.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

"Dear Mr. Murdoch"

A personal note from Roger Taylor, Queen's incredible drummer.  And one of the best drummers ever. Seeing and hearing him perform sets LIVE that were difficult enough to do in studio, just knocks me out even to this day.
And the scandal grows...

And so it goes.

Fresh as a...Sunflower!

Saturday was much better than Friday.  After the hot bath and early bedtime I woke relaxed and refreshed. Another joy was to discover the morning temperature was 65' F so I decided to take a walk on the Boardwalk before heading to work. 

The air was crisp and salty, people walking, biking, or just lounging on a bench enjoying the ocean and a morning coffee made for a serene atmosphere. The sound of the waves is always intoxicating, but enhanced by my jubilant mood.

Yes, I had to be at the restaurant an hour earlier, but that was no chore this day. The prep crew all arrived on time - and in good spirits - for a change. The morning went like clockwork and lunch was busy, bright, and cheerful.  The change in weather (not to mention the full moon) had an impact on everyone's mood.

When I checked my email last evening there was a note from blogger buddy Peter, containing this bouquet of Sunflowers that really made my day. Thanks Peter.

This morning appears to be a duplicate of yesterday, but I have to be at work by 7:30 am so I'll get just a brief 2-block stroll on the boards before work.  That's OK,  it's a brand new day and I look forward to a brisk brunch crowd.

More later,

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Caturday: Green Alien Edition

No words.

Beware Green, Tart, Aliens.

more later.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Plenty 'a Nuthin'

I realize that my personal posts have been few lately. My friends, I am one totally spent, ragged heap of humanity right now. The longer hours and big crowds of guests, as well as the other tourists, send me to the trusty Organizer every morning to find out what day it is and what time I am to be available - for kitchen prep crew, contractors, plumbers, and/or servers.

Don't get me wrong.  I don't mind the extra hours, but what I do mind is the time isn't dedicated to my regular responsibilities, but to the folks mentioned above. I prefer to get all my preparation done before anyone else arrives.  Do it in peace and do it thoroughly, because the responsibilities vary from day to day.  Weekday and weekend.

While the moon is full tonight, I'm empty. I have nothing.  I didn't have an after-shift cocktail tonight...I am that tired. No music; quiet is preferred this evening. A good soaking bath in Epsom Salts is first up, following that I will attempt a salad and maybe a glass of wine before stumbling into bed.

The Summer is already half over which, in many ways is hard to wrap my head around, but a part of me is happy in that knowledge. I'm over the hump, so to say.

And so it goes.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Best Boardwalks In US: Rehoboth Ranks 6th.

And in some very good company, too.  The Boardwalk is only about a mile long and most of that is residential.  (Click the image to embiggen.) Only a small portion is devoted to games, rides, foods, and other entertainments. From National Geographic. Slide Show of the top 10, but with few details:
National Geographic released their top 10 list of the nation's best boardwalks on Wednesday. The choices read as a who's who (or what's what, if you will) of the country's amusement and recreation areas.

Atlantic City, not surprisingly, was named in the number one spot. It was called "the grandfather of boardwalks" by the magazine. The Associated Press notes that the boardwalk was built in 1870 as a way to keep the sand from beachgoers bodies from entering oceanfront hotels.
As if being voted one of the cleanest beaches in the country wasn't enough, this will (unfortunately) put tiny Rehoboth Beach on the tourist maps everywhere.  Oh, well.

And so it goes.

That New Green Thing

 A friend sent this in an email, and not only do I remember doing all these things, I've always wondered WHY these practices were discontinued.  I realize now that it was marketing BS labelled as "progress" and nothing more.
In the line at the market, the young cashier told the older woman that she should bring her own grocery bag because plastic bags weren't good for the environment. The woman apologized to him and explained, "We didn't have the green thing back in my day."

The clerk responded, "That's our problem today. The former generation did not care enough to save our environment."  He was right, that generation didn't have the green thing in its day.
But, hang on a minute here...

Back then, they returned their milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over. So they really were recycled.

But they didn't have the green thing back in that customer's day.

In her day, they walked up stairs, because they didn't have an escalator in every store and office building. They walked to the grocery store and didn't climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time they had to go a few blocks.

But she was right. They didn't have the green thing in her day. 

Back then, they washed the baby's diapers because they didn't have the throw-away kind. They dried clothes on a line, not in an energy gobbling machine burning up 220 volts - wind and solar power really did dry the clothes.  Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing.

But that old lady is right; they didn't have the green thing back in her day.

Back then, they was one TV, or radio, in the house - not a TV in every room.  And the TV had a small screen the size for viewing by a mid-size room of people, not a screen the size of the state of Montana. In the kitchen, they blended and stirred by hand because they didn't have electric machines to do everything for them. When they packaged a fragile item to send through the mail, they used a wadded up old newspaper to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap.

Back then, they didn't fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn. They used a push mower that ran on human power. They exercised by working so they didn't need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity.

But she's right; they didn't have the green thing back then. 

They drank water from a fountain when they were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time they were thirsty. They refilled their writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and they replaced the razor blades instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull.

But they didn't have the green thing back then. 

Back then, people took the streetcar or bus and kids rode their bikes to school or rode the school bus instead of turning their parents into a 24-hour taxi service. They had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And they didn't need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 2,000 miles in space in order to find the nearest pizza joint. 
And that's called "progress!?!" 
But isn't it sad the current generation laments the wasteful old folks just because they didn't have the "green thing" back then?  Pass it on... (i.e., recycle this!)
And so it goes.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Research Sounds Alarms on Rising Sea Levels

Quite a lot to think about here. From the University of Arizona:
A 1-meter increase in sea level doesn't sound like much.
But the 3.3-foot rise would be enough to flood 90 percent of New Orleans, 33 percent of Virginia Beach, Va., and 18 percent of Miami, according to scientists.
With the release of a University of Arizona-led study earlier this week, evidence continues to mount that the polar ice sheets are melting at a rate that could profoundly affect coastal regions unless greenhouse gases are reduced worldwide, scientists say.
"Sometime before the end of this century, we will cross that critical threshold where the Earth will be committed to 4, possibly more, meters (13.2 feet) of sea-level rise that could occur at a rate as high as a meter per century," said Jonathan Overpeck, a UA professor and atmospheric scientist.
He and other scientists aren't certain when that point will be reached, but he believes it could be in the middle of this century.
Overpeck is co-author of the UA study that examined the effect ocean warming will have on the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets and predicted how much water temperatures could increase by the end of the century.
The research, published in the Nature Geoscience journal, predicts warmer oceans will cause the polar ice sheets to melt faster and cause sea levels to rise higher than previously thought.
The study comes as climate change and its potential impact on the Earth's environment remain a hotly debated topic. Some skepticism about whether climate change is occurring lingers, but much of the debate now centers on whether the causes are man-made. There is little political agreement internationally on how aggressive nations should be in trying to reverse the trend. Some leaders don't think anything can be done at all.
There's lots more HERE.
And so it goes.

Persecution in Belarus. Where is the US Media Coverage?

I work with a number of citizens of Belarus and listen to daily reports of their conversations with family and friends back home about the crackdown on peaceful protests. I've seen nothing in the American press regarding the turmoil and paranoia of that government and what follows is a week old.  Though nothing has been addressed in the press, things appear to be getting worse as phones are tapped (especially calls from the USA) and Internet sites are being monitored closely.
This is from a week ago via RT:

Participants of the Belarusian group "Revolution Through Social Networks” wrote an open letter to President Aleksandr Lukashenko, demanding that he halt police crackdowns on peaceful protests.
­The letter, published Monday on a page of the Russian-hosted Vkontakte social network, outlines the current situation in Belarus, where “people authorized with unclear powers, who failed to produce documents… have beaten peaceful citizens while walking the streets of their own cities over the last several weeks.”

The authors have asked Lukashenko who these people are and on whose orders they are acting. However, the questions are mostly rhetorical ones, as they go on to state that officials from Minsk city’s police “command” these unknown people. Police officers and people who are believed to be plain-clothes police routinely detain protesters who are merely walking or standing on downtown streets, clapping their hands from time to time.

People have recently been organizing events through social networks on the internet in order to protest against the current economic crisis and political situation in Belarus.

The letter urged Lukashenko “not to give illegal orders” which will not stop the protest actions in any case. “We will not stop, the actions will continue under any circumstances… Now the process of Belarusians’ acquiring self-awareness is under way. Soon dozens of thousands of people will not feel intimidated.”    

Meanwhile, the Belarusian government has blocked access to the country’s two sites on Russia’s Vkontakte online social network. Both websites, Revolution Through Social Networks and Strategy of the Future, were used by organizers of the mass protests on July 3, the date when Belarusian’s traditionally celebrate their day of independence. As a result of the move, “revolutionaries” have to set up new online groups to continue their strategy of organizing protests via the Internet.

The rallies have already taken place in Brest, Grodno, Gomel, Mogilev and other cities. Police detained more than 600 people in both Minsk and 30 other locations during the protests events which took place on June 22 and June 29.

About 300 people were detained in the capital and other cities on July 3. On Monday, the first trials began for detainees who are facing charges of hooliganism for strolling through the streets and clapping.
Note to the MSM:  Could you please curtail reporting on the Rick Perry Prayer Fest that is 3 weeks away, and maybe, just maybe, cover some real news?  Is anybody there? Does anybody care? Just asking.

Read much more at this site.

And so it goes.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Super-Size Me? Indeed!

As some of you may know I work at a restaurant called Dos Locos in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. The name means "two crazies" and the owners, staff, and customers live up to that name. Every. Single. Day.

It's a place unlike any other in my experience. The owners are generous beyond measure and I am proud to be part of a staff that shares that spirit, giving their time and talents to make some fundraiser, or another, a success.

That said, everyone - including the locosguys - has been eagerly awaiting my return to the daily AS (after shift) cocktail since I have been on an antibiotic for 10 days and unable to imbibe.  So as not to disappoint, after my shift I sat at the bar and ordered my "Bombay Sapphire Martini up with olives" and the barman was happy to oblige.  Even making quite a bit extra in the small shaker, as it turns out.

No sooner had he poured the first bit into my glass and I took a short sip then the boss appeared asking what I was drinking.  "What is that, a Shirley Temple with olives? We can't have that, now can we?" He flashed a wicked grin at me, winked at the barman and filled the large shaker with ice, chilled a large margarita glass (26 oz.!), then proceeded to prepare an exact duplicate of what was in front of me - only super-sized. (See the image above and click to embiggen.) He placed the huge glass next to my smaller 12 oz. one,  filled the larger from the shaker, and poured the smaller drink into the larger glass before emptying the remaining contents of smaller shaker into the large glass, as well.

It took almost 2 hours, adding ice cubes all the time to keep it cold, to get to the bottom of that glass. Meanwhile staff and customers alike would stop and stare (at me, the glass, and back at me) then laugh like hell when told the story. One person actually offered to buy another one for me!  I asked her to come back if I ever have another abscess.

Believe it or not, I walked home under my own power with shouts and applause echoing from the open doors of the restaurant behind me.  Not sure I was walking too straight, but not falling down drunk, either. I'm sure if I seemed too tipsy the boss would have sent someone to drive me home. I smiled and waved at the neighbors on my street, but I do that all the time so no one was the wiser. Unless of course, the walk gave me away.

Took a hot shower when I arrived and made a quick dinner of leftover spare ribs & salad, (I was starving) knocking back copious amounts of iced water in the process.  Slept like a baby and woke feeling refreshed and ready to enjoy my day off.

The temperature is heading toward 98' F here today.  It's  only noon and it's already 92' so whatever I plan will be indoor activities, which may include searching for travel information to New Orleans in the Fall.

More later.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Magic of Little Jimmy Scott

In a post last week I mentioned listening to Little Jimmy Scott, even linking to more info about him.  Well, now I am going to introduce you to Jimmy by linking to a YouTube video (rather than embedding it - it's only received 65 hits since last year) so you can hear for yourselves the magic, timing, and genius of this great man.

The image at left is the cover of his "Mood Indigo" CD which is my personal fave.

The song is "Everybody's Somebody's Fool" and I guarantee you have never heard it performed this way before.

Go ahead.  Click the link, close your eyes and immerse yourself in the voice, phrasing, and delivery.

As always, comments are welcome and appreciated.

And so it goes.

Getaway Plans & The Addled Brain

That stale odor you may detect is just my old brain sputtering, kicking into gear to hatch a plan for a much-needed getaway this fall. In the back of my mind is the germ of an idea to take off a week or so and visit with my sister in NOLA. We haven't seen one another 28 years (it's a long and sordid story, not for the children) and we seem to have come to a peaceful, of not overwhelmingly joyous place. Bottom line: I'm old - she's older, so lets finish the old business and get on with life as friends.

Then came the medical/blood work mishugass, followed by the dental emergency culminating in "open mouth surgery" hit in a 1 - 2 punch and anything I thought I could squirrel away to cover such a trip disappeared within hours.

However, looking at the numbers...the blood work charges will be added to the remaining balance due the hospital and thereby extending monthly payments an additional 10 months; the payments for the dental work will also be spread over the next 12 months - interest free, as long as the total is paid within that time. If I die beforehand, all bets are off.  Not my problem.

Calculating the extra hours of work during the season and the fact that I will begin receiving Social Security benefits around my birthday this month has led me to re-consider such a trip.  It very complicated since I have no idea how much of the SS monies will have to be repaid because I will make more than the allowed amount (over $14,200.!) in salary from the restaurant.  Please don't ask.  This is my first and only (thank you Jeebus!) time around.

Aside from the airfare, I'll require a rental car, a modest hotel near sister's digs, and a few meals at good restaurants for us to enjoy together as we play catch-up.  28 years is a long time.  I could get to see some old childhood friends for a meal or even just a cocktail.  Question is, do I go with a travel agent, an online travel site, American Express, or try doing it all myself?

The Ex used to handle all travel details and I have not done these things in many years. I am not confident that my addled brain would be capable of coordinating all the details and there is still a lot of calculation to deal with.

I would prefer to drive down and back. I haven't seen certain areas of the state in many years, but I am kind of afraid to make the long trip alone. 

Still, it's something to think about and look forward to actually see come to pass. Season's end is over 2 months away.  Stay tuned.

And so it goes.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Formula for a Summer Blockbuster

See, we're duped at every turn.  And...we love it.

And so it goes.

Bachmann's Clinic Exposed

Looks like ol' Crazy-eyes' hubby won't be able to deny the workings of his "clinic" much longer. New report from Truth Wins Out was sent in a press release to my inbox:

TWO’s Investigation Contradicts Bachmann’s Denials That His Clinic Practices ‘Ex-Gay’ Therapy

MINNEAPOLIS – An investigation by Truth Wins Out revealed today that the clinic of Marcus Bachmann, the husband of presidential candidate Michele Bachmann (R-MN), practices reparative therapy, a controversial and discredited clinical method designed to “cure” gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people. TWO’s findings contradict claims by Mr. Bachmann that he and his clinic, Bachmann & Associates, do not participate in reparative therapy. The story broke today in The Nation magazine where Mariah Blake reported on the results of our investigation.
“The results of our investigation should end all doubt whether Marcus Bachmann’s clinic endorses and practices reparative therapy aimed at changing a gay person’s sexual orientation,” said Truth Wins Out’s Executive Director Wayne Besen. “The facts plainly show that Bachmann’s clinic does try to cure gay people and he is being evasive when he claims otherwise.”
“It’s time for Michele and Marcus Bachmann to stop denying, dodging, and stonewalling,” added Truth Wins Out’s Communications and Development Director John Becker. “They owe it to all Americans to provide a full and honest explanation for their embrace of these dangerous and fraudulent practices.”
During a week-long Truth Wins Out undercover investigation inside Bachmann & Associates with hidden cameras, Becker, attended five private sessions with Bachmann & Associates counselor Timothy Wiertzema.

At no time during the therapy was homosexuality portrayed as a natural variation of human sexuality. Instead it was presented as a treatable condition at odds with a normal and healthy sexual orientation. Becker was told by Wiertzema that “God designed our eyes to be attracted to the woman’s body, to be attracted to everything, to be attracted to her breasts.” Furthermore, according to Timothy, “We’re all heterosexuals, but we have different challenges.” Attraction to the same sex “is there, and it’s real, but at the core value, in terms of how God created us, we’re all heterosexual.”
Becker was never given nor asked to sign any kind of informed consent document that disclosed the dangers of or alternatives to “ex-gay” therapy. As such, TWO believes Bachmann & Associates to be practicing unethically, even by the standards of the American Association of Christian Counselors. Such therapy is considered ineffective and potentially harmful by The American Psychological Association, The American Medical Association, The American Academy of Pediatrics, and The American Psychiatric Association.
“What I found was particularly disconcerting given the fact that Marcus Bachmann’s clinic has received significant funding from the State of Minnesota and the federal government,” said Becker.
“It appears that the Bachmann family is trying to distance themselves from some of their more extreme beliefs in an attempt to appeal to mainstream Americans,” said TWO’s Besen. “We think it is important that voters have accurate information and we hope our investigation sheds some light on their genuine views.”
Truth Wins Out is a non-profit organization that fights anti-LGBT religious extremism. TWO specializes in turning information into action by organizing, advocating and fighting for LGBT equality.
Read Becker's story, and more, HERE.

And so it goes.

Thoughtful Caturday 2

More later.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Urn Turns Your Remains into a Tree

This sounds really cool to me. I was going to have my ashes scattered on the Atlantic Ocean, but this may be a better idea.  From Big Think:
You don't find many designers working in the funeral business thinking about more creative ways for you to leave this world (and maybe they should be). However, Spanish designer Martin Azua has combined the romantic notion of life after death with an eco solution to the dirty business of the actual, you know, transition.
His Bios Urn is a biodegradable urn made from coconut shell, compacted peat and cellulose and inside it contains the seed of a tree. Once your remains have been placed into the urn, it can be planted and then the seed germinates and begins to grow. You even have the choice to pick the type of plant you would like to become, depending on what kind of planting space you prefer.
I, personally, would much rather leave behind a tree than a tombstone. 
I never wanted to be buried, especially not alone. In my previous life I thought we might be buried side-by-side, but life has taken a new turn.

And so it goes.

Salsa, Little Jimmy Scott, & Jazz

I am being pressed into service an hour earlier for the duration of the season.  This is because the kitchen prep crew needs more time to prepare a few basics that Mexican Restaurants must have on hand at all times.  Fresh Guacamole, Salsa, & Queso Cheese with Jalapenos, and a few others.  It would not be good to run out of these items at any time. And this year, for some reason, we're going through tons of the stuff.  Yes, they are all made daily - the salsa is made a day in advance, served the next, for a better flavor - and that makes all the difference in taste.

The new hours will put a damper on my early morning walks on the Boardwalk, but, it is what it is. While I can use the extra $$$ I treasure a little free time for just the Atlantic Ocean and me.

After spending hours in a couple of dental chairs, then grocery shopping, sort of sucked up the time and energy normally allotted to my day off.  No free time to relax and catch my breath. So, I am tired and it's only Friday; a busy weekend is ahead and I am still on the antibiotic, meaning there is no festive cocktail in my immediate future.  At least until Sunday.

So for now, I am prepping a salad for supper to be enjoyed while listening to Little Jimmy Scott, (image above) followed by watching episode 3 of Ken Burns' encyclopedic documentary JAZZ.

Thunderstorms are on the horizon and I am grateful to be indoors and cool - at least for now.

And so it goes.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Settlement Reached in Suit Over Katrina Grants

Coming up on the 6th Anniversary of the man-made disaster following hurricane Katrina, this is some good news for all NOLA residents, especially those in the 9th Ward.  From today's NYT:
Federal officials announced on Wednesday that they had reached a settlement with a group of homeowners who sued the federal government and the State of Louisiana alleging discrimination in the state’s Road Home program, which distributed grants to those whose houses were destroyed in Hurricane Katrina and the subsequent flooding.
The plaintiffs agreed to drop their suit in response to the establishment of a program, announced by the state in May, that will distribute $62 million among people who were trying to rebuild their homes but had found that their Road Home payments fell significantly short of the cost of rebuilding.
Two fair-housing groups and five New Orleans homeowners filed the suit in 2008 on behalf of a potential class of roughly 20,000 black homeowners, arguing that the Road Home formula was discriminatory.
The program paid out grants to people based on either the pre-hurricane value of their homes or the estimated cost of rebuilding, whichever was less. Under that formula, the plaintiffs argued, a person who lived in a poorer area was likely to receive far less than someone with virtually the same house in a wealthier neighborhood, even though the cost of rebuilding would be the same.
The plaintiffs got a boost in August 2010, when Judge Henry Kennedy of Federal District Court ruled that they would be “likely to succeed” in making the case for discrimination.
Judge Kennedy barred the state from applying the Road Home formula to the small number of homeowners who still had grants pending, but he said he could not legally order retroactive relief for the tens of thousands who had already received their grants.
This could mean more rebuilding in places like Chalmette, which will make many displaced residents, the sister included, very happy indeed.

Read the rest here.

More later.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Medical Miracle, But No Spielberg

Let's start at the very beginning, a very good place to start...No, wait.  Let's not.

Dental Update: Arrived at the appointed time for the surgery (my grandfather called it "Open Mouth Surgery") and all went smoothly.  Straight away I was whisked to the surgery cubicle, shot up with Novocaine, and the procedure began. Every detail went according to the dentist's plan and he was out of my mouth (now stop that!) in about 1.5 hours.

There was an opening in the hygienist department, so I was shuttled over to have my teeth cleaned and, oh, did that feel good.  Though I was still numb when I left the building I felt no soreness or pain.  Not even a twinge.  But, I was still numb, so I was on guard.

Did a quick bit of grocery shopping for the next 2 weeks and made my way home in traffic that was almost as bad and the holiday weekend had been. Jeez!  I was glad to get the buggy and me off the roads. I missed the farmers market again, but that's OK, the humidity was horrid.

"Don't Worry" Update: As posted earlier, I called the PCP's office to get the results of those tests performed THREE weeks ago.  The nurse began by going off on me about Hepatitis antibodies and that they had never shown up in any blood work before... I stopped her mid-sentence saying I wanted to speak with the doctor.

So he gets on the line and asks pretty much the same questions.  Then he went silent.  He began again slowly by saying, "ah, you've never had hepatitis, but your Ex had it before you knew him."

Yes, he did - about a year prior to our meeting.  "So, the antibodies are likely from your physical/sexual contact with him over the 30 years"  says the Doctor,  who then explained he'd been referring to the Ex's chart.  Yes, we have the same doctor - and the only explanation he could offer was my compromised immune system after the hospitalization due to the polymyositis a while back was the likely reason for the new results. Another $367.00 spent to find out what was already in a chart, if not the Dr's mind.

So my Ex has left me with another legacy.  Charming. Just Charming.

Thank G*d I didn't worry!

Meanwhile I have had not pain or discomfort from the open mouth surgery and, though I must continue  taking the antibiotic, I look forward to this weekend when I can finally enjoy a few olives with my new smile.

And so it goes.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

No More Lovers Left Alive

Seeing that tacky, disturbing, money-grubbing Photoshopped photo of Kate and Princess Diana, I was furious. It suddenly reminded me of a song by Pet Shop Boys from their VERY album titled, "Dreaming of the Queen" and so I hunted up a video which is from the Cubism Concert in Mexico. The lyrics say it all and the video is amazing and simple.
And so it goes.

Five on the Fifth

Stephen Chapman of the blog “The State Of The Nation UK”, has a monthly feature called “Five on the Fifth” in which bloggers may participate by posting five photos on their blog and exchanging links with his. The five pictures, taken in the days leading up to the fifth of the month, may be random or may follow his suggested theme, which this month is “Silver”.

The only silver I have is in old jewelry (the other stuff disappeared with the past life, and it's just as well) that  sits in a box and hasn't been shiny or silvery in many years.  So, I went with another theme. I chose a few shots of last week's visit to the Farmers Market because I still wanted to be in on the fun. To me, the market is better than silver - more worth its weight in gold.  (You may click on any image to embiggen.) So, here they are:

Where I get the Sourdough and other delicious breads.
Perennials, bulbs and seeds from this grower.
The sweetest spring onions I have ever eaten.
A man and his music. Light and lovely for a hot, humid day.
My lady with Swiss Chard, Bok Choy, Snow Peas, and Cucumbers.
I am eagerly awaiting the arrival of eggplant, or aubergine, which should be coming soon.

More later.

Monday, July 4, 2011

A Fractured Fourth & Jules Feiffer

It's the Fourth of July and what am I doing?

While everyone around me is out celebrating, buying drinks for friends and family; dressed up in some red-white-blue kitschy costume; I limped home from work following a delightful day with customers and a few folks from the neighborhood who stopped by to visit.

As everyone else is dining on patriotic July 4th specials, I am home cooking up a sausage, mushroom, and potato supper with a Greek salad. Yes, we're celebrating solid foods again!

Many others will be on the beach or hotel rooftops to watch the fireworks this evening, cocktails in hand and dear ones close by.  I will be taking my next dose of antibiotic and watching a favorite old film on DVD, though no decision has been made yet on that choice.

All in all, I think I have the better deal.

With all the ugly stuff we're doing in the world and to our country I am feeling less celebratory about the USA right now.

If I remember this one correctly - by Jules Feiffer from a cartoon in the Village Voice way back in the late 60s:
I pledge a million
to the indicted states of america
and to the corruption for which it stands,
one nation, under guard
with liberty inoperative for all.
And so it goes. 

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Insensitive and Unhelpful: An Update

Back on June 20, I received a phone call regarding some blood work done in May as part of a 6-month follow-up. I was instructed to have more blood (and other) work ASAP.  Then told "nothing serious and nothing to worry about." 

On June 22, as posted here, I received another call reminding me that the doctor would have the results by that Friday (the 24th) but no word as to when (or if) those results would be shared with me.

I was also told once again that there was nothing to worry about.  All right, already, so I'm not worrying.

Total silence until a message on voicemail yesterday afternoon (yes, July 2nd!) saying the results were in and I should call on Monday to speak with the doctor.  Surely, the office is closed on The Fourth of July!  It boggles the mind to think how insensitive and unhelpful so-called professionals can be. So now I have no need to worry for 2-more-days to hear the results and hopefully, what they initially thought was amiss.

With the glowing assessment of my physical self by the new dentist, I feel I have even less to think of worrying about.

If this is the kind of attention and service I receive when paying out of pocket, what do I have to look forward to in years to come under Medicare?

Pardon me, but I want to get off this ride...NOW!

And so it goes.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Quiet Caturday

Just want to enjoy the paper.  Is that too much to ask?

More later.

Friday, July 1, 2011

WikiLeaks Spoof of MC Commercial

Great production values, direction, cutting, voice-over, the lot. Love it. It's a spoof of the fact that major credit card and online payment companies have withheld over $15 Million in donations to WikiLeaks.

More of this, please.

And so it goes.

Good News - Bad News: #1173

The good news is that the plumbers (arrived again before 8 am) finally got the electricity to the new AC/Heat-pump connected sometime this morning, so the apartment is cool. 

The bad news is I had a dental emergency at work this morning and had to visit the new dental group sooner than planned (waiting til after the season) to find that I have a nasty abscess that will require a root canal.  Oh, the joy!!! Filled 2 prescriptions, one antibiotic, the other a pain killer, leaving the day pretty much shot.

The appointment is set up for next Tuesday (my single day off!) and all should be well after that. I hated to ask to take off like that, but there was no choice.  This is one of the busiest weekends of the summer season and I can only be present, really present, without this diversion.  It had to be taken care of - now.

More good news:  Dentist did a complete new patient work-up including a complete set of x-rays, etc. and found no new cavities or gum problems. They praised my daily cleansing and flossing ritual done since my last visit to a dentist. I won't say how long it had been.  Too embarrassing, but it is what it is. 

Also, noting that I have no insurance, offered an interest-free payment plan option through "CareCredit" which will allow me to spread out the payments for all services for up to a year. 

I love the new dentist; soft-spoken, gentle, explains everything and goes over the options carefully. It helps that practically everyone at work uses this group - including the locosguys - and I noted more than a few faces are frequent customers as well.

OK, downed 2 antibiotics which means my 2 olives are out of the picture. Bother! Holding off on the pain meds, they always knock me out.  Besides, the pain isn't bad at present.

And so it goes.
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