Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Irene's Costs Rank Among The Top Ten

Tiny Delaware and other spots in the mid-Atlantic region were very fortunate, indeed. However, the future isn't looking good for those hardest hit.  The NYT:
Hurricane Irene will most likely prove to be one of the 10 costliest catastrophes in the nation’s history, and analysts said that much of the damage might not be covered by insurance because it was caused not by winds but by flooding, which is excluded from many standard policies.

Industry estimates put the cost of the storm at $7 billion to $10 billion, largely because the hurricane pummeled an unusually wide area of the East Coast. Beyond deadly flooding that caused havoc in upstate New York and Vermont, the hurricane flooded cotton and tobacco crops in North Carolina, temporarily halted shellfish harvesting in Chesapeake Bay, sapped power and kept commuters from their jobs in the New York metropolitan area and pushed tourists off Atlantic beaches in the peak of summer.

While insurers have typically covered about half of the total losses in past storms, they might end up covering less than 40 percent of the costs associated with Hurricane Irene, according to an analysis by the Kinetic Analysis Corporation. That is partly because so much damage was caused by flooding, and it is unclear how many damaged homes have flood insurance, and partly because deductibles have risen steeply in coastal areas in recent years, requiring some homeowners to cover $4,000 worth of damages or more before insurers pick up the loss.

This could make it harder for many stricken homeowners to rebuild, and could dampen any short-term boost to the construction industry that typically accompanies major storms, Jan Vermeiren, the chief executive of Kinetic Analysis, said in an interview.

“Especially now that the economy is tight, and people don’t have money sitting around, local governments are broke, and maybe people can’t even get loans from the banks,” Mr. Vermeiren said.
The rest is HERE.

As we prepare for the Labor Day Weekend - final beach blowout of the summer - we need to count our blessings and help the victims as much as possible. Here's a good place to start.

And so it goes.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

My Weekend With Irene

As I wrote over the weekend, the restaurant was forced to close Friday afternoon as a mandatory evacuation was ordered for the city of Rehoboth Beach. Most of the businesses took the precaution of boarding up for extra protection.

The evacuation proved to be a nightmare, taking twice the normal time for people to get where they were going.  Rumors are that a few hotels in RB remained open, (I know for a fact that one didn't inform guests of the evacuation, they had to have lunch with us to find out);  it was also rumored that officials were going door-to-door telling residents to leave.  I can only say that nobody knocked on my door.

I chose to stay put because this is a narrow peninsula with the Atlantic on the East, and the Chesapeake on the West.  The building is an old concrete structure, built in 1948 and has weathered many an Atlantic storm and more than a few hurricanes.  For the record, I did call a few hotel/motels inland, easy to reach in a pinch.  They were already booked, with locals arriving unannounced.

A Hurricane kit was prepared, and all important documents were in place for a quick departure. Friday night was filled with the sounds of heavy downpours and increasingly stronger wind gusts.

Now here's how bored I was:  After supper (and 2 Bombays with olives) I pulled out old VHS video tapes of the Academy Awards broadcasts recorded 20+ years ago.  Well, what else would a single gay man of a certain age do at such a time?  Fortunately, the tapes contained all commercials, so it was a time capsule. And an absolute delight to see how things have changed, how commercials were produced, and how local news updates (ABC in NYC) were more straight-forward and, well, "newsy" rather than fear-mongering hype. 

Bored still, having a coffee Saturday morning I decided to do the laundry.  My thought was that if the storm surge was higher than expected and the storm drains couldn't handle the excess, the laundry room for the building (on the ground floor directly beneath my apartment) would likely be ruined and it would be sometime before it became operational again. So, everything was washed, dried, folded, and put away...Everything.  And hours remained before Irene's predicted arrival. Damn!

Stayed in touch with others via email, FB, or texting throughout the weekend. Then, as posted earlier, there came a strange new alert signal from the fire house which was followed by an inaudible message broadcast by some human voice.  Well, it turns out that message was a tornado alert for the city.  Found out yesterday from other residents who stayed and live closer to the fire house.  Since it was inaudible to most everyone else, we were doomed if a tornado struck here. Tornadoes reportedly caused a house's destruction and damaged a few others in the Lewes area about 6 miles north of RB.

Saturday evening things really began to rock-n-roll, but the electricity remained on as I did a bit of cooking and sipped a Bombay with olives.  Viewed another Oscars video and went to bed as the winds and rain made a terrible racket, but the building was safe and offered no sign of strain.  Slept like a baby (must have been those olives!) and woke to lighter rain - stronger winds - blinking clocks. That meant we lost power for a brief time during the night. I spent too much time resetting the damned things all over the apartment.Whether you like it, need it, or not, almost every electrical appliance and gadget contains a clock.

The city reopened Sunday morning after any sign of infrastructure damage was checked out. Business owners and others began the cleanup work to prepare for business Monday morning.  The locosguys took down all plywood, filled and cranked up the margarita machines, got the kitchen prepped for Monday, called to update me on their progress, and gave instructions on how to proceed with opening in the morning. Rain tapered off by mid-afternoon, but gusty winds remained for a while longer.  The sky cleared and the stars appeared.  Nice.

As it turned out, the locosguys were at work before me tying up loose ends.  Monday was a slow day. Although the Outlet Shopping Centers reopened there were few shoppers around. Many evacuated residents were unable to return to their homes in low-lying, flooded areas and some were stranded where they evacuated to by downed trees, and power lines left them without electricity for over 48 hours.  A few blog buddies well inland confirmed electrical and other utility problems over the weekend.

A lot of money was lost last weekend and Summer ends with Labor Day this coming weekend.  Businesses lost high season revenues and workers lost 3 days pay, but no one I talk to cares about that saying, "we did what we had to do and it was the right thing to do" and to that I say, Amen! The lost revenue and income will never be made up, but we're here and a little stronger for the adventure.  More of a community, more of a family, at least at the restaurant.

Seems I was better off staying than if I had gone as suggested.  Some folks are still straggling into town, happy to see only a few shingles missing or a tree limb down.  Lots of hugs and sighs of relief all round.

The weather has been beautiful since the weekend.  Cooler with clear sky and bright sun.  I'm relieved that it's over and grateful for so little damage. Grateful, too, that some folks thought enough to check in on me during the storm. My thoughts and prayers go out to friends in NYC, New Jersey, Vermont, Pennsylvania, and Maine still coping with Irene's wake of destruction and drowned communities.

Above image from the Delaware Cape Gazette website.

And so it goes.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Irony: Katrina vs. Irene

It's ironic that Hurricane Irene slashes her way up the east coast of the US on the same weekend Katrina did the same to the Gulf Coast 6 years ago - almost to the day.  Katrina came ashore for the final time on Monday, August 29, 2005 with catastrophic results for the entire region. Especially Mississippi.  It took the direct hit. (Tomorrow is Monday, August 29, 2011.)

New Orleans was spared the brunt of Katrina only to suffer flooding of 80% of the city caused by the failure of levees designed and built by the Army Corps of Engineers, hours after Katrina came ashore.

Irene chewed her way up the coast causing chaos in the southern and mid-Atlantic states before slamming into New York, leaving the 5 Burroughs of the city virtually cut off from one another due to the shutdown of mass transit, not expected to be restored any time soon. Buses may be up and running in time for Monday's commute, but that's a drop in the bucket. 1.5 million NY homes are without power with the storm surge and flooding from rain and high winds taking their toll, as well.

Here in Lower Slower Delaware we took Irene's punches, fortunately nothing compared to what happened in Gotham.  There are 20K homes without electrical power here, and that's not good.  Folks with homes on, or near, the Rehoboth and Delaware bays or the Atlantic have not yet been allowed to return to assess damage.

My friend Elizabeth is returning from exile tomorrow hoping to get into her place on Rehoboth Bay.  She expects the worse, but the roads may be in passable condition by then. I hold hope that there is little damage to her wee cottage by the bay.

It was weeks, in some cases months, before residents were allowed in to New Orleans or surrounding parishes following Katrina.

All things considered, tiny Delaware, and even NYC will be repaired, restored, replenished and back in business in a few days, or weeks. Rehoboth Beach will be open for business tomorrow morning.  New Orleans remains, in many neighborhoods, a scene of devastation and while there is always hope and talk of rebuilding in those areas, well, it's been 6 years, hasn't it. 

As you think about Irene and her path of destruction all the way to New England, please take a moment to remember what happened to "the city that time forgot" 6 long years ago.

And so it goes.

Irene & Blooming A**holes!

This is a rare photograph of blooming assholes in their natural habitat. Now those assholes are out in force complaining that Delaware didn't take a direct hit from Irene.  Yes, you read that right. 

Online and on radio.  Why all the fuss and expense? Why are stores and restaurants still closed?  When can I drive to the beach?  Why is the town empty but I am denied entry?   What? Wait!

These blooming assholes would only be happy if we DID take a direct hit, if only for the drama, since the loudest whiners live well inland - miles from the coast - and have no idea what is involved in shutting down a restaurant, for example, let alone an entire city.  No clue of how distribution systems operate, or don't, and how long it takes to get major systems back on track, scheduling and coordinating deliveries.

Give me a break, people!

The town was shutdown for less than 48 hours, has now reopened to residents and visitors, and things are slowly returning to normal.   Living close to the ocean I am amazed that the immediate neighborhood sustained so little damage.  A few downed tree limbs, shingles blown off roofs, trash cans improperly stored and blown every which way, etc.  Glad I got the car off the roadway.

I lost electric power briefly, but there are other areas that were not so lucky thanks to falling trees and high winds snapping the lines.  Those areas may be without power for a few days. There was a report of a tornado or two, a few miles up the road in Lewes, that damaged a fairly new home.

The locosguys called this morning to check in on me as did a few co-workers. The guys were finally allowed into town to assess the damage to the restaurant.  Only a minor leak at one of the back windows and a little water that crept under the front doors was reported.  I assume the coolers, freezers, and food storage rooms in the basement are dry because they told me we're re-opening Monday morning at our regular time.

A side note: Seems the city officials did the wise thing and flushed/cleaned out all storm drains in town Friday night so there would be no flooding situation in town...very smart indeed, and probably saved all businesses from some major headaches.

And so it goes.

Here! Over Here! It's Me!

Present and accounted for...mostly.

Things got a bit strange and scary last evening when, during the heavy downpours and strong winds, there came a roar, a rumble, a shaking that is hard to describe.  Not like the swaying of last week's earthquake, but like that of a fast moving train very close by. 

Then I fell asleep.  Woke at 5 am to light rain, still gusty winds and a gray sky.  Must have lost power for a time because all clocks were blinking when I got up and looked around.

The town remains in lockdown mode and I am going to take a walk around to see what I can see.

More later

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Irene Updated Track

Enuf said. Stay safe all.

And so it goes.


I've received emails from folks concerned about this situation and my safety, but while I appreciate the concern, there is little that I can offer of comfort or reassurance.  Remember, I have NO television access - neither cable, satellite, or even rabbit-ears - so I get my info from the web.  NHC, Weather Underground and NOAA generally.

Local radio stations are more annoying than the TV coverage I saw (without sound) at work the past few days.  The only difference is that the commercials on radio are selling mostly hurricane related items.  Generators, sump pumps, top the list.  It's all hype and little substance. 

Why am I alone?  Well, because that's the way it is. Sure company would be nice - and welcomed - but it is what it is and I am OK, so please don't fret about it.  If you're lucky enough to be surrounded by friends and family I am happy for you and wish you well through this difficult time.

The car is off the street, on the slightly raised driveway nestled between the apartment building and the garage of the house next door.  It ain't much, but it's available. (click the image above to embiggen, if you must, it's only a car, after all.) While I doubt the storm surge will be high enough to cause great damage, that too, is out of my control.

The other tenants are gone, especially the young yuppies with the baby.  I was afraid they might be dumb enough to ride it out.  My place is sandwiched between the front and rear of the building and probably the most sheltered so, yes, I feel somewhat safe here.

The rain and wind intensify.

More later.

Irksome Irene.

Hurricanes are irksome creatures of nature.  They're fickled, speed up, slow down, change direction on a whim just to piss off those in their path. So, what does one do while awaiting the onslaught of a Catagory. 1 hurricane? 

Laundry.  I figure that since the laundry room is on street level, if we do experience flooding this may be my last chance to get clothes clean for a while.  So, why not?  Three loads later and every stitch of cloth in the place is clean and smelling fresh.  Me, too!

Prepare the Cooler. Putting ice cubes in bags and storing them as the ice-maker cranks out more just in case we lose power for any length of time.  This is the biggest potential problem I see ahead of anyone hit by this very big girl.  Somehow, I always think of an Irene as being a tall red-head.  Don't ask.

Cook.  There was a big beef roast in the freezer and it would spoil if we lost power, so it's simmering on the stove in olive oil, garlic, thyme, and broth.  There will be plenty of sandwiches if we lose power.

Listen.  Strange alert sound followed by a "voice of authority" issued from the fire house.  The alert sound was different from the wailing one used to call attention to a fire or rescue mission, most annoying, lasting for at least 10 minutes, while the comments made by the VoA were muffled and inaudible.  Don't know what that was all about. 

Heavy Rain. It began about 9 am. with the winds picking up about 2 hours later.  Nothing to write home about, so far. though both have intensified over time.

Watch & Wait.  Town is all boarded up. Everything is shutdown tight. No restaurants or stores open anywhere. The outlet shopping centers closed Thursday night and voluntarily remained closed Friday.  Depending on the damage from the storm, they may not open again until the middle of next week.

NHC.  Checked out latest advisories. Located the latest tracking graphic. (See image above and click to embiggen.)  Looks like the eye will pass over us at around 2 am Sunday.  I'll either sleep through it, or be awake most of the night.  Unless, of course, the bitch changes things again.

It's going to be a long day - and night.

More later - if the power holds.

Caturday Guide to Tails

More later.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Bracing for Irene & Evacuation

Hot man measuring plywood for the front doors.
preparing boards for the front doors
Yes, there was southern-style hurricane humor involved.
Yes, well, whatever...move on.
At closing. We ALL needed a Rita.
Evacuation of the lower peninsula began last night when the DE Governor issued a mandatory order to move-out for all "visitors" from Fenwick Island to Wilmington.  Some did not follow that order, choosing instead, to chance one more day at the beach.  Yes, the stoopid burns!

Was called into work early as it was determined that we would open for lunch and play things an hour at a time until the governor or town officials made a decision to shutdown and evacuate all beach communities.

There was lots of activity when I arrived; construction crew was measuring and cutting plywood sheets to cover the large doors. An inventory was taken of all items that needed to be moved out of harm's way.  Not that it will matter if we get a direct hit.

There came a mandatory evacuation order from the governor aimed at all residents of beach communities within three-quarters of a mile of the ocean.  I live within 4 blocks. 

I am not going anywhere. This is a peninsula!  There is nowhere to go to be safe. I live on the second floor - some 12 ft. above street level and another 2 feet above sea level - I have plenty of food, water, and Bombay Sapphire to see me through.  I may lose power, but unless it gets really testy, I am staying here.  If it does get dangerous, I will make my way to a nearby shelter which will be open tomorrow afternoon.  I am not stupid.

A hurricane survival kit is at the ready, with batteries to power flashlights and radio easy-open canned goods, first aid kit and a blanket. I have a land-line telephone so when the cell-towers go out - along with the electric power - I still have a connection to...what?

My real concern is for those who have no idea what is coming and freaking out over the hysterical commentators on the TV who are showing footage of Andrew, Rita, Katrina and others, just to scare the pants off of those who think they're watching recent footage.

Um, it is time for my second batch of olives and supper.  Stay safe everyone.

More later.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Irene: DE in Pink

 Delaware is that tiny snippet of land located directly below the black dot representing Philadelphia.

Not good news for any of us this weekend.  Don't know if (or when) the tourists will be told to evacuate the area. Or, residents too, for that matter.

Of course gamblers are taking odds and "Goodnight Irene" hurricane parties are being planned by those planning to ride it out, no matter what.  Some people never learn.

More later.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

James Burke's Epic: Connections - 1978

Finally, after 33 years the series is available to US consumers on DVD.  Just in time, too.  My VHS tapes, recorded off the original PBS broadcasts, are beginning to show their age, lose color, contrast and image quality.  Still, I am amazed they've held up this well for so long.

Of course, back in those days blank VHS tapes were expensive (about $10.00 each!) and of superior quality.  There are quite a few in my library from the same period that look crisp and clear.  After all, they haven't been viewed as many times over these 3 decades as Connections has. From the Documentary Website:
All New and improved DIGITALLY REMASTERED Connections 1 from the distribution rights holder! The new version is Closed Captioned for the Hearing Impaired.

This ten volume series was made in 1978 by turning science into a detective story, James Burke creates a series that will fascinate students and adults alike. This interdisciplinary approach has never before been applied to history or science and it succeeds tremendously. Winner of the Red Ribbon in the American Film Festival, the scope of the series covers 19 countries and 150 locations, requiring over 14 months of filming.

As the Sherlock Holmes of science, Burke tracks through 12,000 years of history for the clues that lead us to eight great life changing inventions-the atom bomb, telecommunications, the computer, the production line, jet aircraft, plastics, rocketry and television. Burke postulates that such changes occur in response to factors he calls "triggers," some of them seemingly unrelated. These have their own triggering effects, causing change in totally unrelated fields as well. And so the connections begin...

Product Details:
-10 Volumes on 5 DVDs
-Series Running Time: 8 Hours and 20 minutes
-Now available for delivery to Canada & United States.
-Region 1 (U.S. and Canada)
-Closed Captioned
-Rating: General audiences
This series is as relevant (if not more so) today than it was in 1978 from the "technology traps" we find ourselves in daily, to the "triggers of change" that remain right on the mark all these years later.

BTW, Connections 2, and 3 are also available and may be on my list for Santa this year.

Happy dance all round.

And so it goes.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Post-Katrina: ASCE Does PR to Protect Army Corps After Levee Failures

We're coming up on the 6th anniversary of this man-made disaster and still more truth is coming to light regarding the role the ACoE played in the flooding and how they've tried to blame other entities for their own shoddy work by using a huge grant to produce PowerPoint presentations used in a traveling circus of sorts, to confuse and point fingers elsewhere.  From
Mere months after the federal levees failed in New Orleans after Katrina, the Corps of Engineers awarded the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) a grant to conduct what was seemed to be a PR show to repair the Corps' damaged reputation. The grant steered money to the ASCE to present powerpoints apparently designed to mislead the American public on what caused the August 2005 flooding. These taxpayer-funded presentations explained how the damage occurred, but neglected to explain who was responsible. ( discovered the details about the multi million grant in a request under FOIA.)

It's bad enough that the presentations contained lies and spin designed to shift blame for the flooding away from the Corps and onto the people of New Orleans. The American taxpayers also paid for it. The information in this video is not new, but most of the footage is new. Not to be accused of taking anything 'out of context', we have uploaded a 15-minute segment -- the longest that YouTube allows - of the full 80-minute presentation and you can see even more of the travesty for yourself.
How much more is still out there? Like the truth surrounding the BP Gulf disaster last year, stay tuned, there is more to come.

And so it goes.

Quake Confirmed - Epicenter in Rural Virginia

No looney-bin for me.  And everyone on FaceBook in Delaware is in a tizzy over it.  Aftershocks are predicted, as expected.

Preliminary reports are indicating that a 5.8 magnitude earthquake occurred in Virginia at 1:51 pm EDT., according to the USGS.
Shaking has been reported as far north as New York. Reports of shaking have also been coming in from the New England area. According to the USGS, a magnitude 5.5 Eastern US earthquake can typically be felt as far as 300 miles away.
The USGS reported that epicenter of the quake was located in Louisa, Va. just southeast of Charlottesville and northwest of Richmond.
From the AP:
We live in interesting times, do we not?
More later.

Scent of Autumn & The Earth Moved, WTF!

There was a decided nip in the air this morning as I left for a scheduled dental appointment and a few errands.  The temperature was 62' F and the air had that scent of Autumn  that shocked, considering it's mid-August.

I already woke to the shock that Nick Ashford had passed away. He and wife Valerie Simpson, co-wrote some of the soundtrack of my life, mostly about love.  It is nice to note that he and Valerie lived the truth of those songs in their long life together.

For anyone who doesn't know Ashford and Simpson's Motown stuff, they also wrote "I'm Every Woman" for Chaka Khan which became a gay Disco anthem of sorts in the 80s. I played "Ain't no Mountain High Enough" in his honor.

Mostly, it's a quiet day.  Blue sky, cool & fresh air are inviting me to the ocean.  Hurricane Irene will likely head our way by the weekend, so I'd better take advantage of the beach now.

The cleaning chores will have to wait until my return, if I choose to address them.

***As I typed that last bit, the entire building began to sway and did so for about 20 seconds. At first I thought it was just me - positional vertigo, or something - but the window blinds moved, as did the iced tea in the glass on the desk, and there was an audible rumble.  Very strange, indeed.  Did the earth really move here?  So close to the ocean?  I remember feeling the earth tremble in NYC in the early 70s, thanks to a shift of the Hudson Fault, which was confirmed the next day.

If no one else experienced this event, I will commit myself to the local looney-bin next chance I get. 

More later.

Monday, August 22, 2011

How to Handle Telemarketing Calls. Priceless!

Thanks to my boss I've learned to act fascinated by their information, then ask them to hold.  They get to listen to whatever I am doing until they get the drift and hang up.  Throws off their numbers and ties up their lines, if only for a little while.

But this, with sound effects and all?  This is genius.
Just had to share.

And so it goes.

How I Feel Right Now

Two more weeks to Summer's end.  Four more weeks and I'll be back to working only 5 days weekly.  This means more free time and less money to do anything.  Still, I look forward to that extra day to myself.

There's a big birthday party booked today at 12 noon - 40 people - and much prep beforehand.  It's a surprise party for a regular customer turning 75 today.  Should be lots of fun.

More later.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

To Rick Perry. Love, from G*d.

With Governor good-hair, cowboy boots, guns, - and ol crazy eyes Bachmann entering the 2012 presidential goat rodeo there ought to be more like this coming up soon.

Popcorn, please.

And so it goes.

Back to School Caturday

Yes, students begin returning to their countries, and school.  Many we may never see again. They will be missed. 

More later.

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Festival Express 1970

What a ride!  Really and truly, last night was a time-travel ride. The Train trip/concerts in 3 Canadian cities was recorded over 40 years ago and the film languished in basements or garages until discovered in the late 90s. The finished film was released in 2003 and is considered one of the best performance films of the decade. Billed as the "longest party in rock-n-roll history" it is all that, and more.

The documentary itself is painful to watch at times, but worth it in the end. The all but forgotten 'festival tour' lost money in the end, but the film offers up some incredible performances on stage and a backstage glimpse of the many artists on the train ride itself. Jamming, boozing, and just hanging out together.

The Band, Grateful Dead, Delaney & Bonnie & Friends, The Flying Burrito Brothers, The Buddy Guy Blues Band, Mashmakan, Ian & Sylvia, and of course, Janis Joplin, are all here doing what they did best back in the day.  You may not know some of the performers anymore, but they were top-billed in the late 60s, early 70s.  I saw many of the acts at Fillmore East in NYC with friends no longer around for one reason or another.

A great trip back in time, the film reminded me of the good (and bad) experiences of the period.  Nice to see all those happy young faces at the height of their talent and the beginning of their careers. A few would go on, while others managed to screw up their lives or ruin their gifts by any means possible.  Still, they are here for all to see.

Watching Janis I couldn't help but wonder 'what if' she had fewer demons and nurtured her talent; imagine where she would be today. Like a modern-day Ethel Waters or Bessie Smith, perhaps?  The highest paid female in the business at the time Janis always gave a knockout performance, especially with her own band.

Near the end of the film there is a complete performance by Janis doing "Tell Mama" where she soothes, pounds, interacts with the audience, and tears the song (and our hearts) apart as only she could.  I had to stop the film for a few minutes to catch my breath.

I must admit there were times during the viewing that I felt the need to open windows to rid the room of the smell of pot and booze, but neither was present.  Was it "smell-o-vision" or just my senses being flung against a wall of the past?  Dunno, but it was a damn good ride.

These artists did it all without the need for electronic sampling, digital manipulation, vocal enhancement, background tracks, or lip-sync'ing.  They were out there - naked - and gave everything for their audience.  And we knew it, took it for granted, and appreciated it without question.

Don't tell anyone, but I found this 2 - DVD set in a $5.00 bin at Wal*Mart (of all places) and snatched it up quickly.  No deep thinking required on this one. I will treasure it and watch it from time to time when I feel nostalgic or in need of some real 'feel good' rock-n-roll.

Here's more.

And so it goes.  Again.

The Rich are Diffierent - Not in a Good Way.

Did we really need another study to learn more about this?  Really?

The 'Haves' show less empathy than 'Have-nots' 

Psychologist and social scientist Dacher Keltner says the rich really are different, and not in a good way: Their life experience makes them less empathetic, less altruistic, and generally more selfish.

In fact, he says, the philosophical battle over economics, taxes, debt ceilings and defaults that are now roiling the stock market is partly rooted in an upper class "ideology of self-interest."

“We have now done 12 separate studies measuring empathy in every way imaginable, social behavior in every way, and some work on compassion and it’s the same story,” he said. “Lower class people just show more empathy, more prosocial behavior, more compassion, no matter how you look at it.”

In an academic version of a Depression-era Frank Capra movie, Keltner and co-authors of an article called “Social Class as Culture: The Convergence of Resources and Rank in the Social Realm,” published this week in the journal Current Directions in Psychological Science, argue that “upper-class rank perceptions trigger a focus away from the context toward the self….”

In other words, rich people are more likely to think about themselves. “They think that economic success and political outcomes, and personal outcomes, have to do with individual behavior, a good work ethic,” said Keltner, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley.

Because the rich gloss over the ways family connections, money and education helped, they come to denigrate the role of government and vigorously oppose taxes to fund it.

“I will quote from the Tea Party hero Ayn Rand: “‘It is the morality of altruism that men have to reject,’” he said.

The rest is HERE

More later.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Tonight: Janis, and Company.

The documentary "Festival Express" on DVD.  Full story to be told later.

And so it goes.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Of a Boob & Young Prudes

Who'da thunk it?  The sensibilities and morals of some of my eastern European and Russian co-workers were tested today as a new mother breast-fed her baby.

It wasn't like she was in the center of the dining room with a spotlight focused on her breast and baby.  No, she was in a booth with her husband, mother, and sister enjoying a light lunch and the baby started to cry.

And no, she didn't whip the thing out and wave it around like some underpaid stripper.  She was discreet, using a sort of over-garment designed for the purpose, much like a shawl,  with the baby nestled under the fabric getting its fill.

Two servers had to leave the floor and one began to gag so loudly I thought she might heave right there and embarrass herself and the restaurant.

I got an ear full after the family left, and I was shocked by what I heard.  That was disgusting.  She shouldn't do that in public. I don't want to see these things while I am working. And on and on, ad nauseum.

I explained that breastfeeding in public isn't against the law, at least not any more.  I mentioned a few other observations, but they would have none of it.  Finally I said as simply as I could, a baby was hungry, mother was capable of feeding it, no one got hurt, no other diners were aware of the feeding, and ultimately - it is what it is, so get over it and yourselves.

That didn't sit well with them and they grumbled for an hour, re-telling the story to anyone who would listen. Such childish behavior from otherwise bright young adults amazes me even as I type this post. We never know what taboos live deep within the minds of people from other cultures.

And so it goes.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


It would appear that I have garnered quite the reputation among the New Jersey tourists for banning kiddy strollers from the restaurant.  I don't know why, no restaurant in town allows them in due to fire and safety issues.  Yesterday, two young couples, each with a large stroller, attempted to enter the restaurant.  One couple had two toddlers trailing behind, clinging to mama's skirt and whining. Oh, and both women were pregnant, again.

Breeding, if not parenting skills and overall common sense, is going well.

I told them that the strollers had to remain outside the building, that we had hi-chairs and slings for the little ones and we would take care of everything.  The daddies collapsed their strollers and placed them on the floor of the entry foyer (you read that right - 'entry foyer') and returned as I was seating the rest of the party.  Then I spotted the strollers next to the front door and couldn't believe it. Are New Jersey residents that stoopid?  Don't answer, it's only a rhetorical question.

 I returned to the table, apologised, and told them again that the strollers had to be outside the building, they had to be moved.  The mothers jumped to their feet almost in unison and yelled that they had heard about me from their friends in New Jersey and I was nothing but a "mean, nasty son-of-a-bitch!"  While the dads looked bewildered, the women grabbed, yanked, dragged their broods out the door and down the street.  Clearly heading for another restaurant where strollers aren't allowed, and small children are avoided like the plague.

The entire staff had a field day calling me a MNSOB all day.  Hey!  It's August!  The month of the worst tourist attitudes of the entire year.  The other night, the doslocos guys had to call the police to remove a group of 20 who refused to wait 45 minutes for tables then blocked the entryway in protest.

Two more weeks until it is all over...but who's counting?

More later.

New Planet Discovered, Darkest Ever Seen

Discoveries like this fascinate and intrigue me.  While so many people are saying there is little left for humans to discover, something like this story comes along and takes the wind out of their sails.  I love it!
An alien world blacker than coal, the darkest planet known, has been discovered in the galaxy.
The world in question is a giant the size of Jupiter known as TrES-2b. NASA's Kepler spacecraft detected it lurking around the yellow sun-like star GSC 03549-02811 some 750 light years away in the direction of the constellation Draco.
The researchers found this gas giant reflects less than 1 percent of the sunlight falling on it, making it darker than any planet or moon seen up to now.  [The Strangest Alien Planets]
"It's just ridiculous how dark this planet is, how alien it is compared to anything we have in our solar system," study lead-author David Kipping, an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, told "It's darker than the blackest lump of coal, than dark acrylic paint you might paint with. It's bizarre how this huge planet became so absorbent of all the light that hits it."
Whereas Jupiter has clouds streaking it white and red, reflecting more than a third of the sunlight reaching it, TrES-2b apparently lacks reflective clouds, super-heated as its atmosphere is to more than 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit (980 degrees Celsius) by a star just 3.1 million miles (5 million kilometers) away from it.
"However, it's not completely pitch black," co-author David Spiegel of Princeton University said in a statement. "It's so hot that it emits a faint red glow, much like a burning ember or the coils on an electric stove."
The rest of the story and more links can be found HERE.
More later.


This note was waiting for me when I logged out at work on Friday. Since it was one among a group of others I paid no immediate attention, printed them and stuffed them into a pocket for viewing after the weekend.

Nice to see that the effort and work is being noticed and admired...always a positive thing. It doesn't happen often but it's a nice surprise when it does.

After weeding out the dead wood and encouraging a core staff to do their best, in kitchen, serving, busing, and tending bar, they've turned into a great crack team of workers.  I think I've become a bit more strict with them, but I'd rather they get correction from me in a positive way, than incur the anger of the locosguys.

There is so much reward in a job well done, unlike a good steak which I prefer quite rare. Oh, sorry.  I couldn't resist.

More later.


Sunday, August 14, 2011

Warts, and All.

There had been a tingling, not pain, in the ball of my left foot (movie title?) for a few days.  I chalked it up to long hours on my tired puppies at the restaurant.

Well, surprise!  When I woke this morning, swung my legs off the side of the bed, and stood up - I had to sit down again.  The pain in my left foot was excruciating and I felt dizzy. (Now, stop that!) Further examination revealed what I didn't want to know.  I had given birth to a big Plantar wart seemingly over-night.  It was only then that I remembered that tingling sensation and what it meant.

Note: no disgusting wart images will be posted here.

I had them several times in the past, especially as a young boy.  Had them burned off, cut out, and frozen off.  This is the first one I've grown in a long time, but it's a nightmare for one in my current job.

At 7 am I hobbled into the pharmacy to purchase the necessary items to combat the monster, rushed home, prepped and dressed the thing - even using a donut shaped pad to keep the pressure off the area - then  hobbled off to work by 7:45.  And, wouldn't you know it, today was a killer.  97 brunches between 9 am and noon.  Close to 300 meals served between noon and 4 pm. The extra padding didn't help - at all.

Limping home I whimpered to myself, "why do I live so far away?"  Took it extra easy, eventually made it up the stairs and into the apartment where I shed clothes, and soaked in a hot Epsom Salts bath for 20 minutes. I am now soaking marinating in olives and Bombay Sapphire Gin, which, like the salts bath, is having a positive effect on my entire being.

I got through the busy day; I hope I can get through tomorrow, too.  I have Tuesday off and plan to stay off my feet as much as possible, as I attack nurse this damned thing. Please, oh please!  Not another medical bill in my future.

As Harold says in Boys in the Band,  "Life is a Goddam laugh riot."  To that I say, Amen!

And so it goes.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Our August (month, not lineage) Visitors

Elaine Stritch sang the great Noel  Coward song "Why do the wrong people travel?" in the not-so-big-hit Sail Away.  The song was introduced almost 50 years ago, became an instant hit with seasoned gay travelers, with lyrics as relevant today as back then.  Only modes of transport and the names of the people have changed to protect the innocent.

I've always been embarrassed by other Americans when I've traveled out of the country.  Well, truth be told, even only to another state. A few of the words associated with such travelers: arrogant, ignorant, stupid, selfish, rude, pushy, demanding, obstinate, whiny, and needy.  That's not all of them, but a damn good start.

That said, there's been little time (or energy) for a personal post this week. Though the entertainment provided by our August (the month, not lineage) visitors has been rather amusing, all we seem to have the time for is a good belly laugh when the traveling crazy show has moved on.

No explanations or detailed stories, but this may give you some idea - from our vantage point in a tiny resort town on the Atlantic Ocean - of the cuckoos of August.

Walking to work, about to cross the main avenue when a lone car speeds up so that I have to wait for it to pass.  Rolls down the window and screams "go to the crosswalk, a**hole."  and speeds away. In this little town pedestrians have the right-of-way, no matter what. This notice is posted everywhere.  Maybe the jerk can't read.

As I was being relieved by the boss the other day, a party of 16 entered and when told their SUV size baby stroller had to remain outside the building, went ballistic and made an Oscar worthy scene. The boss pointed out the crowded dining room and asked what would happen if there were 4 or 5 of these monsters in the house and a fire broke out?  The mother puts hands on hips, throws head back and says, "what are the odds of that happening?" and I said, "maybe you could ask the folks on the Titanic."  She was not amused, but had no snappy comeback. They left in a huff. 

A long, tall, and old Texan and his little lady joined us for lunch.  He asks the server "what beer do you have on tap?" and as the server begins reciting the list, the Texan interrupts asking, "how about Bud Light?"  server, "we have that in bottles." Texan, "well, what have you got on tap?" same scenario second time around, and then (honest to G*d) even a third.  The little lady orders a Chardonnay and the Texan orders (wait for it).....a margarita.!!?!!

Last evening a herd, 'er group of 50 attempted entry, only to be turned away by the boss.  They were dumbfounded and demanded to know why they couldn't be served (honest, really? they were a busload of morons who had never seen the ocean) and apparently couldn't understand that at that very moment there was a 45 minute wait for any table in the place.

As the busser was clearing the table of a family of 5 today one of the adults motioned me over and asked, "where is this busboy from?" I checked to see who it was and said, "Romania, he's a student.  Was there something wrong?"  "Yes, I want my table cleared by an American, not a foreigner." "Well, in that case," I said, "one of your kids can do the honors.  None of the American students want to work this hard, so we try to hire the best workers we can find.  Sadly, few are American."  I went back to my station as her jaw dropped closer and closer to the tabletop.

One more:

My shift ended late today and I didn't hang around for an AS cocktail, choosing to walk home, instead. As I made my way up the street there were many cars in search of parking spots (free after 5 pm - a permit is required at other times) driving fast and recklessly starting and stopping where they "think" there may be a spot, but it isn't.  As I walk, one car passes dangerously close and yells out to me, "why the f**k don't you use the sidewalk?" and continues on his frantic search without taking notice that there are NO sidewalks on my street.  Good luck finding a parking spot, you dumb-ass!

I made it home safe and sound - - this time.  Tomorrow?  Who knows?

As the boss always says, "You can't make this stuff up, but nobody believes you, anyway."  Truth is stranger than fiction, and that's the truth!

And so it goes.

Caturday: First High-Five

More later.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Last Night

Always find new surprises in this film.

More later.


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

"Ring, Ring" - I'll Get It!.

The now fully operational new phone is shown at right. Although I wasn't thrilled with purchasing another LG after this experience, the pickings were slim at local retailers and it would have taken a week to get one from Tracfone directly. I am please that this one has a full QUERTY keyboard.  No more trying to tap out a text from a clunky 10 key pad. It's a bit lighter than the old one and a little larger over all, but I'll get used to that soon enough.  And yes, there is a key lock.  A real surprise was that the tiny keys are extremely accurate and even my big hands can hit the right key without a double strike most of the time.  I'll get used to that, too. Bad thumbs means it's all hunt-and-peck, but no worse than the old way.

As frustrating as last evening's "chat" with various Tracfone CS Reps was,  I played some music, made a new panini concoction (which was very good) and sipped a few olives before showering and heading for the bed. I slept surprisingly well and woke at my regular time.

As I left to run the errands I checked the phone to find out if activation was complete.  Nope!  Not yet.

I decided to take a drive down the coastal highway to pay a visit to Rehoboth Bay and watch the sailboarders at play.  Just enough wind to give them the speed to work on some of their more 'cool' moves.  My gaydar told me there were more than a few gay guys in the mix and no one seemed to care.  We have come a long way, haven't we.  Sorry, no pictures.  I forgot to take my shoulder bag with me this morning - something I never do. Some other time, perhaps.

Checked the phone periodically; although the "service days remaining" message had appeared along with the correct time and date, still no service. 

A text message arrived informing me that my new carrier was AT&T and that my phone number had been transferred successfully.  I could not receive or make calls yet,  no minutes were available.

Continued the errands and picked up a treat for supper tonight.  Jumbo shrimp (oxymoron?) were on sale and I bought a half pound to make a Scampi.

As I unloaded the car a strange new tone alerted me that the phone required attention.  Checked the main screen to find activation was successful and that I had 2,265 minutes remaining!!!!!!  What happened to the 256 quoted last night?  Where did these 2K minutes come from?  And where are the other 1K minutes?   I don't want to be taken advantage of, all  I want is what's rightfully mine. More on that to come, but I am happy to be re-connected, able to send and receive calls and text messages.

Immediately sent notice to the locosguys that I was among the digital living and after unloading the car began to add contact numbers of co-workers and others, to the contact list.

I have since composed a letter with timeline, names of CS Reps. and the whole story as far back as April 23, 2011.  It was posted to Tracfone before I began this post.  Working in CS as I do I would never bad-mouth a Rep., or get angry with them, since most everything is beyond their control to fix.  They're just the first line of defense and take the abuse that ought to be directed to the higher-ups.  Who knows if anything will come of it, but at least my story is out there. We shall see.  

I don't know if any of this would be simpler if I had a contract plan with one of the major companies, but they are way out of my reach - financially - at this time. 

There are always trade-offs, aren't there?

And so it goes.


Kalmar Nyckel Comes Home

Tiny Delaware's very own tall sailing ship returns to Lewes and a beautiful sight it is, too. From our local weekly, The Cape Gazette:
Kalmar Nyckel is sailing back from Massachusetts to her home state of Delaware and is expected to arrive in Lewes Friday, Aug. 5. The public is invited to join the ship for a sail or to sign on as volunteer crew.  Public sails will begin Sunday, Aug. 7, and will be offered through Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 5.
Passengers can sail on this authentic re-creation of a tall ship that brought the earliest permanent settlers to Delaware. The ship has eight sails and eight miles of rigging. Capt. Lauren Morgens and crew stand ready to make the trip exciting for the whole family. Visitors can choose an evening or day sail, or embark on a special pirate sail. Although the original Kalmar Nyckel was never a pirate vessel, serving instead as a trader, naval scout and Colonial ship, today’s crew love playing the part in the pirate sails. These excursions are especially popular with children.
“A sail on the Kalmar Nyckel is a unique way to learn about Delaware’s maritime and cultural history, and it’s fun, too. Passengers can haul lines and sing a sea chantey when the crew hoists the tops’l,” said Catherine Parsells, Kalmar Nyckel Foundation executive director.
Kalmar Nyckel is an authentic re-creation of a 17th century Dutch vessel, one of America’s pioneering tall ships that brought some of the earliest permanent settlers to the colonies. Her historical significance mirrors that of the Mayflower. The original Kalmar Nyckel sailed from Sweden to the New World in 1638, leaving her passengers to establish the first permanent European settlement in the Delaware Valley, at Fort Christina in present-day Wilmington.
Kalmar Nyckel was featured in April in National Geographic Television’s “Return of the Ghost Ship,” which aired in 124 countries around the world. This documentary explored a 17th -century ghost ship found intact at the bottom of the Baltic Sea. Kalmar Nyckel and her crew were selected for the live shots given the ship’s strong resemblance to the sunken ship.
I hope to get to see her before she sails again. Last time I was actually on-board, was about 8 years ago. I've missed her the last 5 years due to working weekends.  She is a real beauty.

The rest is HERE.

More later.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Free? You Get What You Pay For

The 'free' replacement for my previous cell phone (that would no longer hold a charge) has died, given up the ghost, bought the farm - or whatever metaphor you care to use.

Yes, it was sent to me 'free' back in April and just getting the damned thing activated, the number and minutes transferred took about a week.

Located a new phone locally (it would take a week to ship the one I wanted and I just can't wait that long), charged it up while at work today, then spent the entire evening on the phone with Tracfone in a futile attempt to get it activated, number and minutes transferred.  Same as in April.  Since the previous phone is now totally beyond recovery, Tracfone tried to suggest that the minutes remaining were not 3K, but only 256 minutes, though the activation date was correct.  Of course, I am filing a complaint in the morning. The date, time, days remaining in the activation, and the number of minutes remaining are all stored at Tracfone and generated to my phone when I turn it on, I find it hard to believe they could only come up with 256 minutes.  I've been a customer for over 10 years, after all!

My head hurts after dealing with FOUR different CS people in 4 different countries, so I won't go into the details. It is now 8:30 pm and I want olives, supper, and maybe a little evening music to calm down.

A free day tomorrow and lots to get done from my long list.  A new shower head and something called plumber's tape top the list.  I appreciate that the supermarket is open 24 hours daily during the season.  This allows me to get in early, shop without disruptions, and get off the roads before the tourists are even stirring in their beds.

Maybe I'll take a long ride early, too, because I feel the car needs a bit of a workout - more than being driven 6 or 8 miles a week.

And so it goes.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

On a Sunday

It has been a smashing weekend and I am running out of energy. Over 400 customers served between 9 am and 4 pm!  Enjoyed a Bombay Sapphire with olives after work; took the leisurely walk home and have nothing personal to post.   This tune, however, was running through my head all afternoon, maybe because of the many parasols being carried all over town.  I had to find the video and post it tonight.  It's all I have to offer. It always lifts my spirits as I hope it does yours.
A humble salute to Mr. Sondheim does it for me every time.

Storms are on the way, the sky is black, and so I will shutdown (literally and computer-wise) for now.

And so it goes.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Rudolf Brazda. Last Pink Triangle Dies...

And tells part of his story.  Look around this country (and others) and listen to the same hate speech, name-calling, demon-making that went on in the past and tell me it couldn't happen again.  Seems we're the last acceptable enemy.
Here is a brief video of Mr. Brazda's story:
Let us work so that this horror will never be repeated on such a scale. Rest in Peace, Mr. Brazda.

And so it goes.

Officers Guilty in Post-Katrina Shootings

It took almost 6 years for the Feds to unravel what took only days and weeks to create. But it found the truth in the end.  From today's NYT:

In a grisly account, prosecutors said four of the defendants — Sgt. Kenneth Bowen, Sgt. Robert Gisevius, Officer Anthony Villavaso and former Officer Robert Faulcon — had raced to the bridge in a Budget rental truck that morning, responding to a distress call from another officer.
There they poured out of the truck and opened fire, without pausing or giving a warning, on members of the Bartholomew family, who were walking to a grocery in the largely abandoned city. James Brisette, 17, a friend of the family, was killed, and four others were gravely wounded by the police, who kept firing as the Bartholomews raced for safety.
Several of the officers then chased Ronald and Lance Madison, two brothers, to the other side of the bridge, where Mr. Faulcon shot Ronald, a 40-year-old mentally disabled man, in the back. Sergeant Bowen was convicted of stomping him on the back as he lay dying.
No guns were recovered at the scene, and witnesses — both officers and citizens — testified that the victims were unarmed.
The cover-up began immediately, prosecutors said, and the jury found all of the officers, as well as retired Sgt. Arthur Kaufman, guilty on charges of obstructing justice, fabricating witnesses, lying to federal investigators or planting a firearm at the scene to bolster a made-up story. 
Sometimes blind mother justice gets off her pile of manure, and this would be one of those times.

Read the rest HERE.

E T Caturday

Wise Choice.

More later.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Five on the Fifth: My Town

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 “My Town”.
So here goes.  My Town is a small beach resort on the Mid-Atlantic Coast. Rehoboth Beach, Delaware was recently vote one of the 10 best beaches in the US.  From "Beach Fries" to fine dining, RB has some of the best restaurants in the country. Due to it's close proximity to Washington DC, it has been known as 'The Nation's Summer Capital' for as long as anyone can remember. This is part of daily life here.

Dunes, beach and breakers from the boardwalk.
Then, turn around.  Bandstand, free summer concerts offered nightly.
Bike parking by a selfish tourist.  Takes the whole rack and removed the seat.
The walk to work. Hotel with beach towels drying on balconies.
Gloom & mist. The walk to work. Restaurant is at far right.
Click any image to embiggen.

Thanks Stephen for inviting me to take part again. As always, I look forward to seeing the town's of other fellow bloggers this weekend.  For now, it's off to work

More later.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Debris from Space Shuttle Columbia Found

 One of those interesting stories to remind us of recent history.
A piece of debris from NASA's space shuttle Columbia has been discovered in Texas, eight years after the 2003 disaster that destroyed the spacecraft and killed its seven-astronaut crew during re-entry, NASA officials confirmed on Aug. 2.
The debris was discovered last week in eastern Texas. It is a round aluminum power reactant storage and distribution tank from Columbia, which disintegrated over Texas as it re-entered Earth's atmosphere near the end of a 16-day science mission.
The tank was discovered in an exposed area of Lake Nacogdoches, in Nacogdoches, Texas, about 160 miles northeast of Houston.
"The only reason it's exposed is because there's a drought going on and the tank was under the lake," Lisa Malone, a NASA spokeswoman at the agency's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, told "The tank itself is full of mud."
Nacogdoches police informed NASA of the find and sent pictures for identification. NASA engineers who work on the shuttle's power reactant storage and distribution systems were able to confirm the piece belonged to Columbia. [NASA's Shuttle Program In Pictures: A Tribute]
"One of the guys had been here more than 30 years and recognized it, and said, 'That’s one of the tanks,'" Malone said.
The piece was one of 16 tanks on the shuttle that stored supercold liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen. The spherical tank, about 40 inches (1 meter) in diameter, will eventually be shipped back to Kennedy Space Center, where NASA stores all the collected debris from Columbia in a climate controlled area in the giant Vehicle Assembly Building.
The rest is HERE.

And so it goes.

Yesterday, Today, & Tomorrow

No! I am not talking about the plant, or the movie. There is an old saying that goes something like this:
There are two days in every week we should not worry about, two days that should be kept free from fear and apprehension.
One is yesterday, with its mistakes and cares, its faults and blunders, its aches and pains. Yesterday has passed, forever beyond our control.
The other day we shouldn't worry about is tomorrow, with its possible adversities, Its burdens, its large promise and poor performance. Tomorrow is also beyond our control.
That said, I will only report (a tiny bit) about today because this day was an almost exact re-run of yesterday only without the screaming Blue Meanies.*

Weather was/is cool-cloudy-rainy and few customers were in a good mood. We were inundated as soon as the doors opened.  Within 10 minutes there were no more lunch menus to offer the continuing wave of people and there seemed no end in sight.

Yesterday, 2 servers began to panic.  I shut them down immediately. Call it a verbal bitch-slap. They were more prepared today, thank G*d!  They needed to be.

Following the initial onslaught Happy Hour kicked in and a whole new bunch (the drinkers) bounded through the doors making the bar and lounge areas almost impossible for servers to navigate, but somehow they got through.  Bless 'em.

The dining room and bar hummed non-stop (with a half-hour wait at one point) until 2:30 when we got a short breather...then at 3 pm, it started all over again. Two servers came in at that time and helped relieve the pressure on the other 7 who, by this time, were mumbling to themselves. All I wanted last evening was a cold compress and two very cold olives, if you get my drift.

The people today were more patient and understanding of the situation. That's why I have enough energy to write this tonight.

The satisfaction came from comments by the exiting diners regarding the food and service;  That we served over 300 diners, between 11:30 am and 4 pm - both days - was the real reward. The numbers were staggering and feedback was very good over-all. Yes, there are always whiners, but nothing to be taken seriously, believe me. Knit-picking Harpies was all.

Tomorrow is another day.  Now where have I heard that line before?

*See Yellow Submarine! And if you haven't, you should.

More later.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Playing Domestic, PSB, & a DVD

I did all things domestic on my day off, so no need for details. I also got in a little thrift store hunting, as well. Didn't find what I was hunting, but it was kind of fun to see the kinds of junk people are unloading these days.  Lots of huge pieces of furniture, I suppose because folks are down-sizing these days. Nothing would have fit into my apartment - not even through the doorway!  I. Am. Not. Kidding.

The bill for last month's root canal arrived in yesterday's mail and I almost had heart attack. I took a few olives to recover from the shock, put the bill aside, put on some Pet Shop Boys and danced around the living room until I calmed down.

While waiting for supper I searched the Net for Panini recipes to experiment with in my recently purchase grill pan.  Found a few that sound enticing and a few others that I can doctor up to my own tastes.  I love panini and there are a few places here that do them justice.  There are many other places that fall short, and you ask yourself, "what were they thinking" using these ingredients.  Since I am willing to try almost any new panini concoction, I was very disappointed by the results.  Still, I ordered the things and none were so bad that I had to send them back, so I ate them and chalked up the heart-burn to experience.

After supper I enjoyed a borrowed DVD of Pixar's WALL-E which I had not seen before. It was fun, interesting, beautiful imagery and just what was needed to end the evening.

Awakened by fierce thunderstorms during the night, but went right back to sleep when the racket diminished and the steady rain beat on the skylights.  Love that sound, always have.

Woke this morning ready, I thought, for whatever the day had to careful what you think you're ready for on a drizzly, gloomy, chilly summer day at the beach.  You may not be as "ready" as you think. But that story is for later - if I recover enough following a cocktail and supper tonight.  If not...there is always tomorrow.  Cheers!

And so it goes.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

BP ‘Cleanup’ Falls Far Short of ‘Coastal Restoration’

Nothing but "Weasel Words" and still the media (and the public) is convinced that all is well, thanks to the BP Public Relations Machine.  But, not so fast.  The Lens:

While reading a local news story on the web, I noticed a familiar yellow and green color scheme on the sidebar. Sure enough, it was a BP advertisement: “Gulf Coast Restoration,” the article teased, “Read the latest.”  Intrigued, I clicked the link and was sent to the official BP America Twitter feed which presented lovely notices about Gulf Coast festivals, links to photos of birds and fish, and a  healthy does of BP corporate news (2nd Quarter profits: $5.6 billion).
But I didn’t see any actual “Gulf Coast Restoration” news, as a typical concerned Louisianan would understand the term. On the Twitter page sidebar, there was a column of links titled “Gulf Coast Restoration info.” So I clicked one of those and went to this page, with stories on BP’s new drilling standards and research initiatives, plus updates about area fishing contests. The site had prominent categories for topics such as tourism, wildlife and seafood, claims information, and news updates. But it wasn’t easy to locate  the actual “restoration” page on the BP site. And when you do find it you come to learn that BP has neutered the term:
BP is working with governments and communities toward the goal of restoring the Gulf to what it would be like today if the spill had not occurred. This is referred to as “baseline conditions” – the measure used to define restoration goals in the Gulf of Mexico.
Throughout the past year Jeffrey at Library Chronicles has brought attention to the following distinction, but it deserves repeated emphasis: oil disaster recovery is not Gulf Coast restoration..
Before the oil gusher was even capped last summer, BP labeled their recovery efforts associated with the Deepwater Horizon “incident” as “Gulf Coast restoration.” Surely the term was carefully chosen to appeal to Louisianans who associate the word with rebuilding the coast. But that’s bogus, a warping of language right out of George Orwell’s 1984. BP’s efforts to help the region recover from an oil disaster fall well short of coastal restoration, a vastly larger project. Cleaning oiled vegetation isn’t tantamount to replacing wetlands sliced and diced with oil service canals and lost to salt water and petrochemical pollution. To rhetorically link oil disaster recovery to coastal restoration, as usually defined, imbues BP’s work with a significance it doesn’t deserve. And by abusing common parlance to inflate its work, BP obscures the greater coastal crisis Louisiana faced long before last year’s blowout. A crisis the oil and gas industry has greatly accelerated.
Louisiana has already lost 2000 square miles of coast. This includes ecosystems that have nourished our culture and economy for generations, while providing  communities with vital protection from storm surge. No one concerned with true Gulf Coast restoration believes that returning the coast to the “baseline conditions” of March 2010 should be the goal, because that condition was already unacceptable.  Restoration doesn’t mean just mopping up oil and throwing guilt money at victims. It requires financing and engineering complex re-sedimentation projects that will replace the marshes, wetlands and natural ridges that have been lost to the sea. It’s the most important issue facing Louisiana, a policy challenge that is only set back by BP fuzzing the sharp distinction that must be drawn between disaster clean-up and a dynamic revival of the coast.
We need to tell BP to stop using the term “Gulf Coast Restoration” unless they are referring to long-term projects that replace lost coastal mass. Conflating clean-up with restoration is not only intellectually offensive, it undercuts Louisiana’s ability to educate the nation about the status of America’s most important wetland and the need to save it. Pretty photos of wildlife and seafood festival updates may have a soothing effect, but in no sense do they amount to evidence of restoration. Rinsing out the salt you threw into a gaping wound doesn’t make you a healer.
I suspect BP’s abuse of language is no accident. They know “Gulf Coast Restoration” is a loaded term in these parts. Associating their effort with the larger mission is a way of obscuring how superficial their clean-up has been to date. BP should immediately cease using “Gulf Coast Restoration” in their ads and websites, and replace it with a more descriptive term like “Oil Disaster Recovery.”
Read the rest of this story HERE.

And so it goes.
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