Sunday, October 30, 2011

Sea Witch Scuttled, Storms & Snow

The Sea Witch drowned (was cancelled) due to heavy rain and winds gusting to 55 mph. For the first time in 22 years, the events of the day - including the ultra-popular Costume Parade (complete with floats) were cancelled by officials at 9 am Saturday.

Mind you, our staff was due at work at 9:30 am, in costume, and suddenly I receive a text message from the locosguys with the news and asking that I try to reach all lunch shift personnel, tell them no costumes, and to arrive at regular time of 10:30 am. I had my costume ready and was about to leave for the restaurant when their message came.  I dropped everything and frantically began calling and texting everyone to give them the news. 

The news arrived too late for some.  They were already in costume and en-route to the restaurant. This created mass confusion among the staff, many of whom had spent considerable time creating their costumes, make-up, and preparing for the day's events.  Some were annoyed that the cancellation took place so late; a few hours before the parade was to step off.

Eventually, the evening staff was told to costume, but our shining moment in the goings-on was not to be.

Ultimately, we did open early, though not as planned.  Business was brisk with families frustrated by the turn of events.  Despite everything,  they all seemed to have a good time. I remember only 1 party that was having none of the festivities and cheer offered, but instead, complained about every-little-thing during their time with us. What can you do? 

While the winds whipped the rain into sheets pummeling everything and everybody, I listened to the laughter and chatter of folks who were sorry things turned out as they did, but happy to be together, safe, warm and enjoying good food and drink.  Those staff members who were in costume did a lot to boost the enjoyment factor for adults and kids alike.

Finished my shift later than usual and headed home to check the ongoing leak in the closet.  Emptied and replaced the bucket again, shed the work drag, had a martini and chilled as supper was cooking. Took a hot shower before going to bed and felt better for it all.  Not a bad day. Disappointing and frustrating, yes, but not bad overall.

This morning I had an Epiphany. My unused costume gets a second chance, giving me time to find the make-up I wanted, and someone who knows how to apply it.  All is not lost.

Looking on the bright side of the bigger picture, we were luckier than the rest of the Northeastern states who are suffering the after effects of major snow storms cause by the same weather system.  Buried under a foot, or more, of snow millions are without electric power.  Many will remain without power for days, some for weeks.

And so it goes.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

From OWS to All Police Officers

A bit long, but watch it; a riveting piece that will stay with you for a long time. 
From the YouTube description: 
Mike Ruppert addresses those police officers who have begun a campaign of violent and brutal attacks at some of the Occupy Wall Street protesters around the country, and around the world.
 So many emotions surface on this one.

And so it goes.

No Honor in Hurting Unarmed People

This should never happen in America - to anyone.

This entire episode has blown me away.  I knew the threat was still there - since the Viet Nam era - but didn't think it would raise its ugly head in these times.  Boy, was I wrong.

And so it goes.

Halloween Caturday

More later.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Sea Witch, Storms & a Sorry-ass Costume

Thursday was a lovely day - sunny and mild, and about 72' F.  That all changed last night when everything did a 180' turnabout. Sent a message to the restaurant reminding them to bring in the palm trees in case of a frost. Woke this morning to a rather frigid apartment, so turned on the new, recently installed heat pump.  The results were most appreciated.

So, Halloween is here and the Sea Witch Festival/Parades are in danger of being cancelled due to the weather forecast for tomorrow and into Sunday.  The main event parade isn't usually cancelled unless there is thunder and lightening. Both are predicted. High winds call for the various balloons to be dropped from the festivities, but the parade usually goes on.

The town began filling rapidly this afternoon, though the bar saw more business than the restaurant.  Go fig!  Still, we did a brisk lunch business and there were lots of little ones anxious to talk about their costumes and their places in the parade.  This is always fun for us all.

As you may know, we (restaurant staff and owners) appear in costume every year to add to the silliness of the goings on. The theme this year is "Going to the Chapel" and some of the costumes promise to be outrageous and fun.  I wish I could say the same for mine.  I can't.

Granted, I have limitations because of my work and the hectic nature of the day (the parade begins at 11 am, so we get busy before and then slammed afterwards, which carries on into the the evening) the costume needs to be non-restricting and comfortable. That was not the problem.  Unable to find proper makeup and a few accoutrements, mine will be the most boring of the lot. Kind of a bummer for me.

Anyway, with what I do have to wear, I have a very long day ahead (scheduled at 8 am), want to enjoy it as much as possible, and hope everyone else does, too.

And so it goes.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Dreaming of Owls!

I dream of them almost nightly, at least those dreams I can remember. What does this mean.  They're in lovely, though provocative dreams.  Majestic creatures all.  Some even talk in certain dreams, but not all. Lots of flying, perching, watching me, getting up close to me during difficult encounters.  Perhaps as a supportive or protective force.  In the dreams they are a reassuring, comforting presence at all times.

I have always found owls to be mysterious, beautiful, wise, and no non-sense creatures. The fanciful dream last night woke me with the powerful noise and movement of air created by the owl's wings.

Awake; There was no sound, no moving air to cause this sensation. I have never been "fond" of them or found them pet material, so what could this dreaming stuff mean?

Dunno.  Is A Puzzlement!

And so it goes.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Amazing Beauty, Strength and Control

From Mam Talent Show in Poland:
Excuse me while I find someone to practice this with me.

And so it goes.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

About That Food Safety Class

Back on September 20, 2011, along with 2 other co-workers, I endured attended the 13-hour ServSafe Food Handling Safety course in Pokomoke, Maryland. That post is HERE. Though we were told the exam results would be mailed to us in about 2 weeks, it's been 5 and we've heard nothing.

So today I decided to take the plunge and created an account (not that I will have use for it in the future, it's the only way to get your personal exam score and summary) at the ServSafe site, via the NRA - National Restaurant Association - to find out the results, for better or worse.  It turns out I passed!  Here's the summary from the site.  Sorry it's kind of jumbled, Blogger doesn't like certain formats, I guess.
ServSafe Examination Results

Form Information

Test Form - 4639    

Pass Percent Score - 75%
Your Percent Score      - 91%

Domain Summary 

Domain                                     % Score

I. Foods                                          95%
II. Clean/Sanitize/Maint.              89%
III. Facilities                                  83%
IV. Monitoring Food Personnel    92%
V. Temp. Measuring Devices      100%
VI. Allergens                                 67%
VII. High-Risk Populations        100%
VIII. Legal/Regulatory Issues     75%
IX. Facility Layout/Design         100%
X. Training Employees               100%
OK, I'm happy with the score, especially since we didn't have the course material beforehand.  However, I am not pleased with the 67% score on food allergens - I know I did better than that.

Anyway, I sent messages to Sasha and Daniel telling them to do the same.  They're both afraid to find out their personal results because they have convinced themselves that they failed.  I'm not so sure.  If a novice-jerk of my magnitude, with minimal experience in food safety and restaurants in general, can pass this thing, I am sure they did, too. In any event, they will know for sure and can always retake the exam.

I don't know whether to sit on the information, or share it with the locosguys.  They haven't asked any questions since the day of the exam. They may have assumed that we all failed and let it go at that. And, I don't need any more responsibilities on my daily plate, thank you very much.

I am in the process of safely thawing chicken pieces for a stew this evening, so I will attend to that while indulging in a couple of olives and a little afternoon music.  It's 5 o'clock somewhere!

And so it goes.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Tons of Tsunami Debris Heading to US

I suppose when you think about it, where else would it go having been sucked back out to sea.

Everyone thought the horror was over, but the reminders will be with us for a very long time. And I am not talking about the nuclear power plants. We can only put so much of this behind us before we face the inevitable.  Just like the aftermath of the BP Gulf disaster will be with us for a very long time. Only this debris cannot be buried under more sand. It is a vivid reminder of what happened last Winter.  No matter how you attempt to wish it away, pray it away, ignore it, or stop reporting it - the truth is in its very presence of the tsunami that cannot be denied.  Deal with it now, then move on. From Yahoo News:

Some 5 to 20 million tons of debris--furniture, fishing boats, refrigerators--sucked into the Pacific Ocean in the wake of Japan's March 11 earthquake and tsunami are moving rapidly across the Pacific. Researchers from the University of Hawaii tracking the wreckage estimate it could approach the U.S. West Coast in the next three years, the UK Daily Mail reports.
"We have a rough estimate of 5 to 20 million tons of debris coming from Japan," University of Hawaii researcher Jan Hafner told Hawaii's ABC affiliate KITV.
Crew members from the Russian training ship the STS Pallada "spotted the debris 2,000 miles from Japan," last month after passing the Midway islands, the Mail wrote. "They saw some pieces of furniture, some appliances, anything that can float, and they picked up a fishing boat," said Hafner. The boat was 20-feet long, and was painted with the word "Fukushima."  "That's actually our first confirmed report of tsunami debris," Hafner told KITV.
 Follow the links and check out the post HERE.

And so it goes.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

NPR Drops "World of Opera"

Because they couldn't get its host, Lisa Simeone fired after she took part in an "Occupy" event.

I dumped NPR months ago once their reporting became increasingly slanted to the right.  Here's the story from David Swanson via DU:
Yesterday, NPR's PR flack was haranguing me on the phone about how NPR had nothing to do with getting Lisa Simeone fired from an independent program called Soundprint. This was despite NPR having gone public with its concerns over Simeone's "unethical" participation in democracy, and Soundprint's referencing of NPR's "ethics" rules in firing Simeone. It was also despite NPR's clear intention to get Simeone removed from our airwaves.

I have no evidence that NPR contacted Soundprint, but "World of Opera" is a different story. Today I read that ( ) NPR has dropped distribution of "World of Opera," a program produced by WDAV which contracts with Simeone to host it. NPR's original frantic email and blog post had read:

"We're in conversations with WDAV about how they intend to handle this. We of course take this issue very seriously." (The issue of participating in a democratic society and not backing a corporate agenda like bigshot NPR hosts who opinionate on Fox, in op-eds, and at big business speaking events for big bucks.)

Lisa was told to be on a phone call with NPR and WDAV Thursday morning, but NPR canceled the call without telling her, as she waited by the phone. NPR's Anna Christopher Bross tells me that NPR spoke with WDAV about how to handle Simeone. She says they went through many possible scenarios, and that NPR has been completely transparent. I asked her what any of the scenarios were, and she refused to say. I asked if one of them was the only one anyone has discussed, namely firing Simeone, and she wouldn't say. But the announcement by WDAV was "Ms. Simeone remains the host of World of Opera." The decision was not to fire her. NPR announced "Classical public radio station WDAV says Lisa Simeone will continue to host World of Opera." The decision was not to discontinue her.

Now, unable to get Simeone fired, a decision which NPR would have carefully blamed entirely on WDAV, our public radio thugs have taken the only approach left to them if people who condescend to supporting the political efforts of the poor are to be kept out of public sight: NPR has dropped the program.

Clearly Soundprint deserves its full share of condemnation in all of this, and WDAV merits strong support. WDAV will be distributing "World of Opera" on its own and should have our backing. But NPR has lowered itself to the bottom rung of our communications system. Mara Liaason can opinionate on Fox News while providing an objective god's-eye view on NPR. Scott Simon can publish opinion columns in corporate newspapers while reporting the facts. Cokie Roberts can take corporate speaking fees that could cover most people's mortgages without being perceived as in any way tarnished. But Lisa Simeone cannot introduce operas while having taken the unforgivable step of supporting a nonviolent movement on behalf of the lower 99% of us. Despicable.
NPR will not receive one penny from me anymore. I counted myself a member of our local stations, having supported their efforts for over 10 years, but that's over. 

And so it goes.

Lewis Carroll Caturday

The Mad Hatter: Have I gone mad?
[Alice checks Hatter's temperature]
Alice Kingsley: I'm afraid so. You're entirely bonkers. But I'll tell you a secret. All the best people are.

Amen to that.

More later.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Top 10 Silliest Questions Asked on Cruise Ships

As regular readers of this space probably already  know, I've been wanting to take a cruise to Alaska for as long as I can remember.  I have never been on a cruise, not even a gay one, and have taken a bit of ribbing over it.  Now a friend recently sent this very funny (and I am afraid it may be absolutely true) list, whether in an effort to dissuade me from ever going on one, (any one!) or as a warning to me as to what awaits me when I do.

And may G*d help us all:
10. Do these steps go up or down?
9. What do you do with the beautiful ice carvings after they melt?
8. Which elevator do I take to get to the front of the ship?
7. Does the crew sleep on the ship?
6. Is this island completely surrounded by water?
5. Does the ship make its own electricity?
4. Is it salt water in the toilets?
3. What elevation are we at?
2. There's a photographer on board who takes photos and displays them
the next day... the question asked...If the pictures aren't marked,
how will I know which ones are mine?
1. What time is the Midnight Buffet being served?
That's enough to make one request more olives.

And so it goes.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Domestic Day & Dealing with Deluge

Man, am I ever happy that I followed my instincts yesterday and played outdoors.  The rains blew in over night and I have been busy all day checking off the items on my gay agenda originally scheduled for yesterday.

Shoes are shined, slacks are pressed, shirts are ironed and even a few loose buttons were sown more securely in place.  Vacuumed the living room and watered the plants. A big pot of chili is simmering on the stove and I have a chicken marinating and just about ready to roast for supper. Just call me Dolly Domestic! I used to be Connie Casserole, but graduated some years ago. "Oh, Mary.  Don't ask."

All is quiet here now.  The little ones have left the pre-school downstairs, heading for home with their mommies or daddies even the teachers have finished cleaning up and left the building. Nice, indeed. And as luck would have it, it's almost time for olives in this time zone.

Oh, and pee ess: The leak in the closet was not repaired properly. This is the first major rains since the repair was supposedly done about 2 weeks ago. Color me skeptical.  Glad I put the bed linens in a Rubbermaid tub and left the bucket on the shelf after all. I'd hate to have had to wash them all over again.  Beware of roofers without extension ladders.  Imagine that. Amazing, isn't it. I'm not kidding.

In any event, I am rested and ready to return to work tomorrow looking pretty spiffy in my work duds and shiny shoes, if I may say so myself.


And so it goes.

"The Big Fix" - Official Trailer

The new documentary about the BP Gulf disaster and cover-up. No need for comments from me.  You all know how I feel about this. Just watch and decide for yourself.
More later.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

How I Feel This Afternoon

And that's the truth!

More later.

Jazz Fest Weekend &The Aftermath

Rehoboth Jazz Fest 2011 was another big hit. Soloists and bands played all over town, overflowing to venues out on the Coastal Highway.  Our little corner of the festival was a huge success. The weather couldn't have been more cooperative.  Clear sky, light breeze off the ocean and about 70' F and the town was packed to the eyeballs with music lovers of every stripe.

The one night and 2 days the trio played drew big crowds of jazz fans from all over the east coast.

The Tim Laushey Trio (drummer) played for 5 hours Saturday afternoon and it was the best day the restaurant had ever seen. Yes, maybe we were all totally spent when it was over, the vibes, music, food, and drink made everyone feel  a part of the proceedings. The customers were real  jazz fans and one could tell by their choice of seating (no booths, full view of the band), attire, and facial expressions at hearing good musicians. It was fun to watch. Made me miss NYC and the tiny hot spots in the village, but only a little.

My station is front and center, best place in the house.  I rocked, swayed, sang and hummed (under my breath, of course) for all the hours they played. And they played everything from the 30s on - Armstrong, Waller, Porter, Rodgers & Hart, Brubeck, Getz, Jobim, and more.  You get the idea.

The trio returned Sunday to play from 12 to 3 pm for an all lunch crowd. Again, we were put through our paces, and when it was all over the band sat around and we talked about music, surprising new performers (keyboardist let me listen to one on his iPad) shared drinks and a few laughs.  Tim and his wife are regulars, since they have a place nearby; the other 2 musicians (keyboard and bass players) have come to know us and are pretty laid back.  They felt right at home, and that's the way I like it.

A photographer arrived as the guys were packing up and wanted a few pictures. Instruments packed already he had to settle for a standing group shot.  It looked a little awkward, just the 3 of them, so he asked the locosguys and me to round out the picture. I was very honored.  If and when it is published, and I get a copy, you can bet I'll post it here.

Monday was a real come-down for me.  No live music, only that damned Sirius XM crap.  (Don't get me started on the crop of what passes as new "talent" recording these days.) Still exhausted from the weekend, I was in bed and asleep by 7:30 last evening.  Didn't stir until 6:30 this morning.  Much rest was required and thankfully, received.

Here it is Tuesday, beginning of my well-planned weekend.  The forecast called for rain and thunderstorms all day, so my list included polishing shoes, ironing shirts, pressing slacks, and cooking up a batch of Chili.  However, the sun is high in a blue sky and I'm heading outdoors to enjoy the Autumn air while I can.  The other stuff can wait until it does rain, or tomorrow, whichever comes first.

More later.

Marine vs. NYPD. Priceless.

Just look at the faces of the NYPD.  One Marine shouting down the cops and their final retreat.
The best so far.
More later

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Matt Taibbi: 5 Things OWS Should Demand

 This is an awesome short piece by Matt, but it never misses the mark.
"No matter what, I’ll be supporting Occupy Wall Street. And I think the movement’s basic strategy – to build numbers and stay in the fight, rather than tying itself to any particular set of principles – makes a lot of sense early on. But the time is rapidly approaching when the movement is going to have to offer concrete solutions to the problems posed by Wall Street. To do that, it will need a short but powerful list of demands. There are thousands one could make, but I’d suggest focusing on five:

1. Break up the monopolies. The so-called “Too Big to Fail” financial companies – now sometimes called by the more accurate term “Systemically Dangerous Institutions” – are a direct threat to national security. They are above the law and above market consequence, making them more dangerous and unaccountable than a thousand mafias combined. There are about 20 such firms in America, and they need to be dismantled; a good start would be to repeal the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act and mandate the separation of insurance companies, investment banks and commercial banks.

2. Pay for your own bailouts. A tax of 0.1 percent on all trades of stocks and bonds and a 0.01 percent tax on all trades of derivatives would generate enough revenue to pay us back for the bailouts, and still have plenty left over to fight the deficits the banks claim to be so worried about. It would also deter the endless chase for instant profits through computerized insider-trading schemes like High Frequency Trading, and force Wall Street to go back to the job it’s supposed to be doing, i.e., making sober investments in job-creating businesses and watching them grow.

3. No public money for private lobbying. A company that receives a public bailout should not be allowed to use the taxpayer’s own money to lobby against him. You can either suck on the public teat or influence the next presidential race, but you can’t do both. Butt out for once and let the people choose the next president and Congress.

4. Tax hedge-fund gamblers. For starters, we need an immediate repeal of the preposterous and indefensible carried-interest tax break, which allows hedge-fund titans like Stevie Cohen and John Paulson to pay taxes of only 15 percent on their billions in gambling income, while ordinary Americans pay twice that for teaching kids and putting out fires. I defy any politician to stand up and defend that loophole during an election year.

5. Change the way bankers get paid. We need new laws preventing Wall Street executives from getting bonuses upfront for deals that might blow up in all of our faces later. It should be: You make a deal today, you get company stock you can redeem two or three years from now. That forces everyone to be invested in his own company’s long-term health – no more Joe Cassanos pocketing multimillion-dollar bonuses for destroying the AIGs of the world.

To quote the immortal political philosopher Matt Damon from Rounders, “The key to No Limit poker is to put a man to a decision for all his chips.” The only reason the Lloyd Blankfeins and Jamie Dimons of the world survive is that they’re never forced, by the media or anyone else, to put all their cards on the table. If Occupy Wall Street can do that – if it can speak to the millions of people the banks have driven into foreclosure and joblessness – it has a chance to build a massive grassroots movement. All it has to do is light a match in the right place, and the overwhelming public support for real reform – not later, but right now – will be there in an instant."  — Matt Taibbi: My Advice to the Occupy Wall Street Protesters 
Man, the truth hurts even more when reduced to a numerical bullet list. Whew!

And so it goes.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Longtime Gulf Shrimper Closing Business

Now class, repeat after me:  "There is nothing wrong with Gulf seafood. There is nothing wrong with Gulf seafood. There is nothing wrong with Gulf seafood."  Now read this:
NEW ORLEANS - Dean Blanchard is a third-generation shrimper who owns a processing plant in Grand Isle, LA.

He's also part of a documentary debuting at the New Orleans Film Festival.  "The Big Fix" tracks the Deepwater Horizon disaster and its producers claim the oil and dispersants are causing wildlife and people to get sick.

Blanchard says he sees it firsthand in his business.

"We're seeing dead porpoises, we're seeing shrimp with no eyes that's still alive, we're seeing fish with tumors the size of golf balls in them, we're seeing fish with oil all over the gills, we're seeing shrimp with oil all over the gills," says Blanchard.  "It's hard for me to think that everything is going to be alright."

Blanchard says fewer shrimp are coming into his plant this season and some of the shrimp show signs of contamination.  Business is so bad, he closed the plant Thursday night and he's not sure he'll reopen it.

"I came home and I started looking at my books and I don't see where it pays us to stay open," he says.  "Basically we're giving more credit than what we're getting in profit. We're going backwards."
Blanchard laid off 65 people immediately following the oil spill and says 20 more jobs could be jeopardy.  He says he plans to keep fighting to make sure BP continues to pay up and clean up.

 Now go and watch the video HERE.  I don't want to embed it because it deserves many more hits than it has.

The film "The Big Fix" (I would love to see it) caused quite a stir at the festival, so I hear. And rightly so.  This situation in the Gulf - and beyond - is going to be with us for a long time. Don't believe the BP PR machine.

Note:  Following the previous 2 posts on this subject I received anonymous comments from individuals (?) written in prepared script form, practically bullet listing all BP has done so far.  Clearly rubbish, I rejected them. Anonymous postings don't prove anything is true.  Whenever anyone wants to go on record and prove any of these posts false, I will gladly post their comments, after checking their sources, of course.

And so it goes.

Slum Lord Caturday

Hey, it takes all kinds.

And so it goes.

Friday, October 14, 2011

"The Kid" A long Over-due Experience.

Chaplin and 4-year old Jackie Coogan in his first role.

On the Gay Agenda this evening.  One of the best films of all time.

And so it goes.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Human Rights Activist Frank Kameny: R. I. P.

He was relentless and fought a good fight. Many wins and even more losses.  I wrote about my Kameny connection here, so no need to add anything. other than express my deep sorrow at his passing. He worked for, and accomplished so much - not always behind the scenes - and few LGBT people of this generation know him.  It boggles the mind. From WaPo:

Few people who set out to change the world actually succeed. Frank Kameny was one of those few. You most likely have never heard of him. But for gay Americans, he’s a Founding Father of the historic movement that pulled us out of the closet and into greater acceptance in the United States. What made Kameny a hero was that he demanded equity and fairness when it was literally him against the world. He was 86 and lived in Washington.
I can’t remember the first time I met Kameny. But I’ll never forget the impression he left on me. Feisty. Determined. What impressed me most about Kameny, though, was his unapologetic pragmatism. While he was “stubborn and impatient,” as D.C. Council Member David Catania (I-At Large) told The Post, Kameny understood that he, and eventually the movement that grew around him, had to make big leaps to get society as a whole to take the incremental steps need to move toward equality for gay men, lesbians, bisexual and transgendered Americans. And what leaps he made.When Kameny was fired from his job at the Army Map Service in 1957 for being gay, he petitioned the Supreme Court in 1961 for relief, arguing that the federal government’s treatment of him was an “affront to human dignity.” He was the first person to make that civil rights argument to the nation’s high court. His petition was denied, but “it started a revolution,” said Charles Francis, a founder of the Kameny Papers Project. Four years before the 1969 Stonewall riots in New York City, Kameny (second from left in the photo below) and other brave souls were picketing the White House and the Pentagon to demand equality. His bold leaps led to — and will continue to lead to — lasting change.
 If you're able to be out and proud you can thank Frank.  He paved the way for many who were frightened and full of guilt.

It's all at WaPo, HERE.

And so it goes.

Remembering Matthew: October 12, 1998

And so it goes.

BP Hasn't Learned the Lesson

It's all about money and greed.  As usual, no US media coverage about this one, either. From the Independent UK:
BP is making contingency plans to fight the largest oil spill in history, as it prepares to drill more than 4,000 feet down in the Atlantic in wildlife-rich British waters off the Shetland Islands.
Click HERE to view graphic (207k jpg)
Internal company documents seen by The Independent show that the worst-case scenario for a spill from its North Uist exploratory well, to be sunk next year, would involve a leak of 75,000 barrels a day for 140 days – a total of 10.5 million barrels of oil, comfortably the world's biggest pollution disaster. 
This would be more than double the amount of oil spilled from its Deepwater Horizon well in the Gulf of Mexico last year, which had a maximum leak rate of 62,000 barrels a day in an incident lasting 88 days – and triggered a social, economic and environmental catastrophe in the US which brought the giant multinational to the brink of collapse.
The North Uist well, in a seabed block named after the Hebridean island but located 80 miles north-west of Shetland, is part of BP's ongoing attempts to open up the West of Shetland sea area, sometimes referred to as the "Atlantic Frontier", as a rich new oil province to replace the dwindling productivity of the North Sea.
The project appeared to have been shelved by the former BP chief executive Tony Hayward last year in the aftermath of Deepwater Horizon and the barrage of criticism directed at the company for its safety record. But it is now going ahead, and the well will be drilled by a drilling ship, the Stena Caron, some time from January onwards, as long as it is given a licence by the Energy Secretary, Chris Huhne.
The company already has three West of Shetland wells producing oil, at depths from 140 to 500 metres (460 to 1,640ft). But North Uist, described by BP as "stepping out, in terms of depth", will be nearly three times as deep, at 1,290m below the surface, in immensely testing conditions similar to those of its ill-fated Gulf well, which was located 1,500 metres down, and began its unprecedented "gusher" leak in April last year. 
There's more HERE, as well as more links.
More later.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

National Coming Out Day

You will not be free until you do.

And so it goes.


Bank Transfer Day

I did this 2 years ago, I may have written about it.  The bank was only offering incentives and higher interest rates on savings and CDs to NEW customers. I have to say I made the right decision.

I remember this being suggested a while back when bailed out banksters refused to lend money to anyone or help homeowners with mortgage issues.  I believe it was also suggested by Arianna Huffington, with all due respect. Funny, how all it takes is an angry citizenry to cause such a stir and potential chaos.  I mean that it a very good way.  From Common Dreams:

‘Bank Transfer Day’ Causes Credit Union Buzz

by Jim Rubenstein
Even with most credit unions closed for Columbus Day there was plenty of online buzz, and uncertainty, about what the credit union industry role might be on “Bank Transfer Day,” the latest event surfacing from the “Occupy Wall Street” protests.
Industry sources, speaking off the record, suggested any wholesale switch from large banks to CUs on Nov. 5, the day designated by one Californian and carried atwitter Monday, could conceivably put net worth ratios out of whack.
The balance sheet problem was raised by several industry officials as a potential hazard as online articles focused on what “Occupy” supporters are calling now for a specific action to underscore their complaints against big banks and corporate “greed.”
For the record, Mark Wolff, CUNA senior vice president-communications, said only that the trade group welcomes the idea of “a viral 'Bank Transfer Day'” since it shows “just how angry consumers are becoming with their treatment by big banks” and will now look at CUs.
CUNA said its Facebook posts have already witnessed big jumps in traffic on There also have been big gains on
Read it all HERE.

And so it goes.

The Beach After Labor Day?

Whenever anyone asks "what's there is to do at the beach after Labor Day?"  I roll my eyes and (under my breath) say, You. Have. No. Idea. Labor Day is the end of the major tourist season, but local activities begin to blossom.

This is a small taste - and all in one weekend. Beginning last Friday the town businesses celebrated with the annual Sidewalk Sale where one could pick up seasonal clothes, beach essentials, toys, and hats at stupefying prices. It ran through Sunday

Then there was the Buddy Walk  supporting research into Down Syndrome.  This is followed by large groups/families hosting dinner parties at local restaurants.  Dos Locos is a proud sponsor of the organization and served 3 big parties over 2 days.

This was also Greyhound weekend at the beach.  The owners of rescued race hounds converged to show off their beauties, stroll the beaches, shop and, of course, dine.  Without the hounds, of course. There were hundreds of dogs and owners between Lewes, to the north, and Dewey Beach to the south, with Rehoboth right in the middle.

Then there was the annual Christmas Show & Sale with over 50 venders and crafts folk selling their wares or teaching workshops all weekend.

Another big draw was a dance conference in the ballroom of a hotel on the beach.  Fancy strutters of all ages, shapes and sizes, many first time visitors, loved the town and dined with us.

Two restaurants celebrated anniversaries on Saturday & Sunday respectively. One is 10 years old and the other is a mature dame of 30.  The latter shebang served champagne and shots and offered up a short concert by Thelma Houston, the disco diva of the 70s & 80s who rocked the place for almost an hour before singing her greatest hit "Don't Leave Me This Way" as a soaring finale.

The weather was perfect with daily temps in the 70s and overnight in the 50s. As you can imagine, this had a profound effect on everyone enjoying one or all the activities.

By comparison, Ocean City, MD could boast only an Antique Auto Show & Parade, and Sun Fest.  And for the first time in 5 years the sun actually was shining on Sun Fest.  Oh well.

Coming up this week is Jazz Fest, showcasing Jazz greats and new talent performing in many venues around town.

The following week we take a breather to prepare us for the Sea Witch Festival and Halloween weekend.

What is there to do at the beach after Labor Day?  Not much, really.

I am happy for my 2 days off this week.

More later.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

3 health reasons to cook with cast-iron

Ran across this a few days ago.  I use my grandmother's cast iron skillet as often as possible, to smother chicken with potatoes and onions, or to fry an egg.  It dates back to 1920; was a wedding gift and worth its weight in gold throughout her life.  It was used almost daily over the years and I am grateful to have it in my home today.  Quite a healthy connection to great memories and for making new ones.
By Kerri-Ann Jennings, M.S., R.D., Associate Nutrition Editor at EatingWell Magazine

Cast-iron skillets may seem like an old-fashioned choice in the kitchen. But this dependable cookware is a must in the modern kitchen. Cast-iron skillets conduct heat beautifully, go from stovetop to oven with no problem and last for decades. (In fact, my most highly prized piece of cookware is a canary-yellow, enamel-coated cast-iron paella pan from the 1960s that I scored at a stoop sale for $5.) As a registered dietitian and associate nutrition editor of EatingWell Magazine, I also know that there are some great health reasons to cook with cast iron.
17 Healthy Recipes for Cast Iron Skillets
1. You can cook with less oil when you use a cast-iron pan.
That lovely sheen on cast-iron cookware is the sign of a well-seasoned pan, which renders it virtually nonstick. The health bonus, of course, is that you won’t need to use gads of oil to brown crispy potatoes or sear chicken when cooking in cast-iron. To season your cast-iron skillet, cover the bottom of the pan with a thick layer of kosher salt and a half inch of cooking oil, then heat until the oil starts to smoke. Carefully pour the salt and oil into a bowl, then use a ball of paper towels to rub the inside of the pan until it is smooth. To clean cast iron, never use soap. Simply scrub your skillet with a stiff brush and hot water and dry it completely.
Must-Read: The 2 Healthiest Oils to Cook With (and the Worst to Avoid)
2. Cast iron is a chemical-free alternative to nonstick pans.
Another benefit to using cast-iron pans in place of nonstick pans is that you avoid the harmful chemicals that are found in nonstick pans. The repellent coating that keeps food from sticking to nonstick pots and pans contains PFCs (perfluorocarbons), a chemical that’s linked to liver damage, cancer, developmental problems and, according to one 2011 study in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, early menopause. PFCs get released—and inhaled—from nonstick pans in the form of fumes when pans are heated on high heat. Likewise, we can ingest them when the surface of the pan gets scratched. Both regular and ceramic-coated cast-iron pans are great alternatives to nonstick pans for this reason.
Must-Read: 7 Simple Ways to Detox Your Diet and Your Home
8 More Products to Help You Green Up Your Kitchen
Read the rest here. And start your own tradition using cast iron cookware.

And so it goes.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

To Steve Jobs: BYE...

That last line of the tearful little boy, Barry,  in Close Encounters of the Third Kind, seems appropriate for me.

I always thought Steve Jobs was handsome.  I always thought he was witty. I always thought he was charming. I always thought he had a grand sense of humor.  I always thought him a mild mannered genius. I always thought there was an aura about him that everyone seemed to "GROK" in fullness.

I also thought that he would live, if not forever, at least to a ripe old age after sharing the fruits of his amazing imagination and talent with the world. I was wrong.  From all I have read, we were all wrong. Being wrong is no fun.


And so it goes.

Caturday Tiger Tai Chi

Aren't they magnificent, though.

More later.

Friday, October 7, 2011

10 Never-isms

 Don't know the author/authors.  This list arrived in my inbox this afternoon and I thought I'd share. To my mind the first is most important; the last is the most touching

Never dull your shine for somebody else.

Never ascribe to an opponent motives meaner than your own.

Never continue in a job you don't enjoy.

Never feel self-pity, the most destructive emotion there is.

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.

Never let the odds keep you from pursuing what you know in your heart you were meant to do.

Never lose a chance of saying a kind word.

Never rise to speak till you have something to say; and when you have said it, sit down.

Never depend on immersion in another person for your personal growth.

Never lose sight of the fact that old age needs so little but needs that little so much.

And so it goes.

Social Security: Truly The Quintessential SS!

Having received no response to my September letter and questionnaire, I thought I had heard the last from the Social Security Administration - at least until next year - but, no.   Another missive appeared in the mail box yesterday.

Here's the post regarding my recent communication with them, just to bring you up to speed.  Or, to make you throw up, as the case may be.

Today's letter informs me (in 6 pages of confusing, conflicting text) that I will earn more than I am allowed (knew that already) That for every $2. I earn over the allowed amount they will confiscate $1., and that I must return all monies received from the administration.  Which, of course, is $0.00. To date, nothing has been deposited in my account. Not. A. Dime.

They differ. In their eyes I owe them almost 2 thousand dollars. I am so tired of all this confusion and stoopid behavior, I can't begin to tell you. 

Taking advice to file early from those who already had retirement income was the worst thing I've ever done.  I ought to have waited another year - to reach full retirement age - to file.  This has been an unhappy, unhealthy, and unnecessary mess.

That said, it is what it is and must be dealt with to the end.

And so it goes.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Statement Released by Occupy Wall Street

Read by Keith Olbermann last evening on his show.
Not one untrue item in the lot.

And so it goes. And Continues...

Pet Shop Boys: Miracles

Couldn't sleep. Watched this twice to relax and prep for the day.  Discovered that this could now be embedded, and so here it is. Just a great beat, good lyrics, and staggeringly beautiful images.  Enjoy.
I do love the music of Tennant and Lowe. Now, I can't go back to sleep, so I'll brew a coffee, shower and shave, and get ready for my sunrise walk on the boardwalk. Oh, it's a brand new day

And so it goes.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Five on the Fifth: Pleasure

Stephen Chapman over at “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 PLEASURE. I chose to follow the theme this time round.

My 5 are simple pleasures, really. The Ocean. Bombay Sapphire Gin, and Food. So, here goes.
Oct. 1 - the first blue sky in 2 weeks, as seen from my porch as I head to work.
Oct. 2 - Rains are back. I've got Queen Victoria to keep me warm.
Oct. 3 - morning walk on beach between storms. You can see rain over the ocean at right.
Oct. 4 - almost duplicate of yesterday, with more breaks in the clouds. And People!
Oct. 5 - Today!  Sun is out and I made Muffuletta Olive Salad. Needs a week before use.
Note: This is the first day in weeks without a warning of thunderstorms in the area. With the exception of #2., you can click on the images to embiggen.

Well, that's what I've got for the cause. If you don't know what a Muffuletta Sandwich is, just let me know. Or, Google it.

And so it goes.

OWS: Putting Pundits to Shame

This is the best piece I've read about the Occupy Wall Street movement since it began. Put aside the endless video clips and the sound bites and get to the meat and potatoes of the issues at hand.

From Joshua Holland at AlterNet:

Putting Pundits to Shame: Protesters Know Exactly What They're Fighting for.
Their style may not have been as mainstream as the retirees attending a Glenn Beck rally, but they knew precisely what they were there for. 

It should come as a surprise to nobody that the corporate media's early coverage of the Occupy Wall Street movement has featured an abundance of hippie-punching but very little about the substantive issues driving thousands of Americans to take over the streets of cities across the country.

As I approached the 30 or so activists who have been camped out for weeks in front of the Federal Reserve Building as part of OccupySF – a protest smaller than those in New York, Boston or Los Angeles – I'd been primed by news stories heaping scorn on these ostensibly confused, foul-smelling rebels-without-a-cause, but what I encountered was very different.

I discovered that while their style may not have been as mainstream as that of the retirees attending a Glenn Beck rally, they knew precisely what they were there for. They had specific demands and even a simple-to-understand "bumper-sticker" message. “We stand for the 99 percent who don't have much of a voice in this system,” a young woman named Melissa told me. A recent graduate with “not much in the way of job prospects,” she said she'd never been involved in a protest before.

Genuine grassroots movements don't begin with poll-tested messages or slick media operations and aren't fronted by polished spokespeople. In any group of ordinary citizens, be it a Shriner's convention or an uprising against the Wall Street hucksters who took down the global economy, there will be some number who are in fact confused or clueless. A visiting reporter can shape whatever narrative he or she chooses by simply selecting whom to interview and which parts of those interviews make the cut.

At OccupySF on Saturday morning, I too could have crafted a story of hapless, unfocused hipsters had I chosen to focus on the 20-year-old kid serenading confused tourists with a bullhorn rendition of “You Are So Beautiful.” But it wouldn't have been honest. A minute after he began crooning, several other activists told him that he wasn't doing much good for the cause.

Instead, I decided to speak with a man named John, who I found collating and stapling a box of leaflets fresh from the copy store. A 30-something dressed in a tie-dyed shirt who had been “out of work for about two years,” John was noticeably uncomfortable being interviewed. He asked me several times if he could start an answer over. “You'll edit that part out?” he asked me more than once. “I'm really not good at public speaking,” he said, awkwardly.

Then, in stops and starts, John proceeded to lay out a sophisticated and nuanced analysis of our economic straits, and offered a series of very specific prescriptions for making the economy work for everyone, rather than just those at the top. It was a breakdown that made most of the pundits looking down their noses at the Occupy Wall Street movement look like superficial dilettantes obsessed with trivia.

“We know what we're against,” he told me, “but what do we stand for?” John had a 12-point agenda, which he acknowledged would “probably need to be condensed.” “We need to bring back Glass-Steagal,” he said, referring to the Depression-era law that created a firewall between investment- and commercial-banking. “It's really ironic that a law whose purpose was to prevent another Great Depression was repealed and now we have an economy that is worse than at any time since the Depression,” he said. “That's strange.”

“We need a massive investment in infrastructure, in green technology, high-speed rail, things like that,” he said. “We need to abandon or significantly modify these free-trade agreements like NAFTA... these weren't the result of some democratic groundswell. They were written by lobbyists,” he told me. “You know, to oversimplify things, they're intended to maximize corporate profits.”

Read the whole thing HERE.

More later.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Autumn, Dutch Treats & Muffuletta Madness

We seem to be one month ahead of ourselves, weather-wise here.  At least by the calendar. We had August heat in July, September cooling in August, October winds and rain in September and now November chill in October.  Very unsettling. Time to break out the blanket.  No rain today, but crisp, cool and breezy. 42' F when I woke up and only 55' this afternoon.  Feels much cooler because of the winds.

At least there was no rain today.  A nice break after 2 weeks of on and off big storms hitting the area.

I had a few lists for my day off, and headed out in the blustery weather to attend to the errands and get them out of the way so that tomorrow is a free day..

Light grocery shopping was followed by the purchase of a few new private-label cute wines for the rack. Next, since 3 pair of work slacks were ruined by the leak in the closet, I shopped for another 2 pair to hold me over.

Dropped off the purchases at home before heading to the Farmer's market to pick up kale, squash, and stock up on sausages from the magic man .  No bread man visible today. Bother!

Received another cryptic letter and questionnaire in the mail from Social Security, which I filed on the "later" shelf. The stoopid is strong with that bunch.

Got online to check mail and search for Muffuletta bread, and olive salad recipes. Found a couple of winners, but no stand mixer for the bread; though the olive salad recipe is a 'must-try' for me.

While on the prowl I found a Dutch foods site called Dutch Sweets offering classic sweet and light salt Licorice, dark chocolates, Conimex  mixes - Nasi Goreng, and Pinda Satesaus, and Gevulde Koeken (almond paste stuffed round cookes - heaven) among other things.  Sadly, no cheeses are available. Saved the site in 'favorites' and moved on.

A beef stir-fry is on the menu tonight and a martini is scheduled beforehand.

Tomorrow I plan to purchase needed items that, while not emergency replacements, have bothered me for the entire summer.  New shower-head tops the list, followed by a new ironing board cover and a couple of larger pots to re-pot the indoor plants that appear to thrive in the living room windows.

Will also pick up the ingredients for the Muffuletta Olive Salad recipe; make it and set it aside for about a week.

After that the gay agenda is blank - as is my dance card. (fan fluttering, as I sit by the wall waiting for an invitation) Oh, never mind.  Just see if I offer you a homemade Muffuletta Sandwich any time soon!

And so it goes.

Jazz for Cows!

And now for something completely different.

More later.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

A Welcome Hand-Me-Down

Received a surprise gift today from a co-worker.  Originally a 'thank you' gift from relatives for his hospitality, the recipients had no use for it.

Let me back up a bit here.

Everyone at work boasts about their summer grilling; be it their fresh caught fish, steaks, vegetable ka-bobs, or even the lowly barbecued chicken. When asked, I always made suggestions of recipes for rubs and sauces, side dishes and salads.  All tried and true, tested in my previous life as they were, many liked the recipes and wondered why I didn't grill for myself.

Well, first of all, I have no place to put a grill if I bought one. Second, most grills are too large to fire up for a single person's supper.  Wasteful and time-consuming.

So I contented myself with a round cast iron grill, purchased to try out one of friend Peter's (of Tippin' the Scales fame) delicious recipes and have used it from time to time for panini, pork chops, burgers, even a petit sirloin. Since I have an electric cooktop it took a bit of getting used to, but no real disasters occured.  It wasn't the same as outdoor grilling, but close.  Got rid of the fats and seared the meats well. Though "clean-up" wasn't exactly a breeze as advertised, it was worth the effort to enjoy the grilling experience.

This new arrival won't compete with outdoor grilling either, but it does so much more.  I don't know if the image here is the model I have, but it's very similar. It's a single or double sided grill, or griddle. It can open and lie flat for a larger cooking surface and the cooking options are many.  Ham steaks can be cooked on a grill side while eggs are cooked on the griddle side. 

OK, I don't have the box or instruction booklet, but I just downloaded that (and the image above from the Cuisinart site), so I see cooking fun and experimentation in the near future. I am grateful to my Honduran friends for their thoughtfulness and generosity.

I know many of you live in homes rather than apartments, so it may not be of interest to you, but I'll write more when I've taken it for a test run and let you know how it performs.

Doing a Snoopy Happy Dance tonight.

And so it goes.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Fixin' a Hole - Update

Thanks to monster thunderstorms that passed through last evening and into early this morning (looking for all the world like a Trevor Nunn production) I can honestly say...The leak was NOT repaired properly.  Well, I am shocked and amazed.  Not!  Remember?  Roofers without ladders???  Which, for the record, is nothing like Doctors without borders. 
I had to empty the small bucket, intentionally left in place just in case, twice and though the sun made an appearance this afternoon, the bucket will require attention this evening.  Oh, and there are more storms on the way this evening. I just got in and things are not looking so good. The sky is already getting dark and ominous.

I laugh at the clouds, so dark up above. The sun's in my heart, it's "the bucket brigade" for me, again tonight.

It's time for supper and I could swear I smell olives nearby...

And so it goes.


Revolution Caturday

Of the French Kind.

Musical, or not.  Take your pick.

And so it goes.
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