Wednesday, October 31, 2012

OK, so it's Halloween.

I just don't feel it this year.  Wonder why?

Maybe it's Superstorm-Sandy (I hate that name) withdrawal.  Maybe it's coming to grips with what happened.  Maybe it's attempting to wrap my head around the scope of the destruction and the slow road to recovery for so many, especially those in New York.

And maybe it's the realization that I am exhausted from the past 4 days and just want to get back to work, get out of myself, and be with people again. The fact that I was without electricity for less than 24 hours and experienced no flooding leads me to believe that I made the right decision to live in town.

I dragged myself out today to run a few errands and traveled west rather than east, didn't visit the ocean. I didn't want to see what I know is there.  I'll wait for a better day.  Today is cold, gloomy and gray; kinda like my mood. The streets in my part of town were still littered with debris, but the large broken branches were gone. 

The restaurant will open for dinner today at 4.  As far as I know all staff made it through the storm OK.  Though a few remain without electric power. At least I've not heard any bad news from the bosses.

I'll be grateful to get back to work tomorrow and not only for the joy of it. The combined bills for the recent blood work and x-rays of the hands arrived and is more than I expected. I also lost 3 days pay this week.

Good News:  The Cardinals that nest in the stand of bamboo next door have just now made a noisy appearance. I have not heard their song in days, I was afraid we'd lost them.

A sunny day and getting back to work will do wonders to cheer me up.

And so it goes.


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Obama Criticized for Quick Response to Sandy by Michael Brown?

Remember Michael Brown?  How about "Heck of a job Brownie"? He's the douche nozzle who headed FEMA's non-response to Katrina. While New Orleans drowned, Brownie was in Baton Rouge trying on new suits that made him look official, or something. The sub-header to this story published today reads:  

Irony is dead, cremated, stuck in a capsule and shot into outer space.

Former FEMA Director Michael Brown offered criticism of President Obama’s early responses to Hurricane Sandy yesterday, including a dig at the administration’s response to last month’s attack in Libya.
Yesterday, ahead of the storm’s pummeling of the eastern seaboard, Brown gave  an interview  to the local alternative paper, the Denver Westword, on how he believed the Obama administration was responding to Sandy too quickly and that Obama had spoken to the press about Sandy’s potential effect too early.
Brown turned then to a reliable right-wing attack on the President’s response to the attack on a U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi that killed four Americans:
“One thing he’s gonna be asked is, why did he jump on [the hurricane] so quickly and go back to D.C. so quickly when in…Benghazi, he went to Las Vegas?” Brown says. “Why was this so quick?… At some point, somebody’s going to ask that question…. This is like the inverse of Benghazi.”
Conservatives have been hitting Obama  for weeks  on his attendance at a fundraiser in Nevada following the assault in Benghazi, claiming at alternate times that the President either  cared more about politics  than lives lost or that he was trying to downplay the attack’s significance. Now the critique has mutated into a belief that Obama is currently “playing President” to score points during disaster relief in the run-up to the election, in contrast to his actions in September.
Brown is  not the only one  making the insinuation that Obama and his administration are responding too quickly to Sandy only for political reasons. He’s joined in his accusations by such prominent right-wing commentators as former House Speaker Newt Gingrich  and columnist  Charles Krauthammer .
However, Brown’s comments carry a special irony due to the role he played during the Hurricane Katrina debacle in 2005. As director of FEMA during the legendarily botched response, Brown,  famously dubbed “Brownie”  by President Bush, was in the center of criticism from both sides of the aisle that the Bush administration was too slow to respond. An  internal review  by the Department of Homeland Security’s Inspector-General following the disaster concluded, “Much of the criticism is warranted.” Brown resigned from his position as director less than two weeks after Katrina hit.
The bastard should have been thrown in jail for incompetence, if not brought to trial for the deaths of almost 2,000 innocent men, women, and children.

Sandy: Comparison

This was shot Monday afternoon at the Rehoboth Beach Boardwalk with someone watching the waves from the corner at Dolle's. Don't know the photographer.  Just love this powerful shot.

This was shot this morning at 7:30 AM from just above the Boardwalk. Looks like most of the recently replenished beach is no more. This image was on the front page of the web edition of our local newspaper, The Cape Gazette. Quite a contrast, no?

I have not ventured out today.  I am more exhausted than I originally thought. Stress is not our friend.

And so it goes.

Post-Sandy Update: Tuesday Morning

(Image: the street where I used to live, taken yesterday afternoon.  Now glad I live in town. The old neighborhood didn't do so well.)

Power went off at around 6 PM last evening. I broke out the candles and read for about 2 hours hoping for it to be restored.  It wasn't.  Kindle reading is very comforting.  Screen gives off a warm glow and is easy on the eyes.

Gave up, extinguished the candles and got under the covers as the wind and rain lashed the building. I was  asleep almost immediately.  Woke in the dark, lit a candle, found a watch - it was 5:30 AM - close to my usual wake-up time.

Half hour later the apartment hummed to life. Lights came on and all clocks were blinking. A few minutes later power went off again.  It has been flickering or going out momentarily ever since. When it remains on for  an extended period I will plug the refrigerator in, but not until then.

It is still dark out, the winds have diminished somewhat, though still strong, and rain continues to fall. The apartment felt cold when I woke but I attributed it to the stress of the past 48 hours.  Not so. The temperature had dropped 30' over night and the indoor temperature is 64' - outdoors it's 42'. As with the refrigerator, I will crank up the heat when the power is relatively stable. Same goes for a coffee and breakfast. I am starved.  Pulled on some sweats to take the chill off the old body and wanted to get this posted before the power goes down again.

When things calm down a bit I may take a walk around town to check things out, but not in this heavy rain and gusty winds, thank you very much.

Be safe everyone.

More later.

Sandy: Evening Update

Note: This post was to have been published at 6 PM Monday evening, but just as I was finishing up, the electricity went out and the town went dark. What you read now is history. More later.

Sandy has now shifted a bit farther north of northwest and will likely come ashore in southern New Jersey.  Delaware is a short distance across the bay from Cape May, NJ; this isn't exactly good news.

Winds are gusting to 90 mph and the rains are relentless at this hour. Reporting that Sandy should come ashore at any time now.
As I wrote earlier about riding out these storms and the isolation we felt, I've  been thinking more about the isolation and loneliness of riding out hurricanes in New Orleans (in the dark ages) when all we had was a deck of cards, books, lots of candles and a radio.

Ah yes, the radio.  Radios were great for official updates and other important information, but unfortunately, they would eventually lose electric power and revert to backup generators.  This meant that their signal was reduced to a few mile radius of the towers.  So, when the power failed, the lifeline broadcasts disappeared as well.

Back then, local stations were AM stations only (FM was a promise for the future) and many of these station licenses were restricted to dawn-to-dusk broadcast hours, so as not to compete with signals of the larger network stations broadcasting from cities like New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles.

When the lights went out and/or darkness fell, we were totally isolated and very much alone. The only technology that kept us connected was the good ol' telephone.  Say what you will about old Ma Bell, but their foresight in designing and building their infrastructure in the south means that even today, if you have a land line - and a corded phone (not cordless, they are useless when the power goes out) you could always reach out to friends and family to check in on them.

During and after Katrina the only people I could reach were those who maintained a land line. The cell sites went down almost immiediately creating instant panic. As a matter of fact, that's how my NOLA friend called me this afternoon - on my land line.  It's an automatic response learned in childhood.

There are some lessons one better not forget.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Sandy: Afternoon Update

It is now 2:30 PM EDT and there is flooding reported in Lewes and, as this image shows, the water has topped the Rehoboth Boardwalk. High tide is still 4 hours away.

Just got off the phone with an old and dear friend in New Orleans; checking in to make sure I remembered the old hurricane drill.  Like filling the bathtub with water for washing and flushing. Then we just talked for 45 minutes about everything and nothing.  It took my mind off of the wind gusts and rains that are pounding this tiny town.

Many secondary roads in low lying areas are flooded, closed as the storm is hours away from making landfall. Thank G*d the state has a presence on Face Book and continually posts updates on road conditions and local area flooding.

So far, all my talkative friends on FB seem to be safe and sound, but all bets are off if the power goes out. It got me thinking about the loneliness and isolation we used to feel riding out storms before all this magical connectivity brought us closer together.  At least we don't feel so isolated or far away. Yes, even though some are only a few miles away and we're still alone, it's comforting to know they are out there, too.

Oh, and it will be about 20 hours before we begin to get some relief from the winds and rains. On that note, here I am all dressed up and nowhere to go, so I think I'll indulge in a festive cocktail. Cheers!

And so it goes.

Sandy: Morning Update

Sandy is still hours away, but the fat girl is already warming up to make her entrance and sing.

Obviously I still have electricity, here's a quick update.  At 5 AM today, Governor Jack Markell ordered statewide Level Two driving restrictions.

According to state law, a Level 2 Driving Restriction provides that no person shall operate a motor vehicle on Delaware roadways other than essential personnel. Essential personnel includes those employees necessary to maintain the core functions of government and maintain health and safety by providing utility services, healthcare services, and food and fuel deliveries. In addition, some private employers have received a waiver from the Delaware Emergency Management Agency for essential employees.

First offense carries a $115. fine.  The second is $200. and the third carries a fine and 30-day jail sentence.

I've showered and had a coffee. A hot breakfast is next because I don't know how long my good fortune will last.  I will dress and check the emergency getaway bag to be sure I didn't miss packing anything I will need if I do have to make a run for it.

The winds are gusting to 55 mph and the rains are heavy and banding in some rhythm of its own design. The steady sounds are not annoying, at least not yet. The main Coastal Highway has already been closed between Dewey Beach south to Bethany Beach.  That narrow strip of land floods when the Atlantic Ocean washes over to join with Rehoboth Bay.  This will only get worse due the the high tides of the next 3 or 4 cycles. Each tide becoming higher than the last as Sandy draws closer to land. Remember there is also the full, new moon to contend with.

I'll post another update later, unless power goes out. Stay safe everyone, it promises to be a long week ahead.

Latest High Wind Warning for Delaware.

And so it goes.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Update: Hurricane Sandy & Me.

I didn't work today.  As posted last night, the mandatory evacuation began at 8 pm with Shelters opening at noon today and everyone getting out of Dodge by 8 PM tonight. Seeing photos of the restaurant completely boarded up on Face Book this morning, I sent a text asking if we were closed. Reply said "no, opening as usual."  Which was followed by an incoherent telephone conversation. Evidently, the Governor's message was not received by the locosguys, who pitched a hissy fit.  I was told to take the day off.  It's complicated. 

(Photo: High tide this morning on Rehoboth Beach. Note there is no beach visible, only ocean and the sea foam being pushed right up to the dunes. Photo from local newspaper website posted this morning.)

Last night during storm preparations I found that I neglected to remove the batteries from the emergency weather radio last year after hurricane Irene and they corroded, essentially ruining the innards of the radio. Salt air does that, I suppose. Since I was dressed for work anyway, I took a drive (hoping against hope) to try to find a new one.  No luck, of course. Most stores were closed, but those that were open had sold out of everything battery-related. Including batteries.

Northbound traffic was heavy, while southbound was empty, but for a few of us locals doing last minute things that ought to have been done last week.  Oh Sigh!

In any case, there are no hotel rooms to be had for 40+ miles.  Well, I have plenty of batteries, flashlights, and candles; canned goods, water, Kindle (fully charged) a land line phone as well as the cell phone. Unless the building blows down or washes away, I ought to be OK.  And if it does that's OK, too.

Bands of rain come and go, the winds are steady at about 15 - 25 mph. That will change as the night wears on.

And so it goes.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Hurricane Sandy: Coastal Evacuation Ordered

I have nowhere to go and with a storm this huge is there anywhere to run to that's out of harm's way? I don't think so. This is the latest from our local newspaper, The Cape Gazette:
Gov. Jack Markell has ordered mandatory evacuation of coastal communities in Sussex, Kent and New Castle counties. The evacuation begins at 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 27, and is to be complete by 8 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 28.

Everyone within three-quarters of a mile of the ocean and the Delaware Bay is expected to evacuate by 8 p.m. Sunday. Everyone living in low-lying areas or places that have flooded in previous storms is urged to evacuate.

The governor issued a limited state of emergency, which does not include a ban on driving and does not require businesses to close. Officials estimated as many as 50,000 people will evacuate. Suggested routes and other information are expected to be posted at
A shelter for the Cape Region at Cape Henlopen High School will open at noon Sunday, Oct. 28.

Rehoboth Beach officials say Sea Witch activities planned for Sunday have been cancelled.
Markell urged the public to take the evacuation order seriously. "We are going to be a lot more successful if people listen to these evacuation orders," he said. "It's likely power is going to be lost. The bay communities will almost certainly be cut off. It will not be possible for first responders to evacuate them."

Officials emphasized the storm is very large and slow moving and could dump as much as 10 inches of rain on the Cape Region over the next few days. Heavy rain and winds as high as 60 mph are expected to down trees and power lines; workers will not be able to begin repairing the lines as long as winds exceed 45 mph.

"As wet as the ground is going to be, you could be out of power for a long time," said Director of Delaware Emergency Management Agency Jamie Turner. "I can assure you it's gonna be something a lot of people have never had an opportunity to see in Delaware."
Well, I am sure they are right about that last sentence.

The rest of the story is HERE.

And so it goes.

Once Upon a Caturday

Nice costume. Well, it is Halloween, after all.

More later.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Will Sandy Beach on Our Sandy Beaches?

Sandy's eye just left of center, and concentrated.
All conversations today were centered around (no pun intended) Hurricane Sandy as it was re-forming and consolidating its power after Cuba and the Bahamas.

Living in an exposed area as we do, it is wise to pay attention to the elements and this storm is taking advantage of all elements of weather on the eastern seaboard - as well as those west moving east toward the coast. 

When I got in this evening I checked NOAA, NHC, and a few news outlets. (Not the Weather Channel! I wish Cantore and the others would actually blow away as they stand in high wind conditions.) I found one news outlet, Reuters, reporting the facts with NOAA and the NHC confirming their reports.

Sandy is HUGE! No doubt about it. The storm continues to grow as it moves northward to an astounding 800+ miles across.  Even if winds remain at 75-80 mph (Category 1) the size of the thing means everything in its path will receive a sustained pounding of those wind speeds with severe heavy rains.  Not a rosy picture, is it?

With a storm this big there is nowhere to run to get out of its path.

Here's the latest Reuters report.  Forget the headline and read the meat of the story. 

Let's see what tomorrow brings.  The Sea Witch beckons.

And so it goes.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Hurricane Sandy - Here We Go Again!


AP via HuffPo:
Could  Hurricane Sandy, winter storm hybrid worse than the "Perfect Storm" of 1991 slam the East Coast just in time to ruin both Halloween and Election Day?
Some meteorologists have grown increasingly concerned, as Hurricane Sandy made landfall Thursday in Cuba and already turned deadly in the Caribbean.
Politico asked on Wednesday if perhaps Hurricane Sandy would be "the next climate wake-up call" as climate change will cause storms to become increasingly intense. As for this storm, the potential timing with Election Day led's Brad Johnson to remark, "Sandy is yet another reminder that the candidates should stop competing over who can poison the weather faster with increased oil, gas and coal production."
All the spare parts appear to be coming together to create what forecasters are calling "Frankenstorm," a monster combination of high wind, heavy rain, extreme tides and maybe snow that could cause havoc along the East Coast just before Halloween next week.
Hurricane Sandy, having blown through Haiti and Cuba on Thursday, continues to barrel north. A wintry storm is chugging across from the West. And frigid air is streaming south from Canada.
And if they meet Tuesday morning around New York or New Jersey, as forecasters predict, they could create a big wet mess that settles over the nation's most heavily populated corridor and reaches as far inland as Ohio.
At present Sandy is expected to "focus her fury" (ahem!) on Delaware, New Jersey, and New York - shades of Irene of last year - after that it's all up for grabs.

We shall see.  We're still planning for the Sea Witch Festival this weekend. It was cancelled last year for a similar reason and we're hoping to squeak by this one.

And so it goes.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Britishisms Used by Americans

Never thought about this before, probably since many of my British friendships go back 30+ years. But, it is interesting to see the cross fertilization, as it were.  From BBC News:
Autumn, n. The season between summer and winter. "'Autumn' is being used a lot more now instead of 'fall'." Alan, New York, US

Bloody, adj. and adv. An intensifier: absolute, downright, utter. Sometimes in a negative sense. "There have been several instances where I've heard the term 'bloody' in regular conversation. I understand the urge to say it in certain situations, but I react with a jolt when I hear it. It just seems so... indecent. The use of 'bloody', in my view, is iconically British. When Americans try to use it, I think they're trying to sound like Michael Caine. I feel it's a deliberate contrivance to associate themselves with some perceived prestige in sounding British. Some Americans think that by saying 'bloody' everybody will assume that they have four more IQ points than everyone else. It's understandable. And completely true." Marshall McCorcle, Dallas, Texas, US

Bum, n. The buttocks or posteriors (slang). "I have seen an increasing use of 'bum' for a person's backside here, both from local friends and from Americans on the web. While I am still perfectly fine with sitting on my butt, everyone else is getting all fancy talking about their bums." Jim Boyd, Des Moines, Iowa, US

Chav, n. Pejorative term to express young person who displays loutish behaviour, sometimes with connotations of low social status. "The word 'chav' is starting to catch on in the US, thanks to YouTube videos. I overheard someone say, 'Nah I'm not buying those sneakers man, they are so chavvy' at a sports retailer." Jeff Bagshaw, US
"Chav is becoming rather noticeable as a few Americans understand that not 'all British people are posh'. Boston/Cambridge is rife with international college students, so it may just be a blip, but I've heard it in a suburban grocery store in reference to some hooligans outside the store." Elaine Ashton, Lexington, Massachusetts, US

Cheeky, adj. Insolent or audacious in address; coolly impudent or presuming. "I have loved using the word cheeky for about 10 years now." Daniel Greene, Phoenix, Arizona, US  "Sometimes the British expression just says it better. I particularly like 'cheeky monkey'." G Griffin, Wethersfield, Connecticut, US
Cheers, sentence substitute. A drinking toast, goodbye, or thanks. "I am hearing people say goodbye to each other with the British 'cheers'. Since I have always had a fondness for the Brits and things British, I enjoy hearing it instead of the worn out 'later' or 'see ya later'. Like it or not, the Yanks and the Brits are cousins, and that's that. Cheers!" Paul Phillips, Marblehead, US  "Use of the word 'cheers' in place of 'thank you' is on the rise, perhaps among young people who have spent time with British people." Roddy McCalley, Joshua Tree, California, US

Fancy, v. With reference to fondness or liking. "Our US friends really enjoyed fancied, as in 'she fancied him', and an item, as in 'are you two an item?'." David Fryer, Muscat, Oman
"Fancy, as in I really fancy a pint." Paul W, New York City, US
The rest are HERE.

Oh, and Cheers!

And so it goes.

Carmina Burana Flash Mob

I love these events.  I often wonder about working out the logistics of these things. Hope to get caught up in one someday, too. Enjoy.

Mostly resting and reading today.  Another long holiday weekend is coming up.

And so it goes. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Good News for an Autumn Day

This morning following a coffee, a few grapes, and cantaloupe, I headed to the Dr.'s appt. It was a beautiful sun-splashed, Autumn morning; clear sky and leaves just beginning to change colour.  I felt really good.  No, I mean REALLY! It's been awhile.

Dropped off a few things at the dry cleaners beforehand and got to the office 5 minutes early. (Did you know that I hate being late - for anything) I was ushered in immediately to check the vitals and was happy to note that I've lost another 2 pounds and the blood pressure was (for the first time in ages) a very normal 120 over 70.  The fact that I've been eating oatmeal and crunching walnuts & almonds a couple of times a week is finally showing positive results.

The switch from Meloxicam to Flexeril has made a remarkable difference in the level of pain - which I am sure was part of the reason for the lower BP. Less pain = less stress.

When asked about my daily diet I told him of my very diverse and sometimes bizarre cravings and eating habits.  Not big on sweets, but I do love dark chocolate (70% cocoa minimum) and a good dish of ice cream.

I maintain a well-balanced diet. He was surprised to learn of my cooking skills, as well as my drinking habits. By "drinking habits" I mean the copious amounts of water consumed daily, as well as my cocktails and wine intake. One coffee daily and the occasional hot green tea in the evenings.

Hell, I'm too old to lie about things like that, so he'd better get used to it. (Never understood why guys lied to their doctors anyway. They can't help if they don't know the facts.)  He asked pointed questions about my cooking technique, the oils and fats used, and on and on. It was rather fun, really. The truth is I am cooking for one; I don't always have the luxury of preparing my cooking stocks from scratch, but I use the low fat, reduced sodium packaged variety when necessary.

The final result is I will remain on Flexeril + 1 aspirin daily, when I take vitamins in the morning.  Another Flexeril at bedtime if needed.  An appt. was made for 4 months from today (believe it or not, that will be in February 2013!) and I walked out of the office with a new script in hand and a big smile on my face.

Would  like to celebrate by taking myself out for dinner, but that's not going to happen any time soon.  My part of the recent blood work and x-rays turned out to be more than expected. Maybe I'll take myself out to a Happy Hour in a few days. After all, I DO have something to celebrate.

And so it goes.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Caturday Stratospheric Jump

Kitteh will not be upstaged by a mere human and Red Bull; makes the jump without pressure suit and lands on all fours, of course. Grooming began immediately upon touchdown.

And so it goes.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Saying "Goodbye"

This time of year isn't ever easy for us at the restaurant. Many of the summer students return to their home countries and head back to school.

This year has been no different. As 4 students spent their second summer with us, a few were first timers and became dear to us all. Some have already left without saying good-bye (seems the young'uns are as sentimental as us older folks) others took a brief holiday for themselves; to see more of the country which they may never see again (NYC, Chicago, Miami, Boston, etc) and returned to see us once more. 

Some of these young adults will be unable to return next year because they will graduate and their respective governments are afraid they might try to defect to the US.  Yes.  The same old, same old.

Maria Alexandra returned to Romania last week and David drove back to Mexico on Monday. They both arrived safely; none the worse for wear and very tired.

Certainly there are others, but I had most interaction with these two and shared many memories and copious amounts of laughter.  I miss them terribly.  Still, they are both on FaceBook so we are in touch, at least for the time being.  Their lives will change with graduation and the summer of 2012 in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware USA will recede into fond memory. For that alone, I am truly grateful.

A few pictures of our last times together:

Kitchen & Wait folks. Maria (center), David (far right).
Three Mexican servers and Maria. What a motley crew! I love them.
Maria & the "Elder Sage"
David & Maria on their last day working together.
The upside of all these goodbyes over the years is that I've been invited to visit anytime and that's a comforting thought.  I know I would be treated well and shown the best their cities have to offer.  But...

And so it goes.

Disney Animated Animals & Real Life

Hey, I needed a smile on this dreary, stormy Friday morning.

Put a smile on your face, too. There are lots more HERE

More later.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Angkor Wat Built With Help Of Ancient Canals

So, it seems the once thought whimsical efforts of Google Earth are proving to be quite fruitful recently. It is well known that I love stories like this and this one is made even more remarkable thanks to the detective work of Google Earth technicians.
Scientists have long known that the sandstone blocks used to build the famous Angkor Wat temple and other monuments in the ancient Cambodian city of Angkor came from quarries at the foot of a sacred mountain nearby. But how did the 5 million to 10 million blocks, some weighing more than 1500 kilograms, reach Angkor? Researchers report in a paper in press at the Journal of Archaeological Science that when they examined Google Earth maps of the area, they saw lines that looked like a transportation network. Field surveys revealed that the lines are a series of canals, connected by short stretches of road and river, that lead from the quarries straight to Angkor. The roads and canals—some of which still hold water—would've carried blocks from the 9th century to the 13th century on a total journey of 37 kilometers or so. The researchers don't know whether the blocks would've floated down the canals on rafts or via some other method. Scholars had previously assumed that the blocks were floated down a canal to the Tonle Sap Lake and then upstream on the Siem Reap River, a route of 90 kilometers. The newly reported canal network would've taken many months and thousands of laborers to construct, but it would have been all in a day's work for Khmer engineers, whose elaborate reservoirs and other hydraulic works at Angkor still inspire awe.
 And so it goes.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Stasis: Self Imposed Part 2, & Hannah's Dream

Dragged myself out early yesterday morning to run errands and get grocery shopping out of the way. Snagged a few bottles of wine in the process and took a walk on the boardwalk before heading back to the apartment. The air was intoxicating and the Atlantic was calm.

When I arrived at the apartment building I noticed that while all other cars on the block had not moved, the troll (new tenant in the next apartment) with the Hyena laugh had jockeyed his car into my previous space in front of the building. His former space was an illegal one and I had mentioned this to him on Monday. No good deed goes unpunished, as they say.

I parked down the block, making 3 trips to the car to bring in the purchases.  This activity did nothing for my physical well-being and caused great pain in the back and shoulders for the rest of the day. Took 2 Flexeril before bed and woke feeling better.

Any plans I had for today were tossed when I realized the back was extremely stiff, even though the pain had diminished. No need to chance more pain.

Again - Stasis. But that's fine.  I prepared a salad for tonight's supper, and pressed pants and shirts for the coming work week.

I downloaded a few books to the Kindle; having finished "Hannah's Dream" over the weekend. It's hard to describe but it was a very satisfying novel and one I enjoyed from beginning to end.  No dreary pauses, no obvious plot devices.  Just a very sweet story with more than a few surprises. Here's the Amazon Description:
An elephant never forgets . . . but can she dream?

For forty-one years, Samson Brown has been caring for Hannah, the lone elephant at the down-at-the-heels Max L. Biedelman Zoo. Having vowed not to retire until an equally loving and devoted caretaker is found to replace him, Sam rejoices when smart, compassionate Neva Wilson is hired as the new elephant keeper. But Neva quickly discovers what Sam already knows: that despite their loving care, Hannah is isolated from other elephants and her feet are nearly ruined from standing on hard concrete all day. Using her contacts in the zookeeping world, Neva and Sam hatch a plan to send Hannah to an elephant sanctuary—just as the zoo's angry, unhappy director launches an aggressive revitalization campaign that spotlights Hannah as the star attraction, inextricably tying Hannah's future to the fate of the Max L. Biedelman Zoo.
It is now 5:01 PM here so I am late to the olive party this evening. Cheers!

And so it goes.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Catholic Church Loses Tax Exemption in Italy

And I say it's about time. The Church has meddled in secular, political affairs, king-making (and breaking), warmongering, and land-grabbing for ages (not to mention it's been on the wrong side of history and the truth) and its victories have meant that non-catholics had to live with their policies, as well.

This sets an historic precedent. Opinions are just that, but when they become laws and a stifling force imposed upon others, there has to be a price. Contraception, Marriage rights, or Women's rights to choose the best for their lives and bodies have nothing to do with religion and everything to do with basic human rights.
From RT:
Italy’s Catholic Church will be forced to pay taxes starting in 2013 after the EU pressured the country’s government to pass a controversial law stripping the Church of its historic property tax exemption.
­The Catholic Church in Italy is excluded from paying taxes on its land if at least a part of a Church property is used non-commercially – for instance, a chapel in a bed-and-breakfast.
"The regulatory framework will be definite by January 1, 2013 – the start of the fiscal year – and will fully respect the [European] Community law," Italian premier Mario Monti's government said in a statement on Tuesday.
The move could net Italy revenues of 500 million to 2 billion euros annually across the country, municipal government associations said. The extra income from previously exempt properties in Rome alone – including hotels, restaurants and sports centers – could reach 25.5 million euros a year, La Repubblica daily newspaper reported.
On Monday, the Council of State, Italy's highest ranking court for administrative litigation, ruled against the new law. Authorities stepped in, arguing that everyone in Italy should pay property tax, including the Church.
The measure came after the country’s leadership decided in February to alter Italy’s property tax code, ending the Church’s longstanding privileges due to the severe debt crisis.
Last December, after new austerity measures were adopted in the country, 130,000 Italians signed an online petition urging the government to strip the Church of its tax exemption.
“It was time that they paid, too, with all the exemptions they’ve had throughout the years,” Marco Catalano, a 35-year-old shopkeeper in Rome, told the New York Times in February, adding that he goes to church twice a month. “They own the most beautiful buildings in downtown Rome, on Italian soil, and rent them out at market prices. They don’t give them for free or at low prices for charity.”
Two years ago, the EU began to investigate whether the tax privileges of some Church properties in Italy could be considered illegal state aid.
And so it goes.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Stratospheric Jump Breaks Record

After another work day filled with great live jazz, I found an email waiting for me from a friend with this link. Imagine my surprise when I came upon this story. It amazed (and scared the hell out of) me. Jump from 24 miles UP! Reminded me of the old NASA enthusiasm, the early space program and the film "The Right Stuff" - which is still a fave.
ROSWELL, N.M. — Extreme athlete Felix Baumgartner landed gracefully on Earth after a 24-mile jump Sunday from the stratosphere in a daring, dramatic feat that officials said made him the first skydiver to fall faster than the speed of sound.
Baumgartner came down safely in the eastern New Mexico desert about nine minutes after jumping from his capsule 128,100 feet, or roughly 24 miles, above Earth. He lifted his arms in victory, sending off loud cheers from jubilant onlookers and friends inside the mission's control center in Roswell, N.M.
"When I was standing there on top of the world, you become so humble, you do not think about of breaking records anymore, you do not think of about gaining scientific date. The only thing you want is to come back alive," he said after the jump.
Brian Utley, a jump observer from the International Federation of Sports Aviation, said preliminary figures show Baumgartner reached a maximum speed of 833.9 mph. That amounts to Mach 1.24, which is faster than the speed of sound. No one has ever reached that speed wearing only a high-tech suit.
Baumgartner says that traveling faster than sound is "hard to describe because you don't feel it." With no reference points, "you don't know how fast you travel," he told reporters.
"Sometimes we have to get really high to see how small we are," he said.
The altitude he leapt from also marked the highest-ever for a skydiver. Organizers said the descent lasted just over nine minutes, about half of it in free fall. Utley said he traveled 119, 846 feet in free fall.
Three hours earlier, Baumgartner, known as "Fearless Felix," had taken off in a pressurized capsule carried by a 55-story ultra-thin helium balloon. After an at-times tense ascent, which included concerns about how well his facial shield was working, the 43-year-old former military parachutist completed a final safety check-list with mission control.
As he exited his capsule from high above Earth, he flashed a thumbs-up sign, well aware that the feat was being shown on a live-stream on the Internet.
Channeling Sinatra: Come fly with me, let's fly, let's fly away...

The rest of the story is HERE, and includes lots of photos of this most handsome devil and the entire program.This story certainly made my evening.

And so it goes.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Re: "A Dogably PAWfect Day"

This is isn't exactly "a dogably pawfect" post, really.  It's just that a number of bloggers I read regularly are "puppy people" and share photos, stories, and cherished memories of their canine friends.

I love dogs - and cats - and am drawn to felines more as I age.  I would dearly love to have a kitteh living with me. However, since I am not allowed any pets in the apartment, it's a moot point.

Anyway, I found this video and wanted to share it with everyone; especially my dog-loving friends.  You know who you are.  Some of you may have seen this before, but it was new to me, so here it is.
"NOVA Science:  How Smart are Dogs?"

Some people question why I get along with animals better than some people.  This video answers part of the question.

And so it goes.

Super Hero Caturday

Bad-ass puss to the rescue. Needs theme music composed by John Williams.

More later.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Big Joe Biden and the Joyful Noise

A review and in-depth look at the VP debate last night. Whatever I was going to say doesn't matter.  This does. Here's a snippet. From William Rivers Pitt at Truth-out.
Vice President Joseph Biden of Delaware dropped the hammer on Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan on Thursday, and it was a powerful thing to see.
Anyone who tells you the vice presidential debate was a tie, or that Mr. Ryan prevailed, is trying to sell you a diamond mine that ain't worth a dime. The ultimate impact and import of what went down during Thursday's debate won't be immediately known, but the simple fact is beyond dispute: Joe Biden owned the night, and owned his opponent, in a way rarely seen in modern debate history.
This much is certain: what took place on Thursday night in Kentucky was a clinic, a deconstruction, a masterpiece, a thunderclap. The sun came up on Friday morning to shine upon a world that will never, ever underestimate Joe Biden again. For those who needed what he gave, it was a joyful noise indeed.
Of course, I didn't see the debate - I have no TV service - but I watched a few clips this afternoon and I totally agree with Mr. Pitt.

Please go to the Truth-out article HERE.

And so it goes.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Alex Karras - R.I.P.

Immortalized as Mongo by Mel Brooks in his classic "Blazing Saddles" - one of my all-time fave films.

Thanks, big guy.

And so it goes.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Stasis - Self Imposed

I've moved little more than a few feet in any direction these past 2 days off. The thought of leaving the apartment, driving the car, spending money I don't have, on things I don't really need was a no-brainer. The expected bills generated by the recent Dr. appt., blood work and X-rays sent me into semi-hibernation. Those bills will begin to arrive in a week or so and I cannot ignore their presence.  They must be paid.

Having no control over the present situation is frustrating, but I can control my reaction. Yes, it is exhausting, but that is what it is. I adapt - and move on. Or not.  Stasis.

I set about some cooking: Using ingredients already in the cupboard for meal preparation is the order of the week. There are many options, so I am not concerned for now. Just want to have a bit of fun.

Passing the time in a positive way I've read "The story of Cinerama" -  a mind-boggling history of how Cinerama came to be and what happened to destroy the greatest innovation in film making history. Long story short = greed, ignorance, stupidity, lack of foresight. The end. OMG! Talk about Stasis!

And so it goes.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Local Movie Theatres Going "All Digital"

I am very surprised that this is happening so quickly in a tiny beach resort town that hates any kind of quick change, so it must be to their advantage financially. After all, going digital is a huge investment and the jury is still out as to the reception given by the film purists.  Anyway, it's full speed ahead now and no turning back.
 From the local weekly:
Local film fans are in for a permanent treat as The Movies at Midway converts all auditoriums to digital cinema technology.
“It means we won’t be using 35-millimeter film any more. With digital, people will see a clearer, sharper picture,” said Brooke Lowe, The Movies at Midway manager.
The days of a projectionist threading reels of film through a massive a projector aren’t gone entirely, but digital cinema means those days are winding down.
Digital movies use hard drives, optical drives and other computer-based storage technology to capture, distribute and project motion pictures.
Lowe said three Midway auditoriums went digital last month, three more are set to transition this month, and by the end of November, the switch will be complete.
She said three auditoriums have been running digital movies since 2009  beginning with Disney-Pixar’s “Up.”
Lowe said the digital conversion costs about $80,000 per auditorium. “Movie studios are offering theaters an equipment rebate to essentially get everybody on the same page with digital equipment,” she said. Lowe said ticket prices are not expected to change.
Instead of huge, heavy reels of 35mm film, digital movies are shipped to the theater in a container about the size of a cigar box.
Lowe said each movie has a digital key code, which generates passwords that must match serial numbers of the theater’s projectors.
Movies are also encoded with start and end dates that allow screening for a specific number of days. “That ensures we can only play what we’re allowed,” Lowe said.
Hard drives are connected to an NEC brand projector that beams the image onto a highly reflective silver screen, which is required for 3D movies.
All 14 auditoriums in the theater will have a digital projection system; a dozen will have both a digital and 35mm film projector.
A central control system is being installed that will allow the projectionist to send movies to any auditorium from a single location.
The theater’s film projectors have been in operation since 1999. “We’ve kept them working over the years, with a couple of upgrades here and there,” Lowe said.
“With the 35mm film, you have a 2,000-watt light bulb shining light through the film, through the lens, then onto the screen. Now that’s all computer-generated. Viewers will see brighter, clearer images,” Lowe said.
In the theater’s projection area, film projectors make a constant clattering sound as sprockets continuously pull thousands of feet of film through the machine.
Digital projection systems are silent, except for the slight whirring of cooling fans,
“Films are sometimes scratched, or you might see little black dots where it’s gotten dirty over time. You won’t have that with digital movies,” Lowe said.
Most movies shown at The Rehoboth Beach Film Festival are on 35mm film. That’s changing, too. “This year, they’re starting with some digital,” Lowe said.
I've seen a few digitally produced, screened films and my impression is ho-hum, so far. I'll reserve judgment until I see more digital output coupled with the projection quality of the end product. I do know that the sound quality is hands-down better than that on film.

And so it goes.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Matthew Shepard: Fourteen Years On...

It is hard to wrap my head around the fact that it's been 14 years.

On October 7, 1998, Aaron Kreifels was riding his bike through a field in Wyoming. He wasn't expecting that day to be different from any other beautiful sunny afternoon in the vast plains surrounding Laramie, but that day would change many lives.
Aaron spotted what he initially thought was a scarecrow next to a fence. Then he noticed a glisten of blood. The sun sparkled on what he barely recognized as a face. What Aaron had discovered was 22 year-old Matthew Shepard, clinging to life.
Most of you know what happened next. Matthew held on for five more days and as his parents held his hand and prayed, Matthew slipped away quietly on October 12th, leaving in his wake a new movement for equality.
The outcries for justice and for greater protections were immediate and resonating.
Since then, Matthew's mother Judy has made it her personal mission to protect all young LGBT people from Matthew's horrific fate. In founding the Matthew Shepard Foundation, she has created safe spaces in and outside of schools for kids, and worked with parents to ensure their children learn to erase hate from their lives.
But overwhelmingly what you saw in 1998 was a community ready to act, ready to change something. And Matthew's story was the catalyst for that. Many of you have seen or read the Moises Kaufman play, The Laramie Project - Matthew's story as told through interviews of those who were living in Laramie at the time - some of his friends and some who just happened to be riding a bike through the plains of Wyoming that day. If you think of nothing else today, please consider the importance of telling your story - how your story can change the world around you.
This young boy, unbeknownst to him, has changed the world with his.
 If you have never seen The Laramie Project,  play or film, at least see the film.  It's almost as powerful as the play and has a great cast. You may be sad after watching, but that sadness is a sort of cleansing. At least it has been for me.

And so it goes.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Astaire - Rogers - RKO - The Depression - Class

I'll be viewing this tonight after supper. It's been a long time and I really need my fix of Fred & Ginger tonight.

They don't get better than this.

And so it goes.

Where Am I? Is it October?

Feels more like July here at the beach, and this weekend makes it feel even more so. Temperatures in the 80s! Highway traffic jams. Bumper-to-bumper traffic in town. Scarce available parking. Beach is welcoming and crowded and shops & galleries are doing great business thanks to the Fall Sidewalk Sales.

Other activities around town are also drawing big crowds. The Buddy Walk for folks with Down Syndrome was well attended. (The restaurant is a sponsor and offers discounts to all participants) It's Greyhound owners weekend, too so Rehoboth Beach and Dewey Beach have literally gone to the dogs.  The beautiful, gentle  creatures are everywhere. I love to see them promenade down the streets or boardwalk and watch the kids pet them and thrill at their size.

As if that wasn't enough to make our collective heads spin, there is a huge annual Christmas show and sale that draws shoppers from 4 states who want to get a jump on their shopping for unique handmade items for those on their list who "have everything".  If you get my drift.

Sunday will feature a 5K race for yet another charity and since Columbus Holiday is celebrated Monday, this will be a busy town (and restaurant) through Monday evening.

So far, everyone has been relaxed and congenial, but that may change overnight if the weather does, as storms move in and threaten to send temperatures plummeting 30'F by morning.

I considered stopping for Happy Hour after my shift, but I didn't have an umbrella, so the threat of rain propelled me homeward before the skies opened up - which they did as I approached the building.  It's been a steady downpour ever since.

It's cocktail time!!!

And so it goes.

Another Python Caturday

Ah, it's only a flesh wound!

More later.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Juneau Icefield, Alaska

Cabin for glacial research conducted by the Juneau Icefield Research Program on the Juneau Icefield, Alaska. Now why would this be of interest to me?  Heh!

And so it goes.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

A Game for the Debate Tonight

Too bad it isn't a drinking game. I'd need a few before I could sit listening to Mittens for that long.

And so it goes.

Oil Companies Bribing Gulf States to Ignore Spill?

 Interesting reading from whowhatwhy.  A news site I've just stumbled upon.
Recently, Gulf area legislators have been pushing to get their states a larger share of government income from offshore drilling. We’re told that they need the extra revenue to improve flood protection. But more is afoot here, and it deserves scrutiny.
First, here’s the background, from the Los Angeles Times:
Severe flooding from Hurricane Isaac has prompted a new effort by Gulf Coast lawmakers to secure a larger share of federal offshore drilling revenue to fund projects such as flood protection.
But the idea faces opposition from lawmakers who say it would siphon away money needed to pay Uncle Sam’s bills.
Sen. Mary L. Landrieu (D-La.) stoked the debate this week by appealing to President Obama during his visit to the storm-battered area to support letting states share 37.5% of federal revenue from energy production off their coasts…..
Fair enough. But there’s a missing piece of this, about who benefits most. And it’s not the public.
Flood control work generates a ton of local income. It creates jobs. Channeling a larger share of the federal share of drilling income into the local area, you give residents a reason not to oppose continued drilling. Of course, these are the same people whose environment has been so badly harmed, perhaps permanently, by the risky practices of offshore production.
Read the rest HERE.

 I know.  Bribery is such a harsh word. But the truth is sometimes indelicate.

And so it goes.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Finally, The Truth is Evident

The Quick Brown Fox Jumps Over the Lazy Dog.

Shameless!  What can I say? 

And so it goes.

Still. Not Calm

The full moon this weekend brought out the coo-coos, no mistake about it.  It was chaos all around the beach communities. And, to make it more intense, it was NASCAR, a Classic Car show, Motorcycle weekend, some kind of end-of-summer Festival and, well, you get the idea. The crisp Autumn weather brought representatives from all the above into Rehoboth Beach at one point or another. 

It was like July - with traffic jams, people milling about on the boardwalk and beach - only enjoying the cool Autumn air rather than stifling heat.

Staggering into the restaurant blind drunk before noon was the norm for many of these folks and a major problem for other businesses, not just restaurants. The unpleasant full moon is waning and most everyone I know seems to be on pins & needles for some reason. Anxious, but can't put a finger on a cause. 

Today, the uneasiness remains. My dreams overnight reflected the emotion  (In a large house, surrounded by strangers, couldn't find a bathroom, kitchen, or any place to be alone) and I awoke exhausted with taut muscles in shoulders and legs. I got out of bed carefully, looking like a hunchback and praying that nothing would snap while walking to the kitchen.

No plans for the day. Just hang out at home, read, and do some cleaning.  The rain and winds are excuse enough not to venture outdoors.  Maybe tomorrow.

A big pot of cabbage soup is in the making, I mean, it being October and all. No soup bones, so chopped, smoked beef sausage will fill in, instead.

And so it goes.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...