Sunday, June 30, 2013

Blackout 1965 - Hurricane Sandy 2012: Baby-Makers

Walking to work this morning, as I crossed the Avenue I noticed there was a long line to get into the Bakery.

That in itself wouldn't be unusual for any morning in summer.  What made this queue different was that there were 8 very pregnant women in that line all standing so I could see their profile.  A few had toddlers in strollers which made the image even more amazing.  Many looked like they just might explode if their cravings weren't satisfied  - immediately.  I mean, these gals were HUGE!

I would've taken a quick picture, but I didn't want to embarrass them, or myself.

The Bake Shoppe is the (oldest and) only family bakery in town offering delicious pastries, cakes, croissants, donuts, and muffins.  The only other place in town is Dunkin' Donuts in the beach block and though many tourists are prone to go with what they know, the more adventurous tend to give the bakery a chance and they are not disappointed.

When I got to work, I remembered so many others just like those 8 waddling down the avenue, some nearly unable to sit down on a bench.  So, I wondered why all this potential new life should ripen at this time.  Then, I did the math, worked backwards in time,  and realized that Super Hurricane Sandy hit us 8 months ago and hundreds of thousands of homes were without power for days, even weeks.

It reminded me of the east coast blackout in November of 1965 which produced a bumper crop of babies  the following summer, so we ought not be surprised this time around, either.

I recognized one woman straight away, when she arrived for lunch with the hubby, a toddler, and grandmother.  She was wearing a bright multi-colour  top that drew attention to the belly. They (She) ate the most bizarre combination of menu items, and their total bill for the party of 4 came to over $100. - and mind you, no alcohol.  After they left their server noted that by her menu choices and size, the mom-to-be was likely to deliver twins.  This server knows, she has twins of her own.

Cocktail at the ready, I venture forth onto the Intertubes in search of a travel package to meet my upcoming travel needs. Wish me luck.

And so it goes.


Saturday, June 29, 2013

Caturday Workout

I remember this well.

An so it goes.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Tentative Travel Plan

Traveling has become so convoluted since 9/11 that it's hard to make travel plans that are clear and concise.  There are so many asterisks, double bars, other bizarre symbols on each listing that it's hard to keep it all together in my head.  I'm at the stage where I must be careful lest the overloaded noggin explode. Messy, that.

There is no way I can swing an Alaska Cruise alone.  Everything is based on "double occupancy.  Besides, it wouldn't be much fun having no one to share the experience and memories with me.

I've been focused on a mid-September getaway to New Orleans to visit the sister and see a few childhood friends.  I believe I will let American Express Travel handle the trip, but there are still many things to sort out and little information at the individual airline/hotel sites.  I know I want a non-stop flight; 2 whole days spent traveling and changing planes, and waiting doesn't spark my interest. Waste of time and exhausting, to be sure.

I'll need a rental car, and a hotel located in the vicinity of the sister and a few friends who live in Metairie.  At the Amex site I've clicked on a number of options, and the results were staggering. It could take weeks to sort them out.

I have to mention here that there is a vast divide in respect to reviews of various hotels, car rentals and airlines between Trip Advisor and American Express Travel websites. Way too many hotel ratings on Trip Advisor give 2 or 3 stars for most hotels - even some that I know to be nothing like the review.  The same hotels at the Amex site are more generous and productive. The recently renovated Roosevelt Hotel is NOT a flophouse or bedbug ridden place. Different travelers have different expectations and experiences.  I would trust Amex over Trip Advisor any day, so I think I'll be in good hands once decisions are made and travel dates are confirmed.

One other thing is to find out what luggage restrictions are and what the extra charges would be.  I tend to travel light - one medium bag and a carry-on containing the camera, passport and meds. Since I am bald, toiletries are minimal, so no worries there.  Oh, it's been so long since I've had to figure out all this stuff it will be a whole new learning experience. Anything deemed inappropriate for the flight will be just one thing less to carry back  home.

Or, I figure I can do what most American travelers do; pretend to be ignorant of all the silly rules and regulations and wait to see what hottie will be patting me down before loading. Yes, I know, they hire the dumbest, ugliest, and humorless people for these positions, so I lose all round.

And so it goes.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Nelson Mandela

We're on a death-watch for my hero, Nelson Mandela. He's been failing for the past week. He's on life support in ICU as I type and I know the end is near. He may already be dead, but I wanted to pay tribute to him here tonight.

His words and deeds opened my eyes and moved my heart.

Here's to a mild-mannered giant.

And so it goes.

It's History

And so it goes.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Largest Mass Murder of GLBT People in HIstory: 40 years ago.

This  horrific event in our history may be unknown to you, but story continues to haunt many, including Troy Perry the founder of the Metropolitan Community Churches. (click the plaque image to embiggen.) As usual in those day, as now, there was little press coverage and many families of the deceased refused to claim the bodies.  Unfortunately, some things haven't changed, even 40 years on.  The perpetrator(s) were never found. Sad, that.

On June 24th, 1973 a popular gay bar, The Upstairs Lounge, was brimming with patrons even though it was a Sunday. It was the last day of Pride week. A Time Magazine article described the bar as a,
 “safe haven for gays in 1973. Every Sunday night from 5pm to 7pm, the second-floor bar held its weekly “beer bust”—all you can drink drafts for $1. It was a refuge where patrons could laugh, love, and even worship without fear. The Metropolitan Community Church, the only denomination at the time that welcomed gays and lesbians, often held services in the bar’s back-room theater.”

On that night one man, Luther Boggs, ran down the stairs to answer the doorbell. What he did not know was the man at the door had doused the steps in lighter fluid and set it alight. The next 20 minutes were complete chaos; 35 quickly made it to safety, 15 got out injured but alive, 29 died immediately in the fire, and 3 died later due to injuries.

The Upstairs Lounge was on the second floor of a three-story building, and was only two blocks away from the fire station.  Firefighters were slowed down by stalled vehicles in the street and crowds of drunken bar goers. By the time the first responders arrived on scene, flames were shooting from the building.

The story of the Upstairs Lounge Fire from the Times Picayune. 

I tried posting this yesterday, but the damned links wouldn't cooperate.  Better late than never.

And so it goes.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

It's Not The Heat, It's The Humidity

It's my day off.  It's also close to 100' this afternoon. There is a severe weather alert for the area until 8 pm. There are places to go, people to see, and other things on the gay agenda list.  None of these will be done today.

Why?, you may ask.  Well, I'll tell you. At about 6:30 this morning I grabbed the full laundry bags, supplies, and a fist full of quarters. As soon as I opened the door and before my feet hit the porch my glasses fogged up (Shades of NOLA humidity in summer) and breathing was difficult.. Cleaned the glasses and headed to the laundry room where it was relatively cool by comparison, but not for long. The heat of the dryer would see to that. By the end of the second dryer load, the air inside and outside the room were about the same and so was the humidity.

As an aside here: We had no air conditioning when I was a kid.  Stationary and oscillating fans kept the air moving, even though it was just HOT air.  Still, we made do and all of us survived. My grand mother hated rugs and carpets and absolutely adored her hard wood floors, which she kept waxed to perfection.  In summer, as I lay prostrate on the floor directly in front of one of those big fans, I could see the condensation beads on those floors. Not something to ever forget. We survived and I spent most daylight hours in Lake Pontchartrain.  Yes, IN it. Usually snorkeling or floating in old inner tubes (auto tires had tubes back then and when they had been patched up too many times to be safe on autos, they were handed down to us kids as floating, crabbing, or craw-fishing devices) with other kids from the neighborhood.


You see, my apartment is very small with the thermostat set at 76' in summer to keep the air cool, and dry as well.  Cotton is king in this home,  I am usually in shorts, tee-shirts and barefooted so I am pretty comfortable most of the time.  Having done 2 full loads of laundry, cleaning the bi-focals three times in the process, I decided to find things to do without going out anywhere. I mean, I can always clean the bathroom.  In fact, I seem to do that all the time these days and I wonder what that means...

I know that when it's hot and humid most people crave an ice cold beer in a frosty glass.  Not me.  Right about now I crave a Rum & Coke with Lime.  There is only one snag here; no Rum.  No coke or lime for that matter. Bother!

Then I considered the old summer standby - Gin & Tonic - but while I have the Gin there is no Tonic and again, no lime. And speaking of Gin, I tried the Bluecoat gin suggested by Anne Marie, distilled in PA.  While it is smooth with a definitive Juniper aroma and taste, it just can't top my taste for Bombay Sapphire.  Still, Bluecoat is a very good product.  I would not waste it by mixing it with anything.

I suppose I could indulge in one of those "Freeze & Squeeze" thingies. Applied directly to the top of the head should cool me down.  Oh, and speaking of F & S, I tried the Parrot Bay brand and wasn't thrilled. The Smirnoff is more like a slushie while the PB was more like flavored, chunky ice rocks with little flavor at that.

Fourth of July is only NINE days away!  It's all downhill from there.  Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! Except for that frightfully annoying month - August.

Sweet Baby Jesus on toast-points, if I'm carrying on like this in June, what will I be blubbering about come August?  I dare not think that far ahead.  One Freeze & Squeeze coming right up.
And so it goes.

One Artist vs. Army of Planners

Great news from New Orleans via Upworthy:

These magnificent creatures make up part of one of the most innovative emergency management programs in the country — seriously, the CDC and FEMA even said so — by providing memorable locations where New Orleans residents know they can show up and find free rides in the event of an evacuation.

These are all over the city.

Map shows most vulnerable areas of the city.

Sure beats the old system! Would you remember your evacuation spot if it were marked like the last picture below? I doubt it.

EvacuSpots sculptures by artist Douglas Kornfeld.

More later.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Star Trek Creator & Wife, and Scotty's Remains Return to Space.

Truth be told Star Trek has always had a special place in my heart. The original series tackled issues - social and political - that were at the time taboo for television. The final frontier, indeed:
(Reuters) - The remains of Gene Roddenberry, the creator of sci-fi fantasy television series "Star Trek," will head for the final frontier next year. Scotty
will be going along with him. Rodenberry's cremated remains, along with those of his wife, Majel, and actor James Doohan, who played starship engineer Scotty in the original 1960s "Star Trek" series, will be launched into deep space in November 2014 by the memorial spaceflight company Celestis. They will be part of a cargo that will include other cremated remains, written messages and samples of DNA in capsules sent by the general public, Celestis said on Thursday. "What's very cool about this is that it's science fiction meeting reality," Celestis spokeswoman Pazia Schonfeld said. The messages and remains will be placed on a spacecraft called a solar sail, which is powered by sunlight and made to withstand high temperatures, and headed for orbit around the sun, Celestis said. The solar sail's journey will be captured by cameras on board the craft and streamed live online. The flight will not be the first time the remains of Roddenberry, who died in October 1991 at age 70, and Doohan, who was 85 when he died in 2005, have been in space. Roddenberry was part of Celestis' inaugural flight in 1997, when his remains were taken on a trip into space before returning to Earth. An urn containing some of Doohan's remains were sent into space in 2012. Members of the public are invited to join Roddenberry and Doohan on Celestis' Sunjammer Voyager Mission, submitting names for free and samples of writing or messages at a price. Sending cremated remains into deep space starts at $12,500
I find this especially moving for some unknown reason.

 But, never mind.

 And so it goes.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Lazy Summer Caturday

Truth is just truth.  Can't be any opinions about the truth.

More later.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Theo Jansen's Strandbeest: Words Fail.

I read a story about this Dutch artist years ago as he struggled to create these skeleton life forms and now it looks like he's gone and done it.  They are bizarre, yet graceful and the artist wants to set them free to live lives of their own.  Amazing video.  Enjoy
To be standing on a beach on the North Sea and  glimpse one of these meandering across the sand would be a thrilling sight to be sure.

And so it goes.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Uncle Frank Rich on Ancient Gay HIstory

The man in the image here is Clayton Coots and you'll read more about him in this powerful story by Frank
Rich in New York Magazine. Though published in May, I've saved it for Pride Month, so enjoy.
In a new century dominated by terrorism and recession, few would deny two big bright spots: the election of an African-American president and the expansion of gay civil rights. The first arrived nearly 150 years after the Civil War. The second happened with the speed of a fever dream. The modern gay-rights movement only got going in 1969, after the Stonewall riots. Now a dozen states have legalized same-sex marriage, a concept unknown in political discourse a mere quarter-century ago. More astounding is the likelihood that a conservative-leaning Supreme Court will expand those marital rights, however incompletely, next month—it took more than a century after the Emancipation Proclamation to end all bans on interracial marriage.
As we just learned, a man can still be murdered for being gay a few blocks away from the Stonewall Inn. But the rapidity of change has been stunning. The world only spins forward, as Tony Kushner wrote. And yet as we celebrate the forward velocity of gay rights, I think we must glance backward as well. History is being lost in this shuffle—that of those gay men and women who experienced little or none of today’s freedoms. Whatever the other distinctions between the struggles of black Americans and gay Americans for equality under the law—starting with the overarching horror of slavery—one difference is intrinsic. Black people couldn't (for the most part) hide their identity in an America that treated them cruelly. Gay people could hide and, out of self-protection, often did. That’s why their stories were cloaked in silence and are at risk of being forgotten.
This history is not ancient. My own concern about its preservation comes not from some abstract sense of social justice but from my personal experience. I grew up in the Washington, D.C., of the sixties, where the impact of racism was visible everywhere, front and center in my political education. But gays—what gays? No one I knew ever saw them or mentioned them. Not until the eighties—when, like many Americans of that time, I was finally forced by the rampaging AIDS crisis to think seriously about gay people—did I fully recognize that a gay man had been my surrogate parent in high school, when I needed one most. Not that I ever thought to thank him for it.
For younger Americans, straight and gay, the old amnesia gene, the most durable in our national DNA, has already kicked in. Larry Kramer was driven to hand out flyers at the 2011 revival of The Normal Heart, his 1986 play about the AIDS epidemic, to remind theatergoers that everything onstage actually happened. Similar handbills may soon be required for The Laramie Project, the play about the 1998 murder of the gay college student Matthew Shepard. A new Broadway drama, The Nance, excavates an even older chapter in this chronicle: Nathan Lane plays a gay burlesque comic of 1937 who is hounded and imprisoned by Fiorello La Guardia’s vice cops. Douglas Carter Beane, its 53-year-old gay author, is flabbergasted by how many young gay theatergoers have no idea “it was ever that way.”
Clayton Coots, the gay man who changed my life, fell somewhere between The Nance and The Normal Heart on this time line. He was one of countless gay people who were hiding back then, sometimes in plain sight, from their friends, neighbors, relatives, students, and colleagues. In historical terms, back then was only yesterday. Yet much as we might want to reclaim these invisible men and women from the shadows, they continue to slip away. It’s one thing to retrieve the story of a gay American from the pre-AIDS era who was famous or notorious. It’s quite another to track down a closeted gay American of no renown who lived shortly before the gay-rights revolution took hold. I have spent more than twenty years off and on trying to piece together Clayton’s life. Even in death he is still in hiding.
The story continues HERE. Trust me, it is a "must read" for all.

And so it goes.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Dance: Ten Percent, by Double Exposure.

YouTube Review:
"a simpler time....a time for­d friends......great memories!!!!.......long live the disco era and its music!!!"
I couldn't agree more. This is one of the best.
There is the full version, and I'll post it, if you like this one.
Bed time. 

And so it goes.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

The Weather: Like a Broken Record.**

Yes, I know. It's everywhere, not just in the US, but Atlantic coast beach resorts are whining pretty damned loud. Alas, I suspect these fickle forecasts are going to be the norm rather than exception from here on.  All but the very stupid are pretty much resigned to this fact.

That said, weather didn't keep the vacationers away, certainly not this weekend. Since everyone - no matter where they live - has had similar, bizarre weather, they took it in stride and accepted whatever came. Consider the alternatives...howl at the moon, curse the Red Baron, or kick sand until you break a toe.

If the rain came in early morning, they waited it out until the sun came out, then hit the beach.  And the other way around. Everyone was cool and just ready for a holiday at the beach. That attitude alone, made my life much easier.

The restaurant has been crazy busy, more than usual, and the entire staff has been more than ready for whatever the weather sends us. And it sent us huge bunches of families who cannot begin their holiday without first having lunch and margaritas at Dos Locos. And by "families" I mean ALL  families. Gay men with kids and lesbians with kids are no strangers to the restaurant.  Many of those now parents have been dining with us for years.  Now, we're watching them raise families of their own. As an aside: we are probably the only restaurant in Rehoboth Beach to offer baby changing stations in both the men's and ladies restrooms.  This stuns many people and makes me chuckle when they finally get it.  In fact some restaurants are not at all family friendly, unless the kids are over 10 years old.  Sometimes I envy them, but most of the kids are well behaved and have been socialized in restaurants from an early age.

Had hoped to join a couple of coworkers at a Happy Hour nearby for frog legs and Oysters Rockefeller after my shift but I ran late and missed the opportunity. In fact, I've been pressed into service  a lot lately, which ran me into overtime pay, and that will mostly be gobbled up in taxes, anyway.  Oh well. June is half over already.  Hard to believe.

** Does anyone remember what a "record" was and how it sounded when  there was a small crack in it just enough to cause the phonograph (does anyone remember phonographs?) needle to skip a groove or two and repeat a phrase over and over again?  I doubt it.  Anyway...

And so it goes.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

The veins of a nation: All of America's rivers mapped

One man has created a map that shows how very blue America is. Nelson Minar has managed to chart every single river and watercourse across the 48 contiguous states. Very cool, indeed.

Click on the image to embiggen, and go HERE to see the rest. 

And so it goes.

Pride Caturday

And you are, baby.  You are.

And so it goes.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Something Annie Lennox, Light & Campy

Well, I deserve it. Ballet Trocadero & Annie Lennox.

The bizarre weather, the visitors, the unreal almost hourly temperature changes, the longer hours have me walking home bow-legged (now stop that!) and starving.  When the crowds arrive immediately after opening, and they just keep coming, there is no way to wolf down even a small amount of food.

So, since Wednesday I've been knocking back a good breakfast and hoping for the best. A banana just before the doors open helps, trust me. Today was a good one all round, but I came home with a headache and super hungry. Stuffed my face, then had a cocktail and watched this video. Had to share.   Enjoy.
If you don't know Ballet Trocadero just Google them.

And so it goes.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Tavares 1976: Welcome to My World.

"Don't Take Away the Music" was just one of their big hits that year. And it couldn't sum up the era any better.  It was all about music and dancing. And we danced ourselves crazy, the music was that good. I loved it.
 This one was an earworm that I had to post, but others may be on the way in the future.  Stay tuned.

And so it goes.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Freeze & Squeeze & Bluecoat Gin

Found these at the liquor store and the owner suggested I try one. Great cooler for a hot day and not a lot of
alcohol content, he said.  So, I brought 2 home last week and stuck them in the freezer, just waiting for a hot muggy day. Well that day has arrived and I am happy to report that the guy was right. They are light and refreshing

I purchased the Smirnoff brand, so I can only vouch for these, but there are others as well.  Parrot Bay and Daily's had their own displays, though all varieties seemed limited.

You may want to test-taste one of these on a hot, humid day, too. I ate mine with a spoon.

No Farmers Market today, the humidity and threat of rain scared most vendors away. Ran errands to Staple's and the grocery store this morning and was home by 10 am.  One other stop was at the liquor store again (to compliment the owner for his freeze & squeeze suggestion) to buy a bottle of "Bluecoat Gin"  suggested by AnneMarie, who promises that it is a smooth made-in-Pennsylvania gin which, I will taste as this evening's cocktail.

I think a few documentaries are on the gay agenda this evening, then I'll rest up for another 6 day work week beginning tomorrow.

And so it goes.

Digital Divide in Emergency Management

Being from a notoriously well known hurricane area, I have always kept a land phone line. Have one to this day. When cell sites go down with the power, the old land line phone still offers a dial tone. I just stumbled onto this article about the truth regarding cell phones, smartphones, and land lines.  Most importantly, what needs to be done to develop and protect folks possibly in harm's way.  It's a 2-way street.
Of all the strange and sensational images produced by Superstorm Sandy, the scene I can’t stop thinking about took place a few steps from my apartment in Lower Manhattan, two days after the storm surge. Dozens of us were wandering up and down 7th Avenue, arms extended like zombies and eyes fixed on our hands. We were hunting—not for food or money or human assistance—but for a cellular signal. The power was out. Stores were closed. Food was beginning to spoil. But the more urgent problem was the communications breakdown. We wanted to know what was happening, to check up on friends and family, and to tell them how we were. We’d lost phone and Internet service at the moment when we most needed it, and thousands of us wouldn’t get it back for days.
Two decades ago, a network breakdown would not have caused much trouble. Back then, landlines were ubiquitous, and when the power went out, Americans got their news about emergencies from old-fashioned, battery-operated radios. It was hardly a perfect system. Information came from the top down, and ordinary citizens were passive recipients, with virtually no capacity to tell officials or journalists what was happening in their neighborhood or town. But at least it was reliable: Designated emergency broadcasters had on-air personalities with local knowledge; radio towers and telephone lines were remarkably resilient; and smart regulations ensured that vital communications channels operated smoothly, even during peak demand.
The Cellular ShiftWeather-related disasters are growing more common and more extreme, yet we’ve failed to update our emergency communications system for the challenge. According to the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), more than one-third of all U.S. households have no landline, and in cities the proportion of residents who’ve abandoned landlines for mobile phones is even higher. But Congress and the Federal Communications Commission have failed to require the mobile phone industry to ensure that they have protocols for maintaining and restoring service during outages. In theory, cellular networks could be made more flexible, robust, and reliable. Good public policies could ensure that they work better daily, and during disasters, too.
One reason we need more resilient networks is that new technologies can dramatically improve emergency communications. For instance, mobile phone providers have the capacity to send detailed messages to customers in locations where dangerous weather is approaching—a sophisticated reverse 911. In the run-up to recent storms, including Sandy and Nemo, meteorologists provided remarkably accurate and timely forecasts of where and when the damaging weather would hit. And according to NBC News, the Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) system (set up by the FCC and FEMA) did send a text blast before Nemo to subscribers with certain devices and operating systems. But if you don’t have one of those models (most of which are high-priced smartphones), you are out of the loop.
Likewise, the FCC established the CMAS (Commercial Mobile Alert System) but there are problems with it. Mobile providers can opt out and customers probably don't realize that they are ineligible to get those alerts. Even if your mobile carrier opts in, the default is to be out. The default should be to get the alerts. Why not create an emergency alert system in which all customers automatically receive a series of direct, personal, and geo-coded messages with information about local conditions and clear instructions on how to stay safe?
Today, many state and local governments, including New York, allow residents to opt in to programs that deliver this kind of information. The opt-in format may help protect customer privacy, but it comes at a great cost, because the least tech-savvy and lowest-skilled subscribers are far less likely to enroll in the program. That means the most vulnerable people (the old, the poor, and the sick), those who could benefit from advance warnings about, say, whether and how to evacuate, are also most likely to miss out on the protection that the new technology offers. No one had the choice to opt in or out of the Emergency Broadcast System. Why should it be different in the digital age?
As storms become more frequent and more dangerous, this is going to become a very important issue.

More HERE.

And so it goes.

Monday, June 10, 2013

A Serving of Catch-Up

It has been a while since I last posted something personal.  So here goes.

The visit to the Corning/Corelle store was a dismal failure.  Open stock was everywhere, but only the dinky, round variety that is not my style.  To be honest, Corelle isn't my style either. So...Shopped online and found a few patterns - mostly abstract - that I would enjoy dining on, and ordered a small service for 4, from Amazon. There were vendors with a lower price, but socked it to you with shipping charges. As a Prime member, I get free two-day shipping on most products.

Work has been a challenge and very busy, indeed.  There are 8 new summer employees - students from Romania, Kazakhstan, and Brazil. The training has been intense, since English isn't their first language.  Still, among them they are able to share words, phrases, and follow basic body language. Frustrating at times, but the look on their faces when they finally "get" something is priceless.  For the most part customers have been pleasant, laid-back, even jovial, and a joy to be around.

Some one keeps calling my home phone land line and hangs up when I answer.  I don't have caller ID, so I have no idea what that's all about.

Two old friends from New Jersey were in town last weekend and while we made every attempt to touch base, it just didn't happen.  There was just too much family mishugas that got in the way.  Well, that happens all too often.  There will be other times, now that they know where I live and work. Of course, they love the restaurant.

Speaking of the restaurant, this past weekend has been dubbed "Babies are Us." by the staff.  All hi-chairs and booster seats were used all day, all night, in every conceivable combination. Most of the little ones were well behaved, but that won't last.  The screaming meemies are just over the horizon and due to descend very soon.

A parade of service technicians tramped through the restaurant Thursday thru Saturday.  Thursday's repair went without a hitch and the tech was finished his work in less than an hour.  As for the other 2: Some good news, and some bad news. I was there at 7:30am  Friday and Saturday, with only one successful repair.  I guess 50% ain't all that bad.

While my reading time is severely limited, re-reading Slaughter House Five has been a breathtaking experience after all these years. The beauty of the story only got more beautiful this time around. Poor Billy, Dresden, Time, Alien Abduction, and Space travel: more fell into place at this reading.  I didn't know where I got my sign-off line "And so it goes" until now. It came from this book and therefore from deep inside me.

The Social Security Saga continues: on (or around) the date funds are suppose to be auto-deposited, the amounts vary and sometimes there is no deposit at all. I take what I get and don't argue anymore. I am over that stage.  I wonder how many others are faced with the same situation. I am sure I am not the only one.

I feel isolated, stifled, I need to get out, be with people and talk about issues of the day, or simply small talk.  It matters not.  Happy Hour somewhere on Thursday or Friday would be nice. I put out feelers to gather info about who was available which day.  We'll see.

To all friends with Blogger addresses, please don't think I am not reading your posts - it's just that blogger will accept my comment, but sends it into outer space for some reason. I have sent notes asking that the situation be corrected.  That may have happened today. I will give it a try in the morning.

And so it goes.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Fashion Caturday

Oh, long for evening only, sweetheart. Short for lunch with the girls.

And so it goes.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Andrea, The Third

It began on June 1 and will continue til November. What is it? Why, it's hurricane season, silly.  And mind you, no time was wasted in finding and naming the very first one. Andrea!  That's the name of my oldest niece, BTW.

This is the third storm named Andrea in the last decade. One in 2007, another in 2011, and now this big girl. I suppose she didn't do much damage in her last 2 incarnations, or they would have retired the name by now.

Anyway, Andrea is making her way inland up the Atlantic coast and should be here later today with heavy rain and thunderstorms, and winds of about 45 mph. No longer hurricane force winds, but more than enough to damage the still fragile coastline here.

There are empty shelves at the markets - especially bread, milk and toilet paper - and don't ask why. I've given up on that list. As I checked out my grapefruit, oranges, and bananas the cashier just stared at the stash in disbelief. I smiled. She finally did, too.  Fun.

The sky is black and menacing this morning. The wind has kicked up, but nowhere near that 45 mph level, and I am getting ready for work. We never know how stormy weather will effect business. Whenever we predict that no one will venture out in this ________________(fill in the blank), we have been slammed all day, mostly diners, but the bar has its fair share of business, as well.

Heavy rains and coastal flooding are in the mix for this area. So far, the rain is steady with no thunder or lightening, so far. I hope this early first storm isn't an omen of things to come.

To all my blogger buddies here on the east coast, take care and stay safe. See you on the other side.

And so it goes.

Bronze Age Boats Surface at Fens Creek in Record Find

If you've spent any time here you will know that history and archaeological finds are exciting to me. And this one is as thrilling as those in the past. From the Guardian:
A fleet of eight prehistoric boats, including one almost nine metres long, has been discovered in a Cambridgeshire quarry on the outskirts of Peterborough.
The vessels, all deliberately sunk more than 3,000 years ago, are the largest group of bronze age boats ever found in the same UK site and most are startlingly well preserved. One is covered inside and out with decorative carving described by conservator Ian Panter as looking "as if they'd been playing noughts and crosses all over it". Another has handles carved from the oak tree trunk for lifting it out of the water. One still floated after 3,000 years and one has traces of fires lit on the wide flat deck on which the catch was evidently cooked.
Several had ancient repairs, including clay patches and an extra section shaped and pinned in where a branch was cut away. They were preserved by the waterlogged silt in the bed of a long-dried-up creek, a tributary of the river Nene, which buried them deep below the ground.
"There was huge excitement over the first boat, and then they were phoning the office saying they'd found another, and another, and another, until finally we were thinking, 'Come on now, you're just being greedy,'" Panter said.
The boats were deliberately sunk into the creek, as several still had slots for transoms – boards closing the stern of the boat – which had been removed.
Archaeologists are struggling to understand the significance of the find. Whatever the custom meant to the bronze age fishermen and hunters who lived in the nearby settlement, it continued for centuries. The team from the Cambridge Archaeological Unit is still waiting for the results of carbon 14 dating tests, but believes the oldest boats date from around 1,600 BC and the most recent 600 years later.
They already knew the creek had great significance – probably as a rich source of fish and eels – as in previous seasons at the Much Farm site they had found ritual deposits of metalwork, including spears.
The boats themselves may have been ritual offerings, or may have been sunk for more pragmatic reasons, to keep the timber waterlogged and prevent it from drying out and splitting when not in use – but in that case it seems strange that such precious objects were never retrieved.
Some of the boats were made from huge timbers, including one from an oak which must have had a metre-thick trunk and stood up to 20 metres tall. This would have been a rare specimen as sea levels rose and the terrain became more waterlogged, creating the Fenland landscape of marshes, creeks and islands of gravel.
"Either this was the Bermuda Triangle for bronze age boats, or there is something going on here that we don't yet understand," Panter said.

And so it goes.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Esther Williams - R. I. P.

She (and her spectacular films produced at MGM) may seem schmaltzy now, but in the 40s and 50s she took our minds away from horrors of WWII and the Cold War angst. As a kid I would sit in the theater and watch a film 2 or 3 times. There were no limits then, the films ran continuously along with a News Reel, and a Cartoon.  Oh, and the woman had taste, after all, she married Fernando Lamas.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Esther Williams, the swimming champion turned actress who starred in glittering and aquatic Technicolor musicals of the 1940s and 1950s, has died. She was 91.
Williams died early Thursday in her sleep, according to her longtime publicist Harlan Boll.
Following in the footsteps of Sonja Henie, who went from skating champion to movie star, Williams became one of Hollywood's biggest moneymakers, appearing in spectacular swimsuit numbers that capitalized on her wholesome beauty and perfect figure.
Such films as "Easy to Wed," ''Neptune's Daughter" and "Dangerous When Wet" followed the same formula: romance, music, a bit of comedy and a flimsy plot that provided excuses to get Esther into the water.
The extravaganzas dazzled a second generation via television and the compilation films "That's Entertainment." Williams' co-stars included the pick of the MGM contract list, including Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra, Red Skelton, Ricardo Montalban and Howard Keel.
When hard times signaled the end of big studios and costly musicals in the mid-'50s, Williams tried non-swimming roles with little success. After her 1962 marriage to Fernando Lamas, her co-star in "Dangerous When Wet," she retired from public life.
She explained in a 1984 interview: "A really terrific guy comes along and says, 'I wish you'd stay home and be my wife,' and that's the most logical thing in the world for a Latin. And I loved being a Latin wife — you get treated very well. There's a lot of attention in return for that sacrifice."
She came to films after winning 100-meter freestyle and other races at the 1939 national championships and appearing at the San Francisco World's Fair's swimming exhibition.
As with Judy Garland, Donna Reed and other stars, Williams was introduced in one of Mickey Rooney's Andy Hardy films, "Andy Hardy's Double Life" (1942).
She also played a small role in "A Guy Named Joe" before "Bathing Beauty" in 1944 began the string of immensely popular musical spectaculars.
Among them: "Thrill of a Romance," ''Fiesta," ''This Time for Keeps," ''On an Island with You," ''Take Me out to the Ballgame," ''Duchess of Idaho," ''Pagan Love Song," ''Texas Carnival," ''Skirts Ahoy," ''Million Dollar Mermaid" (as Annette Kellerman, an earlier swimming champion turned entertainer), "Dangerous When Wet," ''Easy to Love" and "Jupiter's Darling."
Williams in a bathing suit became a favorite pinup of GI's in World War II, and her popularity continued afterward. She was a refreshing presence among MGM's stellar gallery — warm, breezy, with a frankness and self-deprecating humor that delighted interviewers.
She laughed as much as anyone over an assessment by Fanny Brice, the original "Funny Girl": "Esther Williams? Wet, she's a star. Dry, she ain't."
And so it goes.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

To Kick-start My Energy Level...

Still not back to 100%, but a friend sent this link and it got my heart pumping and my feet moving.  What could be better.

Tiesto - Silence - Delirium featuring Sarah McLachlan

Tiesto is probably the best DJ out there today.Very high energy, and all that. I am happy that my heart is still pumping and my feet can still move to the beat.

And so it goes.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Pet Shop Boys in Argentina 2013

I truly believe we here in the US  have been malnourished, deprived of the music of these guys.  After West End Girls exploded here  30 years ago, their work was systematically and totally ignored. It's no secret that I love their music, lyrics and collaborations. What is so amazing is that when on tour, if they perform some of their older hits (yes, they were hits outside the US, thanks to homophobia and a disastrous shift in radio presentation) the audience is dying to sing along.  Who wouldn't?

As you will hear, these folks are ready and eager to join in on this one.  They create their own kind of special energy. They are all in this experience together and I doubt it will ever be forgotten.  Enjoy.
Their new album "Electric" will be released around my birthday this summer, and I can't wait.

And so it goes.

I'm Missing a Monday

Woke up Monday morning at 2 am, shivering, teeth chattering, in a cold sweat.  Within minutes I had the most violent heave-hos in memory.  Every time I tried to lie down again, it would start all over.  At times it was so violent that blood eventually came to the surface around my eyes and chin.

With nothing left inside I finally got back to bed around 5 am, only to toss and turn and continue to feel wretched and totally beaten up. Relentless thunderstorms continued and I finally got up, took a shower, and got ready for work. Weak and dizzy, shaky and numb; I waited for a break in the storms before bolting for the restaurant. The day is a blur. So disoriented that it took three attempts to get the safe open. Then, realized all the systems were down, probably due to the storms, so I got them up and online. Exhausting.

Don't know how I got through, but did. Didn't eat anything all day fearing it would make an encore appearance later. Had an Ensure and lots of water.  Dehydration was pretty bad,  a headache and itchy, watery eyes soon took everything to another level of crazy. Must be some kind of bug.  Hate it!

Headed for home during another break in the storms and almost made it home...another storm hit as I walked the last block and a drowned rat entered the apartment, dropped everything on the floor, shed all garments in the bathroom, took a hot shower and threw this tired ol' body into bed. Unable to fall asleep, got up and made soup that felt so good going down and (thankfully) it stayed down.

Went to bed with the body still out of whack - shaking and shivering - but sleep wouldn't come. I tossed and turned for hours. Don't know when I dropped off, but I awoke at 6 am, afraid to move. Stayed perfectly still until an inventory could be taken and an assessment made of my situation. When I tried to move muscles in legs and torso cramped up.  I have no explanation for that one. Painful, but I walked out the cramps and discomfort by going about the usual morning preparations.  Took about a half-hour, but it worked.

With no appetite to speak of, I decided to run a few errands and circle back to the apartment. I was hopeful I'd be somewhat hungry by then. Didn't happen. Stopped for a few groceries and picked up a long extension cord. I also needed a long telephone cord to run from the outlet to the router. Got what I needed in 2 stops, came home and felt a twinge of hunger. Just finished a scrambled egg with toasted French bread. Seems to be sitting well, so far.

Going for a walk to the Farmers Market to see what fresh stuff is available and maybe pick up a sourdough boule for the coming week. Not feeling 100% yet, but the weather is clear and the temps are in the low 70s. That should do me good.

More later.


Saturday, June 1, 2013

R. I. P. Jean Stapleton

A great, talented lady.
Jean Stapleton, who played Archie Bunker's wife Edith in the TV series "All in the Family," died yesterday (May 31) in New York. She was 90.
Stapleton won three Emmys for her work on "All in the Family," reports TMZ. She was nominated for two additional Emmy awards, adds The Hollywood Reporter, for portraying Eleanor Roosevelt in the 1982 CBS telefilm "Eleanor, First Lady of the World," and as Aunt Vivian on the ABC series "Grace Under Fire." Stapleton was last seen on screen in the 1998 movie "You've Got Mail" (as Meg Ryan's co-worker).
Stapleton is survived by her children -- TV producer Pamela Putch and film and TV director John Putch, notes the L.A. Times.
Most people know her as her character noted above (which was a very good role for her). Jean was a Broadway staple (no pun intended) from the 1950s through the 1980s:
Damn Yankees with Gwen Verdon
Bells Are Ringing with Judy Holliday
Juno with Shirley Booth
Funny Girl with Barbra Streisand
And so much more.  I always loved watching her work.  She was so good.
And so it goes.

Faced With Difficult Decisions.

At the time of the breakup I was fortunate to claim ownership of a handsome, abstract pattern, service for 12, set of dishes by Mikasa. I bid good riddance to the fine china as it went to its new home.  I also took possession of a set of 12 Mikasa cut crystal wine glasses, suitable for white or reds.

Now, unfortunately, over the years I have broken several dishes and glasses, so I am down to around a service for 8, give or take 1 or 2. A few months ago I found wine glasses that were hand-blown, feather light and simple elegance. Purchased a set of 4 (more than enough for my present life) Luigi Bormioli glasses (image at right) and gave the others away.

Last night, I broke another dinner plate and a salad plate.  I believe this was a sign.  My thumbs are so unpredictable that I cannot trust my hands to hold even a salad plate without it falling to the floor, or into the sink. This is very depressing, though I suppose I always knew it would come to this.  I have at least 8 of every piece and I plan to give it to someone who needs, and will enjoy it. The truth is I eat most of my food from Dixie paper plates

Checked a few arthritis self help sites and discovered that Corelle is the tableware of choice.  Light, thin, and hardy.  Doesn't chip or break easily.  Well, then...hunted on Amazon to get an idea of the styles and patterns and found a few I like.

There is a Corning/Corelle store in the nearby outlet center so I will check that out on my day off for variety and value. I cannot deal with the old Corelle look: the plain white, or the green, blue, or yellow flowered rims. I don't know if they still have that awful pattern available, but it isn't for me.

Friend Peter's (Tippin the Scales) balsamic Salmon is tonight's main course, along with rice, asparagus and salad. Nice change.

I smell olives!

And so it goes.

Grumpy Caturday

Grumpy is exactly the right word. No one was prepared for this swift change in temperature. And it's likely to hit the 90s again today and there is no breeze to speak of. At least the beach-lovers are having a good time.

And so it goes.
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