Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Ye Have Little Faith...and Here's Why....

And now this:
What initially seemed to be a journalistic scoop of dubious moral propriety now seems to be a case of an Israeli paper being played by the Barack Obama campaign.

Maariv, the second most popular newspaper in Israel, was roundly criticized for publishing the note Obama left in the Kotel. But now a Maariv spokesperson says that publication of the note was pre-approved for international publication by the Obama campaign, leading to the conclusion that the "private" prayer was intentionally leaked for public consumption.

"Lord - Protect my family and me," reads the note. "Forgive me my sins, and help me guard against pride and despair. Give me the wisdom to do what is right and just. And make me an instrument of your will."

However, it now appears that Maariv had collaborated with the Obama campaign in getting the "private" prayer, with its "modest" supplicaton to the Lord, out to the public, buffing his Christian credentials and showing his "humility."

A Ma'ariv spokesman was quoted in The Jerusalem Post as saying that "Barack Obama's note was approved for publication in the international media even before he put in the Kotel, a short time after he wrote it at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem."

Is it any wonder people have no faith in politicians? It's all about disingenuous PR, press and photo opps. And not much else.

We could use a good, targeted lightning bolt about now.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Sound the Trumpets!

It's official.

Obama has been officially crowned 'King' --

- by the press

- by Hollywood

- by throngs of admirers in Europe

We should probably just skip the election and let the coronation begin.
After all, if the press and the glitterati and every Klaus on the street in Berlin thinks he should be King of the World, then it must be granted!

This actually helps me make up my mind about this awful election. I generally look for who those three 'constituencies' above are for, and I go with the other guy.

Thanks for making it abundantly clear for me this time.
The media are reporting 200,000 Berliners flocked to hear Barack Obama speak. They neglected to mention that he followed a major free concert by 2 VERY popular groups, Reggae artist Patrice and rock artist Reamonn and free pizza, beer & bratwurst. This is precisely what happened when the media reported 75,000 voters who flocked to see Obama recently in Portland, OR — (or was it another free concert ;-)
Something stinks, and I don't think it's the beer & brats....

The Culprit

After almost single-handedly destroying the tomato industry in this country, the Feds have finally tracked down the real source of the latest salmonella outbreak: Jalapeno Peppers from Mexico

And after all that bad press. I'd say someone needs to officially apologize to tomatoes.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Mama Mia, Here I Go Again....

Just came from seeing "Mama Mia" (movie version) in its opening weekend here. Loved it, loved it, loved it. Even more than I loved the West End musical itself.

Meryl Streep was fabulous, as always. And Pierce Brosnan? Well, he can't hold a tune in a bucket -- still, his bad singing made the show all the more endearing.

This is definitely the feel good movie the summer needed. It's so great to go to the movies and actually be entertained.

Thanks ABBA and friends. Well done.

Post-script to this entry: Since the Friday night opening across the country, critic after critic has picked it apart and panned it, saying things like 'the story line is not believable' and 'the choreography is terrible...it's just people hopping about', and 'the script is mind-numbing'.

PALEEZ! Do you think it might be okay to go to the movies just to have some fun? Does every film have to have some freakin' political message or deep, dark script to be of value? How about something like, 'It's a musical. It's fun. Come and sing along and enjoy your 2-hour frivolous escape from the world'. Huh? How about something like that for a review?

Freakin' critics take themselves way too seriously. They need to get over themselves. They've forgotten how to just go to the movies and have some fun.

And by the way, the film broke records this weekend and made over $30M. So much for critics, eh?

This Might Be the Way to Go

I received this email from a South African friend today. In light of our current crop of presidential candidates and politicians, she may just be on to something:
To the citizens of the United States of America from Her Sovereign Majesty Queen ElizabethII:

In light of your failure to nominate competent candidates for President of the USA and thus to govern yourselves, we hereby give notice of the revocation of your independence, effective immediately.
Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will resume monarchical duties over all states, commonwealths, and territories (except Kansas , which she does not fancy). Your new Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, will appoint a Governor for America without the need for further elections. Congress and the Senate will be disbanded. A questionnaire may be circulated next year to determine whether any of you noticed. To aid in the transition to a British Crown dependency, the following rules are introduced with immediate effect: (You should look up 'revocation' in the Oxford English Dictionary.)

1. Then look up aluminium, and check the pronunciation guide.You will be amazed at just how wrongly you have been pronouncing it.

2. The letter 'U' will be reinstated in words such as 'colour', 'favour', 'labour' and 'neighbour.' Likewise, you will learn to spell 'doughnut' without skipping half the letters, and the suffix '-ize' will be replaced by the suffix '-ise'. Generally, you will be expected to raise your vocabulary to acceptable levels (look up 'vocabulary').
3. Using the same twenty-seven words interspersed with filler noises such as 'like' and 'you know' is an unacceptable and inefficient form of communication. There is no such thing as U.S. English.

4. July 4th will no longer be celebrated as a holiday.

5. You will learn to resolve personal issues without using guns, lawyers, or therapists. The fact that you need so many lawyers and therapists shows that you're not quite ready to be independent. Guns should only be used for shooting grouse. If you can't sort things out without suing someone or speaking to a therapist then you're not ready to shoot grouse.

6. Therefore, you will no longer be allowed to own or carry anything more dangerous than a vegetable peeler. Although a permit will be required if you wish to carry a vegetable peeler in public.

7. All intersections will be replaced withroundabouts, and you will start driving on the left side with immediate effect. At the same time, you will go metric with immediate effect and without the benefit of conversion tables. Both roundabouts and metrication will help you understand the British sense of humour.

8. The former USA will adopt UK prices on petrol (which you have been calling gasoline) of roughly $10/US gallon. Get used to it.

9. You will learn to make real chips. Those things you call French fries are not real chips, and those things you insist on calling potato chips are properly called crisps. Real chips are thick cut, fried in animal fat, and dressed not with catsup but with vinegar.

10. The cold tasteless stuff you insist on calling beer is not actually beer at all. Henceforth, only proper British Bitter will be referred to as beer, and European brews ofknown and accepted provenance will be referred to as Lager. South African beer is also acceptable as they are, pound for pound, the greatest sporting nation on earth and it can only be due to the beer. They are also part of British Commonwealth - see what it did for them. American brands will be referred to as Near-Frozen Gnat's Urine, so that all can be sold without risk of further confusion.

11. Hollywood will be required occasionally to cast English actors as good guys. Hollywood will also be required to cast English actors to play English characters. Watching Andie MacDowell attempt English dialogue in Four Weddings and a Funeral was an experience akin to having one's ears removed with a cheese grater.

12. You will cease playing American football. There is only one kind of proper football; you call it soccer. Those of you brave enough will, in time, be allowed to play rugby (which has some similarities to American football, but does not involve stopping for a rest every twenty seconds or wearing full kevlar body armour like a bunch of nancies). Don't try rugby - the South Africans and Kiwis will thrash you, like they regularly thrash us.

13. Further, you will stop playing baseball. It is not reasonable to host an event called the World Series for a game which is not played outside of America . Since only 2.1% of you are aware there is a world beyond your borders, your error is understandable. You will learn cricket, and we will let you face the South Africans first to take the sting out of their deliveries.
14. You must tell us who killed JFK. It's been driving us mad.

15. An internal revenue agent (i.e. tax collector) from Her Majesty's Government will be with you shortly to ensure the acquisition of all monies due (backdated to 1776).

16. Daily Tea Time begins promptly at 4 pm with proper cups, with saucers, and never mugs, with high quality biscuits (cookies) and cakes; plus strawberries (with cream) when in season.

God Save the Queen!
This could be a viable alternative....

Monday, July 14, 2008

A Tale of Two Cities

I have returned. I'm back but in recovery -- in a coma after blowing through how many different timezones and way too many planes, trains and automobiles. I now need to be idle and not drag a piece of luggage anywhere for a while. Thankfully, I have been given a reprieve from my Toronto trip that was planned for later this week, so I plan to go absolutely nowhere now for as long as I can possibly get away with it.

Still, I had a terrific trip. Three days in London, three days in Paris....working most of the time, but a nice change of venue all the same.

London offered mostly rainy days, which I generally despise.....but the familiar, ever present grayness that hangs in the air there almost felt like a welcoming friend. What I notice about the rain in London is that it's so inconsequential. People don't seem to change their lives over it. They don't walk faster, they don't run for cover, they don't appear to be inconvenienced by it much at all. I really like that about Londoners. They say you can tell a lot about a person by the way they handle a rainy day. Kudos to the Brits, who kept right on with their business at hand even as the rain came down.

My regrets about my trip to London are that I had too little time, I spent too much of it working, and I managed to blow in and out of town without scoring a single scone. Blast that!

And then there was Paris. Again, I spent most of my time locked in conference rooms (and rightfully so, since someone else was paying for me to be there). But I did manage to eek out some time on Friday evening. I slipped out of my business suit, put on a lovely strappy, flowy maxi dress and went out for a date with Paris, the city. Magnifique!

It was, however, express dating, as they say. I did as much with Paris as I could in 7 hours, but I can't say we got to know each other all that well. Still, I managed to enjoy our time together.... the Champs Elysees, the Louvre, the Seine, the Left Bank, St. Honore and Rue Royal...all done before the sun set. I worked up an appetite for steak poivre and a summer rose wine in a small brasserie, where I sat alone and had a lovely dinner by myself, feeling very French all the while.

And I wonder if I didn't also somehow look French that evening -- I had 4 or 5 different people approach me and ask me for directions...all in French. It made me laugh, as that always seems to happen to me, no matter where I am. People seem to think I must know the way to wherever it is they're wanting to go....somehow I must look like I know where I'm going, even when that couldn't be further from the truth.

I went to bed that night with the blue lights of the Eiffel Tower glowing through my window. I stared at it for a while, thinking about how lucky I was to have someone actually send me there -- to a place that people dream about seeing but may never actually get there. And here I was, turning out my lights and saying goodnight to it, which felt a little indulgent on my part. Who am I to turn off my lights on Paris? Still, I had a flight to catch the next day, and it had been a tiring week....so I said 'Bon Nuit' to the City, blew it a good night French kiss and hit the hay.

And so I have returned.

Sunday, July 6, 2008


I'm off to fly the friendly skies - across the big pond on an overnighter.


Friday, July 4, 2008

Birthday Fun

Momentary apologies to the rest of the world.....but it was really fun being an American tonight.

We drank, we danced, we sang patriotic songs, we waved flags and shot off fireworks. We cheered and broke into applause at anyone wearing a military uniform. It felt good to feel good about the country, regardless of what the press or other people have to say about us. This was just us, celebrating being us....uniquely American...red, white, blue, brown, black and yellow....all singing along to Yankee Doodle Dandy and God Bless America. It was great fun, truly.

I'm sure tomorrow will bring back our differences, but tonight we were all united. And it felt great.

Three cheers for the red, white and blue.

232 Candles

Happy Birthday USA! You've got your problems, for sure, but you're still one grand experiment and a fabulous place to be. Many thanks to my Italian (Dad's side) and English (Mom's side) ancestors who made the trek over many, many years ago. You rock!

Today...a holiday. No work, all play. A neighborhood gathering with food, friends and fun, topped off with fireworks over the ocean. Burgers, cole slaw, Mom's apple pie all on the menu. My contribution? Appetizers. Pecorino and herb stuffed mushrooms. Yum.

Off to the market in search of perfect 'shrooms.

Happy 4th of July!!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Packing Up

Lots of packing going on here....

Packing up the Florida house to leave it until September. It's been a bit of a drag to be here with the daily rain and all. And it's so quiet in town. The high airfares and gas prices have kept people at home rather than heading for a beach vacation this summer. So the typical off-season slow-down is brutally quiet this year, eerily so. A sad state for what is usually a bustling beach town. Contrast that with the energy of the city in Dallas, where crowds of people are out and about on warm summer nights....and it's no contest -- we're headed back to Big D for the rest of the summer. 110 degree days? So be it!

And it looks like I'll be taking the long way back....Miami-London-Paris-Atlanta-Dallas. Whew! Talk about your scenic route! So I'm busy packing for all that, too. What to take, what to wear....office, downtime, playtime....

So much to do, so little time.....