Monday, July 31, 2006

This is hysterical!

You could call it the battle of the heiresses: Julia Louis-Dreyfus v. Paris Hilton.
When you get down to the bottom line, it's Louis-Dreyfus by a knockout.

oh god, this is one of the saddest things I've read in a long while. I've not had one in eons, but I stacked up plenty of those green bottles since I turned 18...most during college.

"LATROBE, Pa. - A line of trucks idled outside the loading docks at Latrobe Brewing Co. on Friday morning. In a few hours, they would haul away some of the last cases of Rolling Rock beer brewed in Latrobe.

"It's over. It's done," said Larry Ewantis, who ran the receiving department for ingredients. "Now they're just cleaning up."

Known for its distinctive green bottle and quality pledge with a mysterious "33" at the end, Rolling Rock has been brewed here since 1939. But Belgium-based InBev SA, which owned Rolling Rock and Latrobe Brewing, sold the Rolling Rock brand to Anheuser-Busch Cos. Inc. for $82 million in May.

Anheuser-Busch plans to brew the beer in New Jersey beginning in August. The brewery in Latrobe was not included in the deal, and is expected to close Monday."

more here.

I can't believe I missed this one...I thought about it, but didn't have time to ask the question on the 29th, so I'll ask it now.

What were you doing 25 years (and two days ago), on July 29th, 1981? I know where I was early that day....watching the royal wedding. Along with a million of my closest friends all around the world. It was estimated that a billion people tuned in.

What happened on July 29th this year? Well, in britain the big news was that Top of The Pops was officially dead, at age 42.5 years.

It was kind of shock to read that it was ending. After all, this show gave a big break to more than a few worldwide performers.

We didn't really have anything like it....and god knows we never will today.
At it's prime, TOTP was a fascinating view of what was going on in british music. What the fans liked, not what the record company told you you'd like.
When it started, TotP used to only play records that were climbing the charts....not ones that had already peaked and were on the way down. Why the change? well, in the early days (through the first three decades, maybe longer), the playlist was really based on what was being played and sold in record stores....not picked by a producer. So you might see James Galway, The Stones, and some punk band you'd never heard of before all on the same program. And that new unknown band would be known around the country the next week because:
a. they'd been on TOTP
b. because they'd been on TOTP, you'd rushed out to buy the single over the weekend, and then wanted your friends to hear it, and they went and bought it because it was all over radio, too.

There weren't as many choices in those days, and "pop" music stations played everything. same thing here: in most cities, the "big" station played music that crossed boundaries: it wasn't odd to hear the beatles and george jones on the same station, perhaps followed by a tony bennett hit. They were all "hits," and everyone knew the songs.

i could go on and on, but I'll spare you.

But then pop music has changed, too.

hmmm. we must be showing our age. Over the weekend, i received an email from an under 30*, wanting to where and when "the kristen shepard case" took place, so they could look it up on the web. Really. Born and bred american, grew up in a house with TV and watched it, and who, when asked, claimed to be "a pop culture fanatic."

sniff (disdainfully). I don't think so. (raise an eyebrow, and smirk)

I grew up in a house with TV, but didn't watch it all that much. Even less when I got to college. I was busy listening to music! But I did read the newspaper** and Time, Newsweek, Rolling Stone, and the then-boring US News every week*** I knew what was going on....

*no relation to me!

**at least one a day, usually three or four when I was in a j-school atmosphere.

*** RS bi-weekly, I know. Maybe it was still monthly at that time? I had a great collection from 1975-81 that never survived a move.

Friday, July 28, 2006

my dryer stinks. There were three flies (dead). I walked outside and looked at the vent hole, from a distance, of course. It's about a foot off the ground, and probably isn't capped. I tapped it, nothing came out. I ran the dryer, and then ran outside to see if there was a big stink Which makes me feel somewhat better. I think that if some poor creature met his/her maker in my vent, the stink would run both ways. (if you know what i mean). ran back inside, and took a big stink in the dryer any longer.

I will, at some point before it gets cold, call someone to really check, and cap it. Sooner, if the stink reappears.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

speaking of fawlty towers...(see earlier post about the queen mum), i actually had a chance to use one of my favorite FT lines recently. I'm not going reveal to whom I said it, but...well, it just burst out.

"Please, try to understand this before one of us dies!"

It's been just about four years since the Queen Mum was "called home." But that isn't keeping the British press from writing about her. A quite interesting spot in the Guardian today sheds a little light on her fondness for gin. And fawlty towers.

"She would start her drinking day at noon with her favourite tipple, gin and Dubonnet: two parts Dubonnet - a pink vermouth - to one part gin. "Rarely went a day without having at least one of these and getting the mix right was crucial," writes Burgess. Because getting the mix of this potent drink - which, strangely, has never caught on - wrong would be disgusting.

Lunch with red wine followed, finished off with port. If you found yourself lunching with the Queen Mum, don't think you would ever have got away with drinking only tap water. "How can you not have wine with your meal?" she would ask incredulously.

Her sense of duty to her blood alcohol level never foundered. At 6pm every day, according to Burgess, she would ask, "Colin, are we at the magic hour?" "I would then rather flamboyantly look at my watch, raise an eyebrow and say to her, 'Yes, ma'am, I think it's just about time,' before popping off to mix her a martini."

At dinner, she would down two glasses of Veuve Cliquot pink champagne, leaving her staff to finish the bottle (never let it be said that she was a selfish drinker), before settling down to watch repeats of Fawlty Towers (the one with the Germans was a favourite)."

But wait...there's more! go here.

I'm in favor of reusing things, and recycling - - - but this is crazy.

They're claiming this is a lois lane doll.
How gullible do they think I am? That is not a Lois Lane doll.

It's quite obvious it is a Kristen Shepard doll.
And we all remember what she did just about 26 years ago, don't we....

drat! While I was in the chair yesterday, bourdain was doing a washington post chat. Mainly about lebanon, but someone did ask:
Rockville, Md.: Looking back at all the places you've traveled and meals you've had, what would be your dream menu and who would you invite?

Anthony Bourdain: I would eat at the St. John restaurant in London. An all offal meal prepared by Fergus Henderson. Attending would be a young Ava Gardner, Louise Brooks, Kim Philby, Orson Welles, Richard Helms, Iggy Pop, Graham Greene and Martin Scorsese."

and me! me, please.

This provides a very interesting view of Lebanon, and the current situation.

my mouth is still hurting a bit...the crown, and a filling opposite make things a bit tender. That and two pair of hands and uncountable dental things in my mouth at the same time. Or, as doc put it, we're trying to see how many thing we can fit in there at once. Answer: a lot. Good thing I was unable to make a smart ass answer at the time.

back at the office today. I had a little trial telecommute yesterday. Saved me about 2 hrs of sick leave, as my my commute is about 45 minutes each way, and it's about a 30 minute drive to the dentist. It worked out well, though the only computer with Word on it was in the shop, meaning i had to save text files and reformat when i got here.

And, any typos today are excused. I left my glasses in my purse, in my living room. I've got the prescription shades with me, but i try not to act too cool in the office. luckily, I'm just nearsighted, and can do most stuff without 'em. But don't wave to me from down the hall, I may confuse you with someone else. Say something, and I've got you nailed...voice recognition is strong with me.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

i spent some quality time with my dentist this afternoon. New crown, and a filling replacement.

It was kinda cool---he's got a new computer system that allows him to make the crowns onsite...meaning only one visit, and no wearing of the temp.

Takes about 30 minutes all in....he puts some crap on the tooth, probes it with something that is a camera, pulls it up on a screen, does some hocus-pocus to make sure things fit correctly, and then the computer and a little milling machine go to town!

pretty amazing. i'd rather spend my 1200 bucks doing something else, but, hey....i don't really have a choice, do i? Luckily, i've got about 900 left in my HSA, or FSA, whichever you prefer. 300 bucks out of pocket for this....and i'd better not have any other major medical bills this year.

hey! Think good thoughts for Lee today. Dan, too. They are flying across country with Sasha! And sasha wasn't the happiest of girls yesterday...which, well, caused Lee to say a silent prayer (or maybe not too silent!) for everyone on their Jetblue flight today.

hmm. maybe you'd better sprinkle a little fairy dust while you're at it.

Have fun! Please let us know how the flight goes...

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Earlier, I'd posted about Anthony Bourdain in Beirut. He is indeed out, and has sent out this email. It comes from

"Me, Jerry, Todd, Tracey and Diane are all safely home .. I should tell you that expressions of concern here at eGullet were a comfort to us while we hunkered down in Beirut..and that we're enormously grateful to the Travel Channel, who took extreme measures to see we were as safe as possible while in Beirut--and then went to extraordinary lengths to get us safely and quickly back. Main Man at Travel, Patrick Younge, even met us at the airport with a pack of my very-hard-to-find cigarette of choice in hand. I can't say enough nice things about the Beirut (and the Beirutis) we saw and met in the short time before everything went to hell. And I can't begin to describe how regretful we are that we won't be able to show the world how beautiful a place, how good the food, how nice the people we experienced in the two short days we had of unrestrained filming . Freshly back--and ahead of so many others-- it would seem ungrateful to share my dim view of how the US embassy and State dept. appeared to be going about their business. BUT: My admiration for the sailors and marines of the Nashville and the way in which they--at short notice, last minute, steamed from Jordan to perform an incredible difficult job (for which they had had little if any experience) is boundless. The minute we became charges of the navy and marines, we (and everyone else aboard--from beachhead to Cyprus) were treated with breathtaking kindness,generosity and sensitivity. The minute we passed into their care, every aspect of exfiltration was performed with incredible efficiency and care. I will never forget the impromptu refugee camp set up on the Nashville's flight deck: EVERY group of huddled evacuees, families, children, old people--had at least one or two marines sitting with them, talking to them, seeing to their needs. Most of these young men and women knew nothing of Beirut. Many who I spent time with on the smoking deck (Yes! a smoking deck!), had never even been to New York--much less been trained to handle (in many cases) psychologically shattered refugees. They treated everyone, EVERYONE with patience, courtesy and kindness. The logistical challenges alone were enormous--that they managed to perform them so flawlessly AND keep the kids amused, feed any and all tuna noodle casserole, macaroni and cheese, corn dogs and key lime pie...give up their own blankets and sheets...give tours and every other imaginable measure of hospitality was..well..awesome. To my mind, they put every other branch of govt involved in this horror show to shame. It is always a joy and a relief to find oneself in the hands of professionals.
You have all likely seen the photo of the young marine, Sanchez, holding two infants, kissing one of the cheek as he carried them across the water onto the landing craft. It was quite another thing to meet him and talk with him (him still holding a freshly printed copy of tomorrow's wire service cover photo) ordinary young man, getting ribbed by his buddies for being thrust into extraordinary circumstances. Bashful, proud, emotional and inspiringly..human.
We are very aware--painfully aware--that we are among the fortunate. Our hearts and best wishes go out to all those we left behind. We will never forget what we saw."

now, I haven't seen the movie "you and me and dupree," but when i read the review, the plot seemed familiar. But from where???? tv? a book? another movie?

no, a song. by donald fagen and walter becker, aka steely dan.

and guess what? It sounds familar to them, too.

this is one of the funniest things I've read in years. check this out, from their website.

and for those with no institutional memory, here's the scoop on zal yanovsky. he was a guitar player with the lovin' spoonful, was fired after narking on his dealer, and then was tossed out of the band. after that, he returned to live in his native ontario, canada and ran a pretty good restaurant. That's the very short version, with much left out. Do your own resarch. I'm tired.

i have returned.
From florida. Where we (my sister nancy and i) did a blitz on the old homestead. In 3.5 short days (friday afternoon, saturday, sunday and a bit of monday) we tagged everything we wanted in the house, tagged a few things intended for other folks, picked out tile for the lanai, found out what kind of flooring is in the rest of the house, in case buyers want to put the same thing in rooms that are carpeted (or vinyled, as is the case in the kitchen), poured through a few picture albums, met with the real estate agent face to face, met her friend the "stager," who will also handle packing, shipping, etc, ate too much, and got to the pool twice, including once at 9pm saturday night after a hike around the neighborhood.

whoo! where's my gold star for that one?

Friday, July 21, 2006

Reuters is reporting that Anthony Bourdain is out of Beirut.

I won't comment, but the old saw used to suggest going to the Brits first in case of a REAL emergency.

More Bourdain here.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

mony read my knife lust post and wanted to know what the cooking class was all about. I've got to pack for florida, so entertain yourselves with this poorly written note I sent to ruth earlier. It was loads of fun. We're thinking of doing the iron chef oyster menu class in august. Roberto Donna has been on IC twice. He says to only watch the second go-round!

anyway, apologies for not making much sense. I'm on a 7am plane to sarasota tomorrow. My sister and I are finally going through our (late) parents home, and getting it ready to sell. I'm sure I'll be back with much to share.

below was sent in response to an email from ruth, asking how the cooking class went. I raced home from upstate ny to make it time....

"oh, it was wonderful. There was a special kitchen/dining room for us. Some days it's used for a special chef's table, but monday night it was for about 16 "students." our teacher was chef roberto donna, fantastic guy. He also had two sous with him, and a couple of clean up guys.

I met erin at the bar, and they sent over some cheese and olives, because "it was a long time until dinner." We toddled into the classroom at 630, where we were faced with more snacks, and a glass of champagne. And water. Much water, as it was aobut 98 outside, and the ac in the building was shut down because some office was moving out. They brought in portable ac units and a big fan, and it wasn't so bad, though chef was a mess because he was right up against the stove.

we were then given our gallileo aprons, and joined chef donna at the work area. We each had a cutting board, and two knives, and a spoon. And immediately started chopping onions.

I won't give you more of a blow by blow, but we learned how to make 6 dishes, a combo pizza-bruschetta topped with cheese, and a saute of olives, anchovy and tomato. There were four among the 16 of us. Chef (notice how we slip into the familiar here) took my chopped stuff to add to his...and (as i told erin) i felt stupidly thrilled that i couldn't tell his from mine. Hooray for me. The woman next to me didn't do a great job of cutting, and i would not have wanted MY beautiful work mingling with hers. (my, we are competitive ....)

We also made a rabbit stewish thing....browned by us before going into a huge la crueset pan on the stove. I learned one important thing: if you're browning rabbit (not likely), or chicken, put it in the pan, and leave it alone until it slides around by itself. Then you can turn it over, and it will be perfectly browned. BUT...take the pan off the heat, otherwise it will flare up when you turn it over, or add anything. I had a nice flame going, but handled it without screaming, or dropping the pan, or setting it on fire. And i did remember to move it from the heat before I tossed in the onions. It turned out fine, but I'm not sure what i think about rabbit. I seem to eat it once a decade. This would work with chicken, too.

Then what? An anise and orange salad. We learned how to peel an orange with a knife, leaving no white stuff (is that pith?), but still perfectly round. The dressing had marsala in it, but i found the whole thing pretty tasteless.

A very nice seafood cous cous. This i'll probably make again. We used a big sardinian cous cous called , hmmm, i've forgotten. So it's big grains, almost pearl sized. This had a tomato based sauce with some hot stuff. Very nice. shrimp, mussels, and a white fish.

Very yummy rice balls with cheese. Basically risotto, golf ball shaped, and browned. Very nice, and very rich. Interestingly, he cooked his risotto without the constant stirring most recipes insist upon. Just had the rice in the pan, poured in stock, let it simmer, stirred a bit, poured in more, etc. I might do this again.

and finally, cannoli with a not too sweet cocoa filling. some dried chopped cheries and something else in there. I didn't like that added texture, but the filling was nice. We made the shells, but I would never bother doing that.

then, at about 930, we sat down to eat. Huge portions. I was smart, and only ate about half til we got to the cous cous. That's the only way I got through it all.

I was a lot of fun. I think we're going to do another in the fall. three our four folks in the class had taken one prior.

I also learned that you really don't need a houseful of knives. We used a wonderful stainless chefs knife for everything. Designed by porsche. I did copy down all the info, but I can only imagine the price!

all in all, a good time. Though i was beat by the end, and it was sooooo hot that I didn't enjoy the 15 minute walk to the subway. But i needed it, after chowing down!"

did i tell you about the cooking class that my friend erin and i took on monday? (yes, right after my long drive back from new york)

we took a class from chef roberto donna at dc's wonderful gallileo restaurant. A five course dinner from sicily. We cooked, and then we ate.

my big discovery? This knife:

designed by porsche. Amazing to use. I want one. Price is competitive with other good knives.

this horrifies me:

From the Austin Chronicle:

My Migas, My City
Las Manitas and its neighbors become the next crossroads for the future of downtown

This map shows Congress Avenue blocks available for large-scale tower development. 1) Fifth and Congress, northeast corner, would be 47-story mixed-use development (retail, office, residential). 2) Second and Congress, northwest corner, proposed for Congress Avenue Condominiums, 40-story, 250 condominiums above first-floor retail. 3) Second and Congress, northeast corner, site of Las Manitas, Escuelita del Alma, Tesoros Trading Co.; property owner announced Wednesday a multistory hotel development for the block.
View a larger map

If we lost Las Manitas Avenue Cafe, would Austin lose a piece of its funky, authentic soul? Is it ridiculous to consider an enchilada joint a cultural institution – even if it has been a favorite hangout of Austin movers-and-shakers for 25 years? Will Austin have made a bargain with el diablo if we let Austin's only full-time downtown child-care center – and a whole row of historic Congress Avenue storefronts that house unique, locally owned businesses – be displaced or demolished in the name of progress?"

read more here:

That reminds me....someone has removed my "keep austin weird" sticker from the side of my office computer. Of course, Austin has changed so much over the past two decades...there's not much "weird" left.

i missed it, but i'm told the wonderfully liberal jason bateman appeared on Air America again last night.

This is where i'd post a lovely picture, if blogger wasn't being so weird.

anyway, i understand you can listen here.

here's a preview, direct from the email Marc sent: the show opened like this...

JG: Jason, are you Jewish?

Jason: Ummmmmm, well my penis is....

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

a bit more on anthony bourdain in beirut.

BTW, this photo is from 2003.
Hair color looks a bit different, doesn't it? I'm digging the grey.

guess who's stuck in beirut? Anthony Bourdain.

he posted this yesterday on a website:

"I am still in Beirut. And there ain't no "brave" about it. My crew and I came to a lovely city filled (mostly) with lovely, kind, sophisticated, welcoming and tolerant people and after a couple of days of good times, great food and universal hospitalty, things went suddenly to hell. That's not brave. That's just dealing with cirumstances the best you can...Beirutis are brave. They have to live here. They have lived through every variety of undreamed of horror and survived and proudly rebuilt--and they will surely do so
again. THAT'S brave. As are all the Lebanese emigres and foreign born second generation Lebanese who had recently returned to rebuild and change for the better a place they loved. Those hopes and dreams are smashed for now. And it is a terrible thing to see--a modern, relatively tolerant and enlightened (yet still weak)city like Beirut--only just recovered--systematically dismantled.Destruction comletely out of sync with reason or the rhetoric . The world seems to be demanding of Lebanon: "Clean your own house", knowing full well (presumably) that the fragile govt. and non-existent effective military here(as opposed to the dangerously flush-with-foreign money and materiel Hezbollah) could barely police a Who concert. Me and my crew are stll here but likely out soon. Still safe. Still well looked after. But sickened and terribly saddened by what we are seeing."

travel safely chef!

let me start by saying that mony has her own blog now. I hope that doesn't mean she's stop writing wonderful comments here!

anyway, go here

now, if we could just get lee to write one... not that we don't all love sasha, it's that we don't hear enough from you!

back to reality:
i had a wonderful time in new york state. I stayed with ruth and rob, who are just them most wonderful people. You may have seen their film, bluegrass journey. If not, you should. go here to see what the fuss is all about. And then buy it. Great stuff, even if you don't think you like the music. Because you will. This ain't your grandpa's bluegrass.

There was one minor mishap. I started up the computer saturday night and notice the screen looked weird. Very weird. Like, broken weird. I had moved rooms, and was in one of the kids, so our first thought was that someone had bumped it around by mistake. Later, that was amended to "perhaps the visiting 2 year old jumped on it."

Anyway, we'll never know. But it doesn't matter. I took it into apple yesterday, and the verdict was the very bad "cracked screen." But since I was really clueless as to what happened, they are doing a very nice thing for me. So nice that I really shouldn't say what it is. Let's just say that when I get my computer back in 10 days, or so, things will be just fine. And no purses will have been emptied.

How's that for building brand loyalty? I know what I'm buying when it's time to replace the musty old windows tower sitting on my desk.

I hope to get a few photos up soon. And go visit mony, and leave her some comments.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

yes, it is hot enough for me.

up to 100 today. Humidity isn't much lower.

back from grey fox. Where i got not just a tan line, but a dirt line. I think i'm finally scrubbed clean.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

and i'm off! Soon. Up to New York state for the grey fox bluegrass festival.

Stopping in phildelphia tonite. This stop was planned with the intention of meeting up with the lovely folks I met in Australia two years ago. No such luck. It will, however, mean only a 4 hour drive for me tomorrow.

Saw the dentist today. Dr bad news tells me i need a new crown and a filling. 1300 bucks. The only good news is that I've got about a thousand left in my health savings account, or flexible spending account. Oh, and that i don't have any nerve damage, or anything like that. Which is quite good news.

I like my dentist. I was one of his first patients here. If i write him a check, i get ten percent off. 5% for a charge. I think it's because the dental plan I had was so awful, that this saves him more money than having to go through their reimbursement procedures.

of course, if the fed dental plan update is ever completed, things will be better.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

there was a great obit in the Post today.

wait, i should preface that by saying I read the entire paper every day. And, probably because I grew up here, I give the obits a more than cursory glance.

one given prominent placement today was quite interesting, even though it was the life story of a woman I probably would have disliked. well, maybe not personally, but in her professional life. A conservative lawyer who served as President of our county council in the early 60s, and railroaded a bunch of rezonings through, overruling master plans and disregarding planners reccomendations. Many were later thrown out because of the way they'd been pushed through.

but enough about that. Here's what I loved. This quote, from her husband:

"Her philosophy -- toward bridge and toward life -- was simple, he said: "She was seldom in error and never in doubt."

not that anyone has said the same about me....

Monday, July 10, 2006

So, guess who shops at Target. Well, I know you do. And I do. And a friend in Nashville called yesterday to tell me she saw Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban there, too. Buying a mop, and a few other household products.

And no, it wasn't one of my australian friends who know heith. Now, that would have been funny - - - a little group of ex-pats bemoaning the lack of tim-tams in Nashville.

Tell me this: what do you do when you're confronted by one of those electric-assist doors. Do you just open it the normal way, or do you do push the button and let the electric glide go? (or, "mash the button" as a friend used to say)

I'm asking because I don't. And I have friends who do it without thinking. And I see kids at my library constantly "mashing," young (Under 70) healthy looking adults too, though their hands are empty, and they are seemingly fit.

I observed "the mash" three times this morning in the office. SOme of our bathrooms, the modern accessible ones, have the assist doors, and most people use the button.

I don't. Probably stems from my father. He was an engineer. Nuclear by trade, but a real mechanical whiz. He taught us that most mechanical things have a lifespan, and each time you push a button, twist a dial, flip it on and off, the item is a bit closer to death. And this used to be true, in the "old days." I wonder if it still is. So, I don't "mash that button," because I figure one day (today? tomorrow? six years from now?), someone who needs help with that door is going to push the assist button, and nothing is going to happen.

Interestingly, he also prefered dials to electronic controls....fewer things to break, meant easier repairs.

I think he was right about that. The furnace in the house I'm living in now lasted 45 years before being replaced ---it just went on, and off. Nothing else. No electronic brain. The gas cooktop rusted through at 43, but still worked well. And I replaced the wall oven at the same time, simply because it was easier to do so. And I have a 24 old b/w tv with no remote control that works perfectly, though it looks stupid with a cable box hooked up. (That only happened once, when cable was installed, and the guy put an outlet in the room) I just replaced the color TV that I purchased when I moved into my first apartment in 1983. Picture is still good, but the stereo speakers short out. I was very cutting edge when I bought that for 399 dollars. 20 inch screen, and all. Sony, of course.

I think i got my moneys worth out of that one, though I felt quite reckless making the purchase.

When I replaced all these items, I was told there was no way any would last as long as the original pieces. And of course, replacements would be cheaper than repairs, in some cases.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

there's a wonderful article in the Post today about a local joint, Bubba's BBQ. This pretty much sums it up:

"He started cooking the way his mentor, Earl, back at that dive of a restaurant in Tennessee, taught him. He delights in the fact that a black man from Tennessee took the time to teach an Iranian college student the secrets of Southern barbecue."

And that, my friends, is what America is all about.

Friday, July 07, 2006

what a great day! it was book club night, we met at the iron gate inn. had a wonderful dinner with a nice bottle of something red. sorry to be so unknowing, but i've pretty much been off reds since i began getting migraines a few years ago. But...i have gone about a year without one, so i took 3/4 of a glass. So far, so good. Though my eyes have been itching something awful....

anyway, wonderful dinner, a ride most of the way home, and i come in to find a phone message inviting me to a movie. Yup, al gore called this afternoon, and suggested I see his documentary. Which I plan to do. Maybe not this weekend, but sometime during the first run.

I burst out laughing on the metro this morning. Why? Check out my horoscope.

oops. time out.

I was going to just cut and paste from the post website, but it seems the online 'scopes are not the same as the ones in the print edition. That's odd.

anyway, here I go a typing:
gemini: "people like to listen to the pleasing, confident sound of your voice."
This is a good thing because the more people who listen, the more fans, love interests, friends and clients you aquire."

hah! and duh!

i don't watch a lot of US tv, so i don't recognize all of the emmy nominees. But, as an arrested development fan, I'm dumbfounded by jason bateman not getting a nod this year...or ever. Flashy is good, I guess.

And william shatner is never front of mind with me. I remember my father watching star trek during the original run, but that wasn't something that interested most little girls. I can't think of a movie i saw him in, but i did see an episode of boston legal (or half of one) while i was on the road this year.

However, his interview with the USA Today today is enough to make me search out his work on the program. You can find the rest of the article, including an interview with nominee Will Arnett, here.

"How many noms does this make? "Oh, who counts," the Boston Legal cut-up jokes. "Four!"

And how many wins? "Two, but there's always room for one more."

Where are his Emmys? "We have an interior waterfall it's true; and they're underwater being splashed even as we speak. They're seriously by this little waterfall with a spotlight."

But isn't he worried they might rust? "The Academy wouldn't give me something that would rust, would they? I'm oxidizing fast enough as it is."

Who spilled the beans to Shatner? "I have a source at ABC ... more than a secret source, it's like spring water. Actually, somebody called. It was a little too early for me. I've just come in from out of town. When the phone rang' I thought, 'Oh boy. It's either I did or I didn't.' One of those dreadful moments."

Shatner confirms that stars do get called even when they don't make the cut. "They leave you hanging if they don't call. Actually that happened one year and I thought, 'Oh well, what a shame.' I spent the three hours tossing and turning. When they did finally call, they said, 'Sorry, we didn't want to wake you up.'"

What does he make of his fellow nominees in the dramatic actor race? "Alan Alda (The West Wing) is brilliant and so is Oliver Platt (Huff)."

Shatner credits his easy chemistry with co-nominee Candice Bergen for the show's success. "I guess we deserve it," he jokes. "To be serious, she is really brilliant and makes everything so easy. When two people like us get together it's like old home week."

Shatner wonders if the good news might give him a little more leeway with his bosses. "We start shooting the middle of next week, but I have an important horse show to do. I think now I have a little more weight — in emotional terms, not protein. So maybe I'll lean on them a little more to let me go to this horse show in Lexington."

As for Boston Legal's upcoming season, Shatner makes this bold (if not altogether true) promise: "There's lots of flatulence.You're a shoe-in for an award if you can fart well. I'll at least suggest that."

But seriously folks: " Actually, I have the script in my hand now as I'm driving, so it behooves me not to look," he says.

Shatner is happy with the idea of Matt Damon playing the new young Captain Kirk in J.J. Abrams' upcoming Star Trek film. "I think its great. The tragedy is that when somebody else is playing you younger, you're really old."

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

despite my better judgement, i have always enjoyed tucker carlson. I rarely watch his tv program, though. And i guess few people did, as it's been cancelled by msnbc. But have no fear, he's not really been cancelled, he's just been reformatted. The good news is that it will run at 4pm, the bad news is that he'll be up against Wolf blitzer on CNN.

But, how can you not love a guy who says stuff like this? And yes, the set up is worth the payoff....

From the Philadelphia Inquirer:

" Until he moves into his new home in three weeks, Carlson's center will be the basement of his parents' nearby home. (His wife and four kids spend the summer at their place in western Maine.)

"My plan is to start a blog," says Carlson. "If you're 37 and living in your parents' basement, you ought to blog."

Despite the fact it was put together on a holiday, the July 5th Washington Post is a fantastic read. (post-holiday papers are often slim and dull, as not much happens the previous day)

Why? Well, first of all, my neighborhood is the subject of a new Metro feature. It's called "My Neighborhood in 200 words or less." And here we are:

A Little Slice of the 1950s

The cherry trees are dying faster than people can replace them, so the homes reveal more of themselves each year: humble brick ramblers, built in the 1950s on postage-stamp lots a quick walk from Holy Cross church. The neighborhood is largely untouched by the wave of knockdowns and jumbo additions swamping Montgomery County. It still feels a little like the '50s.

It's called Garrett Park Estates, but we joke that it's also North Bethesda or Rockville depending on whether you're buying or selling. No doubt it'll be Strathmore one of these days in honor of the new, elegant concert hall nearby.
Of course, we'll never have as many grand trees and millionaires as Garrett Park next door, but that's okay. We still have the community pool and the shortcut to the movie theater at White Flint Mall. And -- this is key -- we have more kids. When we moved in, one was dressed in full cowboy regalia, right down to the badge and six-shooters, as if from a place and time that no longer exist.
-- Freddie Kunkle"

A few minor quibbles. I wouldn't say we've got "postage stamp lots" exactly. And there is growth---my block excepted, I'm seeing additions galore. Roofs popped, expansion in the back. We're lucky though, no total knockdown. I guess it's the '50s zoning rules still holding true.

But that's not all. The big Style story for today is fantastic. You MUST see for yourself. Just the type of feature that one reads the paper for!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Oh, i forgot to tell you the big news. I made it into Sasha's blog.

If you haven't followed the saga of Sasha...from her first meeting Lee and Dan to her current super-hero status, do yourself a favor and check it out. It's the perfect story for Independence Day, or any day for that matter.

Yes, you could just read the current entry, but I'd say start from the top. Or, bottom as it were, as it's a blog. We're not talking daily entries folks, so don't give me "no time" as an excuse.

Besides, Sasha won't hear of it. Don't make her get those superpowers working.....

Monday, July 03, 2006

just last week, I wrote of my love for newspapers. I guess that's what prompted someone to send me word of a wonderful exhjbit at the British Library. It's called "Front Page," and celebrates 100 years of British newspapers. A mini-online version can be found here.

Looking at the website, I was reminded of my visit to the Sydney Jewish Musuem last year.
It's a fantastic small museum, and well worth seeking out if you're ever in Sydney. Two highlights for me: a documentary film about some of the children who were sent to Australia during WW2, and their lives in this new country. Several families were documented, and it was fascinating to "meet" these folks who came with next to nothing, and built new lives. There were many mixed marriages, and it seems that many of these raised their families Jewish...half the children and grandchildren interviewed were blue eyed blonds, or green eyed redheads.

But what really grabbed me was something that was secondary to the exhibits. The library uses old newspapers to help tell the story of the holocaust. Papers from all around the world, preserved by laminating pages and placing them in binders. In some cases, entire newspapers! Allowing me to leaf through and find out the little news of the day as well, and check out the advertising. Most fascinating to me were the New York and Chicago papers, though the British ones were of interest, too.

I've always loved social history, and this was a treasure trove.