Thursday, December 15, 2005

Pet Peeves #247
"Not available in all areas." Hey, marketing folks, when you put that ridiculous disclaimer at the end of ads for your new product, what you are really saying is "this product is not any area." What you mean to say is "not available in some areas." Learn the difference, people.

Land Rovers. Why, oh why, in the name of humanity does anyone in the Bay Area need a Land Rover? OK, maybe if you live in the Santa Cruz mountains and it floods a lot in the winter -- but come on, commute on 280 from San Francisco to Cupertino and you need a Land Rover? And why would anyone buy them anyway, they all seem to be defective...not one of them seems to have working turn signals.

The Little Drummer Boy. Worst Christmas carol ever written. All those endless "rum-pah-pah-pums." Good lord, it's enough to make the "dreidel" song look like Rock Around the Clock.
Do you know the Fairfield Four? Being a thorough pagan, I am completely non-religious, but this is the most wonderful, most spirtually uplifting, and just plain most fun music I've heard in ages. Listen to a sample of their version of Children Go Where I Send Thee. If it doesn't get you up, swaying and clapping, you have no soul.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Deep spam
In checking my e-mail this morning, I came accross one with the subject line "mispronounciation." Since I did my radio show last night, and since I always mispronounce the artists on my show, I thought it was a listener sending in some advice on an artist or song.

Instead it was the oddest, must cryptic not ever. I'm assuming it was spam, but not sure what the point it. I quote it in full:

"himself: Woe is me! How I have deceived myself! These feet which
would have saved me I despised, and I gloried in these antlers
which have proved my destruction.
What is most truly valuable is often underrated.
The Jackdaw and the Fox
A HALF-FAMISHED JACKDAW seated himself on a fig-tree, which had
produced some fruit entirely out of season, and waited in the
hope that the figs would ripen. A Fox seeing him sitting so long
and learning the reason of his doing so, said to him, You are
indeed, sir, sadly deceiving yourself; you are indulging a hope
strong enough to cheat you, but which will never reward you with
The Lark Burying Her Father"


Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Sweeties in paradise!
Our friend David took this photo of us in Hawaii. It's in front of his gorgeous new house on the Big Island.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Coming soon!
Get your Christmas lists started now. Here's the hottest new thing to expect.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Watching this made me grin like a little kid. It's so fun. I remember the press when they filmed this ad, because they actually released all those balls on the streets of SF. But it's so delightfully, simply joyful.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Red Cloud, over Chavez Ravine
I've been listening to the excellent Ry Cooder CD Chavez Ravine a lot lately, and loving it. This trip back to LA in the '50s, when a "Poor Man's Shangra-La" was demolished to make way for Dodger Stadium is full of songs that will engage you on first hearing, and that you will love upon repeated listening. I highly recommend this for the great music and the wonderful story it tells. From sweet Tex-Mex waltzes to hip 50s grooves, to bits of programming that cover everything from aliens to Commies to Dragnet, it's a solid release that will climb to the top of your favorites list. Would make a damn fine Christmas gift for the adventurous music lover in your life as well.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Art in the Tubes
At the risk of being arrested as terrorists, a group of artists have begun attaching suitcases with projectors and Mac minis to the sides of subway trains with the purpose of showing art movies on the walls of tunnels. You can see a QuickTime movie of the project here.

Monday, October 31, 2005

The Case of the Curious Cat
Friday night, fighting off a cold, I stayed home while my beloved went to a SF Jazz concert up in the City. At about 7:30, I heard a cat meowing in the front yard. Not an unusual occurance around our place, which seems to attract squads of roaming feral kitties. But the meowing kept going, and I became curious. So I turned on the porch light and opened the front door. There, at the bottom of the porch steps, was a cat with a beautiful black and grey coat and light greenish yellow eyes.

I opened the screen door, figuring out that such action would cause it to run away and meow in someone else's yard, the way it usually works, only to find the opposite effect. The cat took it as in invitation.

Without hesitation, she came up the stairs and walked right into the house. I was so stunned, I think I just stood there for a few seconds with the door open and by the time I turned to look into the living room, the cat had jumped up on the sofa and was calmly regarding me from my recently-occupied seat.

The cat, whom I christened Crasher (after "gate crasher") became my companion for the next 3 hours.

She was obviously not a stray -- not skittish at all, too clean, well fed, too accustomed to having her tummy rubbed. So was probably a neighbor's house cat that had gotten out. Not knowing what else to do, I gave it some tuna & a bowl of water, which she appreciated, and then I returned to the sofa and she settled into my lap.

She seemed very young, not long out of kitten stage, and was quite a bite-y cat. Liked to claw things too. But extremely friendkly, very curious, kinda dumb, and apparently not at all afraid of strangers, strange houses, or anything else unfamiliar.

At several points in the night I led her to the front door and opened it so she could leave, but she'd just look outside, and then turn and head for the sofa again. When my sweetie called during the intermission of the concert, he was very surprised to hear I'd been adopted for the evening. For althought we've often had as many as 5 cats in our yard at once, they've never let us get within 5 feet of them before they'd take off. None have ever shown any inclination towards being domesticated, and here was Crasher acting like The Man Who Came to Dinner.

Finally, my date came home and met the cat. And the next time I opened the front door, she left. Just like that. Without even a thank you for the tuna. I have no idea where she came from, or where she went after she left. But I must say that was one of the strangest cat encounters I've ever had.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

A hilarious example of what editing, some music, and a voiceover can do.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Hawaii is for the birds!
Sorry, no photos to share (I'm a film person, not a digital camera person). But for those who care, we had a wonderful week in Hawaii, and it was an especially good week for critter watching. Both my husband and I are huge animal lovers, so a large part of our trip was spent in birdwatching, turtle viewing, dolphin spotting, and other outdoor sports. We saw some wonderful animals, but I think my favorites of the birds were the francolins. They are partridge-like birds with large bodies and tiny heads, which makes them look very stupid. This appearance is seconded by their tendency to walk around in groups of 6 or 7 in an aimless sort of way, which is just hilarious to watch. I especially like the last guy who always has a "hey, wait for me!" moment and has to run to catch up with the rest of the crowd. They run surprisingly fast, which just makes it even funnier to watch. In fact they spend so much time walking around, I thought perhaps they couldn't fly -- or at least not very far. That myth went out the window the morning one of the local feral cats tried to pounce on one and that francolin took off like a supersonic jet.

Our morning viewing of the "francolin parade" was one of the daily highlights. My other favorite birds were the cute little Java Sparrows who took over the hotel bird feeder in bunches of dozens at a time.

One morning a pod of dolphins swam into the bay by our hotel and we spent about 30 minutes watching them do show-off acrobatics for the appreciative crowd. We also found a sheltered spot where the sea turtles go to sun themselves. Unfortunately getting there was like the Bataan death march and I ended up just this side of heat stroke from the hike. But it was worth it to see the turtles up close. They were so beautiful and peaceful that it was worth the nausea and general hideousness I felt for the rest of the afternoon. Thank heavens for large bottles of water, cold showers, and ice.

The one touristy thing we did was take a stargazing tour to the top of Mauna Kea where all the observatories are. It's 13,000 feet high, and damned cold. Thankfully they provide parkas and hot chocolate. (Go to Hawaii...wear a parka.) After watching the sun set from the summit, you come down a bit and they set up a telescope and you get to look at all sorts of cool things. The white smear of the Milky Way was clearly visible before the moon came up, and both Venus and Mars were hanging around...though avoiding each other. I'm glad I did it, but once was enough and the tour guide was truly annoying.

Other than that, we were lazy. We read a lot. We bought some great Hawaiian music. We drove to the other side of the island to see the house a friend of ours just bought (he's completely gone Hawaiian). We read some more. We had margaritas. We read. And then we read a bit.

All in all, a fine time. And no, I'm not glad to be back at work...
I'm rich!

My blog is worth $1,693.62.
How much is your blog worth?

Friday, October 14, 2005

Beaches, books, and bliss
That will be the next week. My sweetie and I are off to Hawaii. I shall read until my eyes are crossed, relax, and generally get the taste of the Silicon Valley out of my mouth. See you on the flipside!

Monday, October 10, 2005

Beware, this short film will have you laughing out loud. It's a parody about how the warning levels for the Department of Homeland Security were designed. Truly funny.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Foxy art

Belgian artist Francis Alys has a short "film" demonstrating the omnipresence of surveillance cameras. His demonstration? He brought a wild fox into Britain's National Portrait Gallery and used the security cameras to film it wandering through the empty galleries. "It spent more time in the Tudor room for some reason, possibly because it's darker, but I'm not sure I could confirm if there is a specific taste for one period or another."

The fox, named Bandit, is actually quite cute and it's amusing to watch him wander around. You can view the whole film here.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Along with my rant about how you can judge a book by its cover, I should have included a plea for book suggestions. I'm open to either fiction or non-fiction (depending upon subject), but I insist that it be a "thumping good read." I'm tired of wishy-washy characters, predictable plots, and just-plain-bad writing. I want something that keeps me up too late, turning pages and frantic to find out what comes next. With a week's worth of "doing nothing" vacation coming up, I need to replenish my to be read shelf.

Any suggestions?

Thursday, September 29, 2005

You Can Judge a Book By Its Cover
The old saying, "you can't judge a book by its cover," is no longer true. I'm not meaning in the figurative sense as in you can't judge people by how they look. I mean the literal definition of basing an opinion of a book on the cover of that book.

I think the saying may have been true, back when covers were all either brown, black, or red leather with words embossed on it. I mean really, how much can you tell by that? Yes, all books used to look alike, and you couldn't judge by how they looked. But boy, you sure can now.

Ever notice how many contemporary books feature variations of photographs or drawings of shoes, feet, or legs? If you haven't paid attention, do so. Next time you're in a bookstore, wander over to the "new paperback fiction" section and you'll be amazed at the foot fetish that seems to have gripped American book designers. Mind you, I blame the advent of so-called "Chick Lit," a publishing craze that needs to die, right now. All these books look, and read, exactly the same. Late 20 or early 30-something women, either never been married or freshly divorced/dumped, wants to change her life/job/city of residence so she takes up yoga/becomes an assistant to a movie star/moves to Milan and hijinks ensues....usually after several hundred changes of clothing. Yawn.

I can and I do judge these books by their covers. I do not want to read any book that features feet or legs on the cover. Nor do I want to read a book that pictures a pencil-skinny woman looking longingly through any shop window, sitting in any cafe or restaurant, or wearing a little black dress and looking in a mirror. I judge those books by their covers. In most cases the plots are as shallow, uninteresting, and preditable as the cover art.

The phrase should have died out with the invention of the "bodice ripper." If you see a cover, any cover, featuring a long-haired, bare chested man grasping a blond vixen who cannot seem to keep her clothes from falling off and you know what you're going to get inside. You don't even need to open the book to know.

Am I too judgemental? Hell yeah, and damned proud of it. Do you have any idea how much money I save by not being books about feet?

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Why hire a writer when what you want is a grammarian? They don't need me, or anyone else who has a skill with words. No. All they really need is someone who can put commas in the middle of their dull marketing crap.

Why preach creativity, and then shoot down anything even remotely creative? Why bother to do anything word-based if the words involved are boring and not something anyone actually wants to read? When did "different" become "inappropriate?"

People, if you don't want me, fire me. If you're not going to use me, get rid of me. But for god's sake, don't hire me with the promise of creativity and then tie my hands behind my back because you're afraid of rocking the damned boat.

I've been looking for a new job since my second week at this one, and I can't find anything. So....anybody in the San Francisco Bay Area in need of a writer/editor? I have lots of experience, great ideas that no one seems to want, I'm a kick-ass manager (ask anyone who used to report to me), I've met every deadline that's ever been handed to me, and I'm tired of wasting my time where I am.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Darwin in action?
In a New York Times article about those in Galveston who refuse to evacuate in the face of Rita, comes some of the most freakishly sterotypical "redneck" comments ever.

One guy says he'll fend off looters with his Marine Corps knife and then states, "I'm going to go rat hunting when this is over." Apparently in the past, storm surges have forced rats out of their nests in the sea wall.

Another man tried to leave but his car broke down. He took it as a sign from God. "On Thursday, Mr. Shumake and his nephew, Russell Cavender, 17, walked along the sea wall holding an American flag and another flag saying, "We Support Our Troops." Mr. Shumake, a stout man with a bushy goatee and a ponytail, said: "The Lord doesn't want us going. He wants me carrying this flag."'

Yeah, that's right, the Lord wants you carrying that flag. Um...exactly why would the Lord want you carrying that flag? So the dozen other yahoos who aren't leaving town and feel secure in the knowledge that you support the troops? Yeah, that's God's plan all right.

A shopkeeper who is staying put had this to say about dealing with potential looters: ""I checked with the Sheriff's Department to see if I could use my gun, and they said if I do, make sure he's dead." Ohhhkay.....

I don't know whether to laugh or be very, very scared. Maybe a little of both.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Got a few hours to kill?
Exploring the New York Public Library's Digital Gallery can easily take days, and you still probably wouldn't get enough time to thoroughly examine all the wonders therein. From Illuminated manuscripts to historic photographs, from sheet music to paperback book covers, from maps and blueprints to woodcuts and drawings....the collection is vast, gorgeous, fascinating and, best of all, free for us to look at. It's great stuff, folks.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Simon Wiesenthal
One of my personal heroes has died at the age of 96. There are so few people who actually practice what they preach, and who dedicate their lives to justice, regardless of the cost. Simon Wiesenthal was one of the few. How can you not admire somone who looses over 80 family members in the Holocaust, and who himself suffered in the concentration camps, and then says "I seek justice, not revenge?" He was a man of integrity, courage, and dedication....and those are such rare qualities. What an amazing man. I wish I could be one of those few...
While I was being a lazy slug...
My wonderful husband was at the Monterey Jazz Festival last weekend. Part 1 of his review is now up on All About Jazz.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Malian blues
Check out Kongo Magni by Malian singer, songwriter, guitarist Boubacar Traore. Great stuff. He's got a passionate, lived-in, felt the pain kind of voice, perfect for the blues and he's accompanied by a small combo including accordion, harmonica, balafon, and traditional percussion. It's honest, rich, and oh, so good.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Sounds like recovery
The fine folks at CD Baby (an online store for independent musicians) have come up with a great way to support hurricane relief. Thousands (no kidding) of their artists have volunteered to donate 100% of the proceeds from the sale of their music to the Red Cross.

If you don't know CD Baby, you should. They allow independent artists to market their music and receive a fair profit from the sales. Plus those of us who like to buy music benefit from actual audio samples that last longer than a sneeze. There are some great artists there, from a variety of genres. Come'll get great music, they'll get new fans, and the Red Cross gets the money it needs to help save peoples' lives. Everybody wins.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

NYT Columnist Blasts Bush
Three cheers and an amen for Bob Herbert on the President's apalling callousness, cluelessness, and general incompetence in the wake of Katrina.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Not an issue of color?
Yeah, right. Perhaps the initial neglect to provide buses or other ways for the poor to get out of town was based on economic status rather than color. It just so happens that the majority of the poor in New Orleans happen to be black. But I firmly believe the lack of resources to help those stranded at the Superdome and the Convention Center was based on color. I believe that if CNN was showing footage of cute little blond children with blue eyes and curly hair, crying from hunger and fear as they waited for help, that the government would have been there within 24-hours with food, medicine, and a plan to get them to safety. If thousands of middle-class white people had been stranded without resources, I think we would have gotten help sooner.

And what's with the white vs. black photos of "looters?" If a black person steals it's looting, but if a white person steals it's "finding food for his family?"

I think the Bush administration has a hell of a lot to answer for in this case. (Whose brilliant idea was it to cut funding to FEMA so we can fight terrorists? We've had a hell of a lot more natural disasters than terror attacks since 9/11.) I think disaster relief/management in general in the US needs a major overhaul. Why wait until after the storm to tell people where to gather? Why no provision for those who lack the resources to get themselves out of town? What should have happend is announcement for everyone who wanted to evacuate to get to the Superdome, and then bus them to safety before the storm. Certainly that would have been easier, cheaper, and far less traumatic for all concerned that to just say "get out" and leave the poor to fend for themselves.

I am angry, sickened, and completely ashamed of America at this point. And all I can do is give more money. That's pretty much all you can do too. If you haven't yet opened your wallet, do so now. The Red Cross seems to be the most likely place to donate, but there are hundreds of organizations rushing to aid those who have lost everything. You know you can afford it...and you know that you can afford more than you've given already. Do it.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

That's all, just give. If the horrific stories out of the south don't move you to open your wallet, you have no soul. The Network for Good has a list of charities that are working to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina. Everything from the Red Cross and Second Harvest to Noah's Wish and the North Shore Animal League which are looking out for displaced pets and wildlife. Please help.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

I Need Some Good News!
Hurricanes killing hundreds and rendering thousands homeless. Looting. Hundreds dead in riots. A war that won't end. Gas prices going even higher. Housing prices continuing to rise.

Please, I need some good news. I need something to make me laugh, or at least make me smile. Something to reaffirm my faith in mankind. Something to wipe images of destruction out of my brain.

Doesn't anybody have any good news? Please, I'm begging you here.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

We're Number 12! We're Number 12!
The United States ranks 12th among the 21 richest nations in the world for foreign aid. Denmark ranks as the most generous country in the world, spending 89 cents per person, per day, in government aid and one cent per person per day in private giving. The US spends 15 cents per person per day, In a world where more than 2 billion people live on less than $2 a day, it's shameful that we continue to spend billions on a pointless war while people are starving. Come on people, get out a crowbar and open up your damned wallets.

When was the last time you wrote a check to charity? You know you can afford it. $20 buck....that's a pizza. Give $20 buck to the Red Cross, or UNICEF, or AmFAR, or some other worthy organization. But it's up to those of us who have the money to take care of those who don't.

Monday, August 29, 2005

The Importance of Hating Ernest
"Reading Hemingway in Cupertino" is not as evocative a title as “Reading Lolita in Tehran,” but it nevertheless conveys my last lunchtime window shop excursion to a bookstore.

To begin with, I must state upfront that I am not a fan of Hemingway; neither his writing nor his plots. I know, I know, I’m a Philistine. But I’m a Philistine with an open mind, at least where books are concerned. When I say “I don’t like Hemingway,” it is as a college student forced to read “For Whom the Bell Tolls” for a class taught by a teacher whose name I will never recall, in spite of the fact that I have perfect recollection of his purple cardigan sweater and eternal licorice-breath.

But I’ve aged since then, and I thought it was time I give Hemingway another try. (I am discounting the “Moveable Feast” episode where I thought it would be “artistic” to actually take with me to Paris. It wasn’t.) So off I go to a bookstore to browse through their selection. I was intrigued by “To Have and Have Not,” because I love the movie so much – but I know the book is different from the movie and I decide against it for fear it would taint a great popcorn flick. “The Old Man and the Sea” has the element of brevity going for it, but I know the plot and I have no interest in either old men or the sea. (Apologies to Melville.)

I pick up “The Sun Also Rises,” and quickly put it down again, deciding I’m not really in the mood for a book filled with unpleasant drunk people doing unpleasant things to other unpleasant drunk people.

“Hemingway on Fishing?” Shoot me now.

Ah…”The Snows of Kilimanjaro and Other Stories.” Now there’s a possibility. I love Africa. Short stories take far less commitment than a novel, and I can get more plot variety.

I’m halfway to the check-out counter before I turn around and put it back on the shelf. I had one of those pre-buy epiphanies that so often save us from bad purchases. There amid the faceouts of "Dummies" guides, I realize that it’s ok not to like Hemingway. Maybe it’s because he’s a so-called “man’s writer” and I am happily penis-free. Maybe it’s because hating his short, staccato writing style that makes every sentence sound like a cough, is a perfect reasonable assessment of his skill as a writer. Maybe because I’m not in college anymore and I don’t have to read anything that I’m not genuinely interested in. Whatever the reason, I put Ernest back and happily wander over to the History section.

Friday, August 26, 2005

The Gospel According to Marcel Marceau
Sometimes there are just no words. Check out the gospel mimes. My vote for scariest Flash intro ever -- watch it and be very afraid.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

How to you spell that?
I've always rather hated my extremely common first name (Lisa). But this article/forum by the BBC on the difficulties faced by those with hard to pronounce names makes me almost glad I don't have that problem.

I'd like something unusual, but easy to say. None of these riduclous spellings (Tyffanae?) or made up names (Shaweniqua), just something where I don't know 15 people with the same name.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Bosworth Day
On this date in 1485, King Richard III of England was piteously slain at the Battle of Bosworth Field by Henry Tudor (later Henry VII). Loyaulte me lie.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Desk Set
Desk Set is a really wonderful movie. Perfect comfy, happy, "they don't make 'em like that anymore" entertainment. Spencer Tracy as a computer genius. Katharine Hepburn as a reference wizard (god I want her job!). Will the evil machine put Hepburn and her "girls" out of work? Will they fall in love?

Speaking of love, I'd love to to have her job...imagine spending all day around books, looking things up, answering questions, solving mysteries, learning new things....and getting paid for it! Heaven!

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Much Ado About T.O.
If you don't follow Eagles football, you probably don't care about the ongoing soap opera involving the King of Me-Me-Land, Terrell Owens. Cranky because the Eagles refuse to renegotiate his 7-year $48 million dollar contract (which he signed last year), he's been his usual uncooperative, nasty, bitter, selfish self. Yesterday his antics got him kicked out of training camp for a week.

T.O. has complained that he has to consider his family. Um, ok. just how big is your family T.O.? And how much do these peole eat? You can't feed them on $50 million? You poor thing. Just rest now, T.O. while we have a telethon in your favor.

I hope the Eagles trade his sorry butt. The team and the city deserve better than this. And I would like nothing more than to find wonder boy out on his ass with no one to play with and no one to cheer for him.

Monday, August 08, 2005

The Evolution Revolution
So GW has spoken out on the issue of teaching evolution in schools by saying, "I felt like both sides ought to be properly taught."

Ah yes, both sides. The proven, scientific side that actually belongs in a classroom, and the theoretical, faith-based theory that has no place in a public school.

Why, oh why are we still having this debate? Why, oh why does it seem like the longer this administration is in office, the farther back in time we go. I have fears that by the time Bush is ready to pack up his Adam & Eve pop-up books and head back to Texas, we'll all be wearing white caps and muslin and the entire country will be constantly dressed for a Thanksgiving reenaction.

This is the 21st century. The fossil record is fact. It is science. It it not a theory. And yet the President and his narrow-minded cronies would like for all American children to be taught that the ridiculous, unproven, Christian-dominated theory of creationism is an idea worthy of their time. Whatever happened to the separation of church and state?

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Hot weather music
For me, when the temperature rises, the music must keep pace. In the summertime, I can't get enough of high-energy, make you sweaty, get off your ass and dance music. Here are a few of my favorites for Summer, 2005.

North African Groove. Yet another delicious Putumayo compilation. Sexy Arabic beats, great vocals, serious fun. Yum with a capital, yow!

Tekitoi by Rachid Taha. Buy this one, trust me. The title track, plus that deliciously ironic, iconic cover of Rock the Casbah are two of the most infecious, exciting world tracks of 2005. This one rocks!

Son: Soul of a Nation by Sierra Maestra. Not as hot and upbeat as the previous two, this release is a sultry trip into the history of Cuban son music. Slow & sexy, romantic as a kiss at midnight, this one is just too delicious for words.

Come on folks, break out of your rut. Try any of these, and I guarantee you'll have fun.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

The Return of the Stanford
My beloved Stanford Theatre is finally, finally, oh frabjous day, open!

It's been closed for renovations for far too long, and I was going into serious withdrawal. For those of you in the San Francisco Bay Area, I urge you to visit the Stanford. It's a classic movie house from the days when movie houses featured gold leaf and velvet curtains. You will always see two (yes, two!) wonderful old movies (with an organist between the shows), plus you can munch on the best movie popcorn in the Bay Area. This weekend, one of my all-time favorite movies The Philadelphia Story plus the classic mysery, Laura. Do go, it's a wonderful date spot.

Monday, August 01, 2005

You could go a long way in Poland without seeing anything pretty...
So says the hatefully odd Mrs. Mortimer in The Clumsiest People in Europe: Or, Mrs. Mortimer's Bad Tempered Guide to the Victorian World. Mrs. Mortimer was a humorless, xenophobic childrens' author in England in the 1850s who wrote three guides to the world. The only problem was, she'd never seen the world. All she'd seen that wasn't England was Brussels, Paris, and Edinburgh. Still, she manages to find something insulting to say about nearly every county and every race of people on the planet. Her books have recently been rereleased and are apallingly hilarious. Comments such as "the Swedes do nothing well," and "Spain is full of murderers" will have you howling in amazement.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Good with kids
Why is the phrase "good with kids" a legitimate description of someone but "good with adults" isn't? It's odd, because it lumps all kids in together as being alike. Even someone like me, who is most decidedly not good with kids, knows that kids are different. As different as adults. I am good with some adults. I've even been known to be good with a few, select kids. Other adults, I am not so good with. And I think I prefer it that way. Only someone like Mother Teresa can be "good with everyone."

It just seems like an odd phrase. "Good with kids." What does that mean, anyway?

The really strange thing is how many parents seem to be "bad with kids." Honestly, I don't believe people even think about having children before they start reproducing. On the whole, more thought seems to go into what breed of dog to get, or what kind of car to buy than goes into the issue of kids. They have children because that's what you do. You get married. You have kids. That's it. Which is sad, really, because I think at least 50% of parent would probably say "no" if they honestly asked themselves "do I really want to have children?"

I know that I don't. I have always known that I don't. I have no maternal instincts whatsoever and I'm way too selfish to be a good mom. I like being impulsive. And I'm so full of self-doubt that I know I wouldn't be able to raise the kind of fearless, confident child that I'd want to raise. No, I like that it's just me and my sweetie.

But then again, I'm not "good with kids."

Thursday, July 28, 2005

A change of view
We're getting new windows at our house tomorrow. Our landlady has decided to replace the two big windows in the living room, and the one in the office. Lovely, but a heck of a lot of work to clear out space. The window guys need 3-4 feet of clear space inside the house to work. Given that our house ins't that large, finding places to move a sofa, a large work table, a desk, etc., isn't easy. But we did it.

Now it looks so strange.

I'm sitting in a chair that usually faces the fireplace. Now it's where our sofa usually lives. The view is familar, but not. The ancient and falling-apart bookcase is gone, so there's a wasteland of more-or-less sand-colored carpet between me and the window. As is always the case when you move things about, the room looks so much bigger. This space that always seems packed when I try to fit 9 people in here for our monthly bookgroup, now appears to be big enough to give waltz lessons. It's all so vast and open. In a way it makes me wish it was always like this...that we could keep the sofa up against the bookcases and just have this open space.

What is it about looking at familiar things from a different angle that always causes such a reaction? My house feels as cozy and familiar as always, but it's different. There's an airiness about the open space that provides an almost Zen-like sense of peace. Is it the simplicity? Am I subconsciously being stressed by my row of cactus plants? Do the tables that usually flank the sofa make me feel trapped somehow?

Oh well, I'm not going to analyze it (in spite of the fact that I apparently already am analyzing it), I'm just going to enjoy the novelty and look forward to having my house back in order tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

The Legend of "Cheap and Surly"
There's an Indian resturant nearby that my dear friend, Naveena, introduced me to. In spite of the numerous times I've been there I cannot, for the life of me, tell you the real name of this place. Since my first visit I have always referred to it as "Cheap and Surly."

To begin with, let me tell you that yes, the food is very good. And yes, it is inexpensive. But the one and only waitress that we've ever seen there is the most unwelcoming, inattentive, careless waitress in the history of served food. No, really, she is.

She never says hello. Never welcomes you. Barely looks at you. You come in, the place is always empty, and you seat yourself (because she shows no sign of pointing you to a table). Eventually, she'll put menus on your table. Eventually, you order. Eventually, food comes. Eventually, she'll bring you a plate, a napkin, and maybe a spoon, maybe a spoon and a fork (score!).

Today I took my husband there for lunch, as he'd been hearing about C & S ever since my first visit. I lived up to its reputation, as far as he's concerned.

The world's most unwelcoming waitress (WMUW, for short) did all of the above. When time came for cutlery, it arrived in a pile, sort of thrown on the table after our food had arrived. It was up to us to sort it out. A few minutes later, after I'd already used my spoon to take a helping of one of the dishes, she shows up again and thrusts a serving spoon into the bowl -- like she was poking a turkey to see if it was done.

Mind you, the place was empty. WMUW was most emphatically not being run off her feet. We were the only table. There were two men who were leaving as we came in, and their table remained un-bused the entire time we were there.

One other guy came in and asked about an order to go. When told it would take 30 minutes he agreed and then almost immediately changed his mind....too late...WMUW had already disappeared into the dark recesses of the apparently soundproof kitchen. After about 6 or 7 tries of "Miss?" "Miss?" WMUW finally moseyed on out to the counter where the poor guy cancelled his order.

Mind you, all this with a Bollywood soundtrack CD blaring from the speakers. Music which she immediately switched off (not turned down, which would allow your customers to still enjoy the cool music, but turned off) when the phone rang so that she could then shout into the phone for several minutes. So much for a nice ambience. More chicken tikka, dear?

One of the more endearing features of C & S is the complete absence of a check. In all the many times I've got there, WMUW has never once actually brought a check to the table. When you're done, you walk over to the counter and ring the bell, hoping that luck is with you and the tiny ding will penetrate into the soundproof kitchen (where the big ding likes to hide in-between snarls). Of course, I should count my blessings. The bell is a relatively new used to have to stand there and just shout towards the kitchen.

Today it only took two rings before WMUW roused herself from her overworked stupor and condescended to take our money. "Good thing we're honest," my husband said, as we could easily have walked out without paying while WMUW was hidden behind the curtain of safety in the kitchen area....away from us nasty customers.

We speculated that she got roped into this against her will. That she had no desire to open a resturant but her father or husband or someone bought it and her form of protest is to make the dining experience so completely miserable that there will be no repeat customers. Unfortunately for her, the food is really good. And as long as I always go in expecting to be ignored and treated with a complete lack of hospitality, I guess I'm OK with that.

Monday, July 25, 2005

It came from Sweden!!!!
Yesterday I had one of the more frightening experiences of my life.

I went to Ikea.

If you've never been, don't go. It's terrifying. First of all, the one that I visited (in East Palo Alto, California), has a garage that makes airport parking garages seem tiny by comparison. Of course the 20-foot high concrete walls don't exactly inspire a sense of cozy - but it's vast. Immense. So big that in spite of the fact that the store was packed, the garage looks empty.

Then you enter the store (if you can figure out where the entrance is, of course). Then the "fake museum experience" truly begins. Pick up a map. Follow the arrows on the floor. Want something from the first floor? Sorry, you have to go through the "hall of soulless rooms" upstairs before you can come back down and visit the "emporium of Nordic wonders." So up we go.

Screaming kids. Smug yuppies who actually want a "house in box" because it saves them from having to be creative. Entire families sprawled in stupification on anti-grammatical furniture. Then the fake "happy home" dioramas of perfect kitchens and cold bedrooms. All with odd Swedish touches like copies of Dashiell Hammett's "The Glass Key," in Swedish on their light ash bookshelves.

Now don't get me wrong. If you're just starting out and can't afford much, the prospect of getting a table for $50 or a $75 bed is nice. But why would you want an entire house, let along an entire room, that looks just like someone else's house or room?

The truly ironic thing is that we never did find what we went there for. We did, however, pick up an office chair, which we'd needed for a while. And I bought two heavy cardboard storage boxes, shoe-box size, for photos and such. Then we get home.

The chair requires no tools or hardware whatsoever. My husband put it together, by himself, in under 5 minutes. The little boxes? They're held together with screws. Of course. I needed a screwdriver and a crescent wrench. I also needed three hands. It took both of us somewhere around 10 minutes to put together the two boxes.

I came away with a new appreciation for antiques, a headache, and a firm determination to never set foot in another Ikea. Ever.

I wonder if there will be an entire generation of Swedish children traumatized by the fact that their names have been assigned to cheap, mass-produced furniture? And is there a heirarchy to it all? Will the other kids pick on you if you're named after a footstool, but not if you've got the name of an entire dining room suite?


Friday, July 22, 2005

How to get rich
Sometimes I'm so brilliant, that I need special glasses just to look at myself in the mirror.

So, one of the secrets to becoming rich is to exploit a need or, in this society, a desire. Figure out what people want, or at least what they'll spend lots of money on, and produce it.

In thinking about a) what everyone wants; and b) what people will spend lots of money on, I've hit on The Perfect Idea™. Are you ready...?

An iPod with the picture of the Virgin Mary™. Yes, that's right. Combine the hottest, must-have product since indoor plumbing with people's twisted sense of religion and I'll make a million.

It's my idea folks, no fair stealing!

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

No wonder I'm depressed!
This just in: Home prices in the bay area are STILL rising! Good Lord! The median price, according to a story in today's SF Chronicle is now $600,000 "or more than $8,200 per month!" Merde, merde, merde. Everyone, please go back where you came from.

You know what really pisses me off? I don't want to buy real estate "as an investment." I'm not trying to get rich. I just want a home of my own. That's it. Nothing fancy, I don't need much. Just a cozy little place where my husband and I can live as we want, paint the walls any color we want, get a couple of dumb dogs, and live happily ever after. Is that too much to ask???
Musical Vacations
It's hot, it's summer, and I'm not on vacation. Worse, I have no vacation planned. Being in a blue funk, I went to a bookstore at lunchtime and acquired some new music and a book or two. (What is it about spending money that makes people feel better?) Anyway, I'm on a "musical vacation," thanks to The Rough Guide to the Music of Hawaii. Lots of slack-key laziness helping me get through the day.

So. When you desperately need a vacation, and you can't take one, what do you do? All advice gratefully accepted.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

End of an era. Well....end of a novela
After months of dedicated viewing, and much frantic page-turning in our Spanish-English dictionary, the Telemundo novela to which we were addicted ended last night. Yes, the show we affectionaly called "Glitter and Gopher," is no more.

La Mujer en el Espejo was the twisted tale of a plain girl, her glittery alter-ego, an uber villian, a hero with frosted hair, and various residents of La Concordia, a barrio in "NeverNever land" (actually, Bogata, Colombia). After spending so much time with these people, I feel like I know them. I'm really going to miss Paco and his dance studio, "Thag the dance boy" who apparently owned no shirts that had sleeves. Luzmila the clueless and Charlie with his pointy hair. I'll miss "Ralph Lauren," and his one-handed push-ups, Alberto who had his apartment decorated with photos of himself and, especially "Guapo Cop-o" who was just plain yummy.

Well, it was fun while it lasted. And for those who missed that last, final, thrill-packed episode of "G & G" let me just say that Romero poisoned Babsyque and himself, Juliana & Marcos finally got married, Juan Tobias hit on Ginger (!?!? Eww!!!), and Luzmilla still has no stroller for that damned baby.

Thanks everyone, it was fun.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Why bother?
Why bother buying a convertible if you're not going to put the top down? I mean just how perfect must a day be before you decide it's nice enough to drive around in the sunshine? It's gorgeous out there. Mid to high 80s, blue sky, a perfect, perfect, summer day. And yet I counted no fewer than 7 convertibles driving down with the top up. I mean why bother? If you're not going to take advantage of your car, give it to me, dammit!

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Big ol' "awww...."
Some animals are just so cute I can hardly stand it. Case in point: Red Pandas. If you don't think they're completely adorable, you have no heart.

In other news, the surviving kitten I wrote about a few weeks ago is still thriving, thank you. It's taken to pouncing on mama cat, and not doing a very good job of being stealthy. It's still danged cute, and we still worry about it. Mama and kitten seem to have taken up permanent residence in our backyard. When we looked out at about midnight a few nights ago, we could see the white patch of the kitten sleeping in the darkness. Well, as long as it's there it's not out playing in the street, I guess.

If you haven't already followed my sage advice, buy "Up & Down" by the Palm Wine Boys. You'll thank me for it.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Music. Fun. Yes.
Last night, for some reason, I had more fun doing my show than usual. And I played some damned fine music, if I do say so myself. (Don't believe me? check it out for yourself!)

Perhaps it was our recent trip to Portland and the associative terror of possible leaving the Bay Area that made me appreciate this slice of home more than usual. Whatever the reason, I had a lovely time. I love being on the air, and I'm so very thankful for KZSU.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Just keep your f-ing loompas away from me!!!
OK, let me be upfront about this. Oompa Loompas terrify me. These freaks from Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (or Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to give the book its due), are just about the scariest things ever. All that orange and green. And those pants that stick out. And their scary-ass song.

So this movie really needed to be remade? Why? In the name of all that's unholy, why???

Why inflict upon us Johnny Depp doing Michael Jackson and yet another terrifying depiction of what someone's nightmare Loompas look like?

No good can come of this.

Friday, July 08, 2005

What makes home?

Not a home. Just home. Home is, famously, where the heart is. But it's also where your stuff is. Is home a place, a building, or just a state of mind? And how does one decide.

As we travel to Portland this weekend to consider it as "home," I find myself thinking about my home here. Not the house, although I love that old place. But it's not mine. No, I think of home as where the people I love are. Where I know the best places to get pot stickers and used CDs. Where I know the backroads in case of traffic, where I have my favorite radio stations, where I have a doctor I trust, a dentist I like, and a favorite place to walk.

In order to be home, does home need all these things? If we left here, we'd have a house -- the one thing I've always, always wanted and the one thing that always, always seems impossible here. But would I have home? Is being able to paint walls, plant flowers and say "ours," worth not having anyone to invite to the housewarming party?

I don't want to go. But if I don't, I'm admitting to "never" in terms of a house. It seems ironic that poor people can, with help from the wonderful folks at Habitat for Humanity, achieve what I cannot do -- in spite of being gainfully employed at a salary that is overpaid compared to the rest of the world.

I feel like I'm in a no-win situation. If I stay I get to keep seeing the people I love, but I never get a house of my own. If I leave, I get the house, but I have to leave home. And yes, it's possible to make a new home, people do it all the time. But is it worth it?

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Please do yourself a favor...
And buy Up & Down by The Palm Wine Boys. It's my new favorite CD. They're a local band, and their music is sweet, joyful, fun, light, playful, and perfect for summer. I really love this and I think you will too.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Guilty pleasures
On this quarter's application for a show on KZSU the random question was "what's your guilty pleasure?'

I don't know about you, but it's hard to name only one. I mentioned three. The first was La Mujer en el Espejo on the Telemundo network. It's a cheesy Spanish-language soap opera that I can't understand (not speaking Spanish being a great hindrance in this case), but to which I and my husband are completely addicted. The discussion board for this show is a riot, and includes comments from some very funny, very smart people.

My other guilty pleasure....Oreos. No explanation needed.

Musically my guilty pleasure is Garth Brooks. OK, he's a mega star and nothing to be ashamed of. But hey, when you're a world music DJ and you're surrounded by people to live and breathe music, admitting to liking Garth Brooks is like admitting to liking Fear Factor. (Please, no irate mail from Fear Factor addicts.

But my list of guilty pleasures is really huge. Captain Crunch cereal, cozy British mysteries I've seen dozens of times, ice cream, naps, popcorn, mummy movies, reruns of I Love Lucy, Jeopardy, trashy books, sometimes reading only the comics in the morning paper, country music, watching documentaries about cute animals...

So, what are your guilty pleasures?

Monday, July 04, 2005

What's in a noun?
The National Commission on Writing (why is there a National Commission on Writing?) has issued a report stating that poor writing skills costs Americans millions of dollars a year. To which, as a writer, I can only say, "duh."

Why is it that everyone thinks they can write? Nobody assumes that they can sit down at a piano and, without any training, practice, or experience, bang out a piece of Chopin. And yet put people at a computer, tell them to write, and everyone thinks they're Hemingway. Guess what folks? It doesn't work like that.

Writing is a skill and, sometimes, an art. And like all skills it must be learned and you must practice to keep your fluency. It's not enough to learn in 3rd grade what a verb is and where it goes. You have to learn how to string words and phrases together in a way that makes sense and is something people want to read.

Somewhere along the way, I completely lost my fluency. I used to write every single day, and I was good at it. Now I rarely write and I'm as rusty as the Tin Man. I mourn the loss of my words, but at least I'm not deluding myself that can still write. Oh sure, I can be coherent, but that's not enough. At least not for me.

I've been looking for a new job for a few months now, and not finding anything. Very few people want to hire writers (even rusty ones), because they assume anyone can string those words togather. And yet these companies would never assume that their receptionist could do some programming for them just because she uses a computer.

People, stop assuming and start recognizing that a good writer is not a luxury, it's a neccessity. Then hire me, dammit.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

On wild cats and other peeves
I love animals. Pretty much all animals with the exception of ants and cockroaches. So it always bothers me when I spot yet another wild cat in our yard.

For years now the backyard has become a home away from home for the literally dozens of homeless cats in the area. We think it's the house two doors down that feeds them, and so they stick around the area. The problem is, none of them are fixed and every year our yard gets turned into a kitty nursery.

A few weeks ago, we spotted mama cat with two completely adorable kittens. One a little plaid one with a white face and a curious nature. The other, mostly gray with white feet. He was very small, and beyond adorable. Since my husband is also an animal lover, we went into our yearly worry over unsupervised kittens running free on a high-traffic street.

The day after we both pretty much fell in love with the little gray one, we were awakened at 5 am by angry, unpleasant noises in the backyard. My husband went out to investigate and scared off a rather large racoon. But it was too late. There, curled up next to our back fence was the little gray kitten. He was dead.

Having to wrap up and dispose of an adorable, newly-killed kitten at 5 am is not the way anyone should start the day.

Mama cat and the other kitten have staked out our yard as their private space and spend most days, all day, lying in the sun and chasing leaves. The kitten is growing, and having a lovely time curling up under a rose bush and generally being a cat. But whenever I think of his cute sibling, I just want to cry.

I know people think that feeding feral cats is a good thing. And I certainly don't want them to starve. But if you do that, could you also please try to catch them and get them fixed so that they don't keep breeding more generations of cats. We remember mama cat from when she was a kitten in our yard a few years ago. And last year we had to dispose of a cat that had been run over in front of our house.

We don't want to deal with your dead cats. It's upsetting and inconsiderate. Please, if you love animals enough to feed them, then love them enough to try and prevent this from happening. The local SPCA has lots of suggestions for trapping wild cats. They'll even rent you the traps and provide discount spay and neuter services. Please?

Friday, July 01, 2005

So I've been sick. Not deathly ill sick. But sick enough that going to the emergency room kept being tossed around as a suggestion. (Hey, you try not eating for 3 days.) Thankfully I'm better due to time and a wonderful doctor. (I love my doctor.)

But now that I'm back to semi-normal, I find myself thinking that you know your job sucks when being home throwing up every 30 minutes is less stressful than actually being in the office.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Lost and found
So they found that missing kid in Utah. OK. Good. Glad he's alive and unhurt.

But it turns out that having been told not to "talk to strangers," he was actually avoiding the people who were searching for him. He'd hear a horse, or a hiker or something and get off the trail and hide. it just me, or is that just dumb? OK, he's only 11. And yes, it's a scary, sadly unsafe world. But hell, he had to know he was lost and in trouble and it didn't occur to him to ask for help? Just a "hey, I'm over here," and he'd have been back eating ice cream a few days ago. Instead his family is terrified and hundreds of people are inconveinenced (not to mention the cost!) all because Bucky was too stupid to use a little common sense and realize that extraordinary circumstances call for breaking the rules.

I know, I'm harsh. Deal with it.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Just what we need. Marijuana-flavored lollipops. Who decided this was a good idea? They're made with hemp oil, so they have the taste but not the effects of the real thing. OK, a) lousy idea to sell to children; and b) why in the world is medical marijuana still illegal?

Friday, June 17, 2005

Keep building!
We live down the street from the Winchester Mystery House. OK, not the real one, but there is a house up the block that seems to be in a perpetual state of construction.

Over a year ago they tore down everything but the garage and started from scratch. It went slowly at first...but gradually a house appeared. Then things just got out of hand. Let's just say the word "moderation" is not in the vocabulary of these people. It's as if they decided to throw into/onto/near this house every since feature they could think of.

It started with brick facing. OK, nice enough I guess. And attractive in the garden terrace out in front of the house. But then they kept going. Higher walls. Facing on the house. More facing on the house. Oh yes, and a few more on the house. It now looks wildly out of place as brick is not normally used on houses in an earthquake zone. So all of a sudden in this steet full of 19050's stucco tract homes you this brick thing with walls of brick and columns of brick and facing of brick and brick lamp posts.

Then they moved to wood. A fence. OK fine, but then the fence kept going hire. Screens. Grills. A gate suitable for public park. And, god help us, a gazebo.

About 6 months ago this house looked fine. And now every time I drive by I laugh because it just keeps getting worse and worse.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

What Ever Happened to Good Behavior?
In a not-at-all groundbreaking poll a majority of Americans have decided that movie stars make bad role models. To which I can only reply "duh!"

In semi-related news the so-called "runaway bride" just sold her story for a cool $1 million.

So what ever happened to good behavior? When did we start rewarding bad behavior and ignoring the good stuff?

Who decided that Tom Cruise would make a good role model anyway? Or Brad Pitt? Or, god help us, Terrell Owens?

Role models should not be people who get paid $80 million for fun and easy work. And people who intentionally lie and cause distress to hundreds of people should not be rewarded for their actions.

Role models should be people who do good in the world. People you've never heard of who work in refugee camps and AIDS hospitals in Africa. People who sit down every week and write checks to the causes that are close to their heart (provided those causes don't include the KKK). Role models are people who turn their back on the high tech dollar in order to teach high school, or who become cops because they truly like to help people.

I'm so tired of the glorification of those who deserve only to be ignored. Why does the "finger in the chili" lady deserve front-page coverage across the Nation, but the "low income lady who saves all year to provide Christmas gifts for the poor kids in the neighborhood" gets lost. Why is there an entire culture addicted to "reality TV" which does nothing but reward backstabbing and game-playing, and yet so few people willing to volunteer their time at soup kitchens and afterschool programs?

Our priorities are seriously screwed up, folks.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

2, Two, Too!
Today marks our 2nd anniversary as married people. Two years ago today my sweetie and I, and two of our dearest friends, went to an incredibly tacky wedding chapel in Lake Tahoe and got married under the watchful gaze of about a dozen plastic garden animals. The ceremony was followed by the traditional post-wedding margaritas and a trek to the top of Heavenly Mountain.

I never thought I'd get married once, let alone twice. And after the first time, I said "never again." But you see...I met this guy. And I have to admit, he's pretty damned wonderful. In addition to being brilliant and talented, sweet and funny, generous and kind, and altogether great, he's also persistent. And patient. And braver than hell for wanting to take me on.

I don't know how I got so lucky.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

No more sleepovers!
So Michael Jackson was found not guilty. Hmmmm....forgive me for being dubious. I mean I don't know if he's guilty as charged, but I do think he's guilty of being incredibly freaky. And what's with his legions of devoted fans talking about how sweet he is and all he's done for the children of the world.

You want to help children? Great. Invite them to your odd estate and let them play with your chimp and ride your carousel. Throw parties for underpriviledged childdren. Give money to children's hospitals and AIDS orphans. But, and this is key, don't sleep with them!

Normal men do NOT routinely have sleepovers for 12-year old boys. They don't think pajama parties are a great way to relax after a hard day of denying you've ever had plastic surgery.

I know there are a lot of people who love this man (I have no idea why!), and I know he was found innocent. But good heavens, I think there's a lot of evidence to provve he's just plain weird. And not "good" weird, but weird in a "he gives me the creeps" kind of way.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Oh no, TO!
Even if you're not a Philadelphia Eagles fan, you've got to hand it to the nerve of Terrell Owens. The poor man just can't make it on the $49 million over 7-year contract he signed only last year. In his own words he has to "feed his family" and needs more money. Just how big is his family and how much do they eat? Is he related to Zambia? Great ESPN article about how he's pissing off lots of people.
Wanna destroy the earth?
Sam's practical advice for doing so. Useful for Bond villians anyone fed up with life in general.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Sounds of Africa
Being a world music DJ, most of the music I listen to for pleasure comes from outside of the US. I am particuarly fond of Arican music. There are some truly amazing artists from there. Henri Dikongue, Oliver Mtukudzi, Angelique Kidjo, Wasis Diop, and...oh....about a hundred others. (Femi Kuti, Cool Crooners of Buluwayo, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Zap Mama, Youssou N'Dour...etc.

Anyway, the wonderful folks at the BBC have come up with a fine Echoes of Africa section to introduce you to the basics of African sounds. If you want to know more about world music, especially if you're looking for suggestions, check out their broader world music section.

Friday, June 03, 2005


Ok, this one is odd. Go to the Amadana site. Click on the product pages. When the products appear, select any of them and scroll to the bottom to the "Caution" section. Each product page has a different caution area, and each one is freakishly weird.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Sometimes magic does happen
Last night I volunteered the 7 o'clock hour of my radio show to my husband so that he could interview jazz guitarists Howard Alden and Robin Nolan. Robin Nolan and his trio will be performing as part of Djangofest SF a tribute to the late, great Django Reinhardt and a celebration of gypsy jazz. (Running at the Little Fox Theatre in Redwood City, June 9-12, 2005.)

Expecting only Robin and Howard to show up, we were deliciously surprised that the entire Robin Nolan trio arrived. Thanks to the wonderful, invaluable help of fellow DJ The Bawd of Euphony, an impromptu concert of delicious gypsy jazz happened in the studio at KZSU. It was amazing! One of my all-time favorite forms of music, suddenly appearing and performed by incredibly talented, wonderfully charismatic artists. It was truly magic.

Go see Djangofest. I can highly recommend the Robin Nolan trio, you'll have a great time. But no matter who you see, please go out and support this great music and a wonderful venue.

Thank you to Howard, Robin, and all the guys and especially to the Bawd for a great surprise. I'll remember this one for a while.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Malawi in the news
The last time my favorite African nation, Malawi, was in the news it was due to a rather fascinating tale of a witchdoctor, a curse, and some workers who were on strike. Today's coverage is better. Courtesy of the BBC comes this article about Jack McConnel (First Minister of Scotland), his visit to Malawi, and his pledge to bring Malawi more before the public eye. Malawi faces rampant poverty and the ever-present devastation of AIDS, so any and all help in publicizing the plight of Malawi is always appreciated.

Monday, May 23, 2005

More material, please!
I am so sick at looking at 17-year old navels. The so-called "fashion" for shirts that end somewhere around the rib and pants that start mid-hip has given rise to a whole society of tummy-baring teenagers, most of whom really should just cover up.

When will it end, oh Lord? I must admit that most of the time I just look at them and laugh, but every once in a while I'm just kind of apalled. Not being sylph-like myself, I do have sympathy with the these girls, but I think that's just all the more reason to buy shirts that actually cover the stomach. Women, please, please, please do not let "fashion" dictate what you wear. Wear what looks good on or what you're comfortable in -- but in the name of all that is good, do NOT wear what "everyone else" is wearing if it makes you look ridiculous.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Why mess with success?
Recently the PBS series Mystery! has started showing new productions of some of Agatha Christie's wonderful Miss Marple books. This latest batch starts Geraldine McEwan, who is a wonderful actress. But oh my goodness are these productions disappointing!

People who love these types of stories like them because they're "cozy" and to a true fanatic, the Christie books (while admittedly not perfect) are nonetheless fine the way they are. And yet this new series feels the need to change things, add characters, alter the plot, and generally muck about with something that needs no mucking.

I don't see the point. And I certainly don't understand why they feel the need to make these changes. Even something as small as changing a character named "John" in the book to one named "David" in the series -- um...why? And they keep throwing un unnecessary love stories, changing character relationships, and adding and/or deleting characters. It's upsetting to those of us who want the familiar. Shame on you, Mystery! stop fooling around with our beloved Miss Marple.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

It's been 10 years
Ten years since my best friend died of AIDS. Still no cure. Still the same yelling about gay marriages being the downfall of western society. Still the same apathy towards this global catastrophe.

For my part, I just miss him. Every day. And today, of all days, it hurts more than usual.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

I know, I know
You're sick of me whining about how I can't afford to buy a house. Looks like I'm not the only one. this article shows that most of California doesn't make enough to buy a house. So much for the American dream.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

It's a small Krishna after all
Yes, the world's first Hindu theme park in in the works in India. Already being referred to as "Disneyland on the Ganges," this 25-acre park will recreate great moments in Hindu mythology through rides, a museum, a sound and light show and, of course, a food court.

In other odd news, a San Diego high school is now paying snitches through a special tip line to report suspicious activity on campus. Ah life in America!

Monday, April 25, 2005

Turn off your TV
So it's turn off your TV week. Are ya gonna?

I'm not. Aside from the fact that my husband and I are completely hooked on a Spanish-language soap opera which we do not at all understand, I'm just not willing to "do what I'm told" when it comes to things like this. I'm not a TV addict (aside from the aforementioned show). Once it's over (at 9 pm) we usually turn the TV off and read. Other than that, not much. I TiVo a lot of history programs and cozy British mysteries, and As Time Goes By which I love. But we watch only 2 shows on network TV and can easily spend the evening with music and books.

That being said, however, I know a lot of people are total addicts and have the TV on whenever they're awake, whether there's anything worth watching or not. Do you think it's a gender thing? Because I've noticed that men are far more liable to zone out and realize they've just sat through 30-minutes of some home decorating show simply because it was on.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Monster Pope!
I think the Catholic Church missed out on a goldmine yesterday by not selling the naming rights to the new Pope. Here in America, where everything is for sale, we've become accustomed to baseball teams playing, not in "Candlestick Park," but in "SBC Park." We've got Network Associates Colessium, Monster Park, and other atrocious locations.

Imagine how much money the Church could have received, and how much good could have been done in poor parishes around the world, by selling the Pope's name. Imagine Virgin Megapope! Pope EXXON. And, my favorite, iPope.

Sigh...if only they'd put some thought into this, they'd be richer than they already are.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Well, my addiction to La Mujer en el Espejo continues. The show that we call Glitter and Gopher has had us hooked for about a month now. No, we still don't speak Spanish...although we have bought a Spanish-English dictionary. But we visit the dicussion boards daily and we're doing a pretty good job of figuring things out on our own.

Tonight, however, no Glitter. Because of the Pope there's a special 2-hour finale of the novela that was supposed to end on Friday. So I have to start my week without my daily dose of stiletto heels and cringe-inducing eye makeup.

So what's your guilty TV pleasure these days? Come on, I've fessed up about watching Spanish language soap operas that I don't even understand. (Not to mention Japanese TV as well. Don't get me started on how much I miss Sakura on Fuji TV). Other than that, I don't watch much besides British mysteries. Oh yes, I do watch Desperate Housewives, but not much else. So come on...what do you watch that you can't believe you tune into every week?

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

I'd like a pound of food, please
Today is my husband's birthday. (Happy birthday, husband!) I'm working from home, but took time out to play hooky and take him out to breakfast -- his favorite meal. Which leads me to today's useless observation. Why do restaurants insist that everyone who goes out to breakfast is hungry enough to eat several pounds of food?

There seem to be only two food choices. The tiny-small (a side order of toast or a bowl of cereal) or the "hello, I've been working in a coal mine for 3-days straight please bring me an entire cow." There's no in-between.

The place we went to brought me an omelette that must have been made with about 4 eggs, a half-pound of veggies, and about 3 cups of cheese. Plus a small lake of hash browns and a bagel. I think I ate about 1/4 of it.

Now I realize that I don't eat all that much, and that there are many people who do work in coal mines and who do want that entire cow first thing in the morning. But I just wish there was some option other than ordering a combination of 4 side dishes or have a plankful of meat and eggs plopped in front of you.

And remember when "servers" used to be "waiters?"

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

It's for you
There's someone whose office is nearby whose cellular phone rings as the theme to Bonanza. Yes, when I get a call, I want to be reminded of the great outdoors. There's someone else who has Beethoven's 5th. And one that sounds like what I image a smurpf sneeze would be. My phone is as dull and unobtrusive as possible.

I wonder what Freud would make of people's choice of ringtones? From Japanese pop to mechanized hip hop. From Star Wars to Monty Python, people are no longer content to have phones that sound like phones. No, they must make a statement. In some ways it's almost like people want to proclaim to the world the fact that they, too, have a cell phone. "See? I'm hip. I'm important. Notice my cool ring? I'm different."

Unfortunately, everyone and their Uncle Edgar has a cell phone. And everyone and their Uncle Edgar has a ring of varying degrees of annoying. I don't really want to sit through three choruses of "Material Girl" while you fish through your Kate Spade bag in search of your electronic umbilical cord. Nor do I care to be serenaded by a nearly unrecognizable version of Chopin in an elevator.

So what's the statement? Classical says "superior and sophisticated?" Hip hop says "I'm really an urban guerilla, not a mere software geek?"

Does vibrate mean shy or merely considerate?

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Got a question?
I was amused by this story from the UK. It's a text-message service that, for a small fee, will answer any question you can ask in 10 minutes or less.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Make 'em laugh
I've decided that one of the things I disklike about my new job is the complete absence of laughter. I honestly can't recall the last time I heard anyone laugh in my building. This is especially hard for me because (and I know this sounds wildly egotistical)...nobody thinks I'm funny. Or, I should say, I don't have the opportunity to be funny.

The total lack of conversation means that my sense of humor, which is of extreme importance to my identity, remains as locked away as my co-workers behind their office doors. Any attempt at lightening the mood is looked upon as if I'd just peed in the corner. And, quite frankly, I hate it.

I'm one of those people who is firmly convinced that it is possible and, in fact, desirable, to have fun at work. Sure, you can work hard -- but you can also have a good time doing it. At my last job we were like a non-stop comedy team complete with catch phrases, funny noises, and large amounts of sarcasm.

Here....nothing. It's a wasteland that truly makes every day drag by like it's in a coma. do I learn to live comfortably in my little isolation bay? Or is my only option to take the advice of the most useless PR person ever and just "suck it up?"

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Got Slim & Slam?

Don't know who Slim & Slam were? Shame on you!

Slim Gaillard & Slam Stewart were two very crazy musicians who did very crazy things in the 1930s and '40s. Slam focused on bass and vocals while Slim played pretty much everything else. What made them so special, and still makes them so much fun to listen to, is how swingingly odd they were.

Flat Foot Floogie, Boot-Ta-La-Za, Matzoah Balls and other such gems often rendered in hilariously un-PC "dialects" of Chinese, African, Japanese, and Yiddish. But they weren't just comic performers, these guys were serious musicians who delilvered songs that still entertain and still have the groove. Check them out, you'll thank yourself.

Monday, March 14, 2005

California gay marriage ban ruled unconstitutional!
Finally, someone with some common sense. My favorite line "it appears that no rational purpose exists for limiting marriage in this state to opposite-sex partners." Horray for San Francisco County Superior Court Judge Richard Kramer!

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Anybody speak Spanish?
Lately I've become hooked on a Telemundo novela called La Mujer en el Espejo (The Woman in the Mirror). It's a deliciously cheesy soap opera about a woman who, because of a magic mirror, is gorgeous (although too much glitter eye shadow) by day and turns into this little gopher-chick at midnight. She's got a bitchy mom and a frosty-haired pseudo-husband (we think the man who married them was an imposter). But hey, everyone thinks she's either dead or a criminal by this point. Although she isn't dead -- and we're pretty sure she's not a criminal either, but is being framed by bitchy chick #4.

And then there's Paco, owner of the worst dance studio in history. Poor Paco! He's been shot!

Oh yes, and then there's Paco's employee who can't dance and who apparently owns no shirts with buttons. Oh my god it's tremendous fun. However, we don't speak Spanish and really have no clue what's going on.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

In praise of modern chemistry
I've been fighting a sinus infection for a few weeks now, and it's only due to the miracle of modern pharmaceuticals that I'm a functioning human being. All hail drugs! I am so happy to live in a world where relief from my migraines is only an Imitrex away, and where various antibiotics can wage war in my body so that I can look forward to feeling better soon.

As an avid reader of history I find myself occasionally delving into worlds where even something as commonplace as aspirin didn't exist, and I find myself eternally grateful to live in the time I do. And I feel infinite pity for the poor migraine sufferer in the 12th century who probably had only bleeding or trepanning (look it up) as options to ending the pain (or her life). Perhaps back then migraines were seen as some form of demonic possession?

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

The power of speech
I believe that most companies, and certainly the group in which I currently work, drastically underrate the power of friendly communication. To date after nearly 2 months on my new job, I still have not had a personal conversation with anyone on my immediate team. I still go through entire days not speaking to another living soul. I am gradually developing friendly working relationships with others in the building, but not on my team. Why is hiding out in your office with the door closed and the blinds down considered to be a good, productive environment? I have always found that I work better, and harder, when I am working as part of a team -- with shared joys and pains. The day goes so much faster when there's joking, non-work conversations, and those small interruptions that brighten a long afternoon. And yet here it's either all e-mail, or it's the briefest conversation possible -- all work (often not even a "good morning") and then they're gone. No lingering to ask how the weekend was. No "nice picture, is that your husband?" Nothing.

Personally I feel this team is fragmented, confused, isolated, and morale is extremely low and I blame the lack of human interaction.

Monday, February 28, 2005

Is it just me or were last night's Oscar proceedings even duller than usual? I blame Chris Rock, by the way. Not only was he not in the least bit funny, he was also insulting. No class whatsoever and a complete lack of appreciation for the history of the Oscars. Sure they're occasionally ponderous, but that's part of what makes them the Oscars. 70+ years deserves better than smartass remarks that pass for humor.

And please, get the presenters out of the aisles. And get the poor nominees off the stage. That's just tacky.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Jesus may love you, but he hates your SUV
Today's ramble is about the stickers which people choose to put on their cars. My first stunning observation is that liberals are still so pissed about the election that not one of them has removed their Kerry sticker. They (and I include myself in this assessment) feel the need to constantly disassociate themselves from the current administration. My Kerry sticker says "hey, I didn't vote for the Bozo," and gives me some minor sense of an impending "I told you so."

On the other end of the spectrum are the brain-dead zealots who feel the need to inform me of their superiority by virtue of having been "saved." This, apparently, gives them the freedom to cut me off, do 60 in the fast lane and generally drive like they have no fear of death (thereby proving their peity, apparently). However, their stickers do apall me. "God gave you two knees...use them." (Um...crap games? Oral sex? Scrubbing the bathtub?) "Christians aren't perfect, just forgiven." Oh goodie, free reign to go out and be imperfect. Hate thy neighbor! Protest against same-sex marriage! Bomb an abortion clinic! It's ok, you'll be forgiven.

On the other end of the parking lot spectrum is the earth mother; a term I use regardless of actual gender. "Love your mother," emblazoned on a picture of the earth. Nice sentiment, however seeing on the back of an SUV seems to be the height of "just not getting it." "Love animals, don't eat them." Listen Moonflower, animals were made meat-flavored for a reason.

I reserve a special class of my loathing for the spoiled bitch. I'm sure you know what I'm talking about. "Daddy's Little Princess," on a BMW driven by a blond 17-year old future ex-wife of some as-yet-not-out-of-grad-school future CEO. "Spoiled rotten, I deserve the best." Wow...nice ego there. Great example of the "it's all about me" generation.

I just love feeling superior to strangers. Don't you?

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Free Stanley!
With the demise of the NHL season, a movement is underway to free the Stanley Cup. The Stanley Cup was originally intended to be an award for the best hockey team in Canada. I support the Free Stanley movement....lets have a Stanley Cup playoff even without the NHL. Besides, it'll give me a chance to break out my Manitoba Moose sweatshirt.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

The sound of Cameroon
Once again I turn to music to get me through my day. Today I'm favoring Henri Dikongue, a singer/songwriter/guitarist from Cameroon (now based in France) who is just glorious. His warm, breezy, easygoing style is perfect for days when my brain doesn't want to work.

I don't know whether it's lack of sleep or this headache that won't go away, but I just can't seem to concentrate today. It's like an episode of "Short Attention Span Theatre." I try to do something and after 5 minutes I'm distracted away after something else. And above all is this driving, nagging urge to have a conversation. I'd give my shoes to have someone to talk to right now. Not that my shoes are worth anything, but you get the idea.

But once again it's a sea of closed doors out there. Luckily I have Henri Dikongue to at least bring beautiful sounds into this otherwise silent world.

So here I am distracted into uselessness and bored into submission. Is this any way to make a living?

Monday, February 21, 2005

Why is it...?
That commercials are always so much louder than the show you're watching? That there are people who can manage to drive for miles on the freeway with their turn signal on? That yellow rain slickers are only worn by children? That commercial radio stations get away with playing the same pablum as every other commercial radio station? That high tech offices typically have dozens of unwanted keyboards laying around, but you can bleed to death looking for a band-aid? That people are willing to embarass themselves in front of millions of people for the sake of being on TV? That milllions of people will watch idiots embarassing themselves rather than read a book? That people still feel the need to explain on their answering machines that they're "not home right now, please leave a message after the tone?" That the people who scream the loudest about "Christian values," are the least charitable, least accepting people in the world? That the word "party" gets used more as a verb than as a noun? That people actually care what kind of exercises Jennifer Aniston does? That Bush won the elction....any election? That men are always surprised when a woman actually knows something about sports? That more people have heard of Homer Simpson than have read Homer the poet? That Gwenyth Paltrow has a career? That people can get paid $5 million a year for playing a game, but cops and teachers can't afford to buy a house? That the damned mockingbird outside my window wakes me up at 6:30 every weekend, but doesn't sing a note during the week? That the asnwer to "paper or plastic" still confuses me? That I should pay extra for shoes that hurt my feet than for shoes I can walk in? That Hawaii is always too far away? That people feel the need to be reachable at every minute of every day? That people would rather send an e-mail than walk down the hallway for a face-to-face conversation? That pot stickers can cure everything? That old people in love always make me smile? That there are so few news stories that make me feel hopeful?
Just do it!
No, I don't mean go out and be a Nike ad. I mean just do your damned job.

What is it with people who are so concerned about keeping their job that they don't actually do their job? Why are people so afraid to say "that's a bad idea?" Why is making your boss happy more important than doing what's right?

Oh yes, and can I just say how sick I am of people who want to be seen as "different" and "edgy" who manifest their individuality by continually saying "yes boss, you're brilliant. I'm brilliant too!"

Friday, February 18, 2005

The savior can't act
So exactly when did Keanu Reeves become the official savior of the universe? I recently saw an ad for his new movie, Constantine, and once again he's fighting hell for the gipper. Or for somebody. And I must say, it's beginning to freak me out. Between him being just this side of Christ in the Matrices (because I am too much a lady of quality to misuse my irregular plurals), and this new flick I have to say it's not looking good for the world. Keanu Reeves the man who can change destiny? Density maybe.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Hot baths and favorite old books. Mashed potatoes. Warm chocolate chip cookies and cold milk. Buttermilk biscuits with butter. Classic MGM musicals where everyone lives happily ever after and even the cab drivers know how to dance. Sweats and slippers. Fires. Cocoa. Toast. As Time Goes By on BBC America. Photographs of loved ones. Things that are soft, faded, comfy, warm, and familiar. Homemade chicken soup. French bread and cheese. The music of Louis Armstrong. Clean sheets. Cozy mysteries. Popcorn. Pillows and blankets. Making a nest on the sofa.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

In praise of world music
You may or may not know, or care, that I host a world music radio show on KZSU, the Stanford University radio station. Because of that, I am constantly exposed to new music from all around the world. And all I can say!

Thank god for Sanseverino, a wacky Italian-French gypsy-jazz-pop singer whose CD "Les Senegalaises" was one of my top ten of 2004 and still gets me through the day when things get dreary. Thanks too, to Rachid Taha whose Algerian cover of The Clash's famous anthem "Rock the Casbah," is an ironic hip-shaking rai-groove that is seriously cool. Bless Henri Dikongue (one of my first discoveries), Wassis Diop, Angelique Kidjo, Oliver Mutkutzi, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, and all of the wonderful artists out of Africa who don't get nearly the fame they deserve. Bless all those 80 year old "Buena Vista Social Club," guys who keep Cuba dancing. Thanks to Kila for their hypnotic Celtic-world epics. And lets not forget the amazing Native American performers who are (typical of Native Americans, unfortunately) pretty much ignored by the mainstream: Joanne Shenandoah, Robert Mirabal, Bill Miller, Sharon Burch, to name only a few.

If you only listen to mainstream music, do yourself a favor and discover the world. Like Blues? Check out some French Blues? Like hip hop? You might try listening to African or Spanish hip hop. Pop? Hell, the world is full of great pop, rock, jazz, even punk artists.

Please, listen to the world. It wants to be heard.
I give up!
So what I think might be the last nail in the "I want to buy a house" coffin was struck today with this morning's front page headline in the San Francisco Chronicle. "Bay Area home prices increase 20%, sales skyrocket." Oh goodie...Boise, here we come.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Happy Hallmark
Today is Valentine's Day. An entirely retail-created holiday that has little or nothing to do with romance.

Romance is not sending flowers to your loved one because advertising tells you that you must (or else you'll be sleeping on the sofa). Romance is sending flowers just because, or when he or she is having a bad day and could use a little extra love.

I don't know how people can get romantic on demand. Nor do I understand how people can make such a huge thing out of such a manufactured occasion. I know I am loved, not because my husband buys me candy on February 14th, but because he brings me tea when I'm sick. And because we always seem to end up holding hands, even when we're just watching TV.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Anybody else remember the song "detatchable penis?"
I didn't know there actually is such a thing. Turns out some actor used one to help him try to fake a drug test. He failed. Oops.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

So Woodward & Bernstein report that "Deep Throat" (the sorce the leaked the Watergate story) is apparently very sick. They have stated that they will reveal his identity after his death. This leads me to the Pope "Deep Throat?"
Poor dear
How will poor, maligned Carly Fiorina get by on just $21 milllion? Thanks for helping my husband's job move away so he had to leave something he truly enjoyed, Carly.

How come I can't get $21 milllion for getting fired? Hell, I'd happily be fired for only $1 million!

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Hey ladies, don't want to use sex to get ahead at work?

Use sports! Today thanks to my knowledge of football and hockey I was able to cut through work crap and "bond" with two separate men because of sports. Coming together on a common ground of "what's wrong with hockey" and "why the Eagles lost" (sob!) we were able to quickly reach a work decision because there was some semblance of equality and none of the obnixious "this is my turf" posturing that I keep running accross. So, what to break the ice with the guys you work with? Learn to discuss the infield fly rule. Trust me, it works.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Baby, can I drive your car?
From my (temporary) window I can see the freeway. I watch the cars zooming by, writing in my mind scenarios of homecoming and evenings of relaxation. Cooking dinner while listening to John Coltrane and talking to your loved one about the day. Solo Thai takeout eaten in front of whatever goodie TiVO caught on your behalf.

Trucks filled with the sounds of Alan Jackson twanging the drivers along their way. Self-important BMW drivers too intent on their cell phones and not intent enough on the traffic.

Moms with kids tucked and buckled safely in, singing “The Wheels on the Bus” for the 17th time this month.

Every one in every car has a story. Someone just got fired. Someone got hired. Someone fell in love today. Someone broke up.

A few lucky drivers have furry passengers licking up their windows breathing down their necks.

Some cars are filled with silence. The calm, relaxed silence so needed at the end of a hectic day. The cold, uncomfortable silence of people who have run out of things to say to each other far too early in life.

Some drivers smile and wish herds of field-stuck cows “good evening,” as they speed along, enjoying the freedom. Others would probably be surprised to learn that there are cows along the side of the freeway.

In the sleepy, waning hour of the workday when I’ve had not enough to do and not nearly enough human interaction, I envy the cars on the road.

Right now, I would like nothing more than to be among them, heading home.

Have a good evening, cows.
The morning after
Alas, our beloved Philadelphia Eagles did not win the Super Bowl. Certainly my husband and I did everything in our part to bring about a victory. We were attired in the appropriate green clothing. We were drinking the right beer. I did not look during the crucial plays. It's amazing how superstitious even the most rational of people (and by which I mean my husband, not I) can be when the stakes are so high. We actually get anxious that our team might loose because we took off a hat or forgot to use the same water glass we used during the victorious playoff games.

I know Philadelphia is a blame kind of town. In fact there's a poll in today's paper asking whose fault it is that the team lost. (Poor Donovan McNabb is in the lead for taking the rap). But I hereby declare my innocence. I swear that I was in no way responsible for their defeat. I swear by the statue of "Dirty Bill" that I did nothing to jinx, hex, or otherwise stymie the Philadelphia Eagles in their quest to become champions.

Oh well...there's always next year.

Go Eagles, and thanks for a great season.