Sunday, February 19, 2006

the (bird)shot heard round the world

Remember the solid week - or more - of coverage the news media couldn't resist giving us when Diana, the Princess of Wales, was killed Paris? That evening, my husband and I were watching a movie on tape and learned of the crash once we turned off the VCR and the news came on. I'm certain the news would've have flashed on whatever channel came on but since we were watching a tape, our TV was on channel 3.

I remember watching the story unfold for a while, then going to bed. My husband was obviously more curious than I and watched the coverage until the final word from the hospital, then he woke me and told me she was dead.

Well, that was all I needed. I can't explain it but I felt compelled to watch a lot of Diana news for the next week. At one point, Pat walked into the room, saw what was on TV, and asked, "Is she still dead?"

That's kind of how I felt after more than one week of Dick Cheney and the birdshot heard round the world. Everytime I heard someone talk about the hunting accident and the ailing friend of Cheney's recovering in the hospital, I wanted to ask, "Is he still shot?"

God, I can't stand it. Here's all we need think about this "national tragedy:" it's unfortunate, it's unusual, it's an unhappy time for everyone involved. And here's the thing: I don't care when President Bush found out and I don't care when the "news media" uncovered the story. This isn't a threat to national security.

If this had happened to two anonymous citizens, we would have never heard about it and we wouldn't have missed a thing. I don't care if it was Dick Cheney or Dick Smothers who aimed quite badly and wounded a friend. And the rest of us shouldn't care either.

Talk soon-

Monday, February 13, 2006

I'm not wishing hard enough, I guess.

We're three days into the Olympics and I've about had it.

This feeling began late Friday night when Yoko Ono - Yoko Ono of all the people on the planet - took the stage and gave some sort of "welcome - congratulations - I love you all" - speech to the athletes and the entire world tuned into the Opening Ceremonies. I have no ax to grind with Yoko. I'm just mystified about how she fits in here. I don't want to jump on writer / friend Steve Salerno's bandwagon here ( - no one nails this quasi-therapy known as "self-help" like Steve - but are you kidding me? Last time I checked, you have to do more than just dream about the Olympics to actually compete at the Olympics. I don't remember Yoko's exact words but they were definitely something along the lines of the "if you can dream it you can do it" nonsense. Ummm, Yoko? Tell Michelle Kwan. I'm thinking she's been dreaming about this competition for the last ten years.

Then, if that weren't enough, Peter Gabriel sits at this enormous piano, growls out Imagine - there's no other word for it, he was growling - and enjoins us to imagine a world with no countries. Could there have been a less appropriate song for the occasion? Was every athlete and coach in the arema sitting there, looking at each other, thinking, "No countries? Why would we be here if there were no countries??"

The music in general drove me crazy during the opening of the games. Why 70's and 80's American dance music? Here we are, in Italy, the land of opera and hundreds of gorgeous melodies and we're listening to the Village People and Donna Summer's I Feel Love? I kept thinking, why aren't they playing some lovely Italian folk songs in the background as the athletes enter?

Then - when I was about to give up - out comes Luciano Pavarotti and brings a beautiful center and a few moments of sanity to this otherwise scattered effort.

Dear god - I'm sure it's not me.
Talk soon -

Friday, February 10, 2006

vanity unfair

I just read the "news" story about Keira Knightley and Scarlett Johannsen posing on the cover of Vanity Fair. Like all of the most newsworthy VF covers, neither actress wears any clothing in the photo. Fine. Great. Whatever. I don't care how many actresses appear on VF and I don't really care if they're naked. It's not enough that women the world over feel immeasurably inadequate when faced with actresses and models fully clothed on magazines. Thanks to VF and others like them, now we have to see them without so much as a ribbon in their hair, looking smooth and perfect and slim wearing nothing but a bracelet to hide their flaws. Yahoo.

Then again, I'm older than the two of them put together so why does this matter to me? I can't say. The truth is, I didn't look that good twenty-five years ago and I sure don't look that good now. Then again, I wasn't trying to earn a living at least partly based on how attractive I was when I was 22 years old. Maybe actresses treat their good looks like other professional women treat their considerable skills within the workplace. They hone them; they care for them; they make sure everyone recognizes them and they show them off in their best light whenever they can. Why not - posing for a cover without a stitch and getting their names and images splashed around the media is the same as an attorney showing off her skills as a litigator or a teacher running her classroom. Pays better too.

I guess it's inevitable that Angelina will show up in their studios sometime during her "confinement" and pull a Demi Moore on us; and show off her lovely, ripe baby-carrying form on a headline making cover. Fine. Great. Whatever. I love how pregnant actresses imagine that no one before or since has ever carried a child. And that showing us an extended uterus in all its glory is somehow something no pregnant woman - or the man in her life for that matter - has ever seen before. That this somehow makes her unique.

Don't you just wish VF or whoever wants to make headlines over this baby would do something just a little more surprising than an Angelina portrait? Here's a suggestion: if Vanity Fair wants to put a photo on their cover that would celebrate the soon to be among us Jolie Pitt baby, let'em put Brad on the cover naked. Now that would be worthwhile. I might even buy a copy.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

days of the week

Welcome -

Is it me?

I can't abide the notion of "hump day" every week. I don't know what people call Monday or Tuesday which, to me, deserve much more credit than Wednesday. I mean, most of us drag our sorry selves up and out of the house every Monday morning, and most of us would rather have that option every Monday if you know what I mean. We're not exactly lazy and we're not exactly bored but we would welcome the opportunity to choose whether or not to show up that day at the office. I can tell you that I don't get out of bed on Monday just so I can last until Wednesday, then smile and proclaim "hump day!!" to everyone I pass in the hall on my way to my first cup of coffee in the morning.

I call Monday "brooding day." I spend at least part of every Monday tracing my life, trying to figure out where I made the missteps. Like why I didn't hear about Microsoft twenty years ago or Amazon ten years ago or Google ten months ago. Or why we didn't stretch just a little more on the first house so we would have made a lot more money on the real estate boom going on when we sold our very modest first home. Or why I don't have a trust fund. Why I never got into the habit of trading futures on the market - whatever that means. Why I can't seem to develop that exercise habit that everyone says you can develop after just three months. Why every other parent on the planet seems to know more about what's going on at school than I. I'm usually mostly over it well before my second cup of coffee but it's definitely a part of every Monday.

Brooding day makes a special appearance other times throughout the year, always on the first day after vacation. Which is why I always return to work from vacation on a Tuesday. I'm trying to offset the double brooding cloud that would follow me around for the entire day if it were a Monday and my first day back in the office.

By Tuesday, my brooding has ended. Tuesday is usually "envy day." I look around for hours and envy all the people I know who are richer, smarter, more attractive, thinner, funnier, more creative and far more successful than I. Since there are plenty of them and only one of me, this can take upwards of an entire morning on a good (bad) day. I figure that realistically, there are lots of things I can't know about them which make them less that ideal candidates for me to envy but it doesn't really matter. If it's Tuesday, it must be envy. And it's not only their attributes. I confess to the following objects of my envy: haircuts, jewelry, shoes, boots. Pathetic - you don't have to tell me.

I'm evolved enough to know that with more money - something I envy in everyone who is far richer than I - come choices. But those choices usually involve spending more money which means if you have more money you need more money because you have a lot of places to spend it and a lot of bills to pay. Reminding myself of this, more than anything else, abruptly interrupts my envy and I move along.

I'm guessing my nicknames for Monday and Tuesday will never catch on. No one wants to admit to brooding or feeling envious on a regular basis. That's okay. I'll take the fall for all of us.

Talk soon -

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

here we go....

Hello to all -

If I could just stop playing solitaire on my computer, I think I'd really have something to contribute here.

The truth is, is you want to read anything cogent and somewhat cohesive, you can hop online to , click on Opinion and Op ed columnists. You'll find my name and assorted columns of mine dating back to early 2005. I've written for The Morning Call in Allentown, PA for more than five years.

If you'd prefer to not tax your brain quite so much and read the random observations of a woman desperately in need of a good night's sleep, stay right where you are.

I don't know much but it does seem that the rest of the world has gone "barking mad" as a colleague likes to say and there is definitely some comfort in feeling not quite so alone in my observations. The newspaper column has given me one forum to do that; this is another.

I hope the people who stop in - share a thought or two - maybe a laugh or a silent nod of thank god I'm not alone - will feel a little more content about themselves when they leave. A little more like they aren't alone in the wilderness of modern life, in search of a kindred spirit.

To that end, I leave you with this small observation. The other day, a friend and I had lunch at a nationwide chain. I picked up their catering menu - you never know when you'll need to order a Monte Cristo platter - and read it while I waited for him to join me. I stopped at what had to be the most interesting option offered: six hot dogs, four servings of macaroni and cheese, and six cookies. Serves 6 to 8. All for $19.95. Let's move past the price for a second. And how six hot dogs serves eight people. Why four servings of macaroni and cheese? What kids don't get the mac and cheese at this imaginary gathering? How do you make that decision? "Well, honey, I know you said you could invite five friends to your party and everyone will get a hot dog. But who should get the mac and cheese? Who do you like the most?"
Or how about a coach handing out the snacks: "Okay, kids, everyone gets a hot dog - here you go. Uh....Tristan? Liam? You've been slouching aroung the outfield; I've watched you boot those grounders. No mac and cheese for you today."
What's this about? Where do we live when a kids meal platter include only enough mac and cheese to serve four people but enough hot dogs for six and claims to serve eight?
That's what's wrong with the world. It's not me, it's you, chain restaurant. Stop it. Just add another two servings of mac and cheese and leave the $20 price tag alone. Don't make me crazy over this.

So anyway, welcome. I wish I'd opened with a post of something a little more uplifting or inspirational but that may have created the wrong impression. You want challenging? Read The New Yorker, the same week it arrives in your mailbox. You want fun, companionship, a little laughter and once in a while, a comment or two that may linger, stick around.

Talk soon -