Wednesday, December 26, 2007
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
I think I'm overly medicated, due to a terribly nasty cold, but I teared up involuntarily. ( bad sentence, but I don't feel like fixing it.)
Thursday, November 15, 2007
They were later than they’d meant to be, but not seriously late; not so late that even I would be surprised by it. After all, who would I be to say anything about it? I’m notoriously late all the time. I’m really trying to work on that.
It didn’t matter because our two experienced guides were there to help us through the maze that is the Paris Metro. Angela and Marshall took out their handy metro map, which looked like a Technicolor spider web. We left floor 1 and the bustling Continental terminal and headed downstairs to a wide-open area where there were many people with suitcases waiting around. There wasn’t much movement that I could recall. A great many people looking like they had nowhere to go, yet they were all going somewhere with their luggage in tow. I was trying to absorb everything. I tried noticing what people were doing, but I was just anxious to get out of the airport and into downtown Paris.
The first thing Debbie and I needed to do was to get cash. Our guides told us the best rates of exchange could be found at ATMs and not the machines that said CHANGE. When I left the US I knew the exchange rate for the Euro was 1 Euro for every 1.41 dollars. (Does that make sense fact checkers?) We found an ATM. It felt good to have some “walking around” money because I only had a few dollars on me. Our American money wasn’t any good over there.
Upon getting our money, Angela informed us that she had figured out what train to take to the Austerlitz train station, or somewhere near it. The next thing I knew we were on board a metro car and on our way to the train station. I was so tired I had no idea I’d napped on the way to our next stop. MSH has the proof in his pictures.
When we stepped off the metro, somehow, though, we ended up at Gare de Lyon instead of Gare d’Austerlitz and we had to cross the Seine to get to it. “The Seine!” That’s what my mind screamed when Angela said we had to find the Seine. Actually, she may have said they moved the river on her or the station. One of those two, and had I been taking notes while carrying my book bag and suitcase, I would know this. Alas, I do not. So anyway, we strolled in the direction of the river, but we weren’t quite sure how to get across. Angela then took it upon herself to ask the nearest stranger. Our lucky stranger was found sitting on a nearby bench. I believe he was taking a break after having had a long liquid lunch. As soon as Angela brought him over, you could smell his lunch permeating from his pores. Although drunk, he had a nice French accent while speaking English. He has more than happy to direct us to the train station. Along the way, I somehow discovered that our kind stranger spoke Spanish and we had a brief conversation about his life. It was interesting to hear him open up to a total stranger. He revealed that he was originally from Belgium but he’d lived in Spain for a quite a few years. He was recently separated from his wife, and he’d return to France to spend some time. He didn’t have the chance to tell me why he smelled of alcohol in the middle of the day, but had our walk been longer I’m sure we would have told me. I don’t think it was over his wife. As we neared our destination, I knew I had to at least give him a small tip as a token of appreciation if not for simply telling me a very abbreviated history of his life. I didn’t have any small bills so I decided to give him 10 Euros. It was a pricey tip, but I felt it that I had the money and the story alone was well worth it. I gave him the tip and not a moment later he extended his hand out to MSH and asked him for a tip. He gave our kind stranger a 2 Euro coin. I was appalled. I think he deserved the initial tip, but to ask for extra – it was too much! No?
We made it to the train station and soon we were on our way to Beaugency.
Sunday, October 28, 2007
Striking Air France flight attendants disrupt travel for 4th day
The Associated Press
PARIS: Air France flights were disrupted for a fourth day Sunday with striking flight attendants refusing to give in and the transport minister asking for both sides to restart talks.
The carrier hoped to get 60 percent of its flights in the air as travelers were growing tired of inconveniences and delays despite a pledge by Air France to reimburse those unable to find suitable alternatives.
"What the government wants is that negotiations restart and succeed and that we get out of this situation of conflict," said Transport Minister Dominique Bussereau.
The strike by flight attendants over pay and working conditions was expected to last through the day Monday, with the carrier saying it expected 70 percent of flights to be operational by then.
Unions unanimously rejected an Air France proposal Saturday night, saying it was too vague.
The walkout interrupted the start of a holiday in France when airports were jammed, and there were signs that passengers were losing patience.
"I am disgusted because I have the impression we are being held hostage," said one waiting passenger at Charles de Gaulle airport, identifying herself only as Maryse.
"If we want to be reimbursed we need to wait for the final cancellation of the flight," said stranded traveler Philippe Lefort, 45. He noted that a single flight can be delayed several times in a day, meaning a daylong wait to see if the plane will take off.From the movie, "8 Femmes"
Saturday, October 27, 2007
The V.I.P.s: Clampett Style
Vendredi, 12 Octobre 2007
I wrote the following in my travel journal that I only wrote in for a couple of days. I didn’t make time to write in it like I said I would. Anyways, here goes…
Today I left for Paris, France. It’s so strange because saying that you’re leaving for France is always something that is said on television, or a movie, or someone else is uttering those words. It’s never you. It will never be me. It is though. It is me.
After much controversy at work, mostly in my head, about taking vacation time during the school year, I was given permission to take this trip. Leaving work today, after working less than half the day, I felt everything was in slow motion. My walk, the beams of the breezeway overhead passing me by, the students walking to class, the secretaries in the office on my way out. I was leaving and I was not looking back.
I went home to change shirts, do a last bit of packing and then left to my parents’ house where they were waiting to give me a ride to Louis Armstrong Int. Airport. On cue, my mother cried. It wouldn’t be a farewell without her tearstained face looking at me. My father was extra chatty giving me pointers on how and where to check at the airport. I hurried them along because they were making me even more anxious than I already was – edgier than a meth head without his meth. Scary, huh? (That’s the last thing I wrote in my journal before falling asleep on the plane.)
The following is what I remember of the first day…
After my parents dropped me off at the entrance to the Continental/Delta terminal, I walked over to the check-in area to get my boarding pass. Like a person who clearly does not read signs, I lined up in the Elite Travel line. Is it any wonder there wasn’t a soul in line! I was then herded over to the common folks’ line where I was made to type all my passport and green card information into the check-in kiosk computer. I’d run into Debbie while I was waiting in line, so it was nice to have someone to share in my misery. She was having problems getting an agent to help her. When she finally did, she had our seating changed so we could be next to one another. The flight wasn’t full, so we had an empty seat between us.
When we arrived in Houston we had a 90 minute or so layover, so we headed to Continental’s President’s Club. It’s their version of a First Class Lounge. It’s three floors of secluded glory in an otherwise busy airport. The second floor houses the free snacks and bar. We, I felt, looked like we didn’t belong because we were grabbing handfuls of free crackers and little rectangular slices of cheese. -Those crackers and cheese came in handy when we were hungry walking the streets of Paris. – Looking back on it now, we sort of stuck out, but we didn’t care. We got in! It’s all that mattered. The best part of the club was that the beer was free. All we had to do was tip the bartender. Free booze! Get out! I think if we’d stayed longer I would have been one of those passengers they don’t allow onboard because I’d been drinking to much prior to boarding. You know, like on that show “Airline”? There are always drunk passengers trying to fly Southwest, but I digress.
After a few beers, and grabbing more handfuls of crackers and cheese, we left the club and civility to join the throngs of masses downstairs in the main terminal waiting to be herded into a plane. Lucky for us we would be flying a Boeing- 777. Means nothing to you, but it was great fun for me. I’ve always wanted to fly a big airplane. My dream has always been a Boeing – 747, but it just hasn’t been possible, and not too many airlines use them anymore. A 777 will just have to do for now. When we got on board, we walked just past the wings, two rows back. I had the window seat, and Deb had the aisle.
I had Deb taking pictures of the aisle, while I tried taking a picture inside the cabin. We were served dinner about two hours into the flight, just over New York. I had the choice of chicken or beef. I hadn’t eaten a proper meal on an airplane in years. You only get peanuts thrown at you on domestic flights these days. The chicken with vegetables and the cake of some sort for desert were delicious. Our movies for the evening were “Evan Almighty” and “Ocean’s Thirteen”. I chose Evan. It wasn’t as bad as everyone made it out to seem. Afterwards, I changed the channel on my screen and watched CSI. I didn’t make it past the opening credits when sleep took over. I slept for the next five hours or so until the flipped on the main cabin lights and started serving breakfast ( a croissant with fruit and juice.) We were an hour away from Charles de Gaulle airport. I was excited. I was nervous. I was happy. I was excited and nervous about being in a foreign country and not being able to speak or read the language. I was happy to be seeing MSH.
We landed at Charles de Gaulle, went through customs, collected our luggage and stepped out into the main terminal. We saw people with names on hand-made signs, but none of them said our name. MSH and Angela were late collecting us. They’d had problems getting on the right metro train. Eventually they worked it out and made it to the airport only a few minutes late. They even had signs with our names on them. We may have been like the Clampetts in France, but now we were true V.I.P.s being hailed by persons holding up our names on signs at anairport terminal.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Bonjour, everyone. This is Kitty Francais back from 9 days in Paris with my friend Breezy. We had a great time gallivanting along the busy, narrow streets of the City of Lights. Breezy will be detailing his adventures shortly, but for now I would like to introduce you to my cousin,
Isn't she cute? I decided to ring her mobile since I was in town, and she invited me to this hangout near her home. Who knew it was a cemetery!
Pere Lechaise. Never heard of it. Have you? I know. I know. I have gaps, but there you go.
OK, so not only is it a hangout, but it holds the graves of such artistes fantastique as Oscar Wilde, Simone Signoret, Jim Morrison, and Frederic Chopin to name just a few.
By the way, I'd like to apologize for her rudeness. Walking through Pere Lachaise will simply make you tired and grumpy, or is it just that she's a Frenchie? I'm going to say she's tired. The cemetery *is* on the side of a steep hill, so that would explain her fatigue. Yep, that's it, she's tired.
Anywho, that's all for now. It's bedtime and I'm tres tired. Kisses and Bonne Nuit
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
I finally bought a digital camera last week, so I'll be able to post pictures from the trip here. It's about time. I guess digital cameras aren't just a fad like 8-tracks. I always wait too long to jump on any kind of trend, so it's not unusual of me to be this late. I'm always late anyway.
So, I'll be keeping a travel diary. My goal is to write in it at least once a day. I can do it. It's easier said than done when you are walking around checking out the sights.
Wish me luck.
Sunday, August 26, 2007
While watching those first three episodes, I was reminded of my friends in middle school. Not my so-called friends in class, but the true blue friends whom I hung out with. The ones who looked out for me and the ones I looked out after. I like to romanticize things a lot, but I don't think that's the case here. There's a picture of two of those friends and me in my living room. We've lost contact with one another. David D., my bestest friend in middle school, moved to VA. He visited me about 10 years ago, but I haven't heard from his since. Hopefully, one day, we'll reconnect and talk about old times, but until then I'll live with the fond memories of good times gone by.
The following clip is from Freaks and Geeks. It exemplifies the #1 reason why I chose to be in band to ditch PE. Enjoy! (Smart asses beware. It's not about the beautiful body comments. It's the fear that the kid expresses. Be warned!)
Monday, August 20, 2007
I'm enjoying myself, but I don't want to take any days off since I'll be traveling to FREAKIN' France in October. ( more about that later) I still need to write about my outing in downtown New Orleans, so I better do that before leaving the country, right?
I'm off to bed. I should have gotten in bed two hours ago. My alarm will be screaming at me in 6 hours. Ugh!
Monday, August 06, 2007
Here's my problem with this picture other than maybe her nakedness...I don't need to *see* that!
OK, so after three kids, she has no back fat and not an ounce of cellulite?! I'm not so naive as to think that she wasn't airbrushed, but come on! You can kinda tell where they digitally "fixed" her. Behind her legs and along her back all the way down to her tush. These are the kinds of pictures that drive straight men wild and women to bend over the loo (that's for Vincent).
Ok, now, so here's Lucia. Lucia appears in A Model Life on TLC. She's from Russia or one of those countries in that general vicinity. Here's where Lloyd would say that she has a name that ends in the sound of "-ich" . Trust me when I say you don't want me to expand upon that point.
Anyway, she has that vacant, high gloss model look, but doesn't she remind you of Meg Ryan before surgery took over? I think she's adorable. Too bad the show is not that good.
This man's name escapes me, and maybe that's best because I cannot believe that Anna Wintour let's him dress like this and work at Vogue too. When the day comes that *I* have to wear a man's moo moo dress, please stop me and tell me no. Please.
I had to crop Jennifer Hudson out because I didn't think she should have been in the picture in the first place. Then again, if she posed with this fool, then she deserved to be in it.
Monday, July 30, 2007
Taking our cue from the last big drum roll and the turning on of all the stage lights, we went on a hunt for a big greasy burger.
Vincent insisted we try the burgers at ????( I forgot the name, sorry! I'll blame it on the Bloody/Margarita haze). We trekked back to the heart of the Quarter for a DeeLicious burger...a half pound of ground meat goodness. It sopped up most of the alcohol. So much for trying to eat healthy, but a greasy burger is all you can you think of after you've stopped drinking.
Our evening ended after Lloyd's disappearing act down a side street, sending Vincent off to work, and then dropping Spaces off at his car that was parked near Whitney and Crack.
Friday, July 27, 2007
You can also make your own happiness page @ http://store.digitalscrapbookplace.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=4999
July 24, 2007 -- IN her four years on “The View” - ABC’s exceptionally dysfunctional morning talk show - 30-year-old Elisabeth Hasselbeck has become a source of morbid curiosity for viewers and critics alike, who can’t quite figure out how she still has her job.
She may seem like a girl right out of a Tom Petty song (blond, all-American, married to a jock) but she has, as the show’s lone conservative voice, been criticized as a rigid, often incoherent thinker. This on a show where rigid, incoherent thinking has been vocalized by many a co-host - from Star Jones to Joy Behar to Rosie O’Donnell. So: No small feat.
And yet Hasselbeck - a former reality-TV star - has outlasted news veteran Meredith Vieira (who quit for the “Today” show), original cast member Jones (fired) and, most recently, O’Donnell, who quit the show early after that infamous, explosive on-air screamfest with Hasselbeck in May (an incident neither would discuss).
So, she’s outlived seasoned broadcast professionals . . . how?
“That’s a very tough role to fill on ‘The View,’ and she’s got enough nerve to hang in there,” says TV Guide senior correspondent Stephen Battaglio, who adds that ABC’s research shows Hasselbeck is popular with young mothers in red states. “She does her best. Do I think her next job is going to be as a political correspondent? No.”
Sarah D. Bunting, co-editor-in-chief of the Web site Television Without Pity, says Hasselbeck’s presence has become key: “Even if people are watching to hate her, it’s showing up on YouTube, it’s showing up on industry blogs, advertisers are getting the eyeballs,” she says. “She could have an IQ of 170. I doubt it. She’s taking advantage of the power vacuum, and they’re not gonna move her. This is what she’s there for right now: to get kicked.”
In fact, Hasselbeck is often such an inept debater that she’s been the subject of conspiracy theories: The show’s otherwise liberal co-hosts wanted a mockable lightweight. She’s a Stepford wife parroting the beliefs of her equally conservative husband, New York Giants third-string quarterback Tim. She’s fed talking points by the show’s right-wing executive producer, Bill Geddie.
“I’m not back there briefing her,” Geddie says. Her appeal cuts across all age groups, and her fans, he says, don’t care about her politics. “She has many thoughts that are shockingly conservative to me.”
Indeed, Hasselbeck has argued on-air that adulterers can’t be good parents, that the morning-after pill is tantamount to abortion, and that, “especially in a time of war” (one of her favorite phrases), torture is necessary. She typically responds to information she finds discomfiting with “I’d like to research that.” She has used the nonexistent word “desperacy” more than once. She has brushed off U.S. casualties of the Iraq war as “unfortunate,” while noting the U.S. has an all-volunteer Army.
“This is what liberals are afraid of - that the conservatives in the rest of the country believe this stuff without a well-considered view,” Bunting says. “If you are on TV just squeaking your way through an argument that has cost America thousands of lives, the conclusion is: She doesn’t know what she’s talking about.”
Interestingly, Hasselbeck says she never wanted to be any kind of pundit (she studied design at Boston College) or have a career in television: “If I had written out my plan,” she says, “I didn’t think I would be doing this.” Yet exec producer Geddie remembers things differently: “I got major pressure from her agent, saying, ‘You have to see this girl.’ ”
“She is a walking dichotomy,” says her former “Survivor” castmate Jeff Varner. He says when they first met, “I thought she was incredibly creative, honest, a sweet girl - but there was something underneath those eyes that was not that. She’s very shrewd. I always thought she would make the call that was best for Elisabeth.”
Still, they bonded. After “Survivor,” they both got gigs at the E! network and talked twice a week. He remembers her freaking out over whether she’d get the seat on “The View.” “I think I got one e-mail from her after she got hired on ‘The View,’ and that was it,” Varner says. “She dropped me. I sent her a gift when Grace was born. Never got a thank-you.” He pauses. “I’m hearing that Rodger [Bingham, a fellow “Survivor”], who was really close to her, is not hearing from her. Maybe an e-mail at Christmas.”
Funny - at a recent taping, an audience member asked Hasselbeck if she was still close with Bingham; she said yes, but it was hard, given that he’s a farmer and is up early in the fields.
“He’s not a farmer!” Varner says, laughing. “He works for the Department of Agriculture in Kentucky.”
“I talked to her over Christmas,” says Bingham, reached by cellphone one Sunday after church. “We send her little girl presents. She sends us ice cream every Christmas. A couple of pints, comes frozen every December.” Which perplexes Bingham, as he doesn’t particularly like ice cream: “If it’s around, I’ll eat it.”
Bingham, 60, memorably sacrificed himself on “Survivor” so that Hasselbeck could stay - and reap an extra $20,000 in prize money. He says they never really discussed that. “She really didn’t know that at the time, I don’t think,” he says. He takes a long pause. “Uh . . . you know, I guess she would’ve - she would’ve seen that on the show. I think she mentioned it to me once, and I said, ‘Well, you would’ve done the same for me.’ ”
“She’s a smart girl and a smart businesswoman,” says Varner. “But I never trusted her. And I don’t trust her today.”’
Hasselbeck grew up in Providence, R.I., (though she speaks with a faint “Fargo”-esque accent). She credits her architect dad, Kenneth - “the coolest, most creative man I’ve ever met, ever” - and Elisabeth, her “freethinking” mom, a lawyer who “started the first female fraternity at her college” - as the sources of her indefatigable self-esteem. “They never laid down any sort of foundation of, like, prejudice.” She has one brother, Kenneth, “two years younger, but much wiser,” and, she says, her polar opposite, politically.
Hasselbeck herself didn’t become politicized until a few years ago: “You know when we were in Australia for ‘Survivor,’ we had, I was supposed to fill out my absentee ballot. For the election. That was the controversial Gore/Bush, the whole Florida fiasco. Um, and I . . . I didn’t. I was, like, too busy. And I think it was Nick Brown who was out there with me, said, you know, ‘You didn’t fill out your absentee ballot? Like, how do you not fill out your absentee ballot?’ And then I realized what I had missed out on. So I really started a, an investigation, like why I was such an idiot as to not fill that out and partake in something that, you know, the women in Iraq just got a chance to do for the first time. You know, why? Why wouldn’t I take advantage of a right that’s granted to me? That wasn’t always there? And I kind of recommitted to, um, reading as much as I could and learning as much as I could about, um, politics.”
She says it took her a few years to build what she calls “a library of Web sites.” What does she read every day? “Um . . . I think anyone in my - obviously now for news, if you need something flashy, some celebrity or social news - it’s TMZ. You go there first. Ummm . . . you know, I like National Review online, um, I’ll go to townhall.com, media research center - for pointed issues, you know? And not only those, because I love the New York Times, Sunday Styles, you know I love the opinion sections, because it’s a lot, a lot of the time things I’m not in full support of, want to get perspective on, or just want to hear - I just want to make sure I’m fresh on both sides of the issue.”
To that end, Hasselbeck says she considers herself a “contemplative conservative.” Meaning? “I constantly think and am saturated in my mind and heart about what these issues are and what it means, especially now,” she says. “I think the why is more important than ever. Why? Like, why do you believe that? Why do you think we should still or not be in Iraq. Why? And so, those questions, they haunt me.” She laughs. “I like to actively pursue the answers,” she continues. “As much as possible.”
So Hasselbeck doesn’t understand why she is still considered “The View”’s intellectual featherweight (this on a show where O’Donnell claimed the government was behind the collapse of 7 World Trade Center). But the show’s “Hot Topics” segments - in which the women spend the top 20 minutes of the show extemporaneously discussing anything from the Iraq war to Britney Spears - has become squeamishly entertaining for this very reason.
Just last week, after telling Hasselbeck “your head is under a rock,” co-host Behar lost it:
Behar: “Bush has just vetoed a bipartisan bill that would extend health care for 4.1 million children in this country! Now that is not a compassionate conservative.”
Hasselbeck: “I’d like to investigate that.”
Behar: “Well, go ahead. Here it is [shaking paper under Hasselbeck’s face]. Paul Krugman, the New York Times.”
Hasselbeck: “Where are the parents of these children?”
Behar: “They’re poor!”
This debate, such as it was, elicited outrage among viewers, who immediately logged on to “The View” ’s insanely popular forum on Television Without Pity. A sampling:
“Usually, I think Elisabeth is just ignorant and uninformed . . . she has a large mean streak.”
“When she said, ‘Where are these kids’ parents?’ she f - - - ing lost my support. WTF? They are poor.”
“No one can be this ignorant.”
“Bitsy seemed nutty, ridiculous, and uninformed as usual. But, dare I say it, I enjoyed her today. She talked back to Babs and did not completely trample over Joy.”
So, what does Hasselbeck think of this animus? “I, I think that . . . obviously it’s wrong,” she says. She thinks it’s a reaction to her youth and hair color: “I mean, I’m young, yes. ‘She’s young, she’s blond, she’s conservative - we hate her.’ Good! Well, I don’t hate you because you disagree with my opinions. I kind of dropped that in like the fifth grade.” She smirks. “I think we should be able to - especially now - not judge people based on political opinion and have such hate.”
And she does seem to elicit hate from broad quarters. Last season, an episode of “Law & Order” named a victim of rape and murder “Elisabeth Hassenbeck”; when she called the show’s producer to complain, he hung up on her. Guest stars routinely snub her. The endlessly quotable Donald Trump, fresh off his feud with O’Donnell, switched sides, calling Hasselbeck “one of the dumber people on TV” and “an imbecile.” On any number of blogs she is referred to as “Bitsy,” “The Ditz,” “Elisabitch” and “Hasselcrack.”
The pop-cultural tipping point for Hasselbeck came last year, when a clip of the women heatedly discussing the morning-after pill was endlessly posted, then wound up on nighttime entertainment shows; Hasselbeck, in the gleeful parlance of many blogs, “lost her s - - t.”
“Elisabeth, calm down,” Walters scolded. “I can’t!” Hasselbeck exclaimed. “This makes me so upset, Barbara!” She tearfully ripped up her index cards. Producers quickly cut to commercial, and when they came back, Hasselbeck was crying, curled up, on the sofa, in Walters’ frail lap.
“I, I - I think certain issues are so worthy of emotional high-voltage,” Hasselbeck says today. “I just think they are. So, that was a day, although maybe it was seen as a hard day, or bad day for me, that was a good day, because I feel as though that’s me.”
Let’s ask Barbara Walters what she thinks. Hello, Ms. Wal - “Yeah whaddya want?” Walters barks. Well, when Elisabeth broke into tears and crawled on to your lap - “She is the most conservative member [of the show],” Walters responds tersely. “I think she’s pro-life. I think it was about stem-cell research. I’m very fond of her. By the way, I think she looks wonderful. She’s just so sunny.”
Walters does reiterate Hasselbeck’s appeal among young women viewers, who relate to her as a wife and mother (the Hasselbecks have a 2-year-old daughter, Grace, and are expecting their second child in November). “She tells whhooon-derful stories about her daughter,” Walters coos. “For example, on yesterday’s show, she told this adorable story about having to borrow her daughter’s diapers.” (The short version: Hasselbeck peed in two of them after a long car ride to Jersey.) “It was a wonderful story.”
And this may the key to Hasselbeck’s staying power on “The View” - she may be as gleefully ill-prepared as ever, but she’s not to be underestimated as a strategist. With Jones’ and O’Donnell’s seats still empty, Hasselbeck finds herself in an odd position of strength. That is, until the next moderator is hired, the group dynamic shifts once again, and Hasselbeck adjusts accordingly. “Rosie was really good because she was willing to engage with and challenge Elisabeth,” says TV Guide’s Battaglio. “I think they’re going to have a hard time finding a new moderator willing to do that. They might just say, ‘This is hopeless; why bother?’ ”
“If I were one of the women on this show, I would just be tired of her at this point,” says Television Without Pity’s Bunting. “Joy Behar, I think, is even done trying with her. But she does generate a lot of press.”
Hasselbeck, ever the strategist, knows who makes the ultimate call as to whether she returns after her maternity leave begins in November, and she misses no opportunity to praise her boss, Walters - often and on the air.
“She has a gift,” Hasselbeck rhapsodizes. “Her techniques are strong. She has a knack for interviewing people where she really hears what they’re saying. She can read prompter like nobody else. The amount of research that she does alone. I would never trade working with Barbara Walters every day with any, any course in the United States. Like, this is - it’s serious stuff.”
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
I fell asleep last night and woke up early this morning with a nasty sinus headache.
Sinus headaches are not like regular headaches. Sinus headaches don't necessarily throb, they just sit there waiting for you to move. It just sits there waiting for its prey to move and then it pounces with its shooting pain. Ow, ow, ow! It hurts!
Anyway, I managed to exercise this morning and that gave me some relief because it opens up my sinus passages. Then I took a shower, got dressed and ate lunch. I had every intention to leave my apartment today, but I just didn't feel like it. You know...the pain.
Instead, I decided to watch Maude Season 1 on DVD. (I need to send it back to Netflix so I can get the next Big Love DVD.)
I'd seen Maude in reruns when it aired on Nick@Nite some years back, but I never caught it in chronological order. I always felt it was way too preachy and that Bea Arthur was too loud and overbearing. After six episodes, I still feel the same although it helps to see them in order because you can see the character development that you miss otherwise.
The first two episodes were so-so. Adrienne Barbeau, Bill Macy and Conrad Bain are Maude's daughter, husband, and husband's best friend. The addition of Esther Rolle, in the third episode, is what gives the series the spice that it lacked in the previous two.
I still say *give me Bea Arthur in The Golden Girls any day*, but in a pinch I'll watch Maude.
Friday, July 20, 2007
They also have a video called "Algorithm March". Here's the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WjMd2Vabcv8
I've also included Jennifer Garner's version of the same dance from the movie, 13 going on 30. Just because she's adorable in the movie. Well, except for those huge shoulders she has.
- waking up after 9 am and not worrying that you've overslept for work.
- watching morning television while eating cereal and not worrying about much else.
- opening your blinds or curtains and letting the sun's golden rays stream in to your home. I love the light of early morning.
- watering my plants that I have managed to not kill since I bought them.
- walking downstairs and opening my mailbox to find a new Netflix DVD.
- La Madeleine's Raspberry Lemonade.
- cooking a meal and then having others enjoy it.
- taking a nap just cuz.
- reading a good book.
- cuddling with your boyfriend.
- spending time with your family.
- spending time with your friends.
--> Smokes Like A Fish <--
Smoking Fish, Fort Clinch State Park: Fernandina Beach, FL
Thanks to Chas @ http://www.cgm13.net/wordpress/?m=200604
He says it's untouched and I'll just believe what he says.
Tuesday, July 03, 2007
Laws Require Flags to Be Born in USA
Published: 7/3/07, 11:05 PM EDT
By BRIAN BAKST
ROSEMOUNT, Minn. (AP) - What's red, white and blue - and made in China? A move is on in state legislatures to ensure that the flags folks will be flying and buying this Independence Day were made on this fruited plain.
Minnesota has passed the strongest measure, a new law that goes into effect at year's end requiring every Old Glory sold in state stores to be domestically produced. Violations are a misdemeanor, punishable by up to a $1,000 fine and 90 days in jail.
In Arizona, schools and public colleges were required starting July 1 to outfit every classroom from junior high up with a made-in-the-USA flag. Tennessee requires all U.S. flags bought via state contract to be made here, and similar bills are moving forward in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
The Fourth of July is considered peak season for flag sales with millions of them lining parade routes and flying above back yard barbecues.
Most of the major domestic flag makers are privately held companies that don't release their sales figures, so it's difficult to gauge the inroads being made by foreign manufacturers.
The U.S. Census bureau estimates that $5.3 million worth of U.S. flags were imported from other countries in 2006, mostly from China. That figure has been steady over the past few years. The big exception was in 2001 when $51.7 million in U.S. flags were brought into the country, most on the heels of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Sandy Van Leiu, chairman of the Flag Manufacturers Association of America, said the imports are cause for concern even though U.S. companies still dominate the flag market.
"That door is going to keep opening," said Van Leiu, a sixth-generation executive at the family owned Annin & Co., a 160-year-old business that supplies retailers like Wal-Mart. "It starts small, then it gets big. You're just opening Pandora's box."
To help consumers identify the origin of their flags, the association created a certification program two years ago that bestows a seal-of-approval logo to flags made with domestic fibers and labor.
Whether Minnesota's law violates international trade agreements - and whether anything would be done about it - is an open question.
Under World Trade Organization standards, the U.S. government can't treat foreign products less favorably than those produced within its boundaries, said Peter Morici, a business professor at the University of Maryland and the former chief economist for the U.S. International Trade Commission. How the rules apply to states is debatable, he said.
Morici said a foreign business harmed by the law would have to get its government to take action against the U.S. government. Robert Litan, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution think tank, said while the likelihood of Minnesota's law sparking a dispute is slim, the symbolic message is hard to miss.
"It's symptomatic of an anti-foreign bias moving through the country right now. It would not surprise me if other states copied it," Litan said. "It's hard to oppose politically."
When the bill was debated this spring, some legislators argued it sent the wrong message to close Minnesota's borders to foreign-produced flags.
"That flag should be made throughout the world because it is our message to the world that there is hope for freedom and justice," Republican Rep. Dan Severson said at the time.
The law's sponsor, Democratic Rep. Tom Rukavina, said the flag deserves extra protection. To celebrate his legislative victory, he plans to hand out 1,000 miniature flags at Fourth of July parades in his district.
"The biggest honor that you can give the flag is that it be made by American workers in the United States of America," he said. "Nothing is more embarrassing to me than a plastic flag made in China. This replica of freedom we so respect should be made in this country."
The new law doesn't spell out a penalty for violators. In Minnesota, the default punishment for prohibited acts is a misdemeanor offense, carrying up to a $1,000 fine and 90 days in jail.
On the Net:
Monday, March 26, 2007
Weaving time in a tapestry
Wont you stop and remember me...
About a month back I was looking for old 80's bands and songs to make a mix CD for my sister's birthday. While using Wikipedia I stumbled upon The Bangles website, so I decided to see if they were touring. One click led to another and I saw that they were indeed touring and that they would be stopping in New Orleans on Friday, March 23rd.
I called MSH and emailed friends and a few weeks later I was at their concert. Thank you Michael for finding out that Tuesdays at the House of Blues is 2 for 1 tickets. They were a steal!
MSH, Michael, Kurt(?), Debbie, and I went. Actually, Debbie sort of showed up with Michael. She was initially all mopey and leaning against one of the columns in the balcony, but then she got some food in her and she was good to go.
Susan Cowsill opened for the girls. I had no idea who she was except for what MSH told me. She was part of this big musical family from back in the 60s who inspired The Partridge Family. Susan was good in an indie girl rocky kinda way, but I would listen to her again if the opportunity presented itself. I was there for The Bangles, so MSH and Raspberry Absolute, cranberry, and lots of limes kept me going till the main event.
By the time The Bangles came on stage I'd already had two drinks in me, so imagine my craziness when they opened with "Hazy Shade of Winter"? C-R-A-Z-Y!!! Fun Carlos was out!
They played a tight set. We all danced like crazy people and sang like them too. By the end of the night I had decided I wanted to play bass in MSH's imaginary band.
A week after seeing them, it's all become a blur so I can't recall the order of their songs, but they played all the hits including Manic Monday, If She Knew What She Wants, Hero Takes A Fall, Going Down to Liverpool, Walking Down Your Street, In Your Room (which brought the House of Blues Down. Really.), Walk Like An Egyptian(with a medly of Mrs. Robinson-well played), and they ended with Eternal Flame. I could've done without Eternal Flame, but I guess when most of the people down on the floor lit their lighters they had to do it. Ugh!
Here some live clips culled from YouTube. What you hear is what I heard.
Saturday, March 24, 2007
I lay awake and watched until the mornin' light..."
I was out last night seeing The Bangles at The House of Blues with Marshall, Michael, Kurt(?), and Debbie. I'll have to write about that later because there's a lot for me to write about and I'm still, at 3pm in the afternoon of the next day, slightly sleepy and hungover.
I could barely drag myself out of bed at 9 am this morning to answer the phone. I could barely speak from an achy throat, and let's not even discuss sprinting from my bedroom to the kitchen to get my phone that goes straight to voicemail in three rings flat.
Today, I decided, was the perfect day to spend watching DVDs I'd been ignoring for weeks. First I saw "Half Nelson" with Ryan Gosling and Shareeka Epps. He plays a drug addicted teacher who is self destructive (aren't all teachers?). One of his students is played by Shareeka Epps. Excellent young actress. I'm not sure what to really say about this movie because the whole self-destructive teacher angle has been done before (Looking For Mr. Goodbar), but the performances were actually OK, dawg. Oops! Sorry I channeled Randy the judge from American Idol. Really, though, there was fine acting all around. I would recommend it for that.
After finishing that one I decided to watch "The Holiday" since I was wee bit embarrassed to see it at the theater. I slept through most of it. I was tired and hungover so don't let it be a reflection of the movie. However, it did produce a very weird dream. I was in a shoestore with Kate Winslet and Jude Law. Jude was dating both of us, but he wouldn't commit. So I'm crying and Kate's crying over him not being able to be with us full time- all the while shopping for shoes. Strange? Possibly.
I lay awake and watched until the mornin' light..."
I was out last night seeing The Bangles at The House of Blues with Marshall, Michael, Kurt(?), and Debbie. I'll have to write about that later because there's a lot for me to write about and I'm still, at 3pm in the afternoon of the next day, slightly sleepy and hungover.
Today is my anniversary. Marshall and I have been together for 6 years. It all begin over lunch one warm, breezy afternoon like today at Lakeview Harbor. I actually showed up early for once, and he arrived shortly after. I waited patiently inside the dark restaurant/bar feeling slightly nervous at the possibility that he may not look like the way he looked in the picture he sent when we emailed. Yes, we met online, and you know how those dates may often go.
After waiting inside for a while, I saw someone peek through the front glass doors. He quickly scanned the entrance and then he hurriedly walked back to his spot beyond my eyesight. When I saw him my stomach did a flip because I figured it must have been him. I took a deep breath and decided to go see if it was him. It's always an awkward moment when you first meet someone and you have to say the requisite, "Hi, are you (fill in the blank)?"
I opened the tinted black doors and stepped outside squinting into the bright day to find Marshall reading a newspaper and drinking a Dr. Pepper while sitting on the hood of his car. This was him trying to be "cool" he later confessed to me. I found it endearing and very much Marshall as I know him today. Happy Anniversary, B.
Thursday, February 08, 2007
I was flipping through the news channels in hopes of catching some updates on Anna Nicole "Do you like my body?" Smith's death, when I caught Anderson Cooper 360 doing some further P.R. for our wonderful city.
Who hired him for that job?
Prisoners of Crime - Murder City USA: 24 Hours in New Orleans is what the animation said just above the crawl at the bottom of the screen. Well, isn't that special?
Screw you Anderson Cooper! Blah!
Friday, February 02, 2007
On Thursday's show, O was featuring all sorts of different products that she finds fascinating. One of them was Spanx. Spanx are footless bodyshaping tights for women. The inventor of these tights was on the show not only to peddle her product, but to say how she'd taken $5,000 dollars and turned it into millions. Naturally, I'm thinking she's very saavy in business, but I knew there was a catch. You see, she went on to explain that her inspiration for Spanx came from you know who. O. Duh, of course. Why else would she be on there? I mean, really. She's made all these millions because O inspired her a long time ago when it was mentioned that O would cut the feet part off from her stockings if she had a run in them. Crazy. Sick. I know.
OK, so she's promoting her product. The interview is going along well, and then Spanx woman mentions that she's been trying to make the world a better place one woman at a time. Honorable? Don't you think?
Wait, it gets better.
Then she goes on to say that she's "hand-delivered" (wtf!) 278 scholarships to send women to college in S. Africa. O says the name of a city in S. Africa that I was unable to decipher, and then here's where the interview and O go down a dark path. ( I had to pause and rewind a gazillion times so I hope you all appreciate this.)
Spanx woman: Yeah, and you know to me the greatest part of the success is what you're able to give back and you(turning to O) are a great teacher of that.
O: Thank you. Thank you. That's the truth. That. (Pause. Then an "Oh, shit how do I get myself out of what I just said because I want to be nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize" look on her face)
O: That when you give back, it also gives back to you. (Switches subject)
Iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii loved it!!!!!
On a related note: Al Gore was nominated for the Noble Peace Prize yesterday.
O? Not even close.
Tonight, Msh and I went to see The Departed. I'm not totally sure what in the world I was expecting, but I was certainly entertained. This movie managed to be funny, dark, and tense throughout it's 2 hours plus in length. It just didn't let up. I recalled holding my breath more than once throughout it.
Here are my thoughts on the actors and their performances:
I've never been a fan of Matt Damon. I realized tonight it really hasn't been an issue related to his acting abilities. It's actually that I've always had a problem with his yucky pug nose. I have a problem. I know. I need to let it go because he had a really tricky part in this movie and he played it really well.
Leo has always been that Leo from Titanic. He was adorable in that movie. He's not the same guy from that movie here. He's created this character so full of complex emotions. You think you have him figured out, but then he mixes it up for you. He conveys his inner struggle so well in his eyes, that we almost didn't need all the exposition of his backkground.
Jack Nicholson didn't quite play himself in this movie. He could've reached into his bag of tricks and pulled out that well-known version of him, but he didn't. He was believable in the part.
As a bonus feature added to this harem of men, I got to see "man-paws" himself, Alec Baldwin. I have to say that even though he was sweaty and gross in one particular scene in a warehouse, I hoped at that moment that it had been so hot for him that he had to take his shirt off...in character, naturally. Alas, it didn't happen. Then to add to my pent up glee, as I sat in a crowded theater, he unexpectedly grabs his crotch to emphasize a point to his men. Yowzers! Man-Paws! Yowzers! I'm not sure why I have this weird almost unhealthy fascination to see this man, but I do. There!
Msh and I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. It was well worth venturing out to the movies on a Friday night. It actually wasn't busy. I'm glad because it meant Msh wouldn't go all panicky on me. Looking forward to taking him out to the movies on a Friday next year because I know that's how long I'll have to wait. (He knows I'm kidding.)