Thursday, July 26, 2007

Words Fail (Part II)

This entry was going to be a recap of my wonderful weekend in New Orleans, but I'm putting that off for now because I am so disturbed over a recent home invasion that took place in Cheshire, Connecticut.

To sum up: the home of a Dr. Petit, his wife and two daughters was invaded by two paroled criminals. They savagely beat Dr. Petit, tied him up and threw him in the basement. Then the two of them apparently took turns raping the mother and children. Children. Tied to beds. Scared beyond reason. Absolute, sheer horror.

In the morning, one of the miscreants took the mother to the bank and forced her to withdraw $15,000. Somehow she communicated to a bank worker what was happening to her family. The thug brought her back to the house, but by the time police arrived, the house was blazing, the father had managed somehow to escape, but his wife and children were dead. The perps were caught fleeing the scene and are now under arrest.

Dr. Petit is in the hospital recovering from his serious physical wounds. I don't know if he knows the fate of his family at this point. Whether or not he may ever recover from that is anyone's guess. He is a respected endocrinologist and therefore a highly intelligent man, but this is one of the most horrific stories I've ever heard, and I cannot imagine how I would feel if I knew the victims, let alone were related to them.

I believe in the death penalty only when it is crystal clear that the offense(s) were, in fact, committed by the accused. It mystifies me why we spend our tax dollars supporting hardened criminals who have done such horrible things to others. Again, I don't believe in enacting this ultimate penalty if there is a shred of doubt, because you cannot raise the dead if DNA or other evidence proves them innocent after the fact. In this case, though, I'll be happy to press the button, depress the plunger, or give the order to permanently remove these scumbags from society.

My thoughts are with the Petit family. Prayers, too.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

And The Fun Just Keeps On Coming!

The summer of 1967 may have been "The Summer of Love" (I don't remember it well as I was kinda young), but for me, the summer of 2007 (40 years later -- eek!) is "The Summer of Fun." That's probably why I haven't updated this blog since May 15, when I listed most of my plans for the coming months. Many have been completed, with a few extras thrown in, and it's been wonderful.

Of course, to quote the great John Lennon, "life is what happens to you while you're making other plans." A couple of glitches: I took a spectacular flop whilst watering my back yard and landed mostly on my right upper tibia and knee, resulting in a bone bruise. They are PAINFUL. Fortunately, my trainer/friend, Ivy, is practically a sports medicine doctor, and was able to diagnose it and explain that it was going to take a LONG time to heal. It's been more than a month and there is still discomfort, but it's much more bearable than before. Watering the back yard a la Gunga Din (no hose hookup in the back) was never my idea of fun and games, but I've only had to do it a couple of times since then, as we've had nicely spaced out thunderstorms this summer. C'est la vie.

Then my beloved Eclipse was slammed into while innocently parked in the Whole Foods shopping center. Not only did I spend a "Whole Paycheck," but a bit more, as the bitch that hit me lied to the insurance company and claimed I was backing out. I told them that, had that been the case, there would have been a lot more damage than what actually happened (damage to my rear bumper). My insurance company had told me a police report wasn't necessary as no one was hurt and I was parked. Ha. I believed (as I usually do) in the intrinsic good of people and trusted the bitch to make an accurate report. Big mistake. So, a $260 lesson: ALWAYS make a police report. Her insurance company split the cost as it was a "she said/she said" situation. My only hope is that her insurance premiums go sky-high (the car, a Lexus SUV, was registered to a swanky address, and it would have behooved her just to pay for my repair...she probably could have found the money in the seat cushions. But I digress.).

To put a positive spin on that, I did meet the wonderful owner of Carriage House Collision, a body shop that I can recommend without reservation. My friend Gary has used them for years, and they took very good care of me and my four-wheeled baby, which looks gorgeous again. Plus, one of the mechanics fixed one of my new toys for me, but that's another story. Wanna hear it? Okay...

In June, I had dinner with pals Val and Stephen. Val told me to bring a selection of DVDs, as they'd just gotten a widescreen. Cool! When I got there, I looked around and saw no new electronic devices. "Oh, Steve usually sets it up in front of the fireplace." Huh? What? It turned out that Steve had bought a video projector to use for making multimedia presentations, along with a 70 x 70" movie screen. All he had to do was hook up a portable DVD player to the projector and some powered computer speakers, and voila! Big screen entertainment in the home! Come Monday, I was on and ordered my own version. Money well spent. I've had friends over for some spectacular movie nights, and brought the system down to Delaware, where we really enjoyed it. During that trip, however, the screen's tripod suffered a bent leg. That was when I got the brainstorm to bring it to Carriage House Collision, which fixed it rather easily. I triple love those guys. (Yes, they're pretty easy on the eyes, too!)

That's really all the "tragedies" I've met with this summer. Erin and Miko's wedding was a blast. A couple of weeks later, I got to interview Bradford Anderson, who plays "Spinelli" on General Hospital, and is one of the most popular new characters on the show. You'll see it here soon, but feel free to check out (entry for July 8). In between those events was John and Patty's Memorial Day Bash, which was great fun. My friend Dianna joined the group, and they adored her. She's welcome there any time, which is lovely, as I consider them family. I think she broke a few hearts that day (Justin, Brian, Frank, etc.)!

Delaware was wonderful. How can you not love a state that charges no sales tax on anything? This makes the outlet shopping especially attractive, and I treated myself to a pair of kick-ass Bose noise-blocking headphones. What the hell. There's also lots of good eats. One of my favorites is this little diner in Ocean View (about four miles from the ocean, incidentally!), where the food is down-home and nicely priced. They also offer four kinds of homemade iced tea, and I fell in love with the unsweetened fresh mint tea. I swooned as the waitress handed me an extra one to go. Our next stop was a nursery, not really my favorite kind of place at the time, as the bone bruise was really hurting, but P found a nursery cat for me to play with as I sipped my tea, so I was content while she went through the plants and things. We also managed to hit the Five Guys Burger Joint (excellent) and Bethany Blues BBQ (also excellent), and I took over the grill one night and produced some great Porterhouse steaks. Plus, we had extremely big screen movies at night, as the house is well laid out for that sort of thing. A splendid time was had by all!

I've managed to tear myself away from my own big screen to go to some public big screens -- both "Live Free or Die Hard" and "Ratatouille" were fantastic. Very entertaining. Midway through "Ratatouille," I became extremely hungry and convinced my friends to go to a French restaurant afterwards. It, too, was fantastic, and is now on our list of preferred eateries.

What's next? How about a little trip to New Orleans? I'll be getting together with pals Kelly and Dianna in one of the greatest party cities in the country...what could be better? Four fun-filled days and nights in NOLA, complete with luxury accommodations. We will each have our own Jacuzzi in the Penthouse, which we'll probably need to recover from the hot days and hotter nights. The three of us always have a terrific time when we get together -- talk about "Fun In The Sun!" -- and this will be our greatest adventure to date. We're going to try to top it next year with Paris. I haven't been there since 2004, so it's way past time.

For now, laissez les bon temps roulez!