Sunday, April 24, 2011

Life is Good

I love to travel. In the next few months, I will be visiting Delaware, Baltimore and Tennessee. In the fall, New England, Chicago, and the Bay area, with a detour to Laguna Niguel to hang with some of my favorite peeps. SWEET! I just returned from a couple of days in North Carolina, and that was absolutely wonderful. It's a big plus when you have either great clients and/or dear friends to visit. Monte Carlo is also not out of the question...and if you haven't been kissed in front of the Casino, surrounded by luxury cars, you haven't really lived!

Holidays are fun when you spend them with people you love, as I did today (Easter Sunday). I even made up candy gifts for the kids who could have them, and purchased stuffed animals for the ones a bit too young for candy. Yep, The Grinch did it! I stun myself when I find myself making trips to stores for this sort of thing, but it's all good.

Before all this travel and fun is my uncle's 75th birthday. My aunt is planning a special dinner for him -- either out, or at home. If at home, I suspect I'll be barbecuing succulent filet mignons and making my new Sangria recipe. Yes, life is good!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

What a feeling!

Nope, not talking about "Flashdance" (though I could!). I just spent some time with a friend who was taught to dance by my mother, and we had a phenomenal time!

I met up with Eileen at her home in Southern California, and we nearly immediately went for drinks at the Ritz Carlton in Laguna Beach. Wow. When I say the view is magnificent, overcast though it was, I'm not kidding. We had many glasses of expensive wine, picked up by her abfab (or should I say ABS fab) son, Will), watched a wedding (complete with bagpiper), then moved on to dinner with husband Will. The Renaissance Cafe in Dana Point promised music from a Grateful Dead cover band, but they were more like a cover band of sixties stuff. We moved on after a great meal to a karaoke place that Will did not care for. No matter! We went to their home and Will plied us with more wine. No problem!

More about my visit soon, but, suffice it to say, I had the best time of my life. More about Eileen, Will, and the Johnson family next time I check in. Were it not for reality, I'd still be at their home, watching my shows in the screening room and having my morning tea overlooking the beautiful scenery. All together now: WAAAAHHHH!!!!!!

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Some pet peeves

No, this is not about Moochie and Spunky Bastard, though they may turn up at some point! Last night I was pondering some annoyances, and thought I'd see if anyone shared my view -- if you agree or disagree, feel free to leave a comment or two!

1. Trucks/buses traveling in the left lane.
I take the Cross Bronx Expressway (AKA "Highway to Heaven") twice a day, and it works pretty well when there are no accidents or other natural disasters that seem to happen on that road. Because of the "ban" on trucks and buses, the left lane generally moves well and is pretty safe. Then these behemoths decide, well, I'm not moving fast enough, so let's do something illegal and selfish (not unlike lane jumpers, with whom I deal with on a daily basis). There are plenty of signs posted, yet many choose to ignore them, likely because there's no left shoulder for cops who might enforce this regulation. Grrr.

2. Breaking into daytime programming with weather updates, or other things shy of a national emergency.
Really, most of daytime is watched in the home, and a lot of it on tape/DVR well past the time it aired. Do we really need to see Sam Champion pointing at maps and trying to gain ratings points for ABC's "Stormwatch"? In these situations, a crawl would suffice. Trust me, if a predicted thunderstorm is about to hit 30 miles outside the viewing area and Brenda's triumphant return to "GH" is interrupted, ABC's switchboard will light up like the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree. Count on it!

3. People who just don't get it.
Remember the Clinton years? When Bill left office, the economy was sound, oil was about $30 a barrel, and we had a BUDGET SURPLUS (in the trillions, right?). Eight years later, we were left with massive deficits, horrendous debt to China, a sinking economy, and war on two fronts, costing human lives and "loss of treasure." We pay out the nose for food, gasoline, and other basics, at least those of us who are still employed, and people are likening our current situation to the Great Depression. And we're the world's superpower? President Obama is having mud slung at him from many sides by people who just don't get that eight years cannot be corrected in 18 months. The guy isn't perfect, but he's trying. Give him a freakin' break already.

4. When people spend money, lots of others benefit.
Even Dubya encouraged people to spend money to stimulate the economy. Yet when Chelsea Clinton's wedding cost whatever it did (and remember, estimates were given by people who were not hired to provide services, etc. for the actual event), remember that it was likely in proportion to her parents' income just as anyone else's wedding. The Clintons have made a lot of money from books and speaking engagements, and gave their only daughter a lovely wedding. That's the goal of most parents. Think of the money that poured into the Rhinebeck, NY area, and not only from the Clinton event, but from all the outsiders in town, trying to cover the wedding. Gift bags were sourced locally. Sour grapes taste really rancid.

5. Working for a living.
My friend Tony emphasizes that you should follow your passion. I agree, but unfortunately, I can't support myself that way (unlike T, who is one of the best drummers hitting the skins). Granted, I do have some creativity in my job, but not so much that I'd call it my passion. However, if I were to write about things I loved, who knows how long that love would last? Friends of mine have had jobs that I would have killed for, but were quick to admit that it wasn't as great as it seems. I still buy my twice-weekly MegaMillions tickets and dream. In the mean time, I earn a decent living, have pretty good hours, some benefits, occasional travel and a very lax dress code (I normally wear jeans and a Yankee t-shirt, but never forget to coordinate my socks, fashion maven that I am). Sometimes that's enough.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Danny Burstein as Luther Billis in "South Pacific"

One of Broadway's best!

Can you stand a little more about 2009?

It was a very good year indeed. After the summer ended (and I got to see Frankie Valli, Pat Benatar, The Donnas, and Deborah Harry for FREE at Asser Levy Park in Brooklyn!), then began some business travel. I spent a third week based in Hampton Beach, NH for my "New England Press Tour" with sales rep Jerry. Stayed again at the wonderful Oceanside Inn, welcomed by host/owners Deb and Skip (I highly recommend it --, and took a side trip (20 minutes away!) to the outlets just over the border in Maine. After calling on clients, Jerry, his lovely wife Kathie, and I were rewarded with lavish dinners in the Hampton Beach area and also in Portsmouth. I'm talking New York-style establishments, not roadside lobster roll stands, though I'm sure they're good. My favorite is The Library in Portsmouth, which is also a cool town in which to shop and bar crawl. As long as you're not driving!

A major highlight of the Fall was, of course, THE YANKEES! What can I say about winning World Series #27 that I didn't already drive people nuts with on Facebook? A marvelous season, highlighted for me earlier when Maggie, Patricia and I went to the Stadium on 9/9/09 (a thank-you from Maggie and Kevin for doing that kick-ass reading) and saw DEREK JETER tie Lou Gehrig's record for most hits by a Yankee. Could anyone's first visit to our new cathedral in the Bronx have been better? Doubtful!

Another business trip with Jerry, this time to the suburbs of Chicago, where we had another successful round of visits (and a few more great dinners!), then it was Thanksgiving time. My aunt/sister (hey, she's only seven years older!) Patricia put on her usual Martha Stewart-type spread, attractive even to non-turkey fans like me. Cousin Matt and I attacked other diners (20 or so) with flying wine corks, so it was fun all around, unless you were in our sights.

On December 12, I went with friends Sharon and Gary to see our pal Danny Burstein in his Tony-nominated portrayal of Luther Billis in the classic musical "South Pacific" at Lincoln Center. Wow. What an amazing production. It was spectacular, and you have until August 14 to catch it at the Vivian Beaumont Theater at Lincoln Center. I recommend that you do. (Danny moves immediately into rehearsals for "Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown," where his co-stars will include Patti LuPone, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Sheri Renee Scott, and other notables -- don't miss it!) Another thing that made that night extra-special was hanging backstage with Danny and having a very informal tour of the stage.

I found out that same day that my "father" (I prefer "sperm donor") had been killed in an accident with his truck that morning, likely due to impairment from alcohol, but it didn't really bother me much. He'd been out of my life (his choice) since I was 15, so his physical departure from this world was a non-event. Now that I'm officially an orphan, maybe I'll head over to London and join forces with The Artful Dodger and his crew, where we "gotta pick a pocket or two." (J/K!)

The year 2009 came to a close with nearly two weeks off from work, a great Christmas Eve with my Italian/Irish family, Christmas with more family, and New Year's Eve with my Ouziel family. What better way to bring a great year to a close?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


I am now attempting to post photos on this blog. Pictured (I hope!) are me and my wonderful cousin Kevin, tailgating outside the 2009 Punkin' Chunkin' in Lewes, DE. Though it may sound ridiculous, this is a really fun annual event that family and friends have turned into a sort of "Big Chill" weekend. Lots of people in the Delaware house, lots of fun, frolic, food and potables, and then there's the Punkin' Chunkin' competition. Hey, cable's Science Channel thinks it's a big deal -- check it out!'s been QUITE a while since I posted here!

Nearly two years have passed since my last entry on this blog, and that's two years too many. I blame it on a busy fall and holiday season that took place after that last post, then discovering Facebook in January of 2009 -- and my subsequent addiction to same. After about a year of fervently Facebooking, I've slowed down a bit. Nearly a year ago, I got sick of being treated like crap by the "person" that ran the website I had contributed two weekly columns to, gratis, for about four years, so another compatriot also tired of the nonsense joined me in abruptly quitting. It was a glorious exit, and I may detail it here one day. Glorious, I say!

Lately, it occurred to me that I should revisit this blog, as I'm not posting on FB as often, and I do like to express myself. I just need to find out how to block certain pathetic types -- you know who you are, Cowtrina and Slutti (Snooki's trampier cousin)! Perhaps improvements have been made that will let you approve who sees your post. I'll be checking things out!

In the interim, let me try to sum up the past couple of years. With 2009 came a new president and, I hoped, a fresh new Washington, DC. Unfortunately, it hasn't been all we had thought it could be, but President Obama has had much to clean up after the previous eight years, had to battle hard to get anything pushed through Congress, and was also met with more vitriol than any sitting president (other than, perhaps, Nixon) from the opposite side and many members of the Fourth Estate. More ugly racism has reared its disgusting head since this president was elected, and not only from a segment of the "Teabaggers." (I chuckle whenever I think what "Teabagging" means in modern slang, and how hysterically funny it is that these rightwingers chose their name!) Anyway, enough about that. Our current leadership is not perfect, but it is trying, and that has to count for something.

The first half of 2009 was quiet and uneventful, leading up to a busy June and July. After traveling to Boston for a rainy trade show week (and at a time when the visiting Yankees were blown away, 4-0 in a four game series by the Red Sux, to add to the misery), it was time to get ready for the event of the decade: the wedding of my cousin/godchild, Maggie, to the wonderful man of her dreams (and a welcome addition to the family), Kevin. I did stuff I wouldn't normally do (attend bridal shower, etc.) but for the fact it was Maggie and Kevin. They honored me by asking me to do a reading at the wedding, so I practiced my butt off, even going for coaching with Toastmaster Extraordinaire BennyO. After a few sessions, I not only got to know the microphone really well, but learned a lot about presentation. I'm normally pretty good at speaking off the cuff, but this was a Bible verse, and there's no room for improvisation! The rehearsal, rehearsal dinner and wedding, held over the July 4th weekend, were the best I'd ever been a part of. The only thing that sucked was the drive home, on the Sunday of a holiday weekend. It took twice the time to get to the wedding (4+ hours), which had me and cousin Carol in stop-and-go traffic for ten hours. Yes, ten. Only for you, Maggie and Kevin!

I spent the rest of the summer entertaining semi-lavishly and going to a few concerts, but this post is long enough. More soon (maybe even tomorrow) -- I've missed being here!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Maya Rudolph Returns!

I'm actually going to be sad when this election is over and we won't get great clips like the ones I've been posting!

Will Ferrell Returns!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Palin and Poehler on Update

I saw this as I was rubbing the Hurricanes out of my eyes and thought Palin was actually a good sport about this. Watch the moose at the end!

Palin vs. Fey vs. Baldwin

I'd just come back from a couple of hours on Bourbon Street to find THIS on the tv!