Not Your Everyday News

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Cell phones

The mania over cellphones today is simply
epic. Seems like everyone has at least one,
including children, and that most folks seem
to want the newest and latest model with the most
features. Unfortunately my husband is not immune
to this phenomena. As I have mentioned in the past,
he is an electronics junkie, always interested in the
new and latest thing out there. Well, last week his
interest was directed towards phones, both cell and for the home.
We have been with our cell phone provider for several years now,
and he was perusing their website the other day. He came across
a link where it stated that we could upgrade our phones for free;
naturally he jumped on that and proceeded to to tell me all about
it! I have been very happy with my phone, an old Nokia without
bells and whistles, just a normal phone. I have always had Nokia
phones, even when I was living overseas. As I am not the most
technologically inclined person, I found that they were easy to use,
very reliable, and withstood being dropped occasionally. Anyway,
hubby has had his eye on one of the Motorola phones for a while, so
this was his chance to get it. I told him he was more than welcome to
do as he wished, but that I did NOT need a new phone. My friend
Lola has a Motorola, and when she was still in town, I would play
with it occasionally and found it very confusing, thus my aversion to
such a phone. Well, hubby found the way to get me to upgrade my
phone too, by pointing out that there was a Nokia model available for
free as well! So since this past weekend we have new phones, Nokia
for me, Motorola for him, both with all the bells and whistles -
camera, video, bluetooth (whatever that is), internet capable, fancy
ringtones and wallpapers, voice dialing and recorder, speakerphone,
handsfree, and much more. To be honest, I have barely figured out
about 1/2 of the stuff on my phone, while hubby has attached his new
phone to the computer with the usb port and downloading/uploading
all kinds of things and partaking in his hi-tech addiction! Now we have
these movie theme and music ringtones, pictures galore, and lord
knows what else. Call him and you'll hear Spandau Ballet (yes, he likes
80's music too!) and for me you'll hear the theme to the movie
'American Beauty' (no, not my fave movie, just neat opening music)! I
guess the best thing of all is that with my cell being camera/video
ready, it will be available. if need be, to document any bizarre incident
or person at the restaurant; that alone should keep my Nokia busy!

Monday, November 27, 2006

friends and goodies

Sunday usually turns out to be a fun day at the restaurant, and
yesterday was no different. We were fairly busy, plus I had some
nice visits. The Thompsons, tired after filling 39 bags with raked
leaves, came in for dinner. 39....I think my husband and I have
done about 11. oh well. Lisa and Peter also dropped by, with
laptop in tow to show me their new blog! They have been trying
to set one up for a while, looks like they finally have it going. Alot
of stuff about cats and flowers in there, 2 of their main interests.
Then I finally had a visit from my good buddy Sandra, whom I
hadn't seen in about 2 months. It was great to see her, but also a
bit distressing, as she was telling me about a possible new job
that would move her out of the area, about 3 hours away. She
should know more this week, so time will tell. Just nice to have
her around, even if we don't get together that often. She is one
of the few pals I have my age, and we can talk about practically
anything. Sandra even brought me Doritos to munch on....thanks
again by the way for those, hadn't had any in a good while! I
have other friends who bring me edible goodies, ranging from
brownies to pecans to fudge to pineapple. (and then I wonder
why I'm not losing more weight than I am?!!?) Plus I work in a
restaurant....simply doomed! Fortunately my husband likes a
'healthy' he had a choice!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

History Mystery

Earlier this week I came across a rather interesting article about one of
the great questions marks in history - Jack the Ripper. A British TV
station, Channel Five, released a sketch of what scientists believed the
infamous prostitute killer looked like. They used 118 year old statements
from 13 witnesses. Apparently there were enough similarities in these
various statements to infer that the witnesses were talking about the
same man. Thus the scientists of the Metropolitan Police released a
computer sketch of a darkhaired man with a receding hairline, bushy
eyebrows, and a mustache. They have also concluded that he was
between 25-35 years old and about 5 foot 5 to 5 foot 7 in height. Former
police commander John Grieve stated that "It's a popular misconception
that nobody ever saw the murderer, that he just vanished into the fog of
London. Well that's just not right. There were witnesses at the time who
were highly thought of by the police." For those unfamiliar with this
historical episode, in 1888 at least 5 prostitutes were found brutally
murdered in the East London district of Whitechapel. The cases were
never solved, and over 200 different men were at one time a suspect,
including a member of the British royal family and the author of 'Alice
in Wonderland', Lewis Carroll. I have always been fascinated by the
unsolved mysteries in history - did Franklin Roosevelt know about
the Pearl Harbor attack? (I think he did) Did Hitler really die in the
bunker, or did he escape? (he died) What is the real story with the JFK
assassination? (no, Lee Harvey Oswald did not do it alone with a magic
bullet). Jack the Ripper did not have anywhere near the historical
consequence that the above mentioned events did, but it is one of those
unsolved cases that still gets press almost 120 years later. It may be due
to the fact that some believed a British royal family member was
involved, thus bringing the case to the spotlight. Look at the Princess
Diana incident. The rumors and whisperings about her tragic death will
never go away as long as people believe that British intelligence was
given orders from above (i.e. the monarchy) to do away with her to
prevent future scandal. We will never know, and thus the speculation
about both cases will never end.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

fun and flirty

A rather interesting day at the restaurant yesterday. In an unusual
twist, I worked dayshift, filling for a colleague. Of course, getting up
way too early in the A.M. was a killer, and as usual, coffee did NOT
do the trick! But we started to get busy, so that kind of woke me up.
And the day only got better when the lovely Kathy showed up to
work! We had actually been afraid that she would not make it in; we
had heard a rumor from the taxicab driver who takes her to and from
her 'residence' that she would not be allowed to come to work due to
a schedule mixup. Fortunately she was wrong, and Kathy was in, and
as usual, loud and sassy! I know I have said this in the past and will
probably say it again in the future, but it is such a shame she just
can't get her act together. She is a fantastic worker, no matter what
she does, and she has personality galore. She just makes VERY poor
personal decisions, at the cost of her freedom. Well, she got a table
of out-of-towners, on their way home after visiting folks for Thanks-
giving, who proceeded to flirt with her on every single occasion they
got. (Kathy is very pretty by the way, plus men consider her 'stacked'!)
I had a front-row seat to the festivities....the comments, smiles, laughs,
innuendos....the whole 9 yards. Naturally, Kathy got a fantastic tip off
of that table, and a promise that they would come back to see her next
time they were in town! oh, if they only knew! Afterwards, as she was
counting her tip money, I made a remark about how she REALLY
makes her big money, to which she replied that yes, she does have her
ways, but only with tables that have male customers.....doesn't work
with the women! OK, enough said about that! Mrs. Reagan also came
to visit me. She had spent Thanksgiving with our mutual friend Nancy
(and Nancy's son visiting from Boston). She had been a bit nervous
about going over to Nancy's house, as Nancy and her son are vegetarians
and always trumpet the great taste of tofu turkey! Well, they did have
the tofu turkey, but also a real one, and Mrs. Reagan said both were
delicious! I would have my doubts if it was anyone else, but Mrs. Reagan
is the 'tell it like it is' type, so I will definitely take her word for it!

Friday, November 24, 2006

Black Friday

You know, I like shopping as much as anyone, especially during sales
for bargains. BUT, this Black Friday nonsense has really gotten out of
hand. Stores opening at 5 or 6 in the morning, and people camped out
and standing in line to make sure they among the first ones in! Sheer
madness and lunacy. I can almost guarantee y'all that come mid -
December, when the retailers see that their sales and projections are
down, their numbers not what they expected, that big sales and
bargains will be readily available to draw folks in, and you won't have
to wake up at 5 am and stand in line to get them! Which is precisely
why any shopping I haven't done online or by catalogue will be
completed around Dec. 15-20 or so, still plenty of time to get them
wrapped and handed out. Speaking of catalogues, my mailbox has
been just stuffed to the gills lately with them, and I would say about
90% of them from stores I have NEVER ordered from, and never
will. A waste of paper and the mailman's muscle power!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving

Hope everyone is in the midst of a very
joyous holiday with loved ones. However,
I can't let this day go by without a quick
mini-history lesson! As you all know, or
should know anyway, this is a holiday
begun by the pilgrims who had come over
on the Mayflower and settled in Plymouth,
Massachusetts in 1620. They were English
Puritans who had come to the New World
to escape religious persecution. Originally
they had gone to Holland, but soon became disturbed at what
they considered an ungodly lifestyle over there (gee, the Dutch
were randy and rowdy even then? Go figure!). So the Puritans
came to Plymouth, but during the harsh winter lost 46 of the
original 102 who had been on the Mayflower. Fortunately for the
survivors the harvest of 1621 was very bountiful, so they decided
to celebrate with a feast, and invited 91 Indians who had helped
the pilgrims survive that first year. The feast was repeated in 1623;
more than likely it was the last one where Indians were invited. In
1676 there was a proclamation of a 'day of thanksgiving', but part of
the celebration was to recognize a recent victory by the colonists
over the "heathen natives" (quoted from the 1676 Thanksgiving
Proclamation by the governing council). The holiday was a
controversial one for the founding fathers and the new United States
after independence from England; some felt the pilgrim's hardships
didn't warrant a national holiday. It wasn't until 1863 that Pres.
Abraham Lincoln proclaimed the last Thursday in November as a
national day of Thanksgiving. Finally, in 1941, under Pres. Franklin
Roosevelt, Congress finally sanctioned Thanksgiving as a legal holiday,
celebrated on the 4th Thursday of November. And now we celebrate
by overeating, watching parades and football (the Dallas Cowboys,
since the early 70's, have always hosted, along with the Detroit Lions,
a Thanksgiving day game!), and for some, strategically planning their
shopping on Black Friday! Happy Thanksgiving y'all!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

New Dollar Coins

As a coin collector, I am always on the lookout for news, something
different, just anything concerning coins. So when the announcement
about the new presidential dollar coins came out, I sat up and took
notice. Starting next year, the U.S. Mint will put out 4 different dollar
coins a year, each with a different president. The presidents will be
presented in the order that they served, so obviously George
Washington will be on the first coin. Basically, it is a copy of the
quarter program. Starting with Delaware in 1999, the mint has put out
5 different state quarters a year, in the order that each became a state.
So we get the states in order, now soon also the presidents. If anything,
at least some folks will learn that Martin Van Buren was our 8th presi-
dent, Franklin Pierce our 14th, Chester Arthur the 21st, and Warren
Harding the 29th. Just a few of the lesser knowns in presidential history!
As a coin collector I am excited about the new coins coming out, but as
a consumer, less than thrilled. Every dollar coin has been a failure since
the old silver dollars were discontinued. The Ikes were too big and heavy.
The Susan B. Anthony's were practically the same size as the quarter, so
too confusing. The gold Sacajawea flopped with yet another thud. These
presidential coins will have the very same result. As long as there are
paper dollars around, there will NEVER be any use for a coin dollar. The
U.S. Mint will definitely make some money off collectors, but if they
think this will steer folks away from currency, they are in fantasyland.
So let's hope that at least the coins are good looking enough for our
albums, because that is about the only place we are likely to see them!

Monday, November 20, 2006

cloud 9

That is exactly where I was last night at the restaurant. Between my
husband calling in and putting the phone to the TV and the cooks
updating me with what they were hearing on the radio, I was able to
keep up with what was going on with the Dallas-Indy game. Of course
I was on pins and needles until the last second; Dallas held them on
4th down in the red zone, then got enough 1st downs to run out the
clock. And then Herman running out of the kitchen...."it's over, 21-14",
just as my husband was calling with the TV volume loud enough for
me to hear the announcers proclaiming that the Colts were no longer
unbeaten, a big win for the Dallas Cowboys!!! Naturally there were a
few dastardly Deadskin fans at the restaurant who were positively
morose at the news, a couple even using 'choice' words for what they
thought of the Cowboys, but they did not ruin my joy and bliss! I am
realistic, I do not see the Cowboys as a Super Bowl team, but I am now
quite hopeful for at least a playoff appearance. And even if they don't
make the playoffs, at least they knocked off Indy and beat the 'skins
once (would have been twice if a certain Dallas field goal kicker hadn't
royally messed up)! Now on to the traditional Thanksgiving day game.
Dallas ALWAYS plays on Turkey day, and usually wins, just hope they
don't have a letdown after the big win yesterday. We'll know in 4 days!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Football fun

As you all know, while I am big sports fan in general, football is my
absolute fave athletic event. In fact, when I was younger (pre-teen
and early teen years), I constantly lamented the fact that I had been
born a girl and thus could not play football like the lucky boys could!
Well, I eventually grew out of the genetic/biological disappointment
(and began playing basketball), but my love for the game continued.
Weekends like this one are prime examples of just how fun football is.
In college ball there was an epic showdown between #1 and #2. The
local university team won a game against a school that is usually top 10
material (but having an off year this season); this win in a way salvaged
a so-so season for our local college boys. Some of them come in the
restaurant for breakfast, so it will be nice to congratulate when they
come in. Then we come to the pros. My Dallas Cowboys play at home
against the unbeaten Indy Colts today. I would absolutely LOVE IT if
Dallas could knock them off their pedestal. All this press and prestige
for a team that can't get to the Super Bowl, much less win one. I haven't
cared for the Colts since they left Baltimore (remember the infamous
Mayflower moving trucks in the middle of the night in the 80's?) They
were the Baltimore Colts, the team of Unitas. Indianapolis? Guess I'm
a traditionalist in some ways; in my mind, the Rams still belong in L.A.,
not St. Louis (St. Louis had the Cardinals, not Arizona). It was absurd
when the Raiders left Oakland for a spell. I mean, can you see the
Packers leaving Green Bay for Las Vegas, or the Dolphins cutting out
of Miami and going to the midwest? Look at what happened when the
Browns left Cleveland and resurfaced as the Ravens in Baltimore.
Cleveland begged and pleaded for a team to come back there and be
renamed the Browns again, as it was a name synonymous with the city
and their old coach Paul Brown. I, of course, am speaking of football,
but this holds true in the other pro sports too.....certain cities are tied
to their team and vise versa. But the sad reality is that sports are a
business now, loyalty has gone by the wayside, economics now rule;
the wallet diminishes the passion. Nonetheless, it will be a very good
day today if Dallas can dump Indy - Go Cowboys!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Goths and non-Goths

Had a variety of visitors at the restaurant last night. It all started off
with the Thompsons making a visit, but the both of them were just
miserable, fighting colds and coughs. And with company coming this
weekend for them, doubtful if they will get the rest they need to get
over their ailments anytime soon. My remedies have always been soup,
oatmeal (Quaker has a great instant flavor, Honey Nut, just yummy!),
orange juice, and some Advil Cold and Sinus. Not saying these would
work for the Thompsons, but it can't hurt! Later on in the evening, had
a visit from various members of both Goth bands that frequent the
restaurant. They seem to hang out together at times, even going to
movies or bowling, then hitting the restaurant afterwards. Included in
this mix was Lilly, the lead singer of one of the bands, whom I have
mentioned in the past in conjunction with her little sister Francesca
(the total opposites). I had actually seen Francesca the night before, as
she had come in with her latest boyfriend and another couple. She was
lamenting the fact that she had 2 huge exams that she hadn't studied
for. Well anyway, last night Lilly asked me if I had seen her little sister,
so I proceeded to fill her in. Francesca's ears must have been burning
because not even a 1/2 hour later, in she waltzed with the new boyfriend,
a tad on the tipsy side! She rattled off to me that she thought she blew
one of the exams, that tonight was the first time she had REALLY
partied in a while, and that she was hungry and needed to bum a cigarette
off of someone! All that in a matter of seconds, then she went to sit with
big sis for a bit. I watched them for a moment, as I am always just
amazed at how very different they are - Lilly the major league Goth,
Francesca the preppy party girl! Well, after she bummed a cigarette off
of one of the cooks, Francesca proceeded to put away some pancakes,
eggs, and sausage...soak up that alcohol girlfriend!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Sad and crazy

As always, perusing the news headlines. Today I came across 2 stories
that just made me shake my head, one out of pity, the other out of
bewilderment. The sad case is about the 21 year old Brazilian model
who died of anorexia. She weighed only 88 pounds when she died....88....
and she was 5 foot 8 inches tall. I am 5 foot 8, and the last time I
weighed 88 pounds I was still in elementary school. Her body mass
index, a calculation that doctors usually apply to study obesity, was 13.4
at the time of her death; medical studies have declared the figure of 18.5
as underweight. Poor girl, I just don't get it. Then I went on to read about
the frenzy over the newly released Sony Playstation 3. Apparently people
were camped out for days in front of the big box stores that were going to
sell them today. When stores did open, folks stampeded to the shelves; in
California, police closed a Walmart store where people had actually
gotten injured. Even worse, in Connecticut, thugs tried to rob people
standing in line, shooting one person. This, folks, is just madness. What
makes it all even more unreal is that probably 1/2 of these people who
braved the cold, wait, lines, stampedes, and bullets will turn right around
and sell their hard won PS3 on Ebay or Craigslist for a $1500 bucks or
more. Demand is high and supply is low, thus thousands of people who
simply can't wait will get ripped off by such opportunists. In my book, it
will serve them right.

Sony PS3

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Good News/Bad News

So which do you want first? Heck, let's get the bad news out of the way! This
should be to no surprise to anyone living in Virginia. The National Highway
Traffic Safety Administration (to be called NHTSA from here on in for
obvious reasons!), in conjunction with State Farm Insurance, released a list
of the worst states for auto-deer crashes. Yes, Virginia is in the top 10, right
there at #6. Unfortunately barely a week goes by where I don't see a dead
deer lying on the side of the road; by the same token, every so often I hear
about someone having huge car damage, some even being totaled, by a deer
they hit. Pretty, elegant animals, but dumber than a box of rocks. They freeze
up with the lights, then run right in front of you. Oh well, on to the good
news! Johns Hopkins University researchers recently conducted a study
about the effects of aspirin on blood platelets. They picked 1200 volunteers
with a family history of heart disease and told these people to refrain from
smoking, caffeinated drinks, wine, and chocolate, as these were known to
affect platelets. 139 of these 1200 flunked out of this study because they
were unable to stay away from chocolate. Nonetheless, the Hopkins
researchers checked their blood anyway and were able to ascertain that
chocolate, like aspirin, affects the platelets that cause blood to clot. Diane
Becker, speaking for her researcher colleagues, stated that "What these
chocolate offenders taught us is that the chemical in cocoa beans has a
biochemical effect similar to aspirin in reducing platelet clumping, which
can be fatal if a clot forms and blocks a blood vessel, causing a heart
attack." YAY!!! Of course, other experts, not named in this article, noted
that the high sugar and fat content of most chocolate candy probably
cancels out some of the benefits. Hey, I am sticking with the Hopkins
people, I think they know what they are talking about! Lindt, here I come!


Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Cavalry chap

Simply a neat day at the restaurant today. I had a visit from Philip, our
resident British gentleman. He came by to give his regrets, that he would
not be able to work tomorrow due to a doctor's appointment that he
needed to keep, for some physical therapy. I asked him if he would like
something to eat; he declined, but said he would gladly have a cup of
coffee. What followed was about an hour long conversation that was
just delightful. Philip is 79 years old....yes, 79, but his mind is years
younger. He came to this country in 1982 (quick math...ok, when he was
55), a few years after he retired from the British army. He had risen to
the rank of major in the cavalry division (have I ever mentioned that
Philip's true passion is horses? If not, well, they are). He had enjoyed
"dabbling" as he put it, in food service and hospitality, oftentimes
setting up big dinners and such for the generals and other higher ups.
He even mentioned that it was very important not to seat a cavalry
man next to an infantry man...."bad blood you know!" So after retiring
from the army, he worked for the food service arm of British Airways,
setting up a lounge/restaurant for 1st class passengers in New York City.
Once he came to the U.S., he traveled quite a bit, eventually meeting
and marrying his current wife, an American lady whom he had met on
the horse circuit that he had gotten involved with. They settled here in
our fair city, but have 2 horses barned in a neighboring county. But
what was really neat about Philip opening up and chit-chatting was
how candid he was about his personal life. His mother had wanted him
to enter the church, and while he entertained the thought briefly, he
declined, admitting (to himself) that the cloth was NOT the life for him,
so it was best to avoid any possible future scandals! And since his father
and grandfather had been army men, he decided to become one too, and
to combine it with his love for horses, joined the cavalry. I asked him if
he ever met Queen Elizabeth II, naturally he said, "oh yes, many a time!"
Of course! He did admit it was meet and greet occasions, handshakes
and bows and all that high brow military stuff. Heck, it doesn't matter,
he met the Queen. Now next time I get into a real conversation with
Philip, I must ask him about his military escapades during WWII, as, if
I am doing the math correctly, he may have been involved in the latter
stages of it. I'll also have to ask him what he thought about Winston
Churchill, the Cold War years from the British point of view, the
revival and growth of post-war Europe....Philip is a walking history
book....good stuff! Of course, the FINE wait staff of the restaurant had
to be catty after Philip finally had his fill of coffee and left. Roxanne
asked me what on earth we had been talking about for so long, and
Tiffany asked if I was trying an Anna Nicole Smith routine!! (and we
know about Ms. Smith, and her penchant for older gents!) I told
you....just catty! I did find it curious that Philip never married while
still in England; he said life in the military wasn't ideal for the married
lifestyle. But as debonair and suave as Philip is now, I can only imagine
him much younger and in uniform, I am sure VERY popular with the
British ladies, handlebar mustache, ascot, and all! I had better quit, I
know Lola will read this, and as she adores Philip, will try to devise a
plan for him to be kidnapped and sequestered in Alaska to entertain
the natives while sitting on her sofa with "her pup"!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

taking a break

Simply enjoying these 2 days away from the restaurant. For some
reason, this past weekend was a tad more stressful than the norm.
There could be various reasons for that - we are coming up on the
holiday season, and folks are getting worked up over how they will
spend them, and how much they will need to spend. TV commercials
and ads in newspapers and magazines drown you in what you simply
MUST have, especially for the holidays. The weather just makes you
dizzy how it yo-yo's, so that may be another factor for mood swings -
in Virginia we can have 40 degree swings in 24 hours (and HOW do
you dress for that?!?!). At least my buddy Lola in Alaska has just one
kind of temperature....COLD. I actually saw a SUV with Alaska plates
going down the road the other day here, someone getting away from
the upcoming winter there, or just a student at the local university?
I always scan the license plates of cars around me when I am driving,
in part to see the not so common ones, like the aforementioned Alaska,
or Montana, Utah or Idaho. I also like to see the new plates that certain
states come out with; most recently I saw a new Kentucky design. But
as far as new designs go, I think no state has the number of different
plates that Virginia does. It seems like every week a new one comes
out; if I am correct, there are over 180 different plate designs to
choose from. I SERIOUSLY doubt any other state comes close (please
advise me if you know otherwise). I mean, there is even a parrothead
plate for Jimmy Buffett fans! Is that absurd or what? Does Virginia
really need a parrothead plate? I know I am riling J.B. fans, but get
real for goodness sakes! There is even a plate for Harley owners, oh,
but wait, don't want to get on their bad side! And to top it all off,
Virginia, I am sure, has the lead in the number of personalized plates.
Some are cute, others mundane (usually those found on mini-vans!),
some just dumb, to the point that you sit there at the traffic light
trying to decipher it, trying to figure out WHAT on EARTH the
owner is trying to say. I used to have personalized plates when I was
younger, but have gotten away from that now. I do still have one of
the designer plates, I think it is called Heritage, the one with the
dogwood and cardinal (Virginia's flower and bird). The Heritage was
on of the first new plates to come out, along with the equally pretty
Scenic Mountain to Seashore one (had that one in the past). But
now I could have a Friends of Tibet plate, or the one proclaiming
Virginia as the Internet many choices, too few cars!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Dental Science

As someone commented below, the test worked, but I did have to come back
to fix the title, so not exactly the best software around. No problem. So while
cruising around the world wide web today, I came across something, from a
website called New Scientist, that was quite interesting. Apparently there is
a new dental invention involving an infrared light that can pass through a
tooth, allowing a dentist to search for hidden decay. This would make X-Rays
obsolete, or at least unnecessary for such tests. Tooth decay usually goes
undetected until it's too late, as the damage is hidden from sight. Now folks
who know me know that I am pretty low maintenance, no makeup, nails, or
weekly visits to the hair salon. But I am fanatical about my teeth, brushing
2-3 times a day, tooth picking or flossing, even using a fluoride rinse once a
day. And I visit my dentist every year. The result of all this diligence is that
I have only one, and I am still puzzled as to how I got it. I am
not into science, (heck, I majored in history in college) but when I read stuff
about advances in dental technology, I do pay attention. I may not be
glamorous, but I hope to keep my smile looking good for years to come!

Dental Infrared


this is a test of the emergency broadcast system....this is only a test!
Actually my husband upgraded my computer last night, and today I
have found all kinds of new stuff on it - software, games, even a new
operating system. He is a big Linux fan, and they seem to have several
operating systems out, so naturally he has to test them ALL, some on
my computer (or guinea pig as the case may be!). I am testing some
kind of blog software now, so we will see what happens!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

another concert

what the heck, is our fair city actually becoming a happening place?
ok, maybe not happening, but it sure is trying. Last night was yet
another big concert at the new local arena, and of course, as the
restaurant is walking distance from that arena, we got hit with a
big rush before the concert, a huge crush afterwards. And today is
the opening day of the basketball season for the local college team,
so I am sure we will be in for another busy evening. Busy is good,
but not when you are short-handed or have new staff not fully in
sync yet. Tonight one of our newer members of the wait staff will
be on, a gal I'll call Shelley here. She's in her late 20's I would guess,
with 2 kids. She just wants to work part-time at this point. Have no
fear however, there is a story with her too! She is part Native
American; she was telling me once how the government forced her
ancestors to change their names to sound less Indian, Her boyfriend
is a member of one of the local bands (no, not the Goths!), so she
can't work the nights he has gigs. Shelley is also one of the folks close
to nature; she brings these organic lotions and oils to work and is
very restricted as to what she can eat since she is a vegan. The menu
of the restaurant is not very kind to her! What I don't get is that she
is raising her kids as vegans too. I don't have kids and have little
idea about nutrition, vitamins, and such, but I just don't think that
is healthy for a child. I may be totally wrong, but kids need more
nutrients, protein, vitamins etc. in order to grow strong, be healthy,
have a good immune system that will take them into adulthood. I
see all these vegetarians and vegans running around; they are all
thin and many are pale. I know the obesity epidemic in the U.S. is
much more widespread and more of a concern (it has gotten quite
ridiculous actually), but in my book, it is just as bad to be too thin
as it is to be too fat. They are 2 extremes.....the skinny vegans don't
get enough of what the body needs, the obese fast food addicts get
WAY too much. So I am concerned about Shelley running around
in a packed restaurant after barely eating; you need to have your
strength to work at our asylum...I mean...dining establishment!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

waitress drama

Weekends, no matter what is going on, seem to always be an adventure
at the restaurant. Unfortunately, some of these adventures are the kind
that make you want to pull your hair out. Last night, for example. It
started slow, got busy, got very slow again, got a bit busy, then slow the
rest of the night. Lots of big groups were in to eat, due to some kind of
conference at the hotel next door. Anyway, Shaniqua had asked me early
on that if it ever slowed down to the point where we could get by with
just 2 waitresses (we usually have 3 on Fridays), if she could possibly go
home, as she has been battling a cold. As we did get to that point right
around midnight, I let her hit the road. Of course, that didn't sit well
with the 2 other waitresses, Melinda and Keisha. Melinda I could see
being upset, as 9 times out of 10 she asks to go home early due to all
her phantom ailments and drama at home. Plus she is incredibly lazy,
so with 1 waitress less there would be more for her to do at closing
time. But Keisha's reaction surprised me. She simply has not been the
same person since she got back from her hernia surgery. She is always
complaining that she isn't making the money that she used to, that
Shaniqua is the only one making real money. She seems to have this
chip on her shoulder attitude-wise, and keeps claiming she is going to
find another job. And as much as I hate to say it, she has gotten a tad
lazy, nowhere near the same level as Melinda, but it just seems she is
not a team player anymore; she does, as she puts it, "her" work, the
bare minimum necessary after that, and then just stops. If she is
called upon to pitch in, she gets this look on her face and claims she is
the only one doing any work, while everyone else takes bathroom and
cigarette breaks. So Keisha was also upset that Shaniqua left early last
night without "doing anything" as she put it; she then "promised" that
the next time she (Keisha) gets to leave early, she won't "do anything"
either. By the way, Shaniqua did everything that she needed to do, that
is one of the things I check before anyone can leave. And another minor
reason for sending Shaniqua home was also to help Keisha make more
money since she had been whining about that just a few hours earlier.
Just a no win situation, damned if you do or don't. Hence I see a con-
frontation coming in the near future, and it may get ugly. This is the
nasty side of the restaurant biz....jealousy, pettiness, showmanship....
just ridiculous. Anyway, quick little updates - Roxanne maybe...MAYBE
has found a new amour; he even sent flowers to her, red roses delivered
to the restaurant! And she went on to admit that in one week this guy
has already treated her better and shown her more affection than the
loser she has been breaking up/making up with, and pining over, ever
has in 2-3 years. HINT HINT HINT...but she probably won't get it.
Looks like Tiffany is FINALLY done with her loser boyfriend, as the
other day he went to her place and got the last remnants of his stuff. And
on a kind of disturbing note, Beth has gotten yet another eviction notice
and needs to be out of her latest domicile by the end of the month. This
is the 3rd time in just over a year that she has been asked to leave by a
landlord. A very dubious trend indeed. She keeps claiming that neighbors
are telling lies about them, or that someone interprets her necessary yard
items as unsightly trash, or rent checks that she has receipts for don't get
credited to her.....I don't know, but in my book, if you get evicted 3 times
in such a short time span, something is seriously wrong with YOU!

Friday, November 10, 2006

generic drug recall

I know I promised a restaurant update, but a topic has come up
that just needs a bit of scrutiny. Yesterday Perrigo Company
issued a voluntary recall of 11 million bottles of Acetaminophen
500mg (a common pain reliever/fever reducer; the most commonly
known name brand of this is Tylenol). The Michigan based drug
company discovered that tiny metal fragments were contaminating
the capsule shaped pills. This recall will affect folks all over the U.S.,
as the list of over 100 sellers of Perrigo acetaminophen includes
Walmart, CVS, K-Mart, and Kroger (all found in our fair city). Perrigo
informed the FDA about this problem on Nov. 1st, after they
conducted quality control checks on their equipment; some of this
equipment was wearing down "prematurely", but they were also quick
to point out that it bought some of the raw materials for the caplets from
an unnamed "third-party supplier". (Starting to pass the buck now, are
we?!?) The FDA believes that "the probability of serious adverse
health consequences is remote", yet "if a consumer were to swallow
an affected caplet, it could result in minor stomach discomfort and/or
possible cuts to the mouth or throat." (all quotes taken from the
WebMD website.) Now I know that all the major drug companies have
had recalls for one reason or another, but NOT for pieces of metal in
their pills. (might destroy your liver or make you suicidal, but you won't
swallow wiring!) Yet another reason to AVOID generic drugs. Yes, you
pay less, but you are also a bit less sure of what you are ingesting.
Call me a snob, but I won't even buy generic hand cream, much less
something to help my head. This recall is yet another reason to buy
name brand items rather than products from the vast unknown generic

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Thursday, November 09, 2006


Just to tie up political loose ends - this afternoon, GOP Senator George
Allen conceded Tuesday's election result to his Democratic opponent
Jim Webb. He realized that a recount would simply be a fruitless waste
of time and money. That now makes it official - the Democrats now
have control of both the House, Senate, as well as a majority of the
governorships. Another interesting result of this midterm election is
that come January, for the first time ever, there will be a woman as
Speaker of the House - Nancy Pelosi of California. oh, speaking of
California, Ah-nold was re-elected as governor of that nutty state.
Who would have believed that just a few years ago? Politics are just
such fun; even if election results don't go your way every year, you can
count on having some kind of entertaining character, conflict or scandal
for amusement! (don't think we can top Italy, with porn stars and drag
queens, though!) Oh, speaking of drag queens, the other day the Maury
Povich show had one of my fave episodes on. I have mentioned it in the
past, but will remind y'all. Every so often, he does a show with 10-12
women....usually 1/2 of them are actually drag queens though, and the
audience tries to guess which are men and which are real women. It is
always a hoot, as they all parade around in lingerie, swimsuits, and of
course, evening gowns, just like Miss America! Anyway, all this talk
about politics and drag queens (never thought you would see those 2
topics in the same sentence!) - I need to do an update about some of
the fine cast of characters at the restaurant soon, as I have kind of
neglected them lately due to the election frenzy. So stay tuned for
drama, adventure, and sheer dysfunction!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

election update

Just did a quick check on CNN, and it appears that Webb has
indeed won the Virginia Senate race. The vote canvas done so
far has demonstrated that the vote difference, about 7200, will
not change with a recount, so Allen will probably throw in the
towel as early as tomorrow. Combined with the Montana result,
the Democrats have gained control of the Senate; control of
both houses now means Pres. Bush will not exactly have an easy
time of it his last 2 years in office. He is already declaring that
he and the Democrats can find common ground for cooperation,
such as immigration and minimum wage reforms. Nancy Pelosi,
who will be the new speaker of the House come January, went a
step further by stating that a new direction for Iraq must also be
found; she also hopes for improvements in the economy and
education. Democrats also have the majority of governorships
as well after yesterday results, picking up 6 states. Let's see
exactly where this bipartisan cooperation leads in the near future.

Election outcome

Well, it is the day after election day, and here in Virginia we are
still not sure who won the senate race. Democrat Jim Webb leads
Republican George Allen by about 7,000 votes; a recount is for
sure in the works, so we should know who our senator is by
Christmas if all goes well. Another senatorial race is very close,
the one in Montana, although CNN has projected the winner to
be the Democratic candidate. The Democrats got control of the
House, and depending on if the 2 above mentioned Senate race
results stand, they'll get the Senate too. Well well, nice condemnation
of President Bush and his policies by the voters. I'll be honest, I tend
to lean and vote Republican. But the Republican party of today is
NOT the Republican party of Ronald Reagan; they have become too
conservative and detached from the people. All the various scandals
and questionable cast of characters didn't help. On the other hand,
the Democrats finally had a few moderate candidates, rather than the
usual host of borderline socialist figures, and hence won a favorable
outcome. This result should wake the GOP up and make them realize
that they have to clean house, become more moderate, and get back to
the grassroots. There had been a slow erosion of the party over the last
12 years.....last night's results were the culmination of this slow erosion.
The Republicans need to dust themselves off and start over soon, as it
will be just a matter of time until the Democrats demonstrate that they
have no clear agenda or strategy, which will allow the Republicans to
regain control in 2 years IF they have their act together by then.....and
that's a BIG IF. The first step was taken today with the "resignation"
of defense secretary Rumsfeld, but many more steps must be taken to
right the tilting ship. Hang on for a bumpy ride!

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Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Go to VOTE!

Today is midterm election day, and we have some interesting races
across the country, including our fine state of Virginia. Naturally
there are congressional races in each district, but we also have the
headline grabbing senatorial race, where an upset may occur. All I
really want to say is get out and VOTE.....I don't care what your
political affiliation is, what your agenda entails, just go to the polls.
I am always dismayed at the low voter turnout in the United States.
It seems that folks get all excited when turnout creeps above 50%.
That is embarrassing. Apathy, ignorance, laziness...all of these are
the reasons. But people who do not vote, in my book, should have
no say in decisions made on the local, state, or federal level, and
thus also no rights to complain about them either. You may think
that your vote doesn't matter, that it won't make a difference, but
nothing could be further from the truth. There are countries all
over the world where people are imprisoned, are even dying, for
the right to vote. We have it here, yet 1/2 of us could care less. My
goodness, the first thing I did when I turned 18 was to register to
vote; even when I was living overseas I never missed an election; I
would go to the American embassy and cast my absentee ballot.
So people, get out there and VOTE, it takes all of 5 minutes, if that,
and you'll get your little "I Voted" sticker and feel good about it!

Monday, November 06, 2006

NOT a happy camper

I am still totally and completely upset with the outcome of the
big game yesterday between Dallas and Washington. It seems
that the Cowboys enjoy tearing out my heart and stomping on
it. This game was won, in the bag, until a complete meltdown in
the last 6-7 seconds. The Deadskins had missed a field goal,
leaving Dallas in decent field position and with enough time to
try to get in a position for a field goal of their own. And sure
enough, they got in a great position with 6 seconds left, only to
have the field goal kicker kick the ball too low (thanks Mike
Vanderjagt). That is when the chaos began. The 'Skins picked
up the ball and ran the other way. A Dallas player, trying to
tackle the opposing player with the ball, grabbed the facemask.
The runback, with the penalty tacked on at the end of it, put
Washington in a position to try another field goal with no time
left on the clock; they made it this time unfortunately. I think I am
still in shock, one of the most bizarre endings to a game, and I
have watched thousands of them. It ruined a nice performance,
in his second start, by QB Tony Romo, and highlighted yet again
how overrated and how much of a distraction Terrell Owens is.
The so called 'best receiver in the game' DROPPED 3 balls, one
of them a sure touchdown. And when he did score a TD, he gave
the team a 15 yard penalty for his showboat antics in the endzone.
Jimmy Johnson, the Cowboy's 2nd head coach (after the mythical
Tom Landry), and now a member of the FOX sports analysis team,
was so steamed yesterday about Dallas and the Owens situation
yesterday that his hair almost moved (it hasn't in years thanks to
his hair spray addiction!) while he was ranting about them after the
game. I'm with you Jimmy, can you come back to coach so Dallas
can get back on track and win another Super Bowl? Please!?!

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Sunday, November 05, 2006

grab bag

Ok, will be flying all over the place here today, as I need to get alot in
before I go to watch my beloved Dallas Cowboys play, and defeat I
hope, the dastardly Washington Redskins (boo hiss!!)! Speaking of
football, our local college football team fared abysmally yesterday,
getting shutout after winning 2 games in a row. Granted, they were
against 2 teams that had 4 wins between them, but folks were actually
beginning to think they had turned things around....WRONG. oh well.
I did indeed go to the festival held by the local Greek Orthodox church,
and I am sorry to report that they had the crappy pitas again this year,
so naturally I bought none of those but stocked up on the almond and
custard sweets! No, didn't buy them all for me and hubby, but also to
give to some friends, such as Mrs. Reagan, Nancy, and the Thompsons.
Just hope I get to give them to Mrs. Reagan. I don't see her as often
since daylight savings time; as it gets darker sooner, she is making
fewer appearances as she doesn't like to drive in the dark. However,
the Thompsons did come to the restaurant last night, and while they
usually have a great time, I think yesterday was over the top! They were
waited on by Shaniqua, who provided entertainment as only she can.
First, as we are short on little side saucers, she gave them their ranch
dressing in a coffee cup, stating that it was the "ghetto fabulous" way of
doing things! She then had them choking and in tears when she described
someone's ill-advised attempt at dreadlocks as looking like "a sheep's ass"
(pardon my french!)! And just as the Thompsons were about to recover
and head home, this guy comes in with a hair net on his
naturally he didn't escape commentary and critique (out of his hearing
range of course!). Some good news to report as well. The one and only
Whistler Tom and his wife Marion came in as well, and yes, were waited
on by Shaniqua (as she put it, "they are my babies!"); Marion, she of
advanced Alzheimers, was actually having a good day. She was coherent,
recognized people, and was remembering all kinds of things. It was great,
as it had been a long time since she has had a really good day. I know it
won't last, but it was nice last night, and you could see Tom was happy.
Lisa and Peter also came in for dessert; Lisa was kind of miffed that Peter
was going to skip out of a class that he volunteered for in order to watch
the Dallas-Skins game today. I proceeded to tell her that certain priorities
rise above others. Big rivalry football games are such a priority! Last but
not least, the very sweet Browns came in, and they brought me some of
those delicious toasted and salted pecans (they do so every so often, talk
about good stuff!). Darn, between the pecans, the Greek sweets, and some
peanut butter cups that Keisha brought for me (she knows my weakness!),
the little bit of weight that I lost last month is coming right back on this
month. If she knew me, I would be Jenny Craig's worst nightmare!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Cars and values

Even though my husband and I are very happy with our two
automobiles (mine, as you know, the little red Mazda Protege 5,
and his Mercury Mountaineer), I am always curious about the new
models that are out there, values, and trends. This morning, while
checking my e-mail and the latest headlines, I came across this
article that linked to, with information provided by (2 respected car info sites). I won't go over the entire
article, but basically, in a nutshell, it stated that cars from Japan and
Europe have the highest residual value ("predictor of what a new car
or truck will be worth,compared to its initial price, when it's two, three,
or four years old"). On the other hand, Korean and American cars
have the lowest residual value. These values are important as they
determine the resale value of the car if and when it reaches the used
car marketplace. I can't say that I am entirely surprised by this info,
nothing new to me; I had always driven European until I bought
my Mazda. It is just a shame that the American automakers can't
do something to bridge the gap....seems like for every step they
take forward, they are either taking 2 back, or the foreign companies
are taking 2 or 3 steps even more forward. I think my husband loves
his Mercury more because SUVs are not common on Europe; they
are a symbol of America and he may have gotten caught up in the
whirlwind of being new here and wanting to experience something
different. He even e-mailed his relatives overseas pictures of it, and
we bought it used! The Alfa Romeo he drove in the past was a little
over 1/2 the size of the Mountaineer; not sure if he would go back to
it if he could now.....gosh, guess hubby is Americanized!

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Friday, November 03, 2006

Greek yummies

Today the aim is to reach you folks out there who actually know me,
or have figured out who I am....and naturally who live in the same fair
city! Yes, I am still trying to keep a semblance of anonymity with this
blog, as some of the events and people I write about REALLY need
to remain anonymous! Anyway, today and tomorrow the local Greek
Orthodox Church is holding their 'big' festival (big is a matter of
opinion in this matter, but beggars can't be choosers!). Every year
the church holds 2 main public events, a small bake sale in the spring,
and a larger bazaar or festival in November. For the first time ever, it
will be a 2 day event here - in larger Greek communities these things
go on as long as a week, but not many Greeks in our town. Guess the
church is hard up for funds and are hoping to get more out of 2 days. I
just hope this means they have made extra of the great yummies that
they sell, the Greek delicacies and sweets; usually, in the past, the
really good stuff was sold out by lunch time! So if they are doing this
for 2 days now, better be prepared to avoid any embarrassments. So
I am sure you are wondering what do I mean by yummy good stuff?!?
Well, my personal faves have always been the galaktoboureko and
the kourambiethes (and please do not start with 'it's all Greek to me'
jokes, I have heard them a million times!). The first one is a fillo roll
topped a tad of honey, with custard on the inside. The second is an
almond cookie topped with powdered sugar, that will explode all over
you when you bite in if you haven't shaken the sugar off! I also like the
koulourakia, a sort of egg based hard cookie good for dunking in coffee,
milk, or hot chocolate. Revani is also good, a yellow sponge cake with a
touch of rum and honey. You notice I have not mentioned baklava, what
most Americans are familiar with. I find baklava highly overrated; all I
have mentioned above are more delicious in my 'humble' opinion! The
tyropitas and spanikopitas (feta cheese and spinach pitas) are also great
IF they are homemade. A couple of times in the past they didn't make
enough at the church so they bought industrial pitas that were NOT
good as backup - I can tell the difference (hint: look at the texture and
shape of the pastry, if it is too perfectly even, it is NOT homemade!). I had
bought a couple of the store bought items once, couldn't eat them; hardly
any feta inside, spinach had no taste, and the pastry that was used was of
poor quality. I really hope they have good pitas this year, if not, just going
to stick to my almond and custard fixes. They will also be serving lunch
and dinner, with several baked specialties - y'all should find time to go!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Artistry and Talent

Busy day at the restaurant. Also a couple of fun moments, such as when
a group of regular customers sang to Roxanne for her birthday! Also got
to see the ever suave Philip and his handlebar mustache, but no ascot
(too chilly for that, so a turtleneck today). Mrs. Reagan also came in for
a spell, as did Lisa and Peter after working out at the gym. Also got the
usual Thursday visit for breakfast from 2 interesting ladies, I'll name
them Ilene and Mavis here. They are very nice, I would guess early to
mid 50's in age. They meet almost without fail every Thursday, unless
one is out of town or has some kind of meeting. They are cute, because
they each arrive in their respective Volvos right around 8:3o; oftentimes
11-11:30 rolls around and they are still sitting there, busily chatting,
solving all the problems of their family, friends, and the world! I have
issued a challenge to them, to stay right on through for lunch as well;
they are mulling it over and haven't ruled it out! They are both artists
of some sort....Ilene is a weaver - she makes handmade scarves, wall
hangings, and other interesting and beautiful items. Mavis, if I am
correct, makes handmade jewelry, mostly with semi-precious stones
and silver. Oftentimes they bring samples of their work to show to
each other and to get a thumbs up or down. They also occasionally
have showings in galleries or local art shows; I was lucky enough to
go one of Ilene's last year and she gave me a great price on a simply
gorgeous scarf (I love scarves and wear them always in wintertime).
The colors are magnificent, and I had many compliments when I wore
it. Can't say that I have any jewelry by Mavis, as I don't care for silver.
But they are both very talented. Mavis is also very lucky, as she
has an old college roommate who is beyond wealthy; this rich pal and
her husband are always inviting Mavis and her husband on trips and
cruises and such - Europe, Alaska, the Caribbean, and more - picking
up most of the expenses to boot. Their don't like to travel alone and
so they issue invitations to lucky friends such as Mavis! Ilene and her
husband don't have it quite as good, but they do have relatives in
Switzerland, so they visit fairly often and get a few perks along the
way. But I have decided that I need a friend like the one Mavis has!
No cruises, as I get a bit seasick, but anywhere I can fly is good to go!
I prefer Europe, but am open to invitations to practically any
destination! Just not a place that requires some kind of inoculations
or other kinds of medical precautionary shots please! (as you could
gather from my 'cat killing squirrel' story yesterday, I am squeamish,
and don't do well with needles either!)

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


Cat lovers, don't get excited, I am about to offend each and every one of
you. I cannot stand the darn things, never have since one scratched me
when I was little when I just wanted to play. (the next door neighbor's
dog played with me all the time, never bit or scratched, but the cat....
nnnnnnnnnooooooooooo) I got home today from the restaurant, was
about to pull into my driveway to go into my garage, and there, right in
the middle blocking the entrance, was one of the neighborhood cats. It
was hunched over a very dead squirrel, and it was obvious that he had
killed it moments before I got there (you will see why I made this
deduction in a moment). The cat was pawing at the squirrel, flipping the
body around, and then taking nibbles here and was simply
horrendous to watch, just horrible. I parked across the street, went into
the house, got gloves and a plastic bag, came back out, ran off the killer
cat, picked up the poor little squirrel, and put it in the bag. I was able to
feel at that point that it's body was still warm and no where near rigor,
hence the 'not dead long' deduction. I took the squirrel to a local park
nearby and disposed of it. I am still grossed out over this whole episode;
yes, I have a weak stomach when it comes to such things, not Ms. Bravery
here, but daggone, that cat really upset me. I can hear it now, it is all
part of nature, cats are predators. But dogs are not; they are just goofy,
silly, fun loving creatures who want to play with and please their human
companions, want to be near them, want to be part of the family. Cats
come around only if they want something, the rest of the time they are
doing their own thing, like killing dumb little squirrels. Ick...awful!