Not Your Everyday News

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Dog Pack Kills Alligator in Florida

At times nature can be cruel, but there is a raw beauty,
even a certain justice, manifested within that cruelty.
The alligator, one of the oldest and most dangerous
predators, generally considered the king of predators in
its natural eco-system, can still fall victim to implemented
team strategy, made possible by a tight knit social
structure and, ultimately, the survival of the fittest. In
this case, a pack of canines emerged as the winners of
this natural selection. The remarkable photo attached,
courtesy of 'Nature Magazine', is not for the squeamish!
(but it
is for those who love adorable little puppies!!!)

Monday, January 29, 2007

A "HOT" cup of coffee

Well, it appears that yet another unusual story a tad on the risque side
has made waves. In the Seattle, Washington area, the national hotbed
of coffee, certain coffee shops and stands are promoting a new look.
No, not a new muffin or latte flavor. The new look centers around the
baristas. In an effort to drum up business in a highly competitive
market, certain coffee shops are featuring "bodacious baristas", young
ladies steaming up macchiatos while vamping around in baby dolls,
thigh high boots, bikini tops, short shorts or shorter skirts, and other
flashy outfits. (OK, so they are trying to drum up more male business!)
Certain establishments, while offering "flirty service", also have
themed days, such as a day with the "schoolgirl" look, "secretary" look,
and other fetish ensembles. The names of some of these coffee shops
speak for themselves: Cowgirls Espresso, Natte Latte, Moka Girls,
Bikini Espresso
, and The Sweet Spot. Most of the shops pay only
minimum wage, but many of the baristas are raking in the tips; one
girl interviewed by 'The Seattle Times' even boasted that she is making
way more tips as a naughty espresso maker than she did when she
waited tables at 'Hooters' (and we all know about that chain restaurant).
It is not clear when this trend of "sexpresso" really began, but one thing
is certain - by 'sweetening' the product, shops have now reached out to
a segment of the population that probably never set foot in a 'Starbucks'.
One male customer stated "If I am going to pay $4 for a cup of coffee, I
am not going to get served by a guy." You know, I think that kind of
says it all - sexism, exploitation, seduction - all wrapped up in steamy
hazelnut cappucino. Want some whipped cream for that mocha?

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Sunday, January 28, 2007

Time to pick on the blondes

It is nice to have friends with senses of humor. Last night for instance,
my dear friends the Thompsons came by, very late, (for them anyway!)
for dessert after attending a comedic show at a local downtown theater.
But after they were indulged in cheesecake, they had a bit of free
entertainment, some of it naturally provided by the restaurant staff,
the rest by some of my late night customers. As they were preparing
to leave, I introduced the Thompsons to another couple who frequents
the restaurant, I'll call them the Wilsons here. The Wilsons are very
nice, but simply twisted; they provide me with a bevy of blonde jokes,
West Virginia anecdotes, as well as some other funnies that most would
consider politically incorrect (yes, that's why I love them!). They always
share some of these jokes when they come up to pay and I am not busy.
So I quickly got the Thompsons in on the jokefest; I think they were
pleased! I can't repeat them here, but I will throw in a couple of blonde
jokes the Wilsons shared in the past: What is the difference between a
smart blonde and Bigfoot?
Bigfoot has actually been sighted! OR -
What do you call a blonde with half a brain? GIFTED!

Saturday, January 27, 2007

It never fails

Another Friday night at the restaurant, another concert at the
arena up the road, another chaotic scene! Actually, even though
we did get really busy last night, it was much busier last Friday
night. Of course, it may have seemed that way as last week we
were shorthanded in the kitchen and also the waitstaff. Last night
we had all hands on board. Never fails, when you are fully staffed,
it is NEVER as busy as when you are shorthanded. Those of you
who have any sort of restaurant work experience can attest to that.
Heck, I can remember times when I basically drafted friends who
were visiting me and put them to work; Lola on more than one
occasion, Michelle, Mike, Sandra, even Lisa and Peter have volun-
teered to pitch in during desperate occasions! Hopefully tonight
it will be a bit more peaceful and I can have a more social evening.
I do have to report a re-hire at the restaurant, albeit only part-time
and with sort of a 'probation' test period. *DRUM ROLL* The one
and only Shaniqua - yes, ghetto fabulous - is back on a trial basis.
Last week Shelley, our part-time vegan waitress, gave her 2 weeks
notice. We had heard that Shaniqua was unemployed and kind of
wishing to come back, so rather than put an ad in the paper, trying
to find someone and then train him/her, it was decided to give
Shaniqua a chance. After all, she was immensely popular with many
of the regular customers. Personally, I feel it probably won't last
too long, maybe a month or 2, before something will happen again,
but until then, let the laughs and the good times roll!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Dutch treat...or tricks?

For the second post in a row, an article I read out of Holland has
been out of the ordinary enough for me to mention. (let's all
remember the name of this blog - Not Your Everyday News!
well, here you go!) The red light district in Amsterdam, capital of
this northwestern European nation, is about to receive a bronze
statue dedicated to prostitutes around the world. A Dutch news
agency announced that sculptress Els Rijerse has made the statue
at the request of a former working girl. City authorities apparently
have given the green light to both the project and sculpture, but
have not yet decided on the name of the work or where it will be
placed. The statue will depict a self-assured woman, hands on hips,
standing in a doorway as she looks sideways towards the sky.
Unfortunately I do not have a picture of the artwork to post here,
but should I ever come across it you can expect an update! Holland
definitely has to be one of the most liberal (some might say pro-
gressive) countries in the world. For example, soft drugs are legal
and sold in coffee houses (can you see that happening at Starbucks
here?). It was among the first European cultures to embrace mixed
race couples. It was the first nation to recognize and allow gay
unions. Euthanasia has been legal there since 2002. Oh, and of
course, prostitution is legal; prostitutes are taxed and can advertise
the services they offer - basically, they are treated like any other
self-employed tradesperson! And now the Dutch are about to erect
a statue honoring these special entrepreneurs. What's next, a
museum devoted to drug paraphernalia? Holland - it's definitely
not just windmills, tulips and wooden shoes!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007


I am a dog person, they (along with cute adorable bunnies!) are simply
the best animals around. But obviously someone in Holland REALLY
thinks dogs are special. Terrie Berenden, a pet shop owner in in the
Dutch town of Zelhem, has created a non-alcoholic beer for her pet
Weimaraners. It is made out of beef extract and malt; Berenden
consigned a local brewery to make and bottle the beer for her. It is
called Kwispelbier - Kwispel means 'wagging a tail' in Dutch, bier
naturally means beer. It was introduced to the market last week; the
ad slogan reads "a beer for your best friend." Kwispelbier is fit for
human consumption, but since the starting price (about 1.65 Euro per
bottle, or 2.14 US dollars) is actually more expensive than a Heineken,
I tend to think it will remain an upper crust doggy treat!

Monday, January 22, 2007

Happy Birthday!

And many happy returns - to my husband! My sweet hubby is
celebrating his __ birthday today. I am not about to reveal his
age, he wouldn't be pleased, and then folks would begin to
speculate about mine! (although I will say he is about 10 years
older - yeah, I like 'em mature!) Despite the bad weather, we
went to the capital city today for some shopping and lunch. In
the midst of all that, while walking in one of my favorite malls,
we came across a hair salon, so I dragged him in there for a much
needed haircut too, (and he looks ggggrrrreat!) so all in all a fun
and full day! When we got home, hubby had a cute surprise in the
mail, a funny (and tad naughty!) birthday card from those cards,
the Thompsons! (thanks for thinking of him) And to top things
off, they came over for a bit to help us celebrate...nice to have
good friends. So happy birthday hubby, tanti auguri (best wishes
in Italian)!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Saturday night specials

It used to be that Sunday was my socializing day at the restaurant.
Most of the regular customers who I also consider friends would
come in Sunday for some reason. But lately, it seems that the trend
has moved to Saturday. The night started off with the Thompsons
coming in, always looking dapper and always lots of fun; their sense
of humor is almost as twisted as mine, so we have lots of laughs!
The Browns were practically right behind them; always a treat to
see those sweeties. Michelle and Fran dropped by after they got off
work. They are both in love, swooning over a new hire at their
retail cell phone store. Apparently this new hunky guy is training
soon, and they are drooling already. Down girls!!! And of course,
no night is complete without an appearance by Lisa and Peter. They
were in rather late; they came by for soup after waking up from their
nap. It seems, from what I have gathered, that Lisa and Peter don't
ever really go to bed, but instead doze on their respective Lazy-Boy
recliners at various times throughout the day, falling asleep in the
middle of a movie with their laptops...on their laps! The night was
topped off by a gothic visit, with interesting looking boots and new
hair colors to admire. One guy, who happens to be the lead singer of
his Goth band, had the peacock look going, with brilliant blue and
bright green hues!
*weather alert* at long last, we got our first taste of snow in central
Virginia today, less than a week after we enjoyed 70 degree weather.
It wasn't a whole lot, but was pretty to look at and served as a
reminder that it is winter after all!

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Classy Country Folks

I named my previous post 'Hit and Run'. Well, I should have saved it
for the title of this post, as last night it really seemed like a hit and
run....twice. The restaurant got stomped on both before and after the
concert at the arena last night. As cold as it was last night, folks still
had no problem waiting in a line that extended outside the building.
I love it when it is busy, but that was just a tad much. I will say this -
I don't think I have ever seen so many cowboy hats in one room.
These folks were gung ho! But I will admit, the vast majority of them
were very nice and polite, and hardly any were intoxicated....a country
redneck crowd with a bit of class I must say. Wish they were all like
that, unfortunate that they aren't. But then my joke supply would be
depleted! I did, though, at one point, look out the window just to
make sure I didn't see any horses in the parking lot. Lots of pickup
trucks, but no horses!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Hit and run

After 2 days of dayshift, not functioning as well as usual - those 5am
wake up times are a killer! But weekend and nightshift are on the
immediate horizon. Here's a peek of what I have to look forward to:
the return of long lost Chad (he actually returned earlier this week
but tomorrow will be the first night I will get to work with him) after
a hiatus of over a year and a half. Should be absolutely fabulous!
Then there will be a concert tomorrow night by some country music
star...yee ha....drunk redneck alert. This will be followed by a basket-
ball game later on this weekend. (both events at the arena up the
road from the restaurant) Yes, in for some busy times, just what I
like best. Oh, before I sign off, a Philip update. Our handlebar
mustached man came in today, both relieved and distressed. He is
happy that he is almost done with the "beast" he calls physical
therapy; one more session and hopefully he will be "in the pink".
He is, however, rather distraught over what happened to his car.
Apparently the last time Philip worked, someone hit his car in the
parking lot. Upon leaving he found the left rear side of it badly
scratched. After he showed it to me today, I tried to console him by
pointing out that at least it wasn't dented, and that Brandy (one of
the dayshift waitresses) has had her car hit twice in the restaurant
parking lot. Let's just say my comments didn't cheer his Brit heart
tremendously! Curses to the barbarian who hit Philip's car!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Cheers big ears!

Sometimes I wonder which shift causes me to raise my eyebrows
and/or shake my head in wonder or night. I generally
believe night shift is more entertaining, but today proved to me
that day shift has its moments. It started with my opening waitress,
the one and only Tiffany. She got to the restaurant 20 minutes late,
still shaken from a very rough night. Apparently Tiffany suffers
from the occasional nightmare, and she had one last night. Much to
her displeasure, her 'friend' (she is juggling various 'friends' since
dumping her ex; I guess she is trying to decide which one she really
wants.) didn't get up when she jolted awake. Then when she did
wake him up, he kind of blinked, looked at her, and fell asleep
again. Tiffany was steamed, declaring that she needed support
from her man when she has her nightmares. Well, guess this guy
lost brownie points! After that it was the customers who provided
fodder for me. The second table of the day was a group of 5 rough
looking construction workers, the kind with big pickup trucks,
tattoos, baseball caps, flannel shirts, and dirty jeans with holes in
them. You would expect the conversation would center on work,
or their vehicles, or a generally MANLY topic. But NO, what
did I hear? A lively discussion about last night's premiere of
'American Idol'! It kind of went like this - "man, that fella singing
the Prince song was pretty bad....that Spanish looking girl was
right good, but that skinny one, what the heck was she doing
there, she wasn't no good!" Let's just say I just about choked on my
cup of coffee; I don't watch 'American Idol', never have, never will,
but I guess roughnecks are more hip than me and tune in! Then,
later on, this family came in to celebrate a birthday by having
breakfast together. They did lament the fact, however, that one of
their family members was missing. Why? The conversation went
kind of like this - "that durn boy, had to go get hisself locked up
again. Why? Missed ANOTHER meeting with his PO
officer for you novices!) and he got wrote up, has to pull
the rest of his time now, he ain't got no sense." Granted, this is not
a conversation that I haven't heard before, considering some of the
employees we have, but it did get better - "Just hope he don't
get hisself in no trouble in there (jail), 'cause he fights like a
girl." !!! Well that is reassuring, real family support and confidence
there! 'American Idol' worshipers and a effeminate jailbird, I
guess that is what I get for eavesdropping!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The Bad and the Beautiful

These are tough times for beauty queens and models. The Miss USA
pageant has been hit by scandal yet again. Late last year we had the
brouhaha surrounding Miss Nevada, who had to give up her title after
racy photos of her appeared on the internet. Then, in that famous and
very overblown press conference held by Donald Trump, the current
Miss USA was allowed to keep her title after being found drinking in
N.Y bars while underage; she will have to undergo rehab and drug
testing. (A decision that befuddled me completely - she should have
lost her title as well, as supposedly these beauty queens are role
models for aspiring cheerleaders and the like, not a good example -
hhmmm, maybe she did a special 'favor' for The Donald.) Anyway,
now the latest casualty is Miss New Jersey. She gave up her tiara
yesterday due to pregnancy; she is expecting at summer's end. Wow,
the next Miss USA pageant isn't until March - we could see a whole
lot more scandal by then! Then today I read the story about super-
model Naomi Campbell. Yes, poor misunderstood (ie. superbrat!)
Naomi was accused of assault, yet AGAIN, by one of her employees.
The latest episode was a thrown cell phone at a maid who misplaced
a pair of jeans. Campbell will have to pay the maid's medical
expenses, do 5 days of community service, and attend a 2 day anger
management program. Gee, the judge really laid down the law for
this repeat offender with stiff punishment...ouch. But I do have some
good news to report about an ex-bombshell. This week Mardel Rosario
Pilar Martz Molina Baeza celebrated her birthday. We know her better
as the one and only Charo! Cuchi Cuchi!

Monday, January 15, 2007

W-2 mania

It's that time of year that oh so many folks look forward to, the time
when they badger and hound their employers for a certain piece of
paper - the W-2. At the restaurant, folks began asking for it the very
day after the new year..."when are the W-2s' going to be in, when are
the W-2s' coming, when are we going to get our W-2s'?" Over and
over and over, until they finally had it in their hot little hands. And
for what? To run to the nearest low-cost tax office that promises
instant refunds or a loan based on their tax return amount. It seems
to make little or no difference to them that they have to pay an extra
fee (in addition to the usual fee for tax preparation) for the instant
refunds (as opposed to the usual time frame, which in my experience
has been about 2 weeks, but NO, that is just too long to wait), or that
these 'loans' carry a high interest rate. No problem. They get quick,
easy cash on hand to go and get a new tattoo or piercing, or to buy a
trunk full of assorted alcoholic beverages and have a party. I don't say
this to be cruel or demeaning; I say it because I have actually heard
the plans of how most of the tax return money is going to be spent by
some of the staff at the restaurant. I can count on one hand the
number of people who are actually going to save the money, or use it
for something important and worthwhile (and we have just over 20
people working at the restaurant). Oh well, to each his/her own. I'll
wait until the mad rush is over, say late February, early March, before
the last minute folks get going; then I'll call my buddy at H&R Block
and have him prepare my return. Any money I may get back will post
directly to my account about 2 weeks later. No tattoos or piercings
here.....too squeamish with needles anyway!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

another obit

Sadly, this will be the 3rd obituary I have written here in the last week.
It started with the Ramen noodles king, Momofuko Ando, who died in
Japan last week at the age of 96. Then I spoke of the one and only Yvonne
De Carlo, who died earlier this week at 84. They always say that deaths
seem to come in threes, so here is the 3rd. Carlo Ponti, the famed Italian
film director, died a few days ago at the age of 94. Ponti, who directed
and produced a myriad of films, was actually more famous for being
Sophia Loren's husband. More than 20 years older than Loren, Ponti
'divorced' his first wife and married the starlet in Mexico in 1957. This
resulted in a huge scandal, as divorce was not recognized by the church
or government in Italy at this time (and would not be until the mid
1970's). The Vatican called them "public sinners"; this forced Ponti and
Loren to become French citizens and get remarried in 1966. They would
become part of the jet-set, a power couple on par with Elizabeth Taylor
and Richard Burton. Ponti would go on to produce famed films such as
'War and Peace, starring Henry Fonda and Audrey Hepburn, and Fellini's
'La Strada', which would go on to win a best foreign film Oscar and pro-
pelled Anthony Quinn into stardom. Ponti was also key in promoting
Loren's career; he produced the bulk of her films, including 'Two Women'
in 1962, which garnered Loren an Oscar for best actress. However, Ponti's
efforts to have his wife star in the 1965 classic 'Dr. Zhivago' failed. As the
producer of the famed epic, Ponti tried to convince director David Lean
to cast Loren as the leading woman, Lara. Lean, however, had made it
clear that 'Dr. Zhivago' would start showing Lara as an innocent 16 year
old schoolgirl. Lean declared that "if anyone can convince me she's a
virgin, I'll let her play the part." That statement was enough to force Ponti
to change his mind about Loren playing the role, and Julie Christie got
the part. Oh well, Sophia Loren may not have been virginal, but Ponti
never wavered in his convictions about his wife. In 2002 he declared "I
have done everything for love of Sophia, I have always believed in her."

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Just say Glitter!

Pre-teen girls, hundreds, no, make that THOUSANDS of them,
descended on the restaurant last night, or at least that's what it
felt like anyway! There was some kind of musical at the new arena
up the road last night, a show that was aimed towards the female
pre-teen-y bopper crowd. I think you know the scene, where about a
dozen giggling girls dash en masse to the bathroom together, and
then run out all together again, replete with sparkles, glitter, and hair
ribbons! The restaurant filled up with these girls and their families
before the musical started; it was simply a madhouse, and VERY
loud, to the point I could barely hear the phone when it rang. After
the musical was over, we got another rush, but nowhere near as
intense, guess it was past some of these girls' bedtime! But those
who did come all had T-shirts on from the show, and possessed some
kind of neon sticks that they waved around. Yes, I know I was this age
once, but I was never one of those girls, not even close. I would get
excited when we would go to the circus or to a football or basketball
game of the local university team, but did so without screaming and
definitely NO glitter!

Friday, January 12, 2007

Big House and Blonde Blues

Last night at the restaurant was particularly boring.....which tends
to happen when we are not busy. Fortunately there were a few
moments which provided a couple of laughs. For instance, at one
point a couple of fellows of the redneck nature came in, recognized
the 2 work release gals who were waitressing last night, and
shouted "alright, cell block D!!! - to which the lovely Kathy replied
"That's right!!!" Fortunately the only other customers in the place
were a couple of regulars who are fully aware of the waitresses'
plight, and an Oriental man whose English was VERY limited, so
needless to say he did NOT catch on! Then I was conversing with
our long-time cook Herman, who confessed to me that he had way
too much fun ridiculing Tina's unprofessional platinum blonde dye
job during a previous night shift. Apparently he told her that she
"looked like a hooker", to which Tina responded that he didn't have
to go that far, that Herman could have said that she looked like a
stripper instead! ??? does this mean that a stripper has a better
reputation than a hooker, hence it is preferable to be told that you
look like a stripper? Well, if so, I just learned something new! But
then we are talking about Tina, the gal who, once a couple years
ago, when I called her trailer park trash, huffily corrected me,
emphatically stating that she did NOT live in a trailer park! It was
to my great amusement that in no way did she contest the 'trash'
part of the phrase! Ah, poor Tina - fake boobs, fake hair, everybody
picking on her - guess bottle blondes with plastic surgery do NOT
have more fun!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Canadian TV

Read an interesting article in 'The Washington Post' the other day (a
real newspaper, not like our local rag) about a new Canadian sitcom
that premiered on CBC this week. It's called 'Little Mosque on the
Prairie' (no, NOT Michael Landon in a headscarf!), created by a
Canadian Muslim woman named Zarqa Nawaz. Nawaz moved from
Toronto to Regina, Saskatchewan 10 years ago after getting married.
The background of the sitcom reflects the conflict and humor that
she herself experienced in a conservative small town after living in a
much larger city. The sitcom is set in the fictitious prairie town of
Mercy, where a small Muslim community is developing and becoming
increasingly active. Nawaz hopes her show will humanize Muslims.
She stated "this is not a political show, this is not about the Iraq war,
it's not about 9/11, first and foremost it's entertainment." She went
on to say that classic American sitcoms of the past such as 'All in the
Family' and 'The Jeffersons' dealt with bigotry and racism for the first
time on American TV; their success was based on the hilarious delivery
of those issues, not on preaching to viewers. Nawaz believes, rightfully
so to some extent, that since 9/11, the news has portrayed Muslims in
terms of conflict. She wants her show to focus on relationships and
families, emphatically exclaiming that "it's not about terrorism."
She did leave the door open, however, to introduce different issues as
the show goes on. Some in the media have questioned whether 'Little
Mosque on the Prairie' might insult Islamic fundamentalists. Nawaz
refutes such fears, saying that the assumptions that such Muslims
"are going to riot in the streets, freak out, and get upset is ridiculous.
It's just a comedy." Personally, I would like to see a couple of episodes
simply out of curiosity; perhaps if it is a hit on Canadian TV, one of the
cable channels will pick it up. It doesn't sound anywhere near as awful
and syrupy as 'Little House on the Prairie'!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Yvonne De Carlo

Just read in CNN the story about the death of actress Yvonne De Carlo,
star of the 60's sitcom 'The Munsters'. As Lily Munster, the shapely
vampire wife of the bumbling Frankenstein character Herman, De
Carlo became a cult favorite. I admit when I was little, I watched both
'The Munsters' and the other spoof monster sitcom, 'The Addams
Family', in syndication. Personally I preferred De Carlo's show; the
most hilarious aspect of it was how Lily and Herman pitied their
niece because she was so 'plain' and probably would never find a
husband. Those who have seen the show know that the niece, Marilyn,
was the only normal member of the family and actually quite
attractive! De Carlo, born Peggy Yvonne Middleton in Vancouver,
Canada, was herself an exotically glamorous beauty queen in the 40's
and 50's. She starred in many westerns and, in probably her biggest
role, played Sephora, the wife to Charlton Heston's Moses, in 'The Ten
Commandments'. But it was with 'The Munsters' that De Carlo
achieved her greatest popularity. She may be gone, but will always be
gorgeous with her long black hair in TV Land.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

too dramatic, too blonde

Drama and intrigue seem to go hand in hand at the restaurant, not to
mention entertainment of twisted proportions. She has been at the
restaurant not even a full week yet, but our new night shift waitress,
Annie (roommate of Kathy at the local state hotel), didn't take long
to push herself right up into drama queen land. She just found out
that her ex-husband is seeking custody of their son. This reeks of
some kind of vendetta, as Annie has been inside for about 4 years,
about to get out in May, and only now is the ex trying for this. (the
son has been with Annie's brother) So naturally she was fretting all
weekend about this new development. But at least we had something,
or should I say, someone, to humor us at the restaurant this past
weekend. Tina, our part-time night shift hostess with the mostess
(and fake frontal enhancements!), had to work waitress one night to
fill in for another girl who had called out. Well, when I saw her park
her car, I thought the lighting was playing tricks on my eyes, or that
maybe there was some kind of reflection off the window. Alas, that
was NOT the case...Tina, whose natural hair color is light to medium
brown, walked in with a very POOR platinum blonde dye job. Yellow
to the point of almost white...simply horrid. Every head turned, and
you could hear the snickers and see the raised eyebrows. A few of the
regular customers asked who the new girl was, as they did not recognize
her. The commentary ranged from bad to terrible - trailer park trash
was probably the kindest - the cruelest ranged from streetwalker to
other adjectives describing working girls! Tina's reaction to all this?
Well, she said her husband had suggested she do the dye job and
claimed that he loved it, so as long as the hubby liked it, she could live
with it. hhhmmm, I think Keisha hit the nail on the head when she
supposed that the hubby liked it as it ensured that Tina would be less
attractive, hence he wouldn't have to worry about men hitting on her!

Monday, January 08, 2007

The Good, Bad, and not Ugly

Three stories have either come to my attention, or were brought to my
notice by others, in the last couple of days. Let me get the bad news out
of the way first. Japan's instant noodle king, I must sadly report, died
the other day at the age of 96. Momofuko Ando, according to The Japan
Times, was inspired to develop the world's first instant noodle after
WWII, when he came across huge lines of people trying to buy fresh
black market 'Ramen' noodles during an era of food shortages. Chicken
Ramen was his first hit in 1958; he branched out to Cup Noodle in 1971.
In 2005, Ando appeared on TV to promote a version of the Cup Noodle
that was adapted for astronauts to eat aboard the space shuttle
Discovery. Astronauts and NASA bring me to my next story. Summer
Williams, a Kansas native and graduate of Wichita State University, is
an aerospace engineer for Jacobs Engineering Group, NASA's main
scientific support contractor; Williams is an assistant project manager
of the group assigned to maintain the international space station
habitable. She is ALSO a cheerleader for the NFL's Houston Texans.
Yes, you read correctly, a cheerleader (a non-blonde I should point out!)
is also a not-ugly rocket scientist! A dancer since she was 3, Williams
never wanted to be a cheerleader in high school or college because, as
she put it, she "wanted to be smart". While working at Jacobs in
Houston, some of her male co-workers sent her an e-mail link for the
upcoming tryouts for the Texans 2005 cheerleading squad, promising to
buy her lunch once a week for a year if she tried out. The joke became
serious as Williams proceeded to make each cut; when picked for the
squad, she was mortified, hoping that her colleagues wouldn't "lose any
respect for me.....there is a perception about what a cheerleader is."
Her moonlighting has given her a new perception about how hard
cheerleaders work; it also allows Williams to participate in junior
cheer programs in the Houston area, teaching little girls how to
dance. And while she is having a blast, she does prefer to have folks
refer to her as an engineer (gee, I wonder why!). Last but not least,
the U.S. postal service is about to be the butt of a few more late-night
talk show jokes I'm afraid. A resident of Ferndale, Pa. recently found
a letter in his mailbox addressed to someone else...with a 3 cent stamp
and an October 16, 1954 postmark. The letter is unopened and in good
condition. There is a return address, in nearby Richland Township, but
no sender's name. An effort is now being put forth to try to find the
person this letter was sent to, or at least some living relatives or
friends. What does the Postal Service have to say about this strange,
yet not unique, event? A spokesman stated "Sometimes pieces of mail
do get lost behind equipment or transporting equipment. It is infre-
quent, but every once in a blue moon, it does happen. No matter how
old it is, we will deliver it." Well, that is good news... ok...hey, the
check really is in the mail!

Sunday, January 07, 2007

*The agony of defeat*

Very little to say today, still in shock over how the Dallas Cowboys
exited the NFL playoffs last night. The game seemed to be in hand
in the 4th quarter, with Dallas leading 20-13. However, the 'Boys
gave up a safety and a touchdown, putting them down 21-20. Dallas
then proceeded to move into position for a game winning score.
Falling just short of a first down or touchdown with 1:19 to go,
Dallas went for a field goal to go up 23-21...a 19 yard field goal, chip
shot, easy as pie....except that the season's hero turned to goat.
Quarterback Tony Romo, who had resurrected Dallas' season,
ended it by mishandling the snap for the hold of the field goal try.
A desperate attempt to pick up the ball and score fell short, and
Dallas' very weird season was over. I listened to the last minutes of
the game on the cook's radio in the kitchen of the restaurant; after
kicking a door and throwing a few menus around, I simply stewed
in my misery. I guess the only good thing about it all is that I
ONLY heard the follies; it would have been MUCH worse had I
actually watched the gaffes and subsequent loss. Dallas' playoff
drought continues - the Cowboys are 0-5 in the playoffs since
their last win at Minnesota in 1996. I know all Dallas haters are
celebrating today; the Cowboys are one of those 'love 'em or
hate 'em' type of teams, no middle ground. But this FAN of Dallas,
a FAN since elementary school and the days of Tom Landry and
Roger Staubach, while sad and steamed, still loves her 'Boys and
hopes that some off season personnel changes can get Dallas out
of this rut, allowing them to do better next season.
(*end of 2006 football season*)

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Work release gals

The last two evenings I have worked with and gotten to know our
latest employee who is a resident of the state hotel (3 hots and a
cot!). She is a waitress in her mid-30's, very friendly, and so far
has done an adequate job; she just needs to learn the menu a bit
better and put it in another gear after that. I'll call her Annie here.
She is the type of person who is rather, let's see, how to put this,
- conversational? Basically, the first day I met her, I became
very knowledgeable about almost her entire life story; she was
more than happy to fill me in (despite me not even inquiring)
about 30 minutes after meeting me. Annie apparently ran afoul
of the law after a very bitter divorce that left her broke. She is
due to be a free woman in May of this year, 2 months after Kathy
is to be released. And after working with Kathy the other night, I
am very sorry to say that I believe she end will up right back in
the state hotel. I hope I am proven wrong, but I doubt it. Her
plans for after her release are in constant flux, changing with the
wind. Some of her declarations of what she would like to do, once
she is free and clear of all mandatory classes and checks, definitely
suggest rampant immaturity rather than the musings of one who
has learned from her mistakes. But have no fear, if the judge in
the future allows it, we'll employ Kathy in work release again!

Friday, January 05, 2007

Caspian Caviar

Connoisseurs can rejoice and relax again. The United Nations has
decided to lift the ban on Caspian caviar that was enforced in 2006.
Apparently after 2005, the embargo was put in place as the fish
where caviar comes from, the sturgeon, was disappearing rapidly in
the Caspian Sea due to overfishing. This was an economic blow to
the 5 nations bordering the Caspian Sea: Iran, Russia, Turkmenistan,
Kazakhstan, and Azerbaijan. But while the stocks of sturgeon are
still falling, the U.N. has decided to let the 5 nations sell 96 tons of
caviar in 2007. (15% lower than in 2005). 90% of the world's caviar
comes from the Caspian sea. With the embargo last year, caviar
producers from America and Europe had prospered; the lifting of
the ban doesn't bode well for such producers. Not that some caviar
producers from the 5 Caspian countries didn't get around the ban.
According to the BBC, the illegal trade in caviar is extremely
profitable; a kilogram (around 2 pounds) can run about $9,500.
, that is an awful lot of money for salty fish eggs!

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Real women

Yesterday I wrote about wannabe women, the lovely drag queens. (by the
way, need to extend a Happy New Year to the Queens from Queens!) But
today I need to discuss a momentous event in United States history, no
matter what your politics. Today, Nancy Pelosi became the first woman
Speak of the House of Representatives. Following symbolic tradition, the
gavel was passed to her by the minority leader of the House. Two major
issues immediately facing Pelosi and the Democrats are the proposed
raising of the minimum wage, and the debate over federal funding for
stem cell research. Let's hope that this is the start of a truly new era in
U.S. politics, that corruption and scandal will go by the wayside. My
wishful thinking is working overtime, I know, but you can always hope.
In a totally unrelated story, another milestone for women recently
occurred, this in Great Britain. For the 1st time in their 522 year history,
the renowned Beefeater guards will have a woman in their ranks.
Created as a bodyguard rank (not, as some might think, as spokesmen
for a certain kind of gin!) by King Henry VII in 1485, the Yeoman
Warders, the official name of the Beefeaters, became the guardians of
the Tower of London, home of the Crown Jewels. Today there are only
35 Beefeaters in service; 6 candidates applied for an opening, and
according to spokeswoman Natasha Woollard, the lone female applicant
was "the best candidate for the job." The identity of this woman has not
yet been revealed, only that she is a veteran of the British armed forces
and will join her new colleagues in the summer of 2007. Prerequisites
for applying to be a Beefeater include at least 22 years of service in the
military, with medals for good conduct and long service. The rather
distinctive Beefeaters, with their black hats and shoes, and red jackets
and stockings, primarily serve as tour guides to approximately 2
million yearly visitors to the Tower of London. Let's just hope that
the new Beefeatress will not be dogged by any bathroom controversies,
as a certain Italian parliamentarian has been!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

possible return?

Got a very interesting phone call at the restaurant today, from an old,
good friend. I have mentioned him in the past a time or two, a waiter
who used to work at the restaurant for years and had built up a cult
following - simply the most popular waiter ever, or as some people
might say, waitress. I called him Chad here, and in the past, Chad, who
is gay, used to perform in drag shows; I'll call his stage name Celeste.
A year and a 1/2 ago Chad was involved in an accident that had physical
and psychological repercussions, forcing him to leave the restaurant
after almost 14 years. After a few months of recovery he started to
work at another restaurant, but on occasion would visit me. Well, he
called today, expressing his discontent with that place and wondering
if there was a place for him, even if just part-time. I would absolutely
LOVE to have him back, as would 1/2 of the old regular customers.
Now if I can only pull a few strings, arrange it with the other manager,
and try to get him in at least a couple of nights in the beginning. I just
hope Chad is serious about this before I go trying to re-arrange the
schedule. Not that the restaurant isn't interesting and chock full of
characters and adventures, but having a guy who looked like Reba
McIntire when he dressed in drag on board would be an added bonus!
Let's keep our fingers crossed on this one. Speaking of drag queens,
(yes, one of my fave subjects, guess I am just too envious of the
extreme femininity they have that I lack!) I noticed an online article
the other day about Key West, Florida. Well, you all know how on
New Year's Eve, the ball drops in Times Square? Well, in Key West,
for the past 10 years, there has been a giant red stiletto heel that has
been dropped outside Bourbon Street Pub; a drag queen by the name
of Sushi has been 'looking pretty' inside that stiletto heel! Apparently
Duval St. in Key West has a very gay friendly block, and owners of the
pub originally were just trying to devise a way to bring more tourists
in during the holidays. The dropping of Sushi in the red stiletto heel
has now become a tradition and has even garnered the attention of
and Anderson Cooper! (hhmmm!) Anyway, Sushi has become a
cult figure down there, to the point that everyone wonders how he/she
will dress on New Year's Eve. One year she was a geisha, another time
she dressed as Brazilian Carmen Miranda; all outfits are replete with
feathers, boas, glitter, and sequins, and she has looked FABULOUS!

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

European Union

An interesting headline in the news today, at least for folks who
are from or have lived in Europe. As of Jan. 1, 2007, both Bulgaria
and Romania joined the European Union. This raised the member-
ship in the E.U. to 27 countries. The E.U. was originally known as
the European Economic Community and was established in 1957
by the Treaty of Rome; it's original members were Belgium, France,
Italy, The Netherlands, Luxembourg, and West Germany. Denmark,
Ireland, and the United Kingdom joined in 1973, Greece in 1981,
Portugal and Spain in 1986, and West Germany became a unified
Germany in the E.U. in 1990, just a year after the Berlin Wall came
down. Austria, Finland, and Sweden entered the club in 1995, and in
2004 the biggest membership jump occurred, when Cyprus, Hungary,
Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Poland, The Czech Republic, Slovakia,
Malta, and Slovenia all joined. Most had been ex-Iron Curtain nations
prior to the remarkable events of 1989. Now with the addition of
Bulgaria and Romania, 2 more of the ex-Soviet controlled communist
countries are in the fold. Both countries are looking forward to the
benefits of membership; these include economic aid, environmental
cleanup, food safety regulations, and an improved infrastructure,
particularly roads and bridges. There is also the hope for continued
peace in the region and improved prosperity; both Balkan nations
are poor by Western European standards, but they have had strong
economic growth in recent years. As with all nations in the E.U.,
Romania and Bulgaria will need to report progress every 6 months,
to insure that reforms are being done, or else risk losing E.U. funds.
There is still concern over lingering corruption in the judiciary in
both nations, but all parties involved are confident that this will be
cleaned up (easier said than done unfortunately). It will be rather
fascinating to see how this new relationship develops over the next
few years, and if it will be purely economic, or cultural as well.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year!

Wishing everyone a happy, healthy, and properous 2007!
Lots of folks tend to make resolutions this time of year, on
what they will finally do or do differently, undertakings they
plan on embarking on. I don't buy into this resolution craze
too much, although each year I sort of promise myself to
not gain back any weight I have lost, and to lose a bit more.
I am not out to become a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue
model, but am just trying to take care of myself and ensure
I can fit into my Liz Claiborne clothes! I could make some
'wishful thinking resolutions' for the restaurant and the staff
there....let's more employees having to appear in
court, no more paycheck garnishments, an end to drama and
scandal involving trailer park rednecks or ghetto fabulous
peeps, and - last but not least - no more employees on work
release! oh well, as I wrote above, wishful thinking! But what
I really hope to see in 2007 is good health for Mrs. Reagan,
the Thompsons, the Browns, Sandra, Lisa and Peter, Steve
and Valerie, and the Whistler and his wife. I would like to see
Francesca, Michelle, Lily, Sandra, and Lola finally find Mr.
Right and get over their past disappointments. I hope Warren
will find the happiness he deserves, and that Nancy continues
to serve as a guardian angel for seemingly 1/2 our our fair
city. Naturally, I look forward to Philip maintaining his own
sense of British style, and that Mike will finally get the job
that his heart truly desires. Most of all, I pray that my
husband stays healthy and as fun and loving as ever, and that
his work situation improves; those of you who know him
know that he really deserves better than he's gotten. Well,
I say goodbye to 2006, thanks for the memories, hope 2007
is better. I look forward to bringing y'all more adventures,
rants, raves, and odd, fun stories in these online pages; thanks
to all my dedicated readers - please keep reading! (yes, the
shameless beg and grovel moment!) Have a great 2007!