Not Your Everyday News

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Batter up

I am certainly NOT a baseball fan...all this attention on spring training
is over the top. While I am a big sports fan, baseball is just too slow
and monotonous, especially when compared to my faves - football,
basketball, soccer, and hockey. However, I do need to mention this
sport that inspires yawns today for a good reason. For the first time
since 1989, a female umpire will work a Major League Baseball exhibi-
tion game, on Thursday. Ria Cortesio, who umps Double-A games on
a regular basis, will be in the big leagues, if only for a day. She is
hoping to get promoted to Triple-A this season; after an ump has been
in Triple-A, they can get evaluated for possible promotion to the Bigs.
Pam Postema was the first woman to work spring training games in
1989; she was released after 2 seasons. But there seems to be a swell
of support for Cortesio; several players have supported having a
female ump, with one stating that "Female eyes are as good as male
eyes". Cortesio is excited about her opportunity, remarking "There
will be alot more people in the stands than I'm used to." I am sure
all the sports highlight shows will be showing clips of her later on
this week, let's hope she does a great job calling those guys OUT!

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Monday, March 26, 2007

Early Bird Special

As someone in the service industry, I am very familiar with certain
promotions aimed at drawing in more customers. There are, of
course, the famed early bird specials that many restaurants (but not
the one I manage) have - discounted menu prices before the prime
rush time. Early Birds are aimed, for the most part, to senior citizens
or those on fixed incomes (or the tightwads?!?). Bars have Happy
Hours, where drinks and snacks are discounted; these promotions
are geared towards those folks just getting off work. But last week I
read about a very different version of the Early Bird Special in a
certain European country, and much to my shock, NOT Holland,
but in neighboring Germany! In the city of Cologne, a certain brothel
is offering pensioners a 50% discount for afternoon 'service' sessions;
all any senior needs to do is to provide proof that he is age 66 or
above. The website of this brothel has as it's slogan "Life Begins at
66!" Apparently it had started off as an experiment, with the reduced
price sessions occurring once a week. The demand was so high that
it was decided to offer the special prices everyday from noon to 5pm!
As a spokesman for the brothel stated, "Older folks are more active
than you think." Well I guess so, at least in Germany - I really am
still shocked this story didn't come out of The Netherlands! But I
guess I shouldn't be TOO surprised. The first time I ever flew the
German airline Lufthansa, I had a couple of eye-opening experiences.
First, I was amazed at the amount of beer the German passengers the morning for and after breakfast! Then, after landing
in Frankfurt, I used a restroom while waiting for my connecting
flight. Now I am sure most women have seen those boxes in the
restrooms that sell aspirin and tampons for emergencies. Well, the
restrooms boxes in the Frankfurt airport also sold various kinds of
condoms, included colored and flavored ones! And those Germans
have such a staid, hard image. Another strike against stereotypes!

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Sunday, March 25, 2007


Finally got around to doing my taxes the other day, and YAY, I
will get a few dollars back! I keep going to this same tax guy
(who works at the national tax prep chain with the green logo)
every year as 3 years ago he found an error made 4 years ago,
and I got a few extra dollars back, so in my book he is a
keeper! I know alot of folks scoff at going to these tax prep
offices and paying someone to crunch their numbers, especially
since now there are all these software programs that allow
people to prepare their own taxes online. However, as numbers
are not my forte, and seeing how tax laws seem to change every
year, I simply pack up my tapestry briefcase and head on over
to my pal. In about an hour, everything is done, and more impor-
tantly, I have avoided giving myself a major headache or making
some tragic mistake. After all, the last thing I want is the
IRS breathing down my neck because of my ineptitude; the tax
prep chain I use guarantees their work, plus their service fee
includes facing any music the Feds may play. That may be very
unlikely, since my name isn't Martha Stewart, but better safe
than sorry!

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Food and Fashion

I have a video camera, a digital camera, and a cell phone with a
camera, yet I am constantly missing some unreal shots. Last night
our ex-work release jailbird, Kathy, who was enjoying a day off,
went clothes shopping for current work release jailbird Annie.
See, Annie, as of yesterday, has exactly 2 months to go before she
too experiences freedom. She apparently has been fretting about
what to wear the day she gets out; she wants a nice, good looking
outfit and thus got Kathy to go shopping for her. So Kathy walked
into the restaurant (albeit a bit on the intoxicated side after too
many glasses of wine!) with about 3 bags chock full of various
outfits for Annie to try on; the plan was that Kathy would keep the
ones she liked until the big day and return the others. So the
restaurant staff, as well as a couple of regular customers, got
treated to a fashion show by Annie; the Paris and Milan runways
had nothing on the restaurant last night! Fortunately we weren't
busy at the time, so no customers got neglected. The winning outfit
was a sharp looking dark blue pin-striped pantsuit with a form
fitting white top and dark blue open toed heels. There was also a
nice springy sleeveless white dress with a floral design that was
cute. Our gals may have had some legal difficulties in the past,
but they aren't slouches when it comes to style!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Happy Belated Birthday

Best wishes to my good buddy Mr. Thompson, who celebrated a
birthday yesterday! I kind of found out by accident at the last
minute, and didn't have time to go online yesterday, hence the
late regards. Hope it was a good one, and that there will be many
more! Have been trying to remember if any other birthdays or
other special occasions are lingering around in the near future,
and all I can come up with is Easter for now. And this year, Easter
is not only early, but I get only one.....let me explain. As a Greek
Orthodox, I celebrate Orthodox Easter. Our church follows the
old style calendar (Gregorian), so Orthodox Easter usually falls
anywhere from a week to 4 weeks later than Protestant/Catholic
Easter. Hence I usually got to celebrate the holiday twice, since
my husband is Catholic and we do live in the U.S., a primarily
Protestant nation; then I would celebrate the late arriving Ortho-
dox Easter. But every 4 years the 2 religious Easters fall on the
same day; this is one of those years, so basically I need to double
up this year on April 8. I have already asked for that day off from
the restaurant, as in the past, with 2 Easters to celebrate, we
could do some of it one day and the rest of it the other. But now
I need to jam everything into one day, hence my day off request.
But the worst thing of all is that I will actually need to buy all my
Easter candy at full price! What I have done in the past was to
wait until the day after Protestant/Catholic Easter, when all the
stores dropped the candy prices down to 50% off or better, and
then I would stock up on the candy for Orthodox Easter - perfectly
good, 1/2 price! But every 4 years, that plan goes out the window,
and I have to pay full price...darn! Oh well, better get those peanut
butter eggs and chocolate bunnies soon!

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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

More food recalls

Boy, this is getting to be all too common - food being recalled due
to it causing illnesses. The differences this time are that deaths have
occurred as well; these deaths were of household pets (dogs and
cats) due to contaminated food. An unknown number of animals
have suffered kidney failure and as many as 10 have died. The culprit
appears to be "cuts and gravy" food sold in cans and pouches made
by Menu Foods; it is sold in most supermarkets and pet food stores
under various brand names. The bad food appears to have been
made between December 2006 and March 2007 and sold through-
out the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. The recall is of all pet food made
at the Menu Foods plants in Emporia, Kansas and Pennsauken, New
Jersey. Once again, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) is hard
at work to pin this down and find out exactly what happened and why.
It seems to me that they definitely need to hire more inspectors.
These recalls are becoming all too common and scary, even if this is
'only' pet food; pets are part of the family they belong too. So cut out
some of the big government spending for million dollar toilets and
thousand dollar hammers and wrenches and let's get a few more
inspectors on board to curb this disturbing trend.

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Monday, March 19, 2007

Where did the weekend go?

Wow, time flies when you are under the weather and busy. Last
time I wrote I was on the way to the doctor. The Verdict is in -
officially I don't have just a cold, but a sinus infection.....but hey,
I'll take it, as long as I don't get bronchitis. (and my new doc is
OK, but will take some getting used to.) So the lovely Kathy
closed for me Friday night, but only after I got rid of the lone
waiter of the restaurant, Mr. Know-it-all....who didn't show up
on a busy Friday night. Gone. And gosh, the entire staff was so
upset...NOT! Anyway, there was another concert in town, and
while we got busy, it was not the usual insanity, perhaps because
it was on a Sunday night instead of the usual Friday or Saturday.
Didn't get a whole lot of visitors this weekend, but at least my
dear friends the Thompsons made an appearance which did cheer
me up. Francesca also came by one night AFTER closing time -
she called me with her cell phone to get me to unlock the door
for her! The nerve of the gal! But I did let her in so we could
shoot the breeze over hot chocolate (and cheesecake for her!).
Seems that school is going well, work is busy, and yes, she has
had the same boyfriend for 3 months now....almost a record! She
is eagerly anticipating her 21st birthday next month, excited that
she will finally be able to legally drink, not that age has been an
impediment to her partying ways. Maybe when she does turn 21
she will mature and settle down. Oh wait, we are discussing
Francesca....scratch that!

Friday, March 16, 2007

Giving in

As much as it chagrins me, I actually broke down today and called the
doctor. I have been battling this on and off cold for almost 2 weeks
now. It has seemed to go away a couple of times, only to come roaring
back. The last couple of days the situation has worsened, as now I
have a slight cough and my ears feel blocked; my nose seems to be
permanently congested, making my voice even more nasal than usual!
I guess I was putting off a medical visit as my old doctor has been out
of the picture since last fall, when he packed up and moved to a town
more than an hour away. It was only earlier this month that I actually
had my files transferred to the new doctor that I have picked for my
husband and myself. It will be weird to have a new guy examining me
after being with my previous doc for over 15 years. Oh well, guess it
is time to move on, I just wonder if I can build up as comfortable a
personal rapport with the new guy as I had with the old doc. Time
will tell, right now, this cold/flu/whatever it is has got to go!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Pizza and ice cream

2 of my fave available at a premium in New York City.
A proprietor of 6 pizza restaurants in the Big Apple is offering what
he calls the "Luxury Pizza" at one of his the cost of $1000
each. The 12 inch pie is topped with lobster, chives, fresh cream, and
6 kinds of caviar. 24 hours notice must be given if one wants to order
this pizza, in order to procure the caviar. hhmmm, at $125 a slice, I
am not sure how popular this will be for anyone other than the ultra
pretentious New Yorkers who want to show off...think I'll stick with
sausage and mushroom! Then, after their Luxury Pizza, the snobby
New Yorker can head over to another restaurant nearby which sells
an ice cream sundae called Golden Opulence.....also at $1000 a pop.
No, there is no caviar in the ice cream, but the sundae is topped with
23-karat edible gold leaf. Another no go, even if I had the money. I
want my gold in my jewelry and coins, not my stomach. Darn, all this
talk of ice cream....time to pick up a spoon for a visit to the freezer!

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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Comings and Goings

We had some upheavals at the restaurant in the last week. After
her 'medical' drama last week, Tiffany is no longer employed at
the restaurant. She never produced a medical note or doctor's
excuse for her alleged ailments, verifying what we all already
knew, that she was lying. No surprise. I only hope it will send a
message to a couple of our other drama queens who have a
distant relationship with the truth (but I doubt it). Then our
hostess with the mostess, Tina (and her silicone orchestra!) may
be on the way out. Her husband's work schedule has changed, not
allowing her to work 2 weeks a month, as someone needs to stay
home with the 3 kids. Not sure if working 2 weeks on, 2 weeks off
will be manageable schedule-wise, time will tell. This now allows
our favorite ex-jailbird to display her multitude of talents by
becoming the new hostess with the mostess (and her 'attributes'
are the real thing, unlike Tina's!). Yes, the one and only Kathy
now moves into a more responsible position within the
restaurant; naturally, we realize that it may be short-term, as
her legal situation, outlined in previous posts, is still up in the
air. But I am sure she will be quite popular in the meantime.
Last, and in this case, least, we do have a new waiter on board
for nightshift, but I can emphatically state that this will NOT
last long. In very short order he has managed to alienate, and
in some cases, completely creep out almost the entire staff. I
think you know the kind, the guy who thinks he knows it ALL,
is everyone's best buddy, interjects himself in every conversa-
tion, no matter what the topic, gives unsolicited advice, and
believes that he is the doing the best job and the most work.
Well, I have news for this bozo.....get over yourself. We need to
find a replacement....and fast, especially since the rumor going
around is that he is sneaking booze into the restaurant and taking
a drink when he goes to the bathroom or storeroom (he hasn't
been caught....yet). Just what we need on top of ALL the other
adventures and characters that we house in the asylum we call a
restaurant. And we have a concert coming up this weekend too?
Let the chaos begin!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Sorority Girls

Well, after my last post here, about the poor 101 year old woman
getting mugged, I wanted to write about something that was on the
lighter, fluffier side. Light, fluffy, airy, not a whole lot of substance...
lo and behold...sorority girls! DePauw University, in Indiana (I didn't
know where it was either) has cut all ties to the Delta Zeta sorority.
Apparently the Greek organization had recently kicked out 23 sisters;
DZ claimed that the girls were lacking the commitment to recruit
new members. But the booted girls claim that they were given the
heave-ho because of their appearance - less attractive, overweight,
and/or racial/ethnic differences. Most of the remaining members
are blonde and a size 10 or less. Apparently enough of the kicked
out girls made a compelling argument, prompting the school to
close the DZ chapter. The DePauw president, Robert Bottoms,
stated that the values of the sorority did not fit with those of the
university. The national chapter of Delta Zeta issued a statement
claiming that the situation at DePauw was being "mischaracterized"
and that they were "disappointed" in the decision. They also said
that to get over their stress and depression they were going to get
their nails and hair done and then go shopping.....oops, no, they
didn't really say that last line, I just threw that in for good measure!
One sorority less....isn't that a good thing?

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Sunday, March 11, 2007

Throw away the key

OK, I have known for a while that the morals and ethics of our society
are going down the drain quite gradually. But I just got done reading a
story on CNN that only validated how society has degenerated. It was
about a piece of trash that recently mugged an 101 year old woman.
101 years old. Teddy Roosevelt was president when she was born.
She was a schoolgirl during WWI, lived through the Great Depression,
WWII, and so much more. And now, near the end of her life, some
nasty slime mugged her....for $33 dollars?!?! The same man is
suspected in a mugging of an 85 year old woman in the same New
York City borough of Queens; he got away with a whopping $32 dollars
in that case. The 101 year old lady was able to withstand 3 punches to
her face before being pushed down on the ground. (A video surveillance
camera in the apartment building captured the attack on tape.) While
she did end up in the hospital for 3 days, the lady did state that had
she been younger, she would gone after him. Good for her, that's the
spirit! I hope NYC police find this creep and 'accidentally' leave him
in a cell with some hardened lifer with nothing to lose who will
perform a tap dance on his face.


Thursday, March 08, 2007

Medical drama

So much for having a drama-free week at the restaurant. Each time I go
back to work after my days off I silently hope that THIS will be the week
without drama, but my dream is usually dashed quite quickly, on the 1st
or 2nd day of my workweek. Our hostess with the mostess, Tina, fell ill
at the beginning of the week, placing the nightshift schedule in total flux.
Apparently she started off with a cold, that turned into an ear infection,
that turned into a perforated eardrum. I am no doctor, but that is quite
a turn of medical events. Then dayshift got thrown into a tizzy thanks to
Tiffany. She called out sick with an EXTREMELY dubious medical
situation - a stomach virus that turned into kidney stones, and she had
been in the emergency room all night. Again, I am no doctor, but as this
was NOT the first time she has had mysterious medical ailments
(especially on days AFTER she made alot of tip money and was planning
a night out with a boyfriend or other) that raised a red flag. So the other
manager and I decided that this time we would actually ask to see a
doctor's note or some kind of paper from the emergency room; after any
kind of hospital visit there is some kind of documentation. (Staff
members on the up and up produce a doctor's note without prompting,
those who aren't always lose the note or forget to bring it.....right.) Well
of course, when Tiffany was confronted with the fact that she would be
required to produce some type of medical excuse, she flipped out, just
went ballistic. She started screaming, incredulous that we DIDN'T
believe or trust her and actually asked for documentation of her medical
travails; she then threatened to quit. Wrong move. I just took her off the
schedule for the rest of the week and filled her slots in with another gal.
A medical excuse, apology, and/or confession will get Tiffany back on next
week.....maybe. Y'all know as well as I do that her maniacal outburst was
due to the fact that she had no doctor's note to produce. She went out with
her flavor of the week, got drunk, stayed up too late, was in no condition
to work, and then used the all too common 'emergency room' excuse.
Yeah, like we haven't heard that one 10, 100, 1000 times!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

2 men who shouldn't drive ever again!

One of the most vital inventions ever, the automobile, was involved
in 2 odd stories recently. A 54 year old South Carolina man was
arrested for drunk driving and trafficking marijuana after he crashed
his car into a parked S.C. state trooper cruiser on I-95. In the trunk of
the drunk's car were 2 duffel bags chock full of mary-jane, 43 pounds
of it, with a street value of around $150,000. Well, that may go down
as one of the easiest drug busts EVER - the perp landed at the cop's
feet, almost literally! And in a story that truly illustrates the plight
of the hen-pecked husband, a 35 year old California man recently
admitted to police that he faked his alleged kidnapping to hide from
his wife the fact that he wrecked her car! Originally he had told the
cops that 2 men tried to hold him up at gunpoint, so in order to
escape he purposely crashed the car he was driving. However, under
police questioning and scrutiny, the poor husband confessed that it
was all made up, that he had just been trying to find a plausible
reason for the car wreck he was in that would allow him to escape
his wife's wrath. I hope the police took the driver's licenses of both
of these fellows away, 2 dimwits like that have no business driving!

Monday, March 05, 2007

Time for soup, hot chocolate, and oatmeal!

Ick. Felt a cold coming on over the weekend, took all kinds of over
the counter meds to try to nip it in the bud, but it appears I didn't
catch it quite in time. Well, as long as it doesn't become a monster,
I can deal. Had a pretty interesting night at the restaurant yesterday.
Michelle came by with some of her friends; I don't see her quite as
often since she has gotten a 'real' job! Not that her other jobs in the
past weren't on the up and up, but it seems this retail cell phone gig
is the one which really made her realize her work ethic potential.
Now if we could just get her personal life in gear.....and she knows
exactly what I am talking about.....stop settling girlfriend. Anyway,
also the dear Thompsons dropped by. I feel bad for them, as the
previous time they visited someone hit their car in the parking lot
and of course ran off. Sadly, as my regular readers know, the restau-
rant parking lot has had its share of unreported dings. Phillip had
his vehicle hit, and Brandy has had hers hit twice. If this keeps up,
insurance companies are going to raise the rates for staff and clients
of the restaurant, citing it as a dangerous zone!

Sunday, March 04, 2007

The Dutch.....again!

This was a story I meant to bring to y'all sooner, but with all the goings
on at the restaurant, it got put to the backburner. But no more - and
here it is, another story from that hotbed of scandal - The Netherlands!
Yes, our good friends the Dutch just keep vindicating my belief that they
are by far the most liberal folks in Europe. According to CNN, an
Amsterdam judge recently ruled that peep shows are a form of theater
and that club owners are therefore entitled to a hefty tax break. Fans
of Madonna, such as myself, should be familiar with peep shows; the
video for her 1986 song 'Open Your Heart' featured the Material Girl
performing in a peep show as an exotic dancer in front of clientele in
various booths. (she would get more scandalous as the 80's closed and
the 90's entered.) But I digress. The judge justified his decision with the
following statement: "Admitting customers to peep shows is equivalent
to admitting them to a theater performance. The erotic character of the
performance does not diminish that." Because of this decision, owners
of peep show 'theaters' could receive thousands of tax Euros back. Gee,
so nice to know that in Holland, strippers have the same stature as
actors who partake in a play by Shakespeare, O'Neill, or Chekhov!

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Saturday, March 03, 2007

Let's hold that thought

So much for Kathy not providing more fodder for my blog, her drama
never ends. Need to do a quick update on her situation. I mentioned
that her last day of work was Thursday, how Friday she was getting out
of the big house, and was going to move out of state. Well, 2 out of 3 so
far. Kathy had been convinced that she had done all the correct paper-
work and followed all the procedures for her to be able to go out of
state; as she will still be on probation, she needed permission. Well,
upon her release yesterday, she was told that not everything was in
order yet, and she had to put her travel plans on hold. Naturally, Kathy
was devastated; her New York boyfriend will now leave on Sunday and
wait for word of when she will be ready to travel up north. Yes, the
big ole wrench got tossed into the mix. Now Kathy is trying to find a
place to live while she waits; more than likely she will stay with one
of our waitstaff gals. And yes, she even stated that she was available to
work at the restaurant next week should her services be required! I'll
let y'all know when....if.....she actually leaves our fair city/state!

Friday, March 02, 2007

Goodbye, Farewell

Well, last night was the final work shift for one of our work release
gals. Kathy was due to be released this morning, and is set to move
out of state and reunite with her family this weekend. We had a tiny
little send off for her last night - folks pitched in for some Mexican
food and an Oreo cake, her faves. Plus someone brought one of those
disposable cameras, so everyone took turns clicking away, taking
pics with her to remember us all by, and for Kathy to share her last
memories of work. I really hope that THIS time will be the last time
Kathy has one of these 'get out of jail finally' celebrations, and that
she will actually wise up, settle down, and turn her life around. I do
not want to sound like a pessimist, but I do have my doubts if this
will be the case. I just never heard a 'new' Kathy when she spoke of
plans; even on the inside her life was encased in drama. I am actually
quite sure that she will eventually come back to our fair city. That
would be OK, just as long as she stays clean and out of trouble. For
Kathy, all much easier said than done. But for now, let's try to think
positive and believe that this is indeed a new, fresh beginning for her,
and that Kathy won't provide fodder for my blog ever again!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Couch Potatoes in mourning

Another headline could be 'The Inventor who deserves a sitting ovation'.
The man who glued TV viewers to the sofa died recently. Robert Adler
passed away at the age of 93 in an Idaho nursing home. A native of
Vienna, Austria, Adler emigrated to the United States prior to WWII;
during the war, he worked on the development of technology for radio
and communication systems. After the war he moved on to television
technology; he worked for Zenith for 6 decades and was credited with
over 180 U.S. patents. His best known invention was the 1956 Zenith
Space Command remote control. Another Zenith inventor, Eugene
Polley, had created a remote a year earlier, but it was Adler who
introduced ultrasonic high frequency to it, making the remote more
efficient. (Zenith credits both Polley and Adler as co-inventors of the
remote control.) Throughout his life Adler felt that many of his other
inventions that had been useful during WWII, and later on in the
advancement of the space program, were more important; his wife
even stated that he wasn't much of a TV buff, that he preferred to read.
But in reality, it was the remote control that had a more of a long
reaching effect and influence on daily life. There are remotes now for
the garage door, to start and lock your car, for the stereo, and much
more. Adler even had a hand in the development of touch screen
innovations, color television, even cellular phone technologies. Clearly
he was one of the major scientific figures of the 20th century. Thank
you for everything Mr. Adler.

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