Not Your Everyday News

Monday, April 30, 2007

Friends, Food, and Phones

Ah, just got home after having a simply superb evening. Hubby and I
went out to dinner with our dear friends the Thompsons. It was long
overdue, so we made the most of it. We had a very nice dinner, actually
better than expected as it was at a restaurant my husband and I had
tried in the past and had been rather disappointed. But since we had
heard that there had been some menu changes and improvements, we
decided to give it another go, this time with company; a great time was
had by all! We then sat a spell at the Thompson's house, whereupon my
hubby basically held a clinic. See, he has a Motorola RAZR phone, and
recently the Thompsons each got one too. So naturally my tech whiz
had to show them various functions of the phone and teach them how
to use it. So I sat there, witnessing a Motorola how-to session, and let
me tell you, it was rather amusing! Camera, photos, ringtones, how to
save and/or send, the works. If the Thompsons can actually remember
all the new info, they are more capable folks than yours truly!


Sunday, April 29, 2007

Some good news

YES! I read in CNN yesterday, right before I left for work, that there
has been an arrest in the mugging of the 101 year old woman in New
York. I am sure y'all remember the case last month, and saw the very
disturbing video on all the news channels. Well, a 44 year old man
was questioned after police arrested him on an unrelated drug charge.
Officers questioned him after noticing he matched a photo of a person
wanted in the attack of the 101 year old woman; he also attacked an
85 year old woman attacked around the same time. He was charged
after a line of questioning determined that the police had their man;
he will be held without bail on charges of robbery, grand larceny,
burglary, and assault. Furthermore, this lowlife will be charged with
hate crimes as well, since he targeted elderly people. In New York,
attacks on people over 60 years old are a violation of New York
State Hate Crimes Act of 2000. So, basically, this slime is facing up to
25 years in the slammer. hhhmmmm, it is obvious that this pleases
me?!? Serves him right for beating up little old ladies.


Saturday, April 28, 2007

Bye bye work release

There truely is never a dull moment at the restaurant. Just when we
think we have slipped into a monotonous routine - WHAP - a big ole
slap knocks us back to our dysfunctional reality! Case in point - late
yesterday afternoon - the dinner rush was just getting underway, the
place was about 1/2 full or so. Two out of my three waitresses were
there, the 3rd on the way. Two correctional officers bolted into the
restaurant and headed towards Annie, our remaining work-release gal.
Normally I wouldn't have been alarmed, as officers occasionally drop
by to check in on Annie, I guess to make sure that she is where she is
supposed to be, and doing what she is supposed to be doing; the
officers would make some kind of small talk. But yesterday no banter,
no strolling about, but a determined bee-line. I saw them reach Annie
and ask her to go around to the back. After less than a minute, the
other waitress, Melinda, ran towards me. She told me that I should
go to the back, that the officers were cuffing Annie and taking her.
OH NO! I rushed back to the kitchen, and sure enough, Annie was
handcuffed; when I asked the officers what the problem was, they
simply stated that it was part of an ongoing investigation and they
could not discuss anything at the time. Fortunately they took Annie
out the back, so no customers witnessed this fiasco. Naturally, being
a waitress short, the restaurant got slammed last night. I was able to
find out, however, the reason for Annie's situation. Apparently, another
inmate informed officers of some contraband that Annie had snuck in
and hid in her personal belongings - a nail file, tweezers, and some over
the counter medicine - all illegal to possess in jail. The officers found
everything after she had left for work, then came and busted her. You
can argue that Annie brought this on herself - yes, she knew she couldn't
have those items. But the medicine she had was for acid reflux; the
prescription she had at the jail infirmary had lapsed, and she was going
to the bathroom 10-12 times a night at the restaurant due to her health
issues. And what is a shame is that she had less than a month to go.
Now she faces the possibility of additional time to go along with the
revocation of her work release. Yes, we have probably seen the last of
Annie, unless she decides to come to work for us again after she gets
out, which I doubt, as she plans to live almost an hour away. Never
ending drama, with a sad twist this time.

Friday, April 27, 2007


What the heck? We are a year and a half away from the 2008
presidential election, yet we have already had our first debate.
Eight Democratic hopefuls for the White House took part in an
event held in South Carolina last night. It turned out to be a
fairly ho-hum gathering, as most naturally bashed the war in
Iraq. The surprise of the debate was a little known ex-senator
from Alaska, Mike Gravel. According to CNN pundits, he shook
up the stage more than once, at one point calling the U.S. "the
greatest violater of the non-proliferation treaty". (The 1968
Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which the U.S. has signed,
calls for the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, disarmament,
and the peaceful use of nuclear energy.) The atmosphere, for the
most part, however, was cordial; no one came out ahead or
damaged. What I simply don't get is how early all these candidates
declared their intentions, and, subsequently, how soon, before
even the first caucus or primary, a debate was held. I have
followed American politics for over 20 years, and I just don't
remember witnessing such a circus, especially a year and a half
before actually going to the polls. The danger of this is that most
folks are going to be fed up with all the politicians over this long
stretch of time. The result could be even more apathy from the
American public. I would like to believe the opposite will happen,
that folks will be forced to become more politically aware and
active. However, Americans do not have the best track record
when it comes to politics and voting; commentators gush when
voter turnout percentages for an election go over 50%. But
basically, that means about 1/2 of all Americans could care less -
if they cared, they would get out and vote. Personally, I have
never missed a vote; I became a registered voter immediately
after turning 18. Even when I lived overseas, I would go to the
American embassy and vote by absentee ballot. But clearly not
all folks are quite as dedicated. Oh well, I guess time will tell,
after all, we have plenty of it before Nov. 2008!

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Thursday, April 26, 2007

One of the funniest stories ever!

Ok, since I have become somewhat internet savvy, with the ability to
surf and find far out stories, I have come across some beauts. But this
one just might take the cake. An internet company called 'Poodles as
Pets' has, as the article I read aptly stated, "fleeced" as many as 2000
Japanese citizens. Based out of Australia and England, 'Poodles as Pets'
marketed poodles as must-have accessories for the Japanese rich and
glamorous. The problem? They were sending their unwitting clientele
neatly coiffured lambs, passing them off as dogs! I am not joking, and
yes, I have been laughing for the last 10 minutes! Apparently poodle
dogs are very rare in Japan, thus few people know what they actually
look like. The scam was discovered as several owners began to question
why their "dogs" never barked or ate their dog food! The kicker was
when a leading Japanese actress went on a TV talk show with pictures
of her "dog", only to be told that it was a lamb! (I REALLY need to stop
laughing now!) Needless to say, the 'Poodles as Pets' website has been
shut down. Well, at least these scammed Japanese folks have their
next big Sunday dinner taken care of - bring on the mint jelly and oven
baked rosemary potatoes!
(the lamb is on the right,
just in case there was
any doubt!)

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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Good move - bad move

Came across a couple of stories online today that displayed decision
making on the opposite ends of the spectrum - smart and dumb.
First the idiotic move. A man in Florida ran his van into a home, and
proceeded to escape on foot as the homeowners watched. However,
he left one of his shoes behind. An hour later, as police were at the
scene investigating, a bloody, barefoot man, clad only in boxer
shorts, walked up. Investigators noticed facial injuries on this man,
consistent with hitting a steering wheel; an officer proceeded to
ask the injured guy to try on the shoe. It was a perfect fit! Well, I
guess you could call this a sad, warped version of Cinderella! A much
smarter character came out ahead in England this week. A retired
engineer, 10 years ago, had placed a 100 pound bet with a bookmaker
that he would live to be 100 years old. Well, that 100 pounds turned
into 25,000 pounds ($50,000 USD) this week as the gentleman
celebrated his 100th birthday! His secret to longevity? A daily diet
of porridge and a chess game or two, as well as remembering to
just keep breathing, are key. Porridge? I guess Goldilocks and
the 3 Bears will be around a while!

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Monday, April 23, 2007

Thanks for your support

Folks get frustrated at times with things...just stuff in general.
AND, folks take alot of things and stuff for granted. But every
once in a while, we are reminded that sometimes we get upset
and frustrated over NOTHING, and that we can't ALWAYS
take matters for granted. I got reminded of that this past
weekend, and am now just heaving a big sigh of relief. Yes, I am
writing rather cryptically, as I don't feel the need or desire to go
into rather personal details. But I did get a little bit of an insight
as to who I can count on at the restaurant, and who I cannot,
when an emergency arises. I was also privy to yet another
example of a true and valued friendship (you know who you are
P & J ... sorry we had to postpone dinner). As for Michelle, who
I was kind of mean and rude to...well, at least more than usual
(wink wink!!), thanks for just being you. Thanks to Lola too, who
I didn't get to actually speak to, but found her numerous and
concerned communications. It takes alot of crazy, fun, cool folks
to make the world, or at least my world, go 'round. In this
category of course is my husband, who today I love more than
yesterday, but less than tomorrow. Ti amero per sempre tesoro!

Friday, April 20, 2007

Final thoughts

After today I won't be writing about the Virginia Tech tragedy. All the
websites, television stations, magazines and newspapers are giving
above and beyond coverage, and I can only go into my level of shock
and sorrow only so much before becoming repetitive beyond belief; it
all changes nothing, the irreparable damage is done. My sympathies
go out to the families and loved ones of the victims, and even to the
family of the shooter; never in their wildest dreams could they have
imagined their son could, would do such a horrible act, yet they will
have to live with it for the rest of their lives. The Governor of Virginia
has declared today a day of mourning; vigils and ceremonies are being
held state-wide, bells are being tolled, candles being lit. The last 2 days,
at the restaurant, I have noticed many customers wearing Virginia
Tech apparel or adorned with Hokie colors, maroon and orange. It is a
heartening sign of support and solidarity, especially in what is, or was
before Monday, a very anti-Virginia Tech town. In these days, we all
became Hokies, and while that may fade over time, I don't think it will
ever completely disappear.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

State of shock

Another sad day. We know who the Virginia Tech killer was, a student,
a senior, who would have graduated soon, but instead sent himself to
the depths of Hades after destroying over 30 families (including his
own). And now on the various news websites we see the pictures of
some of the victims, the happy faces of lives ended so suddenly and
ruthlessly. Professors, students, men, women, Virginians, Americans,
even citizens of other nations. It simply makes no sense. We could
beat our heads against a multitude of walls and never comprehend
what on earth was going on in the shooter's mind as he shot....and
reloaded....and shot again....what was going on so bad in his mind, in
his life....that made him do this? Cannot comprehend...impossible.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Horrible Tragedy

Today the entire state of Virginia is in mourning for the
senseless act that occurred in Blacksburg, Virginia. An
insane gunman shot and killed, at last count, 32 people,
and wounded at least 15 more on the Virginia Tech campus.
Our local university is the main rival/nemesis to the
Virginia Tech Hokies, but today that rivalry is replaced by
sorrow and despair...why did this happen, why were these
lives snuffed out so senselessly, why why why?

Prayers go out to all of the families and friends of the victims.

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Saturday, April 14, 2007

It's a snap!

Well, today Francesca, my little gal pal who frequents the restaurant,
officially turns 21. I can only imagine her state of inebriation by the
time this day ends! Her sister Lilly was in the other night and told me
how she had gotten her a digital camera and was going to take her out
to dinner. She did hope she would get a hold of lil' sis BEFORE she had
started drinking! Lilly then had a horrible thought, how the new camera
she plans to give to Francesca could capture compromising images! I
tried to reassure her, that she would be too drunk to operate it - let's
see. Digital cameras are definitely among the best inventions in the
last decade. You took a lousy picture? No problem - DELETE! And
some of the memory cards hold way more pictures than most people
could ever take. Since my husband and I have had our digital camera,
pictures have been a breeze. We snap away, insert the memory card
into the computer, check them all out, and get rid of what we don't like.
Then hubby gets all creative with certain programs on the computer,
enhancing the pictures one way or another, and prints the really good
ones. Voila! What is scary is that we still haven't learned even 1/2 of
the various functions of the camera, so it hasn't been used to its full
capacity. But that's OK, as long as it has auto focus, red eye reduction,
and automatic flash when the lighting situation requires it, we are more
than satisfied with how it works. So let's hope the lovely birthday girl
will be sober enough one day to appreciate big sister's cool gift, but
until then, Happy 21st Francesca!


Thursday, April 12, 2007

Sad but funny

Sometimes, you read a story in the news and you just have to laugh,
despite the tragedy or absurdity of the situation. Yesterday I had one
of those moments, when I was browsing the CNN website and came
across this headline - "ATM thief's fake leg falls off in escape bid". I
mean, come on, while it is sad that someone, for one reason or
another, has a prosthetic leg, you still can't help but laugh. The
scenario in brief. Mr. fake leg man and an accomplice took a pickup
truck to a market, tied a chain around a 1500 pound ATM machine,
ripped it off the floor with the truck, and then loaded the machine
onto the pickup. Police gave chase, and the 2 bandits drove onto a
dead-end street, whereupon they abandoned their vehicle and took
off on foot. OK, at least one of them did. The guy with the prosthetic
leg was found lying on the ground near the truck by police; his leg
was nearby as it had fallen off in his frantic attempt to escape. As a
police spokesman put it, " attempt to flee from officers...was
unsuccessful". Well, I guess if you were a leg down your attempts
to flee would be unsuccessful too! Um, Mr. fake leg, stick to crimes
that don't require quick getaways on foot...just a suggestion!


Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Bartender, a diamond please!

Boy, talk about loving life these days. I do NOT have to open any
days at all this dastardly morning shifts at the restaurant,
which makes me happy, at least for this week anyway. I feel better,
and already feel less tired, even though I haven't worked yet, it's just
knowing I don't have to awake at an ungodly hour. Anyhow, I just
wanted to share another outrageous story about pricey items for
pretentious consumption. If you recall, last month I wrote about
the high priced specialty pizza and ice cream sundae in New York
City (the pizza had caviar, the sundae gold leaf, both sold for a
$1000). Well, I just read a story in the 'Washington Post' that beats
both. In Tokyo, Japan, a new Ritz-Carlton luxury hotel has just
opened. Ok, we all know that the Ritz is, well, ritzy. In Tokyo, the
Presidential suite goes for $20,000 a NIGHT. Over 200 weddings
have already been booked at the Tokyo Ritz for 2007 - starting price,
$24,000 (starting price mind you!). But just as extravagant is a
special martini that the hotel offers in collaboration with Bulgari
jewelers. The 'Diamonds-are-Forever Martini' is a $16,000 cocktail
with a one-carat Bulgari diamond at the bottom. As long as you
don't accidentally swallow it, you can take the diamond to any
Bulgari boutique in Tokyo and have a ring fitted for the stone for
free. Oh yeah, that's FREE alright! hhmm, what are the chances of
showing cleavage and scoring a free drink from the Ritz bartender?

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Monday, April 09, 2007

TV and Hockey

Have been getting my fill of TV during my mini-vacation. Last night was
the new season premiere of 'The Soprano's', much to my husband's
delight, as he is a huge fan. It isn't a bad show, and some episodes have
been actually quite good, but I have never quite understood the all
the brouhaha surrounding it. Me, I am still a huge 'Law & Order' fan;
I have been indulging in some 'SVU' episodes that my husband recorded
on the DVR. The good thing about watching episodes in this manner is
that I can fast forward the commercials! Then tonight the next episode
of '24' comes on, so yet another spy/crime/suspense fix. That will be
more TV in 2 days than I usually watch in a week. Of course, some of
the TV viewing always includes zapping through all the TV channels in
a matter of seconds. But I did pause long enough on ESPN to notice
that the New York Islanders won their last game of the season, which
allowed them to claim the last playoff berth in the National Hockey
League. Hockey is a sport I follow and watch occasionally; the action
is fast and frenetic. Several years ago I chose the Islanders as my
fave hockey team - no, I have never been to one of their games, and
my 2 visits to Long Island were years ago to visit relatives and friends
in Astoria, the predominantly Greek neighborhood in Queens. I guess
I felt sorry for the Isles, as the New York Rangers seem to garner
most of the attention in the hockey world (understandable since they
are one of the older franchises). So I will be rooting for my team, even
if they have a minimal chance of advancing in the playoffs - go Isles!

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Sunday, April 08, 2007

Happy Easter!

Well, as you all know, this year Orthodox Easter fell on the same day
as Catholic/Protestant Easter, so a doubly important day in our
household! Hope everyone had a joyous holiday despite the unusually
cold temperatures. Easter, as you all know, is the celebration of the
resurrection of Jesus Christ; in Orthodox countries, Easter is actually
a more important holiday than Christmas. Unlike Christmas, it has a
movable date; the Orthodox church follows the Gregorian calendar
to set the date, while the Catholics still follow the Julian calendar
for dating the holiday. And as I mentioned in a previous post, once
in a while (every 4-5 years), they fall together, dashing my plans of
buying discount Easter candy! But enough said, I think I drank a tad
too much wine with the celebratory food I prepared today (also due
to celebrating an extra day off!), so I will wrap this up with some
Easter images - enjoy the chocolate bunnies and eggs!

Friday, April 06, 2007

Return of staff...and scandal

It's time to catch you folks up on the saga of Kathy, our new hostess
with the mostess at the restaurant who was supposed to move out
of state with her boyfriend/fiance after she was released from the
'3 hots and a cot' hotel. Well, she is still here, and to no one's surprise,
including myself, she is probably not going anywhere anytime soon.
After being not being allowed to move out of state, Kathy and her
supposed "love of her life" had found an apartment that she could
rent on a month to month basis until things could get worked out
for her to leave. Well, so much for best laid plans. Kathy was caught
'entertaining' another man, the boyfriend/fiance found out, and now,
quite naturally, they are done and their plans for the future tossed
out like yesterday's trash. No, it didn't take long for Kathy to go
back to her wild ways, we are all just hoping that she won't let her
life unravel as she has in the past (and end up a resident of the state
hotel yet again). Meanwhile our other work release gal, Annie, has
entered the home stretch - less than 50 days before freedom is
reality for her too. Another development at the restaurant concerns
a waitress who used to work for us in the past, but had left last
year to have a baby. Faith has come back to work on a part-time
basis, and while it took her a few shifts to get back in the swing,
she has had a nice return. Beth is also back after her carpal tunnel
wrist surgery. If you were just thinking that almost everyone who
leaves seems to eventually come back to the restaurant, yeah, you're
right, most of them do - the place is a magnet for the dysfunctional!

Thursday, April 05, 2007

San Fran Ban

San Francisco is one of the most famous cities
in the United States,maybe even the world.
The city by the bay, the Golden Gate Bridge,
Fisherman's Wharf - all symbols of this
northern California city. And lest we forget,
San Francisco is also home to the largest gay
community in the United States, fueling its
reputation as a very liberal city. Many of the
liberal reforms that have sprouted in Cali-
fornia have their roots in San Fran. Some
have been good ideas, others maybe not so
much. But the latest news out of the Golden
State is definitely positive. Last week, the

San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted to ban plastic bags
from large supermarkets and pharmacies in an effort to promote
recycling. Plastic bags are made out of petroleum products; city
legislator Ross Mirkarimi stated that the ban would save 450,000
gallons of oil a year and would also remove the need to send 1,400
tons of debris now sent every year to the landfill. (Recyclable plastic
bags, however, would be allowed under the new law.) It will be
intriguing to follow this development, to see how it will be received
and carried out, and if other U.S. cities will follow San Fran's example.
Let's hope so.

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Wednesday, April 04, 2007

West Virginia Basketball

The college basketball season wrapped up this week. The University of
Tennessee won the women's NCAA tourney, the University of Florida
conquered the men's side. In the NIT tournament, the University of
Wyoming was victorious on the women's side, while the University
of West Virginia won the men's title. OR did they? After the champion-
ship game between West Virginia and Clemson, won by the Moun-
taineers 78-73, officials handed out commemorative T-shirts to the
winning team. There was a problem however. The last 'i' in Virginia
was missing on the T-shirts, so in reality, the players and coaches
from the University of West 'Virgina' were holding up the champion-
ship trophy. The University was quick to point out that the NIT
printed the T-shirts, not the learning institution of the Mountaineer
state. hhmmm, do I go on a West Virginia joke bender, or should I
leave this alone? Let's see, did you hear about the tornado that hit
West Virginia? It caused $3 million dollars in IMPROVEMENTS!
Or the fact that many murders go unsolved in West Virginia? That is
because there are very few dental records and almost all the DNA is
the same! Sorry, I couldn't resist picking on good ole W. Virgina!

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Sunday, April 01, 2007


Time to catch up, as a few days have passed since my last post.
I had to open 2 days this week, and those of you who know me
understand exactly what I mean when I say uuugggggghhhhhh!
That morning shift really is for the birds.....oh, and speaking of
birds, a family of cardinals has moved into one of the trees of
our back yard. A little over a month ago my husband and I put
a bird feeder out back, and from our kitchen window we have
seen a myriad of birds visit - chickadees, thrushes, woodpeckers,
pigeons, these pretty grayish birds that I don't recognize, and the
cardinals. Naturally, much to our dismay, stealing, robbing
squirrels invaded as well; it took me 3 attempts to find the right
system to thwart their thieving efforts, but even so, they still make
valiant attempts! Anyway, my husband has determined that the
family of cardinals is here to stay; the male cardinal (the bright red
guy) often sits on one of the fences keeping his eye on things. He
doesn't mind other birds species coming around, but if another
male cardinal tries to invade his "territory", Mr. Red Man chases
him away. So our backyard resident either has put down roots and
doesn't want any squatters, or is very jealous and protective of the
brownish red Ms. Cardinal and these 2 smaller birds that appear
to be their offspring. Basically, our red feathered friend has become
the Tony Soprano of the backyard - the bird boss or capo!