Friday, August 31, 2007
That's what I called a local police department after they wouldn't give one of my writers any new information on a story.
That's what I called an unnamed person when I discovered they did not perform an undisclosed task (and that's all I'll say about that. Read: work).
And that's what I'm calling the TSA after reading their Duty Free alcohol policy.
Apparently the Feds don't deem foreign alcohol "safe" when you bring it back to the U-S.
Many overseas countries will put your liquor in a sealed bag to prove it hasn't been tampered with and therefore isn't a security threat. The US does not consider these sealed bags safe. Instead, you can buy Duty Free alcohol and have foreign officials take it directly for you to the plane.
Problem solved, right?
After you fly from Country X, you will land in the US. You will likely land at a big ass airport hundreds of miles away from your destination. You will go through customs before you get to your connecting flight.
It is apparently at THIS point where you are required to take all that Duty Free liquor and shove it in the baggage you will check onto the second flight.
As if my bag isn't already full of souvenirs, dirty clothes and all the liquids I'm NOT allowed to put in my carry-on luggage.
I guess I won't have much of a wardrobe variety during my vacation.
Thursday, August 30, 2007
I make this offer after discovering an initiative involving my favorite kind of restaurants: local dining establishments.
The Greater Cincinnati Independents are sponsoring a Restaurant Week between September 4th and 8th.
The list of participating restaurants includes some reliable favorites like Andy's Mediterranean and Pompilio's in Newport. The list also include the likes of gourmet establishments such as Jean-Robert at Pigall's, Red, Hugo and Daveed's at 934.
THOSE are the kinds of restaurants I'd like to try - only because I don't have the deep pockets to eat at those spots on a regular basis.
Restaurant Week invites foodies and other curious types to explore 25 independent, tri-state restaurants. Each establishment will serve up a three-course menu for $25.07 (the number of restaurants participating and the calendar year, how clever). The price does not include drinks, taxes or tip.
My media friends and other curious types can look at a press release on Restaurant Week here.
So the invite is open.
So is my calendar.
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
That's kinda funny.
Five of those eight are women.
Three of those eight are seriously dating someone.
As many as three of those eight are casually dating someone.
One of those eight has triumphed over divorce.
One of those eight is gay.
One of those eight is like the brother I never had.
One of those eight is a sister.
So which person is it?
Kind of like one of those boxes girls have when they're little - the ones with the cute music chimes and the tiny ballerina that spins inside.
She clung tightly to her sparkling ideas, hoping someday they'd become her reality.
Life wasn't really all that dramatic for her.
It was punctuated by the sound of punching a time card or the ding of a microwave. She basically went through the motions waiting for something significant to happen in that world she called her own.
And so this dusty, dowdy life she lived became one of complacency, of no expectation. Destiny had handed her a bum rap, so she passed the time marking Xs on the calendar and picking up dirty pennies for a rainy day not so far away.
She played the check game.
You know - the one where you post date checks and mail bills right under the wire - hoping they got to the credit card company, the landlord or the phone company before the late date. Meantime, you're crossing your fingers, hoping the check doesn't go through your own bank until the money is actually there.
Yeah, she played that game in spades.
Her finances were basically a house of cards. Each bill balancing on another flimsy circumstance. Get burned once and it would turn her world into a raging inferno of desperation.
And so that's how she happened to find herself counting seconds that Friday.
She left work late - it was the one occasion they offered her any sliver of overtime and so she jumped at the chance. She only hoped those few moments of double pay wouldn't cost her a high price in the end. Her car insurance was due. It was a bill she paid religiously. She knew by heart the date her policy would be cancelled - it all hinged on a postmark.
She had no idea her destiny was riding on a pinky, inky, indelible mark left on an envelope.
The steel keys were cold in her hand. There was no time to waste - she shoved the metal in the ignition and with the exacting precision of a surgeon she turned the key while placing her feet on the ignition and clutch.
Every second counted.
Every second counted.
That was the mantra playing in her head as she compulsively shifted, glanced in the rear view mirror and cranked open the window with a sweeping, simultaneous move.
She had half an hour to get to the post office and get that precious stamp on her pristine, white envelope. It would be a lifetime of time when no rushing's involved, and yet a flashing moment when your heart is racing and your brain is over thinking ten billion things.
What if there's a wreck on the interstate? What if the road becomes a parking lot?
So many what ifs to get in the way of her mission, and yet so little time to dwell on it.
She glided out of the factory's parking lot. Her mind was a million miles away as she cruised through several streets until she hit the interstate. The songs on the radio teased her with giddy descriptions of a better life. Cristalle. Keys to the Benz. Flashy taunts that dug into her skin - reminding her that she was behind the wheel of a beat up, blue Sentra trimmed with rust and a missing hub cap.
Her head raced, and her car did, too.
The engine roared as she let her greasy brown hair fly in the breeze, taking her aggression, all her worldly anger on the road.
She had no idea.
*** *** ***
The sound of honking cars and creeping traffic were barely the underscore to the drama happening in the back of the ambulance.
Tense shouts and efficient chaos working to keep that heart pumping. Working to keep that girl breathing. Police would call it an accident. The little blue car was traveling just too fast. There was no way she could see that big, black Mercedes merging - her blind spot must have been in the way.
Such a cruel joke.
Sometimes one has a right to wonder whether God has a heart of his own.
The factory did what it could. Workers gave small bills and big coins to a collection in the break room. Her Mom and Dad had essentially pocket change in the bank and they were already paying a second mortgage on the house. It's a shame she didn't have health insurance, they'd cry between the dried up stream of tears. Her parents were at a loss - for words, for energy for everything.
And the car insurance. She never did get that letter mailed that fateful day.
That envelope was still floating aimlessly on the road, tumbling beside cigarette butts and crushed up soda cans and empty plastic bags.
Her policy was cancelled two days after that crash - the same day her heart gave out.
Life isn't really fair, is it?
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
That's not really a secret 'round these parts.
You may not know, however, that I have a soft spot for southern food.
Sure. West Coast flavors are great, like pan seared tuna and avocado-ginger glazes. And I have a deep love for the flavors and aromas that waft out of a New England eatery, what with their whole belly clams and lobster bisque laced with sherry.
But down-home-turned-with-the-spoon-of-love southern food?
You can't beat it with a stick.
And that's exactly what we found while dining in Decatur, Georgia's uber hip and ultra attentive Watershed.
This sparkling gem is proudly owned by none other than Indigo Girl Emily Saliers (I went to the doctor, I went to the mountain... da da da The closer I am to fiiiiine. Closer I am to fine!) The folk rock musician and her partners have turned an old garage into a cozy, dim spot lit by candlelight and warm hearts. The glass enclosed entry is graced with several grand sunflower arrangements and sleek bench seating where you can wait for your table.
Once I made it to the dining room, I immediately noticed the series of bookcases decorated with a stunning collection of turquoise colored glass.
Watershed is a restaurant that just throws its arms open and welcomes you to the table of plenty.
And plenty, indeed.
Oenophiles will be happy to know that Saliers is a bit of a connoisseur herself, and so the bar is full of many boutique and unusual vintages. My dad pleasantly discovered a bottle of white wine he hadn't had since we were in Austria 18 years ago.
I chose to stick with the hard stuff - enjoying a beautifully mixed dirty gin martini and a mandarin and soda.
Good pours all around.
I drooled over the extensive menu dotted with such down home offerings as oven barbecue chicken served with corn-on-the-cob and creamy cole slaw, and okra pancakes with cucumber salad and yellow squash.
I flipped a mental coin in my head and decided instead to go with the salmon croquettes with collared greens and grits.
The croquettes tasted like a bit of heaven in my mouth. Chock full of tender salmon, the perfectly rounded pucks were punctuated with fresh, crunchy bits of celery. The side of grits were some of the best I've ever had. Creamy, buttery peaks of grits, so smooth they melted in my mouth. And the greens - they were fresh, tart, delicately sauteed and a shade of brilliant green. The garnish of tomato slices were the edible heads up to my mouth that yes, indeed, it IS summer, what with their beefy, firm texture and a warmth no doubt earned on a farm just a few miles away from our dinner table.
My dad was kind enough to give me a bit of his catfish - the meat was flaky and moist and just pulled right off the bone. The one hush puppy he parted with was so so soft and bursting with a hint of buttermilk.
Through the whole meal, our server was beyond attentive. She noticed my sister's with child status and rattled off a list of freshly squeezed juices when we were gearing up for cocktail time. She also specifically asked my sister whether she had any temperature instructions for the chef in light of her pregnancy. Our server also raced to the table to let us know the kitchen had just one piece of blueberry cobbler and would we like to order it quickly before anyone else? Our sever was extremely knowlegeable about the preparation of the food and the gourmet touches that gave each dish personality.
She was a foodie, and I appreciated that.
For dessert, I decided to opt against the "very good chocolate cake" Watershed is known for. Instead, I shared the organic Georgia pecan tart with shortbread crust. I am a sucker for pecan pie and also shortbread, so I thought this treat was extra special. The pecan filling portion was tasty and full of whole nuts, not those itty-bitty bits like at other restaurants. The shortbread crust was buttery and soft.
The dessert was a perfect finish to a perfect evening discovering a new part of an old city with lots of tradition.
I hope to add Watershed to my own list of When-In-Atlanta traditions.
Monday, August 27, 2007
We decided to explore and celebrate another American icon: Coca-Cola.
Coke was invented in 1886 by an Atlanta inventor and druggist. The city has long heralded its prominence in the history of the most recognizable beverage on the planet, and so it is no surprise that popaholics can tour a museum there dedicated to the fizzy beverage.
We cruised through the Coca-Cola Museum on a steamy, Saturday afternoon in Hot-lanta. The promise of an international beverage buffet at the end of the tour was the motivation for our pouring over hundreds of Coke related signage, art and other inspired works.
Finally, after a couple movies (including one interactive version with jerking seats and sprays of water) we made it to Taste It!, the refreshing portion of the venue.
Inside a grand hall you're handed a plastic cup and invited to try up to 70 Coke products from countries around the world. The tasting stations look like suped up soda fountains and are arranged by continent (North America, South America, Asia, Europe and Africa). A sixth area is dedicated purely to the Coke brand and its variations, like Cherry Coke and Coke Zero.
Some of the international flavors were predictable: Fanta in a wide variety of flavors, Canada Dry ginger ale. Others were very exotic in nature - fruity, carbonated flavors and other concoctions laced with herbs and spices.
I can't remember any of the foreign names, save for one - a beverage so bad, so offensive it burned its name into my brain for all eternity.
Just typing the word out makes me want to induce vomit.
A name that betrays your instincts - it teases with visions of beautifully manicured lawns and glittery cocktail parties around vast pools of cerulean blue. But no, Beverly is none of that.
Beverly is lighter fluid and car exhaust and kerosene.
Beverly is iodine, syrup of ipecac and turpentine.
Beverly tastes just like the drippings caught by the rubber mats lining the bar at the neighborhood watering hole.
Okay, so I don't really know what those remnants taste like.
But I do know what Beverly tastes like (despite the cries of my brother-in-law, who warned me to steer clear of that soda fountain) and I hope to never taste it again.
After some intense research (a.k.a. trolling Google), I discovered Beverly is a bitter, citrus beverage that's meant to be an aperitif before heavy meals. That said, I'd take a ginger ale or Sprite any day over the purely disgusting nature of this Italian soda.
And apparently I'm not alone.
This guy does not love everything, despite the title of his blog. Alex tried Beverly at a similar beverage sampling set-up in Vegas. It turns out Coke has introduced the world to Beverly at venues in Las Vegas and also at Disney's Epcot Center. Message boards lambaste Beverly for its intense, bitter flavor that does well to inflict a person's gag reflex.
And they're all pretty much spot on.
I'd dare say Beverly is one of the greatest crimes against humanity, at least where the beverage industry is concerned.
Here's a quick video that captures the typical reaction to tasting The Beverly.
This kid struggled with drinking ten glasses of The Beverly on his high school band trip to Epcot.
People all over the world wide web have uploaded videos of their exploits with The Beverly. Others have fired off passionate blogs about the most horrendous flavor to pass their lips.
But never fear: even further internet searching turns up global travelers who've never even seen the wretched Beverly in Italy.
So I guess I'm safe when I go to Rome someday.
I've returned to the great Tri-State area.
I spent the past several days very South of the Mason Dixon line in Hot-lanta, or what my sister Bridge likes to call, The Dirty Dirty.
I was in my domicile this evening just long enough to water an atrophic tomato plant, and now I have settled temporarily in my week long digs thanks to a housesitting gig.
I've got quite a bit of blogging to do about my Southern Sojourn (read: an amazing restaurant in Decatur and what NOT to drink at the Coca-Cola museum), for now, though, I think I'll just let the dust settle and put my feet up after today's long drive.
I must go now - I intend on rooting around the fridge for a cold beer or other delicious beverage and reunite with my lover, Tony Soprano.
Hope you all had a great weekend...
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
It's time for another school year.
I remember heading out the door with a new pair of shoes, a neatly pressed dress and a lunch box full of cookies, an orange, a juice box and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I was ready to conquer a new grade and a new year full of challenges.
I'd get so excited on that first day of school.
When I was little, I'd zip open my backpack and drool over all my brand new school supplies one last time before heading out the door (the early years always included a Trapper Keeper). Mom would usually fill me up with Cheerios and skim milk or some cinammon toast and give me a once over before I hit the road and walked to the end of the block to wait at the bus stop.
Waiting at the corner would be most of the kids I played with all summer long.
We'd all be freshly showered, spiffed up and well dressed - a far cry from the ragamuffin gang who played Freeze Tag and Four Square in the hot summertime.
The smell of freshly cut grass wafted through the air as we discussed with the utmost seriousness the items in our respective packed lunches (I was especially jealous of those who had moms cool enough to buy Capri Sun and Doritos) and who was starting the year with the coolest school supplies.
Then the big, yellow bus would cruise down Appleseed Drive.
Our chariot, ready to take us to a destination full of learning.
The bus ride wasn't so scary. We'd pick up all the other kids who lived nearby - the same kids I saw at the swim club all summer long. They were safe and harmless.
But as the bus pulled up to the school (whether it be elementary, middle or junior high), I'd be a bit more anxious and nervous.
Who would be in my classes this year? Would it be too hard? Would my teachers be nice to me?
Would the kids be nice to me?
All these years later, I guess that's what I'm still wondering.
Will the kids be nice to me?
Monday, August 20, 2007
I can't get the song out of my head today, which is quite alright considering the Tri-State area is getting ready for a fierce round of storms.
Here's the original by Rihanna.
This indie version by Scott Simons is really lovely, very romantic.
Mandy Moore's own tune is quite sweet, too.
Piece of Energy.
That's a phrase that was said during the forecast at work today. I love it! I don't know why, I suppose in part because it was a string of words I wasn't expecting to hear during the weather portion of the news.
It's so full of imagery. So descriptive - would be a great band name.
Confession: I'm kind of weird about words and phrases and little literary tricks I hear.
I went back to Columbus this past weekend to see my dear friend, D-Money.
We all rolled out to a fun, hip spot in the Short North Arts District called Spice Bar. On the internet it's described as an exotic, sensual night club, and I would say it lived up to that billing.
Everything was so sexy, the surroundings, the music, the people. It definitely felt more Big City than what you'd typically see in Cowtown.
Denae's brother, GI Yogurt brought up an interesting topic that was previously of some debate in the newsroom.
Hip bars: are they pretentious or just sophisticated?
GI said that's the argument some of his friends made while turning down an offer to come along.
Now, I am a social chameleon. I can roll with the best of them at dive bars, wine bars, dance clubs and alternative watering holes. I pride myself on my versatility, my flexibility, my open nature to experience just about anything.
So I guess I'm not too intimidated if I see turntables and martini glasses at any given establishment.
Now, the-brother-I-never-had-nor-wanted Double Platinum says I like pretentious places. Pretentious implies people are pretending there, and my reply is I don't pretend anything. I just am.
What do you all think?
The school year is here and that means the Junior League is getting in full swing, too. I have really enjoyed my envolvement in this civic minded organization for women. This year I have an interesting role - I'm serving on the the Nominating Committee. This group basically appoints the organization's future board members and committee leaders.
The responsibility is not lost on me. I only hope I can do the role justice.
Saturday morning I was handed a binder with the profiles of some 300 women. These people are attorneys, economists and mothers. They're well traveled, well educated and well versed in the community's charitable needs. These women are native Cincinnatians, transfers and transplants.
Each member of the League brings so many talents to the table, and I am very flattered that I was elected to serve in such an important role for the League.
I am really interested in seeing how this year unfolds.
Ali G Indahouse.
My latest Netflix indulgence. Parts were totally inappropriate. Hilarious. Strange.
I don't know that I would rent it again.
But that Sacha Baron Cohen. He's tasty.
Thursday, August 16, 2007
A shot of Tuxis Island from the end of my old street, Island Avenue
A view of the shore along Middle Beach Road
The Big Rock at West Wharf
The Connecticut Shoreline is a mystical place (in fact, there is a Mystic, CT) that I learned to love while in high school. My family picked up and moved after years of Midwest living and settled into this gem of a town on Long Island Sound.
I can still smell the earthy, musty air of low tide.
And I assure you, your taste buds will enjoy few things better than a hot, juicy lobster roll drizzled with drawn butter.
Sure, there are some things about the East Coast I'd love to change.
But the food. The seaside overtones. The natural charm.
It's the kind of thing I wish I could bottle.
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
That's the chorus from a song in The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
Janet is explaining to Columbia that she's a virgin and yet she badly needs some attention.
The song comes to mind after a conversation I overheard at work today about the cuddle parties popular out West. I brought up this subject in a post I wrote three years ago.
Basically, people go to these free-for-alls to hug and establish some level of intimacy with total strangers.
And my standard thought applies: Thanks, but no thanks. I'm not really in to any physical closeness with people whom I don't know.
But people I do know - that's another story.
This whole thread of thought reminds me of an emotion that flittered through my being this past weekend.
Hugs are incredibly important.
I remember hearing in a seminar of some kind that the human body has a natural need to touch another being, and will crave that touch if it goes long without some kind of contact. This can lead to an incredible predicament for single people:
How do you fulfill your need to touch and be touched when you're not a plus 1?
Somebody once told me that the act of crossing one's arms is the body's natural reaction to combat a lack of hugs - an act of self embrace.
I was reunited with my best friend and her wonderful brother this weekend. The occasion meant hugs all around and constant gestures of endearment. A gentle back rub, a caring hand to hold. The whole weekend left me feeling refreshed and confident that people loved me.
It's amazing to think that some relationships exist out there where people aren't affectionate - families that don't hug and husbands and wives who don't kiss.
|You Belong in London|
A little old fashioned, and a little modern.
A little traditional, and a little bit punk rock.
A unique soul like you needs a city that offers everything.
No wonder you and London will get along so well.
Monday, August 13, 2007
I'll put it bluntly - It kind of sucks when your best friend lives across the ocean. The time zone differences can put a delay in emailing, which is rough if you want an immediate response.
Phone calls involve international calling cards and allowing for completely different sleeping times.
And D and I are more face to face people. Sure, we can kibitz about boys and jobs and money woes and sugarplum fantasies over the phone, but we really do our best communicating mono a mono.
D and her tragically handsome (tragic because I develop a crush every time I see him) brother GI Yogurt came down Saturday for an outing at Great American Ball Park. All I knew was the Padres were playing. My friends know I could care less about RBIs and grand slams and stolen bases. I'm more interested in the cold beer, tasty hot dogs and whether anybody funny gets on the big screen.
D, GI and our friend Mr. Pickup went to the game and then traveled on to Arthur's in Hyde Park for a bite to eat and more cold beer. I highly recommend their fish sandwich (I think it's cod, maybe?). Very light and flaky and the batter wasn't overbearing.
Mr. Pickup was dispatched back home for family obligations, so D, GI and I were left to our own devices - more drinking in fair Hyde Park. We popped in Beluga to grab a drink and soak up the ambiance on the patio - yes, the man who drives the Ferrari appears to be overcompensating for a shortcoming or two. My companions sipped on dirty Ketel One with pimento stuffed olives (rather surprised this swanky joint didn't dispense the bleu cheese or feta stuffed versions) while I ordered up a competing bar's signature cocktail, the pineapple sake martini. Beluga's bartendrix poured her own, smooth version - it wasn't overly sweet and the pineapple didn't mask the sake's subtle, sour flavor.
The Hyde Park Pub Crawl continued around the corner and down Erie Avenue to Red. Most of the dinner crowd had cleared out of the sophisticated steak and sushi establishment and a young, hip crowd fringed the bar, including present company. The bartender was kind to us, even with one sans-drinker. We ordered a Pepsi, a glass of riesling and more dirty Ketel on the rocks with olives (still no fancy versions).
Afterwards, Southern Son picked us up in his pickup truck and I had the pleasure of riding in the flatbed of said vehicle - it was my first time doing something like that. Kind of like a convertible with way more exposure. Fun.
We made it to Oakley and finished up the night with a few pints of beer at my neighborhood pub before calling it a night (a very late night.)
I had a blast hanging with D Money and her brother, GI Yogurt, and am looking forward to Round 2 in Columbus this weekend.
Brooke Astor died.
If you're not familiar with her, she was one of New York City's grande dames. Deep pockets and lovely handbags, she made it a point to champion the Big Apple's less privileged. She used her cash and clout to support outreach programs, schools and churches around the City.
The link above will take you to a lovely write up in the New York Times about Mrs. Astor. One part that especially struck a chord for me: "If she regretted anything, she said, it was that she had not visited friends in Europe often enough and that she had not been able to read, and write, all the books she would have wished."
Sing it, sister.
Nobody is going to say when they die, Gee, I wish I worked more when I was young and healthy.
Nobody is going to say, I had too much fun.
And with that said, I am balls to the wall in planning my latest trip Across the Pond. In six weeks, I will be going to London once again to spend quality time with D Money. She has more time in GB this go around and so I am looking forward to her giving me a look at some of the hot spots off the beaten path. This will be my third time to Jolly Old London and I have already crossed off my list most of the touristy spots.
I am open to any suggestions to any world travelers out there with a hidden gem in London.
D and I are also flying to the Netherlands to spend 3 and a half days in Amsterdam. I've never been there and fully intend to explore the Red Light District, the canals, the many museums and everything else that goes along with Dutch tolerance.
Good times, indeed.
Friday, August 10, 2007
The Democratic front runners have a sit-down discussion with the Gays.
Al Gore and Fred Thompson are non-committal on their political aspirations and yet their supporters are already rallying.
Ah yes. It's presidential campaign season once again.
I don't know what to say about this.
I'm a pretty passive voter until the last month or so before the November Election. Between now and then, the politicians will flip-flop seven different ways, the skeletons will come out of the closet and some candidates will drop out of the big race.
Why bet on a horse knowing some of them aren't going to make it to the finish line?
Now states are jumping to get to the front of the Primary lineup. South Carolina decides to jump the gun and trade its February 2nd primary vote for January 19th. Iowa and New Hampshire react so they can maintain tradition and be the first to poll the people - and all of a sudden we're looking at the possibility of a December '07 primary.
What the fuck?
I say this all boils down to one thing: an excited nation. We are anxious to oust Lil' Bushie and his friends and turn the White House over to more capable hands.
Because honestly, anyone who gets voted in, I mean anyone, will be better than the current administration.
November '08 can't get here fast enough.
Thursday, August 09, 2007
Some of you have noticed by now - I have a nice lil' guest blog today, posted by my friend Big Blue Blood.
It turns out Football Season is upon us, and I'm guessing some of you have more than a passing interest in the pass of the pigskin.
BBB will drop in Kate's Random Musings to dish up her own brand of Bengals Nation Elation.
And just to prove I care about the Cincinnati Cats, too - here's a pic I took while I was in London last October.
Notice the conspicuous Bengals sticker on the pole - thanks to Pat for all those stickers. I can't wait to tackle Amsterdam next month.
Two years of season tickets proves it... and makes my brother very proud.
I am one of those people who get a little bummed when the summer is about to come to an end. No more flip flops, days at the pool or beers on the deck. But what is does mean is it's time to get ready for some football.
Ah, the pigskin.
I can now justify sitting at home on Saturday nights to watch college football and have a legitimate reason to drink at noon on Sundays for the next several months. Who can watch a game without a beer? As a Bengals fan, that used to be the only way you could get through a game. I know all you naysayers are thinking... oh the Bungles, really? Yes. Surely you know one die hard Bengals fan who has actually stuck with this team through the hard times (best known as the 90s).
To me, that one die hard is my brother, Chuckles. He loves everything Bengals. His entire basement is Orange & Black with fatheads of Boomer Esiason and Carson Palmer. He has a gorgeous bar with the Bengals helmet painted on top of it. And for the people who have met Chuckles, they know he also has the biggest man crush ever on Carson Palmer. REALLY!
But for me the defining die hard moment about my brother came sometime last spring. I called him one night, I think in April, and he was acting crazy. He told me he was watching a Bengals game. He was actually watching the Bengals - 49ers Super Bowl on the NFL Network.
(for anyone who is not a fan, the Bengals have a heart-breaking loss in the Super Bowl when Boomer turned the ball over in a last minute drive to the goal line).
Chuckles actually said he was watching it again, just to make sure the ending wasn't different this time.
That's Bengals fans for you. Never lose hope.
For all the other fellow Bengals fans: Tonight is a preseason game against the Lions. It's another chance to watch Carson, TJ and the whole gang of Johnsons.
One final thought:
Always remember it could be worse. We could be Browns fans. I read a story today about 300 people spending a half hour flushing the toilets at their stadium because of some sort of valve issue. I guess If it's Brown, you really should flush it down.
(I am marrying Mr. Brown, so I hope that last comment doesn't affect our plans)
Wednesday, August 08, 2007
Beyonce falls down the stairs at a concert in Orlando. I especially like the the remix on the back end to the Peanut Butter & Jelly tune.
Jim Cramer freaks out about the struggling market.
I love karaoke. I'm good at karaoke. But this guy's not.
And finally, Ghost Ridin' Grandma. I think I could actually see my dad do this...
Tuesday, August 07, 2007
Well, unless you count the two gerbils - Frisky and Midnight - which is an entirely different story (click here and see #3).
I always wanted a dog, though, and in my adult age I find myself gravitating towards opportunity to spend time with my friends' four-legged friends.
I spent an extended weekend house sitting for two of those hairy companions. Anakin is a shorter mutt and Palmer is a younger mix of a boxer and I think a greyhound. He has the most beautiful brindle stripes and is super hyper.
It was the third time I house sat for one or both of these dogs, and I've really come to love them.
Dogs can be entirely frustrating when they don't get in their crate swiftly or when they bark incessantly while you are scooping out the dog food and heading for the bowl. But all is forgotten when they brush their body against your legs and cuddle close in bed at night.
I also felt so special when the two dogs would compete for my attention. I would pet one dog and he'd growl at the other as if to say, "Back off. She's mine."
Both dogs would swarm around me when my hands were loose and ready to run through their thick coats. One dog would fight for a little love when the other was getting attention.
I think I'm smitten.
Thursday, August 02, 2007
Tommy Makem passed away yesterday. I'd be a bad Irish girl if I didn't pay respects to one of the men who crooned the songs of my childhood.
My dad would play The Clancy Brothers for us when Bridge and I were wee little girls. These Irish ballads and whiskey tunes would cry out of the record player when we were about as tall as leprechauns. We'd bop around to the beat of the bodhran and my dad would sing along like he was an honorary member of the group.
Gosh, how I love that music.
To this day, whether it be in an Irish pub or at a St. Patrick's Day parade, my heart beats a bit harder and faster and a flash of white, hot pride buzzes through my body when I hear those tunes.
It may be so watered down, but I can still feel my strong, Irish Pride.
We listened to a lot of that music while living in Minneapolis.
I lived there between the ages of two and six.
If my adult memories are moving video, then many of my Minneapolis memories are foggy snapshots. Brief snippets of walking on a frozen Lake Minnetonka in the winter time. Picking out toys at the little well at the "Country Kitchen" restaurant after Mom's car broke down. Going to the beach in the summertime. Loud fireworks near the lake on the Fourth of July.
My parents remember a whole lot more about Minneapolis. That's where they met and got married. Before that, my mom went to college in St. Paul. Even further back my grandfather went to the University of Minnesota to get his masters in Engineering,
My family has lots of ties to the Twin Cities.
So when I heard a blurb about the bridge collapse on the radio, I felt compelled to call Mom and Dad.
It was 10 pm and I hesitated - they're retired and go to bed early by my standards.
But then I thought Mom would want to know about this.
She started crying on the phone when I broke the news.
The pictures are just awful. I've wondered before- how would I do if a bridge collapsed in the road ahead of me? At what point do you have no time to slam on the brakes, and are instead forced to just plow ahead and pray as you plummet?
Godspeed to the families touched by this tragedy.