Monthly Archives: April 2009

Travel. Who Needs It?

I know there are people out there who fly around on private jets.  Tall women in tight suits serve them sushi and caviar and ice cold martinis in crystal stemware.  The bathrooms are bigger than a food cupboard and they don’t smell like urine with a splash of disinfectant.  I bet those people even have beds where they stretch out and read a good book while they pass the time.  Unfortunately, that’s not how I travel.

For a Jackson over $500, the airline industry offers me, your average traveler, the following amenities on a cross-country flight:

  • 1 coach ticket with restrictions.
  • 1 $25 to $50 fee per piece of checked luggage.
  • 1 annoying TSA agent who will look at me as if I’m a child predator when something in my bra strap keeps setting off the metal detector.
  • 1 body search by a strange woman in a too-tight uniform with rubber gloves.
  • 0 food offerings, but a $10 croissant sandwich, a $4 water, and $12 snack-pack is available.
  • 1 $5 pair of headsets to watch a movie I can barely see because it’s three rows ahead of me, the pilot keeps talking over it, and the screen is about the size of my wallet.
  • 1 uncomfortable seat, no legroom, and a heating/cooling system that always seems to be malfunctioning.
  • 2 tiny cups of a non-alcoholic beverage at the 1 hour mark and the 5 hour mark.
  • 1 headache.

Granted, I’ve heard that it’s slightly better up there is <sigh> first class, but as a second class citizen, I wouldn’t know anything about that.  I’m not good enough, pretty enough, rich enough or fabulous enough to fly in front of the curtain.  It’s better to put me back where I belong.  Where all the fat, lazy, poor, stupid, and pathetic losers belong.  Because that’s how the plebeians are treated back in coach; the scum of society.  We’re put in our places and I thank the airline industries for that.  If not for traveling, I might have harbored dreams of grandeur, but now I just work myself into the grave so that someday I might be able to enjoy a little bit of legroom and first dibs on boarding. 

In the meantime, I’m working on a method of travel were $521 American dollars buys a person a nice day, a large comfortable seat for a 6 hour flight, and some kindness.  It’s called Sara Air and I’ll be your stewardess today…

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Paper and Pen

I have a confession to make, I love paper.  Paper in books, paper in boxes, I even love lined paper in school notebooks.  If given the choice between typing something and writing something, I’ll most likely choose pen to pad.  My favorite colored ink is blue (in case you were wondering), but I also love writing with pencil.  Especially a nice, sharp, led pencil where each letter can be crisp and perfect…I’m excited just typing about it.  A good pen is equally as thrilling, but who can afford such luxury these days?  Mont Blanc be damned.

Now a few years ago I saw a beautiful card by a company called Bronson van Wyck.  It was antique looking with a scene of odd birds on the front.  I wrote the name down on a piece of paper, but could never find the company again.  Then I learned that BvW isn’t a stationary company, but an event designer.  And he’s cute.  He reminds me of the man who played Elliot in E.T.  The web is full of stories about BvW the man, not the paper.  A blue blood from NY who throws fabulous parties.  A Yale man who likes colorful suits and natty footwear.  A cheapskate, a philanthropist, a cheat, a saint…the stories are endless.  (I of course cannot confirm or deny any of these charges, but merely spread the gossip as any good blogger would.)  He parties with the Clintons, has a farm in Arkansas, and before he became party planner to the stars, dressed actors on Star Trek.  Even Food & Wine Magazine wrote a story about just how cool and hip he and his family are: BvW and BvW’s Family

Meanwhile, I’m still looking for those darn bird cards.  I’ve found a snake motif that BvW did for charity and although I think it’s very pretty, the snake thing just doesn’t do it for me like the crazy birds.  You can see the snake here with a picture of Elliot/BvW: Dempsey & Carroll, NYC.  So keep your eyes out people!  And in the interim, put down your computers; get out a nice piece of paper, a good writing utensil, and a hard surface.  Trust me, you’ll thank me for it.  Even if you just write down you ABC’s, the process is cathartic.

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Healthy Choices

I came home yesterday and was treated to a full dinner sitting on the stove.  Beside it was a note reading ‘Dogs Are Fed.’  I looked at my two dogs…had they done this?

Steamed broccoli, baked brussel sprouts, and teriyaki chicken; with each bite it became more and more delicious.  On the bonus side, it was healthy.  On the bonus, bonus side, I hadn’t had to cook it.  Let’s be honest here, after a full day the last thing any of us want to do is cook a meal.  Forget steaming broccoli and slicing up brussel sprouts.  More like pick up the phone and order Chinese and even that’s too much effort sometimes. 

I look at women I admire (shape-wise at least) and wonder how they do it.  How do they make good choices all of the time?  And while some of them have fancy chefs who cook their meals out of dried seaweed and sweet potatos, not all of them do.  Some of them just have that thing…that thing I keep hearing about, but don’t really understand.  It’s called ‘Will Power.’  Whatever that means.  Will Power?  How about Won’t Power?  How about Don’t Forget To Tun Off The Lights Power because electricity is expensive these days?

Summer is just around the corner, folks and we all know what that means…skimpy clothing.  There’s nothing worse than a pair of thunder thighs booming out of too-tight shorts.  Trust me, I know this from personal experience.  Slim and trim, slim and trim.  Luckily, baggy dresses are still in style for women; you men are stuck with form-fitting Lacoste shirts.  So today, just today, make healthy choices.  We’ll deal with tomorrow tomorrow.  And if it’s really really hard to say no to that beer after work or those M&M’s at about 4pm, just pinch an inch and tell yourself, “Today I will not make this mound of fat any bigger.  Today I will eat and drink like the healthy person I’m trying to be!”

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Birds, Pigs, and Other Farmyard Killers

First it was the Bird Flu.  People scrambled to get vaccines, to stock up on cures that might just save their lives.  It was the killer that was going to get us all.  Bird Flu, <gasp!>, it was the next big epidemic.  If it had been a terrorist warning, it would’ve been Code Orange or Red or whatever the scariest code is that they use to keep us in line.

Now it’s all about pigs.  Swine Flu.  It’s going to kill us all.  Health organizations around the world are preparing for the ‘largest influenza pandemic in over 40 years’ and warning people to get ready.  This isn’t Bird Flu, it’s Swine Flu.  Bigger animal, bigger problem.  As we speak, vaccines are being made, face masks are being slipped into place, and people with obsessive compulsive disorder are rejoicing.  Finally another opportunity for them to wash their hands 100x’s a day without being noticed!

Watch me now get it (oink, oink, oink), but if you ask me, I’m not getting worked up about a little pork.  If they told me it was elephant flu or great white shark flu, T-Rex flu maybe…well then, I’d jump on the bandwagon.  Until then though, I’m a strict vegetarian.

Here’s a little eye of the tiger to keep you brave.  Tiger Flu, now that would be something.   

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Victor Vargas from Venezuela continued…

For those of you who didn’t tune in yesterday, mysterious multi-millionaire, Victor Vargas has caught my attention.  For details why… scroll down already and catch up.

For those of you who are with me, and are just as suspicious as I am by the sudden deaths of 21 robust polo horses…keep reading.  Last year in a rare interview (Vargas wisely stays out of the spotlight) with the Wall Street Journal, Vargas said the following when asked about his enormous wealth.  “People write stories about me saying I have a Ferrari, a plane, a yacht…But it’s not true. I’ve got three planes, two yachts, six houses. I’ve been rich all my life!”  That’s funny because I was quoted saying almost the exact same thing just last week.  We’re like soulmates from the land of rich, arrogant, entitled people.  Vargas’ mother was the first female Supreme Court Justice in Venezuela and his father was a doctor.  I can only guess that those two professions make much more down south than up here because my doctor drives an Audi, not a Ferrari.

In the early 1990’s Vargas, who runs the banking industry in Venezuela, purchased part of American owned and based CapitalBanc Corporation.  Executives of the bank were caught in a fraud scheme by the US governemnt and prosecuted.  Vargas was fined 1.5 million and was restricted from ever investing in American business again without the governments prior approval.  He escaped however, from being charged guilty.  According to Vargas’ interview in the WSJ, he had been “naive.”  Maybe so, but a man who juggles the intricacies of oil banking between Venezuela and the United States, Panama, and the Dominican Republic while simultaneously navigating a regime where the leader (Chavez) wants to deconstruct the class system, yet continues to amass a fortune in said regime and to retain his upper class status, is one smart cookie.  victorvargas

Wall Street Journal: Criminal Probe of Dead Horses 

 An interesting blog piece: Opinador Textos

Photo: Courtesy of New York Social Diary (Palm Beach Polo Match): Victor Vargas on right.

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The Mysterious Millionaire

Victor Vargas.  Victor Vargas from Venezuela.  Victor Vargas from Venezuela owns Lechuza Caracas, a polo team that just had 21 of its beautiful horses drop dead at the U.S. Open polo tournament in Wellington, Florida; spectators got much more than they bargained for.  Authorities are investigating who killed the animals and in the interim, the mysterious Victor Vargas has captured my eye.

victor-vargas1

   Victor Vargas (seen here second from the left) is an intriguing guy.  His son is dead (bacterial infection), his daughter is married to a man who is both the cousin of  King Juan Carlos (of Spain) and the great-grandson Franco (Spanish dictator Franco), and his business dealing are…shady, unclear, smart, secretive, and the opposite of straightforward.  As a result, Vargas has amassed a fortune that includes 6 homes around the world (the Palm Beach estate alone is worth 70 million), planes, yachts, and a polo team with only 5 horses currently alive.  Time Magazine wrote fascinating article about him today:  Time Magazine Article

I’ll be doing a little more research on this curiously wealthy Victor Vegas who seems to rise above fraud charges, political maneuvering, and 21 dead horses time and time again.  If you ask me, somebody killed the horses to send a message.  Has no one seen The Godfather?

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Some Days It’s Just Not Worth Getting Out of Bed (without an Hermes belt to put on)

Wednesday.  And I wake up to the construction crew from hell.  They’re moving machinery that’s so big and loud it feels as if it’s right there in the bedroom with me.  BeepBeepBeep. 

At least it’s cool in my bedroom, which is more than I can say for the last three days.  Los Angeles has been like the third level of hell this past week.  I bought a new air conditioner yesterday because I just couldn’t stand it anymore.  It’ll be here in 7-10 business days.  With my luck, the rest of the summer will be a brisk 52 degrees and my large purchase will be for naught.  I spent an hour yesterday debating the air conditioner versus the Hermes belt and as soon as I hit the purchase button I knew I’d probably made the wrong choice.

Today looms ahead of my like a great, big whale of don’t want to, but have to.  I’ve got a dishwasher to unload, poo to pick up in the backyard, and errands to run at the grocery store, the hardware store, and the dog store.  And then I go off to work until 9 o’clock at night.  This does not sound like a sexy, fun day. 

Non est vivere sed valers vita est.  Life is not just for living, but living well.  Whoever wrote this didn’t live in a big city, in the modern world, with two dogs, and an air conditioning unit instead of an Hermes belt.  So what can I do to make this day worth it?  In case I drop dead between now and the poo picking up, what will make me feel as if I’m living well?  The belt obviously, but I’ve got to put that out of my head.  There are too many other things I need more like dog chews and cooling appliances.  What else would brighten my day?  New shoes (that’s a no brainer) but still, it just doesn’t seem right to spend money on myself in order to cheer myself up.

But wait a minute…I haven’t bought myself a single thing since December.  All I’ve done is buy things for other people; baby gift, wedding gift, lunches, dinners.  Even the dogs have gotten weekly treats thanks to me.  Non est vivere sed valers vita est.  Life is not just for living, but living well.  Hmmm.  I have wanted that belt since May 2008…

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