Monthly Archives: August 2009

The Tasting – Part Deux

So it goes like this; Friday morning we woke up at the crack of dawn and headed out to Palm Springs.  We got there and walked into the seventh layer of hell.  There was a wall of heat that would’ve knocked me to my knees except that the air was so thick I couldn’t move.  The temperature was 115 degrees.  That is not a typo.

At the hotel, Patty, our cruise director, took great care of us.  We stayed in one of the villas again and pretended that we were rich and fabulous.  It’s a wonderful game.  The reason we were there (for those of you who didn’t read Friday’s blog) was to taste and drink our way through three evenings of festivities in one sitting.  It sounded like a ton of fun and it was, but then we got sick and it wasn’t.

Call me a neophyte, but I’m not used to sitting for six hours while I feed my gullet.  As much as I like the idea of decadence, I found out firsthand that it’s not as easy as it looks.  The hotel made the experience a once in a lifetime event with gracious servers, accessible chefs, and a warm, cozy setting.  But one can only eat so many dishes and I think we had over a dozen each, not including dessert.  With each course there was a wine for us to choose.  And then later with each dessert, there were little ramekins of toppings and fillings we needed to sort through and match together.  I won’t even tell you about the appetizers.

Start time 2:30pm.  End time 8:30pm.  Sam and I lumbered to our villa in exhaustion.  We had planned on hitting up a local honkey-tonk bar, but our foray into living like kings held us captive.  Instead, we watched movies and talked about the resort until the wee hours of the morning.  The heat dropped to a bearable 88 degrees at about midnight.

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The Tasting

We are off to taste, to nibble, to sip, and to choose.  It’s called a tasting and we’re all over it.

How it works:  The hotel brings out samples of main courses, desserts, appetizers, salads, and whatever else you can kingthink of that might be part of our 3 day fete in October.

Our Mission:  To eat it, to savor it, and then to say Yes or No.  It’s like being a king

If we like what we taste, then the food stays and becomes a part of our festivities.  The King is happy.  If we hate it on the other hand, we turn up our noses and shake our heads.  I might even yell, “Off with his head!”  just because I’ve really always wanted to that.

Then when our bellies are full and our taste buds are starting to protest, we move on to the adult portion of our program; wine tasting.  That’s right, we’ll also be tasting wine, beer, and fruity beverages.  Old hollow-elbow over here (get it? I can’t hold my liquor worth a darn so I’m hollow-elbow instead of hollow-leg?  Yeesh, never mind)…as I was saying, I’ll be tipsy after the first few sips so I’m looking forward to that spitting thing one does during wine tasting.  You know, you take a sip of wine, gargle with it to truly capture it’s bouquet and essence, and then spit it like a trucker into a tobacco spittoon.  I love that.

We’ll be back by tomorrow evening in time to catch a 40th birthday party.  Special thanks go out to Justin and Anne for watching our children, our very hairy children.  And for Izzy, who keeps asking that I write about her…there.  I just did.  Now off with his head!alice01a

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Stimulus Check for Murder

The United States government, well-oiled machine that it is, sent 3,900 $250 checks to inmates in prison.  As the checks were intended to “stimulate” the economy, I can only assume that this was an error.  As far as I know, the rules to allow prisoners out of jail to go shopping still hasn’t changed.

The math for this snafu adds up to $975,000; more than most families make in almost 20 years according to the US Census Bureau.

So I have to look on the bright side – I’m sure not all of prisoners are rapists, murderers, drug-dealers, gang-bangers or armed robbers.  Probably a few of those checks went to petty criminals.  Sweet, gentle men who’ve been incarcerated in a state penitentiary for something minor like…like…well, I’m having a hard time coming up with anything.  It’s not like you go to prison for flashing someone.  That’s just a day in the clink.

I never got a check, probably because I haven’t molested anyone or organzined a credit card scam from my basement.  But I’m thinking about it.  $250 is a lot of money for buying whatever you buy in the big house.

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Camelot. It’s Over.

main_kennedysFor at least a half-decade, the Kennedy men have been a symbol of wealth, power, influence, and magnetism.  They weren’t infallible by any means, but they were handsome as sin and charming enough to make the public forgive them their foibles.  Alas, there was a curse put upon them and slowly, but surely each and every one them passed away.  Yesterday, the end of Camelot was punctuated by the death of Senator Ted Kennedy.  He was 77 years old.225px-JFKJr2

Only one Kennedy man reigned during my lifetime, John Kennedy, Jr.  With that head of dark hair and those goofy, half-smiles, he was like a Ralph Lauren model and the cutest guy in History class all rolled up into one.  But then he was gone and that was that.

Senator Ted Kennedy had quite a ride and as it’s not good manners to speak ill of the dead, I’ll just mention that his political career made a huge impact on America.  He was a major influence in the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, the National Cancer Act of 1971, the Federal Election Campaign Act Amendments of 1974, the COBRA Act of 1985, the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act of 1986, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the Ryan White AIDS Care Act in 1990, the Civil Rights Act of 1991, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, the Mental Health Parity Act in 1996 and 2008, the State Children’s Health Insurance Program in 1997, the No Child Left Behind Act in 2002, and the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act in 2009.  He was also very involved in immigration reform and universal health care.

And so the reign of Camelot comes to an end.  The girls are left behind to weep and carry-on.  It seems that while the Kennedy men were full of life and vigor, the ladies always held themselves to the background.  Except for Jackie, but then she was only really a Kennedy for 10 years.  Perhaps tomorrow I’ll talk about the curse and of course, the Chappaquiddick incident, which I’m sure you’re all recalling.  But for today, I’ll just say, rest in peace, Ted and Kennedygoodbye to Camelot.

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Project Runway…It’s Baa-aack

Yesterday I logged onto Lifetime to watch last week’s episode of Project Runway, Season 6.  It premiered August 20th on Lifetime after 5 years on Bravo and a whole lot of drama.  The group has switched channels, moved from New York to Los Angeles, and Nina Garcia has another new title…what will the party be like?

Well let me tell you, it was same old same old in a good way except for the LA factor, which I’ll get to.  The group of budding fashion designers was on their best behavior so except for a little crazy peaking through the cracks, it seemed pretty normal.  I did notice however, that like five of them are from NYC, which begs the questions: what was Lifetime thinking moving Project Runway (PR) from NY and then having half of the contestants New Yorkers?  Because we’re not dumb.  No matter how many NYC people they put on the show, we’re still going to remember we’re in Los Angeles because…(and this brings me to the LA Factor)…

Lindsay Lohan?!  The guest judge on episode 1 was none other than scarecrow, trainwreck Lindsay Lohan.  I don’t know when leggings, high heels, t-shirts, and jean shorts became haute couture, but there she was in all of her extension glory.  It  just about broke my heart as I thought about the days of old when guest judges were designers or fashion leaders, not skanky LA actresses.  Is this what Tinseltown will do to the show?  Lindsay Lohan followed by Paris Hilton followed by Vanessa whatever-her-name-is, who keeps taking pictures of herself naked? We’re doomed.

But, loyal follower that I am, I’ll tune in next week to see what happens and who goes home.  My money says the top contestants will be:

  1. Louise Black, the black-haired, 1920’s-looking gal who designs the vintage stuff.
  2. Epperson, the dread-locked artist with a vision.
  3. Malvin Vien, the androgynous, arrogant narcissist who thinks his designs are like scripture.
  4. Ra’mon-Lawrence, the super-cute young man who got into the top three last week with his black, evening gown.
  5. Carol Hannah Whitfield, the tiny, little blond from the South whose pleated dress showed great ingenuity.

Runner’s Up:

  1. Johnny Sakalis, his design was good, but the drug-addiction might hold him back and take him down.
  2. Irina Shabayeva, her lace design looked as if it had been pulled straight out of last year’s Monique Lhuillier line.  If she can design as well as she can copy and sew, she might be able to pull into the top 5.
  3. Shirin Askari, he dress was boring, but the bolero jacket showed promise.  There might be more to this designer so I’ll wait and see.
  4. Logan Neitzel, the handsome blonde had an interesting dress, but a poor use of fabric.  Everyone knows taffeta needs to be ironed, ironed, ironed.  If he can learn his fabrics and how to work them better, this guy will probably move on up.
  5. And last, but not least, Christopher Straub.  His fun and flirty dress won the competition last week, but I think his confidence is going to get him.  I have my fingers crossed that that’s not the case.

And the rest?  Their days are numbered.

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Nancy Drew and the Case of the Movie Marathon

It all started at 6:48pm on Saturday night.  Sam convinced me to go see District 9 and the next show was in thirty.  We jumped in the car and by 7:05 were sitting center, center waiting for the aliens.  They came…big time.

District 9:  Groundbreaking cinema, amazing visual effects, and a story-line that doesn’t quit.  Did I like it?  Let’s just say I wasn’t ready for it.  Next time I’ll be more prepared.  It’s a movie that doesn’t tread gently, but rather whacks the audience with a bloody arm bone…and then eats off the faces of the people in the front row.  I give it three tentacles up for ingenuity and artistry.  One bucket of vomit for violence and gruesomeness.

Approximately two hours later we snuck into the late show of Funny People.  I haven’t done a double feature since high school, but my partner in crime can be very persuasive.

Funny People:  Not so funny.  More like a commentary on how truly miserable funny people are, but we already knew that.  Even in Fame, the comedian is the one who’s most tormented.  And didn’t Smokey Robinson sing something about how sad clowns are?  I’m fairly certain Richard Pryer did a shtick about it too.  It’s no new concept.  And I’d also like to say that I’m really tired of the male genitalia jokes.  It was funny in SuperBad, Talladega Nights, Knocked Up, Pineapple Express, The 40 Year Old Virgin, and Don’t Mess With Zohan…but now I’m over it.  I’ll one positive note though, just to be fair; Judd Apatow’s kids are really cute.

At half past midnight we exited the movie theater exhausted.  Two shows, five hours, one bag of popcorn, and a coke later we dragged ourselves home.  Sunday at 4:30pm we found ourselves back at the movie theater and sitting center, center again for Inglorious Basterds.  We were on a roll.

Inglorious Basterds:  There’s a new face in this film that steals the show.  Christoph Waltz who plays Col. Hans Lander,inglourious_basterds_christoph-waltz the Jew Hunter is absolutely amazing.  From scene to scene we were unable to take our eyes away from his amazing performance of a Nazi psycho-detective.  Brad Pitt was his usual eye-candy self and between the two of them and Quentin Tarantino’s imagination, the movie was slow, but good.  I heard a woman behind me say that it was the best film she’s seen all year.  I wouldn’t go that far, but maybe she hasn’t watched District 9 or 500 Days of Summer yet.  I give it a middle finger to the Nazi’s and a middle finger to the Fuhrer up.

And so wraps up the Case of the Movie Marathon.  Tune in next week when Nancy Drew tackles her biggest challenge ever, the Case of the Gingivitas Monster.  I promise, it’s a doozey.


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The Trial of Amanda Knox for the Murder of Meredith Kercher

Update:ap_amanda_knox_090718_mn

The angel-faced Amanda Knox may get off on an OJ.  Defense attorneys for her boyfriend and possible partner-in-crime, Raffaele Sollecito say that the DNA evidence can’t be used; the police mishandled it.  It looks like even the lawyers in Italy watched how Johnnie Cochran and F. Lee Bailey did it.  It’s called the ‘he’s so guilty they even have DNA proof, we can’t prove him innocent, we’ll have to go after the investigators instead.’

And that’s what they’re doing.  Trying to insinuate some doubt into the minds of jurors.  With the testimony of one doctor, the defense is insisting that the bra clasp of victim, Meredith Kercger, wasn’t handled properly.  A) it was found 47 days after the initial search B) it wasn’t bagged properly and C) the people analyzing it didn’t change their gloves in between handling it and other evidence.

And then everyone is thinking about what went wrong and who messed up.  And the fact that Sollecito’s DNA was found on the murdered girl’s bra clasp is forgotten in the tidle wave of scientific mess and finger pointing.  Meanwhile, the Italian court system is on summer break until September.  We’ll see then if the OJ defense does it again.

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