Monday, May 4, 2015

The Circus is Coming, the Circus is Coming!

The 2016 presidential hopefuls in full election regalia.
Things are going downhill fast for the Democrats. Unless they pull someone out of that hat where they got Obama last time, our next president will be one of these eager Republican wannabes who are crawling out of the woodwork and flying to their day in the sun faster than the ladybugs in my house that, cooped up all winter, are now excitedly zooming out any open door or window. Just today, two new clown noses were thrown into the ring, and word is there are more to come later this week.

Meanwhile, back at her $2.85 million mansion (just one of her mansions remember) on Embassy Row in Washington, poor Hillary sits, and from the looks of her lately she's got a bag of Fritos on her lap. Her luxurious 5,152 square foot home has four bedrooms and seven bathrooms. Again with all the bathrooms; Chelsea's Manhattan apartment has five and a half of them! What's up with that; are they a family of binge-purgers? (Bill has been looking awfully thin of late.)

Admit it: lying, scheming Hillary looks even worse next to some of these Republicans, each of whom has more to offer. Dr. Ben Carson is waaaaay blacker, Carly Fiorina is a ton better-looking, Jeb Bush is much more ethical (and has a Latino wife!), and Marco Rubio, rumored to be joining the cast, obviously has her beat in the ethnicity department, not to mention she's old enough to be his mother. Mike Huckabee has a powerful and fervent religious nut base, and Chris Christie is even fatter than Hillary, just in case her hidden agenda is to go for the dumpy, frumpy matron vote, which is no small constituency these days, let's be honest.

All in all it's shaping up to be quite a circus for the rest of us to watch. Should be a good time!

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Back to My Roots

Dinner in a crazy place.

View from my hotel room.

A trip to New York City puts it all in perspective. It's noisy, crowded. Piles of garbage bags line the sidewalks. Traffic clogs the streets. Restaurants are full, with TV sets blaring from all corners, and music videos playing on huge screens, making conversation impossible. But yet they attract hordes of young people who desperately want to be "out" instead of home alone with their own thoughts. The one we squeezed into served unrecognizable foods, some too spicy to actually eat.

We just arrived here yesterday and so it's too soon to pass judgement, but it seems to me that the city of my birth has gotten even fuller over the years, quite a feat for such a tiny island. It bulges with more buildings, taller buildings, more shops and restaurants and cafes and bistros and street vendors, and noticeably more garbage.
There is still sky somewhere.

We are staying in a "4-star hotel," which is the least number of stars my travel-weary husband finds acceptable, yet it is what Bette Davis must have meant when she famously uttered the line, "What a dump!" I won't name names, but let's just say that the still-warm chocolate-chip cookie you are handed at check-in is the high point. (The low point was the shower this morning that was like being spat upon by a giant.)

I know: complain, complain. But we are seeing a "smash" Broadway show later today and I have high hopes for a good time. And the weather is perfect. And best of all, the whole place makes me miss Maine.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Guess Who's a Dishonest Dummy?

Hint: Not only does she funnel money from foreign governments into her own pockets (the dishonest part), but she's stupid too. Yesterday she proclaimed that the racial trouble in America stems from the fact that we have too high an incarceration rate, "especially now, when crime is at an all-time low." Duh. Any connection there, perhaps? (The dummy part.)

That's right, it's Hillary Clinton! Congratulations, you got it in one guess!

And there's more. That whole "the deck is stacked towards people at the top" business is really odd. Just who are those top people? Could it be Ma and Pa Clinton, who apparently passed along their outstanding values to their only child? At age 33, Chelsea Clinton absolutely had to have, and so got, a swanky Manhattan apartment for 11 million dollars. With a killer view and access to a private gym on the premises where she can sweat it out with other "people at the top," it also has 5-and-a-half bathrooms. Why is that? Can we surmise (dare we hope) that Chelsea and her husband both suffer from irritable bowel syndrome and thus need access to a toilet around every corner?

Come on people, wake up and smell the hummus! The elder Clinton, a.k.a. Granny, is NOT who we need at the helm as our ship of state sinks lower and lower on the global happiness scale. (We are currently at #17, edged out by Mexico, Israel and United Arab Emirates.) Surely we can do better than a former First Lady who stole $180,000 worth of hard goods from the White House upon her departure. (She gave back $120,000 of it, under duress from the authorities.)

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Comings and Goings

I'm simply too damn lazy to have a good time. This is a handicap, since I often complain about the lack of available good times here in Maine. But just now I had a eureka moment, and perhaps all will be well from now on.

What happened was I read an article in today's Wall Street Journal about a family, consisting of a mom and dad and two kids, who took a "gap year" from work and school and spent the whole time traveling to 11 different countries. I just skimmed it but still I caught the word Cambodia, so we know they went far afield. Just thinking about their trip made me slightly nauseous.

Imagine: The packing, the unpacking, the washing of clothes, the eating of strange foods, the sleeping in strange beds, if there are beds at all. The bugs, the weather. The bathrooms! The no toilet paper! The stomach aches, the headaches, the lack of one's own comfy bed and favorite pillow, for a whole year! Then there's the flying, the making of reservations, the catching of trains, the indignities of buses, the terror of taxis and perhaps even rickshaws for all I know.

This weekend my husband and I are going to Manhattan. I am bracing myself for the subways, crowded streets, blaring sirens and bad smells. The hundreds of bright yellow taxis jockeying for position before stopping dead in traffic as far as the eye can see. There will also be good food and good conversation with the friends we are meeting there, and at least a few hours sitting down inside a Broadway theater that will trigger warm feelings of nostalgia from my childhood. We'll try to see some sights, like that new hole in the ground filled with water where the Twin Towers once stood. And maybe pop into the Met for a quick take on the classics on view.

At the very least I will enjoy one real bagel with everything and a slice of dynamite pizza. But then I will come home, happy I went but happier to leave. So I'd better stop complaining about Maine having so few diversions and just enjoy the peace and quiet. (I wish my Muse would get back from her gap year already.)

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The Wrong City Fell

Some of Baltimore's youth grieving over the fallen whoever he was by attacking a police car.
Too bad Baltimore didn't have that recent major earthquake instead of Kathmandhu, where the death toll is now hovering around 4,000. Then all the looters would have a much easier job!

Those diapers should help calm things down.
They wouldn't have to waste time destroying property as it would already be done for them. They could simply stroll into all the demolished storefronts and take everything they please. As for those cases of liquor you see them scurrying off with on the news, they could just lap up the stuff spilled on to the streets like feral animals. And they could rob all the dead people lying in the rubble, and maybe even get their hands on some of that foreign aid money that has started flowing in to help the victims. What a field day they could all have! 

It's all in the name of justice, of course, for that dead criminal, whatshisname? Freddy something. I'm not sure how petty looting deters the admittedly growing insanity of urban police killing young black men for seemingly little provocation, but it seems to be quite popular.

Monday, April 27, 2015

How Meg Ryan is Like a Brussels Sprout

Poor Meg
There is a certain level of society that has elevated food to a status symbol. Sadly, I inhabit that level. I say sadly because while I like having enough to eat, I dislike having it while others have none. There seems little to do about this besides donating to those charities promising to send food to the needy, and so I do this every so often to assuage my guilt. Otherwise, I keep pace with my peers by dining out frequently and cooking up a storm at home.

As for the status symbol part, lately I have noticed that the once-ignored and universally eschewed Brussels sprout has apparently gotten a new agent and is now the literal superstar of sides, showcased front and center on every menu from the crummiest diner to the snootiest restaurant, Maine to California. And the price extracted in the pursuit of its fame is downright criminal.

It's like what happened to Meg Ryan: Once she was adorable and genuine, perfect and pure and so very pretty, truly "America's sweetheart." Then she got her face "done" and now she's a total mess, so much so that she quit acting and hides from the public, spending her days indoors, likely baking cookies with her children and watching reruns of "Sleepless in Seattle." This is surely where the Brussels sprout is headed, although right now it is enjoying its day in the sun, ever-so Botoxed and lifted and tucked, sliced, diced and chopped in a myriad of creative ways.

The current Madonna of Vegetables
Last night, out to dinner with my husband, we ordered the poor thing in hopes that it would arrive still tasting like itself. But alas, no such luck; in place of the plump, juicy, nutty little morsels we love, we were served a mash of chopped greens awash in butter, adorned with bacon bits, with a hint of orange essence and a lump of runny blue cheese that one could disperse at will. If you closed your eyes and concentrated really hard you could pick up a hint of the original flavor of a Brussels sprout, but it wasn't really worth the trouble. Also, it looked bad. (See photo)

A couple at the next table was gorging on a huge bowl of something unrecognizable. We asked the waitress and she explained they were "truffle-oil-infused cheese fries topped with Parmesan cheese." I wanted to take a picture but Mitch thought that was rude.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Why Bad Things Happen

So far I have been having a very nice Sunday, despite the fact that I can't see all that well and won't be able to really until after June 11 when they fix my botched cataract procedure--okay, not botched, it happens to 30% of patients--except for the knowledge that yesterday, at least 2,100 people were taken out by the hand of God in one fell swoop. Actually, several fell swoops, since the earthquake in Nepal also caused an avalanche and then a giant aftershock today.

So you don't believe in God, eh? Well then, Mother Nature is a bitch. Call it what you will, of those victims, some of them were surely innocent and did not deserve to die in that way. Perhaps among them were evil-doers the world is better off without, but now we'll never know.

As always when something like this happens, I am reminded of that high school English staple, Thornton Wilder's 1928 Pulitzer Prize-winning "The Bridge of San Luis Rey." Wilder wrote of a Franciscan monk who witnesses the tragic collapse of a rope bridge in Peru, and then spends years delving into the lives of the individual victims seeking a cosmic reason for their untimely deaths. The book is somewhat boring, even if you read it again long after high school as I did, so I'll just tell you the reason: There's no reason.