Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Old Un-Friends

I have, in the past, un-friended people on Facebook. I have done so without giving it much thought, like it was no big deal. Usually it has been because the person just posts too much stuff, and it gets crazy. Then I figured out how to "unsubscribe" from someone, which means you can keep them as a friend and just not get their news stream, so I do that now when the amount of input becomes overwhelming.

My son has advised me that the act of un-friending is perceived as "insulting and hurtful." I scoffed, saying it was not seen as a slight, at least not for my generation. But now I have discovered that an old friend of mine has recently un-friended me, and I am indeed insulted and hurt.

To anyone I have un-friended in the past, I'm sorry. And to that one friend who recently un-friended me, just in case she reads this blog from time to time and this might be one of the times: What did I do?

Do It for the Seeds

I like happy jack-o'-lanterns, although they are supposed to be scary.
It's hard not to say something about Halloween, but really, unless you are Celtic, what is there to say? It used to be fun to give out inventive, special treats to little kids dressed in inventive, special costumes. Now costumes come from Target and Wal-Mart, a.k.a. China, and are all made of polyester and basically look like pajamas with different tails, and you can only dispense pre-packaged candy so nobody gets poisoned, which is so silly since candy is poison no matter what kind of packaging it comes in.

Besides going to the supermarket for candy, a major Halloween activity is carving pumpkins. Oddly enough, once pumpkins are carved with faces they are no longer pumpkins but have become jack-o'-lanterns (See photo). This is just like once a woman gets pregnant her gynecologist immediately becomes her obstetrician and remains so until the baby is born, then he turns back into her gynecologist. (I have written about this phenomenon before because I find it so fascinating.)

Last night my husband and I turned a couple of pumpkins into jack-o'-lanterns. Mitch is quite competitive and always does a better one, although to be fair I'm only in it for the seeds. They're good for your heart and some other things too: Containing lots of Vitamin E, protein, copper and glutamate, they help in reducing anxiety, nervous irritability, and a host of neurotic conditions. (I have those.) They contain tryptophan and are a natural sleep aid. Also, research suggests that pumpkin seeds contain DHEA (Di hydro epi-androstenedione) blocking actions, decreasing the risk of prostate and ovarian cancers. Certain compounds in pumpkin seed oil may have a role in prevention of kidney disease. Plus they are delicious. Here's how to make them taste great:

Clean out pumpkin, separating seeds from pulp. Wash seeds vigorously in a colander, then drain and dry on paper towels before spreading them on a cookie sheet. Coat with olive oil, kosher salt and freshly-ground pepper. Bake at 350 degrees for about 35-40 minutes, or until you notice the house smells like pumpkin and/or smoke is wafting out of the oven. I like them a crisp golden brown color, and a few burned ones never hurt.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

After the Storm, It's Back to the Races

Life is so unfair, in fact sometimes ridiculously so. Take the case of yesterday's Hurricane Sandy, a.k.a. Frankenstorm and Superstorm Sandy. It--I refuse to say "she" about a bunch of clouds--broke records for horrible things like highest wall of water anywhere and the deepest flood waters in the New York City subway ever. Today millions of people are either without power, suddenly homeless, stranded in flood waters, stuck in a blizzard or dead, all as a result of the weather. One particularly unlucky group of sick people in a Manhattan hospital, some hooked up to machines in the ICU, had to be evacuated to another hospital because of the lack of a working backup generator. Now that's got to be a really bad storm. Then again, many people caught in the very same storm system fared quite well, never lost power, never got wet, didn't hear a tree fall or see a snowflake.

Does he look ready for Inauguration Day or what?
Here in Maine we got some wind and some rain--nothing to write home about--but our power went out almost immediately and stayed out until this morning. I should say that the power in our neighborhood has also gone out on a sunny spring afternoon with no breeze. One friend in uptown New York City never lost her power, while another who lives downtown is still in the dark. What this proves is that life is incredibly different for each one of us, yet somehow we are all supposed to rally behind one or the other political candidate who would be king...oh come on, it's the same as president. Anyway, with the anointing one week away, and in the footsteps of the Des Moines Register endorsing a Republican for the first time in 40 years, The Daily Droid has decided to publicly endorse a candidate: Denzel Washington.

Although I did not vote for Obama last time, I wanted to. I like having a black president. I think it makes a lot of people feel really good about race relations here in America, and allows a lot of closet racists to feel okay about their true feelings because they voted for the black man, which in turn makes them actually be a little less racist. Also, Denzel is such a great actor, he would surely be up to speed on the presidency in no time. I mean, Ronald Reagan wasn't even a good actor and he pulled it off. Lastly, Denzel is so handsome and articulate, and clean--maybe even as clean as Obama, which Joe Biden himself pointed out four years ago was one of the main reasons Obama was a good choice for president.

As for Vice-President, which matters very little unless the president dies, I would like someone with a sense of humor, easy on the eyes, maybe even a woman. Not Sarah Palin--someone actually smart, who knows a lot about history and politics, and with years of experience in D.C. Thus, I choose Ann Coulter for Vice-President. Lest you think I am crazy, bear in mind that I was without power for 18 hours during Hurricane Sandy. Not only did I have to reset all my digital clocks, which were flashing annoyingly, but my stockpile of organic frozen raspberries--not cheap-- was partially defrosted and turned to mush. Plus my screened porch took quite a beating, with all the decorative seashells perched on the chair rail blown all over the place. Some of them even broke, so I'm not myself today, but then, who could be after Sandy?

Monday, October 29, 2012

Mother Nature for President

Man oh man, all the journalists are having a field day with Hurricane Sandy. It's not just any old super-storm, it's an epic super-storm that packs a wallop, wreaks havoc, bears down, picks up steam, slams cities, churns, boils, roils, and roars its way up the coast causing an estimated $10 billion in damage. It threatens the lives of millions of people, can be seen from outer space, has closed all of New York City and shut down Washington, D.C. If people in Sandy's path are not out sand-bagging they are hunkering down, and if they're not hunkering down they're evacuating. Beaches are eroding, piers are being pounded and the record surges are shooting the Weather Channel's ratings through the roof.

What's really great about the storm--which is really terrible and nothing is great about it but if anything were--is how it puts in perspective that itty-bitty, teeny-tiny thing all of America has been obsessing over for the past year: the personality contest between Barry and Mitty. Sandy has eclipsed them both! Except for the death and destruction and flooding and all, it's sort of a nice break, don't you think?

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Now That's What I Call "The Perfect Storm"

According to a letter I got from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, "Republicans are more concerned with defeating Democrats than creating jobs and helping the middle class." As you may recall, they have gone to great lengths to do so in the past--like back in 2000, when they forced the Supreme Court to hand over the White House to George W. Bush. Well, as hard as it is to imagine topping that maneuver, those sneaky Republicans have come up with a real doozy this time around: They have somehow--and don't ask me how--seeded the clouds and created a huge storm named Hurricane Sandy that several media outlets have already predicted could impact the election.

Sandy's projected path looks just like a chicken leg.
Sandy, which rhymes with Candy and we all certainly know what that means--Candy Crowley, the debate, duh-- will allegedly cause power outages lasting weeks that could shut down absentee voting, certainly the prime conduit of the fraudulent stuffing of ballot boxes. And dangerous and severe flooding in the storm's aftermath will likely keep people at home on Election Day, mostly those old and poor Democrats who don't even have cars thanks to the Republican pigs taking all their money.

No matter what, Sandy has already interfered with the final week of campaigning, cancelling many last-minute baby-kissing, hand-shaking and pizza-eating opportunities for both candidates, and everyone knows the last week of the campaign is the most important week of all--or at least it will be in hindsight after the landslide Romney victory. Just like the Supreme Court did a dozen years ago, Hurricane Sandy will deflect the true will of the people and usher in a Republican administration, something nobody in their right mind could want. Since Maine has only four electoral votes, we will likely only get a lot of rain and some high winds so I am not too worried about it. But New York and Florida, with 29 electoral votes each, and Pennsylvania, with 20, are being targeted to get the worst of the storm. Let's just see if this nefarious Republican scheme works.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Why We Hate Mitt

The Romneys: How fortunate can one family be?
In today's world, if you are 100% Caucasian without any handicaps, and are not living an alternative lifestyle like having sex with your dog, you are low man on the totem pole, and I use the word man to include women too. But never fear, you can redeem yourself by being poor and pregnant--the more kids the better--and having many abortions. Or perhaps your father abused you as a child, or maybe your uncle or your priest or even better, your mother; a horrible childhood will catapult you up the ladder to acceptance by society.  But if you have had a happy childhood and a nice life since then, are intelligent and good-looking, successful in your chosen career, living in a traditional marriage and are reasonably healthy, and have sired only healthy children, forget it; you will be scorned, tarred and feathered, hated and hollered at. After all, why should anyone show you kindness--you've got it all.

I would like to go on record as saying I have had two miscarriages, multiple abortions, several wrong surgeries, two cancer diagnoses, a very unhappy childhood and a miserable first marriage. I now have arthritis and high blood pressure, and so have my share of pain and anxiety. I am also a Jew, and thus my ancestors were persecuted and I still feel their pain. Call me?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Everyone's Favorite Lie

A few weeks back I sent an email to the Head Recruiter at a certain organization offering any of several services; basically, I was looking for a job. A friend who works there helped me out in two ways: She gave me the woman's email address and also put in a good word for me with her. Yesterday I received an email from the lady in question that said in fact there is a job that I might very well fill, and would I be interested in it, giving a few details. I emailed back that yes I would and when can we talk. Her final email said she would call me first thing this morning when she got to work. I gave her my cell phone number so I wouldn't miss the call for any reason, like going out to get the paper at the end of the driveway, or whatever.

I carried my cell phone with me all morning. I left it right outside the shower door. I had it on the passenger seat as I drove to an appointment, one I had told her about so she wouldn't call at that time. No call came. Back home after my appointment, I wrote her an email saying I was hoping to hear from her and was she still interested. Still, at three in the afternoon, nothing. I called the phone number on her email, but it turned out to be one of those company recordings where you have to spell out the person's name on your keypad to get their extension and I just don't do that sort of thing. (I think it's retarded, if I can say that without offending anyone.)

This person's title is Head of Recruitment at this quite sizable and very well-respected company. I was seeking recruitment. She began the recruitment process, but stopped. If she is not busy recruiting, then what the heck is she doing? As I usually feel in these situations, I certainly hope the poor woman is not in the hospital or, God forbid a million times, lying dead in a ditch somewhere, but if that's what happened I'd feel a whole lot better about things.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

If I Were President

Never watched "The Beverly Hillbillies," but I know that's them.
Okay, I'm taking the gloves off. After all, if Obama can be obnoxious and nasty and have everyone think he's cool, I guess I can try it. Also, my son says the reason so few people read my blog is because I am not controversial enough, so here goes. This is how I actually feel about the following situations:

1. We all know that being fat is unhealthy, unattractive, and in some dire cases downright disgusting. I have said as much before. So when I'm in charge, citizens will be ticketed for every pound over the legal limit, which will be determined by experts such as doctors and insurance actuaries. You might be eating a Whopper at Burger King one day and have a cop come up to you, produce one of those new wrist scales where they can weigh you on the spot, and give you a ticket for breaking the Fatness Law. It might be like $5 per pound, or more depending on how financially strapped my administration is at that point.

2. Bad taste will be outlawed. This will apply to clothing, hairstyles, car decals and exterior home decor. Facial hair on men will be strictly prohibited, while women with facial hair will be pitied. Lawn ornaments such as gnomes, giant mushrooms, gnomes leaning on giant mushrooms, plastic reindeer at Christmas and throughout the year, those dumb pinwheels, flamingos of any color and jockeys ditto will be confiscated. A second offense will result in the scofflaw having to do community service such as repainting all those ugly houses a new color chosen by the state and shaving women's beards.

3. Persons caught using a cell phone in public will be jailed for one month and forced to watch reruns of "The Beverly Hillbillies" (see photo) or translate Shakespeare's sonnets into pig-Latin, their choice. Anyone caught texting while driving will be publicly mocked, audibly scorned and forced to wear a button saying, "I AM REALLY DUMB."

No More Mr. Nice Guy

I have never thought anyone an idiot because of his or her political leanings. Not once. Yet I have seen many people come to blows, end friendships, and worse, over that very thing. Why an ordinary citizen cares so deeply about the fortunes of the rich and famous who wish to become richer and more famous is beyond me. Conventional Wisdom alleges that your political choices profoundly reflect who you are, what your values are, blah, blah, blah. I don't see it that way. For me, I either like someone or I don't. If I don't, then no amount of jabbering will get me to feel otherwise.

Last night we all watched the final--thank God!-- debate between the two egomaniacs who hope to rule the free world for the next four years. That common goal is the only thing that unites them; otherwise, they are as different as black and white. (Ha ha!)

What I saw was one guy who was snarky (thanks for that word, Mel!), arrogant, snide, obnoxious, and out for blood from the get-go. His opponent was kinder and gentler, a more reasoned sort, certainly more to my liking but alas, seemingly less up-to-speed on the facts. That makes sense of course, since Snarky has been at the very job in question for four years already, so he damn well better know more about what's going on than Mr. Nice Guy--in fact, a lot more. But seeing as how the average American is a bully at heart, last night's "winner" as proclaimed by the gaggle of vultures gathered in so-called "spin rooms" to feed on the remnants of the two combatants was Snarky. This leads me to think that since the election is only two weeks away and the last memory voters will have is of a smiling Mr. Nice Guy who seemed shorter on the facts despite being longer on the skills, intelligence, wit, demeanor, and diplomacy we can only dream about seeing in our president, that horrid Snarky will win. This is, after all, America.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Slap On a Smiley Face

Complain, complain, complain, that's all everyone ever does, certainly me. In fact I could be named the Most Complainy of All Time. Well, I am sick of it; I'm done with complaints, except this one which is essentially a complaint about how much complaining I do. From now on I will focus on all that is good and pure and true in the world, and revel in the glory of the everyday.

For example, I just ate a really delicious piece of toast with some yummy almond butter and a smattering of blueberries. And I may even have a second cup of fresh, steaming, black coffee. It's a beautiful October day here in Maine. I do not at the moment have any disfiguring diseases. I just ate breakfast, as mentioned, so I am not dying of hunger, and since I can walk I'm about to go out for a 45-minute trot about town. I have no real problems; they are all imaginary. So what if it's boring here and there is nothing to do really--at least nobody is breaking down my door or stealing my hubcaps or selling crack on the corner. I'm not sure if anyone still sells crack on any corners anywhere since I live in the boonies and stopped watching SVU a long time ago, but whatever--there are no drug deals going down in my neighborhood.

Let's see, surely there is more. Okay, it is not raining. Oh, I already said it's a beautiful day. And an article in today's Wall Street Journal says that Portland is a great place to live, full of trendy restaurants and art museums and even a symphony. I will not mention how much the symphony sucks and that the last time we attended we actually left at intermission and how the sole art museum is quite tiny and I already know every painting that hangs in each room. Not going there. Well then, I guess I'll just end by saying that happiness is within my grasp, it doesn't just fall from the sky like the weather, you have to go out and find it. As long as I'm still ambulatory with functioning organs, nothing else matters. Have a nice day.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Film Review: ARGO

Ben Affleck in his Daddy's sport coat.
I would like to publicly apologize to Ben Affleck for all the bad things I have said about him in the past. These include statements like, "He can't act his way out of a paper bag,"  "He's as boring as a block of wood," and, when he was half of Bennifer, "His girlfriend is a slut." After seeing ARGO, the new film he co-produced (with George Clooney) and directed, and in which he stars, I now want to go on record as saying the man is a movie-God who walks among us.

ARGO is a great, great, great movie. If I were a professional film critic, I would call it a "must-see, tense, political thriller with touches of comedy and profound lessons applicable to America's current foreign disturbances." But since this is just my personal blog I can say it's ridiculously intense, laugh-out-loud funny, complicated enough and scary. It tells the true story of a decades-old political situation--the 1979 seizure of American hostages by Iranian radicals--by weaving real footage in with Hollywood artifice. To the director's credit, most of the time you can hardly tell which is which.

Ben plays an elite CIA agent called in to mastermind the release of six of the hostages, and he acts the part with both flair and sobriety-- two quite different attitudes that are rarely seen in one person, at least at the same time. Helping him pull off what has since become known as the "Canadian Caper" are John Goodman, fatter and jollier than ever, and Alan Arkin, older and balder but still a hoot. But the true star of the movie is the cast of thousands portraying the angry mob that storms the embassy, causing me to steer clear of Iran, Iraq, Israel, Libya, Syria, Jordan, or in fact anyplace you see on the news where mobs of men in flip-flops are throwing rocks, flags are being brandished aloft, and cars are aflame in the village square. I am also strengthening my surveillance of our Persian cat, and as of today Gizmo is banned from our bedroom while we sleep.

Don't get me wrong--it's not like ARGO is without flaws. In one scene, Ben's big-shouldered tweed sport coat seems like the wrong size and maybe it belongs to his Daddy. I found this annoying and wondered how the wardrobe lady missed it. Other than that, the movie's perfect.

People Get Ready

Suddenly the winds have changed and some polls and pundits are predicting a Romney victory. This would naturally impact the country in huge ways. Besides the biggest change in Congress--Nancy Pelosi will finally stop smiling--some of the other societal shifts we can expect include:

* The words "missionary position" will take on a whole new meaning.

* With Michelle gone, school cafeterias will go back to serving French fries with mashed potatoes, gravy and biscuits, a specialty of Mormon cuisine. We'll be able to eat whatever we want--except those downtrodden New Yorkers in Bloomberg territory. Children will no longer be urged to "move an hour a day," and eventually everyone will have diabetes.

* Those crybaby Democrats, which means all the Democrats, will claim foul play and initiate lawsuits against George W. Bush, who surely had something to do with it.

* The writers at Saturday Night Live will rejoice as once again they are free to mercilessly mock the president without fear of being called racist.

* Anticipating the repeal of Roe v. Wade, even women who aren't pregnant will rush out to get abortions while they still can, with lines outside of the few remaining Planned Parenthood centers stretching for blocks.

* The ladies of The View will kvetch and moan. Whoopie Goldberg will gain another 50 pounds and start shopping at the Big & Tall Shop. Barbara Walters, almost 100 years old under that face mask, is likely to drop dead from the shock. Joy Behar--oh, who cares about her.

* Photo-shopped glamor shots of Ann Romney will grace the cover of Vogue, the only magazine still in print.

* Joe Biden, laughing all the way, will thankfully recede back into oblivion where he belongs, while Secretary of State Marie Osmond will become famous again.

* The Reverend Al Sharpton will go on a hunger strike and completely disappear by Inauguration Day.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

What To Do With All That Money...Instead

Here's an idea that could change the face of politics forever, and I offer it to the world free of charge: You know how politicians are always so busy raising money for their campaigns? These fundraising schemes range from celebrity dinners costing $25,000 a head to nickel and diming the little people via email and snail mail. Just the other day I got a "letter" from Mitt Romney himself, thanking me for my support and by the way could I send in a little something more to help him. I thought, how odd that a million-billionaire is asking for a donation to his winning the presidency by giving my money to advertising agencies in New York City and LA who will use it to create ads discrediting his opponent. Naturally this is a two-way street, and Obama is asking the same of his supporters.

Now here is my idea: What if I did send him money because I do want him to win the election, and he spent that money on things like homeless shelters or building bridges or dental care for poor people or fill in the blank? I would send him a lot of money! And what if Obama did the same, and he got a lot of contributions too? Then they both could still boast about how much money they raised, but they could also tell us all the good things they did with that money, and we could vote for them because of how good they are, not how bad they say the other guy is. Plus, the money would be spent on something lasting and of true value, instead of vanishing TV time.

Okay, so there would be some new unemployed ad executives at those advertising agencies. (Hey, they don't call them "Mad Men" for nothing.)  Still, all in all I'd say it would be a win-win for America, wouldn't you?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

If Animals Could Vote

What did people argue about before this election season heated up? Oh, I remember now--it's always election season. This very moment, some folks are already arguing about 2016: Will Hillary run? What about Jeb Bush? And don't forget Rubio! It's truly a never-ending conversation, turning our collective brains to mush. Imagine instead a world where other subjects dominated the news. Like what if people explored inter-species communication, a topic that gets far too little attention if you ask me. I believe it's all around us; take my cat Lurch, an animal lacking the gift of speech but leaving no doubt as to what he wants and when he wants it.

When Lurch first arrived I worried that he would get stuck outside in all sorts of bad weather, since he's an outdoors kind of guy and we have no cat door. His previous home was a group house inhabited by five college students with zillions of friends dropping by at all hours; the doors were forever opening and closing and Lurch could come and go easily. But here it's just me and Mitch, and sometimes just me, and actually we don't have many drop-ins, this being Maine. What would happen?

Lurch handles it. Like any cat, when he wants out he howls at the particular door of his choosing. But when he wants in it is often hours later, maybe dark and rainy, or snowing and windy. Howling won't work. So what he does is get a good running start, get airborne and and literally hurl his almost-14-pound body at the door. The first time I heard this thunderous noise I thought someone was trying to break in, and rushed to see what the commotion was. Turns out it was someone trying to break in; it was Lurch.

When he's hungry he sits at the refrigerator; for treats, it's the pantry door. When he wants fresh water he stares at the water bowl. Just in from the storm all wet and soggy, he camps out at the closet where we keep the hot tub towels. In the morning, thinking I have slept quite enough and it's time for breakfast, he jumps on my head and meows in my ear. I know--your cat does all those things too. But what about this: During last night's presidential debate, Lurch parked his considerable self right down on the remote, turning off the TV in the middle of an especially obnoxious Obama tirade. Let's face it: He is one smart kitty.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

In This Corner...

You sort of wished they would just duke it out, and at one point it looked like it might happen, with the two of them circling around one another, talking through one another, and Candy the referee trying to get them to calm down and go back to their corners. Now that would have been some debate! But instead, it was the same old boring pablum and evasions that we have heard for the last year. The most amazing thing is how neither one answered any of the questions put to them. It went sort of like this:

Q. Being as specific as possible, and using examples from your past experience, please tell us exactly how you would create new jobs for those people who are unemployed today.

President Obama: My mother raised two kids and she had a job. My grandmother was smart as a whip, and she had a job too, and she knew Lily Ledbetter. Governor Romney shot down Lily Ledbetter. He doesn't want you to have jobs, he just wants to cut taxes for the rich and take away your contraception. You will have jobs too, all of you, if you vote for me and let me do what I want, instead of having to fight the Republicans in Congress all the time.

Governor Romney: I went to the Olympics and made it better. I know how to make jobs. This administration made less jobs than anyone since Harry Truman. I have a five-point plan, and I was a pastor in my church for ten years. Did I mention I was Governor of Massachusetts? And I don't want to take away your contraception, I just want to cut our deficit and I know how to do that. You know, I did it for the Olympics and I can do it again. Obama made gas prices double!

I was an undecided voter before tonight, but now I'm 100% clear on who can take America into the future with style, smarts and savvy: On election day, I'm writing in Candy Crowley.

What's So Great About Diversity?

I lived in Washington, D.C. for 30 years before moving to Maine more than three years ago.  D.C. is nothing if not diverse. Some of that diversity gives the city its wonderful restaurants serving ethnic delicacies, but you can only eat in them if you have the nerve because you might get mugged on the way there. There are also beautiful old homes in "changing neighborhoods" where you can still find a bargain if you're willing to fix it up, but you can only do that if you have the nerve because you might get murdered after you move in. (That happened to my friends Bruce and Bonnie Glover.)

While we lived there, our son attended public high school. He was in the minority, along with roughly 320 other white students in a class of 1,500; his classmates were predominantly African American, followed by Asians and Hispanics. Zack had one very close Asian friend, one very close black friend, and the rest of his usual gang were all white kids. The school day began with a walk through a metal security detector to weed out the knives, guns and drugs from student backpacks. Metropolitan Police patrolled the halls. All the white kids congregated together, ate lunch together, and in fact sort of attended their own school within a school, since honors classes based on test scores effectively segregated the student body.

During the three years my son was at Woodrow Wilson High, I attended scores of meetings, plays, concerts, science fairs and book drives. I sold cupcakes at carnivals and helped out with new student orientation. During all that time I was approached by one black parent. She was great, and we actually became friends and kept in touch for a few years, even on Facebook. But being the only white face on her news feed, I felt like an intruder and ultimately "un-friended" her.

Maine is not diverse at all. I guess it's too cold to attract many folks used to warmer climates. Whatever the reason,  it's pretty white up here. But there's never any dead bodies found in the alleys every morning, which I think is worth missing out on all those yummy ethnic restaurants. Politicians talk about diversity like it's a walk in the park, but until Americans actually choose to befriend people of other colors and nationalities, all the laws in the world won't get everyone to play nice.

Monday, October 15, 2012

How Annoying: Old Friends Getting Old

The other day I had a longish phone conversation catching up with an old friend--in fact, my oldest friend. Our mothers were pals long before we were born and so Carol, a few years older than me, was around from the get-go. Until I was nine our families lived with just one house between us, still it felt like they were right next door. After that we all upgraded, and our new house was one street over from theirs in a nicer town. The two families felt like one, despite ours being Jewish and theirs Italian Catholic; Carol's younger brother Kenny and I certainly fought like siblings. Still, all was simpatico.

Carol was the perfect, fairy tale "big sister" I wished I had. She was beautiful and fun, with a winning personality and an endearing magnetism about her. She grew up to be a professional dancer, eventually becoming one of the famous June Taylor Dancers of long ago that I watched on TV's Jackie Gleason Show each week. We have kept in touch, and a few times we have visited despite living far apart all of our adult lives.

Circa 1951: Carol at left in pink, Kenny and me front row center.
About that phone conversation. We squandered it talking about our various ailments, bouncing back and forth between her skin cancer and my skin cancer, her torn rotator cuff and physical therapy and my arthritis and possible hip replacement.  Then we moved on to the relative merits of taking turmeric in powder form versus capsules, and whether or not alternative medicine was better than more traditional treatments. Finally after about 30 minutes of this, I noted that we had spent the whole time talking about how sick we are, and what fun is that? She laughed, I laughed, and we changed the subject--we started talking about her 92-year-old mother's back pain and her almost-as-old aunt's upcoming heart valve surgery. (We had to talk about Carol's family, since most of mine is dead already.)

Despite the focus on our obvious decline--these are after all our declining years--we hung up laughing, and our conversation was a tonic like few others available; certainly none that come in a bottle. Carol will turn 70 in a few days and I can assure you she is definitely the best-looking, funniest and most youthful 70-year-old woman you will ever meet. The bottom line: As long as you're on this side of the grass, you've still got a shot at happiness.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Film Review: THE MASTER

One good reason to see the movie "The Master" is because it feels so good when it stops. Really, I was never so happy to see anything as that final black screen. As I joyously escaped the darkness and ran out to carpe what little remained of the diem, I witnessed another just-sprung patron in the lobby irately demanding a refund because the film was "a load of hogwash and a piece of crap."

Freddie enjoying some turpentine on ice.
All kidding aside, this film is both disturbing and disturbed. Rave reviews by esteemed critics got us there, coupled with our deep admiration of the talented Philip Seymour Hoffman--an actor so gifted he deserves two first names. What I didn't realize going in was that the movie would be such a bummer, mostly because some of those critics had called it "riotously funny."  I must have missed that line, because what I saw for over two hours was an under-the-microscope look at Freddie Quell, a loony alcoholic war veteran filled with rage and a touch of post-traumatic stress disorder. Adding to the pervading discomfort was the actor Joaquin Phoenix's real-life nasty upper lip which, unless you are his mother or his girlfriend, is distracting to put it kindly and downright ugly to not. Then again, in certain lights--and believe me, we see Freddie in all lights since he is on screen for 95% of the time, if not more--he can look like a young Marlon Brando. This actually added to my downward spiral because I remembered that Marlon Brando has been dead for years, and besides, Joaquin Phoenix is no Marlon Brando.

The undertow dragging the media frenzy about this film is that it might be about Scientology and Hoffman's character might be suggestive of that religion's founder, L. Ron Hubbard. Nobody knows but the director and the writer, and they were not with me tonight. Instead I was with my husband, who knew nothing more than I did but seemed to have a better time. That might be because the movie's other theme is Freddie's overwhelming obsession with thoughts of sex, vaginas and naked women and, secondarily, engaging in sex with naked women's vaginas. If you also enjoy those things, you might like the movie a tad more. But unless you are studying to become a psychiatrist or learning to tend bar--Freddie mixes up specialty cocktails whenever he has the time and the ingredients, including Lysol, torpedo fuel and paint thinner--do yourself a big favor and skip this one.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Famous for What

I'm sort of glad I don't matter much these days. If you are older than 45, you know what I mean--today's movers and shakers are young people stuck in the muck and mire of Facebook and Twitter. I recently read "50 People to Watch on Facebook," and learned some pretty shocking things, like some people have 4,500 Facebook friends. Others claim millions of Twitter subscribers, reading their pithy declarations such as, "Just had some really awesome gelato." They hang out with celebrities in posh restaurants in foreign lands, and many of them are celebrities because they hang out with celebrities in those same restaurants, eating some of that awesome gelato.

Danny and Rhea when they were less bad-looking...
Just what makes someone a celebrity? Are there really people who are better than other people? How could that be? Okay, some of them might be somewhat better because they are thinner or prettier or more talented, but then you realize that Danny DeVito is a major celebrity despite being a hideous dwarf--let's be real here--yet if he walked into a restaurant where you were eating, everyone would be going wild saying, "Look, there's Danny DeVito!" And it's not even like he's some fabulous actor or anything--he was funny enough a couple of times on TV, but now he is a full-fledged celebrity whose wife, the equally unattractive and unexciting and un-special Rhea Perlman--is also a celebrity and is now leaving him, or so I have read. Their divorce is news! Those two are written about! Why is that? Would you cross the street to meet either one of them? I know I wouldn't.

Another celebrity who mystifies me is a woman named Jessica Simpson, the newest spokesperson for Weight Watchers, and earning $4 million hawk their program. The poor thing must be pretty fat now because they just show her from the neck up, so you can just imagine. Anyway, I have no idea what her talent is or ever was, but I hope the diet works for her. It must be tough being a fat celebrity, especially when you have so much money to spend on food.

Once More Into the Fray

I refuse to spend too much of my Saturday morning, with the fall leaves out my window beckoning me to go for a crunchy, chilly walk among them, reminding you all of the events leading up to the election of one young and relatively inexperienced and unknown newbie senator of mixed race four years ago. What I will say is that any criticism of that man in the years since is written off immediately as evidence of racism and hatred of African-Americans. This has gotten tiring to say the very least.

Currently I am engaged in a cyber-argument with my cyber-nephew Keith.  I call him that because although he is actually my nephew by marriage, we have never met outside of Facebook. I think the world of him, and consider him intelligent and fair-minded, one of the few outspoken members of both my husband's family of radical lefties and the Democratic party who I respect and admire. BUT-- and it's a big but--Keith is completely unable or perhaps merely unwilling to consider the possibility that race has played a part in the election of Barack Obama! I would like to state publicly that I will not be voting for Obama in spite of the fact that it is so cool and touchy-feely and good vibrations and aren't we all one big happy family over here in America to have a black president. I agree that it would be fabulous if we had one who knew what the heck he was doing, and hopefully we will someday. Obama ain't him--aight?

Friday, October 12, 2012

For Vice President: The Choice is Yours!


Veep Cat and Mouse Game

Here at last is something all Americans, be they Republican or Democrat, can agree upon: Whether it's Obama or Romney who wins the election, he should live and be well for his whole term, because if either Joe Biden or Paul Ryan has to step up to the plate, there's not enough Valium in the pipeline to calm us all down. Tonight we saw the two of them up close and personal in their only televised debate, and here's roughly how it went:

Ryan: Our ambassador was unprotected in Libya. 
Biden: Bibi Netanyahu is a friend of mine.
Ryan: We will not put more of our troops in danger.
Biden: Yuk, yuk, tee hee, hardy, har-har.  
Ryan: Romney is ready to be president.
Biden: My wife and child were killed in a car crash.
Ryan: Mitt and I love this country and we will defend it.
Biden: I was there when Lincoln gave his address at Gettysburg.
Ryan: Mitt Romney will create jobs.
Biden: You, sir, are no Jack Kennedy.
Ryan: We have a five-point plan to end abortion. 
Biden: Bibi Netanyahu is a friend of mine.

Low Blow: Are those his real ears or was Paul Ryan wearing a Mickey Mouse cap?
Lower Blow: It seems to me if you are eager to show off your big mouth full of ill-fitting dentures, they should at least be white. Joe, get yourself some baking soda!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Glass is Half Full

Finally--something good about getting older! This morning during my annual physical exam, my doctor said that it's way easier to detect breast cancer in older women. (Good news for me, having been older for quite some time already.) He said this while he was actively kneading my two ancient breasts like balls of dough. I suddenly realized it's likely because old breasts are saggier and flabbier than young ones. (Bad news for my husband, but beyond my control.) Dr. Pierce, ever the diplomat, explained that the tissue is "softer" in older women, not necessarily flabby or bad in any way whatsoever, no, no, he meant nothing of the sort, blah, blah, blah. Whatever--he was able to declare unequivocally that my two did not have any lumps, at least not today.

Having an annual physical is a scary thing, but something I do anyway. If I get a clean bill of health like I did this morning-- except of course for the arthritis and the high blood pressure--I can be assured of a good night's sleep for at least a month or so. After that, who knows what could start? With so many body parts, each one getting softer by the minute, there's no telling. But for now, I feel good enough. The best part was when Dr. Pierce said that my particular set of physical ailments are "as common as a penny." I love that! At least something about me is just like everyone else.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Cooking Our Own Big Bird

Years ago, almost too many to admit, my husband and I were fired from one of our oldest friendships because we announced we would be voting for George W. Bush in that first election. The axe came down on the phone following the first presidential debate--the one where Al Gore rolled his eyes and sighed a lot--and we never saw that friend again. (At least that was the reason given; I suspected the truer reason was something quite different but that the presidential election was a handy hook.) I considered that a one-time fluke, but then the same thing  happened four years later with a different friend when we again voted for Bush. That time I attributed it to the pickled stupor into which the avowed Democrat had sunk, all of us drinking and arguing in a Chicago hotel room.

Now here we are again, and we have been told we cannot attend a certain Thanksgiving dinner in Salt Lake City unless we promise to vote for Obama. Since I would sooner walk across a desert on hot coals, hang naked in a public square and be pelted with jellybeans, have my head shaved, relinquish my collection of original Beatle albums or give up watching reruns of "Everybody Loves Raymond" for a year than cast my vote for Obama, we will not be in attendance. My husband feels the same way, although his head is already shaved and he hardly has any Beatle albums, having been only six years old when they made their American debut. (He'll dispute this and drag out the White Album, but I have Meet the Beatles.)

So Mitch and I will fend for ourselves this Thanksgiving, which we have done for many years now. Fortunately we are both great cooks.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Rhymes with Wolfgang Puck

Oh my God--you can no longer say "moron" on Yahoo! You can say dummy, idiot, stupid sap and dunce, but morons are now apparently a protected group. Which is a shame, because now that old joke won't work anymore:
Q: How did the moron get his name?
A: He tried to board a crowded bus and the driver said, "Sorry, no more on."

I found that out when I posted a comment in response to an article, wherein I called Obama's campaign staff "a bunch of morons," and it appeared as "a bunch of %$?#*!." I called them %$?#*! because of their latest political ad, which goes forward with the Romney-Big Bird thing, like that matters. This is what they are doing with the millions in donations they solicit from the suffering middle-class voters who allegedly don't have a pot to pee in? Oy-fucking-vay.

A few nights ago, out in Hollywood, a gaggle of rich celebrities paid $25,000 each to dine with the president and George Clooney at a fancy new restaurant owned by Wolfgang Puck. One can assume that lots of money came in, which resulted in that new Big Bird TV ad. Well, I would like to go on record as saying that I have had some of Wolfgang's soup, which is for sale in every supermarket, and it sucks!  I sure hope those %$?#*! did not have to eat any of that soup. (I wonder, can I say suck?)

Monday, October 8, 2012

Words With Goys

The popular online word game called Words With Friends has me in its clutches. I play fervently, daily, obsessively and to win, much to the dismay of my husband who says I need professional help. "Ha, you should talk," I tell him, "with your 50 burpees a day and your squats and leg lifts and whey protein shakes and your Paleo this and Paleo that!" That shuts him up pretty good. Anyway, there are so many worse addictions one could have, I consider myself lucky that this is mine. But that's besides the point--what I want to discuss is the hidden censor inside my computer who decided what words are acceptable and what words are verboten.

If I could meet that censor, I would punch him or her in the face. He/she has decided that these words are acceptable: hebe, yid and wop. On the other hand, these words are unacceptable and are rejected by the game: fag, slut and fop. Suspecting something was amiss, I looked everything up in the dictionary and found the following definitions:
1. Hebe: a Jew (Slang; disparaging and offensive)
2. Yid: a Jew (Slang; disparaging and offensive)
3. Wop: a member of a Latin people, especially an Italian (Slang; derogatory)
4. Fag: to fray or untie a rope; to tire or weary by labor; faggot (Slang; derogatory)
5. Slut: an immoral or dissolute woman; a prostitute
6. Fop: dandy; swell; dude

Speaking as a member of the Jewish faith, I feel the word police over at Words With Friends headquarters are unfairly slanted in favor of whores and gays and against kikes and guineas. Am I wrong?

Treating Kids Better on Halloween

Don't leave me alone with these....
It's almost Halloween again, and here's something really scary: Americans spend almost $2 billion each year on Halloween candy. (Consider that--then consider the starving children you see in those late-night TV commercials for Christian charities.) And it's not just children who eat the stuff, as we all know too well. The parents--at least all the ones I've ever known--wait for the kids to go to bed, then attack those treat bags in search of their favorites. (My own son eventually smartened up and hid his stash from us.) The holiday ushers in a corn syrup frenzy lasting many days--weeks even-- depending on the generosity and income of the neighborhood where your kid went scavenging.

Everyone knows that Halloween candy is bad news, especially if you love black Twizzlers and Licorice Allsorts like me. Last year the FDA warned that, "for people 40 or older, eating two ounces of black licorice a day for about two weeks could land you in the hospital with an irregular heart rhythm (arrhythmia).” It's a wonder I am still alive.

This year, before you bring home all those giant bags of "fun-sized" candy bars to hand out to the innocents who do not yet have heart disease, diabetes, cancer and high cholesterol, consider this:
1. Candy has no nutritional value. None. Not any.
2. Take a look around and see all the fat kids. Obese youth are more likely to have risk factors for cardiovascular disease, including high cholesterol or high blood pressure. In a 2011 population-based sample of 5- to 17-year-olds, 70% of obese youth had at least one risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
3. The tons and tons of non-recyclable packaging for all that candy are good for nobody, except maybe your private garbage hauler. (Ours charges almost $30 each month.)
4. What's Halloween for again?

This year I am handing out pretzels and raisins, since they are also available pre-packaged and ready to go. Then when nobody shows up, which happens here in rural Maine, but still you never know and so you buy the stuff anyway, I won't be alone with all the leftovers.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Film Review: ARBITRAGE

Are Richard Gere's eyes shrinking?
If you avoid the candy counter and go straight to your seat, a night out at the movies can be a positive experience, even when it's a bad movie. In fact, in recent years I have found that the worse the film, the more fun it is. Also--and this is no small thing considering the cost at the box office these days-- if you choose carefully, many movies can be quite educational. Last night I learned a ton watching a new one called Arbitrage.

Even though it was a drama, the most serious thing about it was its title. Not being wise in the ways of high finance, "arbitrage" was a new word for me; I had to look it up, and still have my husband explain it to me. Even after seeing the movie I'm not 100% clear on what it means. That is quite a word, and a bold title choice for a film that hopes to wrangle in audiences given to utterances like "lol," "my bad," and "chill."

So right away, before it even started, I had learned something. I also learned that Susan Sarandon has had a facelift but looked better before, the aging Richard Gere is still handsome despite his eyes disappearing into his face, and it's never a good idea to drive when you are tired. Here are some other interesting things to watch for:

1. The protagonist suffers a terrible injury and is apparently bleeding internally, causing him intense facial grimacing and abdominal swelling. It's really, really, really painful at first, then the next day it still hurts him a lot and he still grimaces when nobody is looking but is simply too damn busy earning a living to seek medical care. By the third day it's totally gone and neither you nor he ever thinks about it again. Teachable moment: If you hurt yourself really bad, just ignore it.

2. The three-story crystal chandelier in the rich guy's house is a real scene-stealer. You'll know it when you see it, again and again and again. It truly sparkles, and you'll miss some key dialog lost in thought about how they clean that thing.

3. If you are into politics, you won't be disappointed. The only decent, trustworthy, honest and admirable person in this whole sordid tale of money and greed among horribly rich white folks (think Romney) is an African American from the 'hood (think Obama). There is also a sympathetic character of Hispanic heritage, but she's not around for very long.

4. Never trust a New York City cop! They do crazy things to catch their prey.

5. Even though billions and billions of dollars are at stake and hundreds of lives hang in the balance, all men really care about is getting laid.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

What's So Great About Big Bird?

For some reason I cannot explain, many Republicans are embarrassed to admit their true feelings. I am one of them, and until last week's debate I too was shy about admitting my heartfelt endorsement of Romney. But now I can come out in the open and proclaim to the world, or at least the few people who read this blog: I love Mitt! He's a smart and experienced family man with stunning capabilities in many areas. The only skeleton in his closet is Bain Capital, where his "sin" was fulfilling his promise to those investors who gave him their money so he could earn them profits. He's handsome and quick-witted, with a wry sense of humor. What's not to love?

My hesitancy stems from the fact that most of my friends are unblinking devotees of the Democratic party, and thus I fear that they will A, like me less or B, feel  personally attacked when I say that Obama is little more than a silly fool. But now that the world saw that fool onstage--it is reported that 70 million people witnessed him stumbling and bumbling without an original thought in his head--I can stand proud and walk tall. I can say to my friends, hey, what the heck is wrong with you? How can you sign on for another four years of this guy? How are things going around here? What do you like about him?

Yesterday one such friend, who does read this blog and so she will know I mean her, and she will also know that I love her anyway, confessed that among other reasons she dislikes the way Romney parts his hair. When I pushed for more, she said she does not like the whole "Republican agenda."  If by that she means less government intrusion into my life, and less government spending on frivolities--like the millions on PBS so we can have Big Bird flouncing around delighting 2-year-olds, then guess what: I do.

Friday, October 5, 2012

A Report Card for America

"Surf Study" by Rufus Coes
It's odd that the relative health of our nation is continually measured by such standards as the number of housing starts, the rate of unemployment and the amount of retail sales at malls across America. Are those indicators really the best way to determine the success or failure of a society?

Today President Obama, eager to erase his dismal debate performance of two nights ago from 67 million minds, is celebrating a dip in the number of jobless since last month. (Never mind the fact that it's partly due to many people giving up looking for work, since fudging the truth is de riguer for politicians, whatever their party affiliation.) What he doesn't say is that the incidence of suicide has risen steadily since 2008, just about the start of his administration. What he also doesn't say is that obesity among adults and children continues to increase, leading some experts to suggest that by 2050, an enormous percentage of Americans — perhaps approaching 100% — will be overweight or obese. What about heart disease and diabetes since Obama took office--up or down? How many children have been abducted, how many random shooting sprees have killed how many people? When will those facts be discussed by our esteemed Leader of the Free World? Seems to me the health of any nation should be determined by the mental and physical health of its citizens, not by how much money they take in or shell out.

Nevertheless, in the interest of stimulating the economy and making one particular artist happier and one gallery owner that much closer to meeting her monthly expenses, my husband and I have done our part by purchasing the beautiful painting shown above. It's not fattening, yet quite delicious.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

It's Awfully High in Here

I pity the Democrats. There are exceptions of course, like Patsy and Tony and Dagmar and Bob and Jackie and Keith and Randy and Debra and Martha and Diane, but basically the rest of them are nothing short of insane. They have invented a Harry Potter-esque fantasy world concerning the Republicans and Mitt Romney, and despite what the Republicans and Mitt Romney say about how they really feel and what they really think, the Democrats stubbornly believe their own stories. 

For example: Al Gore thinks Obama performed so poorly in the first presidential debate because of the altitude in Denver. That's it, it was altitude sickness....of course! And that sneaky Mitt Romney got himself to Denver much earlier than Obama, who only arrived a few hours before the debate, and so did not have the altitude sickness. Well I would like to go on record as saying that I want a president who knows ahead of time that he might have to become acclimated to the altitude where he is going and thus gives himself plenty of time to adjust to it, especially since 67 million people will be watching him on TV and his re-election hangs in the balance.

Is that wrong?

And the Winner Is....

President Romney. Sorta has a nice ring to it, don't you think? Really, his victory in the the presidential debate tonight was so obvious that even the Obama groupies at CNN were conceding that the president was just not up to his game, while over at MSNBC, Rachel Maddow was whining that the formerly bland and boring Republican was "testy" and a tad too aggressive.

What we all saw quite clearly--at least those of us with open eyes and minds--was one man who wants to get inside that Oval Office to get stuff done, and another man who wants to stay there to get more stuff. The former was bubbling over with ideas and specifics to solve our country's problems, while the latter, like Old Faithful, spewed the same old hot air, only for some reason his eruptions didn't shoot up into the atmosphere quite as high as in the past. As for those voters with their eyes squeezed shut and their minds made up, clinging to the comfy status quo for dear life, they missed out on a very cool sight: the real Romney, finally desperate enough to drop all pretense and just be the man he is.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

There's Never a Cop When You Need One

We are speeding along on the Massachusetts Turnpike, which naturally is chock full of those so-called "massholes," a term coined specifically for people from Massachusetts when they are behind the wheel of a car. Right now I am not driving, obviously, but I was a few minutes ago and I had one of them behind me. There was a truck on my right, I was in the left lane of a two-lane highway going 79 mph on a road marked with a speed limit of 65. I think that's fast enough, don't you? After all, this is not Italy. Yet the driver of the Jeep behind me felt 79 was too slow. He had to get right up on my bumper and make my life a living hell because he wanted to be ahead of me, like somehow that would help him. Of course I could not go anywhere until I cleared the truck to my right. Anyway, I finally was able to move over and the Jeep sped by and got up on the bumper of the next guy ahead of him.

People who tailgate should be dealt with severely. I believe that flipping them the finger is inadequate punishment. I did that as he passed by, but it seemed to have no effect on his behavior. Tailgaters are among the worst of society's ills. Texters are bad too, and in fact I am sitting next to one of those right now, although he denies it whenever I suspect he's doing it and says he is merely adjusting the volume on his iPhone. I say if you take your eyes off the road when you are driving really fast on a foggy, rainy superhighway, it doesn't matter what you call it--it's just plain dumb.

Be Kind to (Almost) Everyone Month

I have always regarded October as the reason to endure the slings and arrows inherent in the other eleven months. October is beautiful to look at, wonderful to experience, not too hot and not too cold, covered in golden leaves and falling acorns, and the leading edge to all those fun holidays like Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukah and New Year's.  Now someone has gone and messed it up by proclaiming wondrous, spectacular October as National Anti-Bullying Month! Sadly, I just found this out today. Here we are, already three days into the month and I am guilty of bullying: I have repeatedly laughed at my husband for doing his required 48 burpees--don't ask--a day, to remain in good standing with his fellow CrossFit cult members. I have called him a child, an adolescent and some other things I will not print here. (I'm so ashamed.)

On the plus side, I have not called anyone fat or ugly or gay or stupid or lame or a jackass--well, maybe that last one--and so my slate is still relatively clean for this month. I will try my hardest to keep this up, but with the political debate airing on TV tonight between the two presidential candidates, I'm a little nervous that I might have to say some pretty mean stuff about that haughty-for-no-good-reason Rachel Maddow and the always-insane Chris Matthews, and all those dunderheads at CNN like that moron Wolf Blitzer and pretty-boy Anderson Cooper tomorrow. Do they count, I wonder? They couldn't possibly.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Not About Bob Dylan and Yoko Ono

Yesterday I witnessed one of those mini-dramas that take place in public between people you don't know. If I were watching TV, any loose ends would be neatly tied up after a few more commercial breaks and I could forget about it, but since it was real life, all I can do is wonder what the heck happened.

My husband and I had gone to the train station in Rhinecliff, New York to meet an arriving friend. We went early because the station sits right on the Hudson River and we wanted some time to take pictures and enjoy the view. As I was snapping away, a man and woman descended onto the platform who caught my eye, mostly because he sort of looked like Bob Dylan, only taller, and she sort of looked like Yoko Ono with longer hair, at least to a struggling filmmaker who couldn't afford any better than grade-B actors. (See photo above.) They passed close by me and I overheard the woman say to her companion, "Well, at least it's only a temporary inconvenience." I then wandered off to look at the river.

About ten minutes later I saw them again. Not-Bob seemed to be hunting around in his suitcase. Then he stood up, turned towards me and looked straight into my camera lens as I snapped a photo, not intentionally of him but of the crowd of waiting passengers who had by then gathered. I thought nothing of it, until he and Not-Yoko hurried past me and went to the elevator, waited a few seconds and then got in and left the train station.

I wanted to shout, "Wait up! Where are you going?" Had they forgotten something important at home? Or--less likely but more exciting--were they fugitives who saw me take their photo and then decided not to board that particular train? Something happened, that's for sure, and inquiring minds want to know! If they were actually Bob Dylan and Yoko Ono, this would be all over the Huffington Post today and I might even snag a few bucks for my pictures. Alas, not.