Monday, December 31, 2012

Carry On As Usual

Congratulations to all my fellow Earthlings: we're still here! Unless today takes a turn for the worse, the world did not end in 2012 after all. Instead, tomorrow will bring another day ripe with potential and fraught with leftover angst. It will also usher in a brand new year we'll call 2013. What this means in actual facts is hardly anything, but it's likely a big deal to those folks over at Times Square who are lining up already to watch tonight's nutty proceedings. Which reminds me of one of my father's best worst jokes, which he dragged out of storage each year when people asked him what he was planning for the big night. His standard reply: "Nothing much--we're just staying home and watching the ball drop in my pajamas." (I still love that.) As for me, I will hang up a new kitchen calendar. I will also, as I do on most days, begin that new diet--you know, the one I'll stick to.

Mitch and I are not going to any parties or doing anything out of the ordinary tonight. Okay, I'm boring, at least on New Year's Eve. This stems from my childhood when, with my parents out partying, my grandparents schlepped me and my sister to Times Square--on the subway from Queens, mind you--to witness, if not join, the revelry. A couple of times I actually had fun, but usually it was just terrifying. According to my grandfather attendance was mandatory, just "to see all the humanity." Before night's end we stopped at the Automat for one of those chocolate-covered cupcakes with sprinkles, so it wasn't all bad.

Now, from the safety of my home in rural Maine, I wish all my family, friends and loyal blog readers a Happy New Year, which when you stop to think about it is kind of a tall order. Can't we just aim for a Happy New Year's Day, or maybe a Happy New Week? That seems more reasonable.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Nutty Baby Names

Some B-list actress named Neve just had a baby and named him Caspian. She then went on a popular TV talk show and gave an interview--it's now online--about why she named him that. You mean there's another reason?

These days celebrity baby names are outrageous, as if having a really interesting one will result in more fans or bigger paychecks for the parents. The fact that the little tykes will have to go through life with that moniker seems not to bother anyone.

Recent celebrity baby names like Brooklyn, Bronx, Calico, Sparrow, Moxie Crime Fighter, Banjo, Ocean, Zuma Nesta Rock, Sparrow James Midnight and Zowie really piss me off. Sorry, but how plebeian can you get? If you want to make a statement, choose something more dramatic than Brooklyn or Bronx; they are so played! If New York is your thing, how about Nassau County, or perhaps Long Island Railroad, or in the same vein, the longer but more lyrical All Others Change at Jamaica? And Banjo is just plain dull when you consider all the other musical instruments out there, like Soprano Coronet, Electric Guitar, or even--call me madcap--Xylophone. Or hey, how about actually calling him Madcap? (I just thought of that one.)

We had a great name picked out for our own baby, but then my father died in my first trimester and my father-in-law followed suit in the second, and so, as is common in the Jewish faith, we named our son after those recently deceased loved ones. Zachary Charles may seem a tad common, but we thought it was cool and went with it anyway, although admittedly it was tough when he was little and every other mom was calling out "Zack" every two minutes. Had our fathers lived, we were going with Something Really Special. That was it: Something Really Special Rouda. Nice, huh? And we aren't even celebrities.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

A Sliding Scale

I wake up and my mind's a blank. "I need coffee" is the extent of its thinking. I get some; that's an immediate upper. Then it begins--the daily assault. Facts enter, each doing its part in building a mood. Cat throw-up on the living room floor. Not pleasant, but in hindsight no big deal; on a scale of 1 to 10--1 being good --I give it a 4. Go outside to get the paper, and it's there for the first time in days--that's a 2. (It would be a 1 except for those days it was missing.) The newspaper is full of bad news. That gang-rape victim in Delhi died from her injuries; a solid 10. She was only 23, with everything ahead. That was how her life ended. I swear off Indian food. The fiscal cliff is still around--a 5, because I barely care and think it means nothing. Let's just go over it already. On Facebook I read that my son's coat was stolen last night while he was in a restaurant. He must have been really cold getting home. I'll give it a 6 or 7, because if the rape victim was a 10, how could it be any more, but really, personally, thinking of him being cold and now coatless, it's a 10. Anyway, that's Washington for you, I recall, happy I now live in Maine, a definite 2.

It goes on like this, all day. How do I really feel is lost among the factoids bouncing around inside my brain. And I'm married, so my husband's moods are mixed in there, and I can't control those at all; that's a 6. At least I have a brain; that's a 0. And a husband. That's a sliding scale.

Friday, December 28, 2012

γνῶθι σεαυτόν

Painting by Amy Stewart
Blithely cruising along on the Going-to-Haiti-in-March Bandwagon, I started reading about that country in earnest last night. What I learned was enough for me to slam on the brakes, pull over, jump off and run as fast as possible in the opposite direction. I have not gotten this old by being dumb. And while I am hoping for more than lying poolside with an umbrella drink in one hand and a book in the other, some of the things I am not looking to experience on a vacation--or even not on a vacation--include, but are certainly not limited to:
1. Murder
2. Rape
3. Kidnapping
4. Robbery
5. Malaria, or even malaria pills
6. Traffic jams lasting several hours
7. Dengue fever
8. High blood pressure and no doctors
9. Traveler's --or anyone's--diarrhea
10. Mosquito bites the size of eggs, or worse, mosquitos laying eggs inside me (Okay, so I have a vivid imagination--sue me.)
11. Seeing abject poverty everywhere
12. Crying over the emaciated children living in the streets while I'm stuck inside a broken-down bus in 90-degree heat
13. An earthquake
14. Undrinkable water
15. 100% humidity for days

Yes, I'm a wimp. I wish I were one of those world travelers who takes things in stride, who bounces back from adversity, who laughs at danger. Alas, I have spent my entire life getting over being kidnapped for 24 hours by a relatively harmless old bag lady in Brooklyn when I was four, and I'm finally starting to feel better about that. I certainly want an adventure, but one I can survive.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Skiing Down the Fiscal Cliff

With the entire country perched precariously on the fiscal cliff, the president cut his vacation short and returned to Washington to tend to the matter, although he left the family in Hawaii, costing us taxpayers millions for their security. (I hope those Secret Service guys are doing their jobs and not cavorting in their beachfront pads with prostitutes, as has happened in the past.)  Up here in Maine we can at least ski down the cliff, which seems like a lot more fun than falling over it, as Winter Storm Euclid bears down. The weather people are now naming snowstorms, I guess so they can have a logo and get everyone all worked up like they do with hurricanes. It's a lovely snow, yet it is already being blamed for a number of deaths, as if because some poor schnook out in the storm has a car accident, it's the snow's fault.

Anyway, it's beautiful where we are, and although there are many things one cannot do today because of the weather, I still like it just fine. The cats are pissed off (see photo), choosing to stay inside despite how boring the lockdown is.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Mothers Anonymous

My name is Andrea and I am the mother of an adult. Even though modern science deems him not yet fully formed--my son is 25 and recent findings suggest the human brain isn't totally cooked until 30--he is by all other measures a grown-up. I would not dream of holding him on my lap, telling him a story, wiping his runny nose, or doing any of a thousand other things mothers do for their offspring in the early years. My quandary is that I still care about him in a motherly way, certainly more than I care about other people, but am not permitted to express these feelings. If I were Italian I could make a nice lasagna, if he were not a vegetarian and if he lived nearby. But I am not and he is and anyway, he does not. So what to do with these nurturing feelings, impulses, instincts and desires? Until there are grandchildren, and there may never be, they will clog up my own brain, which at 66 is not only fully formed but may possibly be on the verge of a downward descent.

One or two of my frostier friends would no doubt expectorate an obnoxious laugh and advise, "Get over your kids, just like I got over mine!" Alas, I have not yet mastered that particular art. I wonder if there are others out there who feel the same. Until then I will stifle it, eat cookies when available, and mop the kitchen floor.

Beltway Connections for Dummies

Illustration by Dalibor Tomic
An article in today's Wall Street Journal reinforces my joy over not living in Washington anymore. It's all about a pompous "Beltway power broker," a technology industry lobbyist (barf) from Rockville, Maryland (double barf) who "painstakingly" draws up a list of his favorite books and movies every year and sends it to 80 "select" people who lack the time and/or brains to figure out what to see or read on their own. He has been doing this since 1999. I won't mention his name here for the very same reason Anderson Cooper refused to mention Adam Lanza's name on-air: I don't want you to remember him, just his crime.

The list, cleverly called "The List," is sent strictly to Democrats, those part-human, part-sheep creatures who all strive to do the same thing and thus remain part of the In Crowd; this is just one more way they can. Besides, everyone knows that Republicans only read their bank statements and stock reports and only watch movies like "Wall Street" and "Wall Street 2."

To give you an idea of The List creator's intelligence, he says about "Skyfall," the latest James Bond movie panned by several critics and at least two of my friends: "I saw this movie three times in eight days and I could see it in the theaters once a week indefinitely." Okay, so the guy likes hot babes and guns and sex-- that's certainly his right. But please, keep these things to yourself, Buddy. And no, his name is not Buddy.

Getting yourself put on The List list takes "a particular mix of cultural sophistication, luck and a connection to Mr. X" (not his real name). Unlike the Supreme Court, getting on The List does not mean staying on it; this guy drops people if they don't reply with "pithy comments." I can just imagine how pithy those comments are concerning James Bond and how many women he sleeps with and which one has the hottest bod, and how many villains he kills and with what kind of guns, and whether or not this actor playing Bond is better or worse than the last five actors playing James Bond.

Anyone who wants my list of favorite books and movies can have it for the asking. But why would you?

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

So This is Christmas

For Christmas being the biggest holiday in the world, it's funny that nothing seems any different when we are smack dab in the middle of it. There's surely no sign of Santa's having been here, so he must know we are Jews. Still, one would think there would be hoof marks in the snow or sleigh tracks in the road nearby, since we are the only Jews around-- maybe even in the whole state--and there are plenty of little Christian kids who live around here.

It's snowing, so it's a white Christmas for us, although I am not sure what that signifies. What does seem important to me is that there is only one week left to 2012, so if we squeak through, the world did not end as advertised.

Later today we will see some family members, one of whom has a tree. Some gifts will be given and foods will be eaten. That's it, I guess. Happily, we have no surgeries scheduled for today. At the very least, I hope all my Christian friends can say the same!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Fly Me to the Moon

My husband is always hocking me---for you goys, that means nagging--to come up with a list of places I want to see before I die. I usually come up empty, believing that I have already seen glorious sights, and so what. I rarely pull out any of those memories, and even when I do, nothing changes in my here and now. Besides, unlike the old days when it was fun and exciting and interesting to travel abroad, it's now scary and full of hassles and security issues, and they don't even give you a lousy bag of pretzels on the plane anymore, forget a pillow and blanket! So it is surprising even to me that I have decided to go to Haiti next March.

I am not without trepidation, mostly regarding things like feral dogs and monsoons and malaria and flies in the spaghetti and no hot water for days at some fleabag hotel with stained sheets and strange infestations. On the other hand, I have already stayed at so many fabulous hotels with 24-hour room service and fruit baskets and fireplaces and fluffy robes and slippers that a week at one of those is even less appealing.

The real reason behind my decision is this: Starved for something more "real" than what's offered on reality TV, I am desperate to leave my comfort zone and see what life is like for those less fortunate. (Or maybe, as my husband truly believes, more fortunate.) My companion will be my best friend, a brave and fearless explorer who has sailed the seven seas...well, one of them at least--in a sailboat for a month and climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro, to name but two of the impressive feats Debra has accomplished. I'll be putting all my eggs in her basket on this trip, and letting her carry it for sure.

Since it is three months away, I am still excited and not yet petrified. Surely fear will come, as it always does with me thanks to a traumatic childhood. Anyway, I am determined to work through it. Until then I will enjoy my ho-hum, middle-class existence and partake of the Christmas frivolities at a neighborhood party this afternoon that promises to be jolly, given enough eggnog.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Film Review: LINCOLN

This afternoon it was snowy and cold, and with my husband recovering from surgery--don't ask-- going out in the weather was ill-advised. Still, craving an experience, we went to see "Lincoln," figuring it's two-and-a-half hours someplace warm, with popcorn. Plus we heard it was good, and for me it would also be educational since I ignored the Civil War years in high-school and thus know only what I gleaned from "Gone With the Wind" (which FYI was a whole lot better movie, what with Rhett and Scarlett's passionate affair, although personally I preferred Ashley.) Directed by Steven Spielberg, that nice Jewish boy who had thrilled us in the past with too many movies to mention, what's not to love?

Turns out plenty.

First of all--and I hope I am not giving anything away here-- by the time Lincoln gets shot I was glad to see him go. Played by Daniel-Day Lewis, a dead ringer for the penny (see photo), he is sober, somber and serious to the max; no wonder his wife (Sally Fields in what I hope was a fat suit) was so depressed--Abe was such a downer! Talk, talk, talk, and given to long, meandering stories that were not at all funny, although I suppose he was considered "droll" back then, before Chris Rock and Jerry Seinfeld invented humor as we know it today. Okay, so he freed the slaves, and that was a great thing, but who knew he did it in such an underhanded way, sending out his minions to snag votes by any means to pass the 13th Amendment?

Oh well, you can't change history, and I am not going to slide down the rabbit hole of politics right now. This is a movie review and Hollywood is the issue, not Washington. The fact is that far too much time is spent in dark, smoky rooms crowded with a lot of speechifying, gray-faced, paunchy men sporting wigs, mutton chops, top hats, waistcoats and watch fobs. The film's opening scene holds such promise, with soldiers stabbing each other on the field of battle and grinding each other's faces into the mud. It was quite a spectacle, with that cast of thousands we have seen before, and I was prepared to hold my hands in front of my eyes for much of the movie. That proved unnecessary, as the only other time we saw battle was shortly before the end when Lincoln surveyed the killing fields of St. Petersburg, and by then everyone was already dead. (I certainly hope those were not real horses.)

All this was set to a sound track suitable for any funeral, making the whole experience bleak and dreary. An exception was Tommy Lee Jones, who of course acted circles around everyone else, although his wig was so silly and ill-fitting you could hardly watch. Also fun was the formerly hot and now just vaudevillian James Spader, who injected some life into the proceedings by saying "fuck" a couple of times. In the end it's a feel-good movie: you leave feeling really good about the invention of electricity and the decline of the top hat.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Now What?

The world did not end today, at least not yet anyway, and I gotta admit I'm a little disappointed. That would have been something! Now it's just the same damn thing, over and over, with boring old Christmas just days away and then New Year's with the ball dropping and right away Valentine's Day candy in all the stores and soon enough it will be too hot again with mosquitoes and we'll be worrying about hurricane season and the rain rotting the tomatoes, and before you know it it's Halloween and then Thanksgiving and another Christmas and well, you see where I'm going.

Things must change. Not sure how. A lip ring? Painful. Tattoos? Tacky. I might have to paint my bedroom, or at least buy a new handbag. For sure, I am going to Haiti in March. Until then, I'll keep paying the bills and feeding the cats and doing the laundry, hoping for a flash of brilliance to ignite my brain and lead me to my higher purpose. And glory in the fact that it's all still here. Who knows, my son might call.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

A Day Away

Anderson Cooper, a.k.a. The Energizer Bunny
"Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love ya, tomorrow, it's only a day away." 

So goes the popular song. Usually I feel that way, but this particular tomorrow is not all that promising: It's either the end of the world or the one-week anniversary of the Newtown, Connecticut shootings. Either way it will be painful, although the first scenario will at least be quick while the second will go on and on and on, with a whole lot of heart-wrenching sappiness over at soap-opera central, CNN. In either event, most likely Anderson Cooper will survive and interview anything still breathing.

I intend to make this day count, because as my grandfather always said, "You never know. " God bless all of you, and thanks for reading. And Zack: If there are phones in the next life, call me!

Insomnia Hurts, But Not As Bad As a Broken Neck

Surely one of the best uses of the Internet is treating insomnia. Instead of facing the long night ahead all alone, you've got the world wide web. Here in Maine it's two in the morning and I can't sleep, but it's daytime somewhere and I can check it out with live webcams and real time blogs, if I were so inclined which I am not. So I'm doing this and wondering what I did before there was this to do. And while this isn't really doing anything, it feels like it is, and it's certainly more productive than watching TV or even reading other people's thoughts, which for all I know were written when those people couldn't sleep either.

In fact, I can't sleep because of something I read in a magazine just before I turned off the light. It was a somewhat disturbing essay about how the author's father ended the suffering of a baby bird that had fallen from its nest by breaking its neck, and how she remembered that as being a very loving act on his part. Oy. And that got me thinking of how we ended our dog's suffering by having our vet kill him by lethal injection, something we humans hideously refer to as "putting him to sleep." And next thing you know, there I was, unable to even put myself to sleep. I guess that's ironic, in a way.

Usually I can find humor in almost anything, but there is nothing funny here. And now it is even later and I am still awake. Right now I would euthanize for a box of Entenmann's chocolate chip cookies. Or actually, a box of Entenmann's anything, but alas, we don't stock such things, which is silly, because of emergencies like this. Exceptions must be made...

She said he did it with a quick twist. I don't know about you, but I couldn't do it.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Just in Case, Wear Sunscreen

As you may have heard, the Mayans predicted the 21st of December, 2012 as the END. Some people discount this, guessing they simply ran out of room on their rock calendar. Others have seen the omens all around us and concluded it's true. My deep love for my son and hope for his future happiness notwithstanding, I think this coming Friday might be a perfectly fine time for the world to end. Naturally I've conferred with many people about this. One friend confided that she is "okay with it," finding it comforting that we are all going together. (That's sweet.) My husband thinks that if the world actually is going to end anytime soon, we should certainly be there for it, and I agree; I'd hate to miss such a big thing by just a few hundred years. Anyway, a few of the reasons I might even welcome Earth's final curtain follow.

1. Robots call you on the phone, at home, during dinner. This is both weird and rude. They ask all sorts of things, usually about your credit cards or bank accounts or political preferences. If you're not busy, it can actually be fun because you can say anything to them and then hang up, but overall it's a bad sign.

2. Young people go on shooting rampages and kill innocent people. This has happened often enough to be called a "trend," and trends are never good. They start out small and grow wildly to encompass the world; just look at how far sushi and mobile phones have gone. If this shooting spree thing continues, we'll all have to stay home all the time, and do what I ask?

3. Politicians have always lied, but lately they don't even try to seem honest. Hillary Clinton recently broke the first and most important rule of successful lying: Offering more than one excuse. To avoid testifying about the Benghazi fiasco later this week, she claims to have the flu and then, in case the flu wasn't bad enough, she said she fainted and hit her head and got a concussion. Oh please, I tried that one back in high school to avoid taking my SATs and my parents just laughed at me. Hillary should have either gotten the flu or a concussion--jeez, what a dummy. (God help us if the world does not end Friday and she becomes president in 2106.)

Aunt that you?
4. Facebook and Twitter are fighting over which one will take the lead in the photo-sharing department. I find this sad, as people of a certain age can remember that Polaroid was much better than Instagram, and that was years ago. Anyway, what is the big deal with all the pictures and why do they have to be altered? In fact, if you are going to alter a photograph, shouldn't you make a painting or a drawing? I always thought photos were meant to capture reality.

5. Twitter exists.

6. People don't age anymore, they just get new body parts, or have the first ones smoothed, lifted and tucked so they look like old young people, i.e. Nancy Pelosi, Barbara Walters, Joan Rivers, Suzanne Somers, and most disturbing, Billy Crystal, who looks more like my Aunt Peska, she should rest in peace, every day. Other folks even change gender, which is so insulting to God, inferring he/she is clueless.

7. Health-wise, humans have blown it. Suicide rates are up, as well as body weight, blood pressure, diabetes and a host of other lifestyle-related ills. People have new hips and knees inserted after running the originals into the ground. Mental illness is rampant and manufactured drugs the leading antidote, even though they cause dizziness, difficulty breathing, upset stomachs, headaches, blurred vision, loss of appetite and erections lasting more than four hours. Still, they are quite popular.

8. Marijuana, a natural herb with many restorative properties, is outlawed while alcoholic beverages, made in factories and responsible for one traffic death every 48 minutes, not to mention deaths from binge drinking on college campuses, are readily available.

9. "Cloud Atlas" flopped at the box office.

Bottom line: I hope that if it's truly over for the planet this Friday, there will still be an afterlife because I have really been counting on that.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Plot Muddles

According to news reports, which is pretty much the only way I get information when I don't know any of the people involved, the following facts have emerged concerning key players in last week's Connecticut shooting:

1. Nancy Lanza was a devoted mother. Examples of this include her bringing her son's homework to school one time when he left it at home, and sleeping outside his bedroom door another time when he was sick.

2. Nancy Lanza was a gun-toting, fun-loving, divorced bar lizard, hanging out at least three nights a week at a local drinking spot and buying a round for the regulars on occasion, when she wasn't out at the shooting range honing her skills for the coming Apocalypse, or playing Bunco with her friends.

3. Adam Lanza was a quiet young man, possibly autistic, and may have had Asperger's Syndrome. What is known for sure is that he wore a pocket protector in high school, so draw your own conclusions.

Based on the above, I am looking into the possibility of turning our TV set into a planter. (We need the newspapers for barbecues and the stuffing of packages so things don't rattle around, and the crossword puzzles to stave off Alzheimers.)

Monday, December 17, 2012

There Are No Words

What's God got to do with it?
For all but the hardest hearts, it's tough to go beyond recent events. But at the very least, the recent mass murders in Newtown, Connecticut may have given us information we can use. What have we learned?

1. Parenthood never ends. Babies sure are a lot cuter than teens, and even teens are cuter than surly young adults, but regardless of their ages, some children need parenting longer than others. Sadly, the mother of the shooter--his first victim so there you go--apparently tired of her role as Mommy long ago. Following her divorce, the still young and attractive woman allegedly spent several nights a week hanging at a local bar, where she would often pick up the tab for strangers. She also indulged her unique hobby, gun-toting, at a local shooting range. All the while, her oddly withdrawn, possibly autistic and apparently friendless youngest child was where, doing what?

2. Television journalism is to journalism as military music is to music. Not interested in giving us the news as much as propelling their careers forward, the assorted ladies and gents of the media have tried hard to outdo one another in the on-air grieving department, each one asserting that "there are no words" but still yammering on with plenty of them. With their boots on the ground in Connecticut, each one dressed in black, the motley crew have struggled to win the subliminal contest with over-the-top expressions of heartfelt compassion. I declare Anderson "Pretty Boy" Cooper the winner, as during last night's broadcast in which he showed pictures and said a few words about each of the dead, he became so choked up I feared he might puke. (He didn't, but I wanted to.) A close second is Geraldo Rivera, who likely sat up late into the night with a thesaurus to derive the long list of words to describe his feelings. (Like we care.)

3. Our president is a shameless publicity hog. When I first heard that Obama was going to personally meet with and console the families of the fallen, I was heartened. "How nice of him," I thought, "for finally doing a selfless act of kindness." So I was stunned, shocked, dismayed, and disgusted when I turned on the TV to find the Crier-in-Chief standing on a stage and spouting his typical empty, hollow, high-blown and sappy speech to a huge audience, not to mention the whole nation, in prime-time of course. One can only imagine how comforting that must have been to the parents.

4. Organized religion is more ridiculous and superfluous that ever. How any member of any clergy can say "God had a plan" or "God called them back early" or "God, in his infinite wisdom" when referring to a clearly deranged individual who took it upon himself to murder 26 people, among them 20 adorable and trusting little children, at close range, with high-powered assault weapons, is way beyond my comprehension. The only plausible explanation is that they each drop acid before they go out to address their flocks.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Sitting Ducks

I often share that I am 66 years old because A, I don't look it and B, everyone can find out my age anyway so why lie, and C, it adds heft to what I say since I've been around so long, at least with everyone but my son but that's another story. And what I'm saying now is that never in my long life have I ever held a gun, needed a gun or wished I had a gun. (Okay, so maybe that last one is a stretch, but luckily I didn't have one when I wished I had and thus several people have been allowed to live out their natural lives, and the worst one died anyway, so that's that.) Anyway, in light of our country's recent shooting spree that violently ended 26 lives, nobody who can still think straight could possibly believe guns should be freely available, most certainly not the automatics that can take out a crowd in two minutes. Plain and simple, many types of personal weapons, if not all of them, should be outlawed.

Without guns, people could settle their differences the old-fashioned way: with fists. Or rocks, or feet or gigantic tree limbs or, God forbid, reason, diplomacy and right. Okay, so I'm naive--sue me. Or punch me, kick me, pummel me and stomp on me--just don't shoot me. To all you hunters out there, get over it! Eating meat is bad for you anyway, and how dare you shoot helpless animals for sport? As for that tired old argument, "Guns don't kill people; people kill people," that's a load of hogwash. The truth is that people with guns kill people, and people with a lot of guns kill a lot of people.

It's time for Americans to get their ducks in a row, and stop shooting them. As for war, don't get me started.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Crying Game

Yesterday's horrific shooting in Newtown, Connecticut taught us all something important: Barack Obama cries, just like everyone else. During his prepared statement to the country, given to assuage our collective pain, the President stopped his speechifying for a split second and wiped a tear away from his eye.

Oh my god, this is huge! How huge? On page A6 of today's Wall Street Journal, there is a photo of this stunning act. The image measures 5 1/2 inches wide by 4 3/4 deep, and shows in living color the presidential index finger pulling at the outside edge of the presidential right eye. (Now I am reassured that he is actually a human being, and not just a puppet of the Democratic Party as I have long suspected.) The alleged tearing up of the President--you can't really see any wetness or even a glistening--made the TV news last night, with at least 10 different journalists mentioning on-air that he cried.  Oh yeah, they also mentioned that 27, or maybe 28 or maybe 26, people were killed.

Lest you think I am treating this subject in too lighthearted a manner, let me assure you, I am not. The events of December 14 seemed to me a turning point in America, wherein it became obvious that we are in serious trouble as a society. There are so many questions, not the least of which is why did the mother of the 20-year-old murderer, living in a quiet, suburban community with virtually no crime--Newtown had not seen a murder in ten years-- own so many assault weapons? Why do our schools still not have better protection from invaders? And most of all, how did this young man find it in his heart to do what he did? Something is wrong out there, and the Powers That Be, crying or not, are doing nothing to address the obvious pressing issue: The declining mental health of our society.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

This must be a snap to care for!
Following the tradition perpetuated by too many guilty politicians to name here, Susan Rice has withdrawn her name from consideration as Secretary of State, saying it would just be too darned hard on the country to undergo the lengthy Congressional confirmation process. That is so sweet of her, except what I think she really meant was "I can't handle everyone finding out all the rest of the bad stuff I've done." Next up: John "Swiftboat" Kerry. Let the games begin!

As for Hillary, who will soon give up the post, she will finally be able to get her hair cut, thank God. In a recent TV interview wherein Barbara Walters dubbed her one of the 10 Most Fascinating People, she claimed that she has let her hair grow long because it's easier to take care of that way. That is fascinating, actually, if not downright magical! Speaking as someone with "man hair," I can state with 100% certainty that less hair takes me less prep time, but I must have been doing it wrong. At least with John Kerry we won't have to worry about that.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Cooking for Dummies

Put everything in a big pot and add fire.
I am continually amazed at the number of cookbooks, cooking blogs, and televised cooking shows that attract a seemingly infinite number of people, all of whom, one supposes, cannot boil water without instructions. After all, cooking is not rocket science. Cavemen fed themselves, as did every past civilization and many indigenous tribes. They did not have people like Paula Deen or Rachael Ray or that Barefoot Contessa lady telling them how to do the simplest things. Like to melt butter, put it over something hot. To make things smaller, chop them. Even smaller? Dice them. Etcetera, etcetera.

If I sound annoyed, it's because I am. I just read an article in today's New York Times about yet another blogger who stumbled into a fortune by writing a cooking blog. She got tons of readers, and now she has a book and all the rest. Hey, I can cook, in fact really well! But I am not going to all of a sudden start telling people how to make lamb stew (See photo) or what is the best kind of whisk to achieve the fluffiest whipped cream, although if you want to know just ask and I will be happy to oblige.

Here is how to cook anything: First, imagine eating it and decide how you want it to taste. Sweet, salty, spicy? Just add things that taste that way, hold all of it over or put it inside a heat source, and when the ingredients are no longer raw--which means they are soft when you stick a fork in them--it's done. If you are having company, add a lot of butter. If you are dieting, use olive oil instead. Serve on nice dishes, as presentation is at least 85% of the deal.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Just Send Money

You can see why cabs were scarce in Hoboken during Hurricane Sandy.
The concert to raise money for the victims of Hurricane Sandy is named "121212" because it is being held today and that's today's date, but really, shouldn't it be the date of the hurricane? I suppose the logo potential was just too enticing for the organizers. Judging from the self-congratulatory tone of everyone involved, Hurricane Sandy happened just so this fabulous concert could happen. As I write this, singer Alicia Keyes is advising the audience members to hold their cell phones up to light the night, instead of candles which can be so messy, not to mention dangerous. "Put your cell phones in the air, help me celebrate New York," she keeps repeating, or should I say intoning. (Somehow it's less romantic than Elton John's "candle in the wind.") Every so often an actual Sandy victim, still homeless but with great spirit, appears and is interviewed, telling us how devastated they are, but it's hard to pay attention what with the all hoopla going on in the background. What fun!

When the hurricane struck in late October, many average citizens--or at least those with hearts and minds and extra cash--donated to the rescue effort. I mean, who didn't? So now these rock star celebrities and Billy Crystal are all kvelling because people actually came to the concert to help the victims of Sandy! Personally, I think the attendees flocked there to see the Rolling Stones and Paul McCartney and Bruce Springsteen and Bon Jovi and Eric Clapton and Kanye West and The Who and Billy Joel and the ubiquitous More, and are not really there to help the victims of the storm; to do that they could have just donated to the Red Cross long before now. Without getting anything for it in return, except maybe a tax deduction.

Such outrageous public displays of "aren't we great--we care!" make me embarrassed for all involved, especially Roger Daltry who I just saw onstage looking decrepit, and with his shirt all the way open like he's still sexy. (I thought he died years ago, but it was one of the others although I can't remember Who.)

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Smarten Up

Hampton Inn staff exhibiting their extreme "Hamptonality."
I hate stupidity. This is a problem for me since there is so much of it around, and in fact it is not even frowned upon; David Letterman got famous for his Stupid Pet Tricks, and he may still have them for all I know. There are TV shows like "Jackass," which is all about people being dumb, and it's quite popular, even with smart people. (I know this for a fact because my husband and son like it and they are among the smartest people out there.) Stupidity has been popular for a really long time, I guess going all the way back to The Three Stooges, a comedy team I know almost nothing about but what little I do know is far too much. (See photo.)

Anyway, something stupid I see often is a sign on a marquee outside a motel that is 1.3 miles from my home. Several times a day, I pass the Hampton Inn and marvel at their suggestion to "Experience Hamptonality."  Each time I wonder just what the heck that means. So today I came home and Googled the word, and was shocked to find a ton of stuff, not only definitions but also a horrifying YouTube video set to the tune of "Personality," a 1959 hit song by Lloyd Price that I always liked. (Until now.)

According to the video that introduced the ad campaign last March, "Hamptonality" means they change the bed linens at the Hampton Inn, and wash the towels too. And all the staff is fun and everyone who works there is outgoing and friendly and laughs a lot. If they simply said "Service With a Smile" or "We've Got Personality," I might consider staying there sometime, like if our house burned to the ground late at night. But not with that "Hamptonality" business going on. It's just too stupid.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Three Plays for a Quarter

I wrote a post about movie candy a year or so ago and it got lots of readers. It was fun to write and obviously struck a chord with my baby boomer friends, many of whom read this and leave comments when so motivated. I often think I should focus on things that "matter," and so eschew topics like the Top Ten Oldies of All Time, even though that would be fun to write about--much more fun than politics, despite having Nancy Pelosi's frozen-in-time face to poke fun at.

The fact that older people flip over any little thing related to their youth--like the Beeman's vs. Black Jack debate--is undeniable. Maybe it's because things were better then--let's face it. Lest you forget, or maybe you weren't there: There were only three TV commercials for every half hour of entertainment, there were no robo-calls from telemarketers, and few if any adults walked the streets playing with little portable toys. No AIDS to boot. Ahhh--the good old days.

I remember that at one of my earliest jobs, at a D.C. ad agency when I was 25, a forty-something guy named Larry who occupied the cubby next to mine kept his radio tuned to all oldies, all the time. Back then I thought he was pathetic, clinging to his spent youth while the world passed him by. Sometimes I wonder--am I Larry now? Maybe. Nevertheless, when one of those oldies come on the radio, which happens only rarely but since I own the entire Time-Life DooWop CD collection it doesn't really matter, I react quite strongly and sometimes even have to pull over to collect myself.

As for those Top Ten, I'll go out on a limb and say that "Come Go With Me" by the Del Vikings, "Calendar Girl" by Neil Sedaka and "Tears On My Pillow" by Little Anthony and the Imperials are surely on the list. Then of course there's Dion and the Belmonts, anything by Ricky Nelson, and "Eddie My Love," but that might just be because I had a crush on a guy named Eddie. And the Fleetwoods, can't forget them...

What's a Boomer to Do?

The Coachella Music & Arts Festival looks nice; am I too old?
I am so textbook it's not funny. Like a good Baby Boomer, I have done everything according to plan: High school, college, Woodstock, marriage, career, divorce, remarriage, motherhood, arthritis. Now, according to an article in today's paper, the next thing is "downsizing" through retirement to an inexpensive foreign country like Costa Rica, which is apparently the new Collins Avenue, or starting all over again at some new vocation. That's what people my age do, and who am I to buck the trend? So now I am wondering how I should spend my remaining, a.k.a. Golden Years, since just getting older right where I am is not a very boomer thing to do. A few thoughts:

     1. If Freddie Mercury were still alive I could become a groupie and follow Queen around from concert to concert. That would even make the news, I bet, or at least that news-wannabe, the Huffington Post. Alas, Freddie died in 1991, even though I just discovered him like a week ago because I was too busy getting married and divorced and married again and having a baby and working. (See opening paragraph.)
     2. If my husband were not so much younger and also felt like retiring, we could sell all our worldly possessions and get an RV and see the USA. Or we might relocate to some sunny Mediterranean isle and live on the beach, if I were not so prone to getting skin cancer.
     3. I could completely deny my true personality and devote myself to God and start doing His work by adopting babies from the Ukraine or wherever there are babies needing adopting, which I would definitely do if I were younger because at 66 it is cruel to adopt a baby, or even get a puppy for that matter.

Maybe I could just go to the 2013 Coachella festival in California --that looks fun, but I might be too old. For now, I guess I'll just rebel in place and stay here.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Where Am I?

When people have a baby, they change overnight. Basically what happens is they disappear and are replaced with other people who look just like them but are in reality New Baby's Mommy and Daddy. Their job is to feed, clothe and care for the baby, of course, but there is more: they must also take hundreds--nay, thousands-- of pictures of the New Baby. They document everything, keeping record books detailing New Baby's first step, first lock of hair, first tooth, first solid food, first laugh, first word--all must be noted and, these days, posted on Facebook.

I know this both from observation and from firsthand experience because I did it myself--everything but the Facebook part since there was no Facebook back then. I imagine that if there were, my son's face would have been plastered all over it. This is all fine and good and understandable, but looking back at it now, and seeing it happening all around me with the current baby boom, I find myself wondering why we lose ourselves so readily inside another creature, all but abandoning the first one who we used to call Me. And then years later, after New Baby is grown and gone, Me is sometimes nowhere to be found, or worse, near-dead from lack of nourishment.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

My Bad Mood

How many times is someone going to call out George W. Bush for his allegedly poor elocution? It's tiring, inane, sophomoric and just plain stupid.  Yet in a supposed health column on Huffington Post about the flu, some know-nothing loser with a medical degree and a column has tacked on some crap at the end about Bush needing English lessons. I mean really Dr. Katz, here we are at the doorway of 2013 and Bush was last heard from in 2008; can't you find some new material?

"Do ya think I'm sexy?" (I was born in 1929.)
Barbara Walters, who has done little of merit other than fuel one of Gilda Radner's funniest SNL bits as Babwa Wawa, is 83 years old. Still, she goes for the glamor girl look on her inane TV show, with her face lifted to the sky and showing plenty of leg. It makes me nauseous. Get over it already, lady--you are old and should by now have accepted that nobody finds you sexy or desirable. (Her new Christmas card has made the news for a "suspicious glow" that some suspect was brought about by ingesting too much bubbly.)

There is Internet chatter about Michelle Obama running for a senate seat. Oy. So now all you have to do is marry a politician to be one? And just when I was so pleased that she has been out of the news lately.

It's raining here in Maine--a cold, driving, almost-winter rain. But I am going for a walk anyway, just to see if I can find one stray endorphin somewhere out there to salvage the rest of my day.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Cold Eggs

This morning my husband and I dined out in Portland at a place known for serving "the best breakfast in town." Neither of us had been there before. We arrived together, sat together, ordered at the same time, were served simultaneously and left together. But Mitch enjoyed himself and said he couldn't wait to return, while I'm not going back there and am writing this blog about it.

Here's why: Mitch's food arrived piping hot and mine was stone cold. Mine got cold sitting on a steam table waiting for his to get hot. If the waiter had asked if I preferred mine at its peak flavor and not when Mitch's was done, I would have said yes, by all means, but nobody gave me such a choice, instead assuming that I wanted my food to be of inferior quality but be able to consume it while my companion was eating his. This is a bad situation and one to be avoided at all costs, but that's a different blog post altogether having to do with the egregious injustices that we all endure in order to avoid doing the dishes. Right now I am simply observing that each of us has our own set of experiences, unlike those of any other person, yet some of us constantly compare ourselves to others and feel as if we--or they--don't measure up. That's dumb.

One example of this is when you are walking along and something reminds you of your dead best friend who you still miss terribly or you just woke up from a bad dream about a completely headless woman on line in front of you at the bank who was nevertheless talking, and you start freaking out about it and some complete stranger passes and says, "Cheer up, nothing's that bad!" Or, even worse, "Smile!" I hate that. What do they know about the nightmare playing out inside your head?

An unimportant occurrence can sometimes yield a big insight. Mitch's good breakfast and my bad one reminded me that all of our lives are unique, even when they look the same. And in case you wonder why I didn't send my food back to the kitchen to get heated up, I say: Do you have any idea what they do to food that gets sent back? (I do.)

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Christmas Letter

Hi All:

It's hard to believe it's that time of year again! It seems like only a few weeks ago Mitch was nagging me to help get the garden ready for planting. Just kidding, he never nags, although apparently I do. (By nag I mean ask him to do something a second time, since he didn't do it when I asked the first time. That's nagging. I mean, what should I do, just ignore it? What if it's something that actually needs doing, and I can't do it, like when the floodlight in our side yard burns out. I'm certainly not climbing up 20 feet on a ladder--I have a bit of a "height thing." But Mitch is fine with heights, yet I have to ask him like ten times before that bulb gets replaced.) Anyway, this year, besides some other things we grew tons of tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants. I swear, I must have eaten two tomatoes at every meal for the entire summer, they were so good. And then we made tomato sauces too, so we are stocked for the winter.

I finally pulled up the ugly carpeting in my studio last spring, and it really made a difference. (Wall-to-wall carpeting is never appropriate in an art studio, anyone will tell you that.) After it was gone I felt so free to make a mess that my work improved quite a bit, and I finally found a gallery that wants to include me in a show next January, which is pretty exciting. Too bad I will have to pay for framing eight paintings--two are quite large--and will probably sell zero, and even if I sell any the gallery keeps half so the whole thing will end up costing me money, and I won't even have those paintings anymore, so how good is that? Oh well, it is what it is.

My arthritis seems to have cleared up nicely, enough so that I cancelled my hip replacement surgery scheduled for next month. It turns out my condition was being aggravated by eating so many tomatoes and peppers and eggplants; apparently they have some chemical that makes arthritis worse. Who knew? Anyway, when I told my surgeon about how my pain disappeared almost immediately when I stopped eating those "nightshade vegetables," he said he had never heard of that. Imagine--and he does like 95% of all the hip replacements in Maine! (It's funny the things they don't teach you in medical school but then you find them all over the Internet. Go figure.)

Our next door neighbors are moving, which is really sad since they are like the only people we actually have anything in common with in the entire state of Maine, not counting family of course. I hear the new people who bought the house have little children. How nice for them.

We took some trips this past year--to Chicago and New York, and a week in Florida last February. It rained the whole time, which was a bummer, but I still reunited with one of my best friends from high school and that was great fun. Mitch and I also went to Indiana one weekend to visit friends and saw the drought up close--rows and rows of earless stalks of corn. That was pretty interesting, although quite dusty.

Like everyone, my cats are a year older, which makes them 18. I'm pretty sure Gizmo is totally blind and Daisy has Feline Alzheimer's, if there is such a thing. (I know if she could talk she would not be able to tell you her name or what year it is.) They both still eat and purr, which is really all you can ask, and Lurch is still young and so makes up for the other two.  

That's about it. Oh wait--my mean old aunt finally died which was great news since she ruined the second half my life, but then I found out my sister, who ruined the first half and who I thought was dead since she stopped calling and asking for money, is definitely alive, or at least she was in March. Oh well--you win some, you lose some. But she lives at the beach, directly in the path of Hurricane Sandy, so now who knows.

Here's hoping you and yours have a happy holiday season!
Love from Andrea, Mitch, Daisy, Gizmo and Big Lurch

Finishing Up

Remember all that stuff about how the Mayans predicted the world would end on December 21, 2012? It's been pretty quiet on that front of late. You would think since it's only 16 days from now there would be all sorts of last-minute messages and lists of how to prepare and not so much stuff about shopping for Christmas. I did a little checking and found that, according to NASA and the U. S. government, it was all just a rumor and in fact the world will not end this month. Phew!

But let's say that today, they say it will. After all, they swore that Libya-Benghazi thing was sparked by a random YouTube video, but then it turned out to be a full-blown, well-planned terrorist attack, so what do they know, or rather, what do they tell us that's true? I mean, if I were running things, I would not come out and say, "Hey folks, funny thing-- turns out everything will end in a little more than two weeks, so go crazy!" Would you?

If it does end on December 21, I will be quite annoyed that I have not eaten more pizza and gotten myself a key lime pie from Two Fat Cats (incredible bakery in Portland, try it if you get here in time) and done more on that new painting I started. You might want to finish up a few things yourself.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Get Out Your Hatchet

There's a house in that there kudzu! (Photo, William Christenberry)
Nobody seems to care about kudzu, yet the sweet-smelling invasive vine brought here in 1876 as a "gift" from the Japanese is slowly overtaking the planet. (Remember Pearl Harbor?) I look and I look, yet it's never in the news. Today's paper is full of the pregnant Duchess of York, her "severe morning sickness" obliterating her new hairstyle from the minds of the increasingly mindless Brits, who are now all atwitter about what the baby's gender and name might be. Which reminds me: Over in Italy, the Pope is getting ready to tweet in eight languages. Actually, it's only somebody who knows His Most High-hatted Holiness that will tweet in his name, boiling down his "pearls of wisdom" to 140 characters a pop---or should I say a pope?

Meanwhile, when last I drove south, that sneaky kudzu was creeping along the Saw Mill Parkway on its way to infiltrating the Bronx. Next stop Times Square? Kudzu has already conquered the southeastern United States, as the photo of a house in Alabama above illustrates; is it headed to the White House, the halls of Congress and the Pentagon? Perhaps it's coming soon to your neighborhood, or it's there now. Look outside. Be ready.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Call Me Crazy

I have long suspected it but now it's official: My husband is nuts. According to the latest findings of the American Psychiatric Association, the condition from which he suffers has just been voted into the soon-to-be-published 5th edition of its "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders." It's comforting to know there are such organizations out there deciding who among us is crazy and who is not. We'll surely all sleep better tonight knowing the folks over at The Balanced Mind Foundation are overseeing  this important stuff.

Mitch's condition is called hoarding disorder, and while he has a very mild case--nothing like what you see on TV in those houses stuffed with 37 cats and a bag lady-- still, it's not easy to live with, especially for a neatnik like me. It is characterized as "having persistent difficulty parting with possessions, regardless of their value." Like, for example, those 25-year-old, taped-up cardboard boxes that we have moved from Washington, D.C. to Takoma Park, Maryland to Salt Lake City, Utah and then back to Washington, D.C., and finally up here to Maine, without even opening them. "What's in them?" I dared ask one time. "My things," came the testy reply. Curious on a rainy afternoon when nobody was around, I stuck my hand in the open corner of a particularly saggy box and retrieved a Valentine's card sent to Mitch, now 55, when he was in the third grade. I replaced it immediately and poured myself a drink.

To be fair, the APA has also just declared one of my own conditions, binge eating disorder, as certifiable too. Just yesterday I made a bag of Licorice Allsorts totally disappear in short order using nothing more than my hands and mouth. I thought I was being piggy, so it's a relief to find out I am actually mentally ill.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Reputation Dot Com

Even though I live a quiet life in rural Maine, retiring early each night and rarely leaving my home except to run errands or maybe have a meal out in a restaurant, my online reputation bespeaks a very different persona. Google me and you find that I am a "kook" who throws a lot of tea parties and called for the assassination of Keith Olbermann. Ha! If only. In fact, I'd like to be reincarnated as a kook, and do wild and crazy things like Goldie Hawn on "Laugh-In," and write a successful autobiography full of those antics and make a lot of money and move to Avignon, where I would sip Pastis and eat liver pate with a couple of chocolate bon bons thrown in for good measure, and be happily kooky tout les jours.

Of course, it's not only me who is drastically misrepresented; there are many undeserved reputations out there--like George W. Bush is evil and Barack Obama was born in Kenya. But it's not just people; things also suffer. Take the rain--what is so wrong with rain? Or even just clouds or a passing shower or two? But they are all consistently referred to as bad weather. "Bad weather!" Like you're chiding a dog that just snatched a burger off the grill when nobody was looking. Imagine if we considered the rain as good,with TV meteorologists declaring, "Great news, it's going to rain tomorrow, and not just a drizzle but a steady, driving rain, all day long! How refreshing! If you're planning a picnic, be sure to wear a poncho and bring a plastic tarp."  Raincoat sales would soar, umbrellas would replace handbags as the must-have accessory and be designed by Gucci and Oscar and Vera Wang and Ralph Lauren. Event and wedding planners would breathe a sigh of relief and consider charging even more for monsoon season, since "the wetter the better" would become the guiding principle.

Something else that has a bad reputation is being old, which these days is like everyone over 30. Few people look at the bright side of aging, focusing instead on thickening waistlines and thinning hair. Okay, I'll give you that those are bad, but the flip side is greater wisdom and a certain, "I don't give a shit what anyone thinks of me" attitude that is quite liberating and downright invigorating when done correctly. Also, by the time you are in your 50s and 60s, you pretty much know how to do everything you need or want to do, and well. My cooking is stupendous if I do say so myself, far better than when I was just starting out and relying on typo-ridden cookbooks in order to make food. And by 60, youthful fears are pretty much conquered. Like now, if I see a bee in my house when I'm home alone late at night I will actually try to kill it, or maybe trap it somewhere, whereas when I was in my 20s I would pack up an overnight bag, feed the cats and go get a hotel room. If aging were a good thing, each birthday would be celebrated rather than mocked. I know it's a stretch to even consider this, but imagine a world where, instead of lying about your age you would proclaim it proudly, without shame!

But the worst reputation of all belongs to Death. People think it is such a bad thing. They fear it all their lives, which is really a shame because there it is, waiting. It's not going anywhere. So imagine if it were seen as something to look forward to! I am not talking 72 virgins in Heaven, I just mean possibly there is the next phase and maybe it's not so bad, who knows, it might be even better than here. Surely there is no Google.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

I Love Little Piggies, Don't You?

Two nights ago I watched a compelling documentary called "Forks Over Knives," which strongly suggests that the overwhelming consumption of sugar and animal products is why so many Americans suffer from heart disease, hypertension, diabetes and cancer. It convinced me in just a few minutes that vegetarianism is the only sane way to live. Unfortunately, I could not start being sane right away since my husband and I had a long-standing dinner reservation at a Portland restaurant we were eager to try last night. Besides, they had already called me to confirm and I had said we'd be there, and in a place with room for only 18 diners, I was reluctant to stand them up at the last minute. We decided to go for it, and vowed to stop being crazy right after dinner.

Who could eat bacon after seeing this picture?
The menu at Bresca is impressive. Everything sounds so good, it's hard to choose. But then the food comes and it turns out that while it is fantastically delicious, it's all made with the same two basic ingredients: butter and sugar. Mitch had a pork chop; it had some kind of buttery, sugary sauce. I had a filet of fish with green lentils. Quite good but quite buttery, and a tad sweet. My "little green salad with glazed carrots" was heavy on the glaze and light on the green. Mitch's "kale salad" arrived literally floating in a buttery bath, accompanied by an egg, some bacon and a piece of sweetened bread. A stupendous side dish called shaved Brussels sprouts with Gorgonzola cheese was incredibly rich and had little to do with eating a vegetable and everything to do with packing on the pounds. Naturally, by the time we got to the end of the meal we were virtually tripping on a sugar high and ordered dessert, which was of course very buttery and sugary as was its right. We looked around at the other dinners on nearby tables, something that's easy to do in such a tiny place, and they all glistened with that same buttery sheen. No wonder people love Bresca--its chef obviously has not yet seen "Forks Over Knives," and thus is still serving up that yummy, crazy food.