Wednesday, May 30, 2007

They're not called "cheetahs" for nothin'

Make that "cheat-ahs." Or "Sluts of the Serengeti." Yep, seems female cheetahs enjoy cattin' around, according to a study by the Zoological Society of London as reported by CNN. These gals risk life and limb to get a little "strange." No wonder the oldest and most popular strip-club in Atlanta is called Cheetah.

Ms. Cheetah likes her cubs to have different daddies, you see. Keeps the genetic mix interesting. At least that's the excuse - er, reason - given by the ZSL. But we all know the truth: she-cheetahs can't get no satisfaction from just one he-cheetah. Ah, the call of the wild!

Still, these spotted 'ho's (ooh, can I say "'ho"?) are punished for their wanton acts because foolin' around exposes them to disease and infection. Well, it was ever thus. Even for cheetahs.

But if the she-tahs can get the he-tahs to wear condoms, then maybe . . .

Always put off till tomorrow . . .

I've put off making a certain phone call for two days. It's one of those "smoothing ruffled feathers" kind to a guy who doesn't like something we're doing, or rather, doesn't like the process. I'm not at fault and I know what I'm going to say, but I'm just not in the mood for a soul-sucking conversation with a whiny, nose-outta-joint dude.

Shoulda made the call yesterday. Should make it right now. But every time I pick up the phone, I think "Nooooooooooooooooo . . ." I know I'll feel better once I've done the deed, but I just can't rev up my sweet, understanding listening engines right now.

Maybe one more cup of tea . . .

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

To burn or not to burn

A couple of years ago I posted about wanting to get rid of my full set of 1973 Encyclopaedia Britannica. They take up a lot of space, and I no longer use them. Alas, I never found a taker. With the internet, I guess no one wants a ton of encyclopedia, even though 99% of the information within them is still good. (And the color plates and overlays are gorgeous!) One of the commenters to my post suggested I have a bonfire in the driveway, but others were uncomfortable (and rightly so) with the idea of a book-burnin'.

Seems I'm not alone in having this inability to get rid of books that no one will take - for money or for free. A bookstore owner in Kansas City, Missouri, held a good old-fashioned book-burning when he wanted to thin out his book collection and found no takers. Tom Wayne decided to burn the books in protest of "society's diminishing support for the printed word." Like me, he is frustrated that no one will take perfectly good books off one's hands, not even schools or charities.

I love nothing more than browsing, then walking away with an armload of used books (ask my Aunt Nell, who had the task of packing up all my books for the move to New York). I love books, I purely do. But I would love for my set of encyclopedia to be in the hands of someone who could use them. I'd also love the shelf space they take up for my other books. So I can relate to bookstore-owner Wayne's dilemma.

And you guessed it - my 1973 edition of Encyclopaedia Britannica was duly shipped to Manhattan and now resides on a couple of shelves in my "library." What do you do with old books?

Monday, May 28, 2007

Take the (Medieval) A Train

Yesterday, I decided to venture forth to the upper western reaches of the Isle of Manhattan in search of a little peace and quiet. I headed for The Cloisters. Lots of folks had recommended place to me, so I wanted to check it out for myself. It's one of John D. Rockefeller's little gifts to New York and a part of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

I wasn't as interested in the art as I was in finding a little refuge and calm after the chaos of the last few weeks. So I packed a journal - in hopes of settling in a cool niche and unloading on paper - and worked my way up to Fort Tryon Park on the Hudson.

You'd think getting from the upper-upper east side of Spanish Harlem to the upper-upper-upper west side of Manhattan wouldn't be so hard, but listen, sista', it's quite a convoluted little subway ride: 6 train at 116th to 4 train at 125th to D train at 161/Yankee Stadium to A train at 145th, then take the A train up to Dyckman/200th. Whew! But it only took about 30 minutes, believe it or not.

Fort Tryon Park was lovely. Instead of riding the bus to the top of the overlook where The Cloisters is located, I opted to walk up. Very serene and green. Alas, serenity was not the order of the day at The Cloisters. Yes, I realize it was Memorial Day weekend, but still, I'd been led to believe that the place offered some thinking space. It didn't. The place was packed - seems no one came for serenity. Sigh.

Still, The Cloisters has a phenomenal collection of medieval art, gardens, and real French (I think) "cloisters" brought over by Mr. Rockefeller's bucks. And it was cool and dark inside. Too bad it was full of whiny chirruns and loud-talkin' tourists. (Try taking pictures and having to wait for hoards of orange t-shirt wearers to clear the shots . . . )

But give it up for JD for buying up the hilltop and the land across the Hudson - spectacular river views from the balconies. I highly recommend the place - just not for someone searching for a little peace. Guess I'll have to find that somewhere else.

Enjoy the last few hours of the holiday, darlins!

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Fiddle-de-dee! The last of the grits and Luzianne

I knew the day would come. I just didn't expect it to be today. My very last Luzianne teabag is steeping for my very last Suth'n-brewed jug of iced tea. The last, that is, until I'm able to replenish my supply of Luzianne. Man, I thought I had a couple more bags left, I really did. Now the temp's in the 80s and 90s and I'm out of iced tea fixin's. Aaargh!

The other sad news is that I ran out of grits a couple of weeks ago. Usually, I only cook them up on the weekends when I have a little more time to savor a bowl of my lovely jalepeno-cheesey concoction. Now, that little pleasure's gone, too. Shoot!

I'm vaguely planning a trip to Atlanta the first part of August, mainly because I must consolidate my two storage units and get the stuff I had to leave behind in a better place. Nothing definite set, though. But now, I have a real emergency, so that should spur my reservation-making.

Guess I'll have to make do with the old Lipton stuff until I get back down South. And I'll just have to be grit-less for a few months. Ah, me. Where are the Tarleton twins when you need 'em?

Friday, May 25, 2007

It's all Greek (and Roman) to me

Ahhhh, long holiday weekends. They seem to come at just the right moment, eh?

After a morning of luxuriating in the bed, watching All Fall Down on Turner Classic Movies (has Angela Lansbury had to play everybody's mother in her film career??), and drinking endless cups of tea, I headed for the Met (the art museum, not the opera) to poke around the new Greek and Roman Galleries.

Well, what a great way to spend a 90-degree afternoon! All that cool marble, plaster, and terracotta! While busy, the Met wasn't nearly as crowded as it can get on a weekend, so I didn't have to jockey for viewing space. I popped in my earplugs to shut out any distractions and took my own sweet time strolling the halls.

It's all amazing - from the tiniest bit of jewelry to the massive sculptures and columns. (And boy, what a great bunch of butts!) Everything has such permanence. I mean, let's face it, the stuff has lasted thousands of years through all sorts of conditions and plundering and shifting around. OK, yeah, they're missing a few arms and noses, but surely we can overlook that. All in all, they look pretty darn good.

Kinda makes you wonder what "artifacts" of ours could possibly last as long. Except, of course, our stuff is made of plastic and chemicals, so maybe it ain't goin' nowhere. Wonder how the art museum of the future will display our old computer monitors and Big Mac boxes?

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Pulling a music-blanket over my head

As a way to go cold-turkey on the brick-wall-hittin' exercise of the last few days, I've closed my office door, put on head-phones, and settled into a few long-overdue, mindless tasks.

The closed door allows me to sing along with the tunes without inflicting my voice on co-workers. Plus, if something like Ray Charles rendition of "Georgia On My Mind" comes up, I can have a little cry if I want. Obviously, I'm having "issues," but they'll blow over. I do know this. Everthing will calm down, heads will clear, and it'll be safe to open the door again. In the meantime, pulling a music-blanket over my head keeps me away from the brick walls that have been popping up all over the place at work.

What am I listening to? Big Bro hooked me up to a fun website called Playa Cofi Jukebox that offers up selections of pop/rock era stuff. Don't know how legal it is, but I don't really care at this point. The site used to organize by individual years and list the songs so that the user could pick and choose. That format has been changed (I'm guessing for legal reasons), but you can still select by groups of years.

I swear I haven't heard some of these songs in 50 years. (Yeah, I'm that old. Plus a little.) Since I don't know what's coming up next, I find myself blurting out "I'd forgotten all about that song!' and then proceeding to sing along, word for word. How is it that we can remember words to a song that we haven't heard since we were 4 or 11 or 17, and yet - well, you know. (What'd I have for dinner last night??)

1957 is up right now. Charlie Gracie's "Butterfly." Early rock and roll really was all country/rockabilly and doo-wap, with some sappy/hilarious stuff thrown in. Even though I was pretty young when this stuff was popular, having older brothers and listening to radio that played all sorts of things not just one format made me a cool kid early on. Oooh. "Green Door" is on. (What was that secret it was keepin'?)

Here's the trick. Choose the year(s) you want to play. Once it cycles back to the first song, click on the year again, and even more songs from that year plays (but the first song is always the same, so don't let that throw you off).

OK. Back to work. After I finish up with '57, I heading to 1970-74. "Smiling faces, sometimes, pretend to be your friend . . . "

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Monday, May 21, 2007

A complete waste of time

That about sums up my weekend.

I was a total slug, feeling the need to just stay inside and watch mindless TV, instead of getting outside and doing something - anything - active. Of course, that old Puritan work ethic always niggles anytime I completely veg-out. So, on this Monday morning, I'm feeling vaguely guilty about wasting time for two whole days. Darn those darn Puritans! I suspect I'll more than make up for time-wasting once I hit the office, however.

Happy Monday morning!

Friday, May 18, 2007

Lookin' rich

It's a wonderful feeling for a poor church mouse like me to fly down crowded 5th Avenue with expensive little shopping bags flapping in the wind. The really toney New York stores have sturdy, well-designed bags, and they'll give 'em out, even if you buy a cheap little something (like we poor little church mice are wont to do).

Good friend Lynn is in town from Atlanta and took me to lunch at the Japanese department store (yeah, yeah, the Japanese department store in New York City), Takashimaya. We had a lovely, leisurely time ("Here's to the ladies who lunch . . . "), then went our separate ways.

Before I left the store, I treated myself to a little bag of Takashimaya Rose Tea (yu-um!). Now, this little purchase didn't cost much, but they put my little bag of tea in a terrific 3-sided Takashimaya bag. Once the inexpensive purchase is inside, why, your average snooty-hooty has no idea what the bag holds. It's my first Takashimaya bag! (Here's a shot of the bag, Winston, to prove 3-sided bags do exist.)

But I couldn't leave the Golden Mile without popping into Henri Bendel for one of their signature lemon candles. I've been buying them for years (back in the days when I was a tourist), and I do love the little chocolate-and-white Bendel bag.

So off I flew down 5th Avenue with my Takashimaya and Bendel bags blowing out behind me. They could've held expensive perfume or jewelry. But they didn't. They held tea and a candle. But who knew?

By the way, the other plus about these bags is that they make great lunch totes - they last forever (or a couple of months, anyway). Throw a tuna sandwich in there and off I go. And won't I look rich?

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Hey! This ain't my station!

As I rounded the corner of 115th and Lex this morning, I ran right smack into a film crew shooting an action scene. I knew enough about film production (having been a producer for 22 years) to stay out of camera range as I worked my way over to the 116th subway stop.

Imagine my surprise to find that the #6 116th Street station had magically turned into "75 Avenue Queens & Brooklyn." Queens and Brooklyn? Sheesh!

Disregarding the weird movie sign, I descended the stairs into the station and went on my merry way. To neither Queens nor Brooklyn.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Too much of The Right Stuff

I pride myself in knowing everything about everything. As a card-carrying member of the Prissy Little Smarty Pants Club, I'm always thrown for a loop when I discover some important nugget of news that was heretofore hidden from me.

Did anybody else know that 13 female pilots were trained and proved themselves fit as Mercury astronauts back in the late 1950s? How did I miss this?

According to a CNN story, the women underwent the same rigorous medical tests as the guy astronauts and proved themselves as good, if not better, than their male counterparts. One Dr. Donald Kilgore, who helped test the potential space-people between 1959 and 1961, claims that because women were physically smaller, lighter, and would take up less oxygen, they were well-suited for the space program.

All the women were ace pilots - that goes without saying. But they really proved themselves during the extreme medical tests (like squirting ice water in their ear canals to induce vertigo). Thirteen of the original 25 female pilots passed with flying colors. No prob.

Except for one little detail. NASA required that astronauts be military test pilots. A military test pilot had to have graduated from one of the official test pilot schools. And - well, you guessed it. At the time no women allowed in the test pilot schools. Doh!

Fortunately, these incredible astro-chicks are finally being recognized almost 50 years later. They had The Right Stuff, all right. Plus ovaries. Thanks, chicks - can't wait to see the movie about this someday!

Learn somethin' new every day.

Sunday, May 13, 2007


Got a pretty darn good aerial shot of Manhattan from the plane last week.

I'm an aisle-person myself, but no one was sitting in the window seat next to me as we headed west, then south to Baltimore. I wasn't paying much attention (such a jaded old Manhattan jet-setter) and almost missed the shot.

Good view of southern tip of Central Park to the south tip of the island, the Hudson and East Rivers. Too much of New Jersey, though. I'll try to be more alert next time!

"True politeness is to say . . . "

Like all mothers, mine had a very deep well of “momisms.” Who knows where they came from? Some were from Ben Franklin. Some from the Bible or Shakespeare. Some were twisted versions of well-known quotes. I’ve posted before about how Mother would begin one of her sayings with “As it says in the Bible . . . “ and head straight into “Neither a borrower nor a lender be” or “To thine own self be true,” never crediting dear old Shakespeare’s Polonius in Hamlet.

I’m sure Kate - who is now 18 years older than in this picture, yet I am exactly the same age! - could list a string of my momisms. I’m not really aware of anything I say all the time except for “Pee or get off the pot.” (See how I cleaned that one up before foisting it upon a small child?) Evidently mine don't come from lofty places like the Bible or Shakespeare, unless you consider American musical theatre rarified. At any rate, momisms do seem to spew forth once one has given birth. Maybe it’s something in the delivery process.

So on this Mother’s Day, let’s celebrate our momism-generators and their pearls o’ wisdom (if you can consider “Pee or get off the pot” wisdom). As it says in the Bible - according to my dear mother, who died in 2004: “True politeness is to say the kindest things in the kindest way.”

Saturday, May 12, 2007


I have not torn through a good book since before Christmas.

Let me clarify. I have read lots books in the past few months - in fact, I can't sleep at night until I've done a little reading - but I've found everything sort of ho-hum. The books weren't particularly bad or uninteresting, just nothing that really caught fire with me. Usually, I can find something that strikes my fancy, but lately, nope. Nothing. I am so hungry for a book that I can't put down!

Several good books have been recommended by friends, and I've eagerly chased them down in hopes of finding a good 'un. Was hoping Changing Light by Nora Gallagher would do it. Maybe any other time it would've. But while it's pretty good, I haven't felt the need to read more than a chapter at a time.

I'm thinking I must be going through a phase. Sigh. I wonder if it's connected to my writing-weariness at the moment? Can't read. Can't write. Nothing's sparking.

Here's hoping Harry Potter will help me out in July.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Something to do while waiting in an airport

On the way to Baltimore this afternoon, I was lucky enough to get an aisle seat in an exit row. Exit rows are the primo spots on a plane - more leg room and the folks in the row in front of you can't recline their seats into your lap. Yea!

Flight crews try to scare passengers out of sitting in exit rows - "If you don't think you can perform the duties required in case of an emergency" blah-blah-blah - but I ignore the dire warnings. Any seat on an airplane that keeps the guy in front of me from putting his head in my lap has my name on it.

As I was studying the door to determine exactly how I would pull down on the lever and pull the door toward me in the event of an emergency, I came up with an idea. I think at every group of departure gates in the airport terminal, there should be a set of practice doors for all the airplane variations. Folks could line up and try their hands at opening exit doors.

Wouldn't that be fun? And practical? Not only would it make airline passengers more adept at opening these mystery doors, it would take up all that down time we spend in flight-delay-hell. Plus, give us a little exercise.

Of course, then the airlines' exit-row-scare-tactics wouldn't work any more. Still. I'd like to try my hand at a few practice rounds before being required to save a plane-load of people. Just a thought.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Give the young'uns a chance

One problem with entrenched organizations and networks is that some old farts are, well, entrenched. They just don't know when to let go and give other people a chance to take on a project. (For what it's worth, I include myself in the old-fart-power-structure. I just don't mind putting the younger farts to work, that's all.)

It's a power-thing, partly; that, and a fear of being put out to pasture, I suppose. No one wants to think that his or her experience and service is being demeaned, certainly. But sometimes the old way ain't the best way. New energy and ideas need a friendly environment that nurtures them to the surface and pushes 'em out to kick ass.

I'm having this problem right now with a big event that some cohorts and I dreamed up. Seems a group of the old guard is moving to take over leadership. Doh! One of the reasons we came up with our event-idea was to bring in younger voices and energy (and by younger, I'm talking worker-bees in their 30's and 40's). My suggestion is to let those of us who have been running the show for such a long time pull back, act as resources or mere (ha!) volunteers, and let the Energizer Bunnies show us some new tricks.

Such fist-shaking umbridge at my suggestion - nay! demand! - to let adults on the younger end of the spectrum run the show! Why, you'd've thought I'd just suggested that the faces on Mount Rushmore be replaced with Britney, Paris, Lindsey, and Anna Nichole! Yikes!

Old people can be so cranky sometimes.

Now, stand back once in a while and give the young'uns a chance!

Sunday, May 06, 2007

City 'scape

There are a lot of benefits to living on the top floor of a building. And while some might consider living right above the Metro North rail line (that runs smack down the middle of Park Avenue) a disadvantage, that empty air gives me a pretty good western view. I get a front row seat for some mighty splendid sunsets.

Though I don't have an elaborate terrace, I do have a fire escape just outside my window. From the 'scape I get a magnificent southern view straight down Park. If you can spot the Met Life Building in the photo (in the middle), that's roughly 70 blocks away. You can also see where the rail line comes out of the ground at 96th Street. FYI, on the rich end of Park Avenue (below 96th), the train is underground and there are lovely little medians with flowers.

Ah, city life!

Who's Edith?

Architecture has always fascinated me, so being dumped in a city where even the shabbiest of buildings has some kind of interesting feature is a real treat.

For instance, this slim column of apartments currently under renovation that I pass on my comings and goings to Central Park. It's located on 115th between Park and Madison, and I call it the "Edith Building" for obvious reasons. (Can you see it? Look between the scaffolding.)

The "Edith" feature is a real eye-catcher, though I wonder how many other people have ever noticed the arched name at the top. Maybe only architectural junkies like me have discovered it. But now, it's all I see when I look at the building.

Edith. Who the heck was Edith, that her name became an architectural feature of the building? Wonder when it was built? Who designed it and immortalized his wife, mother, daughter, lover, or hometown (is there an Edith, Ohio, somewhere?) at the top? Or was it just the guy's last name? I invent all sorts of stories about the place, but I'll probably never know the real one.

Edith. Hmm.

Friday, May 04, 2007


I know what I was doing 24 years ago today. On this clear blue day in 1983, I was in Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta, walking up and down the halls, trying to quicken up those labor contractions.

The pregnancy-thing had gone on way too long. The baby was due on my birthday, and my mommy-to-be nerve was frayed to the last 1/2 thread. The doctor was getting impatient, as well, so I was scheduled to have labor induced on May 6. This baby would get born, whatever its preference for womb-comfort.

I refer to it as "the baby," because I didn't know whether I was having a girl or a boy. It was just becoming fashionable to find out the sex of the baby before birth, so I could've found out if I'd wanted to. Here's my stand on that: there are so few real (good) surprises left in the world today, that I believe one should wait to hear those classic words "It's a . . . !" So I waited.

I wanted a girl, but all the labor nurses kept saying it was a boy because of the heartbeat (strong and slow, or maybe shallow and fast - I don't really remember their justification). Well, I was not going to be picky at this stage of the game - just wanted whatever it was to see the light of day. Well, it just shows how little those labor nurses knew!

Katherine Elizabeth Brennan was born at 4:14pm on May 4, 1983. She was kind enough to wait until the afternoon soaps were over. (Yep, I watched TV while I was hooked up to fetal monitors during labor. "Guiding Light," I think it was.)

And she growed up right nice, I do think.

Happy Birthday, Katie Sue Agnes Louise (and whatever else Uncle Bill tacks on to your name)!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Why-o Why-o Why-o

Why did I ever leave Ohio?

Goodbye, Virginia Beach and New York City. Hello, London, Ohio! I'm here for a short li'l conference. Here's this morning's sunrise.

(Weather? Perfect. For now.)