One of them is this weekend. The Baltimore Book Festival. Always a nice event, although perhaps not always as truly literary as I would like, what with all the food vendors, musical acts, wine and beer tents, etc., but it's a great place to people watch, hang out, buy some books, and simply enjoy a good street festival, in what promises to be beautiful fall weather.
It's also an opportunity for other community organizations to promote themselves, so if you're down there this weekend, I will be staffing the booth for the Baltimore City League of Women Voters, as well as the Live Baltimore booth. I turned down a request to help staff the booth for the Maryland Film Festival, because I want a chance to walk around the festival and actually enjoy it for a little bit, and not work the thing all weekend. Seems to be a hazard of participating in too many civic and community organizations. If you want to know what times I'm staffing for which organization, email me off line and maybe we can catch up with each other!
Hollywood in Baltimore - Old Hollywood that is....
This time, it's none other than Bruce Willis, trying to squeeze blood out of the stone called his career and from the "Die Hard" series with one last gasp as an aging action hero in "Live Free or Die Hard". One can only hope he accomplishes the latter this time...
I mean, what's next? Rocky VI? Wait - it gets worse - stay tuned for Rambo IV. I kid you not - and the guy just turned SIXTY!! That's pathetic, not inspirational.
When I ran to Whole Foods yesterday, I decided to avoid the one in Mt. Washington due to the Virgin Festival taking place at Pimlico, and instead, ran down to the Inner Harbor. What I wasn't prepared for were the low flying helicopters filming a chase scene and the sound of gunfire (albeit blanks). I can get plenty of police helicopters and real gunfire right in my own neighborhood thank you. Luckily, traffic wasn't directly affected where I was headed and other than rubber neckers, it didn't take too long.
Either way, I'll wait for the DVD on this one.....
The Good: There are many! First day of fall, and it's a cool cloudy one. I bought a bunch of books at Daedalus Books, (that place is dangerous!) last week including something I need like a fish needs a bicycle. Another cookbook. Worse yet, another Asian cookbook. Anyone who knows me, knows that I have a "tiny" cookbook addiction. I'm sure there is a 12 step program out there for this ("Hello, my name is Broadsheet, and I can never have enough curry recipes"), but for now, they are crammed onto a tall bookcase in the corner of my kitchen. They are quickly threatening to outgrow that space and are starting to pile up in the living room and the bar cart. I have an entire shelf dedicated to cookbooks from one Asian country or another. Still, it's a beautiful book, and I enjoyed watching football while putting sticky notes on the pages for the recipes I want to make. Oh, that's perhaps the best good thing of all today; fall = College Football!! Wisconsin tackles Michigan, followed by Penn State and my other pseudo alma mater (I did a post grad fellowship there) - the mighty Buckeyes of Ohio State. That game is tough to play favorites since two of my siblings went to PSU, and there is some definite Lion Pride in our family this time of year. But I really am partial to the Buckeyes - sorry sibs!
The Bad: After beating them 23 - 20 last year, my Bucky Badgers lost to the mighty Michigan Wolverines after being ahead by 7 in the first quarter.
The Ugly: They lost by 14 points. 27-13. Bret Bielema is the new coach, and at 36, is one of the two youngest coaches in college football. He has such huge shoes to fill now that Barry Alvarez has retired. I was really hoping the Badgers would come out strong in their first Big Ten showing, but it was not to be... Better luck next week.
Now - off to the grocery store to get everything I need to make a big pot of "Kelia Sumatera", or Sumatran Beef Curry. Indonesian and Sumatran cooking are among my favorites. They aren't called the Spice Islands for nothing, and I find that their curries have a brighter, more fragrant, richer, taste than many of their Indian curry counterparts, which sometimes lack the richness and bright flavor of lime leaves, or the thick texture from ground candlenuts and coconut milk. Anyway, a DVD and some red wine - it will be a good Saturday night despite the ugly football loss. Comfort food.
Actually, I'm "working from home" today, while I wait for Offenbacher's to deliver my new patio furniture. As with most home deliveries, I was given the vague time of "Between 8:00 AM and 2:00 PM", which results in having to stick around the house all day.
Could be worse. I have no intention of taking a shower before at least noon, and I brought home plenty of actual work in the form of employee evaluations and some data entry that is hard to accomplish between meetings and constant interruptions at work. Still, it's nice to have a pot of good coffee, it's a beautiful nearly fall day, and I'll probably take myself out to lunch with a good book to the little sandwich shop near MICA, or down to Charles Street and hang out on the sidewalk in front of XS and have sushi and tea.
Like most bloggers, every now and then I'll check my site meter to see what search terms brought people to the blog. For the most part, I can understand why the term resulted in a hit to my blog - even for the more unusual searches and words.
But today, I'm really scratching my head over these two:
2005 email profile of shoes dealers in caribbean island - this hit was from someone in Nigeria who was probably cooking up a new spam scam, but I can't for the life of me figure out why it linked to me.
caravan water heater carvers - someone with water heater issues in Wales, UK. Either that, or a serial water heater killer.
That pretty much sums up my weekend. On Saturday, my neighbor A., invited a bunch of young Romanian diplomats visiting the State Dept. to dinner. Since it was their first time to the U.S., she was determined to have a very American dinner party, and decided to have Thanksgiving in September. She cooked the turkey, and I helped to host by picking people up here and there, and making traditional side dishes. Anyway, the food was a hit, the Romanians were a very friendly bunch, and seemed very happy to be invited to a private home to meet Americans and get to know them. They also drink. A lot.
Sunday was our annual end of summer block party cookout. We cater the event with Pit Beef, ham and turkey, and everyone pitches in with side dishes and desserts. We hold it in the lovely little courtyard park adjacent to our homes, and for the six years we've been doing it, we've been blessed with terrific weather, and last night was no exception. We had to postpone it for a week in 2001 for 9/11, and again in 2003 for Hurricane Isabel, but whenever we have it - the weather is terrific. So are my neighbors. We have such a variety of people: Dutch, Russian, Bulgarian, Lithuanian, French...the conversation is always interesting. An even wider variety of occupations: diplomats, lawyers, engineers, doctors, an accomplished opera singer, architects, teachers, dancers, business people, retirees... I'm really lucky to have such interesting, wonderful people as friends and neighbors.
Oh, and in between shuttling Romanians, cooking, and helping out with the block party, I managed to buy new patio furniture on Saturday! It's being delivered on Friday. I hope the weather holds out for another few weeks to enjoy some fall cookouts.
Apparently, a Baltimore blogger who also happens to be a Cardin Staffer, got dooced over comments she made on her blog.
According to the Washington Times Insider Politics blog, a person labeling herself the 'Persuasionatrix' wrote that she was on the staff of a high profile, contested Senate campaign and was based in Baltimore.
Persuasionatrix wrote that staffers should pose holding Oreo brand cookies under the caption 'devouring the competition.' The Cardin staffer also allegedly posted statements on her blog about not being able to fire a subordinate whose performance was inadequate because the junior worker was black.
....She supposedly wrote that the 'racism card hovers constantly' because her candidate was 'older, established and white' while his opponent was 'a dynamic, younger African American.' Persuasionatrix said that 'card' prevented the dismissal of the black worker.
People. This is the INTERNET. Free speech issues aside, you do not blog negatively about your job or your co-workers. Ever. Ever. Ever. It's just a disaster or a lawsuit waiting to happen. What an idiot.
Tuesday, I am playing reluctant and guarded host to a film production crew from the tabloid news show, Inside Edition. Don't worry, Deborah Norville isn't expected to be here.
They are coming to film one of my docs doing surgery on a little girl. Normally, this should be a heart tugging, feel good story. What worries me is not just the sensationalism that this show is known for, or the smooth talking, hyperbole spewing, showmanship nature of the particular surgeon being highlighted. No, it's the fact that when they called our Marketing Dept. to pitch the story, they said that they had heard we were one of the few centers in the US that performed "dwarf stretching".
Ummmm - NO. We prefer to call it limb deformity correction - thank you.
This is gonna be ugly - I can just tell. I'd rather deal with "60 Minutes".
Thanks to a faculty meeting that got started late and ended even later, I didn't get home from work until 10:30 PM last night. I love me some 15 hour days....
Anyway, I came home, fed the monsters, and literally fell into bed. Around 1:30 AM the rain started coming down, and I got up to close the bedroom window. For some reason, I remember looking at the clock, hearing the wind and rain, and all of a sudden, despite the stupor, I had this overwhelmingly certain feeling of relief and happiness associated with the fact that I was going to be able to sleep in this morning because it was Saturday. I was totally dead certain about it when I crawled back into the warm bed and snuggled down with the rain pounding the windows. The comfort that came with knowing I had no reason to get up first the morning was just lovely.
So imagine my horror when the alarm went off at 5:30 AM, and I groggily become aware that not only is today NOT Saturday, but it's ONLY Thursday, and I have to be at Grand Rounds by 7:00 AM. I wanted to cry.
Despite the advent of email and the internet, there is no replacement for coming home after a long day, and finding an unexpected personal package or letter in your good old US of A mail. Especially when it has the familiar handwriting of a good friend, and post marks from Australia!!
It was a thank you gift from the Aussies, who finally arrived back in Oz after their around the world vacation and a month in the South of France, and contained an entire spa bag of products from Aesop, a relatively new little cosmetics company out of Melbourne (her town) that specializes in botanically derived natural products.
This stuff is amazing! The skin cleanser smells like nothing I've ever used before and was wonderful on the skin. And the hand and foot cream were like having a manicure and pedicure. I hope you can order this stuff on line, although I guess they sell it at Barney's in NY - cause I think I might be hooked!
Tonight I'm going to try the facial masque.
I feel pretty, oh so pretty. And it smells just amazing.
So...my one cat, Peanut seems to have gotten some sticky crap in the fur on his back. It's in that spot that even cats find hard to reach. It's like he rolled in tree sap or something. I have no idea how he did it, since he doesn't go outside. It just looks mangy.
Then tonight, when I got back home from the Bat Mitzvah reception, he had licked it into a kind of mohawk that just looked really ridiculous. I made a mental note to give him a bath later in the week.
In the meantime, I tossed down one of those dayglow nightstick tube necklaces that they had given the kids at the party to play with, on the counter with my keys. You know, the neon plastic tubes that glow for a few hours?
I went into the living room to watch a little TV before bed, and the next thing you know, Peanut comes screaming through the living room looking like a bad black velvet painting. He had chewed through the tube, and had phosphorescent blue, orange, green and yellow liquid smeared all over his mouth and belly, and he's so freaked out by the glowing colors, he's hissing and trying to get away from himself.
I have to assume that stuff is non toxic, but now the issue of needing a bath now versus later is a moot point, and I have to get this stuff off of him.
So ensued my first attempt at getting an already frenzied 14 pound tabby cat into the tub.
20 minutes later, he's wet, REALLY pissed, and growling, but he's stopped glowing. The sticky stuff in his coat won't wash out - I may have to cut it out like gum or something.
Me? Once I got the bleeding to stop and used half a bottle of hydrogen peroxide, my left forearm looks like I put it through a plate glass window, and I have some pretty deep gashes along the side of my neck winding down my throat. Yep, that's gonna leave a mark.
Good thing it's almost fall. I'll be wearing turtlenecks for the next few weeks.
At least my cat isn't glowing anymore. That was freaky.
I've been invited to my first ever Bat Mitzvah on Sunday.
I am ashamed to say that despite having visited most of the great cathedrals in Europe, that aside from a class in Comparative Religions in high school - I've never even been inside a synagogue.
Actually, since I've been actively avoiding the patriarchal dictatorship formerly known as the Catholic Church for the last 24 years, my religious affiliation could best be described as agnostic bordering on atheist.
That limits my religious involvement to that of a ceremonial observer. The time honored tradition of using religious doctrine to document and signify important milestones in lives: coming of age, weddings, and funerals. I also enjoy me some fine Little Italy street festivals in the summer.
It's fascinating when you think about it. Each religion has a different, yet completely documented script for each of these different ceremonies, including the major and minor roles, the dialogue, movements, and music. And yet while all accomplish exactly the same ultimate ending, each religion brings its own, unique culture and meaning to the performance at hand. So much so, that the sheer act of participating in such rituals gives people joy, pleasure, and comfort, and has done so for thousands and thousands of years.
Oh, and let's not forget the food. Just as each ceremony has its carefully prescribed liturgy to accompany it, so does each have its own unique cuisine, designed to compliment and honor the level of solemnity or celebration depending on the occasion.
Of course, the other unique cultural commentary that plays parallel to religious ceremonies of any faith is directly dependent on the wealth and social strata occupied by the person or families at the center of the ceremony.
So, with that in mind, I am looking forward to witnessing, and being part of, a ceremony and celebration, which if nothing else, will be a personally rewarding insight into another culture, and a great reminder of how important these ceremonies are to socialization and human nature.
The official death toll of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks was 2,973.
As of last Sunday, the number of US troops killed in Iraq and Afghanistan reach 2,974.
Think about that on Monday.
UPDATE: I want to draw attention to the comment - thanks tfg. A powerful terrorist group may have attacked us on 9/11, but in destroying the regimes of the countries where Al-Queda is supposedly hiding, or has links to, the US has not only killed a lot more Iraqi's and Afghani's than were killed on 9/11, but we opened up a Pandora's Box of tribal, sectarian, religious, ethnic, war. This war has manifested itself in killing more than twenty times the number of US 9/11 casualties. The DOD will never give out the numbers of civilians we killed, but they delight in telling us how many civilians die from insurgent and suicide attacks every day.
I was watching the interview that newly appointed anchoress Katy Couric did with Bush last night, and nearly choked on my sandwich. Two quotes during the interview made me stop the Tivo to rewind and make sure I heard him correctly, because I simply couldn't believe what he had said:
Quote #1: "And - look, I understand people don't agree with war. I didn't wanna be a wartime president. This war came to us. We didn't ask for it."
EXCUSE ME???!!! I seem to remember you sending your scapegoat Secretary of State in front of the UN Security Council practically BEGGING to be allowed to invade Iraq using wildly erroneous data, and save us from what turned out not to be a threat to us at all, but a threat to the Iraqi people (Saddam that is).
Quote #2: "There - it's - you know, one of the hardest parts of my job is to connect Iraq to the war on terror."
Well, YEAH, D'uhh. Especially since the 9/11 Commission and others have repeatedly PROVED that there was no connection between 9/11 and Iraq!!
He went on to keep trying to push the notion that if we fail in Iraq, Osama bi Laden and other terrorists will use Iraq as a safe haven to launch more terrorist attacks against the US.
HELLO??? Pakistan is already a safe haven for this guy, and has been for the last 3 years apparently, but are we any closer to finding him? Nope.
Cut the head off the snake. Find him and just do it. This guy has no clue. At. All.
A mere two days after I sadly removed their lifeless links from my blogroll, these two characters accepted a Content Challenge from yet a third bon vivant, and have resurrected themselves for the time being. They have 30 days. Perhaps if we all show them a little attention and pay them compliments, they'll keep blogging.
If you're worrying about the chances of a an avian flu epidemic this winter, I'm afraid you're worrying about the wrong thing.
'Virtually untreatable' Tuberculosis could potentially kill a lot more people, a lot more slowly and horrifically. Hospitals don't have the drugs, beds, staff or resources to treat this disease if it were to become widespread, and it is highly contagious.
Thank you once again for shutting down my electricity last night at about 10:30 PM. I was really looking forward to going to bed at a decent hour and getting a good night's sleep, and without power - there was no good reason to stay up late watching TV or surfing.
Thanks also for sending such a LARGE repair truck so quickly to the back alleyway. With the windows open to get some cool air in the bedroom, since the ceiling fan and AC were out, it was lovely to hear the roar of the generators and all the workmen yelling. Oh, and the LIGHTS! The lights were the best part! Up on huge poles like a mother ship beaming death rays into my bedroom window as I tried to get some sleep at midnight.
But truly, the thing I have to thank you for the most is the constant beeping of the truck, which sounded like it was backing up and down the alley all night. It was parked. Why must it beep so?
Mostly, thank you for finally turning my electricity back on at 5:30 AM this morning, which is when my alarm was set to go off had there actually been power, I was afraid I might oversleep otherwise.
No matter - I WAS ALREADY UP!!!!
I love coming to work on less than 3 hours sleep. Love it, I tell you.
You don't spit into the wind, and you don't tug on Superman's cape...
Like a lot of adults, I thought Steve Irwin was a larger than life, over the top, embarrassing sort of guy. To grownups that is.
Kids LOVED him. He related to them, spoke to them, got them excited and connected with them in a way few grownups can.
In reading all the tributes, comments and news stories today, the ones that absolutely broke my heart, were the parents who said that telling their child that Steve Irwin had died, was the hardest thing they'd ever had to do.
So many kids are lucky to avoid the reality of death for a few brief years (tragically, many more are not), and yet, when a hero, especially an adult that they look up to, and who makes them feel safe and happy dies suddenly....there are very few lessons in life harder than that to learn, or even more sadly, to teach.
So, to all the parents that had to deliver some very sad news today - my thoughts go out to your and your children.
The wolves were produced in Quanzhou, China, from January to June of 2006. The commissioned local workshop in Cai’s hometown specializes in manufacturing remarkable, life-sized replicas of animals. First, small clay models were created as movement studies, out of which Cai subsequently developed Head On’s artist editions of cast resin wolves. However, the realistic and lifelike 99 wolves that grew out of these models and drawings possess no literal remnants of wolves: they are fabricated from painted sheepskins and stuffed with hay and metal wires, with plastic lending contour to their faces and marbles for eyes.
I had the extreme pleasure of spending the better part of the day today up close and personal with this character. And what a character he is. An absolute NUT. One of the funniest guys I've ever met, as well as being extremely down to earth, gracious, and outgoing. He took the time to talk to whoever stopped by, rode in the race, chatted with the kids on hand in their wheelchairs, and stood patiently for photos and autographs. His official website can be found here. To get a taste for the craziness I endured today, watch the commercial....
With his over the top antics as MC and auctioneer at the charity event I hosted today at Oregon Ridge Park, we raised nearly $200,000 for our cause - our first event!
Which is precisley what I did last night at the Blogger Happy Hour. Rather than list all the new people I met last night here in a post, I simply updated my blogroll with you all (and a few more that I've been meaning to add for a while). Welcome!
And although a lot of really great people have stopped blogging, I will keep them on my aggregator in the fervent hope that they may one day post again. But for now, I cleaned up the blogroll for folks who haven't blogged in ages, stopped blogging, or blog so infrequently, it's hard to stay current with them.
Gone, but cerainly not forgotten.
To the new generation of Baltimore bloggers - it was great to meet so many of you last night, and here's hoping even more come to the Octovember Happy Hour hosted by Snay, and where-have-you-been-lately? Jennetic.
After that, I think it's time we old folks passed the torch and let some of the newbies host a Holiday Happy Hour!