Sunday, April 26, 2009

Memories of 4th of July Fireworks Part One

Part One, a memory of Willie Nelson and a rural south Texas ranch in 1976 (keep your minds clean) to Part Two, a memory of extravagance and opulence in 1996 at the Villa D' Este on Lake Como in Italy. Yo yo dog. That is some difference. I have a memory chest that has things in it from my childhood up thru yesterday. I was looking for something for my husband and came across a ticket from the 1976 Willie Nelson "picnic" at Sterling Ranch in Gonzales, Texas. Gonzales is the birthplace of the Texas freedom movement from Mexico. Willie began these "picnics" in 1973. It was supposed to be a way to get a bunch of people together, drink a little beer, smoke a little pot and listen to great country music. That's the way it started out anyway. In the beginning they were 3 day-ers and so was the 1976 shindig. Because the good people of Gonzales really didn't want 100,000 drunk hippies and rednecks tearing up their town, they fought the permits for the picnic tooth and nail. They finally gave in and said, OK, one day only. Willie says 3 days. So, three it was. Since approval was given so close to the holiday and it was the country's bi-centennial year, most of the port-o-potties had already been rented. This was a huge problem. Read more...

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A Room Without a Book Is Like a Body Without a Soul: The Love of Books

Some philosopher named Cicero said something to that affect. I am a true believer in reading. To learn, to stretch the imagination, to boldly go where no man has gone before (oops, that's Star Trek). So, I am going to be so bold as to suggest to you some writers that you have not heard of, may have heard of and not yet tried or also love as an author, as I do.

So, here goes:

Mark Bowden: I got hooked on his writing after I read Black Hawk Down. I then read Killing Pabloabout the US's involvement in trying to track and kill the infamous drug dealer, Pablo Escobar. It is a fascinating read, very much a true life thriller. Then, to learn more about our hostilities with Iran, I read Guests of the Ayatollah about the hostages taken during the Carter administration. Yep, there's old Ahmadinejad right in the middle of the fracas. Read more...

Sunday, April 5, 2009

We'll Always Have Paris: A Visit to Paris Staying in a Two* Hotel

I first visited Paris in 1978 as a chaperon to 8 high school kids on a "if it's Tuesday it must be Belgium" type of trip. What do I remember about that trip after all these years? One evening I saw a priest peeing in the street and that same night, a couple in an apartment across the street from our 2 star hotel, was making love with the window wide open and with the lights on. The four boys in my group were the ones who saw them first and came running down to my room to make sure I saw what was going on. Trying to get them to stop watching was like trying to keep a male lion away from a female lion in heat. Ah the French, so uninhibited. Over the years, I've had the good fortune to have returned to Paris a number of times. The one I want to tell you about is more of a travelogue story rather than a "oh my God, you won't believe what happened" kind of story. Our daughter had just spent 3 months studying Spanish at the University of Seville  (to say "studying" may be stretching it. I think studying partying was more like it). Since my husband and I hadn't been to Europe in a couple of years, we decided we would meet her in Paris and then she could fly home with us. Well, the best laid plans...We had chosen the weekend of the French Open and there were few hotels available. We had two choices, either the Ritz Carlton at $800 a night or the 2 star Hotel Des Deux Avenues  at $120 a night. Read more...