Monday, December 23, 2013

Review: Gran Melia Golf Resort, Rio Grande, Puerto Rico

My blog has moved to  If you've enjoyed this blog, please check my new site out for other interesting comments on culture, book reviews, and music.

It has been years since I've been to Puerto Rico.  And then it was always for a night or two before embarking on a cruise.  My brother in law and sister in law go there all of the time for the shows and to gamble.  We're not into that but we are into golf.  And Puerto Rico has some very nice golf courses.  The weather outside has been frightful so we decided to take a little trip to San Juan to play golf.  After doing some research, I came upon the Gran Melia Golf Resort.  Since we're talking off season there, the prices were astonishingly good.  We got a junior suite, king bed, ocean view for $199.00 plus taxes.  Taxes ended up being $158.00.  This included a cocktail greeting, private check in, full breakfast buffet daily and a wine/champagne/appetizer party every evening.  You also have free use of the internet as well as the use of a private pool area with great Bali cabanas.  There is also butler service.  All of this is called their Red Level Service.  It is well worth paying a few extra bucks to get this because the buffet breakfast alone is $22 per person.  Read more...

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Book Review: Wonder by R. J. Palacio

I always read the Friday and Saturday Wall Street Journal editions because they include numerous cultural opinion pieces as well as travel advice and recipes from renowned chefs.  In this one edition there was a two page article on See Grown-ups Read.  It concerned the new phenomenon of adults reading books targeted to pre-teens and teens i.e. The Twilight series as well as Hunger Games.  One of the books mentioned was Wonder which was published in Feb. of 2012.  So I decided to “satisfy my curiosity” by reading the book.  It was meant to be read by 8-12 year olds.  No matter.  This book is so well written it can give an adult leaky eyes.  The novel is centered around 10 year old August Pullman, an ordinary boy, according to August (Auggie).  He plays X-box, rides a bike, eats ice cream and has a wonderfully loving family.  The thing is Auggie is not an ordinary boy.  Auggie has a horrible facial disfigurement and has undergone 27 reconstructive surgeries.  He tells us that, “I won’t describe what I look like.  Whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably worse.”  The author does tell us about Auggie’s craniofacial abnormalities via his sister, Via, and his other schoolmates.  He has “a mushed up face”, he “eats like a tortoise”, and he has cheeks “that looked punched in”. Read more...

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Holiday Travel...Does Your Inner Scrooge Emerge?

I remember a while back I heard Bill Cosby telling a story about a child on an intercontinental flight he was on.  I believe he called him Jeffrey and Jeffrey was 5 or so.  Jeffrey and his mom were seated behind Bill in first class.  On the 6 hour plus flight Jeffrey banged on the back of Bill's seat.  He'd run up and down the aisles.  He'd cry.  He'd scream.  His mother had no control over Jeffrey at all.  As the plane's gangway was hooking up to the plane, Bill looked at the mother and said, "Jeffrey should really be a model."  The mother beamed.  Really? she inquires...Yes, Bill says.  He should be a poster boy for birth control...Read more...

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Books for Gifts For Your Reader Family/Friends

Lots of great books came out this year.  I've already written a blog on my favorite, And the Mountains Echoed by Khalid Hosseini.  Second would be Me Before You by Jojo Moyes (review below).   Here are a few that I think you would enjoy reading or giving as a gift.  I've marked the
one's I've read with an *.  So, here we go...


Furious Cool, Richard Pryor and the World That Made Him by David and Joe Henry- If you like Richard Pryor and want to know what made the guy tick, then this book will enlighten you.  I've seen Pryor live in concert and have also wondered what warped that mind.. This book gives you great insight into what did.* Furious Cool by David Henry  Read more...

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Tanzania: Useful Information for Your Trip

Just a few final thoughts, ruminations and odd ball stuff...

My Kenya Air flight was delayed out of Joburg (for those of us in the know, it's called Joburg) by an hour and 45 minutes.  The flight from Joburg to Nairobi is about 4 hours.  My connection was going to be very tight.  I was impressed with Kenya Air.  We were on a new 737.  What surprised me was that they offered unlimited free alcohol in coach. And this was on a 10am flight.  As we were taking off one man kept calling out to several other men the kinds of planes he was seeing as well as their tail numbers.  One guy was furiously writing them down.  One guy even had a spread sheet on his computer with all of this plane info.  When we landed I just had to ask "what are you guys doing?"  They were a group of airplane enthusiasts that travel the world tracking planes.  Yep.  I guess that's one way to keep the hubby out of the house.  When we landed in Nairobi, I had 15 minutes to catch my flight to Kilimanjaro.  In all of the years that I have been flying, I have never had this happen.  Kenya Air had a bus waiting to take the transiting passengers directly to their airplane!  I soon found out why.  All of the people that were transiting were on the same flight!  They wouldn't have any passengers on that plane if they hadn't bussed us in. Read more...

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Where Should I go on My First Safari?

Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club
Mt. Kenya Safari Club
Migration Camp, Serengeti, Tanzania
I think that most people that want to go to Africa do so for a few specific reasons.  Either they watch a great deal of the National Geographic channel and want to see things in the "raw" or they want to go for charitable reasons. Or perhaps they are big animal lovers and wish to contribute to the cause or are the antithesis of that and want to go big game hunting.  For me, it has always been wanting to see nature "as is" as well as helping the cause.  And what I mean by that is that today many of the monies that you spend on the safari itself goes to aid animal conservation and/ or the local villages.  For three of our safaris as well as our trip to Egypt, my husband and I have used African Travel Inc.,  (800) 421-8907.  They have consistently been extremely knowledgeable, offer great customer service, and if something goes bump in the night (well let's hope it really is nothing that goes bump in the night), they have quickly resolved the situation.  So, here's my safari history. Read more...

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Traveling Tanzania and the Maasai

When I told my sister that we would see Maasai, I thought she was going to cry.  She really wanted to see them.  She asked, do you think we can trade with them?  I remember when I went to a Maasai village in 1983 in Kenya, the inhabitants wanted our film canisters to make ear rings.  The village was not "sanitized" (I'll explain that later).  This village was the real deal.  Cow dung all over, flies every where, and poverty.  I explained to my sister that what she should expect is to pay them money to take their pictures.  And that we did have to do.  The Maasai believe that if their picture is taken, you, as the photographer, have already taken their blood.  Yes, that may be but they've also decided that by charging for pictures, it's a great money maker.  But the modern Maasai have also decided that they are tired of business entities using their name so "they" (that's the real problem.  Who is "they"?) are looking into trademarking the name "Maasai".  There are already  major brands using the name "Maasai" as part of their product lines i.e. Land Rover using the name for accessories for their vehicles, a running shoe carries the name as well as a line from Louie Vuitton.  If the Maasai are successful, it would be the largest cultural brand in the world. I would equate this to the US government allowing Indian reservations to have casinos and sell tax free cigarettes.  A windfall for the Maasai.

Our first camp, Tarangire Treetops,  is a member of the Elewana collection.  Read more...

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Americans Don't Like to Travel

We're at our first lodge in Tanzania, the Tarangire Treetops Lodge.  We are preparing for my sister to have her first ever "sun downer".  An event where you have a butler or guide take you to a lovely spot overlooking a watering hole or vast savanna to watch the beautiful African sun set.  Before your "sun downer",  you are normally asked what would be your drink of choice.  And you are then served this drink/s along with some great snacks.  After the "sun downer" we were to go on a night drive to see what we could see.  It's normally a time you see all of the nocturnal animals scurrying about.  Let's get back to the "sun downer".    Read more...

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Big Game Hunting In Namibia: Thanks for P*ssing Me Off

 I just spent 9 days in Tanzania the purpose of which was a photographic safari.  We wanted to see cheetah, lion, rhino, elephant, leopard and miles and miles of zebra, wildebeest, and water buffalo.  We saw all of this.  The high lights were the sightings of two cheetah and we were lucky enough to see 6 leopard.  My first safari was in Kenya in 1983.  Even then we wanted to see leopard.  We did not.  On my second trip, we did see 2 and on our third, none.  There are anywhere from 400,000-700,000 leopards in Sub Saharan Africa.  The exact number is not known because the leopard is so reclusive therefore difficult to count.   So seeing 6 on one trip is amazing.  We were ecstatic, euphoric, and high fiving.  Fast forward to my return trip from Johannesburg, South Africa.  I'm standing in line waiting to go through the final piece of security.  There is an American couple in front of me.  I started up a chat.  Where are you from, where did you go in Africa, what did you do...and this is where I was dumbfounded, flummoxed for words, and almost beside myself.  So much so, I almost, involuntarily, spit my water on them.  Well, maybe not so involuntarily.  They calmly told me that they had gone to Namibia to hunt.  "And what were you hunting," I queried.?  "Leopard",  they responded.  I asked, "and were you successful?"  "Yes, we were," the husband says.  And added, "my wife killed all kinds of animals."  I said, "really. I didn't realize that hunting leopard was that easily available."  The wife chirps in, "Oh they're a menace to the farmers."  I then realized that I was among people who liked to kill animals for the pure pleasure of killing.    I don't care if they are from my home state.  Killing animals for the sheer thrill of it makes me want to knock them upside the head.  So I said to them, "do you mind if we don't discuss this any further?"  The husband says, "no, I understand."  The wife huffs off and proceeds to tell her husband, rather loudly,  that apparently "there are more of THEM than she thinks."  I guess she means those of us that don't believe in killing an animal for the thrill of it.  I hope you're happy back in your cozy house telling all of your friends about how you got the leopard in your sights and there he is, stuffed, for all to see.  You're standing by it proudly for all to take your picture.  This encounter clouded my entire trip home.  This got me to thinking about all of the people that I know that hunt.  One friend went on a deer hunting trip to Montana and came back empty handed.  Why?  Not because there wasn't anything to shoot.  It was because what they kill, they eat.  And the deer they saw would not amount to a plate full.  So, they killed nothing.  Some people detest hunting, period.  But the meat, chicken, fish we get in the store was once alive.  And they died somehow.  I've seen the "somehow" and trust me, you don't want to see that.      Read more...

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Hobby, Stuff, Cr*p, Possessions or Memories

My blog has moved to  If you've enjoyed this blog, please check my new site out for other interesting comments on culture, book reviews, and music.

I have a good friend who likes to collect jewelry, big, honking piles of diamonds piled on diamonds. We're talking tens of thousands of dollars worth. When seeing her mother's latest purchase, the daughter of said friend said, "well, that's going into the estate sale."  Why does my friend do this?  I think it has to do with her poor background and now that she can afford it, well, it's her hobby, her stuff, her possessions and according to her daughter,  headed for the estate sale.  Not everyone has a parent that can afford piles of diamonds nor a parent that collects Picasso's. But this is what crosses my mind when I see the match book collection, the Gone with the Wind collection, the velvet Elvis collection... who will we leave this stuff to and if we do, will they want it? All that care you took to put together this collection and all your progeny thinks is that it is stuff, cr*p and headed for the garage sale.  Read more...

Still Foolin' 'Em: Where I've Been, Where I'm Going, and Where the Hell Are My Keys?

Monday, September 30, 2013

Book Review on Stephen King's New Book: Doctor Sleep

My blog has moved to  If you've enjoyed this blog, please check my new site out for other interesting comments on culture, book reviews, and music.

I don't think anyone writes "gross" as well as Stephen King.  He just has this ability to get you to visualize a scene.  I'll get to the scene in a moment.  In Doctor Sleep,  he brings back the character of Danny Torrence, the little boy in The Shining.  In interviews King says that when fans ask about the fate of specific characters (the one's that actually live through the horror), he's been more interested in the those that question the fate of Danny.  I think most people who have seen the movie remember the cute little boy on a tricycle with a bowl haircut racing down the empty corridors of The Overlook Hotel.  Later to run from a mad "white knuckle alcoholic" who was his father.  Read more...

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Book Review of Thomas Keneally's The Daughters of Mars

Because I "enjoyed" reading Schindler's List, that is if you can say you "enjoyed" reading it (well at least I didn't neck while watching the movie like Seinfeld did), I decided to read Keneally's newest historical novel, The Daughters of Mars.  This is a novel I believe, foremost, to be about sisterhood.  Secondly, it's about the nurses of The Great War, WWI.  And thirdly, it's about WWI.  It's a semi-long book, 517 pages and at times it does ramble, but the majority of the time you are captivated by the lives of the two main characters, the Durance sisters, Naomi and Sally.  They are from "the bush" country of Australia.  Naomi leaves the country farm to be a nurse in Sydney and Sally , also a nurse, stays at home to take care of their mother, who is dying of   cervical cancer.  She saves up a lethal dose of morphine to put her mother out of her misery.  One day her sister Naomi comes to stay, and while Sally is asleep and Naomi is at her mother's bedside, their mother dies.  Sally finds that her stash of morphine has disappeared and believes that Naomi has done the merciful thing, something she's ashamed to say that she wished she had the mental strength to do.  This secret has a toll on their relationship but becomes a catalyst for a bond they never thought they could achieve.  Read more...

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Review of a Bruno Mars Concert by a Woman of a Certain Age

My blog has moved to  If you've enjoyed this blog, please check my new site out for other interesting comments on culture, book reviews, and music.

I wonder if Bruno has any inkling about how much Spanx is in his audience each performance. Now keep this in mind.  Not only women with sagging body parts wear Spanx but so do many of the young women today.  I read an article in my favorite newspaper, The Wall Street Journal, that Spanx actually is causing consternation within the pick up world.  Girl looks great in skin tight dress or skinny jeans, hot guy at bar wants to take her home.  Oops, sorry got to go to the little girl's remove my Spanx!  And those little imperfections just pop out.  What's a girl to do?

But I digress.  I was writing about Bruno Mars.  My sister and I love concerts but actually haven't been to one, at least at a huge arena, in a long time.  Our first big concert together was to see Prince, yes, Prince, in his 1999 and Little Red Corvette days.  Sheila E had the percussion gig. My husband, to this day, can not fathom that my sister and I believe that was the sexiest concert we had ever seen.  He says, "that little twerp"?  Oh yes baby.  That little twerp.  You don't have to be 6 foot 6 to be sexy dear.  So off we go to see another little twerp, well, he's 5' 7", sorry Bruno (one reviewer called him diminutive). Read more...

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Book Review...Manson: The Life and Times of Charles Manson by Jeff Guinn

  "Manson: The Life and Times of Charles Manson" by Jeff Guinn
My blog has moved to  If you've enjoyed this blog, please check my new site out for other interesting comments on culture, book reviews, and music.

Take yourself back, if you were alive at the time, to the 1960's.  What do you remember of it?  For me, living in a small, rural South Texas town, it was about a few of our boys going off to Vietnam, Saturday night dances at the VFW Hall, getting an older person to buy us a six pack of Lone Star or Pearl beer, driving endlessly around town looking for boys from other towns, going swimming in a cow "tank", Saturday morning bible study, basketball games, and giggling about who might have "put out" over the weekend.  Oh, we watched Walter Cronkite's evening news and saw what was happening in Vietnam and the rest of the country.  We were shocked by the assassinations of John and Robert Kennedy as well as Martin Luther King.  But ours was really an insular existence.  At the same time I was living this bucolic life, there existed an alternate universe to ours.  And that alternate universe was the cultural crucible brewing in the state of California.  The reason I bring up my background is that in an interview, the author said he wanted to write about Charlie because, " he wanted to find out how WE grew such a monster."  We? I had no part of it, thank you very much.  Read more...

Thursday, August 8, 2013

One More Thing to Feel Guilty About...

You're not going to believe where this is going.  Ready?  Do you have a guilt complex about...not finishing a book?  This is a big deal in the publishing business.  The publishing industry wants to know more about what people are reading and how they read.  Do they put a book down and then pick it back up or do they just abandon books willy nilly or do people, on the whole, pick up a book and read it in its entirety?  They're getting the majority of their data from e-readers.  Each time you sync your Kindle, Nook or whatever, the provider is able to "see" what you've been doing with a book.  How long does it take you to say, nah, that's enough time spent on this bomb?  25 pages, a 100 pages? Read more...

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Dust Yourself Off. Time Heals All Wounds

I know you've all heard the platitudes...dust yourself off, time heals all wounds; you're gonna wash that man right out of your hair; you're better off without him/her, yada yada yada.  Which brings me to the theme of my blog...There have been two seminal events in my life which lead to an identity crisis.  Both were actually of my own doing but I still went through a difficult time because of the decisions I chose to make.  The first event was when I finally came to the decision to divorce the man I had been married to for 13 years and had known since I was 14.  He was the only man I had ever dated.  He was a musician and my life revolved around his life.  Until I began to change and came to the realization that I wanted a different life for myself.  He wasn't going to change for me.  What's the old saying?  If you can't "change" the people around you, then "change" the people around you. He wanted to go to marriage counseling.  I said OK.  I went in to talk to the counselor and basically said, this marriage is over.   Read more...

Thursday, July 11, 2013

To Pee or not to Pee...That is the Question.

My blog has moved to  If you've enjoyed this blog, please check my new site out for other interesting comments on culture, book reviews, and music.

I think it was over Memorial Day weekend Sirius /XM Radio decided to have a station dedicated to the comedy of  Richard Pryor.  For my international or youthful readers, Richard Pryor was a black comedian popular primarily during the 1970's and early '80's.  Pryor was a man with demons.  He almost killed himself when he caught himself on fire from smoking crack.   He later went on to do a very funny act about that episode. He grew up in a house of prostitution where his grandmother was the madame and his mother a prostitute.  So he was the comedian that told it like it was...raw and vulgarity laden.  But people loved him and the natural way in which he portrayed race, drug use, love, marriage etc.  I did get to see him live in Austin, TX back in the late '70's. I laughed until I almost peed in my pants. He did an hysterical routine on the different ways in which men and women pee.  If you're interested in the monologue, go to You Tube.  It is very, very funny.  So on that Sirius weekend, I ended up hearing this monologue again.  Men like to write their name in the snow when they urinate, he said, (of course he didn't use that word) but women just seem to have a difficult time doing their business in the great out doors.  The lady in the monologue (Richard's voice, of course) says she'll just wait until they get back to the car.  "What?!  You're going to wait and then pee in MY CAR?!" Richard Pryor (1986) (cropped).jpg  Read more...

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Book Review: And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini

My blog has moved to  If you've enjoyed this blog, please check my new site out for other interesting comments on culture, book reviews, and music.

I loved both The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns.  In both of these novels, emotions come charging at you and continue like a thread throughout the narrative.  Sometimes it hits you on top of the head.  Whack!  And the Mountains Echoed starts out this way. But the rest of the novel creeps into the crevices of your mind and ensnares you. Here's how it begins:   A poor Afghan farmer tells his two children, Abdullah and Pari, a story of an evil monster that forces a family to give up one of their children or the monster will kill them all.  The family decides to make it a random choice and the one selected is their favorite.  The father is beyond grief for his son believing, surely, that the monster has eaten his son.  The father makes a pilgrimage to the castle of the monster only to find the son alive and well and thriving.  He decides to leave the son rather than to bring him back to intense poverty.  As the poor Afghan farmer tells this tale to his children, he says, "A finger had to be cut to save the hand." Read more...

Thursday, May 23, 2013

There's a Fungus Amongus...

This is going to gross people out. But I'll gross you out anyway.  While trying to satisfy my curiosity, I came upon this story posted online at  I'm going to tell you a story to set up the article.  If you've ever been on a mass market cruise line, then you'll know that on days at sea varying types of entertainment is set up for the passengers.  One such entertainment is the Newly Wed Game.  The cruise director will usually ask a very newly wed couple to come on stage, then another couple, say, married ten years, then maybe 30 years and then ask for the longest married couple to also come on stage.   Then the cruise director begins to ask them stupid questions.  It was at one of these events where the cruise director asks, "What is the one thing that you didn't know about your spouse when you married him/her and later found out about,  that really grossed you out?"  Ready?  This "bride" said it was when she caught her husband biting his toenails...with his teeth...If he had read the article below, would he have still nipped his pinkies with his teeth?  And now for the article: Read more...

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Dan Brown's Latest: An Italian Travel Guide AKA "Inferno"

My blog has moved to  If you've enjoyed this blog, please check my new site out for other interesting comments on culture, book reviews, and music.

I was so looking forward to this book.  I loved his three other books, Angels and Demons, The Da Vinci Code and The Lost Symbol.  So as soon as it was available for Kindle, I downloaded it and began to read.   Oh gentle readers, I was so disappointed.  As I lay out the structure and plot, you'll get a better idea of why I say I was disappointed but then again, you may say, horse hockey.  Sounds like a fine read to me.  In my humble opinion, this book is 1/2 art history, 1/4 travelogue and 1/4 plot.  Let's start with plot. Robert Langdon, Harvard professor extraordinaire, specialist in iconography or as he calls it, symbology.  Langdon wakes up in a hospital in Florence, purportedly having been shot at, and in an amnesiac state.  Read more...

Sunday, May 5, 2013

If You Are a Shopaholic, Beware This Post!

My blog has moved to  If you've enjoyed this blog, please check my new site out for other interesting comments on culture, book reviews, and music.

I, for one, have become quite the avid online shopper.  And there are plenty of others like me.  I only go to the mall as a last resort.  Most of the clothes that I buy are from stand alone stores (except for one).  But for baby gifts, housewarming gifts, dinner party thank you gifts, birthdays, skin care products etc etc, I buy online.  According to the US Commerce Dept., US ecommerce sales totalled an estimate of $194.3 billion in 2011, up 16.1% from $167.3 billion in 2010.  Now, the US government, being the US government and always looking for new ways to tax its populace, has for years been trying to tax online sales from companies that do not have brick and mortar stores.  It's once again being mulled over in congress.  I look at it this way.  If I go to a store in NY and buy something, are they going to be responsible for charging Georgia sales tax? I don't think so.  But that's not what this blog is about.  It's about the BEST online shopping sites for you to peruse but not abuse.  The Huffington Puffington Post had a list put together of sites they found "stand out from the crowd". I'll give you that list at the end.  But list! Read more...

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Girls, Read This so You Can See Ryan Gosling Shirtless

My blog has moved to  If you've enjoyed this blog, please check my new site out for other interesting comments on culture, book reviews, and music.

OK.  So I got your attention.  The picture is at the bottom of the blog but I put it there because I want you to read this article. It's by Rob Lazebnik, a writer for "The Simpsons".  Just by telling you that should also get your attention.  The theme of the article is: "Why are so many leading men suddenly so buff? So beware the pernicious trickle down effect for the average guy."  I found this article highly amusing because now it's the guys time to feel the pressure to look like Brad Pitt.  How many times, girls, have you heard your man say, "Wow, isn't Charlize Theron a knockout.  She's on my top ten list."  And then they proceed to tell you their entire list. Well, it's payback time!  You go Ryan, Hugh, Brad, Leonardo, Marky Mark, Matthew... Read more...

Friday, April 19, 2013

Nine Things You Probably Didn't Know About Curse Words

My blog has moved to  If you've enjoyed this blog, please check my new site out for other interesting comments on culture, book reviews, and music.

I'm sure there are probably more than 9 things that I don't know about curse words or swearing.  At my age the curse words I normally hear are either aimed at a politician on the TV or following a particularly bad shot on the golf course.  Speaking of swearing and golf, Tiger Woods is frequently fined by the PGA for swearing on TV (at least that's what John Daly says in his autobiography). No segue, just a different fork:   I remember many years ago going to see Richard Prior in concert.  You, mama, now that had some curse words in it.  He was raised in a brothel.  So most of the stories he told  about his life experiences were viewed through the prism of his upbringing.  So one would not expect him to stand up there and be Jerry Seinfeld.  The only "close to" curse word I've heard him say is "damn".  There are actually college courses built around the psychology of swearing and I even took a course on the psychology behind dirty jokes.  The textbook: The Encyclopedia of Dirty Jokes.  Or something along those lines.  Melissa Mohr, a medieval literature expert (we need more of those), has written a book entitled "Holy Sh*t: A Brief History of Swearing.  She was asked by to come up with a number of things people wouldn't know about swear words.  So be ready to razzle dazzle with sparkling repartee at your next cocktail party with your intimate knowledge about swearing:  Read more...

Sunday, April 14, 2013

For a Sick Friend: First Do No Harm

My blog has moved to  If you've enjoyed this blog, please check my new site out for other interesting comments on culture, book reviews, and music.

I saw this article in the April 13 edition of the WSJ.  It's not something I really wanted to ponder on a beautiful spring day, but ponder I did.  The article discusses how we should act and treat our friends or family members who have critical or terminal illnesses.  The reason I'm pondering this is because I am a woman of a certain age.  Meaning that the majority of the people around me are also of a certain age and are now more prone to critical or terminal illnesses (like breast or prostate or colon cancers).  Yuck :((  So, here's a primer by Letty Cottin Pogrebin from her book "How to Be a Friend to a Friend Who's Sick".  Conversing with the ill can be awkward, but keeping a few simple commandments makes a huge difference: A young doctor nurse visiting an elderly sick woman... Read more...

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Back to The 80's: Would you Zap Back if You Could?

My blog has moved to  If you've enjoyed this blog, please check my new site out for other interesting comments on culture, book reviews, and music.

Ahhh, the 80's.  It was the decade, as far as I'm concerned, that brought about the biggest changes in my life.  I divorced a man I had been married to for 13 years and had known since I was 14.  I then went through the "I'm divorced and have some fun stage".  And then I married the love of my life and have been happily married for 25 years.  During the 80's I also changed careers.  I had been teaching high school advanced placement English and speech and debate.  I decided I couldn't make any money at that so I went into a career that also paid very little but gave me the opportunity to do what I liked to do best and that was to travel.  For me, my working career was epitomized by my tenure as a Sales Manager at Carnival Cruise Lines. Of course going through a divorce and changing careers can be tumultuous. But the 80's brought more positives than negatives, I think.  I found this great article in USA Today (does anybody buy that newspaper anymore except for air travelers?) about the 1980's  and much of the info below is gleaned from that article: Read more...

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Chopped and Screwed

My blog has moved to  If you've enjoyed this blog, please check my new site out for other interesting comments on culture, book reviews, and music.

Is this a blog on slasher erotica?  Sorry to disappoint but nyet.  Ok then.  A blog on the eroticism of food and sex i.e. the movie Tom Jones or Last Tango in Paris (butter anyone?) or George Costanza with 2 of his trifecta,  food and sex and to complete the trifecta, listening to a Yankees game while doing the other two.  Only on Seinfeld.  No my loyal readers.  It is none of the above.  I am really satisfying my curiosity with this one.  It all started with Rush Limbaugh.  Yes, yes, I know.  That arrogant ba*tard.  I find him to be a provocateur.  On Fridays, which he calls open line Friday, a caller can ask him about anything.  A caller asked him if he thought President Obama had any "chopped and screwed" music on his iPod.  Rush, normally always culturally up to speed ;)), said he didn't know what it was.  Well, he then went on about a half hour or so trying to find out what "chopped and screwed" was. He also got into the Beyonce/ Keisha feud.  Trust me folks.  It was a surreal listening adventure.  Hopefully I've gotten you so intellectually stimulated you're ready to satisfy your curiosity.   Here's what "chopped and screwed" is along with the must accompanying drink, the "Purple Drank". Read more...

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Memories of the 4th of July Italian Style

My blog has moved to  If you've enjoyed this blog, please check my new site out for other interesting comments on culture, book reviews, and music.

If you go back in my blog posts, you'll see a post on My Memories of the 4th of July, Part One.  It's spending the weekend of July 4th, 1976 at a 3 day Willie Nelson concert.  Now flash forward to July 1996.  My husband (a different one at this point and still happily married) and I decided to  travel to Italy's lake country and see what we could see.  We found some very interesting and unusual sites and activities.  We stayed at the venerable Villa d' Este on Lake Como (George Clooney sightings?  No.).  The Villa is now a UNESCO World Heritage site.  Work on the Villa and its grounds started in 1550 but wasn't completed until 1886.  Our room was in the Princess Wing in a corner room that looked on to the Villa as well as having a full view of Lake Como. We ended up being lucky to have such a good location. Read more...

Book Review: The Dinner by Herman Koch

My blog has moved to  If you've enjoyed this blog, please check my new site out for other interesting comments on culture, book reviews, and music.

When we meet a person for the first time, we are like new born babies.  We know nothing of that person's world.  Where did they grow up, go to school, work, marriage, kids, we know none of this.  When that person tells us things, we have to take their word that they are speaking the truth.  As we get to know that person, we begin to realize that that person is either straight forward and has been telling us the truth or is a b*ll sh*t artist out to take advantage of us or to somehow raise their self worth in our eyes.  I dated a guy once, he was from NYC, who told me that on the weekends he was a ski instructor.  That's easy to believe.  But then he told me (you might remember this, that on the Wide World of Sports, when they were showing downhill skiing,they used to show a guy having a horrible crash) that guy was him.  Now that was easy to verify.  Not him.  Too bad.  He was a good looking guy and fun but unreliable when telling me anything.  And that's what we have in Herman Koch's new book The Dinner.  A totally unreliable narrator. The Dinner is a big hit in Europe having sold over 1 million copies and now has made its debut here in the states. Following on the heels of Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, which also has very unreliable narrators, The Dinner should do very well. The Dinner  read more...

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Travel Faux Pas: White Tennis Shoes Oh My!

My blog has moved to  If you've enjoyed this blog, please check my new site out for other interesting comments on culture, book reviews, and music.

I found this article on travel faux pas on the USA Today site and it comes from  It got me to thinking about all of my travels and which denizens of which countries are the worst travel dressers.  I know the good people of the good old US of A have to rank in the top 5 if not the top two.  Who competes with us on that level, for diplomatic detente, I shall remain speechless.  But if you've traveled all over the world, it's not difficult to make the deduction.  I remember going on a mother daughter trip to Amsterdam in 2002.  I suggested to my daughter that we wear clothing with no logos, sandals not sneakers, no baseball nor golf nor gimme caps and capris not shorts.  The world was still topsy turvey  at that point and I didn't want our clothing to scream AMERICANS!  I'm blond (well, you know what I mean) and blue eyed and my daughter has dark brown hair and blue eyes.  We fit right in with the wonderful people of Holland.  We would sit at a side walk cafe reading and having a coffee and tourists would come up to us to ask directions.  Cool.  I agree with this article's author. She gives not only clothing advice but also how the clothing you wear can cause you to be the victim of a crime.   Read more...

Monday, February 18, 2013

Time Time Time is on My Side, Yes it is....

My blog has moved to  If you've enjoyed this blog, please check my new site out for other interesting comments on culture, book reviews, and music.

No it's not!  Well, I guess it depends on when you make the statement.  If you're 25, yes, time can be on your side unless you get drunk and slam into a tree.  If you ask someone of the respectable age of 65 if time is on their side, they'd probably say, not as much as before.  Why does time seem to go by so quickly when you're older?  I've read a few articles about this and people like Stephen Hawkings and other big thinkers say it's a mathematical equation.  Lost me there.  Or this...let's say the average life expectancy is 100.  You're now 20, so, you then have 80% of your life left to live.  Or take the opposite, you're now 80 therefore you have only 20% of your life to live. Well, that's depressing.  That doesn't make that much sense to me because it doesn't answer the feeling that time is going by rapidly.  Here's an answer I like.  It's from Psychology Today written by Ronald Riggio, Ph.D.  He says, "that the best answer for this phenomenon is that the early years are full of first time events, your first date, the birth of your first child, that first big vacation, etc.  First occasions are novel events and we tend to make more detailed and lasting memories of those first times.  When we repeat the event, year after year, it is less likely to make a unique or lasting impression... So here is the key to slowing down the pace of life (at least psychologically): As much as possible, take advantage of new and unique experiences.  When we go to the same places and do the same things, we don't make distinct memories and time seems to fly by...focus on positive (rather than negative) past memories, trying to live more in the present, and holding a positive perception of the future-envisioning a future full of hope and optimism.  IN OTHER WORDS...use your time wisely!  Read more...

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Small Sacrifices for Big Loooooovvvvvvve

My blog has moved to  If you've enjoyed this blog, please check my new site out for other interesting comments on culture, book reviews, and music.

For my American audience (but the post will also intrigue my international readers), this blog reminds me of one of my favorite episodes of the Ray Romano hit show, Everybody Loves Raymond. Ray and Deborah go on a vacation.  When they return, Ray leaves the suitcase at the base of the stairs.  He clearly anticipates that Deborah, his wife, when cleaning, will take it upstairs.  She, on the other hand, looks at it as Ray being lazy.  After a few days of them both looking at it (passive aggressively) and daring the other to take it up, Ray finds the biggest, stinkiest piece of blue cheese he can find and stuffs it in the suitcase thinking Deborah will smell it and take the case upstairs.  Instead she takes out the cheese and leaves the case as is.  They end up having Marie (the worst mother in law in TV history) tell them a story about the big spoon and fork (long story) and Ray and Deborah then fight over who will take the suitcase upstairs.  Whew!  But there is a moral to this story oh gentle readers. Let's see if this segue works:  It's this.  If you put your mate's needs first, it will not only make you happier but it will also make your mate happier. Unhappy young couple having an argument. Isolated on white. Stock Photo - 14025650Read more...

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The Best Mother's Day Gifts Ever; Courtesy of Saturday Night Live

If you do a search on my blog, you'll see that I posted a blog entitled Fifty Shades of Grey and Trickle Down Economics.  Well, here's another example of that.  It seems the phenom has not quieted down over those books.  They're now out in special editions and hardback sets.  No news yet on who might play the characters but there's speculation all over the web.   So you know Saturday Night Live had to flick a whip at the craziness and for Mother's Day at that...  Enjoy: