Saturday, January 31, 2009

Walt Disney Concert Hall

Jury Duty Excursion!

Are you familiar with the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, California? It's the new home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Los Angeles Master Chorale, and is designed to be one of the most acoustically sophisticated concert halls in the world. In 1987, the late Lillian Disney made an initial gift of $50 million to build what she considered a world-class performance venue as a gift to the people of Los Angeles and a tribute to Walt Disney's devotion to the arts. Since then, other gifts and accumulated interest bring the Disney family's total contribution to over $100 million. The County of Los Angeles agreed to provide the land and significant additional funding to finance Walt Disney Concert Hall's seven-level subterranean parking garage.

Just the other day I decided to take a little excursion from my jury duty assignment and see a bit of downtown Los Angeles. It was a beautiful day. Nearly 80 degrees at the peak. It was hard to believe that we were enjoying such warm weather in January while much of the United States was shivering under frigid temperatures.

I learned that the Disney Concert Hall offered tours of the facility throughout the day and decided to stop in after we were released from court. It was very convenient considering the elaborate parking structure is currently being used for juror parking. On my way to my vehicle, I stopped by the reception desk and was pleasantly surprised to learn that two types of tours were offered throughout the day and both were free. Did I mention it was FREE! Nothing is free anymore. (When was the last time you got something free?) You have the option of taking a self-guided audio tour or taking a guided group tour. The guided tours are scheduled sporadically throughout the day and the next one wasn't leaving for about an hour so I opted for the self-guided tour. I was also told by the receptionist that the information was pretty much the same. In retrospect, I was glad I took the self tour. It gave me the flexibility to spend more time at areas that I liked without the pressure of keeping up with or staying with the group. I found the audio content to be very informative and the device was easy to use and simple to carry. The device is very similar in size to a large cell phone. As you proceed on your self-paced tour, you type in numbers corresponding to each location. The programming then plays the information for the associated location.

So armed with my camera, off I went on this tour. This actually was not my first time in the facility. I attended a performance when the Hall was first opened. I enjoyed the performance and thought the acoustics and visuals were great but I was disappointed with my seating. We were seated directly behind the orchestra and couldn't see their faces. Just the backs of their heads. I couldn't help but think it would have been better if I could see their facial expressions. This leads me to my only disappointment of the tour. They do not allow you to tour the auditorium. They claim it's because of a demanding rehearsal and performance schedule so for the privilege of seeing the auditorium in person, I guess you'll have to pay.

Anyway, I'm showing a few photos of my tour. I'll start off with a photo of the auditorium that I acquired online (follow the link below it) followed by an original sketch for the venue by the architect Frank Owen Gehry. Incidentally, Gehry is notable not only for his design of the Disney Concert Hall but also for the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain.

Original Sketch by Frank Gehry

If you look very carefully you can see a white area against the hills in the middle of the photo- That's the Hollywood sign.

Perhaps the biggest surprise to me was learning that there was a Community Park - State Of California hidden in this masterpiece. This is a great place to sneak away (from jury duty) and have lunch. There's a cafe on the first floor with a great salad bar so you could buy a meal there or bring something with you. They also sell wine and beer if you're inclined. It was so peaceful walking through the garden.

There was also a fountain, with a unique story, located in the garden. I'll leave that for you to discover on your own.

This is the W.M. Keck Foundation Children's Amphitheatre. A great place to catch an outdoor performance. Perfect for kids!

A futuristic aerodynamic look set against a clear blue sky. What a perfect day! I loved It!

Colorful Stair Case - It Reminds me of Beauty and the Beast for some reason!

A snap from the movie Beauty and the Beast

Views of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion

The Library Of Congress Ira Gershwin Gallery Currently featuring an Alvin Ailey display

The entrance to BP Hall

A view of the front lobby from above

Just in case you want something to listen to, Here's Gershwin- Rhapsody in Blue - from the movie Fantasia 2000:

Rhapsody in Blue - George Gershwin

Friday, January 30, 2009

Octuplets -With Six You Get Eggroll

What exactly do you get when you have Eight?

Several years ago I was talking with a friend. He and his wife had two beautiful daughters. One was three years old and the other was just over a year old. I asked if they were planning to have more kids and he said yes - they were going to try one more time for a boy. He said, if they had a boy, great! If not, they would stop with three girls. I wished them luck. About a year later, I found out they had given birth. Guess what they had.

A boy????

Another girl?????

How about TRIPLETS!

Yes, two boys and a girl. That brought the total to 5 kids under the age of 4 years old. They were instantly outgunned and overloaded. A different friend commented: "With one parent and one child or two parents and two or less children, you can play man-to-man defense. Anything other than that, you have to switch to zone coverage and just pray for the best!"

So advance to January 26, 2009 where in Bellflower, California, a single mother of 6 just gave birth to Octuplets. What kind of defense can she play? Can she even be in the game at all? While this has proven to be a remarkable medical procedure, many -including me- are stymied at the logistics of this entire process and the requirements to raise 14 children. For starters, the infants' delivery was performed by a team of 46 doctors, nurses and surgical assistants stationed in four delivery rooms at Kaiser Permanente Bellflower Medical Center in Bellflower, California. Costs for the average delivery of a full-term pregnancy can range from $9,000 to $25,000, depending on whether the baby is delivered by Cesarean section or vaginally. So eight times $25,000 shoots the number up to $200,000. You can guess that the price tag for this delivery far exceeded that number based on the special requirements and the risk conditions associated with a multiple birth. Further, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's new Cost of Raising a Child Calculator, a middle-class family living in the western United States can expect to spend at least $9,171 on a year's worth of housing, food, transportation, clothing, health, education and other expenses for a single child under the age of 1. Quick math yields about $73,000 annually. I could continue with this line of thinking to include diapers, breast milk, and college but you get the picture right? It's an expensive prospect and believe me, it will "Take a Village" to raise these children. I understand many items have already been donated to help out including toys, a lifetime supply of diapers, and breast milk - (imagine that).

Let's hope with 14 kids they get a little more than just Egg roll!

As you might expect, the blog world is on fire with all sorts of posts about this event. Surely for it's uniqueness alone. This is only the second time that Octuplets have been born, and all eight have survived, in the United States. There is, however, an additional aura of curiosity associated with this event. Bloggers, experts, journalists, and everyday people are wondering how this all happened. Were there fertility drugs involved? Who is the mother? Where and who is the father? Why would a single mother of six want more children anyway? Perhaps these and the many other questions will be answered in the near future.

For now, here's a report from the doctors.

Babies A through G are here.....

Wait a second! Here comes H! I wonder what they'll name the kids!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

14 Angry People!

What do you get when you start with a group of about 200 people, siphon off about 35, ask them a bunch of questions, and then narrow that group to 14?

Answer: A jury of 12 with 2 alternates.

Yes, it's that time again for me to do my civic duty. I've been called for jury duty and actually selected to be on a jury. Now truthfully, I've been down this road many times before but I've managed to foil the selection process. In fact, in the approximately 6 prior times I've had jury duty, I've never even sat in the box and been asked a question. No, I didn't game the system by pleading hardships or exaggerating my inability to be fair and objective. It's just a numbers thing. It's been a weird, random, ironic, selection process that's never produced my name or number. Sorta like the one that results in me never hitting the Lottery..... I suppose I'd better go out and get a ticket now that the stars have aligned in my favor.

Anyway, I've always really enjoyed the "Jury Duty" process. The whole idea of bringing together a group of random individuals from very diverse walks of life and exposing them to information and asking them to collectively reach a conclusion has always fascinated me. I think this is a wonderful social experiment that clearly provides many blogging opportunities. Especially in a city like Los Angeles, where the people and issues can be quite diverse and complicated. While this process provides a fabulous opportunity for me to study new and random people first hand (one of my hobbies) and to observe the execution of our legal system personally, it makes no concessions for time. In other words, I've been plucked out of my normal life routine and thrown into a mandatory setting for at least a two week period which doesn't allow me time to accomplish the things I normally would do Monday through Friday 9-5. You get my drift? I guess it's like being locked in a closet for 7 hours out of the day and then being released and someone saying. Okay, now go do all the stuff you normally would have done while you were locked in the closet plus what you have to do now. Instant time compression! I'm not complaining per se, I'm just acknowledging that I've got to be quite creative and play catch up to keep my work load managed. When am I going to find time to blog and power surf the web for heaven's sake???

Oh well, enough of my feeble ranting......

I decided to smash some lemons and make martinis! (That's one of my new sayings) I'm having a blast in jury duty and making the best of it. I've met some new and interesting people and I've been hanging out and learning more about downtown Los Angeles. I'll try to blog a bit about some of the sites in downtown L.A. real soon.

And by the way, this legal stuff can be interesting. I'm observing quite a chess match in my trial. As soon as I'm able to discuss more of the details I will.

For now, let me ask you this: Have you seen the movie 12 Angry men?

(per wikipedia)12 Angry Men is a 1957 American film adapted from the Reginald Rose play, Twelve Angry Men. Directed by first-time director Sidney Lumet, the film tells the story of a jury member who tries to persuade the other eleven members to acquit the suspect on trial on the basis of reasonable doubt. The film is notable for its almost exclusive use of one set: with the exception of three minutes of screen-time split between the beginning and the end on the steps of the court building and two short scenes in an adjoining washroom, the entire movie takes place in the jury room.

There have been two versions that I'm aware of. The 1957 version starring Henry Fonda ,

Lee J. Cobb, E.G. Marshall, and Jack Klugman

12 Angry Men

And the 1997 version starring Courtney B. Vance, Ossie Davis, George C. Scott, Armin Mueller-Stahl, Dorian Harewood

12 Angry Men

Each of these productions was worth the time and energy. As soon as my trial is over, I'll carve out a few hours to watch at least one of these again and draw comparisons to my experiences. I've also checked my collection of DVD's to make sure my Perry Mason-Season One was still intact. Yep It's good. My Grandmother loved this series. I'll see if I can get through a few episodes featuring Mason, Burger, Paul Drake, and Della Street as well.

I can't wait. Here's a bit of a preview....

Monday, January 26, 2009

Music Monday - Bon Jovi

(You Want To) Make a Memory

John Francis Bongiovi, Jr. (born March 2, 1962), better known as Jon Bon Jovi, is an American musician, songwriter and actor. As lead singer and founder of the rock band Bon Jovi, he has sold over 120 million albums worldwide with his band and 10 million albums as a solo artist. He is also the owner of an Arena Football League team, the Philadelphia Soul. That alone makes him worthy of this Music Monday Post! Rock on Bon Jovi!

Come join Music Monday and share your songs with us. One simple rule, leave ONLY the actual post link here. You can grab this code at LJL Please note these links are STRICTLY for Music Monday participants only. All others will be deleted without prejudice.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

The video we didn't see or hear!

It's been a big week here in the United States.

It's been difficult to turn on any news station and see or hear anything but Inauguration news. And when they weren't talking about the Inauguration, they were discussing the changes in the the administration. With the exception of Rush Limbaugh, and his comment "I hope Obama fails", it seems to me that most people are optimistic and hopeful for the success of the new Obama administration. I see so many people energized and refreshed by the prospect of better days ahead. Even many of those who didn't vote for Obama are expressing a bit of relief that the Bush era has ended and some requisite steps are being taken to slow the economic decline.

Many were outraged at Rush Limbaugh's statement. Personally, I'll excuse Rush Limbaugh for his comment. In my humble opinion, his comment isn't anti-American. It's not treasonous. It's simply more of Rush's hypocritical campaign to become universally recognized as the ultimate Village Idiot! Honestly, does he have any credibility left?

One thing is for sure, we know Rush is fighting the battle for untruth, injustice, and the conservative way of life.... Period! To this end Rush, I wish you all of the best! Continue to squash liberalism at the expense of everything else, including your self- respect. I see you're well on your way in your quest. I'm sure it's too much for us to ask you to take a break from your "Conservatives vs Liberals" crusade and do something that's right for the United States of America.

Or even for yourself for that matter. So we'll just wait for you as you orchestrate your smear campaign against the new administration. I'm certain you'll find something to exaggerate in the very near future.

Just in case you need some help...... Here's a lead:

I'll remind you about the video we didn't see or hear during the Obama campaign. The song is by Boy George. Rush, I know you're a big fan. You've always dug his flamboyant style haven't you? Is it true you keep a pin-up poster of Boy George in your locker at work? Maybe you can make this the theme song for your radio show.

Boy George (born George O'Dowd)

I know It's a bit sad for you Rush, but Boy George will be spending some time in the slammer. A British judge sentenced the singer to 15 months in jail for falsely imprisoning and beating a male escort. Boy George, like you Rush (and O.J. Simpson), has denied the charges. He's claimed the victim, Audun Carlsen, had stolen photos from his laptop. Boy George who is now 47, admitted during the trial to handcuffing Carlsen to a bed in April 2007, saying he was doing it to figure out if the escort had purloined the pictures.

He's off to jail but his song "Yes We Can" will play on in You Tube land. I have yet to hear the song played on a radio station but I guess it could gain some momentum. Unfortunately for you Rush, President Obama never adopted the video as his official campaign video. I'm sure you would have had a wonderful time convincing the world that the connection between Obama and Boy George is surely an example of why the liberals shouldn't be in power. And that the social corruption that will follow as a result of this relationship is certain to send America into a moral nose dive.

I'll admit, the video is a bit goofy and there are implications of a lewd and sexual nature.

But come on Rush.... You really like it - Don't You?

Yes Rush, if you miss Boy George while he's away....
You can send him fan mail. "Yes You Can!"

Boy George - Yes We Can

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Simply the Best: The Bean Shooter Man!

Some people are just good at what they do. Others vault into an entirely new dimension and can be called great at what they do! Take for instance the sports world. Most people will accept that Wayne Gretsky, Michael Jordan, and Tiger Woods are clearly some of the best performers ever in their respective sports. I certainly mean no disrespect by not mentioning the many other great athletes and exceptional performers out there but it's not my intent to focus on these/those superstars.

Today, I wanted to bring someone else into the limelight who has slipped under the radar and been overlooked by many people.

Travel with me (You know I like to travel) to the small town of Seagrove, North Carolina.

Now most of you have never heard of Seagrove. I know I hadn't. It's a small town just about 12 miles south of Asheboro, North Carolina. As of 2007 there were about 257 people living in this town.

Seagrove by the numbers:

(I got off track a bit while I was studying the demographics of Seagrove. Please bear with me.)

Of the 257 people, this is how some of the numbers break down:

  • White Non-Hispanic (94.7%) about 243

  • Hispanic (3.3%) about 8

  • Other race (2.8%) about 7

  • Black (1.2%) about 3

  • American Indian (0.8%) about 2
    (some people were included in several categories)

Males: 122 (47.6%)
Females: 135 (52.4%)
Median resident age: 40.8 years
North Carolina median age: 35.3 years

For population 25 years and over in Seagrove Education levels:

High school or higher: 74.4%
Bachelor's degree or higher: 5.6%
Graduate or professional degree: 0.0%
Unemployed: 1.7%
Divorced: 4.1%

Estimated median household income in 2007:

$29,795 (it was $31,250 in 2000)
Seagrove: $29,795
North Carolina: $44,670

There was 1 full time law enforcement officer and 5 registered sex offenders.

Now you might want to draw you own conclusions about Seagrove based on these numbers but before you do, think about this:

In a town this small, I'm sure everyone knows everyone. So if you were a stranger just walking or driving around town, you would stand out like a horse with it's head stuck in a tree. But you'd also be 5 times more likely to run into a registered sex offender than a full time police officer. And if you have a graduate degree, you'd probably be the most formally educated person in the town, unless there happened to be someone else just passing through. If you were visiting from say, Plano, Texas where the median income was $84,492 in 2007 - then it's possible that your annual income could be the highest in the surrounding area. We could go on and on....... But let me get to the point. No matter who you are or where you come from or how good you are at playing a guitar, golf, or shooting a bean shooter. The numbers just don't work in your favor. You might be smarter, richer, prettier, faster, bigger, taller than many of the people in Seagrove but the odds are you are not as good as Rufus Hussey at making or shooting a bean shooter. The late Rufus Hussey from Seagrove, NC was simply the best! Not just in Seagrove, NC but everywhere!

Don't just believe me, take a look.

How's that for sling shot skills?

Hussey was not only known for his quick and accurate shooting but also for his quick wit. On January 23, 1986, Rufus Hussey and Johnny Carson went head to head on national television. At the end of the night, viewers seemed to think that Hussey pummeled Carson and introduced him to a good ol' down home spanking. One of the classic lines went like this:

Carson asked if Hussey would like to demonstrate his talents with the slingshot after a commercial break.

"I'd rather shoot the bean shooter than shoot the bull"

That was Hussey! Simply the best Bean Shooter Ever!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Music Monday - U2 Pride (In the Name of Love) MLK Day

Many know that Pride (In the Name of Love)" is a very popular U2 song found on the 1984 album The Unforgettable Fire. It was released as the album's first single. Many may also know that it was ranked 378th by "Rolling Stone" on their list of 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

But how many of you know that it was written about Martin Luther King, Jr.?

Today on Martin Luther King, Jr. day in the United States, this is my pick for Music Monday!

There are two versions. The first is a live version performed by U2. The second is a tribute featuring clips of Martin Luther King and the civil rights era.

Come join Music Monday and share your songs with us. One simple rule, leave ONLY the actual post link here. You can grab this code at LJL Please note these links are STRICTLY for Music Monday participants only. All others will be deleted.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

George W. Bush- How will he be Remembered?

Gone but not forgotten!

Anyone out there remember 2008 and the race for the Presidency? It wasn't that long ago but it seems like an eternity. What a street fight huh? When the election was over did any of you suffer withdrawal symptoms from the media overload of "Political Campaign Drama?" It's been a bit slow lately hasn't it? Nothing but talk of Tuesday's Inauguration and optimism and hope for change. I personally like that positive psychology.

However, with just a few days left in the second Bush term, there is a very definite Obama buzz humming around the globe but many are also silently wondering how history will view George W. Bush in the years that follow. There are those still taking final jabs at the Bush administration and reminding people that George W. Bush was at the helm during this wreck. I couldn't help but stop by this story on MSN Money today - Cost of Bush Era 11.5 Trillion! Even the most faithful supporters of Bush must be wondering how the $150 Billion surplus inherited from Bill Clinton just up and disappeared. Those most critical of the Bush administration continue to remind us that we will be saddled with this economic debt burden for decades and generations to come and that George W. Bush should always be remembered for his contributions and omissions towards this end.

With due consideration of these valid views, my thinking is that Americans have been pretty forgiving of past U.S. Presidents and this animosity and criticism will eventually diminish. As the days and years pass and the political and economic blunders are untangled, most people remember ex-Presidents as figures who have simply held the Nation's highest political office. The politics of their era or the mistakes they made will be highlighted in the history books and debated and studied at institutions of higher learning for centuries. But at the end of the day, they will be merely a name and a number for many and public opinion will slide more toward the middle. Case in point - Richard Nixon.

Will George W. be any different? Will he be remembered? Loved? Hated?
Will it be for his personality or for the events of his time?

Quien Sabes?

I don't know but here are a few of his signature moments just in case you missed them the first time!

We all make our mistakes. But "W" was noteworthy!

Here's a more recent clip from last week.

"Bush isms.... "Sometimes the words are correct..... they just get put in the wrong order!"

Maybe that's how George W. Bush will be remembered.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Free Cosmetics

Inauguration or Free Cosmetics?

Did you know that you can walk into a department store on Tuesday and get free cosmetics?

While some people are planning social events around the upcoming inauguration on January 20, 2009, others are secretly plotting their strategies for getting their share of the $175 million worth of free cosmetics products that will be distributed to members of the class following a class action suit.

If you haven't heard, $175 million worth of free cosmetics products will be distributed to members of the class (follow this link to determine whether you are a member of the class) for a maximum of seven days, while supplies last, on a first come, first served basis, beginning on January 20, 2009. No rain checks will be issued. The products will be distributed at stores owned by the Retailer Defendants (see list immediately below).

The stores owned by the Retailer Defendants that will be participating in the settlement product distribution are the following:

Bergdorf Goodman
Boston Store
Carson Pirie Scott
Neiman Marcus
Saks Fifth Avenue

A class member will be eligible to receive, while supplies last, a maximum of ONE free cosmetics product from one of the Manufacturer Defendants from which he or she purchased Department Store Cosmetics1 during the class period, May 29, 1994 through July 16, 2003.

It sounds like a huge class of people and that all you have to do is walk into one of the participating stores, pick a product, fill out some paper work, and walk away with your settlement.

I'm kind of curious as to what the rush will be like on the stores Tuesday morning. The word is starting to spread on the radios out here and the radio DJ's are really talking it up. I wonder if people will be standing in line to claim their cosmetics or watching the Inauguration.....
I hope to be home watching the Inauguration - but if you're walking through Bloomingdale's will you pick up some cologne for me please?

Stay tuned!

You can follow this link see a list of the cosmetics and to learn more about the class action suit.

Or you can click here for a prior story.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Just call me 3X Please!

Ever do something dumb? Funny? Embarrassing?

I'm sure many of you are thinking..... He's going back to his CTRL + Z post again. But wait a second. I'm not headed there. So let me ask you this.... Have you ever walked around all day with your fly (blouse for the women) open? Have you ever talked with someone for hours and learned later that you had food stuck in your teeth while you chatted? I'm asking about silly stuff like that.

Alternatively, what happens when you see someone else doing something that would be embarrassing for them? Do you tell them about it? For example, if you didn't know me but saw me walking around trailing toilet paper from my shoe, would you quietly tell me? Or would you just laugh at my ignorance and make fun of me when I wasn't looking?

I'm usually very generous with that sort of information. I'm generally happy to tell people they have green stuff hanging from a nostril or lint on their clothes. After all, I'd want to know something like that as soon as possible so that I could limit my exposure. I haven't always been this way though. I once attended an event hosted by Senator Paul Sarbanes with my sister. Nothing too fancy but most of the people were dressed nicely. I'm not sure if it was the two martinis we had or our inexperience at drinking (we were in our 20's) but when an uppity older guy (probably 45 ish and that seemed old back then) walked by us with the tag from the dry cleaners still on his fine Armani suit, we just couldn't stop laughing. We laughed and looked around and couldn't understand why someone in his family hadn't noticed it and pointed it out to him. We didn't have the heart to tell this guy. We just laughed.

Senator Sarbanes with President George W. Bush

And there was the time when I was eating lunch in Portugal with a co-worker. We were dinning with a senior colleague of ours who lived and worked in Portugal and were enjoying some pretty good BBQ chicken. Well, it seemed our senior member was enjoying it a bit more than we were because he managed to smear BBQ sauce all over his cheeks in the process. Did that stop him or even slow him down? Nope.... He continued to inhale his food while we fought back the laughter until tears came from our eyes. We still joke about that luncheon today. But never did we let on to our colleague that he amused us so.

I'm sure that I've unknowingly been on the opposite end of such humorous blunders but that doesn't make them any less funny. I'm happy that I could provide the entertainment. But let me tell you about another such experience that I enjoyed nearly two weeks ago. At the last minute, I discovered that I needed to fly to Sacramento, California for the day. I was able to book a flight on short notice but the flight that worked best for me was on an express carrier that flies smaller regional jets. No problem, I was happy to get a seat with such short notice. I even managed to get an exit row seat which I find attractive because of the extra leg room.

Surprise! Surprise! I walk on the airplane and in the seat next to me is possibly the biggest, widest person I've sat next to in a while. I greeted him pleasantly.... "Hi, How ya doing?" he replied.... "Very Well Thank You!" Not just okay. Not fine. Not alright. But "VERY WELL." Interesting I thought - and I fought back the urge to engage him in conversation and discover what on earth is going so right for him that he can shout out "Very Well" to the "how ya doing" question. Instead, I pulled out my ear phones and plugged them into my ears launching the international signal which says: Please don't talk to me - I don't want to be bothered. I know, sometimes that's a bit rude but I wasn't really interested in playing the 20 questions game. I just wanted to grab a quick nap after a busy weekend and early morning.

Anyway, that's when it started. You know.... The elbow and shoulder footsies game! I'm not a huge guy but at 6' 1" with slightly broad shoulders I've learned that when traveling in anything other than First class or Business class I've got to be prepared to do the shoulder rub thing with whoever might be next to me. And let's not discuss the armrest protocol. That's an entirely different subject. So off I went. I started slowly, leaning mostly into the aisle initially, thank God I had an aisle seat! Before long we were airborne and I tried to relax a bit. I put my head back on my seat and closed my eyes. I pretended that the soft fleshy sensation next to me wasn't the body of some strange man but instead was the cushion of some nice Italian lounge chair carefully crafted to fit my body.

That's when it hit me... Ouch! I thought. Something is sticking me in my arm. Has the lining come free from my luxurious lounge chair to leave a nail or tack to stick me? I opened my eyes and looked down to see the funniest thing!

Oh No, tell me this isn't happening - I thought. Mr. "Very Well Thank You" has forgotten to take the sales tag off of his shirt and it's sticking me in the arm. Yes! Right there not even a foot from my face. So close that I could read it. KMART, Size 3X. I could even read the price. $16.99 each or 2 for $28.00. I'm sure he got the "volume" discount. That's too good of a deal to pass up.

So now I was faced with a dilemma. Do I tell this guy his tag is poking me in the arm and risk the chance of embarrassing him. Or do I suffer through this and pull out my Blackberry and discreetly snap a photo. I pondered..... This will make a great blog post somehow.... (snicker)

And the rest is blog history.

Mr 3X, I'm not sure where you are today but if you find yourself somehow reading this post, please be aware that you have a KMart sales tag hanging from at least one of your shirts! I'd suggest you run to your closet and check them all. Tomorrow you may laugh at me but today it's your turn to be laughed at!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

U.S. Airways Lands in Hudson River

Courageous Acts must be noted!

U.S. Airways flight 1549 makes an emergency landing near
USS Intrepid museum!

That's the bad news! The good news is the 148 passengers and 5 crew members are reportedly alive and well and there were no ground casualties. The initial reports indicate that the Airbus 320 ingested birds in both engines on departure from New York's Laguardia airport.

The successful ending of this story clearly highlights the great aviation skill of the pilots who brilliantly maneuvered the airframe to a safe water landing. Additionally, the professionalism of the cabin crew and air traffic controllers, the expeditious evacuation by the passengers, and the speedy recovery by maritime vehicles in the area should also be noted.

When you consider how populated the New York City area is, it's very easy to construct an alternate, more tragic, ending to this story. I'm thankful that we're just looking at the "cold and wet people option."

To the many that made this conclusion possible - God Speed!

Intrepid Remembers!

To read more about the Captain of Flight 1549;

Chesley Sullenberger III - Click Here

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Video Pay Day JACKPOT! $ $ $

$ $ $ $ $ $

Assume you walked up to the video payday slot machine dropped in some change and pulled the lever!

Here's what you see:

A fair sampling of the Doobie Brothers "Long Train Runnin', (listen for the guitar chords) a little bit of the Jazzy vocal/instrumental sounds of Al Jarreau, and a splattering of suggestive lyrics like you'd find in a late 80's L.L. Cool J love ballad.

But the following song by Jason Mraz is what you hear.

Listen and see what you think.

That's what Jason Mraz has put together in his song "Butterfly."

So Here's a bit more on Jason Mraz:

Jason was born June 23, 1977 and raised in Mechanicsville Virginia. (This was the site of several Civil War battles including the Battle of Beaver Dam Creek.) He attended a performing arts college in New York City for a short time, studying musical theater before moving to San Diego. After a stint in the U.S, he then travelled around Australia as a ventriloquist, earning some cash before moving back to America to promote his music. He has played with various artists, including Jack Johnson, Paula Cole, Alanis Morissette, The Ohio Players, John Mayer, Jewel, Colbie Caillat and Gavin DeGraw. He has also opened for The Rolling Stones!

Jason is currently promoting his latest studio album, We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things. which was released on May 13, 2008.

Butterfly will be featured on the right side of my blog under Video Payday for a few weeks!

So let me know. Jackpot? or No Jackpot?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

More Creative Advertising

Clever thinking indeed!

And some pretty good acting from Mister Monkey too!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Music Monday! - Celebrating 50 Years of Motown!

On Jan. 12, 1959, the Gordy family loaned Berry Jr. $800 from the family fund so that he could start a record company. Fifteen years later, Motown Records had become the largest African-American-owned business in the United States, turning Detroit, Michigan upside down and launching musicians like Diana Ross and Smokey Robinson into mega music careers! Berry Gordy sold Motown in 1988 for $61 million but the legend lives on......

Berry Gordy, founder of Motown standing outside of the Hitsville House USA

My picks for Music Monday this week include two Motown hits. "Come See About Me" by Diana Ross and The Supremes and "The love I Saw in You was Just a Mirage" by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles.

Please Enjoy!

Come join Music Monday and share your songs with us. One simple rule, leave ONLY the actual post link here. You can grab this code at LJL Please note these links are STRICTLY for Music Monday participants only. All others will be deleted.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

News Flash - Fashion Memo!

Did I arrive late to the party and miss the memo? Perhaps...... It seems that there's been a revival of the "one glove" look created and stylishly executed by Michael Jackson.

Please tell me it isn't so...... I once sat in a bar with some friends and watched a guy walk by carrying a pitcher of beer and wearing one glove. When I looked again, I discovered it was someone I knew. So I walked up to him and said: "Dude! You're a fashion disaster! The pitcher of beer goes with the construction hat and timberland boots. The one glove look goes with the pitcher of Blue Hawaiians." He looked at me like I was crazy. I don't think he quite got it.

Maybe it was "I" who didn't get it because more and more I'm seeing people walking around wearing just one glove. And it's not always the younger hipper crowd. Today I saw a man in his 5o's sporting the new fashion. Dress shirt, slacks, tie, and a complimentary glove to match. Imagine my surprise. Take a look.

His left hand is clearly in a non-glove state.


He breaks out with the one glove look!

I suppose I can hope that this wasn't a fashion statement at all but simply a manifestation of deep and inner phobias. Fear of touching the germ laden handle of a gasoline pump with uncovered hands. Or fear of going to a business meeting with hands smelling of gasoline. (There's soap, water, and lotion for both of those... but then it wouldn't be a phobia)

Who knows?

But just in case there is an emergence of this forgotten fashion, I'm prepared. After all, I'm a man of the 2000's very in touch with my sensitive and emotional side. I'm comfortable with my sexuality and not a victim of my surroundings. I'm prepared to jump into this fashion trend with a bang! I've even picked out my first sequin covered glove. I'll be sportin' it with a tuxedo and a frilly shirt!


Thursday, January 8, 2009

Courageous Acts! David Proeber

Yesterday while enjoying a nice cup of coffee and browsing the local newspaper collection at my favorite Sydney breakfast spot, I was captivated by a photo taken by David Proeber and featured in The Daily Telegraph. As I stared into the eyes (via the below photo) of what appeared to be a crazed gunman brandishing a pistol and puffing on a cigarette, I thought to myself, this must be an ad for an upcoming action movie. The shootout scene from the movie Heat, featuring Al Pacino, Robert Dinero, and Val Kilmer immediately came to mind. As I read further, I learned that this was the photo of Robert Sylvester, a man suspected of robbing four banks and several convenience stores in Illinois. This was not a scene being created for the big screen but a live event captured through the lens of a courageous photographer.

Sylvester was fleeing police in a high-speed vehicle chase when he stopped his SUV and exited the vehicle. Proeber, who works as a photo editor for The Pantagraph, a daily newspaper located in Bloomington, Illinois; found himself in a precarious situation after following the chase and taking pictures. As Sylvester exited, jumped a median, and ran towards him, Proeber had to make a quick decision to flee or snap. Proeber eventually ducked as the robber came closer towards him and then floored the accelerator- but not before taking 47 photographs of the incident in a three minute period. The 57 year old Sylvester exchanged shots with police but was shot and later died from his wounds.

David Proeber, for taking what may go on to be a Pulitzer prize winning photo, the courage to stare into the eyes of an armed fugitive, and the fortitude to continue snapping photos, I salute you!

Intrepid remembers!

God Speed!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Music Monday - Boys II Men

Can You Stand the Rain?

Whatever happened to Boys II Men?

Based on sales, Boyz II Men is the most successful R&B male vocal group of all time. They recorded five #1 R&B hits between 1992 and 1997 and have sold more than 60 million records

Boyz II Men at the Genting Highlands, Malaysia in 2007. Left to right: Shawn Stockman, Nathan Morris, and Wanya Morris.
Nothing too glamorous..... Here's my pick for Music Monday!

Come join Music Monday and share your songs with us. One simple rule, leave ONLY the actual post link here. You can grab this code at LJL Please note these links are STRICTLY for Music Monday participants only. All others will be deleted.