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Wednesday, February 24, 2010


If there is one word in the English language that is overused today, it is the word awesome.

The modern love affair with "awe" may have started with President George Bush's promise to deliver an attack on the Middle East that was going to inspire "shock and awe." I was working at an NBC TV affiliate at the time and I recall looking at the video from those attacks thinking, well, that's horrible, but certainly not awesome.

Webster's Dictionary defines awesome as something that is extraordinary, as in out of the realm of the commonplace.The Caribbean Sea is awesome, the hurricane that struck Haiti was awesome in a totally different way.

But anything is awesome to just about everyone these days.

You manage to get to work on time because there was no traffic? That's awesome.

Your kid doesn't flunk out of junior high? That's awesome.

You go to a restaurant and get a tepid meal for less than $10 bucks a plate? That's awesome.

Frankly I'm sick of hearing the word awesome. Some things are just average, albeit cute. Like my cat Merlin sitting in her chair.

Hear ye, hear ye, people: your kids are stupid, your spouse is fat, your dog bit the mailman, your job sucks, your car is overpriced, your computer crashed, your garage band will never play out, your cruise ship will get the Norovirus and you will never be an internet guru. If you feel the need to sugar coat daily life, which is average for most of us, by pretending it's something else, then have at it.

But don't call it awesome. Or I'll send the word police to get you.

Amen, and pass the mustard.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


I don't remember exactly how The Oscar Run got started, but these days it's a midwinter rite. Let me 'splain, Lucy.

What is The Oscar Run?
A marathon viewing of as many Oscar nominated movies as possible prior to the airing of the awards show in March.

Who are the participants?
My friend Mary and myself are the original Oscar Runners, although very recently we allowed her husband Albert to dash along with us. (He's still spinning.)

When does The Oscar Run begin?
Officially, The Oscar Run begins around the time of the Golden Globes.

How did The Oscar Run get started?
If the participants were to plan this sort of thing, we would start going to these movies as they are released. But as pseudo-adrenaline junkies, we both prefer the rush of cramming everything at the last minute.

So how does The Oscar Run work?
The final weeks prior to the awards happen at a breakneck pace. Since at that point some of the films are no longer on the big screen, a massive hunt begins for second tier theaters at which they may be playing, as long as they are within reasonable distance. It might be necessary to view several films in one afternoon, starting with an early early matinee.

What does one wear to The Oscar Run?
While it's fabulous to sport red carpet wear at the Oscars, The Oscar Run demands comfortable clothing that will go with the flow. Sweatpants, sweatshirts and sneakers are derigueur. Always carry a large handbag (see below).

Is there a special diet for The Oscar Run?
Participants usually fortify themselves with large bottles of water, popcorn, Good & Plenty, Pirate Mix and seasonal fruit. (Nothing with peels like bananas). Pack it all in advance in the aforementioned large handbag.

Are there any health hazards?
There may be difficulty readjusting to daylight after spending an entire day watching films in the dark.

Any final recommendations for The Oscar Run?
Bring blankets with you, sometimes the theaters are cold.

Amen, and pass the mustard.

Monday, February 22, 2010


Jacob, a dude I work with, threw a whammy into my day by pointing out the existence of blobfish, Psychrolutes marcidus for those who enjoy Latin.

Jacob is an odd duck; that he knows about blobfish, and worse passes on information about a denizen of the deep resembling gelatinous goo, doesn't surprise me. But then I'm writing about it, no?

(By the way, this is where I warn anyone who populates my life that yes, you may someday be food for my grist mill. If you don't want to be written about, don't hang out with writers. It's pretty simple.)

Back to the blobfish.

Mother Nature wasn't kind to the thing, looks somewhat sad, but blobfish live in very deep waters so mercifully most folks don't ever get a glimpse of them. Apparently they get by merely through hovering near the bottom and eating whatever happens to float by.

Recently more blobfish than ever have turned up in the nets of those who fish the waters around Australia, where all kinds of peculiarities slither. The problem is too much bottom trawling, a phenomenon that happens in deep water and most dives around last call.

Scientists say the blobfish -- which grows up to a foot long and is inedible -- now is a candidate for extinction, and with this overfishing mess, that may happen sooner rather than later.

I think blobfish is kind of cute in an oddball sort of way, certainly not menacing, unlike his cousins the Great Whites.

Who amongst us hasn't had a blob sort of day?

Save the blobfish.

Amen, and pass the mustard.


Thursday, February 18, 2010


I attended a gathering some years back when the Dalai Lama spoke before hundreds of people. Media types like myself were herded into the first rows, seated under a white tent boasting peaks sharp as the Himalayas.

The gold and crimson robes, sleeveless even on that brisk fall afternoon, the somewhat goofy eyeglasses and what seemed a permanent grin are undoubtedly some of the trademarks that assist in endearing this very, very charismatic individual to just about anyone who sees him.

However, there's an iron within, perhaps in part of his spiritual position, perhaps in part from the years in exile. I was born in Cuba, I get what exile really means, so I'm not in any way demeaning the potential of a meeting between two Nobel Prize winners.

That said, the Dalai Lama also has an exquisite sense of humor. I think he would enjoy this ditty.

Hello, Dalai, this is Ana, Dalai
It's so nice to have you with us in DC
You're looking swell, Dalai, I can tell, Dalai
You're still moving, you're still grooving, you're still staying strong.
I feel the room swaying, when you start praying
that your troubles with China will go away to Barack, Dalai, tell him to get your back, Dalai
And maybe your home Tibet will have its day.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


I just read an Op-ed piece by New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman -- entitled Global Weirding. In it. Friedman talks about the recent spate of weird weather patterns caused perhaps in the eyes of some by global warming. Global Weirding Friedman

My apologies to environmentalists, but there's a part of me that is quite happy that Floridians have spent the winter of 2010 bundling up in wool, and that D.C.'s denizens had to shovel their way out of their driveways and endure a white knuckle drive on the Beltway.

I've endured miserable cold winters most of my life, envied friends who live in the tropics just one step away from a coconut tree and a jewel toned beach. And hey, nothing beats that stuffed sausage look you get from layering winter clothing.

Maybe this is what it will take for people to wake up and smell the gasoline fueling those ever-growing SUVs, or the power boats and jetskis that zoom up and down our waterways. Maybe people will stop using bottled water (an oxymoron) and just buy filters if they have worries. Maybe people will sit down on old-fashioned wooden chairs instead of the plastic uglies that now populate American porches. (Don't get me started on the plastic fences.)

And maybe we can just bury the dog poop, for crying out loud -- I've visions of future citizens digging up mounds of plastic bags filled with Fido's DNA. Tell me that's not global weirding.

Amen, and pass the mustard.

Thursday, February 11, 2010


By some sheer miracle, my neck of the woods was spared by Mother Nature this week even as she walloped places that do not usually see much snow, never mind enough to bury small trucks.

My friend Karen in Virginia, the original snow bunny thanks to years in New Hampshire where snow was invented, at first was psyched about it. However, this afternoon she finally admitted that her son is ready to go back to school and everybody is weary of shoveling. (Considering she lives 15 miles from the White House, I'm surprised she didn't tire of shoveling a long time ago. Although where I live, the politicos are masters of shoveling so I may have to take that statement right back.)

I'm not sure what I dislike most about traveling in snow -- digging out your car or the white knuckle rides as you maneuver your car along increasingly slippery roads. Don't even get me started about the idiots in their SUVs who drive like maniacs because they think they are immune to the icy roads -- I have seen too many of them in ditches or worse, upside down with the wheels still moving like japanese beetles that suddenly find themselves upended.

Not to mention the need to wear additional and bulky clothing, scarves, hats, mittens, earmuffs, snowboots and in some cases dark glasses because of the glare. And did I mention the "spare" shoes etc you lug around in your car just in case your original duds get soaked from either the snow or the shoveling? A lot of this stuff just ends up dissapearing into the vortex, turning up years later under the seat or a soiled mess by the side of the road.

And the ick factor. You say "Ick!" when a load of it hits you on the head or down the back of your coat or into your shoes. Okay. You don't really say "ick" you say something else similar but this is a family blog.

Snow. It's a four letter word. Ick.

Amen, and pass the mustard.

Monday, February 8, 2010


Football, blech.

I see a game, usually played in lousy weather, in which 300 pound testosterone loaded behemoths G-force smack into each other, or create massive pile-ups of arms, legs and helmets, while trying to catch an ersatz pigskin.

There's also a couple of guys who move a lollipop around on the field. And let's not forget the idiots who paint their beer guts to match their favorite team colors.

Now that's a turn on.

Then there's the Super Bowl -- an extravaganza concocted years ago when -- duh! -- some braniac realized that baseball has the World Series, tennis has Wimbledon, hockey has the Stanley Cup and basketball...well, you get the drift.

But why is the Super Bowl the only such event that apparently has to keep its audience awake and interested by sticking some big name act during halftime? This time it was The Who.

Isn't halftime when you are supposed to go to the bathroom and refill your beer? Or is it that football is just one of the stupidest and dullest sports on the planet?

At least it was fun to watch Roger and the boys.

Amen, and pass the mustard.

Thursday, February 4, 2010


AvatarAvatar is an okay movie. Yes, people, just okay.

It has a time worn plot (boy meets blue girl, boy turns blue, blue boy gets blue girl) which is buried in a spectacular display of mind-boggling technological advances and whiz-bang special effects. A pretty movie, that I WILL give you.

But this whole business about comparing it to other films like Dances with Wolves blah blah blah on account of what some perceive are numerous subplots that suggest soul searching depth on the part of the film maker? Please. I may puke.

Avatar comes to you from James Cameron, the same director who years ago postulated that two people were able to muck about the sinkingTitanic in waist deep frigid water with no signs of hypothermia. And yet these yodels, presumably deep in love and thinking of a life together, were unable to negotiate how the two of them could float on a pretty large piece of wood. And so one died. Eeeek. But it won a ton of Oscars, as undoubtedly Avatar will.

Cameron knows exactly what audiences want to see, and he makes money pandering Pandoras and other fantasy worlds. Titanic gave us luxe sets and gorgeous clothing and a window into another era. Pandora takes us flying (in 3D) through lush jungles all in vivid, crayola colors.

But Avatar is just a movie, a movie, nothing but a creative endeavor by a man who has oodles of money and has proved that he can attract wide audiences to watch some pretty sappy stuff. Pandora is not real, and it never will be.

To read that many who have seen it are experiencing depression because they cannot live on Pandora, or that their world seems gloomy and gray in contrast, is a sad commentary on the mindset of the movie going public these days.

At least, it's enough to make me blue.
Amen, and pass the mustard.