Her Ladyship

Notes from the gutter.

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Lie down with a dog, get fleas

I couldn't help but snicker over this story. You know, that's what you get for sucking up to a KGB thug.

Russian President Keeps Super Bowl Ring
June 29, 2005

BOSTON (AP) - Was it a big misunderstanding, or just a generous gift when President Vladimir Putin of Russia made off with New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft's Super Bowl ring?

Following a meeting of American business executives and Putin at Konstantinovsky Palace near St. Petersburg last Saturday, according to Russian news reports, Kraft showed his 4.94-carat, diamond-encrusted 2005 Super Bowl ring to the Russian president, who tried it on, then put it in his pocket and left.

It was not immediately clear whether Kraft, whose business interests also include paper and packaging companies and venture capital investments, intended for Putin to keep the ring.

Patriots spokesman Stacey James said the owner is still traveling in Europe and wasn't available for comment.

``I've seen the story, and I've gotten other calls,'' James said Tuesday.

``I wish I could confirm it, but I just don't have any way to.''

Yevgeniy Khorishko, a spokesman at the Russian embassy in Washington, said he had no information about the matter.

A Kremlin spokeman on Wednesday refused to comment on the matter.

Tokens given to the Russian president normally are kept in the state treasury, but in this case, the Super Bowl ring was deposited in the Kremlin library, according to a report in Kommersant, a leading Russian business newspaper.

Kraft handed out Super Bowl rings to players and coaches during a gathering at his Brookline home two weeks ago. The team wouldn't say how much each ring is worth, other than it cost more than $15,000. The Pats have won three of the last four Super Bowls.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

When the revolution comes...

...people who insist on using speakerphones for every single conversation will be the first to go.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Santa's packing heat

Not really. He just uses his words as weapons in a so-bad-it's-great movie I saw this weekend, "Santa Claus Conquers the Martians."

A bit of back-story: when I was little, my sister and I would always spend our weekend afternoons watching those terrible sci-fi movies on the loser channels (this was well before cable or any decent channel that wasn't one of the big 3). One of the big stand-outs in my mind was the aforementioned Santa Claus movie, which came complete with a crappy yet oddly compelling song ("Hooray for Santy [that's right, Santa-Y. not a typo] Claus!"). I distinctly remember putting up xmas decorations and singing that terrible song along with my mom.

So when G&T told me that she'd gotten a new Mystery Science Theater 3000 movie as part of her NetFlix queue, and it'd been a toss-up between that and "some Santa Claus and Martians movie," I knew that it was my DESTINY to watch it again. But this time with sarcastic robot commentary.

Saturday night, complete with pizza from Vace's and pint-sized glasses of G&Ts in hand, we fired up the DVD player and watched the MST3K version of "Santa Claus CTM". It did not disappoint.

Basic plot: Martian children are too serious, so the Martians decided to kidnap Santa Claus and cheer them up. While on Earth, they somehow collect two Earth children in addition to St. Nick. Hijinks ensue, particularly with the comic stylings of the Martian "Droppo." There is an evil Martian named Voldar who for some reason has a bug up his ass re: Santa Claus, to the point of trying to get him and the Earth kids jettisoned into space sans suits. Voldar was so evil, he even had a handle-bar moustache (as all villains must). I don't think it's any great spoiler to say that Santa and the Earth kids live to see another xmas, and Martian children learn to laugh.

I realize that we live in a CGI society, and that movies even from 10 years ago look pretty cheesy, so a movie from 1964 about space will obviously look ridiculous. But still. Damn. I've seen high school plays that clearly had bigger budgets than this movie. There was one point where the kids were "attacked" by a polar bear...except the polar bear was obviously a guy in what had to be the world's cheapest bear suit. Their space ship had writing in English on it. There were typos in the opening credits (apparently they had a "custume" designer on their staff). And the Martians still were sporting 1960s styles (the "mom" looked like Twiggy with green face makeup). Assessment? Awesome.

Just turn off the movie before the end credits roll, or else you'll get that horrid song stuck in your head. It took me all of yesterday to extricate it. Then, in pilates class this morning, I heard it again. It was off of a CD of some 1960s French chanteuse. They had taken the music and just changed the lyrics. So you can't even credit the brains behind "Santa Claus CTM" for being good song-writers: they just know how to borrow catchy music.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Celebrity sightings

Or at least, what passes for celebrities in DC.

1) The big one was Iraq's prime minister, Ibrahim al-Jaafari. Well, to be honest, I didn't really see him, per se. What I did see is a hell of a lotta of security. He was coming to speak to the black helicopter people, who are in my building, after work last night. They shut down the lobby, the back half of the building, and had all of P Street between 17th and 18th Street crawling with cops, patrol cars, paddy wagons, Secret Service, and god knows what else. It was insane. Even when Laura Bush came to speak a few months ago, the security wasn't anywhere near as tight.

2) Some sort of Congressman at Rosemary's Thyme. I sort of recognized him, but the clincher was the little member of Congress pin he had on his lapel that they all have to wear. This sighting was particularly galling because I'm fairly certain he just walked up and didn't have to join the masses milling around out front, hoping that we could get seated in time to take advantage of their awesome happy hour (nice outdoor patio and half-price wine - what more can you ask for?). I mean, I'm all about public servants not screwing the American taxpayer by pissing money away, but surely a member of Congress can afford to pay full-price for a bottle of wine. As it turned out, we got seated at 7:31, or one minute after the happy hour ended. Rats.

3) Wolf Blitzer outside Chloe in Adams-Morgan. He is just as cute and huggable in person as he is on TV. Just a wee little guy!

Thursday, June 23, 2005

By the way...

...did you know that cats don't particularly care for being walked? It's strange but true. DustBunny's cat is "walked" daily. What this means is he gets to sit outside and look around while wearing a harness and leash. There is precious little walking actually done. The cat does look cute in his harness though. Once it's on, he wears it for most of the day. He carries the gimp look very well.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005


I swear, I hadn't been back in DC for ten minutes before I got my first mosquito bite. A nice welcome home from this fucking swamp.

Vegas was a lot of fun. My sister, DustBunny, and her husband, RoadRunner, were very gracious and took me all over the Strip. They live about four miles away from the main action, so distance-wise, it wasn't that far of a trek. Traffic-wise, however, is an entirely different story. I ended up losing a grand total of $2 at the casinos. Guess how much I bet? Hey, $2 can stretch a long ways on the penny slots. Instead of betting, we spent most of our time trolling various restaurants and bars of the casinos.

If I ever inherit millions of dollars, I will go spend them at the Four Seasons Mandalay Bay. Holy crap, was that place gorgeous. Their restaurant, aureole (hee), has a four-story wine rack. When you order a bottle of wine, they send what they call a "wine angel" - a woman in a catsuit - zooming up on pulleys and wires to select the correct bottle. Their meals were outside our price range, so we slummed it at the bar with glasses of wine and free bowls of popcorn (which our server very graciously refilled without comment).

We heard rumors of the Mandalay Bay's wave pools and water slides, but since it cost $150 for a one-day pass to their pools, we had to let them go uninvestigated. Instead, we went to the Hilton for their Sunday beach party. You'd think that wearing a bathing suit would dissuade you from hitting the free nacho bar. You'd be wrong. They had a bikini contest where they were offering a first place award worth nearly $1000 (half cash, half prizes), and let me tell you, the girls competing in it were CUT-THROAT. Every time I went into the bathroom, there was at least one woman on the phone in there, plotting and conniving about which thong to wear, how much skin to show off, which judge to be friendly to, etc etc. They take their bikini contests seriously in Vegas.

Overall, having spent a grand total of four days there, I feel well-placed to judge the whole city. But I can't decide how I feel about it. Listing pros and cons might help me out:

1. Pro: Buffets as far as the eye can see.
Con: An unusually large percentage of the visiting population is so huge that they can only move thanks to Rascals rented from the casinos.

2. Pro: Slot machines everywhere. Cha-ching cha-ching!
Con: Slot machines everywhere. Even at the grocery store, which is kind of sad.

3. Pro: Lots of job opportunities.
Con:...If you're a female under 30, a size zero, and have fake breasts.

4. Pro: Fastest-growing city in the nation!
Con: True, there are new condo developments strewn about the city's landscape. However, DustBunny informs me that every loving last one of them is sold out even before the construction has been completed. "Starting in the low-100s"? Not likely, or at least, not for long.

5. Pro: Dry, arid desert environment precludes mosquitoes from making your life a living hell.
Con: Same environment allows flies (and their maggots) to multiple like crazy.

6. Pro: Omnipresent sunshine.
Con: My god, the leathery skin on some of the locals.

So it's a toss-up about the city itself. However, no question about the trip in general: spending time with my sister and brother-in-law was an absolute blast. Now, I'd better get some work done before I collapse from the red-eye.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Off to a restorative weekend in the desert

My lungs are dying in this humidity-filled swamp. I need to go somewhere nice and arid, where I can breathe in dry air and generally get a respite from DC. It's quite good timing that this weekend I'm scheduled to visit my sister and brother-in-law in their new digs in Vegas.

(I'll wait while you say it. Come on, you know you want to!)

(Damn Swingers.)

So I'm going to see my sister, formerly known as BeachBunny, but now to be called DustBunny. But only because of her environs; I am not making any thinly-veiled statements about her housekeeping skills. She and her husband live three miles away from the Strip, so I envision us visiting the nickel slots at least once. I'm not really much of a gambler, but I do like the repetition involved in playing the slot machines. It's oddly soothing. Only thing is it's not where the high-rollers hang out, so getting one of the cocktail waitresses to come by with the free drinks takes an act of god (can't say I blame them, really).

The first time I did any form of legalized gambling was when I was 20 years old and interning for the summer in, yes, DC. My roommates and I drove up to lovely Atlantic City, NJ, for some fun in the sun. But it turned out to be cloudy and not really beach weather, so we ended up spending most our time playing the slots. I won, too - something like $175. I remember thinking at the time, "Geez, gambling is easy. Why don't people do this more often?" Then, a few years later, I stopped by Vegas while on a cross-country road trip and realized that my beginner's luck on the slots had definitely run out. And while I technically know how to play poker, it's not my strong point. My friends host regular poker nights but we always have to have cheat sheets to keep the various suits straight. I'm sure that has nothing to do with the massive amount of brightly-colored cocktails that we consume during the poker games.

I'm not much of a gambler these days - I certainly don't have the cash flow to back it up - so I think we will spend most of our time lounging pool-side with a cool adult beverage in-hand. The $20 I've allotted for gambling will go fairly quickly, I'm sure. At any rate, it'll be fun. I haven't seen DustBunny since the winter holidays, so it'll be nice to hang out. Plus she and her husband got a cat who they've been training to use a leash. I'll get to take the cat for walks! Do I know how to have a good time or what? I may do some tipsy blogging from Vegas, but that depends on the speed of DustBunny's internet hook-up. Otherwise, see you guys on Wednesday...unless I hit the jackpot and can quit my job. So, yeah, I'll see you Wednesday.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Robitussin, take me away

Ever since 7:51 AM today on the dot, I have been hacking away. It completely woke me up. Guess I finally found a way in which I won't sleep in. I came to work because I figured that once up and moving around, it would dissipate a bit, plus I had a meeting this afternoon that I didn't want to miss. But after two solid hours of increasingly hoarse coughing, I decided to call and cancel the meeting. Of course, when the guy called back to reschedule, I was smooth as silk, with nary a cough to be heard. I can tell he was quite suspicious about the real reason why I cancelled.

I wish I could go home soon. I know that my co-workers are *thisclose* to buying me a ball-gag so I'll shut up. In the meantime, I'll go back to taking my little placebo cough drops (you can't tell me with a straight face that those actually work) and swilling Robitussin directly out of the bottle.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Care packages

Another care package arrived today from my parents. They have been very good about sending me little trinkets in the mail ever since I moved out of the LA area. So I guess I shouldn't mock their generosity - this literally would be a case of looking a gift horse in the mouth.

And yet.

I'm only human, people! What would you do if presented with a shower squeegee in the mail? Particularly if you have never, in your life, expressed an interest in having or using one? What about sample hand creams that you distinctly remember your mom telling you she'd won at a raffle? A Pillsbury cookbook from November 1995? And I'll try not to take the "Fast and Helpful Household Hints" book personally, particularly as I have recently gone through a spell of possibly eating or drinking rotten food products.

(Pop quiz: You have just made pasta and poured the sauce directly out of the jar onto your dinner. It is only then that you happen to notice a very large green spore growing out of the pasta sauce jar's lid. You're *pretty* certain that the sauce you're eating hadn't touched the lid. Do you a) shrug, "You only live once," toss your head back, and eat the pasta anyways? b) immediately dump the pasta down the drain and wash your hands compulsively, unable to get clean? or c) start making phone calls and poll any friend or loved one unfortunate enough to have answered the phone as to what they would do in your situation?)

(Okay okay. If you were me, you would have started insouciantly off with a. But then, a few bites in, paranoia would set in and you'd jump to c. After having gotten a mixed bag of responses, you decide that a night in ER really isn't worth the twenty-seven cents or whatever the pasta actually cost you, so you end up doing b.)

Back to the care packages. My sister has the best story about them. While packing up her stuff after one weekend visit during her college days, she accidentally left a shoe behind. This was more like a construction boot - it was a fairly good-sized shoe. It was during California's short rainy season, so my mom says, "Honey, you're going to need that before you come back to visit again, so let me mail it to you." My sister takes her up on that offer. A few days later, a bulky package arrives in the mail. BeachBunny opens it up to see one construction shoe nestling in a huge pile of newspapers. She pulls out the shoe, only to find it's mysteriously crammed full with something. She investigates further to find that mom has put one of those HUGE Asian pears - you know, the kind that are like the size of a grapefruit on steroids? - inside the shoe. Not wrapped up in anything, mind you - just tucked away in the shoe. No note of explanation is included, leaving BeachBunny to sit there, wondering, "The hell?"

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

You know what I could really go for?

A tall, frosty can of beer (I'm thinking Sapporo), as I sit on a pool toy and bobble in a clean, clear swimming pool. Last year, we invaded the dollar store while on vacation and got a boatload of cheap plastic toys which received constant use. My favorite was the little rainbow-colored life preserver that was dubbed "The HMS Unstable" and allowed you to sink into the water while you tried to keep from going ass over kettle. Ah, so refreshing. Even when you spilled your beer in the pool and created your own little foam party.

Instead, I sweat in my office clothes and can look forward to going to a hot, stuffy dance studio after work tonight for my class. I tried to salvage the day by going out for a fruit-sicle. However, Fresh Fields, aka The Food Museum, only had popsicles which had actual fruit in them, instead of being made with real fruit juice, as god intended. I bought one that was 90 percent pineapple chunks, which is all sorts of wrong. Fucking hippies. Can't they just provide frozen colored sugar water to an overheated population? Does everything just *have* to be healthy?

Monday, June 13, 2005

Class conflict, DC-style

Saturday afternoon, I was taking the S2 back up to Adams-Morgan. The bus was packed, as it was a hot and oppressively humid day, so everyone was trying to avoid any extraneous outdoors activity. When we stopped at a red light at 16th and R, I saw to my left a BMW convertible. Driving it was a guy who looked like Gordon Gekko on casual Friday. He had carefully tousled and gelled hair, square sunglasses, and a pink Lacoste shirt, with the collar flipped up. I think it was this last item that really irritated me the most. I realize that the preppy look is back, but jebus, take it easy already.

The worst part were his shorts. They were this weird navy blue pair that almost looked like swim trunks. Maybe Biff thought it'd be safe to throw those on, since he'd be sitting down and presumably out of the sight of most passer-bys. However, he failed to reckon on the bus, aka The Proletariat Chariot.

Just when I was thinking, "Man, those are dorky shorts," the guy two rows behind me opens up his window and shouts out, "Hey! NICE SHORTS!" Everyone in the front half of the bus started snickering, since he was just saying what we were all thinking. Even better: the light stayed red for what had to be an uncomfortable 30 more seconds, so people who'd missed the prepster's shorts got a chance to look out the window and laugh at him. As soon as the light changed, the BMW revved into high gear and zipped around the bus to prevent any future comments.

The big-mouth's girlfriend was laughingly chastizing him, saying that the BMW driver was going to be scarred by the people on the mean bus. The guy chuckles and says, "I couldn't help it. They were just so goofy-looking."

Residents of 16th Street, be warned. The Fashion Police are out there and not afraid to use ridicule in their pursuit of a well-dressed society.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Trouble in paradise?

* “Rumsfeld Says Guantánamo Isn't Being Considered For Closing,” New York Times, June 9, 2005


* “Guantanamo Bay Prison Could Close, Bush Hints,” Washington Post, June 9, 2005

God, I hope this means Rumsfeld's on the way out. I read in another article earlier this week of a tussle between Condoleeza Rice and the Pentagon over North Korea, where an unidentified defense official claimed that the United States was getting ready to dump the whole nuclear North Korea situation in the laps of the UN Security Council, and she came out, dukes up, responding that was "forward-leaning" and that "we still believe that there is life left in the six-party talks."

Given how much influence Rice is supposed to have over Bush, and the increasing distress the American public is (finally) showing over the morass in Iraq, maybe this means that Rumsfeld is returning to his position of the summer of 2001 as the administration's problem child.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

The crown jewel of the transport system

Washington Post has been running a fan-tas-tic four-part series on how terribly our metro is run. While WMATA officials have been screaming about a lack of funding, this series has pointed out the repeated management gaffes, poor acquisition decisions, and questionable spending priorities that's endemic to the metro. I mean, any system where only one of the board of governors actually uses the metro regularly has some serious issues to sort out.

I think the absolutely best paragraph, though, was the following. It was explaining how the surplus of radio operators were occupying their time:

"Some of those workers would hop into a Metro truck and head to Yum's Chinese restaurant, stopping to chat up the prostitutes who worked the streets nearby, the audit found. Others filled empty hours by sleeping in Metro vehicles or in backrooms, waking up in time to punch out."

Nice life, isn't it. How do I get me one of those jobs?

Called "Off the Rails," the series can be found here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/06/07/AR2005060700418.html.

I have one little anecdote to indicate how terrible this metro is. Last week, I was taking the Red line back from my dance class. The train stopped at Cleveland Park, opened its doors...AND MOVED FORWARD. I was under the impression that the trains physically could not move if their doors were open. Apparently not. Everyone in the train was staring at each other, mouths agape. The driver didn't even apologize or acknowledge the slight deviation from WMATA policy. The next stop was mine, so when the time came, I positioned myself by the door, not unlike a sprinter at the block. As *soon* as the doors opened, I sprung out, crossing my fingers that I wouldn't get caught by a moving train.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Shocked and outraged

One of the many good things about having the Washington Post as your hometown rag is that it offers not one, not two, but THREE pages of comics. Unlike other national papers who think their shit don't stink and that they're too good for comics (coughNYTimescough). Anyways, while there are several good ones, there are a few bad ones - seriously, who likes Prickly City?" - and quite a bit of mediocre ones. Up until last week, "Sally Forth" fell distinctly into the third category. With the latest storyline, however, I hope that Sally Forth rots in hell.

It started off with Sally thanking her 10-year-old, Hillary, for having cleaned out the kitty litter for the past five days. Hillary denies having done it and only then does Sally realize that there is something wrong with the cat (whose name is "Kitty." Don't get me started on that). How can you have an indoor cat and not realize that they haven't, er, produced anything for five freaking days? And what were they doing for the cat's food - just piling the kibble up in the dish, idly wondering where the cat was? Or did they assume that "someone else" was feeding the cat too?

Soon, the whole family is searching for Kitty, who is eventually found curled up in its own vomit in corner of the basement. Jesus Mary and Joseph, what kind of crap-tastic pet-owner doesn't realize that their CAT is MISSING for FIVE DAYS? I mean, I could see if you were out of town and the pet-sitter didn't see the cat or something. I have friends who have a big scaredy-cat who will hide under the bed every time I come over, even though he's lived with me for several months and has only been treated with love and respect. (I swear, G&T and ZFF!) So if someone else were taking care of him and didn't know to check under the bed, they might not realize that anything was wrong.

But the kitty litter should've given Sally Forth et al some clue. No matter what kind of dry spell your cat is going through, production-wise, I can gua-ran-tee that it will put *something* in that box over the course of five days.

Anyways, poor Kitty is rushed to the vet, where they find out that a $3400 operation is needed to unblock her colon or something. Will Kitty get the operation? Will Sally continue to be a heartless bitch? This being the comics, and not "For Better or For Worse," pets aren't allowed to die, so - spoiler - they decide to pay for the operation. They have to give up their trip to Paris to do so though. HA HA. Next time, pay attention to your cat so that it's not sick for five days before you seek medical care for it. And this is too little, too late, Sally Forth. You can't spend away your guilt for neglecting your pet. I fervently hope that Kitty has the operation, recovers completely, and then runs away to a family that appreciates her.

Now that I've blown my cover and shown myself to be a full-blown raving lunatic about cats, I feel I can share this website about pet restraints which has been making me laugh all day. Thanks, http://chezmiscarriage.blogs.com/. I can't decide which one is the best. I mean, the leather muzzle is pretty fantastic, but I'm enjoying figuring out how exactly someone came up with the dixie cup muzzle. http://www.vetmed.wsu.edu/ClientED/cat_restraint.asp

Monday, June 06, 2005

Dog days are here

Fuck the calendar, summer has officially arrived. Know how I'm sure? First, but certainly not the last, mosquito bites of the season. I was wearing a skirt and eating outdoors last night and lived to rue the consequences.

The thing that truly bites - haha - about mosquitoes is that there's no way of fending them off, outside of bathing in DEET or whatever the latest chemical that the FDA has approved. And some days, call me crazy, but I just don't feel like slathering myself in an additional carcinogen.
Those citronelle candles and coils sure as hell don't work; neither do those bug zappers. I should know, because I have tried the gamut of mosquito-repelling products.

The first year I lived in DC, I was one of six residents of what I fondly like to call "The House of Usher." I could tell many, many stories about that shithole, but the bile still threatens to choke me, so I'll leave it at this. My bedroom was on the third and top floor of a row house, which merrily collected heat all the live-long day. At night, the temperature would drop a whopping three degrees or so, making it hover around 90. That is not really conducive to good sleeping conditions, and yet our air-conditioner did not work. Alas, we also didn't have screens on our windows, giving us the following options: keep the doors closed and die of heat exhaustion, or open up everything possible with the hopes of getting some sort of draft and dealing with the mosquitoes. I chose the latter. As a result, I walked around with so many mosquito bites that more than one stranger physically recoiled from me, asking what sort of skin condition gave me that awful rash.

When the lease was finally up and I started looking for a new place to live, I briefly channeled Scarlett O'Hara as I made a fist and vowed that as god was my witness, I would never live without screens or air-conditioning again. And I haven't.

I think this post can be boiled down to one sentiment: yay air-conditioning!

Friday, June 03, 2005

Best. Lunch. EVAH

I just had the bestest lunch ever. A friend who works at the French embassy had extended a lunch invitation a while back, and at first, I was reluctant, because it's way the hell on the other side of DC and I'd have to cough up $20+ for a cab there and back. Then I realized, what was I thinking? Turn down some high caliber French food? Was I mad?

So I met up with her today. I'd been yapping away about this meal to all who would listen, and I was half-afraid that I'd built up too much anticipation and would be let down by reality, as usual. Not even close.

I started off with some sort of baked good that was stuffed with melted cheese, accompanied with a big plate of french fries. Oddly enough, they have ketchup available, something which I could never find when I lived in France (guess they do that for the barbarian Americans who swing by their cafeteria) and, even stranger, Tabasco sauce. I finished it off with a sponge cake that had been soaked in brandy and had whipped cream and fruit on top.

BTW: Such a difference between this cafeteria and, say, that of the U.S. embassy in Paris. That offered mostly half-cooked burgers, soggy fries, and sad-looking, wilted iceberg lettuce. Plus - true story - it sold consumer products that had been collecting dust in back rooms for decades. I used to drink Tabs there which had undoubtedly last seen the light of day during the Reagan administration. One of my fellow interns at the embassy turned 21 on a weekday. We figured we'd celebrate with a refreshing adult beverage at lunch. But the only alcohol they had available was some Colt 45s. Which we drank, mimicking Billy Dee Williams in the process (anyone else remember those old commercials?).

Anyways. Back to the GOOD embassy. After lunch, my friend accompanied me while I went visited their commissary. I got a bottle of 2001 Chateauneuf-du-Pape. I'm not sure if that's supposed to be a good year, because I don't really know much about wine, but even *I* had heard of the winery and it sounded like some right fancy liquor. Then, because it was buy one get one free, I procured two boxes of dark chocolate. Sigh. What a great way to end the week. I really want to bust into my bottle as soon as I get home, but I think that I'd better hold off for a special occasion. Like the arrival of a new DVD of "Futurama" from NetFlix.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Do Californians have accents?

I had thought that, as far as Americans go, I'm accent-free. According to G&T, Californians generally are accent-neutral. Of course, she claims that it's officially "northern Californians," but we all know her bias toward the lesser part of the state, so we will ignore that modifier.

Of late, however, I have had some lengthy phone conversations with a Texan who swears up and down that I sound like a Valley Girl. Technically, I grew up 40 miles southeast of the Valley, but I guess that was close enough to rub off. At first, I disputed his assertion, because come on, how dumb do Valley Girls sound? But every time I say "totally," "awesome," or - his favorite - "oh my god," which is far too often, it only builds up his case further. I need to do some major editing of my vocabulary.

There was one notable time when I apparently had a major accent. A few years back, a bunch of us were vacationing in Cornwall, England. Cornwall is chock-full of little beach towns that are former pirate coves. We were in one where we were debating the merit of going in yet another pirate museum. The eight of us spent about ten minutes in the museum lobby, quizzing the ticket seller about various aspects of the museum and generally conferring on who felt up for doing what. Eventually, we got all our ducks in a row and I was nominated to make the ticket purchases. I chatted with the ticket-seller a bit - she had been quite patient with all our earlier questions - and found her fairly friendly.

Until she asked us if we wanted brochures. I replied in the affirmative. She then asked, "Can you guys read English?" I about took a swing at her and her taking a piss at our colonial accents. Just because we don't speak the Queen's English doesn't mean Americans' language skills are sub-par.

But I did restrain myself - didn't want to be another ugly American - and told her, rather coldly, that yes, we were capable of reading English. She looked rather surprised at my marked change in attitude and said, "Well, I just wasn't sure. I mean, you guys are Dutch, right?"

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Choke on it, Washington Times

Every newspaper I've seen today has had the same headline blaring on its front page: some variation of "Deep Throat Unmasked."

Except for the Washington Times. Totally didn't see it on their front page, so I went to their website. It's there...if you scroll down the length of two computer screens. They apparently thought that Bush's denial about torture at Guantanamo was much more important than the revealing of a source that helped bring down a president.

And people think that the Washington Times is a legitimate paper why exactly?