Archive for the ‘It burns when America pees’ Category

How AG Spent Summer Vacation II

August 22, 2006

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Last week, UC and AG went ‘home’ to Ontario. The journey began in Buffalo, NY. First and foremost, never never give Budget Rental Car any of your money. Not even one shiny new penny. The discriminate against foreigners. They will claim that Canadians have to complete a form, which they conveniently do not have, to rent a car in the United States. Many have analogous policies, but Budget actually enforces it.

Cautionary tales aside, a quick drive brought us to Niagara Falls, NY. Begin with a walk along the roaring rapids that give birth to the waterfalls. A beautiful park adorns the rapids that is a picturesque setting for a picnic or romantic stroll. One of the few tourist attractions will please children and adults alike is the historic Maid of the Mist. Enter the boat from the less crowded US side for a more intimate and quieter ride. A sparsely narrated tour takes you into the heart of Horseshoe Falls, which is a crowd pleasing misty delight for the eyes and soul. The photographs you are afforded make up for the lack of student or AAA rates at the ticket booth.

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Next, it was on to wine country. Many, especially Americans, are unfamiliar with ice wines and the Niagara wine region. Ice wine grapes are harvested in the winter when ice particles clothe the ripe grapes. They make for a sweet dessert wine that is a warm welcome to any dinner table. Having never been to Sonoma, contrast and comparisons are not available. Nevertheless, the wines are exquisite and suggest completion to the wine regions of the United States. We began our journey at Harbor Estates. While it is one of the least pretentious of the wineries it is one of the most rewarding tucked into a quiet corner of Jordan, ON. It’s not about the presentation here with Rieslings so divine and red wines that satisfy both the red connoisseur and the white admirers’ advanced palate. They create aperitifs like they have got no right. The barista will spend more time discussing what makes the wine unique than assisting you with a purchase. It really is about the love of the wine at this hidden gem. Equally respectable is the willingness of the team to recommend local business upon your departure. Less than 100 feet is a family owned farm stand. White peaches are in season and you can sample them before you purchase. When Greg Allman suggests eating a peach, this is what he actually meant. Two days later, they were like candy and butter birthday gifts to the salivary glands. We chased some asphalt further along Jordan Road to the Upper Canada Cheese Company. You haven’t lived until you have spread cheese that spreads like butter and tastes like ecstasy on the tongue. $18.00 is worth a trip to heaven for the mouth.

We enjoyed one of the most romantic dinners, second only to our dinner last year at One if By Land and Two if by Sea, at the Inn on the Twenty. Don’t waste precious time sampling their overrated and overpriced wines in the tasting room. Head directly to the dining room and share a dinner and appetizer. Antagonize yourself with the fruit and crepes for dessert. Your stomach and credit card company will thank you clearly and dearly.

Onward to Muskoka brings us to our main destination. We arrived at the cottage in the late evening. The ride was pleasant given cottage country traffic can be excruciating in the summer months. Sadly, chains have moved onto the waterfront. Luckily the cottage remains desolate and ensconced in nature and the bucolic countryside that this vast land has been blessed with. The cottage has undergone renovations aimed to please from the shoe closet to the marble countertops to the addition of the new kayak. We had our own room in the basement that was aglow with amber colors from the bonfire the neighborhood kids and family teenagers started. UC missed out on his marshmallow but traded it for snuggling with AG. Next year, we’ll have to get in on the marshmallow action and be less in enthralled with each other. Yeah right!

We spent the weekend with UC’s family. There were awkward moments when AG showed her WASP-y side trying to shake hands with U.B. who insisted a hug and kiss were in order and discussions of birth control practices with the youngest Canadian. There were also tender moments with Dad Canadian in the paddle boat and party island with the Jewish camp song boys. Canoeing on tranquil Loon Lake on Monday morning encapsulated in the sound of the paddles in the water was the piece de resistance. We even had Dan the question mark and his professional water skiing show for free. It was an REI moment that pictures cannot do justice.

We headed for ‘the States’ several days later stopping briefly in the quaint village of Niagara-on-the Lake. Unfortunately the rain showers did not put out the welcome mat and we headed onto the Canadian side of the falls without much of a visit. Don’t worry, UC did manage to purchase some fudge before we exited center right. The fog also showed no mercy for our desires to see more of the falls. A quick stop at Swiss Chalet proved worth its weight in gold. If you are ever in Niagara Falls, you must go to Swiss Chalet and thank “Dan-the-Directions-man”. He totally connected us with the best route. The Peace Bridge was stellar advice. It was the first time in nearly 11 years that UC wasn’t stripped search for cocaine in his bum at a border crossing because after all, he’s a foreigner and certain folks would have you believe everyone just wants to live in the United Fucked-up States. Afterall, it’s got good simmered leadership and baked-in intelligence in folks like Sean S. and his ass pirate, Stevie.

They say you cannot take it with you when you’re gone. The great land of Canada suggests otherwise. Canada – now, that’s good country!™

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Seriously?

August 16, 2006

Tucker Carlson is going to be on Dancing with the Stars?  I wonder if he’ll be wearing his red bow tie?  And I hope that he goes home before Jerry Springer.  Jerry!  Jerry!  Jerry!

Movies: WTC

August 7, 2006

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I went to see Oliver Stone’s World Trade Center last night with a friend. We wanted to get together and escape the heat and the sneak preview was a means by which to achieve our goal. The theatre was crowded with a mix of gender and age. I personally had not planned to see the movie. I vowed not to enable Hollywood to profit from the loss of over 2500 lives on American soil. We got in for free, so we were elated to go and see what Stone would do with this movie.

We step back five years to the pain, the suffering and the heroes that emerged. It’s a story of loss, love and the heroes, such as a Marine who went to NYC after learning of the event to do right by his country. That was of interest to me because he was from Wilton, CT. I know Wilton all too well, having friends and dated someone from there. The movie was less than impressive for me. Perhaps because New York is home as a former Columbia Presbyterian capital campaign, as a young queasy school child looking down on mini cars that would beome ‘Ground Zero’ years later, bonding at Lincoln Center before our lives changed forever or because they were lives too soon, too quick, too unjust in a city that gave me life and hope when there was none. I have a hard time chewing and swallowing down what happened to home. Nevertheless, the story of courage, though not as carefully depicted as other Stone films, was an endearing tale of the recovery of number 18 and 19 of the 20 New York City police officers who were hurt and pulled out alive in the line of duty on September 11th at the Trade Center.

What I did come away with last night was a new respect for the men and women in uniforms and some insight from the future leaders of America. There was a group of young African American females and one male in front of us. The movie aired news clips of the morning of the tragedy. Dum Dum was in one clip talking about how “Someone will pay.” One of the young women snickered and leaned over to another and replied “Oh yeah. We are the ones who are paying. We’ve paid and will continue to do so.” What’s wrong with a country when a woman of no more than 20 years strong gets it and the administration and half the public does not?

Blogging for Peace

July 3, 2006

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We got a tip from Blue Girl’s site about Glenda’s and Co.’s idea to blog for peace this fourth of July weekend.

It started this morning as I was leaving the Kenmore Square area of Boston and a truck pulled in front of me. The bumper sticker on it read, “Like it or not, saving your ass” It had a picture of George Bush. It got me to thinking. I wondered what GWB is saving my ass from? (Nice language by the way). From higher taxes and gas prices or my children’s debt for his selfish war? Where was he to save New Yorkers when family couldn’t be found when the planes went through the towers or when our friends to the south were in turmoil from Katrina? Or when people don’t have enough to eat? Certainly not saving anyone’s tuckus here.

What about peace? Shouldn’t everyone support peace? Peace and freedom to live our lives in a safe and free manner is a reasonable desire. AG supports the end of the Iraq war, peace in the Middle East, an end to cycles of conflict in Northern Ireland, fair treatment of people and so on and so on. AG supports expecting better of oneself rather than others. AG supports leading by doing. AG also supports leading and letting the leaders follow. Given such, AG supports peace and the resolution of nations against each other in a peaceful, effective and immediate manner.

Let freedom ring this fourth of July!

{what a rush!}

June 27, 2006

I was going to make fun of ol’ “Pills” Limbaugh for this, but…well…there’s really nothing I could add that’s funnier than Rush + Viagra. It’s the perfect self-caricature of angry, red-faced white conservative blowhards!

Real Value of the Minimum Wage

June 22, 2006

 Here’s the real (inflation adjusted) value of the minimum wage (that won’t be raised by our do-nothing Congress) over time:

Here’s how far below the already-ludicrous Federal Poverty Line you are if you’re making minimum wage:

Thanks, Congress!  You’re the BEST!

And now, for some secular chumploafs!

June 21, 2006

We interrupt our live coverage of the Bishops of the Episcopal Church making asses of themselves in order to bring you….

The members of the Unites States Congress making asses of themselves! 

TWICE! 

I actually got a raise last year.  A pretty nice one, too.  Unfortunately, our company health insurance premiums went up so much that the Board of Directors put a cap on health care costs and we now have to pay the difference out of pocket.  It worked out rather neatly that the per-paycheck deduction is about the same as the per-paycheck increase I’d gotten from my raise.  So my pay stayed level, and with inflation, I’m actually making less!  And I’m a technology professional and a salaried manager.

And what about our brave congresscritters?  They themselves have seen over $35,000 in pay increases since the last time they raised the minimum wage in 1997.  Did I mention that their healthcare is free?

I can’t find the quote online, but NPR had one Republican congresstroll actually saying — into a microphone!! — that people should get better, non-minimum-wage jobs.  Stupid poor people, CHOOSING low wage jobs!  Get with the program, losers!
Though I promised a thoroughly secular post, one does have to wonder:  WWJD?

A Parable for Our Times from T3h Ed1t0rz

June 9, 2006

Far away, in the magical country of Epistomolia, there live two peoples. One people, called the Seers, believed that Truth is, that to know Truth requires Knowledge, and Knowledge is gained from observation, and from the application of reason. The Truth is the Truth is pretty much the Truth, the Seers believed, and the only trick was knowing how to see it. These people are, in many ways, much like you and me.

The other people, the Makers, believed that a tribe can create knowledge through the incantation of belief, and, either by overwhelming withvolume or harmonizing with the incantations of other tribes, truth becomes. When choosing to harmonize, ancient custom dictates that for something given, something must also be taken away, for the exchange must be fair – always “a lie for a lie, and a truth for a truth” as their ancient saying goes. At first blush this might seem a more generous way of that of the Seers, and in many ways it was. But the deals the Makers made were not meant to last – after you had agreed to meet them half-way, it wasn’t long before they came back a bit stronger and declared you had to meet them half-way to half-way, and then half-way to that, and so on until, after a while, it always seemed like one tribe had exactly what it wanted, and the other tribe had nothing. These people are, in many ways, much like certain people who shall remain nameless.

Please go read the rest.  It’s hilarious, and yet possibly the most concise possible guide to our current political and cultural state of affairs.

Broadway Across America

May 31, 2006

Broadway Across America at first glance seems like a stellar organization.  If you love the theatre like UC and AG do, you might be cajoled into becoming a season ticket holder.  Who doesn’t love some great shows at a reduced cost, right? It’s a good thing though, AG reads the fine print. 

On a flyer handed out this past weekend at one of their sponsored events the membership promotional material read, “Broadway Across America provides entertainment to affluent and highly educated audiences.” Apparently, unlike wonderful organizations like Arts Boston,  a non profit discount theatre ticket program, only the well educated elite should attend any Broadway Across America events.

You are encouraged to follow in AG’s footsteps by writing sponsors of the program, such as Jet Blue, Hilton Hotels and Lexus to let them know that you, nor should they, do not support the elitist agenda that this organization wishes to pursue.  Unlike what the cobags in Washington try to tell you, art and culture is still for all people across America.  Programs sponsored by the New York City and Boston Ballet that promote dance instruction and attendance at shows for inner city children are appreciated.  Perhaps a little less sponsorship for Broadway Across the Rich and a little more establishing relationships that encourage children to be supporters of the arts for life will prove more effective.  Broadway Across America and Ticketmaster, the evil of the music world, need a serious take down.  A letter writing campaign can give them what they need.   At the very least, call them a cobag to their faces.

My mind: blown directly out my ass.

May 24, 2006

AGGGGGHHH!!

The current Bush administration has also accorded legitimacy to the cult leader. Under the Bush administration’s faith-based initiatives, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services gave a $475,280 grant to fund Free Teens USA, a Moonie-run after-school celibacy club that recruits people into the cult. (Quick note: on the issue of nonmarital sex, the former womb-blesser is now a sadistic puritan: “If your love organ,” Moon once told his male followers, “does not listen to your conscience, then you should cut off the tip [with pliers].”)