Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Times Square, Red Stairs

New York. Springtime. The Fleet's in, note all the cute sailor boys all over town. And fresh new features.
Times Square has erected a 27-step program of glowing ruby stairs over the TKTS Discount ticket booth on 47th Street. And the traffic has been rerouted to the chagrin of taxi drivers. A true people-platz now, enabling one to safely gaze transfixed at the surrounding electrified canyons. Hazards have been transferred from automobiles to cameraphone wielding tourists.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Cannes Film Fest

The circus known as the Cannes Film Festival is all about greasing the wheels of the cinema industry. Players from around the globe, meet, greet, view, negotiate, buy (hopefully), discuss behind closed doors or at lunches/dinners, on the beach, cafes, hotels.
But most evident are the armies of photographers dispatched to this seaside resort, entrusted with getting the shot.
Of what?
Stars of course. The studio gold is the celeb, buffed, fluffed and wheeled up to select locations where screaming (Mariah!!!! Over here!!!!) shooters jockey for the shot.
Ladders are key. And valuable. Note the pre-dawn ladders locked and ready for the next day's red carpet photo op.
Yes they all belong to someone and no, don't even think about moving someone's ladder.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Check Out Check In

Not actually a hotel lobby, but a grand space indeed, Zurich Airport, Terminal 5 offers a soaring light-filled space. Shopping. Chocolates. Watches. Hugo Boss. Chocolates. Elegant, calm, sleek. Oddly unpopulated. Nice airport.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Check Out Check In

Welcome COCI, a new feature on my blog, as I travel and enter countless hotel lobbies.
Hotel lobby.
This area of first impression is becoming more distinct than ever. A grand entrance. A sweeping view. An embodiment of the style/vibe of the place, as it tries to distinguish itself from all the other lodging options. Elegant. Old world. Hipper than the others. Lobbies mesh a variety of elements to create impact. Soaring ceiling. Dazzling lighting. Groovy bars and gathering nooks. Signature scented candles.
In fact, this is now a subject of study, complete with it's own unique measurement system to evaluate specific atmospheric elements.
Witness New York's Hudson. Working with a non-discript red brick residential building, designer Philippe Starck created, not a room, but an experience. The scale and flowing foreigners gives it an airport feel. But tongue in cheek.
"The surreal design of the medium lobby has a unique mix of avant-garde. It's filled with brick masonry, dark wood, a 45 ft carved oak desk with a huge hologram lit classical chandelier and a tangle of vines fronting a 30-ft high vine-fronted glass roof. Nearby, French doors lead to a wonderful terrace beckoning with plantings, oversized furniture, and tongue-in-cheek sculpture and a bar (in season). The hotel's decor is captivating with it's color infused escalator."

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

More Obama Food!!!!

Egads, am I onto something here?

Surely yes, because Gothamist is running this stuff as well. NYC sharpies are out catching tributes to the 44th left and right.
Obama Fried Chicken and Pizza (they don't fry the pizza, it's just a welcome mat to comfort food) is a re-branded fried chicken place on St. Nicholas just south of 116th Street, uptown.

Not even sure if this is legal, let alone ethical, but don't we love the tribute vibe?

So yes, you are on board, and hungry, so why not go takeout from Obama Fried Chicken (and pizza),
And wash it down with a bottle of Obama Cuvee?

French winemaker Angela Bousquet-Keita, who hails originally from Guinea in Africa, has created a vintage wine to celebrate the election of the first African-American to the White House.

Der Spiegel tells us about a visionary female vinter based in France:

Bousquet-Keita, who believes she is the only black female winemaker in the entire country, described how she felt a "moment of ecstasy" when Obama won the election. "It was the advent of a world that I had always dreamed of for my children," she told the French daily Le Monde.

Too cool!

"While she intends to charge a steep €150 ($198) for three bottles of the wine, Bousquet-Keita says all the profits will go to an NGO working in the Darfur region of Sudan. That gesture was inspired by the fact that she has employed refugees from Darfur to work in her vineyard for the past few years.
She hopes to be able to present the president with a bottle personally when he visits France in June. Made from three different grapes, she says the wine should improve with age:
"It will be much better when served during his second term."

Second term....people, start those plots of Obama greens right about NOW!

More Obama Food

I know, I was "away from my desk" for a while.
Don't ask, I will someday tell.

But, back to our Obama food theme. (themes are good, right?)
Look, a food cart spotted in NYC.

The owner (and former cook at the Russian Tea Room) Muhammed Rahman said this about the name.
"I just wanted to come up with something new… a new name, and I feel like it would be an attraction. He is the President of America. Also, he is a good person and I really like him, but don’t know how to say it.
I want to say nice things, but don’t know the words."

I know, I too am confused about the Irish thing but as the kids say, "roll with it."

Monday, March 16, 2009

Obama Serves His Term/ We Serve Dinner

As Obama continues to save the world, his latest target being lax food and drug safety regulations, the tributes in the form of comestibles continue to pour in.

From Germany, we now hear of Obama Fingers, "tender, juicy pieces of chicken breast, coated and fried," with a curry sauce.

Before anyone gets all upset about the reference to actual digits, realize that this might just be a marketing device.

The word "fingers" in the name refers to the fact that it is a finger food. "It's like hotdogs," said Judith Witting, sales manager for Sprehe, the company that makes all manner of frozen foods.

"No one would ever think they are actually from dogs."
Right. We know we aren't actually eating dogs.
Like some people.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Obama Beer

It seems that there is a real fascination with Obama/food.
MSNBC lists some foodies riding the Obama tide.

"D.C. home brewer Sam Chapple-Sokol was inspired to brew a special "InaugurAle" for the occasion called The Audacity of Hops. He asked his father to roast him a special blend of coffee, with beans from Hawaii, Indonesia and Kenya. He then combined the coffee ingredients with Victory malt and Liberty hops."

Gotta love the name.

But months after the Inauguration, and all the tribute treats that were created in his honor, we still find Obama food items.

Obama Snacks

So I detect a theme here, Obama imagery in food, from around the world.
These tasty snacks hail from Indonesia.

Anyone know of any other items?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Show Me The Money

Or not. Which bank can be trusted these days?
People are starting to stow their hard earned cash under the proverbial mattress.
Or in other unlikely household crannies.
"Online retailer Keeping Women Safe has seen a 15 percent jump in sales of its "diversion safes" -- money hideaways disguised to look like everyday household products. Paint buckets and soda cans are the site's bestselling items, said owner Ted Kollins."
According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, there are options other than Stanford International Bank.

Keeping Women Safe has a range of false-bottom, household itemy things, but good luck getting your hands on any.
The water bottle? Out of stock.
The carpet cleaner? Ditto.
The Coke Bottle? Forget about it.
Panic. According to the site,
Most burglars spend less than six minutes inside a victim's home and only have time to check the most obvious places for valuables. These unique "safes" allow you to hide valuables inside common household products - one of the last places a thief would think to look. According to the Chicago Police these units are better than a locked safe and a thousand times cheaper.

Oh wait, there are still Pringles Cans for $16.96 plus shipping.
Pedigree Dog Food cans are available too. Just make sure you have a dog.
Arizona Iced Tea cans. Cheers. Looks just like the real thing.
Hey wait a minute, can't we just make these "safes" ourselves? Rinse out a used household item and stash our goodies inside? Why not? It would save money.
And that's the whole idea.

Obama Sushi!

Too cute!

Monday, February 16, 2009


New words for new times. A year ago, no one would have heard of these tags. Now, thanks to journalism and the viral (good kind) nature of life, we have:

Catvertising...Warner Brothers unleashed a slew of logo-clad black cats in London on Friday the 13th, timed to alert the public of the release of game, F.E.A.R. 2:Project Origin. Black cat, Friday the 13th, get it?

Note: not to be confused with other forms of catvertising, the increasingly popular kitten cams, which are ridiculously cute time sucks. They do include ads for insurance, plumbing, and other unrelated products and services, but fortunately, no branded cat blankets (yet).

Octa-Mom, the now famous Nadya Suleman, who recently gave birth to eight children. At once. And she already had six.
Tongues are wagging, and blogs are blabbing because the unemployed, unwed mother sought in vitro fertilization. Media darling or target of abstemious, thrifty, tree-huggers?
In any case, the media is lapping this stuff up. And I guess we are too.

Car Czar...fun to say, but now we don't get one. Obama has chosen to appoint a task force to restructure the struggling U.S. auto industry. Instead of one sole individual. Auto-crat. Moto-mogul. Nope, car czar wins.

Overshare. What one does on Twitter or Facebook when lacking self-edit instincts.
Example, "I think I'll have another cup of coffee, feeling tired this morning."
Also, F2F version, TMI (too much information). Ever find yourself listening to someone's views on religion, politics, sex, money, their medical history, or other musings more appropriate for a therapist? Do they not notice your lack of participation in the "conversation?"
Can we invent a hand signal that says TMI?

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Valentine's Day Contest

What do you regard as a potent sign of love that has flowed outwards?

We're talking valentine's day cards, birthday cards, condolence cards, poems, emails, Twitters, random posts, love notes, whatever counts as expression of love.

We've all shared. Over-shared.
Share here, if you dare. We keep it all on the low down.
Give us words, sayings, tickles, purrs.

Keep it anonymous. Keep it clean. Keep it coming.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Sundance....Star Watch

Everywhere, people are star sighting. Yes some people go to view film (more on that later) and some people seem to shop, and eat, and do the sort of things one does in a picturesque mountoun town. But there seems to be a lot of "oh look, who is that" going on.
I shot this while strolling Main, which throbs with "events" and people toting recently claimed swag bags. I saw several clusters of big cameras and crowds focused on individuals. But I couldn't tell you who the individuals were. Sorry, my career as a celeb reporter obviously ends right about now, but I wasn't alone in this mystery. People were asking me "who's that?"
I think the guy above "does soaps." Yeah him, the one in the middle in the black.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Sundance Edition...Come See My Movie

So I am here in Park City, Sundance Film Fest where people come to see stories on film, show their stories. Some people also come to star sight but that's another story.
Right now, its all about figuring out what you want to see, catching buzz, throwing buzz (posters, postcards, schwag, costumed beings) , planning ticketing to film, parties.
Robin-egg blue sky, some people actually seem to be skiing, but mostly strolling through the choked main drag, aptly named Main Street, and looking for thuggish men with wires in their ear at guard outside venues like bars, galleries, shops, all comandeered to host Parties!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Mind Your Manners

So we always taught our kids to be kind, patient, considerate of others. But not everyone does that.
And this great NYTimes piece by pediatrician, Perri Klass, M.D. sorts it out in a great way.
As a doctor, Klass views social skills right up there with the three R's. Reading, (w)riting, rethmetic.
Rude is not good.
Parents, your job is to help prepare a being for their future. In social skills along with everything else. Or they can't function in society.
The good doctor says:

"One of the long-term consequences of being a rude child is being a rude adult — even a rude doctor. There are bullies on the playground and bullies in the workplace; it can be quite disconcerting to encounter a mature adult with 20 or so years of education under his belt who still sees the world only in terms of his own wants, needs and emotions: I want that so give it to me; I am angry so I need to hit; I am wounded so I must howl."

Not OK.
It really seems to be a disservice to allow bad behavior.
Who to guide us?
As a model, the Miss Manners serves.

"I like Miss Manners’ approach because it lets a parent respect a child’s intellectual and emotional privacy: I’m not telling you to like your teacher; I’m telling you to treat her with courtesy. I’m not telling you that you can’t hate Tommy; I’m telling you that you can’t hit Tommy. Your feelings are your own private business; your behavior is public."

Not always easy. The little people have a way with getting their way. But that's how we, as a community work. With each other. Manners.

"But that first big counterintuitive lesson — that there are other people out there whose feelings must be considered — affects a child’s most basic moral development. For a child, as for an adult, manners represent a strategy for getting along in life, but also a successful intellectual engagement with the business of being human."
Good business that human stuff.

I Knew It!

Seems like the New York power monopoly, Con Edison, is not so cool. This historic, enormous, complex electric power system is corrupt.
Makes you wonder about all those weird, off hour, overwhelming, underground projects that brazenly take over the city. Citizens as slaves. To who?
Today, 11 Con Ed supervisors were arrested on charges of kickbacks. Released on $100,000 bonds, the defendants had demanded bribes from a construction company, to approve invoices for work that was unnecessary or never performed.
Not just money. Sunglasses. A watch. A Blackberry curve phone. And Giants-Dallas game tickets.
And one of these guys even shows up in court today with a Giants jacket on!
"Mr. Fassacesia, who received four tickets to the Nov. 2 Giants-Cowboys game, appeared in court wearing a New York Giants jacket."

“These defendants used their positions at Con Ed to line their own pockets at the expense of utility customers and the residents of the New York City metropolitan area,” Benton J. Campbell, the United States attorney in Brooklyn, said in a statement.

That's for sure.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Skimming, lighter than air

So lovely to view the young before they have been (mis) directed. My nephew Simon, who has the breathe of Terpsichore in him, just loves to move, and sing, and play with sounds, and rhythms, and body sensations as he floats through the universe. We love to watch.

We also wonder, after viewing ancient beauty at the Met, if maybe others have felt the breathe of Terpsichore. What cherubic beings float through space and play with the feeling of their bodies defined by Earth's gravity.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Dream Team

As Barak Obama assembles his cast and crew for the next term, there are some odd, yet refreshing choices. All is subject to vetting and blessing, which will happen this week, but what a fun bunch of new friends to land in D.C.

We hear that 39-year-old, medical journalist, Dr. Sanjay Gupta is being recruited to the esteemed U.S. Surgeon General post. Great news. Smart guy. Let's hope he isn't on the pharma-dole.

And Leon Panetta might get the CIA head gig. Lot's of grumbling about his lack of experience but this anti-torture, long-term insider has the right stuff. Some people are explaining why this is a well measured, sound choice.

From CNN's site:
"Robert Baer wrote a piece in Time magazine praising the nomination. Baer, who had a storied career with the CIA as an operative in the Middle East for decades, is popularly known for having inspired the film "Syriana," which is based on his book "See No Evil."

The CIA could use Panetta to "hold off the Senate and House intelligence committees, which are gearing up to rip into the CIA for the last eight years of renditions, secret prisons and bad intelligence on Iraq," Baer wrote.

'Mistakes aside, the last thing the CIA needs is another round of overly intrusive congressional hearings like those that so badly damaged it in the '70s. If today's Congress were to deliver a coup de grace to the CIA, the Pentagon would effectively be the nation's only intelligence agency.'

Most relevant for Panetta's possible new job is that he has been a vocal critic of the agency's interrogation techniques, which Obama decried as torture during the presidential campaign."

Hilda Solis, is being considered for Labor Secretary. She's the daughter of a union shop steward from Mexico and an assembly line worker from Nicaragua. She served in the California state legislature before she was elected to the U.S. Congress in 2000.

Lisa Jackson is a strong choice for EPA chief. She’s a trained scientist, and spent 15 years working at the US EPA before heading to the Garden State, focusing on hazardous-waste cleanup and enforcement, and knows the Agency’s culture and jargon inside out.

Time outlines Eric Shinseki, Obama's pick for Secretary of Veterans Affairs.

After his December 7th nomination as President-elect Barack Obama's Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Retired Army Gen. Eric Shinseki became living proof that one President's trash can be another President's treasure. The decorated veteran is most remembered for his controversial role as Army Chief of Staff in the Bush Administration. His testimony in front of the Senate Armed Services Committee regarding the need for several hundred thousand troops in Iraq was challenged and dismissed as "wildly off the mark" by the Department of Defense. Spoiler alert: Shinseki ended up being right, but his public dissent of the Administration's estimate irreparably strained his relationship with his superiors. He unceremoniously retired in June 2003.

There are a few more:

Hillary Clinton, for Secretary of State. Watch that closely this week.

Eric Holder
, Attorney General, putting the veteran Washington lawyer is in place to become the first African-American to head the Justice Department.

Lawrence H. Summers
, former chief economist at the World Bank and the president of Harvard University from 2001 to 2006 Treasury Secretary.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

She's Back!

Sorry, I haven't been swept away by a Tsunami or plague, or recession. Just on the road with spotty connections and new focuses and so I left MomBlog for a minute.

Sorry to those who missed me.

And yes, it is official, we are undergoing something called a recession. According to Wikipedia, that means a reduction of a country's gross domestic product (GDP) for at least two quarters. So that's like, what, half a year?

There are many stories around, but we can't help but notice the mortgage industry, that falsely bolstered a sense of wealth throughout the kingdom.
The Wall Street Journal runs a story about a little blue shack's sale that illustrates the delusion, predation and false hope that ran through this period called "my house is worth something."

Little town, big dreams.

"Four decades ago, when she bought the West Hopi Street house for $3,500, Avondale was a small town built around cotton farms. From 2000 to 2005, the heart of the housing boom, it doubled in size to 70,000 residents.

Today, one in nine Avondale houses is in foreclosure or close to it.

Her lender, Integrity, was one of a flurry of small mortgage firms that sprang up nationwide during the boom, using loans from big banks to generate mortgages to resell to larger financial institutions. Whereas traditional mortgage lenders profit by collecting borrowers' monthly payments, Integrity made its money on fees and commissions.

The company was owned by Barry Rybicki, 37, a former loan officer who started it in 2003. Of the boom years, he says: "If you had a pulse, you were getting a loan."

When an Integrity telemarketer called Ms. Halterman in 2006, she was cash-strapped, owing $36,605 on a home-equity loan. The firm helped her get a $75,500 credit line from another lender.

Ms. Halterman used it to pay off her pickup, among other things. But soon she was struggling again.

In early 2007, she asked Integrity for help, Mr. Rybicki's records show. This time, Integrity itself provided a $103,000, 30-year mortgage. It had an adjustable rate that started at 9.25% and was capped at 15.25%, according to loan documents.

It was one of 197 loans Integrity originated last year, totaling almost $47 million.

For a $350 fee, an appraiser hired by Integrity, Michael T. Asher, valued the house at $132,000. Mr. Asher says although he didn't personally believe the house was worth that much, he followed standard procedures and found like-sized homes nearby that had sold in that price range in 2006."

Yeah right. "Integrity."
We all have heard similar tales.
So the banks lent money, not really supported by value.
Now we all feel something crunchy.

Let's hope that we can dance away from this, with the grace of a four-year-old.
Innocent. Hopeful. Alighting on dreams that do exist, just not in fashion right now.