Monday, June 29, 2009

They Drop Like Flies

Attention, all famous people: knock it off with the dying, why don't you?
Last week began with the transition of Ed McMahon. I'd hoped that a special, or even a few more clips of his work with and without Johnny Carson of the "Tonight Show" would have been shown. If thirty years as sidekick doesn't make you an icon, please tell me what does. He was in his eighties and his health had been failing for some time. No real surprise, just a little sadness.
Tuesday, John Callaway, founder and former host of WTTW's "Chicago Tonight" and current host of "Friday Night Show," died suddenly of a heart attack at 72. He had the gift of being confrontive about tough issues without being combative and putting guests at ease to the point where it felt as if they'd invited the viewers to join them for cappuccinos.
We had a break on Wednesday, and the breathing space was good. Thursday? Not so much. First around lunchtime in my area came the news that Farrah Fawcett had quietly slipped off to where she needed to be, seen off by her longtime love Ryan O'Neil and best friend Alanna Stewart. Bittersweet, but expected.
Late that afternoon came the bombshell: Michael Jackson had died, no, he was in a coma, no, oops, he's really dead from an appearant heart attack. The intrigue and updates continue.
Yesterday came word that Billy May, a high octaine spokesperson for Oxi-Clean crossed the void. Now we open this Monday with the news that Las Vegas comic and frequent gameshow guest Fred Travelena has passed on due to cancer.
And, oh yeah, in case you're interested, Bernie Madoff got 150 years for his Ponzi scheme, the government in Iran has offered a partial recount to placte the populace, the US is set to launch a test missle from someplace on the Pacific coast, the US will start standing down in Iraq tomorrow, and I'm going to go plug in a Loreena McKennett CD and make tea before my head explodes

Thursday, June 25, 2009


In this corner, we have the current Iranian regime against the voters who have had enough and are saying so in no uncertain terms. In the other corner, we have the dictator of North Korea threatening the US with actions allegedly planned for the Fourth of July.
Please direct your attention to the middle. We have disgraced Gov. Mark Sanford (R-SC), just back from a visit to his mistress in Buenos Ares, Argentina. So much more colorful than taking off on the Appalacian Trail, where he told staffers he'd be hiking for a few days to clear his head.
We have annoyed staffers who threw him to the journalistic lions in the hall of the capitol building, much to the amusement of the tourists.
I wish that I could be grown up about this. I wish that I could take a stance of compassion. Poor guy. Here he is, no time to prepare a statement. His wife bucked the tradition of the long-suffering political spouse standing by his side at the confessional press conference.
But I can't. Between him yelling loudly for Clinton's resignation during the Lewinsky scandal and the violation of trust of the voters, I just can't.

Monday, June 22, 2009

The Whole World Is Watching: A Note to the Demonstrators in Iran

Dear Ones,

Images pouring out of Tehran have held our attention for the last ten or so days since the election. We see parallells with the the social changes brought about during the 1960's. The ones in the southern US grew ugly and violent, too. Women standing up to be counted as full persons in their own right were arrested. Students demonstrated outside the 1968 Democratic Convention, and when the police began the crackdown on a peaceful demonstration, they began to chant, "The whole world is watching!"

We are watching. We will not forget. Be assured of that, and we are praying to the One Who Is for your safety and strength.

Mas saalam, Fran

Friday, June 19, 2009

We Have Met the Enemy and She is Us

Walt Kelly's "Pogo" originally said something to the the title's effect. As I did my share of damage to the remote in search of weather this morning, "Good Morning America" caught my eye.
The reporter who filed the feature is tall, slender, elegant. She crafted a story on the allure of stilleto heels and a workshop offered in New York about how to walk in them. Like any mortal, she caught her heels on sidewalk cracks, in sewer grates, throwing herself off balance here and there, but continuing to wear them anyway.
I conceed that they do enhance the look of one's legs, but at what cost? At thirteen, I wore my first pair with any height at all. A month in a cast put me off anything higher than, oh, let's say my Birkenstocks. Some of the women in the feature sported bunions, a common result of wearing the shoe equivilant of skyscrapers. No.
Why do we forget the law of supply and demand? If we keep buying them, and try to convince each other we can't be cool without them, they'll just keep making them. We also need to remember that the men who are truly worth our time would never ask us to potentially harm ourselves in the name of vanity, and we should not ask that of ourselves, either.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Let Only Good Come Of This

I wish I didn't remember the scenes of Tianamen Square so vivdly. We were returning from vacation, and the first tv news we saw covered the military crackdown on the protesters who'd taken up camp there.
I wish I could watch the scenes from Tehran without that floating to my memory's surface. Last week, they had what passed for a presidential election. The incumbant, Mamood Ahdminijad(sp?) had been declared winner despite exit polls to the contrary. Since this weekend, daily footage of protests, peaceful and otherwise, have had their thirty to sixty seconds on US network news outlets. International coverage from the BBC and France 24 has been more in-depth.
I wish that only good comes of this situation. Truth always comes out; it just sometimes takes longer than on would want. The good may have to come in the form of external pressure, or it may have to come in the form of internal reforms. So far, there have been reports of eight deaths in skirmishes with police. May only good come of them.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Unconscious Consumer

I watched about five minutes of "Oprah" this morning. That was all I could take before whacking the tube with a pillow or worse.
Her guests, a family of five, habitually kept the heat at 82 degrees, spent $200 a crack on groceries mostly consisting of junk food and threw half of it out, left the computer and tv on whether anyone was watching it or not. More disturbing was the daughter who deliberately damaged the tv in her room because she wanted a new one and Daddy wouldn't buy it for her. Mom spent a lot of time on line shopping. The kids refused to eat her cooking, prefering fast food.
The family had conscented to participate in an experiment: for one week, with cameras going, they would keep the heat at 70, not eat out, and limit tv to an hour a day and computer use to schoolwork. Mom was browsing on line, the heat was repetedly reset to 82, and the tv was left on when one of the daughters nodded off.
That prompted me to turn off the show. Now, don't get me wrong. I hope that someday the parties in the financial industry who contributed to creating an economy that supports their draconian treatment of consumers (we've all had the switch-a-roo on payment dates and subsequent late fees) get brought to justice someday, whether in the legal system of getting reincarnated as roaches (apologies for insulting roaches). We also need to look at this economic climate as a springboard for making new, or in some cases, returning to older, choices. We need to do this not just for ourselves, but for the future.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


It's the last day of a veg and protein detox for me.
Simply, it was time. A family crisis brought on stress that triggered off a flairup of a couple of chronic issues and stress eating. I made some questionable choices when it came to food. Last week the time came to recalibrate my tastebuds. Soon I'll be able to enjoy my daily square of dark chocolate without a coating of nut butter.
I do not look for airhorns, or confetti, or some parade to congratulate me. The ability to taste the subtleties of healthy foods again is celebration enough.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

This TIme It's Personal: AF 447

How does an Airbus 330 disappear? It sounds like a Vegas magic act.
Unfortuantely, it wasn't. Yesterday, Paris-bound Air France flight 447 went down in the Atlantic Ocean not long after its departure from Rio, taking out over 200 passengers and crew. This morning, flaming fuel and debris mark the spot where it likely fell into the water.
I knew no one personally on the plane. The airline, however, I knew.
Three years ago, I made my first overseas trip to France. The weekend I flew back coincided with the last big terrorist scare at Heathrow. Amid the tangle of flight delays and security back ups, the Air France agents checked tickets and moved people with called flights to the head of lines. Once boarded, the flight crew went the extra mile to salve the aggrevations of the day with extra courtesy and kindness.
Were any of them on yesterday's flight? I'll never know. I hope not. But I know that they handled the last moments with as much class as could be mustered.