Friday, April 18, 2014

Lent is Over! Easter Greetings 2014


So, here we are at Easter weekend again, the highest holy days on the Christian calendar.

This means, of course, that Lent is finally over and we can all get back to business as usual. I don't know if you participated in Lent this year or not, but if you did, congratulations all 'round.

Myself, I had decided to skip it this year, due to prior commitments and various other distractions. But then, as fate would have it, the first week of Lent I took a nasty fall on a hiking trail, resulting in, of all stupid things, a major concussion.

Laid up in that condition, barely being able to walk or see for three weeks, it occurred to me to give up alcohol for Lent this year. (I mean, when you're zonked out like that, what's the point, right?)

Relatively speaking, there's something to be said about sobriety. Not much, I'll admit. But it does allow for moments of clarity, which can be highly beneficial at times. Like at the DMV, trying to get your drivers licenses renewed, or showing up in the right court room on time. But other than that, I'm at a loss. (My rich employer, by the way, doesn't seem to care for sobriety at all, as far as I can tell.)

Our Christian religion, although admonishing against total drunkenness, most certainly doesn't forbid alcohol. In fact, Jesus himself (being the ideal party guest) was forever turning ordinary tap water into wine. (Now, we can all do this too, of course, given enough time and a handful of grapes. But apparently he could do it in an instant, without all the mess and fuss.)

Anyhow, I'm looking much forward to Easter Sunday. Not just for spiritual renewal, of course, but I suspect there'll be several bottles of wine cracked open that day, after Easter services. (As Catholics, we're required to show up in church at least once a year -- which most of us put off 'til Easter Sunday, when we're all packed in like sardines.)

In any case, no matter how you celebrate the high holy days, the most important thing is to take time out for reflection, whether you're in a small church, a Cathedral, taking a walk in the woods, or sitting home alone, reflection is the most important part in all religions, everywhere.

Music, of course, is the best way to aid along this path. Remember a couple months back I mentioned the Two Cellos and their wild and crazy music? Well, they have another side... 

Before going, I hope you have time to hit this link to their amazing version of The Benedictus -- composed by Karl Jenkins, and guaranteed to provide a few moments of peace, tranquility, reflection, and the strength to go on.

Happy Easter, and happy high holy days to all readers, from all religions throughout this world.



Friday, April 11, 2014

Car Lofts for the Rich!


I think I mentioned a few years back that my employer has several homes scattered around the world, one of them being a luxury apartment in Manhattan. Remember?

Well, this week I got rooked into tending bar for a small impromptu cocktail party (not enough notice to get a caterer and real bartender over here), and I overheard a bar-type conversation wherein my employer was complaining about how slow the valet parking is at the New York apartment, and how long he has to wait to get his car.

Now, as I'm sure I've mentioned before, there's nothing new about his complaining! Rich people, in fact, can whine and complain about the damnedest things that most of us can only dream or drool about. And I mean that -- the whining is non stop! Nothing's ever good enough. (And believe me, it's tiresome and embarrassing as all get out.)

Anyhow, the conversation turned to car lofts and luxury high rise parking, and it occurred to me I've never mentioned anything about this. But did you know that inventive architects have designed luxury high-rise apartments for the rich where they can have their cars lifted up and parked in their own apartments?

It's true!

I think the first one was in Singapore, at a high rise called Hamilton Scott, exclusively for multi-millionaires and billionaires. And I've heard about other's popping up in places around the world where the rich congregate.

To see for yourself, here's a YouTube link to the one in Singapore, and here's a link to another one in Berlin. (Seriously--are we supposed to gag, or laugh?)

I have major questions about how gasoline fumes are eliminated, and how repairmen get up there if you've got a dead battery or locked your keys in the car. But I guess they've got that all worked out as well, wouldn't you think?

I'm also not sure how well this extravagance plays into the current climate and mood about income inequality and the great divide between the 1% and all the rest of us. Adding fuel to the fire, in my opinion. But then, who am I?

Anyhow, I hope this has been mildly interesting, and informative...

Good night,

Read more about the extraordinary lives of the rich in Andrew's novel "The Billionaire's Butler - Mystery, Murder, and Romance in the Wacky World of the Super Rich" (In paperback, and on Kindle)