Saturday, September 26, 2015

The Pope in America! What just happened?

I must say my head is spinning this weekend, not unlike Linda Blair's in The Exorcist. The Pope has been all over the place in America and there's like this crazy upside-down sort of thing going on.

Pope Francis spoke to the U.S. Congress and the very next day John Boehner, Speaker of the House, stepped down. Well, okay. Fine I guess.

Practically at the same time President Obama was meeting with China's Xi and made some agreement on cyber theft. That's good too I suppose, right?

Moving right along, Francis went to Philadelphia to attend the Festival of Families on the same day the controversial movie Stonewall opened in America about the beginning of Gay Rights. But get this, the Master of Ceremonies was none other than Mark Wahlberg, the Calvin Klein underwear boy, who has since evolved into a serious actor and producer, and apparently a right-wing conservative. And all that's fine too, I guess. Whatever.

And then, opening the concert for the Festival of Families was Sister Sledge with her internationally recognized Gay Anthem, "We Are Family", and there were dancing Nuns in the audience that will no doubt show up on YouTube!

As I said, my head is totally spinning around, but Aretha Franklin pulled it out at the last minute and brought the concert to a more spiritual level with her rendition of Amazing Grace, along with a few fancy dance steps for the Pontiff's benefit.

I'm not sure what Pope Francis will take away and think about America after this whirlwind visit, On the whole, however, I think he will see what an amazing, wonderful, complex nation this is, and how we get along together as best we can - all the struggles and in-fighting notwithstanding.

I love this crazy country, and thanks for stopping by this evening!


Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Fall Foliage 2015! Happy Autumn!

I know it's hard to believe but Autumn's here again, beginning today in case you haven't noticed! Things have been so nutty and busy around here that I'm totally out of touch with the calendar.

It's always so hard to let go of summer and face the cold weather ahead. Plus this day signifies the onslaught of holidays about to hit us like a steam roller - like Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's - bring it on.

But maybe we can take a moment to enjoy this wonderful transition between hot and cold and look forward to the natural beauty during this time of year. If you happen to live in a Fall Foliage Zone you'll soon be seeing the trees in your area displaying brilliant colors of pink, red, orange, yellow, gold and purple - like a last splendid gift before going dormant for the winter.

Even if you don't live in these zones you can still see the colors by taking a drive through the ritzy neighborhoods in almost every American city in less temperate areas. You see, not to be left out the rich hire landscapers who import non-indigenous trees specifically to enjoy these fall colors.

If you have the time and money of course, you can take a leisurely train ride through the regions where fall foliage is a big tourist attraction. Some of these trains even have pleasantries like cocktails and hors d'hoeuvres being served along the way.

My rich employers have even rented the entire Presidents car (aptly named "Determination") on the New Hampshire fall foliage train for themselves and their rich friends. Reminiscent of the grand days of railroad barons, it's a lavish private parlor car with a grand piano, and chefs and waiters to cater to every need along the way. But this same train has other cars for regular folk, with reasonable prices to enjoy the view.

Meanwhile, to help get us in the mood for this amazing time of year, here's a dreamy YouTube link to the little sparrow Edith Piaf and her lovely rendition of 'Autumn Leaves' - 'Les Feuilles Mortes'.

Thanks for dropping in tonight, and Happy Autumn!


Saturday, September 12, 2015

Are Rich People Mean?

Over the years I've been asked in various ways about the attitude and demeanor of the rich toward their servants and house staff - which obviously includes moi, n'est-ce pas?

Question: "Are rich people nice?"
Moi: "Well, in a phony sort of way I guess, especially at cocktail parties. But in general, their 'being nice' is not within my daily experience."

Question: "Do they treat you well?"
Moi: "Pay-wise yes, and I have no bruises to report. But their lack of appreciation for anything anyone does for them is hurtful. Not just for me, but for all the house-staff."

Question: "Are the rich always happy?"
Moi: "No, not by a long shot!  In fact, even though they have life's major financial stresses completely eliminated (like coming up with monthly rent or getting enough food and health care for their kids) they still manage to whine and complain about every damned little thing in their path, from sunup until sundown - and they do so without any self reflection, shame or embarrassment as far as I can tell."  

But now comes a Forbes article that addresses the topic from another direction. Written by health and psychology contributor Alice G. Walton, it's entitled "Rich People Are Mean, but Does It Pay To Be Nice?" 

I'll not be a spoiler, but the humor in the title sets the pace for an intelligent look at what money does to people, and more importantly how the rich relate to others around them.

Here's a link to Alice's article in Forbes. In these days when the one-percent are under a microscope, I promise you'll not find it a waste of time.

As always, thanks for stopping in this evening.


Tuesday, September 1, 2015

September Already!

Oh my gosh, where did the summer go? Things have been so crazy busy around here the last couple of months I haven't even had time to get a decent suntan yet and suddenly September pops up out of nowhere.

I think it was the flashing lights in the School Zone today that finally woke me up. Like, this is really happening; the lazy hazy days are over and it's time to face the music.

Cooler weather will be welcome of course, and fun football events will be starting up any day now. But this also puts us on notice that the holidays are lurking and headed our way.

In mid-July I mentioned that rich people are already staking out their party dates, and I still don't have a clear answer on that yet. But party invitations are quick and easy to crank out, so I'm not really worried.

My serious task this month, however, is to hook up with our Christmas card designer to get that all going. Then I have to come up with a list of addresses for our calligrapher so she can get started on the envelopes.

And there's the rub. We have to figure out from one year to the next who's on the greeting card list. Like, who is being snubbed this year for whatever unforgivable or tragic reasons? Who are the newcomers trying to jump into this crowd? Worst of all, has anyone on the card list died this last year and we forgot all about it? Oops!

It takes a lot of snooping and sidling up to social secretaries to get this all worked out. But in the end it's my employer who approves the final list. So the blame for any faux pas is not entirely on my shoulders.

Autumn is such a spectacular time of year. I hope your approach and point of view is not quite so tainted and nerve wracking as mine.

Thanks for stopping in this evening.