Category Archives: Rants and Raves

MUST READ!

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In the last couple of years I have become increasingly disenchanted with the political landscape here in the US and, to varying degrees, elsewhere in the world.

I am sickened by the inequalities in this country and, in the face of so much disparity, the astonishing greed of the Haves to expand that gulf rather than reach out to the Have Nots… or at the very least to pay their share of taxes (tax avoidance is at an all-time high at the moment among the rich).

Why is it in this astonishingly prosperous country do we have a minimum wage that in adjusted dollars doesn’t reach the level of the 1960s? Where is the progress in that?

I have been appalled by how co-opted the political process is by Big Business. Neither side of the political field seems able to stand up to them. We are now owned and run by the most powerful business interests in the world. No wonder our education, the environment, and healthcare sectors are all defunct….

It’s easy to understand why even those of us who are dismayed by what is going on also feel a tremendous apathy in the face of this David and Goliath battle to re-establish a sound democracy free of the current special-interest stranglehold.

This is why I love this new book of Ralph Nader’s  “Told You So”. He urges us to not give up, not to give in, but rather to get re-involved in the political process. If we collectively insist that our representatives in Washington hold our best interests ahead of corporations we can reverse the dismal political trends we see today.  After all, they are not only dependent of corporate financial support but ultimately they need our votes to get elected.

I don’t care what side of the political fence you are on, this book should be required reading.  To read it is to realize how blithely we as a nation have allowed ourselves to be bought and sold, to be used and discarded, by most of our political leaders whether Republican or Democrat.

I loved the line in the book that said, “If we are all doing well, we are all doing well.” Shocking how little that philosophy is applied to our current policies that consistently seem to punish the poor and disenfranchised and help the rich get richer.  And I am writing from the fortunate side of the fence!

 

http://www.amazon.com/Told-You-So-Weekly-Columns/dp/1609804740/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1375461066&sr=8-1&keywords=told+you+so

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By the way, Ralph Nader has been pushed out of the political discourse. He has to go abroad to places like Canada to receive any attention from the mainstream media. It would seem that no one who is part of our decaying system wants to take a good hard look in the mirror…

Bunkhouse Hotels

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I just had to share this….

One of my favourite hotel groups in the world, Bunkhouse Hotels,  has a great room sale on right now. If you’ve never stayed in one of Liz Lambert’s Texas hotels, you don’t know what you are missing.

She really gets the idea that there is no way a small hotelier can compete, luxury-wise, with the big boys like Amman or Four Seasons. Instead, she offers unique, curated, ultra-cool and supremely comfortable hospitality experiences. What her places sometimes lack in over-the-top service they way make up for in personality.

Here’s the group’s website : http://www.bunkhousegroup.com

Brain Candy

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Is there anything better than a rainy weekend afternoon and time to read the Sunday NY TImes?

When I travel I read the digital edition which, aside from the obvious environmental benefit, has the added pleasure of making Sunday’s articles available at least a day earlier.

I almost always find something in there that inspires, motivates, informs, puts into sharper focus, intrigues, or somehow helps me with my work, my kids, my life.

One of today’s nuggets was this charming and funny article by Joyce Wadler, an urban person with a romantic attachment to the idea of country life but for whom invariably rural reality  is a little too, well, rural.

Here’s the link:

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/22/booming/come-see-me-in-the-country-this-summer-im-begging.html?smid=pl-share

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Eating Crow

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I don’t know if this happens to you, but I frequently have pronounced opinions that I have to just as drastically revise when irrefutable evidence proves that my original stance was  DEAD OFF!

It happened to me big time yesterday.

I attended the extraordinary creativity and technology conference, C2-MTL, that took place in Montreal from the 21st-23rd May (a separate blog to follow on my experiences there).

Sir Richard Branson was the conference’s closing speaker. I had a coveted front row seat.

I was fully prepared to catch him out being a conceited ass masquerading as a cool, lovable, good guy. This bias was further exacerbated by the throngs of unhinged female fans that, while waiting for the talk to begin, were acting like panting Beliebers despite appearing  well past the age for that sort of  embarrassing display of adulation.

And I am here to say, having been in the man’s presence, I have unabashedly joined their ranks.

He is quite simply PERFECT.

Branson is kind, smiley, risk-taking (Virgin Galactic!!) , handsome, a little diffident in the nicest way, confident without arrogance, incredibly considerate to his besotted audience, laid-back, hugely philanthropic, wildly successful, adventuresome, patrician… and that’s just for starters!

Not an ounce of the arrogant, brash, know-it-all, showboater I expected.

Have I been schooled!

I took this shot of him at the conference from my front row seat. The shot is terrible, my hand must have been trembling:

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Sigh….

Merci Store

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  1. I’m with Jemmi and her blog Sage X Clare: The Merci boutique and online store is really a gem. I dressed my daughter in head-to-toe Bonpoint clothes when she was little and they are the cutest, finest French fashions for children. When I heard that Bonpoint’s creators were starting a philanthropic enterprise through their Merci brand I was even more impressed… Definitely worth checking out.

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Visit the online store here – www.merci-merci.com/en

Or to visit the physical store: in Paris:  111 boulevard Beaumarchais.

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Just imagine a world where big designers like Raph Lauren might do the same thing …well, that would really be something. And further, how about if fashion fat cats stopped exploiting workers in Bangladesh? And consumers curbed their addiction to cheap disposable products made in sweatshops?

What can I say?  A girl can dream….

See? There’s hope- read below:

Vows

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Anyone else out there enamored with the Sunday Times’ Vows section?  (http://www.nytimes.com/pages/fashion/weddings/index.html)

It is must reading for me, and not the online copy either. I pour over the small bios, and inspect the pictures, to imagine what is left unsaid.

My favourites are the odd pairings: the Indian girl with the Jewish man, the couple in their 70s whose previous roles were as brother and sister-in-law, the gay men finally allowed to formalize their union, the neurologist and the muralist…

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Using these evidentiary breadcrumbs, I like to extrapolate a picture of their childhoods, who they hung out with in college, what their wedding party was like, their first shared home…its wedding voyeurism.

To me these little capsules are a microscopic Whartonesque novella of modern love.

Last year, when casting about for a subject to write about for NaNoWriMo, I decided to use one of the wedding announcements as my jumping off point. “Half-Lies” my work-in-progress is based on a particularly intriguing announcement. To tell why it caught my eye would be to give the twist in the book away, it’s that juicy.

Just click on the link below from last week’s edition and see if it doesn’t get your writer’s mind buzzing on the possibilities….

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/05/fashion/weddings/gabrielle-marcus-howard-marcus-weddings.html?smid=pl-share

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