Sunday, August 26, 2007

Sex on Legs: August Edition

If anyone cares to pick up a little something for me for Xmas, you can't go wrong if you select something even remotely resembling Jason Statham. All I can say is, "Good Lord!" [fans self furiously....]

(thanks to Los Angeles Times; 2007 08 19)

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The powers that be that force us to live like we do...

Sometimes, reading an email that someone has absentmindedly left on the communal laser printer at work can give one's ulcers ulcers...

Perhaps serendipitous that Sylvia Boorstein should drop in at just such a time:
Right Livelihood appears to be harder to practice these days than in the time of the Buddha. The rule is still the same: Right Livelihood is organizing one's financial support so that it is nonabusive, nonexploitive, nonharming. However, these days what is abusive and exploitive is not necessarily self-evident. When the Buddha taught, unwholesome livelihood categories were easy to distinguish. Soldiering, keeping slaves, manufacturing weapons and intoxicants--all were on the proscribed list. In our time, soldiers sometimes serve as peacekeepers. It's hard to know the wholesomeness of all the products of any corporation, corporate mergers being what they are. Who knows what else is being manufactured by my detergent company's subsidiaries? . . . For me, a complete picture of wholesome Right Livelihood is even larger than the proscriptions that reflect external choices. Wholesome internal choices—healthy attitudes about one's work—also contribute to mental happiness and peace of mind. Everyone's livelihood is an opportunity for self-esteem.
~ It's Easier Than You Think ©1997
Not that I'm worried that my workplace is involved in anything particularly harmful or unethical.

It's just that I think maybe I need to think about needing to Get a Life. Again.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Not Such an Unusual Thing Anymore...

While I don't think I quite have the reputation of being on the hunt for a rich husband, I just might want to consider it, lest I be left out of an apparent general trend in Society of which I have been painfully unaware (see full text here):

Thanks to a strong global economy, people today also have more money to blow on non-investment property. According to the most recent World Wealth Report compiled by Merrill Lynch and consulting firm Capgemini Group, the combined wealth of those with more than $1 million in investable assets rose more than 11% in 2006 to $37.2 trillion -- the first double-digit increase in seven years. The number of "ultra high net worth" individuals (investable assets of at least $30 million) jumped 11.3% in 2006 to 94,970, and their asset pool increased by 16.8% to $13.1 trillion.

"The $20,000 rental is not such an unusual thing anymore," says Stephen Kotler, an executive vice president at Prudential Douglas Elliman in New York City.

In the past two years, Kotler says, rentals at both the $20,000 per month level and the $40,000-plus level have increased in number in Manhattan. There you can pay as much as $120,000 a month, the going rent for apartment 33A at the Waldorf Towers, which has been home to both Frank Sinatra and Cole Porter. The Waldorf Towers are the super-luxury, high-security, residential component of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, which is owned by Hilton Hotels.

Because the housing market in Manhattan has been and continues to be very strong, there is a shortage of four- and five-bedroom apartments on the market, pushing rents on the few available rental properties up even further, Kotler notes.

I miss my SVA days (although I was a lowly "commuter student", unable to afford even a dingy room-with-basin at the Sloane House YMCA), but with housing prices like these, I don't envy the bevy of metropolitan Manhattan bloggers whom I regularly read. [I included that hyperlink to SVA lest some think it was some New Deal–era public works project with which I was affiliated during the Great Depression.]
I do, however, sometimes envy my recently child-encumbered youngest brother, who lives within a stone's throw of one of what seems to be 22,000 Buckeye State institutions of higher education that houses a school which advertises one of its stated aims to be "to critically examine the root causes of human suffering."
I'm pretty sure that one of the root causes of my suffering is pondering that a single month of someone's $120K/month NYC apartment could cover the cost of my humble shack for a good ten years.
Post Script: I am so sad! I discovered that even the infamous Sloane House—once home to generations of impoverished students—has been converted. Ah Bartleby! Ah humanity!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Pre-Fourth Fireworks

Despite the fact that I am busy as f**k at work -- having just racked up two consecutive nights in the office until 9pm+ -- I figured I had better post these photos from early last month before I embark tomorrow on another trip up to the Bay Area. And I had better post these before my gracious San Francisco host decides to pull in the welcome mat and leave me sleeping on the curb with a stone pillow.

Anyway, a great time was had on a long weekend prior to the Fourth. Bypassed The City entirely for a coupla nights in bucolic Sonoma County at Huntington's parents' place while they stayed at a string of paradores in Tarragona and beyond, or some such luxury jaunt. We also went beyond bucolic by hitting The River for a day, where we spent time at the pool surrounded by all the River Boys, and of course visited with the always affable Chris & Mark. Of course, someone was a dumbhead and didn't recharge his phone sufficiently the night before, so the camera conked somewhere en route on the Sonoma Highway. Typical.

The pics below show my Amtrak progression through "Sanna-Zay," along San Pablo Bay, in downtown Sonoma with Messrs. Huntington & Allen (including dinner at The Swiss Hotel), and the next morning along the Road to Guerneville.

And one last photo... my guardian angel for the weekend:

Monday, August 06, 2007

Fugue on a Theme of Looney Tunes

When nature meets Civilization:

Worth mentioning only because it seemed kind of unusual... Left the house for work this morning earlier than usual (6:15) for my walk down the hill into town. About two blocks from home, encountered two cute coyotes merrily skipping down the middle of the street, headed who knows where.

It was strange (for this New Jersey native) when I first heard coyotes howling in the hills a few years ago when spending the night at a friend's place in Agoura, but I never really hear them at home up here in SB. My neighborhood is sort of in "the foothills" but isn't exactly rural and wide-open, so I wonder where these guys hang out and hide during the day.

Anyway, that's my Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom report for today.

update: I meant to make explicitly clear that I have never once seen a cay-yote here in Santa Barbara, much less any out for a morning stroll on Islay Street. Next thing you know, I will need bear repellent when I take the trash out.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Take That, You Wabbit

You know you are way too cranky (or sick, or overworked, or suttum...) when you want to strangle your coworker before she can crunch another healthy, luscious, beta-carotene-laden baby carrot mere feet from your desk.