Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Trouble With Blinding Super White Teeth

The Trouble With Blinding Super White Teeth

The blinding white teeth of displayed by news broadcasters, TV actors and the rich and famous distract me. When I watch CNN and a broadcaster’s teeth glow like those of the Ross character in that long ago episode of “Friends”, I can’t concentrate on the news. I watch the broadcaster’s mouth and wonder how much he or she paid for their veneers or caps.  Few people are actually born with the genetics for sparkling white teeth.

The general public fails to appreciate the extent and costs of the cosmetic procedures that media personalities endure for their imitation glow in the dark pearly whites. But the need to copy a media personality has caused mainstream Americans to try any product that purports to bleach one’s teeth in just a few easy steps.

What the advertisements fail to disclose in large, easy to read print – most people cannot achieve white teeth through bleaching. The majority of people have off-white bone colored teeth that will never be white through at-home or professionally administered processes. The only true options are veneers, which coat the teeth, or caps, which cover the teeth.

In any event, I feel contentment, comfort, and sometimes a strange enthusiasm when I watch a movie or a newscast filmed in Europe or Asia with personalities that seem real. I don’t want to be blinded by the white. And, if the teeth distract me to a certain degree, I will change the channel.   

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Cats on Face Book

Cats on Face Book

Yes, there are an abundance of photos, videos and cartoons about cats on Face Book. But did you know there are multitudes of cats that have their own Face Book page?

My cat Samson Baloney Harrington has his own Face Book page. I was bored one Sunday afternoon and decided to entertain myself by establishing a page for Samson so he could befriend Jack & Lilly and Sparkle Pig as well as a few personal friends and family members that would enjoy my eccentric sense of humor. 

Little did I know just how many felines have joined Face Book. Even more surprising to me – the number of friend requests that Samson has received. One I established Samson as a legitimate member of Face Book, we collaborated and sent out a few friend requests to our 2 cat friends,  an inanimate sparkler, and a small circle of “in the know” folks. Imagine my surprise when Samson received hundreds of friend requests from not just other cats, but humanoids!

Now, I don’t know about you, but I find it a bit suspect that a person that doesn’t know either me or my husband would seek out our black and white cow cat as a friend. We won’t allow Samson to befriend humans we don’t know. And we are careful about the other cats he can friend.

Frankly, I am a bit uncomfortable that Samson has 166 friends. The waiting list is lengthy.  He has declined numerous requests. How do cats or people even find my cat on Face Book? What possesses a person to friend a cat they don’t know? I will concede he is adorable, but really!

Apparently, we must exercise our cat guardian duties and protect him from potential predators.  It is time to purge the friend list.

What do you think?

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

I Love Animals, But When It Is Bitter Cold I Wear Fur

I Love Animals, But When It Is Bitter Cold I Wear Fur

This winter has been bitter cold. While I’ve always doubted the science touting global warming, this winter’s temperatures that are reminiscent of my childhood in the 1960’s cause me even greater skepticism.  While a short walk in 10-degree weather can feel invigorating, I am not a winter girl. I love the warmth of the sun. Absent balmy ambient temperatures, below freezing temps cause me to luxuriate in the warmth of my politically incorrect outerwear.  Yes, I wear fur. I love the warmth of fur. I love the feel of fur. And nothing keeps my head warmer than my mouton hat!

I love animals. My husband and I give shelter to 10 plus orphaned cats. All have names; all have been spayed or neutered. All are pampered. I’ve enjoyed the company of dogs, hamsters, a bird, a bunny and various woodland creatures. 

My dad was raised on a farm and as a child we visited my grandparents and became acquainted with the origins of our food supply. The piglets were adorable. But bacon and harm are tasty and pig suede makes a lovely jacket. I love the soft dark eyes of a Black Angus cow; but I am a carnivore and appreciate a juicy hamburger.

If I haven’t named the animal, I can eat it or wear it. I’ve worn synthetic weather resistant fabrics, Gore-Tex, down filled jackets, and fiberfill. But nothing keeps me warm like my mouton hat, sheepskin gloves, and shearling coat. I don’t wear endangered species or any member of the cat family. But mink are vermin and are farmed for coats like cattle are farmed for steaks. 

My first fur was a hand-me-down from my maternal grandmother. I wore her mink dyed muskrat coat in college. It was probably 30 years old then and I sewed the dried pelts back together with any colored thread I had on hand whenever they split. I wore that coat until it disintegrated. But I loved it because it reminded me of my grandmother, kept me warm, and let me express my individuality.  I’ve been hooked on fur ever since – but especially in this frigid season.

While a segment of the population may disagree with my choice to wear fur, it is my choice. And those who oppose it are entitled to their opinions as long as they do not infringe upon my rights. But I’ve always wondered why those who so self-righteously fight for the rights of animals do not instead turned their activism and dollars towards campaigning for the rights of abused or unwanted human children. 

Saturday, January 25, 2014

I AM LIVIA by Phyllis T. Smith- Book Review

I Am Livia by Phyllis T. Smith

I Am Livia is a “must read” for anybody who loves well-researched historical fiction about fascinatingly strong women of history who lived in challenging times, achieved power and/or influence and deserved to be remembered for her own contributions and not just her association with a powerful man or family.

Livia Drusilla, wife of Caesar Augustus, mother and grandmother to future emperors, and daughter of a Claudii patrician who supported the assassination of Julius Caesar, recounts her life in a first person narrative beginning with her marriage at age 14 to a much older man, Tiberius Claudius Nero, through the civil wars that culminated with the death of Antony and Cleopatra, and the imagined relationship with Rome’s First Citizen.

The narrative flows nicely and this is a fairly quick read. The author makes an effort to rehabilitate Livia’s reputation as a power hungry woman who poisoned her enemies or family members that might conceivably vie for political control.

The only parts of the book that didn’t resonate well with me were the depictions of Caesar as completely a besotted suitor and husband. The dialog felt awkward to me.

For those who hungrily devour stories of this historical period, loved the Masters of Rome series by Colleen McCullough or stayed glued to the HBO series “ROME”, this story is peopled with characters that feel like old friends.

Disclosure: I received a free advance copy of this book through "First Impressions" in exchange for my review.

The book will be available on in April 2014.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Do They Never Learn? How Obtuse the Politician!

Do They Never Learn? How Obtuse the Politician!

I am a resident of the Commonwealth of Virginia and a registered Republican who voted for former Governor McDonnell. What an idiot! It continues to dumbfound me that in today’s environment there are so many politicians that engage in ill-advised behavior and believe they won’t be caught.

Perception is reality. Whether the actions of former Governor McDonnell and his wife ultimately constitute criminal acts is largely irrelevant. More often than not, smoke means there is a fire. But even if there is no fire, there was bad judgment.

Really, was it necessary for Maureen McDonnell to wear a designer dress to the inaugural? Who thought that shopping trip to New York was a good idea? Did nobody think that selling one of the vacations homes would have been better than borrowing money from a rich benefactor?  Did nobody learn from Watergate that lying to investigators caused more problems than a cover-up?

Republicans that espouse fiscal conservatism for the government should practice it in their own lives.  How can a governor argue that the government should balance its budget when he is highly leveraged and drowning in debt?  On what level did it seem a good idea to accept $165K in gifts?

I work for a Fortune 500 company that has deemed I cannot accept a ham sandwich from a person or a company seeking or already doing business with my company because of the perception of impropriety.  There should be zero tolerance for politicians.

Ethics reform should include provisions that prohibit any politician and family member from accepting any gift from a donor, a constituent, an individual or a company seeking to influence in any way. 

In the real world, accepting a loan, donation or a gift in exchange for influence constitutes bribery.  I have no wealthy friends offering to “loan” me Louis Vuitton shoes. And really, nobody loans shoes. After they are worn, shoes are of no value on the resale market. Yuck.