Monthly Archives: April 2011

Long Live The Hats!

My favorite hat of the day.

Unbeknownst to me it was going to happen, in the final preceding hours it did.  And here I am now to admit to it.  This is to say, the strong undertow of Royal Wedding current pulled me in, drowning me in a sea of fixated early-morning delight.

I must say I really do love all the hats.  The wedding’s collective display of such “unique” headpieces simply makes me wish for such bold proclamations of fashion more regularly by American women.  Sure, there’s always the Kentucky Derby, though this is by far not enough.

British socialite Tara Palmer Tomkinson has earned my nod for number one in the Royal Wedding guest headdress department.  Then, while much has already been said about Princess Beatrice’s headpiece and the ridiculous nature thereof, of which I do not necessarily disagree, she nevertheless earns plenty of points in my book for “individuality.”

From striking, to silly, to relatively tame.

A fantastic, stand-out color choice.

Taste and elegance.

On the male side, the groom appeared positively stunning in his Irish Guard uniform.  Of course I’m always partial to any formal dress of bright red.  The now Duke of Cambridge stood boldly and brightly in his own right, wonderfully complementing though of course not upstaging his beautiful bride, who herself appeared most tasteful, elegant and at least superficially at ease.  The groom’s brother emerged not half bad himself, might I add.

Her Majesty made her own cheerful and refreshing color choice, I must say.  The yellow proved more fetching to me than her usual runs of ivory or robin-egg blue.  Speaking of usual, however, the Duchess of Cornwall left me squarely unimpressed.  Camilla’s predictable choice of champagne (she wore almost the exact color in her wedding six years ago) merely washes her out.  Then again, perhaps she knows better than to “shine” in the public eye, especially on this occasion.

The media coverage was thorough and satisfactory all around, as I bounced between CNN, FNC, MSNBC, TLC and E!  I did gasp when a TLC commentator referred to “the mother of the groom” in speaking of Camilla, continuing on to say she assumed the role in Diana’s unchosen absence.  Really?  Au contraire!  Diana would surely spin in her grave at such an assertion, one most certainly unfounded and with which few if anyone would agree.  As such, I’ll let it go.

A lovely springtime choice for HM

Needless to say, all the planning and preparation has come and gone.  The Royal Wedding has happened, Prince William is a married man, and hopefully Prince Harry made it to his “survivor’s breakfast” in good company this morning.  Now for the “Royal Recovery,” and perhaps the start of wagers on whether or not William’s first child will arrive as quickly as he himself did!

I’m happy the wedding occurred, I’m thrilled to have watched it, and I look forward to the next gathering of positively outrageous hats!

In the meantime, do a Google Image search of “Royal Wedding Hats” and enjoy!  Here, I’ll do it for you!


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A Thursday Century

Of course when it comes to motorcycling, there’s always a big difference between tooling around the city in stop-and-go traffic vs. enjoying some good speed out on the open road.  As I’ve lately been all the former and none the latter, today’s small-group motorcycle excursion proved most enjoyable. Plus, given the ideal weather conditions, the scenery presented itself in top form as well.

Altogether, today’s route south on a practically car-free (fast) Hwy 280, west through the tree-lined mountains all the way to Pescadero State Beach, and north back to San Francisco on beautiful-yet-windy Hwy 1 covered right around 100 miles, for me door-to-door 103 to be exact.  Suffice to say, this was by far the easiest “century” I’ve ever done, considering almost all my others have occurred with merely my leg power, sans motor.  I need not mention yet again the obvious difference in calorie burning between pedal and motor, except to remind myself one more time of the paltry, though still hilly, 22 miles I bicycled yesterday.

From lunch in the forest at a relatively quiet Alice’s, to a stroll along the wave-front cliffs of Pescadero via some challenging canyon twists and turns , this turned out to be the perfect “Thursday century,” all the more in the absence of  the typical weekend crowds and traffic.  I can’t recall exactly the last time I saw my speedometer hit some of the numbers it did, though some of you might be relieved to know I remain a slower motorcyclist relatively speaking.  Then, considering I’ve now throttled all of a mere 1,400 miles in the past six months, today’s 100 of them came as quite a welcome, however rare, delight.

With skies like these...

... the coast was a must!

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Posted by on April 28, 2011 in Daily Activities, Motorcycle


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It’s About Influence…


There she is??

I didn’t get mine.  Did you get yours?

The guest list was unveiled over the weekend for this Friday’s Royal Wedding, and it looks like more than a few people did not receive their invitation.  Not that this is so horrible; it simply leaves me to wonder if any of the eliminees are really griping about it.  Personally, I think I’m fine with not going, and I hope you quickly get over it as well.  Just chalk it up to that alleged “Camilla influence,” especially if you were ever rude to her.  This will teach you!

It looks like our chances would have been better if we ever dated William or Kate.  After all, both of them have invited at least some of their exes!  Good for them, I say, as I’m pretty sure I’ll do the same for my own wedding.  Herein lies some influence that just may have superseded the Duchess of Cornwall’s plan, unless of course all of them were always nice to her.

Meanwhile, if you desperately need to take your mind off all the final Royal Wedding preparations this week, perhaps you should sit down with a bag of jelly beans and see if you can find the bride, again!  Your replica, however, will likely not yield the apparent profit of the “original.”  Still, you might influence some type of “Royal Watchers” to open their wallets, so it would appear.

In any event, this is one rare and memorable week of Royal Melodrama, fueled by seemingly endless humor, hysteria and downright insanity, all held together by crisscrossing waves of “influence.”  May it all continue.  My attention is growing, dare I admit.

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Posted by on April 25, 2011 in Humor, News


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So Who Is He?

Dagny works, in more ways than one.

It ended powerfully but all too soon.  I was left sitting on the edge of my seat, literally, eagerly awaiting the start of Part II.  Whether or not we’ll ever see the second act, however, remains to be seen.

Despite testimony that could have easily tainted my outlook, I settled into my seat unswayed, holding onto my high expectations.  In the end, on the whole, my expectations were mostly met.  I’m pleased to state with confidence that “Atlas Shrugged Part I” is well worth the time, the cost, and most of all, the lingering mental workout.

One vital prerequisite exists, however, this being to at least peripherally know the story before entering the theater.  After all, at hand is one multi-faceted, detailed and philosophical story that requires constant and unwavering attention.  Blink and you might miss something.  Allow your mind to wander for five seconds and you might pass over a line of paramount and later significance.  As this would seem true for even those who know the story inside and out, I can’t imagine how a viewer could manage to follow blindly.  Let’s just say I’m personally somewhere in between these two ends.

The visual effects of the film prove strong and impressive throughout.  The miles upon miles of shiny new railroad track, fictitious of course, are stunning, leading into a bridge of true grandeur (and pivotal controversy) that I only wish existed in real life.  While other effects are obviously computer generated, they remain at the very least passably believable.

The casting and the acting, while already the scorn of many a review, pass in my book, though not perfectly.  I’m not exactly sure how I pictured Dagny Taggart as I read the novel, but suffice to say, her big screen debut works for me, despite a weak scene or two.  Ellis Wyatt was flawlessly cast, as was Lillian Rearden, wife of Hank, who himself strongly grew on me from my initial point of skepticism.  The only character I pictured entirely differently than he “emerged” is James Taggart, who simply seemed all too soft and youthful.  But then, considering where he ends up, perhaps this is intentional.

Like railroad track itself, the film does an effective, and surprisingly succinct, job in rolling out a route to comprehending the overall plot of “Atlas Shrugged.”  The story is built on two very powerful yet opposing belief systems, each with its respective merits and shortcomings.  While I’m not here now to define and argue these details, I will say that I walked out of the theater with my mind heavily leaning in one direction over the other.

The year is 2016, and doom is upon just about everyone, save one steel manufacturer and the owners of one railroad for whom the steel is produced.  It’s frightening to consider this fictional doom becoming reality.  When we really arrive at 2016, a short five years from now, will gasoline be $37 a gallon, the Dow close below 4000, and railroads rule the land as the only affordable means of transportation?  Moreover, will the federal government’s actions to turn the country’s economy around really be the solution?  The latter is the question of all questions that “Atlas Shrugged” leaves us to ponder and somehow try to answer.  This may be a bigger mystery than the most famous question of the story itself, at least more controversial and perhaps even unsolvable.  In the meantime, bring on Part II!

It began powerfully.  It ended equally if not more so.  And I’m left feeling for Dagny.  Perhaps I need speak no more, except to say I love the bracelet, and to repeat:   So who is he?  His identity, finally, is all the clearer.

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Posted by on April 20, 2011 in And That's My Opinion, Media, Movies, Reviews


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A “Pre-View”

As it’s impossible to review a movie before actually watching it, my mind sits in preview mode.  In anticipation of my very imminent big screen viewing of “Atlas Shrugged,” I’m finding it interesting, and rather educational, to read what various critics and other assorted individuals are saying about the newly released film.  From liberal-leaning to more conservative-based feedback, countless colorful words are already swimming in cyberspace.

Ayn Rand’s infamous novel typically sparks deep thought and incites debate, as well it should.  The long-awaited coming-to-life of her complex storyline and multi-layered characters, about which I’ve already once written, appears to be doing the same.  Meanwhile, it seems because “Atlas Shrugged” is so married to political ideology, that many people may form a strong opinion of the film before, or without, seeing it.  In other words, regardless of the movie’s production value, or lack thereof as the case may be, its ultimate success may be largely determined by political prejudice.

I’m hoping this is not too much the case, that enough people who know anything about Rand’s novel, like it or not, will watch “Atlas Shrugged” with an open mind.  My own “pre-view” is that it’s deserving not of knee-jerk, politically charged condemnation, but of intellectual consideration and philosophical reflection.   I’m confident we all can take something from the film, be it deep thought, debate, or more, wherever each of us happens to fall on the overall political spectrum.  The story lives, whether or not the cinematic quality does.

And that’s my pre-viewing opinion.

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Posted by on April 18, 2011 in And That's My Opinion, Media, Politics


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Nothing Lasts Forever

Not that I’m disappointed or in any way affected.  It’s certainly worth a mention, however, along with a moment of reflection on a long era coming to an end.  This is to say, the world of daytime soap operas is soon to suffer severe and debilitating loss, if not meet its demise altogether.

ABC’s announcement yesterday that it’s cancelling  two daytime programs on the air for more than forty years comes initially as a surprise, but then as less of a surprise the more I think about it.  “All My Children” and “One Life to Live” have existed since 1970 and 1968, respectively, both MUCH older than I am after all!

Times are changing, of course, in broadcast as much as anywhere else.  Then too, nothing lasts forever, not even Susan Lucci’s job, as she’ll soon be out of one for the first time in 41 years!  Of course she already has something to say about this.

All I can say is that I can’t recall the last time I watched an episode of either show, as I’m not one to sit around watching daytime soaps.  (I’ll sit around watching nighttime soaps anytime.)  Nonetheless, I realize this will certainly be a painful loss for many faithful viewers, as they’ll now have to rely on “General Hospital” for their daytime fix of tacky melodrama.

Nothing lasts forever, except perhaps the memories of a chronically drama-stricken Erica Kane!  A very different daytime programming world is clearly, and not-so-surprisingly, upon us.

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Posted by on April 15, 2011 in Media, News, Television


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On This Day

(Courtesy:  NY Times)  On April 14, 1865, President Lincoln was shot and mortally wounded by John Wilkes Booth while attending the comedy “Our American Cousin” at Ford’s Theater in Washington, D.C. He died the next day. 

1808 A law prohibiting the importation of slaves into the United States went into effect.
1892 The Ellis Island Immigrant Station in New York opened.
1898 New York City was consolidated into five buroughs.
1901 The Commonwealth of Australia was proclaimed.
1919 J.D. Salinger, author of “The Catcher in the Rye,” was born in New York City.
1953 Country singer Hank Williams Sr., 29, died of a drug and alcohol overdose.
1958 Treaties establishing the European Economic Community went into effect.
1959 Fidel Castro led Cuban revolutionaries to victory over Fulgencio Batista.
1979 The United States and China established diplomatic relations.
1984 AT&T was divested of its 22 Bell System companies under terms of an antitrust agreement.
1990 David Dinkins was sworn in as New York City’s first African-American mayor.
1993 Czechoslovakia peacefully split into two new countries, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
1994 The North American Free Trade Agreement went into effect.
1999 The euro became the official currency of 11 European countries.
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Posted by on April 14, 2011 in History



“You Won’t Like It”

“Like other bitters, Campari has a strong aroma and a characteristic flavor which some consumers find overwhelming when consumed straight.”  (

In other words, a lot of people can’t stand Campari.  It’s most definitely an “acquired taste” as many say.  And as I always say to anyone who’s about to try it for the first time:  “You won’t like it.”  Most times I stand correct. 

Not that this is a bad thing.  In fact, it’s rather good I say, in that there will always be more Campari for yours truly, while rarely if ever will anyone fight me to share the bottle.  After all, this famous yet still somewhat mysterious Italian aperitif remains my very favorite and most often enjoyed alcoholic beverage.

So I’m a little late for the party, as Campari is now closer to its 151st birthday than its sesquicentennial.  Nonetheless, it’s my true delight to have effortlessly obtained one of the above-pictured limited edition 150th anniversary bottles yesterday, the middle one to be exact.  The inexplicable mystery remains, however, as to how such a welcome acquisition took me so many months, considering the bottles debuted last summer.  All I will say on this is, as with most good things:  Better late than never!

If you’re one of those inquisitive and daring types who’s never yet tried Campari, I recommend you do so first on ice with soda water.  Then, you might opt for an orange juice mix.  For a stronger drink, mix it with gin or vodka.  Or for a lighter refreshment, pour a splash into some chilled (and inexpensive) white wine.

If all options have failed you and I stand correct once again, I’ll of course be more than happy to relieve you of your surely closer-to-full bottle of red Italian mystery. 

Campari:  Truly a pleasure I will never go long without.  You’re always welcome to join me, even at risk of my having to share.

Did I mention this all has something to do with my “acquired” opinion?

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Posted by on April 12, 2011 in And That's My Opinion, Drink


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Not The Number

“31” replaces yesterday’s question mark.  As the number of miles cycled in the course of two hours on another sunny, albeit cooler and windier, afternoon, the mostly flat and fast jaunt to Tiberon proved itself time well spent.  Included in the relatively brief spin was even a quick moment for some creative photography.

For all this recent talk of numbers, it’s not always about the number, at least as far as distance itself is concerned.  There IS always cadence, ascent, descent, time and average speed to consider.  After all, a hard and attacking 20 miles certainly beats a relaxed and steady 50 miles most any day. 

Today came the number 25, in 90 minutes, as this rather unpredictable sequence continues.  But again, it’s really not the number of miles that most matters.  The number of minutes, for better or worse, usually has more to say.

And that’s my well-cycled opinion.

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Posted by on April 7, 2011 in And That's My Opinion, Cycling


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28, 30, 21, 68, ?

Sustained spring weather + Another birthday had = Cycling mileage accumulated.  What better way to welcome in the new season and my new age, I say, than through several clustered days of some hard and fast pedaling!

28, 30, 21… followed by a painless jump to 68… all over the past few days… and now the sun shines on this young Wednesday, beckoning me to continue this quickly growing numerical sequence. 

Sunday’s 68-mile loop north into Marin and around the Nicasio Reservoir was just what I needed, thankfully demonstrating that, in the face of short and/or nonexistent rides often replaced by motorcycle usage if not shelved for bad weather, in no way have I lost my overall cycling strength and stamina.  Even the 10-15 additional pounds on my body from three years ago in my cycling prime have not seemed to slow me down all that much, except of course on a long, steep climb alongside someone 50 pounds my weight junior.  As always, there’s vast room for performance improvement!

There’s also vast room for improvement to my iPhone’s GPS app, which recorded a mere 58 of Sunday’s 68 miles.  Now mounted to my handlebar stem thanks to a birthday present, my iPhone sits right in front of me to (unreliably) provide all the ride information I might need.

At one point along Sunday’s route, on a woodsy, tree-covered bike path somewhere northwest of Fairfax, a warm and welcome flashback came to me of the Elroy-Sparta Trail, conjuring up happy memories of my earliest days of cycling, well more than a decade ago.

This unexpectedly reflective moment led me to contemplate that, shamefully enough, I’ve not renewed my USA Cycling license this year.  Admittedly, for the costs and travel typically involved, races have been a very low priority, sadly enough.  As I crank out some more miles today, however, no doubt I’ll once again see some glimpses of this situation sooner or later changing.

For now, it’s time to continue the sequence.  We’ll see what comes next, based of course on what number my iPhone chooses to provide!

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Posted by on April 6, 2011 in Cycling, Daily Activities


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Almost For Reelz?

Katie as Jackie

The steadily maturing Katie Holmes has been transformed into a surprisingly convincing First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, bearing a striking resemblance to the beautiful and beloved woman herself, at least in appearance.

This is all I can say right now on the much-hyped miniseries “The Kennedys.”  I’ve not yet seen the first two-hour installment that premiered last night on the Reelz Channel, though apparently many of you have.  Reelz is not easy to come by, considering I searched for it on two televisions with different providers, only to twice come up empty-handed.

“The Kennedys” would no doubt have been much easier to watch on The History Channel, where it was originally supposed to air before the real-life family balked over the series’ accuracy (or lack thereof), leading to the network supposedly feeling the pains of controversy and caving into the pressure that came with it.

After all that’s been portrayed over the years about the Kennedy family, through so many films and other artistic outlets, each of them certainly varying in accuracy from one to the next, I have to scratch my head and wonder this:  How could the Kennedy family possibly object now?  What exactly is so inflammatory about this particular production that its alleged offenses supersede all others that have come before?  Now of course, amid all this controversy-themed chatter, I’m all the more eager to sit down and watch “The Kennedys” and answer my own question.

In any event, the recaps and reviews are quickly coming in.  Some even appear to disagree with my simple nod to Ms. Holmes, which I may or may not have to later amend.  Nonetheless, “The Kennedys” is reportedly setting ratings records, no doubt fueled in part by all the misplaced buzz that has preceded it.  One way or another, I’ll soon be deciding for myself if Katie’s Jackie, along with the rest of the players, are or are not “almost for reelz.”

And that’s my yet-to-be-determined opinion.


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