The Lawn Chair War….
February 19, 2010

Mmmmmm...lookin' good!

Well, it’s come to this has it? The Mayor of Baltimore has to issue a directive that goes something like this in feeling…”Come on people! Can’t we all just get along? Can’t we just be good neighbors and trust that others will do the same, and not have to stake out our parking place with unsightly chairs? NO? Ok, get ready for a ticket, buster!”

I drive through areas that are chock-a-block with chairs of all types, presumably something not too valuable…I certainly haven’t seen too many good looking chairs out there. I mean, if someone will steal your parking place that you sweated on, they will for sure grab a nice chair won’t they?

lawn chairs held hostage....set them free!!

I haven’t seen any chairs out in my neighborhood(that doesn’t mean there aren’t any)…and don’t get me wrong. It’s not that I think we all trust each other implicitly. I remember years ago after a different blizzard,  my teenage son came storming through the front door, saying that our then, next door neighbor had parked in the spot he dug out. He was livid!  “I’m going to go over there and tell her to move it!”  I reminded him that maybe…just maybe…she hadn’t thought about who dug it out, and as a single woman with children, maybe she just really really needed it more than him. “Go dig out another one“, we told him. Can I just say that was not well received, but he did it.

No I think the reason people in my hood don’t put out lots of chairs, is we’re afraid of being accused of being tacky…not to our face of course, but you know. People will talk.  And for sure, bedraggled lawn chairs that look like they should have been consigned to bulk trash long ago, decorating the street, are kinda tacky. They just are. So it will be interesting to see if  the Mayor’s plea will fall on deaf ears. Or will the chairs start to disappear, one by one, their tattered remnants marching back to the basement  from whence they cometh. Good riddance. And maybe, if we get to know our neighbors better, there won’t be this lack of good will and lack of trust(though in truth, really getting to know your neighbor might lead to more of both). 

All I know is it’s Friday, and I don’t have anything I have to do tonight! Dinner(pork belly roasted with carrots and turnips), watch some Olympics….bottle of wine…it’s good enough, good enough.

A Zone Drone……
August 14, 2008

Two little Zone Drones

Two little Zone Drones

Yes, I’ve become a Zone Drone….an “Olympic Zone” Drone that is…..and I’ve had lot of people ask me…”where on earth are you?”, and I don’t wonder that you would wonder! Big fiery torches, gorgeous old ruin-looking brick and stone walls in the background, gorgeous blue pool….But it’s right here in town, and for us right at the bottom of TV Hill.  Clipper Mill is providing us that beautiful setting, and this part of the condominium and townhouse complex was indeed created from the ruins of the old Clipper Mill, thanks to the as always creative efforts of Struever Brothers.  The mill burned  in 1995…the tragic  Clipper Mill Fire is well remembered, because a brave young firefighter lost his life there.  The link above was written by a woman whose firefighter husband broke his leg, when one of the huge granite block walls came tumbling down in that fire. But as she says…he was lucky.



But like the mythical Phoenix rising from the ashes, Clipper Mill has taken on a whole new, and a much better life than it ever had before. Seriously, if you’ve never seen the place, you have to check it out. Not only are there the great condos, partments, green contemporary homes and the staggeringly  beautiful pool setting, but the offices they’ve created from the space are incredible…modern yet with the old stone and brick walls….really, really nice. And there’s a coffee shop, all kinds of art galleries and  studios (beautiful blown glass), and Woodberry Kitchen….Spike Gerdje’s latest creation, which is hot, hot, hot. Marianne Banister and I tried to meet there last night for dinner…Ummmm….no we didn’t, because we couldn’t get in! The place was packed, so if you go, make a reservation in advance, even on weeknights or you’ll end up like us.  We ended up(and happily so) at The Dogwood Gourmet on 36th Street in Hampden, just down the road. They seriously, have some of the best food in town and so pretty….great appetizers and small plates, nice wine list, and innovative entrees. You can’t go wrong….and it won’t hurt to have a reservation here too…especially on the weekends. It’s popular, and one of my favs.

So, if you join us tonight at 7:30 for The Olympic Zone….NOW you know where we are! Maybe we’ll see you there….

Weekend wrapup… pretty much the big O!!
August 11, 2008

Seriously, my weekend was all about the O, as in Olympics. I simply could not believe my eyes Friday for the opening ceremony. Un-freakin-believable. Beautiful….eye-popping…mesmerizing….intimidating. You name it, I had the feeling…including some chills. I’ve given a link to some video images of that night set to music in case you missed it….what a shame if you did. But most people didn’t . The 2008 Beijing Olympics is kicking it out of the park, ratings wise. Millions and millions of people watched this weekend….from start to finish.

I was wondering how my 22 year old daughter would react to watching…will the younger demographic want to see it, and for how long?  She never once asked to change the channel. That astounded me…and when that happened, I knew the weekend numbers would be big, big, big. And they were. Americans are in…all in.

We did eat Chinese Friday night in honor of the occasion…from P.F. Changs….”Ooooh, upscale..” said my Ozone co-host Gerry Sandusky. Whatever, Ger, it was good. Really good. Hot fish is my favorite from there…followed closely by Wok seared lamb…..yummy.

And if there are events you missed here’s a link to NBC Encore….they have tons of videos for you to check out. See you tonight at 7:30 for the Olympic Zone, and then….more O!!!!! And by the way, I WANT AN OLYMPICS GOODIE BAG TOO!! Waaaah!

A girl crush…and a coming out party!!
August 8, 2008

You go, Dara Torres!!

You go, Dara Torres!!

OK, I’ve kept it inside long enough. I have a girl crush on…………Dara Torres! You too? Whew, I’m not alone. Let us at least agree on one thing…she is fabulous, though that is only one of her “f’s”…by that I mean fit, fabulous and forty. Made the team for her 5th, yes 5th Olympic games. What an accomplishment. And for those of you who are females and no longer in your twenties, you will understand this accomplishment. Overcome all the distractions, the aging, the kids,  making a living, life in general….and just…do it. Work like a demon to get back where you were years ago….she is a monument to exercise and good living and simple will. And her coach is at home in bed fighting a rare form of cancer….I cannot wait to see her swim this weekend!

I was watching a piece this morning on The Today Show on the new water suits that are being called “technological doping“, because they are sooooo fast. But one expert wisely observed, “If you think one of these suits will make you swim faster, you probably will swim faster. And if you think by not wearing one you’ll swim slower, you will swim slower.” Just another example of how important our mind is in whatever we do. I remember my Mom asked me years ago what was the most important thing I wanted to give to my kids. I told her, “Confidence…to think they can do it.” Because if you don”t think you can do it, well…you probably can’t, and vice versa. Shades of Dr. John Sarno….and Mind OVER Back Pain. You are your thinking! OK, enough.

Now,  I invite you to join me at the world’s biggest coming out party tonight! Get down, get down, get down, get down  tonight baby ! Beijing will be presented like a shy, darling daughter for your inspection and approval, and maybe you’ll want to marry her. Seriously, it’s not a lot different. Is tonight the most important night in China’s history? Well that’s a little strong, in my opinion. After all, China’s history is…long, and complicated. But it is one of the most important nights for them….Closed off for centuries, most of us have certain…ideas about China. And while the case can certainly be made for the negative side, I think after the Olympics, the people there will never again go back to life as it was before. They will be part of the world, with a light shining on all they do and how they do it….that’s a good thing. So…anticipation. Will tonight go off smoothly? Will clever demonstrators interrupt the proceedings as they would like to do? And if they do, HOW will Chinese authorities respond? Will they be chill? It should be quite a show tonight…I’d love to hear your thoughts on it afterwards. See you tonight at 7 for the Olympic Zone, and then at 7:30 as we all fly to Beijing, compliments of NBC!! Oh, and you’re coming too….

It’s easy to lose them, and hard to get them back…
August 6, 2008

I was listening to a report this morning on The Today Show about GM, really shaking it up(and shaking up their employees), to try and get their customers back. It used to be that one of every two cars sold in the U.S. was made by GM….wow, it couldn’t get any better!! True that, but what they learned is that it could get worse…much worse. Now their market share has fallen into the cellar…now below 20%. That’s the lowest it’s been since the company started in 1908. They started a few years back really trying to get a handle on quality control…I mean, after all, if you can buy a better made and more dependable car, and often for less from Toyota…most people are gonna buy it. The people like my Dad and yours are gone…the people who buy GM…they buy American. Gone.  An expert on Today said even though GM had gotten a grip on  quality, the perception is still there that quality is bad. Perception is reality. And once you’ve lost people’s loyalty, it is very very very hard to get it back.

TV is much the same. I tell youngsters coming along in the business …”it’s all in the details”. And really, no detail is too small. The stories have to be well written, well edited, well shot, the graphics have to be right, the right buttons have to be pushed at the right time…oh, there are sooooooo many things that can go wrong, even with the best intentions, including an anchor messup.  Yeah, it happens. But there’s no room in our business for sloppiness, and once you lose a viewer they are tough to get back. And if I can brag  just a little bit , we are the news leaders in town, and the only station to show growth in each newscast from year to year. And good old commercial tv took back some market share from cable in the last book. But you have to keep doing it every day, not just when you feel like it. Or perhaps I should say, you better feel like doing your best every single day, because that’s what viewers deserve and what they expect.

Now the Olympics juggernaut is rolling into town…and we think most of you will want to watch it, or at least parts of it. NBC is offering a record 3600 hoursof coverage from Beijing starting this Friday.  (And if you didn’t get to see Matt Lauer’s look inside the Imperial City, watch it here. Made me wish I was gonna be in Beijing, but alas…..I was in China in 1995…not in Beijing, but in the more cosmopolitan city of Shanghai. Even then, the construction that was going on was AMAZING….and it was clear that China was about to explode growth wise…I wondered if they had any idea…but I loved my trip there. I remember walking down a street by a sidewalk restaurant with a giant wok where your dinner was stir fried. Someone had evidently ordered eel…one was taken from a tank, and beheaded it with a machete right there on the curb…yes, blood spurted out. Talk about fresh.

  If you want to get an idea of the crazy building going on in China, take a look at this video from Danwei tv, on youtube, of course. Gives you a pretty good idea of what’s going on.

See how cute I am? Sweet too?

See how cute I am? Sweet too?

And before I go….I still have a kitty that needs a home (please?). Oh, and I know most of you probably don’t read comments posted to my blog, and if you don’t, you missed one of the funniest videos I’ve ever seen on youtube…all about…yes, cats. Thanks to Kit for that. Hilarious. So watch it now, if your boss isn’t watching you. Be careful you don’t laugh out loud.