A sucker for 18-year-old Glenlivet

I love walking into a cool, dark room with woodlined walls, hard leather furniture, and the subtle sweet scent of a good cigar in the air. Add Glenlivet to the mix and I ask you - IS there anything better?

Check out scheduled tastings in your area.

To the ladies out there

I don't think guys will relate to this post. It's mostly a girl thing.

I took special care getting ready this morning because I knew I wouldn't have time to run home before going out to this shi-shi bar tonight. I even packed a small bag to work, so I could freshen up later in the bathroom.

And yet, I already know I won't feel anywhere near as fabulous as I did four hours ago. My hair is doing a funny wavy thing, my makeup is melting (meeeeeeeeeeeeelting), and I'm not happy with the clothes I'm changing into (whine, whine, whine - yeah, I know).

My male colleagues just grin and shake their heads. They just don't know......

But for some inexplicable reason, I'm excited for the first time in weeks. And for tonight, I'm happy to be in DC and not in Lisbon.


Friday.... jam-packed with one meeting after another. Who invented "the meeting"? (perhaps the most counterproductive business bauble ever! But that's another post).

It took all of 15 minutes to update the committee on my role in their upcoming event. So I kicked back and watched the poor schmuck sitting across from me, bothered that he reminded me of... well, somebody. And that somebody was right on the edge of my thoughts, in that gray foggy place where I couldn't quite zoom in on the image. Until someone antagonized him and in response he stuttered out an answer.

MY GOD - he didn't look like him, but the mannerisms were there. It was Milton!.

Stand up for kids

Did you know that there are between 1.3 and 3 million runaway and homeless kids in America? Everyday the National Runaway Switchboard reports that thirteen children die from assault, disease, and suicide. Every day!

Stand Up For Kids is an all-volunteer, national organization with chapters in 26 states (including Washington, DC). If you're interested in learning more about what this group is doing in your area, click here.


Changing direction

It doesn't feel like a Thursday - that spark of possibility knowing the weekend is right around the corner. It's a gray, nothing sort of day. A day when the mind is allowed to wander to wherever. And right now, mine is in Lisbon (in the middle of their heatwave).

Do you ever wonder where you'd go or what you'd do if someone approached you with the opportunity to change your life? Are you perfectly happy where you're at - or would you move? And where? Would you continue working at what you're doing now? Or would you choose to pursue a different career? Like what?

let's assume, if you're married with or without children, that your loved ones would be thrilled with whatever you decide

I think I'd like to move to Lisbon and wait on tables. I'd eventually freelance and maybe learn how to sing fado.

A chapel in space

Cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko plans to marry his Texan bride, Ekaterina Dmitriev, while in orbit this weekend. His superiors on Earth are accusing him of "showboating and advised him to wait."

Any thoughts?

Talking heads

Hello. My name is MALA and I'm a Sunday morning news show junkie. I'll pour over my Sunday Post, letting my cafe latte grow cold as the pundits drone on and on picking apart one topic after another.

Sometimes they resort to name-calling and flinging accusations. I love that!

Now with the Presidential election soon approaching, other news shows are adopting a debate component into their program. Like the Clinton-Dole debates on 60 Minutes.

In truth, I have never watched their debates. Couldn't tell you if they're any good - but considering the ratings, I'm leaning towards NOT! - but you never know. I'll make an effort to catch the next one and review it.

That said - the airwaves will soon be saturated with debates. Democratic candidates will debate one another leading up to the Primary elections. Followed by the 4 or 5 scheduled Presidential debates.

How many of you watch these? How relevant are these debates in helping you make a decision? What would make the debates better? And how many of you are news show junkies like me?


Attention all units

Police in northern England are scouring the 270-mile Pennine Way for a naked hiker.

Reuters reports:

"Imagine if your wife was stuck up on her own in the Dales, having her sandwiches and a bit of a nap when suddenly this man comes bumbling around the corner," acting chief inspector Tadeusz Nowakowski, who is leading the hunt, said.

The mystery rambler could face charges of outraging public decency.

TV and Violence

Another interesting aspect of Dr. Richard Restak's lecture was the correlation between hours spent watching television and the propensity of aggressive (violent) behavior.

He spoke of a study that followed 777 families in upstate New York over a period of 25 years. Here's the breakdown according to daily viewing patterns:

about 3 hours - 18% prone to violent behavior
5 or more hours - 25% prone to violent behavior
less than 1 hour- 5.7% prone to violent behavior

And although violence wasn't necessarily being watched, well over half the programs on tv depict some kind of violence (often with graphic images).

And after the terrorist attacks on September 11th, another study was released focusing on the effects of the media coverage. There was a direct correlation in patients diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and the amount of time spent watching the coverage of the airplanes slamming into the World Trade Towers followed by their collapse.

Just something to think about.

How much time do you spend watching tv? And what do you watch?

An orange a day will keep the doctor away

Loading up on Vitamin C may prevent damage caused by second-hand smoke.

That's good news for me... after last night's smoky bars.

Which brings me to smoking. DC is a smoker's mecca - considering smoking is banned in California and New York and Delaware andMassachusetts.

On my travels I've noticed fewer airports with smoking rooms (LAX still has one) and less people smoking period.

But you'd never know this nationwide trend by walking the streets of DC. Everyone smokes.... walking on sidewalks, in cabs, in restaurants, in front of monuments, in between softball innings. Most of the people I know are smokers, have recently quit, or are ex-smokers. I know one person who quit smoking for more than five years, moved to DC, and picked up the habit again.

Looks like I'll be stocking up on that Vitamin C.

Starlight, star bright

Mars is getting ready for its close-up at 5:51 a.m. EDT on Wednesday, August 27th. Our red neighbor will be less than 34.65 million miles away or closer to Earth than in almost 60,000 years.

Mark your calendars - you won't want to miss this!

The things I worry about

So at the end of the workday, as I was preparing to leave the office for a night of carousing, the phone rang. It was a New York Times reporter looking for someone to interview. It was 5:15 p.m. He desperately needed to speak with someone that night (he was on a tight deadline).

An hour later, after acting as intermediary between the reporter and my CEO, I left the office. I didn't confirm the interview (I was already running late), but both parties had home phone numbers, cell phone numbers and email addresses.

After my second scotch, an image popped into my mind. That image being of my CEO tapping furiously into his blackberry, trying to open the forwarded message I'd sent him with the reporter's cell phone number.

Of course none of the people I was out with was familiar with the blackberry - they used an assortment of "other" PDA's like Palm, Clio, Ipaq - not blackberry. So I was distracted from my conversations the rest of the evening. Even from the Atlanta Mister Big I met.

I woke up in a panic at 5:00 a.m. Unable to fall back asleep, I kept replaying these horrific scenes involving my Director, the CEO and lots of yelling. I arrive to work early to find that everything went off smoothly. While I was cursing my ineptitude at the bar, the CEO was giving a great 45 minute interview to the Times.

WHY do I do this to myself?


The road to genius

Richard Restak, a neurologist in private practice in D.C. and a member of the clinical faculty at St. Elizabeth's Hospital, claims that anyone can achieve prodigylike performance. Every super performer has three things in common: intense practice, solitary contemplation and deliberate concentration.

"Anyone can be a prodigy if they devote the time to it. The superior performer is a genius because of the ability to enhance a skill by focusing on perfecting a facet for 4 - 6 hours a day."

An interesting concept. You too can become a pro-golfer, Olympic gymnast, Nobel prize winning physicist, NBA superstar, Chess Grandmaster.

Restak asserts that if you practice long and hard enough it is inevitable that you will excel. How long is enough? On the average, 6 hours a day for 10 years.

So - suddenly you can afford 6 hours per day to practice something intensely for 10 years. In 2013, what will you excel at?

Luxury item?

For all you readers out there, how do you get your hands on books? Do you borrow from the library? Borrow from friends? Or do you purchase them at your local book store?

Hillary doesn't believe many Americans purchase books to own.

And it may be true. But I shop for books the way Carrie shops for shoes. Granted, I haven't dropped $40,000 on my hardcover, leatherbound and autographed tomes.... more like $15,000+ over a decade.

But am I really the exception and not the rule?

Do most people think twice before grabbing the paperback for $15.95? Do people really put their name on library wait lists to get their hands on Allende, Brown, Cunningham. DeLillo, Ellison, Fforde, Garcia Marquez, Holmes, Ionesco, Jackson, Kingsolver, Lewis, Minot, Neruda, Orwell, Parkhurst, Quindlen, Rice, Steinbeck, Tolstoy, Updike, Vidal, Wolfe, Young, or Zola?

Overheard on the metro

Do people realize how far their voices carry when they speak in public? I was standing at one end of the metro car. Two blonds were standing at the far end of the same car. They had been friends once and endured some long absence because they decided to catch up with one another - on the train.

The younger blond had just returned from some long trip. She was explaining to the older blond how "travel is the litmus test for relationships."

How many of you agree with that statement?

In her inifinite wisdom and experience, she has decided to subject every future boyfriend/mate to the "Travel Litmus Test."

Hmmmmmmmmmmmm.... Men of Washington be warned.