Guys can't help it?

This article is brought to you courtesy of James, over at Why I Hate DC. Tom Knott of the Washington Times tries to explain how Kobe couldn't help but cheat. And although infidelity is a part of every male's true nature, Bryant is still a nice guy.

If I hadn't read this, I would not have believed it was published.

"Tell you what. Imagine you are a young man with a zillion dollars in your pocket, a famous face and all these hot, young things cooing in your direction.
What do you do? Do you take a cold shower or do you toy with the flirtatious attention?
Right. An average guy and an interested babe leads to a cold shower."

What do you guys think about that?

What's in a name

I'm feeling uninspired, so I clicked on today's Friday Five questions.

1. Is the name you have now the same name that's on your birth certificate? If not, what's changed?
It's the same name.

2. If you could change your name (first, middle and/or last), what would it be?
I love my name the way it is.

3. Why were you named what you were? (Is there a story behind it? Who specifically was responsible for naming you?)
I give naming credit to my wonderful mom. You can read the story here.

4. Are there any names you really hate or love? What are they and why?
Tiffany. Read the post above.

5. Is the analysis of your name at kabalarians.com accurate? How or how isn't it?
Hmmmm... I dare say not quite accurate. The first half is all wrong, the second part gets warmer but still doesn't nail my personality.

"You have a great love of nature and the out-of-doors." I have a great appreciation for nature, but given the choice of camping or checking into a 5 star resort, point me to the concierge.
If these points were true I'd be out of a job - "Difficulty in expression results in your being too positive, blunt, and candid in speech and although you are easily offended by others, you do not show it."

The Second Half:
"You crave affection and understanding, but rarely find it as others do not understand you and accuse you of being cool and aloof. The average person would never realize the true depth of your nature. A very individual, independent person, you live within your own thoughts."

Well, that was interesting.

The most important meal of the day

As a rule, I don't eat breakfast. Digesting solid food before 10:00 a.m. makes me feel sick. It has never been a favorite mealtime.

On the other hand, I do enjoy brunch on the weekends. Sitting down with friends for a leisurely meal and all-u-can-drink Mimosas or Bloody Mary's is heaven.

My protege popped into my office this morning rambling on and on about breakfast sandwiches. And suddenly I was ravenous and wanted food.

I threw on my black raincoat and headed out in search of breakfast. I went to Cosi, to Luna, to the little cafe down the street and in desperation, to McDonald's.

But the joke is on me. Apparently the entire city of DC stops serving breakfast at exactly 10:59 a.m. You can purchase a cheeseburger at 10:30 a.m. but not a McBreakfast Sandwich. In my book, 11:00 a.m. is still MORNING and perfect time for BREAKFAST.

Oh well... I settled for a gigante cafe latte instead (yes, I broke down and welcomed caffeine back into my life).

The power of song

When I listen to the first few bars of an old tune, my heart slows down. I mouth the familiar lyrics, but am gone, transported to another time, another place.

My life is a montage of scenes set to a compilation of music.

Knock Three Times by Tony Orlando
A little girl dressed in denim Osh Kosh B'Gosh overalls spins round and round, her arms outstretched and her thick hair swinging around a tiny waist. A woman turns from a window and warns her to stop before she gets dizzy and falls. The child stops, beams a smile at the woman and stomps her scuffed Mary Janes three times on the hard wood floor in time to the chorus of the song in the background.

Yesterday by The Beatles
A pretty lady stands at a kitchen sink, rinsing dishes through the faucet before placing them on a drying rack. Wiping her hands on a red skirt, she bends down to hug two children playing at her feet. She gives them each a cookie before grabbing a dustcloth and leaves the room.

Are You Lonesome Tonight? by Elvis Presley
My mom is crumpled on the living room rug, hugging a creased album cover to her chest. Black tears stream down her cheeks and she sobs. The King is dead.

Lady by Kenny Rogers
Colored lights blink on and off around an artificial tree. My dad reaches down and grabs a large box. I tear at the snowman wrapping paper, ripping it off a new stereo. Together, we anxiously connect the components. And now, to test it out, he hands me a record.

Karma Chameleon by the Culture Club
The navy blue sleeping bag is so plain compared with the brightly colored ones depicting Strawberry Shortcake and Barbie. I had been so excited to receive an invitation, my first official slumber party, but now I just wanted to go home. Dee's little brother has been annoying me all night, so I call him a "buster" and tell him to leave me alone. Her mom heard and chastised me in front of everyone in the kitchen. "Young lady, we don't use that kind of language here." In spite of the heat rising to my cheeks, I grit my teeth and apologize.

Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin
The last song of the last school dance. A freshman girl stares after her crush, the senior God. He's standing alone by the bleachers. She plays with her Swatch and thinks, it's now or never. Blood pounds in her ears as she walks toward him and asks for a dance. With a shrug, he grabs her hand and leads her onto the gym floor. She's in bliss for 8 minutes while a huddle of girls whisper and point in their direction.

Red, Red Wine by UB40
Holly's parents are vacationing in Hawaii for the week. I follow her to the garage where she finds the spare keys to her mom's Lincoln. Music blares out the moonroof as we cruise the back roads of our small town. We are 14 and oh, so cool!

It Takes Two by Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock
The steps are very narrow and steep in the dark passage. We climb in single file. I run my hand over the damp stone, wondering what it must have been like to live in Warwick Castle in 1000 AD. Cold, I imagine. I climb and climb with no end in sight. Finally, I reach the top and am outdoors. It was my first time in England. My first time away in a foreign country. And I was thrilled.

Stripped by Depeche Mode
I'm driving faster than I should be. The wind whips my hair, so I yank it back with a scrunchy. I take a deep breath of the salt air. In minutes, I park the car, pull off my shoes, and walk on the beach - my toes sinking into the wet sand. Solitude is priceless.

Magic Carpet Ride by Steppenwolf
The digital clock reads 4:00 a.m. It sounds like a herd of elephants are stampeding thru the halls. The bedroom door bursts open and a guy grabs my arms and starts yanking me out of bed. A raid! Later, I'm reclining on a dirty brown velour couch, my eyes half-shut, yet watching as two guys swallow a tank-full of live gold fish for breakfast.

Take a Chance on Me by ABBA
Why doesn't he love me anymore? We were so happy. He was my confidante. The mixed signals are killing me. We aren't together, but he still stays over occasionally. Why am I doing this to myself? Because I think I love him.

Frozen by Madonna
A girl rides on the handlebars as a guy peddles furiously past us. We're walking along one of the canals. Amsterdam is a city of bicycles. A few days later, the Champs Elysees is crowded with people. I'm a little buzzed after a liquid lunch at Cafe Voltaire by Musee D'Orsey. Someone beside me laughs and repeats "Ou est? " "Ou est?" - mocking my feeble attempts at speaking French in the city of lights.

There are so many songs - so many moments. I'll stop now before I bore you to tears. This is a mere sample of the jukebox that stores the memories I cherish.

What special songs move you?


The funny thing about memory

I remember yellow butterflies that covered my bedroom walls. My favorite dress had a long white eillet skirt with plump strawberries that bordered the hem. Each day I would place a disc on my record player and watch in wonder as a series of scenes played across the front panel of the box.

I was 4.

Years later, pale pink paint replaced my legion of butterflies in a bedroom of a new house. I was rummaging through the attic and noticed an oversized cardboard box in a corner. Moments later, I lifted a plastic case out from a tangle of disgarded toys.

The cover slid off easily. I gazed down on the familiar knobs. My fingers closed around one of the brightly colored discs. It was thicker than I remembered. I cranked up the machine and waited for the magic box to mysteriously play the images described in the song.

But something was wrong. This couldn't be my player. The same scene scrolled across the front of the case, repeating over and over regardless of the disc. I distinctly recalled my delight as the machine would conjure new episodes for each new song.

I was 11.

Sitting crosslegged in that dim space, I swallowed hard on disappointment. I suddenly understood that the two players were one and the same. I couldn't help wishing I'd never discovered the truth. My memory was so much better than the reality.

From that day on, I was aware that my recollections weren't always true. The enchanted universe I grew up in was different from the one I presently inhabited.

The world lost a little bit of its magic that afternoon.

The West Wing

C.J. Craig is my idol.

In my book, this is the best show on tv today. My fingers are crossed that the episodes will be as compelling with the absence of Aaron Sorkin, Tommy Schlamme and Rob Lowe.

The season premier is in two weeks. What will you be doing on the 24th?

The worn leather backpack

I found myself in Washington, DC, during spring break my senior year of college. A friend picked me up at Union Station and took me on a midnight drive of the monuments.

It was love at first sight.

That week, I focused on interviews and getting acquainted with my future home. I also splurged on a brown leather backpack.

It may have been the best purchase I ever made.

I carried my books in in my last few months of school. I lugged it everywhere my first summer in DC.

It has faithfully protected my photography equipment and precious journals. And it's traveled the bowels of X-ray machines in more than 25 airports and crossed the Atlantic 10 times.

This bag has seen boyfriends my parents never knew of. At one point or another, all of my friends have commented on it. It's been with me from job to job, apt. to apt.

The bag looks as if it's seen war. Well, maybe not a war, but it's witnessed a number of battles.

The leather is splotchy and some of the stitching has begun to unravel. All considering, it's in pretty good shape.


Life imitating art imitating life

I've been on a film kick, renting movies but not putting much faith in today's cinema. Is it just me or have this year's flicks been complete rubbish?

A couple weeks ago, I dished out $14 (ticket and diet coke, no popcorn) to see Pirates of the Caribbean. And I have to admit that I am a little excited to catch Once Upon a Time in Mexico. Coincidentally, American bad boy Johnny Depp stars in both.

Will I be entertained? I have little doubt, but neither movie is a cinematic masterpiece.

These are the ones I've been taking home....

Vertigo: One of DC's film festivals scheduled the redigitized version of this Alfred Hitchcock classic, but I was out of town and missed it. Feeling dissatisfied as I strolled through the "New Release" section of the rental store, I found myself browsing through the classics. Two thumbs up! I was kicking myself for not having seen this earlier (it was my first time). I'll be in Hollywood Heaven if the rest of Hitchcock's work is as riveting as Vertigo, Psycho, The Man Who Knew Too Much, and The Birds.

Cleopatra: I also grabbed the film that fueled Burton and Taylor's love affair. Although some parts dragged, it was a 98% improvement over my options currently playing at a theatre near you. I wonder why this movie didn't make AFI's top 100 list?

Secretary: A good friend of mine recommended this film and he's a fairly good judge of what interests me. To quote him - "Maggie Gylenhaal is one of the best never-heard-of actresses in Hollywood. She’s had bit parts in Adaptation, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, and Donnie Darko. This movie is ‘out there’, yet it really boils down to a love story (albeit, a weird one). And kudos to James Spader for a fantastic performance. All around a fun – if disturbing – film." And I agree 100%. I really enjoyed this one and found myself laughing through most of it (I don't know what that says about me exactly, but, that was my reaction). Two thumbs up!

Birthday Girl: Why does Nicole Kidman agree to star in horrible films like this one, Malice and Far And Away (well, I guess her ex-hubby had a lot to do with that last one)? Don't waste your precious time on this one... do something meaningful like organize the kitchen drawers instead.

About a Boy: I'm adding this one to my private collection. Hugh Grant is hit or miss (don't bother with Two Weeks Notice). THIS was definitely a hit! I too believe that every man is an island connected by island chains.

That's my 2 cents on the state of movies in America. I'm going to work my way through the Hitchcock collection and AFI's picks for the last century - but does anyone have any movie favorites they want to pass my way? I like indies, am not a huge fan of chick flicks (unless they're really well done like When Harry Met Sally), can tolerate most foreign or art-house films, and love action adventure. Drama good, goofy comedy bad (I do not like Jim Carrey).

All suggestions are greatly appreciated!

I couldn't have said it better myself....

So I'm sending you all over to Sweet Jezebel to ponder her "Question of a Lifetime" - At what point do you settle?

Public Service Announcement: Guidelines for Tourists

Tourists are a large component of day-to-day life in Washington, DC. The bulk invade the city in April for the Cherry Blossom Festival. Another contingency arrives in July for the Independence Day festivities. But each and every day, visitors arrive and depart, and gawk at the White House, the Capitol, the monuments and memorials, and other historic buildings and national parks.

In order to ensure your survival in the big, bad city, heed these universal laws (universal because most of these laws apply to other American cities):

1. Public transportation is a good thing. It might even be your first time riding a subway. When standing on the platform, waiting for the next Metro train, stand away from the door. You must provide space for passengers on the train to exit before you may step on. If you trap them inside, they will shove you aside.

2. Groups and couples congregate on the escalators to chat about their latest adventures. Wait to form your huddles at the top of the escalators. City folk are always in a hurry. Please stand to the right to provide space for these urbanites to climb on the left side. If you don't stand single file on the right side an interesting transformation will occur. The city person will sigh loudly followed by the eye-roll. Then said person may loudly say "excuse me" while trying to get you out of their way. Again, if the path is blocked, some people will resort to using force.

3. Do not drive in unfamiliar cities. Park your car and walk. Driving head on into traffic down a one-way street is hazardous to your health (but entertaining to onlookers).

4. Group leaders should leave the brightly colored umbrellas at home. And your matching t-shirts.... they scream "Mug Me" to the natives. Be warned.

5. Invest in a map. Cityfolk have a quirky sense of humor. When you interrupt them to ask where the White House is, they'll often send you off in the opposite direction. Get a map!

And that's about it.

Did I miss any helpful rule distinctive to your city or tourist trap town? If so, feel free to leave them here.


Male makeover fantasies

We live in an appearance motivated society and I work in a zealous perception-oriented industry. Sometimes thoughts pop into my head, unwelcome, but reasonable and often warranted.

I just returned from a meeting.... a series of presentations really. And when the topic isn't directly related to something I'm working on, my mind wanders. My thoughts moseyed over to the guy sitting across from me (hollow square set-up).

In a parallel universe, he was a hottie. But here, on earth, he had "project" written all over him.

If he was a confident man, he would command a room simply by stepping into it. He towered over everyone else there at 6'5 or 6'6 - but he slouched, like he wished to curl into himself. Then there is the thick, chestnut hair. If he cut it short, or layered the floppy mess, I'd be tempted to run my fingers through those rich locks. Instead it kept falling into his eyes. So occasionally, he'd wag his head like a dog to shake the hair off his face. His eyes are clear blue, rimmed with thick lashes. Not that I had the pleasure of peering into them. During his presentation, he looked up, he looked down, he did a little dance - shifting his weight from foot to foot, with his hands shoved deep into his pants pockets.... a new form of Irish step dancing. We're not even going to touch the wardrobe.

A small dose of confidence would transform this guy into an attractive, dynamic individual. I could see it in my mind's eye - the way he appeared before me, and the way he would be if the Fab Five got their hands on him. It was almost painful to just sit there and imagine the way his presentation could have went.

Do you know what I'm talking about it? If I was a tactless moron, I'd shake him and talk some sense into him..... massage his ego a little and plant a few seeds that might one day blossom into some semblance of self-assurance. I mean, what do you do with someone who might need a little nudge? How do you get them to feel better without making them feel worse?

Too much time on my hands

I just got off the phone with a really good reporter friend of mine. She is working on a story about international organizations and the breakout of disease, like the recent SARS episode.

Out of curiosity, she polled the people at her gym and at a Fresh Fields-type market, about 50 people total, asking if they knew who Kofi Annan is. Only five answered correctly. FIVE.

She lives right outside New York City, not in some isolated burrough in the US. She has no reason to exaggerate, and I don't doubt her after my own recent encounter with the couple who thought Ted Kennedy was running for President... well, enough said.

Are people too busy to care? Do I have too much time on my hands?

Addiction pain

I never thought it would happen to me. I watched other people complain of headaches and an inability to concentrate. Not me. I can quit anytime. I'm not addicted.

It appears I was the last to know. Everyone else saw I had a little problem - 2 cafe lattes in the morning, 3 cans of diet coke before the close of business, and then meeting friends out for espresso or other coffee delights.

I decided to quit cold turkey. No coffee... no tea... no chocolate.... and no diet coke. Just drink water. How hard can this be?

Oh. My. God. The throbbing in my head is unnatural. I rarely get headaches, and when I do, they ache - not POUND.

Are you addicted to caffeine?

Same old song and dance

John Ashcroft is in Boston this morning as part of his 18-city goodwill tour to protect his Patriot Act against mounting resistance from civil liberities groups.

Well, if his performances in Philly and Buffalo are any indication of what he's prepared for Beantown, you're better off logging onto the website and skipping the lecture.

As Donn Esmonde of the Buffalo News so eloquently put it:

"Dear John: My pen is not a weapon of mass destruction. My notebook is not a suicide bomb. My colleagues and I are We the People, the public's eyes and ears, the carriers of the message."

Why publicize a national tour and then refuse to speak with press?


Some interesting statistics

I thought this was really interesting. Did any of these figures surprise you?

Leave well enough alone

Hollywood is trying to resurrect Indiana Jones. The screenplay is finally being written after years of rumor and speculation. According to Ford, Stephen Spielberg has signed on to direct.

I'm a huge Indiana Jones fan and like the trilogy as is. Had the fourth installment been produced a few years ago (like five or six), I would have been jumping for joy.

Do we really need episode IV? Is Harrison Ford too old to pull off a sequal? Who has confidence that this flick will succeed at the box office?

Talk about timing

I have a lot of family in Canada. Unfortunately, I haven't seen any of them in 3 years.

Today I found out that two of my female cousins are expecting babies. They are sisters, born 12 months apart. One lives in Toronto, the other in Vancouver. They're due dates are on the same day. Kind of freaky if you ask me.

Looks like I'll have to plan a Canadian adventure next year to meet the latest additions to the family.

Do any of you have weird timing stories to tell?