Wednesday, February 13, 2013


The Carnival folks have done it again. Once again, a Carnival Cruise Line is in trouble. This time it's their ship called THE TRIUMPH. This time the big ship is  powerless after a fire in the engine room. Rooms are now leaking sewage, there's long lines for food and guests are being asked to urinate in the showers. Air conditioners were off and it literally stinks throughout the entire ship. My bad experience with Carnival happened almost twenty-one years ago. I had booked a Carnival cruise to the Carribean an dha dagreed to share a room with another passenger to save money. Well, that part was cool, but when the ship sailed the passenger never showed up and I thought "Oh great, I'm getting a private room for the shared cabin price. WRONG.  Four days into the cruise, the passenger (who obviously was rich enough to afford this) hired a helicopter to fly out to the ship. He was late because he had gotten the flu. But when they flew him out and wheeled him in on a gurney into my room, he still had the flu. WORSE-- he was a smoker and I was allergic to smoke. I complained to try and get a new roomand as told that there were no vacant rooms available. They were completely sold out. Add to the misery, this guy snored like a truck and I got very little sleep. He never left the room except for meals and when I got home, of course I caught the flu. The cruise line offered no refund, partial or otherwise and no free vacation in the future. I vowed I would NEVER take another CARNIVAL cruise ever again in my life and I have not!  And Carnival continues to mitigate disaster in all the years since. True, no one's injured here, thank God, but there's no water and nobody can flush, so everyone's goin in little plastic bags and putting those little poop bags outside their cabin doors. Isn't that wonderful?  I pity thos epoor people and I renew my vow. I will neve rpatronize CARNIVAL cruise lines ever again.  The sights were great, but there was far too many negative things for me!

Monday, February 11, 2013



Well, the pope has resigned. He is the first pope to resign in six hundred years and wasn't it funny that lightning hit the Vatican the evening following the announcement. Coincidence? Maybe Not! The last pope to resign was Gregory the XII in 1415. At that time, the Catholic Worls had TWO popes. One was Bendict XIII who was the ANTI-POPE residing in Avingnon. You remember that it was an Anti-Pope that sparked Joan of Arc's mission. At any rate, there were two popes. The gentlemen of the two Gregory the XII offered to resign if the Anti Pope would also resign and a new election could take place.

On June 5th 1409  the Council of Pisa deposed the two pontiffs as schismatical, heretical, perjured, and scandalous; they elected Alexander V (1409–10) later that month. Gregory XII, who had meanwhile created ten more cardinals, had convoked a rival council at Cividale del Friuli, near Aquileia; but only a few bishops appeared. Gregory XII's cardinals pronounced Benedict XIII and Alexander V schismatics, perjurers, and devastators of the Church, but their pronouncement went unheeded.

The Council of Constance finally resolved the situation. Gregory XII appointed Carlo Malatesta and Cardinal Giovanni Dominici of Ragusa as his proxies. The cardinal then convoked the council and authorized its succeeding acts, thus preserving the formulas of Papal supremacy. Thereupon on 4 July 1415, Malatesta, acting in the name of Gregory XII, pronounced the resignation of the Pope, which the cardinals accepted. According to prior agreement, they agreed to retain all the cardinals that had been created by Gregory XII, thus satisfying the Correr clan, and appointed Gregory XII Bishop of Frascati, Dean of the Sacred College of Cardinals and perpetual legate at Ancona. The Council then set aside Antipope John XXIII (1410–15), the successor of Alexander V. After the former follower of Benedict XIII appeared, the council declared him deposed; and the Great Schism was ended. A new Roman pontiff, Pope Martin V, was not elected before Gregory's death. Therefore, the Papal seat was vacant.

The rest of Gregory XII's life was spent in peaceful obscurity in Ancona. He is the last pope to abdicate, pending Pope Benedict XVI scheduled abdication on February 28th  2013  at 8pm, Rome Time.


Saturday, February 09, 2013


Now we've all heard of this great big snow storm/ blizzard that's hit New York City and the North East with a unbelievable blizzard that they call Nemo. And I've beeen in New york enough times to see some pretty crazy behavior in the snow. One guy was selling jig saw puzzles on Christmas Day. Another strange one was singing Pucccini into an empty mail box right there in broad daylight on the streets near Grand Central Station, but the images that I've posted today really show off the strangeness of good old New York City. maybe this only happens when the first big snow falls, but whatever it is, it sure looks crazy to me.  Of course, they say that you will find strageness here in the "Big Apple" that you would not find in any other American city. Oh well, it's fun to watch from a good long distance here in sunny Los Angeles, California. God love you, New York. Somebody has to step outside of the circle and stretch that envelope just a bit! If New York wants to have a "Naked Cowboy"-- why not? I just wouldn't want to freeze my nuts off doing what he's doing!

Thursday, February 07, 2013


Remember the story of The Applebee waitress who was fired after Pastor Aliso Bell complained after her receipt in which she crossed out the automatic 18% tip (added for groups of eight or more)  was posted on the internet. The one that said :"I give God ten percent: why do you get eighteen?" And this so called Christian pastor named Bell called up the restaraunt and demanded that everyone be fired including the manager? Then she tried to back track and claime that she actually left a cash tip on the table of $6.00. Well, here is (unedited) the response from the waitress who was fired and now claims that she doesn't want the job back. She'll probably do better on unemployment. Here is what this great waitress had to say:
I was a waitress at Applebee’s restaurant in Saint Louis. I was fired Wednesday for posting a picture on of a note a customer left on a bill. I posted it on the web as a light-hearted joke.
This didn’t even happen at my table. The note was left for another server, who allowed me to take a picture of it at the end of the night.
Someone had scribbled on the receipt, “I give God 10%. Why do you get 18?”
I assumed the customer’s signature was illegible, but I quickly started receiving messages containing Facebook profile links and websites, asking me to confirm the identity of the customer. I refused to confirm any of them, and all were incorrect.
I worked with the Reddit moderators to remove any personal information. I wanted to protect the identity of both my fellow server and the customer. I had no intention of starting a witch-hunt or hurting anyone.
Now I’ve been fired.
The person who wrote the note came across an article about it, called the Applebee’s location, and demanded everyone be fired — me, the server who allowed me to take the picture, the manager on duty at the time, the manager not on duty at the time, everyone. It seems I was fired not because Applebee’s was represented poorly, not because I did anything illegal or against company policy, but because I embarrassed this person.
In light of the situation, I would like to make a statement on behalf of wait staff everywhere: We make $3.50 an hour. Most of my paychecks are less than pocket change because I have to pay taxes on the tips I make.
After sharing my tips with hosts, bussers, and bartenders, I make less than $9 an hour on average, before taxes. I am expected to skip bathroom breaks if we are busy. I go hungry all day if I have several busy tables to work. I am expected to work until 1:30am and then come in again at 10:30am to open the restaurant.
I have worked 12-hour double shifts without a chance to even sit down. I am expected to portray a canned personality that has been found to be least offensive to the greatest amount of people. And I am expected to do all of this, every day, and receive change, or even nothing, in return. After all that, I can be fired for “embarrassing” someone, who directly insults his or her server on religious grounds.
In this economy, $3.50 an hour doesn’t cut it. I can’t pay half my bills. Like many, I would love to see a reasonable, non-tip-dependent wage system for service workers like they have in other countries. But the system being flawed is not an excuse for not paying for services rendered.
I need tips to pay my bills. All waiters do. We spend an hour or more of our time befriending you, making you laugh, getting to know you, and making your dining experience the best it can be. We work hard. We care. We deserve to be paid for that.
I am trying to stand up for all of us who work for just a few dollars an hour at places like Applebee’s. Whether a chain steakhouse or a black-tie establishment, tipping is not optional. It is how we get paid.
I posted a picture to make people laugh, but now I want to make a serious point: Things like this happen to servers all the time. People seem to think that the easiest way to save money on a night out is to skip the tip.
I can’t understand why I was fired over this. I was well liked and respected at Applebee’s. My sales were high, my managers had no problems with me, and I was even hoping to move up to management soon. When I posted this, I didn’t represent Applebee’s in a bad light. In fact, I didn’t represent them at all.
I did my best to protect the identity of all parties involved. I didn’t break any specific guidelines in the company handbook – I checked. But because this person got embarrassed that their selfishness was made public, Applebee’s has made it clear that they would rather lose a dedicated employee than an angry customer. That’s a policy I can’t understand.
I am equally baffled about how a religious tithe is in any way related to paying for services at a restaurant. I can understand why someone could be upset with an automatic gratuity. However, it’s a plainly stated Applebee’s policy that a tip is added automatically for parties over eight like the one this customer was part of. I cannot control that kind of tip; it’s done by the computer that the orders are put into. I’ve been stiffed on tips before, but this is the first time I’ve seen the “Big Man” used as reasoning.
Obviously the person who wrote this note wanted it seen by someone. It’s strange that now that the audience is wider than just the server, the person is ashamed.
I have no agenda here. I seek no revenge against the note writer. I have no interest in exposing their identity, and, at this point, I’m not even sure I want my job back. I was just trying to make a joke, but I came home unemployed.
I’ve been waiting tables to save up some money so I could finally go to college, so I could get an education that would qualify me for a job that doesn’t force me to sell my personality for pocket change.

I think this Pastor needs to check the guidelines for being a Christian because she sure didn't act like pne here. I, myself will NEVER walk into an Applebee's restaraunt EVER AGAIN!

Monday, February 04, 2013


Everyone knows the house and land in Pakistan where Bin Laden met his just demise. I read this morning that they are planning to build an amusement park like Disneyland, a zoo and a big recreation area. Say it isn't so! But it is!
Pakistani officials say they’re planning to build an amusement park at a cost of nearly $30 million in the city where Usama bin Laden was killed by US forces, but claim it has nothing to do with the former Al Qaeda leader.

The Abbottabad development, which will begin construction around March, will take eight years to complete using allocated funds, Sky News reports.

"It will have a heritage park, wildlife zoo, food street, adventure and paragliding clubs, waterfalls and jogging tracks," said Syed Aqil Shah, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provincial minister for tourism and sports.

Abbottabad is located in the foothills of the Himalayas and is a popular weekend destination for wealthier Pakistani families, according to Sky News.

Shah said the amusement park is being built to cater to that crowd and not as a way to polish the city’s image after Bin Laden was killed there in May 2011.

Saturday, February 02, 2013


Let's hear it for Phil, the world famous ground hog who just today, February 2nd, 2013  did NOT see his shadow and that means that winter will soon be over. Or so they say. The tradition began in 1887 and today in front of thirty thousand witnesses, the good old groundhog gave his optimistic prediction. I wonder just what that poor groundhog thinks of all the fuss and bother that he gets on one day of the year. I couldn't find footage of this year's event, as I write this, but I have include footage of last year's ceremony in CANADA. Wow, this is one amazing tradition. Oh, bythe way, it's also the feast day of Saint Blaze who is the patron saint of the throat and singers. As a kid, we always used to go to church and have our throats blessed on this day. It also would have been Burton Lane's birthday, the composer of "Finian's Rainbow" and the classic "On A Clear Day, You Can See Forever" I almost got to work with this amazing guy, but the internet was just not relliable inthose days and I lived here in California and he lived in New York. He had two hit musicals and one notorious flop called "Carmelina".
But his music is classic. My favorites are "Look To The Rainbow" and "I Believe In Me".