Category Archives: in and around the USA

Are you ready for some football? Because I’m not.

It’s definitely (American) football season. I really have no interest but I join a pool every year so I can feign some kind of interest, allowing me to have a conversation with the boyfriend on football Sundays.

The pool I play in you just have to pick by the spread. With that said I use very scientific methods.

I make my picks each week based on the following. I vary between categories based on each of the week’s matchups.

For example:

1 – Who likes them?

I pick teams based on people I know who like them. With the exception of my hometown teams, teams that fall in that category are the Raiders, the Browns, the Seahawks, the Broncos, the Ravens and the Cowboys (the boyfriend’s favorite team).

2 – The Cowboys division

Then there are the teams in that division, so that’s just based on the spread and who is home. Though I usually root for the underdog. So there’s the Eagles, the Redskins and the Giants. I kind of just pick and choose. I know tons of people who like all of these teams so I don’t go on if someone likes them. While not in the division, I do include the Jets here because they are one of the hometown teams.

If the boyfriend gets annoyed at the Cowboys, like last season, I pay attention, because at the end of the day, I am looking to win the pool.

3 – My kind of town

I also pick other teams based on the city – and if I like it, or want to go there – teams that fall into this category are the Titans, the Chargers, the Bears, Arizona, the 49ers, Kansas City and Green Bay.

4 – Show your true colors

And then I pick teams based on their uniform because I like the colors for Carolina, the Vikings, Tampa Bay and the Seahawks also fall into this category.

5 – Where are you from?

If it really comes down to the wire, I will pick for location – people who are living there. While I don’t typically lean towards Atlanta or Miami, I know people living there, so they get picked once in a while.

6 – What’s the weather like?

If it’s snowing and the Bills are playing Miami – I am going with the Bills. If it’s 90 degrees in October, I am going with Miami. I’m picking for the climate they are used to playing in more consistently.

7 – Usually really good

The Saints, the Patriots, the Colts and Pittsburgh fall into this category. However, I hate Pittsburgh’s uniform so I try not to root for them much. Plus as a huge Ravens fan, my brother-in-law would kill me.

8 – Cute quarterbacks

Drew Brees, Matt Cassel and Eli Manning are a few.

I know I am missing a few teams and they just don’t really fall into any of these categories.

What’s the method to your madness?


Labor Day

Just as Memorial Day is seen as the unofficial start of Summer, Labor Day is seen as the unofficial end of Summer. Big sad face. Summer is my favorite holiday and I feel like this summer flew, as usual.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s website, “Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.”

It’s a little odd considering the latest jobs report in the US is pretty dismal. I’m pretty sure that plenty of people would love to be ‘laboring.’

Losing AAA rating

Fascinating that the US lost its AAA credit rating last night. I have no idea what that means but since it is the first time in history that it happened, it’s probably not that good.

Clearly the US government has borrowed too much. Do wonder what happens next time there is a global situation where the US has to go get in another countries business. Who is paying?

If no one will bail the US out, then why should the US bail anyone else out incurring more debt?

Regardless, the US government has overspent, overborrowed and overpromised. Sounds like the housing crisis. And the banking crisis. I sense a pattern here.

Fabulous, Fantastic and Fun Fourths!

The Fourth of July is my favorite holiday. Hands down, the Fourth is the best holiday all year.

The Fourth falls smack in the middle of summertime. There are fireworks, it’s a long weekend, there are picnics with burgers, hot dogs, beers and music, lots of patriotism and quality time with friends and family…I mean, what’s not to love?

It’s the best. I’ve had so many fun Fourths! It has always been my favorite holiday and as a kid, it always happened to fall during our own family summer vacation, and oh so close to my birthday. I have to give my parents so much credit for always making our family Fourths fabulously fun – sorry, I am loving the alliteration.

Fun Family Fourths include:

  • Seeing the first Fourth of July parade in the nation, in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Literally, the first since the parade starts at midnight!
  • Spending the holiday weekend exploring and enjoying our nation’s capital
  • Picnicking on various beaches along the Eastern Seaboard watching the sunset followed by watching fireworks overhead
  • Spending it with the Mouse and his friends in Disney World (which as an adult I could only say would be pure hell)
  • No list is complete without a nod to my dad and his grill skills and my mom’s macaroni salad. Our backyard barbeques were always, and are still, tons of fun – on the Fourth or not.

What were your memorable Fourths? If you are here in the States, have a safe and fabulous holiday weekend.

WHY Campaign For So Long?

I don’t like to talk politics but WHY are debates for the 2012 election starting now? Shouldn’t the length of campaigning (and the amount of funds spent on said campaign) be limited? The amount of resources and time spent on campaigning should be cut down. There are fifty states, some big, some small. Spend a few weeks in the big ones, a week in the smaller ones.

* After some Googling, I found out that those in US territories can nominate a candidate, but cannot vote. So you can campaign to get on a ticket in places like Guam, American Samoa, Puerto Rico and the USVI. But that’s where it ends. They cannot ultimately elect the president.

With all ways people can access media, it doesn’t need to be a 24/7 news cycle for 18 months. We get that you are running. We get that there are debates. We get that you need to make appearances. But all the politicians who are running already have  a job to do and they should be concentrating on doing that one job well.

Brought to you by WHY Wednesday.

WHY is there even a question of bail or jail?

First, Dominique Strauss-Kahn from France, then, Egypt’s Mahmoud Abdel-Salam Omar. These aren’t men, they are monsters.

These two sexual attacks top global headlines. My local news has had more violent assaults to cover this week than any week in recent history. It seems like there’s no shortage of assholes.

These monsters decide they must have someone, and she’s there for the taking? Why do they think that they are above the law? Who the hell do these jackasses think they are? What makes them think they are entitled to a woman, any woman they want, whenever they want? If they are so needy for sex, find someone you can pay for it. Why do they feel the need to assault someone to get it? These animals decided to use their body as a weapon and because of that, I believe they should be castrated.

I apologize. I digress.

For the cases where there is a named attacker, why there is even a question of bail or jail absolutely amazes me.

It makes me ill that the judge is letting Strauss-Kahn wait out his trial in a multi-million dollar mansion. S-K made his bed, and instead he gets to lie on one in a $14 million USD mansion instead of in jail, like his fellow criminals.

The judge presiding over S-K’s case had a chance to make an example that would echo around the city, and possibly the world, yet failed miserably.

I’ve heard from reputable sources in law enforcement that there is a food chain in jail and those who are sent in on a charge of sexual assault, are at the bottom, just above child molesters. Had S-K spent significant time there, he could have gotten (some of) his due.

I have to believe that the judge was afraid that S-K would be prey for criminals higher in the food chain. Even so, why should S-K be excused from jail? What entitles him to bail? His (former, and disgraced) title? His wealth? PUH-LEASE.

Now, yet another judge will have the opportunity to make an example out of another (alleged) sex offender. Will he collect bail, or send a criminal to jail? The question if Omar will be given the same opportunity as S-K waits to be answered.

Why is this fair to the crime survivors? Shouldn’t the survivor of S-K’s attack be able to get some relief knowing that the animal who attacked her is behind bars? The only bar he might be behind is a cocktail bar in that mansion. By chance, and no fault of her own, she was violently attacked and violated by a wealthy douchebag who thinks he is above the law, and on top of that, gets out of jail on bail. She doesn’t even get to bask in the satisfaction knowing that her attacker is getting his due while biding his time in jail.

I believe that all monsters should be treated the same, regardless of their (former) stature, their income and how much interest the media may or may not have. They all belong in Rikers. But for now, we’ll have to wait and see what the judge who will preside over Omar’s case decides where he will spend his time during his court dates.

We can only hope that judge number two makes the right decision and keeps criminals — alleged or not, wealthy or not, shamed (former) international superstars or not — where they belong, in jail, without bail.

WHY Wednesday.

So You’re Saying There’s a Chance?

Sadly, the US trails the rest of the world when it comes to handing out vacation days so when planning trips I have become an expert at maximizing my days like extending international trips during US holidays to get that extra bonus day, or really maximizing the long weekend.

Even so, every time it’s time to return home, I’m always the one begging the gate agent to bump me so I can squeeze out at least one extra day. As I’ve learned from gate agents in Frankfurt, Zagreb, Buenos Aires and San Jose, Costa Rica (I’m persistent, okay?), airlines don’t typically overbook international flights, since it’s one of their last moneymakers, so getting bumped is quite slim.

But…the gate agents always tell me I’ll be the first they will tell if a bump is possible. I remember landing in Frankfurt, en route to Newark, the gate agent and I became BFFs.

Gate agent: ‘I can pretty much guarantee 100% you will be on this flight.’

Me: ‘Can you guarantee a football team won’t show up and need my seat?’

Gate agent: ‘No. But your flight is scheduled to depart within the hour so it’s not likely.’

Me: ‘Ha, so there’s a chance.’

I’m sure my file is flagged with ‘crazy.’

Memorial Day Weekend

Memorial Day honors those who have died while serving the US military. It is formally recognized on the last Monday in May, giving most workers a three-day holiday weekend.

In New York City, there’s the annual event of Fleet Week. Everywhere you turn there’s another man or woman in uniform enjoying all that the Big Apple has to offer.

Memorial Day weekend is seen as the unofficial start to summer. For the past few years it has rained in the Northeast and this year I think this year, that streak may change!

Weather (!) or not it rains, at least we know it’s the end of May. And my favorite season, summer, is right around the corner!

Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue*

The most wanted monster in the world has been killed. Finally!

After the weekend, and the little sleep I had, I went to bed just before 10p. Around 10.30 I was told to stay tuned for breaking news from the President. Flipping between channels…waiting…dozing…waiting…dozing…

I dozed off for good because the next thing I knew, the TV was off and it was 4am. Pissed!

Obviously I was able to get up to speed quickly when I was getting ready this morning. Once I arrived to work (because battery was dead on phone and I couldn’t catch up on my commute in) I was scrolling through breaking news in my email. I saw lots of eager news reports trying to be the first. For example:

10.57pm: Congressional and administration officials tell [news outlet] Osama bin Laden is dead. He was reportedly killed in Afghanistan. President Barack Obama is expected to address the nation shortly.

11.02pm: Osama bin Laden killed at a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, after a firefight, President Obama said Sunday.

They couldn’t wait the five minutes to confirm in which country he was killed? There’s such a race to be the first to break news. We see typos all the time. When Gabrielle Giffords was shot in Tucson, I can’t tell you how many times I saw the spelling Tuscon. Spell check perhaps? 

After scrolling online to see the news coverage I had slept through, I moved onto Facebook and Twitter. Of course they were exploding. I read loads of statuses, some were even before Obama spoke, giving a heads up to those who may not have heard there was going to be an announcement.

While scrolling on Facebook, I saw a friend’s post that linked to a survey on – ‘How did you hear about OBL’s death?’ At the time of this writing, nearly twenty hours after the survey was posted, Twitter is in the lead, followed by Facebook. TV is fourth. There is no doubt that social media has become a critical part of the news and entertainment cycle as noted by my Royal Wedding experience.

To Americans abroad, please be mindful and vigilant during your travels. As expected, the State Department issued a Travel Alert for ‘enhanced potential for anti-American violence.’ Continue to travel, just be aware.

Thank you to our brave military, and those who gave up their lives for the freedoms we enjoy. And let’s not forget those we lost on September 11, 2011, those we lost on the USS Cole and others who have lost their lives to an act of terrorism. NEVER FORGET.

G-d Bless the USA.

* Credit to Toby Keith for the title of today’s post…it’s the title of one of his songs for you non-country fans. Great song. Take a listen.


I am so lucky to have the kinds of friends that you may not see every day, or even every month. But once we’re back together, it’s like nothing has changed. Even though so much has – after all, we’ve grown up. But…not too much, otherwise it would be BOR-ING.

Got to experience that several times over the weekend, and it was great.