Operation Empire

This is obviously my personal site but my online content arsenal is vast. It includes Greater Gotham: Going Global, a blog about being out and about in New York City and what happens when you turn Gotham Girl lose on the UK; Fabulous Foodie, where food and food culture are served up a la carte. Last but not least, there is Modern Parlance -- home to my hard-working writer alter ego and headquarters in my nefarious plan to take over the world. It is also home to my work blog - Personal Parlance, where I hold forth on publishing, books, social media, communication, indexing, writing, education and anything else content-wise that catches my eye. 

I had wanted to call the whole thing Operation Empire but several of my friends suggested that might put people off. Upon consideration I decided that a) they were right (so went with Modern Parlance) and b) to effectively take over the world, I would need fewer friends and more minions. Applications being accepted now.

Scribbles & Notes

Of course, the word-smithing started long before the plan for world domination. At one time or another, my personal writing projects have included:

Take 2 Movie Reviews which proved indirectly that I once had a social life where as TV Rants & Raves suggested perhaps that I didn't. (I take comfort in the fact that I haven't updated it lately - which suggests that things are looking up.)

The only thing my ongoing Bibliomania ever suggested was that I needed more shelves and the patience to wait for  paperbacks. Publishing Grunt's Bible came about because working with books isn't the thrill ride that reading or buying them is. 

There were pure flights of fancy like Staving off Ennui, the Server Sees the Sights; there were answers to hypothetical questions like "what should go in a toy hall of fame and then there were the snarkathons - first site website I ever did - Alias Smith & Jones Site and the Dark Shadows Snarkathon.

Much older material is kept in the Ephemera Archives - moved to the backburner but not completely forgotten. Who knows what'll end up catching my attention next...

  Ephemeral Archives

2000 | 2001 | 2002

Touching Upon 2001

Deb to Celebs: Get over yourselves! 
The rest of us have.

Even after the endless posturing, histrionics and the last minute chaos not once but TWICE, I find it difficult to believe that no one has apparently sat down and explained to these cry babies celebrities (and the few actual actors amongst them) that they aren't in any particular danger and that they shouldn't keep dramatizing themselves this way. No one else is carrying on this way. If this keeps up, the whole thing will end up simply being a large group therapy session while we the audience get the awards for best performance as we attempt to ACT as if we still care. And what, you may ask, has prompted this little hissyfit? Well, it's the latest noise (I hesitate to call it news) from Hollywood as reported in Variety and E! Online that some nominees threatened to boycott the ceremony if there was a red carpet (would it make them feel better if it were red, white and blue?) Other nominees said it would be "disgusting" to have acceptance speeches. 

OK, so what's left? The latest press release from the Emmy people say that they are going for dignified and uplifting. Well, could someone explain to me how dressy business attire is any closer to that than a tux and formal gown dress code? The Emmys are not important enough for this much gnashing of teeth. Either call it off entirely or hold the damn ceremony - red carpet, Joan Rivers, gowns, tuxes, speeches and all. Emmy chairman Bryce Zabel said "The terrorists won't be allowed to hijack the Emmys." Hey Brian! Newsflash: they aren't interested in your little award show and frankly, none of the rest of us are anymore either.

Sept 11, 2001

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As often as you look downtown, you always get that small jolt that the Towers aren't there. Your brain keeps trying to put them in the picture. Not long ago, I worked across the street from the Trade Center. I often jokingly complained that the view from the office was too distracting and I never got anything done with the Towers, the water (and Krispy Kreme) there to attract my attention. I'd give anything to have that view back. 

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This and That - Oh and The Other Thing (9/18/01)

Mount Etna has something to say and the Italians don't seem to be hearing it QUITE loud enough. Here - let me turn up the sound for my Italian friends. What is the that word whispering through the volcanic ash that is spewing into the air? It sounds like - Pompeii. And why do they think that a long mound of earth will stop the lava. Nothing stops lava except cold and I see no sign that they are mixing ice cubes in with the top soil. 

Can we discuss Sex and the City for a minute? Am I the only one who thinks this latest season is being written by pod people? Have they SEEN the previous seasons? Do they know anyone who lives in NY - or even has visited NY? I've been terribly disappointed with the show this year. I know the character of Carrie is the whole point but dear lord! Somewhere out there is something that doesn't have to do exclusively with her, her shoes, her clothes, her dates, her, her, her and I pray that they find it soon and FORCE her to discuss it. Honey, get over your bad self and at least try FAKING an interest in your friends daily lives. I know she did much better when Miranda's mother died but why does it have to be something of that magnitude to jolt Carrie out of her swirling tizzy of me, myself and I? And please, please, please - who do I have to sleep with to get Kyle MacLachlan off the show? No offense Kyle but Trey is so tedious that he makes my teeth hurt.

There is something to be thankful for - William Kennedy Smith has decided NOT to run for office. Did I miss something? When did he start to think about it? The Kennedy's seem to feel obligated to run for office. Darlings, move on. The rest of us have.

An article about the Pope has me wondering now. Apparently it has just come to public attention that the Pope gets an annual salary (he hasn't handled money in 23 years) but either no one knows what it is or no one is saying. Now I simply MUST know what his income is. Anyone know how I can track that down? It has defeated even me, online researcher extraordinaire.


Is July the longest month? (7/24/01)

Is it just me or does this month seem to be going on forever? Maybe it's me - or maybe it's all the filler programming on TV.

W went off to Europe again. I think he makes them feel good about themselves. And I admit I do enjoy the coverage of his "style". Not that I am a Bush supporter but I think greeting Tony Blair with a jaunty "Hey, Landslide!" as he approaches is hilarious and strikes an excellent note. I know he was going for very serious G8 stuff - and that's all well and good but I am most interest in knowing what came up in conversation at the Bushes lunch with Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip. Can you imagine a conversation between W and Phillip. They both suffer from Foot in Mouth disease. Perhaps Liz and Laura rolled their eyes in tandem.

Reuters newswire shared the following: "American rocker Iggy Pop has astonished organizers of a forthcoming Scottish gig with a bizarre list of backstage demands, including seven dwarves, The New York Times and broccoli, according to a report. However, the Daily Record reported on Tuesday that the former Stooges frontman only wanted the vegetable so he could throw it in the bin -- because he hates it. Instead, Pop, whose real name is James Jewel Osterberg, will stave off the hunger pangs with enormous pizzas and slake his thirst with ginger beer or good red wine. The paper did not say why Pop wanted the dwarves."

What I am wondering is what Iggy wants with the New York Times? He strikes me a a Daily News sorta guy.

And in other international news - you may missed it with all the G8 coverage - the Greek village of Moudros is finally to be released from the curse placed on the village 100 years ago by a monastery of nearby monks. The monks have been chanting the curse  every year for the past 100 since Ottoman forces killed almost all their brothers on the island, blaming them for attacks actually launched by the villagers. Apparently no one filled these monks in on the whole idea of forgive and forget. Not a very Christian attitude, gentlemen.

It just gets stranger and stranger (6/1/01)

Everytime I read the news - I think I've mistakenly tuned into the Daily Show or I'm having some weird dream. 

I'm not sure anymore which of the Bush girls are the evil twin...maybe it's not a question of the good twin and the evil twin. Now it's more a question of the clueless twin and the one who should know better. 

The King and Queen of Nepal are killed by their son the crown prince over a girlfriend? What is this -- "As Nepal Turns"?

The FBI again finds documents they seem to have forgotten they misplaced and now the McVeigh delays are multiplying. Does anyone think these documents are actually going to shatter any already established guilt? Does the FBI have a housekeeping department. Isn't this the same organization that rediscovered a file cabinet full of Waco documents in an unused office? Is it possible that what the government really needs is not bipartisanship but a good office manager?

The government has announced it's solution to solve plane delays - fly the planes closer together in the air so more will fit! Brilliant - NOT! Again, I don't think it's bipartisanship the government really needs...it's a clue. Gee, why does this solution sound worse than the problem.

And just in an attempt to relieve the fear of the news, I sat down to read the final volume of the Niccolo series by Dorothy Dunnett. Sigh. I just don't know how to feel about it. I finished it, the capper to what is essentially a 14 volume story and the last link is made on the last two pages of volume 14 and I was really kinda let down. I loved everything else about the books - particularly the Lymond series - but that last bit which I was waiting and waiting and waiting for was just a let down.

Not as much of a let down as the Buffy and Angel series finales but that's another story for another time.

Can the TV movie be far behind? (5/12/01)

So, is it just me or has everyone started casting the Robert Blake TV movie in their heads? Here are my thoughts so far.

Tony Danza as Robert Blake. Yes, I know he's not quite short enough but work with me. The next one was tough since really it was hard to get a handle on this woman but what about Patricia Richardson as Bonney Bakely. She'll have that chance all sitcom actresses want to show her range and she can wear many wigs to show Bonnie through the ages and at different points - there are pictures that show her as a blonde, a brunette and red head, and a varying levels of - well, lifestyle I guess...sometimes she looks all glamed up and then the next pic shows someone who may be living in her car.

In supporting roles, I see Kato Kaelin playing the restaurant owner or better yet a waiter in the restaurant and when "Robert" returns to get the gun and as he drinks the two glasses of water, the waiter can just be getting off duty and say to another employee "Hey, I'll drop these sunglasses of on my way home." Because it's important that Ron Silver appear in all these types of movies, he can take the choice of playing the judge (bound to be one eventually), the chief of the LA police (depending on how they do on this case) or someone's attorney.

In another casting stunt (because we MUST get ratings), Peter Falk can play the investigator hired by Robert Blake. Failing Peter Falk, anyone who played a detective in the 70s or 80s will do such as:

  • Starsky and/or Hutch (After all, what's David Soul doing these days? And they must use the original car).

  • Is Jim Garner busy...Rockford could bust this case WIDE open.

  • What about the guys from CHiPS (perhaps they've given up the cycles and gone the PI route).

  • If Selleck promises to grow the mustache back, we'd love have Magnum nose around - so to speak.

  • Naturally the Medical Examiner will be Jack Klugman (or failing his availability the guy who played Sam).

Lights, Camera, Move it! (5/5/01)

Lights! Camera! Hey, you there - outta the way! 
As entertaining as I find it to pick apart TV and movies that allegedly take place in NY - you know what I don't find entertaining? Being summarily moved by snot nosed production assistants who think what they do is actually important. So, now not only do I have to pay $10 to go to a movie but I can't walk or sit without one of the self-centered Spielberg-wanna-bes re-arranging me and my plans for the simple and cost free joys of taking a walk. 

Forget it. Just turn the page 
I went to the New York Antiquarian Book Fair to torture myself by browsing shelves of books I want but can't have. I saw so many proofs of Harry Potter books I don't know how there was still a market for the actual books. 

78 Channels and nothing on 
Since I didn't have $175,000 for a copy of Tarzan of the Apes or $1000 for one of the Harry Potter proofs, I went home to watch a little TV. Everything was a repeat. Anyone remember when the TV season used to run from early September to mid May without weeks of repeats in between. Summer was for repeats. Now the only time we get new episodes of anything seem to be sweeps. I don't mind there being fewer episodes but I do wish they wouldn't run repeats ALL year. Split the seasons up or something.

But since I am touching on the tube, let me just say how glad I am that there seems to be an agreement worked out with the writer's guild. It wasn't that I feared reality TV shows multiplying out of control (though they would I am sure). No, I was concerned because LAST time the writer's went out on strike, the world was subjected to the other Duke cousins. Eeeek!

This is reality TV!  (4/23/01)

Is anyone else really concerned about the looming writer's strike? I don't mean worried about the economic impact on Los Angeles (Yes, Mr. Mayor - I too could have told you that extended strikes would have a negative economic impact on LA and I wouldn't have had to spend tax payers dollars to come to that conclusion) The thing I worry about it -- what will this strike bring us? The last one result in the "other" Duke cousins. Horrifying! This one may very well result in more reality television. 

I saw a description in Variety of one of the ones in development now -

Cable's USA Network is in final negotiations to greenlight a new cloak-and-dagger reality series that brings modern-day Robin Hoods to television. The series -- tentatively dubbed ``Break In!'' -- pits two teams in a race to execute a repo-style retrieval. The teams may be asked to pull off such tasks as locating and returning a stolen painting or recovering stolen government secrets from a Russian yacht during a lavish party. The first team to return the booty to its rightful owners wins. The prize has yet to be determined.

And the legal issues surrounding that are probably giving the network suits FITS. Hey, they could do cross-overs with COPS!

Much more fun that the reality shows is the growing number of imitations of Anne Robinson, host of The Weakest Link. Everyone is doing it and some rather well. 

And Buffy is moving the UPN because the WB is run by folks determined to cut off their nose to spite their faces...and seeing some of those faces, I can't say it's a bad idea.

Spring Fling!  (4/18/01)

It's that time of year again. The weather in New York gets nicer and all those people crowd the sidewalks. So, how to enjoy a casual walk in the city with so many folks on the streets? Fling them out of the way! No? Oh OK. Try these suggestions:

Where do you want to go? I've noticed that if you live in NY, you often never see attractions that make the "must do" lists of visitors to our fair city. Luckily we've got several weeks before the summer tourist invasion so if there are attractions you've been wanting to see, now's the time. 

The Statue of Liberty is a popular stop. It's worth seeing but I've never understood wanting to actually go there. If you're taking to ferry to Ellis Island or taking the Circle line (one of the my FAVORITE things to do), you'll get a wonderful view as you sail by and/or around. Circle line will even play Kate Smith singing God Bless America for you as you pass by. There are the museums of course - Ellis Island (Incredible) the Met (try the roof garden), MOMA, the Whitney...want something different? Try the East Side Tenement Museum.

When to go? Take the day off from work and head off to where ever. You could always go on the weekends but I think it's more enjoyable when you don't have to fight crowds and there's the extra plus of playing hookey

Interested in just wandering? Try wandering around the upper half of Central Park. Go above it. Gorgeous. Or if it's the weekend, try the mid 20s off 6th. Flea markets everywhere you can see.

You don't need much for a day in NY when the weather is this great. All you need is a Walkman and a metropass and you're good for the day. I'm heading out today with a vague plan of hitting the mystery books stores. Helpful places for planning your mini-NYC vacation ('cause that's what it is really): 




Oscar, Oscar who gets the Oscar? (3/27/01)

Who cares? More to the point - who gets the free TV for shortest speech?

Apart from the swan dress, I think everyone did ok in the clothing department. Nothing utterly, earth-shatteringly, fabulous but nothing that made me want to scream either. It's true I could have lived without such detailed views of Jennifer Lopez's breasts but all in all, it was pretty good. Joan Allen looked marvelous - lovely hair and great dress. Loved Julia Roberts' dress. I do wish though that these women would attempt to walk up stairs in the dresses BEFORE getting to the Oscars. So tiresome watching them struggle.

It took me ages to figure out that the thing in Juliette's Binochet's hair was a feather. I thought it was just rampant hair. Sigourney - not a great dress choice which is rare for her so I shall forgive her. Sarah Jessica Parker - while I admire the fact that she can walk in those shoes I was wondering where the rest of the dress was. Finally though no one looked hideous (save the swan which was more weird and scary than hideous) there are some women who just need to accept that age and gravity are taking their toll and should wear bras.

Thought Kate Hudson's dress was very cool. Thought Goldie should get a new hairstyle but I've thought that for years.

As for the men and what they wore: I really don't know why men try to do anything that DIFFERENT since it rarely works. A simple tux will do nicely. Sting's was simple and elegant while Russell Crowe and Samuel L Jackson looked like they were ready to lead a jewish high holy days service. Don't get me wrong - I thought Russell looked great but there was SO much happening with that suit. It was a bit much. And would it kill him to smile and pretend he doesn't hate these things? I know he'd rather be in a bar or at a soccer match but dude - get over it. He did look adorably stunned when they called his name though. We were playing "spot the FBI agent" in my house.

Dear god who let Joaquin Phoenix out that way. He looked awful. And with his mother sitting there next to him. I blame her ENTIRELY.

I adored Steve Martin. The line about "we all sleep with so many people" and Tom Hanks' reaction to the kidnapping thing - priceless. Also loved the whole dinner party bit. Danny Devito and the carrot was extra funny because I was eating a carrot at that point myself.

Quite a non-reaction Tom Cruise got eh? You could almost sense everyone in the audience thinking "selfish bastard" and Russell sitting right in front of him pointedly NOT clapping. I suspect Russell would like to pop Tom one. After all Russell and Nicole are quite good friends and have been for years.

Loved Kevin Spacey's tribute to Judi Dench, Delivery Service

I was glad we didn't have a BIG dance number but I have decided that even short speeches can be annoying. All in all I didn't see much to complain about - except that set which was odd and distracting all at the same time and the weird pairing of Susannah Hoffs with Randy Newman...that was disturbing.

Can't decide about the whole best picture/best director split...what message was that sending and to whom? Was it saying to Ridley "Look, you're great visually but a total loss at characterization." Was it saying to Steven "Lok how prolific you were but um...not very glam." It happens so infrequently it MUST mean something - I just can't decide what. And honestly - much as I loved watching Gladiator (twice, three times...) Traffic was - well, OK they aren't strictly comparable but I think Traffic should have picked up best film of the year.

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