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

Wrapping up 2002

End of the year wraps ups are cool and trendy and I am, if nothing else, cool and trendy (stop that snickering, peanut gallery) so here's my wrap up. I'm sure I'll forget many things but since history repeats itself, those items will doubtless have their day in a recap in the not so distant future.  

  • Sure, it was entertaining to watch the public disintegration of Martha Stewart. But were we shocked? At least her friends at Kmart are standing by her. Well, at least until the doors close. 

  • We learned that the French can't be trusted when it comes to judging ice skating but who trusted them anyway? 

  • Catholic priests are involved in sexual exploits and the Church took steps to cover it up? You're kidding! You're just realizing this now? 

  • The stock market went up. Then it went down. Hey, guess what? That's what it's supposed to do. 

  • Studies show that people talking on cell phones are not concentrating on driving. How many of my tax dollars were spent coming to that conclusion? 

  • Someone intended to kidnap Rudy Giuliani? Hey, all those barriers and barbed wire around City Hall don't seem so crazy now, do they? 

  • NYC made it too damned far in Olympic host selection. Do I really have to explain WHY this is a bad, bad idea? 

  • AOL Time Warner is finding that bigger isn't necessarily better and it's even harder to manage. Please raise your hand if you knew that. Oh and look, hardly any of us had to get MBAs to come to that conclusion.

And some thoughts so ephemeral they didn't make it to the archives the first time around:

The friggin' post office is raised the price of a first class stamp AGAIN! It's like an annual tradition now. Do you know that - ironically - they filed for their last rate increase the morning of Sept 11 about 20 minutes before the chaos began? And when asked why they need the rate increase, they say it is due to all the problems created for them post 9/1! LIARS! God, I hate the postal service sometimes and I hope they continue to lose vast amounts of money and blame the growing popularity of email. Every time they say that, newspapers print the long list of INTERNAL reasons that the postal service looses millions every year and they are shame faced. They should be. I know the 19th century wasn't perfect but the idea of 3 deliveries a day for free is pretty appealing just now. I probably wouldn't have liked many other features of that time period - being of the gentler sex (*SNORT!*) and likely to have been repressed for my own good - but still, there's a lot to be said for free mail service and corsets DID improve the posture. They aren't a bad look for me either. Come to think of it, full skirts might camouflage fuller hips. (Hmmm...Note to self: look into time travel)

According to the media in Britain this past march, Chelsea Clinton was the fifth most eligible woman in Britain. OK, fine but, what about the in-law problem you'd have. Yuck

A personal highlight for me this year was going to see Private Lives. I would just like to say that until you've seen Alan Rickman throw himself face first into a floor pillow, you haven't truly lived. Not only is Alan Rickman FANTASTIC as Elyot but Amanda was played by Lindsay Duncan. I simply ADORE Noel Coward so it goes without saying that I adored the show but the show wouldn't work without chemistry between the two leads and my GOD did they ever. I knew they would because I'd seen them work together before. Together they are divine (God, I sound like I just came from a Coward play). I saw them together in - geez, I think it was 88 or 87 - in Les Liaisons Dangereuses playing Meurtile (who I've just misspelled) and Valmont (having seen Rickman's Valmont first, can anyone blame me for not taking Malcovitch seriously?). They crackled then and they just got better and better as time passed. Alan needs a haircut but other than that he was great. His timing is flawless and I've never seen any one "mug" so sincerely. I mean, part of the charm of Elyot is the piffle but he's desperate underneath for Amanda to take him seriously. And she of course loves the piffle and afraid of taking it seriously. So there's a great deal of sparkling, brittle wit thrown around with very fraught glances. And the whole thing is hilarious. I would guess that most people do not put "Alan Rickman" and "schtick" together in a sentence but they should because the man is comedy gold. He and Lindsay go from shallow frivolity and really touching so fast you could get whip lash but that's what it takes to do Coward successfully. And you know, they manage to do with without making it sounds too much like "Oh DARLING! Look! It's a Coward play, dahling! Oh you mustn't!" The two secondary characters did fall a bit into that but it wasn't too bad. They aren't on very much. It's mostly just Alan and Lindsay and fabulousness. The sets were gorgeous! Really first class. Everyone dresses a la on Old Christie movie of the 30s or 40s and I would kill someone for Amanda's wardrobe. Alan spent a good portion of the show barefoot and in pajamas and dressing gown. Yummy. Anyhow, it was great fluffy, frothy fun and he was stunning and elegant but also brittle and flippant by turns. In short, he was perfect.

The fireworks for the Queen's Jubilee were spectacular. There were moments where I thought the Queen MIGHT have been enjoying herself and then recalled how much reseeding the lawn would involve. I do think she might have worn something a bit more - festive. Must everything be so SENSIBLE? On the other hand funereal wear in the past year has been downright stylish. She just needs to extend that to her everyday wear. The younger generation in the Royal box ALL looked like they'd rather be dancing. Frankly, so did Camilla who seemed chuffed just to be there. Loved the projections on the building. Stunning.

In the tradition of the ubiquitous award shows "Montage of the Dead", I have my own. It's not everyone obviously but the ones that caught my attention for one reason or another. 

  • Dave Thomas, who by all reports hated being in those Wendy's commercials, finally found a way out of them permanently in January.

  • In February, Princess Margaret passed away. The more unkind amongst us suspect it was the final F.U. to her sister. "Jubilee my sweet Union Jack ass!" The even more unkind cheered good riddance to the hold harridan and thought it added to the celebratory feeling of the year. The queen mother's death really did put a ka-bosh on some of the longer term Jubilee events. Everyone kept saying that they couldn't believe she was dead. I can believe it. She was 101. What I couldn't believe was that someone - namely his father - didn't lean over during the funeral and tell Prince Harry to sit the hell up. The kid was slouched over for all the world like he was trying to stay awake during algebra class. And my goodness, Beatrice and Eugenia are growing up fast!

  • Uncle Milty died and while that didn't SHOCK anyone (he was 93 after all), it did cause a re-emergence of the debate I seem to get into about the man's status. No one else seems to agree with me but I remain steadfast in my public stance that the man simply wasn't funny. Dudley Moore - now HE was funny. And I was sad when he died. Mostly because he was so ill towards the end. I was surprised when Billy Wilder died but mostly because I didn't know he was still alive.

  • Dan Tanna! Call him Spenser if it makes you feel better but to me, Robert Urich was always Dan Tanna, the man who parked his car in his living room.

  • I had no idea until I was checking things for this post but the woman who invented the Barbie doll died this year. MUCH more importantly to the world of fun and frolic, the designer of the frisbee passed away. That's the kinda guy I can admire. It's SUCH a simple idea and yet, until he thought of the details, no one had done anything about it. Oh and one of the originators of the Nancy Drew books died as well. Now, I admit that I never cared for Barbie but I did sort of which I had a roadster, all the time in the world and someone to make luncheon. I wasn't sure I wanted Titian colored hair but Nancy seemed to have everything else a girl could want.

  • Jospeh Bonnano died. I wouldn't have mentioned it except that I found the fact that he described himself as a venture capitalist hilarious.

  • Richard Harris's death has shortened even further that list of hard drinking, British and Irish actors that I love so much. Reports said he was 72. Color me surprised. I thought the man was much older than that. Speaking of hard drinking, James Coburn! Awwww. James, I miss you.

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