Wednesday, October 29, 2014


But the bananas are probably gone. Here's a quandary in which we often find ourselves. (Although I like to think we're unique, and in many ways we might be, this is not one of them.) Suppose you are having company and you want to make them as happy as you can. So you go to the store and buy all kinds of snacks, fruits and vegetables, and even some tree stuff in case you don't go out. They eat as much as humanly possible and then the leave--hopefully.  When this happens, you look around and you see you still have so much food left you could invite another 10 people and still have leftovers. And that is the quandary. We are not children of the depression, but throwing out perfectly good food — even  after you eat it as leftovers, seems sinful.

I'm not sure if this is what I wanted to blob about but it reminds me of a story.  When I lived in DC we used my house as a salon. People were invited or just showed up. There was always something to eat or drink.  Anyway my pal, Doug Coulter, decided that he wanted to change the venue and have people at his house. So we invited the usual crew to Coulter's. Lots of people came, but he had put the food in a remote room and no one could find it. It was fun, but we all had to go out for a late bite.

Coulter called me in the morning and told me that no one ate anything and he had tons of food left. We decided to make some quick calls and invited the people who went to Doug's to my house for leftovers. And it was terrific. Doug couldn't have been happier to have found a way not to discard some pretty great vittles and not to have spent time setting up and cleaning.

So back to bananas.  This week we packed up all the leftover food from the weekend and took it to friends with whom we were staying. We didn't eat it and when we left, we left it there. My guess is that they will discard everything but the eggs. At least I won't have to feel guilty about throwing it away.

It's almost Halloween. One of my recent blobs outlined my thinking about candy vs little gifts. Admittedly, despite any feeling about candy not being healthy, the truth is I can't throw candy away. It's stupid but I used to buy only candy I liked and it was impossible to part with it.  Oh those silly things we do and find ways to excuse them.

So, the bananas will go or, if I have the energy, I will bake a banana bread. See I just made up another cover for my inability to part with the things in the fridge. Do you think this quandary needs psychiatric help. I'll go eat something from yesterday and decide.

We’re just sayin’…. Iris

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Delta's Downhill Spiral

What more do you need to know about DELTA Airlines than the latest email to someone who is currently a Platinum flyer with them... i wonder if C E Woolman, the founder of "Delta Air Services" (and at whose desk the current CEO Richard Anderson sits everyday) would think this is the right way to go... basically telling 95% of the people who fly Delta to "Shove it..." today's 'explanation of the new Medallion Reward' program begins:
" If everyone's an Elite Flyer, then No One is..." Maybe they should just start a private airline for the 5% and not have them sully their presence with the vast majority of the flying public (who I admit are not necessarily prime hunks of humanity)... but there is something kind of insipid about that approach... From now on, it doesn't matter how many miles you fly (or how many times you have to put up with Delta's service).. the only thing that really matters is the $$ you spend... they clearly want nothing to do with anyone who isn't paying for First Class with a credit card....and they want that few "Elite" bunch to be the recipient of all the efforts which are made on behalf of the airline. The rest of the plane can just stick it. Or is it just me?

Monday, October 20, 2014

Oh! the Tweets

And so it goes. Social activist, public speaker, contributor to Vanity Fair, and knitter of things without sleeves. This is the way someone many of us know describes herself on Twitter.  Admittedly, short of the Vanity Fair bullshit and the knitting, (I crochet), it could be me and any of 100 friends, who remain without celebrity because they didn't give the President of the United States, (you should forgive my lack of generous understanding), a blow job.  Do I sound angry because I mean that in the nicest possible way. Damn, I gave it away. But that is not what I wanted to blob about.
©2014 David Burnett/Contact :        Monica Lewinsky, before Twitter:  1998  

A few years ago I was invited to participate in a discussion about new technologies in communication. I felt confident that I would have something to offer....that was incorrect. The entire conversation revolved around the newest form of social media, Twitter.  It was a new phenomenon. People seemed excited about writing 140 characters and having strangers follow them to see what they thought. My initial thinking was that it was silly. Who in the world would want to know what anyone else thinks about anything in 140 characters? Well that was a mistake, but I make so few of them..... But that's not what I wanted to blob about.

It's almost Halloween. At some point I decided that it was wrong to give candy to kids. What was the alternative you ask. The Oriental Trading Co. Catalogue. You can buy all these little toys, which are inexpensive and the kids love them. Yes, it is true that the toys are cheaply made and the likelihood of children choking on them is greater than say, a jelly bean. But once they walk away from the door it doesn't have to be my problem.   However, as it turns out, kids don't want toys, they want to be able to compete in the, “who got the most candy” contest. And we weren't helping them win. So, we became the house on the block that was always a disappointment. Every year the children hoped we would realize what idiots we were, and we never failed to disappoint them. But that's not what I wanted to blob about.

Today is my Mother and my Aunt Peppie’s birthday. They would have been 94. My cousin Edie, Aunt Peppie’s oldest child and I talked about it today. She asked what I missed the most about them. "They were incredibly funny. They always had a story or a remedy for every problem. They seemed ever present. If you couldn't find an answer with one, you could always call the other. And the recipes."  I guess what I really miss is just being able to call them to say hello, to ask a question, to find out some family news or to argue about something unimportant. I miss the sound of their voices, and the assurance that everything would be Ok.  There is no way they would have been able to Tweet. They couldn't even order off a menu in 140 characters. The only thing they used their computers for was to play cards. Their embrace of simplicity was a gift. It was like a present every time they answered the phone.  We’re just sayin’… Iris

Sunday, October 19, 2014


Is there anyone who likes mushy vegetarian Indian food, because do I have a place for you!  Yesterday we were going  to have dinner with Jack, and wanted to find a place that was easy. It didn't matter if it was expensive or inexpensive as long as it was easy. Our friend Tom who is an excellent source for food suggested this place close to where we are staying. The way he explained it, was just what we were looking for.  When I called for reservations they were confused about the request. That should have been the first sign that maybe we were on the wrong track.  In the background I heard him discussing the request with a colleague, so maybe he was just a guy answering the phone.  His English wasn't great but the concept of a reservation shouldn't have been difficult and he finally blurted out that we should just come and it would be fine.

We arrived at the time we thought we had the reservation.  Indian is one of my favorite foods. There are places, like the Delhi Dhaba in Virginia which is downscale, but has Indian music and Bollywood movies running all the time.  It is a buffet and it is amazing.  The Samosa House was not a buffet, it was a cafeteria. Not to prejudge, we got in the food line and hoped for the best. It was wishful thinking. We each ordered a vegetarian dish. The only difference between them was the color. There was a vegetable about which we never heard and some which were standard Indian fare. 

David's description was absolutely accurate. It was mushy Indian food. Not that mushy food is a bad thing. We have a fondness for mashed potatoes, both sweet and plain. We like mushed squash, even puréed beans.  But when it comes to an entree we like to be able to distinguish between the sauce, the meat, the fish and the vegetable.

Anyway, we had a lovely visit with our friend Tom and Case. The husband and daughter of a close friend who, as is the case with my whole family, didn't die,  she went to Paris. My family goes to Florida. France is better.  We also saw Jordan kill it in a single performance show. And today we went to a bridal brunch given by a young woman with whom Jordan has been friends since elementary school. She and Jordan took swing dance lessons in middle and high school, they both went to Emerson and they both moved to LA. It was pretty special to see so many of her friends from those years.  Tomorrow is a business day.

Moving on.  I apologize to the friends and family with whom I did not connect on this trip. It was just too hectic to make any additional arrangements. But I plan to come back for a longer time when it snows in NY and it's just another day in Paradise in Ca.-- weather wise.

And in conclusion. There is always a time when the less information you give, the better off you are. Like when you make a restaurant reservation. They don't need to know you'll be six people until someone leaves. Or when you want a tour of the Capitol, and you mention you were arrested on a felony.  And my own personal favorite:  when you are interviewing for a job you tell them you are pregnant or you give them your date of birth. Neither of these last TMI's is legal.
Just thought I needed to close on something less whimsical than my usual fare.  We’re just sayin’…  Iris

Saturday, October 18, 2014

And Now.... Cat the Great

Sometimes it's necessary to start writing in the middle of the story and then find the beginning and the end. With that in mind, we were on the subway the other day. We were sitting quietly enjoying the weirdos on the train, when David jumped up and started to talk to some guy who was happily reading a book. It was a real book, and it looked like he was almost finished (about 1 pages to go in a 900+ page book.) David started to tell him a story about how a few years ago he saw another guy close to finishing a 1000 page book when he had a vision of Howard Cosell getting on the train and doing play by play commentary about  the other guy finishing the book. The guy was terrified. It's hard for me to explain Howard Cosell, so you will have to go to Youtube and use your imagination.  Remember, I am not your mother so you will have to do your own homework.

Anyway, the reader was terrified.  It was the subway and while we know David is not a lunatic, why should a stranger know that.  The man kept glancing at me and I kept telling David to let the man finish his book.  We left the train before the stranger. And started to laugh about the fact that while this guy was trying to finish his book, David was preventing him from doing this by telling him a story about preventing someone from doing exactly the same thing.  All David could say was, “I probably should have gotten right to the story and not given him all the background.”  And I replied, the guy is just lucky you didn't tell him about your high school reunion in Salt Lake.

So that's the middle, I feel sure my niece Clare, who is a real writer, will forgive my lack of organization.  And how about that Ebola scare. The .President has appointed Ron Klain to be the Ebola Czar.  He's a nice guy and since he was Gore's Chief of Staff, probably has reasonable organizational skills.  But Czar.  Tsar? Apparently in Washington, there are a number of people with the Czar title-- like the drug Czar.  If it were a woman it would be Czarina. And if her first name was Katherine... She would inevitably be Geat.  If you are Russian, or Russian Jewish your picture of a Czar is not someone who coordinates a disease. Especially if they are not wearing a big fur hat. Ron Klain is not a big fur hat guy.

Moving on to either the beginning or the end. We flew to California on Jet Blue. My feeling is that if I can't fly business class, I want to be on a plane where everyone is miserable because there is only one class... Steerage. Let's be honest, when you walk through a plane that has a first and business class you resent all those upper class twits. Even if they are traveling on miles, (and with all the programs tightening their idiotic rules, that will happen less ) how dare they do it when we can't.  Well guess what? Jet Blue now has a business/first called "mint class".  What an outrage!  If I were, for example, the airline Czar, there would only be business class. The airlines would have to suck it up and accommodate a call for equity in travel. There could be a lottery for seats, and if you weren't someone with money you would have to bring your own sandwich-- coffee and soda would still be free. That would be my dictate as Czarina. Oh and I look great in a fur hat.  We're just sayin'... Iris

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Re: The (not so) Secret Service

When Team Gefilte was invited to the White House to perform, we waited over an hour before the entire cast and crew got through security at the Old Executive Building. There was a terrible fuss about how our papers were not in order.   Some people had  not given all the info needed, and there was a rumor that someone was a convicted felon. Having worked at the White House for too many years, I was the person that collected all the data and submitted the information. I promise you that everything was as it should have been.

So what's the matter with this picture? It makes no sense that a troupe of performers had to wait outside the gates for over an hour surrounded by uniformed and non-uniformed Secret Service, while some nut job leaps the fence and gets all the way to the East Room, which is not right next to the entrance. Was it a perfect storm or was it just overall incompetence. What do you think the repercussions will be?  Best Burnett guess is that they will put up more concrete barriers (how did those get the name “Jersey Barriers?”)  and close Pennsylvania Ave. to foot and bike traffic. It's already closed to cars. 

Here's the irony:   if everyone had done their jobs the guy would not have made it passed the first armed guard.  If they asked us, We're just sayin’...  for our opinion. We would tell them to fire every single person who allowed this lunatic to pass them.  How lazy have the White House protective detail become? These are the people who protect the leader of this great nation. These are the people who are supposed to be willing to take a bullet for the President.  I just don't think that's going to happen.

So Julia resigned or was fired. In Washington, and especially in this White House, no one gets fired. If you are a civil servant you are protected by the system. You can get moved around (re-assigned to Elmendorf AFB in Alaska?) but fired -- maybe if you show up naked at work wearing a Halloween mask. And if you are a political appointee, like the Director of the Secret Service, you are asked to resign instead of getting fired. Personally, I think getting fired builds character. Well, maybe not if you are an older person. The character should have gotten built early in life. This probably would have helped a whole lotta people from taking jobs they simply couldn't do. Thing is, the Secret Service is now part of Homeland Security, a bureaucracy so large it is impossible to work as it should. Thank you George for another incredibly stupid policy decision. And I mean that in the nicest possible way.

This latest fiasco was just more of the same. No one takes responsibility. No one in this White House just says, “I screwed up.”   And no one told the press secretary that avoiding answering press questions by saying nothing is incredibly ridiculous.  At 9am she still “had the full confidence of the President,” and at 1pm, she was out the door.  A few years ago we were in the penthouse of the Washington Hotel, on 15th St.,  overlooking the park in front of the White House. When I looked out the window and saw that anyone who wanted to do some damage with a short range missile, had a direct shot from that room. The plain-clothes felon with a gun who got on the CDC  elevator, was thrilled to be in the presence of the President.  He even took selfies.   And the harmless  actors who waited an hour to clear security stood outside because security at the gate had nothing else to do.  Welcome to the new normal... Whatever that means.  We’re just sayin’…. Iris