Yesterday we had lunch at Francesca’s Cucina in Syracuse. Francesca’s is a wonderful place. It has great food and the ambience is both warm and modern without being overdone. Music is from the Great American Songbook for the most part.
But the real reason I want to write about Francesca’s is because they offer something even better than ambience. They are committed to serving their customers. My friends had relatives visiting from Luxembourg. Their plane was due to arrive in Syracuse from NYC at 1:45. The restaurant does not serve lunch after 2;30 pm. They told my friends that as long as their party was in the restaurant at 2:30 they would be served. I think our whole party finally assembled at 2:25. Francesca’s staff were as good as their word. They served us and we had the entire menu to chose from. We were there until 4 pm and we never felt that they were impatient for us to leave. We enjoyed the same relaxed and delicious lunch we would have enjoyed if we arrived at noon.
The point of my praise is not to encourage parties to start scheduling late lunches at Francesca’s but it is meant to show that they are true restaurant professionals.
This oil spill is not like Katrina. Katrina was an unprecedented natural event compounded by human error in which a really large city was destroyed by a really large storm. There were people involved, lots of American people and they were stranded without the attention they should have had. The amount of time it took to visit and rescue those people was unconscionable. This was a problem you could throw money and resources at. But our government couldn’t decide whose resources should be tapped. Those people almost died because of what was essentially a turf war. Rescue first, turf war later is the lesson we should have learned from this.
The oil spill is different. I watched on the Internet for 4 or 5 days while news sources said there was no leak. Even I didn’t believe that and I know nothing about undersea drilling. If the industry had not been in denial they might have been able to tackle the problem before it was so large. It’s even scarier to think that oil companies don’t have a fix ready for when this kind of thing occurs.
Now we are going to see those sad, sad birds covered with slick oil and we’ll see beautiful beaches soiled by oil and healthy wet lands suffocated by oil. What we won’t see is the people who lose their jobs, although I’m sure we’ll hear the numbers. Seafood could be quite scarce for awhile. These are not houses built by humans, that can be rebuilt by humans. This is our beautiful Earth spinning in the emptiness of space, our lovely world that is our only home damaged once again by us.
Nature is resilient – it may be able to repair itself, but it will take a long time and we may reach a “tipping point” where nature no longer bounces back.
This is a turf war between government and big business. The Big business in this case is supposed to be an expert in oil technology. Obama can’t fix this. He has to rely on experts. He can throw money at it and people to help with clean up, but clean up will not be effective until this oil stops flowing. The well has to be capped. Obama can’t cap the well. He will have to rely on either the BP Corporation or maybe the Army Corps of Engineers.
No this is not like Katrina. There are no stranded people. But it does hit a fragile area that may be even more damaged than last time.
I am no longer a trusting soul, although I used to be. I always seem to imagine the worst. I am a suspicious and skeptical person these days. I see two environmental nightmares occurring in very close proximity. I recall that we elected a president who said he wanted to lessen our dependence on foreign oil. Most Americans seemed to agree with this. When Obama said he wanted to use a mix of different approaches to beef up domestic energy sources he started to lose voters here and there. He mentioned nuclear. Some voters are staunchly against increasing the use of nuclear energy. Clean coal – some voters believe there is no such thing. Increase offshore drilling – another group of supporters makes it clear they do not back this strategy. At least Obama never seemed in favor of drilling in ANWR. We do have a dilemma that speaks to what our economy will be like in the future, how much we will be able to produce in the future, and how we will keep our preeminent place in world politics if our economy doesn’t stack up.
I can’t help wondering if, perhaps, these terrible “energy-related” accidents could be the work of some eco-terrorist group who wants to block Obama’s homegrown energy program because they think he’s wrong. Instead of telling him he’s wrong, maybe they decided he needed a demonstration. If this isn’t people trying to make their point, then maybe the cosmos is having its say. The American energy problem still remains, unsolved and very real. We may still have to use some of these very dangerous technologies unless we can come up with some kind of global energy clearinghouse that shares and rations the world’s resources and thus, effectively, takes energy out of the power equation. I wish we could do that before we have nothing left that can fly, swim, or sing.
Can you be cynical and idealistic at the same time. Apparently. But, I guess, at the very least these thoughts officially add me to the ranks of the “nutburgers.”
I did not manage to buy a house before midnight last night. My real estate agent was too conservative. She did not step up to the challenge. She did not want to write a contract with a contingency clause. She felt that her reputation would suffer. I wish she had had a little more moxie with a hint of rebellion against the establishment. But she did not. So far I have not even seen one house, exterior or interior. I did not pass “go.” I did not collect $8000. I know I started too late but I am very disappointed and, in this case, have missed out on a substantial chunk of money. I am more than disappointed. I am depressed and angry with a strong dose of fultility thrown in because it’s over. I do get to continue to search for a new home, but probably no one will offer to hand me $8000 again in my lifetime. OK, I’m done with my “hissy fit” and it really was not the real estate agent’s fault. Some little grown up part of me understands this.
It is April 30th, the last day you can purchase a home and get the $8,000 tax credit. I am frantically (actually kind of calmly) trying to purchase a home by midnight tonight. I just started looking two days ago. I just got prequalified yesterday. My real estate agent is busy today and cannot help me until 4:30 this afternoon. I will be loyal. I have a mobile home I have to sell so there will be a contingency on the sale. Is this nuts? Probably but I always miss these kinds of special deals. Also intesest rates are so low right now. I have to try. I will post about the outcome.
Ah TV! There are hours and hours when there is absolutely noting to watch on TV. And then everything you want to watch is all on at the same times on the same nights. Monday night I had to choose between Chuck, and Antiques Roadshow. Difficult choice. Tuesday night I had to choose between NCIS LA, Glee, and The Larry King Show with Michael Moore talking about financial reform and capitalism. With well over 100 channels it seems ridiculous to have to make these choices. Why can’t things be shown over again and again in times other than prime times. I guess this is about ratings but they should still be able to figure out a way to do the math. I know, get TiVo or a DVR. I’m just not there yet.
The Republicans are still getting on my last nerve. They don’t seem to be doing any of the tough gut work. They appear on TV looking like they are in on the “secrets of the universe.” If the Democrats would just stop governing, they imply, then the Republicans could reveal the perfect strategy to employ for financial reform, the exact mix for health care reform, the perfect solution to the immigration problem, the jobs problem, the whatever problem. They act so reasonable and yet so superior (smug?). They give the impression that they are in possession of the “answers,” that the Democrats do not have a clue and that the horrible Democrats are riding roughshod over the wonderful Republicans. That’s why the Republicans are unable to share the correct answers with us at the present time. Through some kind of chicanery the Democrats are able to hold on to their power, which they shouldn’t have because they don’t know the “secrets of the universe.”
I use a debit card for shopping. When I returned items to stores in the past, the store usually gave me cash. I didn’t mind because it saved a trip to the ATM. Lately they all want to credit the amount of my return back to my debit card. I rarely argue, it’s still going back into the spending pool, even if I don’t know the reasoning behind the change. However, I have noticed that, although the original debit payment to the store clears almost instantly, the credit back to the debit card takes several days to appear in my account. What is that all about?