Thursday, June 24, 2010

In Search of...things you just can't make up

Okay, so clearly I'm having some trouble with blogging consistency. I'm a busy gal, juggling many roles and careers, it seems. Not the least of which is seeing my book to completion, so you all will have some lengthier Ilene Angel writing to amuse yourselves with and hold in your hands, in addition to the virtual relationship we've been maintaining for a year and a half now.

So I was sitting in the local diner that my father frequents on a daily basis, looking at the ads on the paper place mat, when I noticed an ad for Overeaters Anonymous. Just then an obese man wearing shorts with his butt crack showing waddled by. Is it just me or does anyone else find irony like this in their everyday lives? I switched my fries to a vegetable order and decided that life is indeed equal parts comedy and tragedy.

That brings me to my flip flops. Yes, I'm all about the segue. I found a pair of the most comfortable flip flops ever. They're made by Clarks. Now in the great flip flop discussion that most people could care less about, I land of the side of those of us who partake in the odd little sandal wearing. So I went on line to see if I could find a second pair, yes, I was looking for a back up pair of flip flops. I landed on, which is not an uncommon occurrence for me. Lo and behold, they had them in my size.

As good marketing skills would advise, Amazon has a habit of suggesting other items you might like based on your past purchases. So there I sat, reading "Customers who purchased this item also bought..." and there it was: two other pairs of flip flops and a Karl Rove memoir. This disturbed me.

I did a double take...right before wondering what my shoe tastes had to do with Karl Rove. Mr. Rove, or Satan's brother, as I affectionately refer to hm on occasion, is not one of my favorite people. But according to Amazon, at least one other person wearing my flip flops has purchased Rove's book.

I am about to leave for Florida, and as I walk the oil covered beaches of the Gulf, I will be looking for someone, someone very specific. Maybe she'll be nestled under an umbrella with sunglasses on. Maybe she'll be sporting a bikini. Lord knows I won't be. Whoever she is, she will be wearing Clark's flip flops like mine and holding a Karl Rove book. That's how I'll know my fellow shopper.

Maybe I'll stop and ask her how she likes the book...or the shoes, or Obama. Maybe I'll just keep on walking. It is, after all, a vacation.

Wherever your summer plans take you, thanks for stopping by and spending a couple of minutes with me.

Friday, June 11, 2010

In Search and diversions

I received an email last night that contained a link to a YouTube video by a man who says he knows a solution for safely cleaning up the oil spill. It seemed plausible to me, although at one in the morning after surviving an evening of CMT Music Fest and a delicous glass of cheap Port, many things seem plausible to me.

The solution on the video was unleashing some particular microbes that eat oil and then die, leaving the ocean clean and safe for its natural inhabitants. Part of me thinks this sounds too good to be true, but then again, all we've got so far is putting a cap on the gusher, which has neither worked nor addressed the issue of clean up. So maybe it's not so crazy. Anyway, I'm putting it out there, in case any of you readers have thoughts on it or the ability to follow up on its veracity. Here's the link:

So now to the other topic of the day - diversions. I am having a hard time finding an actual one these days, one that will take my mind off the pending doom caused by the oil spill and the greed in general that has brought us to the tipping point economically, environmentally, and every other which way. Most people can amuse themselves with sporting events like the World Cup, which according to ABC News, more than a billion people worldwide will be watching. I will not be one of them.

The mass hysteria of team sporting events has always been somewhat of an enigma to me. When I see people get genuinely riled up about this team or that player, I find myself wondering, "Will that player pay your mortgage this month?" Or most recently, "Will the winning soccer team go scoop up some oil?" Because otherwise, I truly don't care.

So how do I take a mental break from the stresses of our current world? Clearly I won't be watching soccer. Maybe a movie. Let's see, oh for goodness sake The Karate Kid? Really? I believe that falls under the category of "don't mess with perfection." I don't want to watch a remake of it and spoil my perfect memories of Ralph Macchio. Then there's The A-Team. Again, really? How about Robin Hood? Is there anything that's not a remake?? Or a sequel? We've got Shrek Forever After, Sex in the City 2, Iron Man 2...oh, come on!!!

Maybe I'll go for a nice bike ride. Oh wait, I don't own a bicycle. Darn. Well, I'm determined to find something fun to do that will give me a short mental break from the trials of the real world.

Suggestions anyone???? Thanks for stopping by...and enjoy the soccer, you team sports fans.

Monday, June 7, 2010

In Search of...a book, a website, and the fortitude to make them both happen

You may have noticed that I haven't blogged in quite a while, and been thinking to yourself, what has Ilene been up to? I've missed her pearls of wisdom and dry wit. (Or possibly, the thought never crossed your mind and you were happy that I wasn't ranting about how bad American Idol was this season.) Well, I'm back and ready to catch you up...on both my wit and my whereabouts.

If Blanche Dubois "always relied on the kindness of strangers," I have been relying heavily on the kindness of friends. In the immortal words of one of them, "Ilene, if you can't afford to pay people to do things for you, then you have to learn how to do things for yourself." And that's how I came to design my own website...with the help of said friend, Sue Fabisch. (Fortunately, the do-it-yourself mentality has not yet spread to plumbing and electrical wiring, but there's really no telling.)

So now I have a brand new website to invite you to visit. It is: and I'm very proud of it. It took more hours and painstaking work than I care to think about, learning curve for the technologically challenged and all that.

And remember how when I started this blog, it was in the hopes that it would help me get a book deal for my memoir by amassing legions of loyal readers? Well, after much deliberation and reading an article in the New York Times about the merits of self-publishing, I finally decided to do it. I mean, why deny you, my lovely readers, the chance to read my book any longer? And so, again, came my reliance on friends - for cover photos, layout and graphics, editing, you name it. When you do something yourself, heck, you never really are "doing it yourself." Like raising children, it takes a village.

Okay, so while I've quoted both Tennessee Williams and Hillary Clinton in one blog, I might as well dip my toe into politics. Oh, where to start...

I'm going to start with something that makes me happy - our newest Supreme Court nominee, Elena Kagan. Yes, a single, Jewish broad from New York on the bench makes me happy. And having attended Princeton, Oxford, and Harvard ain't too shabby either. So I say "Yay, sister." And while I'm at it, since Obama appears to be sinking in the squandered opportunities of the mandate with which he was elected, I'm thinking, at least at this moment, that his Supreme Court nominees might end up being his greatest legacy. But it's too soon to tell.

Have I waited long enough to talk about healthcare reform? Yes, the legislation passed. And for an in depth look at what that really means for you and me, you'll have to wait until I attend a day long meeting next week about what it really does mean. However, here's what I know for sure: my premiums are still too monumentally high, and my coverage isn't any better. Strike one. I have, however, met with two of Tennessee's state senators since we last gathered here.

It started, as most healthcare activities do for me in Nashville, with a call from the Tennessee Healthcare Campaign, asking me to go with one of them to meet with some senators the next day. I being one to never pass up an opportunity like that, decided to say yes. Why not? So off I went the next day to Legislative Plaza, (where I started having PTSD about the 2000 presidential election, but that's a horse of another color entirely). Anyway, I met up with the THC person and asked what it was we were supposed to be requesting that these senators do in our meetings. Among other things, it was to keep daycare centers open for the mentally ill so they don't wind up back on the streets, in jail, or in mental hospitals, all of which cost the taxpayers a lot more money.

The first senator we met with was in his eighties and the spitting image of Boss Hogg from The Dukes of Hazzard. He was hard of hearing, completely uninterested in what we had to say (which he couldn't hear most of anyway), and every time he would lean back in his chair and close his eyes to formulate a sentence, I was sure he was on his last breath. Our useless meeting lasted ten minutes, during which time he told us he wouldn't vote for anything that cost money. I thought he was a Republican when I left, which it turns out, was not the case.

The second meeting went only slightly better. This senator was in his seventies and regaled us with tales of his impoverished youth. He also gave us a nifty lapel pin and a blue book about Tennessee, two items I'll treasure forever - if I could only remember where I put them.

Switching gears to pop culture, I can only say that thank God that Gilligan's-Island-run-amok show called Lost is finally over. (All outraged readers, please send your emails elsewhere. I hated the show.) And yes, American Idol totally jumped the shark. The most moving part of the whole season was the farewell to Simon on the final night, who, let's face it, we'll all be watching when his new show comes out next season. And speaking of Simon, here's wishing him marital bliss.

As summer arrives, I am gleefully looking forward to reading more. After all, my summer TV watching is confined to a couple of U.S. marshals, a Hamptons doctor, and a guy who can tell when people are lying. I don't really care if America does have talent or who thinks they can dance. I need a break from fake reality for a while.

That brings me to the book I'm reading now about the Secret Service. Is there any president who wasn't a philanderer? Well, Nixon wasn't, but he was a cold, cold man. Granted I'm only on page 40, but so far Obama's only sin is a cigarette. I say let the leader of the free world have a smoke if he wants to. The world is clearly ending anyway.

To wrap up on that happy note, you know how else beside the oil spill I know the world is truly ending? I agreed with Liz Cheney and George Will about Israel's actions in Gaza when they were talking about it on This Week yesterday. The fact that I could agree with those two on anything, let alone Israel, is a sure sign of the end of times.

Well, that's it for today, folks. It feels great to be back. Thank for stopping by, and please tell your friends.