"Sex and the City: The Movie" has America under siege

Well, folks, today has finally arrived. Perhaps the most transcendent day in the history of American women.
“Sex and the City: The Movie” is in a theater near you. As we type this, chicks are cleaving crowded lands of traffic getting to their favorite movie house.
The hype surrounding this flick has been building for weeks. It began sounding like the roll of distant thunder and continually spiked in volume until it crescendoed in our living rooms as Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Kristin Davis and Cynthia Nixon appeared on every TV talk show in the land in recent days.
To say that the “Sex and the City” franchise from its HBO heyday has been pure catnip to women — and, yes, a lot of men, too — would be a gigantic understatement.
“Sex and the City” has been a candlelit oasis in the dark night of despair afflicting American women who can never be too thin while busy juggling careers, children, husbands and households.
What’s not to like about a show or a movie that depicts hot women who are hot for sex and wear gorgeous clothes and who look as if they have their hair styled on an hourly basis.
Thread any fabric with beauty and style and we’re talking the height of fashion, friends.
Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda are the fab four. Scratch that. The true fab four of Sex and the City are style, sex, sass and shallowness.
Of course, since I carry all the heavy macho baggage of being Zeke wherever I go, you won’t see me going to the theater to catch this movie (although I regularly watched the series at home). I will have to wait for it come to PPV and in the interim just get the scoop from my wife, who will see it in the movies with a girlfriend.

A life and death that take your breath away

All of us are subjected to destiny.
Destiny was terribly unkind to Dianne Odell.
But she never allowed a life confined to a 750-pound iron lung to leave her with the thinnest shadow of life.
She spent nearly six decades in that ugly, lifesaving contraption after contracting polio at age 3.
Next time you think you’re having a bad day, just ponder the enormity of what it must have been like for her to be tethered to that machine. It’s heart-wrenching and then some.
But while her lungs were crippled by the polio, Dianne Odell had a locomotive’s heart. She just didn’t languish because her body was imprisoned for life. She lived her life with rigor and vigor — earning a high school diploma, taking college courses and writing a children’s book on a voice-activated computer.
But her life came to a haunting end at age 61 Wednesday when a power failure rendered her iron lung impotent.
Her family was unable to get an emergency generator working after the power outage knocked out electricity to their home.
Dianne Odell’s life was cruelly defined at beginning and end by a calamitous chain of circumstances.
I trust her soul is now breathing easily and deeply in heaven.

Ramping up the riverfront

While some folks don’t dig the whole riverfront shtick, there are plenty of others who are greeting the budding transformation of the Schuylkill River area with loud peals of delight.
Personally, I find the Schuylkill to be rather boring, except when it rises up to flood parts of our town. It’s not exactly a majestic waterway, but the RiverPlace Development Corp. is working hard to give the old river some charisma and charm.
Projects including bridge repairs, solar lights, bike paths, trail signs, cherry trees and a boat landing are the first steps toward migrating our citizens, as well as illegal aliens, down by the river.
The people involved obviously are wired together and whistle as they go about their work. They need to whistle, as well as drive their fingernails into their palms and wiggle their toes, just to prevent themselves from fainting dead away at the sheer tedium of the work.

My Italian holiday

You may have been wondering why I haven’t blogged in a century or so.

Well, I’ve been busy touring Italy. You know, all the standard tourist traps like Rome, Pompeii, Sorrento, Capri, Naples, Assisi, Ravenna, Venice, Pisa, Tuscany, Florence and Siena.

None of them, by the way, reminded me of Reading.

Granted, Reading could become more of a tourist trap if we decided to have the Pagoda lean dramatically, if we persuaded the Pope to relocate to our St. Peter’s on Fifth Street, if we marketed the burnt-out Sixth Ward as historical ruins and pretended they were 1800 years old.

But I digress.

Some of my observations of Italy …

Visiting Italy is like stepping into a living history book. Ancient Roman, the Renaissance and medieval Roman Catholic Church are everywhere. Of course, they have all these magnificent churches but Italy is a secular country where only old people and children go to church. Suffice it to say, Italy has more breathtaking sculpture from the Roman and Renaissance eras than there are corn tortillas in Mexico.

The Sistine Chapel is not half bad if you like monumental painting that astonishes eyeballs. The Pieta and David definitely are not chump change when it comes to sculpted marble. I thought David’s physique resembles mine after a hard workout.

Michelangelo may have been the prototype of the temperamental artist, but he did more than paint or chisel by the numbers. The dude was a genius that transcended anything currently on display at the GoggleWorks or the Reading Public Museum.

The Italian language isn’t hard to understand … just stick an “o” on the end of everything and misspell the word.

The currency isn’t hard to figure out either … you just have to remember that the Euro is a bully kicking sand in the face of the American dollar.

Italy has had a spring colder than the other side of the bed and wetter than a sink cabinet with a leaking water line. The two days we spent stomping around Rome scoping out the Roman ruins and the Vatican we could have used snorkels.

Toilet seats and Lysol are MIA in Italian bathrooms.

One fellow tour mate’s cough brought to mind a cement mixer for most of the trip.

Italian women, despite all the pasta, are as thin as rakes but all have big hair and big sunglasses.

Visiting Italy is like living in a history book. They have a fierce sense of yesterday because tourism is big business.

We ate plenty of pork but didn’t even see one meatball. Italian sandwiches don’t look or taste like they came from V&S, but they’re delicious nonetheless. But some hotels serve only warm milk. How gauche!

Italians smoke more than chimneys. Everybody has emphysema but nobody seems to mind. Maybe because the price of living is so high they don’t mind dying.

Not sure why salad is the third serving of their four-course meals. But their gelato is so scrumptious I’ll forgive them.

Their Smart cars are smaller than my toaster. Romans and driving decorum go together like white suits and mud puddles. And they don’t park their cars. They abandon wherever the hell they feel like leaving them.

The wine is delicious but inexpensive and since they take out a lot of the preservatives, you can drink a gallon without getting hung over. No wonder they brush their teeth with vino over there.

Of course, whoever laid out Venice had to be drinking whiskey, not wine. Because he had to be drunk. It’s the most confusing city in the world. All the streets become blind alleys. Of course, some of the streets are canals since Venice essentially is 1400 islands filled with bistros, St. Mark’s Square, rip-off gondola excursions, and Murano glass a pane or two above B&G.

I could go on and on but it’s time to write Arrivederci to Italia.

Getting hit with a gusher of wealth trumps getting hit with a gusher of water

You know what’s cool about life, besides beating the tar out of the alternative?
Its ups and downs seem to happen in fascinating defiance of all accepted laws of locomotion and gravity.
Carl Hunter lost not one but two homes in Hurricane Katrina.
I’m sure his eyes scanned the watery heavens and wondered why.
Like many so others in New Orleans who suddenly found their lives flooded with disaster, their hopes embalmed and their futures entombed, Hunter seemed to be a guy who got the figurative finger from the fickle finger of fate.
But that was then and this is now.
Carl Hunter became the largest Powerball winner in Louisiana’s history by hitting a $97 million jackpot.
Despite all the theology and philosophy, perhaps life simply is one big lottery.

Hey honey, can you spare a dime?

When it comes to the economy, I’m clueless. Listening to experts discussing economic indicators is as senseless to me as listening to Larry, Moe and Curly debating in Latin.
So I was somewhat surprised to read today that the American economy has been very gender specific in recent months.
Indeed, while men’s economic fortunes are flickering like fireflies, women apparently have no restrictor plates on their wallets.
To be succinct, men are plunged in a recession; American women are not.
From last November through April, women gained nearly 300,000 jobs while men lost nearly 700,000 jobs.
So why is prosperity for women bursting with a hormone surge while depression in men is spreading like poison ivy?
Males are concentrated in two economic sectors that are getting beat up worse than a pedophile in prison — manufacturing and construction. Females are concentrated in two sectors of growth — education and health care.
It’s enough to make a guy enroll in nursing school.

Game, set and match for Obama

It would be unkind of me to suggest that we stick a fork in Hillary Clinton because she’s not a thin woman and it would require considerable effort to do so.
But whether she knows it or not, she definitely fell off the leaderboard last night. Barack Obama would suddenly have to become sillier than Harpo Marx to blow the Democratic presidential nomination.
After only squeaking by in Indiana and getting trounced in North Carolina, Hillary is fresh out of miracles. Pursuing the fight now merely is a vanity trip for her and a contrived way to position herself for 2012 should Obama fade into oblivion in the general election against Republican John McCain.
With everybody gearing up for The Liberal vs. The War Hero in the fall’s main event, it’s past time for Clinton to quit rumbling in the spring prelim.

Private parking garages could bring a whole new ballgame to town

Maybe the gods aren’t smiling on Reading’s finances these days. Actually, they are frowning miserably on a town that now is considering selling Reading Parking Authority garages before the only thing left in the city coffers is a lonely moth.But perhaps the gods will be smiling upon all of us who work downtown and park in city garages. Because if AutoMotion Parking Systems purchases RPA garages, parking will be totally free of hassles.The AutoMotion Parking folks are so sophisticated they could have a Patriot Missile track your vehicle and then sit down next to it like a butterfly with sore feet.OK, a slight stretch there. But they do offer fully automated robotic parking garages. All you have to do is park, swipe and depart.You simply enter the garage, lock your vehicle, swipe a card to activate the system and leave. Your vehicle remains motionless, transported on a pallet automatically to its storage bay. Upon returning, you just swipe your card and your car is returned back to you within 2.5 minutes.No fuss, no muss. Unless the electronics go bonkers. Then nobody leaves town. But technical glitches are as rare as the city treasury bursting with bounty.Granted, it might cost a grand or two a month for us to park, but the price of admission to the lap of luxury is never cheap.

Hell hath no fury like a riled Mother Nature

When we complain about the weather, and we all do, we should keep in perspective what really terrible weather is.And how when Mother Nature rises up in molten fury, mere mortals truly aren’t honeycombed for survival. A too vivid case in point is the cataclysmic cyclone that roared through Myanmar over the weekend. A government minister said today the death toll could reach 10,000.In the wake of such a monumental loss of life in the Southeast Asian country also known as Burma, it will be impossible to heal such a massive rupture before scar tissue forms.Indeed, it will be sometime before the hot emotions of staggering grief have calluses on them.

Canseco should have injected his money with steroids

Jose Canseco, the former stud slugger who pocketed millions mashing home runs and now is a noted author/tattletale, has had his home foreclosed.Apparently Jose handled money as if it were a ricocheting bullet. He should have bolt-locked his dollars instead of squandering them on buying ‘roids and blowing $7 or $8 million on a couple divorces.I’m sure Canseco still would love to be bivouacked with yesterday instead of facing a tomorrow where his financial security sits on the table growing cold. Assuming he still owns a table.