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Review: The Girl Who Lost Her E-mail July 22, 2010

Posted by judylobo in Dogs and cats, Links, This 'n That, Videos.
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Review: The Girl Who Lost Her E-mail

Alternate Title: Road Runner Sucks

Story: After having a Time Warner Road Runner account for oh so many years they finally crossed the Lobo line.

Suddenly two days ago Road Runner stopped sending my mail.  I could receive mail and my computer indicated my mail was sent – but woe is me —it was nowhere to be found.  After hours of telephone misery with too many technical consultants it was decided nothing could be done.

A close relative has a ‘connection’ at Time Warner and an ace consultant was sent to Casa Lobo last night.  Everyone had such good intentions.

After 2.5 hours of mad clicking he accidently hit the REBUILD button on my mac.mail program and everything was LOST (like the TV show)… Gone with the Wind.  All of my in-box mail, all of my drafts with what I considered to be brilliant ideas and all of my sent mail were GONE.  They could not be found, retrieved or willed into being.

The very guilty consultant showed remorse but could do nothing and sulked away into the night.

The bad news is all of the above.  The good news is that my wonderful zoo buddy and faithful technical guru, Mary Schwalm , was able to transfer my gmail account into the aesthetically pleasing mac.mail program and while none of my stuff is retrievable I am now weaning my way off of Road Runner.

Acting: I acted as reasonable as any woman who was about to have her head explode.

Trivia: In the scheme of things, I guess losing all of one’s ‘stuff’ is pretty unimportant.

Predilection: None

Critters: One dog named Benny and one cat named Madison

Food: I had red wine, blueberries and chocolate sorbet after the consultant left

Blatant Product Placement: Apple Laptop Computer (good), Time Warner Cable’s Road Runner Program (bad)

Soundtrack: The sounds of police and fire alarms in the streets of Manhattan and the sounds of screams in my head.

Visual Art: Watching my e-mail vanish into a black hole was not aesthetically pleasing.

Weather: Hot and humid (even with the a/c on)

Squirm Scale: 10

Drift Factor: I paid attention throughout the nightmare.

Tissue Usage: 10

Length: Two hours and 30 minutes of misery.



Cinco de Benny June 18, 2010

Posted by judylobo in Animal Stories, Animal Videos, Photography, Videos.
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Today is five years since I adopted my dog, Benny. I know, I know – you are most likely saying to yourselves ‘only five years?’ Yes, it is true that I have taken and shared hundreds of photos of my little guy so it seems as if he has been around much longer – but it is only five years.

Those of you that have met him know that he is special. Other than that I am not sure how old he is or what he is – we think he is a combination chihuahua/pug/terrier/bat/truffle pig and a few other things thrown into his DNA. He barks when the phone rings thinking it is someone at the door.  He has too many toys (my fault) and gets too many treats (mea culpa as well).  He knows everyone on the block and his presence has allowed me to meet tons of other people in the ‘hood’.  He loves to go shopping at Staples, Barnes & Noble,  Bed Bath & Beyond with me and has met many new friends in those stores too.

There is something about the little guy that makes people smile – and that’s a good thing.  Nary a day goes by that someone does not stop me and ask ‘What kind of dog is that’?  My usual response is ‘He is something special’.

Happy Benniversary, little guy!  Enjoy your Cinco de Benny!

While Strolling Thru the Park One Day… April 18, 2010

Posted by judylobo in Animal Videos, art, Dogs and cats, Photography, Politics, Videos, wildlife, Zoos.
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While strolling in the park at 6AM this morning, as Benny the dog performs his morning ritual, I meet a man walking his small beagle.  The man is beaming as if he stumbled upon a pot of gold somewhere in Madison Square Park.  He says to me “My dog just took the biggest crap of his life – I needed two doggie bags to pick it up.” I smile back, not knowing how to respond to this shared bit of information.  All I could come up with (after all it was only 6 in the morning) was “Nice to hear some positive headline news.” We parted ways.

It reminded me of something else that we overheard while at the Bronx Zoo this week.  We were staring at the Canada Goose nest (pictured to the left) when a group of youngish kids and their Moms came our way.  I pointed the nest out to the Moms and they were as fascinated as we were.  The kids did not seem to care.  One Mom said to the most boisterous kid ‘If you do not behave I am going to send you to public school.”  My friend and I looked at one another and cracked up.  Who knew that threatening to send a kid to public school was something that would shut a kid up – very quickly?

– In other threatening news: The percentage of Tea Baggers holding a favorable opinion of former President George W. Bush is 57%.  Does anyone really need to know more about this gang of whining, racist thugs?  For the full article about who these people really are, please read the April 15th New York Times article here.

–  In other parts of Crazy Land, hate monger Rush Limbaugh talked about the volcanic eruption that’s affecting air travel over much of Europe, saying it was “God Speaking” in response to the passage of health care.  You can’t make this crap up!

–  Jon Stewart smacks down the wackos over at Fox Noise in a segment called ‘A Farewell to Arms.’ ‘Fox Noise wants you to decide if the Nuclear Security Summit logo looks similar to the flags representing Muslim nations’.

This video just cracks me up every time I watch it:

The Great White Ugly March 28, 2010

Posted by judylobo in Animal Videos, art, Dogs and cats, Links, Photography, Politics, Videos, wildlife, Zoos.
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– The great white anger of the day is ugly to watch and baffling to those of us who live in diverse communities. Living in NYC is a bit like living near the Tower of Babel.  I hear different languages, see different colors, races and cultures everyday and like to believe I am richer for that privilege. The anger out there is all about fear. The United States these crazies used to know (or believe they knew) is fading into the distance. You think it is a coincidence that these same angry people do not want to fulfill the Constitutional obligation of a Census?  They are afraid the numbers will be even worse than they think.  Nobody says it better than Frank Rich.  Check out his column today for the real reason those very angry white people are hurling invectives and making overt threats.
‘That a tsunami of anger is gathering today is illogical, given that what the right calls “Obamacare” is less provocative than either the Civil Rights Act of 1964 or Medicare, an epic entitlement that actually did precipitate a government takeover of a sizable chunk of American health care. But the explanation is plain: the health care bill is not the main source of this anger and never has been. It’s merely a handy excuse. The real source of the over-the-top rage of 2010 is the same kind of national existential reordering that roiled America in 1964.’

– Yesterday President Obama did what many Presidents do (for the record, when Bush did the same thing it made me crazy)- he made recess appointments. He cleared 15 nominees to assume posts that have remained vacant for months due to insurmountable congressional roadblocks. Among the 15 named just days before the Senate departs for Easter recess are Craig Becker and Mark Pearce, the White House’s two, hotly contested nominees for the National Labor Relations Board.  Check out the article from THE HILL for the other names and details.

–  Check out Antony Gormley’s 31 life size sculptures in the Madison Square Park neighborhood through August 15, 2010. It is a great way to enjoy my neighborhood with its rich history and great architecture. See if you can  find all 31 sculptures and you never know – you might catch me and my dog Benny sniffing around.  Yes, that is Benny in the above photo doing his ‘art critic’ thing once again.

–  My latest video features one minute of the fabulous new penguin feeding regimen at the Central Park Zoo. You can see our new King Penguins along with the Gentoo and the Chinstraps. It’s a fish frenzy of fun!

St. Patrick’s Day Salute March 17, 2010

Posted by judylobo in Animal Videos, Dogs and cats, Photography, Religion, Videos.
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A very happy St. Patrick’s Day from my house to yours.  My dog, Benny and cat, Madison are showing off their finest green garb.

Movie Review: Alice in Wonderland March 11, 2010

Posted by judylobo in Dogs and cats, Movie Reviews, Movie Trailer, Photography.
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The photo above is of my dog, Benny.  His posture is exactly how I felt when I had to put on those awful 3D glasses.

Movie Review: Alice in Wonderland

Alternate Title: Muchness

Story: 3D sucks. Not only does it suck, but imagine our horror when we stepped up to the box office and discovered that our choices were either 3D or IMAX. “But I do not want to see it in either of those methods” I cried. “I want to see it in 2D. Alas, like Alice, we were destined to fall down the 3D dung hole (more on 3D below). Our attitudes were not good at this point and we were determined not to like this latest film by director Tim Burton. The film was written by Linda Woolverton and was based on “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” and “Through the Looking-Glass” by Lewis Carroll.

Attitudes luckily can change and before long, after adjusting the annoying 3D glasses, we became enchanted. Tim Burton’s style is singular. His vision has been consistent and in this, his 14th film, he lets it all hang out. He essentially sticks to the main storyline of Carroll’s Alice with some tweaking here and there. Only purists will balk at his artistic license – but let’s face it, that’s what purists tend to do.

In Burton’s Alice, she is 19 years old and is escaping an arranged marriage to one very toady man. This Alice is brave, faithful and super heroic (in a Joan of Arc kind of way). All of the expected charming characters are present including the Mad Hatter, the Dormouse, the Cheshire Cat, the White Rabbit, Absolem the caterpillar and of course the Queen(s). Burton’s world is filled with details that welcome us into Alice’s and his vision.

The problem with 3D is that it gets in the way of enjoying Burton’s world. 3D is nothing but a mooney grabbing ploy by the studio to get each and every viewer to pay $3 more to see the film. The 3D glasses are clumsy and most important they mute, at times blur, always darken the palette and most importantly interfere with with detailed world up on the screen.

Should you see this film? I would wait until it comes on your big ass HDTV screen at home and not have to be annoyed by the 3D gimmickry.

Acting: Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter plays this role with ease. In his seventh film with Burton he has this quirky character down pat. Mia Wasikowska as Alice Kingsleigh is charming and easy to watch. Anne Hathaway as the White Queen was fine but frighteningly skinny. Helena Bonham Carter as the Red Queen was deliciously wicked, funny and the best thing about the film. Crispin Glover as Stayne-Knave of Hearts was fine. Matt Lucas as Tweedledee and Tweedledum was my second favorite character(s). Alan Rickman as Absolem the Caterpillar was terrific as usual. Timothy Spall as Bayard the Bloodhound was perfect. The voices of these actors were fine as well: Michael Sheen (White Rabbit), Stephen Fry (Cheshire Cat), Barbara Windsor (Dormouse), Christopher Lee (Jabberwocky), Michael Gough (Dodo) and Paul Whitehouse (March Hare)

Trivia: Helena Bonham Carter is the great-granddaughter of H.H. Asquith, British Prime Minister (1908-1916). She is the granddaughter of Violet Bonham Carter, a Life Peeress in her own right, and the niece of Mark Bonham-Carter, who was created a Life Peer in his own right as well. Her half-Spanish mother ‘Elena Propper de Callejon’ is niece of Baroness Liliane de Rothschild, née Fould-Springer. She became romantically involved with her director Tim Burton after their Planet of the Apes (2001) wrapped. Instead of moving in with her in her Hampstead home in London, Burton bought two next-door houses which the couple both share today (2010).

Predilection: I like Tim Burton films.

Critters: All manner of critter.

Food: All food eaten has major consequences for Alice.

Sex Spectrum: Gads, no.

Blatant Product Placement: None

Soundtrack: Danny Elfman loud and over the top.

Opening Titles: All credits at the end.

Visual Art: A Tim Burton festival.

Theater Audience: We were alone eating our egg salad sandwiches for half of the film until a mother and her way too young child came in to watch.

Weather: Delightful in Wonderland.

Sappy Factor: 0

Quirky Meter: 0

Squirm Scale: Eyeball gouging is squirmy and that happens three times.

Drift Factor: I was attentive throughout. My Wednesday movie buddy, Sunjt said he drifted a bit.

Predictability Level: High

Tissue Usage: 0

Oscar Worthy: I guess a technical nod here and there would be in order.

Big Screen or Rental: For the sake of your eyes wait until it is on TV.

Length: Under two hours.


Me? An Opinion? March 9, 2010

Posted by judylobo in Animal Stories, art, Dogs and cats, Links, Photography, Politics, Videos.
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Today the first of Antony Gormleys 31 life-sized figures was installed on top of 204 Fifth Avenue, the home of Pentagram Design’s New York offices.  The art will surround Madison Square Park.

I took Benny, my dog, out to watch the installation with me.  He peed on a tree while I was being interviewed by someone from the press. She asked me if I had an opinion about the art.  I chuckled to myself, ‘Me? An opinion?’  I think she was sorry she asked as I rattled on and on about public art ( which I like) and art in general.  She asked if people walking by might be afraid of the art.  I said very articulately, ‘Huh?’  She said that maybe people would think they were jumpers.  I laughed heartily.

Anyhow – it is a very cool installation.  There will be a total of 31 sculptures overlooking Madison Square Park with four life sized sculptures at ground level.

As Benny and I turned to go I see Harold Ford. Jr coming my way (I was the only one to notice him and there were people from the press all around the area).  He was yakking away on his iPhone, dressed most handsomely in a dark suit.  I stopped him and said ‘You should have hung in there. You should not have let Kirsten Gillibrand off of the hook.’  He told the person on the other end of the phone to wait a minute.  He looked me in the eye and said ‘Thank you Ma’am – I appreciate that and I will be back.’ He took my hand and gave me a firm handshake. In all of the excitement I forgot to take his picture.

Vacation Mode February 17, 2010

Posted by judylobo in Animal Videos, Dogs and cats, Photography, Travel, Videos, wildlife.

It is that time again. Time to take Benny the dog to his Godmother’s house for the week.  Time to get my own place ready for the best house-cat sitter in the world.  Time to pack the camera gear and go through the same pre-travel routine.  What to wear on the plane?  What to pack?  Do I have enough maps, addresses, chargers, batteries, memory cards – you know the drill. Sigh.  Those National Parks are calling our names.  Be back in a week unless something like this happens along the way. Ouch!

Who Let the Dogs Out? February 16, 2010

Posted by judylobo in Animal Stories, Animal Videos, Dogs and cats, Photography, Videos.
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It is all about dogs in NYC this week.  The 134th Westminster Kennel Club show is in town.  As per usual, my dog Benny’s godmother and I attended yesterday’s opening.  Despite the massive human crowds we were able to enjoy each and every pooch. We met Rachel Maddow‘s buddy, Kent Jones, as he was gathering footage for a segment on The Rachel Maddow Show for last night.  Watch that segment here.  We were standing right in front of Mr. Jones when he was speaking with the sweet beagle, Tipper.

–  Catch Ben Stein as he professes his love for dogs in a bit called, ‘love, life and four paws‘. Very, very sweet.

–  Benny Meets Wegman’s Dogs in Madison Square Park:

Zoos and Bold Faced Names February 15, 2010

Posted by judylobo in Animal Stories, Photography, wildlife, Zoos.
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Zoos are a great place for spotting bold faced names.  Having been a volunteer at the Central Park Zoo for over 20 years I can attest to that fact. There is an anonymity about a zoo that works for a celebrity because most of the people are looking at the animals and not at the other zoo visitors.

Anyway, while out walking my dog, Benny around 7PM last night I missed a phone call from my nephew in-law. (Anyone know what you actually call a guy who is married to one’s niece)?  It was Mike, excitedly calling from his car on the way home from the Oakland Zoo, that he just e-mailed me a photo of someone he met at the zoo. I immediately opened my trusty MacBook Pro to find the above photo of Mike smiling along with  Markos Moulitsas, founder of the Daily Kos.

MIke told me when I phoned that the family, after completing their Zoo visit, was taking advantage of the kiddy rides directly adjacent to the zoo, when he spotted what he thought was someone he knew.  After a closer inspection he realized in was Markos Moulitsas and uncharacteristically approached him.  He acknowledged the fact that it, indeed, was the Daily Kos guy, and Mike’s sister, Jen took this photo.  Mike, his sister Jen and I are big fans of Markos. Very, very cool.

FYI – Markos used to be a Republican but changed his allegiance after a stint in the army.

My own favorite Zoo happenstance was a few years ago when I spotted a scruffy looking Keith Olbermann and his lady friend by the polar bear habitat.  I took a photo through the glass at the other side of the exhibit and then approached them.  We had a long chit chat about our polar bears, Gus and ida, and then I told him I was a BIG fan and thanked him for his work.