Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Massacres in Syria

American-born journalist Marie Colvin was killed last night in Syria, not long after she filed a report about the horrific killings that have been taking place at the hands of government military forces. CNN showed some highly-disturbing video of a two-year-old boy who was hit by shrapnel and badly wounded. Medical care is non-existent in the war zone, and Colvin had to stand by and watch helplessly as the boy died from his injuries.

The video was proof positive that the Syrian government has been lying about the areas they are targeting. Innocent men, women and children are being gunned down every day. With the death of Colvin, we have lost a valuable window into the atrocities thwre, but perhaps now the world will start paying attention and DO something to stop these killings.

You can read more about Colvin's tragic death here:

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

1-800-FLOWERS Buyer Beware!

At left is a picture of the gorgeous floral arrangement my husband gave me for Valentine's Day.  He ordered it more than a week in advance from 1-800-FLOWERS, and had them sent to me at the office.

What's that you say?  You don't SEE a picture of flowers here?

Ah, yes. That's because THEY NEVER ARRIVED.

Of course, things happen, especially today, the busiest floral delivery day of the year. The problem is, the customer service at 1-800-FLOWERS is non-existent, especially on Valentine's Day.  They are "so super busy right now!" and tell you to email them before disconnecting you.  A cheery recording also advises you that they are "up to their elbows in floral deliveries, and may not be able to check the status of your order until tomorrow!"

Seriously?  They have ONE JOB--to deliver flowers.

Of course it's the thought that counts, and I love that he wanted to surprise me, but Valentine's Day is the absolute worst day of the year to try and send flowers.  And, if you ever do want to send a floral arrangement, it's best to avoid the big chains like 1-800-FLOWERS or Telefora. 

It's worth it to take the extra minute or two to Google a local florist that is nearby to where your delivery is going.  I always do that--for birthdays, sympathy arrangements, anything--because it helps support local business owners, and you always get top-notch service because they want your recipient to be happy.  Most local businesses count on word-of-mouth referrals, and they take extra special care of recipients in their own delivery area. You also get more for your money because you avoid the fees associated with the referrals from a national chain.

Happy Valentine's Day to you....and to 1-800-FLOWERS: you stink!

UPDATE: The specific florist that was handling the order and failed to deliver was New City Florist in New City, NY.  They have lousy reviews online, including the one I just posted.  They are almost 10 miles away from the delivery address--a 20 minute drive. Not the closest floral shop by a long shot. Lesson learned!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Lion King on Broadway

We took the kids to see The Lion King on Broadway this afternoon at the Minskoff Theater in New York City. It was a great show. The theater is small, and the actors often come out into the audience throughout the performance, so there was not a bad seat in the house. They have booster seats available for kids, but the seats are offset from row to row, so sightlines are excellent.

Having seen the movie more times than I can count, I know the story very well, and thought that I would be a little bored.  Was I wrong!  Yes, the plot was very familiar, but I was in awe of the ingenious costumes.  Designed by the brilliant Julie Taymor, the costumes more than met the challenge of making African animals come to life on stage. The entire production was so well done.

It was FREEZING in the city today, so we didn't venture too far afield this time. We parked at the garage in Port Authority, and had lunch there at Villa Pizza before venturing out into the frigid, windy weather. The theater wasn't letting patrons in just yet, so we killed some time at Broadway souvenir shop just across the street, where we could watch to see when the theater was allowing the audience to go in. Once inside the theater, there are big windows on the upper level overlooking Times Square--a great place to "people watch".  There was a panhandler down below on the street outside the theater, holding a big cardboard sign that said, "Need Money For Weed. Why Lie?"

I love New York.