Archive for August, 2010

Susan Boyle Singing for the Pope

I’m glad I’m not the only one who likes Susan Boyle. I can’t think of anyone better suited to perform for the Pope during his first state visit to the UK next month.

I hadn’t realized that Susan Boyle was Catholic. And I wasn’t aware that the Vatican followed pop culture, enough to have taken note of the runner up from last year’s “Britain’s Got Talent” whose debut CD topped the charts last Christmas.

The news confirms my suspicion that I am one of the few people in my age group to appreciate the Scottish singing sensation. But it appears that I am in good company.

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Trader Joe’s Exposed

Trader Joe’s always seemed so American to me: from the plentiful free samples, to the friendly and knowledgeable staff (who actually appear happy to be working there) to the free stickers and lollipops for kids.

So I was surprised to read that it is actually owned by German supermarket kingpins.

Even though it’s a chain, Trader Joe’s comes across as a quirky neighborhood shop, thanks to the Hawaiin shirts the employees wear, and the unique items on offer (pumpkin pancakes and low-fat chocolate yogurt come to mind).

I am now eager to take a trip to Germany to visit some other shops owned by the Albrecht family. I can only hope that free lollipops are the international norm.

US Visa Woes

After years of filing visa applications and waiting for work permit papers in the UK, I feel for Piers Morgan, if it’s true that his CNN employment is on hold until his visa comes through.

I’m quite sure that getting legal clearance to work abroad didn’t used to be such a lengthy process. When I moved to the UK in mid-2001, I waited about two months for a work permit to come through.

I wonder if Piers would have better luck if he married an American, and scored a green card…

We have to vote AGAIN?!

Another month, another election here in Georgia. I can’t get over how often we registered voters are expected to cast ballots here. The last election was just a month ago — and this isn’t even a Presidential election year.

As someone with a bad case of voter guilt, I will head to the polls (again!). I almost envy people who blow off election days, without giving it a second thought. My parents were always hard-core voters, so I would really struggle to sleep at night if I missed one.

I can only hope that enough people turn out on Tuesday, so we don’t have another run-off. Three elections in three months would just be too much, even for hard-core voters like me.

A Child’s Choice at Starbucks

In London, when visiting Starbucks with our kids, we always ordered the babyccino — a fancy name for (free!) frothed milk in a mini-coffee cup.

Here in Atlanta, where we’ve been living for a year and a half, we discovered that Starbucks employees have not heard of the free cup of frothed milk for kids. They would gladly pour and froth milk for us, but it would come at a price.

But now, thanks to a friend who is also a mom, and a frequent Starbucks visitor, we have discovered a new drink: water, with a splash of passion fruit tea. The lovely pink color will delight Starbucks fans with daughters.

And sometimes, like the babyccino, it’s free.