Thursday, August 20, 2009

5:00 Fridays

My favorite foodie friend Jennifer of In Jennie's Kitchen is guest posting today. She's a real peach with a tarty sense of humor. Jennifer was my roomate at BlogHer, and we became fast friends. While Jennifer leads a far more exciting life than I, she took the time to share her take on 5:00 Fridays. And you'll see just why I lover her so much.

After spying some lemons on the kitchen counter my six-year old asked “Mommy, can you make me lemonade?” I’m normally a gracious hostess, but on this occasion I said “No, sweetie, I need those for my cocktails.” Heck, I had a fridge filled with orange juice, apple juice and milk she was welcome to have, but the lemons were off limits. It was Sunday night and I’d decided to make a Mad Men themed dinner for the premiere. Chicken a la king was on the menu (the recipe from my 1954 Betty Furness Westinghouse cookbook). Betty Draper would’ve had a vodka gimlet with her shrimp cocktail but I decided to mix up some sidecars, hence the lemons. Come to think of it, maybe I was channeling Betty in my parenting skills that night too.

Makes two 3-ounce drinks
Modern twists on this drink use whiskey instead of brandy. On Sunday nights though, I’m sticking with this classic recipe.

2 ounces brandy
2 ounces triple sec
2 ounces fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1 orange

Two cocktail or martini glasses
superfine sugar, to rim glasses

Add sugar to a small plate. Make two twists from orange rind, by cutting strips with a paring knife or vegetable peeler (try not to get any of the bitter white pith). Cut a wedge from remaining orange and wipe it around the rim of each glass. Dip rims in sugar and add oone piece of rind to each glass.

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add brandy, triple sec and lemon juice. Stir vigorously until beads of sweat form on outside of shaker. Strain into prepared glass. Serve immediately.
5:00 FridaysSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Marriott is a Disgrace: A Loyal Marriotteer No More

Marriott has always been one of my favorite brands. It was a staple on my T & E reports from way back in the day when I traveled regularly for business. A bunch of us crashed at a Residence Inn somewhere near Alpine Valley all those years ago when we road tripped annually to Jimmy Buffett shows. Mac Daddy and I choose Marriott brands over any others on our family trips. Mac Daddy prefers a stay at any one of the Marriott family of hotels when he travels for work, which is more often than not. Even in my marketing consulting business I refer to Marriott as the gold standard of stellar brand architecture. I have been a loyal Marriott patron, investor, and fan. A veritable Marriotteer.

Once I even got a call from the office of JW Marriott himself after he received a letter I wrote condemning another hotel's lack of safety, cleanliness, and hospitality, while praising Marriott's. The call was timely and personal and cemented my love affair with the Marriott brand.

The love affair is over. And it is beyond repair.

Marriott is a despicable disgrace.

Bile gurgles up the back of my throat as I even say the brand name.

A woman, a mother of two, was raped in a Marriott parking garage. In front of her 3 and 5 year old children (THE SAME AGE AS MY SONS!). This mother was raped at gunpoint, with the rapist threatening sexual assualt against her children if she did not comply. That could have been me. Or you. Any one of us.

Instead of issuing an apology, offering counseling, or financial retribution, Marriott blames the woman for her own rape. Marriott recently issued a statement saying how there has been a grave mistake that has led the public to think it is unsympathetic to the woman, her children, and victims of violent crime. Read the full statement here...and prepare to dry heave.

I'm not buying it, assholes.

And that little blurb on your website about the Marriott culture, core values, and social responsibility. Bullshit.

Here's an excerpt:
"Marriott's reputation for superior customer service rises out of a long tradition that started with J. Willard Marriott's simple goal for Hot Shoppes to provide "Good Food and Good Service at a Fair Price"
  • "Do Whatever it Takes to Take Care of the Customer"
  • Pay extraordinary attention to detail
  • Take pride in their physical surroundings
  • Use their creativity to find new ways to meet the needs of customers"
"Attention to detail" and "the customer is always right" are mentioned in the company's core values.

Like I said, Bullshit.

I am so sickened that I can hardly write this post coherently. I shudder and feel slightly like vomiting every time I read another news story. And if I were to actually upchuck, I would package it up and mail it to Stephen Brown, one among many of Marriott's cadre of lawyers, and all the fat cat C-suite executives. Stephen Brown got paid big bucks to rape this woman again.

Apparently the safety and security of Marriott's guests is not paramount. And if a woman is raped by a lurking lunatic who had been hanging around the hotel parking garage for days (days!), the rape is clearly her fault. I mean, rape is always the woman's fault, right? Oh, those teetering high heels, itty bitty mini dresses, decolletage baring halters, gold hoop earrings, seamed lacey stockings, and such other attire that act as a sexual assault billboard are just asking for trouble, right? I mean, really, a woman should know better; that's what Puritanical bonnets and calico print rompers are for. We should all look like the queen of the Duggar clan, no? I mean really, wholesome women who are alert and responsible for their own safety are not raped. Only women who are negligent, preoccupied, or otherwise irresponsible can claim culpability for her own rape. The simplest and most natural sashay could send the wrong message and rightfully land a woman in the ER with a rape kit (for those counties that even have them!). We must really walk like androids just to be safe. Or so the Stephen Browns of the world would have you think.

Listen to me, and listen closely. Women are never to blame for the violence inflicted upon them. Being raped is NEVER a woman's fault. Under no circumstances. If you disagree, I beg you to read the moving, poignant, candid, and often frightening stories posted at Violence Unsilenced. These women, like this woman, are someone's mother, daughter, true love.

There is no going back to the way things were for victims of violence. There is an earthly shift. I know this much is true.

If you'd like to share your $0.02, please send your comments to Thomas Marder, the lucky bastard who gets to manage all inquiries regarding Marriott's vile actions. I encourage you to stand up against violence. If you are close to 5 women, chances are one of them has been raped.


Marriott is a Disgrace: A Loyal Marriotteer No MoreSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend