The Coolness of Smeg Fridges

Smeg is an innovative, Italian based company specialsing in high quality home appliances for the trendy, moneyed set. Their vintage designs are reminiscent of the 1950's and 60's yet incorporate top engineering and the latest technology.
Founded in the 1940's, Smeg is a family owned company, under the guidance of Roberto Bertazonni, who had the vision to employ some of the best Italian architects (such as Mario Bellini, Guido Canali and Renzo Piano), to work for the business. Smeg's strength was to see appliances as something more than utilitarian objects - with Smeg function and form work together and one is not overshadowed by the other. One of the more iconic objects in Smeg's range of products is the iconic retro refrigerator..otherwise know as The Smeg.


What's a Buzzword?

Good question. A buzzword is a word that has become so fashionable and over-used, it's almost a slogan. Often such words begin as pop-psychology jargon in the corporate, media or academic world and then spread out to become more widely used.
A buzzword can come across as pretentious, as the word may be an attempt to make something seem more important than it is. When someone says they felt "empowered", what do they really mean? They felt stronger, better, more able to cope? "Empowered" implies they've been injected with a superhuman tonic, which of course they haven't so it's really just a feel-good word designed to motivate people for political, social or personal reasons.
Buzzwords aren't necessarily a bad thing but they do tend to be overused, sometimes to the point where they become meaningless and just glide over the listener, elliciting no emotional response. Often they're very effective as a motivational tool and can stir people to action, such as the call for "the empowernent of women", though that term is now so tired few would be excited by it. They can also be suffocating and even a form of compulsion, especially in a corporate or academic environment, when it becomes a requirement to speak in buzzwords. 

Marilyn Monroe Posters

MARILYN MONROE LIPS - 24x36 - ART PRINT / POSTER Collections Poster Print, 24x36 Collections Poster Print, 24x36
Amazon Price: $2.89
List Price: $6.99


Marilyn Monroe, AKA Norma Jean Baker, was one of the most photogenic women in the world. So powerful were her images, she still continues to fascinate half a century after her death. What made her so photogenic?

Bobby Womack

Once a back up guitarist for the legendary Sam Cooke, Bobby Womack began his career back in the 1960's, singing in the family R&B band, The Valentinos. Based in Cleveland where Womack was born, the line-up included Bobby's four brothers, Cecil (of Womack and Womack fame), Harry, Friendly and Curtis, all of whom were songwriters. Notably, Bobby Womack wote the Rolling Stones hit It's All Over Now,which topped the UK singles charts.
It was Cooke who 'discovered' the band and offered them a contract with his SAR Records label, much to the chagrin of the boy's father, Friendly Womack Senior, who considered Cooke's brand of music sinful. At that time in the US there were two kinds of black singers - gospel and mainstream secular and to cross over to the latter was seen by some as selling out to the devil. Although Curtis was the lead singer, Sam had singled Bobby out for attention, remarking that he "sang with authority, and commanded attention on stage".

Zsa Zsa Gabor

The Gabors Flee Europe

World War 2 created flux and turmoil in Europe. It was a time of change and disorder; families were uprooted, homelands abandoned and for some, a chance for new beginnings in strange lands. Amongst those uprooted and thrown into flux, were sisters Zsa Zsa, Eva and Magda Gabor who, with their parents Vilma and Jolie, made their way from Budapest, Hungary, after the Nazi invasion, to America, sometime in the mid 1940's.
In Budapest, the family had been relatively well-heeled and the girls well-educated; they spoke several languages. In addition, Jolie Gabor, who was a kind of Hungarian Mrs. Bennett, saw to it that her daughters were well-versed in the essential charms a woman needed in order to catch a suitable husband.

Diplomacy the Game


The other evening I was wandering aimlessly through the games section of Amazon, as is my want, when I came across a product that stirred a strange little memory - partly warm and fuzzy, partly uncomfortable. It was a board game called Diplomacyand when I spotted it I felt a zap of recognition and surprise because I hadn't seen it for years.
My older brother and sister and their friends used to play this game when I was growing up and frankly, as an onlooker, it drove me mad. As I was apparently "too young" too understand the cutthroat and complicated nature of international diplomatic relations, I was excluded from play. I still haven't played it, so this isn't a review but I can attest to the dedication, seriousness and profound involvement it inspires in its players.

Political Intrigue and Alliances

The game of Diplomacy usually involves seven players who become totally consumed by the game play, which can go on for many hours, during which time alliances will be formed, traitorous actions performed, slimy promises made, heated words exchanged and copious amounts of tea, coffee and various snacks consumed.
Long suffering little sisters who are not allowed to play will often be sent on tedious missions to provide these nourishments and non players will get annoyed and frustrated as living areas are completly taken over by the game.
Oft described as game of "intrigue, trust and treachery" this is not a game for the faint hearted and in truth I'm not sure how hard it is. As a young teen, I could never make head or tail of it but then, I was never given the chance to learn properly. I mentioned this re-encouter to my star Diplomacy playing brother recently and I don't whether this may be an unfortunate, innate sexism within him but he tells me my older sister, who wasallowed to particpate, never really understood the game either: according to him, she just "pretended too". (Oh my, I know she'll be furious if she reads this.)

The Birth of Diplomacy

Diplomacy has been commercially available since 1959 and was created by Alan B. Calhamer in 1954. The story goes that, as a boy he was intrigued by an old geography book found in an attic that showed a map of the world prior to WWI. Years later, while at Harvard Law School and recalling the geography book, he developed a game of strategy and alliance, which put seven players in charge of the major world powers.
For those who really get into Diplomacy in a big way, there have been tournaments held since the 1970's and playing Diplomacy by mail and now emailhas been an option since the 80's. Not so surprisingly, it's Henry Kissinger's favourite game and evidently John F Kennedy was also a fan.You'd think these politicians would have got enough cuttroat intrigue in real life wouldn't you? Apparently not.

Rules of Diplomacy

There are no dice in this game - it's all about negotiation. The game is set around the turn of the 20th Century, when the major world powers vie for supremacy. According to the folks at,who seem to know all about it:
Military forces invade and withdraw, shifting borders and altering empires with subtle maneuvers and daring gambits. Form alliances and unhatch your traitorous plots as you negotiate and outwitin a delicate balance of cooperation and competition to gain dominance of the continent! In Diplomacy, your success hinges not on the luck of the dice, but your cunning and cleverness.
Yes, from memory that sounds about right. One of these days, I'll get around to playing this game and what's more, I'll damn well win! I know how to be ruthless if I have to...

The Diplomacy Board. Image from
The Diplomacy Board. Image from