Thursday, August 30, 2007

The D of C!

This place has changed. I don't get back to D.C. too often, usually three times a year for about two days each time tops. I know the city has really gotten a makeover the last decade, but this is the first time I really noticed how much.

It started with the cab from Union Station. Yeah, yeah, normally I would take the Metro (it's what DC people call the subway) but I didn't, I wanted to enjoy the ride. Cabbie took E Street instead of Mass. Ave and E Street has gone upscale. I mean, I know it's been 25 years since 14th Street in downtown was a porn district, but it is amazing to see how dramatically different these neighborhoods are now. It's changed so much here that I've used italics twice just to hammer that point.

The good thing is because of the zoning laws, buildings can only be so high so even though there is lots of new development, the buildings all fit into the neighborhood unlike those two hideous behemoths sprouting up on Broadway and 100th.

Of course, there are still some desolate areas not far from Union Station and I'm glad for that too. I need my urban blight. I did some walking down there and the gentrification and corporification (my new word) hasn't hit those parts. Also, a big chunk of U Street may be on the upswing, but I was hanging at 14th and V and lets just say I stood out.

Still, DC is charming me again. It is a beautiful city. Even the crappy areas have great old brownstones that just need some love. The people are, generally speaking, more polite here although you can forget about good pizza.

The living is better too. I visited a friend who has a nice big two bedroom and he pays only a little more than what I'm paying for my fourth floor walk-up tiny one bedroom in NYC. It gets tempting. I could find a job here, get a better apartment. I have family here. Heck I have family here that I see a lot more than than family I see in NYC that lives only a few blocks from me (and you already read how often I get down here, so what does that tell you?).

However, even with all that, I have spent the bulk of the past 25 years in NYC. Something must keep me there. As I get older though, my desire for a little space to breathe grows and sometimes even I want to be a little closer to my family here.

I don't know. It's just something to keep in the back of my mind.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Business 101

So I went to a job interview. I saw an ad on a site that seemed like a good fit for me. I answered ad and quickly got a response and a question about my salary. I sent that information in and then communication ceased. I assumed that my compensation was a deal-breaker. But lo and behold two weeks later my phone rang and it was the place and they wanted to meet with me. Cool.

So even though I'm off this week I clean myself up, throw on the suit and head to midtown. About three minutes into the interview he asks what I make. Uh oh, I think. Why is he asking something I already told him? I tell him. There is a silence followed by a "oooh." Turns out he didn't get the email and apparently I'm out of their price range. Had a nice talk anyway and who knows maybe down the road something else will emerge. What was I supposed to do, complain? Freak out? I rode it out.

And after that, I came home and got some good news. An important person will do one of my events. So, down one moment, up another. I'm still down on my job but for now at least I feel I have to start being of use in my job and stop complaining. It is not doing me any good. I have to throw myself into it. I can still look around and I should as September usually has more openings than August but in the meantime it's time to stop complaining and start producing.

But before I do that, one last rant. To best describe what the place I work is like, pretend it is a factory. The product we make has a shrinking customer base. Rather than step back and figure out what we need to do to make our product more popular or figure out if we need a new product so we can not only keep the customers we have left, but get new ones too, we instead keep producing more of the same product for our dwindling customer base. And since we are cranking out more product with the same size staff, the quality of the product starts to wane. So in other words, we have a product for shrinking audience and increased competition and our response is more product that isn't as good will solve the problem. Oh, and the other bad part of this strategy is that the people who pay us for for the product we make will stop paying us if we don't deliver the customers which means constantly looking for new people to pay for the product. I seem to recall hearing that you don't sell a guy one car, you sell him ten cars over fifty years.

OK, done. That's out of my system and now I'll just try to be a good widget maker!

I'm Here, Sort Of....

Off this week, goofing off too although I will be taking a meeting this afternoon that could be interesting. We'll see. Off to the D of C. tomorrow to see a friend's baby (ya gotta see the baby) and my mom's new kitten. I'm not sure I endorse my mom having a new kitten, but what can you do?

Anyway, nothing else really to update except my softball team broke the curse and is going to the championship! Yours truly got a key hit and scored a key run in the first playoff game. Of course, in the second game I dropped a routine fly ball that became a home run but eventually that didn't matter since we won in a route.

OK, waiting for my lunch to come then I have to call a VIP to try to hustle him into doing something for my job. It's hard out here for a non-profit pimp!

Friday, August 24, 2007

No Peace To Be Found

It turned very hot and humid this afternoon. Headed down the Village for some hard luck. Passed a graffiti tagged building along West Fourth Street, a rarity in this day and age. I was actually glad to see it. I've been accused of living in the past and I'm probably a little guilty of that, but it beats regretting the past.

Anyway, you know you're old when someone is talking about booking bands at the Ritz and they feel the need to explain what the Ritz was. But shit 80% of the people there probably didn't know. I'm listening to a little G `n' R right now and it's been a long time since I've heard some of this shit and it is taking my mind places I probably shouldn't go.

After my little journey down to the darkness I hopped the subway back uptown. It'll be another lovely weekend of construction bullshit on the 1-2-3. I'm really getting tired of it.

The streets were livelier than usual tonight. Broadway had a little danger edge to it like it used to not too long ago. I was, as usual, both somewhat nervous and somewhat excited by the tension and noise that the heat and humidity can bring to New York. Sidewalks were full of people too sweaty to be inside their SRO rooms, chugging their beer on their stoops rather than retreating to their rooms that have no air and torn blankets over the windows. They mix with the gentrifiers who are heading into hideous hi-rises whose very existence is an insult to the architectural sense of the neighborhood. Guess which group scares me more.

And how do I fit into this gorgeous mosaic? I don't know. I'm not in a hideous hi-rise and believe it or not I once did live in an SRO. Long story, for another time. I'm in between. I'm a Richard Price character in waiting. Kenny makes a move! Seriously, I haven't figured out my role in this universe. I just want to get off my ass one of these days and try to write a little noir. That was the point of this thing. Get into the habit of posting some stuff on a regular basis in the hopes that it will finally spark something in me to write for real. First these voices need to shut the fuck up.

Faded Non-Memories

I was reading an old post from unconquerable gladness (link to the right, I still don't know to insert links) about his first trip to Memorial Stadium (Baltimore). That led me to read a touching post from UG about Cal Ripken and about going to ballgames with his father.

And that led me to think of my own memories and then the screen went blank. No, this isn't going to turn into a "my Dad wasn't there to play catch with me" bullshit post. He wasn't and hell that sucked. My dad was a pretty angry guy who always working. He terrified me as a kid. He wasn't violent, but he was a yeller and an intimidating presence who ruled through fear. He basically made everyone around him feel like crap. He's not that guy anymore, but it doesn't matter because it is what we see and feel as kids that stays with us all our life. We can have all therapy in the world and it isn't going to change any of that. I can either now accept that my Dad didn't sit down with a pen and paper and make out a check list on how to screw up his family (although who knows, he just might have) and learn to forgive him and forgive myself for not being able to forgive him and get on with life or I can stew in bitterness for the rest of my days.

Bitterness has usually been the drug of choice in my family but I'm tired of that. I don't know how to move past it but like so many things I've learned in the past two years, it'll come if I'm willing.

But anyway, back to my ballgame memories. There are a few good ones. I don't remember the first ballgame I ever went to. I have three older brothers and they all went to Tiger games and even went to one of the games in the legendary 1968 series (Tigers lost, damn that Bob Gibson!). I don't know if I ever got to a Tigers game, I'm sure I did. The games I do remember were, for lack of a better phrase, fairly memorable. I saw Tom Seaver's last game as a Met in 1977. That was a class trip with my Hebrew school. The first game I remember going to see with my father was Yankees-Red Sox in 1978. I don't remember the date but it was fairly early in the season. It was a nasty crowd, 56,000 drunks chanting "Boston Sucks." There were fights everywhere, bottles flying. In other words, it was not a Sunday in the park. This was New York in the 1970s. It was scary. It was dangerous. It was also cool. The game was rain delayed throughout the night and eventually it was called after midnight. They finished the game and played another one the next day and if my memory is correct the Yanks lost both on their way to falling 14 games back. We know the rest of the story and later that year I did get to another game with my dad. They played the Indians and it was Yankee cup day. Everyone got a big mug with a team photo on it and a couple of Reggie Bars. Jackson hit a homer and those Reggie Bars went flying on the field. Not mine, I'd eaten them already.

I know you might say, gee your Dad did take you to some games, so settle down. Fair enough. But just so the record is straight, this all happened after my parents split and my dad moved into the city while we stayed in Jersey. Once my dad and mom's marriage ended (about ten years too late in my opinion), my dad tried his best to be a normal dad, but as I said earlier, the damage was kind of done. That said, I did like the bus ride into the city to visit (I was about 12 years old and would come in alone and he'd meet me at Port Authority (again, Times Square, 1978--not the Disney Land it has become). Today they'd lock my folks up for bad parenting, but in those days I think kids were a little more independent and maybe a little tougher. I know kids grow up fast these days but in other ways--thanks to technology--they don't. I don't know, that's just my opinion.

My dad lived on 23rd and 3rd in those days and the building he lived in is still there. Looks smaller now. Everything looks smaller now.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Uh, Just Because

Twice over the last two days I've been asked by people I'm trying to get to do things why they need us to do them.

Truth is, they don't. These people are big enough and powerful enough to get anyone they need on the phone without the help of my little non-profit "think-tank."

I spin them some crap about this being a neutral environment and that we are a "convener" for the industry, yada yada.

What I want to say is, because if you do it with us we get money and you feel good and then we will leave you alone. That's all true except for the last part. We never leave you alone.

Time for group therapy. Jeez, what a life.

Weird Wiring

Some amusing tidbits about me.
1.) I throw and bat left-handed.
2.) I write right-handed.
3.) I throw a Frisbee with my forearm right-handed but sidearm left-handed.
4.) I shoot a basketball with my left hand.
5.) When I was drumming, I kept the ride cymbal over the snare drum on my left side as opposed vs. near the floor tom like most drummers even though I drum right-handed.

I'm not ambidextrous. I'm just confused. The wiring seems off. Why don't I write left-handed? I throw left-handed. I'm convinced that all this explains my brain which is constantly churning trying to figure out which way is up and where to go. I think too much because the signals are crossed.

Be curious if anyone else has the same dilemmas wracking their brain.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Remember the Colts

My softball league's playoffs start this weekend. Once again we have made it through the regular season, posting an 11-5 record. It's the third year in a row we've won at least 10 games.

Oh, and we've been knocked out of the first round the last two years. Both were tight heartbreakers but nonetheless we are getting a rep as a team that starts out strong, fades at the end and goes out in the first round. Hence the title. If we lose this year in round one, we will officially be the Baltimore Colts of the mid-70s. From 1975-77, the Colts won the AFC East, had a great offense, solid defense, and got knocked out in round one. They lost twice to the Steelers (28-10 and 40-14) and then lost the classic 37-31 ghost to the post double OT game against the Raiders. That was one of the earliest football games I remember watching and man was I bummed. I loved Bert Jones, who if not for injuries (he separated his shoulder next season and was injury-plagued for the rest of his career) would have had Elway-Unitas like stats. He had a gun, could run and was tough.

No one remembers those great Colt teams because they never got a ring. Our team is hard to predict. We either blow teams out of the water or we get crushed. We do that annoying thing of playing at the level of our opponents. That's how you lose in the first round three years in a row.

Oh and we're also a lot like the Phillies of 76-77-78...also knocked out in the first round. D'oh!

Enough softball stuff. It's fun and that's all it is supposed to be but dammit I want to get to the second round this time.


I really need to find a new gig. I'm not hating my job, but I don't love it and I also see that the future of the institute where I toll is not long. It has a few years left for sure, but like George Costanza I want to leave them wanting more.

Problem is I don't know what I want to do. A friend suggested making a list suggesting all the things I want to do in my next job. I suggested she make the list for me and I'd check things off but she didn't go for that idea.

Right now I want something simple. I seriously would be happy scooping ice cream. I think it is not uncommon for people in my situation to suddenly long for a service position. I'm tired of offices, tired of office politics, tired of asking people to do things, tired of waiting for people to say yes or no. If I ask someone what flavor they want and they say vanilla, I don't have to say can you get another flavor because the guy behind you wants vanilla too. That really didn't work as an example of what I do now but basically I plan events for a so-called think tank although no thinking is being done.

It is thankless, frustrating and ass-kissing. And I'm paid well for it and I feel guilty about that too. BTW, I'm serious about ice cream or some kind of retail thing. I've always wanted to own something. Used to be a bar, but those days are gone. Now I dream of a laundromat or a newsstand or a candy shop. I used to want to be a detective and I still think I'd be a good one but I'm a little too old to try out for the force.

I guess what I'm saying is I want to start all over again. Now if I can just pay 1987 rents too.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

The Illusion of Busy

Both the Wall Street Journal and New York Times ran stories in the past week about the decline of the week-long or two week-long vacation. Seems that more people are taking mini-vacations, grabbing four day weekends here and there rather than take it all in one big chunk.

Part of this switch, according to the experts that reporters bring out for stories like these is that we are working harder now, there is greater job insecurity and people feel they can't go a week or--god forbid--two weeks without being connected to the office. (BTW, these same companies that we work so hard for, will not--repeat--will not bat an eyelash when it comes to tossing you out if it means improving the stock by a penny.

The articles also note that while technology (cell phones, blackberries, Internet) makes it easier to be connected to work, it is not the same as being there and that's why people feel they can't leave the office.

Ah, but that is the point of all this technology and that's what both articles missed. While on the surface all these new gadgets and technologies seem ideal to allow us more freedom, the reality is that they further enslave us to work. People work hard now and they worked hard 20 years ago. The difference is now we all feel in competition to let everyone else know how hard we work. We are never disconnected from work and that's not good. We email people at off-hours not only because it is incredibly passive aggressive but also as a way to say "look at how hard I'm working." The fun part is when you can ding them right back. It also creates a huge atmosphere of fear. We're afraid to take time off because we might miss something. At the same time, I don't know anyone who wants their gravestone to read "I wish I spent more time at the office."

The other side to this that really doesn't come up is how people use work as a way to avoid their families, partners, etc. I know this one, I did it all the time. Sorry honey, have to work this weekend. I didn't have to work, I just goofed off during the week so I could come in on the weekend and not have to worry about spending time with you. Blackberries allow us to do this now 24-7.

And if we don't feel connected to work all the time or are fortunate enough to have jobs where we don't need to be on duty around the clock, we feel insecure so we make our lives like that so we can keep up.

Not everyone. There are those normal people out there who leave their jobs at the end of the day and don't think about them, careers, office politics, and everything else until 9 a.m. the next day. Oh how I wish I were one of them.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

It's About What???

Listening to The Police today and chuckling at how many people still think "Every Breath You Take" is a love song. I remember when it came out and how girls would swoon everytime it came on the radio. Then one day I actually listened to the lyrics and thought, `dude sounds like a stalker to me.'

And it is the classic stalker song.

Every breath you take
And every move you make
Every bond you break, every step you take
Ill be watching you

Every single day
And every word you say
Every game you play, every night you stay
Ill be watching you

Oh, cant you see
You belong to me?
How my poor heart aches
With every step you take
Every move you make
Every vow you break
Every smile you fake, every claim you stake
Ill be watching you

If I wrote that in a note so someone there would be a restraining order on my door before I pressed the send button!

I know commenting on a 24-year old song (geez, that old!!!) is hardly an exciting post but it popped in my head and got me thinking that it would be interesting to put together a list of all the misunderstood songs. Of course, before too long it'd be a like the dissection of "Like a Virgin" from the opening scene of "Reservoir Dogs." That reminds me, time to rent that one again.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Nothing is Impossible (or something like that)

Today's New York Times story on Don Imus settling his issues with CBS has an interesting admission.

The story says: "While some Imus associates suggested yesterday that his final payment was at least $20 million, Karen Mateo, a spokeswoman for CBS Radio, characterized that figure as too high. In fact, it was impossible for an outsider to know for sure yesterday how much CBS had agreed to pay him"


And how did the reporter ascertain that? I love when reporters justify (primarily to their editors) not being able to come up with a figure. I mean, you couldn't get it nailed down, no biggie, but to add this caveat as an excuse is a little much. More surprising is that the editors let it stay in the story. Whatever happened to the “terms were not disclosed.”

I know this is part of the "transparency" movement in journalism, but enough is enough. I also love in the NY Times when the reporter, in explaining that a person couldn't be reached for comment, says calls to the person's home were not returned, or calls to their cell phone, etc. We get it, you tried to reach him. That's enough. I don't need to know that you got his cell number and he didn't answer. I don't need to know that you got his home phone and he ignored it. Just tell me you couldn't reach him for comment and let it go!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Scooter R.I.P.

Phil "The Scooter" Rizzuto is gone. While he'd been in poor health for years, it is still a little bit of a shock. I spent the latter half of the 1970s listening to Rizzuto cover Yankee games and moonlight for Meatloaf in one of the most memorable cameos on vinyl ever!!!

Scooter wasn't exactly the sharpest analyst in the broadcast booth but he had a relaxing manner and I can think of fewer happier memories than listening to him and Bill White and Frank Messer calling games in the summer of 78. I thought Rizzuto was going to have a heart attack when Bucky jacked one over the green monster. I swear he said he was pissing in his pants. Maybe it wasn't him, maybe it was me. Memories are a weird thing. Back then, unless I've lost it completely, the commentators would rotate between the TV and radio booth and I'm pretty sure Rizzuto was on the radio when Dent hit the homer. And why was I listening to the radio instead of watching it on TV? I was out in the street playing with some other kids. At least that is the way I remember it but maybe I'm wrong. I'm pretty sure we got out of school, went to a friend's house (actually I didn't like this kid, but anyway) and we were playing ball on Godfrey Road.

If it turns out I'm way off on who was in the radio booth at that time or way off and it turns out I wasn't even on Godfrey but actually stuck in the small apartment on Roosevelt Place, don't tell me. I'd rather live in the false memory.

Anyway, this is a long way of saying goodbye to Scooter!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Yesterday...A Lifetime Ago

A couple of incidents yesterday made me reflect.

Last night on my way to a friend's for dinner I got the privilege of watching a deal go down on 100th and West End. Some preppy kid--could've been anywhere from 16 to 20 (I can be a bad judge of age)--gets into a car (livery cab) where man is in back seat. Car moves forward all of three feet, kid jumps out of car. Almost felt like having some fun and a) stopping the kid as he walked back to his apartment and frisking him or b) jumping into the car and asking "hey man, what you got?"

Of course, I did neither, just thought back to different times, continued on my way and figured it could be a scene in a story that I will probably never write.

Last night, I was awoken by the phone ringing at 1:46 a.m. There was a time when I knew what a call that late meant. And, in fact, I thought that it was one of those calls again even though the person who makes them hasn't called in a few months and I kind of mentioned that this person might want to look at the underlying things going on that lead her to make these calls. Of course, that little thought wasn't appreciated and the calls stopped. It was just as well, there wasn't a place in my life for them anymore. There still isn't really but that doesn't mean I don't have lapses in judgement.

Anyway, I answered the phone expecting one female voice and got another. Instead of the usual "what are you doing" or "wanna come over," I got "do you have any vacancies?" I was pretty groggy and said, "huh?" She repeated herself. I think I said hello after that and then the person said she must have dialed a wrong number and apologized profusely. I think she thought she was dialing a hotel or something. I *69'd the number and it was a Maine area code but was a cellphone. Regardless, it wasn't the call I thought it was. It wasn't me in the car and today I had no regrets about any of that.

Rescue Me, Please!!

I'm catching up on "Rescue Me," a show which was great and now has officially jumped the shark. Sorry for the cliche, but it fits.

The final insult was two episodes ago when Tommy takes his new baby--actually his dead brother's new baby--and appears poised to do something horrible like drop it in the river or leave it in a park. But we know the show's creators are not going to go there. They are not going to turn the protagonist into a murderer and since we know that, the tease is crap. They even seemed to know it, giving the plot to the television guides and showing in ads for the following episode that Tommy gave the baby to his former lover/dead cousin's wife. So much for building suspense.

But nonetheless I tuned in the following week (actually, I taped but anyway), and the episode opened with absurdly long dream/blackout sequence in which Tommy yet again trashes his apartment. This time all his ghost buddies, tired of dealing with his garbage, burn themselves up to escape his self-loathing narcism. If only the ghosts could make their way to my place on Wednesday nights at 10 p.m.

"Rescue Me" does little things very well. The locker room humor is on the money. The loyalty between the crew works. But for all the little things the show does right, it gets every big thing wrong. Tommy's relationships, Lou with the ex-nun, Mike's gay not gay thing, Sean and Maggie, the deaf sister who shows up out of nowhere, etc. etc. And what happened to Tommy's dad this season?

I will keep watching for now because I like Denis Leary. However, his acting is moving away from bold and daring to over-the-top and hammy.

I finished this post while still watching the episode only to see that they actually sneaked a Gina Gershon cameo into the show, again borrowing from "The Job." Since that show was also Leary and Peter Tolan I guess they can rip themselves off as much as they want but they're not doing a very good job of it and it's too bad.

Motion Does Not Always Mean Progress

That's the thought for the week ahead.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Stuck in the Dog Days

It's Saturday night...almost the end of the night. I've been very restless lately. I have no real reason to be but I am. And apparently my thoughts on how I might move past this is not the way. Or so am I told by one who knows more than me.

But my gut tells me something else and while this one has not steered me wrong before and I don't really feel I'm in any real danger, I do feel that I'm standing still. This does not mean this one did not offer any thoughts on how to process these feelings and this sense of stagnation. And I will follow the road that is being suggested although I have my doubts. But I shall not blow up this bridge before I cross over it. I just hope it doesn't collapse while I'm trying to get across it. Bad analogy given recent events, I know.

I am also in a funk about this damn thing. I don't have a whole lot to say right now. I need to get in touch with some family members who I think are starting to worry about me. I don't mean to make them worry, it's just that I'm not in a good space to talk right now. Of course, I know that by talking I'll put myself in a good space but that part of the brain isn't being listened to right now.

OK, this is all I got right now. Everything is exactly as it is supposed to be.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

By an Associated Press Reporter

A friend visiting San Francisco expressed dismay at the quality of the San Francisco Chronicle. He noted that there were only a handful of pages devoted to international coverage and all were from the Associated Press.

It's like this at papers across the country. With the exception of the big boys (New York Times, WSJ, Washington Post), most have cut staffs so severely that the resources aren't there to have their own people overseas, on Capitol Hill, or anywhere outside of their own backyard.

Wall Street cheers this. Business people say why does each paper need their own person overseas or covering Congress? After all, a hearing is a hearing. A battle is a battle. Who needs more than one person covering it?

You know who likes this approach besides Wall Street? Government. The fewer reporters that are out there the fewer hassles, the fewer headaches, the fewer chances that a great wrong will be exposed. This is nothing against the Associated Press, but they can't be everywhere doing everything. Furthermore, as more and more papers count on AP for their bread and butter coverage, AP can't use its resources for more enterprise reporting.

I know the newspaper industry is under tremendous pressure. I know the Internet is a real threat. Ironically, newspapers are producing the content and then giving it away for free on the Internet. In all seriousness, the Internet exists off of so-called mainstream media. I don't have an answer for any of this. I do know that as more newspapers go under or cut staff, reporting will disappear. There will be even fewer voices probing, investigating, asking the questions. And that's not good for anyone.

A Simpler Time

The Yes Network was rerunning the Monday Night Baseball game the Yankees played against the Orioles in 1979, the same day Thurman Munson was buried in Ohio.

It was an emotional game that the Yankees won as Bobby Murcer drove in all five runs. Anyway, I watched that game as a kid and watching it again was a trip. There weren't two dozen replays of every pitch. The announcers didn't feel the need to fill every second with chatter, trivial statistical information that adds nothing to the coverage and keep in mind that one of the voices in that booth was Howard Cosell. The crew didn't feel the need to keep moving the camera every three seconds. Lord knows these days we can't be expected to gaze at the same image on the screen for more than three seconds without getting antsy.

Anyway, the game was just as compelling as it was 28 years ago. Now I'm not knocking better cameras, improved pictures, greater detail, all those advancements are good. What's not is filling the screen with clutter, crap, meaningless replays, stats, and other filler that adds nothing to the telecast. Just because one can do something, doesn't mean it needs to be done.

Saturday, August 4, 2007


OK, so one of the subplots of last week's "Entourage" was a bet between E and Turtle as to who could get laid first. Looking to win quick, Drama convinces Turtle to hit Craig's List Casual Encounters to score. Turtle answers ad and the girl is a stunner. I won't spoil the twist except to say it didn't involve her having a penis.

But my hunch is that for those who haven't hit CL's CE section, they now will anticipate that like Turtle they'll answer one ad (oh, and the girl posted her phone number in the ad, yeah right) and hit the jackpot.

Let me paint a more realistic picture. First of all, most of the so-called women seeking men (W4M) on CL usually turn out to be guys who are so-called picture collectors. Don't ask me to explain, just think about it for a second.

If there is a woman there, odds are she wants to exchange something for the promise of a hook-up. Ski, X, whatever. Nothing is free or casual about it. None of this is said in a judging tone, just want to set the record straight.

Usually such an ad by an actual woman is placed in the evening, either early in the hopes of getting her night started right or late in the hopes of making a disappointing night a little more tolerable. Or they just really need to feed the beast inside of them telling them that this chemical will make everything else that is wrong go away. The same holds true for those answering the ads so don't go thinking I'm trying to be all above it all.

Anyhow, usually within seconds of said ad being place, the person who placed it is inundated with tons of responses. Most respondents ignore whatever the ad may be asking and go right into either their life story or a detailed description of why their anatomy will solve all of the advertiser's problems in life. I know this how? Well, for starters me and a female friend once placed an ad to see the response we'd get and I too have occasionally (in my dark past) answered CL CE ads. Because I was one of the few who didn't subscribe to either of these approaches, I would often at least get some initial response and when things went further would get the low down from the people I met about what types of responses they received. The best bet, if you must do this, is try to be clever and funny. If you show the slightest bit of wit you will move to the top of the list.

Most of the time, one doesn't get any responses from the person posting the ad. Sometimes it turns into a back and forth of emails, picture exchanges (here's a hint most women won't ask for a picture of it) while the clock ticks ever closer to daylight and when that hits and the last of the substances are starting to wear off, the last thing anyone wants to do is prolong the misery they're already in hunched over their computer hoping against hope that some savior is going to rescue them. And every now and then, the conversation moves from email to the phone and then in person and that's when it can get really interesting.

That brings me to the people I met. We all have our demons we battle and our issues and lord knows I have plenty. That said, lets just say my adventures could have served a b-roll material for Permanent Midnight. I went to one apartment where the host informed me we needed to be quiet because her daughter was asleep in the other room. I went to a project at 5th Avenue and 135th Street and hung out with two very nice girls and while we shared lots of things, it didn't turn into the orgy I was anticipating. That said, what the heck was I thinking heading over there at 4 a.m.? .There could've been anyone behind that door and anyone else's that I knocked on after a CL CE email dance.

Sometimes I hosted. That's a whole other game of risk. At least I have an intercom and a window to see what is at my door at 4:30 a.m. and whether there are four other people waiting to come in with her carrying led pipes. One highlight was the spiky haired blonde who preferred the injection method as a means of delivery. It was not pleasant to watch. Actually, it was really boring to watch. It took forever and made me wonder how heroin addicts put up with it. No wonder they're nodding off afterwards, it is hard and tedious work shooting up.

These are only the most memorable of my CL CE experiences and I'm not doing them justice here.

I realize that TV has to take short cuts. and while I think it'd be pretty funny to show Drama and Turtle enduring a more realistic CL CE experience, that wouldn't be the Hollywood ending everyone wants.

Speaking of Hollywood endings, I also had two very great experiences off of CL CE so I can't say that the system doesn't sometimes work. But those instances are too few and far between to be judged as anything but dumb luck. Of course, as Bukowski would say, "that counts too!"

When Talk Wasn't Cheap

I never thought I'd be writing something kind about Tom Snyder. Not that I ever had anything against him, I just basically took him for granted, enjoyed the SNL parodies, etc. and thought he was a bit of a blowhard.

But looking at old clips of him on You Tube (I recommend the one with Howard Stern) one realizes quickly how low the level of discourse on talk shows has become these days. I know we all know that but when you watch some of those clips, it really sinks in.

Today's late night talk is just one giant promo for whatever movie, CD, TV show, the guest has coming out. Host makes lame jokes, guest tells prepackaged amusing anecdote, then on to commercials and the next guest. Interviewing skills are no where to be seen. I'd say they've been lost but that would imply that Leno and even Letterman had them in the first place. I know TV critics all drool over Letterman but heck watching some of his clips on You Tube with Pete Townshend and Warren Zevon I see that even Dave is not all that probing. And that was Dave in the 80s and early 90s when he still had some power over who came on his show.

Snyder may not have been all that deep for his day either but by today's standards he is the Edward R. Murrow of talk.

I really don't want to use this as a forum to sit and whine about how much better everything used to be in them days. It was. We had better ghettos in New York in the 70s. The Yanks had characters. We had Son of Sam, not some random nuts who shoot up schools. And I walked five miles to school in the snow.

Great piece in the new Vanity Fair on Rudy's wife number three, basically confirming everything I had suspected. Lots of unnamed sources, but I'm willing to forgive in this case because...well because it suits my purposes to do so.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Mutterings from the Mezzanine

Been a few days and while I have nothing big to say, I feel I need to at least put something out there just in case any one's wondering if I'm lying on the floor of my apartment while Fluff and Skinny gnaw at my bones.

I'm not although it's hot enough to make that a viable option. I could say I've been busy, but I haven't. I've maybe been a little preoccupied trying to figure out the career thing. I'm not challenged in this job and there are a lot of headaches but the flip side is that it is a comfortable work environment and there are worse places to be at right now. Not everyone can claim that their "transistiional job" pays than more than 30% what their other job did. I realize if I leave there may be a $$$ cut involved and while I'll take a cut, I don't want an amputation.

I know. NEVER TAKE A PAY CUT. Ya know, that's just not always realistic. Fortunately, for better or for worse I'm a single guy who is now debt free and confident enough that if I have to take a step back in the short-term, it'll work in the long-term.

Of course, I don't know that I'll have to take a cut. I'm assuming. I'm--to use the phrase of a friend of mine--blowing up the bridge before I even cross it. Let the cards be dealt and then worry about how to play it.

Maybe if I had a life outside of this then I'd better appreciate and focus on it and be very pleased that I had a normal job. But I don't have those things right now. Not whining about it, that's just the way it is for now. And anyway, I've foolishly always chosen career over women, etc. It's a bad habit and one I hope to be free of along with this insanity that my self worth is measured by my paycheck. Actually, not so much by my paycheck but by who signs it. See, I was until recently in a position that seemed more like a "calling" vs. a job. Now, I realize that's crap but I was full of self-importance and grandiosity. I worked for the equivalent of the Yankees in my profession and now...

But none of that matters. Of course, knowing it in one's head and accepting it are two different things. I'll get there.

OK, enough with the job crap. Rescue Me is still too over-the-top. Mad Men is getting better and The Bronx is Burning is great. If anyone can tell me what else the nasal-voiced guy who plays one of the beat reporters has been in I'll be extremely grateful. It's driving me crazy.

The heat is supposed to continue through the weekend, which means the lovely garbage smells will also be percolating up and down Broadway. Hmmm, might be a good time to empty the cat box too. Maybe after the laundry. In other words, SSDD.