Friday, November 30, 2007

He's Not Just The President, He's Also A Member

Check out the latest edition of Rolling Stone and tell me that's not the worst rug you've ever seen on top of Jimmy Page's head. Rambler is obsessed with hair. Yes, I still have mine, but not as much as I did say 20 years ago. That said, I scrutinize the hair and hairlines of others. Springsteen has more hair now than he did 20 years ago and you can tell something is up because his hair never gets sweaty anymore. Not to pick on the recently departed, but Kevin DuBrow, late singer of Quiet Riot, was basically wearing a mop on his head and I still don't know what the hell Axl had stapled onto his scalp.

One day I'll figure out how to post pictures so I can make my point without using so many words. In the meantime, you'll just have to do your own verification of what I write.

Rambler Is Currently Checking out Dominatrixes

Facebook is again in hot water with its users. This time it's for a plan to send messages to the friends of users about what they are buying online. In other words, if I go buy a movie, what I bought will go out to my "friends." By the way, this is why Rambler doesn't use Facebook or MySpace. Oh, that and that I have no friends but anyway.

I say turn it up a notch. How about a minute-by-minute report of whatever I'm doing online to my Facebook friends? I can see it now:

12:01 A.M. Rambler just visited Live Crazy Girls with Whips
12:05 A.M. Rambler has left Live Crazy Girls with Whips and is now on the Drudge Report.
12:06 A.M. Rambler has left Drudge and is now reading Washington Post
12:07 A.M. Rambler has left Washington Post and is now on You Porn.
12:09 A.M. Rambler is now buying a screen cleaner. OK, that was a little gross.

But you get the idea.

Facebook no doubt assumed that if these bozos will put pictures of themselves drunk and high on the web and babble about their latest humiliating adventure with five of their closest guy friends, why would they care if we just sent out a note letting their friends know they just bought a used copy of Legally Blonde II?

Ah, but that's the rub. This is all about one-way communication and that's why this latest Facebook blunder misfired.

Seriously though, I agree with the Facebookies on this one. Plus it means that once again Facebook will have to go back to the drawing board to actually figure out how to make money. Rambler may be showing his age, but I seriously question the valuations for these companies. I don't know what Google was thinking with You Tube, but for them it doesn't really matter since $1.65 billion is in loose change under their couch.

Just because you can accumulate the masses doesn't mean it's a ticket to make money. The whole point of Facebook and MySpace is the Warhol fifteen minutes of fame thing. These folks think their life is fascinating. They think other people will find it fascinating. Maybe that's all true, but I'm not sure how you sell Tide with it.

Public bathrooms also accumulate the masses and would be ideal places to market but I don't see anyone lining up to spend $2 billion for "Johnny on the Spot." Hmmm, are they a publicly traded company?

The Days May Be Getting Shorter But The Weeks Still Seem Long

Man this week took forever! I barely remember Monday, it seems so long ago. Probably doesn't help that the weather was also all over the map. Cold and Wet on Monday. Warm on Tuesday and Wednesday. Rainy, then sunny on Thursday and cold today. I also had no consistency this week. I got to the gym only on Wednesday and today and both times I got there late because I overslept. Just one of those weeks. I got lost walking in Central Park on Tuesday. I don't know Central as well as Riverside and if you don't make the left turn to head west and exit the next thing you know is you're right near Fifth Avenue. It would've been fine if I hadn't been on the way somewhere.

Today was the capper. Last night I set my alarm for 5:45, only I forgot the AM part! I do that every now and then, it's really annoying. I woke up and saw daylight coming through the window and was like "hmmm, something tells me it's around 7 a.m." And it was. I said fuck it, I'm still going to the gym. I wheezed my way through 35 minutes on the new StairMaster before hitting some weights. I haven't run since Sunday and it showed. I really need to get back into the routine this weekend and next week. Frankly, I need to get my shit together.

This week has been blah and it shows in the posts. I'll get back to the angry old man routine soon enough. I'm sure.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Didn't You Used To Be John Entwistle?

John Entwistle, the late great bass player for The Who once joked that someone came up to him and said "didn't you used to be John Entwistle?" I often feel like that these days and this morning it especially hit home at a meeting where I found myself telling people what I used to do as code for "I used to be someone who mattered."

I realize that means that I based my whole identity through my job and that is not a good thing. I also realize that maybe I need a job that I can feel good about as it relates to who I am and what I want.

Just one more thought from me in this roller-coaster week.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


As much as I get some perverse pleasure out of this show, I gotta say it may actually be the real show about nothing. Really, besides lots of nudity and absurd plots, what is its core? As far out as Rescue Me gets, at its core it is a show about the turmoil and angst of New York City firefighters. Nip/Tuck is really just titillation. Season one at least had some interesting plots and operations. Now it is more about how outrageous the plots can get. As Sean would say, "big wheel."

Calling All Cars

Once again I couldn't drag myself out of bed today to run, go the gym, etc. I finally forced myself to get up and went to the gym because I hadn't been since Sunday, won't get to go again until Friday and really needed it. This meant that I wouldn't get into work until 10:30 because of the late start, but fuck it.

Now I really have a case of the fuck its. Had our usual staff meeting with my boss as usual being somewhat insane. She doesn't let anyone finish a sentence and has a hard time listening. She's not a bad person, but I question her management skills. Really took all I had to not blow up in the meeting.

But this post isn't about her It's about me. Last few days have been very frustrating. Some of it is shit I can't control but some of it I can, I just have to focus on pushing that mother fucking rock up the hill.

I need to throw myself back into the work a little bit (I know, then stop blogging and do it) and I have a little today. I'm not at my lunch meeting, I'll find one later. I'll take the actions. I'm also continuing to kick tires and hopefully that will lead somewhere.

I may be a little lonely too. It happens. Last night on my walk home I ran into this girl I've had a crush on for two years. I was on the cell and was so tempted to just hang up and talk to her beyond the "hey, how's it going" stuff we usually exchange. She knows--I mean she has to by now--that I have a crush. Of course, I just kept on going after the greetings and salutations were done. Last time I ran into her on the street she was on the phone. I think we just have bad timing.

Anyway, something is up with the Rambler. I will try to ride this shit out and do what I always do as I've been taught. Have to take care of myself before I can take care of anyone or anything else.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Paging Linus Van Pelt

I'm not a Grinch, really. Well, maybe a little, but I'm getting better. It's probably that I was raised Jewish but not really yet didn't do Christmas so I felt left out of not one, but two cultures (Rambler's Dad is Jewish, Mom was a WASP now a Catholic).

But I digress(as usual). It is November 27 and tonight ABC is airing a A Charlie Brown Christmas. I love it, but isn't it a little too soon? Can't we at least wait until we get into the month of December before we start bombarding the airwaves, the sidewalks and our senses with Christmas? And I mean into the month, not 12:01 December 1.

Ironically, "A Charlie Brown Christmas" is a plea to reign in the commercialization of the holiday. Now it is used as the unofficial kick off to a barrage of 30-second spots reminding us it's not about peace on earth and goodwill but new cars, video games and diamonds.

On Broadway last night the the tree hawkers were already setting up their wares. I like trees too, but not this early for crying out loud.

I know. Rambler, what's the big deal? December will be here soon enough, get into the spirit. Yes it will so why rush it? I pity the folks in Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts and everywhere else that from the day after Thanksgiving through December 26 are forced to listen to sappy holiday music all day long. I just hope they don't play all that stuff non-stop in post offices or we could have a real bloodbath on our hands.

I'm not anti-holiday, I'm anti-brass commercialism. I realize this battle was lost years ago. In fact, it was already lost when A Charlie Brown Christmas premiered in 1965. And yes, I know Charles Schulz was not above making a commercial buck off his product. I used to have one of those Snoopy Astronaut toys (and man do I wish I still had it).

I just have to vent and this is where I can do it. If you need me, I'll be in the pumpkin patch waiting for the Great Pumpkin and hoping my Sally Brown shows up.

Sean Taylor RIP

Sean Taylor didn't make it. As I posted yesterday, he led a violent life and had a violent death. It sounds strange to hope that his death was a random act and not retribution for something or part of an ongoing feud, but I do hope that was the case.

I wrote earlier about the various factors that come into play as we walk this planet. I didn't mention that Taylor's father is in law enforcement. That's just one other element in a confusing yet strangely typical story. Sadly, his teammates say he had matured as of late and was becoming a leader on and off the field.

The police will do their job (hopefully) and answers will be forthcoming. For now though, as is too often the case in our cities, a child is left fatherless and another young man buried far too soon.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Sean Taylor

While we await word on Washington Redskin Sean Taylor's condition, a moment to reflect on what his shooting says about athletes, pro sports, the leagues and owners, the media, guns, our gangsta obsessed society and the world in general.

On second thought...

Seriously, there is not enough news to start to speculate if this shooting is a result of the lifestyle Taylor chose. A ferocious player, he also is no stranger to trouble. Given tremendous talent and opportunity, he chose to walk the fine line of the life he came from and the life that was offered him. A smarter person might have left his old life behind and crossed the line to what was being presented to him, but for some that is easier said than done.

The early news reports are that he was shot during a robbery. My gut tells me he will end up knowing the people behind the robbery, but perhaps this will not be the case. Maybe while his life has not been exemplary, this particular incident had nothing to do with his previous lapses in judgement.

But considering the past, one can't help but jump to that conclusion. He came into the league from a school where bad behavior is the norm. He got into some trouble in the pros, but not nearly enough to have him rethink how he was living his life. A great defender, he also preferred going for the big hit rather than just a normal tackle, which often led to mistakes. But he knew it was the big hit that got you on ESPN. He believed he had to keep his street cred on and off the field.

It is weird to write about him in the past tense but odds are his playing career may be just that, past tense. Hopefully his life won't be past tense. And hopefully what happened was not something he courted through his lifestyle.

If he did though, we must all pay attention. Now Sean Taylor made his own bed. That said, sooner or later, the colleges, the professionals, the media, and the fans have to look at their roles as enablers. We can't cheer when they're on the field and roll our eyes when they're not. It doesn't work that way.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Marble Hill

Was doing my usual Sunday ride the 1 train to read the newspaper and I'm getting very curious about the neighborhoods at the very end of the line, particularly Marble Hill, which is part of Manhattan although it seems like it should be part of the Bronx (and once many years ago a Bronx borough president tried to lay claim to it). Great view of the river from there.

I think next time I may (gasp) actually venture from the train and check out the neighborhood. I just love that name--Marble Hill--sounds so cool. Good name for a story.

Otherwise, the usual day. Gym, exercise, the other stuff, some realizations about things and, oh yeah, I destroyed a new pair jeans because of a loose thread. It was the typical thing. There was a loose thread and eventually in my frustration I grabbed a pair of scissors and cut at it and ruined the jeans. Of course, no one would've ever noticed this thread but me but that doesn't matter. My mind is built on amplifying every minor imperfection until I become obsessed over it and in trying to fix it make things far worse.

The good thing is I didn't beat myself up afterwards. Hope that holds true for the week ahead, it's going to be a tough one. Have to cancel an event (thank you writer's strike), prep for another and deal with another big meeting. Also have to reports to write that I haven't started yet and I'm sure a shitload of other stuff. Oh well, I'm sometimes best with my back against the wall, hope that's the case.

And hopefully I'll get some time to post some stuff during the week.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Before The Devil Knows You're Trying To Cover Up A Predictable Plot

Just saw "Before the Devil Knows You're Dead," directed by Sydney Lumet and starring Ethan Hawk, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Marisa Tomei's breasts, which stole the show.

Seriously, the movie was OK but way too long and Hoffman seemed to be going through the motions. Now admittedly his going through the motions is still 95% better than most actors best, but nonetheless he didn't break new ground. Critics have raved about this film and I'm not sure why. Hey, I love Lumet too. "Serpico" and "Dog Day Afternoon" are two of my favorites, but this was puffed up with a lot of hot air and not much to keep me interested in the outcome.

I'm not a critic, I don't get into plots or styles but I will say that the other thing this movie did which annoyed me and which a lot of movies are doing now is the whole time shifting thing. Like "Michael Clayton," "Before the Devil Knows You're Dead" keeps going backwards and forwards almost as if it hopes that the constant shifts will keep us too busy trying to figure out the timeline to worry about the weak plot. I know Tarantino wasn't the first to use this device, but it is safe to say that he is the one that led everyone else to now start doing this. And hey, sometimes it can work, but too often it seems like a forced device by a director looking for one more gimmick to wow critics. If your story isn't good enough to be told from start to finish without all the bouncing around, perhaps you need to rethink your script.

I know, who the hell am I to question a great like Lumet? Fair enough. But no one else in the theatre seemed to be having a great time either, except for the two idiots behind me who kept chatting rudely through most of the flick. If I could've, I would've time shifted back and taken a different seat!.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Popcorn and Toast

As I prepare for Thanksgiving, get ready to see the old man, cousin Roni, etc. and folks everywhere prepare for the ups and downs that come with any family gathering, I want to throw out a thought. We must give up hope on a better past. It's one I heard this morning and I like it. I need to do it. The minute I heard this, I felt a 50 pound weight lift from my shoulders. It was such a relief.

My other thought is that while it's easy to get real bitter this time of year, particularly around holidays and family, just try to keep it real simple and be grateful for what you have and try to focus on what you can bring rather than what you can take.

I know, pretty sappy stuff from the Rambler but what the hell, it's Thanksgiving. Have a good one.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


Ah the problems of creating a platform for my babble. Just got a call from one ex poking fun at my recent post about trying to get another ex into the sack. Ex number one was making fun and feigning hurt because she thought she was the only one I pulled this crap on.

I somehow doubt she really believed that, but these are the pitfalls of putting your life on display (somewhat anyway) and then having others read it. Now I expect to hear from a third ex to boot.

The bottom line still is that none of these exes are lining up for the Rambler nostalgia tour despite its promises of better orgasms (for them) and fewer bowel movements (from me). And yes, that last bit was just for you!

BTW, the Rambler is down in D.C. for Thanksgiving. Will try to update on how annoyed I get by the old man, cousin Roni and the rest of the gang. Already off to a good start with no food at my mom's and one of work events falling to pieces. Can't wait to see what tomorrow brings.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

New Ideas

Because I don't want to steal from Bill Maher (who I can't stand)and his "new rules" segment, I've come up with my own version--new ideas.

For example, onions should always be an option, not an automatic. Lately I've been eating teryaki chicken for lunch and if I don't pay close attention they sprinkle some green onions on it! Drives me crazy.

The other thing I have never gotten after more than half my life in this city is why milk and sugar in coffee is considered regular. Shouldn't black be regular and milk and sugar be, I don't know, milk and sugar?

I know, I'm dangerously close to Beavis & Butt-Head doing Andy Rooney here (why do they call it taking a dump? You don't take it, you leave it. Shouldn't it be called leaving dump?)but these are the routine hassles of life that we must endure.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Got To Be A Better Way

Two recent police shootings have once again raised questions about excessive force by the NYPD. In both cases, somewhat deranged folks came at the police in a threatening manner. Both refused to listen to warnings. Both were killed. One was carrying a broken bottle, the other a hairbrush that police thought was a gun.

Now I have never faced a lunatic coming at me with a weapon or at least acting as if he has a weapon. I can only imagine the fear that plays into the mind of a police officer who has to make a split-second decision about whether someone is dangerous, is armed, or is just bluffing. Do you want to be on the losing side of that bet?

That said, seems to me that this is where stun guns or heck even paint balls could come in handy. There has to be a different way of dealing with the truly deranged. A broken bottle is a dangerous weapon, but not when you have a gun and a club and about a dozen other men in uniform standing with you. There has to be a way to minimize these tragedies without putting the safety of the police in jeopardy. A few more incidents like the two last week, and it's going to get real ugly real fast.

Cool Jobs I Want

OK, starting a new category of post here. Jobs that sure sound cool that I'll never have. How about being the investigator going after Derek Jeter for not paying New York taxes for three years? This is my kind of a job. I'm assuming that the investigator basically tracked gossip columns, sporting and memorabilia events, photo shoots, etc. to determine that Mr. Pinstripes was here a lot more than Tampa. Probably also got access to EZ Pass, phone records, etc. A similar approach was taken to nail Martha Stewart of the same thing about 13 years ago. She made it easy. She wrote in her magazine about the crap she was doing in the city all the time. Didn't take Sherlock Holmes to figure out she was full of shit on her tax returns.

I have always wanted to be a snoop. One of my bigger regrets is that I didn't become a detective.

I doubt this pays very well and if there's a background check...

But it does sound like fun although working for the IRS or any tax office is probably like working for internal affairs.

Cousin Roni

Every family has some sponge or barnacle of a relative who always seems to show up, mooch and then disappear for a few years. You either have one or you are one. In my family, it's cousin Roni.

Roni, an Israeli, first appeared out of nowhere in 1976 when we lived in New Jersey. One night there was a knock on our door and this big, bearded guy was out there with a bunch of bags. Now maybe there was advance word of his arrival, but it certainly never trickled down to me. My family was like that. Information was given on a need-to-know basis and I guess having a freak cousin from Isreal visit and stay for awhile was not considered necessary knowledge for my day-to-day existence.

Ever since then, Roni resurfaces every few years. He always finds the most annoying time to reappear, like the time I was taking a dump and the phone rang and I went to answer it (probably thought it was a date or a dealer) only to be greeted by that annoying accent and the notice that he'd be in town soon. That's great Roni, can I finish my shit now?

My father treats him like the son he never had even though they're only second cousins. It's kind of funny, my parents were not exactly ideal as far as the whole parenting thing goes, but with Roni and Mary (the Vietnamese refugee we took in that I keep promising to write about) it was mi casa es su casa. Perhaps my parents just had trouble loving anything they created, but had no problem showing warmth and affection for anyone who happened to stumble by our front door who needed a meal or a dollar.

Obviously I've got a lot of anger issues to work out etc. I bring up cousin Roni because I just got word he'll be at Thanksgiving. I've actually been looking forward to Thanksgiving and now I don't want to go. Roni tends to dominate whatever room he is in (aren't all freeloaders like that?) and between him, my dad and one of my louder brothers, there is a good chance this will be one trying holiday.

I know my real problem is not Roni, but how my parents and father in particular treat him verses how they treated their own flesh and blood. Unfortunately, my folks are somewhat dense on this subject. My mom gets it a little bit, but not completely and dad is just fucking oblivious.

And for those out there who will suggest a certain step approach to this, I've done it and this is still where I'm at. Sometimes the best cure is just to vent about someone and get it the fuck out of your system that way. My part in this is that I sometimes get stuck in all this shit and forget that I need to rise above it. There's a lot of shit in my past that I do have a part in, but cousin Roni isn't one of them. What I need to do is let it go.

But sometimes, even 30 years later, this stuff is hard to let go of, especially when I'm the type who used to believe that it was my anger, rage, hurt and sense that "I am right" that kept me together through a lot of crap. I know now that is not the case.

Knowing it and moving past it, however, are two different things.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

All That Space And You Couldn't Squeeze In One More Toilet?

Just came back from a nice dinner at Dean's, a relatively new Italian place on 85th between Broadway and Amsterdam. I'm not a food critic so I'll keep it simple. The food was good and it was cheap.

I am a facilities critic however. This place has a HUGE space. Heck, they sat our group of 17 with ease. After enjoying my pasta and salad, I headed off to the restroom to take care of business. Apparently the designers who did wonders with all this space decided to take a less is more approach when it came to the bathroom. Two urinals and one toilet! Let me repeat: TWO URINALS AND ONE TOILET??!!!

Not to get too detailed here, but a big restaurant should have more than one toilet, especially if they're serving heavy Italian food and then perhaps an espresso to follow. I don't want to worry about what diners or bars I can run into on the way home to squeeze one out because I couldn't wait for the toilet to open up in a restaurant.

Now there are general rules of design that dictate that the amount of toilets and urinals should correspond to the amount of people a place can hold. That doesn't seem to be the case these days. I notice this at a lot of new joints. They're cheaping out on the restrooms. I don't know if the city has someone in charge of restroom codes, but if not then I am throwing my hat into the bowl!

Uptown Train

Rode the Number One train to Van Cortland Park and back so I could read the papers. Yesterday, I did manage about twenty minutes of reading on my couch without jumping out of my skin. But by the 21st minute I'd had enough and headed out to the diner where I had a steak sandwich and read some more. That was fine. I can read in the outside world or in the shower. It's my couch and the bed that causes the problems.

I sometimes think I should get rid of the TV, but fuck other than football I can barely concentrate on that either. Like to get rid of the computer, since we all know what I do with that.

I don't even have anything to say right now, but figure I should post something. I actually feel ok. I'm a little agitated with someone and I don't know why. This bothers me because this person is a good person.It really is just one of those things where when she's free to talk, I don't want to and vice-versa. Timing, like showing up, is pretty much most of life.

OK, rooting for a Lions comeback here then maybe a nap! Whoops. Kitna just threw an INT. Never mind.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Fridays...Still A Problem

You'd think after over two years of clean living that certain urges would start to fade. And for the most part they have.

But Fridays are still a problem. I'm having one of those Friday afternoon and I'm antsy moments. Now in the past that would be remedied with a couple of phone calls. One to the girl. One to the delivery man. One to the deli.

Now I don't have those options. Actually, I do. I just won't take them. Heck, I can't even have a smoke to chill me out since I gave those up too. Sometimes I really miss a Marlboro Red.

Anyway, I'm pumped up, anxious and looking to unload a load. Sorry to be graphic, but that's how it is. I am going to play poker in a bit (the stakes are small, don't worry, gambling never been an issue for me) and that will help get me out of the danger zone.

Last Friday when I felt this way I emailed an ex that I hadn't talked to in awhile. She's still a bit of a mess and was famous (or infamous) for calling me at 1 a.m. drunk and asking me to come over. I usually did although she became less fun when I wasn't drunk. Last time she called I was seeing someone and told her I couldn't play ball anymore. She then called two nights later (blackouts and no memory) and asked again for me to come over. I said no and the next day emailed her and told her perhaps she should look at what causes her to seek out a quick and cheap form of satisfaction during the wee hours of the morning and try to make some changes. I shouldn't have done that, it was out of line and we really didn't talk much after that.

But last Friday my lower region got the best of my upper region and I emailed her a note that semi-apologized and basically said if you want to hook up, give me a ring and if you're still steamed, that's cool too.

She actually did call the next day and I went over there. It scared me how quickly I was willing to break a routine that has kept me on the straight and narrow for 26 months now just to get some action.

Of course, I jump in a cab and when I get there she's become very sick because of an allergic reaction so I didn't even get any action. Typical, she ate food she knew would give her a bad reaction. That's something I'm trying to avoid, especially on a Friday.

Mocha Crappachino

So Starbucks released its earnings yesterday and they were a little disappointing. The brass there doesn't think this has anything to do with over saturation. Good news, they're going to launch a TV campaign to boost awareness.

CEO Jim Donald said the campaign would be a "very culturally sensitive, product-driven" and added that "as we grow our stores, we're trying to reach out to this broader audience that maybe [has] not had a chance to experience Starbucks."

Now as readers know, I engage in the occasional venti drip despite my mixed emotions about the franchise. But who the heck hasn't experienced Starbucks in this country? And if they haven't, it means they don't want to or they live in a region/town where Starbucks doesn't want them to have the experience.

This reminds me of the classic scene from Spinal Tap when Ian, the band's manager, explains Tap's waning popularity.

Marty: The last time Tap toured America, they where, uh, booked into 10,000 seat arenas, and 15,000 seat venues, and it seems that now, on their current tour they're being booked into 1,200 seat arenas, 1,500 seat arenas, and uh I was just wondering, does this mean uh...the popularity of the group is waning?

Ian: Oh, no, no, no, no, no,, no, not at all. I, I, I just think that the.. uh.. their appeal is becoming more selective.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Ramble On?

So there is a potential career change opportunity that I am trying to decide whether to pursue.

I know. What's to decide? You sit here bitching all the time about your boring, intellectually void current gig planning events. It's true. Of course, I just had a successful event and once that happens, I tend to forget the two months of nightmares that went into putting it together. Plus I have two other events coming up and that hell is just starting.

But I digress. This job would be somewhat similar to what I do now in that it involves getting guests. The difference is it is in the entertainment industry. Having worked around the fringes of the biz as a reporter and now in my current role doing these industry executive-oriented events, this would be a chance to actually get into the game.

The upside is easy. An opportunity to see the beast from inside the belly. A chance maybe to get on a path that could lead somewhere where I could develop and perhaps use my wit to make a living. (I know, well, why don't you try some wit here first.)

The downside? It's in L.A. Now, I like L.A. I used to live there and I got used to it and actually didn't want to move back here but I did in pursuit of what was then my "dream job." Hmmm, just writing that sentence caused a light bulb to kick on in my head. Interesting.

Anyway, I do like L.A. But my gut tells me not to leave N.Y. I don't know why. In L.A., I don't have to bitch about the number of Duane Reeds in my neighborhood or the new hideous condos going up everywhere. L.A. is one big strip mall without character. There I get upset when a Starbucks closes. You can get a pretty nice apartment though and don't ever downplay the idea of softball in the winter.

The job also would be a pay cut. It would be a deep cut, but not an amputation. L.A. is cheaper than NY, even with the car factored in. You get more for your money.

But I've started to rebuild here. My program is here. Not that they don't have my program there too but I don't like the way they do it. Of course, that's bullshit and I would get used to it (even if they do it wrong).

Bottom line. If this job was in N.Y., I'd jump in a minute. But something says don't make a big move. That said, I will investigate.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The Duster

I'm too tired to write this now, but at least wanted to get a post up to remind me that I want to write about my 1973 Plymouth Duster. Actually, it was the family car and it was passed down to me until I smacked it head on into a bus in 1981. Anyway, I'll tell the story of the Duster soon and how that beat up old Plymouth became the symbol of despair in my family.

Ironic that my dad writes about cars and the few times he actually bought a car, it was a disaster. First there was the Rambler, which rusted out in our backyard in Detroit and then the Duster which was beaten to shit by him, my brothers and finally me.

Watch this space for more to come. Maybe I'll even talk about the Dodge Aspen that followed the Duster.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Legal Strategies

Been following the case of Linda Stein, the murdered ex-Ramones manager turned real estate broker to the stars. From all I've read, she was a larger-than-life character with the ego to match. A brassy, tough woman used to getting her way and not afraid to let people know where they stood in the pecking order.

That her assistant has been charged with murdering her has led to a spate of stories about bosses from hell. Stein probably fit the bill, but that doesn't excuse pummeling her to death. That said, you can see the defense already starting. Stein allegedly invoked race in some of her remarks to the young woman. I like what Danny Fields said, which was basically that Linda wasn't a racist, she treated everyone equally as bad regardless of their color. Anyway, I imagine that the defense will portray the accused as an innocent victim of Stein's wrath who finally snapped.

As interesting is her own family's reaction. Seeming to recognize that her mother was a loose cannon, one of her daughter's has cited a new drug Stein was on for a brain tumor as reeking havoc with her already volatile personality.

So the way I see it, the accused will play the race card in her defense while the family sounds like they're getting ready to sue the pharmaceutical company behind whatever drugs Stein was taking.

I'm not going to defend the assistant. If she is found guilty than she should do the time. No matter how horrible a person Stein might have been to her, it doesn't excuse murder.

But Stein should serve as a cautionary tale to every abusive boss out there. Be careful who you shred and ridicule on a daily basis, they may have a breaking point and just might break that point on your head.

Too Cute For Their Own Good

Caught most of the fourth quarter of last night's Colts-Chargers game. The Colts got too cute for their own good and frankly watching them blow it after a tremendous comeback made me chuckle.

Why did they feel the need to bluff going for it on fourth down when everyone knew they were just trying to draw the Chargers offsides? That shit rarely works. All that happened was they got a penalty that drove them a few yards further away and may have played a part in Adam Vinatieri's blowing an easy kick.

Too many of the players and teams are getting to be too smart for their own good. Players make interceptions then foolishly try to lateral to someone before they get tackled even though it is clearly not the time for such a move. The pathetic and questionable efforts to freeze the kicker has gotten out of hand too. There are lots of other examples of these coaches and players trying to get too clever but I won't waste the space here. I'll just say play the damn game.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

To Just Be Able To Sit Still

Today, in one of my more desperate attempts to read the newspaper without being distracted by my wandering mind, I decided to ride the 1 train down to South Ferry and then all the way back up to 103rd Street. I love to read on the Subway (the train, not the chain Angelissima). It is the only place where I can truly focus other than the shower (yes, I read the paper in the shower).

The reason for this is because I can't stay in my own skin. I have a very hard time sitting still. It's getting better but still a struggle. I get easily distracted or I distract myself. But if I'm in an environment where I can't do anything else and I am forced to be in the moment I'm living in rather than thinking about the next moment or regretting the past moment, I can concentrate.

That's the case on the train, especially on a weekend afternoon. So I did get most of the papers read (still have some sections to get through) and had some level of serenity.

Still, I really do need to figure out how I can get to that place where I can sit still and shut down my mind. Probably be another few years, if I'm lucky but if I do get there, it'll be the greatest gift. It sucks to not be able to ever relax. It really does.

Starbucks, Subway And The Two Sides Of My Mouth

I recently lamented a change in packaging in a product I buy from Starbucks and also mentioned my disappointment with Subway for changing their cheese steak sandwich.

A regular commenter called me on my hypocrisy. Here I often lament the death of old New York to condos, chains, etc. and yet I contribute to this too? Where do I get off?

All true and I almost put a note in that post saying that yes, I do go to Starbucks and occasionally Subway. I don't like that those chains have popped up everywhere. I will say this, and it's not really a defense, I primarily go to a Starbucks in the heart of midtown located in an office tower. I don't go there on weekends, I don't go to the ones in my neighborhood. I do occasionally go to one in Chelsea, but it's across the street from my Ballys gym (no Equinox or New York Sports Club for the Rambler, Bally's is the equivalent to a prison gym compared to those places.

The thing I like about Starbucks is the consistency. Not every deli has good coffee. Many leave the pot on all day and it gets burned. That said, I really do try to avoid it as much as possible.

As for Subway, I really don't go there anymore since they got rid of the cheese steak I like.

I will try to do a better job in living up to my words.

Friday, November 9, 2007

I Love Anita Esterday


Anita Esterday is a waitress who pretty much described how the media operates when a mini-controversy erupted the other day over whether Hillary Clinton tipped her on a campaign tour stop.

"You people are really nuts," she told The New York Times. "There's kids dying in the war, the price of oil right now--there's better things in this world to be thinking about than who served Hillary Clinton at Maid-Rite and who got a tip and who didn't."

There are better things to think about, or at least more important things. But in a media world driven by petty blogs, cheap news executives that would rather cover the simple vs. the complex and a society more interested in gossip than substance, we are getting the media we deserve.

Perhaps Howie Kurtz can interview her on CNN's "Reliable Sources" this Sunday instead of the usual pontificating gasbags he has on.

It's Not Broke, Let's Fix It

In one of those `is this really necessary' moves, Starbucks has changed the packaging on its yogurt parfaits. It used to be that the granola was mixed in with the yogurt. I liked that. I enjoyed searching for the parfait that was the filled to the brim with granola and yogurt.

Now some genius has decided that the granola needs to be packaged separately in a tiny plastic cup that is placed within the parfait cup. First of all, that's not too green. Secondly, it means there is less yogurt in the parfait. I'm sure some clown decided this was more sanitary, but in reality it is just a hassle because the bottom of the little granola cup is covered in yogurt and opening the top of the little granola cup is a pain in the ass.

I don't know if I'll find the complaint box on and register my concerns, but I might. This is about as annoying as when they went to self-serve coffee a few years back. That short-lived experiment bugged me because it saved me no time as I still had to stand on line and pay to get the cup to serve myself. If I'm paying over $2 for a cup of coffee, someone can pour it for me.

I generally get nervous when successful chains start tinkering with products. It means someone has too much time on their hands. I used to love the Subway steak and cheese. Then one day I came in and they stopped using shredded beef and had gone to cubed beef (yes, cubes!). I even complained to the head of marketing at Subway when we he was on one of my panels. It was to no avail and now I don't go to Subway anymore.

Of course, sometimes products are redesigned for the better, but most of the time that's not the case. These guys need to learn to ask themselves if the change is something that customers are clamoring for or something that will make the experience of the customer easier. If the answer to one or both is no, then leave it alone!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Tears On Jane Street

No, not really. I just like that title. I don't know why, but it sounds cool to me. Perhaps that will be the first noir book. Hope no one swipes it.

I do love Jane Street. Small and cozy looking apartment buildings (East of Hudson Street, after that there are some newer buildings especially down by the water. Of course, I used to live in one of the earliest of the new buildings in the meat packing district, 95 Horatio Street. When I lived there, nothing was across the street except for some burnt out buildings. Now there are all these nice new hi-rises and you know I hate it. (No, I'm not being a hypocrite here, btw. It was my dad that lived in that apartment, I moved in with him senior year to save money on housing and because he was never there.)

Anyway, back to Jane Street. Also on Jane is the Corner Bistro. I used to love that place. Now it's very crowded and that on top of the fact that I don't imbibe anymore means I'm not there too often. I did run in to use the bathroom about 18 months ago and I hope they have remodeled it. The place does a huge business and there's no reason it should have a toilet that gives the Port Authority a run for its money.

It's Thursday and this is one of those `I haven't posted in awhile so let me throw something out there' posts. Things have been going OK. Still not that into the job but it hasn't been that bad. Still sending the resume around and calling headhunters and kicking tires.

Had an intense group therapy last night. Really wanted a smoke afterwards but knew that wouldn't work. Also really feeling the need for some physical companionship. I think I've seen every clip on You Porn. In fact, I think I've seen every free clip of porn there is to see.

Unfortunately, there is nothing on the horizon. I've been trying unsuccessfully to flirt with an ex or two here and there but there much too wise to go on that ride again. I'm not even sure that is what I really want either.

I do need to start trying to write something. I need to do something. That's where I'm at right now. I have this feeling that I'm supposed to do something. I just don't know what it is I'm supposed to do. It's the same thing with the job stuff. I could probably do lots of things, but I have no idea what it is I want and I also am not sure people know what to do with me.

Hell, I don't even know what to do with me. That's all I got right now.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Good Grief!

There is a little bit of controversy over the new biography on Charles Schulz because it dwells on the depression and dissatisfaction he often felt in life. This theme was also evident in the excellent PBS special that aired last week. Some members of his family are upset that about this and say it is being blown out of context and that Schulz was a wonderful and happy and giving man.

I don't doubt for a second that he wasn't all of those things. But anyone who really got "Peanuts" knows that clearly Schulz was full of self-doubt, fear, insecurity and depression. A lot of people who read "Peanuts" make the mistake of thinking Schulz wanted to laugh at Charlie Brown. We're not. Charlie Brown is us, or many of us anyway. It's like "Seinfeld." Everyone likes to think they're Jerry. Reality is most of us are George.

That Schulz was not an outgoing, happy person comfortable in his own skin does not mean there was something wrong with him, which seems to be the fear of some of his children. Truth is, that is what made him do the work he did and create the characters that have left an indelible mark on our culture. Who knows, perhaps if he had been happier or gotten the little red haired girl, we might not have had "Peanuts."

As one who suffers from many of those same ailments and knows a little about the darkness, I wouldn't wish it on anyone. Schulz's darkness took him to a place where he created wonderful art. Now he may have traded all that just to feel right, I don't know. I do know though that neither the voices in his head or the challenges he faced on his journey make him any less special, which seems to be what some members of his family fear.

No one likes their laundry aired in public, but this is not dirty laundry and shouldn't be treated that way. Charles Schulz created something that will last forever and, as one of his best creations said in one of my favorite strips, realized that this was the only world he could live in and he learned to live in it.

Five cents please!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Close The Blinds!!!

Article in the Times today about a new condo going up in downtown that is all glass and what that says about our society. We know what it says. We're a bunch of self-obessesed narcissists who think everyone else is fascinated with the mundane routines of our lives which we elevate to soap opera levels thanks to technology and the changing values of our society.

I write this with tongue firmly planted in cheek. What I'm about to post about is the exact thing I'm guilty of too. The only difference is that I write this cloaked in anonymity, which makes me an even bigger hypocrite. Of course, the few people who read this know perfectly well who I am and those that read me and don't could easily find out.

One of the reasons that I don't identify myself on here is also my partial justification for this post. Most of my posts here are pretty mundane (the laundry, the subway, the city, the day-to-day aggravations and moments of happiness in life.) But some posts are, if not deeper, more personal. Some talk about things that that while are nothing for me to be embarrassed about are also not the kinds of things I want to shout about from the rooftops. I don't have in my profile that I'm looking for ADD drugs and I'm looking to get laid (that was one I saw on a former co-worker's myspace page). That's in part because I don't want ADD drugs, the other part of that person's desire I share, but so does everyone else. It's kind of like saying "I'm looking to eat dinner."

I don't know if my former co-worker's folks read her page, or her colleagues. That's that person's business and while I take pleasure in those dumb enough to post pictures and other tidbits that comeback to bite them in the ass (most recently example, a police officer who writes of his desire to "do lines off a stripper's ass") I'll save that for another time. I do know I don't need to be that open. I do this in the hopes that by writing a little every day here, eventually I'll build a habit that I will be able to apply to more creative endeavors. Honestly, it hasn't happened yet. I know it will take awhile. I also do it as way to get out of myself a little. I know, you write about yourself to get out of yourself, man what an ego. It's true, I have a big ego. But I also spend most of my time stuck in my head in self-centered fear. Doing this provides me some relief and I won't apologize for that.

Having said all this, the reason I'm babbling is that somewhere there has to be a fine line between creating an outlet for expression, opinion, whatever and and an outlet for exploitation, glorification and celebration for all things me. All of the defining products of our new age, iPods, blogs, cellphones, etc., are about the individual and moving us all further away from shared experience and it is shared experience that makes us a society. There is a push to ban iPods from the New York marathon. One of the reasons is safety, and that makes sense. But another is that one of the points of running in a marathon is about being part of a group with a singular goal. I like the idea of trying to be part of something bigger and you can't do that if you're dancing to your own drummer.

But that's what everyone wants to do today. Hey, no one is saying we should all be exactly alike and I'm not suggesting doing away with iPods (if you are dumb enough to wear one on subway platforms or city streets, that's your problem). But the problem is it's not enough anymore for people to march to your own drummer. They have to show everyone else how they do it. I don't delude myself that anything I write here will be of great interest to anyone other than myself and hopefully a few people for whom my posts strike a chord or bring a smile.

A blog is a weird place to advocate for people to appreciate what little privacy we have left. It used to be that someone could call you and if you didn't want to talk you didn't answer. Now they can call your cellphone. They can find out if you are online. We're all connected. Isn't it great?

Ultimately, it's up to me decide how much of the noise out there I want to take in and disregard as well as how much of a contribution to it I want to make. But in a society where many are opting for glass windows, all of this is getting a little more difficult.

Do Not Adjust Your Dial

The Redskins are playing the Jets today. That means that the Redskins are actually on TV today. I am a Redskins fan. Yet strangely I have little desire to watch this game. I don't think it's the aftershock of last week's 52-7 drubbing by the Patriots. I think it has more to do with the fact that it looks like a great day and perhaps I should try to enjoy some of it instead of sitting in front of my TV for seven hours (because I am going to watch the Colts-Patriots game).

I hope I'll stick to this plan. I have no agenda. I'll be free of my morning routine by 12:15 and figure I can just roam around for a few hours or maybe grab a bite with a friend. If I get home by the fourth quarter of the Skins game, that would be a victory.

No, there is nothing wrong with watching the game. But I'm really trying not to sit in my apartment for such long periods of time. Went to a big event last night and while I didn't have the GREAT time I was hoping for, I had a nice time and it beat the alternative.

Bottom line: Staying inside guarantees nothing will happen. Going outside leaves the possibility that anything can happen.

Enjoy your day.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Another Reason Not To Get Up In The Morning

So Don Imus is coming back. Fine. I didn't listen to him before, I won't listen to him now, but I don't have a problem with him coming back.

What I do have a problem with is where he is coming back. Yes, the Rambler listens to Curtis and Kuby in the mornings, the team that Imus will be replacing in a month. I know. Rambler, say it isn't so. Curtis and Kuby? Come on!

Let me explain: I used to listen to Howard in the morning. I had my alarm set for Stern (I was a loyal listener for years). Problem was, Howard would come blasting on and I'd get comfortable lying bed listening to him and the gang (although he lost it in my opinion when he a)got divorced and b)Jackie left) and end up drifting back to sleep.

So I decided I needed something that would force me out of bed and into action and that meant finding something that I would hate to wake up to and I opted for Curtis and Kuby. It worked. I'd get out of bed and turn it off, turn on Howard and go about my day.

But as time wore on and Howard got more into hanging at fancy places with fancy people and less like the the Howard I liked, I started to listen more to Curtis and Kuby and they grew on me. I also like the pace. Every seven minutes I get the weather and traffic (and I'm dying to know what Stephanie DeLuca looks like and if she's married). I enjoy listening to Kuby and Silwa spar. Kuby, for all his left leanings, is pretty rationale on a lot of stuff and Curtis sometimes makes a little sense. I don't even mind Warner Wolf. I now listen to WABC on the weekends too and like it.

That's all going to go away though. I hope the duo ends up on another station. I don't know what I'll do in the mornings because I'm not listening to Imus (no true Howard fan can ever listen to Imus, I may not listen to Howard anymore, but I still have that piece of loyalty to him). Perhaps I'll check out WFAN or maybe just go with WCBS-AM, which has a nice steady pace of news but no fun conversation.

Somehow I'll manage to get by, but just like when Howard jumped the shark, my mornings won't quite be the same anymore.