Friday, May 30, 2008

That's Headly!

R.I.P. Harvey Korman

Unacceptable And Intolerable

Those are the words used by our fine Mayor to describe the latest crane accident. This one, on the upper east side (91st and First to be exact, one block away from where Rambler used to have an F buddy), has left two dead and four hurt so far.

How many of these accidents do we need to have before our Mayor gets off his ass and actually does something other than express his verbal outrage? He has set the tone for these accidents with his develop everything everywhere mentality that is not only destroying the fabric of this city but is being done in such a sloppy fashion that should an earthquake hit this place it won't need to be a 7.0 to knock down half the town.

Ultimately I fear that these accidents really are just another sign of the continuing deterioration of quality and workmanship. Everyone is lazy and everyone takes shortcuts and we outsource everything. It's sad.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Off The Couch

Tonight was my last night of group therapy. After about five years, christ it might have been more I really don't know, I decided it was time to move on.

As one might imagine, I was the Mr. Carlin of group. It served me well, but after awhile the problem I had was going over the same shit time and time again was not really solving any problems. If there is a pot hole in the street, you will only get so far trying to dig into the history of the street to determine why there is a pothole. Ultimately, you still have to fix the pothole. And while some might say, true, but if you don't find out why there was a hole there then another one can appear, I would counter that the actual cause of the hole no longer matters after so many years. Fix it and learn how to avoid other potholes or stop them when they are still little, and suddenly the root of that hole won't matter.

Obviously that goes against much of what therapy is about. I'm not saying there isn't value to finding out how some bad habits, attitudes, behavioral patterns, etc. were formed. But it has to be more than that. It has to be more than, well you weren't given this as a kid or you didn't get that. At some point it has to be, how do we learn to navigate these feelings and bumps in the road so they don't cripple us.

I'll miss some of the people, not all of them. I won't miss my shrink so much. Right now, I'm tired of him. I have spent the last year or so seeing him as someone who picks up on what others say or what I say and then parrot it back to me as some deep insight. Truthfully, he seemed lazy.

Of course, I was plenty lazy there too. I resisted engaging much of the time. It was supposed to be a place to say anything to anyone, but having spent much of my life doing just that and not exactly getting the results I wanted, I tried to stay in control. I also at times found it hard to reconcile my need to show restraint of pen and tongue in the outside world and then do the exact opposite in group. That doesn't mean, by the way, that group is meant to be an insult or hate festival. But if I spend my time trying not to get pissed off at all the idiocy I see in the outside world, then what is gained by coming into group and doing it there?

Part of group was designed to help learn about relationships and interactions, but I found that there were only a few people I was even interested in practicing that with for ninety minutes. And the one chick I wanted to be with in there is engaged and will spend the next ten months talking about her wedding and I was certainly getting tired of being asked how I felt about that.

Just Be Direct

I am at the point where I really am finding less use for sarcasm. Or let me put it this way, sarcasm as an opener.

Case in point. My mother calls me in the morning--doesn't leave a message. At night she calls and just says on VM "well, you must be somewhere."

That doesn't make me want to call. In fact, it makes me want to not call and since the message didn't say call back, I don't feel obliged.

Now the real question is whether I will actually tell her that I would really just prefer a "hey, how's it going, give me a call," as opposed to a snarky comment designed to make me feel guilty for no reason.

Still Searching

Yesterday was one of those weird days that on paper should was perfect. I started it with breakfast with friends, including a girl I kind of like, then went to another friend's BBQ after a quick stop at home to catch the dramatic end to the Yankee game and then went down to Murray Hill to see another friend who was celebrating a special day. I then walked from there all the way back up to the upper westside, bumped into someone else while getting a burrito and then headed home to watch the HBO movie Recount, which was pretty entertaining.

Yet, for all that, I felt kind of empty. I know this is in my head. I think I am reaching a point where it may be time to up my game a little bit. Yes, this is one of those `Rambler needs to get off the sidelines' posts.

I'm not sure what I am missing or yearning. Do I want a relationship? Hell, I don't know. Some nights I sit in front of the TV watching the Yanks eating a cheese steak in my boxers and think, 'is this all there is?" Other nights I do that and think, 'man, it just doesn't get better than this.'

It is not that I'm looking to start a family. I'm am still very undecided and frankly afraid of the whole kid prospect. But right now something is missing, or to put it another way, my current way of doing business is not fulfilling me as much and it is time to rethink our strategies.

There are some changes going on. After more than five years, this Wednesday is my last group therapy session. I still will do individual, just done with group. Between individual and the rooms, I think I'm covered. I don't know if I ever fully gave myself over to the group process or ever really connected, but at this point I just think it's time to give that one a rest. Plus, I'll save some cash.

And then there is this thing. I need to start doing this shit daily even if I have nothing to say. Even if it is just some arcane observation or rant on life.

This is what I do on holidays. Sit and stare at my life and contemplate what's missing. Later today I'll remind myself of all I have.

Of course, in the midst of this "I need more" post I get a note from a jdater wanting to IM. I ignore it.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

A Nudge From The Beast

Maybe it doesn't ever end.

That was the thought running through my mind last night. There I was surrounded by clean and sober guys innocently playing low stakes poker and the urge to get wasted was overwhelming. I hadn't felt like this in a long time, hell probably not since I was counting days, and yet after almost three years there was that voice telling me to get fucked up. There were those itchy feelings. I could've really used a smoke but I'd given those up too.

There were lots of reasons why I was back on the edge. Tonight's game was at Antonio's and he seemed a little hyper tonight. Just back a month or so from a eight month run he was high energy slamming his chips, betting big, trying to intimidate. Maybe it was just me, but the game didn't have the usual mellow feel. Furthermore, Antonio lives in the houses behind Lincoln Center and while I'd never bought or used there it reminded me of all the other places I had. The stairs reeked of urine. Good times!

I knew I had to get out there. I wasn't playing well anyway and I went all in on king high flush only to lose to Hector, who had the ace high flush. I didn't have to go all in on that hand. I could've just bet a little and lost and kept playing, but I guess the whole feel of the game made me reckless. It didn't help that six times I folded weak hands only to see on the flop that they would've been great hands. My guts just weren't there for me tonight.

The second game was definitely not going to happen for me so I headed down to Perry Street. Everyone at the game thought I had some secret date or was going to bang an ex. I wish. No, I just was feeling in pain and needed to go to the ER of recovery. I got there after grabbing two hot dogs on the way over. Place was packed but I found a seat and a few guys I knew. The speaker was one of these dudes with a little time who suddenly thinks he's mastered the whole thing. I didn't hear a lot of humility in his share and he kind of annoyed me but I tried to get those thoughts out of my head because that's not where I needed my brain to go to at that moment. Fortunately after the meeting I talked to one of the old timers who had the same take I did on the speaker. There's nothing like having one's inventory taking validated to make one feel good. I know that's not really the solution, but for a night like tonight, that was enough.

I roamed around the village and saw lots of hot girls walking home alone. There was a time when a girl would have to be insane to walk home that late night in the city, but this younger generation doesn't know those bad old days and doesn't think anything of it. Me, I've been jumped too many times to take the streets for granted and I like to think that I can take care of myself. I really can't, but I like to think I can.

I knew I had to beat it uptown when I found myself staring at Johnny's on Greenwich. I really didn't want to go out. I didn't want to piss away almost three years just because on one night I felt a little edgy. The good thing is that at least last night I knew that while I can't control the first thought, I can control the second one. On the subway I saw this woman who lives next door to me. We walked home together. She waited for me while I bought some mango at the deli. It beat McDonald's, which was my first idea. I see this woman all the time. When I am heading out for my morning run, she's usually warming up her motorcycle. Turns out she's a dancer who was coming home from a recital. We had a little chat and a nice walk and then parted ways. Nice broad, but not my type.

Of course, these days nothing is my type. I just can't get motivated. I probably should otherwise those moments like the one I had last night won't be such anomalies anymore.

Walking along Broadway with her headed towards 100th I started to remember when it wasn't out of the ordinary to see a working girl on the corner. That was awhile go, but still fresh in my memory. Christ, pretty soon there won't be any neighborhoods left to quench a late night thirst.

I got home, stuffed myself full of mango and decided to have a pull. The devil would rest tonight, but he'll be back.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Down Not Out

A blog is sometimes supposed to be reactive. I'm reacting to things in my life. I guess that's why I have been posting so little lately. There just isn't a whole hell of a lot to react to and what is there is on the inside.

Want me to react to my inability to get into relationship? Shit, I don't even know if I want one right now. Kind of like being aloof from it. And yeah, that's running away. But my track record indicates that maybe I shouldn't run into anything right now. I have a few prospects but I just right now don't feel the energy to go forward. I don't know what it's about and I'm sure it'll pass, but right now it all just seems to be a hassle.

I can babble about being on some voyage of self-discovery and spirituality and maybe there is something to it, but I could just as easily say I'm shutting down and just filling my bare needs elsewhere so I don't have to open myself up to another one's needs and desires. Of course, that means I won't get my own needs met either.

I am not angry about any of this, just sort of watching it like a detached observer. Which is how I feel about my life right now. Good thing I have therapy today.

Or I'm just pissed I didn't get to bang the hottie in the office....yet. Remember, you are reading the blog of a guy who waited 16 years to nail his high school crush. Rambler's a patient man.

Going to run and blow off whatever is inside me. And yes West Coast advisor I know that running may seem like I'm getting rid of something inside me but I'm not. Maybe true, but it does make the swelling go down.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Starbucks Does It Again

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz keeps wondering why his shares are falling and what the hell is going on with his chain of stores.

I'll give him one hint. Starbucks built an empire by being consistent. You went in there and knew what was there and what you were getting every time. Now they are trying out and replacing products so often it is becoming quite frustrating to this loyal customer. (Yeah, yeah, bash me some other time for supporting the big evil chain).

My latest complaint? They've gotten rid of the strawberry banana yogurt Parfait in favor of strawberry blueberry and peach raspberry. I'm told by a clerk that the new flavors are for the summer. That means that there was actually a market researcher who decided that bananas are not summer fruit.

And we fans of the strawberry banana are left holding the spoon.

P.S. I want the job that decides what is and isn't a summer flavor.


Got a call from my mother today outraged about the coverage over Ted Kennedy's hospitalization. Her main gripe is that the media, in doing their pieces on his long career, seem to be skipping past July 18, 1969.

I'm sure they are, but it opens up bigger questions. No, 40 years (almost) does not erase what Kennedy did that night. As we hear of his family there with him in the hospital, some of us can only think that Mary Jo Kopechne's family never got that chance. She was left to drown in a car in a lake by the Senator from Massachusetts.

Today he never would've gotten away with it. Well, most likely he wouldn't have gotten away with it. Who knows. Money can buy an awful lot.

But how often should the media mention Chappaquiddick? Is it necessary every time there is a story about Ted Kennedy, good or bad, to remind folks that he drove drunk, crashed his car in a lake, saved himself and left his passenger to die and then, oh yeah, forgot to get help or even report the accident until after the authorities had already pulled up his car from the lake the following day?

Maybe not every time, but then again we now have a new generation of people who are probably not fully aware of what Kennedy did. Hell, I was only four but I'm a history buff. To many, Chappaquiddick was a car accident where some girl died if its even that. They don't know the details. And without the details, it becomes a blip and we minimize what happened there. It becomes a moment of "bad judgement," instead of callous indifference to human life or vehicular manslaughter or whatever else you want to call it.

On the other hand, should every move Kennedy makes be cloaked in Chappaquiddick? Maybe it should. I don't know that either. It stopped him from being president. And call it a hunch, when it is his time, we will hear a whole lot about July 18, 1969.

The other question is tougher. I understand my mother's anger, but unfortunately I've had enough therapy and been in enough similar situations to know that there is something deeper going on there. Not saying she can't be mad that at least right now there seems to be some memory loss regarding Kennedy, but it is transplanted anger about something else.

Ted Kennedy will ultimately answer for what he did and didn't do that night. Now if I can find out what else my mom is angry about.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Too Many Questions

Am I hiding or just being safe?
Am I ready?
Am I able to give myself?
Am I able to take in someone else?

How will I know what is right?
Where will that sign come from?
Will I scare them off like pigeons in the park?
Or can I get them to me like that stray in the alley?

Too many questions
Rolling around my head

Too many excuses
To act like I'm dead

Friday, May 16, 2008

No More

Not gonna be your boy no more
Get your own coffee and scone
Not gonna be at your beck and call no more
Bat your eyes at someone else's bone

Suckered me for too long with that voice
Toyed with me for too long with those legs
But I heard how many other wrecks
Felt those legs around their neck

Life's too short for you
And you didn't pass my acid test
In the end I'll be better off
So give your hips a rest

Find someone else to tease
Find someone else you won't please
Move on to your next ladder
In the end you'll be the one who shatters

Wasted three months in your gaze
But that's better than the alternative
Left to die in your malaise
I'd rather live

Thursday, May 15, 2008


Am I the only one who thinks the NFL in general and Commissioner Roger Goodell in particular is starting to look pretty bad in the way they are handling "spygate?"

Goodell has been on the front lines when it comes to dealing with the image problems of his players but he seems tone deaf when it comes to the potential damage this scandal could have on his league. He seems to think that if he just keeps ignoring Arlen Specter, this will go away.

I don't know who is advising Goodell (actually, I do but for these purposes I'm a civilian), but they should tell him that no one wins by continuing to piss off a senator even if said senator is an over-the-top Eagles fan mad about the Super Bowl. Goodell keeps dismissing what the Patriots and Belichick did as relatively meaningless and that is the wrong way to go. Goodell said, according to the New York Times, that he did not think that the taping "affected the outcome of any games." If that's the case, why did you take away a first round draft pick and hit Belichick with that big fine?

Puhleeze. The Pats wouldn't have been taping and you wouldn't have had rules against it if it really wouldn't "affect the outcome" of a game.

Destroying the other tapes was also not the smartest move. It reeked of arrogance and made it seem like they were trying to hide something.

Now is Specter going overboard? Maybe a little. But the way the NFL is handling this is leaving Specter no choice. Goodell is sitting there like a cop at an accident saying "move along, people, nothing to see here."

In fact there is probably a lot to see here. A lot more than the NFL would like us to see, that's for sure.

Part of this is just the overall arrogance of the NFL. These are the only people who have ever managed to make cable operators look sympathetic! For such a successful enterprise, they have been surprisingly inept here. Rather than seeming like he wants to get to the bottom of all this, Goodell just wants to close his eyes and wish it away.

Too late. Belichick is tainted. The Pats are tainted and the weak response of the Commissioner is tainting the rest of the league.

By the way, this post has not been approved by Buzz Bissinger but since my name isn't "Balls Deep," I assume it's OK.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Fluff Update

So Fluff is back home from his operation. They totally shaved him. I don't mind too much since I usually have him shaved for the summer anyway (trust me, if you ever saw him you'd understand). Still he looks pretty ratty. He's got the lampshade on, half his head shaved, stitches all in his ear and hardly any hair on his body. It makes him look ten pounds lighter.

I was worried Skinny would pounce on him, but Skinny is being very respectful of his ailing brother. Fluff actually isn't too ailing. He is back to his old spunky self but he hates the lampshade. He is still struggling with figuring out how to eat with that thing on. I hope he does figure it out because I really don't want to have to serve him food. I'm doing what the vet said and have elevated his dish a little bit. Giving him his pills is a pain in the ass, but eventually he'll get used to it.

I have to confess to getting a chuckle watching him run into things with the shade on his head.

Anyway that's the update. We now return you to your regularly scheduled rants and ramblings.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

What Matters

We tune out large disasters. More than ten thousand dead in China. Tens of thousands in Burma. It's such a hard thing to get one's head around that we can't comprehend it and move on. Often it is the little things that sink in and hit us and make us think.

I just saw an obit for a Baltimore Sun reporter. At first I thought he was 53, which I still view as old even though I'm less than ten years away from that milestone. Then I read closer and saw that he was 33 and died of brain cancer. I don't know this guy, I didn't know his byline and yet that hit me. In his ten years at the Sun he got to cover a Super Bowl and lots of other great events. He sounded like he had a lot of friends and kept working and living life until he couldn't anymore. He probably looked at all the places he'd been and things he'd done with a sense of pride. At least that was the impression the obit left.

I never did that. I was very fortunate in my old career. I went to big Hollywood events. It was glamorous. Of course, I never saw it as that. I never appreciated that a kid from Detroit with hideous SAT scores had somehow ended up in a tux at an awards show or trying to look hip at the music video awards. I never felt pride or gratitude. I never thought, `hey, this is cool.' Instead, I kept up my jaded and cynical facade which for some reason I thought was the way one should go through life. All that got me was a trail of busted relationships, turmoil and misery. I couldn't even appreciate the excitement my girlfriends felt about going to such events. Not that I was above using said events to try to get girls in the sack. My mother may have raised a cynic, but she didn't raise an idiot.

I know now that the jaded cynical approach is the easy way. It's the cheap way. Anyone can do it. I don't want to go that route anymore. I want to enjoy what I have, not complain about what I want or what I deserve. I've been there before and it only leads to more misery.

Now, what does all this have to do with ten thousand dead or some dude in Baltimore I don't even know dying of cancer at 33? Simply this. Go enjoy your day. Be nice to people. Stop worrying about what you don't have and enjoy what you do have. I know I need to do that.

Peace out.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Kick The Football

Have cut back on the heavy flirtation with the girl at work. I had decided that she was Lucy and I was Charlie Brown and I was tired of having her pull the football away every time I'm ready to kick it.

Except my damn shrink put things in perspective for me. He noted that unlike Charlie Brown, I had not even tried to kick the damn ball. I have run at it a little bit, but then I pull off before Lucy can even begin to yank it away. In other words, I set myself up for something and accept it before it ever fucking happens. I interpret things and my interpretation may not necessarily be the facts.

So what to do? Well, one thing to do would be to cut out the bullshit and just put it out there and see what happens or just walk away and decide it is not worth the hassle. What I can't keep doing is sitting there staring at that football. Either kick it and send it flying or try land on my ass, but this running up and stopping isn't getting me anywhere.

Not Guilty!

I notice that every time I post something that might paint me in a different light than the one I want I feel the need to post something right after it almost in an attempt to cover up what I just posted.

Why? What's the big deal. Who cares. Yeah, I posted something funny that happened this morning. And yeah, while I'm not some extraordinary swordsman, I've had my moments. I don't take advantage of anyone and everything is usually on the up and up and nothing I need to feel guilty about.

So fuck it. There you have it.

Roller Coaster

Ended the morning holding hands with two people I'd been intimate with--nice little ego boost. Then ended the day holding hands with one girl I want to be intimate with while her boyfriend held the other hand. Humbling.

Such is life in Chapter 5.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

My Cat Has A Lampshade On His Head

Woke up this morning and Fluff was not in his customary spot by my head. Nor was he waiting for me in the bathroom. A little investigating found him under the bed. When I prodded him out I saw why. He has this huge blister/boil-like growth in one of his ears.

My first thought was that he'd been bitten sometime during the night since he was fine when I came home from poker. Dragged him into the cat carrier and got him to the vet where the verdict is that he has an ear infection and that the boil/blister thing is a hemotoma. They operate on Monday.

In the meantime, he's back home and finally just crawled out from under the bed and he's trying to navigate eating with this awkward shade on. He was very scared on the way to the vet, panting all the way. There are few things more off-putting than seeing a cat pant.

He's back home now and bumping into things. He also smells because he wet himself on the way back home. Perhaps I shouldn't have stopped at Sal and Carmine's for a couple of slices but hey, I need the food. Plus we then hit the Americana Deli. I figured he should see the establishment that provides the cheese steaks he enjoys so much.

I will have to try to wash him at some point, but he wasn't having any of that for now. He has to wear the shade for a month. That's not going to be fun. I know I can take it off him every now and then, but I'm going to wait for awhile before doing that because he needs to get used to it.

So far Skinny seems to be being respectful of his brother's situation. He may even be a little freaked out by the lampshade. I know I am.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Drawing A Blank

Sorry. Distracted. Lazy. Busy.

Not that any of this is an excuse. Will get back on the stick soon.

Oh, one quick thought. Yes, I'm a Jeter fan, but he's a stiff in commercials.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Extra! Extra!

Rambler rarely weighs in on media matters anymore, but I'm pretty sure I can read Rupert Murdoch's mind regarding Jim Dolan and Cablevision's $70 million higher bid for Newsday.

You can have it, is what Rupe is thinking. If Mort Zuckerman of the Daily News makes that bid, Rupe crushes him. But Dolan? Please. Rupe knows that a) Dolan's a long shot and b) if Dolan does get it, he'll so badly mismanage it that Rupe can come back in two or three years and get the paper for half of what he's offering now.

In the meantime, Rupe can keep plenty busy undoing what Dow Jones built in The Wall Street Journal. Not that Rambler disagrees with everything Rupe is doing, but it is clear that Murdoch did not "covet" the WSJ. He coveted a national newspaper and that was the one he could buy.

But that's for another time.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Not Fit To Print

Cathcing up on old episodes of Lou Grant, which I loved as a kid. I wanted to be Rossi.

Unfortunately, after catching a few episodes on Hulu, the show does not hold up. The scripts are incredibly stiff as is the acting. And frankly, that paper is too bloated. They have Lou, Charlie and Art basically all doing the same thing. If Rupert bought that paper he'd cut that staff in half in about three minutes. And what's with Rossi always shoving his hands under his pits like that character from SNL? And Animal? A staff photographer who's not totally stoned all the time? Puhleeze. Today he'd be a freelancer with no insurance.

Now Rockford, there was a show!

Worlds Collide

There are many drawbacks to getting on Facebook including that doing so made me somewhat hypocritical (but that's nothing new for Rambler fans, Grande Drip, anyone?).

Another drawback is the past mistakes/regrets in your face aspect to Facebook. Hell, I've got two ex-girlfriends and a few other one-nighters as friends. Some are married now, others not. Some I'd still like to nail again, others not. But I don't really need to know what they're all doing at any given moment.

Which brings me to the biggest pain. I know I'm not the first to babble about this shit but, what do you do when someone you are not really friends with asks to friend you? Some are former co-workers. Others are friends of friends. Of course, I can ignore the request but unfortunately I was raised to actually respond to people who reach out to me. And if I say no to someone, could it not come back and bite me in the ass later in a professional setting?

I'd love to be able to say "no, you are more of a 'Linked In' friend and maybe that can be a new option for Facebook. The bigger the "friend universe" gets, the more likely worlds are going to start colliding.

As a general rule, I don't really get all that personal on Facebook. Unlike my 15 year-old nephew who doesn't mind boasting of his makeout conquests or having his girlfriends leave video for him there (if his folks only knew, poor deluded upper westside liberals asleep at the wheel), I am still of a generation that feels that discretion is an under-appreciated aspect.

I know, discretion? You're kidding right? But I view this place like the 91st Street station on the 1-2-3 line. If you've ever been on that line, you might have noticed a closed station between 86th and 96th. It has platforms and graffiti but has been shuttered since 1959, those who know it's there can gaze at it and remember the old days and get all romantic and those who don't know it's there don't see it anyway.