Sunday, July 31, 2011

Social Networking – Facebook Et Al

Today I "resigned" from Facebook. The inanity was just too much and a "who cares?" It occurred to me that my "Friends" on Facebook, were as is oft said, not really Friends. They are people I know and with whom I rarely speak. Hell, only one of my sons is on there.

It seem to me that if some of moment occurs in your life, something about which true friends are interested, you should probably tell them personally. Who the hell cares if you had dinner someplace? Really, such inanity.

Most of the "social network" criticism has to do with privacy, I suppose. Mine doesn't, really, as with the Internet these days, unless you never got on it, that issue's moot.

"Social Networking," to me is just another way to avoid real human colloquy. A waste of time for users that makes millions or billions for the owners.

Just Something

Let's see, I'm trying to extracate myself from Facebook. It just doesn't make any sense. More than that, a budget "deal" without taxes? Please. I'm, again, so tired of it. I think I'll watch a movie about smart people, House Bunny.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Country Music

I like it. In fact, it's what I listen to most while I'm working. Doesn't matter if it's classic or new. Okay, blues, folk and pre-70s jazz are my favorities, but those I are genres I almost have to focus on when listening. Country music, not so much – I just like the stories.

Enough Already

President Obama jawboned again this morning. The House GOP brought a budget bill back to the floor, this time with a "Balanced Budged" amendment that'll get nowhere, at least in the Senate.

So what are these clowns in Congress doing? Well, for those rookies who were elected on "not raising taxes," they're being buffoons. They simply have no idea how government (and I mean "government," not Washington) works.

No one's paying attention to the real and primary problem this nation has: No jobs.

What would you like to bet that, if and when the budget issue gets resolved, Congress will take a vacation, it'll go into recess because of the exhausting work it believes it's done.

I just don't know what the hell to say or think anymore except, "Throw 'da bums out."

Thursday, July 28, 2011


The blockheads we have in congress (lower case "c" intended).

It Must Be Awful

to wake up every morning in, a least a bad mood, if not angry. I more than suppose I get angry from time to time. I'm probably angry with my wife right now. However, for me, to get through the day, even the minutes of the day, that's just got to go away. I'm not sure what I do to make it disappear, or if it really does, at least my anger toward my wife. Theoretically, anger can be a positive; it can be helpful, if it's used to resolve a problem or issue.

It my case, it never is. It sounds almost unbelievable, but I rarely do anything that would offend a "normal" person; though a "normal" person is probably someone you don't know.

I was raised to say "please" and "thank you." But what do I do with my anger? I know that on the most superficial level, I seem to either suppress it after probably no longer than an hour, or it dissipates.

But what the hell does that really mean? Well, probably that it's still there, but I've got better things to do. And, I seem to always have "better things to do" than to be angry. I write a lot about being "angry" with Washington, with Congress (which I now believe, given it's almost incredible stupidity and ineffectuality, should be spelled with a lower-case "c"). That's not really "anger;" it's frustration.

At minimum, I'll use "Stumble Upon" and surf the web, or read, or take my dog for a walk or what a movie…on the top end, I go to the gym for a couple of hours. It doesn't matter.

To me, if one is truly angry and doesn't like that state, one can just get over it. Hell, unless you like feeling that way, and why would you, as they say, Get Over It.

Spite, Vindictiveness, Entitlement: My Wife

I'm not certain that while defining the characterization "entitled," my wife is just plain stupid, moderating Einstein's definition of "insanity" a bit, "doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."

Daily, as I've said, when I pick her up from work she complains about the same issues with work. When I say "the same," I mean exactly that. As I've said before, while I've become almost absolutely inured to these complaints, they're still modestly disturbing to my psyche, at least for the time in the car.

Today, however, she railed about her shirt, which was "$200" years ago and I dried with the "wrong" clothes. Well, there was no harm done. Hell, I do all laundry and housework and actually enjoy it.

It's hard to believe that on her day off and I'm getting almost the same thing – but now about laundry of all things, complete with slamming doors and stomping around. Hell, even my dog's upset and hiding under my desk (truly my best friend, by the way).

And, of course, the phrase repeated so often, "I never thought my life would turn out this way…" Who the hell hasn't thought that, either on the positive or negative sides. I never thought I'd be married to an alcoholic, albeit now in so-called "recovery," but who the hell knows with these outbreaks. And, she's on a psychotropic, hell, two of them. She goes to a therapist sporadically after having gone for years. Jeez, we've even gone together, at least a while back. It does no good if (a) the patient doesn't take the counsel; and (b) if you just lie to the therapist.

Okay, despite working, I think her life's pretty bloody good. Now, I'm not bragging, but we live in a house that's almost 3,000 square feet with four bedrooms (one of which is her "closet" and filled with clothing racks, which are filled to overflow), three and a half baths, living room, dining room, family room, etc. and a lovely yard with a swimming pool. She has a great car which I never wanted to buy but it's owned outright.

It's true, like most others, we've cut back. We eat out three times a month rather than four. She complains about eating only chicken or fish. Well, she doesn't like beef of any sort and I don't eat pork (not a religious issue, just don't like it), but I've said, I'll make a tenderloin or pork chops or whatever for you and I'll eat something else. She always says no and eats salad with chicken in it most of the time.

Yeah, yeah, yeah…I could get a divorce (if you hit that link, you'll get a different blog venue, but it'll open in a "new" window, unless, of course, you're on the site – yes, this blog is duplicated on a couple of venues, though it started on Blogger), but, again, I figure I can live out my life this way. After all, at most I only have to deal with her for a very few hours a day.

Divorce is such a pain in the neck. Frankly, though, the only bothersome component for me is moving. I abhor it now, though it didn't really bother me in the past, when I was a lot younger.

No, I don't know what I did to have my life turn out like this. However, I kinda think, despite this woman with whom I live, it really isn't all that bad; a bit tough these days, but not that bad at all.

You see, I always keep the fact that I raised a couple of great kids on my own, sole custodian, and they couldn't have turned out better. I'm not sure how I did it, but I know that I did. My family was wonderful, loving, intelligent and despite the bit of a pain she is from time to time, I still have a sister.

My wife has virtually no family. She does have a sister, but she's estranged from her. For years, since we've been together, I've invited her into mine, but she, because of her own egocentric and entitled behavior, has never "joined" as a "family member," just as, perhaps a visitor. (Now, she's cleaning a bathroom next to my office, as if to say, "You're not the only one who takes care of the house." Damn, what a stupid woman. As if cleaning a bathroom is going to bother me…in my mind, it just makes her seem spiteful and vindictive.

Those are my gripes for now.


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

An update on "The Houseguest Who Almost Stayed Forever," And Other Stuff

My wife informed me yesterday that the "Houseguest Who Almost Stayed Forever" is acting her age, pushing 70: She and her new husband, an innocuous fellow who keeps his mouth shut, bought a new car. They bought a Cadillac, a black one no less and in a city where the average temperature for about half the year is pretty close to 100.

I've got nothing against Cadillac's per se, but considering the price of gasoline, down a bit though it is, and the environment as a whole, who hell makes such purchases these days, especially with the choices available.

And, of course, there's the continuing saga of increasing the debt limit, which, if you weren't aware, has been raised more than 70 times since 1962 - yes, under almost every President since then.

Yeah, well, a lot of you voted for these hayseeds who ran on "not raising taxes." There are 85 of 'em and they ought to be held after school. Boehner obviously can't hold his caucus together, but as Majority Leader, he can sure has hell do other things, maybe hold the House in 24/7 session until this is handled.

But this is, in my view, not the most important issue: Reserve that for jobs and no one's talking about that.

Jeez, I really abhor Washington, a town I probably loved and enjoyed for years as a reporter. I don't even want to visit there any longer.

I had some other material, but was interrupted by the phone. More later, perhaps.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Dumb Blondes

So, as an ex-reporter and breaking my own rule about obsessiveness, here's the issue:

My wife took a nap this afternoon. She got up and found me watching the end of a movie I recorded. I'm not going to tell you the name of the movie, however, it's a silly one, but one I enjoy. Wife awakes from her nap and said, "I wanted to watch that movie." I responded, "I've been watching it for three days (I watch stuff I've recorded in part then continue. It's not unusual for me to take a couple, or three days to watch something, because most everything I've recorded I've seen before – don't ask.) I responded "Oh, okay, want to watch it now? It's one I could watch again, immediately."

And, again, a fight, well she fought: "You know I wanted to watch that (I didn't)…I can't watch it for a couple of weeks…(I don't care, I'd watch it again now), etc.

Okay, I accede to EVERYTHING she says, yet she continues to fight. She has no intellectual capacity or range for discussion. The woman has to be "right" all the time…loves to fight…"My life shouldn't'have turned out this way," is what she says and what she feels. She gives "dumb blondes" a bad name.

Who's does?

Norway, Guns and Stupidity

92 murdered in Norway. Norway of all places and who committed this indescrible act: A right-wing Christian. What is that about, please. I didn't know there was a religious "right-wing." And in Austin, six killed and several wounded at a roller rink. I can't even imagine that, having spent wonderful hours with my friends at roller rinks growing up (no ice skating though…seemed I was only able to do that on my ankles).

I abhor guns, not just handguns, but all guns. I don't like 'em for hunting, target shooting and obviously war or terrorism. Want to hunt, give the prey a chance: hunt with your hands, or a knife. For war, return to bows and arrows or swords.

Get rid of the damned things. There are a lot interpretation of the second amendment. Personally, I say get rid of it. I am so tired to waking to news of shootings (and bombings); to more crime committed with guns.

A few years back I attended a large fundraiser, a dinner. A woman at the table, in her 40s, proudly pulled out a small "feminine" pistol and proudly declared: "I just got a carry permit." I responded, "And you need that for a $250 a seat fundraiser for children at a major hotel?" Then I promply left the table.

These days you don't know if you're going to get shot for inadvertantly cutting someone off on the road – what the hell have we become.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Amy Winehouse Dead At 27

Singer Amy Winehouse was found dead at her apartment in London on Saturday, the UK Press Association reported. She was 27. I guess she "…[didn't] want to go to rehab." Last month, Winehouse canceled the remainder of her 12-city European concert tour.

Enough Already With The Cell Phones

I just returned from the market, where once again, someone talking on a cell phone rolled a basket over my foot and two senior women, walking in the parking lot, together and both on cellphones bumped into me, though I tried to elude them.

What an insecure nation in which live – without constant connection, we seem lost.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Wife Redux

I believe I am on the border, the very edge of simply abhorring my wife. And now my apologies for becoming obsessive about this, however, perhaps this is my therapy, my outlet. It's her day off today.

How does she spend it? Well so far, house cleaning, something she knows I generally do on Saturday or Sunday, as I've said before. However, it's never good enough, but if you came in this house, I think you'd find it more than just acceptable in its appearance.

She has to go to the doctor in order to have a prescription refilled, but the physician has but two appointments open, at 10 and 3. The first isn't possible as I'm taking her phone in. The second isn't possible, she said, "Because I have a nail appointment." I suggested to her that perhaps that could wait. Then she said she's "miserable…depressed all the time…," same old, same old. She just cancelled her nail appointment in favor of the doctor, though very grudgingly. Who the hell notices nails, anyway? And, of course, she hates her job and I've been trying to find her a new one; managing a boutique or as a receptionist. Her response to that, "I don't want to stand on my feet all day…I have no office skills." Well, hell, she managed a major boutique in Beverly Hills and loved it; and she does have enough "office skills" to be a receptionist. God forbid she should have nothing to complain about.

In fairness to her, her new business, which she has to operate part-time because of her full time job, is taking off. And I believe in a few months, maybe less than a couple, she would be able to quit her job and pursue it full time…were it not for her partner, who has done little but pay a couple of hundred bucks to file LLC papers. I've spent nearly twice that much on other issues. Literally, the partner's done nothing and according to my wife, can't because she has to keep her job, can't be seen by anyone at her employer's for fear of being fired, etc. Well, I said, if she's not doing anything, then I don't think you should be splitting the income at all, let alone 50-50. And that's just one, abeit a major one, of the issues.

Readers of this blog have read this before. I told her she could do something about the "depression," and that it was, in many respects, a matter of attitude change. Sure, she's worried about the "future," but who isn't these days. I suggested she see her shrink about it, but she quoted the "shrink" as saying it's my fault, as I haven't pursued a legal issue in New York in which I lost valuable real estate. It would cost far too much to do (out of pocket), though were I to win, it would be worth it. However, attorneys have told me almost categorically, I'd lose. It's complicated.

The only time I get "down in the dumps," frankly, is when she's at home and like this. Even then I've almost reached the point at which I endure her outbreaks and 15 minutes later have let them go. Now, frankly, as Clark Gable said, "I don't give a damn." Hearing the same complaints at least once a day, hell, I've got them memorized and am almost fully innured to them.

Sounds harsh, huh? Not really. Not when the complaints are so repetitive and all is my fault. I say to myself, "If you want to live your life this way, fine. Be miserable. The sun's out, many of us are in the same boat and all we can really do is make the choice: Let it all go or not; be "happy" or not.

I choose the former of those two.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

I’ve had my share

I had a reasonable day until I picked my wife up from work. She was "distressed" all day because her cell phone is not working properly, an Android. When this first occurred yesterday, as usual, I took care of it: She's off tomorrow, so I made an appointment for her at 11 at the cell phone company's store nearby. The fellow there said, "Oh, she can show up at 10, tell the desk she has an appointment and just drop the phone off and we'll have it taken care of in a couple of hours."

That seemed fine to me, but today, in calling me, all she did was complain about her damned cell phone. She absolutely needs something about which to complain. I told her repeatedly, it'll dealt with tomorrow. And it will. The company's quite good about that, as is the facility five minutes from here.

Now, here's the backstory: Her sister's been with her cellphone company for years. I got in touch with her, told her the story and she said, "Oh, they'll probably either fix it in,(what?), a couple of hours or just give her a new or refurbished phone." Sound okay, right? But there's more. Sis said, "I'll send her out some papers this afternoon and all she has to do is fill them out, return them and she'll have a brand new phone the end of next week." And, my wife gets an great deal on service fees: Friends and Family, she pays (rather I do) about $60 a month for unlimited everything.

But, of course, being the definition of spoiled and entitled, none of this is good enough.

Okay, so let me tell you what I do. I essentially consult and write for a living. I handle crises for companies, and occassionally for individuals. I'm compensated pretty well for what I do, but in all honesty, given the economy, probably 20 percent less than a couple of years ago…but still good. At the end of the day, my income's quite good.

If you don't understand what I do, I fix things, reputations, companies, etc.

Now, I spend a lot the day working to earn dollars.

She works too. She works because she hocked some jewelry to but "designer" clothes, without either asking nor telling me. When she finally did, I said, "Find a job, earn dough…you got yourself into it, get yourself out of it." Sounds harsh, but sometime a line must be drawn.

So, today she's beside herself because of her cellphone. I told her it'll be less than 24 hours and it'll fixed or replaced. The response was, "I hate my f***** life. Nothing's any good. I don't deserve this."

My response, had I not exercised a bit of discipline, would have been, "It's a bloody cellphone!"

Fortunately, I do this blog and I'm smart enough to know that pushing 70, what the hell…for those of you who think about sex…yeah, once in a while, but at this point, I'd rather reread Dickens. As the bartender at McSorley's said, "I've had my share."

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

House Guest Who Almost Stayed Forever, Again

Once again, I had to be with my wife's friend, "The House Guest Who Almost Stayed Forever," (that link may link to another blog, same as this one, different venue, but it will open in a new window), and her husband. Fortunately, she and hubby sat at the other end of the table and I rarely had to speak with her.

Now this woman, pushing 70 like me, feels a lot older than that and she's an educator, so-called anyway: She has a doctorate and is an administrator at a local university who announced not long that she was getting a Fulbright. Well, that's not quite true: she applied for an application to get an "invitation."

In any event, following dinner, at which I had a lovely time actually, as I was able to talk with a couple of couples whose company and conversation I enjoy, the old broad said, "I just got an iPhone, but I don't know how to use it." I told her, "Give me a couple of minutes, five at the most and you'll be an expert." She demurred. "Do you have Outlook on your computer," I asked, adding, "If you do you can sync your contacts." Her response was I don't know.

Seems to me if you're going to get a phone that is almost a substitute for a computer, as well as being, in view, intutive (unline the Android), then learn at least the basics: It rang and she had no idea how to answer it.

Okay, that may be a tech complaint, but it is just so difficult to be around this broad, no, "broad" would be a compliment, "old woman" is more accurate.

Dinner, however, was quite good.

My gripe for the day.


I suppose most everyone abhors SPAM. It's intrusive, it's often offensive and it violates privacy. I'm one of those who believes firmly that we should pay to send email, maybe a tenth of cent per. Perhaps that would deal with it. I have, for several years, refused to use any business that sends me unwanted emails. Obviously I wouldn't even consider some of those below, but I haven't gone to Sears or used Levenger for years. Even "unsubscribe" doesn't work for these. Here then is a list of that which my "Junk Mail" filter caught this morning:

Sears Cooling Solutions Sears Special Offer on New Central Air Systems 7:53 AM 
Golds Gym "First Time Users Only - Get Gold's Gym 7 days free trial" 7:48 AM 
Airline Rewards Let us get you 2 SouthWest tickets! Additional Terms apply 7:39 AM 
Amy Hendricks Hey, Opportunity is knocking with a sledgehammer... 7:30 AM 
Mystery Guild STEVEN, We Want You Back 7:27 AM July 20, 2011: Today's best stations 7:26 AM 
New Ford We Are Making History With This Summer_Sale 7:26 AM 
Client Services Important information about your Business Wire Connect users 7:19 AM 
PetCareRx Flea & Tick Season is here! FREE Shipping + Savings at PetCareRx 7:19 AM 
Golds Gym "Your 7 Day Gym Pass" 7:18 AM 
Golds Gym "Your 7 Day Gym Pass" 7:18 AM 
DirectBuy Limited Time No Cost 30 Day Membership 7:14 AM 
GenieBra Special Try the most_revolutionary_bra in the world 7:13 AM 
Puritan's Pride $15 OFF + FREE SHIPPING! 7:10 AM 
the patch Drop the baby weight in time for summer 7:09 AM 
Golds Gym "Your Free 7 Day Guest Pass" 7:04 AM 
Auto Price Finder Find the Lowest New Vehicle Prices 6:59 AM 
Bosley Win the hair loss battle 6:56 AM 
Goldline Is Gold Your Ticket To A Golden Future? 6:55 AM 
RightInsurance $250,000 policy for around $10/Month 6:50 AM 
Levenger Shop today, save 20% off tomorrow 6:49 AM 
Golds Gym "Start shaping up today with a free guest pass to Gold's Gym." 6:46 AM 
Food Review Would You Like Subway_Sandwiches For An Entire Week? 6:43 AM 
American Employment Agency Are you worried? 6:41 AM 
Orchard Bank Credit Card An Orchard Bank(R) Mastercard(R) offer for you! 6:38 AM 
Latasha Lott Hey, Join today at get Restaurant Coupons and no price 6:38 AM 
LivingSocial Deals Canvas Print 6:31 AM 
LanguageFluency Language Learning Secrets Revealed 6:26 AM 
GuideToLenders Refinance Now at 2.87% - See Details Now 6:02 AM 
DentistReviews Our Top Rated Dentists Will Accept You. Regardless Of Budget 5:57 AM 
Madison Who's Who Your Invitation to a Global Networking Community 5:50 AM 
FastLoans Can't pay the bills? We can help. 5:46 AM 
American Home Shield Did you know your home is at risk? Find out why now 5:45 AM 
Daily Deal Site sdstern, Claim up to 90% off exclusive deals in your city 5:44 AM 
Nancy Knight Prize: 100,000 awardable: now, Hey 5:43 AM 

Sunday, July 17, 2011


Another day, but a Sunday. As usual, following an outburst as yesterday, my "wife" seems modestly repenatant. It doesn't matter, as I'll drive her to work, hopefully in silence and then I'll have at least 8 quiet hours.

It occurs to me that when she has a day off, she's mostly out of the house, and when she's working, there are only about three hours, even counting the drive to and from work, during which there's a potential for interaction – just 12 percent of the day…not bad.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

My Wife: Perhaps This Will Make It Clear

Today, while she was at work, I cleaned the house, i.e. vaccumed carpeting and mopped and cleaned the bathrooms. Okay, it was my day off as well. It all looked pretty good to me.

Two minutes ago she told me, "I just had to redo the master bath because you didn't do a good job."

I said, "Okay, you work outside the house eight hours a day. I work here. I'm done. You don't like the way I do it, it doesn't bother me. I'm a 'guy.' It takes a lot for me to reach your OCD and unappreciative condition. Do it yourself. I'm done.

Thursday, July 14, 2011


What the hell is my wife thinking? Or does she just define "Entitled, Dumb Blonde?" She had a glass of iced tea on the coffee table, which I accidentally knocked over. The floor is tile, so, really, "no big deal," as they say. Picked up the ice cubes, a quick towel and mop – handled in less than five minutes.

What's her comment? "We need a new sofa." Two days ago, "We need a second car." Really, we've done fine with one car; and even thinking about three grand (which is what she would spend on a "new sofa") is just nuts in this economy, even $500. Who is making discretionary purchases these days?

I could certainly go on, but you get point. It's like living with brick.

Monday, July 11, 2011

An Uneventful Day That Gave Me Too Much Time To Think

My day was uneventful, neutral. It gave me pause and I realized, perhaps clearly for the first time that I am increasingly concerned about my own well-being in this economy, as clients who are profitable continue to stretch their bills out. Not yet to 30 days, but a week or two more than six months ago when virtually all paid by return mail.

Perhaps that's somewhat of an overstatement, but as I look about and see an ineffectual Congress and Administration doing virtually nothing about the employment situation, which does nothing but deteriorate, I know that historically, the impact can spell disaster; one of even greater scale then we are now experiencing.

I listened to the President last night and just read the lead to a story in The New York Times, "President Obama made no apparent headway on Monday in his attempt to forge a crisis-averting budget deal, but he put on full display his effort to position himself as a pragmatic centrist willing to confront both parties and address intractable problems…"

This "budget issue" is like reading Beckett, Ionesco or Genet: It's absurd, it's religiously political. Does anyone ingenuously believe that radical, yes "radical" fools in the House of Representatives will block national funding? Well, perhaps yes and if so, Social Security and other important bills will continue to be paid and the expense will be borne by the GOP in the fall of next year.

The media's not helping much with its fallacious punditry – and we, voters, citizens are doing little. Where are our demands for jobs. Paul Krugman, in my view the most intelligent Op-Ed writer at The New York Times, perhaps in the nation said it best in his column, No, We Can't? Or Won't? in which he said, "…a destructive passivity has overtaken our discourse. Turn on your TV and you'll see some self-satisfied pundit declaring that nothing much can be done about the economy's short-run problems (reminder: this "short run" is now in its fourth year), that we should focus on the long run instead…This gets things exactly wrong. The truth is that creating jobs in a depressed economy is something government could and should be doing. Yes, there are huge political obstacles to action — notably, the fact that the House is controlled by a party that benefits from the economy's weakness. But political gridlock should not be conflated with economic reality." I highly recommend you give that column a read, again, the link is: No, We Can't? Or Won't?

Yet, the public remains, well, depressed, psychologically…it's clear from polls. There are no "Pep Talks" that will work any longer. The President seems to take the position that we should all grin and bear it until the economy works its way out of this mess.

Well, there are jobs that could be had. The nation helped banks, which are sitting on hordes of cash rather than lending. Corporations are similarly so and not hiring, which is why productivity is up. And, we're still shipping jobs overseas.

As Mr. Krugman said, "It's also worth noting that in another area where government could make a big difference — help for troubled homeowners — almost nothing has been done. The Obama administration's program of mortgage relief has gone nowhere: of $46 billion allotted to help families stay in their homes, less than $2 billion has actually been spent…So let's summarize: The economy isn't fixing itself. Nor are there real obstacles to government action: both the bond vigilantes and structural unemployment exist only in the imaginations of pundits."

Putting this into very simple language, and as I've (and others) have said before, the poor are becoming increasingly poor; the rich, richer and the middle class is fast disappearing.

How'd it happen? Too many people, voters listened to these "Tea Partyers," to folks like Bachman and Palin…Cut taxes? Please. GE doesn't pay any; the rich pay little…and government services have value. Imagine your life without them. Cut Social Security, Medicare?

Do these folks read anything but the drivel based on political and governmental neophytes who are not only immature, but are simply incapable of analytical thought. Proof lies in the pudding: Look where we are and look at their hero, Paul Ryan.


Sunday, July 10, 2011

My Life

My dog, I think, is really my best friend. Yes, I have "old" friends, perhaps a half-dozen, one whom I've known since I was 16. A couple or three others from college. My oldest is retired and fairly affluent. We talk rarely, however, as he has changed so much. In our teens and early 20s we played guitar and banjo together at the old Greenwich Village coffee houses; I wrote and read poetry (still write it). But now his interests have changed so.

He was in town a while back with his second wife (his first died). I pulled out my guitar and banjo and he said, "I have played in 20 years." Now, let me tell you – he was good, very good, to point of being brilliant; this to the point of challenging Charlie Byrd to a "duel" when we were in our late teens, at the old Showboat Lounge back in Washington. Byrd was literally "wowed." Now, "I don't play anymore…I just go out and shoot at varmints, read and travel."

A few others reached professional levels, an architect, a chiropracter/acupuncturist and a psychologist – all now pretty much drunks, though working a bit.

We've no longer anything in common and perhaps it's me. Yes, I'm a professional. If you're not aware of what I do or have done, I manage crisis situations for medium to very large companies – you've probably read of these companies and their troubles. Prior to that I was a reporter with one of the three largest circulation papers in the nation. I'll let you guess, but suffice it to say I covered Congress and political campaigns.

However, I still play the guitar almost daily, folk and blues…and work on the banjo (I'm not quite as good on that one). I've got a keyboard and play that when my hands hurt.

But I've got no one to talk with really. There's a pedantic attorney; he's quite smart (out of Berkeley and Boalt), but he can't stop talking having ruined his career years ago because he couldn't keep his fly zipped up.

My wife's worthless to talk with…so it leaves me and my dog. And, I love my dog…okay, not as much as my sons who are, indeed, my best friends. However, we only talk when we need to catch up or one wants counsel.

All of that notwithstanding, my life ain't bad. Gimme a scotch, a guitar and a TV and I'll do just fine.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

My “Entitled” Wife

I'm sure there are folks who have worse mornings, far worse no doubt; but for me it's five mornings a week that I drive my wife to work: Complaints, nothing but complaints about how dreadful her life is. I have, in the past, empathized with her, but when one is trying to engage with a narcissist, that is impossible: They don't absorb your understanding, so they drag one and on. I simply drove in silence, knowing that I'd pound it all down and out of my mind at some point today, only to have it exacerbated when she returns home this evening.

She doesn't believe she should have to work and doesn't like her job. Welcome, then, to the real world "princess." She conveniently forgets that I work, though from home, bring in a significant amount of money and do the housekeeping and laundry, including ironing. I'm quite good at that, by the way, and find it a mindless distraction to some of my daily client challenges.

Her problem is that she wants me to pay for her prolificacy and I simply refuse to.

It's a helluva way to start the day, but I think I've become almost inured to it; but it remains a helluva way to spend the remainder of my life.

On the other hand, I am a lucky fellow with a blood family, two sons and a sister (pain in the neck that she is) who all care, from what I feel, deeply about each other and who are always there for one another.

My wife, if you can call her that, on the other hand, has but one sister, from whom she's estranged of her own volition. She is a woman of fading beauty, modest intelligence and increasing pity.

But, she's out of the house for the next 7 hours, so I'll have peace.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Angry Wives

There are few things worse than having to drive a wife who's almost always angry with something to work every morning. What a way to start the day. Fortunately, I work my way out of the negative mood, mostly anyway, on the drive back alone.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


Nine years ago today, my Mother died. My Father had been gone 11 at that time. It gives me more than pause; there is not a day that passes on which I don't think of them.

How strange it is to me that I no longer have parents…and that one day my sons will be in the same position.

I was very close to my parents, very close. It's virtually impossible for me to recall anytime when I was not, when I couldn't talk with them. They were different, the two of them, different from one another, different from me.

It was an intellectually oriented family, filled with friendly, acute debate about everything; and filled with love – if there was trouble, someone was there; if there was a celebration, someone was there.

My parents were always there for me, as I am for my kids. What will they think when I am gone.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

In You’re Not Outraged, You’re Not Paying Attention

In the rich get richer department, according to a New York Times story, "The final figures show that the median pay for top executives at 200 big companies last year was $10.8 million. That works out to a 23 percent gain from 2009. The earlier study had put the median pay at a none-too-shabby $9.6 million, up 12 percent…Total C.E.O. pay hasn't quite returned to its heady, prerecession levels — but it certainly seems headed there. Despite the soft economy, weak home prices and persistently high unemployment, some top executives are already making more than they were before the economy soured.

I increasingly wonder when our nation, in which less than ten percent of the population controls nearly 40 percent of the wealth, is going to become outraged enough to effect change. Corporate treasuries are sitting on nearly a trillion dollars in cash, gobbling up government incentives, including tax incentives, using fewer employees to produce more and, well, becoming the greediest corporate entities in our history.

Angry yet?

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Independence Day

And this is my day off, one of a long weekend. However, my lovely wife planned a BBQ for tomorrow. Now while she works (to get her jewelry out of hock, which she did because she wanted to spend more on clothing and I refused to do it for her…more on that later), I'm left with taking care of the details for this simple, traditional Independence Day BBQ (hot dogs and hamburgers, potato salad and coleslaw, which is a specialty of mine and I make it quite well, by the way).

It also includes cleaning the house, something at which I'm quite good, however never quite good enough for an obsessive, compulsive "recovering" alcoholic to defines the word "entitlement." That noted, I am good at it and efficient as well. In any event, I had planned to mop the floors today, we have mostly tile. But, "No," she said, "Do it tomorrow," just before the guests arrive. Now, please, like it's going to get dirty in 24 hours? I also do the bathrooms.

What's more, because of her job, she requires ironed shirts and a tie. I iron those shirts, something I truly enjoy. It lets me know my roots, so to speak: I worked in a laundry years ago and I mean years, when I was first in college. I can do a shirt in less that 5 minutes. That's not bad, eh?

So, the bitch calls today, complaining about her work and laying the fact that he has to work on me. I'm not the one who hocked the jewelry. And this, then, brings me to my point: Alcoholics, recovering or not, are generally stupid (in the true, Einstein sense of the word), self-absorbed, selfish persons.

In past posts, I've explained why I just don't get a divorce, so I won't rehash…besides, perhaps you'll go back and read some of those. They make sense to me, anyway.

I think much of it goes back to her upbringing. There's reasonable thought that alcoholism is genetic and there's reasonable thought that her father was a drunk. Perhaps that explains it. However, my wife was an "accident," and clearly a, in the vernacular of years ago "hot number." To some extent she still is, certainly for her age.

The question of sex, of course, comes up in queries and I point out that while everything still works for me, the trade off isn't worth it, nor even required. I'm not all that interested at this point. So, if I can leave it there, I'd appreciate it.

But it is Independence Day weekend and I focus on my younger days. My Dad and Mom, both truly great persons not only in terms of parenting, love, understanding and empathy, but also in accomplishment. Growing up this was a great day for the family and those invited; never many, just enough.

My Dad would make his "secret" BBQ sauce, which was generally a mixture of several he bought at the store. It was a great time, even at my age, from lower school through college, it was a wonderful, engaging day with dicussion that was both fun and engaging, even for me at whatever age.

When it was all over, in the slightly later that night we'd watch "Yankee Doodle Dandy," with Jimmy Cagney. It is a great musical, at least for me. I follow our family tradition and for as long as I can remember, back to my late teens, I've watched it every year on July 4. When I do, I not only enjoy the movie, but I think back to all those years with my folks, even with ex-wives and ex-girlfriends when I watched. Okay, admittedly, it's not my number one movie (A Thousand Clowns), but I never miss it, and the memories.

Approaching seven decades, I enjoy the memories. In all candor, I probably miss some of the times, most of them, in fact. However, I'm not at all sure I'd like to go back.

It's probably the shank of my like at this age, but with all the bad, the negative, the wives, the women – I've had, and continue to have a life of which I can be at least modestly proud. I'm alright with that.

Remember Independence Day – A lot of folks died for this day, not only way back when, but probably today.