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Wednesday, May 31, 2006

EXTREMES ON VENTURA BOULEVARD

Last week on two different days on the very same street at the very same time of day, I received two very different receptions.

On Tuesday, as I inched my way down Ventura Boulevard past Rubin's Red Hot on my right and the Galleria Mall on my right, a perfect stranger in the passenger seat of another car leaned out and said to me, "Hi! How ya doin'? I love you!"

Nice, I thought. A little weird but nice as long as you don't overanalyze. Take it for what it's worth. One person saying "I love you" to another. Some people wait their whole lives to be hear those words and here this stranger is just giving them away. And to me, no less. Thank you, stranger. My instincts may tell me to question your standards – my understanding is that true love requires slightly more than six seconds of eye contact, a couple of salutations and a declaration of said love – but I give you the benefit of the doubt, toothy '91 Sentra passenger. I welcome your love of me.

Two days later, again on Ventura, passing through an intersection not far from Rubin's, I was violently given the finger as well as the traditional, "Fuck you!" by a motorist whose left turn in front of me was delayed by my negligence in engaging my turn signal. While my error was one of attention deficit rather than malice, and while I too have been frustrated by drivers who do just as I had, I feel that shooting the bird with vocal accompaniment at a total stranger is more egregious than the initial infraction, a classic case of the punishment outweighing the crime. But again, I choose to not over analyze. To that driver, I was a small annoyance impeding her progress through her day, no more significant than a dropped cell phone or a stumble over a crack in the sidewalk. Those incidents may too have elicited a short meaningless burst of profanity. So what? It doesn't mean anything. So why should it bother me that this time the burst was aimed at me? Kind of like, "Fuck you! Nothing personal."

So there I was with these two similar yet opposite interactions. A nice set I thought. The yin and the yang. The laughing mask and the crying mask. Two pieces that fit together perfectly to create one solid concept.

Until Sunday that is. Invited to a barbecue in Topanga at the woodsy home of a dear friend, one I have known for years but see too infrequently, I was greeted with hugs and kisses and immediate questions about my perceived weight loss.

"What are you doing to lose all that weight?" she marveled with slightly more than a hint of resentment.

I've experienced this before, especially here in Los Angeles. The issue of body image is so important here that people seem doomed to define their own worth only in relation to that of others. Your body exists only to either make me feel better or worse about my own. It's insane. I find myself apologizing to people for not weighing more.

I sensed that the conversation with my friend could be heading in that direction so I backpedalled, trying to downplay any proactively healthy behavior on my part. This technique is rarely effective.

"Not that much really. I don't think I've lost any weight since I saw you last. I run in the morning, but I'm not losing any weight. I'm just trying to stay healthy is all."

My friend paused and almost imperceptively her eyes narrowed and her lips tightened as if she were fighting to keep her thoughts in, a losing battle since few people express themselves as freely as this particular friend.

And so out it came.

"Fuck you," she grumbled, somewhat under her breath but still at a level that indicated her intention for the conversation to continue. "Fuck you, fuck you, fuck you!"

I laughed. I apologized. She reiterated her position.

Then she welcomed me into her home and offered me a beer.



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Monday, May 29, 2006

HUMMINGBIRDS

Earlier this month we realized a hummingbird was raising two chicks in a nest right outside our kitchen window. I took some photos. Within a week the chicks went from scrawny little things to being able to fly away. Now we have empty nest syndrome.

Nature photography is tedious and difficult but often quite rewarding.

Click here to see the big picture.



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Saturday, May 27, 2006

IT'S A CORPORATE LIFE FOR ME







Ten years or so ago, the world of web development was wide open. So much money was being thrown indiscriminately into the industry that there were jobs for everybody and anybody.

"Anybody? Why, I'm anybody. Hand me that dry eraser, give me three burlap upholstered walls and have the Help Desk set up my email. I'm in!" With my freshly lasered certificate from the Clark University Computer Graphics and Pre-press program, I mounted the digital bandwagon with gusto at a Boston area publishing firm. Finally, a use for the two dozen orphan ties I had adopted from my Dad's closet.

I embraced the corporate lifestyle while keeping one eye in a permanent wink and a tongue firmly planted in cheek. I figured if they wanted to pay me to do this, that was fine by me. I'd take that paycheck and I'd wear those ties and I'd attend those meetings and drink that kitchenette coffee and sing those rounds of "Happy Birthday" and chip in for those going away presents and drink those happy hour drinks at the Bertucci's downstairs and do all the things that have become American clichés that are so very popular nowadays in comic strips and television shows.

Let it be known that such cliché's are all devastatingly accurate.

For an average worker bee like me, corporate life consists merely of the strict adherence to a series of well established rituals. The conference call. The email. The office birthday party. The gossip. The introduction of new hires. The unannounced dismissal of inadequate employees. These functions and hundreds like them exist. They are summoned as needed. Deviation from them creates disruption. The disruption leads to confusion which can only be eliminated through a thoughtful return to the rituals. That return re-establishes the norm setting the cycle in motion anew.

Despite the distaste I had for corporate life or, more accurately, my imagined version of it, in 1995 I bowed my head and jumped straight in. I was fully aware of the potential friction this strange new environment and my more liberty-based outlook (read: don't tell me what the fuck to do!) would likely cause in light of an epiphany I experienced at 17 when I saw Pink Floyd's The Wall at the Orson Welles Cinema in Cambridge, Mass. During "Another Brick in the Wall, Part 2," a throng of school children chant a staunch refusal to relinquish their individuality in the name of sustaining the status quo. And yet as they do, they march their faceless bodies onto a conveyor belt that carries them to a mysterious vat where they are processed and regurgitated as a thick fecaceous ooze. Horrified but emboldened by this image, I resolved to never give in to the system, to pledge allegiance only to myself and to dismiss forever convention for convention's sake. My happiness would be born of the path that I alone would carve. And this would bring me true happiness.

Or so the bargain implied.

Years later, I still clung to those principles, but experience and age had clearly diluted the fervor of my beliefs. I hadn't joined the system but the happiness I found without it was infrequent and not terribly compelling. Honestly, I was tired of the deadly boredom I encountered in my blue collar endeavors – retail stock person, call center operator, a scroll of temporary assignments, and worst of all, the breeding ground for debilitating depression: chronic unemployment. Whatever I was doing, it wasn't working for me. I needed a large change. The combination of a little therapy, a little Wellbutrin and some experimental sobriety did the trick. It popped me out of my funky rut and sent me hurtling into the world of awkward elevator rides with executives who pretend they don't recognize you rather than admit they don't know your name. And to my utter surprise, I didn't mind this world after all.

Sure, corporate culture tends to accentuate the extremes of human nature both good and bad and that can be exhausting. And, yes, the flaws in the system allow for all kinds of injustices and humiliations. But as it turns out, my years of resistance against this culture are serving to insulate me from its ill effects. I see the lunacy around me and for the most part chuckle my way to 5PM. It amuses me to see people behave the way they do. I feel like the little plastic deep sea diver at the bottom of the aquarium watching all the fish go around and around. I'm right there in the fish bowl but my participation is nicely limited. While all the fish are busy fighting for flakes of desiccated meal worms and worrying about catching tail rot, I'm over by the rock and the treasure chest blowing bubbles.

I've been at my current job for over six years, twice as long as I've held any other job. It is a creative position in a corporate environment. I survive due mostly to my sense of humor. I keep a supply of several dozen grains of salt in my back pocket and my desk drawer. I keep a constant eye out for the lunacies that play out before me and either make note of them here or expose them to a baffled audience of friends and family.

Eh, it's not too bad.



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Thursday, May 25, 2006

A CLASSIC COMBINATION, INDEED

Popcorn and movies, turkey and Thanksgiving, and of course, liquor and boxing.





Ringside Liquor is located just a few doors down from Hair People in Studio City.



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Tuesday, May 23, 2006

A LETTER HOME

Dear




,

How's it hangin'? And don't say "low but legal" like you always do. You've been using that same stupid line since we were in Youth Academy. It didn't make sense then and it doesn't make sense now. Remember that class? Human Slang for Future Spacefarers? Sgt.




. Jesus, she was hot. We were only 48 at the time and didn't really know what it was all about, but I could tell she was something special. All green, I tell ya. Too bad by the time we were old enough to do anything about it she'd married that jack-off from Recruiting. Lucky stiff.

Anyway, just thought I'd drop you a line to let you know how things have changed here since that time you and I came here for our reconnaissance training. Basically, it's just more. More of everything. More humans, more garbage, more noise, more violence, more sex, more prejudice. More war if you can believe it. That guy running things down here is doing half the work for us.

But what I really wanted to tell you about is that there's this thing down here that people keep saying you'd only be unaware of if you've been living on Mars. You probably remember that expression from Sgt.




's class. It's the same as "living in a cave."

Damn, she was hot. Those antennae.

So there's this thing. It's a phenomenon, really. It's something that's bringing all different people together into a common circle in a way that hasn't happened for quite some time. People who normally would have nothing in common now have this. It's a shared experience, something that everyone feels deeply about. And they LOVE to talk about it. They gather and share their ideas and opinions about it and almost always end up trying to predict what will happen next. It's a vibration rippling across the planet, a buzz that everyone seems to feel.

Basically, what happens is this. Once a week a group of humans gather and sing. Remember these are humans, so their idea of singing isn't the same as ours, but whatever, to each his own. They probably wouldn't appreciate the way we eat every third child as a sacrifice to the mighty overlord, so that's that. To borrow one of their phrases, live and let live, except for that third child, of course. As I was saying, the singing is sent out via the airwaves and electrical systems so that everyone can view the proceedings. After each round of singers has performed, everyone watching transmits a message indicating their choice for the worst singer. At the next gathering that singer is excluded and isn't allowed to sing. Singing in this environment seems to be highly valued. They seem to consider it some sort of privilege which I find confusing since nothing is preventing these people from singing anywhere else. I mean, sing in the shower, sing in the coffee shop, sing on the bus. What's stopping you?

They're all pretty good, by human standards, anyway.

You hear people talking about it all the time. On the street. On their transmitters. Sometimes it seems like people care more about who had their singing privileges rescinded than they do about all the black people dying or the ice caps melting. Yeah, they finally noticed the ice caps. It's like a psychology unto itself, a mania, perhaps even an illness, and they're aware of the illness but are unable or unwilling to find the cure! Indeed, they celebrate the sickness. Look at what I saw in the crowded, steamy area known as Sherman Oaks, California.



Well,




, I gotta run. We're off to check on some volcanoes tomorrow. Apparently some of the humans still don't understand that an erupting volcano is not a good place to hang out. Maybe you and I can come back here together someday. We can play tricks on the humans like we used to. You remember, don't you? Anyway, take care. I should be back soon. Say hi to Jimi.

Later.










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Sunday, May 21, 2006

BUSINESS NAME SAYS IT ALL

When we first moved to Los Angeles, I quickly realized that it would take some time before I got used to the extraordinary number of absurdly gorgeous people walking around, both male and female. I'm still waiting.

It's out of control. If you come here to live, you better get right with your own body image and quick. Otherwise, it's time to oil up the ol' cat o' nine tales; you're in for some heavy duty self flagellation. I think that's why there are so many hair and nail salons here. Some get creative with the naming of their businesses. Some simply tell it like is like this fine beauty establishment in Studio City.







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Friday, May 19, 2006

MY ALL-TIME FAVORITE CNN.COM HEADLINE

From December 12, 2002...



This is hard-hitting stuff. Click here for the story.



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Wednesday, May 17, 2006

OUR VANDALISM LIVES ON, FOR NOW

I wasn't much of a vandal when I was a teenager, but childhood friend Kevin and I did commit one particularly memorable act of mindless defacement, the evidence of which is barely hanging onto existence today almost 25 years later.

Back in the late 70s and early 80s there were three competing rock radio stations in Boston, each bearing its own distinct personality.

There was WCOZ 94.5, "Cozy" as it was nicknamed. It was on the soft side of the rock slide rule, heavy on the Steely Dan and Fleetwood Mac. Their logo matched their programming, a swirly yellow neon glow with pink edges spelling out the call letters on a black background. Captain Ken Shelton was the top dog DJ. Ken was as mellow as his drawly baritone.

There was WAAF 107.3. They were hard rock/heavy metal. That's where you went for your Led Zeppelin, your Who, your Aerosmith, your Deep Purple, and oddly, your Heart. Nothing cozy about that end of the dial. It was hard edged and so was their logo, all chrome and highlighted letters with hard beveled edges like something forged in a foundry. Harvey Warfield (a.k.a. "The Commander of the Rock and Roll Air Force") was the man at 'AAF and his bass voice came thundering out of my Infinity's and made the Mountain Dew on my dashboard tremble.

And then, in between, in every way, was WBCN 104.1. These were the goofballs, the ones who didn't take themselves or anything else at all seriously. 'BCN made the best use of comedy. Charles Laquidara, who seemed to be on most of the time had a manic alter ego, one Duane Ingalls Glasscock who would show up occasionally and hijack the station. He also ran for President of the United States. I still have the campaign buttons to prove it. I know it must have been a simpler time because such a thing somehow avoided seeming contrived. The station's logo honestly looked like a high school kid did it in art class. It's hard to describe. It was kind of swooshy but kind of hard edged. It was, well, in between.

Kevin and I were loyal to WBCN because we liked to laugh and also because Kevin's older brother Paul worked as an intern there. He told us crazy stories of DJs getting high and of the time the Rolling Stones came in for an interview and looked like a bunch of tiny, frail old men.

"That's so cool!" we'd moon.

Paul hooked us up with lots of merchandise from the station including bumper stickers. One boring Sunday, Kevin and I were walking back to his house after playing frisbee at the football field and decided to show our support for the station by affixing two WBCN bumper stickers to the top corners of a set of double doors on the side of our high school. I remember we commented to each other as we frantically pressed the bubbles out from under the adhesive sides of stickers, "I wonder how long they'll stay up?"

They're still there. Kind of. Barely. Niece Kate goes to school there now. She and brother-in-law Bill took these photos recently.









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Monday, May 15, 2006

RAY McGOVERN AND NEIL YOUNG: LAST WEEK'S HEROES

Recent days have brought two American heroes to my attention. I'm not typically a fan of heroes. It seems like most of the time we make heroes out of normal people in order to renew our own faith in humanity, that everything will be OK.

The American media and its retarded child the American public love heroes. They love everything about heroes. They love to point out that before the hero became a hero, he was just like the rest of us, so maybe we can be heroes someday, too. They love to marvel at the hero's heroism so they create a hero's showcase complete with satellite appearances, Parade magazine features, and true story books, all leading to the ultimate praise of the hero, the destruction of the myth itself.

Most heroes I see fall into the "small man makes good" category. My recent heroes fit more in the "David slays Goliath" category, or more accurately, the "man does what the rest of us are too lazy or weak or preoccupied to do." See, I think we make heroes out of the people who behave as we wish we would ourselves. With that in mind, my recent heroes are former CIA analyst Ray McGovern, for confronting US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld about the administration's basis for the War in Iraq, and Neil Young, for writing, recording and releasing Living With War, the only music I've heard that appropriately responds to the failure that is George Bush's presidency.

McGovern, who worked for the CIA for 27 years, was in Atlanta to receive the National Civil Liberties Award from the ACLU of Georgia. He finagled a $40 ticket to attend an unrelated event, Rumsfeld's speech at the Southern Center for International Policy. During the Q & A portion of the talk, McGovern used Rumsfeld's own words to point out the fundamental lies on which the decision to go to war was based.


On the administration's basis for war
"So I would like to ask you to be up front with the American people, why did you lie to get us into a war that was not necessary, that has caused these kinds of casualties? Why?"

On Weapons of Mass Destruction:
McGovern delivered his questions calmly but pointedly. Clearly, he was not intimidated by Rumsfeld or by the security personnel that tried to physically eject him. Rumsfeld waved them off.
"You said you knew where they were Tikrit, Baghdad, northeast, south, west of there. Those are your words."

On al Qaeda and Iraq:
"Well we’re talking about lies and your allegation there was bulletproof evidence of ties between al Qaeda and Iraq. Was that a lie or were you mislead?"

Though not one to get flustered, Rumsfeld failed to respond effectively.

McGovern did what a lot of Americans, myself included would like to think they would do – call Rumsfeld and Bush and Dick Cheney and Colin Powell and Condoleeza Rice on all their bullshit. If nothing else, these people shouldn't get off without being asked these tough but rather obvious questions.

Please read the transcript of the brief confrontation between McGovern and Rumsfeld as well as McGovern's own account.

Neil Young's Living With War serves as a perfect complement to McGovern's cerebral approach to the problem of Iraq. McGovern's response to the war is an earnest search for logic and truth. Young's is guttural, primal, an emotional and physical tantrum against not just the war and not just its purveyors but also the world that allowed the situation to arise in the first place. The album's ten songs play like a nation's therapy session where the goal is to just "get it all out there."

As he does when he is at his inspired best, Young lasers in on the heart of human condition. Then he yells at it. The absurdity of living in a violent society that sees war as a solution, one that may potentially escalate to armageddon is rendered by the album's opening lyrics:

Won't need no shadow man
Runnin' the government
Won't need no stinkin' war
Won't need no haircut
Won't need no shoe shine
After the garden is gone

Lest we blame only those in charge, Young reminds us of the source of their power – a society too preoccupied with consumerism and gratification to notice that scary times have been on the horizon for a long time. Young sounds like early 80s David Byrne as he rattles of a list of complaints that leave precious few unskewered.

Don't need no TV ad
Tellin' me how sick I am
Don't want to leave
Don't want to know how people are like me
Don't need no dizziness
Don't need no nausea
Don't need no side effects like diarrhea or sexual death
Don't need no more lies
Don't need no more lies
Don't need no more lies
Don't need no more lies

The lyrics, music, instrumentation are appropriately raw throughout. Young's electric guitar rumbles and growls from beginning to end. No plaintive acoustic tunes here, though the set concludes with the 100 voices of a choir singing an eerie a cappella version of America the Beautiful that strains for joy but ultimately achieves only apprehension.

Rather than provide the complete lyrics to Living With War here, I simply offer this two word review - get it.

Who will this week's heroes be?



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Saturday, May 13, 2006

DYNAFLEX

I don't know about you but I'm impressed.

From Sergio Franchi Live at the Cocoanut Grove (RCA, 1964):





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Thursday, May 11, 2006

CANADIANS DON'T BEHAVE THIS WAY

I'm learning from the good people at ZeeAndZed.com how Canadians and Americans differ. This week's lesson: when Canadians get in a car accident and collect money from the insurance company, they actually use the money to fix their cars, whereas when Americans get in a car accident and collect money from the insurance company, they spend the money on whatever and drive around with no windows, bumpers or hoods. I thought this was an exaggeration until I turned the corner and saw this – a car with no driver's side window, no headlights and a burlap tarp instead of a hood taped to the body of the car.





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Tuesday, May 09, 2006

ARE THEY GONNA BURY ME WITH ONE OF THESE FRIGGIN' THINGS PINNED TO MY CHEST?


When I was 16 I worked at Friendly Ice Cream for a summer. I was a waiter. My friends Arthur Lee and Rob "Twy-guy" Twyman worked there, too. As waiters, Arthur and I had to move a lot, keep track of the needs and desires of the customers and stay out of Twy-guy's way. Twy-guy was one of the nicest kids I knew, but once that grill was heated up and the orders started lining up on the board, look out. I don't want to say he was an idiot savant, but Twy-guy's proficiency at managing that grill far outshined any of his other skills, including his ability to maneuver his 1970 Chevy Impala (approximately 682 feet long, 12.5 tons) despite his occasional habit of seeing pedestrians that may or may not have existed. The friction of rubber against asphalt would force a deep screech pulsating in waves across a desolate Route 9.

"Jesus Christ, Twy-guy! What the fuck?"

"Did you see that? I could have sworn there was someone crossing the road!"

We were required to wear name tags, small white pieces of hard plastic about 1 inch high x 3 inches wide with a safety pin attached to one side and the swirly blue Friendly logo in on the other. Below the logo there was a space designated for a strip of label maker tape to bear the employee's name. I remember reluctantly stamping mine out on my first day of work, turning the Dymo label maker's dial to "T" before squeezing the plastic trigger. Inside, a teeny-tiny "T" pressed little creases into the tape forming a white impression roughly in the shape of itself. Then "O," then "M." Like a lot of 16 year olds I fought a war every day for my independence, to be taken seriously, to dismiss those who strive to classify everything and everybody into tidy, discernable categories, to apply meaningless labels to things, thereby limiting the potential of all. No, the irony of having to label myself did not go unnoticed.

Nevertheless, I was glad to be working with friends and welcomed the income – I needed funds to buy an amplifier to go with my bitchin' Univox electric guitar – but I also had tremendous fear of dealing with the general public. It wasn't just normal teenage insecurity that worried me. It was playing the role of waiter. I doubted I was up to it. It was the implicit subservience of the waiter to the patron that REALLY bugged me. The job title says it all: waiter. I'm here to wait on you. If you have a need or desire, tell me what it is and I will do as you wish. I'm here to serve you. You come first. At the time, my mindset was all about serving no one and that made this more of an acting job than a waiting job.

I only lasted through the summer. Falsely accused, then acquitted along with Arthur of pilfering $13.43, I ultimately ditched my blue name tag for the brown one I got next door at Roche Brothers where I bagged groceries and carried them out to a fleet of waiting Sevilles, Delta 88s and Cutlass Supremes. My first day I cut a small slip of paper on which I printed in stiff, harsh capital letters with a red Flair pen, "T-O-M" and slipped it in the name tag's slot. It was much easier work than being a waiter and the people treated me less like servant. I really didn't hate it. My tasks were mindless yet helpful. Were it not for me and my bagging brethren, how would these housewives and single dads get their foodstuffs from the checkout lane to the back seat?

The store was managed by two Joe's, Joe Walsh (no, not to the one from the Eagles) and Joe Curtain who years later appeared on a local talk show entitled "Boston's Most Eligible Bachelors." By the end of the following summer I had saved up enough money for the amplifier (a bitchin' Music Man HD130 head with a 2x12 Fender cab with tilt back legs), so now, properly armed with the all the equipment I would need to achieve happiness, my work for Mr. Walsh and Mr. Eligible Bachelor was clearly done.

Remarkably, I still have the name tags from both Friendly and Roche Brothers.

Years, decades later I work at a job requiring no contact with the general public whatsoever, a triumph of sorts, I suppose. Yet, I look down at the magnetic access card clipped to my shirt and see those same familiar letters created this time not by a label maker, not by a red Flair pen, but by a laser printer somewhere. "T-O-M."



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Sunday, May 07, 2006

THIS IS THE LAST TIME I TALK ABOUT IT, I PROMISE

Last Monday night, Johnny Damon came and went. The Boston Red Sox superstar who ditched the fans who worshiped him for four years to go play for the archest of rivals, the New York Yankees, made his prickly return to Boston's Fenway Park. It was an ugly scene.

To say he was booed resoundingly does not come close to describing the level of hatred that poured from the Boston grandstands, bleachers and box seats directly on Damon's lobey head. Former Sox Jerry Remy and Fred Lynn independently claimed to have never in their lives seen such a vehement display of animosity or heard that level of booing for a player returning to a former ball park. Unprecendented. Ugly.

Unwarranted? Absolutely not.

Here are some facts. In 2004, the Red Sox won their first World Championship in 86 years due greatly to Damon's remarkable effort and achievements. For this he received a level of adoration from the fans rarely enjoyed by even the most elite celebrities. At the end of 2005, Damon's contract with Boston expired, leaving him free to join any team that offered him a deal. The Red Sox offer was $40 million. The Yankees offered him $52 million.

The life of a professional athlete, like the life of anyone who attains celebrity and fame is hard if not damned impossible for us little people to comprehend. So we grapple for understanding however we can, often utilizing metaphor and analogy. Here's the one I came up with after discussing the fans' reaction with wife Cindy and friend Chris, who felt at least somewhat disappointed in the fans' brutal treatment of Damon upon his return to Fenway.

Let's say you meet a woman. You start dating. Pretty soon you're in that happy place where everything seems better than it ever did before. Maybe you don't have a fancy car or fancy clothes but you're happy. You buy her Hershey's Kisses all the time and hide them in places where you know she'll find them. You're in love. And she seems happy, too. Then you wake up one day to find out not only has she left you, but she's banging Rick, that asshole from work who always parks his fucking Xterra in your space and steals food from the fridge in the break room.

Accepting this situation is bad enough, but are you then obligated to be all nice to her when you see the two of them canoodling at Mission Impossible III? Are you supposed to reach over the seats and congratulate her and tell her that you understand why she did what she did and that you're happy for her and her new prick boyfriend who incidentally passed right over the Hershey's at the snack bar and bought her two large Toblerones instead?

To me the answer is clear. As Paulie from the Sopranos would say, fuck that.

By the way, on Monday night the Red Sox beat the Yankees 7-3. Damon went 0 for 4.



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Friday, May 05, 2006

YOUR PAPERS PLEASE

A new policy at work this week:



While this method of identification is far better than the old one (wearing gay polo shirts that bore the company logo), associate co-collegue Kevin and I are trying to determine the best way to "wear" our badges. Management prefers the use of the official lanyard. We do not. We do not even like the word lanyard and affect its use only with a mocking tone. The lanyard would be cool if I were a lighting technician backstage at a Stevie Ray Vaughan concert, but among the cubicles, I'm so far removed from that fantasy that pretending to be cool is pretty much out of the question. I tried wearing it like chatelaine around a belt loop, perhaps the worst thing I have ever done. I'm haunted by how it much of a tool it made me feel.

Kevin and I conclude that there must be a viable alternative! A little surfing revealed an entire industry devoted just to this aspect of modern life.

The URLs crack me up...
nametagsource.com
IDZone.com
IDSuperstore.com
allID.com
allthingsID.com
lanyardsonly.com
lowpricelanyards.com
lanyardfactory.com
lanyardsupply.com

There are a lot of choices...



















Kevin is threatening to go for the arm band. I think I'll just stick with what works. Rules be damned. I'll keep my ID in my wallet. Although that pirate looks pretty cool. Hmm.



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Wednesday, May 03, 2006

WEIRD, IF UNINSPIRED SIGNAGE



This is the Sherman Oaks office of The Grief Recovery Institute, an organization which, through its four day certification program, gives enrollees "a powerful foundation of non-directive and directive Grief Recovery® communication skills; format and instruction for the Grief Recovery® Outreach Program; and hands on, experiential training for facilitation of one-on-one and group Grief Recovery® Principles and Techniques."

FROM GRIEF.NET:
Enrollment is very limited and programs fill up quickly. The cost of the Certification Program is $1,795 US or $1,995 CND and a deposit of $500 is required to reserve your place. If submitting multiple applications for the same program group rates are available by contacting the Institute Visa, Mastercard, and American Express are accepted.



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Monday, May 01, 2006

CAPITAL ONE JUNK MAIL

Last year, I received a ridiculous amount of junk mail from Capital One. Not only is it a waste of paper, it's a pain because I can't just throw it away. I have to rip it up or shred it first. It seems like a small task but day after day, I got really sick of it.



This year I'm keeping all the junk mail Capital One sends me and Cindy. I'll post monthly updates and keep a tally over in the right hand column.

APRIL

JANFEBMARAPRMAYJUNJULAUGSEPOCTNOVDEC
10314

Total pieces of junk mail received from Capital One so far this year: 18



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