Archive for May, 2009

As I psyche myself up to wake at an unreasonable hour Monday…

Saturday, May 30th, 2009

Great couple of hours of Clarence being the guest DJ on E Street Radio.

He not only picked out some truly obscure and amazing concert songs, he had two quotes that made me pause in the middle of what I was doing and listen to them again…I might not have them totally correct, I admit it. I was taking a shower and brushing my teeth.

“When Bruce writes music we all show up and play Bruce’s music. I think we forgot that for a while. My gig in life is to just answer the phone when Bruce calls.”

And the second one…

“We live for concerts. Every single one of us. We have to do studio stuff, but we all are just amazed to watch the concert with the fans.”

That, I would argue captures the essence of the entire band in two short quotes. Bruce calls, we play. Concerts are a gimme gig.

But it was kind of interesting how many songs Clemons chose that were very, very obviously nostalgic and at small warm-up gigs in Ashbury Park. I think there was only three songs from his two last albums, and they were both Ashbury Park versions from this spring.

Random thoughts blather…

Friday, May 29th, 2009

Did you know that Mark Cuban is a genius? He screwed the system by selling out before anyone else got screwed. Brilliant. I’d put Paul Allen and Bill Gates in the same category. The pantheon of cash cows.

I was talking to someone five years younger than me, and she didn’t remember Coach from Cheers. Complete generation gap.

What do the dogs actually do when they are in the kennel for the better part of a week? Whatever it is, they come back completely exhausted. They are drained.

Speaking of Cheers, Shelley Long has the greatest underware scene ever in Night Shift when she’s in the kitchen. Now, being 12 at the time, I still cannot watch a Cheers episode with her in it and not think of Night Shift.

In fact, just to think about it for a moment, wasn’t that also directed by Opie Cunningham, starring Fonzie and Mr. Mom?

And, to finish the thought, the premise is not bad from a business perspective. How do brothels in Nevada fail?

Which would be the hardest personalized autograph to get be? I mean to get it signed to you, last name included? My three, off the top of my head, George Lucas, Paris Hilton, Tiger Woods.

A week from now I’ll be in Las Vegas with friends and family. Why am I not more psyched about this? I just do not have the Vegas DNA required to think of it as being the sole purpose of the trip. Either that, or I’m about 40.

More people should take kids to horse racing. Kids at the track are a hoot and you are teaching them math skills.

I love my Mustang. If you actually add up how much pleasure I have gotten out of it in the last six months and how cool it looks, the ratio to what I paid for it as a used car is ridiculous.

Wear seat belts. Even if you know you are among the biggest things on the road.

The bad thing about the first week you mow your lawn in the spring? The second week. I have created an out of control creature.


OK, me and my Jersey girl are chasing this one…

Thursday, May 28th, 2009

Bruce is closing down Giants Stadium.

I am not a maniac, but it does seem like a nice 20-year tribute to my Jersey Girl if we get tickets when they go on sale. Now, it’s not 20 years from our first date, but it is in the 20th year since our first date. Our first date was 9-9-90. Close enough for me to be up really early Monday morning.

I won’t pay scalpers prices. I’m not THAT interested. Besides, I have gotten pretty good at getting good tickets for other cities on the computer. This one is going to be hard, though. Usual deal…four computers all going at once.

Next week is the big Vegas trip that I am happy about and not excited. Weird, eh? I should be happy about it, but I feel a little grumpy, like it’s kind of a pain in the ass. The best part will be seeing my bro-in-law, by far, but beyond that, I feel old. Like I should be doing more productive things like mowing the lawn or taking Big A to a museum or something.

Subject change…

P thinks I’m crazy with this…but I have one super-duper rule with jinxes…you have to tell an odd number of people that you think you’ll win, otherwise, the reverse jinx is reveresed and it doesn’t work.

If I tell you a horse is going to win, that’s one time and it’s a perfect reverse jinx. But if I then tell someone else, or you tell someone, it’s an even jinx and then you’re screwed until you get a third person to hear the jinx statement.

I have a current seven-jinx version of this out there and it’s driving me nuts.

But I can tell you where this came from…baseball pitch counts. Odds favore either the pitcher or the batter when you add balls and strikes. But it favores them heavily either way. So I have just always thought you could reverse-jinx things as long as it’s all odd.

Now Big A even understands it. If you tell six people about the horse you put all your money on, you are screwed. Tell, the seventh person, you’re back in a perfectly odd reverse jinx.

Therefore, I can’t tell you about my perfect lucky seven double jinx.

But seven pitches after a 3-2 count is the good pitch, because it means you got to 3-2, fouled one off, and then did something good.

Last subject change…

I love the beach. But you know what I like the most…mornings like Tuesday where it was about 50-degrees and drizzly. I thought I was odd with that. I mean, I have been to beaches around the world, I’ve been really, really blessed/lucky whatever you want to call it, and I just like parking a car or truck on the beach and watching waves in a misty rain when it’s cold with a good newspaper.

Hence, with my wedding anniversary coming up, I want to shout out to P that she demonstrated why I love her as much now as the day I met her nearly 20 years ago.

She got excited by just stepping out on the deck in a misty drizzle at the beach Tuesday morning and saying, “That is the greatest feeling in the world. Breathing in the ocean.”

Honey, you had me with a kiss on the first date.

But she was really excited by it. And it’s why I get excited by the ocean, too. A cold, damp day where it’s like a cold-steam in the smell and mist. I am soooooooooooooo lucky all the beaches I’ve been on, but her enthusiasm for the back porch on a muddy ocean beach in a backwater part of Washington was awesome.

She continued as I contemplated this…

“Isn’t it awesome you can step out the door and feel the wind and cold, but then breathe it all in? That’s ocean in the air.”

My Jersey Girl. God bless her.

I never do this

Friday, May 22nd, 2009

But I am officially endorsing a product.

These headphones.

I’m telling you, they rock and they are comfortible. They also learn noise in a scary-quick way. They are not the most high end, so there may be better if you want to spend the money. But I bought mine six months ago and have been using an extra-long extender thingy that mean I can be working, get up and pee, and then get back to a canvess without any ANY stress on the phones.

Plus, they are just more comfortible and less ear-stress than plugs. The final thing is that because they “settle” (my very scientific description), when someone talk to you, you hear them. (If you’re awake, of course.)

But the point is that once these things are grooving on and airplane, they are keyed in for that sound. It’s very cool for not a huge amount of money. I even fiddled with them at a casino…and they surprised me. And I wasn’t even doing anything other than just turning on the noise-thingy.

But it’s all way better than the ear plugs. My solid endorsement is here.

My day in haiku

Thursday, May 21st, 2009

Everything is late

Must get money in place soon

You are kidding me.

(Talk amongst yourselves.)

When I grow up I want to be a man

Sunday, May 17th, 2009

The summer we went to the arts camp in New York, there were several boys I hung around that were going to have bar mitzvah’s the following year. I had no idea what this meant exactly, since these were the only Jewish kids I had ever gotten to know to that point in my life.

But I will never forget a conversation we had one day on the back porch of the arts building on a Sunday morning, kind the lone lone down time of the camplife grind, and they got to comparing what the plans were for this party to celebrate “being a man.”

I was curious, so I asked a kid, what does having a party mean for being a man?

“Everything,” was the response. “Religious, money, fun, friends…it’s a lot of work, too.” (I am paraphrasing that part.)

But the cool kid in the group, who was very wealthy and lived in NYC, chimed in, and those words I will never forget…

“My dad says that unless you are going to be really Jewish the rest of your life, it’s just a big party to impress your friends,” he said.

But he continued.

“My dad says there are only three ways to know you’ve become a man…” His voice trailed off for drama.

And these are the words I will never forget on that lazy porch on that warm Sunday morning:

“You know you are a man when you buy the New York Times with your own money, you know how to fold it, and you read it for understanding.”

I have abolsolutely never forgotten that. It’s a brilliant answer, and it hit me when I was even 11. Buy it, read it, fold it.

I was thinking about that today when one of the random C-SPAN-like discussions about the death of newspapers was on TV today and it caught my eyes and ears for a while. It came back because they talked about all the electronic ways people were going to get news. And I thought, “But you can’t fold it and a large swath of Americans can’t afford the electronic gizmos to get it on, so boys can’t become men in those families.”

It’s a silly notion, maybe, but how many 11 or 12 year olds really have access to the internet or computers in huge swaths of society? Who can buy a Kindle and subscribe to The New York Times? It’s a very real problem right now…the people who can buy a 50-cent newspaper or a Sunday Times, might not have the ability to get it over a cell phone or a computer or some other “electronic” device.

You and me…we can. Many, many can’t.

So, here’s where my head went on this…what a chasm in society. The ones that can afford all the gizmos and make their voice be heard, and those that are just happy to buy a newspaper with their own money, read it and fold it.

The metaphor is more about how that’s what makes “men” into a society. Back in 1980, that really meant something to pay $1 for a NYT and sit lazily on a back porch and flips the papers around until we were covered in printer’s ink. Today, it means almost nothing to the people that are fortunate enough to have computers, high-speed internet, credit cards and can pay the mortgage at the same time.

That’s part of what’s killing newspapers. The only people left that can/need to buy them, are the ones advertisers don’t care about. There’s no easy way to get a handle on their demographics, but you can guess they might be people that couldn’t even afford the stuff advertisers are pitching.

So to come full circle…(I think…I rambled a little.)

Quit giving kids in school newspapers for free!!!!!!! Make them use their own money, even at a super discount, show them how to fold it, and then give them time to read it. Put the money into a pool for each school district and give them back the cash in a cool gift for the whole school, or something. Or let the kids vote on what charity the money goes to. I don’t know.

Give a kid a newspaper for free, and it teaches him it has no value.

Make him pay something for it, feel it, and teach them to read it…you have a newspaper reader forever.

Um, small crowd when it started, but you should have seen it at the end

Friday, May 15th, 2009

P is doing some major league garage cleaning, and one of the things she helped me stumble on was a major league baseball ticket stub.

This had huge amounts of irony for the GM stuff right now, because I was in Detroit for, guess what, a conference hosted by GM about the past and, we were assured, very bright future of General Motors. 

At the time, Tiger Stadium was a craphole in a craphole neighborhood. The whole week in Detroit had this “Don’t mind the man behind the curtain” vibe as they did everything they could to make everything look rosy.

But there was a rosy thing…it was the pure eight dollars for 5.5 hours at this baseball game between the Tigers and the White Sox. It was remarkable in how entertaining it all was to the bitter end.

I am not kidding, there were so few people there at the end that there was a HR ball hit into my section in right field and after searching for it for about five minutes, there wasn’t even anyone to give it to. I handed it to a kid on the way out. It’s the only major league sporting event that I ever sat through and actually counted every head in the stands in less that two outs. I can’t remember exactly, but it was less than 200 and more than 150. I actually got two homerun balls that night, but the first one at least had some other warm-bodied kids making a game of it to find it as it ricocheted around in the stands (I am not kidding, there were so few people we had to systematically look for them.)

Two of the most amazing things I had ever seen in my life were that game, and watching GM paint such a rosy picture of corporate health and “strategic vision.” You see, the regular car guys would go out and have a beer and laugh at them. We even set an over-under of 10 years and we almost hit it spot on. It became perversly entertaining.

But it a way the game was a metaphor for so much I saw in Detroit that week: no pitching, no fan interest, small crowd, indifference, crappy stadium, in a scary neighborhood.

Now they have a better team, of course, and a great new shiny stadium, but it’s still in a crappy neighborhood and their pitching is still weak.

I even thought at the time it would be fun to write a magazine article comparing General Motors and their executives, to that baseball team/game in Tiger Stadium.

It was eery and entertaining even all these years later on both counts.

Been a bit distracted lately…

Friday, May 15th, 2009

You can tell, maybe, that spring is in the air by the lack of posts here.

Between just being busy and some general home repairs that became 20-times more complex than I thought they’s be, I really haven’t had time to bang out even one of my least coherent blabbers. Things will settle back after this weekend, if not sooner.

Huh. Interesting.

Thursday, May 7th, 2009

No sooner did I write this about the Kindle 2, the new, bigger Kindle was released by Amazon. And, what are they doing? Going straight after textbooks, newspapers and magazines.

Personally, the size doesn’t match my needs, but’s worth keeping an eye on it.

To paraphrase the Stones…

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009

…what a drag it is getting old.

OK, that was actually a direct quote.

But things are different today…

Enough with the Stones references. What this is really about is that as you get older and older, it gets harder and harder to plan things with your friends. All the grownup, mid-life stuff gets in the way with as something as simple as going to shoot pool. I am completely guilty of it. We spent a week in Hawai’i with a friend and his kids and that took, literally almost three years to plan. Just a night out gets hard with kid’s activities and stuff.

I know, no shock to the world, but it always makes me feel older. They are still my dearest friends, but there are some Friday nights where you have permission (both spousal and in responsibility) to go out and play and there’s no one in the sandbox. But then when you get an invite, there is all the stuff you have to do that night.

A great example is with P and Big A’s “Parent’s Night Out.” Do you know how much work that is just getting her there and back? We hardly get started before we have to go get her!

I’m whining. It’s raining. Hence, general melancholy as I stare at a blank canvess…