Tuesday, March 11, 2014


Does the fact that I haven't posted anything in more than a year make me a bad blogger or a non-blogger.

I feel terrible about it in either case.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

And It Only Took Four Years.

Once upon a time, back in January of 2008, I posted about how I'd been shanghaied into being an Extra in a show I was working on - Skins. I also mentioned that one of the Producers was shooting behind-the-scenes footage and interviews and that I'd post the video once he put it online.

Well he just got around to posting it and I'm being really, really timely in bringing it to your attention.

You'll be pleased to know that my part in it is highly embarrassing. Enjoy my mortification. I show up about 30 seconds in. (Also, it's worth noting that it was about 7 degrees on the day we shot this scene.)

Friday, January 25, 2013

The Hiatus Paradox.

If a blogger fails to announce a hiatus when it begins, is it really a hiatus?  Or is it merely 86 days of "too lazy to post anything"?

While I suspect the latter, I'm going to make a case for the former.  Because it makes me look better.

I'm all for making me look better.

There's a wonderful scene -- OK, there are countless wonderful scenes -- in Dr. Strangelove or: how I learned to stop worrying and love the bomb. One of the plot devices used to keep the movie going ---Warning: 48-year-old Spoiler Alert -- is that the Russians have deployed a Doomsday Machine.  In the event of a nuclear attack by the Americans, the Russian missiles will automatically retaliate.  Even if the Russians are completely annihilated and there's no-one left to authorize a counterstrike, the Doomsday Machine will take over and wipe out the Americans to punish them for their temerity.

And once the Doomsday Machine decides that the parameters have been met to initiate a counterstrike, there's nothing anyone can do to change its mind; that's the beauty of the machine.  It's meant to terrify an opponent so thoroughly that they'd never risk authorizing a first strike.  The only problem is that in order for the Doomsday Machine to have the intended deterrent effect, the enemy must be aware of its existence; and the Russians have failed to tell anyone about it.

At one point, Dr. Strangelove takes the Russian ambassador to task, saying, "Of course the whole point of a Doomsday Machine is lost if you keep it a secret! Why didn't you tell the world? Eh? 

To which Ambassador de Sadesky responds, "It was to be announced at the Party Congress on Monday. As you know, the Premier loves surprises".

I'll readily agree that the Doomsday Machine lost most of its deterrent effect when the Russians failed to publicize its existence, but there's no question that it was still a Doomsday Machine.  So, to stretch the analogy well past its breaking point, I submit to you that, whether or not it was announced, my recent hiatus was still, clearly, a hiatus.
That's my story and I'm sticking to it. I come off looking better that way.

Now that I've gone all twisty and sweated to pound a square peg into a round hole, all in service of making myself look all shiny and admirable, I'll go ahead and squander any good feelings I may have engendered. 

Because...I may have been a dick recently.

Here's the deal.  Almost a year ago, I stopped smoking in the house.  Granted, that's not the same thing as stopping altogether, but it does make me go to some effort and its probably cut my smoking in half.

Baby steps, baby!

So recently, I started noticing cigarette butts on our back patio. They're not my cigarette butts.  I keep a butt can back there.  And the butts I've been finding on the ground are roll-your-own types. (No, they're not from joints -- I do know the difference.) And I jumped to a conclusion about who the culprit might be.

Ya'see, the guy who lives on the third floor next door occasionally goes out onto his fire escape to smoke. Yes, the same neighbor who owns the Asshole-French-Cat-Who-Shits-In-Our-Backyard. So, I concluded that if you a.) smoke on your fire escape, overlooking our back patio, and b.) own an Asshole-French-Cat-Who-Shits-In-Our-Backyard, and c.) you are, yourself, French, the odds are very good that you may be the asshole who rolls your own cigarettes, smokes them on your fire escape and tosses the butts onto our back patio.

So, in a fit of pique, I picked up a half-dozen or so of the offending butts and tossed them over the fence.

Later, that same day, I remembered that the people who live on our third floor have a friend who occasionally smokes on the fire escape when he visits.


I honestly don't know who the culprit is, and lacking any more evidence, I'm not inclined to confront anyone over it. So, the options are as follows:

1. I've been a total dick, who punished the owner of the house next door in a decidedly passive-aggressive fashion for something that is not only not her fault, but isn't even the fault of her tenant. Or,
2.  I've been a partial dick, who punished the owner of the house next door in a decidedly passive-aggressive fashion for something that is not directly her fault, but is the fault of her tenant.

I feel terrible. I feel the need to atone.  So, here, publicly*, I'd like to offer my wholehearted apology and admit that I may** have been a dick. 


Gosh,  taking the high road certainly makes you feel better.

*in a space where the likelihood of my neighbor actually seeing it is infinitesimally small.

**There's always the possibility that my neighbor wrote it into the third-floor tenant's lease that they are required to roll their own cigarettes, smoke them on the fire escape, and toss the butts onto our patio.  And to have their asshole-French-cat shit in our yard.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Maybe You Shouldn't Stand Too Close To Me.

I mentioned yesterday on FaceBook that I may be the cause of some natural disasters. I know there are some preachers who regularly blame fires and earthquakes and hurricanes on gays, or gays who want to get married, or straights who want to get gay-married, or soldiers who shoot too gaily...or some-such.  But I'm straight, so that isn't it.  They probably blame NY Jews for a bunch of stuff too, but most of them have that minimal level of political correctness that prevents them from saying so out loud. No, the truth is that I don't think anyone has ever pinned the blame on me personally, but I'm starting to have some suspicions.

The first thing that made me think of this is that I've got an ongoing battle with the school across the street from me. A few years ago, they installed security lighting. Obviously, I don't have a problem with the fact that the school wants to have security lighting.  We've got porch lights.  It's a good thing for a neighborhood to have some lighting at night.

Unfortunately, the people who chose the lighting for the school thought the threat might be coming from my apartment.  Or the roof of my building.  These lights are aimed out more than down.  They'd be great lights in the Goofy Parking Lot at Disney.

Look at this sucker in daylight and just imagine what it's like at night.

If I stand against the wall of the school directly under the lights, I'm in shadow.  On the other hand, I can read a book in my living room at night without wasting any of our own electricity. I feel like one of those soldiers in the New Mexico desert  during an A-Bomb test.  I'm concerned that one of these days, I'll get up to leave the room and my shadow will stay on the wall 'cause it got burned there.*

Needless to say, I've been bitching about these lights since they were installed a few years ago. I've complained to the school principal, to my City Councilwoman, to my Community Board, to 311, to the NYC Public Advocate, and to the NYC School Construction Authority.  I've been met with apathy, confusion, ignorance and/or ineffective sympathy.

Twice now, I've felt like I was on the verge of a breakthrough. And here's where we get to the first point of this post.  The first time I thought I was getting somewhere, was with the Public Advocate's office.  Unfortunately, two days after I'd contacted them, NYC had a crippling blizzard.  They actually left me a message a few days later asking me to please be patient; I wasn't being ignored, but they had bigger fish to fry at the moment.  I thought that was completely understandable.

A few calls and emails ensued a month or so later and I was eventually relegated to someone who had no idea how to pursue the issue and figured it would be easier to just forget about it.

About two weeks ago, I filed my third complaint with 311 (the City's non-emergency assistance line). This time, I made sure to go on the record with all my contact info and get a Service Request number so (by city ordinance), they'd have to respond to me.  After a week, no response.  I called again.  The person I spoke to was at a loss and suggested I go online and write directly to the Mayor's Office so that hopefully, someone there could figure out how to address the problem.  I did so.

That was on Saturday.

On Monday, instead of a timely response, I got Hurricane Sandy.  Is it possible I caused Hurricane Sandy with my Municipal Whining?

You may think the connection is a bit tenuous, but last night, I realized I've got one more little coincidental connection that points to me being dangerous to hang around with.

Back in August, I was working on a TV show that came to get a few days of NY exterior scenes.  Most of the work involved dialog scenes with a few of the actors in various iconic settings, but some shots were just quick pops of the actors walking down some street or coming out of a subway...whatever.  For those shots, we didn't want to drag all of our trucks all over town (it takes a lot of time to move big trucks and campers around the city), so we just threw everybody and the camera into a couple of vans.  We'd hop out at some corner, get a couple of takes of the actor in that setting and then move on to the next one.

Bing, Bam, Boom.

At one location, the actress' hair had wilted a bit in the heat, so one of the Vanities (what we call the Make-up/Hair people) asked me if there was somewhere nearby she could plug in a curling iron to do a touch-up. So I walked into the Muscle Maker Grill and asked if they'd mind us plugging into an outlet for a few minutes.  They were really nice and said, "Sure". Just to be nice, I bought a grilled chicken sandwich even though I wasn't really hungry. It was really tasty.

That's them in the first floor of the dark green building.

Here's what that building looks like after Hurricane Sandy's visit.

I won't be offended if you move away from me a few steps.  Really.  It's O.K.

*O.K., maybe I'm exaggerating just a tad with that whole paragraph, but that's what having a blog is all about. You can be reasonable and restrained on your own damned blog.

Sunday, September 30, 2012


Apparently, there are, "among likely voters", people who remain undecided in the upcoming Presidential election. I'll admit that there have been elections in which, for a time at least, I was undecided.  In the early going of 2008, I could envision myself voting for McCain without having to hold my nose too tightly...or be drugged or have a gun held to my head.  He seemed like a fairly reasonable guy and he was worthy of respect.  Not a lot of time went by before I was swayed wholly to Obama's camp and wholly out of any possibility of supporting Mr. McCain. Choosing Sarah Palin as a running mate, among a number of other gaffes eliminated McCain from consideration for me and Obama continued to impress me more and more as the campaign season went on.

So I'm not deriding anyone who, at some time or other classifies themselves as "undecided".  Truth be told, being "undecided" is an honorable position...up to a certain point in time.  It demonstrates that a person is thoughtful and deliberative. It demonstrates a refusal to be herded along with the madding crowd.

In this election...at this point in time...it demonstrates a level of personal, purposeful oblivion.  That goes for either side.

If, at this point, you can't choose between Romney and Obama -- one way or the other -- I'm not sure you should be allowed to vote when the time comes.  If, at this point, you truly remain undecided, I'm concerned about your future on Evolution's Hit Parade.

Here's how I view your predicament. (And, once again, this works from either the Left or the Right's POV).  Imagine you've gone to a wedding.  There's a sumptuous meal being served at the reception. A waiter arrives at your table and asks you, "Would you prefer the lovely sliced sirloin or the moldy sandwich"?

"Hmmm", you reply, "Is the beef prepared with tarragon? I'm not really fond of tarragon."

I don't know about you, but I've got a real problem figuring out just who these "Undecideds" are.  So I decided to go out and meet some of them.  Here's a small sampling of the "Undecideds" I was able to discover.  In each case, I asked them how it was that they were having difficulty with this particular choice.

1. Russell Denmann
I've been undead since the Kennedy Administration and, to be honest with you, Government hasn't been a huge priority for me since.  I still show up at the polls but only because there are so many slow moving hors d'oeuvres standing in line in a good year. 
2. Hattie Morgenthau
 Most people just look at superficial differences like policies and some-such, but I've learned over the years that there isn't much you can't tell about a man by his personal grooming. Warren Harding was a compulsive nail-biter and look what a yutz he was.  I bet you didn't know that, did you?
Now, there's no question that Romney and Obama are both attractive young men, but Romney has this little Korean woman traveling with him and giving him a mani-pedi every day.  So, his nails are impeccable but it makes him seem a bit elitist, don't you think?  Barrack, cuts his own nails, but I saw one of those pictures of him on the beach and I noticed he cuts his toenails square instead of rounded. My third husband did that.  Do you have any idea what those sharp little corners can do to a woman's ankles every night.  I tell you, Michelle must be a saint!
It's really a hard decision. 

3. Stanley Keeler 
I wouldn't say I'm truly undecided. Romney pissed me off with that whole 47% thing.  Hell, I've been working this farm since my Daddy died in '83 and I ain't seen more'n $23,000 profit a year that whole time.  But I ain't gonna commit one way or t'other 'till I step into that booth.  There's always that 1% o' me that says I could still win the Powerball, and then I'm gonna want me a Romney in the White House.

4. Stella Coats
 I'm leaning toward Romney, but I'll admit I've got a problem with that whole dog-strapped-to-the-roof-of-his-car thing.  It's just cruel to do that without shooting the beast first.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Reverse Covers

Sometime in the not too distant past, someone posted this video on FaceBook with some laudatory comments (about the song, not necessarily the video).

I wholeheartedly agree. 

I'm not going to say I was ever some kind of Humble Pie aficionado, but this was a great song.  Songs like this are the reason the dial goes up to Eleven.  Songs like this are the reason cars come with a red-line on the tachometer.

And I have no idea what got me thinking in this direction, but it seemed like a fun exercise to imagine that Humble Pie hadn't written it...that they were covering some other artist who first wrote and performed it.

Then, I tried to think, if that was the case, who I might envision having originated the song.

I settled on Robert Johnson.  Somehow, I could really imagine Robert Johnson singing about drugs and 30 days in the hole, in a really stripped down, unaccompanied version.

And now I really want to hear that version.  I bet it would have been great!

The truth is, this little mind game would be a lot more fun if I had Jimmy Fallon's talent for mimicking various singers and I could do a video.  But I don't and that's not gonna happen.

Anyway, I'm inviting you guys to come up with a song (great or otherwise) and imagine that the original is actually a cover of a much earlier version.  Let's hear what you come up with.

There's only one and a half rules.  The "half" rule is that it works better if you assign the origin of the song to an artist who was already dead when the real original was written.  The second rule is: No Frank Sinatra.  He did enough lame covers of contemporary artists when he was alive, so it takes no imagination at all to imagine what he'd do with Lady Gaga's Poker Face.

Have at it kids.